Jonah Lehrer believes our responses to the BP spill and the Icelandic ash cloud were sabotaged by the wiring of our brains:

I think we simply need to be more aware that our initial beliefs about a crisis - those opinions that are most shrouded in ignorance and uncertainty - will exert an irrational influence on our subsequent actions, even after we have more (and more reliable) information. The end result is a kind of epistemic stubbornness, in which we're irrationally anchored to an outmoded assumption.

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