Ornery.org
  Front Page   |   About Ornery.org   |   World Watch   |   Guest Essays   |   Contact Us

The Ornery American Forum Post New Topic  Post A Reply
my profile login | register | search | faq | forum home

  next oldest topic   next newest topic
» The Ornery American Forum » General Comments » Would you live by these rules for debate?

 - UBBFriend: Email this page to someone!    
Author Topic: Would you live by these rules for debate?
Greg Davidson
Member
Member # 3377

 - posted      Profile for Greg Davidson   Email Greg Davidson   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
See flowchart for Rules for fair debate

quote:
Caveat: This chart is about debate and conversations that are supposed to be debate-like. It does not apply to every conversation you have. Therefore, the principles of this flow chart are not meant to be used in fights you have with your spouse.

Posts: 4178 | Registered: Dec 2006  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
djquag1
Member
Member # 6553

 - posted      Profile for djquag1   Email djquag1       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Those seem like fair rules for a debate, but I would point out that this is not strictly a debate forum. I sometimes just post here to comment on things, or to bounce my thoughts and ideas off of others. I'm not necessarily looking for a by the rules debate.
Posts: 769 | Registered: Jan 2010  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Grant
Member
Member # 1925

 - posted      Profile for Grant   Email Grant       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by Greg Davidson:
See flowchart for Rules for fair debate

Good

Better

Both pipe dreams. The best of human beings are blind to their assumptions and stick to them like glue. The first step to understanding is understanding that YOU are no different then everybody else in that regard.

Posts: 3264 | Registered: Jul 2004  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
jamwired
Member
Member # 6600

 - posted      Profile for jamwired   Email jamwired       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by djquag1:
Those seem like fair rules for a debate, but I would point out that this is not strictly a debate forum. I sometimes just post here to comment on things, or to bounce my thoughts and ideas off of others. I'm not necessarily looking for a by the rules debate.

Ah, but there was a time long ago, a golden era for this forum, if you will, when the brightest of minds gathered and debated to ad nauseum. Every post was packed and backed with facts, flow charts, and intellectual, scholastic stimuli, coming from all walks of life, and every man with letters. Then, one day, they began to arrive...


the cheerleaders.

[ July 14, 2013, 11:13 PM: Message edited by: jamwired ]

Posts: 16 | Registered: Sep 2010  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Greg Davidson
Member
Member # 3377

 - posted      Profile for Greg Davidson   Email Greg Davidson   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Grant, that Mortimer Adler passage is terrific. For those who don't like to click:

quote:
From Chapter 22 of How to Think About the Great Ideas: From the Great Books of Western Civilization by Dr. Mortimer J. Adler

Discussion is the method by which adults learn from one another. And as so conceived, it differs quite strikingly from that sort of learning in which an older person teaches a younger person.

Real discussion consists of two or more persons talking to one another, each asking questions, each answering, making remarks and counter-remarks. Such conversation is at its best when the parties to it tend to regard each other as equal. That is the heart of the difference between learning by discussion and learning by instruction. In adult learning by discussion, each party to the discussion is both a teacher and a learner. Just as in the political republic, each citizen is ruler and ruled in turn, so in the adult republic of learning, each adult is both teacher and taught.

With this background, let us consider the nature of adult conversation. And let's consider the rules which should govern it if such conversation is to develop into good, profitable discussion, profitable as a means of learning.

There are three things that are required of conversation for it to become discussion in this good sense.

First of all, the subject matter being discussed must be the sort of subject matter which permits genuine discussion to take place. Not everything is discussable, and not all the things which are discussable are equally discussable. For example, facts are not discussable. If there is a question of fact, the best thing to do is to go to a reference book and look it up. You can't settle a question of fact by discussion. Ideas are discussable, and the more fundamental the ideas, the more controversial they are, the more discussable they are.

The second condition or prerequisite for good discussion is that right motive must prevail. The purpose we have in carrying on our conversation must be to learn, and if persons get engaged in serious discussion of serious themes, then their aim must be to get at the truth, not to win the argument.

The third and perhaps the most important requirement of good discussion is that we should talk to the other person, not just at them. This means that listening is important, an essential part of discussion. In fact, listening is more important, even as it is more difficult, than talking. Because if one person doesn't listen to another, what that person says in the course of the conversation is not going to be very relevant.

I just finished telling you the three basic requirements that conversation must meet if it is going to become discussion, that is profitable for learning. I would like to give you some of the rules that we have to observe to make discussion profitable in this way. These rules fall into two large groups: first, a set of rules governing the use of your mind in discussion; second, a set of rules governing the control of your emotions in discussion.

