Re: The debate and some Christmas self-reflection

George Murphy (
Sun, 21 Dec 1997 19:31:40 -0500

Joel Cannon wrote:
> I was going to dispanse some wisdom concerning the debate but thought
> it might be a better time for self-reflection or even confession.
> One thing that struck me during the debate was the lack of
> acknowledgement of personal uncertainty (with the possible minor
> exception of Michael Ruse). While that is the nature of debate, I
> suspect that the participants are more rather than less strident in
> private than when on their best behavior in front of the national
> cameras.

This is a fundamental problem with debates, especially when they
are being "scored", as in school forensics - & that's where many
debaters learn their bad habits. You learn to go for debating points, &
simply can't reply to an argument by saying, "Yeah, that's a good point.
I'll have to think about that" - let alone, "Maybe you're right."

George L. Murphy