[ExI] Top ten dumbest remarks

Stathis Papaioannou stathisp at gmail.com
Tue Oct 9 11:09:31 UTC 2007

On 09/10/2007, Stefano Vaj <stefano.vaj at gmail.com> wrote:

> > I put a September 11 conspiracy theorist on antipsychotics once, and
> > he changed his mind.
> >
> "Conspiracy theorist" being defined as an "Al-Qaeda conspiracy theorist" or
> a "Bush administration conspiracy theorist"?
> Or does it work with both? :-)

He was a Bush administration conspiracy theorist, but I guess it would
work with both. The striking thing in this case was that he could,
quite reasonably, point out that many people around the world share
his beliefs. At this point, there would have been no indication to
diagnose a mental illness. However, he became increasingly preoccupied
with proving his theory to the point where he was neglecting his work
and his family, and eventually started thinking that the Americans
might try to kill him because he knew too much. It was at this point
that treatment was started, but the treatment had the effect that even
the more "normal" beliefs became greatly attenuated, thus proving that
they were part of a psychotic illness.

The point is, psychotic illnesses screw up your thinking so that you
are more likely to arrive at a false belief. A belief that changes
with antipsychotic medication is therefore a belief that was arrived
at due to a psychotic illness, hence a delusional belief (because
antipsychotics make no difference to normal reasoning). But just as a
belief arrived at through normal reasoning can be false, so a belief
that was arrived at through delusional thinking could turn out to be
true. It's just that the delusional belief is statistically less
likely to be true.

Stathis Papaioannou

More information about the extropy-chat mailing list