The Laughter of the Gods

Whoever undertakes to set himself up as a judge of Truth and Knowledge is shipwrecked by the laughter of the gods. (1) Knowledge is a slippery customer.  History has shown us that progress requires us not only to investigate the world but also to approach this investigation with humility.  This humility is born of the…

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And in the beginning…

At the initial stages of conception all human cells are similar and could, potentially, become any part in the organism they are forming. Yet they somehow (largely) differentiate, they multiply and specialize and gradually become heart and bone and brain and skin etc. This extremely useful differentiation is only possible…

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If It Feels Right…

The fact that our intuitive decisions are often strongly biased – even when we don’t realise it – has been established in thousands of studies. According to the work of Daniel Kahneman, Amos Tversky and others, we all use unconscious shortcuts or rules-of-thumb to help us make decisions. This can be…

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Thinking About Thinking

Most of us pride ourselves on being rational beings who think before we act. Indeed even the word think suggests consciousness – but are we really as rational as we believe ourselves to be? Two recent books that deal with how our unconscious thinking and instincts influence our decisions are Blink by Malcolm Gladwell and Risk by…

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I think therefore I act…

If our social reality and education are the factors outside of us that shape our view of reality, what factors inside us contribute to the decisions we make? Education definitely influences our decisions and ignorance can contribute to prejudice. However, if information and exposure were enough to correct prejudice, then men would never…

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