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Old 2015-05-23, 12:01   Link #1
risingstar3110
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(Formal) Argument and Counter-argument

Honestly the reason that I start this thread is more like a shameless call for help.... Hard to explain, but I will have to participate in a sort of internet-argument~ish session, but have to be in a much more formal format. Means I can't be an ass, have to handle cheap personal attacks in a calm way, while avoid making any (obvious) personal attacks myself. Key is still to win the audiences, but get your opponent acknowledging your points are important too. So need everyone advice on a couple of situations, for example:

If my opponent making an absurd claim that obviously is false, but there for underlined implication. Let's just say for example if he/she claimed that. "Those (Asian) guys can't even handle real relationship. No one (or "None of the girls I know") like to date Asian men". In this case obviously the claim simply can't be true. But it was there to imply that one with Asian culture/ ethnicity is inferior when it comes to handling relationship and back with his/her biased view points. In that case, what should i do?
  1. Ignoring it will feel like I acknowledged such points
  2. Personal attacks or witty comment ("you/your friends must be unable to handle different culture/ a bunch of racists") are too obvious. ALso could reduce the formality of the session. And even if you win, your opponents will hate you anyway
  3. Disapprove it with personal experiences (I know these girls in high school who date and marry John who's a Filipino) will feel like I could only name a few exceptional cases
  4. Disapprove with official statistics(divorce rate or men at the age of 30-55 being single in Asian community is no higher than other ethnicity), could be called out that it does not relate to the original claim
  5. Dissecting their points ("How do you know none of your friends like to date Asian guys? Were they living in a suburb where they never have a chance to socialize with other ethnicity group?") will fall into their trap and waste too much of my time attacking it, rather than defending my stances.

I know this type of claim will come out at some points and one of the cornerstone for their argument. So I need a way to completely destroy it so they can't continue from there. Any suggestions?
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Old 2015-05-23, 12:25   Link #2
risingstar3110
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As I was writing above post. How's about:

"How could you make such an grand claim simply by asking a handful of your friends just a couple of times? Are you telling me that you talked to these friends every week or month on this topic?"
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Old 2015-05-23, 15:11   Link #3
Kafriel
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I believe the course of action to take depends directly on the subject of discussion. If your opponent's comment is petty and not really on-point, you don't want to start disproving it, because doing so derails the debate to lesser subjects, resulting in one or both of you going off-topic.

However, if their comment concerns the main subject of your debate, the easiest way to go about it is asking them to back up their words. Unfounded arguments collapse in a matter of seconds and half-baked answers are easy to disprove, so it would be your win.

Avoid personal attacks at all costs, don't be that guy, don't shrug off other people's opinions before proving them wrong, as you would come off as high and mighty (regardless of whether you are or not, it's not a favorable position among new auditors). You may choose to ignore a subject at hand and get back to it later, or readdress it if the opposing party brings it up again.

Major point: don't back up your facts through personal experience. First and foremost, it goes against the very pattern of formal speech. Statistics were created for this very purpose - a single man's word carries the value of a very limited sample, while sources at a national level have more accuracy and therefore, impact. If you are uncertain about specifics, don't go into that area, as your opponents may ask about something in particular and put you in a tight spot.

I can't really focus on any other points at the moment, but also remember that direct confrontation is not a sign of formality. Articulate your questions indirectly; as in, not ending a sentence with a question mark, but rousing suspicion on an ambiguous matter, leaving the crowd to wonder for themselves.
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Old 2015-05-23, 21:56   Link #4
monster
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Quote:
Originally Posted by risingstar3110 View Post
Let's just say for example if he/she claimed that. "Those (Asian) guys can't even handle real relationship. No one (or "None of the girls I know") like to date Asian men". In this case obviously the claim simply can't be true. But it was there to imply that one with Asian culture/ ethnicity is inferior when it comes to handling relationship and back with his/her biased view points. In that case, what should i do?
  1. Ignoring it will feel like I acknowledged such points
  2. Personal attacks or witty comment ("you/your friends must be unable to handle different culture/ a bunch of racists") are too obvious. ALso could reduce the formality of the session. And even if you win, your opponents will hate you anyway
  3. Disapprove it with personal experiences (I know these girls in high school who date and marry John who's a Filipino) will feel like I could only name a few exceptional cases
  4. Disapprove with official statistics(divorce rate or men at the age of 30-55 being single in Asian community is no higher than other ethnicity), could be called out that it does not relate to the original claim
  5. Dissecting their points ("How do you know none of your friends like to date Asian guys? Were they living in a suburb where they never have a chance to socialize with other ethnicity group?") will fall into their trap and waste too much of my time attacking it, rather than defending my stances.
Quote:
Originally Posted by risingstar3110 View Post
As I was writing above post. How's about:

