[ExI] Meta question

William Flynn Wallace foozler83 at gmail.com
Wed Aug 17 23:44:51 UTC 2016

On Wed, Aug 17, 2016 at 6:15 PM, John Clark <johnkclark at gmail.com> wrote:

> On Wed, Aug 17, 2016 PM, Keith Henson <hkeithhenson at gmail.com> wrote:
> ​> ​
>> Recently made a post that started with "Irrational is not an easy
>> strategy to understand."
>> No replies at all.
> ​Irrational behavior means having no reason, no cause, for that behavior,
> it would be equivalent to random behavior. So putting on a suicide dynamite
> vest is not irrational ​it's just stupid; he did it for a reason, he did it
> because he read in a book that a invisible man in the sky will give him 77
> virgins after he dies if he puts on that vest. It's stupid for believing
> what that book says is true so you might then ask why stupidity exists, but
> as stupidity is the default assumption a much better question would be why
> intelligence exists. There can only be one answer to that, Evolution.
>  John K Clark

​Problems with word definitions.  Irrational could be viewed as against
reason, rather than without reason, meaning that a rational reason for
something could exist but the person acted against it.

That, to me, is the meaning of 'stupid' - knowing better but not doing
better, as evidenced by 'Why in the world did I do that?  I knew better."
 This contrasts with 'ignorant', which is simply not knowing.  So a stupid
mistake means that the person knew better, whereas an ignorant mistake
means that he did not know.​

> ​Presumably no one sets out to be irrational in the senses we are
> discussing.  Ditto stupid.  ​
> ​No matter how irrational a religious belief seems to us, it is rational
> to the person who holds it.  That is, unless you believe that empiricism
> holds sway over rationalism or authoritarianism in every instance. (as I
> do)  So you would think that if there is no hard evidence for it, the it
> cannot be believed as real.  There are, of course, defensible alternatives
> to hard materialism.

​And it doesn't have to be religious:  we have had the hottest July on

​ And some will still deny global warming, perhaps because they heard that
some scientists don't believe it, and some that do fudged their data, and
so on.  This is rational even if we think it's misguided - they are
believing the wrong experts (just as we are believing the right ones!).

bill w​

>> There are two reasons for that.
>> One is that the post went right over everyone's head.
>> Second was that it was so clear that nobody could think of anything to
>> add to it.
>> If it was the first, I should find another news group.
>> Best wishes,
>> Keith
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