Some beliefs seem to naively imply radical and dangerous actions. But there often are rational reasons to not act on those beliefs. Knowing those reasons is really important for those that don't have a natural defense mechanism.
Most people have a natural defense mechanism which is to not taking ideas seriously. If you just follow what others do, it's less likely that an error in your explicit reasoning will lead you to doing something radical and dangerous. The more likely you are to make such errors, the most (evolutionary and individually) advantageous it is for you to have a conformist instinct.
The answer to this question is mostly meant for people to which I want to share ideas that are dangerous if taken at face value / object-level (I want to make sure they have those defense mechanisms first; I encourage you do the same, and do your due diligences when discussing dangerous ideas; this post is not sufficient). I want to advocate to smart people to take ideas more seriously, but I don't want them to fully repress their conformist instincts, especially if they haven't built in explicit defense mechanisms. This post should also be useful for people already not having those defense mechanism. And also useful to people that want to better understand the function of conformity (although conformity is not the only defense mechanism).
Note that the defense mechanisms are not meant as fully general counterargument. They are not insurmontable (at least, not always), they just indicate when it's prudent to want more evidence.
As a small tangent, is also often has a positive externality to do exploration:
Like it’s rational for any individual to be pursuing much more heavily exploitation based strategy as long as someone somewhere else is creating the information and part of what I find kind of charming and counterintuitive about this is that you realize people who are very exploratory by nature are performing a public service. (source: Computersciencealgorithmstacklefundamentalanduniversalproblems.Cantheyhelpuslivebetter,oristhatafalse hope?)
I will post my answer below.
This depends a lot on the actions (and the world). If few people think cryonics will work out, but you do it anyway...oh no! You might live longer!
Some actions don't seem dangerous.
If few people think the spread of disease can be reduced by washing hands, but you're in charge of the hospital, and you make people do it, and see that the rate of patients dying (or getting sick) drops enormously, then why not continue? Why not roll it out to t... (read more)