Is believing we are rational an irrational belief?

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Is believing we are rational an irrational belief?

Postby Paul Anthony on December 13th, 2016, 11:45 am 

An interesting article on how we define rational thought and mental illness.

"Recently, philosopher and head of the PERFECT project Lisa Bortolotti has offered evidence that though we tend to rationalize our decisions after we have made them, we do not make choices primarily by rational deliberation. Instead, most of our decision-making involves emotions and intuition and, often, these processes lead to better results than those achieved by reasoning through our choices".

https://blogs.scientificamerican.com/mind-guest-blog/the-irrationality-within-us/
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Re: Is believing we are rational an irrational belief?

Postby Eclogite on December 13th, 2016, 12:16 pm 

I have generally considered my rationalisation to be a post decision process, or at best a means of confirming what my gut reaction suggested was indeed the way to go.

If you wish I could provide a rational argument as to why that is the best way to go.
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Re: Is believing we are rational an irrational belief?

Postby Paul Anthony on December 13th, 2016, 12:49 pm 

Eclogite » Tue Dec 13, 2016 9:16 am wrote:I have generally considered my rationalisation to be a post decision process, or at best a means of confirming what my gut reaction suggested was indeed the way to go.

If you wish I could provide a rational argument as to why that is the best way to go.


I have no doubt you could. I also think I could justify my actions in a similar way, but are we kidding ourselves? How would we know? ;)
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Re: Is believing we are rational an irrational belief?

Postby Serpent on December 13th, 2016, 12:52 pm 

Nothing in a human mind is ever simple or one-dimensional. While decisions are a result of emotional states, predispositions, attitudes and conditioning of which are only dimly aware, input of which less than half ever reaches our conscious awareness, knowledge to which have only partial and unreliable access and processing of which we are almost entirely unaware - nevertheless, all those pre-existing conditions and data-files had a large portion of rational thought in their making. Maybe it's never, or rarely, in control, but it's always present, and it always makes a significant contribution to our actions.
That's why we don't excuse crime or personal offense on the grounds that "He didn't intend it to turn out that way."
But we also do a good deal of kidding ourselves. Probably more than we are able to kid others. It's so very much easier to be rational, critical and objective about the motives of someone else.
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Re: Is believing we are rational an irrational belief?

Postby Braininvat on December 13th, 2016, 12:56 pm 

Fits with my experience, too. For one thing, as social creatures our gut is connected more to factoring in other people's feelings and preferences, and many decisions need to be responsive to such rather than just driven by pure logic and utilitarian principles.

Of course, intuition can be faulty, too, as with fear-driven racism. The personnel director who, driven by the gut reaction, tosses resumes with African-American first names like "DeShawn" or "LaVondra" in the wastebasket without actually looking at their experience and credentials. In such cases, time spent reasoning would have been worthwhile.
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Re: Is believing we are rational an irrational belief?

Postby Serpent on December 13th, 2016, 2:35 pm 

But yet, that personnel director is not entirely unaware of his motivation. He wasn't born with that particular prejudice: he built it up from whatever he was told as a child, plus his own experience and emotions. But also, there was an education, books, television, newspapers and many opportunities to reflect. He has made choices and decisions; he has taken an active part in the making of the fool he is today.
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Re: Is believing we are rational an irrational belief?

Postby Eclogite on December 14th, 2016, 10:53 am 

Paul Anthony » Tue Dec 13, 2016 4:49 pm wrote:
Eclogite » Tue Dec 13, 2016 9:16 am wrote:I have generally considered my rationalisation to be a post decision process, or at best a means of confirming what my gut reaction suggested was indeed the way to go.

If you wish I could provide a rational argument as to why that is the best way to go.


I have no doubt you could. I also think I could justify my actions in a similar way, but are we kidding ourselves? How would we know? ;)
I think you may have missed the self deprecating irony in my last sentence. It was intended to support the inconclusiveness of the implicit answer you provide to your own question.
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Re: Is believing we are rational an irrational belief?

Postby Paul Anthony on December 14th, 2016, 12:53 pm 

Eclogite » Wed Dec 14, 2016 7:53 am wrote:
Paul Anthony » Tue Dec 13, 2016 4:49 pm wrote:
Eclogite » Tue Dec 13, 2016 9:16 am wrote:I have generally considered my rationalisation to be a post decision process, or at best a means of confirming what my gut reaction suggested was indeed the way to go.

