Logic Kills Mind-Bugs!

The Butchering of the Age of Reason’ in The Daily Beast, March 4, 2014


The Enlightenment, as it is also called, drew a line in the sand between rumor and fact, between testable hypotheses and anecdote, and between demonstrable facts and nonsense. Prior to the Age of Reason, people who heard voices in their heads might have been drowned or burned at the stake as witches; by the 20th century we had identified a biological disease that causes this (schizophrenia) and developed drugs to treat it. The Age of Reason led us to the germ theory of disease, penicillin, and—although it took a while and is still not ubiquitous—women’s rights, child labor laws, and a reduction in racism…

Why do so many of us want to trust our gut and avoid rational thought? First, it is hard. We evolved in a world where gut and observation served us well as hunter-gatherers; there was no one compiling statistical information for us; math was not a thing. Second, as victims of information overload, we are all worn out, inundated with data and pseudo-data. We throw up our hands and say we don’t have the time to think through every claim we encounter. Third, most of us lack either the education to engage in evidence-based thinking or we lack the role models to do it, or both.


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