We don’t want you to get confused by the language we use. We hope this page helps!

Bad idea: An idea that is false, misleading, harmful, or otherwise problematic.

Cultural immune system: A culture’s infrastructure for limiting the influence of bad ideas. Eg critical discourse, journalistic fact-checking, scientific hypothesis testing, etc. 

Culture warrior: Someone who fights aggressively for an ideology, but fails to bring fair-mindedness to the task.

Herd mental immunity: Collective mental immunity due to widespread mental immune health.

Ideology: A system of ideas that is infectious, dysfunctional, harmful, manipulative, or resistant to revision. Often these systems harm their hosts. Or through their hosts, harm others. Some ideologies are pretty good at hijacking minds and getting them to infect other minds.

Mental antibodies: Doubts, basically. But also qualms, reservations, and objections. Clarifying questions are an important kind of mental antibody, and some reasons appear to function like antibodies.

Mental immune booster: Anything that helps to build immunity to bad ideas, improve our openness to good ones, or enhance our ability to tell the difference. (Eg “the mental habit of asking “Do I really know this?”)

Mental immune disorders: Habits of mind  that allow bad ideas to proliferate.

  • Mental immune deficiency: When a mind’s immune system doesn’t generate the doubts needed to ward off problematic ideas.
    Mental autoimmunity: When the mind’s immune system becomes overactive, attacking good information to protect problematic beliefs.
  • Mental autoimmunity: When the mind’s immune system becomes overactive, attacking good information to protect problematic beliefs.

Mental immune disruptors: Ideas that interfere with healthy mental immune function. Often used to defend bad ideas by avoiding accountability for hosting them. Faith is a virtue; incurious. (Eg “way of belief” and “way of the culture warrior”)

  • Our beliefs aren’t anyone else’s business. Everyone is entitled to their opinion.
  • Values are subjective. Who are we to criticize others’ values?
  • It’s intolerant or mean to question someone’s beliefs or values.

Mental immune function: What immune systems do: ask questions, test ideas, harbor reservations, and revise opinions.

Mental immune system: Operations that can keep bad ideas at bay. Can be individual or collective.

Mental immunotherapy: Any process known to help a mind become more capable of spotting and shedding bad ideas.

Mental immunity: Degree of resistance to bad ideas. The opposite of mental susceptibility.

Mind inoculant: Something that can nudge a mind to manufacture “mental antibodies” to counteract bad ideas.

Mind parasite: Another way of talking and thinking about bad ideas. Especially infectious ones that spread to many minds and cause harm.

Mind vaccine: A treatment deliberately designed to stimulate the mind’s adaptive immune system. 

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