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Help for Staying Focused on Finding the Truth

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posted on Jul, 12 2010 @ 08:39 AM
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I have stumbled across a website that has a list of debating techniques that are used by people who are trying to persuade others by any means necessary rather than to get to the truth in an honest fashion.

The first two items on the list are honest debating techniques. The rest of the list, I think, are dishonest debating techniques.

I think that if we become aware of these techniques, it might help to avoid being derailed in getting to the bottom of things, both here on ATS forum, and in other environments of the internet, TV, talking to people, etc.

The website, as far as I can see, originated with a guy named Michael StGeorge, who began researching Alcoholics Anonymous in great detail after his personal experience led him to be suspicious. So the examples given are about A.A.

But the debating techniques are what they are and apply to all debates, I would think.

The first section of the page I'm going to quote and link to is "Propaganda Techniques." At the bottom of the page are the "Debating Techniques."

"Debating Techniques"

* Refute By Example
* Refute By Exposing Contradiction
* Minimization and Denial
* Instant Denial
* Understatement
* Admit a Small Fault to Cover a Big Denial
* False Comparison
* Give a Non-reason Reason
* Divert Attention — Change the Subject
* The Positive Accomplishments Sidestep
* Declare Victory
* The Story Sourcing Distraction
* The Drama Queen
* The Personal Loyalty Red Herring
* Deflect Criticism and Blame By Deligitimizing It
* Deligitimize Criticism and Rebuttal in Advance
* Spurious Deligitimization of Evidence
* Spurious Rejection of a Question
* Answer A Question That Was Not Asked (To Avoid Answering One That Was Asked)
* Answer a Question With A Question
* Surfeit of Questions (Plurium Interrogationum)
* Monopolizing the Question (Hypophora)
* Obfuscate
* Attack Without Appearing To Attack By Using Paralipsis or Apophasis)
* Sarcasm, Condescension, and Patronizing Attitudes
* Damn with Faint Praise
* Reductio Ad Absurdum
* Rationalize
* Exchange A Term
* Frame The Argument
* Argue with Unrealistic Hypothetical Situations
* Misrepresent Your Opponent's Position, or Mischaracterize Your Opponent, or Mischaracterize His Statements or Questions
* Nit-Pick and Split Hairs
* Quibble
* Hit And Run
* Hifalutin' Denunciations
* Make Unreasonable Demands
* Make False Demands
* Shift the Burden of Proof Onto Your Opponent
* Double Standards
* Demand an Uneven Burden of Proof
* Demand Uneven Standards of Acceptance
* Specious Argument
* Spurious Agreement
* Escape via Ignorance
* Escape to the Future
* Escape via Relativism
* Escape via Irrationality
* Pack the House
* Embarrass Your Opponent
* Obtuseness — Refuse to See the Point
* Laugh It Off
* Dominate the Conversation, Talk Non-Stop, and Interrupt Constantly
* Escape via Bullying and Intimidation




posted on Jul, 12 2010 @ 09:36 AM
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i've seen that before, and it is a good thing to be aware of, if you're not, already.

so many diversionary tactics!
when i encounter a master of these techniques, i usually just go on my way because no progress is going to be made on either side, and since the other party is obviously not interested in the same thing as i am, i get too frustrated at the waste of time to remain engaged.

the older i get, the more wearisome debate, in general, is for me.



but it is good that you point these out for us, to be made aware of or just reminded.



posted on Jul, 12 2010 @ 10:00 AM
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Originally posted by queenannie38
. . . i get too frustrated at the waste of time to remain engaged.


I can really relate to this!

That's what made me search for debating techniques. It dawned on me that my time was being wasted and that I needed to be aware of the tricks that lead to nonproductive debates.



posted on Jul, 12 2010 @ 04:02 PM
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Originally posted by Mary Rose
* Specious Argument


Dictionary definition of "specious":


1. Having the ring of truth or plausibility but actually fallacious: a specious argument.
2. Deceptively attractive.


The example given in the list:

When you can't think of anything better to say, make a specious argument.

