MIT Technology Review: How to Talk to Conspiracy Theorists

From Bryan Vartabedian’s 33email –this link: MIT Technology Review: How to Talk to Conspiracy Theorists

An excerpt:

  • Always, always speak respectfully. Every single person I spoke to said that without respect, compassion, and empathy, no one will open their mind or heart to you. No one will listen.
  • Go private…
  • Test the waters first. That way you save yourself time and energy. “You can ask what it would take to change their mind, and if they say they will never change their mind, then you should take them at their word and not bother engaging,”
  • Agree…[with some parts] Conspiracy theories often feature elements that everyone can agree on
  • Try the “truth sandwich. Use the fact-fallacy-fact approach…
  • Or use the Socratic method. In other words, use questions to help others probe their own argument and see if it stands up. ..The best way to change someone’s view is to make them feel like they’ve uncovered it themselves,” he says. That means engaging in back-and-forth questions and answers until you hit a dead end, gently pointing out inconsistencies.
  • Be very careful with loved ones.
  • Realize that some people don’t want to change, no matter the facts.
  • If it gets bad, stop. … “If I am not enjoying the discussion and getting angry, then I simply stop.”
  • Every little bit helps. One conversation will probably not change a person’s mind, and that’s okay

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