pw201 + rationality   39

Just why can’t we atheists see that religious belief is reasonable? Some religious answers
"Why do we atheists reject religious belief, and consider it irrational? Here is a survey of some of the explanations that have been offered by the religious. They're not good. "
atheism  religion  philosophy  stephen-law  belief  rationality 
december 2015 by pw201
Imaginary Positions - Less Wrong
One I'd missed: Yudkowsky's post on rounding to the "nearest cliche".
cliche  nearest  eliezer-yudkowsky  rationality 
december 2014 by pw201
“Everything is problematic” | The McGill Daily
"Perhaps the most deeply held tenet of a certain version of anti-oppressive politics – which is by no means the only version – is that members of an oppressed group are infallible in what they say about the oppression faced by that group. ... Let me give an example. A gay person is typically much better acquainted with homophobia than a straight person. Moreover, a gay person has a much greater stake in what society does about homophobia, so their view on the matter is more important. However, there is nothing about the experience of being gay in itself that enlightens a gay person about the ethics of sexual orientation. To take a dead simple case, you don’t have to hear it from a gay person to know that homosexuality is ethically just fine."
politics  feminism  activism  culture  rationality  problematic 
december 2014 by pw201
A Parable On Obsolete Ideologies - Less Wrong
Yvain/Scott Alexander on why it might be a bad idea to continue to espouse a belief in God, the Devil and whatnot while having a sort of private understanding of what that means, even if that understanding is more palatable than the original theology.
psychology  religion  rationality  hitler 
october 2014 by pw201
Stephen Law in Stockholm 7 nov 2012 on Vimeo
Stephen Law talking to some Swedes about his "Believing Bullshit" book.
stephen-law  epistemology  rationality  philosophy  bullshit 
february 2014 by pw201
The Biggest Challenges to Staying Christian
Peter Enns asks his Christian readers for the biggest challenges to staying Christian, and then tells them to be "trans-rational". Adam Lee comments.
religion  de-conversion  christianity  atheism  peter-enns  rationality 
june 2013 by pw201
The Marvels And The Flaws Of Intuitive Thinking Edge Master Class 2011 | Conversation | Edge
The Edge also did a feature on Kahneman a while back. Here it is, with more examples of ways in which our thinking fails, but also things we can do which we're finding difficult to program computers to do.
psychology  intuition  daniel-kahneman  cognition  cognitive-bias  rationality 
november 2011 by pw201
Michael Lewis on the King of Human Error | Business | Vanity Fair
Daniel Kahneman and Amos Tversky did ground breaking work on cognitive biases: the ways in which human thinking systematically fails. Fascinating article. Via andrewducker.
psychology  rationality  bias  cognition  cognitive-bias  daniel-kahneman  amos-tversky 
november 2011 by pw201
A chapter from Law's "Believing Bullshit" about the tactic he calls "going nuclear": when the argument is going against you, blow everyone away by saying that "all arguments rest on faith" or "everything is relative" or some other such nonsense. Law anatomises the various forms of this tactic.
philosophy  rationality  argument  stephen-law  presuppositionalism 
september 2011 by pw201
Atheism isn’t a religion, but it is a brand | The Uncredible Hallq
Quotes Ian Pollock: "What you will probably not notice, however, is that increasingly when you don’t know what you think about some issue yet (say, your country’s stance on foreign affairs), you will take your cue from other self-identified conservatives, as opposed to thinking it through yourself and then describing your conclusion in political terminology. The normative self-definition has staged its coup d’etat. Whatever “conservatives” think, that is going to be your opinion. Of course, when I put it that way, it looks ridiculous. But from the inside, this process feels perfectly rational — like wisely throwing your lot in with a really smart group of people."
pseudoscience  rationality  religion  brand  atheism 
august 2011 by pw201
Worth Promoting to Its Own Post: Notes on Arguing « Whatever
"This dynamic of people asking for facts, or at least data, beyond the anecdotal, is in itself non-partisan; implications otherwise are a form of ad hominem argument which is generally not relevant to the discussion at hand."
