Saturday, 25 February 2012

Argumentation II - Why are you arguing?

Remember, if you just want to “WIN” an argument, basically all you have to do is outmanoeuvre the opposition and convince them (and/or the audience) that their argument is irrelevant to the issue. You don’t necessarily have to do this with logical reasoning or true facts. Just sensible sounding droning on about (semi-) related things the other side knows little or nothing about will do the trick, as long as it sounds like true logic. They can’t 'argue' back to that and you can claim the “moral high ground” from a position of ignorance...

Unfortunately this seems to be all some people want/need to do. As long as they can convince you (and/or themselves) that you are wrong and/or that they are right, it doesn’t matter if what they believe is true or not. (And some of these people claim to seek the truth?)

These people can’t seem to cope with the doubt or fear of the unknown perhaps? They seek to re-enforce their understanding rather than question it? Their impression of reality is different? they need to feel like they have a purpose and that they know what it is?

Now some of you might be thinking "yeah religious people are always doing that", or perhaps, "I agree atheists just arn't reasonable!" - But I'm talking about EVERYONE.

Yes some (or many if you want) 'religious people' seem to employ this type of argument BUT, it can also be true for “atheists” seeking more and more evidence to stack up against the “idiocy of religion”. This can be just as unhealthy. It widens the divide between the two ways of thinking making it harder to understand how the other side interprets reality. You end up arguing about who is 'winning' when one of you is playing Cricket and the other Rugby! (Metaphorically speaking)

It is so important to try and understand the other sides beliefs and why they have them. Don’t make too many ignorant assumptions on this!

Arguing opinions Ironically, it is sometimes best to almost aim to strengthen your opponents argument. Help them carry it forward down a logical path against your own beliefs, argue against yourself and show the logical problems within. Do not do this maliciously! And if you end up in deep emotional confrontation, Stop. It’s not worth it, choose your battles.

To an atheist - The 'religious individual' may believe they have eternity to enjoy so will happily waste their time arguing in this lifetime. Go out and enjoy yours. If you find yourself needing to convince them of their flaws and unable to let it go, you are perhaps in some ways no different to how you may see that 'religious person', needing to cocoon yourself in a comforting, re-enforcing idea of your understanding of reality, this is not healthy.

  • Before disputing a point it is important to check each party has a common definition of the issue.
  • Aim not to convince but to aid understanding. 

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