Sunday, December 16, 2007

Truth or Victory

There are two approaches that one can take into an argument/debate/discussion, it seems to me. One is to seek victory at all costs. The other is to seek the truth. Let us consider the likely outcomes of these two approaches.

If the reason to debate is to achieve victory, truth is a secondary consideration. The primary concern being winning, there must also be a loser. In order to avoid being the loser, one must be prepared to cling to a losing argument even in the face of truth. It is at this point when the victory-at-all-costs debater may need to engage in some unscrupulous tactics like the personal attack, changing the subject, creating straw man arguments and so on. This kind of debater will sometimes accept a false assertion but think that they have won the debate.

The truth seeking debater seeks truth first and foremost. This debater is willing to accept his opponents argument if it is shown to be true. This debater may lose the debate but will more likely arrive at the truth in the process. In this kind of debate, there really is no loser. It is a win win situation as both participants arrive at the truth.

I see far too many of the win-at-all-costs debaters and too few truth seekers.

15 comments:

Anonymous said...

Denis,
This comment is correct.

However...

The truth will indeed set one free. As a product of Fransiscan and Jesuit training, I have been taught to sek the truth, and avoid partisan ideology.

I rarely see this quality anywhere in a world ruled by ideology, from atheistic free market ideology, to atheistic communistic philosophies. The right wing in the US also shows this lack of truth seeking.

So, I guess you look at it as if the so called 'left' is the problem, now don't you?

Ken Brosky said...

This is an absolutely hilarious post, given your most reason article about how you "listened" to a movie called the Great Global Warming Swindle and seemed to soak in its distortions of fact and somehow came out thinking you were going to be a "debating" crusader, righteously stirring debate over an issue that's already been debated and settled. I suggest anyone who's read that post with suspicion learn more about the movie and make a more educated decision than Dennis.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Great_Global_Warming_Swindle#Reactions_from_scientists

Ken Brosky said...

Whoops, the comment system cut off the link. Just go to wikipedia and look up "The Great Global Warming Swindle."

Denis Navratil said...

anon, my post was intended to be a nonpartisan one as I think that some on both sides of the idealogical divide are guilty of a win at all costs debating style.

Ken, I am glad that you are amused. However, after listening to the film, I was prompted to merely ask a question that the film posed. How is it that you assume that I now wish to be a righteous crusader? But thank you for demonstrating the win at all costs debating technique that I described.

smallgovsam said...

My sociology teacher, a grown man in all but maturity, is a prime example of this dogma of fact-without-question.

I was discussing the cost-benefit analysis of global warming. The dialogue continued after class. At one point he asked me what I stand to gain from adhering to lies that the oil companies and Republican lawmakers spread. He called me “anti-science” and “anti-intellectual.” He continued ranting for a few moments before finally asking me “Do you want to be a lackey?”

“Have a good day, Tom.” I walked out.

Denis Navratil said...

Sam, note that your teacher had to resort to personal attacks. When a discussion devolves to that point, there is little point in continuing. You are fortunate to have the strength and wisdom to stand your ground.

Anonymous said...

I agree with Ken completely. Like all of your other critical posts, this one applies much more to you than anyone else. Take the Walden green school story, for example, even after all of your arguments were disproved, you had to make up some outlandish argument to comfort yourself into thinking you won the debate. Also, do you really think that any of your posts are nonpartisan?

Denis Navratil said...

On the contrary anon, I admitted making a mistake because of a misreading of the JT article. And my arguments were not disproved. In fact, the most common argument of the global warming hysterics is that the debate is already over and that they won. Yet none of the same could competently address the issue of whether CO2 causes global warming or is perhaps only correlated with global warming. Instead, they resorted to personal attacks and changing of the subject and of course claiming victory because the debate is over.

Michael Gibson said...

I must say that I actually agree with Sam on this one. Tom is pretty rude. He dares you to ask questions, but then for some reason if you in fact do ask questions of him, he just puts you down.

Anonymous said...

I cannot believe Ken cited wikipedia as a source from which to make a educated decision.

Anonymous said...

whoops, "an" educated...

Anonymous said...

Denis, prove that global warming is fake. We, along with many well-educated scientists, have already proved that it is real.

Nemo said...

Anon said:

"Denis, prove that global warming is fake. We, along with many well-educated scientists, have already proved that it is real."

Proved that it is real? How do you explain the peer-reviewed study by a team of scientists appearing in the December 2007 issue of the International Journal of Climatology of the Royal Meteorological Society which found "Warming is naturally caused and shows no human influence."?

Anonymous said...

Nemo, give me the site where it says this, I will look at it.

Nemo said...

It's here, among other places...

http://www.infowars.com/articles/
science/
global_warming_consensus_
shattered_study_says_warming_natural.htm

I had to parse the URL to make it all visible here. Just make it all uptight and it should work. Happy data!