Why You Can’t Help Believing Everything You Read
What is the mind's default position: are we naturally critical or naturally gullible? As a species do we have a tendency to behave like Agent Mulder from the X-Files who always wanted to believe in mythical monsters and alien abductions? Or are we like his partner Agent Scully who was the critical scientist, generating alternative explanations, trying to understand and evaluate the strange occurrences they encountered rationally?
Do we believe what the TV, the newspapers, blogs even, tell us at first blush or are we naturally critical? Can we ignore the claims of adverts, do we lap up what politicians tell us, do we believe our lover's promises?
It's not just that some people do and some people don't; in fact all our minds are built with the same first instinct, the same first reaction to new information. But what is it: do we believe first or do we first understand, so that belief (or disbelief) comes later?
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