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danydandan

You Are Right, But You Are Wrong.

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danydandan

I found this article pretty interesting. As a scientifically minded sceptic it can be difficult to convince a believer in a conspiracy, the supernatural or whatever, that they may need to reevaluate their position or conclusions. This article discusses Pascal's thoughts on the matter of persuasion when discussing ideas.

Quote

When we wish to correct with advantage, and to show another that he errs, we must notice from what side he views the matter, for on that side it is usually true, and admit that truth to him, but reveal to him the side on which it is false. He is satisfied with that, for he sees that he was not mistaken, and that he only failed to see all sides. Now, no one is offended at not seeing everything; but one does not like to be mistaken, and that perhaps arises from the fact that man naturally cannot see everything, and that naturally he cannot err in the side he looks at, since the perceptions of our senses are always true.

People are generally better persuaded by the reasons which they have themselves discovered than by those which have come into the mind of others.

Article

What are peoples thoughts on the above and do you think this technique would actually be useful?

Edited by danydandan
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openozy

Pretty well every skeptic on here tries that mindgame and makes a lot of newcomers doubt themselves and lose interest in the paranormal.Doesn't work on everyone.

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Arcana

I spent a great many years as a paranormal investigator, having once witnessed an event that I found difficult to rationalize, which led to my interest in the supernatural. I was searching for answers during the many investigations I attended and though I witnessed snapshots of intrigue, for the main, I found it to be an exercise in human nature and psychology i.e. post suggestion and mass hallucination, coupled with an unshakeable belief system in the paranormal. These were the kind of people who would immediately jump to the conclusion that every little creak or sound in an old house had to be spirit, even though perhaps the heating had been on all day and as it is cooled down in the evening, floorboards may be contracting etc etc, you get the point. Although this was what I saw whilst seeking some recreation of my previous experience, in an attempt to validate it to myself, I never found the definitive proof I was searching for. I came to realize that sometimes events, especially ones that are difficult to explain or get others to believe, can sometimes be once in a lifetime events, like seeing a particular comet, or a UFO, or a ghost.

Now it may sound like I'm decrying belief in the supernatural to some extent, but I am not, I simply prefer to maintain an open mind. The way  Pascal's thoughts commence in the first sentence, i.e. ' When we wish to correct with advantage, and to show another that he errs, we must notice from what side he views the matter, for on that side it is usually true, and admit that truth to him, but reveal to him the side on which it is false. He is satisfied with that, for he sees that he was not mistaken, and that he only failed to see all sides.' to me, implies that belief in that which can not be recreated or demonstrated under laboratory conditions simply falls under the jurisdiction of Occam's razor and therefore can't be true and must be rationalized.Therefore the assumption is that the protagonist is either suffering from delusion or firmly believes what they have seen, but was mistaken, or fooled by their own senses. Is that truly seeing all sides? For anyone who has never witnessed a paranormal event first hand, it is easy and convenient to dismiss the experiences of others, as it may fit in with their own belief system, which if a scientific sceptic, requires absolute proof, which in turn would not fit in with belief in god for example, which is a question of belief and faith. The perceptions of our senses are always true to the individual perceiving them, though it may be influenced by external factors, or their own inherent beliefs. Another opposite example, is a sceptic who experiences something inexplicable or paranormal, but chooses to rationalize it as having been deceived by their own senses, as that fits in better with their own sceptical belief system

It has been my experience when dealing with people troubled by their experiences, not to accept everything at face value, but not to dismiss everything out of hand either, which will simply make them lose confidence in you. I found that after talking to people and discussing what troubled them, I could often get a feel for their views and how they interpreted their experiences. Take the elderly gentleman who lived all alone and firmly believed that his house was haunted and the spirits were trying to bankrupt him by switching on his heating all the time, running up his energy bills. When I visited him, he was sitting alone in a freezing house, with a bowl mixed with noxious substances on his coffee table, which he believed deterred the ghosts. I mostly listened, looked, investigated, which made him see I was taking him seriously and determined the best thing to do was to offer him a practical solution, which was to take the power back into his own hands by having prepayment meters fitted, so he could determine how much he spent on his energy bills without feeling helpless at the mercy of his perceptions. This seemed to work in this instance, as he had his prepayment meters fitted and started to turn the heating on regularly, keeping himself warm. This solution was achieved through compromise without having to try and play psychologist, which I am not qualified to do. Though he still maintained that his house was haunted, this compromise appeared to work for him in this instance.

