I heard a phrase many years back that took root and though it is a phrase that someone else used I am sure that it did not originate with him. His phrase was, "the free market place of ideas", and he used this to establish in the minds of those he taught, that the concept of such an exchange was alive even if the practice of it may be weak or dead.
Now I caught this teacher's messages around the same time that I also became acquainted with a little history regarding The Inklings.
The Inklings were a small group founded by JRR Tolkien and CS Lewis. This group was somewhat famous for staging legitimate debates between atheists and believers in a forum that was non-threatening to either party, and any honest type of the faith non-faith controversey could be debated in an orderly manner.
The brew of these two concepts have been churning within me for lo, these many years. And with this blog, one of my many applications I would like to see come to fruition is the legitimate debate among the various levels of belief, non-belief, and or agnostisism etc.
This section of my blog will have a name soon but its format will be obvious.
It will take an approach with a wide range of issues that allow for the debate process to be addressed in an orderly fashion as follows...
Topic. side one / first day
Point. side two / second day
Counter point. side one / third day
Rebuttal. side two / fourth day
And perhaps additional rounds, but scheduled for at least three, six day minimum.
The Topic can be brought to the table by the either side,with a brief description of its value as such. When the Topic is introduced by either side, the description is their opening statement.
The side which introduces the Topic has a slight disadvantage, as the side giving the response will have the final comment regardless of how many rounds.
The exchange may be made as lively as the written media and proper decorum allows (no profanity or personal attacks). However, it will not be as lively as the slugfest scenario you may have been exposed to at chat rooms dealing with similar issues.
Whereas, the Topic may be "borrowed" from a chat room, the linear characteristic of the debate forum will allow for a full examination of the issue from both sides. Occassionally the Topic may warrant more than the above mentioned guidelines for length, but both sides will have equal "time" at around 500 words or less recommended.
Whoever introduces the Topic will not have the final response. In this forum there will be no "editorial like" conclusions drawn and no "winner" will be declared by the blog.
Each debate delivery will stand on its own merit and will be penalized for making additional comments in the areas for comments by non-participants.
The individual reader will draw their own conclusions and are free to offer commentary on the exchange each day beginning with the second day at the end of the first round.
If I have a comment on the debate it will be in the area provided for that purpose like anyone else, unless I was involved in the debate itself, in which case, I am not allowed further comment on the Topic.
Either side of the debate platform would be considered in bad form to comment beyond their participation and could be barred for a period of time from further debate participation, but is allowed comments as a non-participant, just not for the debate where he or she earned the penalty.
Any and all obscene language and individual personal attacks may result in that person being "blocked" permantley.
The issues, questions, topics, to be debated will appear in the full text of what was submitted excepting profanity or personal insults. If profanity is used, in the place of the offending word this will appear (profanity). If a personal insult or attack was used, in its place one would see (offense).
The reason this will be done is to convey what was said without offending mass sensibilities and to allow everyone's understanding of why that person should be penalized or blocked.
The argument must be delivered in the very close ball park of 500 words or less. If either side gives much more than that they will be asked to be more concise.
All submissions are subject to final acceptance by myself. I am willing to allow a huge variety of material to be discussed within the above mentioned guidelines.
Please submit all potential Topics to... "Free Market Place of Ideas" firstname.lastname@example.org
To submit a Topic you would not necessarily need to be a debating participant. If you would like to have a subject or an issue debated this could be done as well by a selected proxy once we have enough people on board.