The Instigator
DucoNihilum
Pro (for)
Losing
17 Points
The Contender
Evan_MacIan
Con (against)
Winning
18 Points

Argumentation skills are generally more important than geography to most educated people

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 3/21/2008 Category: Science
Updated: 9 years ago Status: Voting Period
Viewed: 3,232 times Debate No: 3318
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (7)
Votes (8)

 

DucoNihilum

Pro

I would just like to expand on exactly what my premise intends to cover. It intends to cover my belief that, while some people put heavy emphasis on geography (particularly geography in relation to exactly where other nations are, or even perhaps capitals of US states), even making claims that people (often Americans) are stupid for not knowing very much about it (http://www.cnn.com...) () I believe that geography has little practical purpose for a good deal of even educated Americans, especially amongst something much more important, argumentation skills in general. (The use of Ethos, Pathos, and Logos (And other such modes of appeal) in ordinary life). I'd like this to be four rounds so I can keep with my bad habit of not creating full opening statements.
Evan_MacIan

Con

Unfortunately, my first argument will rely heavily on semantics, and while I despise that type of debate, the argument is valid and it would be silly not to post it. The second and third arguments have considerably more substance (or else I would not have accepted this debate).

1.The basic objection that any legalistic minded person would offer to such a topic: the only way the pro can affirm the topic is with some sort of survey showing that educated people do in fact believe argumentation more important than geography.

I don't actually want any debate on this point. Unless the pro believes that he is not semantically obligated to offer evidence of this kind, I don't particularly care to debate this. I myself would not accept this as a voting argument; I am merely offering it as an opportunity for those who do.

I do not contest that geography is not generally practical. However, I contend that much of what makes a person educated has nothing to do with practicality. In arguments two and three I will examine the role of geography and argumentation to the educated, and to being educated: the two possible interpretations of the topic.

2.Seemingly, importance TO the educated would easily go to argumentation. However, with a little reflection, we find that this is not the case. An educated person will obviously have little respect for a person unable to state his positions clearly and effectively. It must be pointed out, though, that they will have even less respect for someone who doesn't know that New York is the capital of New York or that Iraq is in the Middle East. An educated person will realize, upon reflection, that a person ignorant of geography has had deficient schooling and so is less worthy of respect, and they will also realize that lack of argumentation could easily be a flaw having nothing to do with education or even intellect. That educated person will call to mind the example of Thomas Aquinas, known to his classmates as the "Dumb Ox," or with the benefit of hindsight known as "Doctor Angelicus," "Doctor Universalis" and "Doctor Communis." An educated person knows that lack of argumentation implies practically nothing except lack of argumentation, while lack of geography clearly implies ignorance.

3.The preceding argument applies just as well to BEING an educated person. On top of that, being educated in no wise implies having any intelletual capacity at all, other than memory. Education means the imparting of knowledge, and in no way implies that the knowledge must be useful to the person. Clearly, a person ignorant of geography is not, in that respect, educated. At the same time, a person deficient in logos is not in the traditional sense in any way uneducated. I mention this partly as an aside, as my preceding arguments clearly do not apply to the logos aspect of argumentation. I still feel it is unnecessary to cover every aspect of the term "argumentation," as the general rebutal is best, but as long as I have the argument, I may as well give it.

I would just like to say as a post script that I am aware that Albany is the capital of New York. If you found my argumentation lacking in substance, I hope you at least admit that my error regarding the state capital of New York far more blatant and annoying.
Debate Round No. 1
DucoNihilum

Pro

1. Did you know that;

The largest city in the United States is New York with 8,008,278 people (2000 census data).

There are 9 active volcanoes in the United States? Did you also know that All but 2 are in Alaska ?

That the deepest of the Great Lakes is Lake Superior at 1,333 ft.

Did you know that the tallest building in North America is The Sears Tower in Chicago? It Stands at 1,450 ft in height.

2. Notice that you were probably not persuaded by my first argument of this round. In fact, not only were you most likely not persuaded- but it did absolutely nothing to enhance my character. The use of geography has few real world applications, whereas the use of argumentation skills have many. Argumentation skills can be used from having fun on this website, to business, to courting the girl you fancy.

1R. I will respond to 1 later in the debate if I have time, I think we can both agree that there are more important things to discuss right now.

