Do dishonest tactics in debates equal weakness of the argument?

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  1. JMcFarland profile image68
    JMcFarlandposted 10 years ago

    Do dishonest tactics in debates equal weakness of the argument?

    I participated in an answer recently on Hubpages.   It was a question directed towards and addressing atheists,  yet when atheists responded,  the poster accused then of attacking him and other Christians.   He deleted my answers and my comments intentionally so it looked like he got the last word,  and then proceeded to tell all of the other atheists that their weeks were evil and he was not expressing an opinion or belief  - but the "truth of God"

    If you ask a specific group of people a question and ridicule them for asking and delete their answers,  isn't that inherently dishonest?

  2. profile image0
    mbuggiehposted 10 years ago

    My personal experiences in attempting to engage in any sort of meaningful discussion or debate on Hubpages tells me that intellectually dishonest tactics are the order of the day and that attempts to ridicule and humiliate are the "stock and trade" of many on Hubpages.

    Coming from an academic environment in which engagement in lively, but honest and friendly and ridicule-free and humiliation-free debate defines us, I find it all quite appalling.

  3. ChristinS profile image40
    ChristinSposted 10 years ago

    Absolutely it's dishonest. Both dishonest and childish.  He wasn't asking that question to gain insight into how atheists think, he was doing it to pick a fight and play the victim.  This is his MO, he rephrases the same tired questions, gets atheists to answer, then deletes answers that challenge him and bashes the very people he ASKED to respond.  He obviously has issues with his own faith or something that pushes him to continuously badger people rather than live and let live.

    I happen to be agnostic/atheist and I don't purposely go ask religious people to answer a question so I can bash them and make them look bad. What is the purpose of that?

    If I had a legitimate religious question of course I would ask - and then I would be respectful to those who took the time to answer.  Some people do not understand basic communications skills however and this is where animosity is born when it doesn't have to be that way.

    1. profile image0
      mbuggiehposted 10 years agoin reply to this

      I hear you. There seem to be a lot of people out there who just want to, as you note, "pick fights" and then bash people. My question: Why does Hubpages attracts so many cyber-bullies? I don't see this lack of civility other places.

    2. ChristinS profile image40
      ChristinSposted 10 years agoin reply to this

      Actually overall HP is pretty good, except for religious/political forums and apparently now questions. A lot of very supportive people though to shift our focus towards smile

  4. junkseller profile image80
    junksellerposted 10 years ago

    For a long time I believed that dishonest tactics like you mention were the result of an intellectual or rational deficiency and for a long time I tried to address them as such. I kept figuring that if I could break through their flawed argumentation in a rational way that we could make some progress.

    But now I don't think it is a rational or intellectual failing at all. I think it is entirely emotional. Put simply, there are herds of people running around this world who are emotional infants. They are babes wailing for the teat. When someone believes in a mythology so strongly that they can not even listen to any alternative viewpoint, than they are not an adult and I am not sure I see much reason to treat them as one.

    If a person is perfectly willing to lay around sucking on a Jesus binky while waiting for God to come change their dirty diaper, well good for them, but why waste time trying to potty train them and introduce them to solid foods?

    1. profile image0
      jonnycomelatelyposted 10 years agoin reply to this

      What a beautiful response... especially the last paragraph!   So true yet hilarious.

    2. M. T. Dremer profile image87
      M. T. Dremerposted 10 years agoin reply to this

      I'm in a similar boat. I keep thinking a well composed response will open doorways, but ultimately it's just tiring. It's like arguing with a wall. Sooner or later you realize the wall isn't going to change, despite being in the middle of a road.

  5. M. T. Dremer profile image87
    M. T. Dremerposted 10 years ago

    I think the most unforgivable tactic is the personal attack. It's one thing to make counter points about an issue, it's another to go after the person. That and the 'you-clearly-dont-understand' response, as it disregards any attempt at debate and paints you as a child getting patted on the head. It's condescending and it illustrates that you've entered into a debate with someone who had no intention of productive discussion.

    But I'm glad to know there are others out there like me. This question might end up getting taken down, for whatever reason, but I thank you for posting it. There are quite a lot of you that I'm always happy to see posting.

    1. profile image0
      mbuggiehposted 10 years agoin reply to this

      Yes, there is comfort in knowing we are not alone; comfort in knowing that others reject the strategic personal attacks.

  6. profile image0
    Paladin_posted 10 years ago

    I don't think that using dishonest debating tactics necessarily suggests a weakness in one's argument, though that is often the case.

    I don't know all the particulars of the incident you describe, but it's possible that the reverse is actually true.  In other words, it's possible that he didn't use dishonest tactics because his argument is weak, but rather, his argument is weak because he is inherently dishonest.  So he would have used dishonest tactics regardless.  I'm not saying this is actually the case here (especially since I don't know who you're talking about), but I've seen it enough to be wary of it.

    I must admit that, on rare occasions, I've also engaged in tactics some may consider "dishonest," but for purely tactical reasons, and not to compensate for a weak argument.  I believe I have fairly strong arguments for my atheism and against theism -- not because I'm particularly bright or articulate, but because I've taken great care to make sure my arguments are right.  But there are times when just a little underhandness can actually prove useful.

