the show: 01-09-07

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Transcript

Good afternoon Sports Racers (poop)

From South Dakota, Mount Rushmore (poop)

This is the show, with ze frank.


Hi there.

If you're new to the show, for the past 200 episodes we've been dealing with issues surrounding the nature of human consciousness.

I’m renowned chef ze frank, and each episode takes place in the home of a famously bad poet. Today, William Topaz McGonagall in Edinburgh, Scotland.

The show is watched by over 1 billion viewers a minute and it's the only video blog broadcast into space.


Left turn ok, today we continue with a thread that was started yesterday. Specifically: given the complexities of the human brain, why did we develop a conscious mind that can be so goddamn stupid?

One notion that's very popular among atheists and some gypsies is something called evolution. According to this theory, animals have evolved to survive within the rule sets of the physical world. Because of that, animal bodies and brains are very good at dealing with things like gravity and friction. It’s been shown that even 6-month old babies innately understand the laws of gravity. An object is placed on a table, then the table's removed. The freaky babies get surprised if the object doesn't fall, say if it's suspended by a wire.

Humans are animals, but a long time ago we started to become very social. Basically we became sissies, trading off cool bad-ass physical attributes like strength and speed for the ability to work together in groups.

For example the group Boston was able to survive for years despite serious physical shortcomings.

Our sissy brains began to evolve in specialized ways which made us better at being social. For example we developed theory of mind. That’s the understanding that another individual has a mind that's separate from your own. A mind that's not privy to all the information that you have and may know things that you don't.

Bottom line the evolutionary forces of living in a social world were added to those of living in a physical world.

But I digress; the original theme was why so stupid?

There’s a biologist named Robert Trivers who for a long time has been thinking about deception and evolution.

In nature there's lots of deception: flowers that look like wasps, insects that look like sticks, even people who look like their pets. The basic idea is that there's an evolutionary advantage to deception. At the same time there's also an advantage to having the ability to detect deception.

Trivers argues that these two forces play off of each other in a kind of evolutionary arms race. As we started to become more social, deceiving each other became a hell of a lot more complicated. You had to keep track of the truth, and the lie, and what they thought was the truth.

At the same time because we lived in groups and relied on each other so much, the cost of being discovered as a liar went through the roof. You could be killed or ostracized, and as we know, one member of Boston does not a hit song make.

Trivers came up with the notion that we evolved a filter between our conscious and sub-conscious minds as a way of being able to lie better. By being able to block out certain kinds of information, we developed the ability to deceive ourselves. If you're able to deceive yourself and actually believe something that isn't true, it's a whole lot easier to lie about it. That way you can get girls by telling them that you're an underappreciated genius writer, or stand up to bullies twice your size because one quick blow to the nose could kill 'em. Or send an inadequate force to a foreign country because hey, they're going to greet you with flowers.

The need for self-deception in order to be better at deception may be one of the keys to our silly little minds.


This is ze frank, thinking so you don't have to.

Oh and by the way, this video blog thing? It’s going to make me a big star.



This show's sponsors - Gimme some candy

Image:theshow-sponsor-1-1.gif    Aimee & Cat like the little duckies in the pond!X3

Image:theshow-sponsor-2-1.gif    hmmm. ah!

Image:theshow-sponsor-1-8.gif    psst! made a movie for y'alls in the ORG -topaz


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