A debate is suppose to be clarifying, not caustic.

Posted on July 26, 2012

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In listening to many debates, it appears that the vast majority of them platform conflict and argument. In the most innocuous form, the debate format attempts “fairness” giving equal ground to opposing sides. Ultimately, the goal is to argue these sides whoever is more persuasive (or loudest) “wins.”

This “win” is a “lose” in my book.

The winner of any debate under these terms has only accomplished the buttressing of the beliefs of those who agree, and the alienation and disrespect of those who disagree. It widens the chasm between two opinions and does nothing to help bring light and clarity to the truth. This may help some see their side and/or the “other side” in new perspectives, but it does not help anyone see the truth any more clearly.

A good debate finds common ground, elucidates points of divergence, and leverages reason to discover why a divergence happens. A good debate is not “fair.” A good debate identifies points of agreement upon which a discussion can actually occur. A good debate ought to leave everyone (including the debaters) with a greater understanding of the truth or at least of the facts rather than an inflated head or singed ego.

Posted in: discourse