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"So What?" Debates

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7/13/2014 4:43:00 AM
Posted: 3 years ago
Recently, I made the following comment in a debate where someone questioned my rejection of Occam's Razor as a judge; as a judge, I really hate when people get things wrong on purpose by proposing oversimplified or insufficient models, and psychologically exhaust their opponents into correcting them. It comes off like being the brat on the schoolyard playground who does something wrong, and expects you to chase one all over the place or else you have to put up with one:

It's sometimes possible for a proponent to win or lose a debate without an opponent so much as saying a word. A judge is like an audience member, and a proponent is someone who's trying to persuade an audience. For example, it would be possible for a proponent to simply make a proposition without an opponent existing at all, and then for an audience to vote "Yes" or "No" on it.

The role of an opponent is to provide alternate perspectives which weren't originally considered. They don't check logic, but rather add, subtract, and change it. Judges just have to judge whether those additions, subtractions, and changes fall within the original domain of debate or if they're irrelevant.

This lead me to conclude that debate needs to be fundamentally reformatted. Instead of debating whether an idea is right or wrong, we need to debate whether an idea is important or not. A proponent can win a debate by proving that one's logical, but after that, an opponent needs to say, "So what? Maybe you're right, but why does it matter?"

From there, the debate can really get interesting because the debate is no longer about the proposition being proven or disproven, but rather whether or not the proposition is even something worth proposing.