Of course I encourage meaningful debate here at my blog. Of course I do. I have no problem whatsoever with people disagreeing with me about the things I write. In fact, I've made commenting on GTE as simple as I know how. But how about doing ol' Doug a favor? In order to keep our discussions meaningful, can we dispense with certain annoying debating tactics?
First - and I put this one first because it "gets my goat" most of all - is something I not only think is bad tactics, I consider it rude. This is spouting out the cliche "you're comparing apples and oranges."
This is usually dragged out when an analogy or illustration is used for the purpose of making a point. When someone cries "apples and oranges" to me it makes me feel they either aren't listening or they are just being evasive.
The truth is, apples and oranges can be compared with good effect. Which isn't to say there are ways in which they aren't comparable. And, no, they aren't exactly the same thing.
But if you tell me an illustration I'm using is "apples and oranges," you can't just leave it there with that. It is your responsibility to explain why the illustrations fails and in what way it violates the principle of similarity. Even if you feel the illustration is weak, you should explain why and how it is weak.
So yes, feel free to tell me you think I'm comparing apples and oranges, that is, making an unreasonable comparison. But be a pal and good debating opponent and explain why you feel this is so.
Okay, here is another oldie but goody, and while I find it annoying I must confess I find it so funny it almost causes me to wet my pants when I hear it. I'm writing about when someone asks me concerning a point in dispute: can you prove it didn't happen?
Let's get this straight. It is the responsibility of the person making a claim to justify that claim. It is silly to challenge someone to prove that something isn't the way you claim it to be. That isn't good debating. It isn't debating at all.
If I question your theory or proposition, it will hardly do to respond, "can you prove it's not that way?" Maybe, maybe not. That's not the point. It just so happens you are the one making the claim; so prove it.
I love my comments section. I love to hear from you guys, agree or disagree. But if we are going to debate things, let's - as they say - keep it real.