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frigate1985's avatar

How do I set up traps in debates?

Asked by frigate1985 (927points) July 20th, 2009
31 responses
“Great Question” (0points)

Hi everyone, I am planning to participate in a debate tournament and just wanted to get a few tiips on how to set up traps to completely destroy the opponent. Any kind of trap setting strategy is welcomed and the more offensive, the better. :) Ty in advance

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robmandu's avatar

Ask yes/no questions that imply an undesirable meaning either way.

So, you do enjoy kicking small dogs?

gailcalled's avatar

When did you stop beating your wife?

Did you know that your fly is unzipped?

Sorry, would you mind repeating what you just said. You are mumbling, unfortunately.

Set up a trip wire near his dais.

Better yet would be to muster a strong argument, supported by facts and data, and articulated in an orderly fashion.

frigate1985's avatar

hmmm those are good but I was hoping for a more elaborate and offensive traps not questions… like,
example : Harvard, Yale, Johns Hopkins, UCLA, and UC berkley. (small pause) Many research suggests that X is Y.

gailcalled's avatar

@frigate1985: I don’t understand what listing the universities above, small pause, and “much” research suggests that X is Y means.

Doesn’t this give your concrete ideas? “Better yet would be to muster a strong argument, supported by facts and data, and articulated in an orderly fashion.”

frigate1985's avatar

its a “fake statistic” if you read the above sentence, it SOUNDS like the universities did the research, but if you look closer, youll see that they are completely independent. Kinda like that :)

gailcalled's avatar

Isn’t that fudging data or providing misleading info. Aren’t those who debate supposed to be clear (and never use qualifiers like “kinda,” sort of,” “like”)?

And if you cite research, don’t you have to ID it?

robmandu's avatar

@frigate1985, that’s not a trap per sé. That’s misdirection regarding a source… and clumsy.

Google defines a trap as a device in which something (usually an animal) can be caught and penned.

All you’ve done in your example is to trap yourself. Unless that’s your intent?

frigate1985's avatar

well, there are some ways to counter the other guy’s attempts to rebut that
plus, the tournament I’m participating in actually does not allow extra research materials to be brought in, effectivelly destroying the whole “gimme your source” attack.

syz's avatar

@robmandu Good point – using indefensible (or wrong) sources is more likely to trip up frigate1985 than the opposition.

syz (35679points)“Great Answer” (0points)
robmandu's avatar

This tournament sounds lame.

If the tournament “does not allow extra research materials” then why would you mention university names in an attempt to sound like you’re citing sources? Again, you’ve trapped yourself, possibly with what would be perceived as a disqualifying maneuver. (You didn’t really cite sources, but if you fool your opponent, perhaps you also fooled the judges.)

ShanEnri's avatar

I could argue with a tree for standing in my sunlight, but debating is beyond me! Good luck with that though!

fireside's avatar

What is the subject of the debate?
Are you expected to memorize all of your sources and facts?
I’m not sure how you can have a debate without citing facts so what is meant by “extra research materials”?

frigate1985's avatar

nope i meant that you cant do any extra researcch. so if i pretend to know a certain research, then im as good as invincible :)

fireside's avatar

Or a liar and a fraud.

Why not just get to know your subject matter?

robmandu's avatar

Anyways, back on point. Lying, obfuscation, and misdirection are all tools at your disposal. Simply using them to make your point is not a trap.

A trap would be where you use your argument in such a way as to bring your opponents along where they find that they have unwittingly made your point for you or have ruined their own.

gailcalled's avatar

@robmandu: Obfuscation and misdirection I can live with but lying? Doesn’t that defeat the whole point of a debate? (And make the debaters like Bush and Cheney?)

ABoyNamedBoobs03's avatar

@frigate1985 nope i meant that you cant do any extra researcch. so if i pretend to know a certain research, then im as good as invincible :)

lol so what’s the point of the debate? there shouldn’t be pretending to know something involved what so ever, it’s about learning and teaching others in an attempt to find logic, good lord Socrates would be rolling in his grave right now…

mattbrowne's avatar

Traps will eventually backfire. My advice: Don’t use any.

bpeoples's avatar

Okay, so… seriously? What are we teaching people if we’re permitted in a formal debate to outright lie?

I mean, 10 years ago in business school, students were being taught to game the numbers to get income, rather than build a successful company, and we ended up with the Enron mess, and the current economic mess.

BBSDTfamily's avatar

I think you need more time to prepare before you are in this tournament.

robmandu's avatar

Wait. Maybe this question is the trap. And we’ve all been ensnared in its illogical precepts!

Well played, @frigate1985. Oh, you truly are a master.

YARNLADY's avatar

I just saw an example of that. In a poll, the results were listed as 100% FOR (minus 2 abstain) – but only three people responded.

Jeruba's avatar

Reminds me of when my company polled employees on which meeting scheduling software they wanted to use, and then announced that after surveying employee opinions they had decided on Outlook because “47% are for it!”

Saturated_Brain's avatar

- Fake statistics work sometimes
– Emotional appeals usually work when applied well
– One thing which you can do is to note carefully if your opponent is harping on the same point, then trap them on that by telling the floor, “Ladies and gentlemen, as you can see the opponent is harping on one small aspect of this debate while we are focusing on the main issue, which is____”
– But usually the best thing to do is to have an extremely strong case, try to win a debate based on your ability to debate, not based on some hope that they’ll fall into your trap (which usually doesn’t happen if your opponent is competent)

Tip: Be a good speaker. Be confident. And you can’t be confident, then act confident. Debating’s all an act anyway.


gailcalled's avatar

If you are going to yell, spell it right…emphasize.

Saturated_Brain's avatar

@gailcalled Only if you’re an American. =D

gailcalled's avatar

@Saturated_Brain: You are correct. My apologies.

N0name's avatar

If you are looking to have a good debate, mean and arrogant questions or style of debating won’t get you verry far. It is important to use your voice when you talk. Streess the important things use your hands. Don’t step around and never lose track of what your opponent is saying. Even a perfectly designed case has holes in it. When you found one dig the whole thing up. Be direct and, as said before, ask direct and many questions. They are helpful to distract or confuse your opponent. But the rhetoric is only the half way to a good debate. Design your case out of 3 clear and strong arguments. What, why and how, are the questions you should set yourself when you are putting together a good argument. And of course, a good introduction and a begging are the cherry on top.
Setting traps already begins with setting your arguments, and no dishonest and stupid questions and distractions you can make will make you a good debater.

wildpotato's avatar

My favorite way is to simply ask my interlocutor to give me evidence to back up their claims, and then ask them to cite the evidence they refer to. Usually this reveals that they don’t know what they’re talking about. Works on fluther pretty well.

Jeruba's avatar

@N0name, interesting comments, but this part doesn’t look right:

And of course, a good introduction and a begging are the cherry on top.

Did you mean something other than ‘begging’?

N0name's avatar

Yes, sorry. Introduction and the completion.

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