Lecturing congressmen on cognitive biases

by Apprentice1 min read4th Oct 20113 comments

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A new session of Iceland's parliament convened on Saturday, opening with a religious service as is traditional. For the last couple of years, a local humanist group has offered alternatives to the religious ceremony. On Saturday they had a psychologist give a lecture on cognitive biases, principally on confirmation bias and the availability heuristic. This was attended by 13 out of 63 members of parliament. (Source in Icelandic).

I'm more pro-religion than most people who read Less Wrong and I am generally not excited about atheist activism. This, however, struck me as a good idea.

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[-][anonymous]10y 7

The first thing that comes to my mind is Eliezer's Knowing About Biases Can Hurt People in the sequences. So in this case we risk only giving the politicians a better weapon to attack their opponents instead of a tool to find the truth.

It would seem like almost any tool of effective reasoning could be harmful in this respect. Does this mean we should discourage politicians from obtaining any such knowledge? It seems there already is a strong selection filter against politicians that exhibit such skills; I would have naively thought this is a bad thing for rationality and humanity in general.

No, it means Eliezer should be giving the lecture.