The Folly of Fools: The Logic of Deceit and Self-Deception in Human Life
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Trivers has written an ambitious investigation into the evolutionary logic of lying and the costs of leaving it unchecked.
ask: If Vancouver were imposing an economic stranglehold on Seattle, and regularly assassinating and kidnapping its city leaders while murdering civilians at will, would we consider a barrage of primitive rockets from Seattle—incapable of landing with any precision—to be an appropriate response? And if, in alleged response to such crude rockets, Vancouver bombed and invaded Seattle, with horrific effects on civilians, women and children alone numbering in the hundreds, what would we then do? And
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reducing their responsibility for behavior performed. A belief in determinism can provide a ready excuse for misbehavior, just as can unconsciousness: the “I had no choice” defense. Relatively deterministic views of human behavior may provide some cover for socially malevolent behavior. Experimentally inducing a deterministic view (reading an essay on how genes and environment together determine human behavior) increases cheating on a computer-based task that permits cryptic cheating. What this
employment, and this generated an artificial system for justifying space travel—a system that inevitably compromised safety. Put more generally, when an organization practices deception toward the larger society, this may induce self-deception within the organization, just as deception between individuals induces individual self-deception. The space program, Feynman argued, was dominated by a need to generate funds, and critical design features, such as manned flight versus unmanned flight, were