via NY Daily News
John McWhorter on Elvin Lim’s The Anti-Intellectual Presidency: The Decline of Presidential Rhetoric from George Washington to George W. Bush:
Finding Meaningful Patterns in Meaningless Noise: Michael Shermer
By the way, I am enamored of the term apophenia for this phenomenon. Patternicity seems too cutesy. As a psychiatrist specializing in the treatment of psychosis, I think apophenic thinking is at the heart of the paranoid process and one of the core disturbances in schizophrenia. But Shermer’s argument that natural selection will favor patternicity when it has the best adaptive cost undercuts his crusade against irrational belief, doesn’t it? As I have previously pointed out in discussions of apophenia, finding patterns (in the sense of “believing superstitions“) has helped human groups to survive.