A further exercise (maybe especially for children/beginners) — each student is to make up a new word. The made-up word must refer to something (real or imaginary) that does not have any specific name in the English language (or in whatever language is the working language of the group. (Examples of possible new words: "Flonk — that portion of the back of the human hand which does not contain any of the fingers" "Wedlaw — a term for the kinship relation between two people whose former spouses have married each other" "Spup — an imaginary creature with the head of a snake and the body of a puppy.") Each student then gets 30 to 60 seconds to teach the rest of the class his/her new word (and its meaning) without ever verbally defining the new word. (For example: you can draw a "spup" on the blackboard, you can outline/caress the "flonk" of one hand with the index-finger of your other hand, or you can state that two particular people in the group are "wedlaws.") After explaining the new word in this way, each student then asks the group /a/ to provide/state/draw examples of who/what would NOT be a "spup" (or a "wedlaw" or a "flonk" or whatever) and /b/ to state in each case "What indicates that this drawing is NOT of a spup?" (or "What shows that what you're pointing to isn't a flonk?" or "How do I know that my mother is NOT the wedlaw of any of her in-laws or other identifiable relatives?" After each such "vocabulary lesson," each student then gets 2 to 5 minutes to ask the rest of the class to define the word they have just learned. The "vocabulary teacher"-of-the-moment then grades each answer for accuracy and asks what could have been done to prevent error ŵithout ever actually giving a verbal definition of the word.
Another proposed exercise: Split up the group into pairs, and give each pair two minutes to identify some issue or premise on which they disagree (it could be "is there a God?" or "is banning cigarettes a good idea?" or "are kittens cute?" or "should people be vegetarians?"— it could be anything.) Once the issue is identified, each participant gets five minutes to prove (to his/her partner) the OPPOSITE of his/her own actual belief (e.g., if you think there is a God, and your partner doesn't, you have to make a case for atheism, and then your partner has to make a case for theism) — after which, each person has to rate his/her partner on the following: "How close did my partner come to representing, in detail, MY OWN actual views?" (For instance: if you were the theist arguing atheism, you have to rate how accurately/specifically your partner — the atheism arguing theism — represented your own actual position as a theist.)
I agree with fubarobfusco's refinements — maybe as intermediate/advanced levels, to add after the basic exercise.
Possible exercise: Assume that you have no source of income except what you can beg, steal, or find ownerless/abandoned. Assume that you have a friend in similar straits (we'll call this person Paul Poor), and that both you and Paul know of a very wealthy person (whom we'll call Richard Rich). One day, you find — apparently abandoned in the street — a loaded gun. Think of various reasons for you to use the loaded gun to force Richard to give money to Paul. Which of these reasons are non-consequentialist, and why? Now think of various reasons for you to NOT use the loaded gun to force Richard to give money to Paul. Which of these reasons are non-consequentialist, and why? Next step: think of various reasons to use the gun to force Richard to give money to you. Which of these reasons are non-consequentialist, and why? Finally: think of various reasons NOT to use the gun to force Richard to give money to you. Which of these reasons are non-consequentialist, and why? In case you use this as an exercise, and/or wish to contact me for any reason, my name is Kate Gladstone and my e-mail address is email@example.com
To prevent the description from describing rounders, add something like "popular among American men."
Further: A selfish person is (by definition) one who does what s/he believes is in his or her self-interest. One can brlieve "It's in my self-interest to argue passionately against the irrational" — perhaps for the very reasons that Yudkowsky (correctly) gives. Therefore, it is possible for a selfish person to argue passionately against the irrational — in fsct, if the selfish person brlieves (like Yudkowsky and me) that defeating unreason makes this a better universe for him/herself to live in, then such a selfish person will join the fray and argue passionately against unreason.
Gordon, High Pontiff of the First And Last Temple of Greenism, gasps — but then he remembers the first paragraph of the Greenist Catechism: "Tell the truth always, for the Blue Devil is the Father of Lies. Truth is good, because God the Green commands it. Lying and hypocrisy — living by untruth, yet seeming truthful by all outward signs , and benefiting richly thereby — are the ways of the Blues and of their father the Devil." The God of Greenism, the Father of Truth, has lost Gordon's allegiance. Gordon, now inwardly Blue, joyfully returns to his luxurious suite in the Temple, where he prepares his next sermon: "The Sky IS Green" and plans other ways to inspire his devout, trusting followers to revive the ancient Anti-Blue Crusades.