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The Nature of Debate

tabularasa
Posts: 200
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12/30/2014 9:32:28 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
Does debate always have to be an adversarial process? Can it not also be about mutual learning? Some of my greatest pleasures are intelligent conversation, analysis of logical argumentation, and truth seeking. I do not feel that I always have to be right. I enjoy hearing other people's arguments, and if the argument is good enough (or is the best argument), I am willing to consider changing my beliefs.

What are your thoughts on the nature of debate?
1. I already googled it.

2. Give me an argument. Spell it out. "You're wrong," is not an argument.
Range
Posts: 29
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1/1/2015 9:25:26 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 12/30/2014 9:32:28 PM, tabularasa wrote:
Does debate always have to be an adversarial process? Can it not also be about mutual learning? Some of my greatest pleasures are intelligent conversation, analysis of logical argumentation, and truth seeking. I do not feel that I always have to be right.

I actively employ this. Not that it can be seen here, but in face-to-face conversations in a group of debaters or people that can take a joke and not massacre me for it, I like to sit down and say "Science sucks, we can only believe in god because blah blah blah." That's how I learn. There might not be too much new info I can pick up there, but then the friends, or at least peers that I'm talking with, sometimes say something wonderful. It's surprising what people hide until it's practically forced out of them by these rash resolutions.
People can't resist telling me a thing or two in response, and at that point I have a certain percentage, a probability that something they say will rewrite the beliefs I find myself on.

Debate started off being about reaching a common goal with two opposing parties. I think of it as best geared toward politics. "On balance," is a beautiful term crucial for debates of this kind, where even if one case is better presented, as long as the other is more relevant, weighs more toward the resolution, it wins. That's excellent.
It's not about winning in that situation, but reaching a better decision by letting someone with a different viewpoint show you something. Two people are debating. One has a gun and the other has no way to defend themselves, however that first person has the ability to listen to his opponent before killing him, in order to strengthen his views and better the world with them.

When I formally debate, at tournaments and so on, there are some resolutions, some topics that I feel are biased toward one side inherently, and those are the ones I choose to argue for. We flip a coin and I win, and my opponent is cursing in his head, "Well damn now they'll pick the easier one - the one that will most probably lead them to a victory.." Yet I don't. If it's early on in the tournament, I lose in order to learn. Then I start winning. My school starts looking at the bracket like, "Huh, Range what's with the lose/lose/win/win/win/win stuff you got going on?" So I tell them that I learned how to debate the inherently worse, weaker side, and that lets me win.

My point in that last paragraph is, It's about learning no matter how much you might want to simply win. I always want to win, win allll the tournaments, get all those trophies, but I'll do it in a different way that will allow me to climb even higher on the elo brackets and be prepared to debate even the weaker side.
Most say it's not about learning. Use that against them. They'll blindly keep racing forward and take every shortcut, then be different and learn from the longer road that you then must take because the shortcut is filled up with fools, resulting in traffic, while you prance along on the outside.

I realize this turned into a speech/lecture on my part, but I'm fine on that. What do you think about all of this?
Anything can be justified. You just need a solid framework and some duct tape.