Submitted by blowfishmo t3_119pkiz in LifeProTips

Edit: Thanks to all for your feedback. Many of the comments are saying things like, “How should the person know what evidence they need?” and that’s sort of missing the point of the post. Someone saying “I don’t know what could make me consider that” is still better than “Nothing.” “I don’t know” can still keep a healthy dialogue open.

Context is important. Mostly I’m just suggesting this tip in order to help people save their energy and prevent lots of frustration that can be avoided.



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LuckyandBrownie t1_j9nh1te wrote

It’s hard to come up with evidence that would change your mind, because if you knew it you would already have changed your mind. It’s on the person arguing to pay attention to what the other person sees as important and engage that way.


poormansnormal t1_j9niq2a wrote

I would be asking more for the hypothetical type of situation.

"Hypothetically, if there was a 100% verified, notarized, photograph of Ogopogo, I'd have to believe it."


LuckyandBrownie t1_j9nrhv0 wrote

Bigfoot is real. He lives in Washington and vacations in Alaska in the summers.

What proof could make me not believe this?


cheeze_whiz_shampoo t1_j9ogih0 wrote

>What proof could make me not believe this?

The real answer is shame. Deep, aggressive shame.

Our culture did not experience a tidal wave of anti intellectualism in the last 20 years, it experienced a tidal wave of unencumbered shamelessness.


slomobileAdmin t1_j9qhak8 wrote

A very tall hairy person that lives in Washington and summers in Alaska joins the conversation. He regales you with tales of tourists trying to take his picture. Every time you look at him, he appears blurry.


[deleted] t1_j9o7i6n wrote

If the all the all knowing gods that have been proven to exist tell me Bigfoot doesn't exist I will believe it.


Preposterous_punk t1_j9qlddo wrote

Okay, if it was shown to you that all the “evidence” supporting the idea that he exists was faked, would you accept that there was no reason to believe? How about the people involved in faking the evidence explaining to you how it was done. How about being shown the origins of the idea, that were clearly written as fiction? What if the entire us army devoted five years to searching every inch of Washington and Alaska, going so far as to burn down every tree and raze every building, and came up with nothing?

There is some reason or reasons you decided to believe in Bigfoot. If those reasons were shown to be invalid, would you accept that it is more reasonable to assume that there is not a giant hairy half-ape/half-man creature who has managed to avoid capture and whose existence can’t be anything close to “explained” by everything we know about the world?

If you know why you believe in something, or don’t believe in something, it’s not that hard to see what would change your mind. If you don’t know why, shouldn’t you figure it out?


montanunion t1_j9o64ey wrote

Yeah exactly, also a lot of debates and arguments are not based on evidence to begin with, but rather values, ideals or goals. Facts are important in debates, but usually the debate is not about facts but about conclusions/opinions. You can also often have the exact same evidence and come to different conclusion.

If somebody asked me "What evidence would change your mind that gay people should be able to get married?", "What evidence would change your mind that women should have access to abortion?", "What evidence would change your mind that religion and state should be separate things?" my answer definitely would be "none".

There's no amount of evidence that you could show me to change my mind on these topics (even though for example I've seen statistics about the risks of abortion or whatever), because these are in the end opinions and not facts and they are just as much about the (inherently in provable) value judgement about how things should be, rather than how things are.


SmallShoes_BigHorse t1_j9omddz wrote

And as long as they are about opinions and all know it, the discussion can serve a purpose.

But when it's a fact based discussion ('is there a new world order' etc) and there is nothing that COULD convince you otherwise, then it's not a discussion but rather a shouting match and quite purposeless.


slomobileAdmin t1_j9qr7h0 wrote

Um. Not really. Even if the discussion is only about opinions, especially if it is only about opinions, an unwillingness to even consider changing your opinion makes it a pointless discussion. Facts are not subject to change by discussion.

There is technically a new world order any time new world leaders are elected and change policy. I'll accept that as fact, though it isn't very meaningful to me. If you ascribe different meaning to "new world order", particularly outlandish conspiracy, I might need you to clarify whether our shared words have shared meaning. I may then need to retract a previous statement, assume you have a poor understanding of what facts are, and back away slowly as you shout at me.

That is slightly different from being unwilling to consider that I am wrong. It is the regretful acknowledgement that from now on, anything presented as fact by you will no longer receive the benefit of doubt. Your facts are tainted. I may however accept the same facts if presented by someone else in a careful, self consistent way that agrees with my observations and avoids common fallacies.


