Saturday, August 18, 2012

Harm Done by Sloppy Advocates

A cause can be harmed by its afiliates behaving poorly in multiple ways. One of those is badly representing it to those who are otherwise capable of taking it seriously. These are exactly the people whose attention is most worthwhile. At Overcoming Bias Robin Hanson decries those who adopt radical ideas because they are radical, rather than by thinking them through on their merits. When those same individuals go on to enthusiastically endorse the ideas to potential adopters, expressing the ideas in sloppy analogies rather than actual arguments, the potential adopters reject them. This hinders the spread of the ideas.

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