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How To Improve Debating Skills

000ike
Posts: 11,196
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2/5/2012 5:35:35 PM
Posted: 4 years ago
I think the most difficult parts of the debate are constructing a powerful argument and then communicating it clearly. The latter isn't so hard, the former is the annoying one.

Is it a mark of ingenuity and creativity to be able to make effective arguments, or is this something you can learn using logic? I recently had a debate, where my opponent's rebuttal was so imaginative and unpredictable that it felt like checkmate in a hopeless game of chess. I actually felt compelled to come here and ask how I can do something like that too lol

Generally, how do you, if you win most of your debates, come up with arguments? Or, are bad arguments born from lopsided debate topics, where one position was far too easy to argue over the other?
"A stupid despot may constrain his slaves with iron chains; but a true politician binds them even more strongly with the chain of their own ideas" - Michel Foucault
OberHerr
Posts: 13,062
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2/5/2012 5:38:08 PM
Posted: 4 years ago
Make sure you sound intelligent, check your facts, make sure your sources are good, and use a little humor.
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thett3
Posts: 14,377
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2/5/2012 5:39:02 PM
Posted: 4 years ago
I'll always try to look at the arguments from their perspective. I'll pretend that I'm the one running those arguments, and then think about what responses I would be afraid to hear. And then I make those responses.
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16kadams
Posts: 10,497
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2/5/2012 5:42:43 PM
Posted: 4 years ago
I just do random stuff. :)
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F-16_Fighting_Falcon
Posts: 18,324
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2/5/2012 5:44:32 PM
Posted: 4 years ago
At 2/5/2012 5:39:02 PM, thett3 wrote:
I'll always try to look at the arguments from their perspective. I'll pretend that I'm the one running those arguments, and then think about what responses I would be afraid to hear. And then I make those responses.

Lol, this.^
OberHerr
Posts: 13,062
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2/5/2012 5:44:59 PM
Posted: 4 years ago
At 2/5/2012 5:44:32 PM, F-16_Fighting_Falcon wrote:
At 2/5/2012 5:39:02 PM, thett3 wrote:
I'll always try to look at the arguments from their perspective. I'll pretend that I'm the one running those arguments, and then think about what responses I would be afraid to hear. And then I make those responses.

Lol, this.^

This as well.
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BlackVoid
Posts: 9,170
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2/5/2012 7:20:48 PM
Posted: 4 years ago
At 2/5/2012 5:39:02 PM, thett3 wrote:
I'll always try to look at the arguments from their perspective. I'll pretend that I'm the one running those arguments, and then think about what responses I would be afraid to hear. And then I make those responses.

That's actually an awesome idea. I'll try thatin the future.
Illegalcombatant
Posts: 4,008
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2/5/2012 7:33:11 PM
Posted: 4 years ago
Among other things thinking a move or two ahead.

If you argue X, what do you think is a good counter against X. If your opponent does bring up that counter, do you have a counter for that counter ? if not, then your taking a gamble your opponent won't bring it up, that's setting yourself up for defeat against good debaters.
"Seems like another attempt to insert God into areas our knowledge has yet to penetrate. You figure God would be bigger than the gaps of our ignorance." Drafterman 19/5/12
wmpeebles
Posts: 13
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2/5/2012 10:23:12 PM
Posted: 4 years ago
I try to make arguments that won't be easily defeated by my opponent. For example, if I say something that might sound true to a lot of people, but has actually been disproved by others, I try not to make that argument because I will be wasting time by making that argument. If I really believe in something, I have to find the reason why I believe a certain way and transmit that into my arguments.

Try not to give up in your debate if you are easily convinced by your opponent. Examine all facets of the debate and your topic and you will most likely succeed if you don't give up.

Over time, you will get better through both your wins and your losses. I debate mostly to try to improve my writing composition skills and to educate myself more on topics I barely know about.
imabench
Posts: 21,229
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2/6/2012 12:48:30 AM
Posted: 4 years ago
Get sources that dont come from blogs or wikipedia to back up your arguments.
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Thrasymachus
Posts: 29
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2/6/2012 12:57:21 PM
Posted: 4 years ago
A slightly dirtier trick related to Th3tt's is going one-ply further and phrasing your arguments to goad opponents into making responses they think you're vulnerable to, but you're not.
Stephen_Hawkins
Posts: 5,316
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2/6/2012 3:06:01 PM
Posted: 4 years ago
At 2/5/2012 5:35:35 PM, 000ike wrote:
I think the most difficult parts of the debate are constructing a powerful argument and then communicating it clearly. The latter isn't so hard, the former is the annoying one.

Is it a mark of ingenuity and creativity to be able to make effective arguments, or is this something you can learn using logic? I recently had a debate, where my opponent's rebuttal was so imaginative and unpredictable that it felt like checkmate in a hopeless game of chess. I actually felt compelled to come here and ask how I can do something like that too lol

Generally, how do you, if you win most of your debates, come up with arguments? Or, are bad arguments born from lopsided debate topics, where one position was far too easy to argue over the other?

1) The deserving Hell debate, I imagine?

2) That was just bad luck: your opponent used your argument against you. I had a recent debate (EYP) which uses an entire page as a proposition (they call it a proposal). If you muck about with wording enough, you can propose whatever you want. If you want some advice from someone who has done debate marking, message me (I am better at moderating debates thatn participating ;P), or just hope for very much nicer debates.
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imabench
Posts: 21,229
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2/6/2012 3:10:17 PM
Posted: 4 years ago
Dont ever drop an F Bomb during a debate, unless your doing it to humor the voters about something unrelated to the debate
Kevin24018 : "He's just so mean it makes me want to ball up my fists and stamp on the ground"
Geogeer: "Nobody is dumb enough to become my protege."

