Picture this, you’re on the soccer field about to score a goal when out of nowhere, your opponent moves the net!

Ever been in a disagreement that has felt like this?

“Moving the goalposts” is a common tactic used by misinformers (1). The phrase describes an ever-changing target.

It goes like this:

Person A requests Person B to meet a certain goal. “Show me the vaccine is safe and effective”
Person B completes the goal as asked. *Does a large-scale, randomized controlled trial evaluating safety and effectiveness*
Instead of admitting that Person B has met the goal, Person A requests further goals. “But there were no studies about whether the vaccine makes you magnetic!”

If you see someone being Person A, point it out! Highlighting gaps in logic can be an effective debunking strategy (2).

But doing this without shame or ridicule — and leading with empathy — is CRUCIAL (2). Try to understand how willing a person is to an open and challenging conversation. You may want to save your time and energy and engage with them when they are open to listening (3).