Words from a Father

Husband of One, Father of Four

Tag: debate

504. Confidently Discuss

Discussion and debate never hurts. Have the discussion. More importantly, do your best to understand the other side without sarcasm or hyperbole, but in fairness to their position. Be confident in your stance, clear in your presentation, and congenial in disagreement.

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457. Explain Pro-choice

A difficult moment for a pro-choice advocate comes when they try to explain to an eight year old exactly what it is they are supporting.

440. Well Spent

You should spend more time taming your tongue than taming your hair; more time training your thoughts than training with weights; more time taking in ideas than spelling out your own; more time seeking truth than gathering verbal ammunition; more time investing in others than seeking your fame; more time arguing for justice than arguing your case.

396. Essay: Argumentation Categories

I believe there are four main categories of argumentation, with one subcategory that is combined as needed with the primary four:

  1. Religious: Either defending or vilifying the authority of spiritual works.
  2. Rousing: Appeals made on emotional grounds. Generally, these are smokescreens and hold negligible weight upon scrutiny. Because each side displays equal passion and because riling emotions is not the front where progress can be made, emotional arguments should be swept away almost immediately. This includes sarcasm and verbal sparring.
  3. Reasoning: Logical progressions, syllogisms, comparisons and contrasts, philosophy, and the like.
  4. Research: Clinical studies and meta-analyses. These, however, do not reflect true daily situations and cannot account for every possible variable.
  • Reality: The undeniability of our human experience; existentialism in its true meaning; what we go through each day. This subcategory is reflected in some of the arts — music, movies, poetry and such — and fits easily with the prior categories and can be used to support them at will.

Though, for instance, the religious may use their sacred text more and the analytical may use research more and the ignorant may use sarcasm more, all sides utilize all four categories to undergird their perspective. They are wise to do so. No single category can solve a disagreement, but cumulatively they clarify each perspective overall.

Know when and when not to use each.

288. Amiability

Supercilious disregard is as undermining as overt hostility.

Even when you strongly disagree with someone, keep your emotions in control and your attitude amiable.

284. Tolerance and Intolerance

Intolerance is the unwillingness to allow variant perspectives, opinions, beliefs, or choices to be discussed; it’s the outright denial of their validity, leaving no room for dialogue.

Tolerance means you understand a perspective, but it does not necessitate celebrating or encouraging that perspective. Tolerance employs a cordiality toward the other person even while disagreeing.

283. Opposing Viewpoint

Having a viewpoint is not enough. You must be able to explain the opposing viewpoint — without being derogatory or sarcastic — in such a manner that they feel adequately represented. Then you may systematically break down the arguments into its parts and offer it up to scrutiny.

185. Extreme Examples

When debating, it is an illegal move to use an extreme example to represent or support a normal scenario. Don’t do it and don’t allow it against your argument. Call it out immediately.

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