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Old 03-22-2010, 05:12 AM
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Default A Guide To Debating, by Spock

Debating, a skill essential for a democratic world, although very few people know how to voice effective and relevant arguments. Here is a guide for all those who want to know how to debate effectively and defend their points with conviction and relevance.

Definition: The topic in debate must be debatable, in other words the points involved must be moot, do not distort the moot!

Argument: Explaining why a certain point should be accepted. That is the definition of an argument. Things to use in your argument: Examples, Facts, Demographics, Statistics, Quotations, all of these can provide an exceptional push, and put some weight behind your argument.

Now these are the most important factors to your argument structure:

•Relevance

•Organisation

•Consistency

•Clarity

•Effective use of evidence

If you follow this structure you should be fine. No-one can fully dictate to you your debating style, that will be specific to you, but get used to following the five points above.

Things to avoid:
  • Personal abuse
  • Irrational attacks on your opponent

Rebuttal:

This is a very important part of a debate. Your opponents points will still stand if you do not rebuttal, even if his/her argument is very weak, it will still stand. Rebuttal generally means to rebut a point, to counter it. You should remember this while writing a rebuttal.

•An argument may be wrong in fact or logic. If so, say how and why.

•An argument may be true but irrelevant.

Watch out for these, they are important. Further it is not necessary to rebut everything, only rebut what is relevant, but if you feel like going all in go for it.

Now, I cannot tell you exactly how to conduct your argument, but remember some of what I've outlined, once you get good, an argument should flow out of you, often with little effort.

Things to remember:

•Grammar

•Punctuation

•Syntax - Sentence structure

•Spelling

These four are fundamental, if you ignore the very basics of a debate then your argument can sound sloppy and uneducated. I personally try to maintain high standards, but sometimes even experienced debaters slip up.

Constructive criticisms:

This is, perhaps less important, however they can be used in a number of situations. I will provide an example of a constructive criticism used during a debate.

Unconstructive: "Your argument sucks because you are a douchebag, you don't know your history."

This definitely doesn't help and compliments personal abuse rather than actual criticism. Now notice how the constructive version differs.

Constructive: "I take issue with this fact in your argument: Berlin fell to the Red Army in May 1945 not September as you would have everyone believe."

Go and challenge some points, it's always a healthy thing to do.



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Last edited by Spock; 01-04-2012 at 10:39 AM.
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Old 03-22-2010, 07:05 AM
Olo'eyktan
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Well actually...
Quote:
Originally Posted by Spock View Post
Constructive: "I take issue with this fact in your argument, Stalingrad was not recaptured by the Red Army until early 1943, you have stated that it was recaptured in 1941, clearly it was not."
It'd be, "I take issue with this fact in your argument: that Stalingrad was not recaptured by the Red Army until early 1943, when you have stated that it was recaptured in 1941. Clearly, it was not."


I'm a punctuation/grammar freak.

Last edited by Woodsprite; 03-22-2010 at 07:07 AM.
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Old 03-22-2010, 07:11 AM
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Originally Posted by Woodsprite View Post
Well actually...

It'd be, "I take issue with this fact in your argument: that Stalingrad was not recaptured by the Red Army until early 1943, when you have stated that it was recaptured in 1941. Clearly, it was not."


I'm a punctuation/grammar freak.
Its not really relevant, i'm married to commas and I'll never change. But I'll make this an exception. I'm not changing everything though, I kind of meant for it to be spoken so......

Thankyou for the spot anyway.
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Last edited by Spock; 03-22-2010 at 07:15 AM.
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Old 03-22-2010, 08:02 AM
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Debating on the internet reminds me of this.

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Old 03-22-2010, 08:07 AM
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Debating on the internet reminds me of this.

The fundamental difference here is that we know when to "come to bed".
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Old 04-16-2010, 11:24 PM
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I never paid attention to this post, but I must admit there is something to learn from here. It's some good advice certainly.

Question: Debate to seek the truth or debate to defend a considered right position?
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Old 04-16-2010, 11:28 PM
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Originally Posted by ZenitYerkes View Post
I never paid attention to this post, but I must admit there is something to learn from here. It's some good advice certainly.

