[extropy-chat] examples of rational irrationalism

Heartland velvethum at hotmail.com
Sun Dec 10 14:43:01 UTC 2006

> The discussion should seek to achieve 'rational' in both behaviour and goal.

That would certainly be a step in the right direction.

However, it's much easier to determine levels of rationality of means to an end 
rather than levels of rationality of ends. If series of actions X has led to 
fulfillment of goal Y in less time and at smaller cost than series of actions W 
achieving goal Y, then X would be more rational than W. This is more or less 
quantifiable. What we need next is some method of assigning rationality to 
supergoals. A religious fanatic's action to blow himself up would be rational if it 
helped him achieve his supergoal of reaching paradise in afterlife. My supergoal is 
different so from my POV suicide bombing is irrational because I don't believe in 
any form of afterlife. Now, how could I go about showing a potential suicide bomber 
that his supergoal is irrational in itself?

It's all about supergoals. People often disagree not because they pick different 
flavors of rationality (there's only one) but because for some mysterious reasons 
they pick different supergoals. The worst part is that not many people are even 
consciously aware of their "final" choice which makes it that much harder to have a 
productive debate, let alone to reach agreement. Those who choose to go to church 
at least know what they want. Yet still, I lack a convincing argument that would 
show them why going to church is "objectively" irrational.


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