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I volunteer at a hospital in a department where a lotta med students work. During a slow half hour, I sat and listened to four such persons (who will all one day hold the lives of others in their hands) discuss the truth of the Bible, existence of demons & possessions, omnipresent influence of the K/Illuminati, imminent apocalypse, and non-geneticity of homosexuality or transgenderism. When I mentioned a few studies suggesting that transgenderism may be based in part on brain structure (rather than their "liberal-media-causes-mental-disease" hypothesis), they decided that science wasn't all it's cracked up to be, moreover decided the issue was moral, and preferred the Bible. I didn't want to piss them off, so the conversation ended there.
All this to say: how to effectively question people's stupid beliefs in the "real world", offwiki? (Especially in situations that are more "tense" and have lasting consequences, like coworkers or family or friends.) Anyone have any (admittedly anecdotal) success stories? I know "street epistemology" exists, but it doesn't seem to have magically made reasonable dialogue the norm. Perhaps RationalWiki could make a guide on how to deconvert people from whatever belief, using the scientific literature to find the most effective methods? FᴜᴢᴢʏCᴀᴛPᴏᴛᴀᴛᴏ, Esϙᴜɪʀᴇ (talk/stalk) 19:43, 12 July 2015 (UTC)
- Personally, watching The Atheist Experience taught me several good approaches. Try it. Super Dude,Where's my car? 19:49, 12 July 2015 (UTC)
- First off, you're probably better off not having these discussions with coworkers... you know because of the whole thing with HR departments and getting fired and whatnot. Anyway, from personal experience, my GF taught Sunday School when we first started dating. Now, 6 years later, she's an atheist. It didn't happen overnight, nor after some particularly clever argument on my part. Basically I never brought up the subject unless she did. And when it did come up, it was mostly a lot of "And why do you believe that?" and "How would you go about proving that to someone else?" on my part. Just be patient. -Inquisitor (talk) 23:20, 12 July 2015 (UTC)