Author Topic: Civilized Debate  (Read 27197 times)

Offline Sam Wilson

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Re: Civilized Debate
« Reply #45 on: September 07, 2008, 05:27:32 pm »
Hey, maybe we should all revisit this right now since things seem to be coming to a head for everyone, at home, at work, online the election has people ready to fight now more than ever with things being as divisive as they ever have been in this country.  I live in ultra-right wing christian top 5% of the nation's earners georgia, I go to work every day and come home wanting to punch someone in the face because they feel the need to lecture me as to exactly why this country is messed up and exactly how it needs to be fixed, and they are usually assholes about it.

But whatever, we are above that here, or should at least try to be.  Think about it this way, your political opposite, minus the politics, could be your homey you have a drink with at happy hour and share your other life issues with.  Remember that before you want to punch someone in the face (online or off).   As slam au lai kum brothers. 

wgreason

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Re: Civilized Debate
« Reply #46 on: September 15, 2008, 04:27:13 am »

How do we deal with posters (who may or may not be intentionally trolling the board) who offer multiple posts of incendiary material with no attempt to persuade or find common ground?

What about posts offered simply to gauge the reaction of opposing voices?  Are they different from honest conversation?

Finally, if I were to call other writers "morons," insult their family, their work habits, or their occupation, would I be subject to sanction by the moderators or the site owner?


wgreason

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Re: Civilized Debate
« Reply #47 on: September 19, 2008, 05:01:53 am »

Offline Sam Wilson

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Re: Civilized Debate
« Reply #48 on: September 19, 2008, 03:11:11 pm »

How do we deal with posters (who may or may not be intentionally trolling the board) who offer multiple posts of incendiary material with no attempt to persuade or find common ground?

What about posts offered simply to gauge the reaction of opposing voices?  Are they different from honest conversation?

Finally, if I were to call other writers "morons," insult their family, their work habits, or their occupation, would I be subject to sanction by the moderators or the site owner?



notify a moderator.  if you were to insult other people that would be not cool and us mods would discuss it amongst ourselves and figure out what we are going to do. 

Trolls get the boot though, no question. 

michaelintp

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Re: Civilized Debate
« Reply #49 on: November 09, 2008, 09:51:25 am »
I posted this on a separate thread ... but figured maybe it is worth preserving here as well:

I ran across the following internet cartoon, which has a message worth keeping in mind, both in the real world and in
the world of internet posting:

"Words"
a stick figure vignette
by Dovid Taub

http://www.chabad.org/multimedia/stick_figures/default_cdo/aid/749659/jewish/Words.htm

I kinda liked this.  Thought it worth sharing.

Offline Curtis Metcalf

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Dialogue vs. Discussion
« Reply #50 on: January 05, 2009, 01:55:01 pm »
By request I am placing this post from another thread here. Please keep the discussion here independent of the issue on the other thread.

What I describe is reality. 

And no one else is can have a different yet valid perspective?

No.  Not on this issue. 

Are you, therefore, uninterested in dialogue* on this issue?

*DIALOGUE CONTRASTED WITH DISCUSSION
It is often useful to contrast Dialogue with a more familiar form of communication, discussion.
Discussion has the same Greek root as percussion and concussion, discus, meaning to throw, fragment, shatter. David Bohm likened discussion to an activity where we throw our opinions back and forth in an attempt to convince each other of the rightness of a particular point of view. In this process, the whole view is often fragmented and shattered into many pieces.
DialogueDiscussion
To inquire to learnTo tell, sell, persuade
To unfold shared meaningTo gain agreement on one meaning
To integrate multiple perspectivesTo evaluate and select the best
To uncover and examine assumptionsTo justify/defend assumptions
   
"Seek first to understand, then to be understood."
"Be hard on systems, but soft on people."

michaelintp

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Re: Civilized Debate
« Reply #51 on: January 05, 2009, 06:17:25 pm »
By request I am placing this post from another thread here. Please keep the discussion here independent of the issue on the other thread.

