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See Robin Hanson’s signs that your opinions function more to signal loyalty and ability than to estimate truth. By my count, I suffer from around 4-5 out of 11 of those signs, if not more.
I reckon it’s fair to say I put forth a lot of opinions/arguments in order to demonstrate ‘ability’. Since there’s no one obvious that my opinions could be meant to signal ‘loyalty’ to (if anything, my opinions are about disloyalty), that part doesn’t really apply however.
So let me plead guilty to being, largely, a kind of contrarian showoff.
I think this makes some sense strategically, to be honest. Let’s say you think that all opinions from someone like me should always be meant to ‘estimate truth’, all the time. But why? I’m a lowly blogger. Very few people read me. What if I hit upon some genuine truth, and investigated it honestly, and estimated it fairly, and then wrote it up. What effect would that actually have? Zero-point-none.
But if I entertain, or put forth an opinion in a memorable way, well that won’t change anything either, but at least some people might not be sorry they spent time reading me, and I’ll have had fun writing it.
The alternative of course is just not to write at all due to shame at my self-awareness that my writing is not a 100% genuine truth-estimation endeavor. That may happen too, but it will be out of boredom and lack of interest, not because I don’t live up to Robin Hanson’s opinion standards. No one could.
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