Humans do a lot of wacky crap, and we argue with other humans about our wacky beliefs.
These arguments get pretty heated (“NO! THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS ARGUMENT WARMING!”) because people VOTE. And how they vote can change the course of our societies and our planets. And also, everybody else’s beliefs are pure hogwash.
(Buries face in hands) We’re all gonna die.
When I argue with people, a lot of my arguments hinge upon "Why doing X THING will be more EFFECTIVE at Z THING" instead of "These are the Actual Scientific Facts" or "Doesn't it anger you when (your group) LIES TO YOU?"
This is my argument because people’s BELIEFS are more powerful than FACTS. I will talk about Science Deniers only briefly, because there are a whole lot of folks who believe most science, just not (whatever science they don’t believe). Thankfully, there’s nobody on the planet who disbelieves gravity.
Oh, boy. Yes, there is. (Buries face in hands) We’re all gonna die.
There are Flat-Earthers, and Holocaust Deniers, and people who disbelieve a whole lot of things that shouldn’t really be disbelieved at this point in history.
AND THAT’S NOT EVEN THE POINT OF THIS BLOG POST.
The actual point is to provide you with some excellent writing about arguing. Arguing should reveal and expound upon differing points of view, which theoretically results in a change in belief from one side or the other. But that’s not what’s happening anymore. Your racist / sexist / supremacist Uncle Lenny isn’t going to be persuaded by your hot argument EVEN IF YOU TYPE IN ALL CAPS AND INCREASE! THE! FONT! SIZE!
Because (are you ready for it?) Science tells us that facts don’t persuade people.
Here is a video that explains this.
We like videos.
Videos do not require reading.
Everything else good in this post comes via a link. Behind each link is a texty texty article, which may require some reading.
“A man with a conviction is a hard man to change,” Festinger, Henry Riecken, and Stanley Schacter wrote in When Prophecy Fails, their 1957 book about this study. “Tell him you disagree and he turns away. Show him facts or figures and he questions your sources. Appeal to logic and he fails to see your point … Suppose that he is presented with evidence, unequivocal and undeniable evidence, that his belief is wrong: what will happen? The individual will frequently emerge, not only unshaken, but even more convinced of the truth of his beliefs than ever before.”
Here is a little bit of text and another video, which is also very good (depending on how tribal your beliefs are, I guess):
Neil DeGrasse Tyson: “You don’t have the option to say you don’t believe E=mc2. It’s true whether or not you believe it. Recognize what science is, and allow to be what it can and should be: In the service of civilization.” (The video is just less than five minutes)
It’s called, “How to Convince Someone When Facts Fail”, and here’s the most basic takeaway:
“If corrective facts only make matters worse, what can we do to convince people of the error of their beliefs?
From my experience,
1. keep emotions out of the exchange,
2. discuss, don't attack (no ad hominem and no ad Hitlerum),
3. listen carefully and try to articulate the other position accurately,
4. show respect,
5. acknowledge that you understand why someone might hold that opinion, and 6. try to show how changing facts does not necessarily mean changing worldviews.
These strategies may not always work to change people's minds, but now that the nation has just been put through a political fact-check wringer, they may help reduce unnecessary divisiveness.”
Lastly, this very good and kinda sad post from Kayla Chadwick: I Don’t Know How To Explain To You That You Should Care About Other People.
The article opens with an auto-run video that can either be watched, or paused and ignored so you can focus was on her excellent text.
“Our disagreement is not merely political, but a fundamental divide on what it means to live in a society, how to be a good person, and why any of that matters.”
My desire for the world at large, while we are screaming toe-to-toe at “Radical Snowflake Libtards” or “Ammosexual Cuck Wingnuts”, is to just focus on the science that will allow us to advance the overall health of the planet.
Accomplishing that is gonna require some arguing.