This is the first debate I am participating in for the offical jury-moderated voting debate. I shall be arguing that a world without deception is better than a world with deception. As I am Pro and are arguing a positive claim, I have the primary burden of proof. First round is acceptance only.
The debate shall go for four rounds. Voting shall last seven days, and the jurors are F-16, YYW, Thett3, Zaradi, and Bladerunner060. No one else may vote, and anyone else shall be countered.
I wish the best of luck to my opponent, and look forward to an exciting debate.
I accept. I wish the best of luck to my opponent as well. This is a very interesting topic, and I look forward to the debate.
Right, here goes nothing.
I would also like to notify my opponent, the audience, and the judges that I shall almost certainly have to forfeit Round 2, since I have recently been notified that Lily’s War shall be running June 7-13, and my family may go. I apologize for this. At the very least, this gives my opponent the conduct point if I am forced to forfeit a round. However, at the discretion of the judges it may end up with the full forfeit of the debate; while in my own defense I would point out that the rules do not specifically specify that forfeit of a single round is forfeit of the debate, it is up to the judges and the moderator to decide. Regardless of the decision, I will post in every round I can.A Note Upon the Subject of Utilitarianism OR No, I Have Not Become a Deontologist
Utilitarianism is, among other things, known for promoting acts that are themselves unethical to prevent things that are even more unethical from happening: For instance, the utilitarian answer to the trolley problem is to push the person into the path of the trolley. I do hold true a form of act-preference utilitarianism where the consequences of our actions are expressed as probabilities. Nevertheless, advocating for a world without deception is not against my ethical system. To show why, I’ll have to show what a world without deception would look like.Fraud
A world without deception would, obviously, have no fraud, but this extends to more than just a Ponzi scheme. When I discuss fraud in this debate, I mean the practice of misleading, either by omission, carefully constructed claims, or outright lies.
Deceptive advertising would, of course, cease. The famous example of bottled water, where the water is bottled at municipal water plants despite having names evocative of glaciers and mountains, would not longer apply, which would likely save a lot of plastic bottles, which take up space in landfills, are discarded and become litter, or take energy to recycle. Corporate greenwashing would no longer exist, and companies wouldn’t be able to pass themselves off as ecological friendly when they were not. Moreover, if the default assumption was that companies were ecologically responsible, they would have to explicitly say that they were not, or they would be misleading people.
These things aren’t exactly lies
, but they are examples of deception. And countering such misinformation has proved to be difficult for environmentalists—as an example, I give “clean coal,” which is really not all that clean; to offset the cost and energy requirements of technologies that lower emissions more coal must be mined, often by mountaintop removal. This is not clean. If my opponent takes issue with this example, I can provide others.Crime
The default assumption in a civilized society is that someone is not a criminal. When a criminal takes part in public life, and appears to be a typical citizen, they are misleading others. Therefore, in a world without deception, criminals would not be able to continue to commit crimes after their first crime, since continuing to act as if they were normal citizens would mislead others into the assumption that they were not criminals. Furthermore, they would have to confess or otherwise make it obvious who was responsible for their crime, since covering up their involvement, even by the lack of making it obvious, would be an effort to mislead people into thinking they had not done it.
The ramifications are this are enormous. While an individual killer may not be severely affected, organized crime would vanish. They would have to confess the moment they committed a crime in the first place. Being placed in prison would obviously hinder their ability to have successful operations, as well as having to perform everything out in the open.
One of the more important areas where lying and deception is justified is where it is a way to prevent a crime or help solve one. By eliminating repeat criminals (or severely limiting them, at any rate, since they would immediately be put on trial and imprisoned or otherwise dealt with) and eliminating the need for investigations, crime rates are slashed, and valuable time, effort, manpower, and lives are saved.Corruption
Corruption is greatly aided by deception—even in the event of total ignorance being unachievable, plausible deniability still helps. Even if we take a more narrow definition of deception, simply asking a politician or public figure if they had committed a given act of corruption—or, indeed, any corruption at all—would force them either to refuse to answer or to admit their guilt; if we work with a more expansive definition of deception, which is to hide and conceal matters from others knowledge, they must admit.