SmallShoes_BigHorse t1_j9sy2pb wrote

Yea, that's why I said 'can serve a purpose' there's no guarantee that it will, but at least there's a possibility.

I had an old colleague who loved talking about globalists, NWO, Trump/Biden and just loved tossing out bait-headlines and then the 'discussion' would begin. And at one point I asked if there was anything that had the potential to change his mind, he said no. And I never engaged in discussion with him again. Because he will always be right in his POV.

Because he has decided his POV is the correct one, you can be sure he doesn't fact check his own facts but rather assumes that everything that supports his POV is correct. Which means that even though I could be persuaded to leave my standpoint, I can't trust anything that he says, since he'll swallow anything with the right shape.


bestaquaneer t1_j9sixyo wrote

Exactly. Like Trump could scream at me that COVID-19 is fake until he’s blue in the face, and I wouldn’t believe him even if it was weeks later. A medical doctor, who calmly explained with scientific evidence that COVID-19 is fake, could get me to believe them. Sure, Trump was right, but the way the information was presented and from what I know about the person that presented it, I didn’t believe him.

(I would like to clarify that I don’t actually think COVID is fake. I know better.)


thatfluffycloud t1_j9p8udb wrote

What would get me to change my mind in your examples would be if there was solid evidence of significant harm being done.

Like yes I 100% support gay marriage. I would change my mind if there was solid proof that all gay people who get married are secretly robots with a plot to destroy the world and it's not actually about love and human rights. (I know that would never happen, but if it did, I might change my mind! Because I follow the evidence.)


Lithogiraffe t1_j9oxct3 wrote

Yeah, this feels like an anti-socratic method of arguing. This LPT seems more like IF you want to stop an argument from continuing, THEN you pull this tip, because no one will want to argue seemingly for the other side and will probably say 'nothing' and the argument will end.


Sh00ting5tar t1_j9nzsv1 wrote

Exactly. "What argument do you accept to prove you are wrong?".


LuckyandBrownie t1_j9o5meo wrote

I can’t know, because if I knew I would have already changed my mind. You have to come up with an argument I don’t know to change my mind. All of the arguments that I currently know haven’t changed it.


hybepeast t1_j9owh69 wrote

Bigfoot is real, I believe that because he's been sighted in Washington in photos X Y and Z.

Evidence of X Y and Z being fake would change my mind.

What's so hard about this? You have to understand what their stance is, and what evidence they have to develop that stance. Then you break down their evidence.


Prometheus188 t1_j9p4ey6 wrote

I don’t believe in God, but if God simply showed himself and started bringing the dead back to life, that may convince me. Or if I had a 50 digit number written on a piece of paper in my pocket, and he could recite it to me, that would potentially be convincing.

Or I don’t believe in the existence of unicorns. But if I were to see a real life unicorn and upon scientific analysis, could confirm it isn’t a horse with a superglued horn in it, and that this unicorn could reproduce with other unicorns over several generations to create new unicorns, and that I could see the birth of a new unicorn with the horn, that would convince me that unicorns exist.

Your statement is completely wrong. It’s entirely possible to be aware of what would convince you, without actually being convinced if it beforehand.


sapphicpattern t1_j9om6uf wrote

What does the word “hypothetical” mean and why is relevant to your response?


bestaquaneer t1_j9sj88u wrote

You can know what would change your mind, but you don’t know if it’s true or not. I can say forever that I know for a fact that the cat in the box is alive, because I can hear it yowling. What would change my mind? Schrodinger, showing me the recording of the cat meowing and the box with the dead cat inside. That doesn’t change the fact that based on my current evidence, I know the cat is alive. I can think of the evidence that would change my mind, but as it hasn’t been presented to me, I’m going to go with my current knowledge.


LuckyandBrownie t1_j9svzrx wrote

Schrödinger’s cat has been perverted by popularity. It’s not that the cat is alive or dead it’s something else entirely. When someone looks at the cat it is forced into being alive or dead, but is currently something neither alive nor dead. It’s in a third state of being.

So your argument is wrong, and you had no idea why. If asked would you have said that it could be wrong because of a misnomer about superposition?


bestaquaneer t1_j9u1608 wrote

That’s a very long winded way of saying you don’t understand when someone is using an analogy.


LuckyandBrownie t1_j9u2t4p wrote

The point of an analogy is to illustrate a point, but your analogy is false so it doesn’t illustrate your point.

It’s important to understand the use of analogies.


cheltsie t1_j9o64ge wrote

This. Not even having an argument in mind, my immediate response is, "I don't know, present something to me and allow me to present something to you. Then we can both consider the other's arguments and decide with time."

