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Showing posts with the label arguments

An Argument for Better Arguing

"But can't you see how wrong you are?" Centuries ago, when I was in high school, I took up argumentation. I joined the debate team because my sister had done well there, and because the coach cornered me in the hallway and asked me to. I loved it. Research, constructing cases, looking for weaknesses in the arguments of others, and organizing information so I could get at it easily. It might not sound like everyone's cup of tea, but it was certainly mine. I ended up ranked in the state and got a scholarship to college. Debating in college was even more fun. The competition was tough, but we traveled to places I'd only read about and formed a close-knit group that loved to--you guessed it--argue. Play with language. One-up each other. Argue some more. Debate is formal argument , and it doesn't bear much resemblance to the real-life version. One can try tossing out lies and false evidence, but the other team is likely to call her on it. [Great example: we

You Know What They Say about Opinions

Here's the G-rated version: "Opinions are like noses. Everybody has one." America is a country that has long valued the right of each individual to have an opinion, and that's good. The problem comes when opinions are all a person has. Here's my take on the subject. *A person's opinions should be based on evidence, and that evidence must be real. It's difficult--sometimes really difficult--to look at the evidence, read or listen across a range of information, and make a conscious decision as to what you think about a subject. It's often easier to take the word of someone you think is smart or knowledgeable or well-read on the topic. The problem is that his/her opinion might be just as misinformed or slanted as anyone else's. If all it took to be right is brains or education, there wouldn't be so much disagreement in the highest levels of government. As a debater in high school and college, I learned that it's essential to look at both sid