Friday, May 23, 2008

Downtown Gordon Brown


  1. Couldn't all religions be classified as (more or less) dangerous cults? Surely the choice of one or the other is something of a false dichotomy? :-)
    I hope your wrist is healing well :-)

  2. Cult status is always relative to all the other religious sects competing for members in some community. Large, dominant sects can't be cults.

    In our environment of evolutionary adaptiveness, being right wasn't enough. Our ancestors also had to be quick. And so our brains come wired with a few shortcuts or rules of thumb that impose a feeling of the right answer before we've even got the slide rule out. "The majority are correct" is one such shortcut. "The alpha male is correct" is another.

    We expect humans to accept the assertions of their enveloping culture without criticism. Few have the time or capacity to examine the basis of what passes for conventional wisdom. But as a corollary anyone who embraces a minority view --particularly if that viewpoint imposes significant cost or risk-- is expected to double and triple check the basis of their belief.

    Lucky thing the majority and the alpha male are daft often enough else we'd never have evolved the capacity for science.