What I describe is reality. 

And no one else is can have a different yet valid perspective?

No.  Not on this issue. 

Are you, therefore, uninterested in dialogue* on this issue?

*DIALOGUE CONTRASTED WITH DISCUSSION
It is often useful to contrast Dialogue with a more familiar form of communication, discussion.
Discussion has the same Greek root as percussion and concussion, discus, meaning to throw, fragment, shatter. David Bohm likened discussion to an activity where we throw our opinions back and forth in an attempt to convince each other of the rightness of a particular point of view. In this process, the whole view is often fragmented and shattered into many pieces.
DialogueDiscussion
To inquire to learnTo tell, sell, persuade
To unfold shared meaningTo gain agreement on one meaning
To integrate multiple perspectivesTo evaluate and select the best
To uncover and examine assumptionsTo justify/defend assumptions
   


 
Curtis, in fairness, if we are going to see your original post, readers should see my response as well:

Quote
Curtis, just because people hold different opinions does not mean that all opinions are equal.  Your premise of "equally valid" opinions is simply another iteration of moral relativism, a concept that I wholly reject.


The difficulty in responding to your question in a vacuum is that the answer may reasonably differ depending on the matter under discussion.  Our motivations to enter into "communication" [to use a neutral term] may vary, depending on the topic at hand and the participants involved.  On matters that one does not feel strongly about, one may have one purpose.  For matters that one does feel strongly about, one needs to evaluate why. There are some issues that people on the forum have extensive knowledge of (by way of personal experience or study of the issue/subject matter for years), and in those instances a purpose may be to educate others on the forum.  In other instaces, one may not have looked at an issue all that closely or have not had the experiences of others, and there one's objective may be to learn.  Or there may be variations in between.  In other instances, we may actually be confronted with prejudice or opinions informed by prejudice.  In yet other instances we may be motivated to rebut what someone says, not with the expectation of ever changing his or her mind, but rather to make certain that other persons reading the thread will be exposed to the other point of view and to facts not originally mentioned, to prevent people from being mislead.  Other times, we may be trying to work issues out together, to think them though, to brainstorm, to examine them from all angles. Thus, whether we are engaged in "discussion" or "dialogue" may, indeed will, vary depending on the facts and circumstances, and who the participants are. 

For example, I recall that in the context of some of our past political discussions, one forum member mentioned to another forum member that he was interested in what I had to say just to find out what the opposition was saying (something to that effect), which rather surprised me. Query whether that is really "dialogue" or "discussion" when, up front, one knows he/she is picking another forum member's brain with no possibility of one's viewpoint being altered. 

At times when we are confronted with viewpoints that we strongly disagree with, for very good reason, the best that can be hoped for is relatively civil discourse (not personalizing matters) without any expectation that we will change the other person's mind.  With the hope of at least explaining to people where you are coming from.  This in itself may be productive, to dispel two-dimentional stereotypes.  For example, at times I've been known to express what some perceive to be "conservative" points of view on some issues, and yet I would hope that some people's caricature of a "conservative" might be affected by what I've written, even though at the end of the day nobody agrees with me.  In other instances, on the other hand, I may have reinforced their negative stereotypes, haha.  Whatever.   :P

Simply because more than one viewpoint exists does not mean that all viewpoints are "equally valid."  There are some matters where it is truly fair to say that reasonable people may differ.  However, there are other instances where that is simply not the case.

In fairness, the most that we can ask for (and monitor) is that we treat one another in a civil manner.  That is something that can be observed objectively without attempting to delve into the psyche of each forum member.

Offline Curtis Metcalf

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Re: Civilized Debate
« Reply #52 on: January 05, 2009, 06:56:28 pm »
Curtis, in fairness, if we are going to see your original post, readers should see my response as well:

Quote
Curtis, just because people hold different opinions does not mean that all opinions are equal.  Your premise of "equally valid" opinions is simply another iteration of moral relativism, a concept that I wholly reject.