As my opponent has primary burden of proof, I will focus on refuting his arguments while showing that deception serves a net benefit. Also, thank you Pro, for your warning about a possible forfeited round. That being said, I hope you will still be able to post.
- “When a criminal takes part in public life, and appears to be a typical citizen, they are misleading others.”
- My opponent acts like this is a bad thing, and says that more openness will lower the amount of repeat offenders, which is currently at 61% (1). However, this is simply not the case. America currently has openness with criminal records, and this is the reason for such large numbers of repeat offenders. Employers are able to access criminal records, and are often wary about hiring ex-felons. Because of this, in America, the unemployment rate for felons is 75% (2). These ex-felons have no pathway out of crime, and are often forced back into a criminal lifestyle in order to provide for themselves and their families. If felons were able to go on living their lives like typical citizens, then their unemployment rate would drop significantly. They would be able to more easily get jobs and they would be able to support themselves without returning to crime, thus lowering the number of repeat offenders (1). I would also like to question how this would take effect in a public life. If they are misleading others by acting normal when they are not typical, how would it be made clear that they are not normal? Would they have to wear signs saying “criminal” everywhere they went? And if deviating from the social norm is misleading, then wouldn’t everyone have to include everything about themselves that wasn’t normal? This hardly seems practical, as no person is exactly “normal.”
- “Organized crime would vanish.”
- Organized crime tends to handle itself in an organized way, so it would not necessarily vanish as a result of the arrests that take place. Vittorio Amuso, the boss of the Lucchese crime family, was arrested in 1992 (3), but he remained the head of the Lucchese family for at least 15 years (4). While he was arrested, there were three veteran capos that formed a ruling committee to run day-to-day operations (5). Organized crime would not necessarily be ended because of a lack of deception.
- “The famous example of bottled water.”
- People do not drink bottled water because of the name on the label. People drink bottled water because of convenience. People are constantly moving, and bottled water is simply more convenient to take with oneself than tap water (6). Also, I fail to see how names like Dasani Purified Water, Arrowhead Mountain Spring Water, and Aquafina Purified Drinking Water are misleading. Having different brand names for the same product (like Dasani, Arrowhead, and Aquafina) is simply a way of companies differentiating themselves. Removing fraud would not force bottled water companies to change their names, leaving this point invalid.
- “Clean Coal”
- Clean coal is not referring to a product. It is simply referring to an attempt to make coal cleaner. Pro has also described the reasoning for mountaintop removal inaccurately. The reason mountaintop removal is necessary is because people need more energy. This is not as a result of the process for mining coal, it is simply because consumers need more energy. While more mountaintops are being removed, on balance, each ton of coal is cleaner. This is not deception. It is only trying to make the process for coal burning cleaner by lowering emissions levels.
- “Corruption is greatly aided by deception.”
- My opponent claims that if we could simply ask a politician whether or not they have engaged in acts of corruption, they would be forced to expose themselves. This is true. However, there are more negative effects to being able to ask anyone anything (especially politicians) than there are positives.
- Complete government transparency is a bad thing
- To be completely transparent would often mean that the government would be putting national security at risk. Let’s consider a hypothetical. Let’s say that North Korea is close to creating a nuclear missile capable of destroying America. The CIA finds out about this, and reports to the president. They decide to secretly send operatives to dispose of the missile, and they decide to keep the existence of the missile a secret. The existence of the missile was kept secret to prevent widespread panic among the citizenry, and the mission to dispose of the missile was kept secret to ensure success. However, if people could simply ask the question to an official who knows about the plan, “Is something funky going on?” then the plan would be exposed, and America would be at a greater danger and there would be more widespread panic. If the plan were carried out secretly, then there would be no panic and no threat to America. If anything can be asked to any member of government, it produces a net cost, rather than benefit.
