How do you argue with someone who knows everything?

Phantasm aged and unmasked with Amanda Waller.

Phantasm aged and unmasked with Amanda Waller. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I guess the real question should be why do you try to argue with someone who knows everything?  I’m sure you’ve met people like that…maybe you are a person like that…heck, maybe I’m a person like that.  I don’t think I am though.  I think I tend to let people believe whatever they want with no (or at least very little) interference from me.  Maybe that’s not how others view me though…food for thought, huh?

I know people who are of certain religious denominations who believe the existence of dinosaurs is some kind of hoax…because, according to the Bible, the world is only 6,000 years old (or however old, I’m not sure about that one because my mind kind of shuts off when you get into the literal interpretation of the Bible versus science).  I’m not going to argue this with anyone.  You can believe whatever you want. What someone else believes really has no effect on me.  I guess I fail to see that science and the Bible have to be mutually exclusive.  If you believe in an all-powerful, existing-forever God then why is it any more of a stretch to believe that He (or She) put dinosaurs on the earth millions of years ago?  After all, who’s to say what the measure of time is to a being who has been around forever?

Or politics?  Holy moly!  Honestly, is there even a reason to argue this with anyone?  Do you think you’ll ever change anyone’s mind?  Are they going to suddenly see the light and exclaim, “Now I get it!  Thank you for opening my eyes to how things really are!”?  Of course not.  I’m a liberal, no apologies, no explanations…that’s who I am.  I have friends who are apolitical and friends who are ultra-conservative.  That doesn’t make them wrong.  It just means we disagree about the direction we think our country should move forward in.  Do I think I’m right?  Of course.  Does that mean I can force others to abide by my beliefs and views?  Nope.  But it sure does seem like there are a lot of people (on both sides of the political spectrum) who think they should be allowed to force their opinions on everyone else.  Come on, people, live your life and allow others to do the same.

I have a brother who tends to be very forceful with his opinions.  (Think Rush Limbaugh) He implies that you’re stupid if you disagree with him.  Needless to say, his views don’t coincide with mine.  How do I deal with this?  Well, we don’t see each other very often, so that’s one thing.  I also no longer allow myself to be drawn into any kind of social, religious, or political discussions with him.  You know, if you continuously participate in something that ends up upsetting you, maybe you should take part of the blame.  I simply tell him “I won’t discuss this you.” Again, nothing either of us says will change the other’s mind.  Just let it go…

I guess part of learning to take  care of yourself is knowing when to refuse to do things that do you harm.  That’s kind of how I see getting involved in these types of arguments…they upset both parties (well, not always…I think some people delight in denigrating others), they serve no positive purpose (unless you’re both the type of person who enjoys vigorous, spirited debate) because you have to know nothing will be changed by having these types of discussions.

The best way to deal with someone who knows everything?  Let them revel in their knowledge…then you just keep on believing what you believe…live your life in adherence with your beliefs…live and let live!

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19 Responses

  1. Yes I know exactly what you mean well said. I think we all know people whose ego far outweighs any attempt at actual objectivity. I am reading a book about Richard Feynman’s memoirs, whenever he encountered what he called ‘pompous fools’ he would just politely recuse himself from the situation and not waste time trying to argue with them or worrying about how he left things incomplete or not. He just moved on. Really hits home for me right now.

    • Don’t you find it odd that these people try to force you to argue with them? Seriously, what do they get out of that? I’ll have to look for the book that you’re reading…sounds like something I would enjoy reading~ Thanks for stopping by!

  2. It’s called ‘surely you’re joking Mr. Feynman’. He was a physicist but its also a general look at his life and opinions. Thanks for writing.

  3. Thank you for your article and your pingback. I try to just ask the question, knowing full well what how the response will be (what you describe in your article), but still hoping for a constructive conversation that doesn’t always lead to agreement.

    • You’re quite welcome! I think, for me, it depends on the person I’m having the discussion with…I have some friends who have very religious, conservative beliefs, but we’re able to calmly discuss our different opinions…no one gets hurt, no one gets mad…then there are other people who demand I agree with them or be deemed stupid…ahh well, you can’t win them all…

  4. My view is that life is about learning – if you can’t learn from others, and develop what you know by listening and growing, you’re pretty much missing the point of being alive.

    I don’t get the whole “bible=truth” thing – science just makes way more sense. We have brains for a reason, and that reason isn’t to simply accept a particular version of a story from thousands of years ago from a culture long dead. But that doesn’t mean I can’t learn from people who hold those views – mainly what I learn is, don’t bother arguing or discussing it with them! LOL

    Seriously though, don’t let the idiots get you down. This world is waaaay too amazing and beautiful and precious for that, and so is your life. Cherish the people who make you happy and help you to grow, and leave the others behind.

  5. Is that picture of the aged Phantasm from a Justice League Unlimited episode?

  6. Great article. The hard part is when you live with someone like that. Which I don’t…anymore…

  7. I’m currently working at a political campaign, and while I do to extent think this is true and you have to choose your battles, I think it’s also clear that you need to be willing to actually have a discussion with people. Obviously, some people won’t change their minds (my brother is the same way as yours…), but to shut out the possibility of discussion and changing opinions is harmful in itself. Some things have to be changed, and talking about it will help make people aware of it — specifically if they didn’t have a stance on the topic previously.

    • You’re absolutely right…I believe discussing issues, really listening to the other person, being willing to see things in a new light…are all very important to our growth…then you have people like our brothers…haha!

  8. Good discussion. I consider myself to have conservative viewpoints, but don’t really like the labels. It seems so divisive, like drawing a line in the sand and daring someone to cross.

    • My problem isn’t with anyone who has beliefs that differ from mine, my problem is with people who insist that the rest of us have to believe the way they believe…and if we don’t, then we are stupid, unpatriotic, persecuting them because of their religion, and so on…I like talking about differing beliefs, I find it interesting to hear what others have to say…I just don’t want it crammed down my throat…and who knows, if we treat one another with dignity and respect…maybe, just maybe, we can make this world a better place…

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