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Thread: Debating

  1. #1

    Debating

    Why is it acceptable for people to attack your character in a debate? Why is this so incredibly common, especially in younger people? Does lack of experience with debates mean you have to resort to denigrating your opponent痴 character instead of attacking their ideas?

    Lastly, if you have to denigrate their character, why not just call them stupid instead of attacking their morality?

    Why is this so common nowadays?

    I知 a fairly aggressive person though I知 also kind of soft in a strange way whereby personal attacks get to me *REALLY* strongly. Whenever I have a debate with someone I値l in the moment feel as though I have absolutely no leg to stand on if I知 getting personally attacked (especially if I知 getting attacked by multiple people at the same time), and yet (often!) read back and realize that usually what I知 saying is reasonable and should not have caused the (emotional) reaction that it did. I absolutely hate this practice of attacking the person instead of this idea. Like, personally i just dont understand this mindset. I cannot convince myself i am right just because the other person is an idiot. Idiots can have good ideas, too... they need not be their own.

  2. #2

    Re: Debating

    Opinions and thoughts are not inherently deserving of respect. That's a snowflake ideology. If someone holds a fucking stupid opinion, such as "I think legally everyone should have to shit on my chest because I have a shit fetish" then calling their opinion fucking stupid is entirely a valid response, if not the most strictly intellectual. I hate the prevailing opinion that we should pretend that some people aren't just inherently fucking idiots and their opinions can be dismissed simply by that virtue. We don't give the day of light to every unhinged psycho spouting nonsense at the street corner, and try to engage them in well-intended debate, and if we can't counter every point they make then accept them as the intellectual victor.

    I conversely hate the tone policing (itself an ad hominem attack) where one shuts down someone engaging emotionally in any sort of argument or debate. Showing emotion does not invalidate one's opinions. Bringing emotion into an argument is not a criticism of one's stance. Arguing certain points of view is inherently harmful, as it may spread misinformation and muddy the waters of discourse, and discussing how these types of discussion are harmful is not counter-productive nor an ad hominem attack.

    I also think that if someone's frame of logic or argumentation is is so warped that they are already outside of the regular rules of debate, that it is their state of mind or logical thinking that should be attacked. Look at someone like Ben Shapiro: he spits an enormous amount of falsehoods and misquoted, misrepresented facts so quickly that there's no way someone arguing in good faith can counter all his points, it would take an entire introductory college course. Instead it is more productive to point out the flaws in his pattern of arguing rather then the flaws in his points themselves. Say another person takes everyone that a given person says, or written in a given book, as the truth. You can't argue against the statements a person like that makes; their axioms of truth are fundamentally different than yours. You can attack those axioms, or their pattern of thought, directly though. Think of it as someone saying "1+1=4" and you say "no that's wrong" and they're like "well I think 1=2". You cannot argue against their point that 1+1=4 without arguing against their base method of thought.
    Last edited by oops_ur_dead; October 25th, 2020 at 03:21 PM.

  3. #3

    Re: Debating

    選 hate the prevailing opinion
    Thats not the prevailing opinion by any stretch of the imagination. In any event dismissing your opponents ideas by virtue of who they are doesnt work because its possible for absolute idiots to be right by sheer dumb luck (and stupidity isnt the only reason they may (generally) be wrong; stupidity when an enduring personality trait is unchangeable, but not all factors are immutable.

    In any event, this is not how scientific or academix debates work. You dont sit and attaxk your opponent preciselt because your opponent can be right, even if by accident. The only reason why you壇 do this is either becahse you dont know how to debate, or you just want to make uourself feel better.

  4. #4

  5. #5

    Re: Debating

    Quote Originally Posted by Oberon View Post
    選 hate the prevailing opinion
    Thats not the prevailing opinion by any stretch of the imagination. In any event dismissing your opponents ideas by virtue of who they are doesnt work because its possible for absolute idiots to be right by sheer dumb luck (and stupidity isnt the only reason they may (generally) be wrong; stupidity when an enduring personality trait is unchangeable, but not all factors are immutable.

    In any event, this is not how scientific or academix debates work. You dont sit and attaxk your opponent preciselt because your opponent can be right, even if by accident. The only reason why you壇 do this is either becahse you dont know how to debate, or you just want to make uourself feel better.
    Yes, someone who is really dumb can be right every so often. Applying a heuristic to their opinions that they can be dismissed (not necessarily claimed as wrong, just not worthy of consideration) by virtue of that makes you reasonably right in most situations.

    It is not how scientific or academic debate work. However, most of the online internet debates you engage in (or any sort of politics debates tbh) are not scientific or academic debates. That is my point; it's a matter of practicality versus rigour. The scientific/academic response to someone like Terry Davis ranting about the CIA hunting him down is to rationally explain how that isn't possible, or unsupported by evidence. The practical response that doesn't waste your time is to understand that he's mentally ill and dismiss his points by that virtue.

    These kinds of intelligent debate only happen when everyone is following the rules of rationality. That rarely actually happens.

    Quote Originally Posted by Oberon View Post
    Also, I think saying 惣our opinion is fucking stupid is counter productive because if our line of thoughts differ that significantly, I can literally say the same thind about your opinion - and it wouldn稚 even matter because you couldn稚 change my opinion.
    Sure, if you want. I won't be too upset.