Question: Debate to seek the truth or debate to defend a considered right position?
Usually the latter. Debating to seek the truth though? Interesting.
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Old 04-16-2010, 11:35 PM
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I debate on the internet not primarily to bring the other side to agree, but to allow those reading to learn from both my opponent and I. The issues always need to be explained in both perspectives. It's a wonderful learning experience.
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Old 04-17-2010, 01:42 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Woodsprite View Post
I debate on the internet not primarily to bring the other side to agree, but to allow those reading to learn from both my opponent and I. The issues always need to be explained in both perspectives. It's a wonderful learning experience.
Indeed it is. For me and one other person its therapuetic too.
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Old 04-19-2010, 05:59 AM
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Lots of great tips in your post Spock.

I debate with people because when they stand behind their point when it is incorrect and I try to get them to believe the correct thing. At least that is why I do it most of the time.
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Old 04-19-2010, 06:08 AM
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Originally Posted by Fighter-of-Wars View Post
Lots of great tips in your post Spock.

I debate with people because when they stand behind their point when it is incorrect and I try to get them to believe the correct thing. At least that is why I do it most of the time.
Cool, that would be debating for truth then, yes.
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Old 04-19-2010, 07:26 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Spock View Post
Cool, that would be debating for truth then, yes.
If you're mistaken but are more convincing than the rest, then you're making them be as mistaken as you are. Think of the Ptolemaic geocentric system that was imposed over the Aristachial heliocentric system: the first one was taught as the good one for over 1600 years.

That's the bad thing of oratory and politics: the important thing is not to be right but rather seem like you are.

Hence why I value much more a "together we seek for the truth" debate rather than a "you're wrong because of this, this and this" discussion. The first one includes cooperation from all sides, the second one is a battle for the ownership of rightness.

If that made any kind of sense...
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Old 04-19-2010, 07:46 PM
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Thanks for the guide Spock, I have much to learn.
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Old 04-19-2010, 08:42 PM
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A very good post Spock. Very interesting.

I would also make the point in some debates that people should remember that both sides can be right, especially when it relates to a personal opinion.

It really frustrates me when people propose a personal opinion as if it is a fact.

There is a difference between facts and opinion.

For example:

Neytiri killed Quaritch with two arrows is a fact in the film.

But the question os whether or not Neytiri fell in love with Jake at first sight is an opinion that is determined by the perception and preferences of the viewer. Both answers yes and no can be correct.
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Old 04-20-2010, 07:01 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ZenitYerkes View Post
If you're mistaken but are more convincing than the rest, then you're making them be as mistaken as you are. Think of the Ptolemaic geocentric system that was imposed over the Aristachial heliocentric system: the first one was taught as the good one for over 1600 years.

That's the bad thing of oratory and politics: the important thing is not to be right but rather seem like you are.

Hence why I value much more a "together we seek for the truth" debate rather than a "you're wrong because of this, this and this" discussion. The first one includes cooperation from all sides, the second one is a battle for the ownership of rightness.

If that made any kind of sense...
Definitely made sense. You are dead right, I often debate from a point that may seem wrong, however in doing this you can expose how that point is right or may even be more wrong, if that makes sense. Therefore everyone comes out more enlightened.

Quote:
Originally Posted by neytirifanboy View Post
A very good post Spock. Very interesting.

I would also make the point in some debates that people should remember that both sides can be right, especially when it relates to a personal opinion.

It really frustrates me when people propose a personal opinion as if it is a fact.

There is a difference between facts and opinion.

For example:

Neytiri killed Quaritch with two arrows is a fact in the film.

But the question os whether or not Neytiri fell in love with Jake at first sight is an opinion that is determined by the perception and preferences of the viewer. Both answers yes and no can be correct.
Yes yes yes, both sides can be right. Facts and opinions yes, also, that is where logic can enter a debate, there are 3 cows in that field. That is a fact, you can extend that by saying, there are 3 cows in the field of which 1 is brown. An opinion that can relate to this scenario would be something like how healthy the cows are by their appearance. Facts aren't subjective, opinions are.
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Last edited by Spock; 01-04-2012 at 10:41 AM.
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