The five "intellectual" rules:

* Be relevant, which means "find out what the issue is and stick to it." Divide the issue into its parts; every complex issue has parts, and move along from one part to another.
* Don't take things for granted. State your assumptions and see if you can get the other participants to state theirs. Make an effort to find out what the other person's assumptions are.
* Try to avoid arguing fallaciously. Don't cite authority as if they were conclusions. Don't argue ad hominem -- that means, don't argue against the person as opposed to against the point. Don't say to the other person, "Oh, that's the kind of thing Republicans say or Democrats say or Socialists say," as if calling it by that kind of name necessarily proves it wrong. That is a terrible fallacy of guilt by association.
* Don't agree or disagree with the other person until you understand what that person has said. This rule requires you in the course of discussion to say to the other person, "Now let me see if I can say in my own words what you have just said." And then having done that, you turn to them and say, "Is that what you mean?" And if they say, "Yes, it is; that's exactly what I mean," then you are for the first time privileged to say, "I agree with you," or "I disagree with you," and not one moment sooner.
* If, after understanding the other person, you do disagree, state your disagreement specifically and give reasons why. You can tell the other person what is wrong with their argument in four very sharp, specific ways. You can say: 1) "You are uninformed of certain relevant facts and I will show you what they are." 2) "You are misinformed. Some of the things you think are relevant facts aren't facts at all, and I will show you why they are not." 3) "You are mistaken in your reasoning and I will show you the mistakes that you have made." 4) "You don't carry your reasoning far enough. There is more to say than you have said and I will tell you what it is." These are all very polite and much to the point.

The three "emotional" rules:

* Keep your emotions in place. That means, keep them out of the argument, for they have no place in the argument.
* Catch yourself or the other person getting angry. Starting to shout, overemphasizing the point by repeating it again and again, using sarcasm, teasing, getting a laugh on the other person, all these are signs that someone's temper is getting out of hand.
* If you can't control your emotions, at least beware of the results of emotional disorder. Realize that your emotions can lead you either to say things you don't mean, or stubbornly refuse to admit things you really do see.

The hardest thing of all to do in discussion is to know how to ask good questions, the kind of questions that by their very nature generate good discussion. This is the hardest thing because asking good questions is much, much harder than answering them.

We ought to be able to distinguish between questions of fact on the one hand, and questions of interpretation on the other. Such questions as whether something is the case or exists, and on the other hand, what it means, what it implies, what consequences it leads to.

And then we should be able to distinguish between questions of fact and questions of value. Here we ought to know if we are asking about whether something happened, or whether it was good; how someone behaves, or how they should behave; questions of what is the case, as opposed to questions about what should be or what ought to be.

It's very important to distinguish between asking someone what they think, and asking them why they think so. Asking for a statement of belief or opinion is different from asking for the reasons to support that belief or opinion. And above all, we should be able to ask hypothetical ("what if?") questions and recognize them.

I wish that I did a better job of following these guidelines myself. I try, and occasionally I re-read this essay to remind myself of the ideal that I can aim for.


Posts: 4178 | Registered: Dec 2006  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Grant
Member
Member # 1925

 - posted      Profile for Grant   Email Grant       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by jamwired:
Then, one day, they began to arrive...

the cheerleaders.

Hey, I resemble that remark! You saying you don't like my tights, short skirt and pom poms? [Razz]

I don't actually recall a golden age on ornery. It must have been before the election of 2000.

Posts: 3264 | Registered: Jul 2004  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
D.W.
Member
Member # 4370

 - posted      Profile for D.W.   Email D.W.   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
The first link lost me on "Examples: * The position is more reasonable and has more supporting evidence should be accepted as true. * The person asserting a position bears the onus of demonstrating it's truth." Some truths/beliefs are not easily demonstrable. More reasonable is certainly not something I will automatically accept.

Once a discussion is agreed to in the flow chart #1. is pretty much antithesis to forum discussion even if it is useful for 1 on 1 debate.

A forum "debate" is not a "debate club" debate. The rules are different. For the most part we have "discussions" where we sometimes attempt to sway opinions. More often refine our own opinions on the grinding wheel of this community. We don't "debate".

[ July 14, 2013, 11:43 PM: Message edited by: D.W. ]

Posts: 4308 | Registered: Apr 2007  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
jamwired
Member
Member # 6600

 - posted      Profile for jamwired   Email jamwired       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by Grant:
quote:
Originally posted by jamwired:
Then, one day, they began to arrive...

the cheerleaders.

Hey, I resemble that remark! You saying you don't like my tights, short skirt and pom poms? [Razz]

I don't actually recall a golden age on ornery. It must have been before the election of 2000.