Case for Con
- When a person does not know what is and isn't true all of the time, it becomes necessary to critically analyze the evidence surrounding themselves. Take, for example, Pro's own argument about corruption. He stated that being able to ask politicians if they were corrupt would save time. However, he failed to acknowledge the loss of critical thinking present. When one cannot simply ask the politicians if they are corrupt or not, the individual has to examine evidence and come up with a case for why the politician is likely corrupt. This also applies to everyday lies. When one is just talking to others and it is unknown whether or not the statements are the truth, the person has to examine the other person's body language, manner of speaking, past habits, etc. in order to determine validity. In a world with deception, this practice of critical thinking would become so commonplace that it is subconsciously ingrained into a person's way of thinking. This constant practice produces smarter individuals, as without critical thinking ability, or with less critical thinking ability, people become passive receptors of information, rather than free, rational thinkers.
Better and Stronger Relationships
- Let's face it. Lies keep people happy. How many people would still be friends if every time someone had an issue with the other, the grievance was aired? Take, for example, a friend who has large amounts of pimples on her face (we'll call her Olga). As omission is a form of deception, in a world without, a person would be forced to say "Olga, your face looks disgusting" every day. This would crush Olga's self esteem. However, if Olga's friends didn't have to say something along the lines of that, or were even able to say, "I didn't even notice your pimples," or "Your face looks stunning today," then Olga could feel good about herself. This could be extended to most types of relationships. Consider for a moment a boyfriend/girlfriend relationship. The girlfriend might ask one day, "Do I look pretty?" As anyone in a relationship knows, this is a loaded question. If the girlfriend actually looks fine, then it is no big deal. However, if the girlfriend looks bad, and the boyfriend is honest about it, this can lead to huge fights and sometimes break ups. The point is, small lies are often harmless, and even keep people happy. Why not let people be happy?
Perhaps ‘repeat offenders’ is the wrong term. I am attempting to refer to the people who are not caught, and go on later to commit other crimes. For instance, the murderer who is not caught and later kills another, or a thief who evades capture several times before being caught.
My opponent raises a valid objection: If every single deviation from what was considered the social norm was advertised, it would be highly impractical. However, it is not merely deviating from the social norm. By going about our business as upstanding citizens who do not steal, defraud others, and kill, we create the belief that we are not the sort of person who does that. I admit that this is a tenuous argument, and therefore I shall provide another path.
The police could simply state, in various mediums, that anyone who is not coming forward to admit to a given crime is agreeing that they did not do it, and do not know who did it. The ability to make this sort of statement is restricted solely to the police, and may not be used without a court warrant. Any other entity making such statements has their statements considered non-binding. Refusing to pay attention to such non-binding statements is no more deception than not paying attention to someone saying that all people who do not raise their hands are reptoid aliens.
The reason the police can use such powers is that every citizen must sign a statement saying that they agree that such statements that the police make are binding. If they do not sign, they do not get to vote.
It is true that an arrest (even of a high ranking member) will not necessarily cause a crime family to collapse. However, organized crime also depends on low(er)-level criminals. These lower-level criminals could more easily be apprehended and neutralized in a society without deception. It’s one thing for the head of a crime family to be arrested and sit in jail while business goes on as normal. It’s another to arrest the head of a crime family, take them in, and then run down possible suspects until you’ve uprooted the entire crime family.
If bottled water was more convenient than tap water, most people would buy a water bottle, one water bottle, and make sure it was filled at all times. If it starts to get too old, use it to water houseplants. Or drink it before it gets too old instead of using water from the tap. And if you can remember to carry around bottled water you can carry around a full water bottle. For most functions, that is sufficient. In the relatively few where it is not, it would be more effective to take a larger container of water, such as one of those large orange cooler things. Water bottles are reusable, often actually hold more than bottled water, and are overall cheaper than using bottled water whenever you could simply fill up a water bottle with tap water in advance.
