1. slamdunk
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    slamdunk Member

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    Why do we argue?

    Discussion in 'The Lounge' started by slamdunk, Oct 13, 2013.

    First off I have to admit that I'm somewhat guilty. I join conversations to just like others share my view and hopefully be right.

    But how much arguing make sense and is it time well spent? Is it prehaps another form of procastination that waste our time?

    Do we really change something or someone when we argue on a site like this and are we in a power position that makes our arguments really matter? A politican for instance has to answer questions or they look bad and loose votes, saying the wrong thing for them can probably kill a whole campain. But if YOU are wrong/right on a forum so what, what will happen, will thousands of people read and change their mind? Or does it get lost fast in the ever changing internet that probably has debated the same thing a thousands times already? Overall I think many thoughts are so deeply rooted that its almost impossible to change them even with the best facts. Sadly many debates results in nothing more than quibble and people bringing out a rude side in some last desperate attempts to be right witch ultimatley leads to a hostile enviorment - and for what?


    I guess arguing is a time killer but will arguing over everything help you write a book? And are you really that convincing? Many people here probably bring up just as good arguments as you (or better - seen from their side), but do they change you? Most will only see their own "side" no matter what you say. This holds true to many debates. Debates are usually about being correct instead of learning, so people keep a closed mindset and won't learn or lissen. The goal is to reject the others idea. The question they ask is similar to "how do I prove this wrong, or make it look bad so I look more correct?". I do think everyone think they sound correct and many belive they are. But, I don't think we are that good at convincing eachother. This makes me think that debating just to debate is pretty pointless and a time killer. Yeah say your opinion, someone might agree or "learn" something. Give it your best shot - but is it worth to keep beating the drum after you made the main points and what good will it lead to?
     
    Last edited: Oct 13, 2013
  2. erebh
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    erebh Contributing Member Contributor

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    no we're not! :mad:
     
  3. Trish
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    Trish I've been deleted.. again Contributor

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    ^ LOL

    I debate certain topics because they are actually important to me and I feel that I have something to contribute. I consider them conversations. I have no illusions that I am changing anyone's opinion or swaying them to my side, but that doesn't mean I should just be quiet, does it? I've found that a real belief should be able to stand up to opposition, and I enjoy reading other people's opinions - even if I consider them to be wrong - I am well aware that they believe they are right and I try to respect that.
     
  4. erebh
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    erebh Contributing Member Contributor

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  5. thirdwind
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    thirdwind Contributing Member Contest Administrator Reviewer Contributor

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    One positive thing about debates is that you get to read about all the other viewpoints out there. Also, debates can help you learn to think logically and force you to really learn about/think about a particular problem. Unfortunately, a lot of times the discussions on this forum turn into arguments, but I don't see that as a reason to be against the concept of debating. If conducted the right way, debates can be a very useful tool for exchanging and discussing ideas.
     
  6. A.M.P.
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    A.M.P. People Buy My Books for the Bio Photo Supporter Contributor

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    Wait... How can I be wrong when I'm always right?
    Obviously, you're wrong!

    @slamdunk Politics is an entirely different subject. Especially in a social democracy that encompass a very large and diverse landmass and population. It has little to do with the actual spirit of arguing and debating.
    Generally, people use the word argue in a negative way and simply refuse to join in the argument to defend their own opinions or scrutinize others.

    Yes, many of us have deep rooted ideals that are borne out of ignorance or tradition. We can't help but have views that support the environment we live in or were brought up in. However, that doesn't mean they are unrootable (I know it's not a word) as part of learning sometimes can require leaving behind preconceived notions.

    However, debating/arguing is far from a waste of time or a "time killer".
    Farmville is a time killer as there is no benefit from it aside from fun. Unless, wasting time by having fun is good or is it only alright to have fun during fun time instead of fun during wasting time?

    Debating generally teaches and helps people learn to communicate, critical think (Something school generally doesn't teach anymore), and exploration of different view points.
    In real life scenarios, such as politics or philosophy, it can be quite important to argue and argue over and over until something happens. Such as... abortion. Wouldn't it be nice for all the lefties and righties to finally shut up and adopt a generally accepted point of view?

    Basically, debating is a healthy thing to do in a myriad of ways.

    On a forum basis, it is obviously not as deeply impacting but it has uses.
    One, it still teaches one to try and communicate better and can open one up to new ways of thinking which is always a plus.
    But it also has all the negatives of any argument.
    People will sometimes be more focused on pushing their opinion than actually presenting facts.
    People will result to name calling or grand standing.
    And odds are you will argue with people that are incapable of accepting that they might be wrong even if you literally prove them wrong.

    It's not world changing but you can still learn something from each other even on a web forum.
    It's all about how you argue, what you argue, and how well you know the subject and are willing to learn.
     
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  7. 123456789
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    123456789 Contributing Member Contributor

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    It's an exercise. Some people enjoy provoking for the sake of being provocative. They don't really care one way or the other. You can spot these people out usually by certain tricks they use. They almost never provide real evidence, because that require a serious commitment.

