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Posted by Harvey on September 24, 2003 21:09:54 UTC

I excluded religion as part of those target individuals that display certain perceived irrational tendencies. The reason is that human beings need meaning in their lives, and whether there be rational or irrational beliefs (i.e., for the sake of meaning), that need - in my view - justifies to some extent certain tendencies that push humans in this direction. For example, Alexander, in my opinion, wasn't a very rational individual in some respects, i.e., when it came to many of his economic and political beliefs. They were obviously affected by his exposure to communism and the doctrines of the former Soviet Union, and therefore should be excluded from those who are rational and yet display exceeding amounts of irrational belief. Of course, we all have these displays of irrationality (some might argue being a Republican or being a Democrat qualifies!).

The individual who I am referring to is someone like Dick who simply is not thinking rational even though they show every indication that they can think rationally. Something went wrong in their education such that they have a distorted view of the world. From all indications they could think rationally if it weren't for that one small thing that prevents it. Perhaps there are issues of human meaning here too, but I don't so. I think it is just plain ole' misinformation about philosophy of a particular subject that throws them off. We all have incorrect philosophies, but it seems that some people are afflicted with more of it. This is where I see these overall rational folks who just happen to be quacks. They are afflicted with a distorted image of science. So distorted, in fact, that it ruins their careers in science and sends people running in the opposite direction.

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