Forum:How to go about engaging Holocaust deniers and other ignorant people?

From RationalWiki
Jump to: navigation, search

So it seems that according to research, arguing with facts only makes people believe their position even more firmly, regardless of what the facts say. Experience IRL and OTI confirms this for me and, I'm sure, for you all as well. So what manner should one go about engaging these people without accidentally strengthening their positions by citing facts? Asking questions? How do I do that without accidentally finding myself JAQing off or making them get defensive again? Also, what questions could I ask Holocaust deniers specifically, that would cause them to rethink their position on the Holocaust? I don't necessarily expect a clear cut answer but at the very least, maybe we could think of ideas that might have at least some degree of promise. Nah'meen? I'm just trying to rethink my approach to dealing with these people and come up with a fresh way of engaging them without relying on things that don't work out well or cynically just throwing in the towel. I'd REALLY appreciate your feedback.

Thanks! — Unsigned, by: Mr. Grimm / talk / contribs

"Your position is demonstrably false. As you are clinging to a position that any reasonable person knows is untenable given the overwhelming evidence, all of which is easily accessible and comprehensible to any person with a high school education, and thus demonstrating a total lack of intellectual integrity, I have no reason to continue this conversation with you. Have a good day." Peace. AgingHippie (talk) 18:46, 25 March 2015 (UTC)
Yeah, I'm with the flower child who's getting on in years. Holocaust denial comes from a place of choosing to not answer the questions they're asking. The huge surplus of material education that we, as a society, go way out of our way to provide(and for good reason) about the Holocaust is not hard to access. They don't even remotely have any sincere questions about the Holocaust, but instead have a purposeful program of disinformation they're interested in pursuing, usually in the name of an unstated racist ideology. ikanreed You probably didn't deserve that 19:15, 25 March 2015 (UTC)
So, what? Are you saying there's just no hope with these people? That's kid of a depressing thought, considering how numerous they all are... Why do these people hate the jews anyway? They say it's because they believe Jews are in control of everything and yadda yadda yadda, but if they only believe that stuff to promote their anti-semitism, that'd mean they were anti-semites BEFORE beliving that stuff and if they're anti-semites BEFORE believing all that, than what causes them to hate Jews? (User: Mr. Grimm) 7:51 PM, 25 March 2015 (UTC)
I wrote out an answer, but then decided I was speaking from an un-authorative place in an authoritative tone. I've only dealt with these people on the internet. I don't know how to approach real life ones. ikanreed You probably didn't deserve that 20:08, 25 March 2015 (UTC)
Ah. OK. Well, I'm just wondering these things because the sheer ignorance of Holocaust Deniers, Anti-Vaxxers, Climate Changer Deniers and 9/11 "truthers" is just mind-boggling and it makes me wonder why they refuse to admit the truth. I mean, with Climate Change denialists and 9/11 "Truthers" I feel I have a good grasp. But others? Not so much. Maybe anti-vaxxers. I think maybe they just wanna feel smarter than doctors or some shit and/or because they worship celebrities like Suzan Serandon and/or because they listen to their dumbass friends too much. But Holocaust Deniers? Not a clue what their deal is and why they hate Jews so much... (User: Mr. Grimm) 8:21 PM, 25 March 2015 (UTC)
Let's science this a bit. There is a attribute called "conspiratorial thinking", that describes a likelihood of believing in various major conspiracy theories. That characteristic correlates to both a lack of interpersonal trust and economic hardship. In general, conspiracies tend to take the form of expressing problems in a framing of outgroup threat. People different than you and I who cause the problems you and I face for their own purposes. Jewish people, unfortunately, become a common target because they're well integrated with western society, and thus tend to be outsiders "inside" organizations that are seen as nefarious. In spite of how tempting it is to go with the "they think they're smarter than us" explanation, I don't think that's really it. ikanreed You probably didn't deserve that 20:41, 25 March 2015 (UTC)
In my opinion, it depends on who the other person is and their relationship with you. Is it a close friend or loved one who have those views? A boss? A coworker? Someone on your bowling team? A random person on the internet? Is this view something they keep to themselves, or is it something they are very vocal about? Noir LeSable (talk) 19:22, 25 March 2015 (UTC)
Hmm... Good point. In most cases, vocal. I'm just trying to figure out a way to get these people to be honest for a change. And not just Holocaust deniers, Climate Change deniers too. And Anti-vaxxers and 9/11 "truthers" Actually, Climate Change deniers and 9/11 conspiracy nuts are the most common form of conspiracy dipshits that I encounter in everyday life both OTI and IRL, now that I think about it. (User: Mr. Grimm) 7:46 PM, 25 March 2015 (UTC)
