The January Philosophy Book of the Month 2019 is The Runaway Species. Discuss The Runaway Species now.

The February Philosophy Book of the Month is The Fourth Age by Byron Reese (Nominated by RJG.) Discuss The Fourth Age now.

Are sceptics sometimes irrational?

Use this forum to discuss the philosophy of science. Philosophy of science deals with the assumptions, foundations, and implications of science.
Post Reply
User avatar
Papus79
Posts: 194
Joined: February 19th, 2017, 6:59 pm

Re: Are sceptics sometimes irrational?

Post by Papus79 » October 10th, 2018, 7:34 am

I think people underestimate just how important having a meal ticket and also wanting to gain prestige through that meal ticket is to people and how this comes to bear on organizations. Most bureaucracies for example are fit for a particular purpose, to have them under that size is to have them to weak to fill their function and yet if they grow past their stated objectives you have people trying to justify their jobs and accordingly will push all kinds of mission creep. In this sense a lot of pro-growth instinct, coupled with opportunism, creates power dynamics that look unhealthy for anyone but the parties involved in their pursuits as such.

I think this is where one might be able to argue that government loves a squishy, unadult, and helpless populace who needs it to get by. Trigger warnings, safe spaces, massive public mental health imbalances - it's the kind of problem that a mother or father state aspires to solve. While I don't deny the likelihood that there are some very powerful people in the world with really crap intentions toward anyone but their own families I do also think that the lion's share of what's happening are just emergent patterns of self-interest which don't have a healthy incentive structure to follow along. It's one of those areas as well where I'm really glad Bret Weinstein has been giving as many talks and lectures as he has on sociology and how it relates back to game theoretical problems.

Karpel Tunnel
Posts: 575
Joined: February 16th, 2018, 11:28 am

Re: Are sceptics sometimes irrational?

Post by Karpel Tunnel » October 10th, 2018, 7:58 am

Papus79 wrote:
October 10th, 2018, 7:34 am
I think people underestimate just how important having a meal ticket and also wanting to gain prestige through that meal ticket is to people and how this comes to bear on organizations. Most bureaucracies for example are fit for a particular purpose, to have them under that size is to have them to weak to fill their function and yet if they grow past their stated objectives you have people trying to justify their jobs and accordingly will push all kinds of mission creep. In this sense a lot of pro-growth instinct, coupled with opportunism, creates power dynamics that look unhealthy for anyone but the parties involved in their pursuits as such.

I think this is where one might be able to argue that government loves a squishy, unadult, and helpless populace who needs it to get by. Trigger warnings, safe spaces, massive public mental health imbalances - it's the kind of problem that a mother or father state aspires to solve. While I don't deny the likelihood that there are some very powerful people in the world with really crap intentions toward anyone but their own families I do also think that the lion's share of what's happening are just emergent patterns of self-interest which don't have a healthy incentive structure to follow along. It's one of those areas as well where I'm really glad Bret Weinstein has been giving as many talks and lectures as he has on sociology and how it relates back to game theoretical problems.
I think this is very true, however I would place it within the context of a smaller group being able to use the phenomena you are mentioning above. IOW It does not take an enormous group of people to carry out conspiracies because of human traits like the ones you mention above. Another very human trait is to project one's own limits onto other people. They wouldn't do that, we think.

User avatar
Papus79
Posts: 194
Joined: February 19th, 2017, 6:59 pm

Re: Are sceptics sometimes irrational?

Post by Papus79 » October 10th, 2018, 12:16 pm

The really gross part of this as well is that such people can prey on consistencies in human laziness, it can be public knowledge, and still few enough people actually care to take responsibility for their own lives. In a way that awareness probably feeds right back into their misanthropy. If more people behaved as concerned, learned, and objectively-aimed actors there'd be little to gain such a foothold on.

Someone wheeled out an old objectivist term on Youtube a few months ago, 'social metaphysicians' or people who lick their finger and stick it in the air to figure out what they believe. We need a lot less of that going forward if we want a better culture than we have now. I get that not everyone's intelligent enough to figure it all out and having the intelligence to do so isn't a virtue but rather more a lucky inheritance. At any level though I'd think people should be encouraged to do the homework to be able to rationally defend what beliefs they do hold as core values and also know which heuristics they hold which are on loan to them from culture. Without that grounding we've got a liquid of unmoored people that those willing to abuse power can sort of move around like ferrofluid.

Eduk
Posts: 2450
Joined: December 8th, 2016, 7:08 am
Favorite Philosopher: Socrates

Re: Are sceptics sometimes irrational?

Post by Eduk » October 10th, 2018, 12:25 pm

Without that grounding we've got a liquid of unmoored people that those willing to abuse power can sort of move around like ferrofluid.
Lovely sentence purely from a prose point of view :)

I think it is mostly the other way around though. The people force those willing to abuse them into power rather than those who are willing to abuse power force themselves into power. To take your liquid analogy it is not the oil that forces it's way to the top but the water that forces it's way to the bottom.
Unknown means unknown.

Eduk
Posts: 2450
Joined: December 8th, 2016, 7:08 am
Favorite Philosopher: Socrates

Re: Are sceptics sometimes irrational?

Post by Eduk » October 10th, 2018, 12:26 pm

its way not it's way. Should proof read more and type slower :)
Unknown means unknown.

User avatar
Papus79
Posts: 194
Joined: February 19th, 2017, 6:59 pm

Re: Are sceptics sometimes irrational?

Post by Papus79 » October 10th, 2018, 9:33 pm

Eduk wrote:
October 10th, 2018, 12:25 pm
I think it is mostly the other way around though. The people force those willing to abuse them into power rather than those who are willing to abuse power force themselves into power. To take your liquid analogy it is not the oil that forces it's way to the top but the water that forces it's way to the bottom.
That is an interesting thought and it might pertain to certain kinds of psychological complex those who want to be abused have. John Gray often proposes that for a lot of people the horror of choice can be much more painful than the certainty of tyranny.

When I talked about unmoored people floating around fluidically though I was thinking more about the types of bad elite a lot of people refer to when they think of billionaires already at the top of the heap who see political and economic chaos and even fomenting it as business opportunities and who may tweak the news, or do things to shift laws, in order to line their pockets off of crises.

If it gets bad enough there'll clearly be order reasserting itself and I worry sometimes that the most likely thing to spread is something like the social credit system that China is test-piloting right now along with a blanket of Confucian philosophy and really enshrining social conformity as something like the new great religion. If we come out of it well, are able to tame the internet in good ways, and the best ideas somehow do rise to the top and even find their way into the psychology of law and culture then we could see a civil libertarian's paradise but that's the best case scenario and I'm not really sure how such would come together from where we're at right now.

Eduk
Posts: 2450
Joined: December 8th, 2016, 7:08 am
Favorite Philosopher: Socrates

Re: Are sceptics sometimes irrational?

Post by Eduk » October 12th, 2018, 11:16 am

Just to be clear. I didn't mean that people might promote a dictator consciously or willingly or deliberately. Just that their nature ensures it will happen. It's no more deliberate than oil rising to the top of water.
China is interesting. They seem to have a very homogeneous culture (partly because they destroy it as fast as it is made). They love crowds, they seem to work pretty well together, which is good because they are tightly packed in. Anyone who wanted to create some kind of Orwellian dystopia would find the job at least half done.
Unknown means unknown.

Post Reply