What Do You Believe That No One Else Here Does?

 

Peter Thiel is well-known for asking this question in interviews:

PETER THIEL: The intellectual question that I ask at the start of my book is, “Tell me something that’s true that very few people agree with you on.” This is a terrific interview question. Even when people can read on the Internet that you’re going to ask this question to everybody you interview, they still find it really hard to answer. And it’s hard to answer not because people don’t have any ideas. Everyone has ideas. Everyone has things they believe to be true that other people won’t agree with you on. But they’re not things you want to say.

He himself was unforthcoming when asked the question, though:

TYLER COWEN: Peter, tell me something that’s true that everyone agrees with you on.

PETER THIEL: Well there are lots of things that are true that everyone agrees with me on. I think for example even this idea that the university system is somewhat screwed up and somewhat broken at this point. This is not even a heterodox or a very controversial idea anymore. There was an article in TechCrunch where the writer starts with “this is going to be super controversial” and then you look through the comments — there were about 350 comments — they were about 70 percent in my favor. So the idea that the education system is badly broken is not even controversial. You know, the ideas that are really controversial are the ones I don’t even want to tell you. I want to be more careful than that.

So what do you believe that puts you at odds with everyone else? What do you believe that puts you at odds with Ricochet, in particular?

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  1. user_1050 Member
    user_1050
    @MattBartle

    Despite winning Best Picture, American Beauty was a terrible movie.

    • #121
  2. user_1050 Member
    user_1050
    @MattBartle

    Lobsters are giant underwater cockroaches and shouldn’t be eaten by civilized people.

    • #122
  3. Frank Soto Contributor
    Frank Soto
    @FrankSoto

    Fred Cole:I’m also having serious doubts about the historicity of Jesus.

    That’s unpopular, and just flat out wrong.  Doubting that one means you have extreme reasons to doubt most historical figures, as few have so much evidence for their existence and deeds.

    • #123
  4. Claire Berlinski Editor
    Claire Berlinski
    @Claire

    Jordan Wiegand:That free trade is bad.

    Huh???

    • #124
  5. Cato Rand Inactive
    Cato Rand
    @CatoRand

    Matt Bartle:Lobsters are giant underwater cockroaches and shouldn’t be eaten by civilized people.

    Well, you’re half right.

    • #125
  6. user_1050 Member
    user_1050
    @MattBartle

    Windows 8.1 is an excellent product.

    • #126
  7. Cato Rand Inactive
    Cato Rand
    @CatoRand

    Frank Soto:

    Fred Cole:I’m also having serious doubts about the historicity of Jesus.

    That’s unpopular, and just flat out wrong. Doubting that one means you have extreme reasons to doubt most historical figures, as few have so much evidence for their existence and deeds.

    I’m probably closer to Fred than you.  I don’t really doubt that a Jewish revolutionary who was crucified in the first century is the source of our Jesus stories.  That’s entirely plausible and the quantum of written records about it makes it as believable as anything in history.  As far as the whole corpus of stories goes though, I’m deeply skeptical.  Some are fantastic and unbelievable on their faces.  Moreover, there are different, varied and in some cases conflicting accounts, and very obvious, very strong interests grew up that became tied to the dogma about him.  When you add it up, it is not difficult to imagine that the man and his deeds in real life were at most loosely connected to the stories of him we tell today.

    Fred can speak for himself, but I wonder if that’s roughly what he means by doubts about the historicity.

    • #127
  8. iWc Coolidge
    iWc
    @iWe

    Natural Law is bunkum.

    People are almost entirely ignorant of how amazingly irrational they are.

    • #128
  9. user_1050 Member
    user_1050
    @MattBartle

    If you don’t think the performance deserved a standing ovation, you don’t have to stand and applaud just because everyone else is.

    • #129
  10. Jason Rudert Inactive
    Jason Rudert
    @JasonRudert

    Online Park:P.S. It is amazing that there are so many replies already when it is only mid-morning here.

    It’s a Claire thread.

    • #130
  11. Ricochet Member
    Ricochet
    @ArizonaPatriot

    Tommy De Seno:I believe men over 40 should not wear blue jeans unless they are a cowboy.

    Or live west of the Mississippi and east of the California border.  Or drive a pickup truck.

    We have very good reasons to wear jeans out here in AZ, including some extraordinarily thorny vegetation.  Dockers are about as useful as tissue paper when hiking around my home.

    • #131
  12. Jackal Inactive
    Jackal
    @Jackal

    Tipping is a horrible practice that should be largely abolished, but if you tip less than 18% you’re a real cheapskate.

