The Instigator
Pro (for)
2 Points
The Contender
Con (against)
1 Points

Debate Class should be mandatory for all Applicable High School Students.

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Post Voting Period
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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 9/7/2013 Category: Education
Updated: 4 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 3,403 times Debate No: 37449
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (3)
Votes (1)




Resolution: High Schools should have a Debate-based class (be it Logical Thinking, Logical Conversation, and any related topic thereof) mandatory for all Applicable Students:

High Schools: Any form of secondary education, usually including 9th-12th grade. Referring to Public High Schools.

Applicable Students: All students who would be logically applicable for such a class. Mentally Challenged students, for example, would not be logically applicable for such a class.

-No Trolling
-The Debate is referring only to United States High Schools
-Clean cut sections. Use Rich Text for more comfortable reading.

First Round is up to Con.
If Con uses R1 for acceptance only, the debate will carry on. If he, however, uses R1 for his first argument, then Con may not reply with an argument or rebuttals in R3.

Basically... Con chooses who starts and ends this debate.


I look forward to this debate.


I'd like to thank my opponent for opening their case. This should be fun since I've never done a debate with 10,000 characters per round before.

I'll use this round for acceptance only so I won't go into the topic. I think the resolution is generally quite clear anyway and I'm proud to oppose it. I know very little about the finer details of how exactly education is structured in the USA but I should be able to pick most of that up anyway, and my guess is that it won't be very important to the debate.

With that in mind, I wish my opponent very good luck and look forward to reading their case.
Debate Round No. 1


Thank you for accepting.

Premise I: The Nature of Education

While the Government may have agendas regarding Education and the School System, their agendas aren't the only governing nature of the Education System. One prime nature of Education is teaching students how to analyze and break apart a situation, apply logic and knowledge, and come to a conclusion on how to best reply to the issue... Most call this Problem-Solving. We find this in Math, Science, and Personal Finance (or whatever your school calls it), etc...

To break it down, One of Education's prime natures is to teach the following:
- Apply logic
- Apply reasoning
- Break down and analyze problems
- Retain and call forth relevant knowledge
- The ability to learn
- Form answers and conclusions.

Premise II: The Nature of Debate

Debating, in most forms, requires the breaking down of information, situations, and evidence to better analyze and respond to the problem with a coherent answer. Before holding a debate, one must learn those skills enough that they can apply them.

Debating might be personal, or between people, either way, the idea remains the same. Analyzing a problem and applying logic and reason to your conclusion. The main aspect of debating are as follow:
- Apply Reasoning
- Apply Logic
- Analyzing something
- The ability to research complex topics
- The ability to connect relevant material to a premise or conclusion
- The ability to see relevance and irrelevance
- Understanding Fallacies
- Form an accurate or reasonable conclusion

Argument I: The Nature of Both

As seen in the Premises, both Education and Debate revolve around a similar idea... Analyzing a problem (be it a situation or an argument) and apply relevant logic and reasoning to form a coherent response or conclusion to that problem.

Hosting a debate class would benefit the students in other classes as the components of debate would enhance their ability to operate in other classes. While other classes do try to teach these skills, Debating best applies each one in every debate. This makes learning how to debate a necessity for learning and practicing those skills. Debate Class combines each of the traits into one class, where each trait is more effectively applied to the subject and the ability to use each trait together is emphasized on.

School would accomplish it's goal more efficiently by enrolling each student in a class for Debate.

Conclusion I: Debate Class wouldn't just stay coherent with the Prime Nature of Education, but would much more effectively accomplish that nature. The effect of increased Critical Thinking, Application of Logic, Learning, and Analysis would better benefit the student's ability to excel in and learn from the other classes.

Argument II: Benefits to Society

The average IQ in the US is 98, while not extremely low, it's below average, putting the US behind at least 18 nations, 11 of which are above 100(1). Learning the skills of debating naturally increases IQ because IQ literally measures those same skills.

"What is this cognitive ability being measured? Simply put, IQ tests are designed to measure your general ability to solve problems and understand concepts. This includes reasoning ability, problem-solving ability, ability to perceive relationships between things and ability to store and retrieve information." - (2)

Intelligent Quotient measures:
- Problem Solving
- Understanding Relationships (and Relevance)
- Reasoning
- Ability to Store Information
- Ability to Retrieve Information (2)

Debating Require and Exercises:
- Problem Solving
- Understanding Relationships (and Relevance)
- Reasoning
- Ability to Store Information
- Ability to Retrieve Information
- Ability to Analyze

Although it sounds like I keep changing what Debating is, I'm not. I'm rephrasing to best show connections. Like saying it's lighter in here one moment, then saying it's brighter. Different words, same meaning.

Debating exercises the abilities that measure IQ. By putting an emphases on Debating, you help students practice those abilities, and by exercising them, they strengthen the traits that get measured. While higher IQ's do not represent higher intelligence, they do often come hand and hand. Increasing IQ early on in High School will help a student make the most of what he/she learns inside and outside school.

