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Old 02-20-2005, 12:11 PM   #1
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How Thomas Jefferson wants you to debate

Before I begin, I want to comment a little bit about the FYM atmosphere. It seems as though any jab of sarcasm rises tensions in an emotionally-charged discussion. The mods here appeal as a welcoming community that focuses on respect for each other, which is a great thing, but recently, I am convinced more and more that the measure of a man is his behavior during the heat of a debate. Sure, I may have popped a cap at the wrong people at times, I have to admit. But in my most recent point of view, Thomas Jefferson believed that you have to drill the person to death in an argument in order to see if they are for real.

Although he may no longer be with us in person, Thomas Jefferson's ideas should never die.

Take this thought-provoking quotation for example:

"Shake off all the fears of servile prejudices, under which weak minds are servilely crouched. Fix reason firmly in her seat, and call on her tribunal for every fact, every opinion. Question with boldness even the existence of a God; because, if there be one, he must more approve of the homage of reason than that of blindfolded fear."

Personally, I certainly don't think this quote has everything to do with religion, but instead, question everything, sit the person down, and fearlessly test their sincerity. With the mention of God in there, I would think that if you question even the existence of God, no question should be off limits.

Seemingly, both sides of the debate play the victim way too often. I don't mean to come off as a hawk or anything like that, but the quest of understanding your opposites will be most successful if you wear them out. In this environment, I think the best way to do this is to demand a credible set of facts, and stick them with followed up argumented questions as to why they reject yours.

Note: This thread and analysis is not intended to promote personal attacks, but to encourage the demand of credibility and validity.

I'd be happy to get some good responses, especially from the mods. I leave you with this Jefferson quote:

"We confide in our strength, without boasting of it; we respect that of others, without fearing it."
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Old 02-20-2005, 01:17 PM   #2
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Unfortunately Thomas didn't have the experience of debating someone online. The rules change a little. It's not in real time. People can back out at any time and you don't know if they will return or not. It's quite a bit different than debating someone face to face.

Nothing infuriates me more than when someone comes in here makes a comment and then doesn't return to back it up. There are a few members who are notorious for this, they will say something and then never return to that thread, so it's impossible to really get their point of view.
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Old 02-20-2005, 01:39 PM   #3
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True, Jefferson never debated online, but my guess is that he would be a darned good debater, and possibly one after every detail. Possibly so intellectual, so sincere, so brutally honest that people would want to avoid him, and I'll be glad to admit that there are some on here who fit these qualities, but for the better, it makes me get my facts straight. The only thing bad about it, is that it can make you restrain from asking them tough questions. As far as not returning comments, I think it's because people either get tired of the debate or they're waiting for someone to back them up. Maybe sometimes, people simply have no counter-argument for it, because it would be so off-the-wall if they had one. Every discussion has an ending point, but I think over time, you get to know both the strengths and weaknesses, as well as the tendencies and obsessions of that person. I don't doubt that we all have obsessions to some degree , I think it's a fact of life. Obsessions aren't always a bad thing, especially, if they are passionate, realistic, and sincere.
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Old 02-20-2005, 07:00 PM   #4
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Haven't there always been live debates in 'real time?'
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Old 02-20-2005, 07:46 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally posted by U2Kitten
Haven't there always been live debates in 'real time?'
I'm assuming this question is pointed at me since I mentioned 'real time', but I'm not sure what you are getting at.

Yes there have always been live debates, but the point I was trying to make is that debates in here are much different because they aren't live or in real time. I can pose the question to you and you many respond in 5 minutes, 5 hours, a day later, or maybe not at all.
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Old 02-21-2005, 06:12 AM   #6
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I like it better that way
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Old 02-21-2005, 08:58 AM   #7
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Anyone think Jefferson's style would work on FYM?

(We've already discussed how he never debated online, but take the quote in the first post into account.)

"Shake off all the fears of servile prejudices, under which weak minds are servilely crouched. Fix reason firmly in her seat, and call on her tribunal for every fact, every opinion. Question with boldness even the existence of a God; because, if there be one, he must more approve of the homage of reason than that of blindfolded fear."

Or would we derail threads for being too hostile, or intensifying an uproar on emotionally-charged subjects?

Tell me what you think.
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Old 02-21-2005, 02:16 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally posted by Macfistowannabe
Anyone think Jefferson's style would work on FYM?

(We've already discussed how he never debated online, but take the quote in the first post into account.)

"Shake off all the fears of servile prejudices, under which weak minds are servilely crouched. Fix reason firmly in her seat, and call on her tribunal for every fact, every opinion. Question with boldness even the existence of a God; because, if there be one, he must more approve of the homage of reason than that of blindfolded fear."

