When Facts Backfire

magazine cover

In the January issue of Scientific American, Michael Shermer, publisher of Skeptic magazine, wrote “When Facts Backfire.”
The article discusses the power of belief over evidence and methods to use when talking to someone taken in by false information. Shermer suggests these six approaches:

  1. Keep emotions tucked away.
  2. Discuss, don’t pounce.
  3. Try to restate what the other’s position.
  4. Show respect.
  5. Acknowledge that you understand why someone would think that.
  6. Assure the listener that changing facts does not necessarily changing their worldview. When Facts Backfire



Published by Nancy Burkhalter

I am in love with words. Trained as a linguist, journalist and researcher, I write, teach writing, and research everything about writing, especially how writing aids critical thinking. I've taught around the world, including three years in Kazakhstan, and a year each in Russia, Saudi Arabia, and Germany.

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