Friday, December 21, 2007

Debating in the arena of ideas

We do a lot of debating by our comments on this website, so I thought I’d do some research on debating. I don’t know about you guys, but I don’t have much experience debating other than among friends or on this site. So, since I had the time, I thought we could all benefit from this.

The only way to make progress in this world we must debate; there is no way around it. And while most people are content to not be involved, a few brave people will slip into the arena of ideas for a discussion.

And while many of these discussion will be intelligent, some are not.

To have an intelligent and successful debate in the arena of ideas, one must first form an opinion, and Lord knows that just by you reading this right now, and just by coming to this site, you and I have an opinion.

Preferably ones opinions are supported by fact, but Lord also knows that doesn’t always happen either.

It is very important, especially in this new arena of the Internet, that one stick to the issue at hand, and not sway from topic to topic. Sometimes this is difficult to do when one has so many great ideas rolling around inside her head.

It is also important that one does not attack people on a personal basis. Neither should one attack the person being debated debating (me or you), nor the person responsible for the topic of discussion (i.e. President Bush, Ted Kennedy).

It must be noted here that most liberals view conservative thought as a lie, and the opposite is true of conservatives. This is an obvious observation, and bringing it up in debate will not move forward an argument.

Likewise, there is no way one can possibly know if someone is lying; only God knows what people are thinking. There is nothing more puerile within a debate when one debater names the other as a liar. The person who does this has instantly lost the debate.

Other than moving ones position forward by the use of facts, the most important aspect of debating is controlling emotion. When someone becomes angry in a debate, or starts spewing vitriole and personal attacks, that person has lost the debate -- period.

It’s fine that the issues cause anger, but it is not fine to say things to invoke anger. Progress would never have been made in this world if past debaters participated in personal attacks. For progress to be made, all the facts need to be placed on the table and tossed about in a constructive manner.

The demeaner of the discussion may become harsh, and shouting may occur, but in the end the debaters should be able to shake hands and move on with their lives without hating the other person just because he disagrees.

Sticking to these simple rules will generate an intelligent discussion by keeping the debate on the issues, and should result in an educational and fun experience. You may even change your mind on an issue or two, I have.

You can always do a Google search on debating if you’re interested in impoving your skills, or you may check out this great site, or you can simply stick to what you’ve been doing.

Either way, well continue to have fun.

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