This suggests to me that Task #1 is finding ways for people to engage with your ideas without involving a status competition between you and them.

I think this is exactly right. In other words, people who don't yet know how to leave themselves a line of retreat might, at the outset, need us to do it for them.

Having a "line of retreat" -- feeling like the world won't end if they change their mind -- is part of it.

But the problem, here, is yet more general. A lot of people at my local meetup are people who I trust and like, and who accept the value of updating on evidence -- and even show respect for someone changing their minds! Even in discussions with these friends, I notice fear and loss when I lose a friendly argument. Admitting that you are wrong is a loss of status, even if only your interlocutor is watching. Every argument has aspects of status... (read more)

How can people be actually converted?

by yttrium 1 min read5th Feb 201294 comments


Have you ever convinced a religious person to become atheistic? How did you do this? How long did it take? Were the people in some sort of life crisis, or were they just living along?

This is probably a quite difficult task of persuasion. So stories how people were successful at it could be very interesting to improve ones' persuasion abilities.

Relatedly, it might be interesting to know what religious groups have gathered on techniques to convert people to their religion - are there some manuals/techniques floating around?