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Re: [mythsoc] Debate or dialogue?

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  • dianejoy@earthlink.net
    ... From: Carl F. Hostetter Aelfwine@elvish.org Date: Mon, 26 Jan 2004 15:03:34 -0500 To: mythsoc@yahoogroups.com Subject: Re: [mythsoc] Debate or dialogue?
    Message 1 of 6 , Jan 27, 2004
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      Original Message:
      -----------------
      From: Carl F. Hostetter Aelfwine@...
      Date: Mon, 26 Jan 2004 15:03:34 -0500
      To: mythsoc@yahoogroups.com
      Subject: Re: [mythsoc] Debate or dialogue?


      << Allow me to contribute this to the dialogue, then: when issuing a call
      for mutual respect and understanding, it might -- just _might_, mind
      you -- not lead with setting yourself on one side and broadly insulting
      the proponents of a different perspective: >>

      Thank you, Carl, for saying what I wanted to say far better than I could
      have said it (especially with complete brain lock and steam starting to
      rise from my head).

      Nevertheless, here's my two cents, including the quote

      On Jan 26, 2004, at 2:23 PM, odzer@... wrote:

      > I think the right wing has been the agressive side, leading the
      > dumbing down of the discussion, and of thinking, but in an earlier era
      > the left had its own time of stridancy, albeit, I think, usually based
      > on much thought and heartfelt and generous concern.

      Are we to assume that the right does not have an equal amount of "much
      thought and heartfelt and generous concern?" The solutions to various
      problems may be different, but the amount of effort to solve the problem
      and the compassion are equivalent. (So is the stridency). Of course, left
      and right have a different definition of what a particular problem *is,*
      with a different estimate of a problem's severity and its root cause, not
      to mention a different solution. After all, don't we celebrate
      *diversity?*

      Not that I want to start a political dialogue on this list. [shudder] I
      don't. I'd prefer to confine these remarks to the subject of appropriate
      dialogue (which to my mind, Carl has covered admirably), to subjects of
      literary merit or to Tolkien.

      ---"Agressive"
      Carl wrote:

      I also do not agree with the general thrust of the quote you provide.
      Not all positions are equally valid. (Not even all those, as you put
      it, "based on much thought and heartfelt and generous concern".)

      Indeed. 2+2 = 4 no matter how badly many folks would like it to be three
      or five. In literature or other artistic endeavors, it takes years, many
      minds and much ink to prove a particular theory. As an example: Tolkien's
      greatness is not a matter for debate; I am quite certain they'll be
      reading him 300 years hence (possibly with translation dictionaries, if
      everybody then speaks Rap instead of English; brr!). Phillip Pullman, on
      the other hand, has yet to prove his mettle, though he may be critically
      acclaimed at the moment. Wait fifty years, and we'll see if he lasts. --
      "Agressive"

      "In My Heart I Know I'm Right (aka libertarian)"



      --
      =============================================
      Carl F. Hostetter Aelfwine@... http://www.elvish.org

      ho bios brachys, he de techne makre.
      Ars longa, vita brevis.
      The lyf so short, the craft so long to lerne.
      "I wish life was not so short," he thought. "Languages take such
      a time, and so do all the things one wants to know about."


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    • Carl F. Hostetter
      ... Ah, but as we used to say in my physics classes, when desperately trying to derive a correct answer: 2 + 2 = 5, for sufficiently large values of 2 . ;)
      Message 2 of 6 , Jan 27, 2004
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        On Jan 27, 2004, at 11:10 AM, dianejoy@... wrote:

        > 2+2 = 4 no matter how badly many folks would like it to be three or
        > five.

        Ah, but as we used to say in my physics classes, when desperately
        trying to derive a correct answer: "2 + 2 = 5, for sufficiently large
        values of 2". ;)

        > "In My Heart I Know I'm Right (aka libertarian)"

        Me too!
      • odzer@aol.com
        ... for mutual respect and understanding, it might -- just _might_, mind you -- not lead with setting yourself on one side and broadly insulting the proponents
        Message 3 of 6 , Jan 27, 2004
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          >
          >Subject: Re: Debate or dialogue?
          >
          >
          >
          >Allow me to contribute this to the dialogue, then: when issuing a call
          for mutual respect and understanding, it might -- just _might_, mind
          you -- not lead with setting yourself on one side and broadly insulting
          the proponents of a different perspective:

          Fair enough, I regret that, and apologize. My grammar and spelling errors
          betray the lack of care, review in that passage too! I accept that our side fails
          to consider more fully the perspective of some of those who are on the 'other
          side' in many issues. But I want to, and will respond when asked to consider,
          and am respected for difference of opinion. Yet I personally have not
          encountered any request for dialogue, and listening to the statements of Rush
          Limbaugh, Ann Coulter, et alia, exposes me to people and views not amenable to
          dialogue.
          But we should be ware of going into politics too much here, though I will
          await guidance from moderators if this goes too far off topic.

