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What Intelligence Tests Miss 11: Contaminated Mindware


Not only can mindware be lacking or insufficient, it can also be corrupted and counter-productive to our goals. “Faith” in the evidence-less sense is a prime example of this.

Kindle Notes:

i. Mindware survives and spreads because it is helpful to the people that store it. 2. Certain mindware proliferates because it is a good fit to pre-existing genetic predispositions or domain-specific evolutionary modules. 3. Certain mindware spreads because it facilitates the replication of genes that make vehicles that are good hosts for that particular mindware (religious beliefs that urge people to have more children would be in this category). 4. Mindware survives and spreads because of the self-perpetuating properties of the mindware itself (2054).

The following are some rules for avoiding such mindware: i. Avoid installing mindware that could be physically harmful to you, the host. 2. Regarding mindware that affects your goals, make sure the mindware does not preclude a wide choice of future goals. 3. Regarding mindware that relates to beliefs and models of the world, seek to install only mindware that is true-that is, that reflects the way the world actually is. 4. Avoid mindware that resists evaluation (2097).

Of course, the classic example of unfalsifiable mindware is mindware that relies on blind faith .9 The whole notion of blind faith is meant to disarm the hosts in which it resides from ever evaluating it. To have faith in mindware means that you do not constantly and reflectively question its origins and worth (2115).

one of the tricks that faith-based mindware uses to avoid evaluation is to foster the notion that mystery itself is a virtue (a strategy meant to short-circuit the search for evidence that mindware evaluation entails). In the case of faith-based mindware, many of the adversative properties mentioned earlier come into play. Throughout history, many religions have encouraged their adherents to attack nonbelievers or at least to frighten nonbelievers into silence (2117).

Several years ago, a survey of paranormal beliefs was given to members of a Mensa club in Canada, and the results were instructive. Mensa is a club restricted to high-IQ individuals, and one must pass IQ-type tests to be admitted. Yet 44 percent of the members of this club believed in astrology, 51 percent believed in biorhythms, and 56 percent believed in the existence of extraterrestrial visitors-all beliefs for which there is not a shred of evidence (2143).

This chapter and the last illustrated that tests of intelligence do not assess for the presence of mindware critical to rational thought, or for disruptive mindware that impedes rational thought. Earlier chapters established that thinking dispositions relevant to rational thought also go unassessed. Many of these are related to the tendency to use (or avoid) strategies that trump Type 1 miserly processing with Type 2 cognition (2151).


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