How to Convince Someone When Facts Fail

The thing that scares me the most about the current political climate is the idea that we are living in a post-fact world.

As someone who works to validate evidence, and uses data to address question, the idea of coming to conclusion in the absence of such facts is terrifying, but the idea that other people don’t believe the evidence because it goes against their personal doctrine… I can’t express in words how fundamentally terrifying this has become.

Over at Scientific America, there is an excellent article about people who don’t believe facts and what’s to be done about how to proceed. 

In summary:

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.

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