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How to Argue with Skeptics

BEGIN TRANSCRIPT

RUSH: Spencer in Hesperia, Michigan, it's great to have you on the program.  Welcome.

CALLER:  Good morning, Rush.  Hesperia, California, I'm calling from.  I love your show, I think you're a genius, and I'm calling to tell you about this mandatory philosophy course that I had to take at the university that I go to out here in California.

RUSH:  Wait a second.  Mandatory philosophy course?  What university?

CALLER:  California Baptist University.

RUSH:  California Baptist U.  Okay.

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CALLER:  Yes, so I had to take this course and we're covering the section on fallacies, which is, you know, an actual playbook of how to manipulate and deceive people. We're covering (unintelligible) the force, straw men, red herring, and those things, and I asked the professor what kind of fallacy is it when you're arguing with a person that no matter how many facts you knock down and how much evidence you give 'em to defeat their arguments, they always respond with, "Well, how do you really know?  And how is this not racism?"  And just come up with question after question.  And he laughed, and he said, "Well, simple.  That's skepticism."  And I knew what being skeptical was.  I've heard that before, but I didn't know it was an actual type of reasoning, and he explained that it's actually the opposite of logic.  It is the exact opposite of evidence and facts and having things that support your conclusion.  And this type of mentality, it's the only weapon of the inexperienced.  It's the same kind of logic that a three-year-old uses or a punk 15-year-old uses, and now it's the type of reasoning that an entire political party uses.

RUSH:  Precisely.  Skepticism.  "I don't believe you.  Screw you.  Who do you listen to? Where did you hear that from?  Oh, well, they're all lying skunks.  I don't believe you."  Yeah, skepticism is now an accepted intellectual position.  And, by the way, being a skeptic is also the mark of somebody who's open-minded.

CALLER:  Well, I think that you have really found the way to truly defeat this, and it's through ridicule.  You laugh at 'em.  You laugh at 'em no more than you would just laugh at a three-year-old.  You wouldn't engage in a long argument with a three-year-old over, you know, their inexperience just because they can say why, why, how, and, you know, you have a media, a lamestream media that is completely content with just furthering that skepticism.  They don't care about actual facts. You're talking about Hillary Clinton and  Obama all day long.  Just a couple months ago the Butch Morgan Jr., who is the committee chairman for raising ballots to get them on the 2008 nomination, he was thrown in prison.  He was found guilty of ballot fraud.  That wasn't even uttered in the lamestream media.  But yet we're just hearing more about, you know, 2016, whether you like it or not, here we come.

RUSH:  Let me give you a little hint, next time you find yourself talking to one of these skeptics and people who have adopted skepticism as a legitimate intellectual position to take.  One of the most effective ways of dealing, not just with people like that, but really anybody, is never answer their question.  Always respond with a question, which puts them on the defensive.  Even if the answer's a slam dunk, even if they ask you a question that's a hanging curveball that you could knock out of the park, return it with another question, questioning them, questioning their honesty, questioning their intelligence, because that's what they're doing with their skepticism.  They're really challenging you and your mind and your IQ, your knowledge, your belief system. 

It's amazing.  It's hard to do because most people think that the honorable thing to do, somebody asked you a question, answer it.  And it is, in most cases, but it's fun.  Just never answer question. Your answer is always another question back at them.  And therefore reverse the skepticism on 'em.  And you become skeptical of them.  You adopt what they think is the lofty perch, you take it from them, you become a skeptic right back at them. You're skeptical of them, just skeptical of their question.  Instead of deigning to answer. 

This is the mistake I made when I was first being interviewed. When this program was very young, and I'd be interviewed buy a journalist, I made the incorrect assumption that they really wanted to know the answer they were asking me.  They really wanted to know what I thought about something.  And I thought it was an opportunity to really have them get to know me.  That wasn't what it was about.  It was about them asking questions, trying to pigeon hole me so that they could structure me to their audience in ways they wanted. 

CALLER:  I totally agree.  Like you're saying, you know, if you were to engage, like I have, engage these people and argue with them 'cause I thought, "Well, maybe if I could just explain to them why they're wrong, then they'll understand."  But with every one of these people, it's the exact same thing:  You could waste your breath for hours arguing with them, with a skeptical question after question after question.  Only when you finally defeated every one of their arguments, they say, "So what?  I don't care."

RUSH:  Okay, now, but, see, if you had an audience, if you're in a classroom, that's okay, then you've got a larger audience that you're trying to persuade and, you know, not them.  They're just foils.  If you're in a one-on-one conversation with them, and there's not an audience, a classroom full of people or whatever, just never answer their question.  Throw it right back at 'em with another question, questioning them.  I guarantee you, it's fun to do, and it'll give you the upper hand.  It works every time it's tried.  But give up on the idea of persuading them.  Give up on the idea of them acknowledging to you that you persuaded them.  That isn't gonna happen.  That's not how it works. 

Even if you do change their mind, they're never gonna admit to you that you did. So don't ever make that the test of whether or not you're right or whether or not you're persuasive or whether or not you're winning an argument.  Most of these people are closed-minded, emotionally driven, non-thinking people.  You're not gonna get to 'em with logic.  You're not gonna get to them with fact.  They live in a world they have constructed so that they don't have to face the facts.  They can instead immerse themselves in this cocoon of emotion that makes 'em feel good.  They don't want the facts if they contradict what they believe. 

So you could have every fact, you could have God in the room with you, and it wouldn't matter, because they're not going to change their mind about things like this.  Not to you, anyway.  They're not gonna admit that you are smarter than they are. They're not gonna admit that they didn't know something you did.  They're always gonna try to make it look like you're an idiot, you're an extremist, you're a kook.  So throw that right back at 'em. Every time they pepper you with a question, don't answer it, just hit 'em with another question.  Reverse it. 

END TRANSCRIPT

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