Here's what I really hate though. When you are around multiple people who are the type to claim knowledge about things they truly have no idea about.
For example in social situations or work situations and you have multiple of these types around. When a conversation comes up and the knowledge of the people involved is put to the test. Maybe your boss is asking who knows how to perform a certain task, or who has experience with certain hardware or software, etc. Or maybe a friend is asking what is the best TV they should buy, etc. There's the people who claim to know about topics XYZ when they really don't, and you, naturally, admit that you don't know. But you might still be the most knowledgeable person about the general topic, and best candidate to offer advice or take on said task. Doesn't matter, you get labeled as the uninformed person while the "idiot" who claims to know everything about XYZ appears to be knowledgable expert. And worst case scenario is when your boss, co-workers, friends, etc. are dumb enough not to catch it.
Absolutely on point. I started my engineering career at 19 years of age because I was so deeply involved with my love for building computers (as in, from raw chips) that I could show the VP of Engineering at this one company that I was good hire. I ended-up working there for ten years. Everyone else in the department was at least ten years older than me. One of the first things that was driven into my head by the "elders" was:
Always admit what you don't know. It's the only way you will learn anything new.
To this day I always appreciate people who are relaxed and clear about what they don't know (or are not sure about). I know I can have conversations with them. These people don't tend to get defensive and are not insecure at all.
The other side of your statement is that, in some circles, if you assert what you do know you are instantly labelled "arrogant". If you categorically know something I have no problem if you make sure I understand that to be the case. That's just the way the cookie crumbles.
I don't think that's true in practice. For proof, just watch any academic debate, ever.
In fact, failing to have the third attribute affects the other two. Your confidence will quickly become overconfidence or pure hubris when faced with something you don't know much about. Also, in relationship to the second attribute, it is hard to convince yourself that you are not actually knowledgeable of something if you are not humble enough to consider that possibility.
So the next time someone says to you they don't know something, watch out, this person is probably a genius!
From the article:
"The American author and aphorist William Feather once wrote that being educated means “being able to differentiate between what you know and what you don’t.” As it turns out, this simple ideal is extremely hard to achieve. Although what we know is often perceptible to us, even the broad outlines of what we don’t know are all too often completely invisible. To a great degree, we fail to recognize the frequency and scope of our ignorance."
This isn't to say I'm immune to ignorance, as I have assumptions and misapprehensions like everyone else, not to mention being forgetful, so I have approximate knowledge of many things.* But assuming it as the default in both personal learning and social contexts I've saved myself an awful lot of grief. Unfortunately this sometimes leads to equally fallacious overestimates of general competence, which is also part of the Dunning-Krueger effect :-/
* with apologies to Pendleton Ward.
I am not astonished at all.
In a professional environment your social status is higher, if you just talk, independent of your status of knowledge. There is always plenty of time later to correct for mistakes. (You know these guys, who magically have a different recollection of what they said yesterday) You certainly remain on top of discussions. Just think about the bad impression it makes in a meeting, if you repeatedly say: I don't know.
Aside from the cover-your-ass aspect of it, I find this tends to spark healthy debate, even if someone's ego gets bruised in the mean time.
The time it's bad is when nobody knows and just goes along with the blowhard.
I've worked really hard in the past few years to say "I don't know" even when I'm supposed to project expertise. I haven't encountered any real resistance to it, though doing the opposite does inspire confidence, particularly when you're trying to sell a product or service.
If I had a penny for every time I've seen that, I'd have a pretty big pile of coins.
The "confident idiot" basically applies a Monte Carlo search over the range of possibilities, and may eventually fall onto a good-enough solution.
I suspect that's the explanation for the D-K effect. If that's the case, then the "idiot" actually uses a pretty sophisticated overall strategy that works well in a fluid world (so not so much an idiot actually).
I'm very fond of a book called The origin of consciousness in the breakdown of the bicameral mind by Julian Jaynes, which proffers a difficult-to-falsify but still compelling conjecture of why this should be. As you'd expect from such an ambitious title it requires an awful lot of handwaving, and accordingly it is viewed as heretodoxy in academic circles.
