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Morendil comments on What is Bayesianism? - Less Wrong

81 Post author: Kaj_Sotala 26 February 2010 07:43AM

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Comment author: Morendil 28 February 2010 10:32:50AM *  12 points [-]

"Not silencing skeptical inquiry" is a great-sounding applause light

The main issue with it has been noted multiple times by people like Dawkins: there is an effort asymmetry between plucking a false but slightly believable theory out of thin air, and actually refuting that same theory. Making shit up takes very little effort, while rationally refuting random made-up shit takes the same effort as rationally refuting theories whose refutation yields actual intellectual value. Creationists can open a hundred false arguments at very little intellectual cost, and if they are dismissed out of hand by the scientific establishment they get to cry "suppression of skeptical inquiry".

This feels related to pjeby's recent comments about curiosity. The mere feeling that "there's something odd going on here", followed by the insistence that other people should inquire into the odd phenomenon, isn't valid curiosity. That's only ersatz curiosity. Real curiosity is what ends up with you actually constructing a refutable hypothesis, and subjecting it to at least the kind of test that a random person from the Internet would perform - before actually publishing your hypothesis, and insisting that others should consider it carefully.

Inflicting random damage on other people's belief networks isn't promoting "skeptical inquiry", it's the intellectual analogue of terrorism.

Comment author: ciphergoth 28 February 2010 10:48:45AM 5 points [-]

the intellectual analogue of terrorism.

I like this comment lots, but I think this comparison is inadvisable hyperbole.

Comment author: Morendil 28 February 2010 11:42:55AM 4 points [-]

Perhaps "asymmetric warfare" would be a better term than "terrorism". More general, and without the connotations which I agree make that last line something of an exaggeration.