Pseudonymous2

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Rational vs. Scientific Ev-Psych

Well, fine, but I bet it's still true.

I bet your mother was older than you and had therefore had more time to learn not to do daft things such as keep re-searching the refrigerator from exactly the same angle.

But there is no such thing as a theory of age related psychology* to bring that explanation to mind, and would not have been a very flattering theory to come up with.

*Perhaps there should be.

Guardians of the Truth

"The Inquisition thought they had the truth! Clearly this 'truth' business is dangerous."

The Inquisition was not that unusual. Religious and political loyalties tended to be quite entwined, so most states discriminated against believers in the wrong religion, sometimes banning such religions entirely. This naturally led to people carrying on the old (or new) beliefs in secret.

So the Inquisition was empowered to go looking for those secret heretics.

There were large, bloody and religiously inspired wars in Britain, France and Germany, to name but three.

There were none in Spain or Portugal, so perhaps the Inquisition did more good than you think.

Avoiding Your Belief's Real Weak Points

To do better find someone smart who disagrees with you. He'll do a much better job of questioning your beliefs than you ever will.

Better still, find many such people.

Availability

I imagine it is a lot easier to avoid an accident than avoid most modern diseases eg cancer. So it make sense to concentrate on the risks you can do most about.

people refuse to buy flood insurance even when it is heavily subsidized and priced far below an actuarially fair value.

How do they know it is heavily subsidized and priced far below an actuarially fair value?

Is it worth going to all the trouble of finding out?

Belief as Attire

Ignorance. I may think I understand their minds, but that does not prove that I do understand their minds.

All you know is that you have a mental model of their minds which seems credible to you. Have you tested this model, and if so, how?

All I am reasonably sure of is that they did not see their act as evil and cowardly. Doubtless the same was true of Jack the Ripper and the Boston Strangler, but that tells me nothing about the differences between them and everyone else. After all, I only think that is true of them is because it seems to be true of most people.

It is really just an assumption.

Bayesian Judo

That was cruel. Fun, but cruel.

A woman who had stood nearby, listening to the conversation, said to me gravely, "That was beautiful."

And people wonder why men argue so often.