Debates vs. Arguments – Opening the mind

A common problem that we (those who debate) run into occasionally resolve around the people more than the actual topic. We here at lunatics landing typically can talk about any topic and not get offended by the details each one of us can provide; However, there is always one person some where in the world that assumes that our logical reasoning is an attack on their beliefs, and proceed to escalate the initiation of a debate into an argument.

Today I want to draw a clear line between a debate and an argument. I figured if I make this point, then I have more reason to delete any comment that appears to pass this line and start an argument spanning hundreds of comments. I dont mind comments that make points that are missed in the post, and hell we may edit them in, but we assume people read the full post and generally understand what we are talking about.

Debate
Noun: A formal discussion on a particular topic in a public meeting or legislative assembly, in which opposing arguments are put forward.
Verb: Argue about (a subject), esp. in a formal manner.
Argument
An exchange of diverging or opposite views, typically a heated or angry one.
A reason or set of reasons given with the aim of persuading others that an action or idea is right or wrong.

Officially, these are the definitions we have to work with. Personally I think this really helps in drawling the line. Debates take place in a formal manner, and are not intended to offend another person, while an argument usually involves anger, and persuasion. When I debate with my friends, I don’t expect them to change there views, just merely open their minds to possibilities. Although I may bring up valid points in these debates, the idea is not to persuade you and prove that I am right. When I respond, I am constantly rethinking my position on the matter, and forming new ideas. I consider a debate successful when all parties involved have formulated a new thought on the topic, that differs from their original assumption. Each response I give consists of new considerations and new possibilities that you very well may have formed when you brought up your points on the matter.

Arguments on the other hand involve two or more parties arguing a position that doesn’t change. People who want to argue typically only want to prove their point, their position, and eventually convince you that you are just wrong. Although, with the right facts, a persons stance in an argument may very well be flawed, but not every stance is clear cut, and as long as each person can back up their position with facts, it could very well be a good debate. The argument, however, doesn’t allow the arguing party to change their views, there is always a winner and a loser, this of course causes problems, and eventually requires action to resolve, in my case deleting such comments.

In the end every argument may become a debate, if the person levels out, becomes calm, and opens their mind to the possibilities. While a debate can just as easily become an argument, if people become heated, and unwilling to see the slight possibility that they may not be 100% correct. This line can change no matter what side you start on, but the point of Lunatics Landing isn’t to cause conflict, but to vent and release bottle up tension, that may or may not be caused by such arguments. So my question to leave you all with, is whether you are willing to open your mind to infinite possibilities?

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