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Anthony Magnabosco does what he calls Street Epistemology, usually applying it to supernatural (usually religious) beliefs.
The great thing about his method (and his manner, guy's super personable) is that he avoids the social structure of a debate, of two people arguing, of a zero-sum one game where person wins at the other's loss.
I've struggled with trying to figure out how to let people save face in disputes (when they're making big, awful mistakes), even considering including minor errors (that don't affect the main point) in my arguments so that they could point them out and we could both admit we were wrong (in their case, about things which do affect the main point) and move on.
But this guy's technique manages to invite people to correct their own errors (people are SOOOO much more rational when they're not defensive) and they DO it. No awkwardness, no discomfort, and people pointing out the flaws in their own arguments, and then THANKING him for the talk afterwards and referring him to their friends to talk. Even though they just admitted that their cherished beliefs might not deserve the certainty they've been giving them.
This is applied to religion in this video, but this seems to me to be a generally useful method when you confront someone making an error in their thinking. Are you forcing people to swallow their pride a little (over and over) when they talk with you? Get that out, and watch how much more open people can be.
- Is Eve irrational?
- Can believing an unfalsifyable believe be rational?
- Can this argument be extended to believe in God?
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