HI Grant.
I think I started lurking for the first time in 2003? I joined in 2004 as Michelle, but I forgot my password. I have been away a few years. before rejoining. RL and all.
I do remember when there was a time the conversations around here were very insightful and structured. Some seriously talented writers. Over my head --most of the time. [Wink]

Posts: 16 | Registered: Sep 2010  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
D.W.
Member
Member # 4370

 - posted      Profile for D.W.   Email D.W.   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
quote:
* Don't agree or disagree with the other person until you understand what that person has said
This is an excellent point and probably my most common shortcoming during forum discussions. Nice link.
Posts: 4308 | Registered: Apr 2007  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Grant
Member
Member # 1925

 - posted      Profile for Grant   Email Grant       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by jamwired:
HI Grant.
I think I started lurking for the first time in 2003? I joined in 2004 as Michelle, but I forgot my password. I have been away a few years. before rejoining. RL and all.
I do remember when there was a time the conversations around here were very insightful and structured. Some seriously talented writers. Over my head --most of the time. [Wink]

Welcome back! I also tend to remember that the posts were longer and discussions a little more structured. That didn't keep people from disagreeing with each other. I too sometimes miss the longer more detailed discussions but it's hard when everybody is locked onto things like what they are playing on cable news or what was the latest thing the G-Man has done to destroy the forum.

Looking back, I honestly think things are a little more civil now then where we were in 2004 to 2006.

Anyways, glad to bring some people back.

Posts: 3264 | Registered: Jul 2004  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
djquag1
Member
Member # 6553

 - posted      Profile for djquag1   Email djquag1       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by jamwired:
quote:
Originally posted by djquag1:
Those seem like fair rules for a debate, but I would point out that this is not strictly a debate forum. I sometimes just post here to comment on things, or to bounce my thoughts and ideas off of others. I'm not necessarily looking for a by the rules debate.

Ah, but there was a time long ago, a golden era for this forum, if you will, when the brightest of minds gathered and debated to ad nauseum. Every post was packed and backed with facts, flow charts, and intellectual, scholastic stimuli, coming from all walks of life, and every man with letters. Then, one day, they began to arrive...


the cheerleaders.

Dunno if this is sarcasm or not, but I'm an uneducated slob who barely made it through high school, working a crap job to get by and saving to, hopefully, go to school to learn something worthwhile one day. I don't always have graphs or charts or whatever. One of the reasons I participate and lurk on Ornery is to learn from people who ARE more educated then I am. If that makes me a cheerleader, sorry, I guess?

That being said, I think these debate rules are great, Greg Davidson, and I would definitely prefer that they be applied when discussions turn into arguments/debates.

Posts: 769 | Registered: Jan 2010  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
jamwired
Member
Member # 6600

 - posted      Profile for jamwired   Email jamwired       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
I was just thinking today how much the social-media has changed the way people in general interacted with one another. To think we are willing to beat each other over the head with our good opinions when a tweet coming from California, about a protest in New York over a trial in Florida causes The Daily Mail out of UK to post the most scandalous accusations.
Posts: 16 | Registered: Sep 2010  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
djquag1
Member
Member # 6553

 - posted      Profile for djquag1   Email djquag1       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
I think social media will end up being a positive. It's harder to be okay with ignoring or even being in a country who is the cause of suffering in other countries, if social media has connected you with people there and made you see them less as the "other."
Posts: 769 | Registered: Jan 2010  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
jamwired
Member
Member # 6600

 - posted      Profile for jamwired   Email jamwired       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by djquag1:
quote:
Originally posted by jamwired:
quote:
Originally posted by djquag1:
Those seem like fair rules for a debate, but I would point out that this is not strictly a debate forum. I sometimes just post here to comment on things, or to bounce my thoughts and ideas off of others. I'm not necessarily looking for a by the rules debate.

Ah, but there was a time long ago, a golden era for this forum, if you will, when the brightest of minds gathered and debated to ad nauseum. Every post was packed and backed with facts, flow charts, and intellectual, scholastic stimuli, coming from all walks of life, and every man with letters. Then, one day, they began to arrive...


the cheerleaders.

Dunno if this is sarcasm or not, but I'm an uneducated slob who barely made it through high school, working a crap job to get by and saving to, hopefully, go to school to learn something worthwhile one day. I don't always have graphs or charts or whatever. One of the reasons I participate and lurk on Ornery is to learn from people who ARE more educated then I am. If that makes me a cheerleader, sorry, I guess?

That being said, I think these debate rules are great, Greg Davidson, and I would definitely prefer that they be applied when discussions turn into arguments/debates.

No, I was not referring to anyone in particular. I was just being nostalgic. Please don’t take offense.

When I first came to this forum, I was immediately greeted with:
“Welcome to Ornery, you are wrong.” Then I quickly jumped in and started throwing around what Pete use to describe as “flowery speech”. Which I really didn’t mind because he never could explain to me how it is ‘I’ will be going to an afterlife, when I also thought I needed my brain to know who ‘I’ was.

