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10 Unobvious Steps to Arguing Scientifically

Updated on July 2, 2015

A 10 Step Guide to Arguing Scientifically

Step 1: Lets say you find yourself in a disagreement with someone, what do you do? First, its important that you recognize the fact that you’ve been wrong before. I know that might sound crazy, but now remember all the things you thought sounded crazy before you found out you were wrong. The same thing could always happen again.

Step 2: Accept that the person you disagree with truly believes what they are saying and must have a very good reason to believe it. You may eventually find out that there reason for believing it is not logical, but since its enough to influence their beliefs, there just may be something to it.

Its your mission to find out their reason for believing what they'rs saying before you disagree with them. As a matter of fact, keep pressing them, and let them keep talking. Find out as much as you can about their side of the story before criticizing.


Step 3: Don’t respond just yet. Tell them, “Can I have a couple minutes to think this over.” or better yet, “I'm going to have to sleep on this. We will have to continue this conversation tomorrow.”

Step 4: Behave as if you believe the other person is right. Don't let your beliefs influence you as you try to see the world through their eyes for a moment. Imagine your life as if you walked around believing all the things that person has just told you. This will really open your eyes to their perspective on their life.

Step 5: Take an objective look at their argument. Imagine you are a scientist doing a laboratory experiment where you can store ideas in a petri dish. One dish contains their argument, in another dish is yours. Take your idea and shelf it, now put their argument under the microscope. Dissect it with as much logic as you can while keeping it independent as possible from how it relates to your idea. Get the hypothesis you initially came up with out of your head. This is a clinical study where finding out the truth is more important that being the victor. As a matter of fact, the only possible way of winning is to come to the truth.

Disregard where the initial idea your studying came from. Just because the origin of the idea was the "Communist Manifesto", "Mein Kampf", or "The Bible" doesn't mean it may not be true. Likewise, it doesn't conclude that it is true either.It makes no difference if your arguing with your dad who you highly regard and affirms that he is the head of the household insisting that you obey him. It makes not difference if the person you find yourself in an argument with is a conceited, hypocritical, immature brat who you want to punch. The source of the idea cant be taken into consideration, so separate them for the time being.

Step 6: Take your discovered results from the scientific experiment and file them for a moment. Now its time to take your ideas and put them under the microscope. I know you have studied them before, but the fact that they are even being challenged now means that there is a slight chance you may have been wrong, and wouldn't you want to find out if you were wrong? (Probably not). Consider the source from where your ideas came from. Did you really start to believe them because you had done all the proper research and studies before hand? or did somebody else tell you they were true? Take out the scalpel of logic again, dissect it, and be more brutal than when you dissected the last idea. Be vicious about it,tear at them, question it like you would anything else.


Step 7: Now compare your results from your studies trying to understand that the goal is not to determine who is right and who is wrong. For the most part, arguments are almost never in black and white.

There is usually some truth mixed in with some personal opinion on both sides. The goal of the experiment is to find the truth from both ideas and bring them together to create the whole truth. If by the end of the experiment you accept or reject the other persons idea completely, you probably did the analysis wrong. If you do find some falsehoods on one or both sides of the disagreement then don't throw away their idea completely. If the idea is flawed in some way, fix it.

Step 8: If you would like, you can choose to present your research to the other person, or not, its not absolutely necessary. The whole experiment was not a battle between who was right and who was wrong, it was more of an internal battle within yourself to see how far you can stretch your mind in thinking logically and scientifically. Weather or not you can convince the other person of the truthfulness of your research is irrelevant.

Step 9: If you end up continuing the argument with the other person, don't worry who ends up victorious. You only goal is to present them your findings, and if they dont like what you have to show, you can simply end the conversation The only thing winning will do for you is stroke your ego. If however, the other person is willing to hear you out and take an objective look at what you have to say, then you can proceed. Two heads are definitely better than one.

Step 10: Be on the lookout for personal attacks. once either person lashes out with some kind of personal attack, you can be sure the conversation is over. If the conversation continues after that, it is probably headed down the wrong path as neither side will be listening and only making efforts to drive their point more and more forcefully down the other persons throat.So you may as well give up. Just keep in mind, the person who throws the first attack is more than likely the wrong one. If you had some kind of logical reasons through any kind of objective research, you would probably be using those instead of hurling personal insults at the other person and the more you look like you never had anything to say at all and are a closed minded individual who just likes to argue.

Anyways, that's my method. Do I always adhere to my own guidelines? No. Do I always defend my ideas after thinking them over or doing some research on them? No. Do I call people mean names? No, maybe in my head, Does that mean this is not a valid approach? No. Take what you agree with and leave what you don't agree with. Please leave a comment and thanks for reading.

Do you tend to stay rational in discussions?

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