The “Defend Something You Are Against” Challenge

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  • #1249344

    misteryudi
    Participant

    Posters generally repeat the same old arguments and opinions every single time any topic comes up, without really convincing anyone, ever. Which is both boring and useless.

    I therefore challenge you to defend something you are against. Let’s see if you are a real critical thinker, or just a robot spewing the same rhetoric over and over, with your brain collecting dusk in the corner of the attic alongside your grandma’s knitted sweaters.

    Post three virtues / benefits / reasons why the thing you are against is correct. If you can’t think of three, do one or two. If you can’t even do that, you should just move up to the dusty attic your brain already lives in.

    Example:
    I am against arranged marriages, or beshows.
    Three reasons it is good / benefits it has:
    1) The boy and girl don’t need to waste time in uncomfortable dating situations.
    2) Their backgrounds are thoroughly checked out beforehand, which reduces the risk of unpleasant surprises.
    3) Reduces the risk of miscommunication that may exist when dating through a shadchan.

    Go.

    #1249354

    馃憫RebYidd23
    Participant

    Benefits of monogamy:
    1. Not automatically comparing your wife to someone else.
    2. Fewer annoying in-laws.
    3. Easier to remember all your childrens’ names.
    4. Financially easier.
    5. Legal.

    #1249397

    zaltzvasser
    Participant

    Benefits of anti-Semitism:
    1. There’s always someone to blame for your problems
    2. You can get rich from looting Jews
    3. The liberals will love you for being anti-Israel
    4. BDS is fun!

    #1249396

    zaltzvasser
    Participant

    Good things about terrorists:
    1. They only blow up once
    2. Some of them are dead
    3. The rest of them want to die
    4. They don’t live on my block

    #1249394

    zaltzvasser
    Participant

    Good things about liberals:
    1. They care about others (ostensibly)
    2. They feel a sense of responsibility to society
    3. They are sensitive to injustice (perceived or real)

    #1249410

    馃憫RebYidd23
    Participant

    Good things about vanillin:
    Smells slightly less bad than mold
    Putting too much of it in food helps control calorie intake
    Antioxidant

    #1249409

    zaltzvasser
    Participant

    Good things about people who aren’t me
    1. Ummmmmm….

    #1249419

    馃憫RebYidd23
    Participant

    You’re against everyone other than yourself?

    #1249426

    DovidBT
    Participant

    Good things about having venomous snakes loose in your house:
    1. Your house will be free of rats.
    2. You won’t be bothered by neighbors dropping in unexpectedly.
    3. You’ll be able to say the Modeh Ani in the morning with real sincerity.

    #1249467

    馃憫RebYidd23
    Participant

    Neighbors don’t stop dropping in unless you tell them about the snakes. Otherwise, the snakes hide.

    #1249571

    Chortkov
    Participant

    What a fantastic idea.

    In real life, I always found it disturbing at the ease I had to fight both sides of the debate. I could persuade many people the side of the argument I felt was woefully wrong, and proceed afterwards to refute my own arguments.

    For some reason, I can’t do this online. Definitely not in this thread; it’s too obvious. Maybe I’ll try do this on another thread, where nobody will notice. I wonder how successful I’ll be?

    #1249977

    misteryudi
    Participant

    So we got a couple responses, and the critical thinking meter has been pushed up just a tick or two. But let’s get real. Are we just to afraid to approach topics that may force us to see things in a way we are uncomfortable with? Are we too strong in our biases, too buried in our dusty attics, that we are scared to open up new avenues?

    I see quite a few topics currently on the front page that are well suited to this challenge. Grab that brush and start dusting off the ol’ brain, will ya?

    #1250740

    馃憫RebYidd23
    Participant

    Good things about kids hating vegetables:
    1. Good way to make a book just cliche enough.
    2. Parents get to eat the vegetables their kids won’t touch.
    3. No vegetable overdoses.

    #1250732

    zaltzvasser
    Participant

    Just submitting this comment so i can check the little box that says i want to be notified of replies via email

    #1250727

    NeutiquamErro
    Participant

    I’m sorry to say this, or to do anything to halt your fun, but this thread simply doesn’t work on any level.

