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Re: the Emperor's New Clothes story. In modern America, people don't pay sincere attention to the little boy telling the truth, they just jeer at his obvious stupidity in not understanding that the Emperor is wearing a higher form of clothing that only sophisticates like themselves can see. What really causes a furor, however, is when somebody clearly more sophisticated than everybody else says the same thing as the little boy: see the abrupt end to the jobs of Larry Summers and James Watson for examples.

Flying saucer cultism was helped along by secret Cold War technological advances that were accidentally witnessed by civilians.

For example, the famous 1947 Roswell incident was the crashing of an American strategic reconnaissance super-balloon that was supposed to float over the Soviet Union and snap pictures, which would then be recovered many thousands of miles away. That's why it was made out of the latest high-tech materials that were unfamiliar to people in small town New Mexico in 1947.

The KGB used to generate flying saucer stories in Latin America to discredit actual sightings of the re-entry of a Soviet "partial-orbit" missile that was being tested in order to allow a surprise attack on the U.S. from the South (the NORAD radar assumed a Soviet attack would come over the Arctic). KGB agents in Latin America would phone in flying saucer reports to newspapers to make honest witnesses of the Soviet missile test look like lunatics.

We use Occam's Razor because it has tended to work better than Occam's Butterknife.

What's so complicated about that?

Also, please, can we stop equating "race" and "skin color"? Haven't you ever seen an African albino? Being white in skin color doesn't make him white racially.

Or consider the famous golfer Vijay Singh, who of South Asian origin and was born on Fiji. He is darker than the average African-American (but has Caucasian features). He is never, ever considered to be racially black or African-American in America. Never. You can make up a list of other dark-skinned people who aren't considered black in America, such as pundits Dinesh D'Souza and Ramesh Ponnuru.

Race is about ancestry.

Different societies have different ways to deal with the inevitable complexities of genealogy in assigning people to races, but they are genealogy-based, not skin color based.

People care about race because race is about who your blood relatives are, and who, to some extent, your descendants will be.

A racial group can best be defined as an extended family that has more coherence and cohesiveness than a typical extended family because it is partly-inbred.

So, that's why people care so much.

I think you are accepting the advertising hooey of martial arts dojos too much at face value. Most people don't take martial arts for all the abstracted reasons that appear in the brochures, but because they want to feel they can win fights with other people.

Similarly, people don't want to learn how to be rational for the sake of being rational. Instead, you have to sell rationality for more human ends, such as being able to win arguments, or make money, or understand a particular field such as baseball statistics. You can learn a lot of general lessons about rationality from reading Bill James on baseball statistics, but it's not very exciting to study rationality for the sake of being rational.