And, frankly, finding someone willing to argue their point, listen to an opposing point, and agree it will take time for both parties to consider is.... rare.

Usually people asking this question are just trying to weaponize whatever you say against you. And they'll use the above response to retort that your stance doesn't matter because you're willing to admit there may be something you don't know.

And then these are the same people to turn around and say you can't base things off your own experience.

How about instead of arguing, try to agree to disagree and then have interesting discussions regarding those disagreements? Now that makes for a good hangout buddy.


Eve-3 t1_j9oe6fo wrote

That's the kind of hangout buddy I like! Talk about whatever, passionately, but completely ok that you disagree. Heck, if you agree it's a boring talk.


yet-more-bees t1_j9rlm4r wrote

You can go the extreme.

I am almost certain that God does not exist. However if the sky literally parted and an unfathomably large bearded man boomed out "I am God, the Protestant Christians were right all along, and now I'm going to rapture them all" and then all the Christians disappeared, I would be convinced that God exists.


Preposterous_punk t1_j9qjz0t wrote

>>>It’s hard to come up with evidence that would change your mind because if you knew it you would already have changed your mind.

I’m not sure I understand? Why would knowing what evidence would change your mind cause you to change your mind?

Do you go “I don’t think the lunch lady killed my boss, but it occurs to me that if I saw verified footage of the lunch lady holding a smoking gun, standing over my boss’s dead body, loudly proclaiming she’d killed him, along with a public confession, along with forensic evidence, I would be believe it… so now even though I’ve seen none of that, I’ve changed my mind and now think the lunch lady killed my boss!”?

I do not believe the moon is made of cheese. I am fully aware of what evidence would change my mind. I have not changed my mind because I have not seen that evidence. I do not believe in God. I know what would make me believe, and it hasn’t happened, so I don’t believe. Etc.


XXXforgotmyusername t1_j9orkqi wrote

I will admit in an argument. Rarely to I phrase things in the way I should. If I’m polite, and correct, I can make people admit to anything. The politeness is the hard stuff!


Didu93 t1_j9nngmc wrote

And what i am supposed to answer to that if I don't know what kind of evidence will prove i am wrong?


ForceOfAHorse t1_j9ntiyf wrote

"any evidence would help me change my mind. Now stop talking about your opinions like they are facts and give me something"


ProjectAioros t1_j9ptpdv wrote

'' OK how about this PhD's essay, It proves me right because X Y and Z ''

'' No, that doesn't work''

''Why not ? ''

'' Cuz i don't like the guy who wrote the essay'' - proceeds to ad hominem the shit out of the PhD without reading a single word he wrote


ForceOfAHorse t1_j9qbta7 wrote

What is a "PhD's essay"?


slomobileAdmin t1_j9qfv50 wrote

A dissertation, thesis, essay, paper, article. Take your pick.


sapphicpattern t1_j9omsuq wrote

If you can’t do this (figure out hypothetical evidence that shifts your belief) then you don’t actually have a well-formed belief in the first place! Not being able to answer this question is a huge signal that you need to stop that discussion and go to a different level and start enumerating thoughts that do have evidence behind them. And then see if you can build back up to the original thought.


Imn0tg0d t1_j9pf58d wrote

But it is hard for a lot of people to admit that something they "know" is wrong. Why do people attach themselves to their knowledge? If im wrong about something, I got to learn something new that day and have even more knowledge. Muhahahahahahaha


EvenStevenKeel t1_j9omm9s wrote

Say someone didn’t believe the moon landing was real. You could ask them “what if you found out someone you knew personally had been to the moon?”

And then you talk along those lines


chairpilot t1_j9pbv1p wrote

Yeah I’ve heard this tip a lot but it often feels like something one would tell themselves when they are arguing with someone in their head, not in real life. In reality, often you aren’t sure, it’s the total accumulation of smaller things that eventually sway you.


[deleted] t1_j9ome70 wrote



blowfishmo OP t1_j9rd02v wrote

Totally agree - and context is important, obviously. Asking someone if anything could change their mind is probably the last stop in the conversation.

I guess the approach I suggested requires the person you’re arguing with to have an understanding of different facets of the issue for them to be able to respond to the question adequately.


RyzRx t1_j9nyqvc wrote

Nowadays, I just smile and give it a shrug whenever these convos happen IRL. I have accepted the reality that there's no way to remove someone who's trapped in an echo chamber built for them by their chosen media or their epistemic relativism.

