What purpose does it serve to win a debate?

Nov 2012
10,102
8,237
nirvana
#11
What purpose does it serve to win a debate? I'm basically referring to where there's an audience that votes. It doesn't seem to prove anything other than that more people in the audience are on your side, or that you're able to persuade people to your side.

If I were to debate that 2+2=5, and I persuade most of the audience to agree with me, that doesn't make 2+2=5 anymore true that it already is (i.e., false, not true at all).
Good question. The post should be 1+1+1+1=?
 
Dec 2018
659
391
Wisconsin
#13
This is actually an interesting conversation to have. I’d argue if you have a conversation with someone with a different opinion and your first objective is to win, you’re doing it wrong.

Not only should we learn what people believe, but we should learn why they believe it. This can tell us MUCH more about the character of the individual.

Trying to convince/win should be a distant second.
 
Nov 2013
2,148
889
NM
#14
It depends. Sometimes you want to know more about the person you're debating, sometimes you want to explore the boundaries of what the other person is saying. Past a certain point - merely winning the debate - I'm trying to put important information out there for the next person who reads the thread & is interested in other views or more complete views of the competing sides.

& if the sides are fairly evenly matched, & one or both (or all of them) can argue persuasively, then it's simply a joy to read & follow the point/counterpoint.
 
Dec 2018
659
391
Wisconsin
#15
It depends. Sometimes you want to know more about the person you're debating, sometimes you want to explore the boundaries of what the other person is saying. Past a certain point - merely winning the debate - I'm trying to put important information out there for the next person who reads the thread & is interested in other views or more complete views of the competing sides.

& if the sides are fairly evenly matched, & one or both (or all of them) can argue persuasively, then it's simply a joy to read & follow the point/counterpoint.
To add on this, I think it also depends on your own knowledge of the subject. I’m more likely to try and “win” a debate on religion (a subject I’m passionate about) than I am on immigration (something I’m not passionate about).
 
Likes: hoosier88
Nov 2013
2,148
889
NM
#17
To add on this, I think it also depends on your own knowledge of the subject. I’m more likely to try and “win” a debate on religion (a subject I’m passionate about) than I am on immigration (something I’m not passionate about).
Yes, interest is another factor. To some extent, we know about the things we're interested in. I know much more about the subjects that I'm interested in than in all the rest - but the problem is that I'm interested in a lot of disparate areas. On the bright side, I suppose that having wide interests gives me a possibly wider POV than is usual.

The other point to our audience on DtT - & any similar forum - is that we're a self-selecting group. We wouldn't be here @ all, except that we're interested in sharing points of view & ideas, & putting them forth & justifying/defending them as best we can. It makes for a better marketplace of ideas than you can usually count on encountering out there in Mundaneland.
 
Dec 2016
4,116
2,125
Canada
#18
What purpose does it serve to win a debate?
Bragging rights! That's about it.

Years ago, I remember a pain-in-the-ass evangelical preacher - Duane Gish, won many creation vs evolution debates because debating skills don't have a lot to do with who has the best evidence behind them. Gish would keep his opponent off balance with continual objections and subject changes to keep his opponent off balance and losing track of points he wanted to make. Eventually, Gish's debating method became known as "The Gish Gallop," and most scientists started deciding that there was nothing to gain from getting into these kinds of debates in front of a mostly creationist audience who always thought their guy won!
 
Dec 2016
4,116
2,125
Canada
#19
I would like to see a debate between Barack Obama and Donald J. Trump.
I wouldn't be so quick to assume that Barry Oh would win a debate with Trump! DJ is proof that it's not about who's the smartest and best informed, when it comes to picking the winner! Look at how poorly Hillary performed against him in 2016! And the Republican debates! I didn't expect Trump to do so well/ but it was proof again that bullshit and bullying can get you pretty far in the kind of world we live in today. If Trump has any skills, it's a kind of street smarts that he uses to intimidate others. Not bad for a guy who likely has never cracked open a book in his entire lifetime!
 
Likes: Clara007

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