If you wish I could provide a rational argument as to why that is the best way to go.


I have no doubt you could. I also think I could justify my actions in a similar way, but are we kidding ourselves? How would we know? ;)
I think you may have missed the self deprecating irony in my last sentence. It was intended to support the inconclusiveness of the implicit answer you provide to your own question.


Sorry, I thought I was the only person on this forum prone to irony and sarcasm. LOL
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Re: Is believing we are rational an irrational belief?

Postby Braininvat on December 14th, 2016, 1:07 pm 

Serpent » December 13th, 2016, 11:35 am wrote:But yet, that personnel director is not entirely unaware of his motivation. He wasn't born with that particular prejudice: he built it up from whatever he was told as a child, plus his own experience and emotions. But also, there was an education, books, television, newspapers and many opportunities to reflect. He has made choices and decisions; he has taken an active part in the making of the fool he is today.


I don't know how active it is, for some people. I see people who seem to just let prejudice crawl in under their radar, quite passively. A fool often doesn't know he's a fool. And that lays the groundwork for a lot of evil. I suspect that lay behind Thomas Mann's (I think it was him) famous quote, something like "Tolerance is a vice, when applied to evil."

I'm kind of stinging this morning from more news about Russian messing with our election, and also of Trump's insane choice for Secy. of Energy. (sorry, offtopic, except that it addresses my thoughts about not tolerating evilness....)
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Re: Is believing we are rational an irrational belief?

Postby doogles on December 14th, 2016, 4:45 pm 

Paul Anthony » Tue Dec 13, 2016 11:45 am wrote:An interesting article on how we define rational thought and mental illness.

"Recently, philosopher and head of the PERFECT project Lisa Bortolotti has offered evidence that though we tend to rationalize our decisions after we have made them, we do not make choices primarily by rational deliberation. Instead, most of our decision-making involves emotions and intuition and, often, these processes lead to better results than those achieved by reasoning through our choices".

https://blogs.scientificamerican.com/mind-guest-blog/the-irrationality-within-us/


No!

Not unusually, I find myself a one-out here with previous posters.

All animals from reptiles upwards have a well-developed neuro-endocrine system which suggests that they experience pain and pleasure in the same manner that we do. I believe that lower animals survive by reward - for continuing to do those things that give them pleasure - and by avoiding those things that cause them pain. Skinnerian Behaviourism seems to work with lower animals.

As it does with human babies and toddlers.

As we human beings grow, we find that many adverse stimuli deter us from doing those things we would like to do. Those of us who’ve rationalised that we have to conform with the house rules, club rules, as well as Local, State and Federal Government rules, generally stay out of trouble.

If you think about it, ALL Law-abiding citizens are rational deviants from doing what comes naturally.

Murderers, traffic offenders, housebreakers, bullies, fraudsters etc all do what comes naturally at any given time. Maybe they are incapable of rationalising the broader picture.

I believe that when any of us decide to tolerate any kind of pain and discomfort eg exercising, going to the dentist, undergoing surgery, and (as said in the link above - as examples of instrumental rationality) when we go on a diet when we want to lose weight, or when we study hard to do well in an exam, we have rationalised that in the long term, the temporary pain and discomfort is in our long-term best interest - as is our conformity to the multi-thousands of rules and regulations that control us.

So, in the light of these thoughts, and if being ‘rational’ means doing things as a result of objective reasoning and not as a result of emotional drives, then I believe most of us act rationally for most of our waking time and it that it’s quite rational to think so.

Happy shop-lifting before Christmas to the rest of you.
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Re: Is believing we are rational an irrational belief?

Postby Serpent on December 14th, 2016, 5:18 pm 

Braininvat » December 14th, 2016, 12:07 pm wrote:
I don't know how active it is, for some people. I see people who seem to just let prejudice crawl in under their radar, quite passively. A fool often doesn't know he's a fool. And that lays the groundwork for a lot of evil. I suspect that lay behind Thomas Mann's (I think it was him) famous quote, something like "Tolerance is a vice, when applied to evil."

I'm kind of stinging this morning from more news about Russian messing with our election, and also of Trump's insane choice for Secy. of Energy. (sorry, offtopic, except that it addresses my thoughts about not tolerating evilness....)