You and I actually have a lot in common. I quit school in the tenth and went back for my GED, raised a family, and now I have been taking classes on the side for about fifteen years now. I just want to be able to put “The doctor is in” on my tombstone one day.
It’s been awhile, but when I first read Mr. Card’s posting rules, people like you and I were an important part of his vision, as well as the pompous arses. [LOL]

Posts: 16 | Registered: Sep 2010  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Greg Davidson
Member
Member # 3377

 - posted      Profile for Greg Davidson   Email Greg Davidson   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
quote:
I think social media will end up being a positive. It's harder to be okay with ignoring or even being in a country who is the cause of suffering in other countries, if social media has connected you with people there and made you see them less as the "other."
I heard David Brin make the point that every time there is a technological innovation regarding communication, in the first generation of use it is for extremes, and then later as a generation grows up using the new technology, it just becomes part of the basic capabilities. He used radio as an example in the 1930's contributing to the development of authoritarian regimes, and he projected that the internet would have a similar effect over time.

I agree with you djquag1, I think it will be a force for making things better. Overall, connection can promote empathy (not guaranteed to, but it shifts the odds in that direction). I remember a news article from a civil conflict in Indonesia from the late 1980's, and one of the extremists was quoted as saying "We don't want it to be like 'The Killing Fields'" (referring to a movie of the Cambodian genocide of the previous decade.

Posts: 4178 | Registered: Dec 2006  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
LetterRip
Member
Member # 310

 - posted      Profile for LetterRip   Email LetterRip   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Greg,

I think rule 1 'do not introduce new arguments while an argument has not been resolved' doesn't apply to online conversations since online things are non linear and multiple threads of thought can happen in parallel easily. Even in personal debate I think it it worthwhile to have multiple arguments at once if both parties are able to track them.

Posts: 8287 | Registered: Jan 2001  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
LetterRip
Member
Member # 310

 - posted      Profile for LetterRip   Email LetterRip   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Greg,

quote:
Overall, connection can promote empathy (not guaranteed to, but it shifts the odds in that direction).
I disagree about some of the impacts of social media. I think it more likely people end up in echo chambers instead of people discovering empathy. I think the internet has made most people more polarized as a nation.
Posts: 8287 | Registered: Jan 2001  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Grant
Member
Member # 1925

 - posted      Profile for Grant   Email Grant       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by Greg Davidson:


I agree with you djquag1, I think it will be a force for making things better. Overall, connection can promote empathy (not guaranteed to, but it shifts the odds in that direction). I remember a news article from a civil conflict in Indonesia from the late 1980's, and one of the extremists was quoted as saying "We don't want it to be like 'The Killing Fields'" (referring to a movie of the Cambodian genocide of the previous decade.

Time will tell but I'm actually a believer that media has had a cumulative negative effect so far, especially on the political process. I can agree that empathy is important to progress, but that progress itself is built around more things then empathy. Empathy without experience or judgment will not lead to where I believe we need to go. As media expands empathy, what is there to expand experience or judgment? I would say that wisdom and justice are built around more then compassion, but I could be wrong.

I certainly agree that both the Christian ethic and the modern secular humanist ethic seems to have compassion in a prominent, if not central role.

Posts: 3264 | Registered: Jul 2004  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Pete at Home
Member
Member # 429

 - posted      Profile for Pete at Home   Email Pete at Home   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by jamwired:
quote:
Originally posted by djquag1:
Those seem like fair rules for a debate, but I would point out that this is not strictly a debate forum. I sometimes just post here to comment on things, or to bounce my thoughts and ideas off of others. I'm not necessarily looking for a by the rules debate.

Ah, but there was a time long ago, a golden era for this forum, if you will, when the brightest of minds gathered and debated to ad nauseum. Every post was packed and backed with facts, flow charts, and intellectual, scholastic stimuli, coming from all walks of life, and every man with letters. Then, one day, they began to arrive...


the cheerleaders.

+1
Posts: 44193 | Registered: Jun 2001  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
D.W.
Member
Member # 4370

 - posted      Profile for D.W.   Email D.W.   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
quote:
+1
I don't know if an eye roll or a golf clap is an appropriate response Pete...

This amused me either way. Guess I'm a +1 as well.

[ July 17, 2013, 01:01 PM: Message edited by: D.W. ]

Posts: 4308 | Registered: Apr 2007  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Pete at Home
Member
Member # 429

 - posted      Profile for Pete at Home   Email Pete at Home   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by djquag1:
quote:
Originally posted by jamwired:
quote:
Originally posted by djquag1:
Those seem like fair rules for a debate, but I would point out that this is not strictly a debate forum. I sometimes just post here to comment on things, or to bounce my thoughts and ideas off of others. I'm not necessarily looking for a by the rules debate.

