First of all, I loved this article. Well-written, well structured, and a pleasure to read. Thanks so much!

I would dearly love to believe that an increase in knowledge and a better conception of our relative insignificance can slowly but surely change human behaviors. Unfortunately most of what we do seems to be hardwired into us as a result of selection pressures operating over vast spans of time. Tribalism isn’t a consequence of ignorance but a consequence of being a group primate species.

Furthermore, although it’s nice that people like Cox can drum up audiences of sufficient size to make a tour worthwhile, I’ve had far too much exposure to a wide range of US citizens to be lulled into thinking even for a moment that contemporary knowledge has permeated very deep into the culture. A great many people in the USA still believe that early humans lived among dinosaurs (those who don’t believe that all those dinosaur bones were simply put their by their god to play a trick on paleontologists, that is…) and that their god has a “plan” for them. Fifty percent of those polled believe that “angels walk among us” and they mean it quite literally, not figuratively, and they believe that although there is an almighty infallible plan for the universe they personally can alter this plan by means of prayer.

All in all, it’s difficult to be optimistic.

Anyone who enjoys my articles here on Medium may be interested in my books Why Democracy Failed and The Praying Ape, both available from Amazon.

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