When is ignorance a strategy for rational people?

We generally associate rationality with wanting to know more about our biases. Generally we associate learning about human bias with learning more in general; rational people are truth seekers. However, there are some instances when ignorance is a rational strategy. Off the top of my head:

1) The placebo effect

2) The role of God in everyday life - people who pray and attend church are happier, at less risk of a major catastrophic health incidentthan those who don't.

3) What our spouse/significant other is thinking about, in real time

4) Whether or not we carry a Huntington's disease-type gene

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One thought on “When is ignorance a strategy for rational people?

  1. your favorite little sister

    kevin,

    it’s a bit– i don’t know what word to use here– presumptuous, or rude, or just ignorant, i guess– to compare faith in God to the placebo affect. believing in the placebo will not bring peace and contentment to BILLIONS of people. I’m not even talking about just Christianity, but all the religions in general. Religious people have done some of the most miraculous, human-kind saving behavior on this planet. Gandhi, for example, or Martin Luther King, Jr., or Mother Theresa, or the Dalai Llama. Having faith like that would improve your life, because “your” life isn’t yours anymore. The majority of the groups who have made significant impact on rebuilding New Orleans have been churches and colleges.

    Plus: I can’t say for sure, but all those people going to church and living longer and happier aren’t rational people choosing ignorance to avoid an early death– they are people who have chosen to metaphorically die to this life in order to achieve another, everlasting one, and the freedom and beauty in that is miraculous.

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