I apologize for the long winded reply, but in short, to an extent I agree with ' People are generally better persuaded by the reasons which they have themselves discovered than by those which have come into the mind of others.' In my humble opinion, I believe that a little subtle diplomacy is the best answer in most cases, but whilst also maintaining an open mind, rather than a closed one.

 

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danydandan
2 minutes ago, openozy said:

Pretty well every skeptic on here tries that mindgame and makes a lot of newcomers doubt themselves and lose interest in the paranormal.Doesn't work on everyone.

I don't know about that. I tend to just say "you make a claim thus prove it." Things tend go down hill fairly fast from there. 

I'm going to try this new (old) way of discussions with people. 

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openozy
40 minutes ago, danydandan said:

I don't know about that. I tend to just say "you make a claim thus prove it." Things tend go down hill fairly fast from there. 

I'm going to try this new (old) way of discussions with people. 

I think it is,skeptics are invariably academic types and think they have the answers to everything,when they don't they dismiss it as BS.To me it is limiting yourself to think like this.

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openozy
47 minutes ago, Arcana said:

I spent a great many years as a paranormal investigator

Looking everywhere for something that is all around us,but it's good you were interested, though a bit off track.

 

50 minutes ago, Arcana said:

It has been my experience when dealing with people troubled by their experiences, not to accept everything at face value, but not to dismiss everything out of hand either, which will simply make them lose confidence in you.

Sounds belittling and controlling to me.With that mindset it's not surprising you found little.

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Arcana
6 minutes ago, openozy said:

Looking everywhere for something that is all around us,but it's good you were interested, though a bit off track.

 

Sounds belittling and controlling to me.With that mindset it's not surprising you found little.

You appear to promote yourself as something of an expert openozy, perhaps you would be kind enough to point out where I was off track?

Perhaps I failed to make myself clear when I said " It has been my experience when dealing with people troubled by their experiences, not to accept everything at face value, but not to dismiss everything out of hand either, which will simply make them lose confidence in you. ", Would you please explain how that comes across as 'belittling and controlling'?

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openozy
15 minutes ago, Arcana said:

You appear to promote yourself as something of an expert openozy, perhaps you would be kind enough to point out where I was off track?

Perhaps I failed to make myself clear when I said " It has been my experience when dealing with people troubled by their experiences, not to accept everything at face value, but not to dismiss everything out of hand either, which will simply make them lose confidence in you. ", Would you please explain how that comes across as 'belittling and controlling'?

Sounds like you are just going along with them, being condescending when you don't believe them.

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openozy
26 minutes ago, Arcana said:

You appear to promote yourself as something of an expert openozy, perhaps you would be kind enough to point out where I was off track

No just a hack,same as everyone on this but I have had hundreds of paranormal experiences some confirmed by witnesses.I find people that go looking for "spooks" off track,that's not how it works.

Edited by openozy
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Arcana
16 minutes ago, openozy said:

Sounds like you are just going along with them, being condescending when you don't believe them.

I see, you have misinterpreted what I meant, If I was being condescending, I would have adopted the attitude from the get go that they are deluded and agreed with danydandan's Pascal quote. On the other hand openozy, if you have been up to the early hours of the morning talking online to someone who was afraid that demons were out to get them and were afraid to go to sleep at night (as I have), you may begin to comprehend what I mean. Sometimes what we believe can cause so much distress, that whether we believe them or not, you have to consider what helps and what doesn't.