Or would we derail threads for being too hostile, or intensifying an uproar on emotionally-charged subjects?

Tell me what you think.


You can't be afraid to question or to be questioned.

Statistics and polls never did much for me as argument as numbers can be tweaked and I've rarely seen totally objective
numbers. Do we then rely on our own logic to make or break a case rather than rely on sources whose agenda we don't know?

But yes, every position should be challenged. Who knows? Maybe some of us will be swayed a millimeter. The worst tyranny is our own sacred cows.
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Old 02-21-2005, 11:34 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally posted by BonosSaint


You can't be afraid to question or to be questioned.

Statistics and polls never did much for me as argument as numbers can be tweaked and I've rarely seen totally objective
numbers. Do we then rely on our own logic to make or break a case rather than rely on sources whose agenda we don't know?
Depends on how credible the sources are. Bias is available to all of us, but a balanced and credible set of facts from a trusted publication is quite the weapon. Those who deny valid facts are the types that Jefferson would consider to be weak-minded. Also, if your opponent can provide a better one than you can, you're in for a treat.

Quote:
Originally posted by BonosSaint
But yes, every position should be challenged. Who knows? Maybe some of us will be swayed a millimeter. The worst tyranny is our own sacred cows.
Exactly. A lack of awareness and a lack of concern are sometimes the reason for a position taken. Then again, sometimes there are feeble minds who ignore valid arguments, and nothing can bring them to a state of mind where they can correct themselves and present a better argument.
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Old 02-22-2005, 04:18 AM   #10
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Jefferson was a long winded writer with strong opinions. He'd have fit in very well here
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Old 02-22-2005, 04:44 AM   #11
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Thomas Jefferson can s^#k my d$@k


I agree with BVSupastar
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Old 02-22-2005, 04:46 AM   #12
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Obligatory daily show quote.
Quote:
Stewart: Isn’t it the media’s responsibility in wartime …

Colbert: That’s my point, Jon! The media has no responsibility in wartime. The government’s on top of it. The media can sit this one out.

Stewart: And do what?

Colbert: Everything it’s always wanted to do but had no time for: travel, see the world, write that novel. I know the media has always wanted to try yoga. This is a great time to take it up. It’s very stressful out there – huge war going on. Jon, hear me out, it was Thomas Jefferson who said, “Everyone imposes his own system as far as his army can reach.”

Stewart: Stephen, Stalin said that. That was Stalin. Jefferson said he’d rather have a free press and no government than a government and no free press.

Colbert: Well, what do you expect from a slave-banging, Hitler-loving queer?
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Old 02-22-2005, 06:08 AM   #13
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Macfist.

If both sides of an issue are presenting similar numbers, I'll pay attention if I think the numbers are germaine. If one side is presenting them, I'm a little wary. For example, if Fox News is presenting the numbers, I'm going to be suspicious.
(As I will be if CBS is presenting it). I pay no attention to the religious right or to PETA. I'm going to be a little more secure if the Wall Street Journal or the New York Times are presenting the numbers, though I recognize the editorial slant in each.

But on a whole I don't like numbers because they reflect a limited viewpoint, and statistics are not big on providing the reasoning behind the numbers. For example, one could provide a poll on the war--for or against. If I poll as against the war in Iraq, it does not tell you whether or not I am against all war on principle
or this war in particular unless you have extensive polling questions and in this era of day by day changing poll numbers, I doubt much thought is going into the questions.
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Old 02-22-2005, 11:28 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally posted by Salome
Thomas Jefferson can s^#k my d$@k
What do you mean by this?

I'm assuming you are making a statement, rather than wasting valuable internet space.

BonosSaint - I too, try to eliminate extremist groups in an argument - ESPECIALLY their numbers, but from time to time I will expose them as unadmirable, and clarify that they are in fact extreme.

Quote:
Jefferson said he’d rather have a free press and no government than a government and no free press.
Jefferson also said that the most honest pages of a newspaper are the advertisements.

"The advertisement is the most truthful part of a newspaper." Thomas Jefferson

I do wonder what he meant by that.
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Old 02-22-2005, 11:48 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally posted by Macfistowannabe


"The advertisement is the most truthful part of a newspaper." Thomas Jefferson

I do wonder what he meant by that.
Maybe because it is the only part of the newspaper that admits it has an agenda, the only part that openly admits it is trying to sell you a bill of goods. Refreshingly honest in its pure, unadulterated manipulation of you. I think Tom was capable of a little humor.
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