Related to: Leave a Line of Retreat
Followup to: Talking Snakes: A Cautionary Tale, The Skeptic's Trilemma
"I argue very well. Ask any of my remaining friends. I can win an argument on any topic, against any opponent. People know this, and steer clear of me at parties. Often, as a sign of their great respect, they don't even invite me."
The science of winning arguments is called Rhetoric, and it is one of the Dark Arts. Its study is forbidden to rationalists, and its tomes and treatises are kept under lock and key in a particularly dark corner of the Miskatonic University library. More than this it is not lawful to speak.
But I do want to talk about a very closely related skill: not losing arguments.
Rationalists probably find themselves in more arguments than the average person. And if we're doing it right, the truth is hopefully on our side and the argument is ours to lose. And far too often, we do lose arguments, even when we're right. Sometimes it's because of biases or inferential distances or other things that can't be helped. But all too often it's because we're shooting ourselves in the foot.
How does one avoid shooting one's self in the foot? In rationalist language, the technique is called Leaving a Social Line of Retreat. In normal language, it's called being nice.
First, what does it mean to win or lose an argument? There is an unspoken belief in some quarters that the point of an argument is to gain social status by utterly demolishing your opponent's position, thus proving yourself the better thinker. That can be fun sometimes, and if it's really all you want, go for it.
But the most important reason to argue with someone is to change his mind. If you want a world without fundamentalist religion, you're never going to get there just by making cutting and incisive critiques of fundamentalism that all your friends agree sound really smart. You've got to deconvert some actual fundamentalists. In the absence of changing someone's mind, you can at least get them to see your point of view. Getting fundamentalists to understand the real reasons people find atheism attractive is a nice consolation prize.
I make the anecdotal observation that a lot of smart people are very good at winning arguments in the first sense, and very bad at winning arguments in the second sense. Does that correspond to your experience?
Back in 2008, Eliezer described how to Leave a Line of Retreat. If you believe morality is impossible without God, you have a strong disincentive to become an atheist. Even after you've realized which way the evidence points, you'll activate every possible defense mechanism for your religious beliefs. If all the defense mechanisms fail, you'll take God on utter faith or just believe in belief, rather than surrender to the unbearable position of an immoral universe.
The correct procedure for dealing with such a person, Eliezer suggests, isn't to show them yet another reason why God doesn't exist. They'll just reject it along with all the others. The correct procedure is to convince them, on a gut level, that morality is possible even in a godless universe. When disbelief in God is no longer so terrifying, people won't fight it quite so hard and may even deconvert themselves.
But there's another line of retreat to worry about, one I experienced firsthand in a very strange way. I had a dream once where God came down to Earth; I can't remember exactly why. In the borderlands between waking and sleep, I remember thinking: I feel like a total moron. Here I am, someone who goes to atheist groups and posts on atheist blogs and has told all his friends they should be atheists and so on, and now it turns out God exists. All of my religious friends whom I won all those arguments against are going to be secretly looking at me, trying as hard as they can to be nice and understanding, but secretly laughing about how I got my comeuppance. I can never show my face in public again. Wouldn't you feel the same?
And then I woke up, and shook it off. I am an aspiring rationalist: if God existed, I would desire to believe that God existed. But I realized at that point the importance of the social line of retreat. The psychological resistance I felt to admitting God's existence, even after having seen Him descend to Earth, was immense. And, I realized, it was exactly the amount of resistance that every vocally religious person must experience towards God's non-existence.
There's not much we can do about this sort of high-grade long-term resistance. Either a person has enough of the rationalist virtues to overcome it, or he doesn't. But there is a less ingrained, more immediate form of social resistance generated with every heated discussion.
Let's say you approach a theist (let's call him Theo) and say "How can you, a grown man, still believe in something stupid like talking snakes and magic sky kings? Don't you know you people are responsible for the Crusades and the Thirty Years' War and the Spanish Inquisition? You should be ashamed of yourself!"
This suggests the following dichotomy in Theo's mind: EITHER God exists, OR I am an idiot who believes in stupid childish things and am in some way partly responsible for millions of deaths and I should have lower status and this arrogant person who's just accosted me and whom I already hate should have higher status at my expense.
Unless Theo has attained a level of rationality far beyond any of us, guess which side of that dichotomy he's going to choose? In fact, guess which side of that dichotomy he's now going to support with renewed vigor, even if he was only a lukewarm theist before? His social line of retreat has been completely closed off, and it's your fault.
