“Why Facts Don’t Change Our Minds – New discoveries about the human mind show the limitations of reason”

Hello everyone,

Here’s a very intriguing article from The New Yorker about information processing and human perception. I suspect that many of you will find this piece interesting and (perhaps more importantly) enjoyable to read. The author relates modern phenomena (e.g. fake news) to key developments in our ancient past, with references to a variety of disciplines, in a distinctly accessible format.

Some quotes that I found particularly memorable as well as useful for capturing and conveying the general tone of the piece:

“People believe that they know way more than they actually do. What allows us to persist in this belief is other people.”

“We’ve been relying on one another’s expertise ever since we figured out how to hunt together, which was probably a key development in our evolutionary history. So well do we collaborate, Sloman and Fernbach argue, that we can hardly tell where our own understanding ends and others’ begins.”

“As people invented new tools for new ways of living, they simultaneously created new realms of ignorance; if everyone had insisted on, say, mastering the principles of metalworking before picking up a knife, the Bronze Age wouldn’t have amounted to much. When it comes to new technologies, incomplete understanding is empowering.”