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Devil's Advocacy in Debate

bsh1
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10/14/2014 12:05:17 AM
Posted: 2 years ago
I believe that debaters should not only debate on the side of a topic they agree with. To me, one of the hallmarks of a truly great debater is the ability to take up both/all sides of an issue well.

As I wrote in another thread: "If you cannot understand the opposition's point of view, then you cannot say that your own position was well-considered. Being able to effectively take on the mantle of devil's advocate illustrates your ability to understand a topic from all angles, and thus leaves you better qualified to take a position yourself."

Debaters who refuse to take positions opposite of what they believe usually, IMHO, are the debaters who give the least thought to the other sides position, and thus tend to discount valid arguments on the opposing side once they leave the debate. It is not enough to blindly defend your stance, you must comprehend the stance of others.

Devils advocacy also gives needed practice. People usually feel more comfortable defending the side they agree with. It is often more of a challenge to defend a side you disagree with. This challenge has educational value, and it forces you to work harder for the win.

Really, this is one of my pet peeves of debate. Everyone ought to do a devil's advocate debate every now and again. What are your thoughts?
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Wylted
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10/14/2014 12:11:12 AM
Posted: 2 years ago
I think Devil's advocate s better a person arguing for a position they disagree with can be more creative with their arguments and are best able to determine the weakness of their opponent's arguments.

If I argue an atheist and they talk about how horrible hell is I can pull out interpretations of the bible that show hell not to be so horrible just so long as the arguments are consistent with what else I argued. However if I was actually a Christian I would feel the need to defend my position in an extremely honest way.
bsh1
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10/14/2014 12:15:28 AM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 10/14/2014 12:13:50 AM, vwv wrote:
At 10/14/2014 12:05:17 AM, bsh1 wrote:

Would you be willing to debate against this?

Lol...the irony.

Yes, I would, since I put my foot in my mouth with this post. But, not until my 101st debate is underway.
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vwv
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10/14/2014 12:18:46 AM
Posted: 2 years ago
I fundamentally disagree with you only because there's no such thing as an unranked DDO debate.

If there was a way to debate without the win or loss being record in any way whatsoever, I'd agree to you. However, if one truly thinks they are right and the other view is wrong, then how are they going to win defending what they view as undeniably incorrect? It simply doesn't follow.

Sure, they should try for fun to go as far as they can go defending the wrong side but only if it isn't a ranked debate (which all debates here are and I am actually going to suggest unranked debates as a feature right now).
Blade-of-Truth
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10/14/2014 12:20:58 AM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 10/14/2014 12:05:17 AM, bsh1 wrote:
I believe that debaters should not only debate on the side of a topic they agree with. To me, one of the hallmarks of a truly great debater is the ability to take up both/all sides of an issue well.

As I wrote in another thread: "If you cannot understand the opposition's point of view, then you cannot say that your own position was well-considered. Being able to effectively take on the mantle of devil's advocate illustrates your ability to understand a topic from all angles, and thus leaves you better qualified to take a position yourself."

Debaters who refuse to take positions opposite of what they believe usually, IMHO, are the debaters who give the least thought to the other sides position, and thus tend to discount valid arguments on the opposing side once they leave the debate. It is not enough to blindly defend your stance, you must comprehend the stance of others.

Devils advocacy also gives needed practice. People usually feel more comfortable defending the side they agree with. It is often more of a challenge to defend a side you disagree with. This challenge has educational value, and it forces you to work harder for the win.

Really, this is one of my pet peeves of debate. Everyone ought to do a devil's advocate debate every now and again. What are your thoughts?

I think this is a very good opinion, and agree with your sentiments fully.

When I was still starting out on this site, I played Devil's Advocate in this debate: http://www.debate.org...

I had alot of fun researching for my side though and arguing against things that I might have argued myself. Since then, I've done a few more Devil's Advocate debates but that one was my first and most memorable one. I've seen a few people with debate lists that present themselves as open to taking either pro or con. Those are always people I can respect.
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bsh1
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10/14/2014 12:23:05 AM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 10/14/2014 12:18:46 AM, vwv wrote:
I fundamentally disagree with you only because there's no such thing as an unranked DDO debate.

I am not talking merely in the context of DDO. I am talking about debate as a broader activity or pastime.

If there was a way to debate without the win or loss being record in any way whatsoever, I'd agree to you. However, if one truly thinks they are right and the other view is wrong, then how are they going to win defending what they view as undeniably incorrect? It simply doesn't follow.

