That’s DEBATEable

Being a Leader Advancement Scholar at Central Michigan University, I am required to take a few classes in order to receive my scholarship. COM 267L also known as Introduction to Debate, was one of those courses. Throughout the duration of this course, I participated in three debates with three wonderful people- Nicole Gerhauser, Abbey Claes and Allie Rutman. Our debate group was very laid back and I think we worked well together. We didn’t try to attack each other or argue about issues too intensely and I believe it made the process more enjoyable.

Learning how to debate and create a valid argument in this class was such an interesting experience, it was filled with trial and error but in the end I am grateful to have had the opportunity to take this class with people in my cohort! Watching one another debate brought on laughter and memories that we will be able to remember and talk about for the rest of our lives.

This class required me to pull on some skills that I don’t use often and I had to organize my thoughts in ways that made sense not only to me, but my opposition as well. Debate made me realize that some if not all of my values conflict with one another constantly, and I really had to fight with myself and choose which value mattered the most to me in certain situations! Learning how to debate is really crucial for any individuals, if you are trying to fight for what you believe in, you have to know how to do it correctly without using logical fallacies to win the argument.

Note cards were my main tool in my debates, I had them IMG_20161211_173712916_HDR.jpgorganized in numerical order, color coded and separated by thoughts. When I would go up to speak I would have all of my thoughts laid out ready to address, but when it would get later in the debate the cards would get mixed up and sometimes thoughts would be missed. I learned that I should probably moved to sheets of paper instead of note cards, that way all of my thoughts would be confined in one larger space instead of in multiple small spaces. Highlighting the parts that I addressed kind of helped me make sure that I didn’t miss anything but I’m sure that there is a better method then the one I had!

Logical fallacies… There are so many forms of a logical fallacy that I think my head may explode! For those of you that do not know, a logical fallacy is an argument that appears to be proving something that it is not, we learned about these simply to have the ability to spot a faulty argument. We only learned about 16 different kinds of logical fallacies, but I feel like there were 3x as many!

Now What?

Now that the course is over, I will use what I learned to better my communication and debating skills for the future. In participating in a number of debates and discussions I found that the way I argued before this course was a majority of logical fallacies, which is not good. I now know how to develop a claim based off of evidence that is credible and realistic. I will continue to practice focusing my arguments on factual evidence that has purpose and then from there I could be able to provide both sides of an argument and educate people to give them the opportunity to make an educated decision on which side they would like to support. Having debate skills could possibly help me in the theatre when making acting/directing choices, deciding on an interpretation and what angle to take with objectives not only with myself but the entire creative team while providing a valid argument could be important.

Wanna know some fun facts that I learned in Debate?

  • The first debate was Lincoln v. Douglas in 1858 over slavery and state’s rights
  • The first presidential debate was Kennedy v. Nixon in 1960
  • Aristotle created logos, ethos and pathos
  • Rhetoric was developed in 5th century Greece



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