In my example of the person who believed that they were plagued by demons, would you have rather agreed with them? Online, nor even in person sometimes, none of us truly know the character we are dealing with and whether mental health issues may be a factor. By mental health issues, to be clear, I mean severe depression, or possibly alcohol, or even substance abuse.  I walk a middle path, neither jumping to a supernatural cause for what some people claim, nor disbelieving them out of hand. If that is being belittling and controlling, then guilty as charged. If you take the time to re-read my original post, you'll see that my only aim is to help people in any way I can. I seek no praise, nor control over others, quite the contrary.

Edited by Arcana
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Arcana
15 minutes ago, openozy said:

No just a hack,same as everyone on this but I have had hundreds of paranormal experiences some confirmed by witnesses.I find people that go looking for "spooks" off track,that's not how it works.

For what it's worth, we can agree on this. My experience has taught me that for those who believe in spirit, events can only occur when the spirits choose to interact with a person, rather than be forced through so-called 'ghost hunts'. I chose my words carefully, I was involved in paranormal investigations with both thrill seekers and ASSAP  accredited investigators, so I saw both sides of the spectrum.

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openozy
47 minutes ago, Arcana said:

If that is being belittling and controlling, then guilty as charged

Sorry for interpreting this the wrong way,I get what you are saying now.

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Arcana
22 minutes ago, openozy said:

Sorry for interpreting this the wrong way,I get what you are saying now.

No need for apologies my friend, I'm all too pleased that any misunderstandings have been cleared up. :tu:

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jmccr8
10 hours ago, danydandan said:

I found this article pretty interesting. As a scientifically minded sceptic it can be difficult to convince a believer in a conspiracy, the supernatural or whatever, that they may need to reevaluate their position or conclusions. This article discusses Pascal's thoughts on the matter of persuasion when discussing ideas.

Article

What are peoples thoughts on the above and do you think this technique would actually be useful?

Hi Dany

Interesting read, I use that technique when teaching someone how to build or use tools however in a place like this it makes it interesting to look for good counters and I have a weird sense of humor so don't take any of this personally. I do try not to insult people with name calling because I am not arguing a person but a perspective and when things get too stupid I just read and laugh by myself.:whistle::lol:

jmccr8

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Mr Walker
11 hours ago, danydandan said:

I found this article pretty interesting. As a scientifically minded sceptic it can be difficult to convince a believer in a conspiracy, the supernatural or whatever, that they may need to reevaluate their position or conclusions. This article discusses Pascal's thoughts on the matter of persuasion when discussing ideas.

Article

What are peoples thoughts on the above and do you think this technique would actually be useful?

When we wish to correct with advantage, and to show another that he errs, we must notice from what side he views the matter, for on that side it is usually true, and admit that truth to him, but reveal to him the side on which it is false. He is satisfied with that, for he sees that he was not mistaken, and that he only failed to see all sides. Now, no one is offended at not seeing everything; but one does not like to be mistaken, and that perhaps arises from the fact that man naturally cannot see everything, and that naturally he cannot err in the side he looks at, since the perceptions of our senses are always true.

People are generally better persuaded by the reasons which they have themselves discovered than by those which have come into the mind of others.

 

 

 

 

You might not believe it but its what ive sought to do here on Um for 15 years ie present"other sides" to populist beliefs ethics etc 

Clearly I am not very good a t it. :)  Probably because i only present the opposing view.

The y already know, and are committed to, 'their" side  

There are very few debates here, where there are not at least two good /arguable sides, and often many more.

I tend to go for the road less travelled because I find tha t more interesting than following the same road everyone else is on,  and  because  an alternative pov causes people to think . 

To my mind there are potentially as many pov on any subject, as there are humans involved in discussing it.   

However , using outcome -based, criteria -referenced assessments, one can deduce which are  the more constructive, and the more destructive, choices available 

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eight bits

Maybe this isn't the direction the OP was looking to go in, but coincidentally the BBC has an article today about "the paradox mindset:"

https://www.bbc.com/worklife/article/20201109-why-the-paradox-mindset-is-the-key-to-success

Perhaps the effectiveness of Pascal's suggestion involves not only the effect such argumentation has on the person being persuaded, but also leverages the "mental gymanstics" required to see a question from the other side, which may improve the performance of the would-be persuader.

