1 + 1 = 2, therefore you are an idiot

Facts are stubborn things, said John Adams.  But being stubborn does not always win you an argument.  We have all been in “discussions” in which we were correct and the simpleton on the other side of the table was not.  We laid out the facts as plainly as anyone could.  And they remained unconvinced.

Maybe they found comfort in character assassination, or muddied the waters with irrelevant information.  Maybe they just threw up their hands and left the room.  Maybe they even took a swing at you.  What they didn’t do, though, is change their mind.  Facts had nothing to do with their position, either before or after the discussion.

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Lifeboats

The RMS Titanic was the largest ocean liner of its day.  It was four times the size of the ships that set the standard when laws regarding lifeboats were written.  So the company provided the legally required number of lifeboats when it set off on its maiden voyage in April 1914.  There was room on the ship for more, and the company fully intended to supply the “extra” lifeboats when the law required it.  But on that fateful day, they knowingly (and legally) set off for New York with one-fourth the lifeboats they knew they needed.

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Parenting

When giving parenting advice, I have gotten reactions that fall almost completely into one of two categories.  One, the listeners will wholeheartedly agree with me; this indicates that my advice mimics what they are already doing or what they are determined to do when the situation calls for it.  Two, the listeners will ignore me; this means they disagree with me and have no intention of changing — and that they likely see me and my ilk as the cause of the downfall of society.  That’s fair, I guess, since it’s what I think of them.

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