Wednesday, September 20, 2006

It Helps To Know What You're Talking About

I got into an argument with a Pro-Lifer last night. I'm Pro-Life, too; very much so. The difference between us is I knew what I was talking about and the other person who wanted to lecture me was going on incorrect information, rumors, and was unaware of rather cogent facts.

There's nothing quite like a good, friendly argument. Each side knows their facts and, with any luck, also knows the other side's as well. You hash out your good points, demonstrate your opponent's weaknesses and if you happen to come to a conclusion, all the better.

But to be in a serious discussion and suddenly say, "Oh, I didn't know that," is not the way to go into something. "I assumed that was the way ... somebody said that was true," and so on, are not the marks of an inquiring mind.

"I understand this to be true; is that so?" is much better. We all hear rumors and we all have the ability to prove them true or spike them, at least for ourselves. A quick explanation, along with, "Where did you hear that?" should work. I say "should" because a friend of mine has twelve children; he met someone who asked how his six children were doing. He replied, "I have twelve now." The person said, "Oh, no; I have it on very good authority that you have six." My friend said, "What better authority could there be than me? I'm the father and I have twelve." The person remained unconvinced.

When someone blasts a film, book or such that I know they haven't seen, I nicely ask, "When you saw/read it, which part did you not like?" That usually does it. Know what you are talking about and I'll listen all afternoon; disparage without knowledge and I'll politely, kindly, nicely lop your head off before you realize it's missing.


Anonymous mad drummer said...

Jeez Tom, my days at the station and IN CLASS (note: I took no education classes) drilled in this concept. And to this day it has served me well. I sure hope the faculty is still stressing it!

September 20, 2006 8:45 PM  
Blogger Reading Reader said...

I am happy to see that you do not "suffer fools gladly." Good for you!

September 21, 2006 12:40 PM  

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