Good guidelines for an ethical debate on just about any subject.

“Have you been frustrated, friends? Have you tried to talk to a fundamentalist about science? You’re frustrated, because you know that good social policy, violence prevention, social welfare, and our environment depend on ethical application of scientific thought. The stakes are high, but you can’t get through to them. Political and superstitious social policy pertaining to mental health have been disastrous. The drug war, the sorry state of mental health services, and the killing of fifteen year old Lawrence King exemplify this harm. What can you do?

Allow me to offer two suggestions that will keep you from wasting time on the people who will not engage you in a sincere way, and that might even win over some folks to your way of thinking. Each of the following is a betting game. Bet enough to make it spicy. If you can, get others to bet as people do in an office pool. This will hold people’s interest. The money won can go to a charity of the winner’s choice. Is $5 too much? Is $100 too little? Have a trusted third party hold the cash.

When you challenge the person to one of these games, if they refuse, then you would have been wasting your time having a discussion. I have never seen anything come of a discussion with a person who fades out when some accountability is introduced into the discussion. Also, if they refuse, it makes a statement about their credibility to anyone present, so make the challenge very publicly.”

(via Brain Blogger. Part 2: The 10 Ethical Debating Rules. Part 3: More Ideas)