What if Everybody Overcame Bias?

Many of the bad things that people do to other people, and most of the worst ones, are done explicitly in the service of some form of organized irrationality; mostly religion but also secular irrationalities like Stalinism and Maoism (please no debates on how religious Hitler or Stalin or Mao were). It seems clear that even a moderately successful overcoming of bias would get rid of these, and that would be great.

What interests me here though is this. Aside from all the bad deeds that are caused by irrationality, people also seem to feel the need to come up with irrational justifications (he had it coming anyway; he would have done it to me if he had the chance; he’s a Jew) for bad acts that fundamentally are perfectly rational. The impulse to take someone else’s food or mate or to kill a rival is evolutionarily antecedent to cognition itself, and must therefore be antecedent to bias; getting rid of bias won’t get rid of these impulses. So the question then is how deep is this need for an irrational cover story? Is it so deep that if people can no longer believe the stories, they will no longer allow themselves to commit the bad acts? Is it so shallow that people will just not care and plow on ahead as before? Will there be some perverse effect where people become more clear-eyed about when there are profits to be made by rational bad acts and commit more of them?

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