One thing I've noticed is that in nearly any controversy where the adherents of the heterodox position show signs of basic mental stability, the arguments for heterodoxy are stronger than the arguments for orthodoxy.

Is this true? A priori I could see this go either way, and my personal experiences don't add much evidence here (I can't recall many controversies where I've probed deeply enough to conclusively weigh orthodoxy against heterodoxy).

A weaker statement I'm more sure of: the arguments for orthodoxy one hears from most people are weaker than the ... (read more)

Of course, this means the supporters of orthodoxy are in the worst position to judge when they should be updating their position based on new evidence.

[LINK] Why taking ideas seriously is probably a bad thing to do

by David_Gerard 1 min read5th Jan 201343 comments


Yvain's blog: Epistemic learned helplessness.

A friend in business recently complained about his hiring pool, saying that he couldn't find people with the basic skill of believing arguments. That is, if you have a valid argument for something, then you should accept the conclusion. Even if the conclusion is unpopular, or inconvenient, or you don't like it. He told me a good portion of the point of CfAR was to either find or create people who would believe something after it had been proven to them.

And I nodded my head, because it sounded reasonable enough, and it wasn't until a few hours later that I thought about it again and went "Wait, no, that would be the worst idea ever."

I don't think I'm overselling myself too much to expect that I could argue circles around the average high school dropout. Like I mean that on almost any topic, given almost any position, I could totally demolish her and make her look like an idiot. Reduce her to some form of "Look, everything you say fits together and I can't explain why you're wrong, I just know you are!" Or, more plausibly, "Shut up I don't want to talk about this!"