They are the same people who have been digging facts based solely on their confirmation biases. The same people who are gullible and just wanted someone to agree with them regardless of whether the subject is true or not.

Based on my experience, only self-realization can get them out of that state, "so don't engage anymore" (at least that's what I tell myself in those instances)!


duder167 t1_j9pncf2 wrote

This is my method. Haven't spoken to my father in months and it's been so peaceful


dougieslaps97 t1_j9pi5oy wrote

I can't believe I'm saying this, but I would love to discuss politics with you. I don't discuss world events with anyone anymore because it feels like the average person just parrots the one news media source they watch.


Acchilles t1_j9olj0w wrote

It's important to know when you're arguing with someone whose argument is emotional rather than evidence based. The argument can be won but you need a different approach.


FrontTheMachine t1_j9nxdah wrote

That's basically what I wrote in my last resignation letter


Se7enLC t1_j9olfhp wrote

Except they won't say "nothing". They'll say something so incredibly unlikely to exist it may as well be.

But then when you present them with that impossible evidence they'll find some way to discount it.


FSMFan_2pt0 t1_j9p9ifh wrote

Those type debates always boil down to "you can't reason someone out of something they weren't reasoned into in the first place"

One of the main factors to remember is that, often, one person is arguing from reason & logic, and the other is arguing from emotion. Basically, oil vs water.


JoshCanJump t1_j9oum2c wrote

Evidence means nothing to some people.


bestaquaneer t1_j9sjc1j wrote

I think that’s the point. If evidence, real evidence, won’t change their mind, it’s obvious that nothing will.


TheUglyBarnaclez12 t1_j9o4wgm wrote

Every single “political” comedian, Bill Maher and Joe Rogan included, need to take this to heart.


reclusiveronin t1_j9op3vl wrote

So every conversation with religious whackadoodles


Zech08 t1_j9ouvaj wrote

LPT: dont use logic with the illogical.


slomobileAdmin t1_j9qk989 wrote

I like to think that I am always open to having my mind changed. But even if presented with clear evidence in opposition to my beliefs, it takes time to internalize that information, compare it against my existing knowledge and beliefs, consider the repercussions, and formulate a systematic plan for reevaluating my beliefs. I have done that a number of times in life. It takes much longer than a pause in conversation.

Now you expect me to go through that process instantly, and honestly, for a hypothetical question, from a person who is preparing to walk away from the discussion as we speak.

I was fully on board with the OP question when I first read it. Reading through the comments changed my mind. It is an unfair question.


blowfishmo OP t1_j9unu3s wrote

I think the process you described is a great way to handle these sorts of conversations, learn, and grow as a person. But what I’m suggesting is that if you were to ask someone this question, and they responded that they’re not going to consider that they’re wrong no matter what, then it’s obvious that individual isn’t willing to undergo the process you described. And as a result, it would be a lot of time and energy spent on something that, in the end, may not be benefitting anyone (with some exceptions).


slomobileAdmin t1_j9v1uaf wrote

Yes, I understood that you expect me to ask the question. But turnabout is fair play. I wanted to know if it was reasonable to expect a person to actually answer the question honestly, in the best of circumstances. Turns out no. That really is a "gotcha" kind of question.


aKnightWh0SaysNi t1_j9rupb1 wrote

What evidence would it take for you to consider that you’re wrong?


blowfishmo OP t1_j9uo75s wrote

Honestly, examples of someone continuing the conversation even though they think it’s a futile one, and the other person coming around or being willing to consider other possibilities other than their own perspective. But I think that that’s so incredibly rare, it is almost always better to calmly and kindly move on from the conversation, rather than beating your head against a brick wall, so to speak.


cammcken t1_j9spra6 wrote

I debate people so that I can understand their perspective better and they can understand me better. I don't need anyone to be wrong.


keepthetips t1_j9nf3a1 wrote

Hello and welcome to r/LifeProTips!

Please help us decide if this post is a good fit for the subreddit by up or downvoting this comment.

If you think that this is great advice to improve your life, please upvote. If you think this doesn't help you in any way, please downvote. If you don't care, leave it for the others to decide.


TheDuckFarm t1_j9p1nbm wrote

“What might persuade you to consider a different position” is much less confrontational.


Upvotespoodles t1_j9p2z7t wrote

Wouldn’t it be more effective to ask what kind of evidence would it take for them to consider exploring things together from different perspectives?


huntersam13 t1_j9p4sx6 wrote

Usually when I ask for the evidence in debates, I get blocked or insulted.


misterunlucky9 t1_j9p934f wrote

I used this and yes it was absolutely great!