Ah, but there was a time long ago, a golden era for this forum, if you will, when the brightest of minds gathered and debated to ad nauseum. Every post was packed and backed with facts, flow charts, and intellectual, scholastic stimuli, coming from all walks of life, and every man with letters. Then, one day, they began to arrive...


the cheerleaders.

Dunno if this is sarcasm or not, but I'm an uneducated slob who barely made it through high school, working a crap job to get by and saving to, hopefully, go to school to learn something worthwhile one day. I don't always have graphs or charts or whatever. One of the reasons I participate and lurk on Ornery is to learn from people who ARE more educated then I am. If that makes me a cheerleader, sorry, I guess?

That doesn't make you a cheerleader. Coming here to get educated is my own motivation, even though I have more formal education than I can possibly use. Also, like me, you don't stick to any fixed political camp. If anyone called either you or I a cheerleader, that would beg the question of who or what we are cheering for. Cheerleaders stick to a fixed bundle of positions, and don't bother with trivia like facts or principles. Ornery used to have more of them.

I'll miss you for the next 3 months. Frankly you deserved a suspension for what you said, even if Al forgave you, because remarks like that injure the whole community, even though it's clear you were joking. And I suspect that I'm your greatest fan on this forum. But 3 months is obscene. I know because I've been suspended that long, and I know that it sets up future conflict. For a repeat offense, a week to 3 weeks would have been reasonable. OTOH, I respect OM for not deleting your goodbye post, and for not increasing the penalty.

I don't wish to start a debate by the forgoing italicized post, and I'm going to flag it by reporting my own post to OM so that OM can remove this if it creates a problem.

Posts: 44193 | Registered: Jun 2001  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
velcro
Member
Member # 1216

 - posted      Profile for velcro   Email velcro   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
I think the flowchart is great. I have pushed for more explicit rules on Ornery to try to go in that direction.

But this is like locks - they keep honest people honest. Determined burglars don't care about locks.

People arguing in good faith already use this flowchart. Determined idealogs (we have a few) will agree to use it, but will not acknowledge facts that damage their ideology, or that their ideas have been disproven, so the flow chart fails at every box.

It's like asking a liar if he promises to stop lying. The answer is meaningless.

Posts: 2096 | Registered: Sep 2003  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Greg Davidson
Member
Member # 3377

 - posted      Profile for Greg Davidson   Email Greg Davidson   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Velcro, I would have expected what you suggest, that those who don't follow an approach similar to these rules would just lie and say that they did. What I have experienced, however, both here and on several other forums, is that those who routinely break these rules are unwilling to say that they take personal moral responsibility for the accuracy of their comments. More specifically, I have never had someone tell me that they do follow these kinds of rules and then go back and routinely violate them.

In a way, this leads me to a more optimistic view of people's motivations as they argue on the internet. The actions are consistent with a difference of opinion as to what is fair game in on-line discussion; some follow the rules of the flow chart, others feel it is more like the adversarial arena of a debate tournament or a courtroom where you are allowed to use any argument if it helps your case. I prefer the former, but there is no rule saying that the latter is wrong - they are just different. The flow chart recognizes this by recommending exits from discussion when you find you are conversing with someone who fails to meet the standards of intellectual (or "argumentation-based") integrity.

[ July 20, 2013, 11:11 AM: Message edited by: Greg Davidson ]

Posts: 4178 | Registered: Dec 2006  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Viking_Longship
Member
Member # 3358

 - posted      Profile for Viking_Longship   Email Viking_Longship       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
I like the chart but I think it requires a kind of self-awareness many people lack. A person might regard themselves as persuable on a certain topic but place the bar so high that in reality they are unpersuadable.

On another note, I would add a fifth rule. "You will respond to my arguments, not to what you presume the arguments of a person such as myself might be."

[ July 20, 2013, 01:02 PM: Message edited by: Viking_Longship ]

Posts: 5765 | Registered: Dec 2006  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
LetterRip
Member
Member # 310

 - posted      Profile for LetterRip   Email LetterRip   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Viking,

yes, also most folks overestimate the amount of reasoning that is inherent in their position, and their ability to change their opinion in response to reasoned argument.

Posts: 8287 | Registered: Jan 2001  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Greg Davidson
Member
Member # 3377

 - posted      Profile for Greg Davidson   Email Greg Davidson   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
I agree - it's easy to fail to hit the mark. But if a community were to agree to such norms, we could at least gently chide our peers when they fall short of the mark (and be gently chided by them when we do so as well).
Posts: 4178 | Registered: Dec 2006  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Grant
Member
Member # 1925

 - posted      Profile for Grant   Email Grant       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
I think that the vast majority of human beings do not form their opinions based on reason, or formal logic. I think that ignoring this is a mistake.

