Debate Me, Bro

While in Houston over the long weekend, I did manage to catch the whole ‘debate me bro’ harassment of Peter Hotez by anti-vaccination sympathizer and podcaster Joe Rogan. Dr Sky Skull blows apart the inanity of Rogan’s argument, so, fortunately, I can be lazy and skip most of the work.

But, while at the ASM meeting (and how about next year we not hold it in states where those are pregnant can’t attend safely and also not over a federal holiday and Father’s Day?), I saw a talk which shows just how stupid the ‘debate me bro’ fallacy is. The speaker is truly brilliant: they* have multiple contributions to multiple significant questions in biology over the last several decades. Their papers are clear and well-written. But they aren’t a good speaker: they have a ‘speaking tic’ for lack of a better phrase, and it makes it difficult (for me anyway, in a late afternoon session) to follow them.

Imagine them in a debate with a professional obfusicator: they wouldn’t stand a chance of ‘winning.’ It has nothing to do with the quality of arguments and evidence, but that the Genius is not a good public communicator in the traditional debate forum. I suspect if they had to write dueling 500 word statements (or shorter), the Genius would wipe the floor with the Obfusicator. But debating is as much (or more so) a public performance as it is an exposition of arguments (e.g., the presidential debates).

Anyway, go read Dr. Sky Skull.

*Using ‘they’ as a pronoun, in part because the identity of the speaker doesn’t matter, and in part, to piss of right-wing fucknozzles obsessed with personal pronouns.

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1 Response to Debate Me, Bro

  1. zero says:

    Good ol’ Gish gallop. Debates are a favored tactic of manipulators and conmen because verbal public performance is their position of strength. Scientists tend to lose these by default because they’re going into it to make people question things, not to make them believe things.

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