ERIC Number: ED341101
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1991-Oct
The Negative Effects of Using Apocalyptism on Debate.
People involved in debate often encounter apocalyptic appeals but seldom look at how these arguments affect debate beyond their ability to influence winning. Debaters use nuclear war apocalyptism, for example, by capitalizing on the human desire to sustain its own story, by appealing to the universal drive for control and power inside all humans, and by using threat and rescue. Students have much to gain from participating in debate. They sharpen and develop critical thinking and decision making skills; they learn to be aware of more sophisticated attempts at persuasion; and they learn how source and personal credibility, logic, evidence, and criteria of judgment can affect specific decisions. Debate, used properly, is a method of decision making that provides for the rigorous examination and testing of evidence and inferences in the give and take of informed controversy. Abusing debate with apocalyptism, however, can reduce the activity to simple game playing and psychological manipulation. Apocalyptism negatively affects debate by reducing the emphasis on logos and increasing the dependence on pathos, overemphasizing emotional appeals. The harm that apocalyptism brings, however, does not preclude its having redeeming value. Apocalyptism can actually serve effectively as a tool to counter apocalyptism. By understanding how apocalyptism works, a student or coach can more appropriately respond to such attempts at manipulation. (Nineteen references are listed.) (PRA)
Publication Type: Opinion Papers; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A