I think that expecting rules of reasoning or argumentation to actually solve or prove one point of view correct or not, is blinding oneself to human nature, and to just what reason can actually do. Reason can't automatically answer the question of whether freedom is more important then welfare or safety without going very very deep, if at all.

I think that 99.9999% of the time, when people think they are using reason, they are merely expressing their values and opinions.

The rules of argumentation do not lay out who "wins" an argument. It simply lays out how "good" arguments are built.

The problem that I see on the forum has nothing to do with following the rules of reasoning as shown in a chart, or what Adler described as the "intellectual" rules of discussion. The problem lies in what we are actually doing here most of the time, or trying to.

We don't really have discussions. Not the way Adler describes them. We have fights. We have "welcome to Ornery, you are wrong". Then we spend all of our time trying to prove, to whom I have no idea, why you are wrong, or this person is wrong, or these people are wrong.

The problem, as I see it, has nothing to do with the intellectual rules, or the "rules of reasoned discussion" or the "rules of argumentation".

The problem is that some people, when they think that another person is not following the intellectual rules, or the rules of reason, they get pissed. As soon as one individual has an argument that makes no sense at all, some people's heads explode.

It's like: "they're not playing by the rules"!

Again, most people's opinions are not formed by rules. Instead of trying to find out why people feel or think the way they do, we spend all our time saying "you're wrong".

We expect everyone's opinions to be based on reason and logic, when I've never met ANYONE whose opinions were entirely based upon reason and logic. Philosophy and morality and values ARE NOT SCIENCE. Expecting them to be is INSANE! There was a time in academia where men and women knew this and treated differences of opinion as just that, differences of opinion. But enter the new age of cable news and politics, and "reasoned discussion" is out the window. Every human being has a right to be pissed off at people who don't agree with them, so says modern culture.

Instead of focusing on the intellectual rules, or charts that show how to debate, we should be focusing on our own personal aims and goals when we come here. We should be focusing on the EMOTIONAL RULES of discussion, not the intellectual rules.

In my opinion, it is the emotional outbreaks; the sarcasm, the condescension, the teasing, and yes THE JOKING (read: Grant's problem) that cause damage to the forum, not the lack of following a chart of "how to reason".

Posts: 3264 | Registered: Jul 2004  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Grant
Member
Member # 1925

 - posted      Profile for Grant   Email Grant       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Once upon a time "reasoned discussion" had nothing to do with reason, or formal or informal logic. It had to do with how we treated each other and each other's opinions.
Posts: 3264 | Registered: Jul 2004  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
AI Wessex
Member
Member # 6653

 - posted      Profile for AI Wessex   Email AI Wessex   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
I just found and read this thread. I've been here since 2005 and joined because there were a number of interesting threads on topics I wanted to learn about. It's never been an easy place to have a quiet discussion, except for academic things like evolution or occasional how-to threads. The more topical or important a thread was the more contentious it was. That hasn't changed much.

Let's not mythologize things, though. The wars between Conservatives and Liberals on this board has never been passive or polite. Things get quiet when people on one side or another of that divide are banned or simply go away. They heat up again when uber-partisanship is re-engaged.

The Iraq War was as difficult and emotional a topic here as anywhere else, and as divisive as anything we've ever talked about. What made it interesting to talk about was the passion that people had about it. What made it difficult to talk about (for me) was that the subject ultimately became a platform for nothing more than politics writ large.

I think it set the stage for people drawing sharper lines and distancing themselves from each other and established a model for discussion and obliterated the line between passion and honesty.

Personally, I think the discussion in the Martin/Zimmerman thread has been extremely passionate and generally honest, as many other gun threads have been. I wasn't bothered by Quag's post in that thread for that reason. He had every right to be mad at me, and I actually appreciated the emotion behind his outburst. Had I been Mod at the time I probably would have sent him a reminder to get more sleep and given him a 3-day ban to wake him up, but the current Mod had his reasons and I don't question his good intentions, either.

Other threads, like ones on global warming, have generally tended to be relatively calm but full of dishonesty by some (you know who you are). That is the kind of thread that clearly is not a debate and barely passes for a discussion where one side educates and the other side distorts and condemns.

People should be fined for discharging waste here, and frankly, serially dishonest posters should be banned permanently once they've established that pattern as a habit and gotten away with it over and over, i.e., hate me but don't lie to me. I don't think <XX> really thinks honesty is even a desirable quality here, and I wish he were permanently banned. He is "intelligent", but the IQ would probably rise 20 points with his departure.

Then there are the purely political pissing hole threads. Those are just aerobic exercise threads that people use to get their blood pumping in the morning. They're healthier than a second donut and deserving of any sarcasm and impolitic remarks that they attract. Anybody who takes them seriously would probably be better off if they just had the second donut instead.