    It’s one thing to argue about something one cares about. You have a moral standpoint, a platform from which to pontificate. Arguing is something that only makes sense when you actually believe in what it is you are saying. Simply endeavoring to be contrary is an insult to the entire essence of reasonable discussion.

    Furthermore, even were that not the case, it is virtually impossible to be truly convincing when simply pretending to believe as you do. It’s one thing to defend a position that matters to you. Your brain is fully employed in trying to find the gaps in the oppositions defenses and the inherent truth and logic in your own. But when your only aim is to argue against yourself, you’re simply not going to do a good job, no matter how hard you try. The lack of emotional investment means that your bound to be destroyed in a reasonable discussion by anybody that actually believes in what they’re saying, even an intellectual inferior.

    Also, as an intellectual exercise it’s severely flawed, as what most of you are doing is merely trying to find the humourous upside to a bad situation, such as snakes in your house. That’s not making a proper case for an argument, that’s simply making jokey comments about the potential upsides of a particular situation. But finding the silver lining, whilst worthwhile and undoubtedly fun, is not the same as arguing that the cloud itself doesn’t exist, or isn’t affecting you. Pointing out how the upsides of, for example, having snakes in your house, outweigh the obvious negatives, would be making an argument. Making funny comments about stupid positives is not. As a point of discussion, indeed, as a thread, it is morally and intellectually bankrupt.

    Sorry, it had to be said. This thread is not only unworkable and pointless, but people aren’t even fulfilling the supposed premise. I appreciate the effort involved, but let’s not fool ourselves this is anything other than a ridiculous charade.

    #1250718

    馃憫RebYidd23
    Participant

    Good things about posts awaiting moderation for hours:
    1. We don’t see anything inappropriate.
    2. Keeps us in suspense.
    3. We get to guess what another user commented and respond to them based on our guesses, which is a fun game.

    #1250711

    zaltzvasser
    Participant

    @misteryudi – I like your metaphor about dusty attics

    #1250710

    zaltzvasser
    Participant

    Good things about having 5 posts awaiting moderation:
    1. Builds up suspense
    2. Gives the mods something to do when they finally wake up
    3. Makes everyone get off the coffee room ‘cuz nothing new is happening and actually clean for pesach

    #1250709

    zaltzvasser
    Participant

    Good things about not using a shadchan:
    1. No pressure
    2. You have to be a mentch and say things *gasp* face to face sometimes
    3. You can be just like Yaakov Avinu
    4. You will learn not to do things just because society approves of them

    #1250601

    DovidBT
    Participant

    “Otherwise, the snakes hide.”

    Sure, if they’re wimpy, cowardly snakes. I was referring to brave, proud snakes.

    #1250017

    Lilmod Ulelamaid
    Participant

    Yekke2 – is that a good idea? I mean if you really think that something is against the Torah, are you allowed to try to pretend you think it’s true and to try to provide convincing arguments for it?

    It happens to be that both in real life and online, whenever people are arguing one side too strongly, I usually do present the other side (in either direction), but that is because/when I think there is some truth to both sides, not because I was deliberately saying something that I thought wasn’t true.

    misteryudi – I agree with you that if people never thought things through clearly and never tried to see both sides, that it’s a good idea to do so. But what about those people who have thought through the issues clearly, have spoken to people on both sides of the fence, and perhaps even originally thought the other way before they researched the matter enough and thought it through enough and came to the conclusion that this is the correct point of view and perhaps the only point of view according to the Torah? Is it really such a good idea in that case to try to present
    the other side of view?

    Maybe it’s even assur to do so. There is a concept in Torah hashkafa of staying away from negative influences. The only way it is mutar to read things that are not according to Torah hashkafa is if you are trying not to be influenced by it – not if you are.

    At the same time, I do agree that when presented with a different point of view that is not clearly against the Torah, one should think about it and not be closed to the possibility that the other person is right or partially right and you may be wrong or partially wrong, but that does not seem to be what you are saying.

    Of course, if you are talking about issues that are not Torah related, it is different, but I think most of the topics raised in the CR are (except for the American politics ones).

