Category Archives: betterology

Two Flavors of Logic: Science, and Debate

Debate Logic exists to prove that a belief is correct.

Science Logic exists to shed as much light on a subject as practical.

What follows is used to illustrate the primary difference between debate, and science. They are used for entirely different purposes, despite how similar they look.

Why do we care about Debate and Science logic?

We only care about this if it serves our purposes.

Myself personally, I care a lot about recognizing debate logic because other humans can use debate logic in a predatory fashion, to gain power over me, or destroy things that I care about most.

The easiest example is the environment. If Fox News uses debate logic to spread the belief that environmental issues just don’t matter, then that is an issue for me personally, because it’s something I care about, and science logic doesn’t seem to yield the same conclusion.

The above is just an example. There are quadzillion real life situations like the above that fall way outside of this example, any one of which might affect our shared future to a great degree.

Cliff Notes Version:

The main idea behind science logic is to shed light on the subject. Like the physical act itself, when you shed light on something you might see something you hoped you would not see. But there it is. You’re interested in the truth, and now you found it. Oh well. Back to the drawing board.

The main idea behind debate logic is to win an advantage that lies external to the logic itself. Debate logic is about winning an argument. Truth, in this scenario, is belief based. Debate logic also uses light to illuminate specific things, but to ‘win’ at debate logic you use the light very selectively, to illuminate only those facts that help you win the argument.

The essence of great debate logic is great theater, which might include talking louder, righteous anger, looking better, even bringing in scientists to give your carefully selected debating points more credibility.

For More Information

To learn more about science logic, look up ‘scientific theory’.
To learn more about debate logic, look up ‘debate’


Feynman on scientific theory – 10 minutes


My favorite phrase for debating is ‘assertion based logic’ where all the effort is used to defend or justify a belief, rather than illuminate the truth.

My favorite bad guy is someone that uses debate to resist change that is inevitable anyway. Technology always causes more change than people are comfortable with, so I see a lot of that everywhere I look.

An interesting scientific observation is that debate logic is much more powerful than science logic, because debate logic is easy and natural, and science logic, by its very nature, can go against our deepest core beliefs and assumptions. This has been proven many times by scientific experiment.

Debating is a much more efficient process. Selecting winning arguments means you can pass the ‘blink’ test and win the battle of public opinion . Science might require hundreds of scientists dozens of years just to run one set of experiments on one aspect of data. By that time, the effective debater may have already convinced 99.9% of a population what ‘the facts’ really are, nevermind any evidence to the contrary.

Debate has passion! Science requires passion too, but it’s a different kind of passion required to run tedious experiments when you are already half bored to death with the last 2500 experiments that you also had to run. Boring stuff, science.

Strong debaters mimic the appearances of science. The more scientific your argument appears, the more likely you are to win the argument. Wear a lab coat, and glasses too.