Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

PF Debate Competition

  1. Apr 28, 2005 #1
    Looking for feedback on a possible PF Debate Competition event. Members would go head to head debating a controversial topic (science based). Viewers could then vote for who they thought won the debate after a certain amount of time and we would have a thread available for peanut gallery discussion on the debate. We'd likely have 10-20 debates going on. Lend us your thoughts. :smile:
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Apr 28, 2005 #2
    Err, i think this will be difficult to organize and i don't quite see the point. For example, if you want to debate QCD, who will participate ? I mean, how can you be sure that the opponents are equal in knowledge (at least to some extent)? This will be the crucial part i think, otherwise this competition may turn out to be very boring

    marlon
     
  4. Apr 28, 2005 #3
    Marlon, we are thinking of using common debate topics such as dangers of genetic engineerings and such.
     
  5. Apr 28, 2005 #4
    Ok then, in that case , i am all for it...I hope you guys are also including politics and religion...Should be real fun...

    marlon
     
  6. Apr 28, 2005 #5

    Evo

    User Avatar

    Staff: Mentor

    :biggrin: You're funny.
     
  7. Apr 28, 2005 #6
    Yeah, i take on the challenge of defending the views of Jozef Ratzinger against anybody at any given time on any given place :cool: (these words sound cool, i just wanted to put them in a sentence)

    Yeah, Jozef Ratzinger that is : Nuntio vobis gaudium magnum : habemus MARLONIUM


    il santo marlonino

    ps : i alsways dreamt of owning the San Pietro Basilica...
     
  8. Apr 28, 2005 #7
    No, I do not want a debate competition.

    Obviously if this is the best argument I can come up with, then I certainly do not have a chance at winning.
     
  9. Apr 28, 2005 #8

    Moonbear

    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    I don't know. If you can find willing participants on the same time zone, it could be interesting. But, personally, I wouldn't want to participate. If you want to have a serious science debate, the way this forum is already set up is the best way to do it, including time to look up information and post references, etc. I'm more of a fan of cooperativity in learning than competition. I might join in the melee in the peanut gallery though. :biggrin:
     
  10. Apr 28, 2005 #9

    Evo

    User Avatar

    Staff: Mentor

    What about a trivial pursuit type challenge. Members can create small groups of players (4-5 per group, each an expert in a different field) Questions can be asked and members can select the best answer among them and pm it to a moderator. The first team to get the correct answer wins that round.

    We'll need to agree on a time that different teams can play.
     
  11. Apr 29, 2005 #10

    JamesU

    User Avatar
    Gold Member

    That's a good idea! finally! :tongue2:
     
  12. Apr 29, 2005 #11

    Moonbear

    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    That sounds like more fun! Wait, darn, sounds like the moderators will be referees...I guess that means I can't claim Gokul for my team. :grumpy: You promoted him too soon!

    The time zone issue remains a problem, but maybe we can play in "local" leagues according to time zones. We had the time zone problem with the scavenger hunt; most of the activity was going on while Europe was asleep. :tongue:
     
  13. Apr 29, 2005 #12

    hypnagogue

    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    I like Evo's proposal more as well. IMO, it doesn't make much sense to have a debate competition here, because debates already happen on PF all the time, natch. It seems the only substantive difference is that someone would be formally awarded as being the winner, which doesn't seem much good for anything but puffing up egos. (And we already have enough puffed up egos, natch. :biggrin:)

    Evo's idea sounds like fun, and seems like it would be popular with our members. I say go for it.
     
  14. Apr 29, 2005 #13

    loseyourname

    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Gold Member

    I love the idea of a debate. I know this forum already basically hosts people debating in just about every thread, but they are not real debates. Real debates are formal and have rules. Real debates stick to a topic. Real debates involve people defending single opposing propositions, with focus, and without regard to what they actually believe. I think it would be a great way for us to present the cases for and against controversial stances related to the social impact of science, without the clutter and nonsense typically associated with internet forums. Ultimately, it doesn't even matter who wins. I would imagine there are very few of us who have ever participated in formal debates and who know how to evaluate the performances anyway.
     