          ------
          I think the right wing has been the agressive side, leading the

          > dumbing down of the discussion, and of thinking, but in an earlier era

          > the left had its own time of stridency, albeit, I think, usually based

          > on much thought and heartfelt and generous concern.
          -----
          Carl wrote:
          >I also do not agree with the general thrust of the quote you provide.
          Not all positions are equally valid. (Not even all those, as you put
          it, "based on much thought and heartfelt and generous concern".)
          ----
          Oh certainly yes, not all positions are equally valid. But did I imply that
          was my position?. "Heartfelt and generous concern" can distort thinking too.
          Recent findings in neuroscience firmly support the premise that emotional
          processes strongly influence higher cortical functions (and the reverse).
          >
          >
          >
          >> "In dialogue, one submits ones best thinking, knowing that other
          >
          >> people's
          >
          >> reflections will help improve it rather than destroy it.
          Carl wrote:
          >This is false. This position has validity only if all parties concerned
          share the goal of improving rather than destroying: and that's a far
          too crucial and rare situation to leave it assumed.
          ---------
          Not assumed. Sought.
          >
          >
          -In debate, one submits one's best thinking and defends it against
          challenge to show that it is right.
          ----------
          This is also a characteristic of the scientific method. Those theories
          that withstand challenges are the best; those that cannot are not
          theories at all.
          ________
          I hear your point, yes. Important to observe this, however (and you may know
          this too, but worth pointing out for others, I think).
          The scientific method attempts to disprove, **not** prove the hypothesis. The
          'null hypothesis' i.e. that the theory proposed is not true, is set up as the
          one that holds by default, needs to be disproved. What needs to be shown is
          that the data obtained are not consistent with what would be expected if null
          hypothesis holds, and the theory proposed had made no predictions as to what
          data would likely be obtained, and then in fact were, in that or any test under
          the same or nearly same set of conditions. Valid too, is always a high
          probability, never 'certainty' By convention, this means at minimum the data set
          considered has less than 5% probability of being by random chance consistent with
          a prediction, (thus generating a 'type I error, a false positive, usually
          because not derived a truly representative sample of the phenomena in question).
          Often probability of type I error is much lower, 1%, O.5%, 0.1% etc.
          >
          >
          >
          Dialogue calls for temporarily suspending one's beliefs. Debate calls
          for investing wholeheartedly in one's beliefs.
          >
          >
          >
          I wouldn't put it that way. I would say, we should not immediately
          dismiss ideas without sufficient consideration, and unless we can
          either disprove it or show that it is formed on insufficient basis.
          E.g. If I assert that Mars is made of melange and inhabited by spice
          worms, well, I don't really expect anyone to suspend their disbelief
          very long, even if no one can disprove the idea: it has insufficient
          basis to be treated as a serious possibility.)
          ---------
          Ok, agreed, the initial assertion too simplistic? Too narrow?
          -----
          "In dialogue, one searches for basic agreements. In debate, one
          searches for glaring differences."

          Both are important for establishing theory and advancing knowledge.
          ------
          OK, a broad tendency for the statement to be consistently oversimplified- yes.
          I think it has a context too, an intended audience, of those who are not
          agreed that establishing theory and advancing knowledge are the goal. If that is
          the shared premise, then yes, debate is a useful method, I agree, if we are
          using that term in the same basic sense for that context of seeking theory and
          knowledge advancement overall.

          >> Dialogue involves a real concern for the other person and seeks to not
          >
          >
          >> alienate or offend. Debate involves a countering of the other position
          >
          >
          >> without focusing on feelings or relationship and often belittles or
          >
          >> deprecates the other person.
          >
          >
          >
          >Well, this is just nonsense (and yes, I'm aware of the irony). I wonder
          >
          >
          >how the untold numbers of participants in forensics feel about being so
          >
          >
          >characterized? In fact, wasn't it logic, the basis of debate, that gave
          >
          >
          >us the term _ad hominem_, and showed up its fallacious nature?
          >
          >
          >
          -------
          Dialogue assumes that many people have pieces of the answer and that together
          they can put them into a workable solution. Debate assumes that there is a
          right answer and that someone has it.
          ------

          >Sometimes there is, and someone does. I wouldn't assume that either
          case is correct, generally.
          --------
          I agree with you. I ought to have said something to that effect, but I put up
          the statement w/o commentary, as I ought to have done, but made ill
          considered tangential comments better left unsaid!
          Mea culpa
          ----------
          >> "Dialogue remains open-ended. Debate implies a conclusion."

          Does that include conclusions about what characterizes debate, or
          dialogue, or that one is superior to the other?
          ----------
          Touche.

          My only defense is I actively sought comments, did not put it forth as a
          truth per se. Thank you for yours. They are well considered.

          I suggest in general the statement as offered was insufficiently nuanced, or
          even substantially deficient
          Have you a better to offer?
          [the four stage process-understand premise of a theory; can recapitulate it;
          can challenge/refute it; can improve upon it or propose a better one]

          -John
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