Difference between revisions of "No safe defense"

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In this crazy world, there's no simple procedure you can follow, no finite checklist or fixed ritual you can obey to ensure that your reasoning has been defensible and your actions just. There is a sense in which '''you are never ''safe'''''. There's no one you can ''trust''; the full force of your skepticism must be applied evenly, everywhere. It may be tempting to seek out some authoritative book, like the Bible, or the ''Feynman Lectures on Physics'', and trust that everything in the book is true. But the book is only probabilistic evidence about the state of the world, however strong. Authorities can be trusted exactly as much as a rational evaluation of the evidence deems them trustworthy, no more and no less. The Way is math, the math is precise, and math does not respond to human needs for closure and certainty.
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In this crazy world, there's no simple procedure you can follow, no finite checklist or fixed ritual you can obey to ensure that your reasoning has been defensible and your actions just. There is a sense in which '''you are never ''safe'''''. There's no one you can ''trust''; the full force of your skepticism must be applied to everything. It may be tempting to seek out some authoritative book, like the Bible, or the ''Feynman Lectures on Physics'', and trust that everything in the book is true. But the book is only probabilistic evidence about the state of the world, however strong. Authorities can be trusted exactly as much as a rational evaluation of the evidence deems them trustworthy, no more and no less.
  
 
==See also==
 
==See also==
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*[[Rationalists should win]]
 
*[[Rationalists should win]]
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*[[Science]], [[Rational evidence]]
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*[[Authority]]
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*[[Modesty argument]]
  
 
==Blog posts==
 
==Blog posts==
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*[http://lesswrong.com/lw/qf/no_safe_defense_not_even_science/ No Safe Defense, Not Even Science] by [[Eliezer Yudkowsky]]
 
*[http://lesswrong.com/lw/qf/no_safe_defense_not_even_science/ No Safe Defense, Not Even Science] by [[Eliezer Yudkowsky]]
 
*[http://lesswrong.com/lw/s0/where_recursive_justification_hits_bottom/ Where Recursive Justification Hits Bottom] by [[Eliezer Yudkowsky]]
 
*[http://lesswrong.com/lw/s0/where_recursive_justification_hits_bottom/ Where Recursive Justification Hits Bottom] by [[Eliezer Yudkowsky]]
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[[Category:Rationality]]

Revision as of 22:26, 20 September 2009

In this crazy world, there's no simple procedure you can follow, no finite checklist or fixed ritual you can obey to ensure that your reasoning has been defensible and your actions just. There is a sense in which you are never safe. There's no one you can trust; the full force of your skepticism must be applied to everything. It may be tempting to seek out some authoritative book, like the Bible, or the Feynman Lectures on Physics, and trust that everything in the book is true. But the book is only probabilistic evidence about the state of the world, however strong. Authorities can be trusted exactly as much as a rational evaluation of the evidence deems them trustworthy, no more and no less.

See also

Blog posts