Conservative Review’s TV and radio host Steven Crowder has garnered quite a bit of attention with his “change my mind” segments which feature him setting up a table and cameras on a college campus or public street and asking students or passersby to engage him in polite debate on a variety of hot issues.
Crowder recently filmed a segment on the campus of Texas Christian University which declared that the often talked about but seldom defined “rape culture” discussed in academia and the media — generally understood to mean a society in which rape is encouraged, condoned or tolerated — was in actuality just a myth, and challenged students to present evidence and facts that would convince him otherwise.
Almost from the start, Crowder was confronted by a female student who claimed to be a victim of rape and vehemently disagreed with his assertion about rape culture — she in fact called him an “idiot a–hole” — who nevertheless agreed to sit down for a conversation after he invited her to make her case to him.
Crowder played dumb at first — particularly with regard to reported crime statistics and the allegations against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh — and allowed her to make her points, which she did in a combative and emotional manner based almost exclusively on anecdotal evidence.
She argued that crime statistics were faulty and empirical data was worthless, while snarkily insulting Crowder on multiple occasions. Whenever he would counter something asserted by her with evidence-based facts, she would become even louder, more emotional and more insulting, even yelling at one point, “Empirical data is bulls—!”
After a heated discussion of the Kavanaugh allegations, Crowder let it be known that he wasn’t as ignorant of basic facts and current events as initially insinuated. He then proceeded to rattle off a number of FBI crime statistics about rape and began to question her on the total dearth of actual corroborated evidence against Kavanaugh, prior to dropping a bombshell that utterly rocked her worldview and sent her flying off the emotional edge.
“I was hoping for you to sit down, and you see now when you go back, every single thing I said I didn’t know, because I wanted you to explain to me — you’ve explained nothing, you’ve presented no evidence or data,” said Crowder.
“The only time you addressed evidence or data is saying that its ‘bulls—,’ to use your words, and it doesn’t matter. The amount of rapes matter, the conviction rates matter, what we do with rapists matters, and when you come out and say we live in a rape culture and you compare Dr. Christine Ford’s allegations — we have no idea whether they are true or not — zero evidence from 35 years ago, you can’t run an investigation with who, what, when, where, why, and we have none of that,” he continued in rapid-fire fashion.
“To then use that as a springboard to say we live in a rape culture, I think is intellectually disingenuous, and I think it does a great disservice to people who’ve actually been victims of a horrible crime,” Crowder added.
Momentarily stunned by what had just been said to her, the woman’s smirk suddenly disappeared as everything set in, causing her to immediately become defensive and increasingly emotional.
It wasn’t long before she had reduced herself to tears and screams of outrage that Crowder had the “audacity” to come on her campus and challenge her worldview and firmly held belief in the existence of rape culture.
Campus police officers, who’d been monitoring the situation from a distance, soon approached and attempted to calm her down, to no avail. The woman ultimately got up and left, but not before issuing a loud and expletive-laden rant against Crowder and his damned FBI statistics that she refused to believe were accurate.
This woman’s reaction is what is commonly referred to as cognitive dissonance, where when people are confronted with evidence and facts that run counter to their preconceived notions and worldview, they either adjust their views to incorporate the new information or further entrench themselves in their previous outlook and reject anything that goes against it.
This woman could have (and should have) accepted the facts as laid out by Crowder — a humbling experience, no doubt, as nobody wants to be proven wrong — and gone about her day in a more balanced and psychologically healthy manner. Instead, she rejected everything he had said, falling back on the comfort of her preconceived notions that she nevertheless will now subconsciously question, causing her even more stress and psychological trauma going forward.
Unfortunately for her, what could have been a valuable learning experience that would broaden her views and compel her to critically challenge what she thinks she already knows on her own, was instead an instance of embarassment in front of everyone as she attempted to cling to her comfortable but false worldviews in the face of competing evidence and facts.