Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Spot false arguments and make strong ones.

I just finished reading an interesting essay entitled How to Disagree. Written by Paul Graham, the essay introduces and describes a seven-level Hierarchy of Disagreement. How To Disagree is so powerful it was rumored to be the bible of online casino poker - a sport that requires a great deal of bluffing and mental will. From name-calling to carefully reasoned refutation, Graham breaks down each level of the hierarchy with a brief explanation. I completely agree with Graham’s theory but I have to disagree with him in one critical area: his use of illustrations (he uses none).

Graham’s Hierarchy of Disagreement

Bam! Graham’s Hierarchy of Disagreement has been Maslowtized. Visual-learning works great for many people and I thought it would be helpful to represent this theory graphically. When you are using CreateDebate, the goal is to write strong arguments (funny ones welcome too, sometimes). You will write stronger arguments if you think about this graphic while you write.
As you browse the site and read debates, try to mentally classify the arguments with the most points. Which level do they reach? Graham postulates that all arguments falling below Contradiction are unconvincing. You may come across popular arguments that are intellectually dishonest. Vote them down or respond: use your pin to pop those balloons.

As you craft a response, do your best to explicitly refute the central point of the argument. In most cases, that will require thinking of something better than that’s what she said. The web is giving you an opportunity to respond to the world. Take advantage of this opportunity.If you found this analysis then you might enjoy using CreateDebate.

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