"How could you make such an grand claim simply by asking a handful of your friends just a couple of times? Are you telling me that you talked to these friends every week or month on this topic?"
If it's anecdotal, then none of the above. Simply identify it as such to the audience and don't waste anymore time on it. Focus on countering actual supporting points to the other side's arguments.

(That's not to mention that that specific argument doesn't even make sense.)
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Old 2015-05-24, 06:37   Link #5
risingstar3110
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Originally Posted by Kafriel View Post
I believe the course of action to take depends directly on the subject of discussion. If your opponent's comment is petty and not really on-point, you don't want to start disproving it, because doing so derails the debate to lesser subjects, resulting in one or both of you going off-topic.

However, if their comment concerns the main subject of your debate, the easiest way to go about it is asking them to back up their words. Unfounded arguments collapse in a matter of seconds and half-baked answers are easy to disprove, so it would be your win.

Avoid personal attacks at all costs, don't be that guy, don't shrug off other people's opinions before proving them wrong, as you would come off as high and mighty (regardless of whether you are or not, it's not a favorable position among new auditors). You may choose to ignore a subject at hand and get back to it later, or readdress it if the opposing party brings it up again.

Major point: don't back up your facts through personal experience. First and foremost, it goes against the very pattern of formal speech. Statistics were created for this very purpose - a single man's word carries the value of a very limited sample, while sources at a national level have more accuracy and therefore, impact. If you are uncertain about specifics, don't go into that area, as your opponents may ask about something in particular and put you in a tight spot.

I can't really focus on any other points at the moment, but also remember that direct confrontation is not a sign of formality. Articulate your questions indirectly; as in, not ending a sentence with a question mark, but rousing suspicion on an ambiguous matter, leaving the crowd to wonder for themselves.
I can't find the specific statistics to counter in this case. But questioning their claim actually can be an excellent counter in this case. Thank a lot.

I guess I can ask them (e.g. "When you said no one do. How many people did you talk to , and how often you ask them that question? That method of finding out things are very unreliable. So I am really worried that you can make such remarkable conclusion just by talking to only a handful of people) . <---- Something like this?

But what if they exaggerate their number? (like they talked to 10 girls every week). Despite obviously no one do this kind of things? Should I point it out and ridicule it? And how should i do it? (Normally on internet I will just go sarcastic with "Really, you ask people on their romance interest every single weeks? Isn't that just too obsessive", but probably not in this case?)

Quote:
Originally Posted by monster View Post
If it's anecdotal, then none of the above. Simply identify it as such to the audience and don't waste anymore time on it. Focus on countering actual supporting points to the other side's arguments.

(That's not to mention that that specific argument doesn't even make sense.)
My worry is: if the audiences isn't familiar with anecdotal argument. Or feel that they can relate to such claim. Or already on the other side of the argument. Then not specifically elaborating the claim will just make it like I was avoiding the subject.

