On Civility and Consensus
I've noticed in these situations completely different people are having the exact same problems holding a conversation.
The first is they are in a literal scientific sense, unable to think clearly.
1. They are trying to win an argument, not discuss objective facts and subjective opinions.
2. They have trouble with basic probability and interpreting data.
3. They instinctively have trouble trusting other people.
4. Their thought processes are subjected to a double standard.
5. And being presented with factual evidence causes them to dig into their position even more because they are emotionally vested in being correct.
(As a direct example, some of my blog readers might interpret the above facts and analysis of how human beings communicate as a personal attack against them (3, 4) and think that I might be saying that to discredit them (logical fallacies below) in order to make them lose an argument (1) because I have disagreed with them before in the past. THIS IS NOT THE CASE. The list of examples are scientific facts (i.e. subject to change as new research arrives) and apply to me as well as to my wonderful readers. It is partly my awareness of these that allow me to have actual constructive debates and conversations.)
There are also an astounding number of people who are unable to have a discussion without using logical fallacies.
Zak S wrote a simple explanation and series of instructions on how to have an appropriate conversation online. It is about how to have conversations that end, and possibly allow you to learn something you didn't know before.
Announce your belief in a fact to start a conversation.
Announce your personal taste to end it.
Why am I posting this? Because this week, we're going to deconstruct skills.
Each post will be short, succinct, and on one specific topic. Discussion not related to the specific area covered in the forum post will be warned and guided to the appropriate post. Continued off topic discussion will be deleted.
I may not be able to do anything about politicians, my fellow countrymen, or even the people I work with that don't believe in science. But I've had the same conversation two times with two different people who had difficulty understanding my position on skills, and I've had similar trouble dissecting theirs. Why bother revisiting this old saw? Because my perception is that they interpreted my position incorrectly in exactly the same way, which is an indicator that my position isn't represented clearly.
Tune in tomorrow!