This is what happens when solid facts are thrown at opinions not supported by empirical evidence.
No. Words do not speak for themselves. So, what do words do? Words support or refute an argument or theory.
If, in a referendum, the majority vote that 2+2=5 this does no make 5 the correct answer.
Inspired by Socrates’s reply to Melesias in “Laches, or Courage” by Plato
The sunlight of free speech is the best disinfectant against the darkness of irrational beliefs.
Based on a metaphor in Free Speech by Andrew Doyle
Reflection and commitment
If you commit without reflection you are a fanatic. If you reflect but never act you are of no practical use.
The secret is the top down sequence.
First state the question and in a few words explain the context.
Second, state your conclusion.
Third, state how many reasons you have for your conclusion.
Fourth, say what each reason is about and then give details.
Fifth, repeat your conclusion.
“The question is whether the house on 6th Street should be demolished.
My view is that it should be.
I have two reasons for this.
First, it is a health hazard: The walls are broken. The roof is beyond repair. The building is infested with rats.
Second, It is a fire hazard: The rooms are full of rubbish, broken wood and other flammable material. Vagrants light fires in the ruin.
Consequently, my view is that the house should be demolished.”
- The hearer is immediately knows what the communication is about.
- The hearer is immediately told the conclusion.
- The hearer is told there will be two supporting reasons.
- The hearer is given a warning that a reason is coming, is told what the reason is and then is given details.
- The hearer is again told the conclusion.
Watch Lord Jonathan Sumption using this way of arguing. Lord Sumption is regarded as one of the cleverest people in England. Click here.
The top down approach is similar to the Pyramid Principle taught by Barbara Minto. Her book is on Amazon. Click here. Please note this is an affiliate link. This blog post was prompted by my listening to Lord Sumption
Put all important communications and contracts in writing, Later it makes it easy for you to prove what was communicated or agreed.
Good advice. Why? Memories fade away. A written record lasts much longer.
A saying attributed to China explains it this way:
“The faintest ink is more powerful than the sharpest memory “
When choosing between Inconvenient Truth and Comfortable truth the choice is up to each of us.
Consider this diagram and read the explanation below the diagram.
- Most people have decided in advance what they will decide (Person already running right).
- Following “Comfortable truth” is dangerous (Red).
- People following “Comfortable truth” may not have the courage (yellow) to face up to “Inconvenient Truth”.
- “Comfortable truth” is “truth” not fully investigated (lower case “t”)
- Following “Inconvenient Truth” in the long run leads to positive growth (Green).
- Well researched truth is “Truth” (Upper case “T”)
- Relatively few people have the courage to follow “Inconvenient Truth”.
You are in an important discussion. You are about to demolish your opponent’s argument, Your opponent knows it and starts to abuse you verbally instead of dealing with the issue. Lots of verbal flack is coming your way.
You can be sure of one thing: You have found the weak and vulnerable spot in your opponent’s argument. You are at the jugular.
This was very well summed up by Senator Martha McSally, a former USAF combat fighter pilot and squadron commander, who said:
“We fighter pilots have a saying: You know when you are over the target when you are getting flack”.
There we have it!
Take care next time you are in verbal combat.
Source: CNN 27 May 2020 and here.
“Intellectual honesty consists in stating the precise conditions under which one will give up one’s belief. …”
Take Away One.
In an argument when your opponent is adamant that they are right ask them: What evidence would convince you to change your mind?
Take Away Two.
Ask yourself the same question before you yourself pontificate about some topic!
What has a gadfly to do with this?