Not to mention, as ridiculous as it is, I think this is really one of their cornerstone, and one that i knew will be brought up. So if i can somehow ridicule it, it will benefit me later (assume they start to bring up some real evidences, statistics that i haven't prepared and lose ground in those)
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Old 2015-05-24, 08:35   Link #6
monster
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Originally Posted by risingstar3110 View Post
My worry is: if the audiences isn't familiar with anecdotal argument. Or feel that they can relate to such claim. Or already on the other side of the argument. Then not specifically elaborating the claim will just make it like I was avoiding the subject.
Oh, of course, you should probably explain why it's not a good enough evidence to use (in most cases), but that shouldn't take more than a few sentences. My point is that you probably don't want to end up debating over anecdotal experiences, especially if it's in a more formal setting, which as far as I know, is usually timed.
Quote:
Not to mention, as ridiculous as it is, I think this is really one of their cornerstone, and one that i knew will be brought up. So if i can somehow ridicule it, it will benefit me later (assume they start to bring up some real evidences, statistics that i haven't prepared and lose ground in those)
The point shouldn't be to ridicule, but to invalidate their arguments. So it's fine if they're using anecdotes as a cornerstone of their argument, because that's just one more line of argument that should be easier for you to invalidate.

And, actually, if they do bring some real evidence to backup their argument, then it wouldn't matter if you somehow manage to ridicule their anecdotes because those do not matter as much in the presence of real evidence.
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Old 2015-05-24, 14:13   Link #7
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Quote:
I guess I can ask them (e.g. "When you said no one do. How many people did you talk to , and how often you ask them that question? That method of finding out things are very unreliable. So I am really worried that you can make such remarkable conclusion just by talking to only a handful of people) . <---- Something like this?
Just ask them to state their sources, simple as that. A reliable source is defined by credibility and sample variety.

Quote:
But what if they exaggerate their number? (like they talked to 10 girls every week). Despite obviously no one do this kind of things? Should I point it out and ridicule it? And how should i do it?
You don't know if anyone's exaggerating. I used to talk to 13 girls every week back in September and some friends of mine had 3-4 girlfriends simultaneously. While this may sound ridiculous to some people, it's not impossible (and true in this case). Still, even if someone is exaggerating, simple denial is usually enough. It can't be that many... depending on their reaction, you can discern if they are lying or not.

Anyway, back to the issue at hand, even if someone wanted to start a debate about women's preferences in guys, it is too vague an aspect to elaborate on. Maybe they were not honest during their inquiry because, while they like dating Asian guys, they feel weird talking about it or don't want to admit it for whatever reason, maybe the general area where the poll took place has historical or ethnical impact on the people asked, there are simply too many reasons to question the credibility of such a poll that it is turned moot.

Finally, since the debate is obviously date-related, bear in mind that things tend to change, e.g. compare how people used to date 10~15 years ago and how it's done today, the internet was still underused and since then there has been an increase in dating sites etc., transport has become cheaper/more available and communication is, of course, instantaneous via the various social networks that have dominated the net.

I believe this covers the case of arguments and how to counter them, we've already treaded into specific material.
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Old 2015-05-24, 22:27   Link #8
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Originally Posted by monster View Post
Oh, of course, you should probably explain why it's not a good enough evidence to use (in most cases), but that shouldn't take more than a few sentences. My point is that you probably don't want to end up debating over anecdotal experiences, especially if it's in a more formal setting, which as far as I know, is usually timed. The point shouldn't be to ridicule, but to invalidate their arguments. So it's fine if they're using anecdotes as a cornerstone of their argument, because that's just one more line of argument that should be easier for you to invalidate.
Thank, i will keep that in mind. Keep it short and focus

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kafriel View Post
Just ask them to state their sources, simple as that. A reliable source is defined by credibility and sample variety.

You don't know if anyone's exaggerating. I used to talk to 13 girls every week back in September and some friends of mine had 3-4 girlfriends simultaneously. While this may sound ridiculous to some people, it's not impossible (and true in this case). Still, even if someone is exaggerating, simple denial is usually enough. It can't be that many... depending on their reaction, you can discern if they are lying or not.

Anyway, back to the issue at hand, even if someone wanted to start a debate about women's preferences in guys, it is too vague an aspect to elaborate on. Maybe they were not honest during their inquiry because, while they like dating Asian guys, they feel weird talking about it or don't want to admit it for whatever reason, maybe the general area where the poll took place has historical or ethnical impact on the people asked, there are simply too many reasons to question the credibility of such a poll that it is turned moot.

