- Mar 29, 2010
- Androgyne; they/them
- Basic Beliefs
- Natural Philosophy, Game Theoretic Ethicist
I agree that debate can devolve into a "talking contest," but I think it is often more than that. Some people will listen to reason and accept information. I know I do, and when I listen to a debate, I often agree with some of what the party I don't usually agree with argues. If I'm not sure something either debater says is true or false, then I do some fact checking. So if debate is considered that way, then you can learn a lot from it. Debates also allow people of different positions to immediately respond to the other side's objections. It can be illuminating to see how objections are handled that way.
When I was a child I thought as a child and did childish things. When I grew up I put those childish things away.
When I was a child I was taken advantage of by people who said things that were either false or unreasonable about me not sure how to respond effectively to defend myself or what I was saying. When I grew up and learned how to debate effectively, I put the childish and false claims of others away into the trash where they belong.
Knowing that debate (and rhetoric in general, free of logic) is by definition not a mode of discussion that is likely to yield answers. Rhetoric is something to be studied and understood surely, mut mostly so as to tear it up and throw it in the trash where it belongs, so as to undergird oneself with sturdier stuff.
It sucks that people abused you with rhetoric. It can even FEEL bad when people tear you apart with (not-rhetoric). The point is to recognize the difference between rhetorical modes and reasonable ones.
In any situation of conflict one or more people are wrong.
Of course there is a lot more complexity that is being run roughshod over for the heart of the point, but there it is: the reliance on rhetoric rather than reason is a scourge to be shamed out of existence. It is something to practice disarming and deconstructing, not originating.