Today’s Daily Read is actually a video. I ran across it at random on my Facebook feed from the page for the Skeptic’s Guide to the Universe (which is a great page to follow, by the way. I also highly recommend their regular website and weekly podcast). The video, which comes from Bite Size Psych’s YouTube channel, explains a few things I’ve already written about. In particular, it shows in a quick 3 minutes and 35 seconds why arguments about issues like vaccination and global warming are usually doomed to not only fail, but strengthen people’s belief in their own argument. It’s the best, most succinct explainer of the backfire effect that I’ve seen and for that reason alone it’s worth watching (I also wrote about the backfire effect here and here). But I also appreciate it for what it recommends when talking to people whose beliefs differ from your own: actual dialogue and critical thinking. It turns out that when you engage people and ask them to explain their side in detail, not only do you learn more about what they believe, you both may be more likely to realize that you have a lot to learn about what you think you know. This is exactly what I try to do with people who disagree with me online. I’ve had friends on FB stop following my page because they get so angry at other people’s comments, but this is why I do it! Anger makes things worse; conversation and engagement can make things better. Please take just a few minutes to watch the video.