Nice article, thanks. While ad-driven copy is always going to be a problem (the more simplified and sensational the better to grab eyeballs and therefore the greater the ad revenue) the fundamental problem is that the human brain just isn’t wired for complexity. We evolved in relatively simple environments in which heuristics needed merely to be “good enough” for the range of challenges we faced. Today we’re in an entirely different world thanks to the inventions of a relatively tiny number of clever people, and our brains just can’t cope. We don’t perform consistency-checking, for example (e.g. does apparent “fact A” fit with all the other facts in which we can have reasonable confidence?) and we blindly accept information received from “authority figures.” We reason from anecdote and in general can’t handle even modestly-sized datasets. This leaves us in a condition of intellectual helplessness and, not surprisingly, there are those all too eager to take advantage. As the old adage goes, “there’s one born every minute, and two around the corner to take him.”

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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