argument  rationality 
august 2011 by pw201
The Reason We Reason | Wired Science |
"new theory of reasoning put forth by Hugo Mercier and Dan Sperber. In essence, they argue that human reason has nothing to do with finding the truth, or locating the best alternative. Instead, it’s all about being able to argue with others" And that's why we have confirmation bias. There's some dialogue in the comments about how it's not as hopeless as it may sound.
science  psychology  research  cognition  rationality  brain  bias 
may 2011 by pw201
The Science of Why We Don't Believe Science | Mother Jones
"How our brains fool us on climate, creationism, and the vaccine-autism link." Amusing for the number of comments which say "But vaccines really do cause autism" etc. etc.
science  psychology  belief  neuroscience  rationality  bias 
april 2011 by pw201
Stop Being Wrong: A Moral Imperative
C.S. Lewis wrote that "You would not call a man humane for ceasing to set mousetraps if he did so because he believed there were no mice in the house." Wrongbot points out that to behave ethically one must have correct beliefs as well as the right theory of normative ethics.
ethics  philosophy  rationality  morality  wrongbot  c.s.-lewis 
march 2011 by pw201
LessWrong - RationalWiki
What's wrong with Less Wrong, from RationalWiki. I didn't know about the Roko stuff, for example, which seems pretty bizarre. Always useful to see criticism to counteract my fanboy tendencies.
lesswrong  eliezer-yudkowsky  rationality  bayesian  bayes  artificial-intelligence  ai 
january 2011 by pw201
Verbal Judo: Diffusing Conflict Through Conversation
An ex-English Professor and ex-Cop, George Thompson, who now teaches a method he calls "Verbal Judo", a primer on communications techniques, focusing on defensive & redirection tactics. This is a link to the Less Wrong thread where there's a comment giving a summary, though the video is good too (but long, as 1:30).
language  psychology  rationality  video  lectures  negotiation  persuasion 
august 2010 by pw201
On Self-Delusion and Bounded Rationality
or "Flowers for Carl Sagan", or something. A short story on whether it's always a good idea to know the truth.
psychology  rationalism  rationality  philosophy  reason  science  fiction  humour 
july 2010 by pw201
Common Sense Atheism » Am I Sexist? (index)
Link to a series of posts: Luke at Common Sense Atheism put up a fairly crass "15 sexy scientists" post with pictures of said scientists (the scientists were all women, with the exception of PZ Myers). He got quite a strong reaction, especially over at Pharyngula (Myers's blog), read some Martha Nussbaum and eventually apologised and took down the posting.

Of note: for all that the atheists at Pharyngula tend to regard Christians as irrational, they aren't too keen on rationality when someone applies it to a domain where they mostly navigate by strong religious convictions (feminism, in this case). Luke initially seems hopelessly naive but ultimately finds the right answer and knows why it's right, which seems better than being cowed by yelling. Well done to him for publicly changing his mind.
rationality  feminism  sex  objectification  martha-nussbaum  philosophy  ethics  morality  sexism 
july 2010 by pw201
The bright side of wrong - The Boston Globe
Article which argues that cognitive biases may be the price we pay for being able to jump to probable conclusions.
psychology  neuroscience  cognition  rationality  cognitive-bias 
june 2010 by pw201
You Are Not So Smart
Blog recommendation. Journalist David McRaney writes about cognitive biases and whatnot in a straightforward and funny way.
psychology  science  blog  cognition  cognitive-bias  rationality 
june 2010 by pw201
Less Wrong: Undiscriminating Skepticism
"Since it can be cheap and easy to attack everything your tribe doesn't believe, you shouldn't trust the rationality of just anyone who slams astrology and creationism; these beliefs aren't just false, they're also non-tribal among educated audiences. Test what happens when a "skeptic" argues for a non-tribal belief, or argues against a tribal belief, before you decide they're good general rationalists."
culture  rationality  scepticism  eliezer-yudkowsky 
march 2010 by pw201
Aretae: Cognitive Antivirus
"Suppose that you are a bear of very little brain, or perhaps an average human on the street, of nearly average proportions, intellect, and character. What is the best thing you can do, belief-wise, in order to make your life better. I am beginning to believe that you should believe in your parents' God, and go to church on Sundays. God and tradition are perhaps the best and strongest way to avoid believing really stupid stuff that could actually mess up your life, or others' lives." Via the Less Wrong threads on undiscriminating scepticism.
