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Religion's Claim to be Non-Disprovable

Words written on paper count very well when we have a decent reason to expect that they are not utterly fabricated. The opposite is true in this case. Unless you claim this particular experiment is somehow distinct from all the other parts of the Bible which never happened.

Reasons for being rational

Try to focus on the main point in the abstract: if delusion X is low-status and rejected by experts and high-status people (even if it might be fairly widespread among the common folk), while delusion Y is instead accepted by them, so much that by asserting non-Y you risk coming off as a crackpot, should we be more worried about X or Y, in terms of both the idealistic pursuit of truth and the practical problems that follow?

Y, of course. Perhaps I should have started out by saying that while I agree that what you say is possible, I don't know if it describes the real world. Your assertion was that there are many high status delusions, but without evidence of that, all I can say is that I agree that supposed experts are not guaranteed to be correct on every point, and that it is extremely possible that they will reinforce delusions within their community.

Reasons for being rational

There are many other questions where the prevailing views of academic experts, intellectuals, and other high-status shapers of public opinion, are, in my opinion, completely delusional.

Name three?

edit: I find that he has already named three, and two heuristics for determining whether an academic field is full of bunk or not, here. I commend him on this article. While I remain unconvinced on the general strategy outlined, I now understand the sort of field he is discussing and find that, on the specifics, I tentatively agree.

I strongly recommend reading Robin Hanson's answer here.

Many modern ideological beliefs that are no less metaphysical and irrational than anything found in traditional religions can nevertheless be advertised as rational and objective -- and in turn backed and enforced by governments and other powerful institutions without violating the "separation of church and state" -- just because they don't fall under the standard definition of "religion."

Same challenge.

edit: I would still like to hear these.

Malice, Stupidity, or Egalité Irréfléchie?

Can you distinguish thoughtless egalitarianism from stupidity a little more? Stupidity seems to me to mean just that sort of thoughtlessness.

Belief in Belief vs. Internalization

Is that a knee-jerk insult pointed at religion? If so, you're the AI Professor who takes cheap shots at Republicans.

If not, apologies, I must have missed the point.

Your Rationality is My Business

Oh, I see what you mean. You're saying that there's not really any disutility created by you shunning them, and there is disutility created by having to talk to them. (I think)

I think that one should avoid penalizing another for their beliefs when other methods of persuasion are available, but did not take that to the next logical step and say "when rational methods (argument / debate / discussion) are not available, should I attempt to convert someone to my point of view anyway?"

I feel this is the question you are asking. If I am wrong, correct me. Anticipating that I am not, I will attempt to answer it thusly: "Yes, if it is truly important enough."

If, for instance, someone believes that the phenomenon of gravity is due to the flying spaghetti monster's invisible appendages holding them down, but is still willing to apply all the experimentally determined equations and does not change their life because of this belief (and especially, does not preach this belief), then the disutility this causes, aggregated over all time and all people, is probably less than the disulitity provided by what I will call active coercion (economic sanctions and the like), but probably more than the disutility provided by what I will call passive coercion (avoidance).

If they believe that, say, the Earth is 6,000 years old and floats through space on the back of a turtle, and they preach this in a manner than may convince others to agree, the aggregate disutility is probably greater than the disutility of either active or passive sanctions. (cases will, of course, vary, but I think this is likely to be true)

Anyway, that's how I think about it. I don't know etiquette here very well, but if it's considered rude to raise old threads from the dead, I'd love to continue this by email. My username at case dot edu will reach me.

Your Rationality is My Business

While I am, clearly, not Eliezer, I believe that his position as expressed would oppose such sanctions. He seems to want all players of the game to be rational, and the introduction of alternate forms of persuasion (social shunning / economic sanctions) would be an unfair advantage to his side of the argument.

A rationalist shouldn't want to win, they should want to be right. Forms of persuasion outside of pure rational argument contribute only to the first goal, not the latter.

(could be wrong, am new here)