======= Date Modified 20 Feb 2011 12:50:42 =======
I would say the general point of debate is to present opinions or teachings, to persuade or educate.
Perhaps another point of debate is to try to reach a happy middle ground where people can tolerate each other.
The enemies of debate: haughty disdain, narrow-mindedness, blissful ignorance, indifference, being incredibly precious.
======= Date Modified 20 Feb 2011 13:26:56 =======
Great! For me, the purpose of debate is to expand one's understanding of the particular issue at hand and, in many cases, also to develop one's critical thinking and skills in verbal expression - debating societies and debates that take place in an educational setting (like I run with my studes) are typical examples of the latter purposes. I, personally, don't think anyone outside of societies and education seriously believes they will change their opponent's mind - possibly that of any onlookers, but not their opponents.
Proposition - The purpose of debate is solely to clarify minute aspects of a particular position
Opposition - The purpose of debate is to persuade/convince the opponent to change the views they hold!
Time starts now!
I wouldn't say minute Bug, I'd say it's a good way to get to know the opposition's view and hone one's own argument.
To me persuasion is, generally, just trying to control what people think, and make them like you, or do/think what you want them to - not a healthy or realistic approach in my view.
People can come to consensus, but that comes from discussion and compromise, not debate.
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======= Date Modified 20 Feb 2011 17:11:50 =======
In those particular cases I'd say fine, have a go, and I would also say you have to for your viva, so no you wouldn't be controlling then! However, your examiners do not have to agree with you, they just have to think that you have presented a good solid argument, there is a big difference. Your viva is not a debate anyow...
If you were to debate against a race issue (we are discussing debate I presume because that is what this thread is all about), then you would be in opposition to someone who was in favour of racism: a racist. And in my experience debating with such people is a complete and utter waste of time because their views are not based on reason - which is what debate is all about - but irrational knee jerk reactions and desperate scape-goating. It takes much more than debate to shift that.
I did say that persuaion is 'generally' about control and we are discussing this in the context of the merits of 'debate'
Oh also, I do have first hand experience of the racism thing: a friend and an ex-boyfriend and I used to argue about it (I find it amazing how many people are racist) - I wouldn't call it debate because there is no logic to the opposition. All it did was end both relationships. Sometimes people pretend for a while bcause they want you to like them, but you don't oust an emotional defence mechanism like that with debate, or argument.
I think you don't give people enough credit, and are maybe generalising using your narrow experience. There are many people who have strange or uninformed views with which they hold little passion. To think that everyone is entrenched in their views is utterly without hope. I was trying to avoid the R word ... mainly because I have some experience with elderly people who have rather narrow (and ultimately amusing!) views on people of a different race, or even foreign people (french, german, polish, i.e. anyone with a "funny" accent). I wouldn't describe them all as racists or xenophobes, whereas you might.
My point is many are very open to debating the subject and will listen to opposing views whilst even becoming convinced they are at least partially wrong. Perhaps not immediately and not without a fight, but it can and does happen. There are many examples of people changing their minds through reasoned argument (debate), it would be a sad world if we were all as presumptuous.
Oh well, I'm 41 and have seen quite a lot if the world and am happy with my own assessment, and intelligent as you sound, I still trust my own judgement over yours - as I expect you to trust yours over mine. I'm sorry if you find that objectionable in any way.
You say discrimination 'due to the colour of someone's skin': that is racism, there's no way around that!
I think you are trolling again and I'm going out for a break from marking. Play nicely now (that was a humorous comment - just teasing, so please don't be offended).
I'm not sure why you think being 41 is at all relevant to this debate. Nor why you feel the need to add personal details to your posts.
I feel I should share ... during this splendid debate I have made some yorkshire pudding batter to go with my Sunday dinner! I will let it stand for a while, and then put it in the oven.
So, that leads me to the next topic.... I know it is an English custom to have yorkshire pudding with beef, but are you allowed it with anything else? I am having chicken - is this terribly offensive? I just love the stuff, with plenty of gravy of course. Also, should it be a whole pudding as in made in a small baking tray, or individual puddings, like using a cupcake baking tray?
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