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Prove to me that X is happening.

Read the OP and vote.


  • Total voters
    7

Kal'Stang

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Note: X = what ever subject you want to insert

We've all heard it before, that sentence that someone has to utter, that "Prove to me that X is happening!" All the way from the gun debate to religious persecution (for or against) to SSM.

Question is...is it an honest debate tactic?

Personally I don't think so. Such a question posed leaves a wide open range of unacceptable answers. After all, the person that asks the question does so from the point of view that whatever is presented must meet their criteria of what is an acceptable answer. All that one can do when answering such a question is to give examples and if a study was done provide that, or just ignore the question at which point the questioner can claim the person has no proof. The problem of course being that since it is the questioner's question then they get to set the bar of how much evidence is enough to answer their question. Of course they never say just how high the bar is. There is no set number of examples that can be shown as each example can be pawned off as "rare" or "ancedotal". A study can be dismissed by faulting the author of the study, the methods used (lets face it, all studies have their flaws which every opponent uses), the sampling size etc etc.
 

StillBallin75

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If someone makes a claim it's not unreasonable to ask the individual to substantiate that claim with evidence. As for criticizing studies, it depends on what the argument against that study is.
 

a351

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Largely depends on the usage. It's a valid tactic in purely factual matters (i.e. the size of the current deficit), but can be abused and used merely as a diversion in more subjective topics.
 

KevinKohler

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X IS happening.

And then it's Y and Z's turn.
 

KevinKohler

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I agree with the above.

If I say that the sun is not coming up tomorrow, it's not unfair for someone to question how I came to that conclusion.

It does, however, make for dishonest debate when the inevitable straw man is erected.
 

head of joaquin

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This sounds like a conservative cri de coeur against having to provide any substantiation for factual claims. I can see why conservatives might resonate with that complaint.

However, I agree that disingenuous protests that demand proof of the obvious (that Bush didn't tank the economy or that Obama isn't a Marxist) are irritating and the result of a knownothing mentality.
 

Kal'Stang

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This sounds like a conservative cri de coeur against having to provide any substantiation for factual claims. I can see why conservatives might resonate with that complaint.

However, I agree that disingenuous protests that demand proof of the obvious (that Bush didn't tank the economy or that Obama isn't a Marxist) are irritating and the result of a knownothing mentality.

Why am I not surprised that you are the first partisan poster in this thread? This thread has nothing to do with left or right, conservative or liberal. The question in question is often abused by people no matter their party affiliation.
 

Velvet Elvis

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Question is...is it an honest debate tactic?
Depends. There are some people who you know actually attempt to be factual, even in slightly skewed. These people do not need this tactic done against them.

Then there are the abhorrent trolls. The ones that make stuff up as it fits them. These people see this tactic like garlic to a vampire.
 

Kal'Stang

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If someone makes a claim it's not unreasonable to ask the individual to substantiate that claim with evidence. As for criticizing studies, it depends on what the argument against that study is.

I have no problem with asking people to substantiate a claim. But how you ask is just as important. If you pose a question in which the bar is set by the questioner without the questioner defining what is considered reasonable evidence that X is/is not happening then there is no way to reach the bar because the questioner can be dishonest and never admit that Y evidence of X is enough. They'll just claim "ancedotal" or even spin actions to suit thier wants.
 

trfjr

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the tactics i hate is when you do provide evidence of a claim they want to argue the source and not the facts the source provides. if it is information that is damaging to the left the information will not be found from a left leaning source. it will be found from a right leaning source. so any one on the left will say it isn't creditable information because it came from a bias right leaning source. then the debate becomes about the source and not the subject at hand
 

DiAnna

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If anyone needs proof that "X" is happening, please check downstairs, where he happens on a regular basis in the course of his duties. :)
 

Kal'Stang

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the tactics i hate is when you do provide evidence of a claim they want to argue the source and not the facts the source provides. if it is information that is damaging to the left the information will not be found from a left leaning source. it will be found from a right leaning source. so any one on the left will say it isn't creditable information because it came from a bias right leaning source. then the debate becomes about the source and not the subject at hand

Basically agree with you, however, like I told HoJ, this has nothing to do with the right or the left or any other party affiliation.
 

trfjr

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Basically agree with you, however, like I told HoJ, this has nothing to do with the right or the left or any other party affiliation.

i was using it as an example it can and has gone the other way also
 

Masada

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If someone makes a claim it's not unreasonable to ask the individual to substantiate that claim with evidence. As for criticizing studies, it depends on what the argument against that study is.

