I'm finding that more often than not debating with people is becoming rather frustrating. I'm talking about debating with Atheists as well, not just Theists, just people in general are fucking retarded. For ex: The arguments are usually fallacious and the person trying to argue there point is debating for the wrong reasons. They only wish to win an argument, they have no intentions of looking at my side of the debate and say "Yeah, I understand your point of view, but I disagree with you". There's no respect and little maturity about it. And I think the keyword here is understanding.


How can two people with completely separate views, agree to disagree? I mean I've tried my best to debate with people, I really have. But not too many people know how to back up there arguments, or even say something remotely intelligent. It's always something completely ignorant and obnoxious like "Fuck you". 


So, I am familiar with these fallacies but would be interested if others could list a few common fallacies as well. Or even give your advice on how I should cope with everyday people who just want to argue for the sake of winning. I just feel like expressing my opinions is becoming sort of this empty void if nobody takes anything seriously (Someone inspire me so I don't go cry in a dark room, write poetry, and slit my wrists\sarcasm). 


Fallacies I'm familiar with:

Ad hominem- Personal attacks.

Strawman- Misrepresentation of position.

Slipper Slopes-Coming to a conclusion with no prior evidence.

Circular reasoning (Not sure if it's a fallacy, but it's still a piss off none the less). 



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Debate is totally worth it, but it isn't easy. It sounds like 1) you aren't debating with people with whom it is worth debating. 2) It sounds like you don't have a lot of experience with actual debate tactics. There are way more fallacies than that and your definition of a slippery slope isn't accurate, nor is it always fallacious. A slippery slope goes like this, one person argues for A while the other says that if A causes B then it will also cause C, D, E, F, and G as B causes C, and C causes D, etc. ad nauseum. Sometimes this is true but sometimes it is not, recognizing how and when this argument can be fallacious is key. Here is a good site that explains various logical fallacies.


These two things matter, as your opponents will derail the debate into nothing more than an argument and you will have no ability to recognize have the BS they send your way.


Finally, debate, even if it doesn't change the other side's mind, is a great tool to reach the audience of the debate, whether that is in an online forum or in the audience of a formal debate. They're your swing voters who can be brought over to your side by hearing a rational discourse.

How can you know if someone is worth debating without actually debating that person?


What Neal said ("For myself, I might debate a point fairly strongly, yet later, when the information sinks in, my mind can be changed. Happens, I can be stubborn. =)" ) supports the fact that people can think different after a while, they can change their minds, they can be stubborn about a topic, and they can think more clearly about another one. If you debate someone about something and they don't seem to be actually worth debating, but they could be worth debating in another topic, what does that make him/her? Would you consider debating again? Would you ignore everything they have to say about something else just because they were hardheaded in another situation? I don't think it's that easy to just point out who is worth debating and who isn't.

The major difference in an Atheist and Christian debate is that the Atheists most probably knows what it feels like to be on the opposite side.  


Most theists don't know what it feels like to be Atheist so they don't know how to understand it.  But contrary , Atheists already know what it feels like to be a Theist , so there really is not much 'coming to an understanding' of the opposite point of  view needed because they already DO understand. '


With anything non religious  ,  I too wish others would be more open to having their beliefs questioned. Skepticism is the cure for all delusions.  

About religious people, I believe they are much rather not used to think. That's the only 'gift' most atheists have, and religious people lack. If they would be used to think, question and be assertive regarding everything, they would come to a better and stronger conclusion, and none of this nonsense would be required. You can't really tell, but I'm actually quite mad about this right now... :)

In my experience, I have found the best weapon against theists, is the bible itself.  It is so contradictory and convoluted that when they make a point, I can easily counter it with their own "guidebook to the universe"


Indoctrination is a tough nut to crack, but since I teach religion at university level, anything I teach is corroborated by various sources.  When I get the most "converts" so to speak, is when I tell students they can bring their preacher/minister, or whatever to class, and we can discuss the issue.  It is then, that, since the preacher knows that I know what he knows......that they admit that what they preach, is only one explanation, when they are given many in seminary, and therefore, it is not necessarily the truth.  This is when I get the most "converts" as students come to realize they have been duped.

Religion aside - a lot of people cling to beliefs for a sense of comfort and security.  Just think of that friend who is in denial about his/her partner's infidelity.  Such people don't want to know the truth, and in many cases there just isn't any benefit to them in accepting the truth.  In such cases you need to ask yourself why it is so important to you that the truth be conveyed?  If you really want to help someone, sometimes you need to first define their criteria for what help would really be in that particular situation.  If you just can't stand to see someone live in ignorance - well that is your problem, not theirs.

Debating with theists is frustrating because they typically do not know how to debate logically and rationally, have never considered their position, and are heavy users of logical fallacies ... I typically avoid debating with theists and instead try to stick to just providing them with information or answering a question or two.


Debating with atheists is frustrating because they typically have taken at least as much time consider and settle on their side of the debate as I have taken to consider and settle on my side of the debate. It's like two bulls butting heads.... it's unlikely that either my or their position is going to be changed but if both sides can avoid name calling and keep the "heat" to a manageable level then you can at least learn something, hopefully, even if it's just how to better defend your position.


As for learning about logical fallacies I've found the below websites helpful along with wikipedia of course.




>Ad hominem- Personal attacks.


More precise definition: attacking a position or an aspect of a person's character which is unrelated to the position one is supposed to be arguing against.

No matter which way you look at it, it's life, and there's nothing greater than life... Life with or without the belief in a god is still life. Anything beyond that is a value comparison with no way to evaluate each way of life, so if your argument lays claim to any idea of a life or life style's value it becomes about as valid as you see the belief in God.
Bronson, This webpage contains some debate guidelines that may be helpful to you: http://bit.ly/ayl5CZ

Emotional attachment to one's conclusions (whether or not there is empirical evidence supporting the conclusion), is a major reason debates go awry. 

I always ask people I debate with to detach emotionally from what they think is true, so that unbiased reasoning can be employed long enough that we can understand one another. 

It takes a brave theist to do this, and in my experience, they cannot take their emotions out of the mix, which result in comes backs like, "Fuck You." I absolutely think "fuck you" is an emotional response.

I'm insulted for being apathetic in debates, but I'll be honest, I sort of pride myself on it. I don't have to be an asshole to get my point across, yet even with my most intelligent and well thought out arguments, I am received as an "Evil doer," because I am asking them to think with absolute objectivity.

Too many individuals, from what I can see, are too deeply identified with what they think they know, leaving little to no room for expansion, or new information to surface. It's as if they think their beliefs, or their stance, are who they are, and if you challenge that belief or stance, you are challenging them as an individual.  Emotions are a hindrance for this reason.




you have to chose  you're battles. I personally dont debate with anyone unless it directly effects me somehow or if someone is talking about something with very misguided information.


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