Have you ever changed your opinion with additional information?

Have you ever had a strongly held opinion of something, and then completely changed your mind once you had further information? The topic came to mind yesterday when I heard a newscaster talking about the new Elvis and Lisa Marie Presley video duet of “In The Ghetto”. He said he disliked it a lot when he first saw it, because he thought it was creepy. But then after learning that all the proceeds go to a New Orleans recovery project, he’s decided he really likes the video.

There is a house in my neighborhood that got a new coat of paint a few years back. I’ll try to find the link to the picture and post it later. But suffice to say that it is bright pink, with triangles and dots of purple and yellow and resembles a circus-themed birthday cake. I hated it, hated it, hated it. Then a few months after it was painted, our local newspaper ran a story about the paint job. It seems the owner allowed the renters to paint it, and they had a friend of theirs visiting from Romania (or somewhere like that) design it for them. He is apparently a well-known artist there, and this style of home decoration is common there. I don’t remember the exact details of the story, but the couple talked about the people who would stop by and leave them notes, telling them how pretty the house is, and how nice everyone has been to them here. The story convinced me to give the house another chance, and now I’m really fond of it, and kind of depressed that the paint is starting to fade and peel…the original painters have moved on, so it’s doubtful it will get the same treatment again. The house is visible from the highway, and it always makes me smile when I see it.

So what did you have strong feelings about, and what added information helped you to change your opinion?

Well, on a far less cheerful note, if you had asked me what the statistical likelihood of a woman making a false accusation of rape was, I would have said something less than 5%. It was completely incomprehensible to me that a woman would make an unfounded charge of rape against a man. Confusion over consent because both parties had been drinking, sure. But to out and out lie about something as traumatic as sexual assault? No way.

This post in a thread about universally frightening experiences for men proved me wrong. In the cited study, nearly half of all the rape allegations made ended with the accuser saying she’d made the charge because she was angry with her boyfriend or had sex that they regretted or needed a way to explain an unplanned pregnancy.

Nearly half.


I really wish I’d been right, if only because it would mean there’d be a lot fewer innocent men whose lives had been wrecked by false allegations.

It is said that people tend to become more conservative as they age, presumably as idealism fades with a greater understanding of how daunting and perhaps inevitable many social ills are.

I have completely changed my mind about the draft, but not so much because of additional facts as additional arguments. As an fervent peacenik I used to be completely opposed to it, but had many discussions with a friend who pointed out that an all-volunteer army allows the elite to avoid military service, and it promotes a standing army, which may not be a good thing. And if politicians knew there was no possibility at all that their own children would escape duty in time of war, they might think harder before getting us into conflict. For reasons such as these, eventually I concluded that a draft, for both males and females, was more consistent with my own values of equality and peace. (I’d like to see universal public service, though, not required military service.)

Well, I do this rather frequently, as I figure that’s more or less the reasonable thing to do, but the first thing that leapt to my mind was Recovered Memory Syndrome. I used to believe this existed and its skeptics and debunkers were just part of the great Incest Conspiracy. Then I did some reading. I pretty much believe Recovered Memory Syndrome is a bunch of B.S., or at least extremely way overblown and much more rare than the majority of its supporters would like to believe. Same with Dissociative Identity Disorder. The more reading/research I do, the less plausible this stuff seems overall.*

*Sorry if this offends some people. It’s just like, my opinion, man. :wink:

ETA: Oh, that’s not to say RMS hasn’t been used by guilty defendants as baseless attacks against their victims. It’s easy to cry, ‘‘Oh, her therapist implanted that memory!’’ when she may very well have had that memory all along.

The death penalty.

I used to be in favor of it, but when DNA tests began to show just how many people on death row had been wrongfully convicted, I changed my mind in a hurry. I’m still not opposed to the idea of executing a murderer, it’s just that I no longer trust a jury to tell us who the murderer may be. I oppose the death penalty for that reason.

Of course, what else do you do when you learn more stuff? Changing one’s mind is a wonderful thing.

