View Poll Results: Do you think your debating skills will ever change the minds of notable DP members?

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    9 28.13%
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Thread: Converting Other Debaters

  1. #1
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    Converting Other Debaters

    This is a question for everyone here, nonpartisan and partisan alike.

    In these endless hours of debate we engage in, the thousands of posts we write, all our reasoning, all our anger and anguish, do you believe we will ever convince the "other side" of anything?

    Liberals: do you think you will get JamesRage to start waving rainbow flags? Goobieman to give up his guns? Gill to accept global warming? Felicity to hand women back their wombs? CelticLord to cheer President Obama on with the stimulus plan?

    Conservatives: Will you ever get SeargantStinger to admire Bush or even give him a half-decent smiley? Will DisneyDude ever let go of the flaws of the old Administration? Will NewCoupForYou ever be persuaded to try women for a change? Will Kandahar shout down the Kyoto Protocol? Will Rivvrat shed a tear for discarded fetuses?

    I'm not sure how many people have changed their minds after reading a post on these boards, but unless I count myself I'm pretty sure I could use one hand, minus the pinky, ring, middle and forefingers. Truly, I often wonder what the point is.
    Quote Originally Posted by Korimyr the Rat
    Heh. Do you realize how many children I'd murder to be immortal and have an army of willing slaves?

  2. #2
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    Re: Converting Other Debaters

    Only if their drunk.
    The haggardness of poverty is everywhere seen contrasted with the sleekness of wealth, the exhorted labor of some compensating for the idleness of others, wretched hovels by the side of stately colonnades, the rags of indigence blended with the ensigns of opulence; in a word, the most useless profusion in the midst of the most urgent wants.Jean-Baptiste Say

  3. #3
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    Re: Converting Other Debaters

    In around 2% of the debates I've seen around here, extreme positions were mellowed significantly, but not completely reversed. This was done only through patient and thorough debate that was grounded in respect for the other member. In 100% of the cases where sarcasm and ridicule were used, the opposing side hunkered down into a more extremist position than ever before.

    There was, however, one thread where Captain Courtesy debated a pedophile who carried out some pretty stunning mental acrobatics, claiming that his predilection was perfectly normal. By the end of the thread, the pedophile acknowledged his sickness and claimed that he would seek help.

    That was the first and last complete reversal I've seen on an online debate forum.

    I think that most of the people who use hostility and ridicule are perfectly aware that they're not changing any minds, and are just using the anonymity of the internet to vent. Most of them are probably pretty decent people in "real life."

  4. #4
    Dispenser of Negativity
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    Re: Converting Other Debaters

    I typically don't expect to change anyone's mind here espeically since I have thrown down and gotten vile from both sides. I say what I think and if they dont like it, well too bad.
    Jackboots always come in matched pairs, a left boot and a right boot.

  5. #5
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    Re: Converting Other Debaters

    Quote Originally Posted by Edify_Always_In_All_Ways View Post
    Will Kandahar shout down the Kyoto Protocol?
    I dunno about shout it down... but I'm not a big fan of the Kyoto Protocol.
    Are you coming to bed?
    I can't. This is important.
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    Someone is WRONG on the internet! -XKCD

  6. #6
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    Re: Converting Other Debaters

    Quote Originally Posted by Edify_Always_In_All_Ways View Post
    In these endless hours of debate we engage in, the thousands of posts we write, all our reasoning, all our anger and anguish, do you believe we will ever convince the "other side" of anything?
    Do I expect to convince one and all of the clear and patently obvious correctness of my positions? No (although it does make for a pleasant fantasy for a Sunday afternoon!), I don't.

    I do hope to persuade others to take a closer look at things, to ask questions that begin "what if....?" and to deepen their thinking and broaden their perspective.

    The questions and challenges that are put to me in these discussions are magnificently effective in framing my own readings on a wide variety of topics; these debates educate me to a degree merely reading the news of the day will never achieve. Hopefully, the challenges and questions I pose to others similarly enhance their own reading and research.

    I do not debate to convert; I debate to learn, and, on rare occasion, to teach.

  7. #7
    don't panic
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    Re: Converting Other Debaters

    I think for the vast majority of these debates, the purpose is not so much to convert or sway your opponent to your way of thinking. to some degree it is an exercise in futility of you are going to get someone ideologically opposed to you to change their mind. Minor concessions here and there, perhaps, but a wholesale conversion, no, save for a few rare circumstances, there are open minded objective people here who can and will sway their opinion based on sound evidence, but there are a multitude as well that will never be persuaded on some issues.

    I think in these diametrically opposed debates, the opposing viewpoints are not so much to "convert" your opposition, but more so for the benefit of the third parties who, may or may not have a solid position one way or the other. It is a chance to get an exposure and awareness of both sides of a topic that this third party reader or participant may not have a solid knowledge base of, or opinion on.

    These discussions are not a one on one battle, although it often gets framed that way. It is more of a spectacle for an audience (participatory or not), and they are the one that often reap the benefits of these discussions.

    I know I have engaged people where I realize actually changing their opinion is futile, but in the course of discussion there is a good probability that others who are not so opposed can be exposed to the issue and the opposing positions, and use this to help hone their opinions as well. At the same time, it enables us individually to sharpen our positions, increase our knowledge, and reinforce our arguments (at times this could in fact mean a shift in position, or a softening of opposition for some).

    In short I think these confrontations where we know there is no chance of a conversion of our direct opponent are more for our personal benefit, and to a lesser degree for the benefit of others who will read and question the topics of the debate in their own minds, and perhaps, just perhaps it is these bystanders whose opinion gets established, swayed, influenced, developed, honed, what have you.

    Plus it is fun
    Last edited by marduc; 04-05-09 at 10:24 PM.

  8. #8
    don't panic
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    Re: Converting Other Debaters

    Quote Originally Posted by celticlord View Post

    I do not debate to convert; I debate to learn, and, on rare occasion, to teach.
    Well put..

  9. #9
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    Re: Converting Other Debaters

    Quote Originally Posted by celticlord
    I do not debate to convert; I debate to learn, and, on rare occasion, to teach.
    I follow the same pathway.
    'The whole universe is going to die!'

  10. #10
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    Re: Converting Other Debaters

    I truly do believe in the power of reason, and if my reasons are good enough a rational person will helplessly believe as I believe (and vice versa.)

    However there are some that are simply dyed in the wool about their positions, or hold onto them for reasons other than reason.

    For example, I'll never get aps to smoke a cigarette. I myself know what I'm closed minded about, and that's freedom.
    Who left the fridge open?

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