[ExI] Rationality and Irrationality

Samantha Atkins sjatkins at mac.com
Wed Dec 19 07:07:14 UTC 2007

On Dec 18, 2007, at 10:38 PM, spike wrote:

>> 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.

The point is that most people will not question what they were taught  
early enough with sufficient authority.  Religion is extremely  
falsifiable.   But people taught it early enough do fantastic  
contortions to keep from seeing just how false it is on examination.

It is not good science to point to some prediction of some people  
based on some understanding of GW not coming true in order to  
discredit GW in its entirety.

>>> 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.

The planet is heating up.  The question is what we can do about it.    
If we do not slow it down sufficiently then the coastlines will  
eventually move.

> 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.

No expects all the ice to melt.  If enough melts it would falsify your  
assurance the coastline won't change though.

>  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.

This is a bit of a different subject, the consequences for humanity.    
Those depend on a lot of factors including what effects of increased  
warming are predominant and how well we humans respond and can respond.

>>>> ... 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.

Dunno.  There are too many people walking around believing  
unbelievable stuff against all evidence just because it was taught  
early enough with enough reinforcement.

> Isn't that the way it often
> works with the Jesuit education you cited earlier?

Actually no.  Atheists, agnostics and even people that switch  
religious brands are a minority.

> 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.

Sort of like breaking a wing on a baby bird and tossing it out of the  
nest results in the ones that survive being stronger??  Minds are too  

> Minds realize they have cognitive
> dissonance, and must reason out a consistent picture.

Most real people, not abstract "minds", don't get that far.  They just  
muddle through with whatever krap they were stuffed with.

>  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
> incorporated.

We are unfortunately all too rare.   Most of the people I know who  
have escaped deep childhood religious indoctrination are also out a  
fair ways on the rightmost tail of the IQ curve.

>> And I say that as
>> someone who believes GW is real and dangerous...
> GW as in Global Warming or George W?

Both would be accurate of both my belief and reality.  :-)  But I was  
talking global warming here.

> 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?

I don't think you are so unaware of the dangers that it would be worth  
my time to answer a question like that.

- samantha

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