[ExI] Rationality and Irrationality

spike spike66 at att.net
Wed Dec 19 06:38:06 UTC 2007

> bounces at lists.extropy.org] On Behalf Of Samantha Atkins
> Subject: Re: [ExI] Rationality and Irrationality
> On Dec 18, 2007, at 7:45 PM, spike wrote:
> > healthy skepticism.  First grade now, so she's about six.
> The trouble is the "program" is not taught with any room for
> skepticism.  It is taught the same way Jesuits taught religion, young
> and integrated into as much as possible.  It is taught along with
> ABCs.   This is a crime imho...

Samantha the important difference is that religion incorporated carefully
divests itself of direct falsifiability, thus the term "religion."  Global
warming would have a number of predictions that we can verify.  I did notice
that the GW people have mostly fled from the more-and-better-hurricane
theory that was so popular in the 2005 season.  We have had two years in a
row that were duds in that department.  The storms will eventually return,
as will the hurricane fans.

> > Ten years from
> > now when kids gain the capacity for critical thinking, she will find
> > that
> > the beach is still in the same place as it was when she was six.
> This you do not know...

Granted I don't know that teenagers will gain critical thinking, but I can
calmly assure you madam that the beach aint moving in our lifetimes, or
Mike's daughter's.  It's still right where it was when you and I were her
age, and it will be right there when she is our age.  

As you say, this I don't know, but of this I am quite confident.  Even if I
am wrong and somehow *all* the ice on the planet melts and the seas suddenly
rise a 100 meters, this is not the end of the road for humanity.  It really
isn't, far from it.  We can work that problem.  Think of all the new
building contracts.  We could build cities right this time.

> >> ... What we need to teach more of is critical thinking...
> >
> > Although perhaps not the intended lesson, your daughter's teachers did
> > exactly that.
> >
> No.  She taught a dogma to a defenseless mind...

It is a defenseless mind now, but shortly it will be a defenseful mind, more
so perhaps as a result of all these teachings.  Isn't that the way it often
works with the Jesuit education you cited earlier?  I am tempted to claim
that in at least some cases, being taught nonsense early in life may help
some minds to search out the truth.  Minds realize they have cognitive
dissonance, and must reason out a consistent picture.  These minds
eventually come to a greater understanding than they would have had they not
suffered from the cognitive dissonance from the initial falsehoods.  You and
I are two examples of people who escaped from religion incorporated, and
were motivated to learn the real story, thus eventually discovering science

>  And I say that as
> someone who believes GW is real and dangerous...

GW as in Global Warming or George W?  

How could it be that dangerous when we have all that empty real estate up
there in Canada, Alaska and Siberia waiting patiently for this globe to thaw
a bit and all the animals to come back?  There were once dinosaurs up there.
Now these places are mostly a frozen wasteland.

>  But I don't believe it
> is predominantly caused by human activity or that curtailing certain
> human activities is an adequate or even doable way to address it.
> - samantha

Indeed?  Are you referring to the disappearing ice caps on Mars?  I find
that most intriguing.


"Simultaneous warming on Earth and Mars suggests that our planet's recent
climate changes have a natural-and not a human-induced-cause, according to
one scientist's controversial theory."


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