7/14/16 = The Presidency Dies

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RoyLatham
Posts: 4,488
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2/7/2012 12:06:40 PM
Posted: 4 years ago
Read the "DDO Tutorial" thread near the top of this forum.

Stick to subjects you know or are willing to research, and read past debates on the subject.

"Creative" arguments often make unwarranted assumptions. Look for the assumption before refuting the argument. Some arguments are true, but are not significant. An argument may be true, but not lead to the overall conclusion. For example, bird strikes are an aviation hazard, but they are too rare to make aviation unsafe in general. There can be many arguments for or against something that even when added up are not compelling.

Finally, if there a really good argument you hadn't thought of and which has no valid rebuttal, concede the debate. Truth is going to win anyway.
F-16_Fighting_Falcon
Posts: 18,324
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2/7/2012 12:38:39 PM
Posted: 4 years ago
At 2/7/2012 12:06:40 PM, RoyLatham wrote:
Read the "DDO Tutorial" thread near the top of this forum.

Stick to subjects you know or are willing to research, and read past debates on the subject.

"Creative" arguments often make unwarranted assumptions. Look for the assumption before refuting the argument. Some arguments are true, but are not significant. An argument may be true, but not lead to the overall conclusion. For example, bird strikes are an aviation hazard, but they are too rare to make aviation unsafe in general. There can be many arguments for or against something that even when added up are not compelling.

Finally, if there a really good argument you hadn't thought of and which has no valid rebuttal, concede the debate. Truth is going to win anyway.

I agree with this mostly except the part about conceding the debate. Part of the reason people debate their views is to have them challenged, and be forced to analyze their arguments in detail. If your opponent makes an excellent argument, try to refute it as best you can. After all, the reason your opponent is debating you is to hear opposing views. Concessions would make it seem like your opponent is talking to themselves or merely writing an article instead of actively having their views challenged. There is no right or wrong answer to most topics that are debated on DDO which is why they are debated in the first place. The "truth" doesn't matter when voting on a debate either as all that matters is if you have made the better arguments.

Personally, I like debates where research is important. When doing debates heavy on sources, make sure to spend a lot of time analyzing your opponents sources. Find studies that refute them and point out the flaws in them. If your opponent is using secondary sources, spend the time to find the real primary source and the study it is based on.
KRFournier
Posts: 690
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2/7/2012 6:21:22 PM
Posted: 4 years ago
My #1 piece of advice is to know your audience. Don't debate the your opponent. Instead, explain to the audience why your opponent is wrong. It might seem like a minor difference, but the difference does helps. When you debate your opponent, you can lose sight of how well you are communicating or allow your emotions to get too involved.

I recently watched Turek v. Hitchens. I personally have never felt that Hitchens was much of a debater. He's a good orator and writer for sure, but he tends to get very rhetorical and "preachy" making it difficult to sift out his logical arugments. Turek was much better at laying out his arguments distinctly, but I still think Hitchens ultimately won the debate. Why? Because Turek got flustered and frustrated with Hitchens. You could tell that Turek was debating (darned near fighting) Hitchens whereas Hitchens kept talking to the audience while keeping his cool. Turek kept repeating himself ad nauseum while Hitchens engaged the audience.

Always keep your audience in mind. They read your debate and ultimately evaluate your performance.
RoyLatham
Posts: 4,488
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2/7/2012 6:32:42 PM
Posted: 4 years ago
At 2/7/2012 12:38:39 PM, F-16_Fighting_Falcon wrote:
I agree with this mostly except the part about conceding the debate. Part of the reason people debate their views is to have them challenged, and be forced to analyze their arguments in detail. If your opponent makes an excellent argument, try to refute it as best you can. After all, the reason your opponent is debating you is to hear opposing views.

I said it is appropriate to concede when there is no valid counter argument. The option is then only to make an invalid argument and hope to get it past the reader. That would be good training if you plan to be a lawyer, but I think most people are better off sticking to arguments they believe valid.

Keep in mind that concessions of the sort suggested are rare, maybe one in five hundred on DDO.

I don't agree that opponents feel cheated when you concede rather than throw some BS. I prefer a concession.
Illegalcombatant
Posts: 4,008
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2/8/2012 5:12:29 PM
Posted: 4 years ago
At 2/7/2012 6:32:42 PM, RoyLatham wrote:
At 2/7/2012 12:38:39 PM, F-16_Fighting_Falcon wrote:
I agree with this mostly except the part about conceding the debate. Part of the reason people debate their views is to have them challenged, and be forced to analyze their arguments in detail. If your opponent makes an excellent argument, try to refute it as best you can. After all, the reason your opponent is debating you is to hear opposing views.

I said it is appropriate to concede when there is no valid counter argument. The option is then only to make an invalid argument and hope to get it past the reader. That would be good training if you plan to be a lawyer, but I think most people are better off sticking to arguments they believe valid.

Keep in mind that concessions of the sort suggested are rare, maybe one in five hundred on DDO.

I don't agree that opponents feel cheated when you concede rather than throw some BS. I prefer a concession.

Should we really take the views seriously of such a person who believes humans came from apes ? I think not, if the glove doesn't fit you must acquit.

Ill take my law degree with honors now please.
"Seems like another attempt to insert God into areas our knowledge has yet to penetrate. You figure God would be bigger than the gaps of our ignorance." Drafterman 19/5/12