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Entertaining theories about human intelligence – “wired to persuade”

From “The Wonder and Blunder in Your Skull” (Creation-Evolution Headlines, May 29, 2012), we learn about quite a variety of dubious theories that cause human intelligence, including this one from New Scientist,

… Dan Jones … in New Scientist argued that evolution wired our brains to argue. Indeed, contra Sir Robin Murray, he believed he could understand the brain. Darwin showed him how. In “The argumentative ape: Why we’re wired to persuade,” Jones tried to persuade readers that evolution wired us to engage in several logical fallacies, including confirmation bias. “We’re all guilty of flawed thinking because our brains evolved to win others round to our point of view – whether or not our reasoning is logical,” he argued persuasively, using game theory and other methods to show how our brains “evolved to” do this or that deceptive thing.

Jones was sure he was not guilty himself, even if he didn’t take time to explain how he himself got outside of evolution to look back at the rest of humanity from an unguided process that produced a “flawed instrument” geared to “dupe others” rather than to recognize logic, reason, and truth – let alone qualia.

Well, Jones’ theory probably justifies believing in Darwinism despite the evidence.

CEH offers:

Exercise: Prove that Dan Jones is not manipulating you but is logically speaking truth by using reason. Use only Darwinian presuppositions. (Warning: this is an exercise in futility.)

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2 Responses to Entertaining theories about human intelligence – “wired to persuade”

  1. As soon as I saw the title of the article I thought to myself: That makes sense! It explains why we become so enamored of a specific view-point politically – and people on one side of the political divide cannot seem to see any merit in the arguments (we would call them “reasons”) that are presented by people on the other side. And it makes sense that an important function of communication is to get other people to cooperate with you … but you can’t do that unless you can convince them that you are “right.” So, whether you are actually right or wrong, so long as you can convince people to cooperate with your way of thinking, then, statistically speaking, you stand a better chance of survival …

  2. Another useful take-home from this is that it re-enforces the age-old observation that the natural human tendency is to be deceptive … and manipulative. So presumably, “truth” is not so important (in terms of survival and ability to reproduce) as is “the ability to convince others to believe whatever it is that you are telling them.” It sounds humorous … reminds me of sex. :-D Of course, though, most people claim to be really interested in pursuing the “truth” …

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