The Instigator
Pro (for)
4 Points
The Contender
Con (against)
3 Points

Any given person should do debate

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Post Voting Period
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after 2 votes the winner is...
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 3/5/2011 Category: Miscellaneous
Updated: 5 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 1,246 times Debate No: 15144
Debate Rounds (2)
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Votes (2)




First of all, I would like to thank whoever my contender shall be for choosing this topic to debate on.

Arguments shall begin in this round, and the con must, using a Net Benefits approach, show why debate is not a good idea.

--Benefits of debate--

There are many clear benefits to debate, and for everyone, not just the debater.

Students Benefit:

61% increase in critical thinking skills

25% improvements in literacy rates

95-99% college matriculation rates among at risk students

Over 150 colleges and universities actively recruit urban debaters for admission and scholarships

Urban debaters in most cities have high school graduation rates above 90% (national avg. 72%)

Colleges & Parents Benefit:

Only 32% of all students leave high school qualified to attend four-year colleges. When urban debate leagues informs parents that debaters receive millions in scholarships just for debating, they see new options for their children. More than 150 colleges offer debate scholarships. Universities use urban debaters to diversify their entering classes with promising students from neighborhoods they cannot access normally.

School Districts Benefit:

Creating positive culture is a key component of building district-wide norms of academic excellence. Reaching just 5% of students with the UDL model has driven schools to add AP courses, upgrade their libraries, and expand their educational objectives for all students. Debate works. It’s why debate was required in every school district for decades.

Communities Benefit:

High school graduates live longer, have better general health and are less likely than high school dropouts to use publicly financed health insurance programs. If the 18-year-olds who failed to graduate had advanced one grade, it would save nearly $2.3 billion in publicly financed medical care, aggregated over a lifetime.

The Nation Benefits:

1.2 million students fail to graduate on time costing the nation more than $312 billion in lost wages, taxes and productivity over their lifetimes. For every city where debate flourishes, their earning potential increases exponentially, saving billions. (1)

As we can clearly see from this source, debating has benefits.

Aside from direct debate benefits, debaters meet new people the majority of the time and can make new friends. It expands their horizons, creates new opportunities of all sorts, increases speaking skills… Debate is obviously something that is beneficial and therefore I believe that any given person should do debate.



Can I begin by saying this: this debate is not about your average person. This debate is about whether a given person exists from whom the net benefits of debate outweigh the net costs. I firmly believe that such people do indeed exist.

My opponent has pointed out a whole bunch of facts about debating. Every one of them assumes that the given person is a school student in a country or state with an established debating scene. My opponent goes on to assume that the given person lives in the USA specifically. All of the above is an ideal environment for debate. But surely that ideal environment is neither prevalent nor the moot of the debate. The moot of the debate is whether ANY given person should do debate, not a person in ideal circumstances.

It is my argument that not all people should do debate. In this round, I will argue that a mother of five working two jobs in Palau, struggling to make ends meet, should not take up debating when given the opportunity. Granted, that's an extreme. But it cannot be denied that this lady is a person, and a given person at that. If you accept she should not do debate, then great! Victory is mine. If not, then my opponent wins. My opponent's burden of proof is therefore to show how this woman would significantly benefit from debate.

That rules out all of my opponent's analysis. The bit about students benefits doesn't count because she's not a student. She doesn't have a college and her parents are dead, so they don't benefit either. Palau doesn't have school districts, so they don't benefit. The only bit of analysis that counts is that the nation might benefit, but here my opponent's figures assume the United States is everyone. That's not true. Besides, I contend that the woman will not have the time to do debating well.

Debating takes significant amounts of time. This is even more true for countries without an established debating structure, such as Palau. A debate on Palau can take days, as participants need to sail to the host island for a debate there. Given that she works two jobs, which she needs to do to support her family, she can hardly sacrifice that sort of time.

For her, therefore, "doing debate" means to learn and practice, but not actually compete. Since she does not compete, she has to do all of this work and never actually see the reward from it.

Psychological study after psychological study has shown that one does not change behavior after just learning. One needs to apply that learning in real life. Even if this were not so, however, this woman would learn nothing, because she already knows how to read and write, and doesn't need to think critically in her line of work (hotel portering). Given that she will not actually change her life, all of your national benefits will not accrue. All of your other benefits also require competition to accrue, and are therefore void. All that debate would do for her is force her to socialise more with the people in her village in a debating forum. Even this is not a benefit of debate, for she can do that anyway without taking up debating.

There are a number of harms debating brings this person. Namely:
1) STRESS - as she will have less time to dedicate to zoning out after a hard day of work.
2) LOSS OF PRODUCTIVITY - as she will be tired each day after dedicating time to debating the night before.
3) DEPRESSION - from the impact of learning all manner of concerning facts about the world yet being helpless to solve the issues involved.
4) COMMUNITY REJECTION - as she would have to skip church to maintain that lifestyle and be unable to participate in other community activities.

That woman in Palau, although she will be the focus for me in this debate, is by no means alone in her predicament. Millions of people are too busy to find the time for debating. In modern society, as time grows ever more fragile, mirror images of that Palauian woman become more common. Perhaps it is a sad sight. Debating will only make it worse.

Wouldn't you agree?
Debate Round No. 1


Thank you for responding to my arguments, and I look forward to this last round.

First I would like to clear up what I meant by my resolution. I would have thought that my opponent would have enough common sense to draw from my argument that I am meaning an average american kid (not adult). Of course it's ridiculous to think that this given woman would debate. She has important things to do.

