Originally Posted by Dominic
If someone said that women do not deserve equal rights as men because they are beneath us, wouldn't you call that idiotic?
Calling him/her or their opinion idiotic wouldn't be helpful to convince that said person otherwise.
[after deliberating for 20 seconds: But that is the case only if we believe in pure reason, which I don't. If it is in your interest to make the person agree with you, then perhaps you might want to shame him/her into agreeing with you, either by appealing to whatever authority or exerting pressure apart from (or instead of!) arguing "rationally". The power of rational reasoning in persuasion is limited. The reasoning process alone won't tell us whether we should repeal the Article 377b of the Penal Code, whether abortion should be allowed etc, unless we share some common fundamental values/beliefs which may act as "axioms" in our discussion/debate/argument from which other opinion can be developed.]
Sometimes, when we recommers debate on certain social/political issues, we are actually disagreeing on those fundamental values that serve as "axioms". Say homosexuality, a "liberal-inclined" (or gay) recommer might say it should be accepted, because nobody is harmed, whereas another recommer would point out that their religion says homosexuality is immoral so they can't accept it, and might further assert that the government should regulate "homosexual activities" (e.g. by criminalizing consensual fellatio and penile-anal sex). So in the end the issue boils down to whether you believe, as a first principle that an individual's right extend to right before where it infringes upon the rights of others, or that such rights are inferior to your religion that prescribes a different set of rules.
I consider myself to be irreligious and I believe in secular laws. So when someone appeals to their religion in a debate, it usually means the end of discussion to me. It would be similar to teaching complex numbers with your students insisting that there can only be real numbers.(*1) Of course, I could be the teacher or students. Not being condescending here.
Note *1: A complex number has an imaginary component. E.g. Real numbers would be -- 1, 2, -1, -2, 0, pi, e, square root of 2 etc....
Complex numbers are 2 + 8i, 3 + ei , a + bi, in which a and b are real numbers, i = square root of (-1)/