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A Collection of Good-Sunday-Reads From The Media Sources

See the collection below. Here is an excerpt fromThe Atlanticon what I have always referred to as ‘the invention of science’; ”it is all based on emotions distortions not ”scientific truths”, or logical reasoning (I dealt with this in some details on my research paper proposal see post below ‘why the west the source of global threat?’)

One team of thinkers — philosopher Hugo Mercier of the University of Pennsylvania and cognitive scientist Dan Sperber of the Jean Nicod Institute in France — have recently proposed that we’ve been reasoning about reasoning all wrong, trying to fix what didn’t need fixing, if we’d only understood what its original purpose was. Contrary to the claims of Enlightenment idealists, Mercier and Sperger suggest human reason did not evolve as a device for getting at the objective truth. Rather, they suggest that its purpose is to facilitate selective arguing in defense of one’s position in a social context — something that, we can hardly dispute, we are very good at.

When thought about in the context of the evolution of human language and communication, and cooperation in groups, this makes a lot of sense. There would surely have been a survival value to getting other people in your hunter-gatherer group to listen to you and do what you want them to do — in short, a value to being persuasive. And for the listeners, there would have been just as much a premium on being able to determine whether a given speaker is reliable and trustworthy, and should be heeded. Thus, everybody in the group would have benefited from an airing of different views, so that their strengths and weaknesses could be debated — regarding, say, where it would be a good place to hunt today or whether the seasons are changing.

Considered in this light, reasoning wouldn’t be expected to make us good logicians, but rather, good rhetoricians. And that’s what we are. Not only are we very good at selectively cobbling together evidence to support our own case — aided by motivated reasoning — but we’re also good at seeing the flaws in the arguments of others when they get up on top of the soap box, good at slicing and dicing their claims.

When lots of individuals blow holes in one another’s claims and arguments, the reasoning of the group should be better than the reasoning of the individual. But at the same time, the individual — or the individual in a self-affirming group that does not provide adequate challenges — is capable of going very wrong, because of motivated reasoning and confirmation bias. Thanks to these flaws, the sole reasoner rarely sees what’s wrong with his or her logic. Rather, the sole reasoner becomes the equivalent of a crazy hermit in the wilderness — or, to quote the late Frank Zappa, the author of “that tacky little pamphlet in your Daddy’s bottom drawer.” And the unchallenged group member becomes like a cult follower.

Mercier’s and Sperber’s “argumentative theory of reason” provides a strong case for supporting group reasoning processes like the scientific one, which are built around challenges to any one individual’s beliefs or convictions. These processes may be the only reliable check on our going vastly astray. By the same token, the theory also suggests that if you insulate yourself from belief challenge, you are leaving yourself vulnerable to the worst flaws of reasoning, without deriving any of the benefits of it.

Knowing all of this, now look back at American politics again. The parties are like teams or tribes, with which we strongly and emotionally affiliate. And our information sources too often provide us with comfort and affirmation, rather than challenges. The game is perfectly set up for emotion and bias, with fewer and fewer checks in place to stop it.

We’re still not doomed to reason poorly all the time — to succumb to political emotions. But all the odds are stacked in favor of this outcome. It doesn’t seem too bold to suggest that American politics would be a little bit healthier if we could all admit what is really going on.

