Humans Weren’t Designed to be Rational and We’re Better Thinkers for it.

Trust your instincts

“Despite the growing reliance on “big data” to game out every decision, it’s clear to anyone with a glimmer of self-awareness that humans are incapable of constantly rational thought. We simply don’t have the time or capacity to calculate the statistical probabilities and potential risks that come with every choice.

But even if we were able to live life according to such detailed calculations, doing so would put us at a massive disadvantage. This is because we live in a world of deep uncertainty, in which neat logic simply isn’t a good guide. It’s well-established that data-based decisions don’t inoculate against irrationality or prejudice, but even if it was possible to create a perfectly rational decision-making system based on all past experience, this wouldn’t be a foolproof guide to the future.”-Olivia Goldhill

Check out this chart.

Every Single Cognitive Bias

It reminds me of Sheldon on “The Big Bang Theory”.  It kind of paints a picture of autism and OCD behavior, which I’m not judging. The fact that Sheldon skews in favor of cold, hard science and numbs human emotion or social sensitivity is rare. I understand having lived with two different autistic partners.  To me, the brilliance is attractive in some way.  I’m not sure why yet.  Maybe I’m on the spectrum as ADHD? My son thinks so but no one else does.

In the 1970s, two psychologists proved, once and for all, that humans are not rational creatures. Daniel Kahneman and Amos Tversky discovered “cognitive biases,” showing that humans systematically make choices that defy clear logic.  I believe this is a visual interpretation of the original chart.  It is worth looking at and makes the point that we are by and largely subjective, emotional creatures.  It’s a beautiful thing…to me.

Here is the full article that goes with the “Cognitive Bias Chart”;

Humans weren’t designed to be rational and we’re better thinkers for it.

“Unconvinced? There’s an excellent real-world example of this: The financial crisis. Experts created sophisticated models and were confident that the events of the 2007 crisis were statistically impossible. Gerd Gigerenzer, Director of the Max Planck Institute for Human Development in Germany, who studies decision-making in real-world settings, says there is a major flaw in any system that attempts to be overly rational in our highly uncertain world.”

“If you fine-tune on the past with an optimization model, and the future is not like the past, then that can be a big failure, as illustrated in the last financial crisis,” he explains. “In a world where you can calculate the risks, the rational way is to rely on statistics and probability theory. But in a world of uncertainty, not everything is known—the future may be different from the past—then statistics by itself cannot provide you with the best answer anymore.”

“We need hot-headed, emotional decisions

Though calling someone hot-headed or overly emotional is generally a critique of their thinking process, emotions are in fact essential to decision-making. There’s even research to show that those who suffer brain damage in the part of the organ governing emotions often struggle to make decisions. They can weigh up the pros and cons, but can’t come down on one side.”

After reading the whole article, I am in favor of using both my intuition and my rational processes.  Humans have always done that and it’s not a neat 50/50 percent of the time one way or the other.  Everyone is different.  I support the use of the scientific method when it’s appropriate.  It’s not always appropriate!  Yet our patriarchal culture with the male scientists on top uses it to hit us all over the head with a two-by-four to make sure we know that they are in charge, to such an extent that very qualified women in STEM, (Science, technology, engineering, and math), flee the university setting because of extreme gender bias. They’ve done studies.

The males are not in charge with their controlling attitudes in science. It’s not going to last. And many times, they’ve been wrong. Many scientists will agree that it is quite desirable to also employ the intuition, especially if leads us away from militarism.  And there are millions of humane men that are very anti-militaristic.

I’m not going to get into the gender disparity on this issue at the moment, but suffice to say, I believe all of our work, females, and males will benefit from using and having respect for both. But intuition has been derided and disregarded in favor of the Philosophy of Science category and it needs to stop. The Science of Philosophy of the Mind and Psychology needs to be taken into account also.  That is also science.

 

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