debate

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debate

Postby TerraFrost » Wed Mar 03, 2004 6:41 pm

while the point of debate may be to convince others of your view, the end result seems to be, more often than not, that people just end up convincing themselves of their own view more than they convince anyone else. this is sorta similar to descartes belief that the only thing we can be sure of is ourselves and our own arguments. so, at this point, one has to wonder... why do we have to argue with others to convence ourselves? i dunno... maybe i'll have something more to add on the subj. later, heh :)
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Postby Nuxius » Thu Mar 04, 2004 6:44 am

When I debate, I don't really debate for myself or for the person I'm debating against.

Typically, if they're going to come out and directly state their opinion and debate with you, then they must think pretty strongly about their opinion. Plus, with the way people's egos are these days, most would rather look like an idiot and keep on arguing, even when they themselves have realized they are wrong, rather than take a hit to their ego and admit they were wrong.

When I debate, I'm debating to convince the person out there who is listening in/reading the debate, who is unsure, or only partially sure what they think about the subject.

It's like with Presidental debates, Kerry isn't going to debate with Bush to make Bush say, "Oh my god, Kerry is the best thing ever to happen to this country. Vote for him!". They're debating to convince us, the "audience" that they are right and the other person is wrong.



Thinking about it a bit more, the only time this doesn't apply for me is when it's someone who I really care about. Usually if the other person cares about you too, they are more likely to take a hit to their ego and admit they are wrong then someone else would.

But if it's someone who I don't know, don't care about or I know is a total ego-maniac, then I won't even waste my time arguing with them if there's no one else around who I think might care about the subject.
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Postby TerraFrost » Thu Mar 04, 2004 7:00 am

When I debate, I'm debating to convince the person out there who is listening in/reading the debate, who is unsure, or only partially sure what they think about the subject.


of course, if the debate becomes rather long winded, then the only people who would have the patience to read through the rest of the thread must already have some vested interest in the subject and from that that they probably have an opinion, already.

It's like with Presidental debates, Kerry isn't going to debate with Bush to make Bush say, "Oh my god, Kerry is the best thing ever to happen to this country. Vote for him!". They're debating to convince us, the "audience" that they are right and the other person is wrong.


that's a good point. but what about debates that aren't conducted in full public view? and also, i believe debates do have virtue even if the participants aren't debating for the sake of others, as it does seem to give them a reason to think about the subject more. for example, evolution isn't something i normally think about unless i'm debating someone who would oppose it. as for why people don't think about things until people would debate them, i dunno, heh.
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Postby Nuxius » Thu Mar 04, 2004 7:09 am

I'll openly admit I usually try to avoid long winded debates, as usually the loooong posts are full of garbage wrote by someone who is trying to create a stall tatic because they've already realized they are wrong (or just got bored). Not always, of course, but most of the time.


And yeah, you're right on that last part. I guess my thing is that unless I feel like I know enough about something to make a great arguement, then I usually won't bother. And I'm lazy, so using an debate to think about something to help me refine my views a bit more isn't something I think about much. (hmmm... I hope that wasn't confusing :lol)
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Postby TerraFrost » Fri Mar 05, 2004 5:48 am

I'll openly admit I usually try to avoid long winded debates, as usually the loooong posts are full of garbage wrote by someone who is trying to create a stall tatic because they've already realized they are wrong (or just got bored).


i suppose its a matter of perspective, but i've never thought that anyone i've ever debated with "realized that they are wrong". i may think they're being thick headed, but i doubt there doing it, intentionally (and that's even assuming that they're being thick headed, at all).

also, i believe there are some debates which are almost guaranteed to be one sided and bad. an example would be when someone is trying to bring about change. while those who have been planning to bring about change may have been planning on what they would say for months on end, those who haven't are forced to debate improvisationally, and as such, are going to have much weaker arguments. that doesn't mean they're wrong to oppose change, but rather, that they just haven't had as much time to prepare. they could try to take the time, but... if they did, the change which they would have sought to stop could take place before they even got their defense off the ground. as such, they really do need to reply, then and there. the debate may suffer, but in situations like that, its necessary.