2R. You try to draw up the argument that lack of argumentation skills simply means a lack of argumentation skills, whereas a lack of geography skills is ignorance. I find this wrong in a few ways. 1. It implies geography should come up in general use. Geography skills will rarely, if ever come up in somebody's regular life. Practically speaking, argumentation skills will be used much more often than geography skills, and even if people put a higher regard to to geography than argumentation skills, judging argumentation skills will come up far more than geography skills. 2. Argumentation skills are still far more important than geography skills. The inability to construct a good argument can cause serious issues with the credibility of the speaker when he is trying to make one, whereas geography skills may cause a speaker to lack credibility while using them. Argumentation skills are used from everything from courting, to business proposals, to fun, to trying to get your family to do what you want to do for the weekend. In fact, argumentation skills are often used in scientific fields, even geographers must use argumentation in their field- arguably even more so than geography itself! Geography, however, is not usually needed in any of those contexts, and might only be mentioned in passing while talking about current events. While getting a state capital mixed up with another might lead to some minor embarrassment for you in the debate, I'm sure that nobody would actually vote against you for it. People would, however, vote against you if you lacked argumentation skills- for example, if you claimed that "Well, your name is duco, sounds a lot like doucho to me, douche" I am afraid it would reduce your credibility far more so than getting a simple geography trivia wrong.

3. True, but that doesn't mean that it's not important for a educated person. In fact, lacking the attribute of argumentation skills might make somebody who is formally 'educated' seem as if they are not.
Evan_MacIan

Con

I'm enjoying this debate immensely.

1. Did you know that;

The largest city in the United States is Wisconsin, with a population of 174, 392.

There are nine active volcanoes in the United States? And two of them are in New Hampshire?

The deepest of the Great Lakes is Lake Erie, at 1,450 in depth.

The tallest building in North America is the McDonald's tower, extending 10,987 Big Mac's above street level.

2. Notice that not only were you not convinced by my first argument, but if you took it seriously you are forced to the conclusion that I am a moron.

1R. Absolutely.

2R. I've just realized that I've given you a great deal of ground that you don't deserve. But before I pull the rug out from under you, I'll extend an argument that I already have. This topic is not about people and practicality, but about educated people and what is important to them. The two things are highly distinct. As I said before, a basic knowledge of geography would be considered far more important to an educated person than the ability to hold some position. To my experience, the more educated you are, the less likely you are to hold firm opinions. It also needs to be said that you seem to be confusing educated people with intelligent people. They are not at all the same thing.

And again, because of the high level of specialization in society, practical or useful men are generally the opposite of educated. It is not at all practical to quote Shakespeare or get a business degree (who uses that in daily life away from work), but it is very practical to do your own plumbing or change your own oil.

But, if you want to go into practicality, I suppose I'd be more than happy to oblige. Up until now, I've been letting you get away with a specialist definition of geography while using a general definition of argumentation. You can kiss that goodbye.

Taking the specialist route, I would not question the intelligence of a man who could not form a syllogism or structure a disadvantage. I might if a man couldn't name his own state capital or the capital of his country.

Likewise, I might question a man's intelligence if he couldn't make up a good argument to save his life. I would certainly, however, question his intelligence if he couldn't make up a good set of directions to his own house.

To take your own examples: a man can be a pencil pusher without arguing with his boss, but he cannot be even a pencil pusher if he can't find his office. Argumentation may be necessary to get a girl to go out with you, but geography is certainly necessary to find the location of the restaurant you're taking her to.

I will, however, concede that argumentation is more fun. This is because it is far more frivolous. You do not enjoy geography because it enjoys an oppressing omnipresence in your own life. You are bored by it because you are beholden to it, like breathing. Argument may be a spice of life, but geography is a staple. Aristotle was a logician, and Topeka is my state's capital, and while I could get on without knowing either one of those, I could not get on without knowing the street in front of my own house. I could, however, get on without knowing a logical fallacy in front of my own eyes.

