Debating is a fun art to master. There is really no better feeling than crushing a long standing fallacy in the world with just evidence and words. Debate is the main purpose of this site. I thought I might enlighten you how to easily crush any argument that people might try to bring up.
1)Take a side and know the evidence of both (or all of the) sides.
If you walk into a car dealership and don’t know the competitors prices, you are asking to get taken advantage of. You must educate yourself on both sides of the debate. Try to make an educated decision and don’t align with your preconceived notions if the evidence proves otherwise. Look at people who think the wage gap is true and their arguments, and vice versa. Make sure the evidence you base your decision on stands up to scrutiny. If the only evidence is sub-par evidence, know where the other side might attack it from and be prepared to defend it. Some issues will come down to matters of opinion, like abortion, but you just have to get over that hurdle.
2)Know the argument that the other side will make before they make it
This is the most important step of debating. If the other side likes to cite one specific study, like the wage gap study, then know about that study. Know everything that it takes into account, the sample size, the variables, and check to see if the author of the study decided to draw a random causal relationship or did they actually prove it. Know how to disprove these arguments and be prepared to dismiss anecdotal evidence or blanket statements such as “Well everyone believes it!” You can point out that everyone also believed the Earth was flat at one point to discredit these kinds of arguments. When you blow up the main point of the other side the moment they make it without hesitation, people also believe you.
3) Be prepared for number dumps.
This is also closely related to the first point. A lot of people will just randomly throw out numbers at you to get you off balance and tongue tied. You have to know where the numbers come from (if anywhere), because they are often misquoted. For example, does the study say that 1 in 5 people will get in a car crash or did it say 1 in 5 people in a car crash will die from the crash. If you ask for a source, you are often looked at as being childish, so it advisable to know where the numbers are coming from before hand. You can state that you may not know where the numbers are coming from, but common sense and prior experience dictates that those numbers aren’t right and probably were manipulated. Sometimes, people will outright lie to prove their points, and you can also make them look silly when they do this if you know what the proper studies/evidence says. Such as Hillary Clinton stating that she is an LGBT champion when she is on video opposing LGBT’s right to marry.
4) If they begin name calling, you have already won the debate, don’t begin debating on their terms. Try to point out that they were proved wrong and are trying to go off topic to avoid the harsh truth.
Depending on the topic, the insults could be “Go read a book,” “Racist,” or “Islamophobic.” Don’t bite on trying to disprove these insults, because they have no evidence to support it. Never say something like “I have a black friend” because it is just silly. Say something like “Good to know that I’m a racist, but how do you explain the fact that 13% of the population commits 50% of the homicide. Numbers aren’t racist.”
5) If online or a planned debate, find evidence of hypocrisy.
I did this in my wage gap post. If someone says they love all Americans, but then you look on their twitter and screen cap “All Americans and their children should be raped and impaled,” you successfully discredit their whole argument. If you wish to have maximum effect, show the screen capped tweet (or other evidence) and don’t just say you found it.
6) BE SUCCINCT AND TO THE POINT.
A lot of people will tune you out or interrupt you if you post a wall of words or talk for 20 minutes. Shorten your arguments to the bare bones, no anecdotes, just numbers and facts. If the other party asks you to put it in context, you can oblige them.
If you have anything to add to this list, feel free to post more below.