Debating IS Healthy and Helpful

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I don't know about the rest of the human race, but I tend to debate, a lot, and love doing it. I debate my school-mates about anything from the advantages of every particle being made up of vibrating Garden Gnomes (a hybrid String Theory) to the effects of Ayn Rand's controversial theory of Objectivism. So, naturally, once I saw Mr. Jay Heinrichs's article on teaching his children how to properly debate from their toddler years, I could not stop myself from laughing. (For you see, my younger cousin is one of the most annoying children I have ever had the displeasure of meeting, and he argues NONSTOP!) But Mr. Heinrich's definition of argue dates back to the Greek art of debate. He teaches his kids to sway crowds (pathos) using their emotions against them, using a good reputation (ethos) to their advantage, and logic (logos) to entirely prove their points. He goes into depth about the many ways he teaches his children to use these old (but obviously still effect) ideas to their advantage.

My only regret is that I did not have a father this pragmatic. I did not learn these terms, and the ideas behind them until well into High School (thank you, Debate Team) and have found them to be most helpful in debates with my colleagues and friends. They allow to question others' motives, and give an objective look at others' attempts to sway your thoughts.

I, personally, found this refresher course in basic debate nice, and would hope that others, too, find it to be informative and mind opening. As a closing, I will quote Mr. Heinrich with:
"And let’s face it: Our culture has lost the ability to usefully disagree. Most Americans seem to avoid argument. But this has produced passive aggression and groupthink in the office, red and blue states, and families unable to discuss things as simple as what to watch on television. Rhetoric doesn’t turn kids into back-sassers; it makes them think about other points of view."
Thank You For Your Time.


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