    Others are a bit more sincere, and really take the time to provide a well structured point of view, based on evidence that they go out of their way to give.
     
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  8. Dean Stride
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    Dean Stride Contributing Member

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    Well, believe it or not, I deconverted from Christianity by debating people online, or by observing other people's debates. The same can be said for a good number of others, and not just concerning religion. It's never a waste of time to exchange ideas through discourse, even if there's a risk of it blowing out of proportion.

    People do change their minds more often than I'd imagine, but I believe it happens slowly and gradually, and some may not even realize it before their whole worldview alters into a completely different set of beliefs, previously not held. However, debates should never be about convincing the other party, they should be about influencing the audience and getting each side's message across in the most proficient way possible (not necessarily involving equal opportunity of ideas).

    For me, arguing is about taking one step closer to the best possible truth available, or at least attempting to take one, even if I practically don't budge, in that case it's the effort that counts. Sometimes though, I just like to be a massive douche; no other underlying reason.
     
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  9. GingerCoffee
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    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

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    For me the goal is rarely about the person I am debating or contradicting, rather there are three other worthwhile reasons.

    1) When person contradicts you it forces you to challenge your own beliefs and sharpen your articulation of your position if you feel the evidence supports your beliefs, and to learn something new if the evidence does not.

    2) For me personally with some subjects, it's worthwhile presenting another point of view when I don't believe the evidence supports the what person is saying. The point is not to convince the other, because people have to make a conscious effort to re-evaluate their beliefs, and that's rare. But this person is telling other people something that appears false. If I can post the rationale or the evidence for why I'm saying someone else is wrong, then I think some of the other people have the opportunity to assess the supporting evidence rather than just soaking up yet another opinion and passing it on as fact when the evidence supports the conclusion it isn't.

    3) This world is a mess and false beliefs are behind a lot of trouble. Politicians pass out lies like candy on Halloween, voters suck them up. Religious extremists kill and maim over beliefs. Consumers base purchasing decisions on marketing tactics that were developed using good science for a bad cause. If we don't teach kids a little more media literacy, we don't teach them about one of the things that their entire lives will be saturated with. I could go on, but I think this is enough to paint the picture.

    So one of my goals in causing the conflict I don't mean to but inevitably do on this forum is to demonstrate how one goes about evaluating claims and one's own beliefs. Do you just believe what you hear because you like that forum member and reject the evidence from another because you don't like that person? Do you ignore or blame either/or both sides because you can't stand conflict? We have a couple members in that category. Do you just outright refuse to question your own beliefs and dig your heels in or get angry?


    I value critical thinking and the scientific process. And media literacy is a crucial skill in today's world. The evidence these methods are on the right track is the success they garner and the damage that readily accumulates when other means of deciphering the evidence we are surrounded by is used instead.


    Is it applicable to writing? Yes. Even if one just gets used to doing research for a piece, that is a benefit. I spent a great deal of time creating a plausible mechanism my characters ended up on another planet and how they got there. Not every story needs that realism, I have a near future timeframe so I felt it was important.

    Another application is I'm constantly looking at how people are drawing conclusions so differently from each other. This is adding to my character development skills. I watch as the current batch of US politicians are successfully using those Rove Playbook tactics. That's fodder for my dystopia where people are manipulated, not with the torture of Big Brother, or the soma in a Brave New World, but rather with the propaganda skills of Goebbels that were refined by the science on Madison Avenue.

    Arguing/debating can sharpen your thinking, open your world, add clarity and insight to your observations, or, piss you off, make you hate people, and ruin your day.
     
  10. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    It is possible to exchange ideas and open your mind by discussing rather than arguing. It doesn't have to be an antagonistic encounter.

    So why are some people so drawn to conflict? Why do they enjoy strife and seek it out, and create it if it doesn't already exist?
     
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  11. JJ_Maxx
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    JJ_Maxx Banned

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    I agree with Ginger, when you look at all the media coverage of our world today you can never be sure who is lying to you or who is trying to spin your view. When you have a president such as we have who relies on rhetoric over facts or truth and who relies on an ignorant public to enact his agenda, then it is up to people like us on this message board to learn to be critical thinkers and not just accept what is being told to us.

    If there were more debates publicly on current issues instead of the Kardashians, everyone would be better off. Knowledge is power and knowledge of your opponents viewpoints is also valuable.
     
  12. thirdwind
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    thirdwind Contributing Member Contest Administrator Reviewer Contributor

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    Hell must have frozen over.

    I kid, I kid. It's nice to see that we all agree that debate can be good.
     
  13. GingerCoffee
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    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

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    Yes, but you cannot control how the other person is going to reply when you challenge their claims.

    I don't claim to have perfect communication skills and I can go back and see a trigger word or sentence in a post that was taken wrong when I didn't mean it that way. I try to learn from those mistakes, I certainly take responsibility fro them. Believe it or not I do try to approach people politely.