more often than not, however, the necessity to make a speedy response is erroniously percieved. a big reason for this probably does have to do with, as you mentioned, ego, pride, and overconfidence...

on another note, i often debate not to convince someone that i'm right, nor to convince others that i'm right, but rather, for the sake of debate. for example, i consider myself to be an agnostic - someone who doesn't have an opinion, either way, on god's existence. however, despite that fact, i do enjoy debating god. in varrious threads, here at FJ, i've posted my qualms with the ontological argument, which attempts to prove gods existence, and i've attempted to argue that gods existence can't be disproven. in a sense, i guess i'm playing devils advocate, but just mentioning that brings up another topic... why do people play devil's advocate in debate?

finally, and out of curriosity, which do you think comes first - the opinion, or the evidence to back that opinion up? i think it's opinion, myself, although that begs the question... where does that opinion come from?
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Postby Nuxius » Fri Mar 05, 2004 7:41 am

Funny thing is, is that there are people out there like me who are the exact oppisite. I'm a horrible pre-planner, I've always done all of my best work "on the fly". Even back in HS/college, whenever we wrote papers, but had to have a outline to turn in too, I would write the paper first and then go back and look at it to make the now worthless outline. I've always been that way.

On the "for the sake of debate" note, it just depends on how much you enjoy debating. Someone like Tsian or Ugu who love to debate probably have a similar opinion to you there; me, I don't either hate nor love debate. I just do it for the reasons I've already stated.

On the last part, I agree with you, after all, it's our nature to have an opinion. It's how you look at that initial opinion that can make the difference. Me, I look at it much the same way scientists look at an hypothosis. It's just a pre-judgmental guess.

Then I go out and look to see whether I'm right or wrong, and find reasons for or against both. Then I evaluate both sides and see if I should stick to my initial opinion or change it. I then pretty much stick to it until I find ample reason to check it out again (like a host of new information on the subject or something).

I guess you can say my opinions are an ongoing process, constantly evolving, because the last thing I want to be is a close minded fool.
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Postby TerraFrost » Fri Mar 05, 2004 8:25 am

Funny thing is, is that there are people out there like me who are the exact oppisite. I'm a horrible pre-planner, I've always done all of my best work "on the fly". Even back in HS/college, whenever we wrote papers, but had to have a outline to turn in too, I would write the paper first and then go back and look at it to make the now worthless outline. I've always been that way.


i tend to be more confident with work i've done on the fly, but i believe i also tend to get lower grades on work done on the fly, heh. i think the reason for that is that i've had less time to think about the material - less time to appreciate its complexity.

On the last part, I agree with you, after all, it's our nature to have an opinion. It's how you look at that initial opinion that can make the difference. Me, I look at it much the same way scientists look at an hypothosis. It's just a pre-judgmental guess.


that sounds like a nice ideal, although i'm not so sure how close to reality it is. maybe its just me, or maybe a counter example just hasn't hit me, but... i can't recall a time in which i haven't held the same general views as i do now. i can't recall a time in which i've been against abortion, against homosexuality, for creationism, against piracy, etc. i would think that someone who was open minded would sway between views, and i haven't really done that. is it because the cases made against abortion, against homosexuality, for creationsim, and against piracy are weak? i dunno... they always *seem* weak, to me, but such consistency may suggest that i also have a predisposition to judge against them.

of course, i also imagine that most people don't tend to shift from believing in creationism to believing in evolution on a periodic basis, heh. so are there no open-minded people in the world, or am i defining open-mindedness to tightly / narrowly?

also, it seems that there are varrious kinds of debates. this debate seems to be more of an exploratory debate. we're not tearing into each other, but more seem to be building on ea. others ideas.

tearing into people seems to be more for those who would debate for the sake of debate. i, myself, find it has a certain exhilerating feeling, that debates such as this don't have, but i suppose with the "high" that can result from it, there has to be an equal "low" to balance it out, and someone has to experience that "low"...
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