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Cultish Countercultishness

I know this one is very old, but it deserves an answer. Yes. Frenology. Some time ago, a bit before Bram Stoker wrote Dracula, some fisiologists noticed that regular use of specific parts of the brain leads to a change (swelling, I think) of that part. A dead pianist would have a huger part associated with manual dexterity and rithm, for example. They also believed this change in the cerebral tissue was enough to affect the skull, so that they could tell a person's personality/habilities/preferences/etc by measuring the relative size of parts of their skulls.

And they were, as far as I know, very rational about it. Their experiments and bookkeeping are actually examples of excelence in those areas. It's just that the base theory was rubbish.

The Least Convenient Possible World

It does. It just doesn't if you accept the premise that intelligence is, in and of itself, good (and murder is not). I accept that premise, of course, and your assertion that it was not intended to be generalized as such. But still, within the framework of this hipothetical world, that simply cannot be true. In fact, it cannot be relevant. It is not a moral question at all; more of an utility vs principles thing.

In the original Pascal's Wager, as I recall, false (outwardly) adoration does score you points. I seem to recall him saying that "at least you wouldn't be corrupting the youths" and "you may become convinced by habit", at least. So yeah, I would try my best (and probably fail) to aquire that reward, if it was shown to be worth it. On the other hand, on such a world, it probably would not. Heaven for the weather, Hell for the company, et al.