Chapter 6: Intuitions About Reality

“The greatest obstacle to discovery is not ignorance—
it is the illusion of knowledge.”
~Daniel Boorstin, Librarian of Congress, 1984

Let’s begin with another little intuition checkup. Quick and easy now, starting with some gut checks on your intuitive physics:

This diagram shows a curved tube, lying flat on a table. A BB is shot into the opening and out the other end. With your finger on the page, draw the BB’s path through the tube and after it shoots out the tube.

While flying at a constant speed, this plane drops a bowling ball. Draw the path the ball will follow (ignoring wind resistance) and show where the plane will be as the ball hits the ground. If a BB were dropped at the same time as the bowling ball, which would hit the ground first?

Chapter Contents

Intuitive Physics and Mathematics
The Fundamental Attribution Error
Illusory Correlation
Belief Perseverance
Heuristics: Fast and Frugal Thinking
The Powers and Perils of Intuition