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100 years after the assassination of Austria's archduke Franz Ferdinand, and the ensuing diplomatic and military maneuvers that occured throughout Europe and Asia, we remain amazed at the causal chain of events that produced World War I. Indeed the assassination itself was the result of numerous chance events, having gone wrong three times the very same day as it was finally carried out. The run up to the war is perhaps the most glaring evidence we have of how human stupidity is the dominant theme, or a least a very powerful one, working to drive our history forward--if that is indeed the direction in which it travels.

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A full causal account of World War I would runs many hundreds of pages, but what is clear is that humans are better at muddling our way through history than executing meticulous plans. The implications of this are brought to bear strongly against conspiracy theorists. "Since we believe that the agents responsible for historic effects should be as major as the events themselves, we start conjuring them up to soothe our psychology." How could a ragtag group of men plan and execute 9/11; how could humanity with all its good intentions be responsible for climate change?

Read more at Scientific American

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