Another benefit to society is the increased ability of the general population to properly analyze and understand Current Events. All too often people believe false opinions about current events and Government. A population that can better analyze, and apply reasoning to current events and information they are told will best be able to understand truths and call out bullsh!t. This isn't just an important trait everyone should have, but a necessary and fundamental trait all American's should be taught. The Ability to analyze Political moves and produce a better picture of what Government is doing, and the ability to not only break apart information someone (friend, parent, MEDIA) gave you, but be able to apply reasoning and determine whether or not they are wrong, is crucial to the population.

This would also help deal with a major issue in the Nation... The Bandwagon. The Bandwagon represents ideas that most people only consider true because they appear popular. Often called argumentum ad populum. By learning about Fallacies, AND how to best determine, analyze, and counter fallacies, we can better close the number of times the following are used:
- Historian's fallacy
- Post hoc
- Appeal to emotion
- Argumentum ad lazarum (and Argumentum ad crumenam)
- Appeal to Authority
These fallacies are far to common in today's society. They would become less common if everyone can 1) determine when they themselves are using them and avoid doing so, and 2) determine and counter other peoples usage of the fallacy. Young people, and the general population, are bad about the Bandwagon Fallacy and each other fallacy I mentioned. The path to a smarter and more reason/logic focused population is the elimination of Fallacies as a common occurrence. Since a prime objective of understanding Debate is to understand fallacies, learning Debate would absolutely curve the over-usage of them,

Conclusion II: In everyday society, the following issues occur; Applying fallacy over reason, low Intelligent Quotients, and false and Fallacious information being shared by people and media. A good example of each of these is Facebook... Learning the skills applied in Debating, and generally being able to Debate the information you come in contact with, will improve this issues.


Argument III: Costs

Averaging the cost of each elective (minus foreign language), it comes down to around $425 per pupil.(3) This cost includes paychecks, equipment, and maintenance, as well as utilities. The overall cost of running a Debate Class depends on how many years of it is required. We will assume that since each student per grade is measured, that the math accounts for as many classes as required to teach each student of that grade.(4)

1 Year: $1,74 billion
2 Years: $3.30 billion
3 Years: $4.81 billion
4 Years: $6.25 billion

I don't feel a full 4 years of Debate Class is needed. Two classes is enough for simple and advanced debating, learning of and repetition of what you learned is good enough. With every student taking the class twice, you would increase the National Spending on Education by 00.5%. This implies a total of $22 a year per US Taxpayer (145,370,240 as of 2011)(5)

Of course that $22 number isn't relevant. Not everyone pays the same percent of the taxes. The top 10 percent pay 68 percent of all taxes as of 2007 (6). If that trend hasn't changed, we can conclude the cost of the class for two years will cost the bottom 90% of taxpayers $17.15 a year each. This, however, doesn't account for the variable of Student Displacement. A student moves from Art class to Debate class, while the student is costing money by being there, he isn't costing money for the Art class. $3.30 billion dollars isn't being added to budget, but simply displaced from one class to another. This means that Debate Classes would add very little to the cost.

Some schools do not have to build new classrooms to have a Debate Class added in, but for the sake of covering all ground, we will assume every school requires a new classroom built. How many classrooms? Doing the math, 7,490,000 students (2 grades worth) divided by (18.6 per class * 7 periods) = 57,527 classes, slightly over 2 classes per school.(7) At a cost of $158.40 per suare foot for school construction as of 2013,(8) at an average classroom dimensions of 25 x 30, the cost of building new classrooms cost be estimated at $6.83 billion.

If you spend the cost across half a decade, it would be $1.3 billion a year... $8 average per tax payer. This is assuming every debate class needs a new room built.

Conclusion III: Debate Class would cost very little to add to every roster, and would cost little to maintain.

4) (file 243)
5) (All Returns: Adjusted Gross Income, Exemptions, Deductions, and Tax Items: 2011)

Conclusion: The benefits of a mandatory Debate Class, as seen in Conclusion I and II, are easily worth the extremely low costs of such a class as seen in Conclusion III. Debate Class would better accomplish the Goals and Nature of Education, and will benefit Society as a whole.


I thank my opponent for opening the debate and apologize for my slowness.

I accept that debate can be used in education as a valuable tool for learning important principles. I also concur that once a curriculum is established, the ongoing costs of running a debate program would be minimal. And I might as well agree Americans are stupid.

The problem with my opponent's model is that never provides any justification for why debate should be a class at all. Flash cards are also valuable tools for learning, but in and of itself that does not justify flash cards being a class. Wikipedia can be useful, but making Wikipedia a class might not be. I have three key arguments, with rebuttal integrated.

1. Debate provides no useful exclusive benefit

All of the things pro listed under his topic of "the nature of debate" are also "the nature of mathematics" or "the nature of writing essays". Analysis, logic, reasoning, researching etc are all an essential part of the learning process in general, and therefore all the classes that teach you anything will be able to provide the benefits my opponent's model provides. Since classes such as math and language are taught in high schools under the status quo, this shows that America is not currently lacking education in these areas. And all those harms my opponent showed of low IQ in America etc aren't because America does not currently TRY to raise the IQ of students. It's simply that they fail.

