>>> Rules of engagement <<< IMPORTANT!!!

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antowan

Honorary Master
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Good day fellow forumites. I would like to propose a change to the way people approach the Philosophical Debates section and recommend a more structured way of interaction that is less emotive and a lot more effective at getting to the bottom of some of the issues that you have been discussing of late.

The PD section can be a lot more hospitable if we don't degenerate discussions into mud-fests where folks sling the nastiest of nasty personal insults because they got tired of debating or are so stuck on preconceived views that they never even opened themselves to meaningful debate in the first place.

I propose the following and it is really more of a personal attitude guide than anything else:

1. Never start a thread if you are not prepared to deal with opposing views in a hospitable and civilized way.
2. When you start a thread on a particular topic, always give as much information as possible about your view or query. Keep it concise, but make sure people get enough information to see where you are coming from.
3. Remember that debate is a meeting of minds between two or more parties matching up their knowledge of a topic to see where the holes in each are and to patch those holes with the truth. Sometimes patching holes require letting go of some previously highly considered and esteemed fake truths.
4. Always state the sources of you facts. If you cannot source it, then don't bother using it or state it as assumed truth and wait for somebody to knock it over. If nobody can that truth shall stand until proven otherwise.
5. Religion is a tough topic for debate. Many men have tried and many men have died trying to debate it. Be careful not to insult. There is never any harm in letting somebody believe something different. In fact some philosophers of ancient times considered it a befitting punishment for stupidity not to inform enemies of the truth in specific topics. If you are sure of your truth, then don't be alarmed if somebody believes otherwise. It is their business after all and unless you open yourself for debate on such issues, leave them be.
6. If you start a thread, you declare your topic open for debate. If you are however joining a discussion, sometimes a new thread would be a better way of resolving nitty gritty things on particular issues. Direct folks to the new thread by posting thus in originating threads
7. I personally undertake the job of simply deleting any personal attacks brought to my attention. Whether you may speak the truth in my opinion or not, if you resort to a personal insult or attack in these debates I will simply remove the post and those related to them. I urge folks to REPORT such posts!
8. Having a discussion about tough topics like race, racial superiority, Nazism, or whatever are allowed. If you however insult a forumite in person on the forum with a racial slur or the like you will receive an infraction notice. This falls together with number 7.

I will add to this guide in future, but please help me and the other mods in ensuring the PD section becomes and stays civil.

Thanks
Antowan
 

Tux

Software Communist
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In fact some philosophers of ancient times considered it a befitting punishment for stupidity not to inform enemies of the truth in specific topics.
You forgot to add your source :D
 

Xarog

Honorary Master
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Ah, but this was an interesting aside, his argument in no way rests on the accuracy of that claim. :p
 

rwenzori

Honorary Master
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This is excellent! Can we get something similar in the News & Current Affairs section, where the trolling and drivel flow a bit too freely please?
 

BeVonk!

Executive Member
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Regarding religious debates ... without sounding arrogant and like a self-appointed moderator I would like to address the following to fellow Christians here:

1) Please don't debate with the heart of a pharisee. Jesus had a huge problem with pharisees - who could quote scripture but had zero love in their hearts. God loves all people - including Atheists.
2) Always keep your primary mission in mind. It's no use hardening hearts even further. God will not be pleased. God wants to change hearts and minds - and not win arguments here. If you want to be part of His work then do it His way - not yours. No love = no good. Reflect God and his heart.
3) Let God (Holy Spirit) do the convincing. If you don't listen to his leading, and you don't pray about these debates (and those partaking), then please let go of it.
4) Christians don't all see things the same. Tread carefully both ways.
5) Let the words of your mouth and the meditation of your hearts - coming through in your writing - be acceptable to God. If debating makes you angry then don't do it. Be slow to write/respond.
6) Do your homework. Study. Put some effort into it. Debating is not for the intellectually lazy. If you are unsure about your answer then rather get your argument sorted out first - and don't post what you don't know. We are all on a journey here where no-one knows it all. Be willing to learn - and be corrected. Be teachable.
7) Haughtiness/Pride is not a Christian virtue - but at the top of God's hate list. Remain humble and acknowledge mistakes. Your mistakes here will not make God any less real. God is way bigger than our debates about him.
8) Listen. Think about what is being said - and try to understand where the other person comes from. Some people here have real issues with God and Christianity as a result of honest doubts and past hurts. God respects honesty - and so should we. A person that doubts God and struggles to accept our arguments should not be called a fool (or treated as one). For many the intellectual battle is the first step towards faith. Don't trample God's garden.
9) If you come here to pick a fight then you are doing us all a great disservice.
10) If others get nasty - don't fight fire with fire. Stand back and rather pray about it - and open yourself to God to guide your response.
 

