The issue with facts

Imagine waking up to a world where people bang their heads with baseball bats all day. You’re dumbfounded and ask around for answers.

You hear that it makes you more resilient and tolerant to pain, that it releases stress, that it keeps people busy and away from less desirable activities, that it helps keep society together since everybody does it, that the constant demand for bats has a positive effect on the economy, etcetera.

The facts are clear, but will you ever be convinced to start banging your head with a baseball bat too? Why not?

This post summarizes a passage from a piece by Scott Alexander which was in turn inspired by another article titled “How to Seem (and Be) Deep” by Eliezer Yudkowsky.