    I’m just raising the possible problems with doing this, although I suppose it depends how it’s done.

    #1250105

    Chortkov
    Participant

    MisterYudi: I always had a funny feeling when they had “The Big Debate” in camp, and what you’ve said helped me understand why.

    If arguing is an intellectual exercise (and the cases I referred to “In real life” where I could take both sides), then a good orator should be able to argue both sides of the coin. When the purpose of the argument is just to get your brain ticking, and because you enjoy the banter of a good ol’ chinwag, then I understand your challenge.

    If, however, you are arguing about right and wrong, there shouldn’t be two sides to the coin. There is one objective truth, and you just have to look carefully and find it. It isn’t a Pros v. Cons; there is no weighing up. There is one Emes. Being able to pinpoint the emes in a moral dilemma is a skill to be treasured.

    If Bikush haEmes is the purpose of the discussion, you shouldn’t want to or be able to see the other side. Once you have determined what you feel is the Rotzon Hashem, arguing the other side should not come naturally at all; I would feel an idiot trying to explain the other tzad.

    The “few topics currently on the front page” are not the type of thing I feel it constructive to attempt arguing the other tzad.

    #CRDSYAC

    #1250128

    Bookworm120
    Participant

    I have my issues with Zionism and the Zionist movement. (I’m not against them, but we could get along better.) Benefits of this movement, however, include:
    * There are Jewish people living in the part of the world Biblically known as Eretz Yisroel.
    * Thanks to the Zionists, there is a Jewish state where Jews can theoretically move to if the rest of the world does, indeed, become a dangerous place for us.
    * Kosher chewing gum from big-name brands, like Orbit and Bazooka.

    I was not a supporter of Billary Clinton during the 2016 election. Benefits of her running and getting as far as she did include:
    * Proof that women can run for president and get as far as being selected as a mainstream party’s candidate.
    * Inspiration for more qualified and honest women to run for president in the future.
    * …?

    #1250782

    馃憫RebYidd23
    Participant

    Good things about arguing the other side:
    1. It’s actually quite fun if you don’t overthink it.
    2. Big trolling opportunity.
    3. Other people argue your side, so you can hear what you sound like.

    #1250790

    Chortkov
    Participant

    So it seems that before I managed to post my clarification, NetiquamErro and LU correctly (and may I say it, more eloquently) pointed out the flaws with “arguing the other side”. Although I agree (see above), I think that NE is incorrect.

     

    Furthermore, even were that not the case, it is virtually impossible to be truly convincing when simply pretending to believe as you do. It鈥檚 one thing to defend a position that matters to you. Your brain is fully employed in trying to find the gaps in the oppositions defenses and the inherent truth and logic in your own. But when your only aim is to argue against yourself, you鈥檙e simply not going to do a good job, no matter how hard you try. The lack of emotional investment means that your bound to be destroyed in a reasonable discussion by anybody that actually believes in what they鈥檙e saying, even an intellectual inferior.

    Although from a moral standpoint you were correct, I must disagree with this point of yours. I can tell you with confidence that I have done the very thing you have proclaimed impossible, and have successfully persuaded opponents against arguments they were very emotionally attached to, although I fully supported their position the whole way along. In fact, I was successful enough that when I told them I was actually “on their team”, I had to re-argue their position while they took up my points, and I had to refute them one by one. And I wasn’t arguing with an idiot either.

    What you say about emotional investment – if you enjoy the challenge enough, you can be emotionally invested in the argument you don’t believe, albeit a superficial attachment.

    One place where I used this tactic (perhaps where i developed this tactic) constructively and not just for entertainment is in the Beis Hamedrash. When discussing a sugya, people often have preconceived notions and unjustified assumptions (generally called 讛谞讞讜转) or sometimes have come out with a “mehalech”, and although they may be correct in their assumptions/mehalech, they may have the wrong reasons to prove it. There is a big toieles to play the “devils advocate”, 诇讛讙讚讬诇 转讜专讛 讜诇讛讗讚讬专讛. In this case, 讘讬拽讜砖 讛讗诪转 obligates you to try get out of any unnecessary assumptions which you may have picked up along the route without legitimate reason. When a chavrusa of mine will say something, I will automatically (subconciously) take on the opposite position, not in a offensive fashion but in a defensive fashion. This is not being 诪讙诇讛 驻谞讬诐 讘转讜专讛 砖诇讗 讻讛诇讻讛, this is 诇讬诪讜讚 讛转讜专讛.