But again, we need not be practical. As practical geography is more basic than practical argumentation, so educated geography is more basic than educated argumentation. Iraq is less obscure than a topicality attack, and the Middle East is a broader subject than Aristotelian logic.
Debate Round No. 2
DucoNihilum

Pro

It's clear my opponent has no interest in honest debate, rather he is more interested in debating semantics that he agreed not to bring up again in opening 1. I'm honestly not in the mood for a purely semantic debate when my proposition was arguably not even flawed. I see this eventually going down to debating definitions of the word argumentation, the word geography, even the word 'to', etc. Honestly, it's pointless. While I find it fun to go after somebody for drastic semantic flaws, It's no fun when the entire (long) debate is based entirely on semantics. I refuse to get into a semantic debate. Vote for me however you want.

I contend that for most people, skills in rhetoric (argumentation) as we classically see them are more important than skills in geography as we classically see them. While I might have not had the time to make my proposition specific to avoid any possible semantic misunderstanding, it's clear that that is what I was hoping to debate here rather than semantics. Skills in Geography are often seen as important to people, and taught frequently in high school. Specifically, knowing state capitals or where exactly other countries are. This has no practical purpose. Argumentation skills, however, will be used everywhere. Whether you are trying to get your boss to give you a raise, to getting a different shift, to trying to woo the girl you fancy. Argumentation must be used in business reports, in intelligent discussion- almost everywhere in real life. Knowing where the state capitals are, knowing where exactly Iraq is in relation to Iran have no practical purpose in every day life.

A discussion in where I confuse the capital of Illinois for Springfield when the capital is actually Chicago will probably make you think a little less of me, however, your drinking alcohol, so you are evil- please don't vote for my opponent, it would be wrong, you don't want to get people killed from drunk driving, do you?

I appeal to the voters, which part of my previous paragraph did you find most irking, the fact that I made a very serious geographical error, or the fact that I used an Ad Hominem fallacy? Would your vote be more swayed by me using primarily illogical arguments, or would your vote be more swayed by me not immediately demonstrating my skill in geography to you? This is the only debate in my recent memory in which I even mentioned geography skills, whereas I have used my skills in argumentation for each and every one of these debates. When was the last time you really had to practically use geography in real life, outside of something that musn't be learned though schooling or real research (like the example my opponent used about finding their house)? Chances are, you will say never. However, when was the last time you had to convince your boss to give you a raise, to convince your professor the real reason why you were late was that you had a flat tire rather than a hangover, when was the last time you had to convince people like you and me on a debating website? Chances are, you can think of a time you had to use your argumentation skills at least every week, whereas your geography skills only come in handy when traveling or when taking tests in high school.
Evan_MacIan

Con

I will thank my opponent not to question my integrity in one of those ad hominem fallacies that are apparently so terrible.

"1. I'm honestly not in the mood for a purely semantic debate when my proposition was arguably not even flawed."
You clearly weren't paying attention. I did use semantics by saying that if we use one sense of a word, we ought to use the same sense for the other word. But after that, I blew your position to bits in either sense. That is not a purely semantic argument, and I'll thank you not to misrepresent it. YOU'RE the one arguing that my semantics are wrong now, anyway.

But lets see what you think the topic says using the semantics of the words "as we classically see them."
"Argumentation skills (rational thought) are generally more important than geography (state capitals) to most educated(practical) people."
No, there is clearly nothing wrong with that topic of all. You basically wanted to debate that a necessary thing is more practical than trivia. You'll excuse me if I disagree that that is a good debate.

You have assumed your own position. It is my contention that what is flawed in this debate is not semantics, but your own conception of geography. I have taken debate as a class just as I've taken geography as a class, and they are both completely impractical. I am challenging your interpretation of the topic because it degrades geography to a class, which is the wrong approach to life. Why should you degrade a subject when you can appreciate it just as easily? My way makes geography something vital and important, and yours makes it drudgery. Which approach to things do you think is better in life? You've already chosen in regards to argumentation, why not chose the same for geography? Regardless of the way you choose, though, at least be consistent. If you want to be a pessimist about things, that's your affair, but be a consistent pessimist.

By all means, accuse me of not following an interpretation of this topic that leaves me no ground. But don't degrade this by debate by accusing me of dishonesty. You wanted to debate something you'd win almost by definition (semantics), and I say that a better debate is being consistent in the way you value things in life. Or at least, if it isn't a better debate, it is certainly a better way to debate, and that is how I've debated. If you don't like it, prove your way is better.

