The writer says "If you insist on telling me anyway, I will nod, say that your argument makes complete sense..." despite knowing perfectly well they can't tell if the argument makes sense or not.

If, even knowing specifically in this case that you can't tell if an argument is correct or not, you feel the need to announce that "your argument makes complete sense" your problem is that you believe things without understanding them. Fixing that bad habit might remove the need to not take arguments seriously.

"Your argument makes complete sense" may be a polite way of saying "I don't see any obvious holes and am not willing to look for the non-obvious ones. Please stop talking to me now."

[LINK] Why taking ideas seriously is probably a bad thing to do

by David_Gerard 1 min read5th Jan 201343 comments


Yvain's blog: Epistemic learned helplessness.

A friend in business recently complained about his hiring pool, saying that he couldn't find people with the basic skill of believing arguments. That is, if you have a valid argument for something, then you should accept the conclusion. Even if the conclusion is unpopular, or inconvenient, or you don't like it. He told me a good portion of the point of CfAR was to either find or create people who would believe something after it had been proven to them.

And I nodded my head, because it sounded reasonable enough, and it wasn't until a few hours later that I thought about it again and went "Wait, no, that would be the worst idea ever."

I don't think I'm overselling myself too much to expect that I could argue circles around the average high school dropout. Like I mean that on almost any topic, given almost any position, I could totally demolish her and make her look like an idiot. Reduce her to some form of "Look, everything you say fits together and I can't explain why you're wrong, I just know you are!" Or, more plausibly, "Shut up I don't want to talk about this!"