Sunday, May 22, 2011
"Debates are the extreme polarization of a
central issue, and the eternal nemesis of Truth."
As we work our way through our school years we are introduced
to a concept which is "theoretically" designed to assist us with our
Decisions and Actions. And because this concept is a part of
our formal education, we accept it to be sound, reasonable, and
efficient. However, this concept is, in reality, an exercise in futility
which hampers, stagnates, and Confuses us. This concept is the
"art" of Debating.
A debate is a structured visible and verbal competition in which
two individuals, or factions, present two polarizing sides of a
Furthermore, debates are "scored" based upon how these
opposing sides "present" their argument and NOT on whether
they arrived at the Truth of the issue.
And because it is a visual and verbal competition, the judges and
audience are all-too-often deceptively swayed by the poise,
appearance, and "charisma" of the debaters. These deceptions
encourage the viewers of the debate to willingly and gladly toss
aside the central Truth of the issue being debated and Believe the
debater who appears to be the most attractive and seductive.
When we consider these issues we find that the purpose of a
debate competition is NOT to get to the heart (the Truth) of the
issue being debated. The sole purpose of a staged debate is to
win the debate by whatever means necessary.
So, the question is: what is the primary purpose for staging a
debate in today's society?
As staged debates, in today's society, are either won or lost
based upon the perceived appearance of the debaters, it is safe
to conclude that debates are structured so as to discredit, cloud,
and Confuse the central issue (the Truth) of the topic being
And as the debaters are not concerned with getting to the Truth
of the issue being debated, their debate competition is naturally
divisive. It inflames and polarizes the spectators of the debate.
Many high schools and colleges have debating clubs. Students
in these clubs are taught to argue two sides of a simple issue.
Each side introduces various aspects to the original issue until
the issue is completely buried under a mass of confounding
arguments which simply serve to encourage divisiveness and
hide the Truth.
We see this drama played out unendingly in our court system,
politics, "news" media, group discussions, and in the conflicting
opinions of "experts" who are paraded before us on a daily
We are taught that debating is a skill. Unfortunately, in today's
society, it is a skill that is designed to cloud, or Veil, an issue.
Debating incorporates confusion into the main issue. It keeps
throwing conflicting issues onto the Truth and buries the Truth
beneath layers of clutter. This takes us in the exact opposite
direction which we should be Traveling: the direction of Truth,
clarity, and Wisdom.
By assigning one party to debate the opposite side of a simple
issue (the Truth), we are teaching our students and children to
attack the Truth, to take the opposite side of the Truth, to cloud
the Truth, and to become a "devil's advocate" for the sole purpose
of "winning" an argument. When, if fact, we should be encouraging
our children, our students, and ourselves to focus on, and Seek
out, the Truth.
Truth is the only issue which should concern us...not gossip,
"mud-slinging", hearsay, unfounded Opinions, unproven theories,
factless accusations, or discrediting someone else solely for the
purpose of getting enough "points" to "win" a debate.
Nor should we allow our children, our students, and ourselves to
be deceived by which debater has the best hair style, most
fashionable clothing outfit, and the smoothest voice.
For perceptions are very often deceiving. And Truth is rarely, if
ever, delivered to us by a "silver-tongued devil".
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Disclaimer: None of my articles should be considered to be
either advice or expertise. They are simply personal opinions
and no more. Everyone is encouraged to seek competent
advice from a licensed, registered, or certified professional
should such advice or service be required.
© copyright Joseph Panek 2011