[ExI] Rationality and Irrationality

Kevin Freels kevin at kevinfreels.com
Tue Dec 18 22:59:47 UTC 2007

citta437 at aol.com wrote:
> Practices/behaviors are driven by a subconscious desire for 
> preservation of the status quo.
Many behaviors are driven by other factors such as survival, mating, and 
comfort. Many people have various ideas on what their status quo is and 
whether or not they wish to keep it.
>  Gobal warming i.e. is seen as 
> detrimental for the life in this planet by scientists and rationalists 
> alike.
First you are assuming that everyone believes we're in a period of 
man-made global warming. Then you assume we can actually do anything 
about it. Next you assume that global warming is bad.  A little warming 
might be good.
>  Irrational behavior/ignorance that cause global warming is on 
> the rise.
Where did this statement come from? Is behavior causing GW? Is it 
"Ignorance" causing GW? And then is ignorance really on the rise?
> 1. Perhaps this is caused by lack of emphasis on science education?
My kids have learned all about global warming. In 1st grade my daughter 
was scared to death that we were going to die when the planet died. Why 
teach a kid this? We made it through ice ages and warming periods 
without our technology. Surely we can make it through more. What we need 
to teach more of is critical thinking. Skills that teach children to 
question everything and ask for proof would be a terrific step forward 
except then they would quickly lose control of the kids since most 
teachers can't justify things like having kids write their name in the 
upper right hand corner in cursive on every page in black ink only.

> 2. The media's emphasis on irrational behavior by idolizing celebrities?
There's that "irrational behavior" again. Irrational is not the same as 
"wrong" thinking. A good many people think through what they do 
rationally and come up with different answers based on their own 
objectives and the information they use to draw their conclusions. While 
I agree there is some irrational thinking in the media  - Rosie 
O'Donnell comes to mind - I don't think that the large part is 
necessarily irrational  and is more or less uninformed. Even then there 
is a good deal of media and celebrity that are doing good things all the 
> 3. Capitalists' greed that capitalizes on ignorance itself?
Greed is not necessarily a good thing. If someone didn't want to get 
rich off their inventions and have the ability to do so, I think you 
would have far less invention and discovery. Even many who don't do 
things for the money still do it for other greed and need type reasons 
such as self-esteem. When you eliminate greed, all that is left is 
altruism and that alone wouldn't get us very far. Of course, there are 
those that play to the ignorance of others. Did you know that your bag 
of chips from WalMart has less chips in it than the same size bag at the 
grocery store? Check the written label on the content. That should be a 
motivation to not be ignorant and think critically, not a problem with 
greed itself. Wrong type greed is usually punished as a violation of  
morals and ethics.

> What are the chances to reverse irrational behaviors in the human 
> species? 
I am not sure you would want to. Irrational behavior is a reality that 
is a large part of us that is probably necessary. We are complex beings 
and we have our emotions, preferences, and such. I am sure that getting 
my girlfriend pregnant at 17 wasn't very rational, but my 18 year old 
son is terrific and I wouldn't have it any other way - even if my life 
would have been "better" without him being born.
> I see the evidence of irrational behavior is caused by lack of emphasis 
> on science education and integrating biological sciences with the 
> humanities.
Sorry that you are drawing your conclusions so readily without a bit 
more investigation. Seems to me you have started with a conclusion and 
now you are working to prove it instead of trying to find out what is 
really going on. You assume there are problems that need fixing so let 
me ask you - what proof do you have that life now is not already better 
than it has been in the past and that it is headed in the wrong direction?

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