Dysrationalia - Shift the Script

Whenever people are asked about the biggest problems in the world holding back the progress of humanity, answers such as “apathy”, “war”, “ignorance”, “poverty” are provided. The answer is far simpler, when you know conversations online and offline are vital to help people understand other people, so we can move forward together on common ground despite differences of opinions.

Before you can have conversations or be part of effective conversations? You need to be open to the idea of talking to people, listening to what they say and understand what they say (in verbal or written mediums), then pause and prepare to refute or agree or agree to disagree with them.

Conversations are stopped, and effective conversations are prevented, because many people don’t know how dysrationalia affects them. Dysrationalia is not a clinical disorder, but an educational concept in psychology. Billions of people mistake IQ for rational intelligence. Billions of people exhibit dysrationalia without realising, and it depends on the topic.

Dysrationalia inflames identity politics, strengthens echo chambers, and warps tribal traits to become destructive and divisive. Dysrationalia strengthens the inability of people to admit when they are ignorant or wrong on a topic, drives people to no-platform others, and such people also refuse to engage, refuse to read and refuse to talk about important information as long as they encounter someone presenting a very different perspective using ground-breaking information which proves you wrong.

This behaviour can become very destructive and polarising, when any journalists and people working in media, scientists, politicians, activists, and other civilians are part of this planet, but refuse to recognise and deal with dysrationalia affecting your thinking processes. It affects what you say and how you speak, also affects how you process information, and how you decide to search for information.

Someone who speaks of being scientific or rational but refuses to read or understand an argument being put forth, then claims you are wrong and follows up with a blanket statement of assumptions, saying it is impossible to debate because the topic cannot have anything rational about it? How different is that stance from someone who says, “I can’t read that something, because it might give me wrong ideas, and you are wrong”?

The above examples are dysrationalia in action, and these people are not aware of logic flaws and irrational thinking. Being religious or non-religious doesn’t prevent you from exhibiting behaviour proving you are blinded by your personal biases and prejudices on a topic. Your beliefs can be based on wrong information or false assumptions which have not yet been proven wrong.

People can see certain words and get carried away by their beliefs and assumptions, hence reacting badly to new information that contradicts or challenges their worldview. What do you think when you see an article with the word “Muslim”? “Ex-Muslim”? “Non-Muslim”?

Did you ask yourself to read, react, pause, become aware of your beliefs and assumptions, and evaluate what the article is trying to say?

More than 90% of comments on Shift The Script to articles reflect dysrationalia over several months, but many of the people giving such comments don’t realise what they are displaying to anyone who knows what is being proffered.

Dysrationalia needs to be minimised, through understanding how to exercise intellectual humility and intellectual integrity. This is how we move forward together. What is Dysrationalia?

[ I coined the term “dysrationalia” (analogous to “dyslexia”), meaning the inability to think and behave rationally despite having adequate intelligence, to draw attention to a large domain of cognitive life that intelligence tests fail to assess…

It is useful to get a handle on dysrationalia and its causes because we are beset by problems that require increasingly more accurate, rational responses. In the 21st century, shallow processing can lead physicians to choose less effective medical treatments, can cause people to fail to adequately assess risks in their environment, can lead to the misuse of information in legal proceedings …. ] – Keith E Stanovich


Write a letter