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Thread: Logical debates failing

  1. #1

    Default Logical debates failing

    I know I've been talking about this for a long time now, and I recently heard a different way of explaining it in a podcast called science friday. They just had one about logical debates and why they often fail. One of the biggest reasons for that is understanding the right definitions. I HIGHLY recommend if anyone has got the time then please take a listen to it here:

    Please note I'm not looking to debate over this, just recommending it as a way for everyone to better understand and communicate. You don't have to listen to it if you don't want to, but it could help some people a lot.

  2. #2


    Having taken a few college science classes, we always spent a lot of time on definitions. They're very important in science. I found that if I knew all the terms, it almost guaranteed me at least a B on the exams. I've noticed that in many conversations, people tend to use too many pronouns, confusing who or what they're talking about. Not understanding definitions, especially where facts are concerned, causes the same kind of confusion.

    I've read a lot of editorials that criticize either an idea or person, but the poorly written ones don't site verified facts, data and sources rendering the argument mute.

  3. #3


    after the Nixon-McGovern debates, extra credit in social studies class if we actually watched them, then more extra credits if we could give a debate which would be civil in any way. I was 12. The debates, actual and reconstructed, were about equal in childishness. As a lifetime infant, I know a little bit about childish. After several (actually 2) years I gave up on the entire concept.

    So I'm not really disappointed at the level we've achieved in my lifetime. The objective of debate is to bend people to agree with whatever platform we're told to believe at least long enough for the various parties to skin us of all our property and or rights

    This is of course the difference between skepticism and cynicism. I mourn for civilization.

  4. #4


    I agree that definitions are important for meaningful discussions, but where does one find the "right" definition?

    "Logical debate" seems like a contradiction in terms to me. Debates are competitions, not fact finding missions, and competitions are fueled by emotion.

  5. #5


    Quote Originally Posted by Drifter View Post
    I agree that definitions are important for meaningful discussions, but where does one find the "right" definition?
    Depends on context, but usually there's a pretty consistent definition from the relevant field. It might be phrased a few different ways (consider the definition of parallel lines, for instance) but it does hold internal consistency.

    Quote Originally Posted by Drifter View Post
    "Logical debate" seems like a contradiction in terms to me.
    It's the difference between "you're wrong because you're a fluff-brained baby" and "you're wrong because his fact shows your stance doesn't reflect reality". There's a reason lists of the logical fallacies exist, and this is it.

    Quote Originally Posted by Drifter View Post
    Debates are competitions, not fact finding missions, and competitions are fueled by emotion.
    Again, context; yes, high school and college debate teams compete. Presidential Debates are more like multi-party rallies. And in everyday life, it's someone trying to convince you to adopt a specific stance.

  6. #6


    The thing is, the debates we have here generally aren't about mathematics or geometry but about other issues that don't have such precise definitions. It would be good to define our terms in our discussions but it might be difficult to reach an agreement on definitions.

    People are always talking about "the facts" as if those things exist as little chunks of absolute truth. It would be interesting if we could reach an agreement on what "facts" actually means. As I see it, facts are a dime a dozen. Facts are nothing more then bits of information that are completely meaningless until someone gives them meaning. More often then not, what people call "facts" are not really facts at all but an interpretation of what a limited number of facts means; and interpretations are always subjective. Objectivity would require looking at all available facts, but the purpose of debate is to win, not to be objective.

  7. #7


    Meta data which were published decades before the events predicted were verified. Close as I can come to a logical format.

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