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There's got to be a better way!

Is it better to be technically correct? Or is it better to be heard and understood?

What is the point of entering into a debate in the first place, if not to persuade the other person?

And if the point is to persuade, why is the majority of modern discourse consist of people talking past each other? Repeating tired old arguments and reflexive responses like two amateur chess players that memorized the same strategy book.

Modern discourse does not seek to understand, connect, identify, or resonate with the other person, simply to "win" in the eyes of some nonexistent judge, and gain the approval of the already convinced on social media.

The Importance of Persuasion

The debate of science versus superstition and misinformation is one of the most important debates in human history. It is of the utmost importance that enough people are convinced of this before nuclear war, climate change, or some other existential global calamity is caused by humanity's inability to come together as one.

Every perspective taken in metaculture has the ability to connect and persuade its intended audience in mind. Even the choice to make a wiki in order to present these ideas, since it offers the ability to use the language feature to code switch the entire philosophy. This not only translates it into other languages, but allows switching out religious allegories, music and pop culture references, and debate styles, aligning it with both cultural and generational differences to maximize the benefit of the doubt we naturally give to our in-group.

Making a Complete Argument

Debates in general, but especially on social media, suffer from the limitation that you can only convey a tiny fraction of your point in any given statement. You may have the weight of multiple graduate degrees worth of knowledge and experience behind a single statement, but the other side has no way of knowing any of that information.

Judging by the discourse, most people seem to operate on the assumption that a few sentences in a social media post represents the totality of your consideration of the subject. The idea that you could have any supporting arguments, data, or nuance in your opinion is never taken for granted. How can you overcome this?

The wiki offers a way to tie any single point you make to an entire system of thought behind it. If you generally agree with the perspective given here, then you can link any page in this wiki into a social media comment and the entire philosophy behind it can be explored, providing all of the background reasoning, evidence, and nuance that a single post could never capture.

Strategies for Political and Theological Persuasion

When dealing with core identity topics like politics and religion, a number of strategies should be employed to avoid emotional and reflexive reactions instead of considered attention to evidence and reasoning.

Use Narrative and Allegory

The brain leans much more easily through narratives and allegories than it does with reason and evidence. This is especially true for people with spiritual mindsets, but generally speaking only those who have had advanced science education have trained their brains to prioritize evidence over emotion. And that training still fails much of the time!

Unfortunately, most popular science is written by scientists who tend to shy away from these types of argument through allegory, and when they do they are really bad at it from lack of practice. And a pervasive disdain for anecdotal evidence in the science community hampers their ability to tell stories that connect on a human level.

If you are arguing for reason, you are allowed to make passionate, emotional arguments for reason! It is a vitally important topic to the future of humanity!!!

Of course, the arguments should always be truthful. But truth told through an emotional story is more easily absorbed by the brain, and failure to use them in debate represents unilateral disarmament against an opponent with no such qualms.

Avoid Established Out-group Identities

Most established ideologies and belief systems have names that are well known to religious fundamentalists and have already been identified as an out-group that should not be listened to. This is particularly true for secular humanism, which many fundamentalists claim is the new progressive religion.[1]

Universalists, pantheists, and others that deny literalist interpretations of scripture are also well known, and invoking them will trigger established psychological defenses. Don't even try to mention socialism!

A successful movement towards secular universalism will require new terminology whose definitions and meaning can be established in the culture before the forces of fundamentalism can slander them. Until it becomes well-known, metaculture can be invoked in personal conversations and it comes with no prejudice beyond the implied meaning of the word. You are now free to describe what you believe in a compatibilist way while avoiding the established psychological roadblocks.

Avoid Attacking Someone's Core Identity

This point should be obvious but apparently it is not, given how many atheists start their conversations with theists by attacking religion right out of the gate. The only reason to do this is to elicit a reaction, since there is obviously no persuasive power in such a tactic. This is not discourse, it is trolling.

No argument that is presented in opposition to someone's core belief systems, be they supernatural, libertarian, or trauma-induced, will get any traction. The only way to be persuasive is to identify as part of the in-group of your counterpart. This lets you leverage in-group bias in your favor, and avoids out-group skepticism and contrarianism.