My opponent makes some good points despite being completely wrong seems paradoxical enough :huh: Wrap your head around that and you're a star, or so the article says.

Edited by eight bits
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danydandan
5 hours ago, eight bits said:

My opponent makes some good points despite being completely wrong seems paradoxical enough :huh: Wrap your head around that and you're a star, or so the article says.

Maybe in order for this to work you need to segment every point rather than taking an holistic view on the topic of discussion?????? The Einstein example in the article is actually a great way to think about it. 

I think the two article's are towing the same line.

Edited by danydandan
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Liquid Gardens
11 hours ago, Mr Walker said:

You might not believe it but its what ive sought to do here on Um for 15 years ie present"other sides" to populist beliefs ethics etc 

Keep in mind though that one of your arguments against 'populist beliefs' relates to how many people have these kind of experiences and the haughtiness/arrogance of skeptics to just disregard billions of people's experiences, which pretty much also makes them 'populist'.

11 hours ago, Mr Walker said:

Clearly I am not very good a t it. :)  Probably because i only present the opposing view.

In all fairness to you on the 'spiritual/paranormal' type stuff there just isn't that much to work with so I guess 'A for effort'.  I do think not restricting yourself to only the opposing view would help your conversations make more progress.  In a competitive debate setting it's probably more appropriate and strategic to stick only to the opposing view but in a conversational debate setting where space and direct contact is limited I think you'd make more progress if you looked for opportunities to say things like, 'okay, my definitions of these words are different but let's use your definitions and see where that takes us' or 'let's say I'm incorrect about point A, then that just raises issue B'.  It's just your personal style, but it seems that any and all statements you find incorrect, no matter their relevance, require thorough adjudication which leads to a network of rabbit holes leading miles away from the initial debate topic which never gets returned to.

 

To the OP I think it's a sound strategy and can't see how it would hurt.  I could see how someone who is familiar with normal skeptic/critical thinking type subjects would see this tactic pretty plainly and some could see it as a little condescending if they were being uncharitable, but I don't see any way this tactic would make someone more resistant to someone's ideas so can only help. For those whose goal it is to try and convince people to change their minds of course, which isn't everyone's objective.

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Desertrat56
21 hours ago, danydandan said:

I don't know about that. I tend to just say "you make a claim thus prove it." Things tend go down hill fairly fast from there. 

I'm going to try this new (old) way of discussions with people. 

I hope so, as "You make a claim, prove it" is disrespectful and indicates you consider the person you are addressing a liar.  In writing you have to think about the implications of the words you use since no one can see your face or hear your the inflections in your voice to determine what you really mean.

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danydandan
6 minutes ago, Desertrat56 said:

hope so, as "You make a claim, prove it" is disrespectful and indicates you consider the person you are addressing a liar.  

I don't believe it does, the general idea is correct. It is basic science really. 

Surely you don't go about believing every single thing every single person says? Good example is the current election in over the pond in some country called the US. One of the elderly gentlemen running has made a series of claims that the voting system was rigged, etcetera. Would you not want proof of this claim?

Continuing in the same vein, how would you approach asking this elderly fella to support his claim without, such a pointed sentence as mentioned above?

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Liquid Gardens
5 minutes ago, Desertrat56 said:

I hope so, as "You make a claim, prove it" is disrespectful and indicates you consider the person you are addressing a liar.

That's not true.  It at worst says 'you are mistaken' which is a lot different than 'a liar' and could also mean, 'I don't know if your claim is wrong but I don't believe things without evidence', which makes no claim at all as to the accuracy of the claim.

6 minutes ago, Desertrat56 said:

In writing you have to think about the implications of the words you use since no one can see your face or hear your the inflections in your voice to determine what you really mean.

Agreed, but the listener is not without obligations themselves, you also have to not jump to conclusions on what is meant, especially if it's going to be a negative interpretation which I think if you're going to assume over all other interpretations one should be able to back up with something more specific.  You definitely shouldn't add things that were not said, like in the above example.  

All language is ambiguous, what's the logical argument that one should assume the worst interpretation instead of the best?  Or better yet, why assume at all?  "Forget about the claim, I'm offended!", ultimately, literally, is besides 'the point'.