    #1250792

    Chortkov
    Participant

    Of course, I could totally agree with what you are saying, and just be arguing to defend the opposing point. If so, I may be totally disproving your point, which would invalidate my position too. So if I do agree with you and my possibly-attempted counterattack works, I would be confusing myself thoroughly – If You and I both think that it is impossible to argue something you don’t believe in, and I successfully convince you that it is possible to argue something I don’t believe in, I have then argued something I don’t believe in, thereby disproving my point. In which case I suppose I would believe that it is possible, causing that I argued for something I did hold of, which makes me lose any legitimate source to my claim that it is possible.

    Oh, I don’t know…

    #1250983

    Avram in MD
    Participant

    So we got a couple responses, and the critical thinking meter has been pushed up just a tick or two. But let鈥檚 get real. Are we just to afraid to approach topics that may force us to see things in a way we are uncomfortable with? Are we too strong in our biases, too buried in our dusty attics, that we are scared to open up new avenues?

    Arguments for assuming that everyone in the CR who disagrees with me lacks critical thinking skills and has a dusty brain:

    1. I am so smart and my position so correct, that anyone who disagrees with me is obviously closed-minded and dusty brained.

    2. My failure to convince anyone else of my position is totally because they are closed minded and dusty brained, and it certainly isn’t because of my own persuasive abilities or flaws in my positions that need to be addressed.

    3. I can easily see the flaws in other people’s positions, so the fact that they hold those positions is because they are closed minded and dusty brained, certainly not because they have valid reasons that I may not understand fully because I never asked.

    4. I can throw out some meager points in favor of the opposing view. Because I never see anyone else do this, they must all be closed minded and dusty brained.

    #1251044

    misteryudi
    Participant

    This actually turned into a good thread while the mods were sleeping. Thank you everyone!

    For those arguing this thread is pointless and even dangerous, I DO see the case you’re making, but I disagree, so long as:

    * The topics are about things people here have multiple positions and opinions about, and not about snakes in your house
    * The topics are not about things that are straight out written in the Torah (like murdering someone). I believe this is what Lilmod was concerned about

    A major theme in the posts that oppose this challenge is that there is just one truth, so there either are no merits to the other side, it’s against the Torah to see the other side, or there is no other side. That is ONLY true about things like mentioned above. Not about the regular topics posted here all the time, like dating styles, how to deal with issues of tznius, shalom bayis, or the OTD population, political arguments, etc. etc.

    The argument that this exercise is flawed because you shouldn’t be able to see the other side at all, is, I believe, flawed (ironic?) because it is WAY TOO EASY to get sucked into your own biases about an issue you feel strongly about, that you are blinded to seeing the other side’s virtues at all, and let’s be honest – there must be virtues for the other side or no one would hold of it.

    We all do this, all the time. We think we’re seeking out truth and being completely impartial, but that is almost never the case. We all have inherent biases, and this is an exercise of overcoming those biases. This is NOT about trying to convince yourself the other side is right. On the contrary, if all it takes is a couple virtues for the opposition to convince you it’s right, you must not have thought your own side through deeply enough.

    Avram, that’s actually funny and I appreciate your post! I definitely needed to dust off my brain for that one, although I still think my OP contains an important exercise we can all work through.

    Carry on, and continue dusting off the brains.

    #1251102

    misteryudi
    Participant

    #1251109

    Chortkov
    Participant

    For those arguing this thread is pointless and even dangerous, I DO see the case you鈥檙e making, but I disagree, so long as:

    * The topics are about things people here have multiple positions and opinions about, and not about snakes in your house
    * The topics are not about things that are straight out written in the Torah (like murdering someone). I believe this is what Lilmod was concerned about

    I disagree (or at least, my post here will be arguing the other side of the argument in accordance with this thread). It is in a way more dangerous to argue things which are not black and white. It would be ludicrous to argue with those. Things that are “grey” are not because there is more than one legitimate way of dealing with it, but because discovering the Torah’s path is more difficult, and we need to rely on our Torah leaders for guidance. If you believe one way is that of the Torah, to present the other in its place is wrong.