For example, during a debate about Mary McCarthy, the CIA analyst who revealed the existence of illegal secret CIA prisons in foreign countries where kidnapped people were held incommunicado and tortured, Ray McGovern, a former CIA analyst, called such activities war crimes and declared that McCarthy was obligated to reveal the existence of such activities. Richard Kerr, a former CIA assistant director and current Bush administration apologist, argued that if McCarthy had moral objections to such projects, she should have resigned her position and then criticized the policy but without revealing any classified information. Kerr didn't bother to mention that even if she resigned, McCarthy would still be barred by the National Secrets Act from revealing the existence of the secret illegal prisons and torture centers, so her resigning in silent protest would accomplish nothing. (PBS News Hour, 24 Apr 2006).



posted on Jul, 13 2010 @ 04:36 PM
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Originally posted by Mary Rose
* Spurious Agreement


Dictionary definition of "spurious":


Lacking authenticity or validity in essence or origin; not genuine; false.


From the list:

An utterance, typically with a strong emotional content, designed to establish a false sense of agreement: "Don't you want to live forever?" This is an attempt to placate an opponent in a debate.

Amway recruiters ask, "Don't you want financial security?"



posted on Jul, 14 2010 @ 12:47 PM
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Originally posted by Mary Rose
* Argue with Unrealistic Hypothetical Situations


From the list:

Imagine a guy who is in the process of committing suicide by hanging himself. He is standing on a chair, and tying the noose up to something. His cross nagging wife looks on and asks, "Where would we be if everybody did that?"





posted on Mar, 6 2011 @ 07:17 AM
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Originally posted by Mary Rose

"Debating Techniques"

* Refute By Example
* Refute By Exposing Contradiction
* Minimization and Denial
* Instant Denial
* Understatement
* Admit a Small Fault to Cover a Big Denial
* False Comparison
* Give a Non-reason Reason
* Divert Attention — Change the Subject
* The Positive Accomplishments Sidestep
* Declare Victory
* The Story Sourcing Distraction
* The Drama Queen
* The Personal Loyalty Red Herring
* Deflect Criticism and Blame By Deligitimizing It
* Deligitimize Criticism and Rebuttal in Advance
* Spurious Deligitimization of Evidence
* Spurious Rejection of a Question
* Answer A Question That Was Not Asked (To Avoid Answering One That Was Asked)
* Answer a Question With A Question
* Surfeit of Questions (Plurium Interrogationum)
* Monopolizing the Question (Hypophora)
* Obfuscate
* Attack Without Appearing To Attack By Using Paralipsis or Apophasis)
* Sarcasm, Condescension, and Patronizing Attitudes
* Damn with Faint Praise
* Reductio Ad Absurdum
* Rationalize
* Exchange A Term
* Frame The Argument
* Argue with Unrealistic Hypothetical Situations
* Misrepresent Your Opponent's Position, or Mischaracterize Your Opponent, or Mischaracterize His Statements or Questions
* Nit-Pick and Split Hairs
* Quibble
* Hit And Run
* Hifalutin' Denunciations
* Make Unreasonable Demands
* Make False Demands
* Shift the Burden of Proof Onto Your Opponent
* Double Standards
* Demand an Uneven Burden of Proof
* Demand Uneven Standards of Acceptance
* Specious Argument
* Spurious Agreement
* Escape via Ignorance
* Escape to the Future
* Escape via Relativism
* Escape via Irrationality
* Pack the House
* Embarrass Your Opponent
* Obtuseness — Refuse to See the Point
* Laugh It Off
* Dominate the Conversation, Talk Non-Stop, and Interrupt Constantly
* Escape via Bullying and Intimidation


The first two items on the list - Refute By Example and Refute By Exposing Contradiction - are the only honest debating techniques on the list.

The rest are dishonest tactics - designed to win but not to get at the truth.

The comment I'm about to make only applies to threads about topics that are controversial.

I wish it were not so, but I think that about 10% of replies on ATS fall into the category of displaying honest techniques, and 90% of replies fall into the dishonest techniques. This means that participating in debates usually entails exposing the dishonest techniques for what they are, rather than putting our heads together to arrive at the truth by gathering information and connecting dots.



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