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dxu comments on Politics is the Mind-Killer - Less Wrong

72 Post author: Eliezer_Yudkowsky 18 February 2007 09:23PM

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Comment author: dxu 27 March 2015 09:36:23PM *  2 points [-]

I think you are seriously misinterpreting thomblake's comment.

So, if you were defending Jews in 1930s Germany, by this "reasoning," you'd be wrong. If you were defending runaway slaves in 1850s America, same thing. If you are defending American prisoners in today's America, same thing.

No, he'd be right. A position's popularity doesn't guarantee its correctness. That being said, it would be a mistake to claim he'd be obviously right; that just isn't the case, or else there wouldn't have been so many people arguing for the consensus position in the first place. If you are pro-abortion and say things like, "Anti-abortionists are stupid and mistaken and not worth listening to at all!" you aren't worth listening to, because odds are very likely you haven't taken the time to properly think about the anti-abortionists' position. Likewise if you are anti-abortion, and say things like, "Pro-abortionists are idiots; there's no way a well-meaning, intelligent person could be in favor of abortion!"

Even a semi-literate reading of History shows us that the consensus is very often wrong

Again, see above. The consensus may be very often wrong, but it cannot be obviously wrong. If a consensus position was obviously wrong, it wouldn't have become the consensus position in the first place. Arguments against the consensus position are perfectly fine as long as they are charitable and (reasonably) objective; arguments of the form "this is obviously stupid" are a major sign of mind-killing, and factually false.