Here the two definitions of "winning an argument" I suggested before come into conflict. If your goal is to absolutely demolish the other person's position, to make him feel awful and worthless - then you are also very unlikely to change his mind or win his understanding. And because our culture of debates and mock trials and real trials and flaming people on Usenet encourages the first type of "winning an argument", there's precious little genuine mind-changing going on.
Really adjusting to the second type of argument, where you try to convince people, takes a lot more than just not insulting people outright1. You've got to completely rethink your entire strategy. For example, anyone used to the Standard Debates may already have a cached pattern of how they work. Activate the whole Standard Debate concept, and you activate a whole bunch of related thoughts like Atheists As The Enemy, Defending The Faith, and even in some cases (I've seen it happen) persecution of Christians by atheists in Communist Russia. To such a person, ceding an inch of ground in a Standard Debate may well be equivalent to saying all the Christians martyred by the Communists died in vain, or something similarly dreadful.
So try to show you're not just starting Standard Debate #4457. I remember once, during the middle of a discussion with a Christian, when I admitted I really didn't like Christopher Hitchens. Richard Dawkins, brilliant. Daniel Dennett, brilliant. But Christopher Hitchens always struck me as too black-and-white and just plain irritating. This one little revelation completely changed the entire tone of the conversation. I was no longer Angry Nonbeliever #116. I was no longer the living incarnation of All Things Atheist. I was just a person who happened to have a whole bunch of atheist ideas, along with a couple of ideas that weren't typical of atheists. I got the same sort of response by admitting I loved religious music. All of a sudden my friend was falling over himself to mention some scientific theory he found especially elegant in order to reciprocate2. I didn't end up deconverting him on the spot, but think he left with a much better appreciation of my position.
All of these techniques fall dangerously close to the Dark Arts, so let me be clear: I'm not suggesting you misrepresent yourself just to win arguments. I don't think misrepresenting yourself would even work; evolutionary psychology tells us humans are notoriously bad liars. Don't fake an appreciation for the other person's point of view, actually develop an appreciation for the other person's point of view. Realize that your points probably seem as absurd to others as their points seem to you. Understand that many false beliefs don't come from simple lying or stupidity, but from complex mixtures of truth and falsehood filtered by complex cognitive biases. Don't stop believing that you are right and they are wrong, unless the evidence points that way. But leave it at them being wrong, not them being wrong and stupid and evil.
I think most people intuitively understand this. But considering how many smart people I see shooting their own foot off when they're trying to convince someone3, some of them clearly need a reminder.
1: An excellent collection of the deeper and most subtle forms of this practice of this sort can be found in Dale Carnegie's How to Win Friends and Influence People, one of the only self-help books I've read that was truly useful and not a regurgitation of cliches and applause lights. Carnegie's thesis is basically that being nice is the most powerful of the Dark Arts, and that a master of the Art of Niceness can use it to take over the world. It works better than you'd think.
2: The following technique is definitely one of the Dark Arts, but I mention it because it reveals a lot about the way we think: when engaged in a really heated, angry debate, one where the insults are flying, suddenly stop and admit the other person is one hundred percent right and you're sorry for not realizing it earlier. Do it properly, and the other person will be flabbergasted, and feel deeply guilty at all the names and bad feelings they piled on top of you. Not only will you ruin their whole day, but for the rest of time, this person will secretly feel indebted to you, and you will be able to play with their mind in all sorts of little ways.
3: Libertarians, you have a particular problem with this. If I wanted to know why I'm a Stalin-worshipper who has betrayed the Founding Fathers for personal gain and is controlled by his base emotions and wants to dominate others by force to hide his own worthlessness et cetera, I'd ask Ann Coulter. You're better than that. Come on. And then you wonder why people never vote for you.
The first rule of persuading a negatively disposed audience - rationally or otherwise - is not to say the things they expect you to say. The expected just gets filtered out, or treated as confirmation of pre-existing beliefs regardless of its content.
Sadly, the unexpected frequently gets translated into the expected, even to the point of explicit denials of a position being ignored repeatedly in a single conversation.
Then say something more unexpected. There's an art to it.
How hard is it to fit a simple denial into a frame? Not hard at all.
You've overlooked another way to "win" an argument: To persuade otherwise uninvolved third parties.
