Is It True “You Can’t Reason Someone Out of a Belief They Didn’t Reason Themselves Into?”

Here is a wonderful, personal reflection and argument on faith, cognition, and process by Eric Linus Kaplan who, besides being a writer for Big Bang Theory, is a wonderful philosophical wrier. I love this post’s intimate comical/philosophical moments.

Eric Linus Kaplan

Sometimes I’ve found myself frustrated arguing with people about deep important beliefs.  I’ll come up with what I think is a good argument and they will remain unmoved.  For example I once forwarded to a scientologist the devastating New Yorker piece which showed that a major part of the founding belief of the Church of Scientology — that the founder, L.Ron Hubbard had been injured in a naval battle and cured himself through mind science — was based on a forgery.  His response was “Meh.”

It occurred to me that I was violating the old maxim — you can’t reason someone out of a belief that they didn’t reason themselves into.  People embrace big views — religions and political ones — for reasons having to do primarily with emotion, aesthetic response, and group identification.  If they embrace views like that you are not going to get them out of them…

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