Belief signal

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Verbal belief-tribe signalling is the practice of signalling one's membership in a belief tribe specifically by reiterating the tribe's beliefs in front of others.

Rationalists will often mistake such signalling as an attempt at rational debate, but it is not. Rational debate carries with it the assumption that both parties are engaged in a mutual search for truth, and (therefore) that if sufficient evidence is presented against any participant's position, they will modify their beliefs to accommodate this new information.

The actual purposes of such signalling are:

  1. to be seen defending the beliefs of the tribe, thus enhancing one's reputation within the tribe
  2. in the hope of spreading the tribe's beliefs, thus increasing the tribe's power
  3. to give the signaller an increased sense of confidence that the beliefs are true, thus reducing one's cognitive dissonance
    • This appears to be effective because of some flaw in human psychology – possibly there is some sort of chemical feedback from seeing or hearing your own beliefs affirmed, even if you are the one doing the affirming.