Posts Tagged ‘politics’

IQ and Rationality

I’m reading about the distinction between intelligence and rationality these days:

What Intelligence Tests Miss: The Psychology of Rational Thought
by Keith E. Stanovich

There’s one aspect of the book that I’d like to comment on so far:

Intelligence has to do with the processing power of the brain. Rationality has to do with how we form our beliefs.

In other (my) words: You don’t have to be unintelligent to believe that you’re safer with a gun in your house, or that lower taxes are always better. You just have to be irrational.

What do I mean with irrational? It’s a lot of things, but an important element is our common tendency to be more impressed by evidence that supports our worldview, than by evidence that contradicts it.

Let’s start with the pistols and revolvers. Of course, it’s easy to create in our minds a scenario where you’re safer with a gun in your house than without it. “You hear an intruder. You have time to find your gun and load it before the intruder finds it. You know how to use it effectively and responsibly, even when your adrenaline is sky high. The intruder is either unarmed or unprepared.” And at the end of the story, you are the hero, unhurt, and the intruder is either dead, wounded or (hopefully just) in chains. Read more…


Bob Herbert’s vision of the class war … and mine

The NYTIMES columnist Bob Herbert had an article in this morning’s online edition entitled 

Winning the Class War

Reading this against the background of just having finished Tolstoy’s “War and Peace” was fascinating. Herbert describes an American system anno 2010 that is remarkably similar to Russian system anno 1810, in the sense that wealth and power are to a higher and higher degree inherited. Americans anno 2010 don’t call themselved “Count” and “Prince”, and they no longer feel obliged to take care of and provide for their serfs. Those are the main differences.

Of course I’m exaggerating. Read more…