I had this thought when I was reading a thread about whether masks work to reduce transmission. I fully believe they do. More importantly, smarter people who study such things believe they do. But the reality of the situation is beside the point. When I read the back and forth in this thread, it occurred to me that, while the anti-maskers in that particular thread were arguing about the various statistics, it wouldn’t matter what the numbers were. The truth of the matter was beside the point. The point was mainly for conservatives* to disagree with liberals.** (*Conservatives are those who are not liberals. **Liberals are those who are not conservatives. They need one another to maintain their respective identities.)
This is not a one sided affair. I’ve seen discussions of, for example, alleged police brutality cases where, as more facts came out, the context showed the use of force was reasonable. That didn’t change anyone’s minds about who the good guys and the bad guys were.
In these situations, people aren’t really arguing about what they’re arguing about. They’re not necessarily worried about the specific case. Rather, they chose the specific case as ammunition (or found themselves on the receiving end of that ammunition) in a larger argument. When that’s the case, getting into the weeds about the details of the specific case isn’t likely to be productive because the bigger issue is simply reflexive antagonism toward the other side.
If someone is arguing in good faith, by all means engage with them. But if they’re just entertaining themselves and will move the goal posts if the argument doesn’t go in their favor, then why bother? (Other than to entertain yourself if you’re into such things.)