Yet for all the deadly effectiveness of the San’s technology, they have survived in an unforgiving desert for more than a hundred thousand years without exterminating the animals they depend on. During a drought, they think ahead to what would happen if they killed the last plant or animal of its kind, and they spare members of the threatened species. They tailor conservation plans to the vulnerabilities of plants, which cannot migrate but recover quickly when the rains return, and animals, which can survive a drought but build back numbers slowly.

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An excerpt from Steven Pinker’s latest book ‘Rationality’

news.harvard.edu

MORE IDEAS FROM THE ARTICLE

Excerpted from “Rationality: Why It Seems Scarce and Why It Matters” by Steven Pinker, Johnstone Family Professor of Psychology.

Rationality ought to be the lodestar for everything we think and do. (If you disagree, are your objections rational?) Yet in an era blessed with unprecedented resources for reasoning, the public sphere is infested with fake news, quack cures, conspiracy theories, and “post-truth” rhetoric. We face deadly threats to our health, our democracy, and the livability of our planet. 

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Why Rationality?

Why doesn’t rationality seem to matter anymore?

It can be fixed, Steven Pinker argues, and if we don’t our democracy and environment may be at stake.

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RELATED IDEAS

Our brains have two "systems" that complement eachother, with their own capabilities, limitations and functions.

  • System One is fast, automated and precise, but can be easily tricked and has a small working window.
  • System Two is slower, can make complex thoughts achieved in a specific algorithm and takes control over it's brother when he needs to with it's long but limited attention buffer.

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Thinking, Fast and Slow

Thinking, Fast and Slow

by Daniel Kahneman

Overconfidence bias

Most people think they know more than they really do.

Researchers showed that people believe they understand familiar manufactured objects much better than they really do. For instance, if you think you understand how a can opener works, try to draw a diagram of a can opener on a piece of paper. If you can't draw, write out a detailed explanation. Then, find out how it really works.

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Overconfidence Bias: What It Is and How to Overcome It

taylorpearson.me

Criticizing and justifying selfies

An assumption that sharing selfies is or should be embarrassing runs throughout the journalistic and scholarly coverage on the topic.

When discussing about this practice, descriptors like "vain" and "narcissistic" inevitably become a part of the conversation. Qualifiers like "special occasion," "beautiful location," and "ironic" are used to justify them.

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Why We Selfie

thoughtco.com