From: Phil Goetz (email@example.com)
Date: Thu Sep 01 2005 - 09:52:42 MDT
> --- "J. Andrew Rogers"
> <firstname.lastname@example.org> wrote:
> > The real point to this is that for the vast
> > majority of the population,
> > their belief in 'evolution' is as irrational as
> > their belief in
> > 'creationism'. Just about everybody is making
> > a guess based on what their
> > friends and family believe, not because they
> > have a frickin' clue one way or
> > the other. In neither case is such belief
> > constructive.
In the CIA Factbook, you'll find many countries whose
populations are over 99% Catholic, and many countries
whose populations are over 99% Muslim. Take as given
that both Catholics and Muslims would assert that
1) choosing the correct religion is the most
important thing you can do in life, and
2) the other religion is wrong.
1) (actually a clearly false supposition, but
perhaps an acceptable approximation) People in
both countries are able to get enough information on
both religions to make equally good decisions.
2) These populations are representative of
human reasoning abilities in general.
Since we don't know the correct decision, one can
show through tedious reasoning that the largest
number of rational reasoners is possible if we suppose
that the evidence for Catholicism and Islam is
equally good, and that no other choices exist,
so that half of all rational reasoners make the
mistaken choice that is the majority choice in
This shows that a maximum of 2% of humans are,
to a bare minimum extent, rational.
One could object that, if the evidence for Catholicism and
Islam really is equally good, a rational person would
choose whichever of them is dominant in their culture and
hence most convenient for them. This is actually a pretty
good argument against what I just said. Rats.
People have done studies showing that the height of
Presidential candidates accounts for X% of the variance
across elections, their region of origin accounts for Y%,
their attractiveness accounts for W%,
their religion accounts for Z%, and so on. I'd be very
curious to see someone sum these up, and see what
percentage of the variance remains to be accounted for
by, among other things, the issues.
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