Brainstorming help request: teaching rationality basics in an RPG setting

EDIT: Minor up­dates hap­pened.


I’d like to ask you all for thoughts on a cer­tain idea I’m toy­ing with. Espe­cially any of you who are fa­mil­iar with the Wheel of Time fan­tasy se­ries by Robert Jor­dan.

I play a MUD (multi-user dun­geon, ba­si­cally a text-based MMORPG), based on that se­ries. One of my char­ac­ters is a mem­ber of the White Tower, which is ba­si­cally a mage or­gani­sa­tion/​school, and as part of our role­play ac­tivi­ties we some­times hold classes (ex­am­ple, long, prob­a­bly not worth your time) for lower rank mem­bers. Th­ese typ­i­cally last an hour or two and some­times get used to con­vey in­ter­est­ing real life knowl­edge. For in­stance there has been a class on mnemonic tech­niques.

I see an op­por­tu­nity to spread ra­tio­nal­ity a lit­tle. One of the Ajah (sub­di­vi­sions) of the Tower is speci­fi­cally con­cerned with pur­su­ing truth, logic etc. which means if I joined it, I would have no trou­ble teach­ing a class or two with some ma­te­rial from the Se­quences. I won­der if any of us here have done things like that in the past?

What sort of es­sen­tials would you pack into a class or at most a few classes 1-2 hours each (not just me read­ing stuff out but in­clud­ing a dis­cus­sion), for peo­ple with­out tech­ni­cal back­grounds? Con­ducted at typ­ing speed, so ba­si­cally imag­ine you’re go­ing to spend two hours talk­ing to 3-6 peo­ple about ra­tio­nal­ity on IRC chat or some such set­ting.

Also, should I in­volve or steer away from the meta­physics of the Wheel of Time set­ting (the Creator/​Dark One, the Pat­tern etc)?

My ideas so far:

Part 1: “Cog­ni­tive bi­ases, or why you, yes you, are an idiot”.
- which ones would be most in­ter­est­ing/​sim­ple/​use­ful to teach about?
- Ob­vi­ously i need to start with how know­ing about bi­ases can hurt you...
- Con­fir­ma­tion bias: I might try the 2-4-6 game, though it’ll be a bit of a mess in a group set­ting.
- what other bi­ases and ex­am­ples would you use?

Part 2: Truth and ev­i­dence
- truth, map/​ter­ri­tory
- what is ev­i­dence
- ra­tio­nal ev­i­dence vs other kinds of ev­i­dence
- what is not ev­i­dence (in­stead of UFO cults I’d speak of False Dragon fol­low­ers)

A ques­tion I an­ti­ci­pate com­ing up: Is there ra­tio­nal ev­i­dence for the Creator/​Dark One/​the Pat­tern? Ideas for han­dling this needed.
Note: I am NOT aiming at athe­ism at all costs, like a Force Skep­tic ap­proach. It’s nei­ther very ra­tio­nal if we’re in WoT, nor prac­ti­cal for my char­ac­ter. In fact I in­tend to not talk about re­li­gion if pos­si­ble. Wrong set­ting, wrong au­di­ence for that.

Part 3: Bayes’ the­o­rem
- the wed­ding in the desert ex­am­ple looks eas­ily adapt­able (Aiel!)
- more ex­am­ples of prac­ti­cal Bayes The­o­rem ap­pli­ca­tion needed!

Or is the very idea of teach­ing Bayes in such a set­ting an out­ra­geous un­der­es­ti­ma­tion of the in­fer­en­tial dis­tance?

So yeah. Any ideas or ad­vice that might help me give this shape and make it in­ter­est­ing and suc­cess­ful would be ap­pre­ci­ated.