Evolution almost guarantees this. It's a valid strategy right up until modern times:
1. The world's not sophisticated enough to expose your fucktardedness.
2. You can still milk some status and social credit from it, if used in moderation.
3. Most of the time you being wrong doesn't matter (even today).
It's only in the age of Wikipedia (or large 20th century libraries) that the circumstances have changed.
The lies/bullshit aren't the worst of it though: with the correct mental habits those are exposed and discarded quickly. It's that people like it so much that it seems to be their primary intellectual tool. The people who do this cannot seem to help themselves, and they're so loud and many that even if you're disinclined to be this way they can overwhelm any correction mechanism.
> ike a little tv in their head, power up and go.
This is insightful. There does seem to be such a mental faculty. But whether it's responsible for the bullshit phenomenon isn't very clear to me.
> So the next time someone says to you they don't know something, watch out, this person is probably a genius!
The trouble is being a genius is a valuable status in many societies. So if one of the idiots learns that parroting "I don't know" in any of a few hundred variations, soon many are doing so (when convenient).
One gets the impression that everyone is dumb, and that we're all just bouncing around repeating minimally plausible bullshit.
Act 5, Scene 1:
[...]The fool doth think he is wise, but the wise man knows himself to be a fool[...]
I try to keep that quote in mind at all times. I believe it holds a great deal of wisdom, especially for me. For I am loud and opinionated. But I still fail when I need it most, at times when I am surrounded by (people who IMHO are extreme) idiots.
W B Yeats: "The best lack all conviction, and the worst / Are full of passionate intensity."
Bertrand Russell: "The fundamental cause of the trouble is that in the modern world the stupid are cocksure while the intelligent are full of doubt."
Charles Darwin: "Ignorance more frequently begets confidence than does knowledge."
the Tao Te Ching: "To know that you do not know is highest. To not know but think you know is flawed. ... The sages are without fault, because they recognize the fault as a fault".
(Semi-interestingly, I can't find anything very close to this idea in the biblical books of Proverbs and Ecclesiastes -- the former sees certainty as something to aspire to, and the latter is just equally down on everyone, wise and foolish alike.)
Or Romans 1:22. "While claiming to be wise, they became fools." Rom 12:16 "Do not be wise in your own estimation"
Is 5:21 "Woe! Those who are wise in their own eyes, prudent in their own view!"
1 Cor 1:21 "For since in the wisdom of God the world did not come to know God through wisdom, it was the will of God through the foolishness of the proclamation [crucifixion] to save those who have faith." Wisdom ain't all it's cracked up to be
"He who questions training... only trains himself at asking questions."
> Those people who think they know everything are a great annoyance to those of us who do.
I always read this quote by Yeats as a lamentation about the status of the world, similar to your Russel quote that's a bit more explicit. But the Socrates quote is clearly not in this vein...
It never occurred to me before that Yeats might be more in line with Socrates than with Russell. You can read him as praising the best for their lack of conviction and condemning the worst for their passion. I like that reading much better. (Of course, I've never read the source, just heard it quoted.)
do not doubt the one
who says he is afraid
but be afraid of the one
who says he knows no doubt
"The Dunning–Kruger effect is a cognitive bias manifesting in two principal ways: unskilled individuals tend to suffer from illusory superiority, mistakenly rating their ability much higher than is accurate, while highly skilled individuals tend to rate their ability lower than is accurate. In unskilled individuals, this bias is attributed to a metacognitive inability of the unskilled to recognize their ineptitude. Skilled individuals tend to underestimate their relative competence, erroneously assuming that tasks which are easy for them are also easy for others."
But the two statements are fundamentally different IMHO:
- Shakespeare writes of wisdom which comes in form of doubt. Only the wise men allow doubt into the conversation, hence their stance towards other parties is not aggressive and absolute, but rather flexible.
- The Dunning-Kruger effect, refers to personal biases of two categories.
However, I might be a little over-pedantic here, because comparing a study with a theatrical play can not be done in a straight way :-)
Don't worry, this is HackerNews, discussion among nerds of the highest form. Pedantry is what we do.
