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There are two myths that prevail in academic circles…

There are two myths that prevail in academic circles (hence the general zeitgeist) because of mental contagion and confirmatory effects (simply from the way researchers look at data and the way it is disseminated):
1) That people are overly concerned by hierarchy (and pecking order), and that hierarchy plays a real role in life, a belief generalized from the fact that *some* people care about hierarchy *most the time* (most people may care about hierarchy *some of the time* but it does not mean hierarchy is a driver). The problem is hierarchy plays a large role zero-sum environments like academia and corrupt economic regimes (meaning someone wins at the expense of others) so academics find it natural so they tend to see it in real life and environments where if may not be prevalent. Many many people don’t care and there is no need to pathologize them as “not motivated” –academics who publish tend to be “competitive” and “competitive” in a zero-sum environment is deadly. I haven’t seen any study looking at things the other way.
2) That “competition” plays a large role compared to *cooperation* in evolutionary settings –of course if you want ruthless competition you will find examples and can model it with bad math. The latter point is extremely controversial, Wilson and Nowak have been savagely attacked for their papers (with >130 signatures contesting it) and, what is curious NOBODY was able to debunk the math (very very very rigorous backup material). If Nowak/Wilson were wrong someone would have shown where, and in spite of the outpour of words nobody did.

(Hint: whenever I see “math” with linear regression, my BS-detector gets fired up. See commentary on “scientists” and regression in SILENT RISK)

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20740005
For comments: http://plektix.fieldofscience.com/2013/12/whats-deal-with-inclusive-fitness-theory.html

Cooperation:
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3279745/

PubMed comprises more than 23 million citations for biomedical literature from MEDLINE, life science journals, and online books. Citations may include links to full-text content from PubMed Central and…
ncbi.nlm.nih.gov|By pubmeddev

via There are two myths that prevail in academic… – Nassim Nicholas Taleb.

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