Before you run off on the moral relativism tangent, could you please reread my post and point out where I said "equally valid" to quote your misquote.  ???

The difficulty in responding to your question in a vacuum is that the answer may reasonably differ depending on the matter under discussion.  Our motivations to enter into "communication" [to use a neutral term] may vary, depending on the topic at hand and the participants involved. 
<etc. etc.>

So then, that's a "No, I'm not interested in dialogue"?   :(
That's OK, dialogue is optional.

Simply because more than one viewpoint exists does not mean that all viewpoints are "equally valid."  There are some matters where it is truly fair to say that reasonable people may differ.  However, there are other instances where that is simply not the case.

And that's something you can identify in advance without the benefit of listening to and comprehending the alternative perspectives? If so, make sure you use this power wisely.  ;)

In fairness, the most that we can ask for (and monitor) is that we treat one another in a civil manner.  That is something that can be observed objectively without attempting to delve into the psyche of each forum member.

Civility is the minimum requirement. We can hope for much more.  8)
"Seek first to understand, then to be understood."
"Be hard on systems, but soft on people."

michaelintp

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Re: Civilized Debate
« Reply #53 on: January 06, 2009, 07:52:33 am »
The difficulty in responding to your question in a vacuum is that the answer may reasonably differ depending on the matter under discussion.  Our motivations to enter into "communication" [to use a neutral term] may vary, depending on the topic at hand and the participants involved. 
<etc. etc.>
So then, that's a "No, I'm not interested in dialogue"?   :(
That's OK, dialogue is optional.

Curtis, I'm surprised.  I provided a rather lengthy response.  This is how you summarize what I said above?  Why are you doing this? 

Had you wished to initiate a discussion on the topic of "discussion" vs. "dialogue" you could have done so by simply starting that discussion, without the need to take another forum member's comments (um ... mine) out of context.

What you were asking was, "No one else can have a different yet valid perspective?" on the issue we were discussing.  I answered your question in the negative with respect to that issue.  At the outset of this thread you quoted my response out of context, without reference to the issue we were discussing.  In many cases, on many issues, where reasonable people may differ, there are "different yet valid perspectives."  However, on certain core moral/ethical issues, there are not "different yet valid perspectives."  That does not mean on the forum we don't explore the thinking of everyone.  This does not mean, however, that we must pretend that there are "different yet valid perspectives" on every issue.  To take an extreme example, if a terrorist captures an innocent civilian and slits his throught in front of a video camera, I am not willing to conceded that that terrorist has a "different yet valid perspective."  We can all think of subject matters where we are not willing to concede there is a different yet valid perspective.

I've absolutely no desire to reopen the issue that Lion blocked.  We can't go much further here, in the abstract.  Which is fine with me.

Curtis, in fairness, if we are going to see your original post, readers should see my response as well:
Quote
Curtis, just because people hold different opinions does not mean that all opinions are equal.  Your premise of "equally valid" opinions is simply another iteration of moral relativism, a concept that I wholly reject.
Before you run off on the moral relativism tangent, could you please reread my post and point out where I said "equally valid" to quote your misquote.  ???

As to my reference to your original statement, you refer to a "different yet valid perspective."  The premise of this statement is that there are opposing yet equally valid perspectives on the issue.  Because, by definition, no "valid" perspective can be more or less valid than another "valid" perspective.  Sometimes there really are equally valid perspectives (i.e., where reasonable people may differ), but at other times not. It really depends on the issue.  When the "different valid perspectives" approach is applied to certain core moral/ethical issues, this is moral relativism.

Civility is the minimum requirement. We can hope for much more.  8)

There is value in both "dialogue" and "discussion" and yes, at times, even "debate" (though after a repetitive point "debate" can become a painful waste of time). 

I believe of all people on this forum I've strived to encourage "dialogue" when merited.  However, there are some issues, some circumstances, where the best one can hope for is to set the record straight. 

