Allot of people on here argue and debate over beliefs and facts on this site, so I thought perhaps I should post something explaining the differences between arguments and debates.
An Argument Is-
Two or more people claiming that what they themselves say must be true,
One or more people not caring and likely ignoring the facts laid out in front of the other arguer,
A disagreement in which "what I'm saying is right because this book/site says so" is common.
Arguments are pointless. It generates negative energy between two or more people, unless they are arguing for fun, and in the end neither arguer accepts any new information. Or at most only one of the two does. I would consider arguments, as a personal opinion, to be immature and an infesting spam on this site. Debates should be used and here is why.
A Debate is-
Two or more people claiming that what they themselves say must be true and supplying valid information or facts to support it,
All competitors considering and countering the other side's evidence with facts and information of their own,
A disagreement that lasts until either one side realizes that neither side's opinion will change(thereby calling a truce) or one side realizes the flaws in their own beliefs and so looks into another answer(usually giving in to the other debater).
A debate is more reasonable and is often used to spread knowledge. It generates less negative energy and can be done easier on a friendly level. Usually in a good debate both sides will gather new information as well as a deeper insight into the competitor's beliefs, meaning all competitors leave with a little more knowledge then they had before. I would consider debates, as a personal opinion, to be a more mature method of settling disagreements and therefore much better then an argument.
Here are things that should not be used in a debate:
"I'm right because this book says so"(notice the lack in what the book says exactly),
"I'm right because (insert name) says so"(notice the lack in what (insert name) says),
"I'm right because I say so"(now that's just stupid, really),
"I'm right because a website says so"(notice the lack in a website name)
and finally, we'll give this one a topic, "There is no truth"(this is most commonly used by philosophers although it has mostly been out of use for some time due to the response of, "Really? Is that the truth?" in which the person saying there is no truth is forced to admit he is wrong or to admit he is wrong. lol.)
Any of these things I would think form more of an argument then a proper debate response.
Here are things that should/can be used in a debate:
"These books support my beliefs"(followed by a list of books as well as possibly a few quotes from them),
"These people support my beliefs"(followed by a list of people as well as possibly a few quotes from them; this line is usually more effective when the people mentioned are well known or highly educated),
"I believe what I do because I can"(this is a form of telling your opponent that you are not likely to change your beliefs so he/she may as well stop wasting their time trying to teach you),
"These sites support my beliefs"(followed by a list of websites as well as possibly a few quotes from them),
And finally, to say the last words of my other list properly, "Truth is a perspective."(by saying it this way you can explain how truth can be viewed differently between two people, for more information on this see my other thread titled "Truth as Perspective").
Arguments and debates can take many forms, but that is the general idea of it. Not everyone here may have time to give a full debate and others on this site may be blown away by the people who do(most likely ignoring the supportive sources), but here is something to keep in mind:
Books, websites, science, religion, opinion, words, all are man-made and only as trustworthy as the man who made them. Just because one or two websites/books say the same thing does not mean that this one thing must be fact, only that it's possible that more then one person agrees.