religion  epistemology  rationality  cognitive-bias 
march 2010 by pw201
Meta-Atheism: Religious Avowal as Self-Deception
Georges Rey:"I find myself taking seriously the following hypothesis, which (for lack of a better name) I call meta-atheism: Despite appearances, many Western adults who’ve been exposed to standard science and sincerely claim to believe in God are self-deceived; at some level they believe the claim is false." Shades of Yudkowsky's stuff about the invisible dragon and the people who know in advance what excuses to make for its absence: in what sense do they believe there's a dragon?
atheism  rationality  religion  meta-atheism  avowal  psychology 
march 2010 by pw201
Fallacies on fallacies : Evolving Thoughts
"Appeal to authority is not fallacious, so long as the authority cited is relevant and reliable. A principle known as the division of cognitive labor (I think due to Hilary Putnam) suggests that we literally must rely on authorities in the absence of time, resources and cognitive capacities to rerun all experiments and observations since the beginnings of science and history."
logic  fallacy  appeal  authority  putnam  philosophy  rationality 
february 2010 by pw201
Sceptics Beware: The Dangers of Debunking
When debunking popular but false information, it's better not to present the false information over again, as you just re-enforce the availability bias of the false information.
rationality  cognitive-bias  debunking  availability 
february 2010 by pw201
Why reject miracles? (Irrational Rationalist)
An attempt at formulating the argument in a way which doesn't beg the question, and some talk about what Hume actually meant.
hume  miracles  philosophy  religion  rationality 
february 2010 by pw201
Colin Marshall talks to economist, blogger and rationalist Robin Hanson
"Robin Hanson is a professor of economics at George Mason University, research associate at Oxford’s Future of Humanity Institute and chief scientist at Consensus Point. He’s also the thinker behind Overcoming Bias, a popular blog about issues of honesty, signaling, disagreement, forecasting and the far future, around which a large rationality-centric community has developed on the internet."
rationality  signalling  robin-hanson  overcoming-bias  economics 
february 2010 by pw201
The Loitering Presence of the Rational ­Actor
A review of "The Bounds of Reason: Game Theory and the Unification of the Behavioral Sciences" by Herbert Gintis. The reviewer goes into examples of where human behaviour deviates from economists' ideas of rationality.
rationality  economics  cognitive-bias  game-theory  prisoners-dilemma 
november 2009 by pw201
Atheism, Reason, and Morality: Responding to Some Popular Christian Apologetics
D Gene Witmer on how best to response to Christian presuppositionalists. I ran into one of them online recently, which was fun.
religion  presuppositionalism  apologetics  christianity  philosophy  rationality  logic  induction  morality  filetype:pdf  media:document 
october 2009 by pw201
Pancritical Rationalism
Yummy yummy epistemology: something for me to read later, linked from comments on autopope's LJ.
philosophy  epistemology  rationality  rationalism 
august 2009 by pw201
The Logic of Life by Tim Harford
Great Google Talk by Tim Harford, author of "The Logic of Life" and "The Undercover Economist". We're apparently more rational than we might think we are.
books  economics  video  sex  dating  crime  rationality 
february 2008 by pw201
Three Chick Flicks and Their Unintended Message
It's OK for women to cheat if your male partner is a bit dull.
culture  funny  movies  film  psychology  rationality  women  society  marriage  Sex 
july 2007 by pw201
On Reason
Religious intellectuals in Iran are striving to redefine the relationship between reason and revelation, and, despite Pope Benedict's belief to the contrary, consider Islam to consist precisely of multiple interpretations, writes Abdolkarim Soroush. Reaso
philosophy  religion  rationality  reason  islam 
june 2007 by pw201
Taking Sides in the Recent Religion Debates
Many of these criticisms seem to me to fall roughly into three broad categories, each of which I'd like to examine a little more below:

1. These views of religion themselves exhibit a sort of fervid faith (in rationality, in science, etc.).
2. T
atheism  religion  dawkins  harris  dennett  rationality  eagleton  orr 
april 2007 by pw201

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