As I’ve tried to make clear in Great Debates, I’ve changed my mind about the Kennedy assassination. I’ve long been fascinated by the event, and that fascination was probably initiated by the JFK movie (FWIW, I was born 15 years after JFK’s death, so I had no personal association with the murder).

Naturally, when your first comprehensive exposure to November 22, 1963 is Oliver Stone’s movie, you immediately begin to think of all of the conspiracy theories that exist as legitimate. I eagerly read conspiracy books, and even wrote essays in high school about all of the “unexplained” anomalies surrounding the murder.

My interest, however, led me to uncover credible sources which did offer sensible explanations for all of the “mysteries”. Eventually, my interest in JFK’s death exposed me to the totality of the evidence, and I’ve now concluded that Lee Harvey Oswald did, in fact, kill JFK, and that there is no credible evidence that he was part of a conspiracy.

Similarly, my love of American history has led me in an opposite direction; that is, my interest in the inner workings of government has exposed me to many, many nefarious acts of the United States, such that I am far removed from the wide-eyed 10 year old who used to revel in learning about the glorious righteousness of my homeland.

IMHO, a person who’s never never changed their mind with additional information has led a sheltered life, indeed. I forget who said it, but I once read that “a man who thinks the same things at 30 as he did at 20 has wasted 10 years of his life.”

Exactly. I thought that was the whole point of scientific inquiry in the first place. A constantly tested, evolving knowledge base.

I used to really dislike abstract art. I thought it was boring and useless and that an artist was only talented if he or she could produce highly realistic images. After a lot more exposure to and education about it (including going to art school) I now actually prefer art that doesn’t look realistic.

And I am dying to see a picture of the painted house in the OP.

Sure. Some times my initial impression of someone is that they’re kinda a dickhead. Most times they will supply additional information sufficient to erase all doubt. :smiley:

To the question, absolutely. Case in point: my view of Kosovo was based on poorly documented information on demographics. While transitions did ocur due to political actions it was not in the percentages I was led to believe.

I have found that a good debate involving documented information will alter both parties views. Rarely is anything black or white. I suspect that topics such as human-induced global warming will become less political and more productive as additional information becomes available. When politics are stripped away most people are on the same page.


Historically, the draft gave the elite just as much chance to avoid service. Abuse of the system was rampant during the Vietnam era. See “Chance & Circumstance” by Baskir and Strauss.

I’ll have to add a definite “YES” to this question.
In fact, my user name was chosen in part to describe my admiration for those who do change their position when additional evidence or persuasive argument is presented to them.

The death penalty is also an instance of this for me, although that is only one of many.

I used to be a creationist.

Yes, definitely have had changing-of-the-mind, both in personal dealings with people and in doing research. Sad when it happens in the former example (usually for the worse), but exciting and intriguing when it happens in the latter.

I could have written this post word for word. Seriously. To the letter. It’s the first thing that came to mind when I read the OP.

Yes. I changed my mind on Christianity. I found a church which is actually more liberal than I am.

Originally posted by Mach Tuck:

I know – and I was kind of afraid that, by going into some detail, I would encourage people to take issue with the specifics. There is definitely more to the issue than I described in my post, but it was the best summary I could give without rambling on.

More on topic, there is a story told about Gandhi – I don’t have the exact cite in front of me. But it goes roughly like this: a frustrated journalist/friend/someone once said to Gandhi in exasperation “But Mahatma, what you just said is the opposite of what you said three weeks ago!”

Gandhi nodded serenely and said “Of course. During the intervening time, I learned something. I know more now than I did three weeks ago.”

Definitely I have. When I was young, I believed that a particular politcal party was the greater champion of the values I held. In college, as I became involved in that party and groups that were affiliated with it, I realized that its philosophies were actually not like mine, and I switched to the other party.

Up to this moment, I would have said “no”.

Having read and been enlightened your brilliant OP, now I can say “yes”. :smiley: