Hi Lewis, since this is AMA, this one is not EA related.
I’ve spend most of my teenage and college years as a competitive international debater. How do you look back at your debate experience? The good and the bad. Would you recommend that EAs (and more people in general) take up debate? Or would you rather see it be replaced with some other form of structured discussion?
Also, the WUDC finals are one of my favorite competitive debates of all time, I would often use it when coaching my teams. I’d love to hear your take on it. What was it like for you to prop a topic which was already quite broadly opposed in society (making abortion illegal)? And what was going through your mind when you heard James present their definition and approach (that a fetus may very well be alive since conception but the mother has a right to kill it regardless)?
Thanks Irena and nice to meet a fellow debater! I’m pleasantly surprised that anyone still watches that WUDC final :)
I had a great time debating, and think it taught me a lot about common reasoning fallacies and problematic arguments. But I think you’re alluding to debate’s biggest flaw—that it’s not truth-seeking. It rewards you for finding evidence to support your pre-existing position, not to fairly assess the evidence and reach the best answer.
About that WUDC final: it’s funny, but it’s so long ago now that it’s mostly a blur. I mostly remember us wasting our prep time debating some minor issues that turned out not to be relevant :)