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Vladimir_Nesov comments on Raising the Sanity Waterline - Less Wrong

114 Post author: Eliezer_Yudkowsky 12 March 2009 04:28AM

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Comment author: Vladimir_Nesov 13 March 2009 01:01:33AM 2 points [-]

If you are religious because your whole tribe believes in the spirits seen by Shaman Bob and has indoctrinated you from birth, you are not insane at all, you are a typical human.

The point is that a typical contemporary human is insane. The problem doesn't go away if everyone is suffering from it. Death is still bad even if everyone dies, and believing in nonsense is still insane, even if everyone bends to some reason to do so.

Comment author: HughRistik 13 March 2009 10:06:32PM *  6 points [-]

Yes, there is a "problem" that everyone is suffering from. But the problem is stupidity, not insanity. There is no reasonable basis to assign insanity to typical contemporary humans just because their brains can't achieve the rationality that a minority of human brains can, unless someone actually has some arguments showing some brain malfunction.

Believing in nonsense is not at all insane if your brain is hardwired to be biased towards certain types of nonsense, or if you aren't smart enough to figure out that you are encountering nonsense. And this is exactly how normal human beings are.

The normal, healthy, and sane functioning of typical contemporary human brains is to be susceptible to certain biases. That's the whole thesis of Overcoming Bias. The sooner that we atypical rationalists get used to this, the better, because myopically characterizing bias as insanity will disguise the fact that one of the biggest threats to rationality is certain perfectly healthy processes in the typical human brain.

Comment author: Eliezer_Yudkowsky 13 March 2009 10:07:22PM 14 points [-]

Taboo "sane". "Neurotypical" might be a good substitute.