On the Quantification of Rationality

Recently, Christian apologists have been informing me that, since I can not clearly quantify rationality/irrationality, rationality/irrationality does not exist.

This short essay will demonstrate what most of you already know; the inability to rigorously track the variables of a concept does not invalidate the concept.

Imagine you have a fair coin, flip it 10 times, and come up with 10 “heads”. What is the probability the next flip will be a “head”. It is 50%. In spite of the common misconception that a tails is long overdue, the probability of another “heads” remains exactly at 50%. If you think the probability of the next throw being a “tails” is now 75%, you are irrational since your degree of belief is no commensurate to the degree of the evidence.

Coin flips are highly tractable. Other phenomena are not. But rationality/irrationality do not dissipate into oblivion as the complexity of assessment increases. And the apologists are disingenuous when they suggest as much. It is still irrational to drive drunk though the odds of jail/injury/death are not easily calculated. The degree of evidence you have informs a corresponding degree of belief (if you are rational) in the fact that driving drunk decreases the probability of a prosperous life.

So, the apologists who suggest that, since I can not say a belief is 30 percentage points shy of the evidence, I therefore can not identify something is irrational, commit the perfect standard fallacy.

But they know this. They themselves regularly identify and call out irrationality in others. Their argument is disingenuous. They are compelled by the incompatibility between their position and the reality of the concept to claim I can not do what they regularly do. They are reduced to hypocrisy.

These apologists believe in irrationality, and they regularly practice the assessment of irrationality. For them to claim I have no basis for suggesting there exists irrationality that we can all identify is absurd.


Note: Some of the apologists may claim that they never said rationality/irrationality do not exist. That would make no sense. They know that, all that my argument required was the existence of rationality/irrationality, and an inability to assess the concept with the resolution of precise percentages in no way impinges on my argument. The argument in question is encapsulated in the following graphic.

20130630-201647.jpg

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One thought on “On the Quantification of Rationality

  1. […] after a binary 100% choice on a 90% probability assessment would be irrational.More on this here, here and […]

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