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Can you convince yourself you are wrong?

November 6, 2007

Scott Adams writes that one of the best ways to test your own beliefs is to try your best to adopt the opposite view, and see if you can convince yourself. If you can be honest with yourself and critically examine your point of view on a given issue, this can be a useful exercise. However, so many people have such strong beliefs on so many issues that they will be unable to give the opposing view a fair shake. In the near future, I will attempt take a belief of mine and argue the opposite. I am still trying to decide which view.

In the meantime, here is an excerpt of Scott Adams trying (probably unsuccessfully) to convince himself invading Iraq was good idea:

The cost of the war in Iraq is immense. But it has several potential benefits:

1. Al-Qaida showed itself to be everyone’s enemy.
2. Iraq has potential to be a U.S. ally, even if true democracy doesn’t take hold.
3. The U.S. sharpened its war-making tools and showed it is willing to use them.
4. Iraqi oil production will eventually increase, even if it takes 20 years.
5. The U.S. has a permanent military base in the Middle East.

[…] If there is a tiny chance your sworn enemy is building nuclear weapons, and you have a nearly 100% chance of stopping him, even at a very high cost, it seems sensible to do it. It would be rational self defense to risk losing thousands of U.S. troops to reduce the perceived risk of nuclear attack on the U.S. by 1%.

If you say you KNEW there were no WMD in Iraq, you’re either a liar or an idiot. It was unknowable. If you thought there was a 1% chance Saddam was building WMD that could get into terrorist hands, then the decision to attack Iraq was rational for American self defense, even if the outcome turns out bad.

Now here is the question: To our literally dozens of readers, is there a belief of mine or Andy’s  you would like to hear us argue against?

6 Comments leave one →
  1. Keri permalink
    November 6, 2007 3:47 pm

    Argue that the religious far, far right, like Phelps, has the best interest of this country in mind.

    You can do it. They believe it, so can you.

  2. andy permalink*
    November 7, 2007 10:49 am

    I don’t know, I’m not even sure what being wrong feels like.

  3. Greg permalink
    November 7, 2007 10:54 am

    Adam, you need to argue that cats are the greatest animals in the world lol…

  4. Andrea permalink
    November 7, 2007 8:34 pm

    I agree with Greg. Doooo it.

  5. Adam permalink*
    November 10, 2007 3:47 pm

    I would, really, but The Onion did such a good job already:

  6. Ashley permalink
    November 12, 2007 4:35 pm

    This is so incredibly taboo but I would like to hear you argue that white people are predispositioned to be more intelligent than black people.

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