Off-topic-wise, this is particularly difficult for me. I've only recently come to terms with why Good and its minions always lose. Not only is Evil, along with its minions, unhampered by scruples to begin with, but then this ^^ second strange thing happens. When Good fails to be entirely successful in whatever it tries to accomplish, even if that failure is due to the interference of Evil, the mouthpieces of evil don't hesitate for a second to heap scorn, level accusations, point fingers, manufacture calumnies and slanders - to lay blame. If Evil screws things up disastrously, Good can't wait to to make excuses for Evil's minions.

Sure it creeps. I know. I am the pioneer creeper - though it was only knowledge I meant to impart, things got seriously out of hand.

The choices I have made were not always profitable, or comfortable, or easy, but I believe most of them to have been right. I deserve a little credit for that. Me, not Skinner.
They also made choices. They ought to bear some responsibility.

(Gor, I an't arf become a bloody consr'v'tv in me dotage.)
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Re: Is believing we are rational an irrational belief?

Postby Paul Anthony on December 14th, 2016, 5:26 pm 

doogles,

How many people start a diet or an exercise program, but quickly lose interest? And how many rationalize that decision (doing nothing is also a decision) after the fact?

If the decision to do something was rational, what is the decision to NOT do it?

There have been many behavioral studies based on the difference between immediate gratification and delayed gratification, mostly with children. One in particular offers the choice between one candy bar for immediate consumption or two bars if the child waits. Follow-up studies with the same participants demonstrates a life-long pattern. Some people are more rational than others.

But both types can rationalize their own behavior. :)
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Re: Is believing we are rational an irrational belief?

Postby doogles on December 14th, 2016, 6:29 pm 

Good day to you Paul Anthony. Thank you for the response.

Yes, I admit that many people commence to do the 'hard yards' in many endeavours and then quit.

But on the other hand, if I think hard enough about the number of times a day I do things sort of 'because Í have to', I can only come up with the same response as above.

For example, I would love to sleep in every morning till I wake up naturally. But I rationalise that work has to be done and my day has to run to a timetable, so I respond to an alarm..

I would love to stay in my comfort zone and not have a shower. But I rationalise that I might be a bit 'wooffy' for my company that day, and have a shower.

I would love to pig out on bacon and eggs on toast for breakfast, but I rationalise that I need to skip some meals to stay at a healthier weight.

I would love to have a day off from work any time I felt like it, but I rationalise that I'll develop a reputation for being unreliable, so I keep attending.

I would love to tell my new boss that I think her decision-making is ridiculous, but I rationalise that it's safer to keep my opinions to myself.

That's enough. You can see where I'm going.

I suppose the fact of the matter is that this type of subliminal rationalisation is so commonplace that we do not realise we are doing it.

Maybe we'd find it interesting to list how many times a day we do what we 'should' do instead of what we'd really 'like' to be doing. I'm sure we'd find that we act from rationalisation more than emotional drives.

Obviously we need numbers to support or deny the proposition. but my emotional (lol) response is that we act more rationally than emotionally if we tally our daily decisions.
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Re: Is believing we are rational an irrational belief?

Postby Paul Anthony on December 14th, 2016, 7:34 pm 

doogles » Wed Dec 14, 2016 3:29 pm wrote:Good day to you Paul Anthony. Thank you for the response.

Yes, I admit that many people commence to do the 'hard yards' in many endeavours and then quit.

But on the other hand, if I think hard enough about the number of times a day I do things sort of 'because Í have to', I can only come up with the same response as above.

For example, I would love to sleep in every morning till I wake up naturally. But I rationalise that work has to be done and my day has to run to a timetable, so I respond to an alarm..

I would love to stay in my comfort zone and not have a shower. But I rationalise that I might be a bit 'wooffy' for my company that day, and have a shower.

I would love to pig out on bacon and eggs on toast for breakfast, but I rationalise that I need to skip some meals to stay at a healthier weight.

I would love to have a day off from work any time I felt like it, but I rationalise that I'll develop a reputation for being unreliable, so I keep attending.

I would love to tell my new boss that I think her decision-making is ridiculous, but I rationalise that it's safer to keep my opinions to myself.

That's enough. You can see where I'm going.

I suppose the fact of the matter is that this type of subliminal rationalisation is so commonplace that we do not realise we are doing it.

Maybe we'd find it interesting to list how many times a day we do what we 'should' do instead of what we'd really 'like' to be doing. I'm sure we'd find that we act from rationalisation more than emotional drives.

Obviously we need numbers to support or deny the proposition. but my emotional (lol) response is that we act more rationally than emotionally if we tally our daily decisions.