I truly think that libertarianism is a bunch of sh!t, but I can debate it well (I think--I've never lost debating it.) You just need to open your mind to various viewpoints and try to work the advantages that you see, and downplay the disadvantages.

That being said, there are some issue where I just cannot see the validity in the opposing view, though that's rare--but what I am talking about are debaters who never on any or very few issues, take a devil's advocate stance.

Sure, they should try for fun to go as far as they can go defending the wrong side but only if it isn't a ranked debate (which all debates here are and I am actually going to suggest unranked debates as a feature right now).

Debating should transcend the trivial concerns of ELO.
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vwv
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10/14/2014 12:25:29 AM
Posted: 2 years ago
@bsh1

It isn't open mindedness to have no passion in one's own views, it's just apathy.
bsh1
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10/14/2014 12:28:08 AM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 10/14/2014 12:25:29 AM, vwv wrote:
@bsh1

It isn't open mindedness to have no passion in one's own views, it's just apathy.

And this is relevant how, exactly?
Live Long and Prosper

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vwv
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10/14/2014 12:31:50 AM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 10/14/2014 12:28:08 AM, bsh1 wrote:
At 10/14/2014 12:25:29 AM, vwv wrote:
@bsh1

It isn't open mindedness to have no passion in one's own views, it's just apathy.

And this is relevant how, exactly?

Devil's advocacy is about going against what one views as just or correct. It is about sacrificing everything you believe in for the sake of impressing those who know that you do. I don't see the positive to it other than the applause if you emotionally shut yourself down well enough to pull it off.
thett3
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10/14/2014 12:34:42 AM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 10/14/2014 12:31:50 AM, vwv wrote:
At 10/14/2014 12:28:08 AM, bsh1 wrote:
At 10/14/2014 12:25:29 AM, vwv wrote:
@bsh1

It isn't open mindedness to have no passion in one's own views, it's just apathy.

And this is relevant how, exactly?

Devil's advocacy is about going against what one views as just or correct. It is about sacrificing everything you believe in for the sake of impressing those who know that you do. I don't see the positive to it other than the applause if you emotionally shut yourself down well enough to pull it off.

Jesus Mother Mary and Joseph, it's just an intellectual exercise.

Seriously dude, I have to give offer you an e-handshake because you're the best troll I've seen in ages. You've gotten under *everyones* skin and its only been what...two days?
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bsh1
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10/14/2014 12:36:26 AM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 10/14/2014 12:31:50 AM, vwv wrote:
At 10/14/2014 12:28:08 AM, bsh1 wrote:
At 10/14/2014 12:25:29 AM, vwv wrote:
@bsh1

It isn't open mindedness to have no passion in one's own views, it's just apathy.

And this is relevant how, exactly?

Devil's advocacy is about going against what one views as just or correct. It is about sacrificing everything you believe in for the sake of impressing those who know that you do. I don't see the positive to it other than the applause if you emotionally shut yourself down well enough to pull it off.

Firstly, if you never consider the benefits of opposing sides, which in itself is a form of devils advocacy, then you cannot assert that your beliefs are justified in any rational way. So, to be able to confidently assert that one's position is just or correct, one must undergo a process of critical evaluation similar to devil's advocacy.

Secondly, devil's advocacy is not "sacrificing everything you believe in." It is temporarily defending a contrary position. You're blowing it way out of proportion.

Thirdly, you need to view your beliefs dispassionately for the same reasons articulated under point one.
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bsh1
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10/14/2014 12:37:19 AM
Posted: 2 years ago
Anyway, I'm off for the night. Adios!
Live Long and Prosper

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"Twilight isn't just about obtuse metaphors between cannibalism and premarital sex, it also teaches us the futility of hope." - Raisor

"[Bsh1] is the Guinan of DDO." - ButterCatX

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bluesteel
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10/14/2014 1:09:11 AM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 10/14/2014 12:05:17 AM, bsh1 wrote:
I believe that debaters should not only debate on the side of a topic they agree with. To me, one of the hallmarks of a truly great debater is the ability to take up both/all sides of an issue well.

As I wrote in another thread: "If you cannot understand the opposition's point of view, then you cannot say that your own position was well-considered. Being able to effectively take on the mantle of devil's advocate illustrates your ability to understand a topic from all angles, and thus leaves you better qualified to take a position yourself."

