His specific claim, “this finding led to the idea that ACSS2 could be involved in unwanted memory formation,” was what set off my internal alarm bells.
I promised you a post on causation and correlation way back when we reviewed The Art of Thinking Clearly, and as you longtime readers know, I usually eventually get around to keeping those kinds of promises.
A logical fallacy is a systemic flaw in the sequential process of deriving conclusions that can occur in any application of that method of deliberation, and can result in achieving erroneous end states. Significantly, it does not include cases of failure to implement logical processes in the first place, nor does it apply in most cases to innate traits of neurophysiology.
No Silver Bullets
Humans are lazy, short-sighted creatures, and that makes perfect evolutionary sense. When you’re starving to death in an unfamiliar forest, you don’t have time or energy to make plans for ten years later, or to waste on superfluous activities. In evolutionary terms, laziness is just another word for efficiency. Long term planning and the capacity for delayed gratification came with the development of the higher reasoning cortex and the capacity for complex thought, and our brains have a constant battle between the impulsive, instinctual brain and the reasoned, thoughtful brain. It’s no surprise, then, that we are always looking for silver bullets.
The Fallacy of Regret
Queue swirling lights and rushing sound effects as we go back in time to stop regretting things and make our lives go how we wish they could have gone, with all of the wisdom and hindsight of our later years. After an arbitrary passage through time and space, we find our former self, and we say something like “hey, don’t invest your money there, use it to start the business you’ve always dreamt of.” Then, ignoring all considerations of paradox, physics, entropy, and causality, we zip back to the present time to see how much better our life us now that we made the choice we always wished we had.
Humanity's fascination with numbers can be traced back to the Sumerians, and the ancient language, cuneiform. In some of the species' earliest cities, written communication was invented as a means of keeping track of numbers. Census data, to be specific, which was used to levy taxes on the populace. Aside from showing that both writing, and math, were developed in order to facilitate taxation, this is arguably the start of humanity's fascination with using numbers to explain the world around it. As we developed new mathematics and new techniques for recording information, the unique capabilities of statistics were leverages for wider ranging applications. Geometry, for instance, which oddly enough has the same root word as geography or geology, geo, which means earth, is called geometry because the Egyptians invented it to measure out parcels of land.