How to Know You Won a Political Debate on the Internet

Do you remember the time you changed a stranger’s political opinion on the Internet by using your logic and your accurate data?

Probably not. Because that rarely happens. If you were paying attention during the past year, you learned facts don’t matter to our decisions. We think they do, but they don’t. At least not for topics in which we are emotionally invested, such as politics.  (Obviously facts do matter to the outcomes. But not to decisions.)

So how do you win a political debate on the Internet when people refuse to change their opinions? I propose the Cognitive Dissonance test. If you can trigger your opponent into cognitive dissonance, you win. That’s usually as far as a political debate can go. Generally, you can’t change people’s minds, but you can back them into a corner and make them show a “tell” for cognitive dissonance. That’s essentially a white flag that says, “I have no logical argument, so I will say something ridiculous and act as though it is not.”

The problem with cognitive dissonance is that it can be hard to know whether your opponent is experiencing it or you are. It looks exactly the same to you. The person in the illusion can’t tell the difference. You need some sort of simple and objective sign to know when cognitive dissonance is in play and which one of you is experiencing it. And I have just that.

You can detect cognitive dissonance by the following tells:

Now go and read the rest at Scott Adams’ Blog

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