Another interesting book on human error and groupness with evolutionary explanations. This book reminds me of Laurence Gonzales’ “Everyday Survival: Why Smart People Do Stupid Things”, covering similar territory from a slightly different perspective using some of the same and some different anecdotes. The book raises some more interesting issues related to learning and friendship that endures despite disparate opinions and worldviews. Bozo Sapiens also shares concepts and anecdotes with Joseph H
The Kaplans take a lighter more jocular or witty approach than either Gonzales or Hallinan. I smiled or laughed several times while listening to the narration. Some of the conjectures in the book seem highly speculative to me, but others seem quite reasonable. The authors provide references to support their ideas.
Readers should be aware that the Kaplans seem skeptical of organized religion but cognizant of its value in fostering positive community. Theists, particularly orthodox Latter-day Saints, may find a few paragraphs offensive because they question foundational stories, though I don’t believe either author intended for the passages to be overtly polemic.
I am positively impressed by the section subtitled ‘I LIKE YOU, BUT NOT YOUR BRAIN’ which includes the following:
Our world is a roiling sink of opinion, from what makes a just society to what makes a perfect martini — so there is obviously no shortage of things we can disagree about.
A good place to start an argument is with a counterexample or a contradiction, and in this case I (Michael is speaking here) happen to know someone who is both. Will Thomas does not share a single political opinion with me: his views are an amalgam or original-meaning constitutionalism, natural law theory, the charter of the National Rifle Association, and Ludwig Ott’s Fundamentals of Catholic Dogma. His support for his position is rigorous, articulate and learned — and I can’t bring myself to agree with any part of them. Yet he is personally one of the best men I know: a true friend, a sincere counselor, and a devoted husband and father. If I were on the run, his would be the door I would knock on. For his part he is willing to tolerate my heterodoxy, even assuring me that, in the current state of doctrine, it is unlikely that I am eternally damned.
Now if we cannot agree, how can we be friends? Or if we are friends, why can we not agree? It is not that neither of us has yet come up with the clincher, the all-conquering logical weapon that will convert the unconvertible. We will never agree, because our views are ultimately inseparable from our identities.