Hate and fear messages are not reasoned differences of opinion.

“Pro the con” is an exercise in which two people who have opposing opinions on an issue are assigned to debate it – each taking the other side.

The idea for this program arose from an incident many years ago when a friend took me aside after he heard me in a discussion on a particular issue, commenting, “I thought you were on the other side of that the last time I heard you.” I said that I had been, but that you can’t have a meaningful discussion without at least two sides. So I had waited to figure out which side this person wanted and then took the other. I believe that if you do not know the reasoning for the other side of an issue well enough to present a good argument, you probably don’t know enough about it to even have an opinion.

I recall even getting by with seriously differing with a professor in an essay for a final exam. I restated his points and then agreed with some, with additional reasoning, and disagreed with some, clearly stating my reasoning to back my stand on those issues.