Finally, since the debate is obviously date-related, bear in mind that things tend to change, e.g. compare how people used to date 10~15 years ago and how it's done today, the internet was still underused and since then there has been an increase in dating sites etc., transport has become cheaper/more available and communication is, of course, instantaneous via the various social networks that have dominated the net.

I believe this covers the case of arguments and how to counter them, we've already treaded into specific material.
Yeah, i know it should be easy to point out the data in this case being unreliable and biased. Are those being asked presenting a fair samples. Or do their mindset/ opinion changes with time. Especially when the speaker already had a biased mindset as well.

The difficult part is how to make it subtle but convincing, without looking like i was too nitpicking, or ended up too distracting with picking up their argument and failed to present mine. I guess this is the hard part
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Old 2015-05-25, 02:11   Link #9
SuitUp
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Tbh, debate is based 80% in how well the debater resonated with the crowd, the fact that your argument is solid or not it's usually besides the point if you can sell it just right, how that relates to your issue at hand? Well, it depends on the objective of your argument, for one, you're never going to convince the other party they're wrong, so the objective is either to convince judges or a crowd of random people, there líes the strategy to take, if the setting is formal with a moderator and judges the best approach to pick apart any fallacious argument is to point out the fallacy currently in use on said argument, also presenting statistical evidence to back your answers helps. If the objective is to sway a crowd you yourself can dwell on fallacies and anecdotical evidence to counter another fallacious argument, you just have to try and adjust your use of underhanded tactics to the current biases of the crowd, i.e you aren't going to pitch creacionist bs to people at CERN as much as you wouldn't pitch actual science to WBC crazies.
So in short, you can either:
1. Expose the fallacy in the argument against your own and pitch yours with as much factual evidence as possible (the actual objective of a debate).
2. Go down to the level of the fallacious argument and came up with a more convincing fallacy of your own (when winning is the objective, at all costs).
3. Or just plain ignore the argument at hand, and pitch your own (when winning is not the objective, but rather preaching is the target).
Those are the 3 basics schools of debating I've come across in my time picking verbal fights on my teenage years
Hope it helps, mate
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Old 2015-05-25, 03:35   Link #10
risingstar3110
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Just come back from it.

Honestly, it's a bit of disappointment. The result actually was more on the positive side. However the whole debate was sidetracked so much and i was lured away from where I'm strong at. And wasting time on things that can't be won.

Worst of all, the moderator wasn't strict on his job. Means i would be constantly cut off in the middle of presenting my point before my opponent retreat to the "if you believe so then this is a waste of time/I have nothing to say". Damn it, i was still in the middle of typing my post!!! Where is the real life "ignore" button!!!
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Old 2015-05-26, 22:08   Link #11
Irenicus
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It was real time online debate? Oh dear.

But yeah, despite the more formal structure of...formal argument, the victory is always the one that comes out looking prettier, not logically superior. #JustHumanThings

Of course, I learned that when I actually have to convince people in real life, I would go with "You've made an excellent point, I agree. I would also add that/have you considered [completely opposite thing]." At least in the more indirect cultures. Anecdotally this doesn't work on the Dutch, who would completely miss the point.
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Old 2015-05-27, 02:17   Link #12
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I don't understand. Was this a debate conducted under formal debate-competition rules, or was it just an online "debate" where the "winner" was determined by audience votes?

If it's the latter, then yes, I agree that much of the debate would depend on the presentation. It's an amateur event pitched at a lay audience that ultimately seeks to be entertained rather than to be informed.

But in a formal debate competition, substance matters more. As in, the side that argued its case better, or supported it with stronger facts would score more points. Also, points are awarded for effectively rebutting the opponent's arguments.

You can't expect to win on fluff alone in formal debate competitions, which are typically conducted by extra-curricular groups of schools and institutions of higher learning, with faculty serving as judges.
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Old 2015-05-27, 07:37   Link #13
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Allow me to present another perspective. I admit, I'm not the best source for this, but allow me to present a more dirtier, but highly efficient way of getting away with stuff even if you do feel like being an ass and not too knowledgeable about the subject matter. My goal is not to teach anyone to argue or even be a better logician. However, my goal is to hopefully give you some perspective on how to tackle the common situations so you may realize there's many ways to approach a matter, as long as your foundation is sound.

