This article is part of the Thinking is hard series from Buster Benson, offering insights into the cognitive biases that distort our thinking, and exploring related topics such as debate, persuasion, and systems thinking.
We believe so strongly in the idea that logic, evidence, and data are the only acceptable tools for persuasion, that we feel bewildered and frustrated whenever we interact with someone who doesn’t hold these same values.
Frustration leads to less than kind communication, because it’s very difficult to be frustrated and kind at the same time.
Those who are repeatedly belittled and trapped by self-identified logical/rational thinkers will create new values and beliefs to protect themselves because nobody likes feeling belittled and trapped.
And those values and beliefs will not be exactly illogical, just designed to reject anything valued as fact/logic by the opposition.
Enter: denialism. Which also happens to be the first stage of grief.
For those who value and believe in the power of rationality as a thinking tool, it becomes rational to revisit rationality as a method of persuasion, because it fails to produce results.
It’s time to toss that hypothesis and look for a better one, just like we’re asking others to do.
Can we move past denialism on this topic, through anger, and right into bargaining, depression, and eventually acceptance? I think so.
In fewer words:
Agree or disagree?
Article source: A rational person’s 1-minute guide to why rational thinking often fails to persuade people. Reproduced by permission.