Debaters who refuse to take positions opposite of what they believe usually, IMHO, are the debaters who give the least thought to the other sides position, and thus tend to discount valid arguments on the opposing side once they leave the debate. It is not enough to blindly defend your stance, you must comprehend the stance of others.

Devils advocacy also gives needed practice. People usually feel more comfortable defending the side they agree with. It is often more of a challenge to defend a side you disagree with. This challenge has educational value, and it forces you to work harder for the win.

Really, this is one of my pet peeves of debate. Everyone ought to do a devil's advocate debate every now and again. What are your thoughts?

Good post.

Did you know the term devil's advocate comes from the canonical position appointed to argue against candidates for sainthood? Learned that the other day and thought it was interesting.

That's a major drawback of DDO I've found compared to formal debate --- you never have to defend the side you don't like. I'd like to see a legit NFL-style debate tournament on here with a single topic assigned each round and people assigned randomly to a side.

However, there are three problems with playing devil's advocate on DDO. First, I think some positions are just indefensible, e.g. anti-gay marriage. There just aren't any legit (non-religious) arguments to make. I couldn't advance any arguments I'd feel comfortable with and would guarantee a loss if anyone halfway decent took the opposition position. In theory, the NFL chooses topics where there's enough ground one each side that either team can win. However, in practice, it's a huge problem in PF, since they need so many topics. They often choose topics with a clear side bias. It's the only debate event I've seen where you get 65% win ratios for one side in out-rounds [besides parli, where I've seen 80% win ratios on one particularly bad topic chosen for out-rounds].

Second, it's just not as much fun to argue something you completely disagree with, except as a challenge. I took all those bestiality and child porn debates for the fun of it, but I ultimately took a position that I agree with. I'm not pro-bestiality, but I think illegality is kinda pointless. I have a lot of problems with the police state in general (e.g. illegality of drugs, prostitution, etc). I'm not a huge fan of paternalism or legislated morality.

Third, people on DDO generally draft topics before doing the full research, which is different than an NFL debate where you've fully researched both sides. You kind of know what you're getting into when you go to the tournament. Granted, you can't choose a different topic in an NFL debate, but you have to trust the topic drafters that there is enough ground on both sides. In contrast, playing devil's advocate on DDO can be dangerous unless you full research both sides before accepting the debate. You could wind up taking an indefensible position by accident. It's a lot of work to distinguish topics that are susceptible to a devil's advocacy and those where you'll probably lose by taking that said. I'd say the death penalty, for example, is one where someone could win on either side. In contrast, the inerrancy of the bible is not one where either side can win.
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PotBelliedGeek
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10/14/2014 1:14:08 AM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 10/14/2014 12:05:17 AM, bsh1 wrote:
I believe that debaters should not only debate on the side of a topic they agree with. To me, one of the hallmarks of a truly great debater is the ability to take up both/all sides of an issue well.

As I wrote in another thread: "If you cannot understand the opposition's point of view, then you cannot say that your own position was well-considered. Being able to effectively take on the mantle of devil's advocate illustrates your ability to understand a topic from all angles, and thus leaves you better qualified to take a position yourself."

Debaters who refuse to take positions opposite of what they believe usually, IMHO, are the debaters who give the least thought to the other sides position, and thus tend to discount valid arguments on the opposing side once they leave the debate. It is not enough to blindly defend your stance, you must comprehend the stance of others.

Devils advocacy also gives needed practice. People usually feel more comfortable defending the side they agree with. It is often more of a challenge to defend a side you disagree with. This challenge has educational value, and it forces you to work harder for the win.

Really, this is one of my pet peeves of debate. Everyone ought to do a devil's advocate debate every now and again. What are your thoughts?

Meh. I took a shot a devils advocacy in my recent economics thread in the society section. I ran out of juice.
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ESocialBookworm
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10/14/2014 5:12:48 AM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 10/14/2014 12:31:50 AM, vwv wrote:
At 10/14/2014 12:28:08 AM, bsh1 wrote:
At 10/14/2014 12:25:29 AM, vwv wrote:
@bsh1

It isn't open mindedness to have no passion in one's own views, it's just apathy.

And this is relevant how, exactly?

Devil's advocacy is about going against what one views as just or correct. It is about sacrificing everything you believe in for the sake of impressing those who know that you do. I don't see the positive to it other than the applause if you emotionally shut yourself down well enough to pull it off.