  15. Apr 29, 2005 #14

    Evo

    User Avatar

    Staff: Mentor

    I got this suggestion from a member that sounds like fun too.

    debate idea

    have the two contestants identity cloaked
    they are not even to reveal their gender or where they are from

    then let the onlookers vote, not knowing who it is, as to who has won the debate

    The reason I am suggesting anonymous debaters------masked adversaries-----is because I think it would stimulate people's curiosity. they would wonder who it is, and try to guess from the style of argument, or speech habits.

    a woman who was debating could intentionally sound like a man in how she argued (if there is any gender difference in style) and viceversa. One would never be sure if one guessed the debaters' identity right.

    another reason. if one were voting about who won a debate it would be good not to be distracted by popularity and loyalty issues. this is a kind of "blindfold test" of which argument is better.
     
  16. Apr 29, 2005 #15

    Moonbear

    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    This is precisely the reason I don't like formal debates. They are too rigid. Highly controversial scientific issues aren't black and white. While it's a good exercise to learn to argue the opposing view, it isn't constructive to have to stick with that view if you don't agree with it, or when there are compromises to be addressed. It may be good training for a political candidate or someone heading to law school, but is counterproductive for a scientist. In science, when there is controversy or you are writing a review of a subject, the ideal is to be able to balance both sides of the argument. It's also rare to find only two sides to an argument. When something is truly controversial, there are usually many ways people look at the issue.

    I really have never seen a debate with any other purpose than to sort out a winner and a loser, which aside from puffed egos, also leads to hard feelings, and can lead to division among the membership. What gets missed is that in a good debate, there is no winner and loser. Instead, everyone learns something.

    I don't think an anonymous debate would resolve that. I think we can recognize the writing styles of many of our members, and they would also be conspicuously absent from "the peanut gallery" during the debate. Knowing the competitive tendencies of some of our members, I can only see anonymity leading to speculation over the identity of the debaters.

    If you want to get a good discussion going on some controversial issues in a way that won't spiral into a flame war, it might be better to set aside an area on the forum where a topic will be introduced for a limited time, open to the membership, but with a strong moderator presence explained right up front. Any and all posts that are in any way off topic, just statements of opinion without any supporting evidence, or even stick as much as a little toe over the line to even hint at an attack on a poster rather than the argument will be deleted without discussion (but if it doesn't break normal board rules, don't give people warnings for it, just keep the thread clean). I don't know, though, it seems that would be stifling.
     
  17. Apr 29, 2005 #16

    loseyourname

    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Gold Member

    Perhaps. In every formal debate I've been in, we were either doing it - as you said - to prepare for a future in public speaking, or just because we enjoyed doing it. No hard feelings. I don't think the idea here is to conclusively close the case on whatever it is we're debating - or make thing black and white, as you say. The purpose is just to do something fun and educational at the same time. You wouldn't believe how helpful it is to be in a debate because of the way you are forced to organize your thoughts and present a coherent and brief case. Debate skills can be translated into many arenas of life - if not in resolving scientific controversy, certainly in getting that next grant. Besides, we aren't all scientists. Some of us might actually be going to law school (okay, I might be the only one, but still). There are other forums that do this and, aside from my lofty appreciation of formal debate, it's just a fun thing to do.
     
  18. Apr 29, 2005 #17

    jcsd

    User Avatar
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    What about this: New Order vs Joy Division - who was better??
     
  19. Apr 29, 2005 #18

    honestrosewater

    User Avatar
    Gold Member

    I don't care that much either way, but if the debates were good, I would enjoy following them. Philosophy Forums has had some debates which you can find here, to get an idea of how it might go. If you decide to go ahead with it, I think keeping it anonymous would be fairer to the debators and keep the focus where it should be.
     
  20. Apr 29, 2005 #19

    loseyourname

    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Gold Member

    That's a tough evaluation to make, there. Ultimately, Joy Division was probably the more significant band, but New Order was more popular and technically prowessed. Both enjoyed a great deal of critical acclaim. This is one case in which I would definitely need to be forced to take one side.
     
  21. Apr 30, 2005 #20
    If we were to have a formal debate, how would you know if I were really wearing a formal?
     
Know someone interested in this topic? Share this thread via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook

Have something to add?



Similar Discussions: PF Debate Competition
  1. Slow PF (Replies: 4)

  2. PF as an example (Replies: 10)

  3. PF Contributor (Replies: 2)

  4. PF Mail (Replies: 2)

  5. PF app (Replies: 7)

Loading...