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Desertrat56
6 minutes ago, danydandan said:

I don't believe it does, the general idea is correct. It is basic science really. 

Surely you don't go about believing every single thing every single person says? Good example is the current election in over the pond in some country called the US. One of the elderly gentlemen running has made a series of claims that the voting system was rigged, etcetera. Would you not want proof of this claim?

Continuing in the same vein, how would you approach asking this elderly fella to support his claim without, such a pointed sentence as mentioned above?

No, but that has nothing to do with your terse comment about "prove it".  You are missing my point.  I know someone else called Pascals comment "mind games" and it is in a way.  If your goal is to alienate people go ahead and use that sentence, but you will not get any reasonable responses from it nor discussion.  What is you want, to feel superior to discuss issues, beliefs, experiences?  If you have never had or noticed (usually that is the key to it, noticing) an out of the ordinary, unexplainable experience then you don't have to worry about anyone treating you the same way you treat them, I suppose, but what if you did have an experience you want to discuss, how will you react to the demand to "prove it"?

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Liquid Gardens
4 minutes ago, danydandan said:

I don't believe it does, the general idea is correct. It is basic science really. 

Surely you don't go about believing every single thing every single person says? Good example is the current election in over the pond in some country called the US. One of the elderly gentlemen running has made a series of claims that the voting system was rigged, etcetera. Would you not want proof of this claim?

Continuing in the same vein, how would you approach asking this elderly fella to support his claim without, such a pointed sentence as mentioned above?

I was going to mention after you posted earlier that despite things going down hill when you respond with 'it's your claim, prove it', which I don't doubt, I don't think it's a good example actually of what is talked about in the OP.  The OP I think accurately says that people are resistant to situations where they are forced into, "‘I’m going to defer to you as the authority on this.", which is understandable.  But I don't think that should apply to your statement which is far more basic and applies to everyone.  I don't read 'your claim, prove it' as a request for deference, I read it just as a reminder of the way things work, for everyone.

One thing I also am not sure about is how to 'see it from the other side' on certain topics.  I can't see in any meaningful sense how someone arrives at the idea that the earth is 6000 years old for example, so it would be a lie for me to say 'you're right about' something related to that as the intro to what I think they are wrong about.

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Desertrat56
9 minutes ago, Liquid Gardens said:

That's not true.  It at worst says 'you are mistaken' which is a lot different than 'a liar' and could also mean, 'I don't know if your claim is wrong but I don't believe things without evidence', which makes no claim at all as to the accuracy of the claim.

Agreed, but the listener is not without obligations themselves, you also have to not jump to conclusions on what is meant, especially if it's going to be a negative interpretation which I think if you're going to assume over all other interpretations one should be able to back up with something more specific.  You definitely shouldn't add things that were not said, like in the above example.  

All language is ambiguous, what's the logical argument that one should assume the worst interpretation instead of the best?  Or better yet, why assume at all?  "Forget about the claim, I'm offended!", ultimately, literally, is besides 'the point'.

If you tell of an experience you have and someone has no input except to tell you to prove it, how can you not interpret that as the person saying they don't believe you.  No discussion, just prove it.  I have seen that a lot on this forum and it is a weak response, knee jerk or troll either way, not conducive to discussion and without any confusion as to why, the response to that is a negative response.  Do you understand what I am saying?  Discussion is one thing, giving reason why you are suspicious of the story is one thing, just flat out "prove it" is another.  And saying that is always your response is nothing to be proud of.

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Desertrat56
7 minutes ago, Liquid Gardens said:

One thing I also am not sure about is how to 'see it from the other side' on certain topics.  I can't see in any meaningful sense how someone arrives at the idea that the earth is 6000 years old for example, so it would be a lie for me to say 'you're right about' something related to that as the intro to what I think they are wrong about.

In that specific example you could start by saying "I know some people are taught that however..."  But really that kind of thing is not debatable as anyone who states that and believes it is not going to defer to anyone else's "opinion" or knowledge.  

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