Does debating ever change your opinion??

Sarah - posted on 10/26/2009 ( 23 moms have responded )

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I was just thinking that there are few instances where being involved in a debate about things has actually changed my opinion on the subject at hand.
While i totally think that debating issues is a good thing.......and many times i've found myself seeing the other side of the argument more clearly.
I don't think i've ever done a complete U-turn on my perspective.

Does debating a topic ever really change people's minds?
Or once you have a set view on something, is it very unlikely that you will ever change your mind?

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?? - posted on 10/26/2009

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I don't think debating should ever change someone's mind and I hate that people think that it should. Debating is supposed to be bringing forward facts, opinions, thoughts and ideas about a topic and discussing them. People always think there is a RIGHT and WRONG and some cases there is, but most cases there is not.



I think that if you go into a debate thinking there is a right or wrong and you are right and everyone else is wrong, you're not going to have a healthy, productive or intelligent debate. You're going to have a pointless and probably counter productive argument. And there is a HUGE difference.



People often say "I don't see the point of debating with you anymore because you aren't getting what I'm saying." but more often then not, that is NOT what they mean, they mean "I don't see the point debating with you anymore because you're refusing to agree with me." (And that's not an assumption because it's usually following "I guess we have to agree to disagree.")



Agreeing to disagree is great, but why bother participating in the first place if you figure everyone is going to agree with you? I won't agree to disagree just because I assume someone isn't 'getting my point.' I will agree to disagree when the conversation, discussion, debate has come to the point of where we both have come to an understanding of each others view points and have had a productive debate.



I generally stop participating when I spend the time explaining why, how and where my point of view was originated and how it evolved to what it is, only to get pissy, snarky, non-intelligent, condescending replies that are not discussion but commentary. At that point, I realize the debate is no longer a debate it's a person thinking they're going to "WIN," even if it means ignoring the debate and turning things into a personal attack.



Sorry, on and on and on... nah, my mind has only really been changed on a few things - I've learned a lot though. One being, I thought there would be a lot more people who knew how to participate in a debate but it seems most would rather participate in a petty argument.

JL - posted on 10/27/2009

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I was on a competitive debate team in college and what I learned was the point of debating was that it is not about someone winning because they are RIGHT. In a competetive debate the winner is those who stand their ground, are consistent, speak clearly, and offer facts to assert their opinion. The one thing we were always told was that yes in debating competition there is a winner but in a real debate no one wins but everyone losses if people do not come with the mindsight to agree to disagree, if people do not use facts, if they do not stand their ground or refrain from using attacks of a personal nature. Debating is about presenting ones opinion and asserting with reliable reasoning not about arguing and claiming I am emphatically right.

Isobel - posted on 10/26/2009

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hmmmmm, I have definitely had to stop and think a few times. The problem is this...if everybody on here agreed with me all the time, I wouldn't come anymore. Disagreeing is my favorite thing to do. The only thing that I take personally (that actually makes me ANGRY is condescension, "sweetheart, baby, honey" keep those names for your husband and kids, I am none of them, thank you.

Esther - posted on 10/26/2009

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Well, for me the problem is that I'm always right so it would make no sense for me to change my opinion. Just kidding.



But I think you're right, they do not usually make me do a 180. I will adjust my position sometimes though or it will at least help me understand the other side better. Debates also do help me form opinions on issues I'm not well versed in.

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Dana - posted on 10/28/2009

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I, like alot of other women on here love to debate and I've learned alot about the other side of a topic. I've never actually changed my mind during a debate but, I have changed my mind when looking at another debate that I had no real opinion on, because of lack of experience or knowledge.

[deleted account]

No, heated debate topics do not change my mind. But like other sated, it makes me understand the opposing viewpoint better even if I do not agree. I also admit that through the debate threads, I have reevaluated my own discipline methods with my son. Here's an example: I have no problem spanking my son's butt. Sometimes, this is the last resort after all other avenues failed. I do not take pleasure in having to spank my son and I always spank over clothes or underpants, and I don't beat my kid. But through the spanking debates, I have learned other techniques to try before it gets to the spanking. Sometimes it works, sometimes it does not.

Christa - posted on 10/27/2009

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Quoting Jocelyn:



Quoting Mary:

I am going to say that while debating has never completely changed my opinion, it has helped me to recognize inconsistencies in my own belief systems, as well as those inherent in particular philosophies that I once believed I could support. It has also helped me to understand where other people are coming from, and how they have formed their own opinions.





I completely agree with you.  Every so often someone will bring up a really good point, that I never even considered/knew and it will kinda make me go "hmm, I never thought of it that way etc...)  It won't nessisarily make me change my mind completely, but on occasion, I do modify my thinking (on small points...)






