Last weekend I attended a local debate club meeting in Bryant Park. It's a monthly gathering of debating enthusiasts. We get together in a circle, a topic is voted on, and then we debate either for it or against it. Sometimes we're organized into groups where one group has to debate for or against an issue against the other group, and sometimes we debate as individuals.
I've never liked debating on the other side of an issue that is opposite my views, but it is good to be challenged in such a way. I arrived late, and had to quickly learn the topic and argue for a position within minutes of arriving. The topic was whether you were for or against political correction. Being highly knowledgeable on a conglomeration of subjects, I was able to easily throw in my 2 cents into the argument without much hesitation.
Later we debated the legitimacy of foreign intervention (such as with the debate over Syria) and I referenced a blog where I wrote about "Just War" and used the criterion Hitchens used to justify the Iraq War to make a case that foreign interventions - especially in cases of genocide are sometimes warranted. It went over well and it gave my argument the awe of expertise.
It was a beautiful summer day. There were a lot of gay people out since it was gay pride week. I remember seeing a mom with a young daughter who was holding a gay pride flag. There was a group of Amish people there too. The men were all wearing suspenders and the women/girls all had their bonnets on. They sat separately away from the men and looked so out of place amongst all the gays and European tourists.
After the meeting was officially over I stuck around with a few other people and we had a beer and continued debating. I told them about the online debate I'm having on debate.org about whether fat people should be forced to pay more on airplanes and mass transit. We decided that it'd be an interesting topic to debate and I gave them my pitch why I think it would be a great idea. It's amazing when you realize all the dynamics involved in such an issue and how many angles there are to look at such a problem.
One guy in the group was conservative and religious and we had a long discussion later that evening on homosexuality and biblical inerrancy. He thinks homosexual parents will raise their kids to be gay so that they can eventually convince the entire world to be gay, some 200 hundred years from now. He had a hard time understanding my counterargument that gay people are born the way they are and that we'll never have a world where everyone is gay. He was able to acknowledge that homosexuality is at least partially nature, but he was unable to shake off the notion that anyone can be "convinced" to be gay if they are raised that way. And we went on and on about this for hours. I kept having to thwart his attempts to try to corner me into contradicting myself so that he could show me that our tolerance of gay people is going to ruin our society. I never gave him the pleasure.
All I can say is that it was a fun and interesting conversation.
Till next time...