Less Wrong is a community blog devoted to refining the art of human rationality. Please visit our About page for more information.
This is my first discussion topic, and I expect there is a reasonable chance I am doing something wrong and will be blasted for it, but shit happens. I fully intend to stay out of the discussion and try to understand other's insights before I add my own.
My question is this:
If you have one issue that you have decided is most important, is it better to teach 10 people to think about the issue the correct way or sway 200 to vote correctly, using some of your knowledge of their biases?
To answer this, I would suggest the following assumptions:
1. There is no third option to teach them to be rational in all things, however, your rational teachings may have some small effect on their rationality in all things.
2. Either group may spread your influence to others. There may be differences between the success rate of those who think rationally about it and those who don't, as well as some possibility of their mind being changed back.
3. There may be some risk that thinking in a way to sway the larger group has some "poisoning effect" on your own biases.
4. You may consider any other effects (guilt?) on yourself and your emotional state as a result of what you decide.
5. You are nearly certain that your side is correct. It is unlikely that there is much new information yet to become available to you.
6. The issue is of moderate importance. "Winning" will result in a noticeable positive impact, but losing is not catastrophic.
7. You may make any other reasonable assumptions, or disagree with the assumptions provided, if you can support them.
I am not considering this question for any practical purposes. It is merely an interesting question that crossed my mind, and I would like to hear some rationalist opinions on it.
View more: Next