Friday, 3 January 2014


Why can't debates include beliefs?

Here's a simple explanation to begin with. I've mentioned it before, so forgive me, and I've spoken about it humorously, but, read it carefully and see what the problem is.

My husband is part polar bear. I am a tropical animal. I am always too cold, he is always too warm. We do annoy each other with this, as it's hard to compromise on a temperature we are sharing. But that isn't the REAL problem. The REAL problem is how it gets spoken about. It goes like this:

I say "I'm cold".

He says "It's not cold".

See the difference there? I am making a statement about my feelings. He is stating what he considers to be a fact.

I could argue with his fact, because "cold" is a relative term, but I'm not really trying to argue that. I'm talking about my own experience.

He, on the other hand, cannot argue about my experience because he isn't me.

Who is right, and who is wrong? This cannot be answered. Or, the answer may as well be "orange" because a fact can only be argued as a fact, and an experience can only be experienced.

He COULD say "I don't believe you are cold" but that doesn't solve anything. It is my heartfelt belief that I am cold. Nothing is going to stop me believing that. You can't talk me out of being cold. Even if I pretend I'm warm, I still feel cold.

I COULD tell him that his idea of what is or is not cold is wrong, but I can't prove it, because I'm only basing my theory that it's wrong on my own feelings.

Facts and data are one thing. Feelings and beliefs are quite another. They don't work as opposing positions.


  1. Perhaps it is one of those things where actions speak louder than words? To use your example, one could bundle up to show the seriousness. To use a different example, a friend's belief may be such that no amount of shown evidence, or previous experience, will make a difference. Guess it's a good things can move. ~ Blessings!

  2. Oh my. My spouse have had this exact conversation sooo many times.....