Learning & Persuasion Are Not Side Effects of Debate


Somehow debating has become a positive and healthy activity. We do it on tv, YouTube, conferences, and social media.

More often than not you will here the screams of the masses calling for two adversaries to debate. Disagreement becomes a spectacle to be entertained by.

What’s worse is the claims that debating improves logical thinking, learning, and reasoning. Those who claim debate is a healthy endeavor mistake what is at heart of the activity.

Debate is the process of defending your views while destroying your opponent’s. You find evidence to back your side up against the attacks of your opponent. You must defend while being witty, and intuitive of your opponent’s attacks and how to deflect them. It is a practice in dichotomy thinking. My side is right, and I’ll prove it. Your side is wrong, and I’ll prove it.

Learning is only involved in the evidence-gathering stage of the debate. You learn to find an echo chamber of material, subsequently discarding anything that doesn’t line up with your worldview. Both sides are already “informed” of the other’s position (if you can call reading critiques and hit pieces a healthy conduit for a wholesome understanding of the other side’s worldview). Questions are not needed here.

Learning is not the end goal, nor is it even a side-effect of debate. It is exploited for debate.

Debate, while creating an echo chamber, goes against psychologically proven methods of persuasion. You don’t win others over by throwing facts at them, or attempting to break down their worldview.

Debate, in terms of learning and persuasion is lacking. In terms of entertainment, it’s spilling over the rim.

Debate is a form of entertainment; it’s why networks pit their guests against each other. Most people want to see a show, not a civil conversation where both sides understand the other’s point of view.

It’s why I try not to debate anymore. When I debate, I’m doing it for my own benefit and for the benefit of my audience. If I wanted to learn and grow, I’d sit down with them at my local coffee shop and discuss life.

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About John-Pierre Maeli

Keeping it simple and crystal clear, because anything else is useless. I'm here to not only inform you, but to also connect with you. That's what The Political Informer is all about. Feel free to follow me on either Twitter or Google+ Let's talk!

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