To start your conversation by establishing yourself as a member of the in-group, you must first find common ground before you can address the points where you already know you will disagree.

Focus on Common Goals

Behind every opinion is a goal, some objective the person is trying to achieve that they think will be better served if we do whatever they are saying. But what is that goal? it is often unstated and assumed. By focusing attention on the goal, you usually end up establishing common ground, because we are all humans and we all share the same ultimate goal of increasing happiness and quality of life. If you trace each intermediate goal back to its original purpose, all roads lead to this one true goal shared by all of humanity.

Now you are part of the in-group and you are ready to have a totally different conversation.

How Can Atheists and Theists Find Common Ground?

The first thing that most atheists and theists can agree on is the fact that literalism is a false and dangerous way to interpret scripture and allegory is the correct way. Atheists tend to be biased and assume most theists are fundamentalists, because many of them come from those backgrounds. They will be surprised to find common ground if they really explore the topic of literalism versus allegory with most believers.

It works in reverse, too. Theists who wish to find common ground with an atheist can also employ this tactic.

The other really good way for atheists to find common ground is to go the way Einstein and Sagan, stop being atheists, and start being Pantheists. The atheism page lays out the many rhetorical and psychological benefits of doing this.

The technique of metaphor mapping is also employed to show how religious beliefs are allegories for real, observable phenomena in the universe, and rituals can elicit the placebo effect to heal us psychologically.

And, of course, you can always focus on your common goals.

How Can Progressives and Libertarians Find Common Ground?

Having extensively explored and actively campaigned on both sides of this issue, this author feels uniquely qualified to address the question of where these two political philosophies have common ground.

The first is in the concept of freedom, which is a core libertarian value that progressives also share as a common goal. Exploring what it truly means to be free in a capitalist society where billionaires often have much more power and control over your available life choices and free will than the government, is an effective way for progressives and libertarians to have a productive discussion.

The second is the concept of the non-aggression principle, which is another core libertarian value that most progressives can get on board with. I don't know a lot of progressives that are gung-ho about the police state and support the prosecution of victimless crimes like drugs and prostitution for consenting adults.

Many libertarians have been heavily influenced by capitalist propaganda and assume that anyone to the left of Ronald Reagan is an authoritarian communist that ultimately wants to destroy capitalism. When you know what their core values and goals are, and demonstrate that you share them, you can now be seen as part of the in-group instead of a commie bastard.

Likewise, most progressives are not actually authoritarian communists, and actually support capitalism as long as it has nothing to do with whether or not you can get healthcare. If you are a libertarian and want to find common ground with a progressive, this tactic is equally effective in reverse.

What If We All Debated This Way?

If the tactic of finding common goals and establishing a shared in-group prior to discussing sensitive issues about our belief systems were to become widespread, it would form a new generating equation that could significantly accelerate the creation of a universal in-group.

Social media has created a generating equation that has accelerated trolling, contrarianism, misinformation, and grift through the systematic promotion of outrage. What if we systematically promoted the idea of finding common goals?

In an era of polarization, persuasion is desired by all, but often viewed as a lost cause. Those on the other side of the debate are too far gone to even agree on a shared reality, much less engage in an evidence-based debate that requires a shared acceptance of facts.

There is ample evidence for the efficacy of these persuasive tactics. They can be promoted on either side of the political divide, since both sides would ultimately like to persuade the other to their position. But if they all start using the common ground tactic in order to do this, it will completely change the shape of discourse and the entire political landscape as a result.

Tactics are non-partisan. If we want to heal political polarization, changing tactics is far more effective than collecting and presenting more evidence for your side.

Persuasive Videos and Podcasts

If these videos and podcasts don't convince you of the power of persuasion then nothing will!

Check out the US 2.0 series on Hidden Brain for one of the best analyses of how to use the psychology of persuasion and in-group bias to resolve polarization and help create the universal in-group. Especially relevant to this page is Win Hears, Then Minds.

How To Convince Others - Power of Persuasion

The psychological trick behind getting people to say yes

Persuasion: The Psychology of Leading People

Can we think better by wrestling with conflicting ideas?

Osees - Persuaders Up!

Doechii - Persuasive