Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Evidence Against Evolution?

  • The Wall Street Journal

Week in Ideas: Daniel Akst


Honesty Begins at Home

Studies in lab settings have found that people are quite willing to lie when it's to their advantage. But a paper finds that, at home, they're remarkably honest.
In one experiment, researchers phoned people at home and asked them to flip a coin, promising about $20 or an Amazon.com gift code if the coin landed tails. Heads? They'd get nothing. The researchers had no way to know which of the 658 participants might be lying, but a result of around 50-50 would indicate honesty. In fact, 56% reported heads.
In a second experiment, 94 people were asked by phone to flip a coin four times (and promised about $6.60 for every throw of tails). The results were almost exactly what would be expected statistically, suggesting that not much lying was going on. The data weren't correlated to gender; in previous studies, women were found to be more honest.
"Truth-Telling: A Representative Assessment," Johannes Abeler, Anke Becker and Armin Falk, Institute for the Study of Labor, Bonn, Discussion Paper 6919 (October)


  1. This is probably just another "misfire" :)

  2. Why do you think this is evidence against evolution?

  3. Survival of the fittest logically would have one cheat whenever it could not be detected.

  4. Ahh, but all the callers are thinking about the survival of the entire species, and that probability is maximized if they tell the truth.

  5. (I meant to write "respondents", not "callers"