I am a woman born 1949 and my quest is to find a mindmate
to grow old together as a mutually devoted couple
in a relationship based upon the
egalitarian rational commitment paradigm
bonded by intrinsic commitment
as each other's safe haven and secure basis.

The purpose of this blog is to enable the right man
to recognize us as reciprocal mindmates and
to encourage him to contact me:

The entries directly concerning,
who could be my mindmate,
are mainly at the beginning.
If this is your predominant interest,
I suggest to read this blog in the same order
as it was written, following the numbers.

I am German, therefore my English is sometimes faulty.

Maybe you have stumbled upon this blog not as a potential match.
Please wait a short moment before zapping.

Do you know anybody, who could be my mindmate?
Your neighbour, brother, uncle, cousin, colleague, friend?
If so, please tell him to look at this blog.
While you have no reason to do this for me,
a stranger, maybe you can make someone happy, for whom you care.

Do you have your own webpage or blog,
which someone like my mindmate to be found probably reads?
If so, please mention my quest and add a link to this blog.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

369. Irrationality and the Baseline

Irrationality and the Baseline

When I compiled a list of weird beliefs for the rationality questionnaire page, again as so often before, I was puzzled and at a loss of comprehension, how anybody in his right mind could ever believe any of this utterly preposterous and ludicrous ideas and claims.    How could a person expect something to happen as a result of something as weird as prayer?   It is incomprehensible to me, but people do it all the time.

For an explanation I looked at the baseline of behavior and at deviance.   

In entry 366 I explained the importance of being aware of and of accepting one's own innate, personal, genuine baseline.    A person can feel at ease, when the own behavior is congruent with what he perceives and considers consciously as his baseline.    Otherwise a person feels, considers himself or experiences himself as either externally or internally deviant.    
Of course, different aspects of behavior can have different baselines.   A person can conform in one aspect of life and not in another.   The topic of this entry is the baseline of either irrationally believing or skeptically disbelieving as a result of the faculty for rationality.
The conscious baseline can be
  1. an average person's genuine baseline and also the normative baseline of the social environment.
  2. a person's genuine baseline and he refuses to accept the normative baseline.
  3. the normative baseline and he considers his own behavior or behavioral tendencies and impulses as deviant.  

There is internal deviance, when the person feels deviant only by comparing the own behavior with the conscious baseline, and there is external deviance, when the person is treated as or feels deviant in the interaction and comparison with the social environment.  
Internal deviance motivates people either to learn and to improve themselves or to change their conscious baseline or a combination of both.    
External deviance is a very strong system of punishment or reward.    Feeling embarrassed and ashamed of any flaw, fallacy, inferiority, deficiency, insufficiency or weakness compared with the normative baseline is a very strong punishment, especially when in interaction with and exposed to the feedback of more conforming people.   Attempts to adapt and to conform are usually rewarded by positive feedback and by a reduction of bad feelings about oneself.

People openly display their behavior, they are proud and confident about it, when it is congruent with their conscious baseline.    When they feel deviant and feel ashamed or embarrassed, they attempt to hide their deviance.   Congruent people reinforce each other in accepting their common baseline.  Consciously deviant people reinforce each other to feel more deviant and as a result to enhance the attempts to conform.

Unfortunately, the normative baseline is derived by prevalence, not be quality.    The question, if the brain of a skeptical, atheistic scientist is of better quality and of more value to progress and to the human species than the brain of a clergy man is not asked.   