Congratulations! You are a functioning member of society. Lest you allow such a compliment to go to your head, I should add that the same is likely true of all our forum members. But we, collectively, may not be representative of the population at large. During the 14 years I managed a customer service call center, I encounter many people who were not as reliable as you in many of the ways you describe. *sigh*
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Re: Is believing we are rational an irrational belief?

Postby wolfhnd on December 14th, 2016, 8:55 pm 

Braininvat » Wed Dec 14, 2016 5:07 pm wrote:
Serpent » December 13th, 2016, 11:35 am wrote:But yet, that personnel director is not entirely unaware of his motivation. He wasn't born with that particular prejudice: he built it up from whatever he was told as a child, plus his own experience and emotions. But also, there was an education, books, television, newspapers and many opportunities to reflect. He has made choices and decisions; he has taken an active part in the making of the fool he is today.



I'm kind of stinging this morning from more news about Russian messing with our election, and also of Trump's insane choice for Secy. of Energy. (sorry, offtopic, except that it addresses my thoughts about not tolerating evilness....)


I would rethink that a bit.

The only reliable information we have comes from WikiLeaks who claim the source of the emails was not the Russian Government. Now it is possible they are lying or simply poorly informed but over time they have developed a reputation for proper vetting of sources.

Applying Occam's Razor the logical conclusion is that what you are doing is falling for Obama's misdirection. The first evidence is the timing of the releases which were well in advance of any point at which any expert was predicting Trump would win. Now it is possible the Russians have a better handle on American politics than American experts but that is a bit of a stretch. Next lets assume that WikiLeaks is wrong and the Russians were the source of the emails what would they have to gain by supporting a "never Trump" candidacy as opposed to discrediting the presumed winning candidate Clinton. If you clear away all the political prejudices it becomes evident that the people that have the most to gain by "the Russians did it" narrative are Clinton and Obama. Directing attention away from their incompetent security, the underhanded tactics used against Sanders, and the fact that the CIA should have been on top of the security breach by foreign government Obama and Clinton are the clear winners. Having strong motivation to blame a nefarious foreign power to cover up incompetence and nasty political maneuvering as well as discrediting Trump they simply did what all politicians seem to do which is distort reality to conform with their political agenda. The Russian may have done it but if they did it seems unlikely they would expect that it would have swung the election to Trump and to assume they are that stupid is dangerously delusional.
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Re: Is believing we are rational an irrational belief?

Postby Serpent on December 14th, 2016, 9:19 pm 

What is there left to be gained?
Obama and Clinton are out, no matter what they do or say at this point.
And what's in it for the agency - or agencies - that released incorrect - assuming that it was incorrect - information? Are they not about to be dismantled, overhauled, re-directored and purged or whatever, no matter what they do and say at this point?
Are they all just rationalizing crazy actions in retrospect?

I believe doogles is right on top of it, this time. Most of us do behave rationally most of the time. Social organization requires a good deal of rational control over emotion. Domestication requires even more rational control over instinct.
The fact that it's easier to make ambitious plans than to follow through, or that the flesh is weak and we often fail in those ambitions does not detract from their rationality. I actually don't think people's justifications for failure are on the same level of rationality as the original plan - they are far more likely to be excuses, bluster and deflection: defensive subterfuge that we do not for a minute believe.
I'm quite sure the average urban working person makes hundreds of rational decisions every day, if not thousands. But those are not noticed, because they're normal civilized behaviour. We tend to consider as natural whatever is ordinary, mundane, familiar - even when so much of it is very far from natural.
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Re: Is believing we are rational an irrational belief?

Postby Paul Anthony on December 15th, 2016, 12:51 pm 

Serpent » Wed Dec 14, 2016 6:19 pm wrote:What is there left to be gained?
Obama and Clinton are out, no matter what they do or say at this point.
And what's in it for the agency - or agencies - that released incorrect - assuming that it was incorrect - information? Are they not about to be dismantled, overhauled, re-directored and purged or whatever, no matter what they do and say at this point?
Are they all just rationalizing crazy actions in retrospect?


This election is over but the battle doesn't end with one election. There will be another in two years for control of Congress and another two years later for the presidency. It is in the best interests of the minority party to discredit the majority party - always.

The FBI says it wasn't the Russians. The NSA says it's impossible to know. Wikileaks says Russia wasn't their source. But NBC, quoting "unnamed sources within the CIA" - not an official declaration from the CIA - says the Russians did it. Who you believe depends on your partisan position, which determines which story you want to believe. Those who are still unable to accept that Hillary lost will cling to the belief that someone other than Hillary herself is to blame. That's rationalizing.

There is evidence, and then there is innuendo. No evidence has been presented. Much has been presented regarding possible motives for Russian intervention, but that is all supposition without evidence. The willingness to accept innuendo as fact is rationalization.
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Re: Is believing we are rational an irrational belief?

Postby Braininvat on December 15th, 2016, 1:25 pm 

Well, to connect with the thread topic, I am going with my gut. If it looks like a duck and quacks like a duck, etc. All my gut says is that the Russians, due to their well-publicized dislike of Clinton, tried ineptly to put their thumb on the scale for her rival candidate. I doubt it made much difference in the actual vote, but it doesn't do much good for the security of our already fragile democratic process to have state actors interfering, even clumsily. Private communications in the DNC and the RNC should stay private, if only because it allows effective communication, i.e. unguarded plain words, about important issues and concerns.

My gut would also like, as I'm sure Paul's gut would, to have the relevant parties put up some clearcut evidence or STFU. If Obama's getting the ball rolling on being suspicious of Russian interventions in our affairs was of any value, then the people who know something, if anything, need to step forward right now. The electoral votes are cast next Monday. If there was an actual thumb on the scale, then now's the time to prove it. Frankly, I think the Democrats establishment are being remarkably NON-aggressive about the election results. If the Republicans had lost, but los while leading by 3 million in popular votes, they would be leaving no stone unturned in a search for turpitude, fraud, rigging, or the effects of fluoride on the voting brain.
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Re: Is believing we are rational an irrational belief?

Postby Paul Anthony on December 15th, 2016, 2:01 pm 

Braininvat » Thu Dec 15, 2016 10:25 am wrote:

My gut would also like, as I'm sure Paul's gut would, to have the relevant parties put up some clearcut evidence or STFU.


The direction this thread is heading would seem to lead us to the Politics forum, so let's be careful how far down that rabbit hole we wander. However, the Russian intervention question does feed into this topic as long as we can examine it with a minimum of personal partisanship. Until there is actual evidence presented, the "gut" reactions from both sides of the political spectrum seems to be less intuition and more wishful thinking.

And that may be the cause of much of our rationalizing. By calling it intuition we attempt to give it some credibility, but if the source is preconceived bias we should recognize it as such. Bias does not possess any mystical properties. It doesn't serve an evolutionary purpose, saving us from peril. Quite the contrary. It may imperil us by preventing us from waiting for evidence that can be rationally analyzed before we settle on a decision.
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Re: Is believing we are rational an irrational belief?

Postby Serpent on December 15th, 2016, 4:19 pm 

Paul Anthony » December 15th, 2016, 11:51 am wrote:
This election is over but the battle doesn't end with one election.

Is that from your head or your heart or your gut?
My head says: this may very have been the election to end elections.
There will be another in two years for control of Congress and another two years later for the presidency. It is in the best interests of the minority party to discredit the majority party - always.

Maybe so, but saying that the Russians had this much access to their secrets hardly reflects well on the Democrats as a party, nor on their outgoing leadership. Whoever runs in whatever capacity in two years - assuming Congress is still an elected body at that time - will have to deal with an entirely different political dynamic, and very possibly a different electorate. The failures or misdeeds of their predecessors will be the least of their problems. Even without a major change, Who remembers that long? Who cares?

Who you believe depends on your partisan position,

Not necessarily. Until quite recently, I would said all those agencies except the FBI is in the lying business; therefore, rationally, i would have been inclined to go with the FBI's story. Now, I'd more probably assume that all of them are lying.
On past evidence, I would have suspected that the hacking was either an inside job or by a cherished ally and the leaks were were orchestrated toward a desired political outcome. By whom, and what their ultimate desire was, I would not venture to guess. There is so much insanity in the world, I no longer attempt to decipher motivations.

Cui bono?
Not Obama; not Clinton. Putin, maybe. ISIS and other Islamic extremists, probably. Big Religion everywhere, almost certainly. European far right-wingnuts, who knows? Global mega-corps, especially oil and arms dealers, definitely.
Qui perd?
All the rest of us.

Point on topic being: There is an on-going war on reason. We are pushed by some very large and astute manipulators toward emotional reactions, be they partisan, faith-based, empathetic, antipathetic, reactionary, defensive, self-serving or simple primal urges. We are herded and prodded into mobs (...line form to the right, one pitchfork each...) and incited to reject intellect, expertise, wisdom in whatever guise. We are systematically discouraged from interrogation, cogitation, calculation, and sober, measured response on any topic.
There is a reason for this, and the motive behind it is .... rational.
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Re: Is believing we are rational an irrational belief?

Postby Braininvat on December 15th, 2016, 4:24 pm 

Agree, Paul, about bias. I tend introspective, so will usually try to ferret out bias and separate it from intuitive connecting of dots that are real data points and have a distinct trajectory. For example, if I had an intuitive feel about Russian hacking, I would try to see how that fits with other incidents of Russian manipulation, with geopolitical goals they've previously made clear, with any specific business relationships between Russia and candidates, and so on. IOW, I only feel "rational" if I perform due diligence and corral everything pertinent into the process of forming beliefs. So I think we can approach reasoned positions asymptotically, as more information is acquired and bias is reduced to where you can point to it and say, that's bias over there. I know it's there, but the larger picture still is clearer. In the interests of topic relevance, I will leave that picture out of it.
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Re: Is believing we are rational an irrational belief?

Postby Paul Anthony on December 15th, 2016, 4:57 pm 

Braininvat » Thu Dec 15, 2016 1:24 pm wrote:Agree, Paul, about bias. I tend introspective, so will usually try to ferret out bias and separate it from intuitive connecting of dots that are real data points and have a distinct trajectory. For example, if I had an intuitive feel about Russian hacking, I would try to see how that fits with other incidents of Russian manipulation, with geopolitical goals they've previously made clear, with any specific business relationships between Russia and candidates, and so on. IOW, I only feel "rational" if I perform due diligence and corral everything pertinent into the process of forming beliefs. So I think we can approach reasoned positions asymptotically, as more information is acquired and bias is reduced to where you can point to it and say, that's bias over there. I know it's there, but the larger picture still is clearer. In the interests of topic relevance, I will leave that picture out of it.


What is your "intuitive feeling" about disgruntled employees wishing to make public something they find reprehensible?

From Dailymail.com: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-4034038/Ex-British-ambassador-WikiLeaks-operative-claims-Russia-did-NOT-provide-Clinton-emails-handed-D-C-park-intermediary-disgusted-Democratic-insiders.html

Craig Murray, former British ambassador to Uzbekistan and associate of Julian Assange, told the Dailymail.com he flew to Washington, D.C. for emails
He claims he had a clandestine hand-off in a wooded area near American University with one of the email sources
"The leakers' motivation was 'disgust at the corruption of the Clinton Foundation' and the 'tilting of the primary election playing field against Bernie Sanders'"
Murray says: 'The source had legal access to the information. The documents came from inside leaks, not hacks'
'Regardless of whether the Russians hacked into the DNC, the documents Wikileaks published did not come from that,' Murray insists.

Now, that's not evidence either, but at least it comes from a source with a NAME. Again, which version you believe must be tilted by your own bias, whether or not you acknowledge its existence.

To me, both theories have some credibility but I cannot - or at least, "should not" - draw conclusions without hard evidence.

A common mistake in otherwise rational thought is to assume that the answer to a question must be (A) or (B) when it might be (A) and (B).

It is possible that (A) the Russians hacked the DNC and the RNC - and didn't disclose their findings and (B) the source of the Wikileaks is someone other than the Russians.

Since that is a possibility, proving the Russians committed a hacking act does not prove they were the source of the leaks. Correlation does not prove causation.
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Re: Is believing we are rational an irrational belief?

Postby Braininvat on December 15th, 2016, 5:33 pm 

Gut: Murray is not a reliable or impartial source.
Brain: why does one have to fly across an ocean to receive emails? In a wooded area?
Reasoning-Decisioning part: more evidence needed!
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Re: Is believing we are rational an irrational belief?

Postby Serpent on December 15th, 2016, 7:31 pm 

Stymied uninvolved bystander: What difference does it make? I mean: what actually changes?

One might also ask: How is the corruption (of whatever dealings that may consist, and to whatever degree it may detract from the good works it's supposed to be doing - and isn't? hasn't? http://www.factcheck.org/2015/06/where-does-clinton-foundation-money-go/) of the Clinton Foundation more disgusting than the self-dealing http://www.wtsp.com/news/nation-now/what-trump-foundations-self-dealing-disclosure-means/370867690 of the Trump Foundation?

