A Sense That More Is Possible

  • Why should anyone be motivated to learn rationality?
  • Rationalists don’t seem that much happier or more successful than non-rationalists
  • There ought to be a discipline of cognition that makes its students perceptibly more successful and formidable
  • Rationalists need to come together and come up with a systematic program to improve cognition
  • How do you systematically test rationality programs and verify that they’re making people more rational?
  • Why aren’t rationalists surrounded by a visible aura of formidability?
    • Less systematic training
    • More difficult verification
    • Easier to convince people of the benefits of physical strength than it is to convince people of the benefits of rationality
  • People lack the sense that rationality should be trained like a martial art
  • Possible counterpoint

Epistemic Viciousness

  • Epistemic viciousness proliferation of mystical beliefs that occurs after a discipline is divorced from real-world feedback
  • How does epistemic viciousness arise?
    • The art is seen as sacred
    • People become emotionally attached to certain techniques
    • Incoming students have no choice but to trust the teacher
    • Excessive deference to historical masters
    • Inability to test new methods or innovations (or verify the accuracy of existing techniques)

Schools Proliferating Without Evidence

  • There is no statistical difference in outcomes among different types of psychotherapy
  • Yet, there is a proliferation of schools and movements in psychotherapy
    • Proliferation occurs despite lack of experimental evidence
    • Occurs because the easiest way to gain prestige is to found a new movement
  • If you’re going to create an organized practice of anything, you need to come up with a way of determining how well you’re doing in a replicable and statistically rigorous fashion

Three Levels of Rationality Verification

  • How do we verify our ideas on how to improve?
  • Three levels:
    • Reputational
    • Experimental
    • Organizational
  • Reputational - idea is verified in real world tests, preferably against other ideas
  • Experimental - idea is verified by statistically rigorous tests
  • Organizational - idea is made difficult to game or fake

Why Our Kind Cannot Cooperate

  • Why is it that flying saucer cults are better at coordination than rationalists?
  • Flying saucer cults can use a number of unhealthy techniques to enforce cooperation
  • This tends to make them lose touch with reality
  • Is there a way to cooperate while retaining an accurate view of reality?
  • The lack of cooperative success among rationalists highlights the fact that the current rationalist canon is oriented towards individual rationality, rather than group rationality
  • Tolerating only disagreement is as irrational as tolerating only agreement
  • You should never do worse with more knowledge
  • Need to be more tolerant of strong emotions
  • Need to be more tolerant of the idea of sacrifice