SCB024 t1_j9p99r0 wrote

Peter, is that you?


BreakfastBeerz t1_j9pbs4b wrote

It's a rarity that anyone will ever be persuaded otherwise in their opinion, especially online. Just assume going into an online argument that you are just going to argue and you will not be changing any minds.


earhere t1_j9pf8qx wrote

You can't reason someone out of a position they didn't use reason to get to.


ISwearImNotAnAI t1_j9pinxc wrote

Before saying this you should decide if your willing to be wrong yourself.


terryjuicelawson t1_j9piu3z wrote

Dunno, it is something religious people like to try. "What if God came down tomorrow and showed himself, would you believe then?". I just think it kinda depends really, that is all very theoretical. Even accepting that possibility they see as a win. What would it take to change my mind on evolution - I guess absolutely rewriting basic biology, hundreds of years of understanding, thousands of peer reviewed papers and the teachings of millions of eminent scientists who all would flip it on its head. That is the same as "nothing" essentially. Or to somehow believe in magic.


xPlus2Minus1 t1_j9pjzqu wrote

They're not going to ever say nothing, the real LPT is to end the conversation when they ignore that question altogether. Granted it's not 100% guarantee that someone can preconceive of positive evidence that they didn't know of beforehand, but the point is not to show them they're wrong but that they are arguing in bad faith.


FoFfEvErYoNe t1_j9pwwwl wrote

Even better LPT.....Just dony get into debates with people, especially politics. When was the last time you saw anyone change their mind? Never, it doesn't happen.


Preposterous_punk t1_j9sa9hq wrote

I'm had my mind changed on a number of issues, large and small. Usually not immediately, with one single argument, but it does happen. And I've seen it happen with plenty of other people as well.
There's lots of evidence that people do change their minds. All sorts of famous figures who say one thing when they're young and then, when they're older, talk about how they feel differently. It's actually not that uncommon for thoughtful people willing to examine new evidence or consider new arguments.


FoFfEvErYoNe t1_j9skgwk wrote

This is a good point. I guess I am a pessimist by nature.


Plane_Poem_5408 t1_j9qelqy wrote

Here’s the issue with that, we live in the internet era, If you look hard enough you can find “evidence” for just about anything


yamaha2000us t1_j9qgft1 wrote

Unless you are trolling.

There are people that like to use the ‘hold your breath’ and they will come around. There position is opinion and has little basis beyond that.

I like to ask for supporting documentation and watch them spin off to misunderstood documentation.

Like the White House Briefing on Loan Forgiveness vs the statistics of the people that are capable of repaying student loans are not based on the same information.


bozitybozitybopzebop t1_j9s13kg wrote

Example 1

A: This fork is made of plastic.

B: Oh yeah? What evidence would persuade you that you're wrong?

Example 2

A: Trump won the election.

B: What evidence would persuade you that you're wrong?

A: Trump admitting that he lost.

Nah, this whole LPT sounds good, but I don't think it's very practical.


ronskidude_ t1_ja11j4t wrote

Real LifeProTip, ask yourself first if proving someone wrong is worth it (worth your time, energy or peace of mind). If the answer is no, then just let it go.

A real win is you being at peace and not wasting time on trivial things 😉


billdietrich1 t1_j9o7e93 wrote

No, don't give up. At least say "I disagree with you because of fact X" and then stop there. It's worthwhile to let them know you disagree, give them a fact that they may chew on, and let anyone else listening hear the same.


SalltyJuicy t1_j9pppr0 wrote

That's a bad "life pro tip". If you're trying to free someone like a friend or family member from the indoctrination of a cult you can't do this shit. It'll only prove, in their minds, that you're not actually concerned with them but only proving yourself right.

To a lesser degree, this also applies to people who have fallen into traps of bigotry and false ideologies.


Llanite t1_j9pzdm0 wrote

LPT: if you're looking to change someone's opinions while offering nothing in exchange, you may keep your unsolicited advice/ information to yourself.

People do not care and will simply hate you because you're wasting their time. You've already lost before you begin.


[deleted] t1_j9nl1o4 wrote



behv t1_j9ny643 wrote

Someone sounds like their feeling got hurt lmao


MooseKnee10 t1_j9ojo6x wrote

Most of your recent posts are little angry sounds bites against liberalism. It might do you good to disengage from politics/news for a little. It's all meant to enrage and inspire fear. Politics can't be affecting you enough to warrant this much of your time.