Why do people have a hard time debating controversial issues using intellect and opinion supported by facts?

Whether you debate one way or another on issues such as 9/11 conspiracy, Iraq war, foreign policy, New World Order.... you can't seem to debate with anyone without them getting all defensive and resorting to name-calling and other forms of degradation.

Can't people argue their point of view using facts that support their opinion rather than speaking with emotion out their arrrrse? No matter what topic?

Update:

Thanks for being my first example BENEDICT. haha...that didn't take long.

19 Answers

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  • 1 decade ago
    Favorite Answer

    Because of ignorance and fear.

    Most people still believe everything they see or hear on TV, and hardly ever do any research of their own. After all, they wouldn't lie to us on television, would they? Besides, they've already done all the thinking and analyzed the news for us, and their conclusions sound good enough. There couldn't be another point of view, could there?

    And then there's the fear of being wrong, or of considering the truth to be too horrible to be... well, true. These intellectual "defeats" don't fit in the comfortable pattern of life that most people have purchased and conformed to; the mere thought of it is unbearable.

    Therefore, since the message is intolerable, the messenger must be attacked, ridiculed and -if possible- corrected, so the system is kept safe and can keep working properly.

    Being open minded means having to be willing to confront one's own knowledge and ideas to the fact that they may be wrong or incomplete.

  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    Debating is a learned art. Most cannot do it well. True.

    However: NO ONE can successfully debate matters of National Security or even the bombings of ur Twin Towers without ALLLLLLL the facts.

    And unfortunately--that is impossible.

    You can debate your opinion--but the 'facts' are subjective because we don't have the facts.

    People on Y/A are admittedly more emotional and irresponsible...like young kids playing the blame game.

    My Dad (USAF Pilot) says "consider the source." So I do, and am not too flustered.

    It does get old though. thanks.

  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    i think its an interesting point that goes to the very core of our two party system. There have always been two distinct sets of people that view the world from different psychological stand points. One views the world as a rescuer they think and act more from emotions than fact or reality. The other views the world from a rational and more analytical point of view. We can say that one group houses the Democratic party and the other the Republican party. I'm not saying one is better than the other but facts are facts! And you decide for yourself!

  • 1 decade ago

    It's to do with psychology. When we have been convinced that a certain position is the right one we absorb that into our own ego, and an attack on it is an attack on us. And then we're really defending ourselves, and not the issue. Wild horses will not change us.

    A notable exception was Tony Blair. His debating skills where so honed in the Oxford Union debating society that he could defend either side with equal conviction, whether he believed it or not - and he did so as Prime Minister. (E.g. the war!)

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  • 1 decade ago

    To add on to one of the answerers..pereland's I believe...open mindedness is a blend of using your own reason and logic to the usual conclusion of doubt.

    This is what the most arrogant and ignorant of the population cannot cope with....Doubt.

    It is not a coincidence that the most religious and most dogmatic average citizens tend to be the most un-educated, un-reasonable, and most importantly the ones most lacking any open curiosity about the world around them. They have sub contracted out their ability to think for themselves in exchange for comfortable self imposed security.

    Debates using intellect or reason have no use for these people since they refuted using their own long ago. Having others use it to create instability in their little world is only rebuffed by un-educated slanders since that is all they have left themselves with.

    Education and wisdom go hand in hand with doubt. This is too much of a burden it seems.

  • 1 decade ago

    When this used to be the Yahoo Discussion Board I would have called it a debate forum but Yahoo Answers is not a true forum to debate in fact they state in their community guidelines that conversations are against the rules.

    Most of the time I tried to back up my opinion with a source (link) to back it but there are occasions when it seems quicker to just state my opinion without a source. (These answers go by so quickly and by the time you sight your source everyone has left the question).

    Then there are those who are just adament about whatever they heard on the news and so they just rant and rave about it being correct.

  • 1 decade ago

    Sure they could. But who would the audience be? The American public, who absolutely devours publications like "People" magazine, does not have the attention span nor the intellect to appreciate a well structured debate on topics of importance.

    Americans thrive on drama and innuendo, not facts or truth.

  • 1 decade ago

    Part of the problem is because what "facts" do we use. The net has so many blogs, and non factual sources that I can prove or disprove whatever theory I would like with multiple sources. I give you moveon.org as an example. Now sources have agendas of their own. Now finding the facts is liking searching for a needle in a haystack.

  • 1 decade ago

    Great question.This remains a mystery to me as well.This attitude is one reason why this country is being forced to its knees.Uneducated folks who refuse to research and read refuse to listen to any opinions or facts offered anywhere other than the mainstream media.Of course, they would never mislead us!It's very sad when adults can't at least debate a subject without resorting to name calling.

  • Danny
    Lv 4
    1 decade ago

    It's because many people have hidden motives for holding a point of view. They don't want those motives exposed because they couldn't stand the scrutiny of intelligent debate, so they resort to name calling and twisted facts.

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