CT has an article reporting on some studies about effective persuasion.
They highlight a study about how difficult it is to argue someone out of a position that is tied to their core identity or beliefs.
[quote] There were two major findings from this study. First, when math-savvy liberals were presented with the data that showed the gun violence prevention policies to be ineffective, they were more likely to get the answer wrong, compared with their answers to the skin cream problem. The same pattern was found among math-savvy conservatives in the opposite circumstances. Second, researchers found that people who were better at math were 45 percentage points more likely to get the answer right when it fit with their ideology, compared to a 25 percentage point difference among people with weaker math skills.
The takeaway? People have a tendency to reason with data not to get the right answer, but to get the answer they prefer to be right. And people with strong math skills were the most likely to have this bias.
The theory underlying this work—known as identity protective cognition—can be summarized this way: People’s defense mechanisms kick in when they feel their identity and core values are being threatened, and it can lead them to subconsciously resist information that conflicts with their beliefs.[/quote]
The article brought up research into empathetic listening and questioning as a persuasion technique.
However, if people already have well-developed opinions or beliefs on an issue, this approach doesn’t work.
Obviously a lot of arguing and attempts at persuading people with strongly held beliefs goes on here. I thought the article had good reminders that facts and data are usually not sufficient to get people to re-evaluate strongly held positions, but empathy, listening, and asking questions can open minds.
Also, it made me wonder what “moral values” of YEC Christians we could use to frame the origins discussion in a more potentially persuasive way. Any ideas on that?