The Model that Said Too Much

My model of four types of ideas is more powerful than I expected – too powerful, in fact. Let me demonstrate.

Pretty lies are easier to stomach than an ugly truth so convincing ideas are not necessarily good. Safe and easy life masks consequences of flawed ideas, and advances in printing and communications let nice sounding ideas spread further faster. In other words, advancing civilization turns selection down for goodness and up for convincingness. This means that we should expect bad times to select for good ideas which lead to good times, which lead to worse ideas which lead to bad times again. A few commonsense assumptions allow me to infer a memetic social cycle theory!

The catch is, I set out to demonstrate the perils of convincing bad ideas so pessimistic assumptions were baked in. The model may hint at a real phenomenon but it only formalized some of my assumptions, making it easier to see where they lead. I could make it look realistic by adding detail but it would remain untestable. This is how convincing bad ideas are made, so we won’t be going there.

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