What is wrong with debate?

@cyntrow (8524)
United States
September 13, 2007 2:23pm CST
I've been reading a number of discussions on controversial subjects and civility. I believe that in discussing controversial subject matter, it is possible to be civil. But it seems that many people feel that in order to be civil, debate must not occur. I disagree with this. I've found myself getting into heavy debate with people on certain topics. In the end, there is not agreement, but there is civility. We leave the discussion on good terms and we agree to disagree. I love a good debate on a juicy topic. If I can change someone's way of thinking great. If I can't that's fine too. I might even learn something in the process. A debate is never meant to be uncivil. Why are people afraid of debate? Why do people insist that a "discussion" and a "debate" must be mutually exclusive. Are we to agree on everything? Are we to only respond if we agree? How boring would that be? So tell me. What do you think about debating in discussions?
6 people like this
7 responses
@kamran12 (5555)
• Pakistan
16 Sep 07
Hello cyntrow! I really love to debate and have never refused one whenever there was a possibility except only once. It happened in the very beginning when I entered into a debate with someone. She was very abusive, not towards me but someone else. I told her that the matters could be discussed while being respectful to others but she wasn't just ready without abusing. So, I finally left her saying that I choose not to continue not because I can't debate but because of her continuous abusive attitude. Otherwise I have always debated issues even if someone is not respectful towards me, personally. I do not allow my self-esteem in the way of learning and making people understand other perspectives. Once, when a user became disrespectful, I told him that I do not appreciate his tone and language but I do appreciate his passion and that I don't mind being abused if I am able to make you understand the point. I was pleased when he left saying that he truly enjoyed the discourse with me. There are many people who believe that there is no point in arguing but I truly think that if we allow not to debate then human intellectual growth will be slowed and limited because of loss of opportunity of sharing the knowledge and perspectives. Quite often, people hold their beliefs and perceptions directed by their subjective experiences and misinterpretations. If we don't allow ourselves to open up and debate, welcoming different perspectives, we will certainly be at loss by not having thorough, complete and balanced picture. I do think that respect and civility are essential tools since otherwise disrespect can turn a person off from objective of learning and may make it a personal fight. Unfortunately, I see many people who are not willing to debate and I have seen it especially in my case. Many people do not indulge in debate with me, even though they are debating with others. Majority of those who choose to debate with me, become tired after some time and call the debate off, maybe because they don't see me fitting to debate with, I don't know. I respect their decision but I certainly would have enjoyed more if they had continued. It has happened quite often that even the most avid debaters refuse to continue debating with me. I usually wonder if there is some problem with me. Anyways, most of the times, they had been quite respectful which I find quite encouraging and delightful. And, I agree with you that a debate doesn't have to be disrespectful and uncivil. You probably haven't seen my debates but I really enjoy and appreciate disagreements and see them as more of a learning experience than agreements. I try my best to be civil and respectful even if I strongly disagree with the other person.
@cyntrow (8524)
• United States
16 Sep 07
I have the same problem. It makes me a bit sad when a person makes a statement and I counter that statement and they never come back. It's possible that they think I will become and angry arguement, but i don't play that way. I state my position. I argue my position. As long as the party I am debating remains civil, so do I. I love hearing different viewpoints and I take it as a learning experience into the workings of the minds of others, even when I don't agree. I have often even asked people why they feel as tehy feel
1 person likes this
@kamran12 (5555)
• Pakistan
17 Sep 07
I like the position you take on the issue of debate and I do look forward to day when I'll be debating with you!:-)
@cyntrow (8524)
• United States
17 Sep 07
yes, I agree. I think it would be great fun.
@Stiletto (4584)
14 Sep 07
There's absolutely nothing wrong with debate but a civilised, positive debate on myLot is very rare. I read the previous response and although I agree with you that discussion and debate are very similar they are not quite the same. A discussion is talking about a subject and sharing your ideas or opinions, a debate is similar but more formal (a serious discussion if you like!) usually with the aim of changing the "other side's" opinion. You win or lose a debate but you don't win or lose a discussion. THAT I suspect is why good debates are so rare on myLot - there's some bad losers on here lol! Seriously I think that, although there are many articulate and intelligent myLotters who are more than capable of conducting a civilised debate (including yourself of course), they are sadly outnumbered by people who just aren't up for that at all. They want to share their ideas and opinions but they sure don't want them being challenged or debated! In that respect I agree with the previous respondent, that myLot really IS a discussion forum.
@RosieS57 (889)
• United States
14 Sep 07
Well writ! I think the majority of myLotters want to write little speeches and aren't up for the give and take of debate. In true debate one must be quiet and listen to what the other says. In a speech it's only about what one says and each listener decides whether to agree or not. These are two very different things and myLot doesn't work as a debate forum.
