Give rationality some deserved respect


Mingsen told me about this friend of his the other night. This friend of his is an award winning poet, who is skeptical of rationality’s ability to understand sensualities (not too sure if i am using the right term), such as, poem, painting, humor and other sensibilities. By rationality, I mean “the quality of being consistent with or based on logic“, i also mean reason and science.

If i ever get to meet that poet i would like to remind him, that most of the things that was once thought to be outside the realm of rational analysis (ie science) are now easily explainable by todays science. I am just going to name few sensibility related science to argue my case.

Skeptics use to think that how we determine who we love is not rationally understandable, but now we understand that one of the criteria that we unconsciously use to decide who we love is smell. Science daily explains:

Smell is important when choosing a partner, not only for humans but also fish. To fight disease, the body’s Major Histocompatibility Complex (MHC) molecules identify a disease as a foreign invader. Different MHC molecules fight different diseases, so it’s important to have a mix. Females use smell to identify partners with suitable MHC molecules: choosing only males with the correct mix of immune genes critical for the survival of future offspring.

Evolutionary biologist has come up with an explanation why we think symmetric facial and body structure is thought of as more attractive. It is because asymmetric features will require more energy to balance the body when moving forward, thus reproducing with a person who is asymmetric will make ones offspring less able to run away from predators. Therefore making people who are attracted to symmetric-ness more likely to survive natural selection and exist today.

Recently, Students at Tel Aviv University has come up with ways to examine facial attractiveness.

“Our software allows the computer to complete a much more complex task of esthetic judgment, which humans cannot define exactly how they do it. Esthetic judgment is linked to sentiment and more abstract considerations, but now we have made the computer do it. This constitutes a substantial advance in the development of artificial intelligence.”

To find out more about eh science of love, click here.

Through out the ages, skeptics has never hesitate to point out a list of things they think rationality is unable to understand, but as time goes by and science progress, that list skeptics use to beat rationalist over the head is getting smaller and smaller. Sooner of later, new discoveries in neuroscience, cognitive psychology and other studies will help us explain why we think certain jokes are funny and why we are moved by some poems. If that poet ever lose his job to a computer, don’t tell me you have not been warned.

Lastly, if being irrational is only harmless ignorance it would have been fine to me, but unfortunately it is not, in a collective society, one’s irrationality has cost to other members of the society. Religious zealots who drove an airplane in to the world trade building on the 11th of September in 2001 is demonstrative of such cost.

Check out Richard Dawkin’s documentary “The Enemies of Reason” for an discussion about how irrationality is undermining our civilization.

p.s. Rationality has gave our civilization, longer life, greater movement, freedom, peace and almost every improvement that you can think of. So to the Irrationals, you guys really need to give rationalist some well deserved respect, no more dissing!!

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