Forum:Intellectual honesty

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Perhaps we should mention on the main page that RationalWiki promotes intellectual honesty, in addition to rationality. Sometimes it can be a rational decision for a person to promote an irrational idea. E.g., if you live in the Bible Belt and want to be a successful politician, it will behoove you to express support for Christianity, despite that religion's self-contradictory nature. Indeed, you will have no incentive at all to even question your religion or look into counter-arguments to it, since if you find out it is wrong, the three possibilities are that (1) you will end up bucking society and be punished for it, (2) you will have some uncomfortable cognitive dissonance, or (3) you will ignore what you have learned, thus making it useless to have learned it.

So the problem, in some cases, is not only that the audience is irrational but that those demagogues who seek to lead the audience set aside what they know to be the truth and tell people what they want to hear, instead. Or they straight-up scam the people; e.g., marketers of pyramid schemes are undoubtedly aware that the business model will result in almost all of its participants losing money (and therefore it would be irrational for someone seeking the good of those people to sell it to them), but they pitch it anyway because they want to make money. Or, more generally, if one knows that unethical acts (such as aggression) tend to work to society's detriment, the rational decision, if he seeks society's good, will be for him will be to act ethically; but some people, having a goal instead of enriching themselves at whatever cost to society, will make a rational decision to act unethically.

So really, it is important not only to stand against irrationality but also to oppose intellectual dishonesty and evil. Indeed, we often hope that the perpetrators and proponents of evil and intellectual dishonesty act irrationally. E.g., we hope that Schlafly will administer his site irrationally by kicking productive contributors off without good cause, since that will hurt Conservapedia, and thereby diminish its ability to cause harm. Tisane (talk) 22:08, 11 July 2010 (UTC)

I presume intellectual honest is implied by rationalism and the scientific method. Although explicitly mentioning it might be worthwhile as it's just as important to say what you are for as what you are against. We should definitely de-red that link, though. Scarlet A.pnggnostic 00:45, 12 July 2010 (UTC)