Minnesota's First Better Angels Debate

Tuesday, June 18, 2019 at 06:00 PM


Falcon Ridge Middle School Media Center
12900 Johnny Cake Ridge Rd
Apple Valley, MN 55124
United States
Google map and directions


The Topic for the evening: Resolved: Health Care should be considered a human right in the United States.
About this Event

What is a Better Angels Debate?

You probably haven’t experienced anything like a Better Angels Debate. It's not a political debate, where competing candidates attempt to win votes. Nor is it a high school or college debate, where people advocate positions in which they may not believe for the sole purpose of vanquishing their foes.

A Better Angels Debate is a highly structured conversation in which a group of people think together, listen carefully to one another, and allow themselves to be touched and perhaps changed by each other’s ideas. When done well, everyone walks out a little closer to the truth, more aware of the validity in opposing views, and with tighter community relationships.

The skillful choice of a resolution (the idea being discussed) is crucial. The resolution together with a highly structured format, encourages the passionate and energetic expression of ideas. Through questions and subsequent speeches, challenges to and support of the resolution are explored. However, the format requires that all questions be addressed to the Chair, which allows people to express themselves more fully, while dampening the potential for individual reactivity.

The conversation grows and develops through a series of speeches supporting or opposing the resolution. After a participant speaks, the Chair asks for one or two questions from the other participants. The speaker responds to the questions, then is thanked by the Chair and returns to their seat, and another speaker takes the floor. All speakers are encouraged to bring up new ideas as they wish, but to place them in context of the prior speeches, and to directly express responses to prior speeches.

While people are encouraged to support or oppose the resolution in order to sharpen their points, they are welcome to express nuance and ambiguity, and to admit that they are not really sure which side they support when that’s the case. What’s critical is that people should articulate what they actually believe, even if it’s complicated or incomplete, rather than making an airtight case they don’t really subscribe to.

Registration is requested for all seeking to participate or attend.

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