The Instigator
HandsOff
Pro (for)
Losing
19 Points
The Contender
left_wing_mormon
Con (against)
Winning
44 Points

Debaters should defend only those positions with which they truly agree.

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 2/25/2008 Category: Politics
Updated: 9 years ago Status: Voting Period
Viewed: 1,448 times Debate No: 2913
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (6)
Votes (17)

 

HandsOff

Pro

Note: It goes without saying that I'm looking for an opponent who actually disagrees with me on this.

I'm tired (and I'm sure others are) of whittling a topic down to its nuts and bolts just to find that my opponent really does not agree with the position he is defending. It usually comes at a point where the more effective debater has his opponent surrounded. The opponent will finally come out with his hands up claiming they didn't really believe in that which they just spent 4 days defending. That's frustrating.

The main reason I dislike this approach is that many start debates in order to expose and rebut invalid arguments endorsed by their true political adversaries. Most of these invalid arguments and ideas are rooted in emotion rather than reason. When one takes a side just for the sake of honing his debating skills, he typically lacks the emotion needed to bring forth such arguments and/or defend them with any vigor. I want to know what makes people of opposing viewpoints tic. I want to become familiar with (and expose) the hopes, fears and personal biases that influence their arguments. An impostor cannot accurately offer these insights. I, fellow debaters, and readers are robbed of a valuable learning experience when someone hijacks a debate because he has nothing better to do.
left_wing_mormon

Con

Well I understand your point. It is pointless to debate someone who is only there to waste your time.

My only argument is, in my opinion, it makes you a better debater (and speaker) if you are able to defend a topic you don't agree with. For example, I was assigned an opinion essay to write for my high school newspaper on the topic of tortrue. In order to make a well concluded argument I had to anaylze the other side. I ended up writing a draft deffending the use of torture as "interrogation techniques". I have to add that this was not easy for me, as I am a bleeding heart liberal who in no way agrees with torture at all.

Anyways, I wrote my essay, and if I do say so myself it was very well done. People who had all different opinions on this subject read mine and gave it some thought. I was also able to add some Colbert-like jokes in it to give it some character.

My point, if people can debate something they don't agree with, they can undestand the topic from their original point of veiw alot better.
Debate Round No. 1
HandsOff

Pro

"it makes you a better debater"

If so, it doesn't make it polite. I personally believe it is unnecessary. If you were really good at taking the other side, your arguments would likely mimic those of the other side at best. On average they would probably fall short and/or lack conviction.

By the looks of your debate handle I'd say you have way more experience in arguing on behalf of social programs that do I. I am free to research the opinions of you and others like you on this site and elsewhere. If that does not suffice, and I need to invent my own left-wing arguments, I can do so on a piece of scratch paper, as apposed to wasting someone else's time.
left_wing_mormon

Con

You see, I only said to sharpen debate skills, defending the opposite veiwpoint can help you understand how to debate your own against others.

It is only unnecessary if you don't want to become a debater. How is it impolite to defend another veiw if you go about it respectfully and intelligently?

You said:
"If you were really good at taking the other side, your arguments would likely mimic those of the other side at best"
--Well this is my piont isn't it? To mimic the other side to understand where they come from so, in theroy, your argument will be stronger. As I said before, if you can fully understand where your opponet is coming from than you know all the loop-holes and ins-and-outs.
Debate Round No. 2
HandsOff

Pro

My point in saying that you will learn to mimic the arguments of the other side was to advise that you save the time developing those arguments and read the ones already posted. That way you can learn faster. It's a win-win. You don't get involved in a debate as an impostor, and you learn faster by reading at your leisure instead of waiting for your opponent to respond.

The method of arguing your opponent's viewpoint is old school. Teachers would use this method because they were short on opponents and also because it used to be quite difficult to get in the minds of your opponents. You'd have to check out books at the library and use a card catalog. Now, with the internet (and especially this site), it is quick and easy. Some people do learn faster when writing instead of reading, but that's why I recommended the scratch paper.
left_wing_mormon

Con

Look, all I'm saying is it never is a waste of time to take the other side just once. You can put your place in that position and actually defend it for yourself, not just reading what some one else wrote. I read alot of the opposing veiws, thats how you defend the opposition.

Where we disagree basically, (correct me if I'm wrong) is that you think it is a waste of time to debate as an "imposter" because you could be defending your own point. I say by allowing yourself to open your mind and attempt to understand the other side through defending it, it makes your argument smarter. That is why professors and high school teacher use this meathod.

>>This page is from a high school teacher talking about his results using my meathods: http://www.paulnoll.com...
>>This website written by Glen Whitman, Associate Professor of Economics California State University, Northridge: fromhttp://www.csun.edu...

My point I believe is prooven. The art of debate is more vast than my opponet has determined. You can't block yourself out from the other side. It's kind of like the old saying "Keep your freinds close, your enemies closer.", or "Keeping an eye on the enemy." In this case we need to understand where the enemy is coming from. How do they see their conclusion? Why do they believe this? What attracts them to this argument?

Thank You.
Debate Round No. 3
6 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 6 records.
Posted by HandsOff 9 years ago
HandsOff
I figured I'd lose this one. It's basically a rant. I know there are capable debaters out there who can handle an opposing view rather well. But flawed thinking on both ends of the spectrum is typically the result of emotion-driven reasoning. Emotion creates errors. Finding errors makes debate fun. It's one of my guilty pleasures.

I have no doubt that emotion is the exact reason I lost this debate. I posted this debate based on how I feel rather than on principle. I know I don't have any business telling people what they should or should not debate.
Posted by Kleptin 9 years ago
Kleptin
I frequently argue on both sides of an issue, merely to test my understanding of my opponent's arguments. You get nowhere in debate if you keep arguing for your own beliefs. Sometimes, you can only realize the flaw in your belief by arguing for the opposite side. The pressure to win is also a good motivator for wracking your brain.
Posted by DaFlipster 9 years ago
DaFlipster
I, in a way, thought the debate gone out of the resolutional premise. I dont know maybe not but the thing i was pointing to was how one assumed the benefit needed to be debated was the benefits given to debating itself. However, i thought that both should have argued how looking to both sides of an issue would allow for society to advance--individual,social,governmental,economical etc...choices then would be based from empirical reasoning rather than emotional/assumptive...maybe they have but idk i kinda didnt wanna read it all and went of to what i did hehe... lol peace if im wrong >.> just want to know if my assumtions--hehe lol pun-- is true
Posted by HandsOff 9 years ago
HandsOff
Thanks left wing mormon. Good debate. I meant it was a waste of time for the debater who presented the topic and wanted a sincere challenger. 'til next time.
Posted by Chuckles 9 years ago
Chuckles
you can still acheive a fulfilling debate even if your opponent is playing the devil's advocate.you can have more insight to a topic if you try looking and or representing the other side of it. Pro talks in his first speech about the debater "surrounding" his opponent, then finding out his opponent doesn't believe his points. That makes it seem like the point of debate is to crush your opponent and to make him realize that his beliefs are null and void. This is not what debate is for. Debate is meant for education about ideas, as well as the refinement of those ideas.
Posted by zander 9 years ago
zander
It builds debate skills to play devils advocate. My high school debate coach used to ask us a question and then make us switch sides. It also offers some insight we you have to debate against your own opinions. While I agree that its good to get to the crux of an issue with a true supporter, I don't see why both can't be accomplished.
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