Re: Debate Failure (was: SOC: Opposition to Transhumanism)

From: Lee Daniel Crocker (
Date: Wed Jan 05 2000 - 12:38:13 MST

> Something needs to be done, clearly. But I'm not entirely sure if
> there is a fatal problem in the structure of traditional debate. The
> problem probably lies in the medium or in the channels by which
> debates may be productive...

I proposed a debtate format here not long ago using the web to
eliminate problems of time constraints and charisma effects and
other problems, but there are still the problems that the proponents
are identified and therefore it is not in their interest to seek
truth where it interferes with ego, and moderator bias. I do not
believe that it is possible even in principle to eliminate
moderator bias (I believe even the pretense of objectivity is just
dishonesty), but it is possible to minimize the ego problem, since
the identity of the arguers is irrelevant to the argument anyway.
I don't believe you can do away with the moreator either if you
want a result of any quality. Human judgment, selection, editing,
and focus are necessary to produce any useful communication. The
fact that such a communication will also be biased by the prejudices
of the person exercising such judgment is simply a reality that
must be understood. Indeed, I think it is a major problem that we
do not adequately educate or prepare people in our society to see
and understand those prejudices; too many of us buy into the myths
of objectivity and balance; it is a crime that students of journalism
are taught to believe that there is a difference between news and
commentary, for example.

Lee Daniel Crocker <> <>
"All inventions or works of authorship original to me, herein and past,
are placed irrevocably in the public domain, and may be used or modified
for any purpose, without permission, attribution, or notification."--LDC

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