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  1. #1
    Merely a Setback Connal's Avatar
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    Who wins from public debate? Liars, bullies and trolls

    Who wins from public debate? Liars, bullies and trolls
    https://amp.theguardian.com/books/20...-ocasio-cortez

    From Ben Shapiro offering Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez $10,000 to debate him, to the macho showdown between Jordan Peterson and Slavoj Žižek, public discourse has become debased

    When Jordan Peterson and Slavoj Žižek met a fortnight ago in Toronto to do battle on the theme “Happiness: Capitalism v Marxism”, it cost US$14.95 (£11.60) to watch online, and touts were selling tickets for hundreds of dollars. Peterson, not having found time to read any of Žižek’s books, launched instead into an attack on The Communist Manifesto. In response, Žižek riffed about China, Trump, liberals, antisemitism and cheese. In the end, both men agreed that well-regulated capitalism was a good thing. It was billed as the “debate of the century”, and in a way it might as well have been: it was a perfect, if mostly harmless, illustration of why debate itself is such a bad idea.

    We are told debate is the great engine of liberal democracy. In a free society, ideas should do battle in the public forum. Those who seek to lead us should debate with one another, and this will help us make the best possible informed judgments. Schoolchildren should be taught debating skills to better prepare them for the intellectual cut-and-thrust of the adult world. The rise in formal debating events such as those organised by Intelligence Squared enables citizens to better understand complex problems. People whose views we find abhorrent should not be ignored. We should debate with them, and so point out the flaws in the arguments. The more we debate, the happier and more civilised we will be.

    That’s the theory, anyway. In practice, modern debate has a structural bias in favour of demagoguery and disinformation. It inherently favours liars. There is no cost to, and much potential advantage in, taking the low road and indulging in bullying and personal attack. There’s a reason why we talk about “point-scoring” in debates, and it is because we think of a debate as like a boxing match: it’s a competition rather than a collaboration. (If you can bear it, you can watch online a 2005 debate between Christopher Hitchens and George Galloway on the Iraq war: the result was that everyone lost.) In a recent Pew poll, just a quarter of Americans agreed that “the tone of debate among political leaders is respectful”. Many Britons who spend Thursday evenings hate-watching Question Time would agree.

    Who cares, though, when non-respectful debate can be a money-making circus? Why not invite Steve Bannon, long-time fomenter of far-right anarcho-nationalism, to be “debated” at your literary event, as the New Yorker retreated from doing and the Economist still did? It’s all just grist to the entertainment mill, to the “marketplace of ideas”, isn’t it? But the demand for spoken “debate” in the first place is increasingly an outright aggression: it is the favoured weapon of fluent trolls who wish to be free of the accountability to evidence that comes with written argument.

    Online, meanwhile, the call to “debate” is increasingly a gendered demand, made by men as a way of attacking women with whose opinions they disagree. “‘Debate me’ is a tactic of attrition,” says the writer and critic Sarah Ditum. “When some guy shows up in my email, or on Twitter, or in comments demanding ‘a debate’, he’s not after a back-and-forth argumentation closing in on a conclusion; he’s after throwing up enough dust that I ultimately decide stating my opinion is more trouble than it’s worth.”

    The US author and journalist Leigh Alexander agrees. “For a certain kind of man,” she observes, “who is either too privileged or otherwise too sheltered to have engaged much with the meat of life, the field of debate is the only place he encounters issues. Because he has no skin in the game, everything is just a thought experiment. Right now the world is like: ‘Excuse me sir, would you please move over? Can you listen to what I’m saying? Can you stop touching me, can you stop hurting me, can you take no for an answer?’ And these guys, these children, go ‘Debate me, debate me, debate me.’ It’s pathetic.”
    This is a long (more at the link) and absurd article about why debate is bad, and why only "Liars, bullies and trolls" win. But interestingly mostly one side, currently, is using bullies to chase people off the virtual public squares.

    People that scream, shout down, protest, and disrupt debate.

    If you can't beat em, join them, I guess...

    Their answer for this problem was interesting... create a better NPC(AI called Project Debater) to argue with a human... Endus Bot, here we come!
    Last edited by Connal; 2019-05-05 at 01:59 AM.
    Vocatus atque non vocatus, deus aderit.