    But there are also times I've been very careful to address the claim, cite evidence, not use anything condescending other than challenging a claim, and the person still reacts to the challenge rather than discussing it reasonably.

    So you have a choice, downplay your position for the sake of being PC, or present your case. If it matters to me, I present my case.

    I don't have to seek anything out. Unsupported claims are a common occurrence.
     
  14. Duchess-Yukine-Suoh
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    Duchess-Yukine-Suoh Girl #21 Contributor

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    [​IMG]

    Now, when Ginger says that she agrees with J.J.............*dramatic music*
     
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  15. JJ_Maxx
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    JJ_Maxx Banned

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    The scary truth is the reason Ginger and I spar is not because of how different we are, but because of how similar we are. ;)
     
  16. GingerCoffee
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    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

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    Nope, definitely not buying that. Definitely not.

    It would sidetrack the thread if I elaborated on why we are polar opposites. You may believe in your reality as strongly as I believe in mine, but the whole basis of reaching that reality is nothing the same between us.
     
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  17. Duchess-Yukine-Suoh
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    Duchess-Yukine-Suoh Girl #21 Contributor

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    Suuuurrree. Anything you say.
     
  18. JJ_Maxx
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    JJ_Maxx Banned

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    ...and not even a smiley, either. Ouch. I should make a list of all the things we have in common. You'd be surprised. :D
     
  19. JJ_Maxx
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    JJ_Maxx Banned

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    See? That is so you! So Ginger. Every yin needs a yang.
     
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  20. Duchess-Yukine-Suoh
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    Duchess-Yukine-Suoh Girl #21 Contributor

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    Be my guest. Heck, make a list and then sent me a PM entitled "Ways that Ginger and I are alike" and then post it in the lounge.

    Yes, because you guys are very harmonious. That's what the two of you are known for, a'yup.
     
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  21. JJ_Maxx
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    JJ_Maxx Banned

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    That's my favorite part in any movie where the antagonist says, "Ya know, we're not so different you and I."

    ...but then he usually dies.

    One of my old pastors used to say there are levels of conflict.

    There are things we would disagree over.
    There are things we would debate over.
    There are things we would divide over.
    There are things we would die over.

    Most of it falls under the 'I-like-mushrooms-on-my-pizza-you-like-pepperoni' category of differences.
     
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  22. ChickenFreak
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    ChickenFreak Contributing Member Contributor

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    I disagree with almost every opinion that you express, and I agree with a large percentage of the opinions that Ginger expresses, but... yeah.
     
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  23. GingerCoffee
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    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

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    "It was the best of times, it was the worst of times."

    It depends on perspective. You can take any two people and look at how they are alike: human, a face, they were born and will die... it's not hard.

    I'm looking at how I come to believe what I believe, what I consider evidence, what I consider moral and immoral, things along those lines when I say polar opposites. I'm nothing like you, JJ, so don't even try to go there.


    @ChickenFreak: I'm seriously flattered, even if you think JJ and I share some qualities. Thank you. :)
     
  24. JJ_Maxx
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    JJ_Maxx Banned

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    Well, I prefer to look at how much we have in common, rather than dwell on the differences, it helps to maintain decorum and respect in debates so they don't deteriorate into arguments.

    I'm not perfect and I'm certainly not right all the time, but it's important that you keep trying to give everyone the respect they deserve.

    :)
     
  25. ChickenFreak
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    ChickenFreak Contributing Member Contributor

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    You're welcome. :)

    -------

    Shifting to considering the original question:

    - I argue to analyze my own views. They're analyzed most thoroughly when someone else has the opportunity to "check my work."

    - I argue to persuade. I never, ever, expect to persuade the person that I'm arguing with. But my words might persuade the undecided who are reading, or at least make them aware of things that they haven't thought of.

    - I argue to communicate. Not necessarily to persuade, but because communicating an idea that seomeone else doesn't share is a greater communication accomplishment than communicating one that they've already formed. I often don't care at all if I persuade, as long as the other person understands. Which leads to:

    - I suspect that I argue to, just once, just ONCE, communicate with my mother. OK, not literally, but I grew up with a mother who determinedly refused to understand, refused to be communicated with. I don't mean that she didn't have the mental capacity, because she could communicate with those outside the family when she wanted to. She just preferred her role in the family to be the recipient of helpless, hopeless efforts to communicate the simplest things, like how to cook rice without burning it or why putting wet soap on the windowsill would damage the paint. I think that she liked the direct focused attention of being explained to, and explained to, and explained to.

    Ahem. Sorry, a rant. Often when I'm in the middle of an endless cycle of disagreement with someone who seems to refuse to understand (not refuse to be persuaded--that doesn't bother me) I will realize that I'm being dysfunctionally powered by the lifelong quest to implant ONE SINGLE BLEEPING THING into my mother's brain. And I will force myself to walk away.
     

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