Typically, two people arguing are already thoroughly fortified in their opinions. Few people find argument for its own sake enjoyable and thus are unlikely to be lured into a debate they have no emotional stake in; as well, upon rising to the occasion to defend their side, their resistance to acknowledging their opponent's valid arguments will be stronger than ever.
Less-involved bystanders, however, can view the argument with a more impartial eye, and are much more likely to be persuaded. Of course, this is typically the justification made for the style of debating you argue against in this post--especially on the internet, where bystanders are plentiful and social dynamics are strongly subject to John Gabriel's G.I.F. Theory--but it's not at all clear that such an approach is actually effective for this purpose, any more than it is for persuading the opposing party.
As an aside, I can think of at least two other reasons to engage in debate; but neither derives value from actually winning the argument, and thus are irrelevant in this context.
Bystanders may well identify themselves emotionally with one debater or the other, so being "nice" to one's opponent would reduce the defensiveness of the audience as well.
Huh? This can't be the consensus view here. Is it?
Because my opinion has developed over the years to conclude the exact opposite. Rhetoric has always been "the study of how to use language well." What has happened? Wikipedia defines it as "the art and study of the use of language with persuasive effect". Ah, that happened to it. Anyone interested I invite to compare the definitions provided by various dictionaries. Some dictionaries will offer both kinds of definitions, because lexicographers aren't supposed to decide which definition is best.
But I implore others, especially those with a rational bent, to not give up the decent meaning of the term rhetoric. It isn't just "flowery language" that some allege can only be used to obscure thought. It's a whole study, what was once a whole discipline(1). It's the art of how to use language well.
I used to th... (read more)
This post goes hand in hand with Crisis of Faith. Eliezer's post is all about creating an internal crisis and your post is all about applying that to a real world debate. Like peanut-butter and jelly.
If you want to correct and not just refute then you cannot bring to the table evidence that can only be seen as evidence from your perspective. Ie. you cannot directly use evolution as evidence when the opposing party has no working knowledge of evolution. Likewise, a christian cannot convince an atheist of the existence of God by talking about the wonders of His creation. If you picture you and your opponent's belief systems as vin-diagrams then the discussion must start where they overlap, no matter how small that sliver of common knowledge might be. Hopefully, if you and your opponent employ crisis-of-faith properly, those two circles will slowly converge.
Probably most people know this, but if you find yourself needing to mention this again it's vital to add that "jelly" here refers to what we call "jam", because to us, "jelly" is what you call "Jell-O". You can imagine why we're not thrilled by the thought of a peanut-butter and "Jell-O" sandwich!
Yvain, I enjoy your posts, and generally find them useful, informative, and well written.
I also recognize that this view is controversial in some circles, but one thing that would make me enjoy them rather more is if you managed to ferret out the implicit assumption that crops up every now and then that your rationalist protagonists are necessarily male. (Or at least predominantly so, I haven't been back to do an exhaustive stock-take of your gender specific pronoun usage, but I do recall being struck by this at least once before, so I figured it was worth a comment this time.)
Just to clarify, I don't mean Theo here. If you want to use a specifically male example, that's fine. But phrases like "the most important reason to argue with someone is to change his mind" and "[e]ither a person has enough of the rationalist virtues to overcome it, or he doesn't" strike me as problematic.
I'm not for a moment suggesting that you're being consciously sexist here. In fitting with the theme of this post, I spent a fair while rejecting others' calls for gender neutral language under the mistaken (largely emotional) impression that agreeing with them would have be an admission of some deep moral flaw in me, rather than merely a small and relatively painless step towards inclusiveness - and ultimately better communication.
I'm glad you brought that up.
I've thought about this a few times, and I agree with you that it promotes sexism and is bad, but I just really hate using the phrases "he or she" every time I have to use a pronoun. A sentence like "A rationalist should ensure he or she justifies his or her opinion to himself or herself" is just too awkward to understand. And I am too much of a grammar purist to use "them" as a singular.
I used to use the gender-neutral pronoun "ze", but people told me they didn't understand it or didn't like it or thought it sounded stupid. And I tried using "she" as the default for a while, but people kept getting confused because they weren't expecting it, and trying to figure out where I'd mentioned a female.
I'm willing to accept whatever the common consensus is here. Maybe Less Wrong-ers are open-minded enough to accept "ze" where the average reader isn't.