Archon's guide to winning logically, even if you don't know (mostly) anything

Has someone written something on the internet that made you mad? Do you want to hurt them back? Well, put that intention back, because this would lead to the typical internet argument-- aka a lot of screaming without substance. It's best if you knew what you're talking about better than the other person. Or at least convince people you do.

While the pursuit of logical thinking is a fine endeavor, it can be difficult when you're doing it on the internet. This is due to the nature of the communication medium where things can get quickly out of control just due to the mere speed of it. There's not enough time to conduct research but emotions can run high because tone is difficult to convey. Words get typed and entered so quickly that it's easy to type something offensive but it can't be taken back, and this can lead to escalation.

But people have to be right! So what happens? You get a bunch of people who don't know what they're talking about and want to be right. Indeed, there's a sentiment that arguing on the internet is a pretty stupid thing to do, and it often boils down to convincing an audience reading this on whose points are more sound. Well, at least make sure your arguments are structured better! Of course by now, you may realize I'm suggesting the person that loses is the one that gets too emotionally involved in the matter (The medical term for this is "butthurt") You don't want to be this. But in this context where it's so easy for it to happen, not getting butthurt can give you a huge edge.


In no ways is this going to really formulate a good discussion. But you may force people to concede points and at least you can meet at a halfway point to deescalate the situation or just piss them off enough to end this shit. In fact, this post is largely bullshit too. What matters is that this line of logic is just not fallacious enough for most people to counter, mainly because they are too stupid. In fact, if I didn't include the previous sentence, people probably would take me seriously. In the event that you're discussing this with people that are intelligent enough to counter this, unfortunately, well, you'll actually have to be knowledgeable and shit. But fuck that. I like being lazy. In a best case scenario, you'll force everyone involved to actually think. And thinking is good!

Now, you might feel like I'm being condescending here. But it's for a good reason. You can spot the logical fallacies in my post and learn to realize them, as well as wonder about what gets glossed over.

Also, ad hominem statements are not inherently wrong. For example, if someone says Tokyo is located in France, you calling them a dumbass is not a proper rebuttal. However, you may display a map showing the error, and then use that as reasoning of their ignorance, thus extrapolating their ignorance of popular geographical locations to be indicative of a lack of education or substandard cognitive ability (aka, they're a dumbass). Of course, this also lets you take the "I say it how it is" which hard counters any politically correct criticisms at your tone or presentation. "I'm willing to take in consideration people's feelings, but I think we should all watch out though, in order to have a good discussion. I really don't want to let it get out of control."

The basic idea is to break every argument down, find an exploit and sit on that exploit until it breaks, until they get angry and claim that point doesn't matter, eventually removing the subject from debate. For example, you may claim that the generalization of "Asians" is simply too broad because it covers up to 1/8th of the world's population and covers a wide variety of distinct cultures. The best thing that can happen is if someone corrects you, and it's more than 1/8th. Then you can claim that it makes your point even more relevant. It's even better if they are the one to make this note, because then it magnifies their error. It's a cheap way of using a small mistake so that they'll make a bigger one. Pedantry is an auto-loss. Don't do it unless it's really going south!

At this point you may start ridiculing such generalizations. The common thing to do is to strawman them into claiming that they are racist, but if you do such, then you will have developed an accusatory tone. Instead, you want to bring up the suggestion that there are perspectives that they have never considered or been aware of, and do go into the details. This way, you can just brand them as being insensitive without outright calling them racist and stupid and you both can save face (but then anyone that sees this will see this person as foolish).

A common rebuttal is based on your wording. This is a big pitfall, because it will destroy your entire statement. Thus, you should avoid absolutist statements like "most" or "none". Much more vague words like "many" or "some", or my favorite "a group that is not insignificant in my experience" makes it harder for people to simply find exceptions and shoot you down.

