Total Posts:15|Showing Posts:1-15
Jump to topic:

Debating multiple people with opposing views

mechols1226
Posts: 3
Add as Friend
Challenge to a Debate
Send a Message
3/13/2011 3:07:10 PM
Posted: 5 years ago
Hello, Everyone!

I need some tips in regards to debating multiple people who do not necessarily agree with me. My wife and most on her side of the family typically lean toward one side of the political spectrum, while I am more of a moderate person. Their political beliefs even extend to most of the friends and associates that they surround themselves with. When we have a family functions at their house, somehow a political discussion will get started. This will be even more evident now since both of my in-laws work in the school system in Ohio, and are enraged about the new restrictions on public and teachers unions.

When these discussions break out, I tend to stay quiet due to the fact that I do not agree with 99.9% of what they are saying. Even though they are family, I feel as if I will be eaten alive at the first dissentful remark. For example, I was told by my father-in-law a few years ago, in front of a group of family and friends who held his views, that I was very gullible for not believing in two particular conspiracy theories. Of coarse, this creates the perception that they are right because only one out of the bunch disagrees.

So, any tips on debating multiple people at once who do not agree with you? How do you effectively get your point across with no one else to support your claims or opinions?
innomen
Posts: 10,052
Add as Friend
Challenge to a Debate
Send a Message
3/13/2011 3:18:38 PM
Posted: 5 years ago
At 3/13/2011 3:07:10 PM, mechols1226 wrote:
Hello, Everyone!

I need some tips in regards to debating multiple people who do not necessarily agree with me. My wife and most on her side of the family typically lean toward one side of the political spectrum, while I am more of a moderate person. Their political beliefs even extend to most of the friends and associates that they surround themselves with. When we have a family functions at their house, somehow a political discussion will get started. This will be even more evident now since both of my in-laws work in the school system in Ohio, and are enraged about the new restrictions on public and teachers unions.

When these discussions break out, I tend to stay quiet due to the fact that I do not agree with 99.9% of what they are saying. Even though they are family, I feel as if I will be eaten alive at the first dissentful remark. For example, I was told by my father-in-law a few years ago, in front of a group of family and friends who held his views, that I was very gullible for not believing in two particular conspiracy theories. Of coarse, this creates the perception that they are right because only one out of the bunch disagrees.

So, any tips on debating multiple people at once who do not agree with you? How do you effectively get your point across with no one else to support your claims or opinions?

You're seriously looking to debate them? Understand that it will be more of an argument than a debate and that even if you were to win the debate, you will still lose. Being shouted down with no real support on your side is not a good spot to be in, i know. You are willing to risk being at odds with your in-laws like this?
mechols1226
Posts: 3
Add as Friend
Challenge to a Debate
Send a Message
3/13/2011 3:34:04 PM
Posted: 5 years ago
In the end, we all love each other and realize that although there is a difference of opinion, this should not change. However, there are times when I feel that another view should be presented when these discussions arise. I am part of the family, and feel that my views should be heard as well. If anyone wants to hold a grudge, that is on them. I disagree with virutally all of their political views, but still love them.

That said, it is still hard to decide when or when not to engage in the discussion. I still want to be able to get my point across and have them listen without the illogical comebacks.
Grape
Posts: 989
Add as Friend
Challenge to a Debate
Send a Message
3/13/2011 3:40:40 PM
Posted: 5 years ago
Being much smarter than them is basically a prerequisite because you have to be able to out-think multiple people at once. Being extremely well read and being able to regurgitate tons of information is helpful. The obvious approach is to know what you are going to say in response to arguments they are likely to use. My main problem in debating people in real life is that some of the things they say are so outlandish and stupid that I do not know how to respond.
innomen
Posts: 10,052
Add as Friend
Challenge to a Debate
Send a Message
3/13/2011 3:43:01 PM
Posted: 5 years ago
At 3/13/2011 3:34:04 PM, mechols1226 wrote:
In the end, we all love each other and realize that although there is a difference of opinion, this should not change. However, there are times when I feel that another view should be presented when these discussions arise. I am part of the family, and feel that my views should be heard as well. If anyone wants to hold a grudge, that is on them. I disagree with virutally all of their political views, but still love them.

That said, it is still hard to decide when or when not to engage in the discussion. I still want to be able to get my point across and have them listen without the illogical comebacks.

Then like all debates do your homework. Know facts and know them well. If you really want to be prepared try a little debating here. Do a formal debate on one of the topics that come up, and you will be forced to organize your thoughts, and have facts so that you can articulate yourself effectively.

Try not to raise your voice, and remain calm. That's always my hardest part. Look at some of our discussions here too, we have a lot on the WI teachers, and all sorts of stuff on unions.
Thaddeus
Posts: 6,985
Add as Friend
Challenge to a Debate
Send a Message
3/13/2011 3:50:32 PM
Posted: 5 years ago
At 3/13/2011 3:40:40 PM, Grape wrote:
Being much smarter than them is basically a prerequisite because you have to be able to out-think multiple people at once. Being extremely well read and being able to regurgitate tons of information is helpful. The obvious approach is to know what you are going to say in response to arguments they are likely to use. My main problem in debating people in real life is that some of the things they say are so outlandish and stupid that I do not know how to respond.

