I was thinking this morning about the purpose of debate. For me, it's more than entertainment or a game. It's to get the other person to hear your view point and not necessarily to accept it, but to at least gain additional perspective. Often, I try to take the opposite stance just to point out issues that person may not have thought about. Some call it being a contrarian. I think of it more as developing compassion.
I was not born a compassionate person, but I continually try to think about the reason why others make the decisions that they do and to not judge them for it. It's not an easy task, but it helps to read about other's lives. My childhood was safe and full of people who loved me and wanted the best for me. But many people did not have this luxury and it affects every decision in their lives.
I also figured out why statistics annoy me. It's not just because you can pretty much prove anything you want to by picking the right people to interview (like the LA times, as reported by Michael at Chasing the Wind) but more because it reduces people to a number. They no longer are a human being with feelings, emotions, loved ones, and stories.
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