That's an interesting way to look at it.

I disagree. I think what bsh was trying to say was that to be a good debater, you have to be able to see both sides of a resolution- not to impress people. You need to understand why someone would choose the other side, to convince them why they are wrong, in your opinion.

It's not a matter of turning against what you believe in, or trying o impress people- it's a matter of having a larger understanding about a situation or resolution, to argue it better and smarter.
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9spaceking
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10/14/2014 5:20:54 AM
Posted: 2 years ago
yeah, my Devil's Advo-series was pretty fun. Arguing against anti-gay marriage was interesting.
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10/14/2014 5:59:22 AM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 10/14/2014 5:12:48 AM, ESocialBookworm wrote:

Let's say that you debated against Islam.

If you win, you cry inside that your belief got crushed.

If you lose, you cry outside that you sucked so bad.

There is no reward.
YYW
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10/14/2014 7:14:23 AM
Posted: 2 years ago
It is exceedingly rare that there is a debate that I cannot argue both sides for. I'm particularly good at arguing the libertarian perspective in things, because I sort of used to be a libertarian....

I'm not often willing to debate the side I disagree with, simply because I usually don't want too... at least now. That was not always the case.

LD resolutions are the exception.
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philochristos
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10/14/2014 7:24:21 AM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 10/14/2014 12:05:17 AM, bsh1 wrote:
To me, one of the hallmarks of a truly great debater is the ability to take up both/all sides of an issue well.

Thank you! :-)
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philochristos
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10/14/2014 7:27:30 AM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 10/14/2014 12:05:17 AM, bsh1 wrote:
It is often more of a challenge to defend a side you disagree with. This challenge has educational value, and it forces you to work harder for the win.

Devil's advocacy debates are less stressful than debates where I'm defending what I actually think because I don't mind losing as much. I almost prefer them.

Everyone ought to do a devil's advocate debate every now and again. What are your thoughts?

My thought is that it's not for everybody, but I kind of wish more people would do it because, like you said, it forces you to understand your opposition better, which makes your own point of view more informed.
"Not to know of what things one should demand demonstration, and of what one should not, argues want of education." ~Aristotle

"It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it." ~Aristotle
Raisor
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10/14/2014 9:49:36 AM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 10/14/2014 12:05:17 AM, bsh1 wrote:
I believe that debaters should not only debate on the side of a topic they agree with. To me, one of the hallmarks of a truly great debater is the ability to take up both/all sides of an issue well.

As I wrote in another thread: "If you cannot understand the opposition's point of view, then you cannot say that your own position was well-considered. Being able to effectively take on the mantle of devil's advocate illustrates your ability to understand a topic from all angles, and thus leaves you better qualified to take a position yourself."

Debaters who refuse to take positions opposite of what they believe usually, IMHO, are the debaters who give the least thought to the other sides position, and thus tend to discount valid arguments on the opposing side once they leave the debate. It is not enough to blindly defend your stance, you must comprehend the stance of others.

Devils advocacy also gives needed practice. People usually feel more comfortable defending the side they agree with. It is often more of a challenge to defend a side you disagree with. This challenge has educational value, and it forces you to work harder for the win.

Really, this is one of my pet peeves of debate. Everyone ought to do a devil's advocate debate every now and again. What are your thoughts?

Preach it, brother
whiteflame
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10/14/2014 10:22:13 AM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 10/14/2014 5:59:22 AM, vwv wrote:
At 10/14/2014 5:12:48 AM, ESocialBookworm wrote:

Let's say that you debated against Islam.

If you win, you cry inside that your belief got crushed.

If you lose, you cry outside that you sucked so bad.

There is no reward.

...I really don't get this.

If I was Muslim, and I debated against Islam and won, that wouldn't be a cry-worthy moment. I'd still be Muslim, and I'd likely have a number of responses that weren't brought up in the debate. I might have a more solid respect for the other side, but that doesn't mean that winning will suddenly throw my belief system into uncertainty. If it did, then simply doing the research for the debate would be enough, and in that case, I wouldn't have understood the other side well enough to understand my own.