    • #132
  13. user_280840 Inactive
    user_280840
    @FredCole

    Frank Soto:

    Fred Cole:I’m also having serious doubts about the historicity of Jesus.

    That’s unpopular, and just flat out wrong. Doubting that one means you have extreme reasons to doubt most historical figures, as few have so much evidence for their existence and deeds.

    That’s the thing, Frank, the “evidence” is dubious.

    • #133
  14. Jason Rudert Inactive
    Jason Rudert
    @JasonRudert

    That the fear of nuclear weapons is overblown.

    • #134
  15. Roberto Inactive
    Roberto
    @Roberto

    The Federal Reserve’s dual mandate is deleterious to growth and prosperity. The only proper goal of the FED is price stability and an inflation target is ≠ price stability.

    • #135
  16. Cato Rand Inactive
    Cato Rand
    @CatoRand

    Roberto:The Federal Reserve’s dual mandate is deleterious to growth and prosperity. The only proper goal of the FED is price stability and an inflation target is ≠ price stability.

    You misunderstand the OP.  The idea was to give us your unpopular ideas.

    • #136
  17. Frank Soto Contributor
    Frank Soto
    @FrankSoto

    Cato Rand:

    Frank Soto:

    Fred Cole:I’m also having serious doubts about the historicity of Jesus.

    That’s unpopular, and just flat out wrong. Doubting that one means you have extreme reasons to doubt most historical figures, as few have so much evidence for their existence and deeds.

    I’m probably closer to Fred than you. I don’t really doubt that a Jewish revolutionary who was crucified in the first century is the source of our Jesus stories. That’s entirely plausible and the quantum of written records about it makes it as believable as anything in history. As far as the whole corpus of stories goes though, I’m deeply skeptical. Some are fantastic and unbelievable on their faces. Moreover, there are different, varied and in some cases conflicting accounts, and very obvious, very strong interests grew up that became tied to the dogma about him. When you add it up, it is not difficult to imagine that the man and his deeds in real life were at most loosely connected to the stories of him we tell today.

    Fred can speak for himself, but I wonder if that’s roughly what he means by doubts about the historicity.

    Only Fred can answer what he meant, but doubting his historicity implies more than doubting christian theology about Jesus.

    A reasonable person can doubt Jesus’ status as deity, but the man lived, preached, and was described repeatedly as doing the type of ministry that the bible describes.

    Doubting that means doubting most of what we know about history.

    • #137
  18. Frank Soto Contributor
    Frank Soto
    @FrankSoto

    iWe:Natural Law is bunkum.

    Is that because you prefer to call the same phenomenon divine law, or something similar?  Just curious.

    • #138
  19. iWc Coolidge
    iWc
    @iWe

    Women are actually a leading cause of violence and war. Many women (especially young and foolish ones) are excited and flattered when men fight over them, so the women encourage rooster-like behavior.

    • #139
  20. Frank Soto Contributor
    Frank Soto
    @FrankSoto

    Fred Cole:

    Frank Soto:

    Fred Cole:I’m also having serious doubts about the historicity of Jesus.

    That’s unpopular, and just flat out wrong. Doubting that one means you have extreme reasons to doubt most historical figures, as few have so much evidence for their existence and deeds.

    That’s the thing, Frank, the “evidence” is dubious.

    That’s ludicrous.  Can you specify what you doubt?  Do you doubt the man existed?  Do you doubt he preached?  Do you doubt he had a ministry?

    Doubting these things puts you in the position of having to doubt enormous amounts of history which have far less evidence.

    • #140
  21. iWc Coolidge
    iWc
    @iWe

    Frank Soto:

    iWe:Natural Law is bunkum.

    Is that because you prefer to call the same phenomenon divine law, or something similar? Just curious.

    The idea of Natural Law is rooted in Greek thought, and the Greeks thought that reason could form the foundation for law and morality.

    Without accepting unprovable assumptions, there is no derivable Natural Law. The Torah provides one set of unprovable assumptions; other belief systems provide others. But there needs to be something, or all the enlightened reason in the world will always end up at “might makes right.”

    • #141
  22. user_280840 Inactive
    user_280840
    @FredCole

    Frank Soto:Only Fred can answer what he meant, but doubting his historicity implies more than doubting christian theology about Jesus.

    A reasonable person can doubt Jesus’ status as deity, but the man lived, preached, and was described repeatedly as doing the type of ministry that the bible describes.

