Why Itâs Sometimes Rational to Be Irrational
The modern world bustles with magical thinking. Some of us pick up pennies for good luck, believe we missed a flight for a reason or become convinced that a computer tried to ruin our day by crashing.
In his new book The 7 Laws of Magical Thinking, science writer Matthew Hutson argues that weâre all believers â even the staunchest of skeptics. The book isnât a diatribe against irrational beliefs, despite Hutsonâs admission of being an atheist and a skeptic since the age of 10.
âI started wondering why people adamantly believe strange things. I began to apply psychology and cognitive science to the question of how we find meaning in the world and how we decide whatâs reality and whatâs illusion,â Hutson said. âEmbracing irrationality, as it turns out, isnât always a bad thing.â
Wired chatted with Hutson about his book, how it changed him and what kind of magical thinking even ĂŒber-skeptic Richard Dawkins subscribes to.