Link: "You're Not Being Reasonable"

by CronoDAS 1 min read15th Sep 20109 comments


Thanks to David Brin, I've discovered a blogger, Michael Dobson, who has written, among other things, a fourteen-part series on cognitive biases. But that's not what I'm linking to today.

This is what I'm linking to:

You're Not Being Reasonable

I’m embarrassed to admit that I’ve been getting myself into more online arguments about politics and religion lately, and I’m not happy with either my own behavior or others. All the cognitive biases are on display, and hardly anyone actually speaks to the other side. Unreasonableness is rampant.

The problem is that what’s reasonable tends to be subjective. Obviously, I’m going to be biased toward thinking people who agree with me are more reasonable than those lunkheads who don’t. But that doesn’t mean there aren’t objective standards for being reasonable.


I learned some of the following through observation, and most of it through the contrary experience of doing it wrong. You’ve heard some of the advice elsewhere, but a reminder every once in a while comes in handy.

Yes, much of it is pretty basic stuff, but as he says, a reminder every once in a while comes in handy, and this is as good a summary of the rules for having a reasonable discussion as I've seen anywhere.

And the rest of the blog seems pretty good, too. (Did I mention the fourteen-part series on cognitive biases?)