At odds over Islam and the future
Exclusive: Indian shipping firms to carry Iran crude despite reduced insurance
Exclusive: China mulls guarantees for ships carrying Iran oil | Reuters
Testimony of 4 Admitted Terrorists Gives a Rare View of Al Qaeda – NYTimes.com
US under-reporting Afghan attacks
Britain ‘has worst social mobility in the Western world and becomes ingrained in children as young as three’
Olympic ring of steel: SIX missile sites protect Games… and Cameron has his finger on the trigger
It’s official! Spain is now in a double-dip recession… and experts warn there’s even worse still to come
U.K. Weighs Security Plan
GE Turns Eye to Australia
Egypt presidency down to a two-horse race
The unseen genius of Da Vinci: The 24 drawings kept under lock and key by the Queen that reveal just how far ahead of his time artist really was
IKEA ‘used East German political prisoners arrested by Stasi to make its furniture in the 1970s and 80s’
Cannabis: Britain’s growth industry
Seven held over smuggling of a banned stimulant from England to U.S. to fund terror
Chinese Activist Leaves U.S. Embassy
Valencia: a cruel reflection of Spain’s woes
Dozens arrested in protests across U.S.
Deadly blasts rock Mogadishu amid fears for peace process
“Occupy Bilderberg” – Alex Jones calls for thousands to protest upcoming meeting of global elite
Salafists Attack Police at Far-Right Rally
Tech Pioneers Track Bodily Functions Day and Night
Big Maconomics: How McDonald’s Explains the World
The Rise of the Temporary City
FBI: 5 men accused in plot to blow up bridge
Taliban’s ruthless control in Nuristan
Bolivia seizes Spanish energy group
U.K. Coalition Faces Test in Local Polls
U.K. Arrests Terror-Funding Suspects
Obama, Karzai sign key strategic pact in Kabul
Porn files reveal Al-Qaeda master plan to terrorize EuropeNews has emerged of a German police seizure of a large cache of Al-Qaeda’s internal documents disguised as pornography. They outline the terrorist network’s plans for possible attacks in Europe, including hijacking a cruise liner. 5
Al-Qa’ida opens a new front line
Al Qaeda planned to hijack cruise ships and execute passengers, reveals ‘treasure trove of intelligence’ embedded in PORN video
Report: Fewer enemy attacks but war zone is still volatile
The world’s deadliest bioterrorist
German Jihadist Killed in US Drone Attack
‘I’m ready for a comeback’: Blair’s made millions since quitting… now he wants to ‘re-engage with UK politics’
Massive money-laundering lapses alleged at HSBC
Operation: Entrapment – Cleveland bomb “plot” masterminded by FBI agents
CNN Feels Heat on Ratings Weakness
Special Report: Documents allege money-laundering lapses at HSBC
EXCLUSIVE: Jeremy Hunt facing new sleaze probe after failing to declare £7,000 donations from media firms
David Cameron was ‘so close to Rebekah Brooks he texted her up to a dozen times a day’
The ‘eye-borgs’: First successful implant of ‘bionic’ eye microchips offers hope that blind can see again
French Discontent Imperils Sarkozy
Marilyn Monroe’s ‘secret Soviet affair’
Russian Paratroopers’ Union pledges loyalty to Putin, decries protests
Argentina takes oil stake with nod to socialism
Ikea faces Cuban prison-labour claim
Hitler’s ‘messiah complex’ studied
Venezuela: say hello to the junta | beyondbrics | News and views on emerging markets from the Financial Times – FT.com
Dubai Rethinks Growth Ambitions
Are Millennials the Most Narcissistic Generation?
Grisly display of bodies in Mexico
Senator likely to be rebuffed in News Corp inquiry
US raises surveillance of citizens
Army manual for re-education camps applies to US citizens — RT
Ambassadors IgnoredGerman Foreign Ministry Fights to Stay Relevant
The Latest ‘Ordinary Thing That Will Probably Kill You’? EMail
Why Our Brains Are an Obstacle to Political Reform
What will election results mean for Europe?
Sex, spies and seven suspicious deaths: The murky waters of the intelligence world – coincidence or conspiracy?
For Big Oil, the Libya Opening That Wasn’t
Robert Caro: Political Power—How to Get It and Use It
The age of the urban ape
WILDERS: Resisting threat of fanatical Islam
AU, Russia seek to intervene as tensions heighten between Khartoum and Juba
UN warns of changing nature of global terrorism
The World from Berlin’Hollande’s Euro Strategy Will End in Disaster’
(In)Direct DemocracyGiving People a Say in the European Union

About s.s.salim: Geopolitical Analyst

Political & Strategy Defence & Security Intelligence & Communications


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