My opponent has created a false dilemma and basically an appeal to pity: a woman with no time on her hands, so on and so forth. By not fully understanding what I meant by my resolution, he has created a false problem with debating.

It would be impossible to debate based on ANY person in the world seeing as you could bring up any number of examples, as my opponent has done.

Let's look at the bigger picture: do most average american kids have so much work to do that they couldn't spend a few minutes of each day debating? Of course not! Most kids do their homework quickly and jump on the Xbox as quickly as possible. These average americans have the time to do debate.

The last few paragraphs have completely ruled out my opponent's ideas, but let's go point by point where he has exaggerated.

"Debating takes significant amounts of time."

Not necessarily. It depends how much you get involved. You don't even need to study debate to debate on this site. It could take as little as a few minutes of your day.

"Psychological study after psychological study has shown that one does not change behavior after just learning."

Care to reference any? Plus, as I mentioned, it's common sense that I meant PRACTICING debate as well, not just learning it. Do = practicing.

1. Hardly so. You're not stressed right now. Yet you're debating. It's stress, yes, if you're so busy that you can barely squeeze debate in, but for the average american it's no big deal at ALL. Plus, any school will mean a certain level of stress. Debate is no different, it just doesn't have a significant amount of stress

2. Since when does typing up a page or so of arguments make you so tired out that you can't even do anything? This was clearly exaggerated by my opponent in his wish to win this debate.

3. Yet another exaggeration. I learn about the terrible conditions in Russia every day. Am I depressed? Not one bit. It's as if someone told you to stop reading the newspaper because it tells you about the world. You can't just shut your eyes and be oblivious.

4. Ugh. See a pattern yet? Another exaggeration. A few minutes of your day does not mean you have to skip events. Secondly, you might skip a few things to go to a debate, but that is your choice. Thirdly, skipping a couple of events does not mean skipping church, and it DEFINITELY does not mean community rejection.

As you can see from these 4 points, my opponent clearly is jumping to huge conclusions and exaggerating blatantly. And as he conceded that the average american will have the benefits I showed, there is clearly a net benefit to debating.

Don't be blinded by his false dilemma of a woman trying to debate. Common sense will lead you to the conclusion that I did not mean some bum in India should take up debating.

Also, I would like to remind my opponent that he may not bring up new arguments, only respond to the arguments I have started, because if he brought up a new argument I would not be able to respond to it and that is unfair. If he creates a new argument of any sort, I would ask that you take disciplinary action and vote for me as a consequence.

Thank you, please vote for pro since con has brought up only a logical fallacy as his argument, and exaggerated his four points.


OK, what we just witnessed was my opponent wasting 3/4 of his speech. Having conceded that my given woman should not do debate, he then went on to rebut my contentions. My contentions, however, are meaningless if we both agree that this woman should not do debate, as this is what the contentions are out to prove. His analysis all presupposed not a Palauian woman but "an average American kid" by his own admission. He calls my analysis a false dilemma, yet concedes that the dilemma exists ("it's ridiculous to think that this given woman would debate"). Then he goes on to call it a logical fallacy, yet he never tells us explicitly what the logical fallacy is (a false dilemma is not a logical fallacy as it is possible to have a false dilemma but for the argument to be strictly logical).

The remaining quarter was interesting analysis that "any given person" CLEARLY means "an average American kid." He then goes on the ad hominum, claiming that I have no common sense for failing to recognize that all given people are average American kids. Although my opponent agrees that my character is a "given woman", she clearly cannot be a given person because she is not American and not a kid (clearly, only American kids are people). Besides, she's not an average Palauian either. Therefore how can she possibly qualify as a good example?

Well, I have to admit, that's a stunningly good argument. Being non-average, non-American and not a kid myself, I was interested to see such amazingly sophisticated analysis that I am not a person. Indeed, I should nominate my opponent's great philosophical treatise for a Nobel prize. Such wisdom! It's all so common sense! How foolish of me to dare question my opponent's ability to jump to conclusions based on absolutely no evidence at all! I suppose he must be God or perhaps some even higher being, to be able to make these judgments and for them to instantly be true.

OK, enough satire. Seriously now. The resolution affirms that it applies to any given person. My opponent has no justification as to why "any given person" means "an average American kid." No dictionary in the world gives that definition. Not even conservapedia gives that definition. If my opponent thinks any given person will always be an average American kid, he is sorely mistaken. In my first round, I provided analysis as to why it is my opponent's burden of proof that this Palauian lady should do debate. My opponent has not responded, either to that analysis or in response to that analysis. He refuses to engage on the issues that are important in this debate except to appeal to what he calls "common sense." I'm pretty sure that it's common sense that if my opponent concedes that she's given (which he did), and that she's a person (which he should, women are people too!), then she qualifies under this moot. I'm equally sure that it's common sense that this motion is not restricted to average American kids. If it were restricted to them, it would have specified them either as a definition in Round 1 affirmative (as would have been proper conduct) or, better still, in the motion itself (replacing "any given person" with "an average American kid").

Please vote con since pro has entirely failed to understand his own resolution.
Debate Round No. 2
No comments have been posted on this debate.
2 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 2 records.
Vote Placed by Cliff.Stamp 5 years ago
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Total points awarded:03 
Reasons for voting decision: Semantic, but clear win to Con on the grounds of "any given person".
Vote Placed by BlackVoid 5 years ago
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Total points awarded:40 
Reasons for voting decision: Ridiculous semantics by con. No, not a perfectly designed resolution. But we all know what the topic is about. Pro please give soruces for your stats in the future.