Dealing with "we can't be sure the Sun will rise until it does" people

From pretty much the point it became clear Biden had beaten Trump, I’ve been frustrated with his supporters (including some acquaintances) who insist that we can’t be certain that the swing states will certify Biden as the winner of their slates, that the Electoral College will certify Biden, that Pence will certify the slates, and that Biden will be inaugurated, until it has all actually happened.

They seem to regard events that are >99% certain to happen as if they were mere 50-50 coin flips. Almost like saying, “We can’t be sure the Sun is going to rise tomorrow morning until or unless it does.” Any response I give to refute them is countered with, well it hasn’t happened yet so how can you be sure it won’t?

What is a suitable way to get through?

Well, you won’t get through to me, because I don’t agree.

The unthinkable didn’t happen, but how do you propose to prove that it couldn’t have?

(And I don’t believe anyone here argued that the risks were as high as 50-50. Exaggerating someone’s views is not a good way to get through to them.)

Well, I didn’t mean Dopers. I don’t know any Doper here who said that. But people on other message boards certainly acted that way. I even got suspended from such a board last month for pointing out that all the prophets who claimed it was revealed to them Trump would be reelected were wrong.

I guess you missed the Republicans trying, until the last moment, to take Electoral College votes from Biden and give them to Trump?

I get into a lot of such discussions. Sometimes I’m on one side and sometimes I’m on the other, in fact.

I make a distinction between “It is THIS, not THAT” and “in the overwhelming majority of cases, it is THIS, not THAT”.

And why that distinction is important.

And I make a similar distinction between “in the overwhelming majority of cases, it is THIS, not THAT” and “you can’t say it’s THIS because it could be THAT just as easily”. And why THAT distinction is also important.

It is sloppy thinking to say that either something is absolutely so or we have no freaking idea whether it is so or not. If you say it’s a bird, I’m going to assume it flies, even though some bird species don’t. If you say it’s a dog, I’ll assume it has fur despite the existence of hairless dogs. At the same time, when there’s a reason to acknowledge an ostrich, it doesn’t bend reality for me to discuss a flightless bird. A generalization is not an absolute truth but neither is it a lie (or, by default, a piece of oppressive propaganda).

People write with their right hands. I don’t, I’m left-handed. I’m a people. None of these statements contradict the others if we accept the first as a generalization.

Basically, what these people were doing was trying to split something simple into its individual components so that it feels long and unlikely.

It’s like if I were to say, “I am going to make a cup of tea now” and they would try to portray it as something I had only a low chance of succeeding in doing, because first you have to get the cup from the cabinet, then you have to get the kettle and fill it with water, then the stove has to work, then the water in the kettle must be heated, then I must find a tea bag, then I must pour the water into the cup, steep the bag in the water, and then finally drink it.

When splitting anything into a long train of components like that, any thing could be made to sound complex and unlikely.

No, it ain’t anything like this. Ever since Trump won in 2016, things that were unlikely to happen, happened. Saying that the swing states will certify Biden, that Pence will certify the states… That’s easy to say today, innit?

There were a LOT (and I mean, a LOT) of Dopers who were convinced that trump would win his legal challenges, the Supreme Court would hand the election to him on a silver platter, that Pence would appoint him king, etc., etc.

So, I don’t see why you would think that a died-in-the-wool trump supporter might not believe that, say, a riot would take over the Capitol and kill all the traitors and give him a 2nd term.

Could happen…

Well, that’s something that I never claimed? I’m sure those dipshits, after being puffed up by the so-called president, thought they could accomplish something. After all, Trump himself is on their side.

I wasn’t responding to you, just to the OP.

Oh. How about that.

Faith trumps reason, be it the present election unpleasantness or every religion since we evolved enough to invent gods. There are no easy cures for faith. Just be polite and kind where possible.

None of the worst case scenarios that people here on the SMDB were positive 100% “swear on their mothers life” were going to happen wound up happening. The one that people here seemed to be afraid of the most was MAGA’s shooting up election locations and killing thousands at minimum. I listened to an NPR podcast a month before the election where even an “expert” was positive we were going to see widespread violence on election day.

Since 2016 a lot of people are insecure. And that the correct thing happened depended in no small part on Republican state office holders obeying the law and following the Constitution. Don’t you think that some uncertainty is reasonable?
What probability did you assign to Trump inciting a riot, by the way?

(I thought this thread was going to be about extreme skepticism. I’m very grateful that it isn’t.)

Don’t try to rationally argue them out of their view.

Just invite them to make a wager.

“I’ll bet you a thousand dollars that Mike Pence signs off on the electoral votes. No, no hedging. If you think there’s a reasonable chance this happens, then bet me, and you’ll win a thousand dollars. I’ll even put it in writing, so you can be assured of collecting. Of course, I’ll also be assured of collecting if I win. If your argument is serious, you should be willing to wager. If you’re not willing to wager, then your argument is not serious, and you are cordially invited to shut the fuck up.”

Thankfully they were proved wrong, and the country has been free of political violence since November 2.

Theoretically they are right. Pretty much anything can be considered as only provisionally true, subject to constant confirmation and open for outright refutation.

Practically people who nitpick such issues almost always agree with everyone else (and live their lives as though the obvious “fact” in question was true or going to happen) or they find themselves impoverished, dead, or severely inconvenienced in some other way.

Judge what they really think by where they put their money.

I got into a pissing contest on Nextdoor with a trumper.
Around the end of November, after the majority of the lawsuits had been dismissed, he said something like “Doesn’t matter, he will still be President on 1/21.”
I said “Want to bet?”

Never saw another post from him.

That’s the disconnect right there. Half of the country is motivated by trust and the other half is motivated by faith. Trust is based on precedent (“The sun has always risen in the morning, so it will almost certainly rise tomorrow morning”) Faith is mobile and can be based on almost anything, most dangerously by other people trying to manipulate you for their own gain, but also by something as unreliable as hope ( “If I only believe hard enough Tinkerbell will live!”)

I like XKCD’s take on this