The main thing is to avoid personalizing discussions, and preferably to treat one another with respect.  If we can stay just in that space, I'm happy.

Offline Curtis Metcalf

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Re: Civilized Debate
« Reply #54 on: January 06, 2009, 09:24:19 am »
The difficulty in responding to your question in a vacuum is that the answer may reasonably differ depending on the matter under discussion.  Our motivations to enter into "communication" [to use a neutral term] may vary, depending on the topic at hand and the participants involved. 
<etc. etc.>
So then, that's a "No, I'm not interested in dialogue"?   :(
That's OK, dialogue is optional.

Curtis, I'm surprised.  I provided a rather lengthy response.  This is how you summarize what I said above?  Why are you doing this? 

First of all, please accept my apologies for the ambiguity -- I meant on that issue, not generally speaking. In other words, please amend my statement above to "No, I'm not interested in dialogue on this issue." (Which is, I believe, an accurate representation of your position. Please let me know if I have misunderstood you.) Obviously, the qualifier is too important to have left implicit. Again, my apologies.

Secondly, I disagree with your assertion that dialogue amounts to moral relativism. I will reply more fully to this point when I have more time.
"Seek first to understand, then to be understood."
"Be hard on systems, but soft on people."

michaelintp

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Re: Civilized Debate
« Reply #55 on: January 07, 2009, 06:29:31 am »
... But Curtis, the foolishness of this discussion is that it is in a vacuum.  It was your "different valid perspectives" point that I reacted to on the other thread, not your "dialogue" vs. "discussion" definitions.  YOU brought up these academic definitions of "dialogue" vs. "discussion" and I guess you could have added one for "debate" though you did not.  I didn't pick up on that on the other thread because frankly I found your "different valid perspectives" description to be more troubling.  Debate, discussion and/or dialogue are not necessarily dependent on accepting the premise that there are always different valid perspectives.  One result of dialogue (even as you define it) may be the revelation that the other guy's views are unjustified (or worse, ill motivated). Indeed, based on what the other person initially says, that may be obvious from the outset. [I'm not directing this description to anyone on the forum, just making a general point in the context of this theoretical discussion].  Or it may be that a topic (or variations of the same topic) has been addressed so many times in the past, with extensive attempts to engage in dialogue, with really no productive result, that further detailed reiteration is pointless.  Or that such dialogue was initially of some value but nothing further can be gained by repetition. So it really depends on the circumstances and the parties involved and their intentions, and the extent to which the topic has already been covered. 

Or ... to be more succinct, as to the parties' intentions:  "It takes two to tango."
... and as to the waste of further attempts at dialogue:  "We've already done that dance." 

As I think I've demonstrated with you time and time again, I'm usually open to dialogue on this forum with just about anyone, if the intention is reciprocal.  However, I'm not going to say more on this, as this whole thing is starting to look more and more like a backdoor way to reopen the topic that Lion blocked.

If you do wish to engage in a dialogue regarding your "different valid perspectives" point, I would be far more interested in that.  Do you believe that no matter what the issue, and no matter the attitudes of the person expressing the "different" viewpoint, that the other person must be viewed as just having a different valid perspective?  If not, why not?  If there are circumstances and issues where you believe the other person should not be viewed as having a different valid perspective, how do you reach that conclusion?  What criteria do you use?

Offline Curtis Metcalf

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Re: Civilized Debate
« Reply #56 on: January 07, 2009, 10:00:52 am »
If you do wish to engage in a dialogue regarding your "different valid perspectives" point, I would be far more interested in that. 

That is exactly my intent. I will engage in that dialogue on dialogue with my perspective on your questions on perspectives as soon as I have a little time to do it. It's a bit hectic for me right now after the holidays. Thanks for bearing with me.
"Seek first to understand, then to be understood."
"Be hard on systems, but soft on people."

Offline Vic Vega

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Re: Civilized Debate
« Reply #57 on: January 07, 2009, 03:35:46 pm »
Either my E-skin has gotten thicker of late or I've missed something. The last couple of threads that got locked here didn't even seem that invective filled to me.