If I lost that debate, it would likely tell me either that I didn't understand the other side well enough, or that the arguments against Islam are untenable in debate. If it's the former case, I might be sad that I didn't do sufficient research, but I can get advice from others on how to improve. In the latter, I've affirmed my actual viewpoint. In either case, it doesn't make me sad - I've garnered a deeper understanding of the issue. The reward is knowledge. Debate isn't solely a game where the only thing we walk away with is a win or a loss.
JollyTodd
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10/14/2014 10:26:14 AM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 10/14/2014 10:22:13 AM, whiteflame wrote:
At 10/14/2014 5:59:22 AM, vwv wrote:
At 10/14/2014 5:12:48 AM, ESocialBookworm wrote:

Let's say that you debated against Islam.

If you win, you cry inside that your belief got crushed.

If you lose, you cry outside that you sucked so bad.

There is no reward.

...I really don't get this.

If I was Muslim, and I debated against Islam and won, that wouldn't be a cry-worthy moment. I'd still be Muslim, and I'd likely have a number of responses that weren't brought up in the debate. I might have a more solid respect for the other side, but that doesn't mean that winning will suddenly throw my belief system into uncertainty. If it did, then simply doing the research for the debate would be enough, and in that case, I wouldn't have understood the other side well enough to understand my own.

If I lost that debate, it would likely tell me either that I didn't understand the other side well enough, or that the arguments against Islam are untenable in debate. If it's the former case, I might be sad that I didn't do sufficient research, but I can get advice from others on how to improve. In the latter, I've affirmed my actual viewpoint. In either case, it doesn't make me sad - I've garnered a deeper understanding of the issue. The reward is knowledge. Debate isn't solely a game where the only thing we walk away with is a win or a loss.

I'm going to second this post. This is a great point. It's my impression--and I could be wrong--that people tend to become ideologically entrenched in whatever position they're taking (religion is probably the best example), and see debate as a way of sorting out the complexities and solidifying what, ideally, ought not be solidified. That's one purpose of debate, surely, but that's a necessary byproduct of taking a devil's advocate position and examining an issue from the opposing vantage point.
whiteflame
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10/14/2014 10:37:47 AM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 10/14/2014 5:59:22 AM, vwv wrote:
At 10/14/2014 5:12:48 AM, ESocialBookworm wrote:

Let's say that you debated against Islam.

If you win, you cry inside that your belief got crushed.

If you lose, you cry outside that you sucked so bad.

There is no reward.

One other note. If you're so entrenched in your belief that winning on the opposing side is an emotionally scarring experience, then you probably shouldn't be pursuing devil's advocacy on that topic. If you're so emotionally attached to the issue that you can't handle that possibility, then this type of debate is not for you. You have to put some distance between yourself and the emotions you attach to your arguments in order to do this. And that's also part of the point: debate isn't about appeals to emotion, it's about logically breaking down a topic and providing rational argumentation to support or oppose it. If you can't do that for both sides with a given topic, don't debate both sides on that topic.
bsh1
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10/14/2014 10:38:32 AM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 10/14/2014 5:59:22 AM, vwv wrote:
At 10/14/2014 5:12:48 AM, ESocialBookworm wrote:

Let's say that you debated against Islam.

If you win, you cry inside that your belief got crushed.

No. Just because you win doesn't mean that your belief got crushed or that it's false. I am a deist. If I debate against deism and win, it could just be that my opponent isn't all the good, not that my position is better. Really, you're blowing the consequences of this out of proportion. It's an intellectual exercise.

Nor am I saying that everyone should take a devil's advocacy debate on every topic, but that people should be more willing, and on most topics, to do such debates.

There is no reward.

False. The OP and other posters have observed a multiplicity of rewards.
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bsh1
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10/14/2014 10:40:01 AM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 10/14/2014 5:12:48 AM, ESocialBookworm wrote:

That's an interesting way to look at it.

I disagree. I think what bsh was trying to say was that to be a good debater, you have to be able to see both sides of a resolution- not to impress people. You need to understand why someone would choose the other side, to convince them why they are wrong, in your opinion.

It's not a matter of turning against what you believe in, or trying o impress people- it's a matter of having a larger understanding about a situation or resolution, to argue it better and smarter.

This hits on what I'm trying to convey fairly well.
Live Long and Prosper

I'm a Bish.


"Twilight isn't just about obtuse metaphors between cannibalism and premarital sex, it also teaches us the futility of hope." - Raisor

"[Bsh1] is the Guinan of DDO." - ButterCatX

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bsh1
Posts: 27,504
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10/14/2014 10:43:22 AM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 10/14/2014 7:14:23 AM, YYW wrote:
It is exceedingly rare that there is a debate that I cannot argue both sides for.