I'm not saying that there's just no hope with these people. I'm saying that I have a very limited amount of fucks left to give, and I thus give them only after careful consideration with an eye on maximizing their effectiveness. My mental health can no longer afford the pain and frustration that comes with giving a fuck about every ill-informed mouth-breather with whom I cross paths.Peace. AgingHippie (talk) 20:09, 25 March 2015 (UTC)
Fair enough.(User: Mr. Grimm) 8:21 PM, 25 March 2015 (UTC)
I don't interact with such nuts since, lucky me, the place I work is full of real scientists (except for the one creationist). However, I've heard that once mild homophobes are exposed to non-scary out-of-the-closet gay folk, their homophobia drops. Analogously, I wonder if casual non-threatening subtle fact-dropping would have an impact on your targeted brand of idiots. MarmotHead (talk) 20:42, 25 March 2015 (UTC)
To use the example of Holocaust deniers; you must first discern what kind of Holocaust denier they are. Is their claim that they deny that organized killing of Jews took place? Is it that the number killed was lower? You see much in the same way that there are different types of feces there are different types of Holocaust deniers or "skeptics" as they prefer to call themselves. In order to effectively refute them and hence make them look like an idiot you have to know what kind of holocaust denier you are dealing with. If they claim that there was no organized campaign against Jews, question them about why Jews died disproportionately compared to the rest of the civilian population. When they say something that is genuinely stupid (even for a stupid person) you must ridicule them for it. For instance, I saw one particularly boneheaded assertion from a denialist that the execution chambers of Auschwitz were too small for six million to be gassed in it from in the period of only four years. The denialist was literally operating on the premise that Auschwitz was the only death camp to exist and that the Nazis only murdered Jews in death camps. If I was confronted by that person I would call him a clinical idiot who should have googled "Treblinka", "Dachau", "Bergen-Belson", "Warsaw ghetto uprising", etc... before he intellectually embarrassed himself. If they claim that there was an organized campaign but say that "only" four million died rather than six million you should not only confront them with census data, but also point that even if "only" four million Jews were murdered that still qualifies as a genocide. If you are confronted by someone who praises Hitler and laments that he did not "finish the job" and yet denies that the Holocaust happened, call them out on it and make fun of them for saying obviously contradictory things. Than there is always the chance that you will be confronted by the more absolute Holocaust deniers who claim that no organized campaign existed and that Jews died in no more disproportionate numbers than other civilians during the war. In that case you should be the one to ask them questions. I know this is going to sound controversial but never hesitate to use dark humor to lampoon these people, remember the quote from The Acharnians by Aristophanes: "Comedy too can sometimes discern what is right. I shall not please, but I shall say what is true". Ask them why it would appear to a casual visitor in Poland that there are currently more dilapidated Synagogues in that country than there are Jews, ask them why and how around six million people could just go "poof", ask them if they can bring forth and identify all of those actors who posed for all those "staged" photos. When they make BS excuses coldly refute them with facts like that they will than have to deny by claiming that it's all a conspiracy by "TEH EV1L ZIONISTS". Refute them with math and census data. I have seen naive people on the internet get converted by these idiots and other idiots for other idiotic causes and that is the reason why we should not ignore them. Basically there are a lot of naive and guiltless people in the world, and they can easily be converted by crackpots, that is the reason we must ridicule them, to make it is clear and apparent to those people that the crackpot before them is genuinely an idiot. Hence the goal when dealing with Holocaust deniers and other groups of peoples disconnected from reality is not get them to see their own stupidity, but rather to get others to see their stupidity. Alsto003 (talk) 06:37, 27 March 2015 (UTC) Alex
In conclusion, when confronted with these sorts people, you should make your facts reveal that these people are the idiots they truly are. This may require very exhaustive refutations to explain as if to a five year old, why their arguments are stupid. But it is worth it, and the reason why it is worth it is because it will keep the cranks on the edge of society where they can't actually do any damage. Alsto003 (talk) 06:37, 27 March 2015 (UTC) Alex