(I've heard some people here use "ve" a few times, but from the context I gathered it was more of a way to refer to aliens/AIs/transhumans than a normal gender-neutral pronoun. Is this true?)
I think I remember reading that the plural used to be conventional grammar and was then deliberately suppressed in favor of "he".
I use the plural. It grows on you surprisingly quickly and isn't at all obtrusive. Anyone who doesn't already have the info stored "Oh, Eliezer uses the plural" after reading my writings for months is a case in point thereof.
Use of the plural form also has the advantage of being the stylistic direction the language is trending to. English is a mass hallucination anyways, why stand in futile defiance of its whims?
The grammatical value of "they" used as a singular has been discussed frequently at the inestimable Language Log, including citations of the form used by such disreputable, notorious abusers of the noble English tongue as William Shakespeare and Winston Churchill. A good post on the subject, though by no means the only one, can be found here.
Maybe next time, we can all argue over splitting infinitives, ending sentences with prepositions, or other happy chestnuts of wholly-unfounded prescriptive grammar pedant absurdity.
Hofstadter has made an excellent argument on this topic called "A Person Paper on Purity in Language".
Iain Banks, in "Player of Games", also expressed this sentiment pretty well:
"Marain, the Culture's quintessentially wonderful language (so the Culture will tell you), has, as any schoolkid knows, one personal pronoun to cover females, males, in-betweens, neuters, children, drones, Minds, other sentient machines, and every life-form capable of scraping together anything remotely resembling a nervous system and the rudiments of language (or a good excuse for not having either). Naturally, there are ways of specifying a person's sex in Marain, but they're not used in everyday conversation; in the archetypal language-as-moral-weapon-and-proud-of-it, the message is that it's brains that matter, kids; gonads are hardly worth making a distinction over."
My preferred sex-neutral pronoun is "they".
If inelegance is your primary concern, then "she" seems at least as good, and probably a lesser evil for other reasons.
Most of the comments in this discussion focused on topics that are emotionally significant for your "opponent." But here's something that happened to me twice.
I was trying to explain to two intelligent people (separately) that mathematical induction should start with the second step, not the first. In my particular case, a homework assignment had us do induction on the rows of a lower triangular matrix as it was being multiplied by various vectors; the first row only had multiplication, the second row both multiplication and addition. I figured it was safer to start with a more representative row.
When a classmate disagreed with me, I found this example on Wikipedia. His counter-arguement was that this wasn't the case of induction failing at n=2. He argued that the hypothesis was worded incorrectly, akin to the proof that a cat has nine tails. I voiced my agreement with him, that “one horse of one color” is only semantically similar to “two horses of one color,” but are in fact as different as “No cat (1)” and “no cat (2).” I tried to get him to come to this conclusion on his own. Midway through, he caught me and said that I was misinterpreting what he was saying.
The secon... (read more)
And the point that I am trying to get you to understand, is that you do not need special rule to always check P(2) when making a proof by induction, in this case where the induction fails at P(1) -> P(2), carefully trying to prove the induction step will cause you to realize this. More generally you cannot rigorously prove that for all integers n > 0, P(n) -> P(n+1) if it is not true, and in particular if P(1) does not imply P(2).
Leaving aside the actual argument, I can tell you that there exist people (my husband is one of them, and come to think of it so is my ex-girlfriend, which makes me suspect that I bear some responsibility here, but I digress) whose immediate emotional reaction to "here, let me walk you through this illustrative hypothetical case" is strongly negative.
The reasons given vary, and may well be confabulatory.
I've heard the position summarized as "I don't believe in hypothetical questions," which I mostly unpack to mean that they understand that hypothetical scenarios are often used to introduce assumptions which support conclusions that the speaker then tries to apply by analogy to the real world, and that a clever rhetoritician can use this technique to sneak illegitimate assumptions into real-world scenarios, and don't trust me not to sneak in assumptions that make them look stupid or manipulate them into acting against their own interests.
I don't know if that's a factor in your case or not, but I have found that once I trigger that reaction, there's not much more I can do... they are no longer cooperating in the communication, they are just looking for some way t... (read more)
I am curious about the large emphasis that rationalists place on the religious belief. Religion is an old institution, ingrained in culture and valuable for aesthetic and social reasons. To convince a believer to leave his religion, you need not only convince him, but convince him so thoroughly as to drive him to take a substantial drop in personal utility to come to your side (to be more exact, he must weigh the utility gained from believing the truth to outweigh the material, social, and psychic benefits that he gets from religion).
