>I like these a lot.
It's a little hard trying to think of a fair place to tell someone "Hey if you wanted to start changing how you behave in a specific way here you go!". We all get that message every day and I try to make mine very very neutral, obvious and useful. That way people can do this with at their own pace and with full awareness.
That has not always been the case, but I am trying. The whole "don't treat a person as an end to your meaning" thing. It's HARD in practice.
>If you are allowed to choose your battles, invincibility is easy; never enter a battle which you aren't guaranteed to win.
While none of us want society to be a battle, this is the natural result of what logic and rationality probably really are, symbolic ways to win against others with your social group. But it's neutral! So what matter is how you use it!
Sometimes exchanging ideas has to be approached in a fashion that is military in form, because evolution and history. Hundreds of millions of years of history. We don't have to hate it, just understand it and not let it control us.
"Reason Seen More as Weapon Than Path to Truth"
Just keep in mind that evolutionary psychology is controversial. Many of the things discussed are more than one thing depending on a persons' social niche, also known as your life and culture (gender, behavior, structures, neurotransmitters...). The most general rule you could make is that the older the "named thing", the more deeply it is integrated into the whole human person, network, meat monster, whatever...
>Suppose someone flips a fair coin and asks you about the result. If you say "the coin will land heads", that is a battle you have an even chance of losing. The coin will land tails half the time. If you say "the coin will land heads with probability 0.5", that's a battle which you can at least expect to win, because what you said is perfectly in line with what you know about the coin, but it is still a battle which you might lose. Maybe your belief in the fairness of the coin is wrong. Now if you say "I believe the coin will land heads with probability 0.5", that's a battle you cannot lose. Your belief may turn out to be wrong, but you didn't claim that your belief was accurate, you only stated what it was.
I discovered a long time ago that learning about anything increase my probability of being correct. So I had to develop ways of getting answers as fast as I could. What complicates things is that having a broad base of knowledge helps because you are able to chain concepts Which are hierarchically connected to whatever else you know and vocabulary simultaneously. There really is a knowledge:Power connection but it is boosted by vocabulary, time and experience.
People inherently like strong simple statements like monologues (I would sort-of call a monologue a series of commonly accepted assertions), but to make monologues that are likely to be correct requires, knowledge, experience, and time.
To have a "ring of truth" with words that means anything in reality requires a no BS approach. You choose to be an advocate and you mean it . So a really basic simplification is to pick one thing and start.
>If you talk about your map of the territory rather than the territory itself, your statements will always be true.
You also know Good old Knowledge you are being as honest as you can which helps along the way as you go, of course being surrounded by like minded individuals helps, and I say that knowing that not everyone will have the benefit of working in laboratories and academic environments. I wish everyone could but maybe a thread like this is a good next best option.
>While desiring to speak only truths is good, paradoxically, you should not ever desire to win a fair discussion; you should want your beliefs to turn out to be wrong, or at least be even about it.
I always mentally include the possibility. It's hard but making sure I am willing to accept that I might be wrong is very important. One should have a standard of evidence. I have to be willing to change my mind. I at least try to imagine what kind of evidence might mean I am wrong.
>If you don't lose often, what is more likely: that you're smarter than everyone else and happened upon complete accuracy about the world on your first try, or that you're wrong but good enough at debate and rationalization to avoid ever having to admit it?
I know that I have a good system for knowledge acquisition, good standards of accuracy, and I try to learn from my mistakes. That last is important because if you don't learn from your flaws, someone else will... Everyone makes mistakes. If my wife ever felt like posting here...
>Not all changes to your beliefs are improvements, but all improvements to your beliefs are necessarily changes. The information that destroys your entire worldview is the most important piece of information for you to get on your search for truth. If you don't get it your worldview is still wrong, you just don't know it.
...and someday you will meet someone with that little thing. They will have enough icons of reality (text, images, videos, whatever...) and they will stick a little pin in a crack that compartmentalization or rationalization can't fix and SNAP! They have you and they can sometimes maneuver you into it. It's better to be careful about fact statements for that reason. You show yourself to be a thoughtful person, but too many try to take advantage of thoughtfulness and it's nice to be prepared. But because you know you are prepared, you might as well have fun with them...
>The single largest failures I observe in fair discussion, and I did these myself for quite a while, are inability to lose and inability to rephrase. If something you said was wrong or was phrased poorly, toss it aside. If your interlocutor is reasonable, they will not hold it against you that you are willing to admit that some of your points are incorrect so long as they see that you are updating on that new information (and you do actually have to update on that new information, by the way), nor will they hold it against you that you are willing to correct an indefensible phrasing for a more accurate one.
But it's too personal to discuss serious things for far too many people, and many of those people think it's fine to destroy exchange of information in fact, while they use lots of fancy words to indicate that they are "joking", "kidding around", or deflect responsibility in some other fashion.
Mere emotional attachment is not necessarily a bad thing You can't have an interest at all without an "emotional connection" but if having your Jimmies Rusted affects your logical ability (which it does to everyone) what do you do? Use a strategy that builds in routine behaviors that help in a crisis and might help you to communicate well in a crisis.
*Broad knowledge base related to your passion in life
*Dependability because you actually worked up from something simple
*The ability to set your own direction in an effort
>An unreasonable interlocutor will rhetorically eviscerate you for doing any of the things mentioned in this or Flutterguy's post. They themselves will speak with authority on topics they know nothing about, never claim uncertainty, never lose on any point, ignore or attack all sources that contradict them, and answer questions rhetorically and dishonestly.
These would be reasons why I have broadened my neurobiology obsession in a more broad context. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dunning%E2%80%93Kruger_effect
The people are not my enemy. Their cognitive styles are. How do I fight that and be honest? I'm still learning that, I'm human too. But being a "Rhetorical Assassin" just might be an option.