Surviving in a Post-Truth World

LOS ANGELES – Despite the falsehoods that some politicians peddle, facts still matter, and getting those facts right is essential for survival. I know, because I regularly see the deadly consequences of getting facts wrong.

I am a behavioral ecologist, and I study how animals assess and manage predation risk. But, rather than study the flashy predators – with their sharp teeth, stealthy approaches, and impressive sprinting abilities – I focus on their food.

Some wallabies make bad use of facts. Too often, these four-legged snacks ignore information right in front of them – like rustling in the underbrush or the scent of a passing carnivore. And they pay for this ignorance dearly, with the sudden slash of talons, or the constricting squeeze of a powerful jaw.

But my research has shown that many would-be meals – marmots, birds, lizards, fish, and sessile marine invertebrates among them – are better at assessing risk. In 1979, the ecologists Richard Dawkins and John Krebs proposed the “life-dinner principle,” which holds that prey, with more to lose than predators, are more creative survivalists. The risk of being eaten – and thus removed from the gene pool – provides a strong incentive to up one’s game. For the predator, the only consequence of failure is going hungry until the next meal.

Continue reading on Project-Syndicate.org

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Does survival depend on having the facts?

Post-truth? “It’s pure nonsense”

“For as long as there have been politicians, they have lied, fabricated and deceived. The manufacture of falsehood has changed over time, as the machinery becomes more sophisticated. Straight lies give way to sinuous spin, and open dishonesty disappears behind Newspeak and Doublethink. However, even if honesty is sometimes the best policy, politics is addressed to people’s opinions, and the manipulation of opinion is what it is all about. Plato held truth to be the goal of philosophy and the ultimate standard that disciplines the soul. But even he acknowledged that people cannot take very much of it, and that peaceful government depends on ‘the noble lie’.” –  / Spectator.co.uk

What do you think? Is there such a thing as a noble lie? 

Read more here – https://www.spectator.co.uk/2017/06/post-truth-its-pure-nonsense/

Photo credit: Spectator.co.uk

 

Wonder Woman, Heroine of the Post-Truth Age

The character, created by a man who helped to invent the lie detector, is perfectly at home in a culture contending with weaponized lies.

“You mean—you were lying?” Wonder Woman asks Steve Trevor, a hero and a spy, in the new film that takes her name. The Amazon takes a moment to register his deception; the princess of Themyscira, having come to the world of men from the idyllic Paradise Island, is not accustomed to such manipulation. She pauses. “How do I know you’re not lying to me right now?”

Read more on The Atlantic:

https://www.theatlantic.com/entertainment/archive/2017/06/wonder-woman-heroine-of-the-post-truth-age/528780/

Photo credit: Warner Bros.