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Virtually everyone today considers himself to be rational. Reason was discovered and invented by the Greeks 2600 years ago, and few serious thinkers -- historically and currently -- reject reason to any considerable degree. But just because essentially everybody fancies himself to possess rational beliefs, and to manifest rational behaviors, doesn't make it so. Irrationality is rife throughout human society, culture, history, and philosophy.

A person isn't rational if he holds a profound or wide-ranging skepticism about the power of the human mind to comprehend reality, or to generate a meaningful, worthwhile, successful life. This type of fundamental Skepticism is massively irrational and the root of all evil. Doubting or disbelieving in the practicality, efficacy, and authority of reason is, by defintion, irrational. So too is rejecting the evidence of the senses, and of personal experience, in one's lifestyle -- and then declining to apply logic to it. People are irrational who are a relativist/subjectivist or a dogmatist/faithist in their epistemology or reasoning. Truth-seeking and problem-solving requires reason uncorrupted by emotion, intuition, drives, instincts, revelation, and authority.

To be solidly rational, complicated, contradictory, nonsensical claims and propositions can't be a significant part of one's thoughts, words, and deeds. And mystical, superstitious ideas, along with mythical, supernatural beings, can't be a significant part of one's life.

Edited by Wotan

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Was this post brought about by something in particular?

Not especially. But it galls me that the religious frequently claim to be rational.

And I see irrationality all over the place. Including inside the Objectivist Movement.

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What you are talking about is not a rationality, but rationalism, that-is exercizing the power of mind completely divorced from the reality.

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Leonid -- I think we're all irrational at some point -- including me. It happens when one's thoughts, word, or deeds can't be justified by reason -- when one's thoughts, word, or deeds aren't based upon, and oriented around, the known facts and available evidence. Also when one's ideas, and the "logic" behind them, are expressed in a serpentine and torturous manner, like Kant. --Please note that Rand was rarely guilty of this.

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Yes, but I'd go so far as to say most people are generally irrational. This includes most Objectivists. People largely base their lives on self-deception. People believe what they want to believe, aiming for a certain minimal amount of truth and rationality, and beyond that they just don't care. They're well satisfied with their current beliefs and lifestyle. They aren't interested in pursuing the truth or being rational beyond their current fairly low level.

They think what they think -- and that's it. If you try to argue with them or point out their errors, you're the enemy. It doesn't matter if you're a good and rational person, or if you have the truth on your side. As a matter of fact, so much the worse.

People are generally happy to be irrational. They don't want any extra or superfluous outside reason in their lives. They become hateful and malicious if anyone or anything tries to introduce it into their sacred but smug existences.

Specifically, I pretty much laugh at folks who take the side of Leonard Peikoff and the Ayn Rand Institute, or of David Kelley and the Atlas Society, in the on-going ObjectiWars. Both sides strike me as largely irrational and indifferent to truth. It seems that if you join in, and have the truth on your side, and are being cleanly rational, then they hate you. Both sides believe what they believe, and aren't interested in improving or ascending. Fresh evidence and insight isn't welcome. Their brains and hearts are profoundly closed to new facts and ideas. They're proudly and defiantly irrational.

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Most people are struggling to understand within the framework of how they have discovered to make sense of it so far. If a person does not recognize something as self-deception, how can they largely base their lives on it. If people think what they believe is true, how can they distinguish it from simply believing what they want to believe? If they buy into the widespread belief that there are no 'Truths', why would they be interested in pursuing it?

People are generally creatures of habit. How are most people taught to think? Once a habit is practiced for years, do you think it becomes easier or more difficult to replace it with a different habit?

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People are generally creatures of habit. How are most people taught to think? Once a habit is practiced for years, do you think it becomes easier or more difficult to replace it with a different habit?

A person will only change a habit when it ceases to meet their expectations; if it ain't broke don't fix it.

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"Not especially. But it galls me that the religious frequently claim to be rational."

I know what you mean. Many that I have talked to lump subjective reasoning and objective reasoning together and drop the context of validation. To them their belief is sufficient to make something a fact of reality. That is why they see no conflict between faith and reason. But it is pointless to try to argue with them. They can just pull out their get out of reality free card.

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