Posts filed under ‘humour’

Chocolate fireguards…

Am reading (too) much about our species’ many cognitive frailties. It’s a sexy topic these days, and there’s no shortage of quality writing on the topic (personal faves at moment are Dan Ariely and Keith Stanovich).

Here’s a cartoon from Dore to this effect…

A goodly proportion of our frailties seems to be down to our need to think of ourselves as internally consistent, our beliefs attuned to reality, not influenced by other people’s attempts at conning us, or by our previous (irrational) decisions. So, if we spent a lot of money on something that was a dud, then we, if we can, refuse to admit that we bought a dud. And if a meal cost a lot of money, if it’s ok it will taste great, and if it’s great it will taste amazing.* And so on. Emperor’s New Clothes and all that…

* The sentence implies that there is an objective scale independent of our beliefs. Hmmmm.

February 5, 2011 at 7:15 am Leave a comment

Carlin, on palimpsestic brains

Evolution in a nutshell

From that most sublime of nutshells, George Carlin:

“I realized some time ago that I’m not separate from animals just because I have a primate brain, an upper brain. Because underneath the primate brain there’s the mammalian brain, and beneath the mammalian brain there’s a reptilian brain. And it’s those two lower brains that made the upper brain possible in the first place.

“Here’s the way it works.

“The primate brain says, ‘Give peace a chance‘.

“The mammalian brain says, ‘Give peace a chance, but first let’s kill this motherfucker‘.

“The reptilian brain says, ‘Let’s just kill the motherfucker, go to the peace rally, and get laid’.

And here’s a bit more to it, from freedom guerilla

January 1, 2011 at 10:51 am Leave a comment

God, what a species

We are not that bright. Someday soon I’m gonna find out the name of the clown who labelled us “homo sapiens sapiens” and build a time machine and go back and bitch-slap him.  And it was a him, of that you can be sure.

Anyhow, this wordpress site, one of far too many I have created, is gonna be devoted to readings on the fallibility (at best) of human reasoning.  With a garnish of what to do about it.
Have read Stuart Sutherland’s “Irrationality” (very good) and Dan Ariely’s “Predictably Irrational” (excellent) and have others on the list.

Primarily – at the moment- interested in

a) the whys of how we are built to screw it up (evolutionary palimpsests etc)

b) the hows of how we screw it up (kinds of cognitive biases and how they show up in everyday and unusual circumstances)

c) what to do about b) since short of the whole Extropian guff, we are stuck with what we got.  As the guy said “We are like sailors who must rebuild the ship on the open sea, never able to dismantle it in dry-dock and to reconstruct it there out of the best materials.”

January 26, 2010 at 7:30 pm Leave a comment


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