Discussion, debate, and graciousness (was Re: predictions if wave passed here)

From: Jeff Davis (jdavis@socketscience.com)
Date: Tue Oct 31 2000 - 13:27:06 MST

Robin Hanson, in a gracious response to a post of mine, wrote:

>My main point was that as a matter of principle
>one should acknowledge the main problems with
>any theory one advocates.

I agree with you completely, and rise in support of the practice of
presenting all the facts one has, those in support and those which are
problematic. This reflects what I view as the difference between 'debate'
and 'discussion'. In a debate winning or losing is the goal and
forthrightness and intellectual honesty take a back seat. I try to stay
out of debates because they are vastly less productive of new insights.

Discussion, on the other hand, doesn't--or shouldn't--suffer from the
concern that you may 'lose' if you acknowledge the limitations/weaknesses
of your own expertise and the theory you are advocating.

                        Best, Jeff Davis

           "Everything's hard till you know how to do it."
                                        Ray Charles

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