[extropy-chat] Islamic morons win yet again

Robert Bradbury robert.bradbury at gmail.com
Fri Sep 29 19:16:56 UTC 2006

On 9/29/06, Eugen Leitl <eugen at leitl.org> wrote:

> >    you're still belief-redacting. I'd argue that trying to change
> >    someone's belief through horribly offensive insults is more moral
> than
> Can you cite any references for this supposed method to work?
> [snip] No. Rational debates don't work if the other party is not rational.

I'll cite an example I am familiar with, namely the EST training during the
1970s.  It required two weekends in a fairly controlled environment where
people are encouraged to come face to face with their "belief systems".  I
suspect a fraction of the people may have felt offended (insulted?) by some
of the presentation and/or questions but since the format is such that more
frequently one is allowed to see oneself in others (avoiding a positional
"debate" framework) "horrible insults" may not be a requirement for
dislodging belief systems in everyone.  I am reasonably sure however some
people are so "addicted" to their belief systems [1] that changing them may
require rather severe educational methods.

It is interesting (at least to me) that belief system alteration may require
hard changes in the neural network [2] -- which implies that there are time
limits on how rapidly, perhaps even how completely, one can change belief

I would be interested in whether anyone knows if there are branches of
psychology or sociology (or books) which deal explicitly with belief system


1. I suspect there is a strong genetic basis for this -- that there will be
individuals with polymorphisms in neuron gene structure and function that it
is easy for them to become strongly addicted to drugs, behaviors, memes,
2. Changing the strengths of synapses probably requires protein synthesis
and transport requiring at least hours perhaps days, while growing new
synapses and forming complex self-reinforcing patterns (memes) might require
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