Ever had an internet argument with somebody where you actually changed their mind? Did they leave the conversation saying ‘thank you, I understand now, you paragon of logic and reasoning”?
Or did you end up being so frustrated at their lack of understanding and willingness to listen to basic logic and reason that you wanted to violate their face with a pencil?
This isn’t specific to particular platforms either. Facebook, Twitter, Reddit, Tumblr, whatever your vice.
Nor is it confined to online environments – frustrating encounters with other human beings happen daily in face to face type scenarios, honest, they totes do! In our workplaces, at our parents houses, in our drive-throughs waiting to stuff our faces with congealed cheese and meat products, whiling away the hours, days and decades for our inevitable grizzly end avoiding as much existential dread as possible.
|Make me feel good!|
I digress. Where was I?
Oh yes, people. Aren’t they just the worst? Can’t convince them of anything, even if the correct answer, sitting there all resplendent in it’s truthiness, is staring them right in the face.
There are countless examples that we encounter daily, chipping away at our patience little by little, enraging us further until you just wish Flanders was dead.
The antivaxxer movement one of the best examples, and probably one that gives me the absolute shits the most because of the flagrant dismissal of robust scientific findings. There is a subset of society, counterintuitively in the more affluent and privileged corners if you can believe that, who think that vaccination against communicable and deadly diseases is bunk, and quackery, and worse, dangerous for their infants and children and that they are doing the world and their own offspring a favour by not vaccinating their children. This has become such a popular and dangerously sticky idea that pockets of children across the globe are going unvaccinated, and previously rare and dangerous illnesses are making a comeback, with not so sexy results.
|You bloody said it Karl|
There is no convincing these people, regardless of the reams upon reams of research and evidence that vaccinations are not only not dangerous, but also the opposite of dangerous. THEY’RE ANTI-DANGEROUS.
The idea of man-made climate change is another lovely example. 1000s of studies provide solid and incontrovertible support for the existence of climate change influenced by man, with the added bonus of knowledge of catastrophic natural disasters like the melting of the icecaps, dangerous blizzards, floods and cyclones, and also a really lovely and interestingly deadly prediction for an event described in the Clathrate Gun Hypothesis. Click the link if you dare. But one or two vaguely non-conclusive results from frankly dodgy researchers who have a financial stake in returning said non-conclusive findings give those with motivations to pretend everything is all rosy a foot in the door, stalling action on fixing our planet and endangering us all. The Koch Brothers famously oppose climate change due to their various (evil) business interests, and reputedly funded some of the above-mentioned ‘research’ that opposed the existence of man-made climate change. Australia is not exempt from this danger. Liberal Senator Ian Macdonald has only just recently proclaimed with all of his might and rich white male-itude that our children are being brainwashed about climate change, and that the very idea that humankind is contributing to the warming of our planet is a fad/fraud/hoax. These are people in legitimate positions of power spouting dangerous nonsense, and they are ruining the planet for us all.
Another lovely example of that of the relocation of asylum seekers from areas of extreme danger and poverty to Australia for the purpose of delaying their deaths by a few decades. You’d know them as asylum seekers, refugees, or maybe ‘boat-people’ if de-humanising the extremely oppressed for the purposes of cradling your precious conscience is more your thing. Convincing people that asylum seekers are doing it legally is the trick with this one, unfortunately. Despite the existence of material explaining the very legal process of seeking asylum from dangerous and life threatening scenarios, and the fact that there is in actuality no queue for these people to be jumping. But hey, we stopped the boats! Isn’t that radical!?
Did you know that there are still some people out there that consider homosexuality to be a ‘fad’? I mentioned in an earlier blog post that Australian Senators Eric Abetz and Cori Bernadi believe that homosexuality is a cute little fad, implying that people are living homosexual lifestyles as a choice, and insisting that such behaviour can and will lead to such societal scourges as polygamy and beastiality and the ritual sacrifice of innocence babies and Labrador puppies (probably). You’re probably aware of the case of Kim Davis, a county clerk from Kentucky who has refused to issue marriage licenses to any couple, regardless of sexual preference, after the US Supreme Court ruling that same-ex marriage is protected according to the 14th amendment of the US constitution. She has been to prison for contempt of court over these actions, but hilariously is still up to her cheeky antics, that rapscallion.
As frustrating as the people are that don’t think the things that we think, there are some very clear and common psychological phenomenon that prohibit them from seeing the light, so to speak. The first (and my favourite) is the concept of illusory superiority.
To be blunt, every motherflipper out there thinks that they are above average, and if you know anything about statistical distributions, you know that this is not actually possible.
|HELLO THERE, FELLOW AVERAGE HUMAN!|
So there’s a bunch of numpties out there, probably you and I included you average son of a bitch, believing that they are more intelligent than average, and therefore knowing better. HOW HUMAN WE ALL ARE.
So, in our elevated and ‘correct’ state, sitting there all smug and comfortable in our rightness, we are then also susceptible to a little cognitive bias called confirmation bias, which influences us to only pay attention to, perceive or seek out only the evidence or information that supports out own thoughts and hypotheses. You’re probably thinking to yourself ‘Hey Haso you wanky jerk, I read all of your blogs because you’re a certified genius and legit ledge and you mentioned confirmation bias in your last blog.’ You are right kind reader, I am a genius, AND stunning, and I did mention confirmation bias in my last post because that shit is literally everywhere.
Now, once you have your standard human being sitting there thinking that they’re smarter than average and and are then victim to the backfire effect. This is a lovely little phenomenon that leads to people refusing to acknowledge legitimate evidence and argument that runs counter to their own beliefs, instead digging their heals in deeper and refusing to be swayed.
This shit is the scurge of humanity. CURSE OUR DAMNED EGOS.
Think of all of the examples of people throwing forward arguments that seemingly make no sense, regardless of the evidence to the contrary anchored to the oppressive confines of reality. We encounter these situations daily, moreso if you live your life on these here internets:
Social justice warriors that perhaps take their rhetoric a bit too far.
‘This is thin privalege’ Tumblr contributors.
MRA advocates on the Twitters and the Reddits and the so forth.
|Holy freaken heck balls, have you seen some of the shit these ridiculous manlets spout?|
Those shit heads that think that it’s ok to sit on the speed limit in the fast lane of the freeway.
The Johnny Walker Red fans.
You will not convince these people of their inherent wrongness.
There are countless articles, research and tips and tricks for persuasion, logic, convincing others, etc etc etc but really, these tactics do not work. There is no convincing these people.
Engaging in arguments with these people is a truly fruitless endeavour. They will not be convinced. They will not listen. They are there purely to upset you. Your clever, logical, reasonable, well thought out argument is for naught. You will have an easier time convincing a brick wall to take up dentistry.
For the foreseeable future, we will be a divided people, split down the middle on our ability to think critically about the world that we live in.
But you can make your voice heard though. Repeat after me:
“NO, I WILL NOT EXPOSE MY CHILD TO PREVENTABLE DISEASES. YOU ARE AN ACTUAL LEGITIMATE STUPIDHEAD.”
“YOUR FEELINGS ON THE HEATING OF THE GLOBE ARE MISGUIDED IF YOU BELIEVE THAT WE DO NOT HAVE A HAND IN IT, AND YOU SHOULD FEEL BAD ABOUT YOURSELF.”
“HOMOSEXUALS WERE BORN THAT WAY AND THEY DESERVE THE SAME RIGHTS AS EVERYBODY ELSE. ALSO, YOU LOOK LIKE A DORK.”
“IRISH WHISKEY IS THE ONE TRUE ALCOHOLIC BEVERAGE’
Phew, that feels much better.
Til next time.