Saturday, June 22, 2024

Believe the Story that Serves your Purpose

Steven Pinker: Why Smart People Believe Stupid Things
Pinker is enjoyable to listen to, as he specks very precisely, and with evidence to back up what he says. He is so good that an interview almost sounds as if he is reading from a book.

That is why I was surprised at this:

for most of History you the the documentary 13:09 record the uh the forensics the ballistics you know all that the zapruder film none of that was available and 13:17 so uh it almost was as we would say kind of an academic exercise what really happened because you know no one could 13:22 know yeah um if no one could know then should you believe anything no you believe the story that serves the 13:28 greater moral purpose whether the moral purpose is exposing the 13:33 um corrupt powerful forces that dominate us or um expose the the nefarious 13:41 conspiracy or they teach the young the right moral values
He has a lot of sensible things to say about being duped by misinformation, and following Enlightenment values of Truth. But when it comes to what to believe, when evidence is inssufficient, he says to "believe the story that serves the greater moral purpose"!

That's sounds like something a cult leader might say, not a famous and distinguished Harvard professor who is a leading proponent of rationalism.

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