I think evaluating a person's entire argument makes more sense. For example, if its obvious the person I'm debating has read, researched, studied, it makes for a much more civil debate as well as educational.

However, what I'm finding more common is people who debate solely from a position of personal opinion. No real knowledge, no educational background, nothing.

How many threads have gone on for days about say, Obama's philosophical influences, and one side of the argument openly admits they've never even read Obama's own books, much less the books of people who have influenced his life.

No amount of "sourcing" ever pleases the ignorant debater. Endless demands to see evidence they've already prejudged in their minds. In addition, it's fair to assume that if a person is debating a topic, they'll at least have some sort of information they've read or studied right? And what a let down it is to discover that this person hasn't read anything, and has merely been arguing the entire time relying on the relevance of THEIR irrelevant opinion.

The best weapon in debate is knowledge, and that only comes through diligent study of the topic. But hardly anyone here actually studies issues like abortion, homosexuality, philosophy, ethics, history, morality, theology, politics. All the things we argue the most seem to be the very things people are the most ignorant of. ESPECIALLY theology and religion.

There's my two cents, for whatever they're worth.
 

Sarcogito

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I don’t like the word “proof” in those types of debates. I prefer “evidence”.

Reasonable people WILL adjust their beliefs when the preponderance of evidence is sufficient. People who won’t aren’t worth arguing with.
 

Masada

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This sounds like a conservative cri de coeur against having to provide any substantiation for factual claims. I can see why conservatives might resonate with that complaint.

However, I agree that disingenuous protests that demand proof of the obvious (that Bush didn't tank the economy or that Obama isn't a Marxist) are irritating and the result of a knownothing mentality.

This is what online debating has become, educated conservatives who go out, read Obama's own books, write down the names of his childhood and early life mentors, research those people, read them in their own words, come to sites like this sharing information and opinions of their findings, while liberals read nothing and study nothing but how to effectively ridicule an argument. They learn THAT from THEIR number one source of information, Comedy Central.

Obama isn't a Marxist? Lol, I can promise you this, because I'm certain I've studied him more than you have, that I can provide more evidence he is, than you can that he isn't. The man even admits to "searching out the Marxist crowd" to befriend when he was younger. Of course you would know that had you READ his books. But ya, it's everyday stuff for teenaged free capitalists, who were raised by Marxists, to "seek out" the Marxist crowd....;)

It wouldn't be fair at all to say I was a stoner if I "sought out" the stoners to be my friends for my entire life.
 

NoC_T

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Note: X = what ever subject you want to insert

We've all heard it before, that sentence that someone has to utter, that "Prove to me that X is happening!" All the way from the gun debate to religious persecution (for or against) to SSM.

Question is...is it an honest debate tactic?

Personally I don't think so. Such a question posed leaves a wide open range of unacceptable answers. After all, the person that asks the question does so from the point of view that whatever is presented must meet their criteria of what is an acceptable answer. All that one can do when answering such a question is to give examples and if a study was done provide that, or just ignore the question at which point the questioner can claim the person has no proof. The problem of course being that since it is the questioner's question then they get to set the bar of how much evidence is enough to answer their question. Of course they never say just how high the bar is. There is no set number of examples that can be shown as each example can be pawned off as "rare" or "ancedotal". A study can be dismissed by faulting the author of the study, the methods used (lets face it, all studies have their flaws which every opponent uses), the sampling size etc etc.
It's usually the case that, where 'proof' is demanded well into a lengthy debate, none would be accepted as such. The most compelling evidence will be rejected on the grounds that it cannot be empirical. It's basically a cop-out utilised by the weaker debater when s/he's on the ropes. Beyond the ambit of mathematics (itself a product only of universal subscription), proof is a political ploy.
 

Republic Now!

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To some degree I think asking one to clarify a position is reasonable, but asking someone to "prove" something with full knowledge that it is not provable is dishonest.
 

NoC_T

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This sounds like a conservative cri de coeur against having to provide any substantiation for factual claims. I can see why conservatives might resonate with that complaint.

However, I agree that disingenuous protests that demand proof of the obvious (that Bush didn't tank the economy or that Obama isn't a Marxist) are irritating and the result of a knownothing mentality.
Gesundheit!
 
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