David MacDonagh’s talk was a challenge to present, defying summarisation really. For me, it was the kind of talk that inspires a hundred little thoughts which distract somewhat from getting your head around the big picture. But here goes:
The basic argument is that your minds are an ongoing proces, and when called upon to state a belief or make a decision we recreate our beliefs on-the-spot based on the state of that process at the time. As such, we are prone to intellectual errors. Facts fall out of our heads, we rush to make guesses and we can be tricked, but we never act irrationally. The process of thinking is always the same, but the state of the mind changes. If we are in a muddle we can appear to act thoughtlessly, but cannot actually do so. One interesting up shot of this is that our beliefs are highly variable, changing by the second, because such is the rate of change in your state of mind.
In the Q&A, David claimed that it takes 18 months for a new idea to finally sink in to the point that suddenly, while shaving, your beliefs will change in a more serious way. This has interesting consequences on the doorstep and for the work of propagantists, and we breifly discussed how to present arguments to exploit this theory of the mind.
I don’t want to keep you guys waiting 18 months, for me to finally get the rest of it, but hopefully this summary is enough to entice you to listening the full 58 minutes of audio [mp3].
If you’re looking to get inspired this morning, I think this might do the trick.