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  9. #9

    Re: Debating

    You definetly should be allowed, in society, to dismiss someone and his points because you find him dumb: that's called freedom of speech and is a basis of democracy. However, it being a possibility doesn't mean it's necessarily the right thing to do, and it definetly doesn't "lead to truth". Else, you open the door to dishonest or stupid people dismissing a good point because it was expressed by an idiot. And if you're consciously and intentionally resorting to ad hominems in a debate, you're closed and not looking for the truth, which makes the whole debate pointless. So, sure, you're free to say whatever you want in a debate... which doesn't mean you should. Unless you're only looking to defeat your opponent in a duel of words, but that's a completely different story.
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  10. #10

    Re: Debating

    And by the way. Yes, it's simpler to dismiss by using ad hominems, and it's a necessary shortcut to avoid self-brain frying. But there's an infinitely better way to dismiss... just think about it silently, laugh at it privately, and don't even enter the debate :P
    Spoiler : Quotes :
    Quote Originally Posted by S-FM Hey peter View Post
    There are two wolves inside you. One is addicted to crack. The other one is also addicted to crack. You are addicted to crack.
    Quote Originally Posted by Stealthbomber16 View Post
    MM IS AN ANTI-VAXXER
    Quote Originally Posted by BananaCucho View Post
    Mallow are you really an anti vaxxer
    Quote Originally Posted by The Lawyer View Post
    Besides your lamp and your refridgerators, do you find anyone else suspicious?
    Quote Originally Posted by Renegade View Post
    God is a goofy loser.

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  13. #13

    Re: Debating

    To be fair: I recognize that there are some things that are completely idiotic and while I do not agree with the idea of calling the person who made them retarded, whether directly or indirectly, I can see why someone would do that. That isn’t what my post was about, however; I don’t even think that such situations even represent the majority of thr cases where such personal attacks are employed. Rather, I see them occurring in debates about emotionally laden topics snd they’re most commonly employed by people who can’t or won’t debate for various reasons.
    Last edited by Oberon; October 26th, 2020 at 01:54 AM.

  14. #14

    Re: Debating

    With the internet comes an inherent "casual" approach to discussing anything due to the disconnect of not speaking face to face with the person. With this social disconnect it's easy to lack empathy, pick up on social cues, etc. It's easy to not give a shit.

    Like oops said to have an effective debate, both parties have to agree to the rules. Unless you are putting a gun to someone's head to force them to adhere to the rules, most people are going to go "off track" at some point because fuck you. The only place you will find this kind of debate culture you want is in nerd debate societies or academics and even they aren't perfect.

  15. #15

    Re: Debating

    To be clear I don't advocate for going around calling people retarded and thinking that's good debate. I was just making the point that there are a lot of people who hold that all opinions are valid and should be considered which is something I disagree with.

    I think the greater issue is the matter of debate versus discussion. Structured debate on a certain topic, where both people follow the rules and debate in good faith, has no room for leeway in this sort of thing. However, if we're talking about real-world issues and discussion I advocate for the approach of stepping back and looking at the big picture occasionally to get a better sense of a person's point, and the ways through which they are trying to sway opinion and change the flow of discussion.

    For example, let's say that you are engaged in a discussion about climate change with a person. They show you articles about emissions, greenhouse gasses, etc. Then you find out this person is an executive at an oil company and has a vested interest in moving public opinion in a certain direction regardless of what the facts on climate change truly are, and thus will not publicly accept any evidence or conclusions to the contrary, or admit defeat. This is something that deserves to be pointed out, not because it invalidates their actual arguments, but because it frames the discussion in a context where one can more easily notice biases in the types of arguments that said person makes, and to consider carefully what information they present and omit and how they may try to sway others through deceit. Very strictly, this is an ad hom attack and is not necessarily kosher debate strategy, but it does reframe the discussion into a bigger picture where we can look at motives behind goals and how those motives will influence the discussion. This also applies for any sort of fallacious and underhanded arguments people try to use, such as the Ben Shapiro example I gave. If you have a friend who constantly lies about everything, it's more useful and practical to let people know that their stories are probably made up rather than sit there and try to refute each story individually with facts and evidence.

    There is a lot of precedent to this type of stuff in actual science and debate. Authors of research papers have to disclose funding sources and conflicts of interest. If you see a paper that says that sugar is actually great for you and extends your lifespan by 10 years, you'll think differently of it and scrutinize it more if you learn that the study was funded by Coca Cola.
    Last edited by oops_ur_dead; October 26th, 2020 at 04:36 AM.

  16. #16

    Re: Debating

    Facts don't care about your feelings.
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  17. #17

    Re: Debating

    I agree with your example. I don't think thats an ad-hominem fallacy since that's directly relevant to the scope of the discussion; my problem isn't with that - I find that totally legitimate in that scenario. It's more with people who feel the need to attack you when you disagree with them that I have an issue with. I notice this A LOT on stackoverflow (especially when you criticize meme langauges like Haskell/C++); people just say 'you don't know what you're talking about' or various other things, which would be okay if they really knew what they were talking about LOL. But most of the time, they don't. And I find it quite irritating to have to prove to someone who just won't listen that 'I do know what I'm talking about'.

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