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Old 05-16-2006, 08:21 AM   #1
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"This is not a great moment for listeners"

I found this really interesting and appropriate for those of us who engage in debate here in FYM.

In the TIME Magazine cover article on the "100 Most Influential People" Malcolm Gladwell said this about Steven Levitt, the author of Freakanomics. They were having a public debate and "it was a straightforward back and forth. Levitt got up and made his case. I got up and made mine. But halfway through I glanced over at Levitt and had a realization I'm not sure I've ever had before with an intellectual opponent--that if I made my case persuasively enough and cogently enough, he would change his mind. He was, in other words, listening."

Gladwell goes on to write:
"This is not a great moment for listeners in American society. The public conversation is dominated by those whose minds are unalterably made up, and we have come to view the man or woman whose views remain steadfast, even in the face of overwhelmingly evidentiary assault, as a kind of moral hero. These people are not heroes, of course. They're usually just stubborn."

Personally, I hope to be like Steven Levitt, a guy whose willing to listen and if necessary, change his mind.

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Old 05-16-2006, 08:38 AM   #2
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I think this is very true. I think there is entirely too much screaming in America right now, and you can't hear a thing, let alone listen while screaming.

The problem is there are so many that only listen to certain "leaders" and no one else. There are those that will only listen to a preacher from a pulpit, the preacher could claim the world was flat and they would believe. Then there are those that won't listen to a thing a preacher would say, even if that preacher is saying 2+2 = 4.

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Old 05-16-2006, 08:57 AM   #3
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I have changed my mind on a number of issues throughout life as I learn more information about historical events, different perspectives and the complexity of our world. Some issues which I have shifted on include abortion, captial punishment, protests, foreign aid, policing, the government, the environment, war, and many more. My views as an 18 yr old were different than my views when I was 28 and different than my present views. Knowledge is an amazing tool. A closed mind is a hindrance. And ignorance is bliss.

There are some people out there who will defend the indefensible so they don't have to admit they made a mistake. I rarely post or discuss issues on this board anymore for this reason. Some people here are extremely stubborn and I mainly lurk now just for the humour. Repeating yourself over and over when presented with an opposing view is not a debate, it's tiresome and frankly, laughable.
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Old 05-16-2006, 12:59 PM   #4
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Originally posted by trevster2k
Repeating yourself over and over when presented with an opposing view is not a debate, it's tiresome and frankly, laughable.

Talking is wasted energy if nobody is actively listening. Anyone who is open enough to listen and change their opinion (even if it differs to mine) always gets my top respect.
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Old 05-16-2006, 08:44 PM   #5
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There is a great bit of truth to these comments. These days, it seems "discussion" is really a pretense for political jockeying - with no intent to persuade or be persuaded.
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