Oct 28

How to more effectively brainwash others with your ideas

Written by dewang on Wednesday, October 28th, 2009 at 9:43 pm
Filed under:-mini-posts, General |
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Mark Rosenfelder over at zompist.com has a really good article about how to debate, titled, “HOW TO ARGUE WITH ZOMPIST or, Social Skills 101.” (This link came via courtesy of Wukailong.) The article is not about brainwashing others with your ideas, of course. It is about how to debate more effectively and points out all the common fallacies people make, especially in heated discussions.  (Well, for some of us wanting to brainwash the world with our ideas, this will be helpful too, I think.)

I think I have been guilty in committing almost all of the sins he has warn us against.  I bet you will learn a lot more about yourself if you take time to read this article.  While I don’t want to repeat any of his points, I thought I simply share his take on “Why debate at all?”

Why debate at all?

  • It’s fun. You’re engaged with some subject that interests you, and with people who are just as interested.
  • You can learn a lot, either from your opponents or from side reading.
  • You can make friends. (One of my best friends I met during an online debate.)
  • You discover what you yourself believe. After an argument I usually have a better idea of my own opinions and how best to express them.

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10 Responses to “How to more effectively brainwash others with your ideas”

  1. Raj Says:

    That’s an amusing page.

    I’d like to add to that by saying that many of the points raised in the link there are part of the Conduct Rules – you can find a link to them in the FAQ. If you haven’t read them already, please do, because they’re not optional.

  2. Bridge Says:

    I thought you could only post topics related to China in FM. Or was I wrong?

  3. dewang Says:

    Hi Bridge,

    Perhaps you could elaborate on your question a little? I thought you might cut me some slack for this topic as it pertains to how to debate in a more civil way on FM. If anything, I think this’d be a very rare occassion we “go off topic.”

    Hi All,

    One of our editors has made this zompist.com article appear in our FM Recommended Readings list.

  4. Allen Says:

    @Bridge #2,

    Of course it’s about China. It teaches after all – how to brainwash others!

    haha 😀

  5. Wukailong Says:

    @Allen: Haha, good one!

    @Bridge: Since debating about China is a subset of debating in general, and this is a post about how to debate (in general), this text is therefore concerned about how to debate about China, and thus China-related. QED.

    (I almost felt like a lawyer writing the above)

  6. Ted Says:

    like it, thanks.

  7. Ted Says:

    Opps, I voted for this thread but accidentally hit 3… should have been a 5, nice to see more standards out there.

  8. hzzz Says:

    To be honest, I enjoy flame wars. I would think many others enjoy them too. This blog would be kinda boring if people are civil to each other and conduct logical arguments all the time.

  9. Steve Says:

    Hi hzzz: We used to allow flame wars but it got out of hand and we started to lose bloggers. Since we stopped the profanity and personal attacks, some of those have come back and we’ve received a lot of support for that stand. It’s not difficult to find blogs that allow flame wars but we’ve decided to keep this one a little more civil. What we really discourage are the stupid insults that try to pass for clever wit. Quite frankly, they aren’t clever and they aren’t witty. We have no problem with attacking the message but we discourage attacking the messenger. So use that great wit of yours to attack what you consider a stupid message and back it up with something that adds to the discussion. 😉

  10. Wukailong Says:

    @hzzz: “This blog would be kinda boring if people are civil to each other and conduct logical arguments all the time.”

    It depends, doesn’t it? I enjoy the “logical arguments” most of the time, with a healthy dose of personal anecdotes every now and then. The flame wars have mostly been boring two-person affairs.

    Btw, if you want to read a classical flame war, there is the one between Linus Torvalds and Andrew Tanenbaum:


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