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iNow
Post  Post subject: How to convince someone when facts fail  |  Posted: Thu Dec 22, 2016 1:49 am
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Why worldview threats undermine evidence

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https://www.scientificamerican.com/arti ... acts-fail/
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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.


Thoughts?

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scoobydoo1
Post  Post subject: Re: How to convince someone when facts fail  |  Posted: Thu Dec 22, 2016 5:54 am
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iNow wrote:
How to convince someone when facts fail

Thoughts?

Depending on the subject of discourse, the usual but tedious way would be to educate them in 'comprehension'. Although that would require willingness on the part of the person you are attempting to 'educate'. If the person is unwillingly, other less desirable options are available such as coercion and violence.

If the problem lies not in presenting the facts and demonstrating why one interpretation is correct and the other flawed, the usual culprit for inability and/or refusal to revisit one's position is 'illogic', and that requires methods ranging from a mild refresher to a thorough re-education in the application logic. Naturally the latter will be ill-received by just about anyone one would normally encounter.

The failure of the human animal to revisit a subject matter, re-evaluate a subject matter, and possibly allow for synthesis to reoccur in relation to a subject matter, usually means there is a vested interest involved, and that is spelled out as either emotional gratification (distress) derived from 'their reality' remaining (becoming in)constant. Understanding why people hold opposing/incorrect worldviews requires one to understand where in the many links of illogic failed, and rendered upon the holder a worldview that rests on shaky foundations. Rebuilding a decayed foundation from scratch is tedious work for the entrenched, and that is why it is common for them to be reluctant to begin this process willingly.


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Lynx_Fox
Post  Post subject: Re: How to convince someone when facts fail  |  Posted: Thu Dec 22, 2016 7:14 am

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scoobydoo1 wrote:
the usual culprit for inability and/or refusal to revisit one's position is 'illogic',


I don't see unwillingness to rethink a position as a failure of logic....logic is a process... refusal to even start that process isn't per say illogical. (please correct me if this is a formal failure in some way)

There was an interesting article a couple weeks ago about conservative (US) refusal to objectively consider evidence of climate change that had the interesting finding that if the argument was connected to reminders of a good past, the conservatives were more willing to consider facts about a less ideal future.


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Rory
Post  Post subject: Re: How to convince someone when facts fail  |  Posted: Thu Dec 22, 2016 10:32 am
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Fact: something known or proven to be true.

If you're trying to convince someone with facts then you need to explain how you know (or why you think) that a given statement is true.

The primary evidence must be available for the scrutiny of, and reproducible at the hands of, the person you are trying to convince.

Anything less than that is an appeal to authority.

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iNow
Post  Post subject: Re: How to convince someone when facts fail  |  Posted: Thu Dec 22, 2016 3:00 pm
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And yet with climate change, for example, even when facts are available for scrutiny they still too often fall on deaf ears. Same with evolution and the anti-vax crowd.

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Rory
Post  Post subject: Re: How to convince someone when facts fail  |  Posted: Thu Dec 22, 2016 6:47 pm
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That could stem from the difficulty of reproducing the data on an individual level. Climate change evidence consists of longitudinal measurements taken across the globe. Realistically, it is not possible for one individual to reproduce all of that data robustly. So, while the graph of mean global temperature over time may elicit a reasoned analysis from the "convincee", the convincee may still question the reliability of the data.

Another approach (has the same limitations as above), since people don't like to be told that they are wrong but do like to feel clever, would be to present the data and ask the convincee to give their thoughts/conclusion. An expression of (faux) perplexity would help with this.

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iNow
Post  Post subject: Re: How to convince someone when facts fail  |  Posted: Fri Dec 23, 2016 2:15 am
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Rory wrote:
Anything less than that is an appeal to authority.

At some point, you always land at an appeal to authority, or...more specifically... you must make a choice to trust others. The question is specific to where that threshold exists and what information you require to cross it. When do you trust something and when do you refuse.

I trust GPS to work even though I cannot do the math. I trust that there's a solid iron core surrounded by molten rock at the center of the earth even though I cannot see it myself. I trust that quarks makeup atoms even though I've not been to CERN and that humans and apes share common ancestors even though I've not personally done the analysis. I trust that Obama wasn't born in Kenya and that Hillary and John Podesta weren't running a secret child sex ring out of a pizza place even though I haven't validated that for myself.

We all place our trust in certain others for some things we cannot validate ourselves. We do it everyday and all the time.

The erosion of trust IMO appears to be at the heart of this issue where otherwise well-intentioned people refuse to accept that which the majority of other informed participants readily accept as remedially true.

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Rory
Post  Post subject: Re: How to convince someone when facts fail  |  Posted: Fri Dec 23, 2016 10:25 am
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Yes, fundamentally it is about allocation of trust. Only fools give trust by default; trust is earned by having a solid and clear, long, track record in producing accurate data and conclusions. And by having no significant conflicts of interest - or declaring said interests, and an honest assessment of their scope/relevance on the capacity to work scientifically (impartially), where they exist.

There is also the issue of making the evidence and reasoning process intellectually accessible for the lay person.

But once the data/evidence are in order, and they are presented in an accessible way, and the convincee has sufficient working understanding of scientific philosophy, then it comes down to trust.

