20 Ways We Are Not So Bright

According to one estimate, about 108 billion humans have ever lived. The exact number is probably unknowable. However, one thing we can know with certainty is that all of them have been fallible. So far they have also all been mortal. And with billions of years of life behind us, we have enough data to indicate that pattern is likely to continue, unless there is an exception alive out there today (I doubt it). 

In any case, the fallible humans have a number of consistent flaws and frailties in our biology — senescence, bad backs, myopia, etc. We should expect evolved beings to have built-in limitations in their biology. My favorite quote explaining why this should be comes from Matt Cartmill, who once said: “Evolution doesn’t act to yield perfection. It acts to yield function.”

We also have several limitations in the way we think. Samantha Lee and Shana Lebowitz compiled a list of these in the graphic below. The list may not be complete (we also have a difficult time grappling with statistics). However, I think it’s important that everyone consider some of the ways we are susceptible to cognitive bias. A dose of humility is needed for all of us, especially for those in positions of power and influence, as their thinking can influence the lives of so many other people. I think we owe it to each other to at least confront our own biases and perhaps try to keep them in check for the benefit of the other fallible, mortal people around us.



One thought on “20 Ways We Are Not So Bright

  1. Pingback: Pursuing the God of Truth in a Post-Truth Era – Patrick F. Clarkin, Ph.D.

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