Eliezer S. Yudkowsky [email@example.com] wrote:
>I'm curious. Have you ever once converted an anti-gun person to
Yes. I've had people mail me after discussions on mailing lists to say that they've looked up the facts and studies I've pointed out and that's changed their opinion on the issue. I can't think of any occasion when one of the people participating in such a thread has changed their mind, but several lurkers have. Nor can I think of an occasion when someone's admitted to starting out pro-gun and being convinced by the anti-gun arguments.
The big problem with this idea that the pro-gun folks on the list should be nice, reasonable people and refuse to respond to irrational, unreasonable anti-gun posts is that when people who've never seen the pro-gun arguments continue to not see them because us nice, reasonable people refuse to point them out, they continue to believe the anti-gun arguments; you don't convince people by keeping your mouth shut. The correct response by those who don't like gun debates is for them to jump on the anti-gun posters as soon as they try to start one, not to complain about us when we respond; I can't think of any occasion when a pro-gun poster has started one of these debates.