Stupidity Is Part of Human Nature

Why we must scrap the myth of perfect rationality.

“There is more to be said for stupidity than people imagine. Personally I have great admiration for stupidity” – the sentiment behind Oscar Wilde’s bonmot is strangely fashionable these days. For a good reason.

The music we are listening to influences our opinion of the wine we drink, the weight of the spoon influences how creamy we find the yoghurt and our moral assessment of strangers depends on what movie we have just watched. I call this paradigm of empirical findings the ‘We’re All Stupid’ paradigm.

Scientists and academics in general are in the business of giving rational and logical explanations. So they may feel threatened by this deluge of evidence of our irrationality. And they do. But the standard response is that while the reasoning abilities of the hoi poloi may be subject to these biases, scientists, and experts in general, are safe: the ‘We’re All Stupid’ paradigm becomes the ‘They’re All Stupid’ paradigm. A somewhat elitist move,

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