  2. #2
    Quote Originally Posted by Connal View Post
    ...But interestingly mostly one side, currently, is using bullies to chase people off the virtual public squares.
    It isn't just one side. Both sides play to their base. Both sides engage in behavior designed to shut down actual intellectual discussion. In some cases, it is shouting people down. In other cases, it is lying. In the best case, it's intentional misrepresentation.

    I have come to despise the word debate. Instead, I prefer the word discussion. That is what we need. My neighbor and I are on opposite sides of the political spectrum on most things, yet we enjoy discussing how we reached our positions and what points we may not have fully considered. They are conversations that more often than not result in both of us seeing that we desire the same goals (in most cases), but we draw the line of government intervention at different places. I think that is useful. It helps us identify similarities and allows for meaningful compromise. I don't know if debate was every that, but it certainly isn't now. Today it's a game of showmanship designed to end in one side winning and the other losing, instead of the more valuable goal (imo) of mutual understanding and reasoned coexistence.

  3. #3
    Merely a Setback Connal's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DSRilk View Post
    It isn't just one side. Both sides play to their base. Both sides engage in behavior designed to shut down actual intellectual discussion. In some cases, it is shouting people down. In other cases, it is lying. In the best case, it's intentional misrepresentation.

    I have come to despise the word debate. Instead, I prefer the word discussion. That is what we need. My neighbor and I are on opposite sides of the political spectrum on most things, yet we enjoy discussing how we reached our positions and what points we may not have fully considered. They are conversations that more often than not result in both of us seeing that we desire the same goals (in most cases), but we draw the line of government intervention at different places. I think that is useful. It helps us identify similarities and allows for meaningful compromise. I don't know if debate was every that, but it certainly isn't now. Today it's a game of showmanship designed to end in one side winning and the other losing, instead of the more valuable goal (imo) of mutual understanding and reasoned coexistence.
    I agree that it has turned into this, but that means we work to fix it, not make it go away... one is fighting entropy, the other giving in. To me, new does not mean better (and I am not saying you are saying this, but a lot of people are now)

    I also agree that both sides are doing this, and the right did it on issues like evolution, birth control, etc, etc... the left is currently in control of the cultural zeitgeist though. The right stopping debate on those topics made it worse for everyone... the left doing the same thing now about the other issues we face is not going to make it better for anyone.
    Vocatus atque non vocatus, deus aderit.

  4. #4
    The Insane Boomzy's Avatar
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    Yeah, that's why public debates are stupid. Debating is literally a skill in itself. It doesn't matter who is right or who has science on their side, it matters who can talk faster, outplay, and trick their opponent. Ben Shapiro is good at this, which is why he constantly wants to debate people. He doesn't care about facts or ideas, he cares about making "libtards" look stupid.

    Think of literally the smartest person you know in the world.... and ask yourself how often they debated people publicly.
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  5. #5
    This author, because he's a retard who writes for a retarded publication, doesn't seem to understand the difference between the public debate (as in general social discourse) and public debates (as in actual debates between two famous individuals).

  6. #6
    Merely a Setback Connal's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Knadra View Post
    This author, because he's a retard who writes for a retarded publication, doesn't seem to understand the difference between the public debate (as in general social discourse) and public debates (as in actual debates between two famous individuals).
    .... I wouldn’t word it like this, but this does bring up a good point.
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  7. #7
    The author also mocks inviting Steve Bannon to a debate but that debate between him and David Frum wasn't bad at all.

  8. #8
    Merely a Setback Connal's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Knadra View Post
    The author also mocks inviting Steve Bannon to a debate but that debate between him and David Frum wasn't bad at all.
    Yeah, because David all but called him an outright Nazi. Though the inference was made.
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  9. #9
    I am Murloc! Saucexorzski's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Connal View Post
    Who wins from public debate? Liars, bullies and trolls
    https://amp.theguardian.com/books/20...-ocasio-cortez

    From Ben Shapiro offering Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez $10,000 to debate him, to the macho showdown between Jordan Peterson and Slavoj Žižek, public discourse has become debased



    This is a long (more at the link) and absurd article about why debate is bad, and why only "Liars, bullies and trolls" win. But interestingly mostly one side, currently, is using bullies to chase people off the virtual public squares.

