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Debate is Worthless

August 15, 2013

Discussion is where it’s at.

In debate we attack and defend. We take positions and hold them. We set out to make someone wrong. Ideas are the targets, and self esteem is the collateral damage.

Discussion is a sharing of ideas. It is self revelation and other inquiry. In discussion we compare and contrast, and acknowledge the distinct point of view of another individual.

In debate we struggle against. In discussion we explore together.

What is really subject to debate anyway? Facts? Facts, by definition, can be established objectively. Beliefs? Beliefs, by definition, can’t be established objectively, and therefore are a matter of choice. Opinions? Opinions are a matter of preference. Interpretations? Interpretations are created from past experience. Ideas? Ideas are just ideas. They don’t need to be defended, because they cannot be attacked.

Then again, debate could be cast as an exercise in reciprocal persuasion, but only if we are willing to be amenable to persuasion ourselves.

Seth’s take.

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