For rationalists' attention, there are myriad more important and relevant issues where human irrationality has an effect on the world. In addition, these issues are normally easier to change people's beliefs about.
People have been believing in God for 500,000 years. People have been believing unsupported things about Global Warming for 30. I would rather teach people how to be skeptical and cautious about modern policy debates than have Yet Another God Conversation.
I was scarred by religion growing up. I understand the impulse to despise it and oppose it. But there came a time in my life when I realized that it was going to be around for as long as humanity, though its fortunes may wax and wane. It's time to move on.
American Rhetoric is an incredible site and there are some real gems that aspire to rational persuasion with some flair.
Malcolm X's "Ballot or the Bullet" navigates the fact that he is black, widely regarded as dangerous and Muslim all at once while urging people to put these things aside and think about his plans and their outcomes. He does a first rate job of tailoring his rhetoric to increase your emotional desire to think and not react.
Milton Friedman is another person to watch live. He ge... (read more)
Sometimes the harsh approach has surprisingly good results. Example.
Tangential, I know, but this surprises me. Hitchens, with his literary background, strikes me as a very nuanced thinker, attuned to the various shades of gray. (For example, he's by no means unmoved by religion's contributions to art and culture.) Maybe you're thinking of his talent for devastating rhetorical flourish, as in his infamous comments on Jerry Falwell?
This post was actually pretty enlightening. I've had the typical religious debate with a theist before, and I use to go ahead with the 'kill them with arguments' method, and I did notice that it left people more convinced of their beliefs than they were before, even if I 'won' the argument.
In Rhetoric, they call this technique "Concession".
My goal going into arguments is not to crush them or convince them that I am right. I try to keep a more open mind and understand their arguments. If you start out with a goal of crushing them you won't be in a state of mind to admit if their arguments are stronger.
My sense is that the most rational argument is the one that gets you closest to your true goal. The theme of my most persuasive arguments is usually something like, "Once we sort things out I bet we'll see that we're really in substantial agreement." Dale Carnagiesque or not, to me rhetoric doesn't have to be a "dark art," full of manipulation and cant. Instead, I try to give respect and keep in mind what I really need to take away from the transaction. I also conceptualize what my erstwhile opponent needs and why. This way, minds may yet meet and all parties have a line of social retreat.
It feels so quaint to see the generic "he" in an Yvain post. (I think he later used novelty gender-neutral pronouns for a while and now uses the singular "they".)
The inventors of the original form of rationalist virtue AND rhetoric sure didn't think that the latter was a dark art. Rationalists should WIN!
Rationalists should shouldn't deny themselves the utility of rhetoric. Any rational rationalist can see that rhetoric is the path to winning, a kind of social theatre that lubricates decision-making with irrational or intermittently rational groups. If a group needs to be convinced of a position within a finite amount of time, bare reasoning isn't always the best option.
Maybe that is too Machiavellian to be "really" rational, but it is the winning path.
I think I am using "rhetoric" in a different way than Aristotle. For Aristotle, it was the art of speaking clearly and eloquently to communicate a position. I am using it more in the way people use when they say "empty rhetoric" or "political rhetoric". "Unless you give up your rights, the terrorists have already won" is my idea of an archetypal rhetorical technique. That may not be fair to the field of rhetoric, but I need some word to describe it and I can't think of a better one, so "rhetoric" it is.
Rhetoric is a technique that may be useful to rationalists, but it's not a rationalist technique. Compare the use of force. I may, as a rationalist, decide the best way towards my goal is murdering all who oppose me, in which case I'll want to know techniques like how to use an assault weapon. But there's still something fundamentally shady about the technique of killing people; it may just barely be justified on utilitarian grounds for a sufficiently important goal, but it's one of those things that you use only as a last resort and even then only after agonizing soul-searching. I feel confident saying that the technique of murdering... (read more)
I disagree. The problem with using dishonest rethoric to win in a debate isn't that it's winning dishonorably; it's that it's winning at the wrong game - on a game that you wouldn't consider the most important if you looked at it closely.