I think that while Shakespeare said it more poetically, he is essentially talking about the same thing. Perhaps Dunning-Kruger is more to the point and matter of fact, but it is the same thing. The expert speaks with doubt (because they know that there's so much more to know about a subject), and the fool speaks with certainty (because they do not know).
So maybe Shakespeare is describing half of Dunning-Kruger?
The problem is that "death of the weakest" is a much better way of describing it - although possibly not so PC to teach in the classroom. The reason why people think Cheetahs evolved to be fast is because they equate it with the ethic of hard work, rather than the real reason - slow cheetahs don't eat and therefore die before breeding, fast cheetahs eat and get to breed.
Without meaning to start yet another internet debate/flamewar about evolution, I often wonder whether the strong protestant work ethic in the US is also the reason why evolution is so poorly understood there. Because "death to the weakest" involves no agency, no self-improvement or hard work.
EDIT: Just to avoid to confusion (as there seems to be some!), I'm not talking about the mechanism of evolution, purely the actual phrase "survival" and what it means to people when it's mentioned, the implication of agency that goes along with the word.
Very rarely, is there an absolute competition where the 'fittest' survive. That would actually drag down evolution - it would create genetic bottlenecks.
PS: And yes I know there are plenty of situations where even "weak" attributes won't necessarily get weeded out, but then you'd be extending the tagline quite a bit!
It may well contain groups that biologists project human cultural ideas on and call weak. But the continued presence of those groups shows them to be a useful part of the species diversity.
(I strongly recommend "The Genial Gene" and "Evolution's Rainbow", both by Joan Roughgarden, for further reading.)
Philosophers like to attach social messages to evolution, but one of the real lessons is "Adapt to your environment". It's not about working hard, or not being the weakest, it's about being the right organism for the moment. In the evolutionary environment of human society it's not being the smartest or working the hardest, it's being in the right place at the right time.
You had to add in genes for this to make any sense, an idea that we so thoroughly take for granted now that we can miss it entirely. Unless the organism has some intrinsic characteristics that contribute to its survival, and there's some sort of variation in the resulting children as it passes on the intrinsic characteristics somehow, you don't have anything like evolution. Then you get a non-tautological theory of how things can trend towards increased "survivalness", as you can demonstrate how constantly producing organisms with a spread of "survivalness" and lopping off the bottom can produce changes over time.
Better yet, think of evolution as the loss of strategies that go extinct. Strategies with a low risk of extinction are favored. Importantly, strategies with a high average reproductive rate can sometimes be very risky. Therefore, sometimes the "fittest" strategies are evolutionarily unfavorable, and consequently the "weakest" strategies survive.
All in all, that's not necessarily false, just not a great motivator. I know quite a few people who get by on bare-minimum without completely giving up and they lead very happy lives. It took me a long time in my own life and perspective to appreciate theirs.
"survival of the fittest" = "not survival of the not-fit"
And also "fit" it is not the same as "strong"
- Population: XXXOOOOVVV
- First 3 are the weakest. (X)
- Last 3 are the fittest. (V)
- Middle ones are normal. (O)
When you say "death to the weakest" you mean that the 3 XXX die, therefore the other 7 OOOOVVV survive.
When you say "not survival of the not-fit" (I suppose you say the fittest) you mean:
- Let's take the non-fittest (XXXOOOO)
- Not survive of them.
But "survival of the fittest" (VVV survives) is not equal to "death to the weakest" (OOOOVVV) because VVV != OOOOVVV.
The inverted phrase will be a PR disaster for Darwin ;)
Obviously this is all very black and white edge cases and most of the time we're not talking about absolute death or survival, but decline or success of certain attributes within a given environment.
And yes, it probably is a terrible way of phrasing evolution from a PR standpoint ;)
Yes, and an informed mind is the same, only all the junk is "lined" up to agree with whatever the prevailing wisdom is.
People don't operate on facts. They operate on feelings, flimsly allegories, metaphors, and half-baked truths. This isn't a bug; it's a feature. It allows us to walk into a room we've never visited before, use a chair, and order from a menu without having to spend time verifying a lot of details. The brain is emotional and always wildly guessing and generalizing about things, no matter who we are or what we do.
