Laws of Debating

The Wretched Forecast

The first two-thirds of any debate is spent ad-homming and strawmanning before finally understanding each other’s points; the last third is spent coming to the realisation that intuitions are inexplicable and that people’s values are subjective, arbitrary and mutually irreconcilable.

Corollary: Most debates stay in the first stage.

The Tone Debate

There is zero chance of getting people to respond to the content of your argument rather than its perceived emotional tone.

Mencken’s Law of Democracy

In a democracy, on every political issue there’s a popular answer and it’s nearly always wrong.

Corollary: Clapping/applause is inversely proportional to the intellectual value of the speaker’s point (and its originality)

Citational Hubris

The amount which somebody quotes Einstein or Gandhi on the internet is proportional to the extent that whatever point they are making is wrong.

(The Favourites)

As debate on any topic continues over time, somebody will blame the bankers, abstract greed, or Richard Dawkins



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