Saturday, July 10, 2010

My Debating Commandments

I often find myself debating a wide variety of topics. More than occasionally, I find that my opponent in a debate will violate some basic rules I apply to myself. I've decided to codify my personal rules for debating:

  1. Although I may disagree with others' beliefs or perspectives, I will respect their rights to hold these beliefs unless they are used to harm, harass or oppress.

  2. When engaged in debate, I will argue against ideas, not people.

  3. I will not respond with violence or threats of violence.

  4. My words and ideals will be reflected in my daily affairs.

  5. Whenever and wherever possible, I will support my statements with concrete, independently verifiable evidence.

  6. I will not confuse opinion with fact.

  7. When citing a source, I will not use selections designed to misrepresent the intent of the author.

  8. If the opposing side in a debate concedes a point, I will not belabor that point nor will I consider it to make their entire position invalid.

  9. I will try to remember at all times that although my opponent may not be right, I might be wrong and that there may be alternatives that neither of us has considered.

  10. I must accept that silencing an opponent doesn't mean that he/she has been convinced.

So, here's the deal, folks. If you wish to engage in debate with me, follow those rules. Otherwise, we've got nothing to discuss.

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