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The rationality of irrationality

February 17, 2017

A post from the Cultural Cognition Project offers this explanation of why greater education is put to the purpose of rationalizing your tribe’s beliefs:

It is in fact perfectly rational at the individual level to engage information societal risks in an identity-protective rather than a truth-convergent manner. What an individual personally believes about climate change, e.g., won’t affect the risk she or anyone she cares about faces; whether as consumer, voter, public discussant, etc. her personal behavior will be too inconsequential to matter. But given what positions on climate change and other societal risk issues have come to signify about who she is and whose side she is on in a perpetual struggle for status among competing cultural groups, a person who forms a position out of line with her cultural peers risks estrangement from the people on whom she depends on for emotional and material support.

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