According to my college logic professor, beautiful debates happen when two opposing sides can argue the validity of their points without any intent of winning the other side over. At least during the duration of the debate. It is highly unlikely that one side will immediately appreciate the points and counter-points presented to them since it is hard for any rational human being to completely do a 180 degrees on what they believe in.

If the person engaged in the debate is easily swayed into the arguments of the other side it does not mean that the other side is good. It means that the person easily swayed did not really believe the position (s)he is in.

Good debates make people think long after the debate is over. Debates per se do not involve shouting matches, nor employ dirty tactics like name-calling or derogatory insinuations. Any ‘debates’ using those are not really debates but merely arguments. Debates are exchange of ideas fueled by passion and intelligence, while arguments are exchage of words laden with emotion. You ‘win’ debates not because you deliver beautifully crafted speeches, but because you stimulated other people to think for themselves if what you said was true.

I admire people who could deliver a good debate but they are few and far between. Most belong to the average category (I wish I belong to this category, lol) but the moment their passion begins to sound like emotions then that is the time I just phase out (or phase them out).

Gist of this post: Debates make people think, good debates make the other side think, arguments can get people killed.