How to tell you’ve won an argument

Scott Adams has a list of “tells” that show when you’ve won an argument with a true believer.

I also learned three new things that I’m gonna share with you on persuasion. If you can get the person you’re debating with online or somewhere else to say one of these three things it means you won the debate…
…When the other person says “blah blah blah full-stop” or “blah blah blah period” or “blah blah blah end of story” — if you hear any of those things “full stop”, “period”, “end of story”, it means you already won the debate because those are those are direct signals that somebody doesn’t want to hear any of the information…
If you were following me yesterday a few hundred of you were watching me interact with these people and slap them down you saw a lot of them would change the topic. So I would I would show conclusively that the President did not call the racists fine people because that’s the transcript. But they would not say “oh man I was wrong all along”.
Never. They changed the subject to “other people were there and they were bad. It’s just a different topic. So I used to chase them down the funnel and argue that but now I just declare victory and I just say I accept your surrender You also saw the word salad reply where somebody is their belief is debunked they get into cognitive dissonance and instead of just saying “oh yeah okay
right”, they start spewing words and sentences that almost sort of look like they could make sense but they don’t and that’s when you know you’ve won. They’ve just they’ve gone into the word salad category, And then the other thing is if they resort to anything that’s magic there and in this case the magic is the secret racist dog whistle. So a lot of people once they had had their world debunked on this topic don’t say “yeah sure yeah maybe he maybe he technically said the right thing but even though he technically said the right thing we’re pretty sure that he was sending a clear racist dog whistle”, When you hear that you can you can kind of declare a victory.

Real Coffee with Scott Adams, Ep. 593 (from auto-transcript, start at 11:13)

So the tells are:

  • Full stop — Period. End of story. Full stop. The science is settled. Mic drop.
  • Change of subject. Includes red herring arguments.
  • Word salad.
  • Invoking secret magical conspiracy theories. “Dog whistles”, “What they really mean”.