People wonder why prejudice and stereotyping hasn't gone away in society. Well heck, it's never going away until you replace people with robots. I was attacked by a clown as a kid, I hate and fear clowns. You saw your mom shrink from a tall person, you are afraid of tall people. That's how the brain works, and it's how we're able to function.
At best we learn to deliberately struggle with this. It's never going to go away -- at least while we're still human.
But let me suggest something that I have tried. In one of my most intense coding periods in my career, I kept a log of the bugs that I created and had to fix. My bug rate declined measurably. (This is one of the old notebooks that i dearly wish I kept--was left at that job when I moved on.)
There is a relevant quote that I can't locate from someone famous who said that he would keep a list of his mistakes in his wallet and refer to it from time to time. A boss of mine who was adventurous about experimenting with new technology said "I don't know very much about it, but I do know 50 ways that wont't work". This has led me to asking someone who claims to be an expert "Tell me three (or five) things that won't work" in their field of expertise.
The advice from the article For individuals, the trick is to be your own devil’s advocate: to think through how your favored conclusions might be misguided; to ask yourself how you might be wrong, or how things might turn out differently from what you expect seems spot on.
Take the time to sit back and enumerate a few ways of solving the problem and figure out which one's best in this situation. Why are you rejecting those other solutions? Are you sure those reasons are sound? Are you sure they don't apply equally to the solution you've selected?
Of course this is bad logic (and likely part of why Marines get a bad rep for often being stupid), but there is a bit of wisdom in there - confidence makes things more likely to happen your way, and people also like confidence more than uncertainty. For the Marine Corps, such a bad adage is useful since uncertainty is bad, and it often is better to choose an action, even if sub-optimal, than do nothing at all.
Anything else, not so much. I've witnessed many Marines try and fail to do something complex with ultimate confidence that brute force would solve the problem. The dedication is admirable but the range of situations in which it's sufficient for success is small.
In many non-military cases, doing nothing is a completely viable option that should always be considered. I'd venture to say that the most successful person is good at recognizing what deserves a Marine-level amount of effort and what can slide.
Real life situations are usually a bit squishy. They're often not set in stone, like pure logic is. If that's the case, being confident actually creates your own reality, by molding the existing one into a different shape.
So yes, in real life confidence works pretty well.
The small troupe of British soldiers who recently repelled a militant attack with only bayonets comes to mind. Outnumbered, outgunned, the subject of an ambush, it seems to me that a combination of resolve and confidence was the deciding factor.
Isn't he being prey of his own effect?
So the "epic housing bubble"(consecuence) was caused by "the machinations of financiers(cause 1) and the ignorance of consumers (cause 2)"
If this is true, why 2008?
Clearly cause 1 & 2 were present waaay before 2008.
So maybe the bubble have other causes?
Once the US Treasuries bubble bursts, the same moment, the bubble in the US Dollar and America will burst too.
We're living in the final stages of the final bubble, mother of all bubbles in the mankind history. So we have house prices in bubble territory, car loans in bubble territory, Wall Street in bubble territory, VCs/startup scene in bubble territory. Enjoy the ride! But you don't want to be there for the bubble burst of the world reserve currency. I'm already on the other side of the pond.
"For individuals, the trick is to be your own devil's advocate: to think through how your favored conclusions might be misguided; to ask yourself how you might be wrong, or how things might turn out differently from what you expect. It helps to try practicing what the psychologist Charles Lord calls 'considering the opposite.' To do this, I often imagine myself in a future in which I have turned out to be wrong in a decision, and then consider what the likeliest path was that led to my failure. And lastly: Seek advice. Other people may have their own misbeliefs, but a discussion can often be sufficient to rid a serious person of his or her most egregious misconceptions."
So, can you do it? Can you think through what could be wrong with your own argument? And what possible lapses or biases could had led you to such (putatively) unwarranted certainty?
Possible? Of course! Probable? Your call.