Now, for specifics.
"It's no fun when the entire (long) debate is based entirely on semantics."
While I do not question the sincerity of this statement, the idea behind it is certainly false. I had one semantic based premise (that our sense of one word in the topic should be the same as the other word in the topic), and I built the bulk of my argument off of that in a manner that had nothing at all to do with semantics. The bulk of my side of the debate, as anyone can see, has not been semantics. Debate it with joy in your heart, then.

"it's clear that that is what I was hoping to debate here rather than semantics."
Not true. You were hoping to debate in one semantic sense, while I debated in another (better) one.

"I appeal to the voters, which part of my previous paragraph did you find most irking, the fact that I made a very serious geographical error, or the fact that I used an Ad Hominem fallacy?"
The geographical error was not serious at all. Saying that Springfield is the capital of China is a serious geographical error. And plus, you made multiple logical fallacies all of which were as blatant as possible. I at least tried to make my errors in geography and rhetoric comparable.

"Would your vote be more swayed by me using primarily illogical arguments, or would your vote be more swayed by me not immediately demonstrating my skill in geography to you?"
If you translate this sentence to the semantically unbiased version, it reads "Would your vote be more swayed by actively using incorrect arguments, or would your vote be more swayed by not immediately proving my geographical expertise to you." The fallacies are supposed to be blatant, and the geography is supposed to be untested. That's not really a fair question.

"I have used my skills in argumentation for each and every one of these debates."
Well, duh.

"When was the last time you really had to practically use geography in real life, outside of something that musn't be learned though schooling or real research (like the example my opponent used about finding their house)?"
You mean outside of something that is practical? Why should it be something that you have to learn in school (since your phrasing is so unwieldy)? Do you generally make a habit of phrasing things so that you win by definition even if there is no cause for you to phrase them that way? (other than the cause of you winning by definition)

All that crud aside, you've completely ignored my first argument (which is valid regardless of semantics). Education is not practicality, and in school Thomas Aquinas was considerably more educated than his peers while being so bad at rhetoric that they offered to tutor him. Frankly, you should lose just for ignoring this argument the entire time. It isn't even a particularly difficult one to beat.

But seriously, don't question my integrity. It makes you look like a jerk when you size up the character of someone using two posts on an internet debate.
Debate Round No. 3
DucoNihilum

Pro

DucoNihilum forfeited this round.
Evan_MacIan

Con

It would appear my opponent has forfeited. I will therefore give a summation of the arguments.

If you accept my semantics and use general defintions, geography is more important. If you accept my semantics and use specific defintions, geography is more important. If you accept my opponent's semantics (you shouldn't, since he didn't justify them), my opponent never refuted my Aquinas argument, and geography is still more important to educated people.

It would seem that I have won across the board, although it is dispointing that this is mainly because my opponent never responded to half of my arguments.
Debate Round No. 4
7 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 7 records.
Posted by sadolite 9 years ago
sadolite
I new you would say something like that, I busted your balls and you cant stand it. lol
Posted by DucoNihilum 9 years ago
DucoNihilum
There are specific semantic issues you can call somebody on, that specific example was a bad example because it didn't apply.
Posted by sadolite 9 years ago
sadolite
You should be more clear, as other people do this to me all the time when I make comments or have debates. I knew what you were talking about the whole time. I was just busting your balls on semantics. One could say that your argumentation skills are lacking in this instance lol
Posted by DucoNihilum 9 years ago
DucoNihilum
"Largest" can mean many things, from 'size' to population. I was speaking of the population.
Posted by sadolite 9 years ago
sadolite
No, your statement is not valid. Sitika, Alaska is the largest city in the U.S. But you are correct about the population of Sitika, Alaska 8,986
Posted by DucoNihilum 9 years ago
DucoNihilum
Um, Sitika, Alaska has a population of 8,986 as of 2005, so unless they lost several million people since 2000, my statement was still valid.
Posted by sadolite 9 years ago
sadolite
Sitka, Alaska is the largest city in United States. Duco you must concede this fact. New York has the biggest population. And don't try to get out of admitting you were wrong. Your statement is clear and not open for interpretation. "The largest city in the United States is New York with 8,008,278 people (2000 census data)." You clearly state that New york is the 'Largest city in the United States" and then you state what the population is. Sitka, Alaska is the largest city in the United States.
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