    Doubting that means doubting most of what we know about history.

    Right.  So let’s take divinity off the table.  That’s a non-issue for me.  What I meant is that I accepted for a long time the general historical consensus that there was some guy named Jesus, who lived and preached in a specifically ascribed geographical area during a specific time period, and then was put to death.

    I’m starting to reach the point where I doubt that there actually was a guy.  The evidence that he existed is really dubious.

    • #142
  23. Troy Senik, Ed. Contributor
    Troy Senik, Ed.
    @TroySenik

    Mike Hubbard:I’m probably in the minority here in…thinking that deep frying food is revolting.

    You know, I’m generally not in favor of reeductation camps, but…

    • #143
  24. Troy Senik, Ed. Contributor
    Troy Senik, Ed.
    @TroySenik

    anonymous:I believe it is more likely than not that we are living in a computer simulation.

    This wins. This completely and totally wins.

    • #144
  25. Frank Soto Contributor
    Frank Soto
    @FrankSoto

    Fred Cole:

    Right. So let’s take divinity off the table. That’s a non-issue for me. What I meant is that I accepted for a long time the general historical consensus that there was some guy named Jesus, who lived and preached in a specifically ascribed geographical area during a specific time period, and then was put to death.

    I’m starting to reach the point where I doubt that there actually was a guy. The evidence that he existed is really dubious.

    I have never seen a serious dispute of the authenticity of Tacitus’ account.  I have read disputes, but all were silly when examined.  I’ll leave this with a quote.

    Virtually all modern scholars of antiquity agree that Jesus existed, and most biblical scholars and classical historians see the theories of his non-existence as effectively refuted.[50][52][53][nb 9][70] There is no evidence today that the existence of Jesus was ever denied in antiquity by those who opposed Christianity.[71][72]

    • #145
  26. Ricochet Member
    Ricochet
    @

    Claire – great question.

    I don’t find this controversial, but I find most conservatives skeptical with me when I talk about Solar power and the future it has in American energy.  I do not believe it can fully replace oil, but I do believe it is a very viable technology and that my 4 and 2 year old kids will hear me tell stories to their kids about the days when solar power was just expensive glass panels thrown on a roof.

    • #146
  27. Frank Soto Contributor
    Frank Soto
    @FrankSoto

    Troy Senik, Ed.:

    anonymous:I believe it is more likely than not that we are living in a computer simulation.

    This wins. This completely and totally wins.

    The simulation knew you were going to say this.

    • #147
  28. Troy Senik, Ed. Contributor
    Troy Senik, Ed.
    @TroySenik

    Tom Meyer, Ed.:

    1. There should be a concerted effort to change the common name of Asian elephants to “tropical mammoths” (besides being taxonomically more accurate, it’d also be massively more awesome).

    This is my favorite thing I’ve read today. Tom, I’m going to need you to brief me on this so I can start aggressively advocating for it the next time my cocktail party chatter gets stale.

    • #148
  29. Ricochet Member
    Ricochet
    @GrannyDude

    iWe:Women are actually a leading cause of violence and war. Many women (especially young and foolish ones) are excited and flattered when men fight over them, so the women encourage rooster-like behavior.

    Weirdly, I sort of agree with this. Well, not exactly this…but something vaguely like it.

    • #149
  30. Cato Rand Inactive
    Cato Rand
    @CatoRand

    Frank Soto:

    Fred Cole:

    Right. So let’s take divinity off the table. That’s a non-issue for me. What I meant is that I accepted for a long time the general historical consensus that there was some guy named Jesus, who lived and preached in a specifically ascribed geographical area during a specific time period, and then was put to death.

    I’m starting to reach the point where I doubt that there actually was a guy. The evidence that he existed is really dubious.

    I have never seen a serious dispute of the authenticity of Tacitus’ account. I have read disputes, but all were silly when examined. I’ll leave this with a quote.

    Virtually all modern scholars of antiquity agree that Jesus existed, and most biblical scholars and classical historians see the theories of his non-existence as effectively refuted.[50][52][53][nb 9][70] There is no evidence today that the existence of Jesus was ever denied in antiquity by those who opposed Christianity.[71][72]

    Again, I don’t doubt that he existed.  I think it’s very easy to imagine, however, that his “ministry” was tilted a lot more toward opposition to Roman tyranny and a lot less toward loving your neighbor.  I suspect most, probably all, of the words we have from him were put in his mouth by later writers, and slanted to their purposes.

    • #150
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