But do they?
Scott Adams disagrees.
And of course, after all this reading, I am not sure how much I have ever really persuaded anyone on much of anything.
Take a short example.
X makes driving incredibly more dangerous.
Therefore X should be illegal and punishable by possible jail time.
This works where X = Drunk Driving, right?
What about where X = Eating In The Car?
Did it work?
Did you change your mind about anything?
Yeah, me either.
But remember that while analogies might fail – association and repetition are persuasive.
If I say “YOUR NAME + is like a stupid idiot.” enough times, guess how people will start to see you?
And no – that person is not like Hitler – few people are like Hitler.
While analogies are useful and important for explaining new concepts, here’s the important point for our purposes: Analogies are terrible for persuasion. Unfortunately, most people believe that analogies are one of the best ways to persuade. That fact goes far in explaining why it seems that every debate on the Internet ends with a Hitler analogy. The phenomenon is so common it has its own name: Godwin’s law.