To continue with the martial arts analogy, imagine say a Chinese kung fu master in World War 2 Nanjing that knows that Japanese soldiers are coming over to kill off all of his family. Should he try to win the fight honorably? Or just try to win using every dirty trick in the book (including running away)? If he focuses on winning honorably, he's lost sight of his main goal (save his family) in favor of a secondary one (win honorably).
Similarly, if you foxus on "winning the debate", and as a result push people into a corner that will make them dislike you and become more attached to their identity as a believer in whatever - you focused on the wrong subgoal, and lost at the one which was important to you.
We're running up against the equivocation at the core of this community, between rationalists as people who make optimal plays versus rationalists as people who love truth and hate lies.
Indeed. I've had similar thoughts to you, and take care to leave a social line of retreat. In the case of religious people, it doesn't work. In other cases, it works great, though I can't think of any off the top of my head. I just have a general recipie in my head "to convince someone, make it so that they'll look and feel good if they agree with you"
Definitely a great point offered up here and a well-thought out technique that I'd like to try in subsequent debates. Though I think it would be nice to see an example of how leaving a line of retreat would play out. For the example given:... (read more)
Cool Article, a nice and useful reminder.
Possibly just a quick question.... I remember some years back there being some sort of post on "Why does it seem like all the rationalists here are male?" and.... all the hypothetical people in your post are guys. In particular "Either a person has enough of the rationalist virtues to overcome it, or he doesn't."
Would it be useful to use more gender neutral pronouns? Especially when trying to give examples of persons who expresses rationalist vitures, assuming them to be Male seems.... like it might inadvertently act to exclude people.
I thought it to be a nice illustration: Dawkins vs. Tyson This is a 2-minute-excerpt of "Beyond Belief", where Tyson accuses Dawkins of "the first type of winning an argument". (But his answer is no more than "You're right. But some people are worse".)
Bad, bad idea. There's no way to avoid losing an argument, because most of the time arguments are social wrestling contests / displays of influence and status.
The only thing you can do is to always make sure you're supporting the right side. That doesn't guarantee that you don't lose, if losing is defined as not coming out as the social victor and failing to convince your opponent or your listeners.
You can't control the responses of others. You can force them to be rational. All you can do is be correct.
As a rationalist, that's all you should really care about anyway. But precious few of us are rationalists.
TOMIN And you think I'm crazy for believing in the Ori? VALA Not crazy, Tomin. Just...wrong...
TOMIN There are still so many things about it that mean a great deal to me. VALA I don't doubt that there's morality and wisdom in it. That's what made it such a powerful lure for so many people. I think in principle, the idea of bettering ourselves...is what it's all really about
Well watching people argue, ways to "win an argument" - to give everyone the impression that your points are better - include
a) not listening to the other person b) intimidating them by claiming or implying they are stupid for not agreeing c) making better points and counterarguments
c) usually gets lost in the messy nature of arguments. But you can make the better points, and because of the limits of human knowledge, they still tend to be 'the best guess we have is that X is true', so could still be wrong
In debating technique, I spotted a while ... (read more)
You killed our minds. I'm dead now.
Does it? I genuinely don't know, since I haven't really studied the subject yet, but it strikes me that if lying didn't work, we wouldn't have developed this whole arms race of deception and social games. You might as well say that the Dark Arts in general don't really work, that humans are notoriously bad at them. Yet my own impression is that if you find something to say that's nice or what the other person wants to hear, regardless of whether you mean it, a lot of people will lap it up if you aren't too crude about it. As has been said elsewhere on lesswrong, it takes effort to detect falsehood, whereas acceptance is natural.
If you believe morality is impossible without God, you have a strong disincentive to become an atheist
That idea is distinct from whether or not God exists. In arguments about evolution I have made the point that it is compatible with both the existence and non-existence of God. I did not say that to "leave a line of retreat" for the Christian anti-Darwinist I was talking to, but because I believed he held an incorrect notion of what Darwinian evolution is. The notion of leaving a line of retreat for others seems less rationalist, for it implies v... (read more)
"the most important reason to argue with someone is to change his mind."
I don't think I ever try to change anyones mind. If I am involved in a discussion I am only trying to clarify my own thoughts. What other people think is up to them. How can I know, what the other person should think?
I'm amazed. I totally can't understand this kind of thinking (which you believe to be human nature).
Me, I don't believe that God exists. In fact, I hold the belief in God for little less than a mental disease. That is because there is virtually no evidence to support the existence of God, and a... (read more)