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Debate Tip: Two Worlds Anaylasis

The “Two Worlds” analysis is a narrative device to create a total picture comparison between two positions in a debate. It goes something like this…

I want you to imagine two worlds. One, where we ensure all kids get a healthy dose of vitamins, they grow strong bodies and minds, stay in school, and usure in a golden age of peace. The other, one where vitamins are banned and malnourished children struggle to stay awake in their studies, drop out of school and turn to mugging old women for pocket change.

While this example is clearly hyperbole, it illustrates the technique. In each world vision. we see the choice posed by the debate resolution leads to two different outcomes, one good, the other bad. It is not persuasive in and of itself, it is not an argument. But it helps put a series of contentions and arguments into an easily remembered narrative for your audience.

Using Two Worlds

To make it stick, like any debate, you will need to make sure that your arguments support the narrative you are telling. Trying to build it on a number of unsupported or heavily challenged contentions isn’t going to work out for you. But in a close debate, where people may lose the big picture against the backdrop of swirling argumentation, it provides a clear picture that sets the debate in context.

The narrative structure helps an audience understand the causal links in you are claiming in your case. Indeed, when presented in a context like this they can often seem more credible than when described in isolation.

Counter Strategy

Since Two Worlds is not an argument, there is no natural counter to it. Generally, you would offer a competing narrative based on your contentions that reverses the values of the two worlds. Or, you can simply attack their narrative as a fantasy that ignores the facts as presented in your case.

Beyond Debate

In the course of continued persuasion, narratives are extremely powerful. They become a means by which a central thesis or idea can be easily transmitted from one person to another. As narratives are easier to remember and easier to present than other forms of argument, they have a viral quality.

You find this in debates about firearms in the US. Those seeking restrictions create a narrative in which we live ina safer and more peaceful society because there is less gun violence. Those seeking fewer restrictions create a narrative about finding yourself defenseless against criminals who disregard gun restrictions.