Admitting that you are wrong is a loss of status, even if only your interlocutor is watching. Every argument has aspects of status competition.

It's a loss of status, to whom?

I've heard that expressed before, but I am usually immensely impressed by someone who can see that they are wrong and admit it, particularly if I already think they are a smarty pants. Sure, you've lost the battle, which is often just a big swinging dick contest anyway, but you've won the war. Grasping an argument and being able to see that you are wrong is much more impressive than... (read more)

Oh, I agree entirely: if you are soundly convinced that you have been wrong, then you have become less wrong. You win!

It's easy to say that, and relatively easy to see why it's true. It's much harder to convince all of the parts of myself that, when I see that I'm wrong, admitting it, and changing my mind, is a good thing. There is some part in-built part of me that views it as losing -- as accepting a defeat in front of an opponent.

To be a little florid: this is a relatively weak agent in me, and I usually succeed in ignoring him. But I still hear him. I'... (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?