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Debate Rules

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(Created page with "=/r/Freethought and Freethoughtpedia discussion rules= ==Rule 0. Respect Truth.== Everybody's entitled to an opinion. But not all opinions are of equal legitimacy. Evidence an...")

Latest revision as of 10:07, 20 May 2015


/r/Freethought and Freethoughtpedia discussion rules

Rule 0. Respect Truth.

Everybody's entitled to an opinion. But not all opinions are of equal legitimacy.

Evidence and science will always outweigh personal experience and hearsay.

Nobody in this forum will be sanctioned for their words. Words are just that - letters on a page. Intent is more important than words. You can say whatever you want. But you have to be responsible for those claims. What is provable takes precedence over what is popular.

1. Don't over-simplify complex issues

People should understand and accept that most issues are not binary. There are more than two sides to an issue. And it's possible for people to hold multiple opinions on issues that others might seem in-congruent.

Arguments that are based on a false dichotomy are inappropriate and counter-productive (i.e. white person mentions slavery = racist provocation, man talks about men's rights = misogynist, person criticizes israeli government = anti-semite, someone criticizes flu vaccine = anti-vaxxer, etc.) No. Wrong. Inaccurate. Improper generalization.

2. Take responsibility for your own feelings

When somebody doesn't understand something, or when somebody might be offended by another person's words or perspective, they recognize that this is primarily a function of their brain and their feelings -- it may or may not in actuality be an offensive statement or opinion. And give the other person the benefit of the doubt because you would want the same consideration if the tables were turned.

3. Be willing to apologize and admit you're wrong.

Anyone in a conversation that is so defensive that they are immune to recognizing their own mistakes of judgement is not someone worthy of debating.

It's very rare that any single person has a monopoly on truth. Therefore everybody needs to admit that there is something they can learn from other people. However, other people who insist on blindly defending their point of view when it is either based on fallacious arguments or a position that nobody in the conversation has taken, is a pointless exercise that will ultimately result in a degeneration of the dialogue.

4. Address the message, not the messenger

The most common, dishonest argument tactic is to make the topic about the messenger and ignore the message, or use the message as a weapon to attach the integrity of the messenger.

5. Two wrongs don't make a right

Pointing out the flaws in someone's argument doesn't make yours stronger. Your argument should be evaluated on its own merits. If you can't defend your argument, attacking your opponents is a poor last resort. If you have no argument and came to simply attack the messenger because you don't like the message, you're adding nothing productive to the conversation.

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