Another thing is to consider the validity of their statement. After all, stereotypes are founded in reality. Their logical flaw is that you can't affirm consequents, And thus a lot of the associations are backwards. By acknowledging their position instead of dismissing it as "bullshit" (even if it is), you'll find yourself more convincing. But at the same time, you still need to keep poking holes in it. The typical opening for this is "It could be true. But even if we accept this is true, that still doesn't lead to...." You'll look like the better person who tries to understand all viewpoints. Therefore, you really need to understand your opponent's agenda and goals. Work them backwards, and then introduce alternatives that start to slowly cause their arguments to leak. If they concede, you can start to either drop the issue altogether, and if they stubbornly refuse to concede anything, they'll just look increasingly assholeish and generally will reach a point where you can just dismiss the whole thing.

Examples
X: Why did you buy the latest phone? It's so expensive!
You: Well, it is popular, and I thought it was worth the cost.
X: If everyone jumped off a bridge, would you?
You: Of course jumping off a bridge would be a bad idea. But I don't get why jumping off a bridge is analogous to buying a phone. I think it's very inconsiderate to equate the two. I know someone that had a friend that tried to jump off a bridge... [Note: Does not require an actual friend that tried to jump off a bridge] and honestly I think it's inappropriate to trivialize such a thing such as suicide.
X: Quit taking things so seriously! It's just a phone!
You: That's right. it's just a phone. Sometimes you just gotta live life even if others don't agree.

X: You know, that family of [x] race has moved over. Perhaps you should move away.
Wrong Anwer
You: What? Just because they're [x]. That's racist!
Try again...
You: Why do you think that people of [x] race are like that?
X: Well, I used to live in a poor neighborhood, and it was always people of that race that would steal my car and vandalize my house. Also, haven't you seen the news? It's always those people.
You: Ah, hate those criminal types myself. But I know a lot of people like that who aren't like that. There's this nice family I always meet [They don't actually have to exist]. I know there are people like that but I've seen bad people of all races.
X: It's a fact though. Don't you know those people have higher incarceration rates.
You: That is true. I get what you're saying and am glad you're looking out for me. But the thing is, have those studies been normalized for objectivity? I mean, factors like socioeconomic factors [At this point, google this term and copy/paste whatever appears on page 2, preferably from an EDU site]
X: Do you have any studies to the contrary?
You: Not on me right now, but where did you get yours? Did you get it from Wikipedia?
X: Uhhh... yes, but...
You: Yea, that's a problem. Wikipedia is great sometimes, but sometimes it's not totally accurate since anyone can edit it. Don't worry. I use it a lot too, but hey who cares, we're not professors or some shit anyways.
X: Be careful though.
You: I will.

Anyhow, you really want to look up the various types of fallacious arguments, and take each into consideration. Once you have such an edge, aim to de-escalate the situation and put in these subtle suggestions that in fact, you are right. And yes, I was wrong. You will have to learn the basics being the few basic fallacies but also pay active attention to common fallacious arguments that are always tossed around. But once you stomp them, you'll become more adept at dealing with many of the variants.
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Old 2015-05-27, 13:10   Link #14
maplehurry
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Originally Posted by TinyRedLeaf View Post

If it's the latter, then yes, I agree that much of the debate would depend on the presentation. It's an amateur event pitched at a lay audience that ultimately seeks to be entertained rather than to be informed.
I recently heard a quote about constructive dialog: “Don’t argue the exact point a person made. Consider their position and respond to the best point they could have made.”

And internet debate is like the opposite of that.
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Old 2015-05-27, 22:08   Link #15
Irenicus
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Originally Posted by maplehurry View Post
I recently heard a quote about constructive dialog: “Don’t argue the exact point a person made. Consider their position and respond to the best point they could have made.”

And internet debate is like the opposite of that.
Well, formal argumentation, even in its best form as TRL posited, would have been counterproductive to constructive dialogue still. Less disreputable, probably an effective learning exercise, but constructive dialogue? Nope. Humans don't work like that.