But -- and this is my most important point -- if you think you really need Ornery to give you something that is otherwise missing in your life, that's a burden that no online forum should have to bear. It gives me a place to vent as well as a place to better understand some things (still!), and express my ideas and feelings on important matters. Like most others (everyone so far in this thread especially), I'll try to do better, but overall I'm not sure it gets much better than this.

[ July 21, 2013, 07:23 AM: Message edited by: AI Wessex ]

Posts: 8393 | Registered: Feb 2011  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Viking_Longship
Member
Member # 3358

 - posted      Profile for Viking_Longship   Email Viking_Longship       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by Greg Davidson:
I agree - it's easy to fail to hit the mark. But if a community were to agree to such norms, we could at least gently chide our peers when they fall short of the mark (and be gently chided by them when we do so as well).

I like the flowchart as a guideline but not as a rule. Overall I think this is already the way that we discuss things.
Posts: 5765 | Registered: Dec 2006  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Viking_Longship
Member
Member # 3358

 - posted      Profile for Viking_Longship   Email Viking_Longship       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by LetterRip:
Viking,

yes, also most folks overestimate the amount of reasoning that is inherent in their position, and their ability to change their opinion in response to reasoned argument.

I agree completely.
Posts: 5765 | Registered: Dec 2006  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Viking_Longship
Member
Member # 3358

 - posted      Profile for Viking_Longship   Email Viking_Longship       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
quote:
In my opinion, it is the emotional outbreaks; the sarcasm, the condescension, the teasing, and yes THE JOKING (read: Grant's problem) that cause damage to the forum, not the lack of following a chart of "how to reason".
I think sarcasm and condescension are how people attempt to give their arguments more heft when their reason or logcal argument isn't strong enough. It drives me up the wall.
Posts: 5765 | Registered: Dec 2006  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
AI Wessex
Member
Member # 6653

 - posted      Profile for AI Wessex   Email AI Wessex   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
"I think sarcasm and condescension are how people attempt to give their arguments more heft when their reason or logcal argument isn't strong enough. It drives me up the wall."

Sarcasm can be a good antibiotic for the perceptions some of us have regarding our own astuteness and the logical foundations for our arguments, which are not always justified. That comment doesn't apply to you, btw.

Posts: 8393 | Registered: Feb 2011  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
LetterRip
Member
Member # 310

 - posted      Profile for LetterRip   Email LetterRip   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
AI Wessex,

quote:
It's never been an easy place to have a quiet discussion, except for academic things like evolution or occasional how-to threads.[...]

Let's not mythologize things, though. The wars between Conservatives and Liberals on this board has never been passive or polite.

The 'mythical' ornery was a brief period of time that occurred between the period when OSC stopped posting here (short after the founding of Ornery in late 2010 i think?) and Sept 11, 2011. It has slowly and steadily become less polite; and the signal to noise ratio has become slowly and steadily worse (well probably stayed about the same for quite some years now). Any major political event (especially elections) causes a dramatic decrease in politeness, which shifts the baseline politeness to less than it was before the political event.
Posts: 8287 | Registered: Jan 2001  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Grant
Member
Member # 1925

 - posted      Profile for Grant   Email Grant       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
The role of emotion and passion in debate and discussion.

We have some passionate posters here. I think this is a good thing. I've read plenty of books on personality and temperament, but never anything specifically discussing how temperament is expressed in rhetoric.

From what I have observed on the forum, over the years, I have noted two basic types of poster. (Yes yes, I know, there are two types of people in the world....... those who divide everybody into two types and those who don't). This is an observation. There are people here who basically keep emotion out of their posts, and I mean they do it all the time. It's not that they aren't passionate people or unemotional. These people just don't think that emotion is their particular method of expressing their messages here. Then there are people who are emotional in their posts.

We basically know who these people are. We know who gets emotional, and who doesn't. As I said before, I think emotion is a good thing in the forum, limited and within moderation. If all the discussions or debates were between the Vulcans, it would probably end up being a little dull at times. We need a little heat.

I think emotion and passion are wonderful when it is used to express feelings about ideas and beliefs. I DO NOT think that emotion and passion are wonderful when they become about someone you are talking to here.

I do not support the idea that when one individual crosses the line when it comes to intellectual rules, that the proper response is to cross the line on the emotional rules. I DO NOT think that sarcasm and condescension are anti-biotics to misconceptions concerning logical foundations to arguments. I never met ANYONE to who changed the way they thought when someone was being sarcastic or condescending to them, or making jokes at their expense.

I believe that sarcasm and condescension have NO PLACE in reasonable discussion. I honestly don't think they have a place in reasonable debate either. The only place they do seem to work is on television. Condescension and sarcasm work great for people like Vice President Biden, John Stewart, Stephen Cobert, Rush Limbaugh, Bill Maher, etc. The reason are is because those people are not engaged in discussions. They are engaged in a form of rhetoric basically aimed at rousing the emotions of their audience. They are appealing, as Tom is wont to say, to the "lowest common denominator". As a form of rhetoric, it obviously has it's uses. I don't think it belongs in reasoned discussion, or even reasoned debate.

