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August 24, 2009 - 5:48 am

So says a commenter in response to this a href=”http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2009/aug/23/brain-society-politics”Guardian article:/a “In control? Think again. Our ideas of brain and human nature are myths:”br /br /blockquoteThe notion of individual autonomy underpins our society, yet new research suggests this guiding principle is an illusion.br /br /It was browsing in a bookshop that got me started. I was confronted by a bank of bestsellers on the brain: how it works and how we think. There were the books which have attracted huge attention, such as a href=”http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/014311526X?ie=UTF8tag=wwwviolentkicomlinkCode=as2camp=1789creative=9325creativeASIN=014311526X”Nudge/aimg src=”http://www.assoc-amazon.com/e/ir?t=wwwviolentkicoml=as2o=1a=014311526X” width=”1″ height=”1″ border=”0″ alt=”" style=”border:none !important; margin:0px !important;” / and a href=”http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0316010669?ie=UTF8tag=wwwviolentkicomlinkCode=as2camp=1789creative=9325creativeASIN=0316010669″Blink, /aimg src=”http://www.assoc-amazon.com/e/ir?t=wwwviolentkicoml=as2o=1a=0316010669″ width=”1″ height=”1″ border=”0″ alt=”" style=”border:none !important; margin:0px !important;” / but there were others popularising the new insights of a range of academic disciplines – social sciences such as evolutionary psychology as well as neuroscience – which are radically challenging the most fundamental assumptions on which human beings operate.br //blockquotebr /br /The author of the article seems to imply that all self-autonomy is a myth–that we are social creatures who conform to group norms. Could it be that it is just the fad now to conduct research that shows people are “collectivists” to justify the government telling us what to do more? br /br /Perhaps some people are just lemmings but take a look at studies a href=”http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Asch_conformity_experiments”like the Ashe experiment /athat showed some people could not be persuaded to conform like others to endorsing incorrect information no matter what (about 25% of them never gave an incorrect response). How do we figure out how to teach people to be more accurate in spite of so many lemmings endorsing incorrect information? Because these types of non-conformists are the people we need to keep freedom flowing.

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