2) How does one affect the process of increasing the rationality of people who are not ostensibly interested in objective reasoning and people who claim to be interested but are in fact attached to their biases?
I find that question interesting because it is plain that the general capacity for rationality in a society can be improved over time. Once almost no one understood the concept of a bell curve or a standard deviation, but now the average person has a basic understanding of how these concepts apply to the real world.
It seems to me that we really are faced with the challenge of explaining the value of empirical analysis and objective reasoning to much of the world. Today the Middle East is hostile towards reason though they presumably don't have to be this way.
So again, my question is how do more rational people affect the reasoning capacity in less rational people, including those hostile towards rationality?
I have questions. You say we must have one question per comment. So, I will have to make multitple posts.
1) Is there a domain where rational analysis does not apply?
I am FeministX of FeministX.blogspot.com. I found this blog after Eliezer commented on my site. While my online name is FeministX, I am not a traditional feminist, and many of my intellectual interests lie outside of feminism.
Lately I am interestedin learning more about the genetic and biological basis for individual and group behavior. I am also interested in cryonics and transhumanism. I guess this makes me H+BD.
I am a rationalist by temperament and ideology. Why am I a rationalist? To ask is to answer the question. A person who wishes to accurately comprehend the merits of a rationalist perspective is already a rationalist. It's a deeply ingrained thinking style which has grown with me since the later days of my childhood.
I invite you all to read my blog. I can almost guarenteee that you will like it. My awesomeness is reliably appealing. (And I'm not so hard on the eyes either :) )
"I think I don't hear it from my male classmates because they aren't alert to this need. I would be pleased to hear one of them acknowledge it."
Why do you feel there is a need for more female philosophy students in your department?
Cyan, the poster Larks wrote that response. I had not read that post before I made the comment.
Eliezer says that authority is not 100% irrelevent in an argument. I think this is true because 100% of reliance on authority can't ordinarily be removed. Unless the issue is pure math or directly observable phenomena. But removal of reliance on a particular individual's authority/competence/biological state etc. is one the first steps in achieving objective rationality.
"This is a bit strong: a more reasonable interpritation is that women are simply much less capable or liable to discern the truth than men."
That's not an argument against anyone even if it is true. The relative liklihood of one person vs another arriving at a correct outcome is irrelevant when you see the actual argument and conclusion before you. At that point, you must evaluate only on the merits of the argument and the conclusion.
Secondly, that's not a reasonable interpretation because it is too vague to determine whether it is true or not. Less capable or reliable on average? At the extreme ends of capability? Less capable or reliable in what percentage of endeavors? What kind of endeavors?
"What I'm saying is that you should make sure you're right before calling other people wrong lest you be a hypocrite just like them.
I would not define this behavior as hypocrisy. Being wrong does not make an accusation of a logical fallacy erroneous, nor does it make it hypocritical. And being wrong does not mean the opponent is correct, so calling them wrong is truthful and perhaps a demostration of superior rationality.
What I call hypocrisy is relying on the very logical error you accuse another person of when you accuse them. The merit of the ultimate conclusion is not what I am discussing. I am only referring to the argumentation.
"Did I miss anything important?"
Yeah. Maybe the observation is false to begin with. I doubt high status people are less intelligent. We just expect more from them because we are supposed to be able to look up to them. They are probably intelligent people who are no more intelligent than other low status intelligent people. They disappoint us because they are only as smart, not more smart, when compared to others of the same IQ level.