The name ‘Arrowhead Mountain Spring Water’ suggests that the water is:
- From a spring
- From Arrowhead Mountain
The latter is, obviously, not true; the company admits as much on their website. Apparently the former is not always true either; Wikipedia says that the cap on the 5-gallon EcoSense bottles says that it is from a municipal water supply. A more concrete example is that "Alaska Premium Glacier Drinking Water: Pure Glacier Water from the Last Unpolluted Frontier" actually came from a public water system in Juneau. In 2003, Poland Spring water, which is the top-selling bottled water in America as of 2006, was charged with false advertising, since it did not come from Poland Spring (which had been closed) but instead came from places like:
- along a busy highway used by hundreds of vehicles
- a former trash and refuse dump
- an illegal deposal site where human sewage was used as a fertilizer
While Poland Spring denies these allegations, the bottled-water industry is largely self-regulated, so we don't know. Even if they are telling the truth, it would be infinitely easier if they couldn't deceive in the first place.
Clean coal is used as an advertising gimmick to get support for the concept. And my opponent does not take issue with my claim that it is not clean. If I take a rug that is filthy and brush some of the dust off while leaving mud, it is not clean, even though it is cleaner.
That is relatively little problem, as North Korea would not exist under its present form. Dictators usually require some sort of excuse to enact a totalitarian regime. That excuse is usually deception: For instance, Hitler’s blaming anything and everything on the Jews, the North Korean government talking about a People’s Revolution and such things, etc. If deception didn’t exist, dictators wouldn’t be able to do their whole ‘raise a cult of personality, other a section of the populace and persecute them, worship the revolution and such’ shtick. Without deception, the Western world is no significant threat, the people are starving, and the only things those soldiers are really fighting for is the right to have a dictator in charge whose policies are idiotic and harmful to the country. And, most importantly, they know that. End of government.
Moreover, asking if something funky was up wouldn’t necessarily be a giveaway. What would stop an official from saying, “Yes—and if I tell you, we’re all in big trouble. So don’t bother asking what it is for the next week or so; you’ll find out then, and you will get the scoop and exclusive interview. Next question?” What part of that statement is deception? The official is being perfectly honest about everything.
Just because deception doesn’t exist doesn’t mean critical thinking is useless. For instance, even if no one in the discussion surrounding global warming, evolution, predator control, et cetera, could lie or deceive, critical thinking would still be useful because it isn’t deception if you actually believe it (and aren’t lying to yourself—but self-deception doesn’t necessarily fall under a more generalized category of deception). I don’t think that every public figure who doesn’t believe in global warming or evolution, or has views on predator control that I disagree with, is engaging in self-deception, or is simply lying. Some of them actually believe what they say, with their entire heart and soul. Critical thinking would be absolutely necessary to sort through the evidence surrounding such controversies and to arrive at the correct conclusion.
Better and Stronger Relationships
I suppose I am now in the interest position of simultaneously having argued that omission can be a form of deception (round two) and now arguing that it is not in this case. In any event, while it’s true that omission can be a form of deception, that doesn’t mean it always is. Omission, I argue, is only a form of deception when it is an attempt to lead someone to believe something that is not true. For instance, when criminals who haven’t been caught go around their business as if nothing were the matter, it is sometimes (if not usually) to make people think that everything is normal and nothing is the matter. It isn’t deception when you just aren’t saying something to be polite, or because no one asked. If I go outside and don’t say “The sky is blue,” is that deception (we’ll overlook days when it’s overcast)? If omission is always deception, it is.
So Olga would have to ask. In which case the proper response in a world without deception would be to say, “Yes, the pimples are unattractive, but they will go away in time, and [insert something complimentary here].” And maybe in a world without deception people wouldn’t ask questions like that, or prize honest talk.
- “Perhaps ‘repeat offenders’ is the wrong term.
- Regardless of whether or not my opponent has decided to change his argument from using repeat criminals to using uncaught criminals, the points about repeat offenders that I have made are still not refuted. That being said, in underdeveloped countries, many known criminals parade around without arrest. Semion Mogilevich, a Russian mobster, is a known criminal, who has swindled investors out of $150,000,000, is currently free in Russia, even though his wanted poster is everywhere in Russia (1). Just because a criminal has confessed does not mean that he or she is punished.