This. And the annoying thing is that in an argument (not a debate) all things said almost sound equally valid.
innomen
Posts: 10,052
Add as Friend
Challenge to a Debate
Send a Message
3/13/2011 3:52:23 PM
Posted: 5 years ago
At 3/13/2011 3:40:40 PM, Grape wrote:
Being much smarter than them is basically a prerequisite because you have to be able to out-think multiple people at once. Being extremely well read and being able to regurgitate tons of information is helpful. The obvious approach is to know what you are going to say in response to arguments they are likely to use. My main problem in debating people in real life is that some of the things they say are so outlandish and stupid that I do not know how to respond.

Then i usually say that what they just said is outlandish and stupid, and things tend to go downhill from there.
J.Kenyon
Posts: 4,194
Add as Friend
Challenge to a Debate
Send a Message
3/13/2011 4:03:31 PM
Posted: 5 years ago
The J.Kenyon Guide to Debating Against a Mob

Play dirty. Be confident. Most of my family members don't know how to debate, so when it inevitably turns into a five person pile on, "Paul Krugman said this..." "But the statistics show that..." I just play along and treat the argument like a game. I like games.

Loud means right. If someone tries to talk on top of you just ignore them and keep on going. Passive aggression works well, too. If they ask you question and then interrupt you, make it a point to talk very, very slowly. It'll show them that you're not interested in getting shït on by ten different people at once.

When you're playing a game, sometimes you have to bend the rules to win. Try using mockery. Restate their argument in a slightly condescending, skeptical ton of voice and subtly misrepresent key parts their position. This can be a very effective and irritating tactic if done well. They'll get flustered: "no, no, that's not what I meant..."

Engage in character assassination: "Paul Krugman says we should do X? Is this the same Paul Krugman who was totally blindsided by the housing bubble? What a joke!"

Ask leading questions that lead them into self contradiction. As they're wrapping up an answer, start asking another question before they have a chance to conclude. Try to show how their position leads down a "slippery slope" or how, if applied consistently, it would lead to absurd conclusions. Good 'ol reductio technique.

If all else fails, subtly change the topic, or, better yet, try to get them to change the topic.
Grape
Posts: 989
Add as Friend
Challenge to a Debate
Send a Message
3/13/2011 4:06:48 PM
Posted: 5 years ago
When all else fails, throw rocks. Make sure they are small enough that they can be thrown accurately at the face, head, and neck, but still large enough to do serious damage.
innomen
Posts: 10,052
Add as Friend
Challenge to a Debate
Send a Message
3/13/2011 4:12:48 PM
Posted: 5 years ago
At 3/13/2011 4:03:31 PM, J.Kenyon wrote:
The J.Kenyon Guide to Debating Against a Mob

Play dirty. Be confident. Most of my family members don't know how to debate, so when it inevitably turns into a five person pile on, "Paul Krugman said this..." "But the statistics show that..." I just play along and treat the argument like a game. I like games.

Loud means right. If someone tries to talk on top of you just ignore them and keep on going. Passive aggression works well, too. If they ask you question and then interrupt you, make it a point to talk very, very slowly. It'll show them that you're not interested in getting shït on by ten different people at once.

When you're playing a game, sometimes you have to bend the rules to win. Try using mockery. Restate their argument in a slightly condescending, skeptical ton of voice and subtly misrepresent key parts their position. This can be a very effective and irritating tactic if done well. They'll get flustered: "no, no, that's not what I meant..."

Engage in character assassination: "Paul Krugman says we should do X? Is this the same Paul Krugman who was totally blindsided by the housing bubble? What a joke!"

Ask leading questions that lead them into self contradiction. As they're wrapping up an answer, start asking another question before they have a chance to conclude. Try to show how their position leads down a "slippery slope" or how, if applied consistently, it would lead to absurd conclusions. Good 'ol reductio technique.

If all else fails, subtly change the topic, or, better yet, try to get them to change the topic.

*Cut Paste on word document, put in calendar day before Thanksgiving*
thanks
vardas0antras
Posts: 983
Add as Friend
Challenge to a Debate
Send a Message
3/13/2011 5:08:24 PM
Posted: 5 years ago
Go to gym; might makes right.
"When he awoke in a tomb three days later he would actually have believed that he rose from the dead" FREEDO about the resurrection of Jesus Christ
Logic_on_rails
Posts: 2,445
Add as Friend
Challenge to a Debate
Send a Message
3/13/2011 6:43:07 PM
Posted: 5 years ago
The main problem that you probably have is not a lack of facts or such, it's that people won't listen to logic. J.Kenyon's guide pretty much sums up how to win an argument. You don't need perfect logic, just typically quick thinking and deception. Also, how necessary is it to win the argument? While it's nice to be right, family relationships are different to arguing with friends.
"Tis not in mortals to command success
But we"ll do more, Sempronius, we"ll deserve it
twsurber
Posts: 505
Add as Friend
Challenge to a Debate
Send a Message
3/14/2011 7:39:20 AM
Posted: 5 years ago
That almost sounds like the peanut gallery kibbitzing and throwing rocks at me in the comments section when I debate anything religious on here LOL.