Meetup #42 - Ideological Turing Test


It's been said before that your personal habits of thoughts may be in large part influenced by the way you conduct conversations. The machinery underlying these might just be the same. If you're embedded in a culture that has good epistemic norms for conversations, your thoughts might also become of a higher quality.

It's been said before that most disagreement stems from a failure to properly operationalize what you're talking about. That is, we often assume that we understand what our conversational partner is saying, while we also think that they don't understand what we are saying. This is possible, but it's much more likely that we don't actually understand what they are saying.

It's been said before that we rationalists should overcome our hubris, actually venture out into the world and try to understand what people of other cultures are actually saying before we assume that they're just dumb. It's been said before that pretty much every ideology is right about something, and has something to teach, even if they're broadly misguided.

And I'd like to add that 99% of our knowledge comes from taking ideas from other people, and only 1% comes from our own experience and reasoning, and so if you would like to expand your understanding of the world, as long as there are still cultures/ideologies/thinkers that you d̶i̶s̶a̶g̶r̶e̶e̶ ̶w̶i̶t̶h̶ don't understand, the fastest way to learn about the world is to leave your armchair and figure out what they are really saying.

The last few meetups have mostly been about group epistemics. We shouldn't leave out the most important technique, which is the Ideological Turing Test (ITT).

ITT is very simple. Let's say you have an opinion. Instead of assuming that I know what you're talking about, I explain the opinion to you in my own words. Then you tell me if I've actually understood it. If you tell me I didn't understood it, I humbly conclude that I did not, in fact, understood it, and I commit to actually understanding it.

It is the golden standard of group epistemics, and it's the answer to universe, the life, and everything ;)