- “I admit that this is a tenuous argument”
- That is because it is. My opponent stated in his first arguments that because “the default assumption in a civilized society is that someone is not a criminal” that they are deceiving society by not advertising the fact that they are criminals. This means that because a person is deviating from the social norm, it is deception by omission to not clarify the deviation. Then, when Pro tried to claim that acting normally is not merely deviating from the social norm, his example was the same as in Round 2, which I’ve already refuted.
- “Refusing to pay attention to such non-binding statements is no more deception…”
- This argument seems to be based on the notion that omission only exists when a suggestion is made by a binding force. There are a couple of problems with this. The first problem is that some suggestions would be more binding than others. My opponent seems to say that there would be a legal standard for the criminals and how binding certain statements are. However, omission is omission, regardless of the law, and the debate is about a world without deception. If there is no deception, than omission is not possible, regardless of the law. Essentially, if a person is aware of a statement, and they don’t respond honestly, then that would be omission, regardless of who made the statement. This plan would not work.
- “It’s another to...uprooted the entire crime family.”
- Once again, crime families work in an organized way in order to prevent punishment towards members. As this, along with profitability, are goals for the families, it would be logical to assume that they would take precautions to prevent this from happening. One possible way would be by compartmentalizing information, so not even the boss would have full information.
- “The name ‘Arrowhead Mountain Spring Water’ suggests that…”
- My opponent states that the name suggests that the water is from a spring and from Arrowhead Mountain. However, this conclusion is drawn only from the improper spacing. On Arrowhead’s website, it says “Arrowhead® Brand 100% Mountain Spring Water.” This shows that not only is Arrowhead simply a brand name, rather than an indication of water source, but also that the water from these bottles is 100% Mountain Spring Water (2). My opponent also uses the 5-gallon EcoSense bottles as an example of water not from a spring. However, the water bottles that my opponent references, the type that one carries around daily, are not misleading, as they are from 100% spring water. The bottom line is that Arrowhead has turned into only a brand name, and the water bottles are not misleading. I would like the voters to note that Aquafina and Dasani also are not misleading, and have not been shown to be misleading. I’ll also provide some more brands that are honest: San Pellegrino Water, Icelandic Glacial, and Perrier Mineral Water.
- “If bottled water was more…one water bottle”
- Since the majority of disposable water bottles are not misleading, they would still be available for purchase. There is no reason to believe that people would change their behaviors to favor refillable water bottles when the variables haven’t changed, so people would still buy these water bottles.
- “My opponent does not take issue with my claim that it is not clean”
- In Round 2, I very clearly took issue with the claim. I showed that on balance, each ton of clean coal is cleaner than the coal is when it undergoes the standard process, and that the mountaintop removal is not a result of the clean coal process, but rather that it is because of an increasing demand for energy. It is not an “advertising gimmick.” When a company is stating that its coal is clean coal, it is accurately telling the public that their coal is cleaner than it otherwise would be, as emissions are significantly lower.
- “If deception didn’t exist, dictators wouldn’t be able to do their...shtick.”
- In my opponent’s own rebuttal of my critical thinking points (which I will address later), he stated about differing viewpoints that “it isn’t deception if you actually believe it.” Hitler believed that the Jews were a cause for most issues. He wrote about this extensively in his book Mein Kumpf. The North Korean government genuinely believed in the People’s Revolution, and so did the people. By my opponent’s own (inconsistent) definition of what is deception and what is not, these tactics were not deception. That being said, the exact same scenario described in Round 2 could be used again, but we could substitute “North Korea” with “Russia” or just about any other country, and the same problem would be valid.
- “Yes—and if I tell you…you’ll find out then.”