@cyntrow (8524)
• United States
15 Sep 07
many debaters freak from debate. I love it. If hate is not involved, it is fantastic.
• United States
13 Sep 07
I feel like you do. I love to debate and BS and back and forth over different topics. But I hate when I get the distinct feeling that someone is being angry or hateful over it. Agreeing to disagree is necessary in life otherwise you just can't function on a healthy daily basis - people like that are always angry and mad!! No one has to agree with me or even back me up on my feelings and opinions, but they certainly shouldn't get all hateful either. That just makes me walk away - which I', sure to a person with that mentality shows as being a "coward" but why would I argue violently when that's not in me to do? I dunno...I guess I just can't stand to be around anything where someone wants me to change my opinion because it isn't like theirs - and usually that seems to be another goal of people that argue that way instead of debating liek civilized individuals. oh well.. hope you day is full of pleasnt rhetoric and no drama.
@cyntrow (8524)
• United States
14 Sep 07
I do like to try to alter opinion. But if I feel no hate, I can let it go. My problem is that unless I feel very strongly about a subject, I don't put myself on the line. So if someone debates with me and it is civil, I will agree to disagree and willingly so. If someone argues with me and resort to name calling and horrid speech, I stoop to a very low point. I hate myself for it, but I do it. Pride, perhaps. Or maybe it's just the thought that this person will think they have won. OK, that's pride too. LOL Thanks for the no drama wishes. LOL Take care
1 person likes this
• United States
14 Sep 07
let me rephrase one thing - i don't mind if people want to try to change my opinions through facts and such - it's when they use the name calling or hate like they think they scare me into changing my mind. that's what i meant. of course everyone wants more people to think like them. you are also sooo right when you mention pride - it does playa huge role in debates - no one likes to feel like they are wrong or have "lost face". yup, pretty much thats it, just wanted to clarify that one thing, the last two days i have been a bit of a rambler - we have a teething baby in the house right now, so my brain is frazzled just a touch! anywho...good wishes still for happy debates!
• United States
14 Sep 07
To each their own but here's my take on it. There are discussion boards and there are debate boards. My take on a discussion is where everyone can express their beliefs/opinions on the topic at hand. A debate is where two sides present their arguments and go back and forth and what not. Both sides are trying to convince the other that their opinion on the matter is right. It also gives one different ways to look at the topic. But then again, it can turn ugly. I'm against debates myself. Why should I argue with someone about what I believe in. No one is going to change my mind so why bother. Of course it goes both ways. I can't change the way of someone's thinking. Personally, I don't think Mylot is the place for debates. They call it a discussion board for a reason. People are going to end up debating no matter where you go though, so what can we do about it either way. LOL
@cyntrow (8524)
• United States
14 Sep 07
See, I believe that discussion and debate are very similar. I believe that we can discuss a subject and go back and forth in our discussion without getting heated. I find discussions where people just state their views and people of differing opinions do not counter those views, to be very boring discussions. Debate, or back and forth discussion, gives all parties an opportunity to learn something new. Even if we agree to disagree, I think we can all take something from it, even if it is a new insight into how another thinks. But we will just have to agree to disagree on this one. LOL
@mummymo (23707)
14 Sep 07
I think it is what life is all about! We will never all agree about everything and debate surely keeps your mind active and working and a heck of a lot more interesting too! Too many people resort to abuse and aggression when they cannot 'beat' someone into agreeing with them on any given subject - this just shows their ignorance rather than helping their case! Debate is about comparing and explaining your point of view and can be very theraputic as well as informative and shouldn't cause any animosity! xxx
@cyntrow (8524)
• United States
14 Sep 07
I agree. I have learned alot in mylot debates. I like to hope that the majority of the people that I have debated have taken some new piece of information away from it as well.
@sunshinecup (7881)
14 Sep 07
My star is what it is because I do not avoid debates, LOL. I think it can be civil, it's hard when the other person wants to be a jerk about it and toss in snide remarks or names, but I have done it many times. I just stick with the topic and ignore their off topic comments. I think they let their emotions get in the way and foget this is about logic and learning. They get childish and close off their minds. At that point it's stupid to try to carry on any sort of conversation yet alone a debate.
@cyntrow (8524)
• United States
14 Sep 07
I tend to resort to a passive agressive sort of snarkiness when they start name calling. "I'm so sorry that you are such an angry person. I do hope that you get better soon." and that sort of thing. That really psisses them off.
@nehems (109)
• Indonesia
14 Sep 07
debate? i think....we can't run from what it call debate. not in controversial subject matter only.. in a simple matter,ex in family discussion maybe i belive there must be a simple matter that unsolve and became a big debate... "it happend in my home"...usually my brother and my sister..and me became the referee... :P