Great Debates

Discussion in 'Politics' started by Gillette, May 8, 2010.

  1. Gillette

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    I'm not even sure this will fly but I was intrigued by the idea so I'm putting this out there to see if there's any interest.

    What if we were to select topics and two volunteers to debate different sides of the issue within a given time span? If anyone other than the two selected have anything to add they can PM the person representing their viewpoint with the info. Meanwhile the debate can be held in a poll thread and at the end of which (no early voting please) everyone can vote for which position they found most persuasive.

    Please post topics you feel would make for a clear debate.
    Also, if you're willing to represent a given position on any topic mentioned please say so.

    Gay marriage vs. civil unions vs. no unions at all?
    Abortion?
    Gun control?
    Health care reform?
    Iraq/Afghanistan/Iran?
    Welfare?
    Foreign policy?
    Immigration laws?
    Does Islam = Terrorism?
    Fred Phelps being allowed to live?

    We have too many intelligent people with decisive views for this not to happen. What say you?
     
  2. B_Nick4444

    B_Nick4444 New Member

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    open to it
     
  3. B_VinylBoy

    B_VinylBoy New Member

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    What the heck... it sounds interesting.
     
  4. D_Andreas Sukov

    D_Andreas Sukov Account Disabled

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    Lol, nice idea, but you think no one will just post into it and ruin it? Id like to see it though
     
  5. Gillette

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    A girl can dream, can't she? I think the initial post for the thread would outline that only X and Y may post to it and to hold off voting until the end.
    Anyone posting in it other than the two designated would lose face for lack of self control so hopefully that would be enough to prevent it.

    Cross our fingers and hope for the best?
     
  6. Bbucko

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    This sounds interesting, depending on the participants (obviously).
     
  7. midlifebear

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    I like the idea. Everyone likes to vote.
     
  8. B_mitchymo

    B_mitchymo New Member

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    I like the idea a lot but i feel it might serve to create personal tension between the debators because you really need to be in firm opposition to make a good debate and that could go bad. Having said that, most political topics deteriorate into a 1 on 1.
     
  9. Gillette

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    'Cause there's no person tension now?

    I don't think I'd call going from open discussion to 1 on 1 deterioration unless the points have been abandoned in favour of personal attacks. As far as personal tension goes, one way to eliminate the emotional ties we have to our beliefs would be to assign each debater the view opposite their true opinion. Very challenging to do an honest job of it without deliberately undermining the points.
     
  10. justasimpleguy

    justasimpleguy Active Member

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    How would we do it? Vote for 2 people to debate, then leave them to it on their own thread?
     
  11. JTalbain

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    :argue: :argue: :argue: :argue: :argue: :argue: :argue:


    :bryce:

    My predictions for how debate will go. :biggrin1:

    I'd be all for it though. I'm surprised no one has started one up in the other forums for circumcision, with as long as that has been debated informally (170+ pages now...).
     
  12. Gillette

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    I was kinda hoping for volunteers but it doesn't look promising. I'd take on a subject but I leave for vacation in a couple of days.

    Could be done as each presenting their position, then a rebuttal posts ending with closing statements. I was never on a debate team so I'm not sure how formal debates are structured. But, yes on your question of everybody else staying out of it. Ione can dream.
    No kidding. That would be something.

    As to the insults the first to veer off the topic and devolve to insults loses.
     
  13. D_Tim McGnaw

    D_Tim McGnaw Account Disabled

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    OK well if this is purely a test of debating skills then this would be the best way to go, or alternatively picking positions for debaters by lottery so they don't know which side they'll be arguing until they presented with the task of doing so. As I say this would be a test of debating skills and rhetoric, both of which I would be interested in.

    But going this way will not necessarily be a test of the politics involved and nor will it be a good way of judging the issues involved because it would merely become a test of the debater's skill at debating.

    Votes would become "which debater do you think won the debate?" Rather than "What do you now think about the topic which was debated". Personally I would actually prefer the former question anyway but that's just me, I think that most people's minds on most issues would be already made up so the latter question is a bit redundant.
     