- This would be deception by omission of the actual answer. In Con’s rebuttal to my point about social norms, he mentioned that police could coerce criminals into confession simply by telling them to confess. However, if the same standards are applied to the officials that are being applied to the criminals (deception is deception, regardless of who says it, so standards need to be consistent), then the officials must immediately say what is happening to the question, or else it is omission. If the same standards that are being applied to the officials are being applied to the criminals, then they could simply delay response and it wouldn’t be deception, rendering that entire idea useless. So yes, this sort of statement would be deception. I would also like it to be noted that Pro has not shown that complete government transparency is a good thing.
- “Just because deception doesn’t exist doesn’t mean critical thinking is useless.”
- It was never said that critical thinking would be useless in that world. I argued that “this constant practice produces smarter individuals, as without critical thinking, or with less critical thinking ability, people become passive receptors of information, rather than free, rational thinkers.” I essentially said that when lies are present, people are forced to practice their critical thinking skills much more constantly than they would be practicing them in a world without deception, so people in that world would have stronger critical thinking skills.
Better and Stronger Relationships
- “Omission, I argue, is only a form of deception…to believe something that is not true.”
- All right, that sounds good. However, I’m unclear about how the criminals going about their business as if everything is normal is deception (which is referencing his previous arguments about how deviation from norms are deception), but not bringing up that someone’s face being covered with pimples (the face would be a deviation from a norm) would not be deception. Also, this omission would be misleading to Olga, as it makes her think that her friends are not in any way uncomfortable with her face.
- “In a world without deception people…prize honest talk.”
- This wouldn’t be true. Things are appreciated on a continuum. Good cannot be appreciated if evil is not also present; ease cannot be appreciated if hardships have not also been endured; and honesty cannot be appreciated if honesty is all there is.
Sorry for the weird spacing. I can't seem to fix this. Thank you Pro, I look forward to your response.
I thank my opponent for the great debate.
Intent, And the Nature of Deception
(I am making this its own section.)
Intent is critical in deception. Criminals intend
for people to think that they are innocent.
Let's say I know a vast number of biology-related facts, ones that others don't know. Now, it's of course ethical for me to share my knowledge. But I am under no obligation to, when meeting a person, ascertain their knowledge and correct every misconception they have. And if I don't do that, I'm not being deceptive via omission. Why? I don't intend for them to have a misconception. I'm not specifically modifying my behavior to make them have a misconception.
I did not change my argument; I attempted to clarify it. I do not doubt that current prison practices should be changed to lower recidivism rates. However, that is neither here nor there. It is simply irrelevant to the issue at hand.
As far as Semion, I have little doubt that his escape from justice is greatly aided by things like fake IDs, corruption, and being able to maintain at least the illusion of innocence. Unless Semion has been hiding in a forest away from human contact (any exceptions being stealing supplies and such), or has substantially changed his appearance and no one needs ID in Russia.
The only reason the omission is deception in the cases I gave is that the people in question gave their word that they would identify themselves if so requested. No such binding exists for some random person demanding that all non-reptoids speak up.
Furthermore, if omission is always deception, then you are being deceptive by not immediately claiming not to be a reptoid alien, or a member of the Asgard, or a secret Nazi infiltrator, or a Communist, or a communist, or a vampire. Clearly this is ridiculous.
And that's because intention matters in regards to deception. If I am not trying to mislead--say, I'm poor at communication--I'm not engaging in an act of deception. If I'm gay and don't go around wearing a t-shirt that says "I'm Gay!", I am not deceptive, because I'm not going around trying to make people think I'm not.
However, criminals often attempt to cover up their activities. Even if mandated identification is useless, the inability to deceive could still be of use in that it would make investigations easier.
I am unsure as to whether organized crime would embrace such a structure, as doing so would mean that the bosses has relatively little control over operations. Subsets could run their own criminal enterprises, making their own money, and the boss would not be the wiser. Though in a world without deception, the boss would only have to ask them if they had.
Nevertheless, it would make tracking organized crime easier, and even if they adapted it would take time.Fraud
Arrowhead Water does, however, also come from a municipal water plant. While it's completely possible that this would be entirely spring water, looking into it I see that it is not. In the absence of a process to separate spring water from other water, it is not 100% spring water.
