"… reason is an evolved trait, like bipedalism or three-color vision. It emerged on the savannas of Africa, and has to be understood in that context."Really? What exactly is the evidence for that?
"Reason developed not to enable us to solve abstract, logical problems or even to help us draw conclusions from unfamiliar data; rather, it developed to resolve the problems posed by living in collaborative groups."Says who? What we seem to have here are two just-so stories. I think most of us know that some people are really good at reasoning and lots of other people aren't. There's nothing surprising about that. Some people play the violin really well. Most can't play it at all. Reasoning is a talent. Even if you are blessed with an abundance of it, you still have to work at it.
The students were asked to respond to two studies. One provided data in support of the deterrence argument, and the other provided data that called it into question. Both studies—you guessed it—were made up, and had been designed to present what were, objectively speaking, equally compelling statistics. The students who had originally supported capital punishment rated the pro-deterrence data highly credible and the anti-deterrence data unconvincing; the students who’d originally opposed capital punishment did the reverse. At the end of the experiment, the students were asked once again about their views. Those who’d started out pro-capital punishment were now even more in favor of it; those who’d opposed it were even more hostile.A student with a real talent for reasoning might have pointed out that, first, capital punishment deters only one person for sure: the person who is executed. He will not be killing anyone else ever again. Said student might then point out that establishing for sure that capital punishment deters anyone else is not so easy. And he might point out as well that, even if you could, there is at least one very good reason to oppose capital punishment: It is wrong to kill people.
This is a pretty dim-witted piece from first to last. Naturally, the moral has to do with the recent presidential election. I should have guessed.