Re: Young vs. Old (was: Debunk All Religiosity Equally ...)

From: Mark Walker (
Date: Tue Jul 10 2001 - 12:58:46 MDT

Robin Hanson wrote:

> Bob Trask wrote:
> > > To me one of the great tragedies of the human condition is that the
> > > young largely ignore advice from the old.
> >
> >The same folks who are repeatedly fleeced by evangelists, stock shams,
> >telemarketers...
> >The same folks who start sentences with "It didn't use to be like
> >or "I remember when..." or "We've always done it THIS way..."
> Those same folks used to be young once. However ignorant they are now,
> they were even more ignorant when they were younger. If people on
> average learn things as they grow older, older people will on average
> know more than younger people.
You might be right but I wonder about your implicit ceteris paribus clause
here. If the Flynn effect is real then the greater intelligence of the youth
may allow them to gobble-up more from the epistemic trough. Presumably, one
has to worry about quality as opposed to quantity issues here as well. Given
the speed in which the world is changing, certain types of knowledge may no
longer be particularly valuable. Grandpa might no better how to replace a
vacuum tube in a radio, or get over the Berlin wall, etc. but the value of
this knowledge is not what it used to be. Even fleecing has become more
sophisticated: knowing how to get an Encyclopaedia salesmen's foot out of
the door might not help the elderly in avoiding telemarketers. However, I
suppose I should defer to your greater wisdom here--you are, after all,
older than me. :)

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