Wednesday, July 20, 2011

How To Win Arguments. With Math.

Ever wondered why nights feel longer than days?

Yeah, I know...you have. That was a rhetorical question. Like-- 'Can pigs fly?' Or... 'Am I straight?'

Don't answer that.

So anyways, I set out to use my vast mathematical prowess (which happens to be more than simple stuff like 6+3=4) to find the answer. And after a long and calculated journey, I was able to obtain the following proof--
 
The Balance of Nature (a.k.a. The LHS = RHS Method)

Possible values for 'Day' = Yesterday, Today, Sunday, Monday...Saturday
(Total of 9)

Possible values for 'Night' = Tonight, Last night
(Total of 2. And no, midnight does not count because it comes somewhere in between)

But in a week, the days and nights are equal.
So 9 days = 2 nights.

Which, evidently, brings us to the obvious conclusion-- that days are shorter than nights.

(Corollary: Nights are longer than days, for which I leave out the proof. Oh, by the way, it requires advanced imaginary calculus and operations on partial numbers, so you wouldn't understand it anyway)

But there was some part of me that was not convinced. No, not that one. I mean, if the ratio of night:day = 2:9 - then why should we pay taxes?

Seriously, any idiot could figure out that 2/9 is...umm...twice of whatever 1/9 is. But that is irrelevant. What I'm trying to say is-- if the government does use our tax money wisely, shouldn't they provide us with a free bottle of orange soda every time we make a call?

Hell yeah, they should..and I'm gonna explain to you why. It's because, uh, because..

...

You probably find yourself stuck in a similar situation often, don't you? Of course you do. Don't be silly. *Points gun* Yeah, thought so. Notice what went wrong in that argument? Yes, the taxes. Ok, maybe the orange soda, too. But mainly, the taxes. I mean, seriously?

Hmm..to put this stuff into better perspective, maybe we need to take a look at some of the subtle things that actually went right up until that point. In case you noticed, it was the clever use of math. But you didn't, did you? *Pokes gun hard* Thought so. The idea is to sprinkle it around lightly, not throw everything you've got.

If you're not good at debate, you can use this handy guide to help you out. What's that you say? You're terrible at math? Brilliant! Then this guide is just for you. But if you're good at math already, don't worry. You'll soon unlearn everything you've learnt since school in about 10 minutes. Actually, half of that. That's right, in 6 minutes. Let's get started.

Transitions (a.k.a. A>B and C>B, so A=C, right?)

Sometimes, the topic of discussion is so vague, that you can slightly change the subject without anyone realising what you're talking about. Works well when the target does not know much about the subject. Works even better when even you don't--

Me : "One of the most sublime works in literature, Don Quixote is a must-read"

X  : "Er, it's not pronounced 'Quick-sote'. It's pronounced 'Kee-ho-te'"

Me : "Dude, it doesn't matter. I typed it"

X  : "Oh, yeah. Sorry, my bad"

I don't know what I'm getting at here. But it's something cool.

The Discrete Maths Method (a.k.a 1+1=2, so Pizza must be from Thailand)

I really don't have much more to say about this right now.

The what-did-you-just-say method (a.k.a. e=mc^2*pi^3/1.000123y, depending on if x)
 
There are multiple ways to pull this one off. If you're one of those people who can remember long-ish words and spew them out at will, without consideration for what they mean, then this is for you--

Me :  "Even though this technology has harmful side effects, we have developed ways to reduce its impact by 9.3%"

X  : "So, that's like saying sorry after killing somebody"

Me : "Not at all. In fact, if you consider the fact that most cellular degeneration occurs at the lateral genome position, you'll realise that this is the inter-planar receptor facility provided for in the most clandestine of all olfactory inhibitions. 
 
So that's like saving a life and then saying thank you"

X  : "Oh, yeah. I didn't think of it that way"

You see, people have ego problems. They'd rather agree than admit that they didn't understand. But that didn't really sound too convincing. Plus, most people are put off by large clumps of text. So here's a better, more effective method-- use clich├ęs. Loads and loads of them. Order/relevance do not matter at all--

X  : "I think my girlfriend is preventing me from concentrating on work"

Me : "Work smarter, not harder. Loneliness didn't a better writer make"
 
X  : "But then it will look like I'm slacking off"

Me : "Many a brave soul hath fought the same battle, and lost. You wouldn't want to be the boy who cried wolf, would you?"
 
X  : "Oh, no no. Of course not. I don't know what I was thinking"

Side Switches (a.k.a  x>y, but p looks cute, so y>x)

Ok, so this one requires a bit of practice. The idea is to put forth your ideas in pairs. This way, if one of them turns out to be wrong, you can either try to hold on to the other, or, better still, turn the debate on its head, and quickly switch over to the winning side. Like so--

Me : "Hmm, so I heard that they're planning to split us up into clubs based on our interests. There's about fifty to choose from. I'm torn between Cookie Monsters and the Purple Puppies"

X : "Why the hell would you want to go into any of those groups? Do you really wanna be a part of something like Cookie Monsters?"

Me : "Umm, no..but do you really wanna be a part of Purple Puppies? That's so retarded"
 
X  : "Jeez, hell no. Of course not. Cookie Monsters it is, bro"

You could also try a more direct approach-- by attacking a modified version of your opponent's argument. As long as it bears even the slightest of resemblance to the original, your work is done. Consider--

X : "There's this new ice-cream place across the block, you should really try their butterscotch flavour"
 
Me : "Do you know that some ice-creams contain egg? Must be really satisfying for you to feast upon helpless little unborn kids, huh? You monster!"
 
X : "Omg, I'm so sorry. I vow never to eat ice-cream again" (*shudders/sobs*)
 
Me : *Ting* "Ah, looks like my omelette is ready in the oven"

If that doesn't work out, there's another tool you can use -- Guns Pathos. Attempting to persuade through the power of emotion. If done correctly, you can play with the target's emotions at will. But be warned-- this is actually quite deceptive. You may be tempted to use it every single time, but don't fall into that trap. People can have feelings, just like you. Emotions are not something meant to be played with. How would you like it if someone did that to you?

Nah, I'm just bullshitting. You can use it whenever you please. Almost gotcha, though, didn't I? Haha. Sucker. 
 
Now share this with a dozen people in the next hour, or you will die. That's right, 15 different people.
 
You don't believe that? Well, let's just say that I have a gun. And you don't. Do the math.