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iNow
Post  Post subject: Re: How to convince someone when facts fail  |  Posted: Fri Dec 23, 2016 2:50 pm
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How can we help people more readily trust the things they should without removing from them an otherwise healthy skepticism? What can we do when more facts and evidence only cause them to further dig in their heels due to the challenge these pose to their worldview?

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geordief
Post  Post subject: Re: How to convince someone when facts fail  |  Posted: Fri Dec 23, 2016 3:20 pm

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iNow wrote:
How can we help people more readily trust the things they should without removing from them an otherwise healthy skepticism? What can we do when more facts and evidence only cause them to further dig in their heels due to the challenge these pose to their worldview?

How common a behaviour is it to learn coldly from "facts". Is not understanding acquired by weight of evidence allied with predisposition(wishful thinking) ?

Perhaps when someone takes a stance they should be required to take responsibility for it -and thereby learn the consequences of their words.


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iNow
Post  Post subject: Re: How to convince someone when facts fail  |  Posted: Fri Dec 23, 2016 4:19 pm
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What does taking responsibility mean in this context? How is it enforced?

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geordief
Post  Post subject: Re: How to convince someone when facts fail  |  Posted: Fri Dec 23, 2016 4:25 pm

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iNow wrote:
What does taking responsibility mean in this context? How is it enforced?

Yes,perhaps I was waffling
That is hard to do.What about we don't take seriously someone without a stake on the argument?

Does that stand up any better?


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iNow
Post  Post subject: Re: How to convince someone when facts fail  |  Posted: Fri Dec 23, 2016 4:32 pm
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My immediate thought is such an approach may only make matters worse. Not taking people seriously seems to be a rather big part of what drives them further inward and immune to counter arguments and rebuttal from those arguing alternative points.

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geordief
Post  Post subject: Re: How to convince someone when facts fail  |  Posted: Fri Dec 23, 2016 5:48 pm

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iNow wrote:
My immediate thought is such an approach may only make matters worse. Not taking people seriously seems to be a rather big part of what drives them further inward and immune to counter arguments and rebuttal from those arguing alternative points.

There is always a middle path.We also have to call out bullshit and insincerity when it shows up.

The internet is a strange medium for communication for all the reasons you are no doubt familiar with . But social communication is a slippery beast whichever way you look at it and wherever you find it.


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Rory
Post  Post subject: Re: How to convince someone when facts fail  |  Posted: Fri Dec 23, 2016 6:34 pm
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iNow, don't take this the wrong way (I'm trying to be polite :D ), but you seem rather paternalistic. You have already decided/assumed what is objectively trustworthy, and what is not. If you cannot, even temporarily, entertain the idea that your trust may be misplaced, then yours is the last viewpoint to deserve trust.

I don't think we ought to try to coerce people into trusting any given position - just provide the evidence/sources of information, educate the lay person to be able to think critically, and let them get on with making their own decision.

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iNow
Post  Post subject: Re: How to convince someone when facts fail  |  Posted: Fri Dec 23, 2016 7:04 pm
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You ascribe motivation and lack of competence to me (coercion, paternalism, inability to see things from other viewpoints, etc) that are both peripheral to the actual topic and unfounded given what I'm actually saying here.

In addition to not respecting others, suggesting they're flat one-dimensional beings, a round peg you can force through every square hole, is another reason finding consensus becomes harder than it needs to be.

The world is full of nuance and texture. We do it a disservice when treat it and the people inhabiting it as monolithic.

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Rory
Post  Post subject: Re: How to convince someone when facts fail  |  Posted: Fri Dec 23, 2016 7:27 pm
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Quote:
iNow wrote:
How can we help people more readily trust the things they should?


Subtextually, you have already decided (for people) what they "should" trust

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iNow
Post  Post subject: Re: How to convince someone when facts fail  |  Posted: Fri Dec 23, 2016 8:25 pm
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Indeed, and I've given multiple examples of those things.

Others include that gravity will hold me to earth, that the sun will once again appear over the horizon in the morning, that the person in their car beside me will stop at the red light or that the payroll team at work will ensure I receive my check.

At some point, not trusting becomes the outlier and ultimately unreasonable position. Where is that point? How do two people get closer when their thresholds differ?

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Rory
Post  Post subject: Re: How to convince someone when facts fail  |  Posted: Fri Dec 23, 2016 8:39 pm
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Add some oxytocin to the air freshener :D

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Lynx_Fox
Post  Post subject: Re: How to convince someone when facts fail  |  Posted: Fri Dec 23, 2016 10:53 pm

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And you good sir, use the term far too often.

While there is some merit to point out a claim by a not expert or even an individual expert in a disputed field, there's little to no validity to refuse to accept something from an expert who's claims are supported and verified by many others. Climate change, for example, is well accepted fact, built on firm science that goes back over a century and reinforced and confirmed by more than a half a century of observational data across almost the entire body of natural sciences.


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PhDemon
Post  Post subject: Re: How to convince someone when facts fail  |  Posted: Tue Feb 07, 2017 1:01 pm

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I think this blog post:

https://thelogicofscience.com/2017/02/0 ... kepticism/

Offers some interesting food for thought on this subject. The guy basically says in his case facts and people arguing with him made no difference. It was the study of philosophy in college that made him see the holes in his various erroneous positions and at the end he offers some advice to skeptics who want to try and help others overcome their biases (while keeping a firm eye on their own).

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