The idea of the Dunning-Kruger effect is that people who are incompetent at something often lack the skills necessary to appreciate their own incompetence, largely because the skills required for self-examination are similar to those required for competence in the task being evaluated. As discussed in this video, this effect seems to hold in areas as diverse as appreciating what people in general will find funny, grammar, and logical reasoning. A similar phenomenon shows up in surveys where the great majority of drivers claim that they are in the top 50% of drivers, ranked by skill. Obviously, many of them are overestimating their abilities, or underestimating those of their peers.
It would be interesting to see if it holds in relation to climatic science. As an experiment, people could be given a test that evaluates whether they can respond intelligently to scientific information about climate change. This could include things like whether they understand the difference between the stock of greenhouse gasses in the atmosphere and the flow of those gasses into it. If the pattern that emerged from scoring those tests and having people self-assess their competence held to the Dunning-Kruger pattern, that might help explain just how challenging it has been for the general public to acquire a working knowledge of climatic science, and ability to identify and reject bogus arguments about it.
An elaboration of the Dunning-Kruger experiments provides interesting additional insight. Highly competent and highly incompetent people are brought back, after having taken a test and rated their performance relative to others. They are then given a sample of other people’s responses to grade. Apparently, competent people realize that they previously overestimated the competence of their peers, and adjust their self-assessment to better match their position in the real distribution. This effect is apparently not seen in highly incompetent people, who fail to recognize their own mediocrity, even when confronted with evidence of it.