I live in a large city and have done so my whole student life and now career. I studied science at university and have two degrees. Through work and studies, I've lived a large chunk of my life abroad so speak French and German fluently and to an outsider, I'd probably be seen as a "metropolitan liberal". I like to discuss things: I can discuss a topic for hours, probably even enjoy a conversation with someone who disagrees with me, rather than someone who shares exactly the same opinion, so we can share different points of view. Due to that,
I rarely make statements with full certitude and do not mind showing a bit of doubt in my claims. Although that could be seen as lack of confidence, actually I'm fairly confident in what I know/don't know. In general, I'm more of a listener than a talker but enjoy talking about matters that I feel I have something useful to share about i.e. I'm not the kind of person that dominates a conversation but when I have something important to say, you'll hear from me.
I struggle to tolerate stereotypes and generalisations, I think that most things in life are more nuanced and that understanding the general characteristics of a country or a person is important but that deep understanding requires a more nuanced approach. In the same way, I'm not entirely against talking about conspiracy theories and similar. They can be "entertaining" but that if you want to suggest that the Americans didn't land on the moon, you certainly can't make such a statement with more confidence than anyone can make a statement that they did: science is as much about determining what you don't know than it is about what you know.
My father is very different, he left school and home at 17. He's a smart, switched-on man so I think he has always been keen to prove his knowledge: he likes quizzes and general trivia, reading up on things: he's a fan of popular "science" books. He lives in a small town. He may be described as someone who "likes the sound of his own voice".
He likes to make bold statements and gets very frustrated if anyone questions anything he states. As he doesn't have a "traditional" education, I sometimes feel he tries to replace it with trivia, popularized science and has a thing for conspiracy theories.
For example, my father may talk about a conspiracy theory in which a coincidence is seemingly so "unbelievable" that it proves some dark forces are behind it, when in effect it can be explained through general probability i.e. an event that has a 1 in 5000 chance of happening, if it happens, is nothing more than a funny coincidence.
Most of the time I will just avoid even talking when my father starts talking about such matters as I know that he doesn't really want to hear anything I have to say. He just wants someone to nod along. But even when staying quiet, he will throw in a few personal attacks like "You university-educated people wouldn't understand this" or "People like you from the metropolitan elite, disconnected from reality, can't understand this", which makes it difficult to stay quiet. Remaining quiet doesn't seem to work for me.
Since I'm aware that someone who keeps interjecting and weakening someone's statements is very annoying, I will very rarely, if at all, "temper" his statements like that but on occasion, I feel the need to provide a more nuanced view. Whenever I make a reply that presents a slightly different perspective, it will annoy him incredibly. For example, he may say that Americans all have right-wing views apart from the "metropolitan elite" of course, and having lived in Vermont, I will mention that the State tends to be on the left side of the political spectrum, and he'll be very annoyed. On the few occasions that I have felt strongly enough to present a completely opposing view, this has been enough for us to fall out.
He has put me down in front of my wife and family in the past and to avoid conflict I've had to just stay quiet. I think he is aware of that and exploits it. On one occasion when I pointed out that he was being disrespectful he jokingly said that he's allowed to be disrespectful as he's my father.
I sometimes wonder that if I paid less attention to what he was actually saying and then just steered the conversation in the direction I wanted, there would be fewer opportunities to really disagree on anything.
How do I prevent such a person from putting me down during our conversations, considering that he's my father?