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CarlShulman comments on The ethic of hand-washing and community epistemic practice - Less Wrong

44 Post author: AnnaSalamon 05 March 2009 04:28AM

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Comment author: CarlShulman 05 March 2009 07:30:25AM 8 points [-]

Norms to protect against consistency and commitment pressures would be very valuable. One possible mechanism would be to make public 'Red Team' analyses: designate a forum where you will present the strongest case you can against one of your favored ideas, along these lines:


This could be improved with rewards for success, which the speaker could provide herself using a mechanism like http://www.stickk.com/

With respect to religion, here's some support for the vertical versus horizontal spread idea:

Catholicism-celibate priests, early spread by evangelization. Buddhism-celibate monks, early spread by evangelization. Islam-polygamy for believers, early spread by evangelization and violence, with capture of women for followers. Judaism-priests and rabbis marry, tribal religion Hinduism-contains vast diversity, but religious leaders have generally married, generally the religion is inherited and does not seek converts

Comment author: AnnaSalamon 06 March 2009 02:33:34AM *  2 points [-]

Carl, that sounds like it could be really useful for increasing the rate of alternate idea-generation and of idea-shift.

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Comment deleted 08 March 2009 12:35:41AM [-]
Comment author: Johnicholas 05 March 2009 02:49:12PM *  1 point [-]

I am concerned that "taking sides", even self-consciously taking the "opposite" side, might lead to polarization and emotional attachment to factual beliefs.

However, I agree that the idea of red-teaming is interesting and should be tried, as part of an effort to develop some rationalist community best practices.

Comment author: CarlShulman 05 March 2009 06:14:31PM 3 points [-]

Yes this is a good point, one that Hopefully Anonymous correctly raises frequently. Rather, one should defend a point of view one rejects or has not considered, not specifically the reversal of one's current view.