Me too.

I'm particularly good at arguing the libertarian perspective in things, because I sort of used to be a libertarian....

I'm glad you recovered from that unfortunate condition, lol

I'm not often willing to debate the side I disagree with, simply because I usually don't want too... at least now. That was not always the case.

Many people on DDO don't want too. What concerns me is that there are people who are never open to being devil's advocates.

LD resolutions are the exception.

Why?
Live Long and Prosper

I'm a Bish.


"Twilight isn't just about obtuse metaphors between cannibalism and premarital sex, it also teaches us the futility of hope." - Raisor

"[Bsh1] is the Guinan of DDO." - ButterCatX

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Natec
Posts: 84
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10/14/2014 10:55:01 AM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 10/14/2014 12:05:17 AM, bsh1 wrote:
I believe that debaters should not only debate on the side of a topic they agree with. To me, one of the hallmarks of a truly great debater is the ability to take up both/all sides of an issue well.

As I wrote in another thread: "If you cannot understand the opposition's point of view, then you cannot say that your own position was well-considered. Being able to effectively take on the mantle of devil's advocate illustrates your ability to understand a topic from all angles, and thus leaves you better qualified to take a position yourself."

Debaters who refuse to take positions opposite of what they believe usually, IMHO, are the debaters who give the least thought to the other sides position, and thus tend to discount valid arguments on the opposing side once they leave the debate. It is not enough to blindly defend your stance, you must comprehend the stance of others.

Devils advocacy also gives needed practice. People usually feel more comfortable defending the side they agree with. It is often more of a challenge to defend a side you disagree with. This challenge has educational value, and it forces you to work harder for the win.

Really, this is one of my pet peeves of debate. Everyone ought to do a devil's advocate debate every now and again. What are your thoughts?

One can fully understand an opponents argument without representing it in a debate setting. You aren't necessarily being ignorant or "blindly defending your stance" if you don't try to use the opposing sides arguments in a debate. While playing the devils advocate is one way you can achieve understanding, it doesn't guarantee understanding and one is not at all being ignorant if they don't argue for something they don' agree with.
Dude... stop...
bsh1
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10/14/2014 10:58:51 AM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 10/14/2014 10:55:01 AM, Natec wrote:
At 10/14/2014 12:05:17 AM, bsh1 wrote:
I believe that debaters should not only debate on the side of a topic they agree with. To me, one of the hallmarks of a truly great debater is the ability to take up both/all sides of an issue well.

As I wrote in another thread: "If you cannot understand the opposition's point of view, then you cannot say that your own position was well-considered. Being able to effectively take on the mantle of devil's advocate illustrates your ability to understand a topic from all angles, and thus leaves you better qualified to take a position yourself."

Debaters who refuse to take positions opposite of what they believe usually, IMHO, are the debaters who give the least thought to the other sides position, and thus tend to discount valid arguments on the opposing side once they leave the debate. It is not enough to blindly defend your stance, you must comprehend the stance of others.

Devils advocacy also gives needed practice. People usually feel more comfortable defending the side they agree with. It is often more of a challenge to defend a side you disagree with. This challenge has educational value, and it forces you to work harder for the win.

Really, this is one of my pet peeves of debate. Everyone ought to do a devil's advocate debate every now and again. What are your thoughts?

One can fully understand an opponents argument without representing it in a debate setting.

I disagree. There is a difference for example, between understanding someone by knowing them, and understanding someone by being them. Similarly, looking at an opponent's arguments may give you a good understanding, but being forced to defend those arguments gives you a richer, more complex outlook into those points.

You aren't necessarily being ignorant or "blindly defending your stance" if you don't try to use the opposing sides arguments in a debate. While playing the devils advocate is one way you can achieve understanding, it doesn't guarantee understanding and one is not at all being ignorant if they don't argue for something they don' agree with.

If done properly, if you invest effort into the exercise, I do think it guarantees understanding. I think there is a level of willful ignorance involved. When your forced to defend X, instead of simply rebutting it, you get a different perspective. Only when you have done both can you understand the full range of views on X.
Live Long and Prosper

I'm a Bish.


"Twilight isn't just about obtuse metaphors between cannibalism and premarital sex, it also teaches us the futility of hope." - Raisor

"[Bsh1] is the Guinan of DDO." - ButterCatX

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