The real problem is the phrase "the skill of taking ideas seriously" - by which they do not mean "can deftly sling remarkable quantities of hypotheticals and work out what they would imply", but "being moved to action by the ideas."

The trouble is that there is a name for this in the normal world - it is the defect of "gullibility" or "being easily led".

If CFAR selects for people prone to this defect - it really, really isn't a "skill" - you will be actively selecting for people who will add 2+2+2 ... and get 666.

This may be a problem.

[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!"