Why no one wants to have discussions with extremists

Why is it that some people with fringe opinions aren’t “allowed in” on the conversation of their topic?

This could be creationists wanting to discuss the origin of the universe, or mankind, with a scientist, or alt-righters wanting to discuss immigration and integration policy with politicians from more established political parties.

One other example is the climate change denier wanting to discuss climate change with a climate scientist.

This, however, happens, and it is the key to understanding why no other scientist or politician wants to make the same mistake.

You’ve probably seen the debate? One scientist that claims climate change is not caused by humans and another scientist claiming the opposite (apparently it’s usually Bill Nye…) So, you sit down in front of the TV, keen on figuring out who of these two representatives of this deep division in the scientific community will have the best arguments and may be able to convince you to believe in their side of the coin.


The reality is rather what John Oliver did on his “Last Week Tonight” show (hopefully you can see that above…)

For every one scientist that doesn’t think climate change was caused by mankind, there should be about 10-30 scientists believing it was (depending on what sources you use).

The scientific society is not divided in two on this question, and most of the people against human-made climate change are either paid off, blind or lousy scientists. It’s also possible their sister is married to someone that owns an oil company…

Having the debate at all indicates there’s something to debate.

There’s a reason we never saw a debate between Stephen Hawking and some creationist about whether God created the universe or not. Hawking knew, and every other scientist knows that even having that debate, having that “Stephen Hawking vs Some Creationist Cucko” poster on campus would give the whole topic a weight it doesn’t deserve.

It would suggest this is an issue scientist are pondering, researching and trying to solve.

It’s not.

The same can be said about politicians not wanting to discuss if humans should be divided into groups, and how these different groups should be valued against one-another. Or whether our society should respect human rights or not.

Having that discussion would suggest every politician “has a proposal on his desk” (Achim Gercke, 1933) with an answer to that specific “question.”

They’re not.

I think everybody should be allowed to not have discussions about things they don’t find disputable.

They could be wrong, but when everybody really means everybody and not just everybody I know, it’s pretty much why extremists are not allowed to discuss at the grown-ups table…

But I am also very aware that the total lack of discussion or counter-arguments have allowed some right-wing extremist movements both in the US and Europe to gain votes just because they are the poor underdog not being let in on the discussion.

This allows them to spread conspiracy theories about who is trying to stop them, and how evil the establishment is. And being drama-starved, some people eat that shit up like ice cream on a Sunday…

Generally speaking, this is a problem humanity has faced many times and failed rather spectacularly at as well. One would think after the second world war and the rise of Nazism in Europe we would have learned… but I guess those who did learn from that are now in their graves (turning)… or in an elder care home, clueless… or helplessly wondering what the hell the grandkids are doing…

So, the reason that poor alt-right guy with all those witty comments on politics and especially politicians isn’t usually taken seriously is because his (or her) opinions on things like ethnicity, history or human rights is of the we’ve-been-visited-by-UFOs variety (oh, and that’s another group of people you’ll very seldom see in a discussion with an astronomer, for instance).

It’s not because of a conspiracy.

It’s because sane people realize there isn’t enough soap in the world to get clean after one has taken a dive into that shit pool.

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