Maybe I'm jaded by the infamous Weekend Fanboy Freakouts that used to happen here every other week in '06.  This place has calmed down a lot.

But we could all stand to be more civil, so I will attempt to amend my posting accordingly. 

Offline Curtis Metcalf

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Re: Civilized Debate
« Reply #58 on: January 14, 2009, 07:16:53 pm »
If you do wish to engage in a dialogue regarding your "different valid perspectives" point, I would be far more interested in that.  Do you believe that no matter what the issue, and no matter the attitudes of the person expressing the "different" viewpoint, that the other person must be viewed as just having a different valid perspective?  If not, why not?  If there are circumstances and issues where you believe the other person should not be viewed as having a different valid perspective, how do you reach that conclusion?  What criteria do you use?

Before beginning this dialogue on dialogue, please allow me to address what I believe is a misunderstanding:
I asked you whether one could have a "different yet valid perspective" from your own in the case at hand. That is to say, can you conceive of there being any other valid perspectives? Perhaps you interpreted the question differently but your "No" reply signified to me that you believe that your perspective is the only valid one. Is that really what you mean to claim?

You replied (and I quote):
Quote
Curtis, just because people hold different opinions does not mean that all opinions are equal.  Your premise of "equally valid" opinions is simply another iteration of moral relativism, a concept that I wholly reject.
But I never said anything about all opinions being equal. My premise is merely that of the set of alternative perspectives, the subset of valid ones is not empty. That is, there is at least one different yet valid perspective. I believe this to be true almost always, i.e. in all but the most banal and trivial of cases.  Surely in something as complex as a conflict, there exists more than one valid perspective.

If we can agree on that point, then dialogue can be viewed as the process of discovering those alternative perspectives in order to gain a richer understanding. The purpose of dialogue is to learn, not to defend one's own perspective or to retreat into self-righteousness. Doing this requires one to suspend one's beliefs in order to better examine them. It also requires a level of trust. That is to say, it is not easy. Nevertheless, one of my goals in participating in the forum is to learn.

Before pursuing the notion of dialogue further, I await your input (and that of others) on the premise.
Thank you for your interest in the topic.
« Last Edit: January 14, 2009, 07:18:41 pm by Curtis Metcalf »
"Seek first to understand, then to be understood."
"Be hard on systems, but soft on people."

michaelintp

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Re: Civilized Debate
« Reply #59 on: January 15, 2009, 06:43:05 am »
Curtis, I don't intend to address your first question other than to say that on the other thread we were not discussing nuances in perspectives; people were expressing polar opposite perspectives.  I am not discussing that issue further, because, frankly, I'm tired of it.  Which is why I tend to refrain from bringing it up on this forum.  At times others do, usually with an axe to grind.

As to "different yet valid" perspectives, you chose those words, and they certainly indicate that different (opposite) perspectives can both be "valid."  While with regard to some issues that may be the case, with respect to others it certainly is not.

On some issues there is a morally correct position to support.  Even if the issue involves conflict (indeed, most notably in those instances).

Or would you say that with regard to virtually every issue there is a "different valid perspective" that holds just the opposite of another "different valid perspective."  I don't see how you can contend that this is not moral relativism.  Unless you draw your bubble of "valid" perspectives narrowly.  It does not appear that you do.

In any event, it all depends on the issue.

For purposes of discussion, accepting your definitions of "dialogue" and "discussion" (and by extension, "debate") ... the truth is that things flow in human communication, and while a social scientist may try to categorize things, the reality is much more fluid, in large part depending on the personalities involved. Like you, I've tried to learn from others on the forum.  And yes, you are correct, some degree of trust is required. That point goes well beyond the HEF, to the realm of significant dialogue/discussions/negotiations in the real world. Trust is merited with regard to many persons. Unfortunately, it is not merited with respect to everyone.