Inflating the monetary base is actually doing the same, but without the need to raise taxes ex explicite. Everything gets more expensive year to year: tuition, insurance, services, etc. That's your hidden tax - inflation. We are paying off the Chinese by returning them money that's less valuable that the money we borrowed from them.
Some things, like 600% debt to GDP ratio that currently the US has are just facts of life. Can I imagine reality without them? Sure! The media is full of them from CNBC to Bloomberg News. Why you insist on me providing you scenarios? Ask them if they can imagine bubble in Treasuries! They certainly couldn't see one in housing or the .com one even though they both were straight in their faces. They laughed off anyone talking about bubbles then. The same now they lough into faces of Peter Schiff, Marc Faber, Jim Rogers, Kyle Bass, and others when they talk about bubble in the US Treasuries. In other words, you are asking wrong person to do the reality check. I'm the reality check to the mainstream camp blind to the obvious. 600% debt to gdp.
Can FED raise the interest rates to stop all the bubbles in their tracks? Sure they can! They need to be cautious though. Because at interest rates at 7%, the US Government will be spending over 50% of the annual budget just to pay interest on the debt we have. Can we imagine the FED going to raise the rates to 20% as Volcker did in the early 1980s? Sure, but then well over 100% of the state income from taxes would need to be paid on the interest alone! This is how much we owe. Can I imagine reality where this is not true? Sure, but why would I ever do that? Why to imagine world where mistakes aren't happening when they are right in our faces?
I'm not saying we don't have options. I'm just saying that taking into the account the dirty politics, we can't have the President have speech like that, can we?
Another solution: war. In the state of war we don't repay. That's the rule ages old.
So, yes there are plenty of scenarios: from bankruptcy, theory hyperinflation, ending on WW3.
There is no positive outcome from debt to GDP ratio at 600%. Sorry.
One could argue that we will just have "lost decades" as Japanese did. That the process will take forever and we will slowly decline and the rest of the world will follow suite. Might be that it will take 30 years. The thing is that looking at Russia, China, ISIS, I don't think they will just let us decline.
You can proudly proclaim that the bubbles were obvious now that the pops have come to pass, but talk is cheap, and if you're wrong, it's always "just around the corner" until one day, you saw it coming all along. If it takes 30 years for the bubble to pop, then god damn, check out this HN thread from 2014 where you predicted this exact outcome THREE DECADES in advance, but nobody listened!
I'm not dismissing the consequences of running up absurd levels of debt, I just think it's sort of funny that in a thread regarding the failings of human certitude, you felt it necessary to demonstrate your certainty in outcomes regarding, of all things, macroeconomics, perhaps the least reliable science from which to model precise predictions.
That's...not true. I don't know where you're getting your information, but the ratio is about 106%. They're both in the range of $17 trillion.
And the whole point is moot, because Medicare and Medicaid obligations can be easily lowered by legislation. Which is why the actual debt number is the one that matters.
And just logically thinking, really: don't you think that the debtor with debt in USD that prints USD at the same time, doesn't have an incentive to under-report inflation? The situation is akin to you being able (as a debtor) to set APR on your own mortgage.
And then, the mystery of people complaining about raising prices of food, gas, housing, everything, and then believing in the official propaganda of "no inflation" in the past 7 years. Are you kidding me? Is your insurance cost the same as 7 years ago? Is the grocery bill the same? Cars cost the same? Maybe equities propped by inflationary policy have the same price?
I don't care if Nobel Price in Economics Krugman tells me I have no inflation for 7 years when I have been shopping for 7 years, watching equities and bond markets, just to know better. Sure, Keynsians are paid "economists" to peddle the idea of no inflation, they are all paid by Government. What do you expect them to do? Report 5-10% inflation y/y ?
And inflation is often hidden: $50k BMW 5-series is now 4-cylinder. Used to be 6. The can of coke in Germany for 1 euro used to be 330ml. Now it is 250ml. Price stays the same. So on, so forth. Isn't that inflation?
Wait to see space bubble. Space mining will need huge amounts of capital that will be invested in space ships and stations that for many years will give no positive returns.