cyghost

Executive Member
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Not bad as a 10 list goes - might I just prevail to add logic to it somewhere. Not nitpicking I am. Faith means that you take a step off the logic cliff. Fine and fair, its a choice after all ~ but please don't deny logic then. In other words, admit when you are not making logical sense, that you are taking something on faith when that is what you are doing and I'll have no problem at letting it be. To be honest that is actually a weapon (if I can be permitted to call it such) which is vastly underused. If you tell me it is so because you have faith, there isn't much more I can do than shout "but its illogical". Obviously this wouldn't work in all cases (or in most) or we'll have nothing to debate about. :)

Insisting that something is scientifically viable or logical when it clearly isn't, is what gets us astray for the most part. imho. If you don't know an answer then don't make something up either ~ its fine not to know everything. I most certainly don't. And neither does Stephen Hawking who is without any doubt far far more intelligent than any of us. (perhaps not?) The point is clear I believe.

Death to ad hominem :p long live reason (and faith)
 

BeVonk!

Executive Member
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Cyghost, I fully agree. In some of my latter posts I did stress the issue about faith ("we live by faith"). We Christians must make it clear where/when we rely on faith - but I agree that it cannot be used as an easy/lazy escape as that would make debate irrelevant.
 

cyghost

Executive Member
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Okay, then I fully support your list if such a thing is possible from an atheist's point of view. :)
 

cyghost

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May I propose a rule addendum? In a debate I believe it to be bad form not to answer a direct question, not to mention rude and not furthering debate in the least.

Now its quite possible to miss a question in the heat of the moment and such can be forgiven. But if the question is being ignored on purpose, and this can be clearly seen in such eventualities, then something needs to be done. Perhaps just having such a rule on the books to be pointed out to offenders may help?
 

cyghost

Executive Member
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Indeed.

But when debating or wanting to participate in a debate, one needs some decorum.

If you answer the question with: I don't care to answer that question ~ I'd consider it an answer.

Blatantly ignoring questions put to you does nothing for this forum and should be discouraged.

It annoys the **** out of me. And it's just about the only thing that does tbh.
When I ask a question, I expect (and deserve?) an answer?
 

Necuno

Court Jester
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I don't care to answer that question ;)


...but i know what you mean
 

kapovski

Senior Member
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Jan 19, 2007
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Blatantly ignoring questions put to you does nothing for this forum and should be discouraged.

I often read the blatant ignoring of questions as an answer in it's own right. Lots can be said by not saying anything.
 

cyghost

Executive Member
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I often read the blatant ignoring of questions as an answer in it's own right. Lots can be said by not saying anything.
Point taken.

But often the question is asked in order to lead to a more important point to be made. Or to clarify a misunderstanding.

It is perhaps only I that find this highly annoying and as such will adapt to the wishes of the majority.
 

kapovski

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It is perhaps only I that find this highly annoying and as such will adapt to the wishes of the majority.
no no, I'm with you. It's frikken annoying and seriously namby-pamby not to answer direct questions!
 

Phenom

Expert Member
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Dec 26, 2006
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Edit. I am considering further action and will try to get hold of my local friendly lawyer this week to see what could be done. Julle wil mos!
Now that you ran out of ways to prove Islam peaceful, you threaten legal action, :rolleyes:
Ever heard of Freedom of Speech, It may be absent in Islamic countries, but thankfully, not here.

Bill of Rights, South African
15. Freedom of religion, belief and opinion

1. Everyone has the right to freedom of conscience, religion, thought, belief and opinion.
16. Freedom of expression

1. Everyone has the right to freedom of expression, which includes *
1. freedom of the press and other media;
2. freedom to receive or impart information or ideas;
3. freedom of artistic creativity; and
4. academic freedom and freedom of scientific research.
2. The right in subsection (1) does not extend to *
1. propaganda for war;
2. incitement of imminent violence; or
3. advocacy of hatred that is based on race, ethnicity, gender or religion, and that constitutes incitement to cause harm.
http://www.info.gov.za/documents/constitution/index.htm

could anyone please explain " 2. The right in subsection (1) does not extend to: advocacy of hatred that is based on race, ethnicity, gender or religion, and that constitutes incitement to cause harm.", Does that not mean that we have Freedom of expression except and with concern to advocacy of hatred that is based on religion and that constitutes incitement to cause harm.
Does this right not claim that we only don't have the right to hate any particular person based on religion? Not that we don't have the right to be concerned and to hate the teachings of the religion?
We still have the open right to hate the teachings of certain religions, as long as sources or reason is provided! Non-believers are hated every day in Churches, Mosques, Bibles, Korans, certain religions even hate other religions with in their 'holy', well published scriptures. We have the right to discuss our future.
 
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