At first sight, stupidity is a characteristic that is expected in natural selection processes to suffer and to become extinct. After all, stupid persons by definition act in ways that tend to yield no gain to them. Place a stupid person in a competitive environment of non-stupid persons, and the stupid person will likely come out as the loser, and certainly not as the fittest.
How then can stupidity survive and flourish?
Let me attempt to provide a satisfactory answer to this question. I do not claim to have reached a definitive answer, but the mechanism I propose, if not fully explaining the survival of stupidity, at least contributes to it. Moreover, and as often is the case, the route towards the answer is interesting in itself. It will bring us from poker strategy to the limits of applicability of game theory.
“A stupid person is a person who causes losses to another person or to a group of persons while himself deriving no gain and even possibly incurring losses.”
“Always and inevitably everyone underestimates the number of stupid individuals in circulation.”
“Non-stupid people always underestimate the damaging power of stupid individuals. In particular non-stupid people constantly forget that at all times and places and under any circumstances to deal and/or associate with stupid people always turns out to be a costly mistake.”
See on www.science20.com