Heh. Humanity did a lot of useful work by observing things, and in recent centuries by applying math. Also, humans are traditionally good at making tools, because they require near-mode thinking. So we do have a few strengths. It's just that understanding the difference between a map and the territory, in absense of constant experimental feedback, is not one of them.

I have met a few smart people who had a similar reaction to the whole "heuristics and biases" topic. They react as if the idea that human brain could be somehow imperfect is a personal offense aimed at to them, and immediately start composing verbal arguments about how biases are not "really" mistakes.

For example, people who are otherwise skeptical about evolution when it interferes with their religious beliefs, suddenly say things like "but, an irrational brain would be an evolutionary disadvantage, so it could never evolve!" (On a second thought, I guess the true reason of discomfort of these specific people could be that the idea of cognitive biases is not really compatible with an idea of an omniscient and omnibenevolent intelligent designer. I mean, intentionally designing an intelligent mind that systematically thinks incorrectly and cannot help itself, that sounds quite evil.)

Open thread, Feb. 06 - Feb. 12, 2017

by MrMind 1 min read6th Feb 2017115 comments

5


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