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Jiro 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: Jiro 28 March 2015 08:37:59AM *  0 points [-]

If you do not understand how an intelligent, well-meaning person can have a position, and it's a position that lots of people actually hold, then you do not understand the position yet.

Unless "I think the intelligent, well-meaning person is making an error due to cognitive bias, ignorance, or being lied to" counts as understanding them, I do not understand how an intelligent, well-meaning, person can believe in

-- homeopathy

-- The US political version of intelligent design

-- 9/11 conspiracy theories

These are positions that lots of people actually hold. Do I fail to understand these positions?

Comment author: thomblake 15 July 2015 08:13:02PM 0 points [-]

Indeed, understanding the particular error in reasoning that the person is making is not merely sufficient but necessary for fully understanding a mistaken position. However, if your entire understanding is "because bias somehow" then you don't actually understand.

And you should be careful about accepting the uncharitable explanation preemptively, as it's rather tempting to explain away other people's beliefs and arguments that way.