    People that scream, shout down, protest, and disrupt debate.

    If you can't beat em, join them, I guess...

    Their answer for this problem was interesting... create a better NPC(AI called Project Debater) to argue with a human... Endus Bot, here we come!
    Debating is just a civil form of violence. It is a fight with words. And in fights, if you want a greater chance to win, you do not play by the prescribed rule set. /shrug
    "It doesn't matter if you believe me or not but common sense doesn't really work here. You're mad, I'm mad. We're all MAD here."

  10. #10
    Merely a Setback Connal's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Saucexorzski View Post
    Debating is just a civil form of violence. It is a fight with words. And in fights, if you want a greater chance to win, you do not play by the prescribed rule set. /shrug
    Agreed; though you could still see it as a form of corruption or cheating. Which, I know, life ain’t fair... I’m just saying...
    Vocatus atque non vocatus, deus aderit.

  11. #11
    Quote Originally Posted by Connal View Post
    I agree that it has turned into this, but that means we work to fix it, not make it go away... one is fighting entropy, the other giving in. To me, new does not mean better (and I am not saying you are saying this, but a lot of people are now)

    I also agree that both sides are doing this, and the right did it on issues like evolution, birth control, etc, etc... the left is currently in control of the cultural zeitgeist though. The right stopping debate on those topics made it worse for everyone... the left doing the same thing now about the other issues we face is not going to make it better for anyone.
    Then start your own free-speech site, go wild.

  12. #12
    Merely a Setback Connal's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Machismo View Post
    Then start your own free-speech site, go wild.
    I just watch and comment. I have a site, but it’s a blog/book site. I’m just really interested in observation.
    Vocatus atque non vocatus, deus aderit.

  13. #13
    I am Murloc! Saucexorzski's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Connal View Post
    Agreed; though you could still see it as a form of corruption or cheating. Which, I know, life ain’t fair... I’m just saying...
    of course it's cheating, but if you win, well what does it matter. Might still makes right despite how much humans claim to have moved above such primitive notions.
    "It doesn't matter if you believe me or not but common sense doesn't really work here. You're mad, I'm mad. We're all MAD here."

  14. #14
    Merely a Setback Connal's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Saucexorzski View Post
    of course it's cheating, but if you win, well what does it matter.
    To me, personally, it’s not if you win, it’s how you play the game. With honor?, pride?, or a bit of both?...
    Vocatus atque non vocatus, deus aderit.

  15. #15
    The Insane PACOX's Avatar
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    Debates arent about facts. Political debates are just politically correct rap battles.

  16. #16
    I am Murloc! Saucexorzski's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Connal View Post
    To me, personally, it’s not if you win, it’s how you play the game. With honor?, pride?, or a bit of both?...
    Oh man, i wish honor was still a thing, but modern western culture killed honor off in favor for expediency.
    "It doesn't matter if you believe me or not but common sense doesn't really work here. You're mad, I'm mad. We're all MAD here."

  17. #17
    Merely a Setback Connal's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Saucexorzski View Post
    Oh man, i wish honor was still a thing, but modern western culture killed honor off in favor for expediency.
    Agreed. It’s a true tragedy.
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  18. #18
    The Unstoppable Force Theodarzna's Avatar
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    First, all glory to Slavoj Žižek. Second, that debate was wild given that Slavoj Žižek was basically feeding his follower's reactionary politics as Marxism. Which suites me, but it was delicious to watch. But in truth, most debate is a waste, especially between high end e-celebs mostly looking to dick measure.

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  19. #19
    The Insane PC2's Avatar
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    lol this reminds me of that slide from a week ago that said valuing objectivity is a tool of white supremacy. Except here "debate" is a tool of capitalism, and for men to use against women.

  20. #20
    Merely a Setback Connal's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Theodarzna View Post
    First, all glory to Slavoj Žižek. Second, that debate was wild given that Slavoj Žižek was basically feeding his follower's reactionary politics as Marxism. Which suites me, but it was delicious to watch. But in truth, most debate is a waste, especially between high end e-celebs mostly looking to dick measure.
    Agreed, unfortunately, a good debate where honor is involved is dead...
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