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Comment author: nazgulnarsil3 26 January 2009 06:17:17AM 6 points [-]

but an eden with a reversible escape option is surely better than an eden with a non-reversible escape option yes?

Comment author: Rinon 06 August 2012 03:24:00PM 3 points [-]

Most religions believe that the escape option is reversible - otherwise there wouldn't be much point.

In response to comment by Silas on Belief as Attire
Comment author: pnrjulius 14 April 2012 09:08:43PM 3 points [-]

I think actually you're a bit confused about the difference between instrumental virtues, like courage, and inherent virtues, like benevolence. (Which list "rationality" goes on is actually a tricky one for me. In a certain sense, Stalin seems terrifyingly rational.)

I guess we could talk about "intellectual courage" versus "physical courage" or something like that, and your argument is that these men were not intellectually courageous. But usually when people say "courage" simpliciter, they mean a willingness to act in spite of a high risk of pain and death. And this the hijackers definitely had!

Indeed, there's something truly terrifying about the Al Qaeda hijackers: They were mostly right about their moral values. They were altruistic, courageous, devoted to duty. It's only this very small deviation---"maximize deference to Islam" instead of "maximize human happiness"---that made them do such terrible things.

This also meshes with what we know about the Milgram and Zimbardo experiments; quite ordinary people, if convinced that they are acting toward a higher moral purpose, will often do horrific things. The average Nazi was not a psychopath, not a madman; he believed that what he was doing was right. And this should be the most chilling fact of all.

In response to comment by pnrjulius on Belief as Attire
Comment author: Rinon 09 July 2012 02:05:32PM 1 point [-]

I suspect that the Muslim hijackers, in a strange way, thought they were maximizing human happiness by removing Americans from the world.

Comment author: RobinHanson 14 December 2007 01:16:30AM 4 points [-]

Sometimes people attend too much to authority, and sometimes too little. I'm not sure I can discern an overall bias either way.

Comment author: Rinon 04 June 2012 03:28:39PM 5 points [-]

I haven't done any studies, but I have a feeling that people attend to authority when it supports their natural biases, and ignore authority when it opposes their natural biases.

Comment author: Ian_C. 10 December 2007 06:36:29AM 2 points [-]

Was this before or after Lord of the Flies I wonder?

Anyway, I think children are different enough from adults that you can't conclude much about what adults will do from studying the behavior of children.

Comment author: Rinon 04 June 2012 03:10:07PM 9 points [-]

Well then, let's take some adults to summer camp!

Comment author: Rinon 04 June 2012 03:06:02PM *  2 points [-]

This post needs to be air-dropped over the world's ten largest metropolitan areas. Actually, Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality needs to be air-dropped, with translations where necessary, because it contains the same truths but is more entertaining. I think the same arguements apply to labeling your enemies as insane mutants, which is a somewhat gentler, more politically correct way of demonizing them. We tend to assume that the enemy is insane because we could not imagine doing such a thing, and are therefore Surprised by Reality. It might make sense to update our idea of "sanity."