Advertising might change, though. For instance, if one has the knowledge that bottled water is not necessarily better in quality would probably lead to a drop in consumption.
And while I've admitted that 'clean coal' is cleaner
(and I never argued otherwise), the fact remains that it is still fairly dirty.Corruption
It's true that it isn't deception if you actually believe it. However, self-deception can still exist, if on a subconscious level one is aware that what they are saying isn't true. It's almost certainly true that not all dictators and tyrants had a part of their subconscious inform them that they were being stupid. But it's also probably true that some dictators did have that.
Now, there is some debate over whether self-deception is intentional or not, and if not I would not consider it deception. In regards to this problem, however, I am an intentionalist; I believe one can intend to deceive themselves, on some level, into believing something. I hold that both the temporal approaches (the two beliefs are not held simultaneously, so, to quote the SEP, "an unbeliever who sets out to get herself to believe in God (since she thinks such a belief is prudent, having read Pascal) might well remember such an intention at the end of the process and deem that by God's grace even this misguided path led her to the truth") and the psychological partition approach (there is some degree of division allowing someone to believe two contradictory things simultaneously) to be valid.
The official does not intend to deceive. Therefore it is not deception. Omission is only deception when it is intended to make someone think something that is not true. Everything the official said is true. The official did not intend for his words to make journalists or the public draw a false conclusion.
I have shown complete government transparency to be, on balance, a good thing.Critical Thinking
Personally, I have found that it is far better for my critical thinking skills to analyze scientific information than to try and figure out whether someone is lying or not. Maybe that's just me, though.
Better and Stronger Relationships
Are Olga's friends attempting to make her believe that her face is attractive by not saying it isn't? If they are, then that is deception. If they are not, it isn't.
I disagree with this statement, and require supporting evidence of some sort.Summary
For me to win, I am under no obligation to prove that a world without deception would be better in every way than a world with deception. Rather, I am merely obligated to prove that a world without deception would be, on balance, better.
Most of my arguments have revolved round saving lives--potentially an uncountable number over the years--by, at the very least, making it easier to catch murderers and keep them from murdering again, and by probably even shutting down some dictators and tyrants. A lack of corruption would also help save lives, since lives can be lost due to ineffectiveness of a system rather than simply due to conscious, positive action.
My opponent's counterarguments have focused on introducing the possibility of failure. But while there is certainly a possibility of failure, a partial success is better than no success at all. If we reduce these things, even if a rare few people manage, through sheer luck, to evade countermeasures, is that not better than doing nothing at all?
Intent, And the Nature of Deception
- Well, it seems like in the last round, Pro has decided to change his definition of what constitutes deception. First it was deviating from the norm. Then it wasn’t deception if it was for the sake of politeness and wasn’t provoked. Now it is based on intent. This is the last round; it isn’t even worth arguing anymore. I’m just going to primarily go by the first couple of definitions.
- “I did not change my argument”
- Pro changed his argument from talking about “repeat criminals” to “people who are not caught,” but it really doesn’t matter. The point is that he has chosen to concede my point about openness with criminal records.
- “As far as Semion”
- He is perfectly out in the open. Whether or not part of it is through illegitimate means is irrelevant. He is free, yet he is still on the FBI top ten most wanted lists (1).
- “No such binding exists for some random person”
- Once again, this is implying that certain people have more power to make something truth than others. In a world without deception, the standards are evenly distributed, because deception is deception, regardless of who caused it. To make only certain people have that binding ability would be impossible, as that would be, in this case, attempting to legislate a change in the natural world.
- “If omission is always deception”
- It isn’t always deception. However, with your criminal example, you established the standard that a deviation from the norm requires a statement, or it counts as deception. As a world without deception would mean that all deception is impossible, then standards would be set in stone, and if someone was a “member of the Asgard” or a Communist, then it would be deception by omission not to clarify this.
- “If I’m gay and…’I’m Gay!’”
- By the standard you set with the criminals, since this is a deviation from the social norm, it is deception.