Still they'll be obviously valuable for the future, so we will have Internet-kind bubble thousands fold.
Well, that's a mostly empty statement, as it's unfalsifiable - even people who think, and see this happening, what can they do? Is there any way to profit from the mispricing of assets, when everything is overvalued? Well, you could short stuff, but that's a huge risk (since the central banks have an incentive to keep the bubble from bursting, so they can ramp the asset prices even higher), and only available to those with existing capital, not the "people". Move to a non-USD based economy? All economies depend on the USD, and if USD crashes, the whole world goes down with it. What are the "people" supposed to do other than to weather the upcoming storm?
This what Keynsians call in this case problem for Chinese I call a huge win. Keynsians will tell you: oh, but now Chinese exports will get prohibitively expensive! And I say: BS! The yuan currency will go up in value up to 6 times. Why to export anywhere when you just got 1 billion new consumers worth 6 times more than before?! Next step: rest of the world starts producing again, including US. China stops being factory of the world as we can't afford their stuff anymore. We need to relearn how to build and assemble it again. Voila, here you have balance back in the system.
The best investment is your own skillset. Actually, the "workers" as you call them might be in better position in this scenario as they usually have better and broader knowledge of fixing every day stuff than let's say accountants or software engineers might have.
Selling treasuries seems to be more for sovereigns that are looking to raise money rather than park it.
Buyers of US treasuries appear to be in the "park" camp.
Did you really move out of the US because of the coming crisis? I'm really curious about this. I understand there will be riots and it will be unstable for a while but how much chaos are you expecting?
Peter claims in his book that no CEO looks beyond 3 months timeframe running their Company anymore. Why? Because market knows better anyway. Why to plan, when market will determine what the market is going to be? Uncertainty.
Medical: we can't control genes right? They determine everything, so why to care, why to plan?
Social: cultural marxism. Pessimistic culture -- everything is wrong because we are capitalist society. As long as it exists we can't be certain of anything.
If you have debt to gdp ratio of 600%, what do you expect? Flourishing economy? Things will go down south. You are like a six year old pissed of that two and two is four every time. Some things are certain. Like 600% debt to gdp aren't pretty. Not positive. Not uncertain. Fucking shit. OK?
Is it possible that this is at least partly down to the phrase "some knowledge"? Knowing what parallax or lipids are might be seen as having some knowledge of the concept.
For instance, I probably know more about Irish traditional music than 99.9% of the American population. But if you came up with a real-sounding random name for an Irish musician and talked about him like he was real and of course I should know who he was, the odds that I would confuse that with someone I knew a bit about are substantial.
Or (speaking of Irish music) remembering tunes. There are tunes I own, tunes I think I know, tunes that are familiar, and tunes I flat out don't know. In my experience, I have the most trouble playing are some of the tunes I think I know -- more even than playing the tunes that I would just describe as familiar! Most of those I thought I knew I could probably sort out later given time, but in the heat of the moment what comes out can be nonsense.
I guess what I'm trying to say is, when I get in trouble is on the fuzzy boundary between knowing and not knowing. I don't mind saying "I don't know" when I know I don't know. But sometimes I don't know I don't know, and that's when the trouble starts.
This means YOU, person who thinks you see through it all.
This applies to you too.
But it's an interesting illusion. I think that philosophically the correct lesson here is that being (slightly?!?) aware of your own mind doesn't actually give you super powers... you can't change it. (Or, at least, you can't change it by shallow awareness... it would require true efforts.)
Will. As in, this person was not bluffing. They were not talking about a previously aired nonexistent show. They were speculating on a possible future. It doesn't matter if the questioner is trying to lie.
(The 'lie' isn't even something that's disprovable, as a plausible future event.)
Disclaimer: only talking about the quote in the article, if there was more context it shouldn't have been cut
So, without evidence, you're confident of this?
"One group knew the right Newtonian principle: that the ball would continue in the direction it was going the instant it left the tube—Path B. Freed of the tube’s constraint, it would just go straight."
