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369 pages, Kindle Edition
First published December 6, 2016
Thaler got someone to send him a draft of "Value Theory." He instantly saw it for what it was, a truck packed with psychology that might be driven into inner sanctums of economics and exploded. The logic in the paper was awesome, overpowering. ... The paper blew a hole in economic theory for psychology to enter. "That really is the magic of the paper," said Thaler, "showing you could do it. Math with psychology in it. The paper was what an economist would call proof of existence. It captured so much of human nature."
The article was called "Judgment Under Uncertainty: Heuristics and Biases." It was in equal parts familiar and strange--what the hell was a "heuristic"? Redelmeier was seventeen ykears old, and some of the jargon was beyond him. But the article described three ways in which people made judgments when they didn't know the answer for sure. The names the author had given these--representativeness, availability, anchoring--were at once weird and secudtive. They made the phenomenon they described feel like secret knowledge. And yet what they were saying struck Redelmeier as the simple truth--mainly because he was fooled by the questions they put to the reader. He, too, guessed that the guy they named "Dick" and described so blandly was equally likely to be a lawyer or an engineer, even though he came from a pool that was mostly lawyers. He, too, made a different prediction when he was given worthless evidence than when he was given no evidence at all. He, too, thought that there were more words in a typical passage of English prose that started with K than had K in the third position, because words that began with K were easier to recall. ...
This wasn't just about how many words in the English language started with the letter K. This was about life and death. "That article was more thrilling than a movie to me," said Redelmeier.
(the) team, if it even continued to exist in the new Administration, would soon belong to one of the most anti-science President-elects in history, who has called climate change a "hoax," spread unproven claims about vaccinations' ties to autism, and mocked new brain-science-backed N.F.L. guidelines to prevent concussions, saying that football had grown "soft."
The team ... advised Obama officials on how to quash false claims that the President was a Muslim. (Instead of saying, “No, Obama is not a Muslim”—which simply increased association by repetition—it was better to counter with “Actually, Obama is a Christian.”)
Reason developed not to enable us to solve abstract, logical problems or even to help us draw conclusions from unfamiliar data; rather, it developed to resolve the problems posed by living in collaborative groups.
There was little advantage in reasoning clearly, while much was to be gained from winning arguments.
---Elizabeth Kolbert, "Why Facts Don't Change Our Minds," Issue of February 27, 2017 http://www.newyorker.com/magazine/201...
"Amos changed," said Danny. "When I gave him an idea he would look for what was good in it. For what was right with it. That, for me, was the happiness in the collaboration. He understood me better than I understood myself. He stopped doing that" (my italics).
All women in this story are erased.Remember those random anecdotes I mentioned? They were often tenuous in their connection to the narrative and yet they would get an entire chapter only to disappear for good by the next chapter. And they were all men. Many times the reader never really figures out why they feature in the book at all. The first mention of a woman was the lone participant of the inaugural psychology department class at Jerusalem University who did not complete her PhD because she was “waylaid by motherhood.” Um. Okay. The next and final mentions are about submissive nerd’s 2nd wife whose name is perhaps mentioned once (or maybe I just looked it up) but is usually referred to as “Danny’s wife” and who is mentioned at all as a sort of alternative explanation for the men’s breakup…. #2 moved to the U.S. with his new wife (who was from Europe) and even though #1 later moves to the US as well, that was the beginning of the end. She’s his Yoko Ono.