Help me with a little experiment

http://dilbertblog.typepad.com/the_dilbert_blog/

Could everybody here please write a few paragraphs explaining why government is bad, gun ownership is good, socialism is stupid, and third-world immigration needs to stop immediately? You can make it as much a parody of viewpoints you dislike as you please. I’ll check back in three months to see if you did it right.

Oh, also whatever the subject you choose, please refrain from arguing the contrary (ie “sane”) position for the next three months. Wouldn’t want to disrupt Science, would we?

If you were aiming for funny, you missed.

Yes, because when I wrote dialogue for my AD&D campaigns, once I committed it to paper, three months later I really DID believe I was a Paladin of the Order of Talaxia!

It’s his thing, kind of like Rimbo and terrible webcomics.

I’d like to see the study that Scott Adams misunderstood–or rather, the study that some journalists misunderstood, who he misunderstood in turn. There’s no telling how deep the chain goes.

Uh, you have to do this for debates as well, and I did it plenty in high school. I don’t remember any view I didn’t support changing after researching and writing about it for a debate topic.

You can’t blame rollory, he cut-n-pasted that bit, so now he has to believe it…

I suppose the sample included no attorneys.

I have a 12 inch penis and do porn for a living.

Lets revisit that in 2 months and see if it is true!

Yeah, but you probably had to write cases for both sides to do high school debate stuff, right?

I’m sure Adams has messed up the details, but the underlying point seems accurate: Enough people hold enough ill-formed views that asking them to try their best to state the views of the other side can change enough minds to be statistically noticeable. Either people will come up with good arguments, or they’ll start paying more attention to the arguments of “the opposition,” thinking “yeah, I wish I’d thought to make that point!”

That said, it takes a particularly cynical dude to think that that works on the majority of people. But Adams has always struck me as pretty cynical about the capacities of “average people,” so I guess this shouldn’t come as a shock.

Lamarckian/Lysenkoist fallacy. Let’s revisit that in 2 months and see if you still believe it is true.

Then let’s ask your girlfriend or wife.

Sounds like a deal Henry.

Adams is misinterpreting the study, I’m sure.

I stopped reading his blog and his comic a few years back when he took an “unbiased” look at creation science and concluded “hmmm, these guys may be on to something…”

I mean, I like it when people keep an open mind, but not so open that their brains fall out.

Unless there’s been some changes in the cognitive dissonance literature, Adams is likely misinterpreting the study. He’s correct that people show this effect, but only for topics for which they have no strong preexisting opinion.

So if you didn’t have a strong opinion on gun control, writing a paragraph or two adopting a pro or con position makes one more likely to hold that position a few months down the road. If you already felt strongly about the issue, writing the paragraph will make you more certain of your prior belief, regardless of which position you write about. If this seems strange, most studies have found when people write a paragraph that contradicts a strongly held belief, they internally challenge and find flaws with whatever arguments they are writing about, allowing them to justify their original belief.

Hey! Dilbert is one of those terrible webcomics!

Game company owner buying drinks for devs at local pub, one dev ordered a meal on the tab, but then made sure to pay for it. He explained to the owner’s girlfriend without any affect or satire, “I’m a paladin in game, I’m a paladin in real life.”

In response to multiple simultaneous spit takes, he only said, “What?”

This earned him the nickname “Pally Madpants.”