Many people only start to grow as a rationalist when they find something that they care about more than they care about rationality itself. It takes something really scary to cause you to override your intuitions with math.
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This post is part of the Rerunning the Sequences series, where we'll be going through Eliezer Yudkowsky's old posts in order so that people who are interested can (re-)read and discuss them. The previous post was Trust in Bayes, and you can use the sequence_reruns tag or rss feed to follow the rest of the series.
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