What have you changed your mind on by visiting these message boards?

Arguments and debates on SDMBs have definitely altered my opinions on certain things I thought I had a grasp on.

Most recently feminism. I guess I’m a full-blown feminist now.

What, if anything, have you changed your mind about by visiting these message boards?


When I learned to fly, and going back to childhood (yes, I did – both parents were pilots) it was all about Bernoulli. After reading discussions here, I now know that it’s a combination of Newton, Bernoulli, and the Magnus Effect.

Also, the (in)famous ‘plane on a treadmill’. As much as I thought it through, I didn’t think it through enough. I missed the obvious. I was wrong, and now I know better.

The SDMB changed my mind on one particular topic, then changed it back again straight away.

I was literally just about to concede that ‘da Vinci’ was not really in any rigorously acceptable sense the surname of the famous Leonardo, whenSimplicio dug up the da Vinci family tax records, which quite clearly established that it really was his surname.
The tgread was here: http://boards.straightdope.com/sdmb/showthread.php?t=723898&highlight=davinci

That’s not by any means the only thing the SDMB changed my opinion on though.

da Vinci was one.

Otherwise, I think the biggest thing the Dope has convinced me of is that there are elements of humanity worth saving. Reading the comments sections on Youtube and various other sites makes me doubt sometimes. But then I come here, and things are semi-orderly, semi-peaceful and seldom rise to the level of invective elsewhere (except in hot dog and chili threads, of course.)

That there is any hope for humanity.

Depending on the kindness of strangers.

I think this message board was the first one that challenged my belief that the “Nice Guy” phenomenon was a way to live one’s life.

Dinner. I was going with Sloppy Joe’s, but I’m making Tamale Pie tonight!

Well, I never worried about goats and squids before I came here…:eek:

Oh c’mon, nothing wrong with some calamari sandwich at mid-morning and a shared roast kid (the goaty kind, not the diapers kind) for lunch.

I learned what the word “gender” means when applied to humans (which knowledge helps explain the politics behind whether to use its equivalent that way in Spanish). I learned a lot of stuff about sexuality, and some of what I learned made me realize that some things I’d always heard as true were actually not so (the example that came up to mind reading the title was that “gay dudes like it up the ass” - turns out that, according to these boards, not only do quite a few gay dudes not like anal sex in either role, but many are squicked by it), and it also helped me see where some prejudices and “yeecks” of other people came from, and combat them. It also explained (not justified, just explained) that Clinton saying he didn’t have sex with Lewinsky and that chick from my American university who believed bjs “don’t count” weren’t isolates, there really are Americans who think sex with adjectives isn’t.

Why do I still talk to my mother, who deserves that title about as much as I deserve an Oscar? Because what I learned in these boards helped me change her mind on such things as homosexuality, SSM, or what people from this or that religion believe. In turn, she has changed the minds of many of her own acquaintances. So, when this board fights my ignorance one post at a time, it sometimes ends up fighting the ignorance and bigotry of a surprising amount of people.

Even though I am a law abiding citizen, numerous threads here have convinced me to alter the way I would interact with law enforcement.

The death penalty. Innocent people have been convicted, and it might happen to me.

That even though you almost violently disagree with somebody you can find merit in their suggestions.

Specifically I can get into a knockdown dragged out fight with somebody in the pit and then later have a rational informative discussion with them in GQ.

You can learn to differentiate between people who should be chastised and people who’s ideas should be chastised.

Gay marriage. Even though I tried to fight off my Catholic upbringing and thought I was in favor of gay rights, gay marriage just struck me as unnecessary grandstanding, especially with “civil unions” slowly working their way through the legal system. Lots of posts here convinced me that (a) rights are rights, and having separate mechanisms to provide them is stupid and practically begs for abuse, and (b) who the fuck am I to judge anyway?

Echoing some posts here…

Death penalty. I used to be very pro-penalty, but the wealth of statistical, logical, and ethical analyses on these boards have flipped me. I am still of the mindset that come sociopaths “just need to be killed”, but just don’t think that the state is capable of owning this role.

Bernoulli Principle. Like many others, I was fed this as gospel in my education, even through college physics in the '90s. As an aside, I’m a bit surprised that even while priding myself on my objectivity and openness to new ideas, lifelong conditioning is damn hard to shake.

Depression. I used to be one of those “just snap out of it” and “you’re just looking for pity” and “it’s your own fault” people. It’s taken a lot of valuable stories here, and outside the boards, to shake me of those preconceptions.

Tolerance of ‘woo’ and ‘spiritualism’ as just being harmless quirkiness. I now see that behind every seemingly fluffy smiley ‘woo’ product, there is a money-seeking huckster exploiting and preying on the good natures of the innocently open-minded. My mothers $199.99 “healing-energy salt pyramid” was the final straw. Today, I just saw a co-engineer wearing a magnet bracelet who should know better and will be ineffectually swayed by any argument to the contrary rage table-flip

It’s awesome you all had the ability to change your opinions. We act as if changing are mind about something is a bad thing. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with being “Flip-flopper”. We are always growing and learning.

Well said. There’s a smug story we’ve all heard about the prophet who’s standing in a city, been trying to convert people for years, realizing he never will. Somebody asks him why he continues, and he answers he’s not going to let those heathens change him. That’s the most dangerous story with a fucked-backward moral ever. He’s proud of not doing what he’s asking everybody else to do: change.

Letting people change you, and letting life change you, is what it’s all about.

Probably the biggest one for me is gun control in the United States. I used to tow the liberal line on it, but it’s intellectually dishonest to say the second amendment says anything but everybody can have guns. Maybe the founders fucked up when they passed that one, but it’s what the thing says.

Hooray! (I am very invested in that one, for whatever reason)

I did not really understand the blockheaded stubbornness of so many people… who cannot be argued out of an idea no matter how many people argue against them and no matter how good the arguments are.

Yes, I knew such people existed, but I thought they were either paid political operatives or members of my own family. :rolleyes:

As far as the various topics that get discussed here, I haven’t changed my opinions much at all. This is mostly because I don’t have strongly held opinions about things of which I know little, and most of the opinions I do have are contingent. Throw in a fair amount of luck that I was educated well enough to have pretty defensible opinions to begin with, and I have had most of my opinions (where I had any) strengthened or expanded upon rather than overturned.

Where I have changed my mind, however, is how capable I am of putting forth an argument. Even the lesser-skilled of the GD denizens are far better than I at googling up or remembering facts, data, and studies that support their opinions, and the better-skilled denizens are more adept when it comes to applying logic and deconstructing an opponent’s argument. They are also better at the cheap rhetorical shit that I have no aptitude for whatsoever, but I find easy enough to disregard in most instances. Anyway, I used to have more confidence in my ability to put forth and support an opinion than I have now.

It’s so hard to say. I was twenty years old when I registered with the SD. Now I am thirty-four. That’s a lot of life evolution, and the Dope has been in the background of all of it.

Probably I have just learned a lot about effective communication. When to throw something into the conversation, when there’s no point, when I don’t want to, and the fact that the more facets there are in your post, the less likely people will absorb any of them.