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    • Chris
      Chris MacAskill

      I read great reviews about The Righteous Mind: Why Good People Are Divided by Politics and Religion, so I got listening. Now I can't stop thinking about it.

      The thing is, what most scientists ask when confronted with a theory is, "Must I believe it?" You risk ruining your reputation if someone can prove you wrong.

      However, according to the book, the vast majority of people come to an intuitive, emotional judgement of right and wrong on moral issues and ask themselves, "Is it okay to believe it?" And they have Google ready to answer "Yes, it's okay" for any belief.

      What's confounding is the greater our power of reason, the more likely it is we can persuade ourselves of the thing we want to believe. Reason and logic were supposed to do the reverse, right? In other words, our power of reason is acting like a lawyer to defend our beliefs than a judge to decide if we're right.

      I was surprised at how many people wrote in their reviews that the book helped them empathize with the other side, and even change their own beliefs.

    • cvdavis

      I agree with your comments and yes there is evidence for what you have said. The problem is that someone who is intelligent can find seemingly reasonable evidence for almost anything. The new way of thinking critically is not so much looking for evidence to support one side or the other but asking yourself what evidence it would take you to change your mind. If you aren't open to changing your mind then you're doomed to ignorance.

      I'm excited that books like this are getting more popular.

    • flei

      When I was 5, my parents began reading me a children's book that taught me the same lessons. The book was called "It Looks Like This" by Irma E. Webber. It is a very simple but amazingly powerful book. It instilled in me the idea that one's perspective was relative and that looking at things from all different perspectives was necessary to better understand our world (and to avoid being eaten by the cat!). It is out of print but available several places, including here: https://www.amazon.com/looks-like-this-point-view/dp/B0007E3L5A. Years later, as a student at UCLA, I took a course with Professor Allen Parducci, a cognitive psychologist, who developed a theory on the relativism of absolute judgement which reinforced what I had learned as a 5 year old. Although it is not simple, I always try my best to look critically at all sides of any issue. Warning: It can be lonely to not simply take sides and join with others who hold static views.

    • Chris
      Chris MacAskill

      If you aren't open to changing your mind then you're doomed to ignorance.

      A couple weeks ago I read Ray Dalio's book Principles. Amazon named it the business book of the year. He runs Bridgewater, the biggest hedge fund. It's a long read and some people I know got bored and couldn't get through it.

      I can summarize it in four sentences:

      1. You have to get to the truth no matter how hard it is to accept.
      2. In order to do that, you have to gather people around you who are unafraid of calling you out when you are wrong.
      3. You have to reward, not punish them, for calling you out.
      4. It's so hard to do and so painful, it sets you apart from almost everyone.

    • coffee

      Sounds like Bridgewater is an Esoteric School.

    • ia

      These things are real. But what is not is asking for the feedback only to ignore that you don't like. This has been something I'm struggling with. I strive to deliver great service and sometimes, feedback is painful to hear but feedback is feedback and I must learn to accept and change as might be required.

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