    Usually, it's when I encounter a theist who is so smug, cocksure and antagonistic that I doubt I'll be able to reach him personally, but the discussion at hand offers an opportunity to make a relevant point.  In such cases, I sometimes conclude that tweaking his ego is the best way to keep him engaged long enough to make a compelling argument -- if not for his sake, then for the sake of others who will read it later.

    Of course, the trick is not to just keep him coming back for more, but to bring him -- and the discussion -- in a positive direction.  By the time he realizes he's been duped (if he ever does), he's actually engaged in a relevant and cognizant discussion.

    Still, I try not to do that too often, and it's usually not necessary.  Most theists I've encountered here are more reasonable than that, and are quite willing to engage in thoughtful discussions if you are patient and thoughtful enough.

  7. Darrell Roberts profile image71
    Darrell Robertsposted 10 years ago

    I think that the tactics you describe are dishonest.  Any person using this strategy just to win an argument is childish, and do not have confidence in their argument. It does not matter if you are an atheist or a Religious person.  It is like tampering with evidence in a court case, you will mislead the jury.

    If your argument is strong you would listen to the other person and then find as many counter arguments as needed, until either they get tired or you get tired.  If your argument is not strong, that sis ok go do more research or speak with more knowledge on the issue.  I know I have had to do that on some occasions, but now I am better at defending arguments and coming up with counter arguments.

    There is not need to get emotional, in the end we all will die and that will make us even.  Ha Ha Ha Just kidding but you get my point. 

    Personally, I find it difficult to prove that God exists, but on the other hand I find it difficult to prove that God does not exist.  I think that people should just find their own paths and listen to their hearts (we all have on of those), and let the other be in peace, believer or non believer.

    Best wishes.

    1. JMcFarland profile image68
      JMcFarlandposted 10 years agoin reply to this

      But atheists do not need to prove God doesn't exist.   They are not the ones making the extraordinary claim.   Basic burden of proof rests on theists

    2. Darrell Roberts profile image71
      Darrell Robertsposted 10 years agoin reply to this

      First I would ask for your definition of God and then we would work from there, just to make sure we at least have some kind of common ground to work with.  Religion people do not need to prove that God exist that is what faith is about.

    3. JMcFarland profile image68
      JMcFarlandposted 10 years agoin reply to this

      Faith is believing in something without justification.  You cannot prove anything doesn't exist.   Prove Bigfoot or aliens or leprechauns don't exist.   If any God answers prayer or interacts,  there would  be evidence to support belief.

    4. JMcFarland profile image68
      JMcFarlandposted 10 years agoin reply to this

      You cannot prove something doesn't exist.   If you think otherwise,  try to disprove leprechauns.   Faith is believing without evidence,  and I don't see that as a positive.  If a god interacts humanity,  there should be evidence.

    5. Darrell Roberts profile image71
      Darrell Robertsposted 10 years agoin reply to this

      Faith is not believing without evidence.  The evidence comes from more of a personal revelation.  The revelations would have some kind of past reference point as well, that is where the scriptures are supposed to help guide people.

    6. JMcFarland profile image68
      JMcFarlandposted 10 years agoin reply to this

      And why are revelations considered good?   How do you determine where they came from without confirmation bias?   Which Scriptures?   How do you know those Scriptures can be trusted?   Lots of mental patients have visions.   Do you trust them?

    7. Darrell Roberts profile image71
      Darrell Robertsposted 10 years agoin reply to this

      All your questions are valid.  I would humbly say i am not the judge.  There are so many possibilities, trying to figure them all out would drive a person insane.  There has to be a connection with the person and the God/deity.

    8. JMcFarland profile image68
      JMcFarlandposted 10 years agoin reply to this

      And how can you connect with something unless you can demonstrably prove it exists?   Having to believe first in order to receive the evidence is backwards.   Can you think of anything else that would apply to?

    9. Darrell Roberts profile image71
      Darrell Robertsposted 10 years agoin reply to this

      I read the Bible cover to cover, and I had a nightmare after reading revelations and I was confused.  Then I read other texts.  Then I read Bhagavad-Gita as It Is and I started chanting.  Yes, it was a experiment, one that went very well.

  8. profile image0
    Deepes Mindposted 10 years ago

    I don't necessarily believe that using dishonest tactics equated to a weakness in an argument in some people. Yes, there are a loot of people who do have very weak arguments in any subject being debated and as such will resort to tactics such as those you have mentioned.. The funny thing is that when they delete your responses but not their own replies to those responses, they pretty much leaves it open and known that they are engaging someone else (unless they were talking to themselves)..

    I don't feel that it is totally dishonest to delete answers that are in disagreement. That is simply wrong because it is the equivalent of censorship. It IS dishonest to delete answers then claim victory in a debate (especially a debate of opinion). Opinions are simply opinions. There is an honesty in expressing a belief.. The dishonesty comes in when that opinion is presented as absolute fact.

    So I said all of that to day this.. The answer to your question de[ends on the discussion and tactics


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