The problem of debating without knowing what the f*** the position of your opponent is. 

Have you ever debated with someone who says “you Atheists believe we came from a monkey…” or “it’s you who believe this or that”?
Knowing what your opponent thinks or what his/her points are should be the basis of every debate for it to have some merit.

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I would like to say that our community is impervious to debating mere assumptions and that it is a bulwark of critical thinking, but, unfortunately, that’s not the case.

I cannot say I haven’t ever assumed what another person believes just by listening to the label that person has chosen to be labeled as, but that’s certainly not an ideal situation.

This is something that occurs when people are fed up with endless discussions and it is easier to dismiss a whole argument just by assuming what the other person will say based on the premise they’ve given than spending time listening or reading to what they are going to say to state their positions on a subject.

One common example is when a theist defends the idea that reality was created by a deity or group of deities and someone opposing that way of thinking assumes what other things that person may believe, like if the person is a young Earth creationist or a Bible thumping southerner who speaks in tongues.

While this may begin just with a misrepresentation of the other person’s position, it can easily devolve into a discussion where the topic at hand is nothing more than a strawman of what was originally being discussed; this situation is especially dangerous when it is a mob against an individual and rationality is not the goal, but bashing the individual who disagrees with the loud majority.

This is something that is prevalent in discussion sites that talk about subjective positions like politics, where each person has a different opinion even within the group, with varying degrees of acceptance between different propositions.

“I believe H”
“Then you are X, Y and Z because most people who believe in H also believe in X, Y & Z; therefore you are evil as I don’t share your opinion.”

As ridiculous as that example may be, plenty of discussions online are managed in such a way, making a cartoon of the other person’s position and then categorizing him or her as wrong or plainly evil due to the disagreement, mixing judgements of value with personal opinions and facts.
The discussion could soon become one side defending his or her own character against accusations about X, Y or Z.

At best this is the result of intellectual laziness or at worst of intellectual dishonesty.

The next example is about a picture of a assuming_positionswoman marching in favor of gun control, the response featured in here is against the way the

woman presented her case, not against gun control; the following responses misrepresent the position of the first response and assume what that person thinks of the whole debate, there is even one appealing to emotions.

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“To effectively debate someone you have to know their position even better than themselves.”

A common debating principle.

Logical fallacies related to this:

David Goodall’s Death Reaffirms How Important the “Right to Die” Is

As many of you may have heard by now, renowned ecologist David Goodall has passed away. While it is of course extremely unfortunate to hear about the death of somebody who was well-loved, I think the details surrounding his passing make for an interesting philosophical discussion.

The cause of his death was suicide, however it was not suicide in a way that society would consider “conventional.” Rather, he ended his own life by a method known assisted suicide. Assisted suicides differ from conventional suicides as they occur under the care, supervision, and judgement of physicians, therapists, and psychologists.

Goodall’s death seems to have reignited the discussion surrounding assisted suicide, especially regarding its philosophy and ethics, so I decided I would like to weigh in on this issue since it is something that I have personally thought, read, and talked about for a long time.

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To paraphrase a quote by Daniel Defoe, “There are only two things certain in life: death and taxes.” If the statement is true, then we should have the right to determine how death and taxes occur and play out.

We have the ability to vote for our government officials who will then go on to enact legislation and policies regarding how much tax we will have to pay and how those taxes will be used. If you dislike taxation, you may likely vote for the candidate who supports lower taxes. If you find that paying more taxes is beneficial, you may likely vote for the person who takes that platform as well.

What I find so egregious however, is the fact that we don’t have a system set up which allows us to decide how we die. At the very least, one of the last decisions we ever make in our life should be how we depart this world. We write our wills, hopefully pick our nursing homes, and prepare our end-of-life care as much as we possibly can, however the vast majority of us still don’t have the ability to preferentiate when and how we die.

To die with dignity is a noble and novel concept. For someone to die on their own terms can be one of the most empowering choices they will ever make. It’s almost definitely how I will choose to go. I have been a personal supporter of the right to die for as long as I can remember. And I don’t mean just for terminally ill people. If someone wants to die and perhaps therapy, drugs, etc have all failed, then why should they be stopped from seeking assisted suicide as an option? It is their life, their body, and they have a fundamental right to seek this method of suicide.

Mr. Goodall had to fly all the way from Australia to Switzerland in order to end his life in the closest way possible to how he wanted. He said he would have rather died in Australia, but Australia’s laws made the prospect of finding a safe assisted suicide clinic impossible. While I’m glad he was able to find a facility in Switzerland, it is still slightly depressing to me that he could not die in his home country as he wanted.

We need to give people safe and effective ways to end their life. Doctors, therapists, psychologists, facilities, and equipment dedicated to assisted suicide.

David spent his last hours with his friends and family while enjoying his favorite food and activities. During his final moments, as he listened to Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9, the last movement ‘Ode to Joy’ began. David flicked a switch which would administer the drug that would stop his heart and his eyes closed for the final time just two minutes later.

Much like the debate surrounding Planned Parenthood, women who want or need abortions will seek alternative and dangerous methods if they are not given easier access to safe abortion facilities. If people want to kill themselves, they’re going to do it. We should at least give them a space which is safe and dignifying.