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I read an explanation of self deception by an evolutionary biologist. People first learned how to deceive others, then other people learned how to detect this deception, so self deception evolved because it is harder to detect deception in someone who is also self deceived. This way when someone says his getting rich doing crony capitalism is "God's Work", he can feel he is telling the truth.


Ridley is wrong. The new prosperity is basically for the upper crust. The rest of us don't have the money to eat in those restaurants he touts.

Fortunately, less people are deluding themselves as things get worse. One look at grocery prices, or a visit to a gas station, and you know right away that delusion stops at the cash register.

Alexander Ač

Poor Ridley, and I like his previous books so much!

Well, self-deception is powerful indeed, unfortunately it is (almost) irrespective of intelligence, as I also found out.

Let's wait for the next book of Matt Ridley called "Racional Realist" :-)

Don Levit

I am a strong believer in the subconscious at work. It is very strong, and thus, we really don't know ourselves very well, compared to how much we could know.I think it was William James who said when you look at yourself, you see 3 people: who you think you are, who others think you are, and who you really are.
The person you think you are is an impostor!
Don Levit

Alexander Ač

Well, it is much worse, poor Ridley wrote:

"...a rattling good detective story and a detailed and brilliant piece of science writing."

- regarding the book "The hockey stick illusion" - which is actually full of bullshit. The blog of the author (Bishop Hill) of that bullshit is here:




Oh, look where Ridley's Irrational Optimism led Northern Rock:


And George Monbiot's take on "The Rational Optimist"


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