  14. Kotchanski

    Staff Member Moderator Gold Member

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    If it would help resolve some of the issues with this idea (and assuming the mods don't disagree, they might I've not asked) I'd happily add the polls once the time limit is over to avoid early voting and could remove comments left by bystanders who didn't read the first post (which I assume will contain instructions and a description of the debate about to take place?)
     
  15. Gillette

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    That would be awesome, Aconitum.

    Hilaire, I like the lottery idea for a contest of debating ability. I won't say I wasn't hoping that this could be a cleaner way for those with entrenched beliefs to hash it out ('cause I was). But if the lottery system occasionally forces those from one position to give the other side a good researching it wouldn't be a bad thing either.
     
  16. D_Tim McGnaw

    D_Tim McGnaw Account Disabled

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    I agree, it's important to be as versed in the cogent arguments of the ideas you don't agree with as it offers you perspective on the ideas you do agree with.
     
  17. D_Tully Tunnelrat

    D_Tully Tunnelrat New Member

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    I like it the idea. Hilaire's points are particularly apt. I would hope the final question would be or "Did you learn anything in the debate, which might cause you to reconsider your position?" Too often we come into a discussion with nothing to really discuss, as our minds are often already made up.

    It's been said that politics is the art of the possible, I'd like to see debates focus on attempting to resolve the problem, rather than proving your current position right. To that end, you'd have to assign pro and con positions because the predominant opinions on here are liberal, and the few right wingers we have would be overwhelmed, worn out, or both.
     
  18. D_Tim McGnaw

    D_Tim McGnaw Account Disabled

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    That's interesting. Though it's less debate and more imaginative brainstorming/role play type discussion. Something to consider.
     
  19. HazelGod

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    That's one part of it. In competitive debate, the same topic is used for all debates for parts of a season, usually a couple months. Debators do not know until entering a round which case he will be presenting.

    Lincoln/Douglas (value) debates focus on a topic that is presented as a declarative statement, with rounds being judged based on the quality and persuasiveness of the logical construction (or deconstruction) of the competitor's case. This is distinct from Cross-Examination debate, where the focus is more at cramming in as many citations and references as your time allows.

    One of the most memorable L/D topics I encountered was this...
    Resolved: A victim’s deliberate use of deadly force is justified as a response to physical abuse.

    One debater takes the affirmative position and builds his case in support of the resolution, while the other takes the negative position and has the option of either presenting his own case deconstructing the resolution, of declining to present a case and using his time to attack the case of his opponent, or attempting a mix of both.

    The case presentation during rounds flow like this:

    1. Affirmative's constructive case is presented
    2. Negative directly cross-examines affirmative
    3. Negative presents case and/or rebuts affirmative construction
    4. Affirmative directly cross-examines negative
    5. Affirmative presents first rebuttal of negative arguments
    6. Negative presents rebuttal of affirmative arguments
    7. Affirmative presents final rebuttal
    Obviously, the format would need some modifications to be adapted to this forum, but one principle should remain, IMO...any point of argument that is presented without address or rebuttal by an opponent in their next delivery is considered dropped and cannot be brought up for rebuttal by the opponent in subsequent speeches.

    Basically, if I make a contention that you don't address, you can't come back later and attempt to do so. Together with the time constraints, this forces participants to look at their cases holistically and prevents them from harping on a single point and then shifting focus to another when they feel they're losing the argument.

    As a judge, several factors come into play, but the one weighed heaviest is the logical validity and soundness of the arguments as presented. Speculative or argumentative contentions put forth without substantiation are OK, but it's viewed favorably if the debater can cite some authority to back up his claim. This was the big reason I chose L/D over C/X debate (along with the fact that C/X debates use two-man teams)...in C/X, the judges tally the number of "points" each team "won" in the round, and the side with the higher number wins. In L/D, those "points" are weighted by the judge as to their relevancy to the resolution being debated...so a debater could win 9 of 11 "points" raised and argued during the round, but still lose because he doesn't carry the point most significant to the topic.
     
  20. Drifterwood

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    Let's start with circumcision :biggrin1:
     
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