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ENGAGING with people who doubt well-established theories is a perennial challenge. How should we respond?
My answer is this: let them be heard. Examine their evidence. Consider their interpretation. If they have anything of substance to say, then the truth will out.
What do you do, however, with people who, after their claim has been fully discussed and thoroughly debunked, continue to make the claim anyway? This, of course, is where scepticism morphs into denialism. Does there come a point when it is time to move on to other challenges? Sometimes there does.
We should not, however, cover up, hide, suppress or, worst of all, use the state to quash someone else's belief system. There are several good arguments for this:
1. They might be right and we would have just squashed a bit of truth.
2. They might be completely wrong, but in the process of examining their claims we discover the truth; we also discover how thinking can go wrong, and in the process improve our thinking skills.
3. In science, it is never possible to know the absolute truth about anything, and so we must always be on the alert for where our ideas need to change.
4. Being tolerant when you are in the believing majority means you have a greater chance of being tolerated when you are in the sceptical minority. Once censorship of ideas is established, it can work against you if and when you find yourself in the minority.
Originally posted by rebeldog
the denial phase is when people get angry.
Originally posted by stars15k
What has always baffled me is when the "illogical believer" turns the table on all of the above and calls the "logical debunker" out as being in denial, living in fear or ignorance, or is a "disinformation agent or "paid shill". This makes the IB able to continue, digging deeper into their beliefs, and their conspiracy then oozes over to include you. And then you are told you have a closed mind, no matter the road you followed to come to your opinion.