Debates are fascinating human activities that are a mixture of logic, strategy, and show. Not everybody shares this fascination. The German author Emil Ludwig considered debates to be the death of conversation. Jonathan Swift regarded debates as the worst sort of conversation, and debates portrayed in books as the worst sort of reading. Public debates pose various interesting dilemmas. A debate between two positions gives an impression of symmetry, and engaging in a debate against an obscure or illegitimate position gives it some legitimacy and emphasis. On the other hand, ignoring obscure or illegitimate positions may also pave the way to getting them public legitimacy or to making them mainstream. A common form of debate is one in which an uninformed decision-maker extracts information from two (or more) informed debaters who hold contradictory positions on a certain issue. Weblog debates are especially interesting, as they allow an unusual amount of interaction between the debaters and the uninformed audience. Common debate practices include ample repetitions, not giving up on seemingly small issues, never admitting a mistake, trying to undermine the professionalism and integrity of an opponent and not just his logic. We can ask ourselves if these debating practices are rational and optimal in terms of influencing the audience. They probably are.
- Proof By Lice!
- The seventeen camels riddle, and Noga Alon’s camel proof and algorithms
- Edmund Landau and the Early Days of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem
- Boolean Functions: Influence, Threshold, and Noise
- Laci Babai Visits Israel!
- Polymath10 conclusion
- Is Heads-Up Poker in P?
- The Median Game
- International mathematics graduate studies at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem
Top Posts & Pages
- The seventeen camels riddle, and Noga Alon's camel proof and algorithms
- Proof By Lice!
- Answer: Lord Kelvin, The Age of the Earth, and the Age of the Sun
- Updates and plans III.
- A Breakthrough by Maryna Viazovska Leading to the Long Awaited Solutions for the Densest Packing Problem in Dimensions 8 and 24
- Emmanuel Abbe: Erdal Arıkan's Polar Codes
- Mind Boggling: Following the work of Croot, Lev, and Pach, Jordan Ellenberg settled the cap set problem!
- Combinatorics, Mathematics, Academics, Polemics, ...
- When It Rains It Pours