- “I’m unsure that organized crime”
- Organized crime would embrace that structure, because it would embrace whatever structure is necessary to keep itself safe and profitable, as explained in Round 3.
- “Arrowhead…water plant.”
- The water is not from the water plant, rather, it is bottled at the water plant. There is a difference. Also, I’m confused as to what Pro’s source here accomplishes. Arrowhead wasn’t even mentioned on the page.
- “Advertising might change”
- It is relatively common for articles like (2) and (3) to pop up outlining the safety of bottled water, and people’s consumption has not changed. Also, the commercials still have a limited amount of time and the posters and labels still have a limited amount of space. Advertising wouldn’t change.
- “Clean coal’ is cleaner”
- This is true, and because it is true, and that is all that clean coal is trying to say, this is not deceptive.
- “Self-deception can still exist, if on a subconscious level…isn’t true.”
- By that definition, just about every viewpoint could be considered deception. I would like to say that we are on a debate website right now, and if any long-time user (more than a few debates) can honestly say that they have never doubted their own position, then that user is a liar. Also, if the doubt were on a subconscious level, then people would not be able to know whether or not they were deceiving themselves, and if deception is always intentional, then subconscious self-deception is not actually deception.
- “The official does not intend to deceive. Therefore it is not deception.”
- In this case the official intentionally left out information, which would be intentional omission, making it deceptive.
- “I have shown complete government transparency to be, on balance, a good thing.”
- If Pro had shown that complete government transparency to be, on balance, a good thing, then he would have made points about it. All he has given has been a faulty loophole for how an official could get out of answering a question and a false assumption that tyrannical governments would not exist because of subconscious self-deception, which I have already shown to be a false notion. On the other hand, I have shown how complete government transparency would be detrimental with specific examples of how national security could be put at risk with total transparency.
- While analyzing scientific information also improves critical thinking skills, it is not constant. Lying is advantageous to consider is because it is almost constant. People are constantly forced to determine what they can and can’t believe until this sort of critical thinking has become second nature to them. The presence of deception is wonderful for the development of critical thinking skills.
Better and Stronger Relationships
- “Are Olga’s friends…”
- This can be best summed up by imagining a world with deception. If someone chooses to not mention something that disgusts them about a friend, it is to make the friend feel good about his or herself, so yes, as you said, it would be deception.
- “I disagree with this statement, and require supporting evidence of some sort.”
- I assume that this is based on my continuum argument, so I’ll address that. In a society where there is no evil, people will only act good. In that society, if someone performs a good deed, it will not be praised, because that is only acting as a person is expected to act. Likewise, in a world without deception, or in other words, a world with only honesty, honest language would not be appreciated because that is all that there is. Honest language is simply expected. That being said, since this is the last round, if my opponent is not satisfied with this argument and he wants to have a whole other debate about that statement, l'd be more than happy to take him up on that.
I have shown why my opponent’s arguments followed inconsistent logic, had serious problems, or were straight up wrong. On top of that, I’ve also shown that a world with deception has significant advantages over a world without deception. I’ll conclude this debate by listing some points that Pro has failed to effectively address or address at all (if I miss any, I’m sure the jury will notice).
- Openness with criminal records leads to a higher rate of repeat criminals.
- My many examples of non-deceptive water brands.
- Since the brands aren’t deceptive, consumers wouldn’t end up changing their habits in regards to bottled water.
- Clean coal does not remove mountaintops because of the process, but only because of the energy demand, and for that reason, coupled with lower emissions, clean coal is honest.
- In the North Korea hypothetical, it would be better to keep the situation secret.
- Deception improves critical thinking skills.
- Lies are often harmless, and even keep people happy.
- Deception is deception, regardless of legal standards that are set.
- The absence of deception does not prevent tyrannies.
- Deception would have to be completely standard based on principle, and would not differ on a case-by-case basis.
- Things are appreciated on a continuum, so honest talk would not be prized.
I thank my opponent for a very interesting and thought provoking debate, and I thank the Jurors for the time that they will spend reading this debate.