From personal experience #1 obviously leads to certain failures (unfortunate one if you are even a little wise and honest - you saw this coming and still decided to be a cocky idiot). #2 you lose out on motivation, don't get the credit you deserve and get more stressed than necessary.
The happier middle ground works for me - actually look at everything, find out what you know, what you need to know and equally importantly what you are just not going to know. Then work a plan on the strengths of what you know.
That's work though - heh! The extremes are just easier to acquire :)
The article makes a lot more sense after watching it IMO.
"When you know a thing, to know that you know it, and when you do not know a thing, to know that you do not know it -- this is knowledge."
I don't remember where I read that, but I like it.
It's turtles all the way down.
"Unfortunately, Kruger and Dunning never actually provided any support for this type of just-world view; their studies categorically didn’t show that incompetent people are more confident or arrogant than competent people."
Well, the article was written by David Dunning, the one the effect is half-named for, so it is almost literally mandatory that it is mentioned.
If you're into this type of psychology, check out "Thinking Fast and Slow" by D. Kahnemann.
This is a fantastic line. I guess getting to the age where we can procreate is all that's needed by our genes !
The young gun who assumes he understands architectural concepts without reading up on them, and re-invents the wheel (often producing a wheel that's tough to turn).
Then there's the cocky senior who doesn't need the latest and greatest because he already "knows" they do the same thing as his solution from 15 years ago (and when he's fired he can't find work because he's a dinosaur).
I know, I've been guilty of both :D
Edit : Come to think of it, the worst offenders are buzzword spewing managers and sales guys. "Oh the Cloud? Our product can mesh your business objectives with transparent synergies through the Cloud! Trust me, I'm an expert! Ah-hah-hah-haa"
I was stunned.
It doesn't make it a good idea for a specific place, but, well, the purpose of the law is not to provide "good idea" guidelines for every scenario, or to prevent people from making bad decisions. It's only supposed to prevent them from making illegal ones, and that's not the same in any way.
To use the author's example, cheetahs may well have all decided as a group to run faster, in the sort of 'social learning' way that we're just now starting to really get a grip on. I mean, adaptations don't just happen, beings have to use their abilities, and then the cells will respond by getting thicker, stronger, more responsive. Think about lifting weights. If agency isn't responsible for evolutionary advantages, then what is? Random differences? Really?
Evolution is way more complex than we realize. Every year, we come across crazy things that happen in our own bodies that just totally blow our minds. Right now I think our broader understanding of how evolution works is hampered by the fact that we just don't know yet how genomes hold on to experiences and then pass them along to our offspring. So we assume that every life form is a blank slate, limited to just the same genetic code all their fellow life forms share.
But just because we share the same template in one, specific way doesn't mean there can't be a ton of ways that fertilized zygotes can be different from each other too. And that those differences could result from the things our parents did in their lives.
Err they don't. That's Lamarckism theory, and I wasn't aware there was even a shred of evidence towards it.
Sometimes when you don't know how something happens, its because it isn't actually happening
Which isn't to say that the post to which you were replying didn't misunderstand what was meant by the word "agency".
I used to laugh at people who believed in an agency model and thought that humans were the "most evolved" (as opposed to fast breeding special like cockroaches, or for that matter cousins of ours like chimpanzees). I ascribed it to the hierarchical victorian world in which Darwin published (and the famous picture from that era of ape -> man). But of course it's ancient.
There is quite a bit from the last few years. Gene expression in particular is a field we continue to learn a lot about  and several studies have suggested Lamarckism might have some merit .
Saying there isn't a "shred of evidence" is just scientifically untrue. There is some legitimate evidence that limited information could be passed from mother to child prenatally.
Your post is the classic Dunning–Kruger effect. Few in evolutionary biology would be as "sure" as you are, and you get less and less sure the more you learn.
You don't actually need any information or experience to pass through to the next generation for behavior today to affect long-term evolution. Even if the only thing that's going on is that a population is using social learning to bring individuals closer to their genetic potential in one way, that way will be selected for in future generations. The genome itself could acquire adaptations during life, and those adaptations will then pass to their offspring. One would expect these 'mutations' to be really small, but add up quickly over successive generations.