I don't get it.
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Re: Is believing we are rational an irrational belief?

Postby Lomax on December 16th, 2016, 4:04 am 

Well I don't think anybody contends we have time to perform a calculus (utilitarian or otherwise) on every move we make throughout the day. I think I'd be more interested to find out, with reference to Lisa Bortolotti's work, which types of action we perform better when eschewing rationality. Could I, for instance, save myself the ardour of learning anything about politics or history and do better judging things on gut instinct? I'm skeptical, but I'll look it up. But do I look it up in a book, or do I look it up in my gut?
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Re: Is believing we are rational an irrational belief?

Postby wolfhnd on December 16th, 2016, 5:15 am 

So we are rational or irrational in the aggregate. That is if we ignore the question of the nature of rationality. To keep it simple first you have to assume that your desired outcomes our rational then you can gauge if your thoughts and actions align in some general and statistical way with those objectives.

I think you can make an analogy with truthfulness. We expect people to be truthfully so we can align our objectives with theirs. To do so we must assume that they are rational because if they are not their truth is devalued. We can them consider the topic from the perspective of group selection. Using an evolutionary perspective tends to assure rationality because evolution is a foundational truth.

My argument would be that reason and evidence are two sides of the same coin. Philosophy not grounded in empirical data is fantasy. Some fantasy is important because it helps in predicting the future. In evolutionary terms fantasy can be thought of as modeling possible future conditions and is closely associated with imagination. Fantasy is problematic if it is misrepresenting the past.

Rationality is constrained by what you know, how well you can process what you know, how well you can project what you know into the future, how well you can predict these things in other people, and to some extent the stability of the environment. When we are dealing with simple systems or systems subjectable to reduction we can be highly rational but when dealing with complex chaotic systems our rationality rapidly declines. Knowing what kind of system you are dealing with may be the key to the kind of extended rationality that separates competence from insightfullness.
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Re: Is believing we are rational an irrational belief?

Postby Paul Anthony on December 16th, 2016, 8:17 pm 

Braininvat » Thu Dec 15, 2016 2:33 pm wrote:Gut: Murray is not a reliable or impartial source.
Brain: why does one have to fly across an ocean to receive emails? In a wooded area?
Reasoning-Decisioning part: more evidence needed!


I am reluctant to continue this line of thought because of the political undertones, but there is a logical answer to your question that deserves consideration.

IF the leak is the result of an insider - a whistleblower - that person would access the data and download it, probably to some sort of flash drive. He/she might then hand-deliver it. Obviously, if the system had been hacked, no meeting would be required. That a meeting allegedly took place leads me to believe it was a leak, not a hack.

Also, I recall when Comey declined to continue the investigation into Clinton's emails (the first time) he said it was likely her server had been hacked but there would be no way to know for certain. Now we are told the DNC was hacked and we DO know for certain. One of those statements must be a lie. Which one? Our intelligence community has obviously lied to us at least once, so why would I believe them?
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Re: Is believing we are rational an irrational belief?

Postby vivian maxine on December 17th, 2016, 8:41 am 

As long as this thread has become two - slightly related perhaps - and may soon get split, may I stay off topic and ask this? No matter where the interference came from, how do we know that we are not now being fed a bill of goods by our own unknowing - or half-knowing - informants for the sole purpose of continuing the election ruckus? Anything to keep people demanding recounts, rejections, and all the rest?

It would not be the first time the public was fed a flaky story line for purposes we were not supposed to know. And, I think that almost gets us back to the OP. Talk to any of those decision-making rulers and they'll rationalize beautifully as to why we should be kept in the dark.
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Re: Is believing we are rational an irrational belief?

Postby Paul Anthony on December 20th, 2016, 3:38 pm 

Scott Adams (of Dilbert fame) wrote an interesting opinion piece on climate change. Those of you have strong opinions on that subject may find it objectionable, but please suspend your strongly held beliefs long enough to examine what he is saying about how we think.

http://blog.dilbert.com/post/154082416051/the-non-expert-problem-and-climate-change-science
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Re: Is believing we are rational an irrational belief?

Postby vivian maxine on December 20th, 2016, 4:00 pm 

All I know is that it has been mighty, mighty cold here for December. I'm blaming it on Biv and his open door policy. Or, should I blame Serpent? It was he who opened his door and let all the strays in -- bless him.
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