The following is an illustration of the problem by an analogy of the power of the normative baseline.   In my analogy I am assuming, that my speculation were correct, and that there are people, in whose brain is wired a strong faculty to be rational, while other people are gullible and credulous, because this faculty is lacking.    Assuming also, that the tendency to be angry in a disruptive way is an innate trait of some people, while the majority can stay calm enough to stay out of trouble.   
  1. The normative baseline of the majority is irrationality in one case and calmness in the other.  For both, the innately irrational and the innately calm persons, the conscious baseline is congruent.   The normative baseline is identitcal with their genuine personal baseline.
  2. Those rational people and angry people, who accept their own baseline and refuse to feel deviant in comparison with the normative baseline, have both their own subcultures and they are treated as deviant, without perceiving themelves as such. 
    Skeptical and atheistic scientists become accomplished activists in the education of people and there are groups of like minded people online and offline.  They are above feeling deviant.  
    Angry people often end as psychopaths in jail, if and when they accept their anger as a suitable survival skill.   
  3. Rational people and angry people, who have accepted the normative baseline as their conscious baseline, perceive themselves as internally deviant in the interaction with their social environment. 
    3.1. They hide it to avoid punishment from being additionally exposed to external deviance, but they attempt to reduce the deviance by attempts to conform.  
    3.2. They become group members, where they share the rational and the angry baseline with others.   This gives relief from the punishment of external deviance, while they are sharing the internal deviance.
    Angry people join an 'angry anonymous' group. 
    Those few rational people, who do feel deviant from the normative irrationality join groups for survivors of a trauma, catastrophe, extreme loss and such.   They are those, who have been shocked into discovering their own true rationality by comprehending, that the belief in a god was absurd due to experiencing a drastic disappointment.   But they are still struggling to find back to the irrationality, that continues to be their baseline. 
    Group members have the relief of being able to admit and to talk about, what they need to hide outside the group, due to be considered and punished by the conforming majority.   Being temporarily free from the pressure of external deviance, they can focus upon coping with the internal feeling of being deviant and of supporting each other's attempts to conform.  
As a result, irrational and calm people reinforce each other to remain irrational and calm.   Those rational and angry people, who feel deviant and join self-help groups, reinforce each other in the acknowledgment of the need to change and to become more irrational and more calm.     The normative baseline gets stronger.  

When I am imaging a better world, it is one in which the rational people are the majority, and the normative baseline is rationality, atheism, skepticism and the refusal of any belief. 
For all innately rational people, their conscious baseline is congruent with their genuine and the normative baseline.    The irrational people are those, who are considered and treated as deviant.  Sanity and maturity imply rationality.   Irrationals, who refuse or fail to adapt to rationality, because the faculty in their brain is lacking, are considered as disabled and not fully sane.   
If they attempt to solve problems by prayer or if they refuse a luggage tag number 13 as unlucky, then this is considered as indicating their need of psychotherapy.   
If they do damage to others by behavior caused by their delusion, then their place is in a mental institution.    A man allowing himself cheating as justified by a deity having allegedly written in a book, that it is OK for a man to have 4 wives and countless concubines, is insane and dangerous to trusting mongamous women.  
For those, who accept to have a problem, there are self-help groups like 'irrational anonymous', where they help each other deal with their affliction and support each other in the attempt to learn rationality..   They feel ashamed of the weakness and dysfunction of their irrational brains.  They hide their irrationality, they never admit their weird believes to anybody accept to others equally afflicted.  
Every grown up and sane person allows himself to be aware, that praying to a god is as preposterous as searching in the garden for eggs hidden by the easter bunny.    Rational people would lead and guide and be role models, and the irrational people would be a subculture of those, who are unable to do any better.    They are treated with pity and compassion, but nobody ever sees their believes as anything except a pathetic affliction.  

But my dream world has not much chance to become real.    In the sad reality, people reinforce each other in their most delusional beliefs, and by experiencing the ubiquity of the shared delusions, they loose all sense for the absurdity and utter loudicrousness of the beliefs.    I feel like living in a world, where the mental instituion of irrational people reinforcing each other has spread over most of the territory, not leaving much space for the few rationals, atheists and skeptics.  

I suspect, that rationality has not yet evolved to have sufficient prevalence and strength in the gene pool.   It cannot replace gullibility as the only way of interacting and learning in the majority of the adult population.   Also rationality of the individual is only developed after going through the gullibility of childhood, therefore rationally as the genuine and the conscious baseline not only requires the faculty to develop it, but this also requires unlearning and discarding gullibility.   

Thus rationality has a double disadvantage impeding it from becoming the normative baseline of the majority.