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James Randi on assumptions

November 8, 2010

Human beings are what I like to call “shortcut machines.” We’re wired up from the start to build shortcuts in our brains that help us make decisions without taking the time to constantly re-examine them. It’s a necessary reality. Just think about how difficult even the simple act of getting out of bed in the morning would be if you had to think critically about every decision you made from opening your eyes, to lifting off the blankets, to which of your feet would touch the floor first. You’d never get anything done at all.

However, our need for internal shortcuts can often lead us to improper conclusions when the circumstances are more complex (I’m looking at you, religion), so it’s important that we recognize our propensity for taking them and to question them from time to time as well. One day I’ll write an essay on the topic, but for now James Randi does a wonderful job of explaining what I’m trying to convey. Consider this video a shortcut from me to you so that you won’t be up all hours of the night reading my blog. This time anyway…

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