#JustHumanThings
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Old 2015-05-27, 22:30   Link #16
TinyRedLeaf
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A pity that Ascaloth is busy with wedding preparations (he may already be married by now). He was this forum's most enthusiastic proponent of formal debating terms and concepts.
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Old 2015-05-28, 06:09   Link #17
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Originally Posted by TinyRedLeaf View Post
I don't understand. Was this a debate conducted under formal debate-competition rules, or was it just an online "debate" where the "winner" was determined by audience votes?

If it's the latter, then yes, I agree that much of the debate would depend on the presentation. It's an amateur event pitched at a lay audience that ultimately seeks to be entertained rather than to be informed.
It probably was a bit on the later side, like there's moderator to pass on results, but the way he moderate is heavily affected by the audiences reactions anyway (and it's quite a small group of audiences so...yeah, the reaction of one or two guys from the stance could easily sway the mood)

Honestly i would have came out of it feeling like I have lost. But as mentioned, surprisingly the results were quite positive for me. While my opponent probably will feel the opposite

*Now move on to digest Archon post*


Edit: but yeah one thing is, i definitely would have explored the points much better in writing format. In real debate however, it's harder to keep my emotions in check, so will be easily drawn in the mood, especially against silly points. Like you will hear something really stupid, and thought your opponent just put his foot in his mouth big time, but then the moderator/ audiences would be like "aren't you countering what he just said". Leaving me puzzled with "will i get away with calling that stupid...?". Not to mention, too polite in thsoe case and just let them cut of my points midway
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Old 2015-05-28, 11:49   Link #18
Archon_Wing
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Well, you have to realize something.

You don't have to disprove anything. It's up to them to make sure their arguments work-- you're not there to do their arguments for them. [I outright remind people this sometimes.] Thus, the most important thing is to build your own while acknowledging them as a possibility (without outright dismissal). Shifting the burden of proof to you is an intellectually dishonest tactic and it's definitely advantageous for people do this. I see it all the time on forums when people state something as fact and clearly anyone that doesn't know just needs to educate themselves. [common version is "I've already gone over it many times before"] Never concede this one; doing so is surrendering to any circular logic and you can't win then. You will have used all your time dealing with theirs and you'll have none yourself (just like politics)

And since you're in front of an audience like that, it's definitely best to play safe and avoid big mistakes. Since people tend to pay attention to big things so to speak, I think playing to concede small things so that they can make bigger mistakes is highly profitable. Of course, you will toss any edge away by getting angry, thus you simply cannot use certain words at all. Though you could depersonalize it, but that comes off as passive aggressive. Is "That's not a very reasonable thing to say" is better than "You are unreasonable"? I'd still suggest it anyways, since the first sentence is much easier to reason as opposed to the second not to mention more relevant.

Oh and by the way. The straw man is the worst thing you can do too; so you really need to understand what they're getting at. If you misrepresent their point, then your entire time is wasted too. By the same token, you can reject any attempts from them as well easily. Building a strawman is like making a castle out of toothpicks. The moment you find someone that's aware, they'll just topple it over.
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Last edited by Archon_Wing; 2015-05-28 at 12:23.
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Old 2015-05-28, 13:53   Link #19
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Yeah, i means a lot of these things i know. But without practicing, my brain just go for the easier option (e.g your example of "That's not a very reasonable thing to say" vs "You are unreasonable").

Now i think about it, how do you practice debate really?

I have the same feeling during that debate with returning to play basketball after didn't play for a decade. You see the ball, you know it will go there, but the moment you jump to bounce on it, it was already a half of second late. Same thing with formal debate for me. You hear their argument, you construct in your head perfectly to counter it, but by the time you speak out, it all became an illogical mess. The timing was off. Wrong words and tones were used. Wrong emphasized points...etc....
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Old 2015-05-29, 05:40   Link #20
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I practice debate by trolling forums picking difficult topics to present on various boards and try to bring out as many viewpoints as possible.

You really need to just get a grasp of the various perspectives that exist out there, and the internet certainly has many.
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