    You would be correct if you are talking about non-Hashkafic/Halachic issues. Political issues is a good place to start.

    #1251152

    馃憫RebYidd23
    Participant

    Children are born ready to think. School changes that.

    #1251195

    popa_bar_abba
    Participant

    This is a great thread

    Good things about other YWN posters:
    1. They read my jokes
    2. They say stuff for me to make fun of
    3. They include Squeak and Dr. Pepper. Or used to.

    #1251267

    Oh yekke, you must be joking. If you and NE don’t want to participate then feel free to click elsewhere. If overdramatizing could be applied here I would certainly say it applies here.

    Sheesh

    #1251271

    Avram – Arguments for assuming that everyone in the CR who disagrees with me lacks critical thinking skills and has a dusty brain:

    Thank you

    #1251476

    Chortkov
    Participant

    #KTCRIM

    #1251494

    misteryudi
    Participant

    yekke2, I see some major problems with your earlier post:

    You say it is in a way more dangerous to argue things which are “grey areas”. Yet, concerning most hashkafic/halachic issues, there actually ARE multiple legitimate ways of dealing with them. That’s exactly WHY there are so many opinions, from so many, as you say, Torah leaders. So obviously, each one has evaluated all sides, and decided what the best way forward is. They are thinking critically. So all you are suggesting, in reality, is that WE, the peasants, are not allowed to think for ourselves, and instead we must have others think for us. And not only that, but we are not even allowed to consider the benefits of other people’s hashkafos/ halachic rulings, and that only OURS are correct, and are the only real truth.

    Now THAT is what I call dangerous.

    #1251527

    Chortkov
    Participant

    Yet, concerning most hashkafic/halachic issues, there actually ARE multiple legitimate ways of dealing with them.

    (A) The multiple ways are only “legitimate” in as far as Limmud HaToirah is concerned. As far as practical Halachah is concerned, it is either Assur or Muttar. You can’t have both.

    (B) You are right when it comes to legitimate mehalchim, but not when some of those mehalchim is not legitimate. And you must proceed with a lot of caution when differentiating between them.

    #1251535

    Lilmod Ulelamaid
    Participant

    “So all you are suggesting, in reality, is that WE, the peasants, are not allowed to think for ourselves, and instead we must have others think for us. And not only that, but we are not even allowed to consider the benefits of other people鈥檚 hashkafos/ halachic rulings, and that only OURS are correct, and are the only real truth.”

    That is not the point at all. Sometimes there are different valid opinions according to the Torah, but sometimes there are Frum people who have opinions that are WRONG and are not based on Torah. As one of my teachers used to say, ” 砖讘注讬诐 驻谞讬诐 诇转讜专讛 and not 71. There are opinions that are sheker. There are definitely opinions brought in the CR that are sheker and not valid opinions according to the Torah.

    As stated previously, if someone is a well-thought out person, he will have considered what the correct and incorrect points of view are according to the Torah and Gedolei HaTorah BEFORE he reaches his opinions. If he argues against someone in the CR, it will be because he has already thought about it and learned about and knows what the Torah viewpoint is and knows that the other person is wrong.

    #1251534

    Lilmod Ulelamaid
    Participant

    MisterYudi – while it’s true that when it comes to hashkafa, sometimes there is more than one side to things, that would be part of my opinion. I would stress the side that is necessary depending on what is relevant to the specific argument taking place.

    For example, I might believe that there are both good things and bad things about the State of Israel. If someone was posting that there is nothing bad about it, I would say that there is. But if someone said that there was nothing good about it, I might say that there is.

    It is true that that there are people/posters who are very set in their ideology and have never tried to consider anything else and never tried to see the other side. For example, there are some who are sure that Zionism is completely good and anything the anti-Zionists say is false, and they don’t try to consider their point of view. And the opposite as well. There are people who think a harsh tactic is necessary when dealing with tznius issues or kids-at-risk and haven’t tried considering the opposite, and vice versa.

