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Evolution, we are told, makes us gullible

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File:A small cup of coffee.JPG From an interview in The Atlantic on why people fall for frauds:

Can You Spot a Liar?

Khazan: You talk about how it’s hard to spot a fraudster or liar in person, but also that microexpressions might be a clue. Why is it so hard to detect lying, and is there anything you can do to make yourself better at rooting it out?

Konnikova: It’s really difficult to do it because it’s actually not evolutionarily adaptive. We are better placed if we trust people than if we don’t trust anyone. I talk about infants and young children who need to trust that adults are going to take care of them. It makes us feel better when we accept people’s little white lies at face value. It would be terrible if I knew that every time you said, “Maria, you look so beautiful today!” you were really thinking, “Oh, she looks tired, she didn’t get enough sleep last night.”

Utter rubbish, of the sort emitted between cozy elite women flogging a forgettable book, in this case, The Confidence Game.

Human beings easily grasp the proper role of truth-telling in social speech. Hard to say whether any evolution is required, apart from the ability to grasp the general intent of communications.

We haven’t really evolved to spot lies. Instead, we like to think that we can tell people are lying because once again, it makes us feel better, it makes us feel like we are good judges of character, it makes us feel like we know what’s going on. So we often think that we are much better than we are.

This goes against a body of knowledge on the evolution of cheat detection. I don’t know how useful that body of knowledge will prove to be, but I do know this:

Most of the women who are looking to author Konnikova to explain why they believed some cute guy won’t care to hear about it. They need to believe they “evolved” to be gullible.

So that’s the number one piece of advice I can give: to understand how bad you are. In a strange way, that makes you better, because you will try to find more signs to verify whether or not you’re accurate. Is there anything objective you can point to that is a sign of deception? More.

Right. Do what human beings have always done, however it evolved.

And quit trying to blame everything and anything for your personal choice to believe what isn’t true.

See also: Evolutionary psychology has the answer for everything, anything, nothing, contradictory things, and all of them at the very same time!

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Hat tip: Stephanie West Allen at Brains on Purpose

9 Replies to “Evolution, we are told, makes us gullible

  1. 1
    tjguy says:

    Maybe that’s why so many people accept all the just so stories of evolutionists so easily.

  2. 2

    News,
    Here I believed you when you said for the past 5 years, “Evolution makes you gullible”, and now you repudiate yourself and say “evolution makes you gullible” is an old wives tale. I feel, well, gullible.

    Have a look at this youtube video “Can Evolution make an eye?” https://youtu.be/ygdE93SdBCY and see if the video doesn’t make more sense if the word “Evolution” were changed to “God”.

    So who exactly is the one being fooled?

  3. 3

    BTW,
    The captcha timeout is waaay too short. I’ve wised up and cut and stored my comment so I can repost by pasting, but newbies are going to get burned…

  4. 4
    News says:

    Rob at 2, let me clarify, clarify: Evolution does not make one gullible. Belief in popular evolution theories helps identify the gullible..

    Agree re captcha time. Was waiting to see what others said before mentioning it to W/M. – News

  5. 5
    Mung says:

    The trick with the captcha is to compose your post then refresh the captcha just before hitting Post Comment.

  6. 6
    Mung says:

    Dawkins is just a silly old man who refuses to see what is before his very nose.

    He can write a fine-tuned program but to attribute that fine tuning to the creator of that program doesn’t make sense because he doesn’t have an explanation for the fine-tuning of Richard Dawkins.

    LoL

  7. 7
    mahuna says:

    Again, when early humans were “evolving”, the social groups were VERY small and all closely related ancestrally. Towns and cities filled with people you met rarely and shared no blood relationships with appeared in the last 1% of human history.

    So, you’re going to spend your ENTIRE LIFE with the people you had breakfast with this morning unless you’re one of the oddballs who decides to shack up with the cute girl whose pack lives on the other side of the hill. Of course, if you do THAT, then you’ll spend the rest of your life with HER people.

    Either way, if you lie or cheat, EVERYBODY you know QUICKLY knows about it. And so cheating your “slow” cousin out of his best sharp rock means that NONE of the people you’ll share your life with are gonna cut you any slack on ANY perceived anti-social behavior. And the standard punishment for repeated offenses is Banishment from the pack, or a sharp whack on the noggin when you aren’t expecting it. Both of these pretty much guarantee the extinction of your genes.

  8. 8
    News says:

    Mahuna at 7, one senses you are right about that. Women could only afford to be really gullible in the last few hundred years.

  9. 9
    Robert Byers says:

    Robert Sheldon. As another poster said JUST ALWAYS refresh it. That does it.

    The reason we get taken by lies is not because we are gullible. not the averge curve of us.
    Its because we think with the heart but the expressions of the heart must come from visual and audio manifestations from another person. So its easy to mimic these things to deceive people.
    in fact the only reason we are not more hampered by deception is because most people, most of the time, don’t decieve.
    Otherwise then we could complain.

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