Robin Hanson makes a list of “Signs that your opinions function more to signal loyalty and ability than to estimate truth:”
- You find it hard to be enthusiastic for something until you know that others oppose it.
- You have little interest in getting clear on what exactly is the position being argued.
- Realizing that a topic is important and neglected doesn’t make you much interested.
- You have little interest in digging to bigger topics behind commonly argued topics.
- You are less interested in a topic when you don’t foresee being able to talk about it.
- You are uncomfortable taking a position near the middle of the opinion distribution.
- You are uncomfortable taking a position of high uncertainty about who is right.
You care far more about current nearby events than similar distant or past/future events.
- You find it easy to conclude that those who disagree with you are insincere or stupid.
- You are reluctant to change your publicly stated positions in response to new info.
- You are reluctant to agree a rival’s claim, even if you had no prior opinion on the topic.
- You are reluctant to take a position that raises the status of rivals.
- You care more about consistency between your beliefs than about belief accuracy.
- You go easy on sloppy arguments by folks on “your side.”
- You have little interest in practical concrete implications of commonly argued topics.
- Your opinion doesn’t much change after talking with smart folks who know more.
- You are especially eager to drop names when explaining positions and arguments.
- You find it hard to list weak points and counter-arguments on your positions.
- You feel passionately about a topic, but haven’t sought out much evidence.
- You are reluctant to not have an opinion on commonly discussed topics.
Tyler Cowen adds: You feel uncomfortable taking a position which raises the status of the people you usually disagree with.