I love debating.....#1 reason is that is gives you an opportunity to learn and better understand something.  I have definately changed by opinion during a debate.  My ethics and morals no....but my opinion on something...sure!  I am no afraid to admit that there are people out there way smarter than me.  I have alot to learn and I never know where that knowledge is going to come from.  That is the best part of debating....you find some really intelligent people and you thrive to learn more from them.  You also find others that only want to argue and be stubborn....those you tend to ignore.

Sarah - posted on 10/27/2009

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I think Jo's right. There is a world of difference between an argument and a debate. Also i think generally, there is no 'winner'.
We've all said that the most it usually does is make us stop and think.
I guess if you feel passionately about something, it's worth debating in the hope that people will at least see the value in the opposite view, even if they never truly agree with you.
The other thing i find with debating, is that it helps makes my own views stronger.....and gives me new ammunition for them!! :)

Jocelyn - posted on 10/26/2009

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Quoting Mary:

I am going to say that while debating has never completely changed my opinion, it has helped me to recognize inconsistencies in my own belief systems, as well as those inherent in particular philosophies that I once believed I could support. It has also helped me to understand where other people are coming from, and how they have formed their own opinions.


I completely agree with you.  Every so often someone will bring up a really good point, that I never even considered/knew and it will kinda make me go "hmm, I never thought of it that way etc...)  It won't nessisarily make me change my mind completely, but on occasion, I do modify my thinking (on small points...)

Mel - posted on 10/26/2009

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I find it easy to see other people's views provided they are reasonable of course and make sense. But ones that are just out there its hard to see how anyone could think it. I would never change my way of thinking though because Im a pretty good parent myself and am set in my ways. But I do respect others views if they chose to do something different

Charlie - posted on 10/26/2009

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I think i am a mix of passionate and stubborn although i do like to hear other peoples point of view i find by the time i am engaged in debate i know what my beliefs are on the subject and usually cannot be swayed although i can see it from the other side ( doesn't mean i have to agree )

I have to say what is really annoying is when people engage in a debate and get offended when someone opposes their views , i mean really those people should either look up what a debate entails or not debate at all .

There are *always two sides to a debate it's that simple .

Personally i find it boring when everyone agrees , that is a conversation not a debate .
I admire women who can debate maturely even when opposed and end the debate with no hard feelings and a fresh start at a new topic .
like they say if you cant handle the heat stay out of the kitchen .

Jenny - posted on 10/26/2009

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I can't think of an instance where I switched sides in a debate but I won't rule it out in the future (ya right hey lol). I'm very live and let live so when people disagree with me on certain issues (such as gay rights) it just pisses me off. I will never understand why people feel their opinion needs to be law, especially about something that will never affect them.

Kate CP - posted on 10/26/2009

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Yea, it's made me go "Huh. That's something to think about" but I'd never admit it. Actually for the longest time I was a democrat and my father and I would have LENGTHY debates about politics. I've finally realized that they are all idiots and I'm a libertarian now. So I guess in a way debating DID make me change my mind. But I believe it's for the better. ;)

Heidi - posted on 10/26/2009

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I think debating is a good thing and it certainly helps me see things in a different light(sometimes). I rarely change my mind once I am set on something, but there have been a rare and I mean rare few times where I may think twice, about changing my view, but I don't.

Amie - posted on 10/26/2009

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Debating has never really changed my view point. For a couple of reasons.
1) I don't care enough to be on either side
2) I do care and am passionate about my stand point.

Though debating does help to see where the other side is coming from at times. It may not be something I agree with, it may not even make complete sense to me how they get to their answer but at least the answer is there for them.

Sara - posted on 10/26/2009

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Whatever Sharon, you don't know what you're talking about!



Just kidding...couldn't help it.

Sharon - posted on 10/26/2009

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I'm with you Sarah. Debate hasn't changed my mind. But I have seen the other sides' argument more clearly and developed more understanding.

ME - posted on 10/26/2009

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I am going to say that while debating has never completely changed my opinion, it has helped me to recognize inconsistencies in my own belief systems, as well as those inherent in particular philosophies that I once believed I could support. It has also helped me to understand where other people are coming from, and how they have formed their own opinions.

JL - posted on 10/26/2009

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I agree with what all the other ladies have said and No One can change my mind on that...LOL!

Lindsay - posted on 10/26/2009

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I tend to agree with what these ladies have already said. Sometimes seeing the other side will tend to alter my view on things. And even if I don't change my opinion on a subject, it helps me understand and respect the other viewpoint even if I don't practice it or change my stance. My opinions on most things tend to be a result of experiences or lack of experiences. I do enjoy hearing the points opposite of mine to be able to understand why I may think one way and someone else may have an intirely different view of it! =)

Traci - posted on 10/26/2009

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I agree with the ladies postings above me. I don't often change my mind about things because my opinions have been formed based upon my own experiences and teachings. But it does help to better understand where others are coming from.

Sara - posted on 10/26/2009

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I don't know if it really will ever change a person's mind, but I know it has helped me to understand why someone may feel differently than I do about a topic, or it has given me information that I don't think I would have gotten on my own.

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