Friday, 7 December 2007

The Darwin's - Evolutionary Evidence for the Gullibility Gene

You will no doubt be familiar with this very evocative shot of gullible Ann, wife of gullible John the forgetful canoeist.

If ever an image summed up the essence of Gullibility then this must be it. The moment when any one of us is confronted with the realisation that whatever mental map we were carrying of the world suddenly no longer represents how we thought it was.

As with so many stories in our lives they give the chance to learn and understand more about facets of human nature, and in this case the nature of gullibility.

Parking the whole pile of ethical questions that we can ask. The question of gullibility can be looked at from two sides. Firstly the expectations that John and Anne Gullible had of the gullibility of others, and secondly their own gullibility.

They have given us all a wonderful example of a fully integrated 'system of gullibility' at work, in which their own beliefs of the gullibility of others are born out of the gullibility they have themselves. This propensity to double loop gullibility must surely be prima facae evidence of the gullibility gene at work!

A thread that runs through this whole saga seems to be a complete lack of Critical Thinking.

The plan wasn't thought through to search for unintended side effects such as the estate agents photo being taken and shows a complete underestimation of the inter-connected world we live in.

Gullible Anne didn't sanity check the idea when it was first suggested. Clearly she choose to omit, delete and distort factors that showed up flaws in the plan, which meant she was living in an impoverished version of reality. She now blames this on 'marrying the the wrong husband!' So it was his fault that she got into this mess she claims. Well Anne, we all have a part to play in our own gullibility.

This claim is utterly staggering, and evidence of a complete state of denial. Even in the midst of the realisation of her gullibility she is still able to perform an act of extrinsic motivation and still ultimately blame everything on the failings of her husband.

The Gullible Canoeist himself, must think that world and his dog are stupid. As if we were going to take on face value he'd forgotten everything! Which part of 'I wonder what scientific and clinical skills will be used to check my story' did he forget to check...oh I forgot...he's got amnesia, so he will have forgotten to check!

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