Link: “You’re Not Being Reasonable”

Thanks to David Brin, I’ve dis­cov­ered a blog­ger, Michael Dob­son, who has writ­ten, among other things, a four­teen-part se­ries on cog­ni­tive bi­ases. But that’s not what I’m link­ing to to­day.

This is what I’m link­ing to:

You’re Not Be­ing Reasonable

I’m em­bar­rassed to ad­mit that I’ve been get­ting my­self into more on­line ar­gu­ments about poli­tics and re­li­gion lately, and I’m not happy with ei­ther my own be­hav­ior or oth­ers. All the cog­ni­tive bi­ases are on dis­play, and hardly any­one ac­tu­ally speaks to the other side. Un­rea­son­able­ness is ram­pant.

The prob­lem is that what’s rea­son­able tends to be sub­jec­tive. Ob­vi­ously, I’m go­ing to be bi­ased to­ward think­ing peo­ple who agree with me are more rea­son­able than those lunkheads who don’t. But that doesn’t mean there aren’t ob­jec­tive stan­dards for be­ing rea­son­able.


I learned some of the fol­low­ing through ob­ser­va­tion, and most of it through the con­trary ex­pe­rience of do­ing it wrong. You’ve heard some of the ad­vice el­se­where, but a re­minder ev­ery once in a while comes in handy.

Yes, much of it is pretty ba­sic stuff, but as he says, a re­minder ev­ery once in a while comes in handy, and this is as good a sum­mary of the rules for hav­ing a rea­son­able dis­cus­sion as I’ve seen any­where.

And the rest of the blog seems pretty good, too. (Did I men­tion the four­teen-part se­ries on cog­ni­tive bi­ases?)