Evangelical Rationality

Spread­ing the Word prompted me to re­port back as promised.

I have two sisters aged 17 and 14, and mom and dad aged 40-some­thing. I’m 22, male. We’re all white and Lat­vian. I trans­lated the ar­ti­cles as I read them.

I read Never Leave Your Room to the old­est sister and she ex­pressed great in­ter­est in it.

I read Cached Selves to them all. When I got to the part about Green­sky­ers the older sister as­serted “the sky is green” for fun. Later in the con­ver­sa­tion I asked her, “Is the sky blue?”, and her an­swer was “No. I mean, yes! Gah!” They all found real life ex­am­ples of this quickly—it turns out this is how the older sister schmoozes money and stuff out of dad (“Can I have this dis­count ce­real?” fol­lowed by “Can I have this ex­pen­sive yo­gurt to go with my ce­real?”).

I started read­ing The Apol­o­gist and the Revolu­tion­ary to them but halfway through the ar­ti­cle they asked “what’s the prac­ti­cal ap­pli­ca­tion for us?”, and I re­al­ized that I couldn’t an­swer that ques­tion—it’s just a piece of trivia. So I moved on.

I tried read­ing about near-far thing to them, but couldn’t find a sin­gle good ar­ti­cle that de­scribes it con­cisely. Thus I stum­bled around, and failed to con­vey the idea prop­erly.

In the end I asked whether they’d like to hear similar stuff in the fu­ture, and the re­ply was an unan­i­mous yes. I asked them why, in their opinion, haven’t they found this stuff by them­selves and the rea­son seems to be that they have have no paths that lead to ra­tio­nal­ity stuff in their lives. In­deed, I found OB through Dres­den Co­dak, which I found through Minus, which I found through some other we­b­comic fo­rum. No­body in my fam­ily reads we­b­comics not to men­tion fre­quent­ing their fo­rums.

The take­away, I think, is this: We must es­tab­lish non-geeky paths to ra­tio­nal­ity. Go and tell peo­ple how to not be suck­ers. Start with peo­ple who would listen to you. You don’t have to ad­ver­tise LW—just be +5 in­for­ma­tive. Ra­tion­al­ity stuff must en­ter the mass me­dia: ra­dio, TV, news­pa­pers. If you are in a po­si­tion to make that hap­pen, act!

I would also like to see more ar­ti­cles like this one on LW—go, do some­thing, re­port back.