[extropy-chat] Changing Other Poster's Minds

Lee Corbin lcorbin at rawbw.com
Sun Apr 29 17:25:37 UTC 2007

Stirling writes

> [Lee wrote]
>> I dunno; but he's right in the sense that you almost *never* see anyone
>> change positions in real time.  That is, you never see anyone say, "Oh,
>> thank you!  Now I see the light!  How could I have been so mistaken?
>> Thanks for straightening me out!"
> I've done this, more than once. Its not easy, for two reasons. First, no one
> believes it, and two no one SHUTS UP after saying something that profoundly
> changes my views. Even when I ask. Even when I tell them that they may have
> just won the argument.

Amazing. I have to take your word for it that they don't shut up because
I have seen few (or no) instances of what you describe.

You have a rare control over your ego, or else you just don't
get passionate about these issues, or maybe you just don't identify with
a position you have taken.  Most people get those attachments, and
to admit they were wrong is like losing a very important contest. Also,
I need add, people have a very legitimate reason for not wanting to
admit they were wrong.  It greatly complicates their life.

Let me illustrate.  Suppose that someone presents ample evidence to me
that God exists.  Then Jesus---what am I to make of everything else I've
spent my whole life understanding?  A zillion questions come up!  Why
did God do all that?  Why isn't He nice?  What's up with the ineffectiveness
of prayer?  On what occasions can we expect physical law to be violated?
My universe has intellectually become vastly more complicated, and I
really must start at square one all over again.

Likewise if someone demonstrated that ESP works.  Why didn't evolution
seize upon it?  Why aren't the very gifted few already at work cleaining out
the casinos in Las Vegas?  What are the physical laws that account for it?
Do ESP influences travel faster than light?  If so, what happens to relativity
theory?  And on and on and on.  Back to square one all over again.


> The trouble is, if someone says something that points out the fundamental
> difference in your points of view, and it's something where you are willing to
> reexamine your position, it takes time to process. And I find that that is
> impossible if the person who has (usually) just stumbled upon the key
> difference keeps going on and on about other irrelevant things because they
> are so dedicated to convincing you of their point of view that they aren't
> willing to admit victory.

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