    Those posters/people should certainly try to consider the other side (since as you point out, when it comes to many of these issues, there is more than one side). The problem is that your point can be misunderstood or misused if used by the wrong people. And the problem is that it is precisely those people who will be open-minded enough to follow your suggestion.

    It is precisely those people who do consider both sides before reaching their conclusions who will listen to your advice and try to argue for a position that they KNOW is wrong since they are open-minded enough to have thought through the issue and to have consulted with Daas Torah and/or researched the matter BEFORE they reached their conclusion. That is actually why I directed my post to Yekke (and hadn’t said anything until then even though I had some doubts about this) – because I feel that he is someone who does seem to fall into this last category.

    So your idea would be a good idea if taken by those who haven’t yet considered the other side. But I’m just wondering how likely that is to happen. And meanwhile, it is precisely those people who shouldn’t be doing it are doing it.

    And while you are right that people should learn to overcome biases, I’m not sure this is the way to do it.

    #1251572

    馃憫RebYidd23
    Participant

    Good things about posting long megillas instead of participating in the original challenge:
    1. It makes you look smart.
    2. You can put it on your r茅sum茅.
    3. It expresses your opinion.

    #1251577

    NeutiquamErro
    Participant

    Mod-29:

    Firstly, hoping you are well, nice to be back. Secondly… Um, I’m a little bit confused why you told me off before… have I missed something?

    #1251578

    NeutiquamErro
    Participant

    Yekke2:

    In one of your previous points (The one at 9:08, to be exact), you ran through all the reasons why this exercise is confusing. However, one possible outcome you failed to anticipate is that I don’t actually believe what I was saying, and that I, arguing for a position I do not hold, convince you of my correctness, you yourself holding a false position merely for the sake of argument. Just something to consider…

    #1251588

    NE, I didn’t tell you off, I was responding to – “Sorry, it had to be said. This thread is not only unworkable and pointless, but people aren鈥檛 even fulfilling the supposed premise. I appreciate the effort involved, but let鈥檚 not fool ourselves this is anything other than a ridiculous charade.”

    #1251596

    NeutiquamErro
    Participant

    Mod-29:

    I was afraid this might happen… Sorry, as per the aim of this thread, I was being contrary, and arguing for a point of view I by no means hold. I thought I did a pretty good job of it too, and that my purpose was self-evident. I clearly didn’t do as good a job as I thought…

    Bravo! 馃檪

    #1251601

    DovidBT
    Participant

    In my humble opinion, this challenge might work better if the OP would post a specific “thing you are against” subject as a new topic.

    #1251598

    Avram in MD
    Participant

    misteryudi,

    So all you are suggesting, in reality, is that WE, the peasants, are not allowed to think for ourselves, and instead we must have others think for us. And not only that, but we are not even allowed to consider the benefits of other people鈥檚 hashkafos/ halachic rulings, and that only OURS are correct, and are the only real truth.

    My personal view is this: when learning Torah, it is vital to consider multiple viewpoints, to think things through, and to understand all sides of an issue as best as possible. When encountering a halachic shaila, however, even if I know that there are multiple potential answers, some lenient, some stringent, it is best to surrender the decision to my rav. By doing this, I remove the risk that I am following my own desires, not Hashem’s. That is a conscious and thought out choice, not blind following.

     

    馃樀聽(from reading)

    #1251611

    Lilmod Ulelamaid
    Participant

    Avram & Yekke +1!

    #1252073

    馃憫RebYidd23
    Participant

    Good things about pretending you are arguing against something while pretending you really mean it:
    1. Layers of confusion.
    2. You get to switch sides easily.
    3. You get to be sneaky.

    #1252297

    NeutiquamErro
    Participant

    Huh?

    #1252365

    IssacZoooss96
    Participant

    Good things about people who always come late to everything:
    1. There’s always someone to help clean up
    2. There’s enough parking for everyone else
    3. They’re always noticed because they’re the only ones there

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