I w as born in In that same year, I had my cultural and mystical awakenings. During my second year of college, I had my first existential crisis and a paranormal event changed my studies from science to business.
These are basically unresolvable with anything less than a lifetime of philosophical work, but they usually allow mutual understanding and respect. More detail on what I mean by each level: Meta-debate is discussion of the debate itself rather than the ideas being debated.
Is one side being hypocritical? Are some of the arguments involved offensive? Is someone being silenced? What biases motivate either side? Is someone defying a consensus? Who is the underdog? I even think it can sometimes be helpful to argue about which side is the underdog.
If it works, supporting one side of an argument imposes so much reputational cost that only a few weirdos dare to do it, it sinks outside the Overton Window, and the other side wins by default.
This is part of the process that creates polarization and echo chambers.
The best result is that you never went into that space at all. They may sometimes suggest what might, with a lot more work, be a good point.
And it might greatly decrease the number of guns available to law-abiding people hoping to defend themselves. So the cost of people not being able to defend themselves might be greater than the benefit of fewer criminals being able to commit crimes.
But this would be a reasonable argument and not just a gotcha. Single facts are when someone presents one fact, which admittedly does support their argument, as if it solves the debate in and of itself.
Second, even things with some bad features are overall net good. Trump could be a dishonest businessman, but still have other good qualities. Hillary Clinton may be crap at email security, but skilled at other things. Even if these facts are true and causal, they only prove that a plan has at least one bad quality.
At best they would be followed up by an argument for why this is really important. I think the move from shaming to good argument is kind of a continuum. This level is around the middle. Single studies are better than scattered facts since they at least prove some competent person looked into the issue formally.
Scientific studies are much less reliable guides to truth than most people think. On any controversial issue, there are usually many peer-reviewed studies supporting each side. Sometimes these studies are just wrong. Other times they investigate a much weaker subproblem but get billed as solving the larger problem.
Probably it depends a lot on the particular job, the size of the minimum wage, how the economy is doing otherwise, etc, etc, etc. Gary Kleck does have a lot of studies showing that more guns decrease crime, but a lot of other criminologists disagree with him.
Overall I think that would be worth it.
Sometimes these can be more complicated and ambiguous. Then you can agree to use normal standards of rigor for the argument and move on to your real disagreements. Disputing definitions is when an argument hinges on the meaning of words, or whether something counts as a member of a category or not.
But if a specific argument between two people starts hinging on one of these questions, chances are something has gone wrong; neither factual nor moral questions should depend on a dispute over the way we use words.
This Guide To Words is a long and comprehensive resource about these situations and how to get past them into whatever the real disagreement is. What about laws saying that there has to be a waiting period? Nobody is ever saying that.
At its best, clarification can help the other person notice holes in their own opinions and reveal leaps in logic that might legitimately deserve to be questioned.
The Center for Applied Rationality promotes double-cruxinga specific technique that helps people operationalize arguments. A double-crux is a single subquestion where both sides admit that if they were wrong about the subquestion, they would change their mind.
For example, if Alice gun control opponent would support gun control if she knew it lowered crime, and Bob gun control supporter would oppose gun control if he knew it would make crime worse — then the only thing they have to talk about is crime.
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