I understand when people here get pissed off at other people for what they perceive as being obtuse, partisan, obstructionist, dishonest, or just plain dim. I've been frustrated too. But I think that when I get frustrated with someone for the above reasons, I begin to lose respect for them, and I will stop listening to them. As I said in my deleted response to Tom, I believe that EVERYONE has something to tell me. I can learn something from EVERYONE.

While there are people on the forum that I may believe don't exactly have the same level of ability in following an argument, or ability in argumentation, or informal logic, etc, I have found that these people have other gifts that are just as important, and that I can learn from them, and understand them, if I try. If I thought that there was someone who needed to be permabanned, and that their departure would add 20 IQ points to the forum, then I know I would have lost all respect for such an individual, and I could no longer learn from them.

The one thing I don't think I've ever done, I think, is accuse someone of outright dishonesty or distortion. I can't really look into people's hearts. I can't speak to people's motives. I can only take things at face value. People ARE going to have opinions that differ then yours, that seemingly make no sense at all. But as I said before, when it comes down to it, most of our opinions really don't make sense, because they're not always based on sense. Facts can be in error, but an opinion can NEVER be dishonest. I think that accusing someone of having a dishonest opinion is wrong. There are some things that just cannot be debated, and opinions are one of them. As Adler stated above:

quote:
We ought to be able to distinguish between questions of fact on the one hand, and questions of interpretation on the other. Such questions as whether something is the case or exists, and on the other hand, what it means, what it implies, what consequences it leads to.

And then we should be able to distinguish between questions of fact and questions of value. Here we ought to know if we are asking about whether something happened, or whether it was good; how someone behaves, or how they should behave; questions of what is the case, as opposed to questions about what should be or what ought to be.

It's very important to distinguish between asking someone what they think, and asking them why they think so. Asking for a statement of belief or opinion is different from asking for the reasons to support that belief or opinion. And above all, we should be able to ask hypothetical ("what if?") questions and recognize them.

Finally, I would like to say that I do come to Ornery to fill something in my life. I come because there is a dearth of good, intelligent, discussion and debate about serious issues in my life. I don't discuss things like this with work, or friends, or family. Sometimes it's because I do not want to risk running into one of those emotional beings who get pissed. Sometimes it's because I doubt the level of intelligence I would like is there. I get that here. I'm able to express my opinions (sometimes) and question the opinions and beliefs of others.
Posts: 3264 | Registered: Jul 2004  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
AI Wessex
Member
Member # 6653

 - posted      Profile for AI Wessex   Email AI Wessex   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
That's a positive and worthy post. I don't agree with 100% of what you said, however, but won't challenge you on any particular. I'm glad you have the attitude you described, and I wish everyone were more like you than different from you. In a perfect forum I probably would be, but this isn't perfect and wishing it so hasn't made it happen and likely won't. I'll try to moderate my tone to lessen the things that bother you and some others about me, but I will be honest, and honesty doesn't always mean being polite.
Posts: 8393 | Registered: Feb 2011  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Grant
Member
Member # 1925

 - posted      Profile for Grant   Email Grant       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by AI Wessex:
I'll try to moderate my tone to lessen the things that bother you and some others about me, but I will be honest, and honesty doesn't always mean being polite.

I don't want you to think that this is about you, Al. This is about EVERYBODY. This is about US. You just happen to be one of the people that are actually talking about what goes on here and how to make it better. I think that other people need to read this stuff too and figure out how THEY could be making this a better place for everyone to discuss, including themselves.

If you think there are ways that you could improve yourself to make things better, then I applaud you. It's not easy to look into yourself and make changes when necessary.

Posts: 3264 | Registered: Jul 2004  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
LetterRip
Member
Member # 310

 - posted      Profile for LetterRip   Email LetterRip   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Great post Grant.
Posts: 8287 | Registered: Jan 2001  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
D.W.
Member
Member # 4370

 - posted      Profile for D.W.   Email D.W.   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
I for one enjoy sarcasm and applaud its brave use in written form where inexpert application carries such a high risk. [Smile] Otherwise, good post Grant.
Posts: 4308 | Registered: Apr 2007  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
   

Quick Reply
Message:

HTML is not enabled.
UBB Code™ is enabled.
UBB Code™ Images not permitted.
Instant Graemlins
   


Post New Topic  Post A Reply Close Topic   Feature Topic   Move Topic   Delete Topic next oldest topic   next newest topic
 - Printer-friendly view of this topic
Hop To:


Contact Us | Ornery.org Front Page

Powered by Infopop Corporation
UBB.classic™ 6.7.1