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Andrew22 comments on No One Knows What Science Doesn't Know - Less Wrong

38 Post author: Eliezer_Yudkowsky 25 October 2007 11:47PM

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Comment author: Andrew22 26 October 2007 03:59:22PM 2 points [-]

The allure of the incompletely understood has something to do with wonder. The state of being curious gives me a nice warm fuzzy feeling inside that goes away when the curiosity eliminates itself. Assuming that others experience this as well, perhaps it is an evolutionary incentive to explore--to do some original seeing. This seems appropriate in the ancestral environment where, as you point out, going out and learning something new benefits the whole tribe.

In today's environment, however, most novel knowledge accessible to the average person is essentially trivial. If it were important and easy enough to learn, someone would already have found it. So people find ways to push their warm-fuzzy buttons by contemplating the implications of knowledge they don't really understand, such as quantum mechanics. This is then just a candy bar or a supermodel--a superstimulus.