Showing posts from November, 2015

Letting go of irrational beliefs

Being able to change your beliefs is necessary for keeping on playing a positive role in the world. Not being able to think critically about your own beliefs and to change them when they are not true eventually will keep you from playing a constructive role. An ultimate example of the inability to change one's views can be found in religious fanatics who create death and destruction while believing they are doing something good. Letting go of beliefs can be important but also hard.

Believing in progress is not the same as believing in perfection

Recently, a debate took place between Steven Pinker and Matt Ridley on the one site and Malcolm Gladwell and Alain de Botton on the other side. The debate was about the motion 'human kind's best days lie ahead'. Pinker and Ridley defended the motion, Gladwell and de Botton argued against it. You can watch the debate here .

How intelligent people can keep believing in what is not true

How can it be that we sometimes keep holding on to certain beliefs of which we could know, and perhaps deep inside do know, that they are not true? Think about things like magical thinking, superstition and views which logically can't be true and things we have proven to be untrue? In a new article, Believing What We Do Not Believe: Acquiescence to Superstitious Beliefs and Other Powerful Intuitions , Jane Risen looks at this question from the perspective of dual process models such as Kahneman's model distinguishing system 1 and 2 thinking.