That's important because there is a demonstrated precedent in the current system for such a model failing. If you take kids out of math class and into debate class, then numeracy skills will fall, and ability to talk trash on any topic will rise, but IQ won't because both classes tried to teach the skills that IQ measures.

There is this weird fallacy that many debaters hold that they are smarter than everyone else, and that therefore debate must make you smarter. This is incorrect. Like many subjects, smarter people often have an advantage in debating, therefore are more likely to succeed in it, and therefore are more likely to be seen doing it. Being able to stand behind a podium and say "The proposition in the debate is wrong" does not mean your IQ increases any more than being able to say "E=MC2". Smarter people are also more likely to win games of chess, but it doesn't follow that teaching everyone to play chess will make them all smarter.

Nor does debate focus on these things more than other subjects. Debate for debate's sake is quite meaningless - you need to debate about different subjects, like politics, religion or science. It's truly cross-curricular, and that's where the logic comes in. For example, in a debate about the current crisis in Syria, debaters would probably draw conclusions on the basis of what they know about Syria, something they could have also done equally well if not better in a class that's actually about politics. All the things debating can teach you on top of that are tricks by which you can win an argument, for example, how to strawman and get away with it. Recognising strawmen is just as useful to a class on politics or social studies or economics or anything else, so those classes have exactly the same incentives to teach that material.

Pro hinges his whole case on this one presumption debate class better emphasises these abilities, with reference to a lack of IQ in comparison to other countries. None of these countries has a program like what my opponent is proposing, and indeed the United States has a far more established debate program than countries like Italy where formal debating in high schools is still very much in its infancy.

As a related point, anyone familiar with the politics of many of the nations ranked above the USA in IQ will probably be aware that logical fallacies and shady motives abound there as well. In a large part this is because the media and the politicians themselves become more intelligent too, and thus get better at masking their motives and fallacies, thus not solving the problem.

This is particularly pernicious in the United States, where most forms of "debating" in high school have topics prepared well in advance, sometimes for a whole year. The problem with that is that particular subjects are emphasized for extended periods of time, de-emphasizing tangental curriculum objectives (to pretty much anything, but debating in particular) such as logic or research.

Debate is a learning aide, not an area of study. Pro needs to demonstrate what debate class can teach that other classes don't.

2. People are smart in different ways

I'll let you in on a secret - I cannot use flash cards. I try, but somehow my mind just blanks out. People learn in different ways, and that's OK. It doesn't mean they can't learn or that they're stupid. Similarly, some people will learn logic skills through applying them in a debate. These people have an incentive to do debating and therefore often will. With the internet and sites like this one debating has almost no barriers to entry.

There are also those people who might be incredibly logical, great researchers, and incredibly smart, but still fail in a debating setting (both as in fail to learn and fail to win). The human mind is quite varied in the ways it can become engaged. Some people get a kick out of debating, others don't. If somebody hates learning logic via debating, the class will actually probably be a detriment to their education.

One might contrast this with, say, math. In and of itself math is pretty boring for me, but I can learn math in different ways. By choosing a fun way to learn, even a really boring subject can become accessible. That's important, because the primary role of education is to teach stuff - logic, research etc only being useful aides to the learning process. So some folk might enjoy learning math by challenging themselves to big equations, others might do it by playing games, or investigating how the logic of mathematics was discovered (the latter being what I did). The whole point of a debate class is to lock students in to one mode of learning - that is, learning by shouting down your opponents. Debate is also inherently competitive, which isolates anyone who isn't.

There's something wrong with using a debate class to teach logic, research and learning patterns. In that case, why not have a class on "logic, research and learning patterns"? THAT would actually be directly relevant. But debate is one specific learning aide to these three subjects, one that actually has rules around how it works - rules that may not suit many people, and takes them away from classes that might have allowed more liberal approaches to accommodating different learning styles.

The worst-case scenario is that the endorsement of particular modes of learning also becomes an endorsement of academic elitism for high-performing debaters. People need to recognise that just because you have won a big debate tournament does not mean that you are super-smart: it might have been the luck of the draw with the topics, or perhaps you are just really good with debate techniques such as misdirection etc. Being able to win people over and being able to get the right answer are two distinct skills. Ultimately that only leads to youth disenfranchisement and polarisation of educational oppertunity.

3. No qualified teachers

For most secondary subjects, teachers complete a teaching degree and a university degree in the subject they wish to teach. The problem is that there's no degree in debating. This is because debating encompasses such a wide range of skills that measuring debating ability is incredibly hard to do objectively.

Debating, unlike (for example) math, is not objective. You are convincing people, and people see things subjectively. Judges in the world of debating basically determine who else gets to accredit as a judge for various tournaments, causing the whole institution of debating to become some sort of old boys' club. Knowing the ins and outs of what debating judges are looking for and what might convince a random person is not the same.

That's because in the real world, we do disagree on what is convincing and what is not. Just look around this site! Disagreements happen all the time over issues such as global warming - is the evidence strong? According to some, yes, and according to others, no. They've all made subjective evaluations based on what they've been told, although the actual facts behind it are not entirely clear.

Debate itself has inconsistent standards. Just look at how every tournament ever seems to have their own weird formats. I had never heard about Lincoln-Douglas or American Parliamentary before I joined DDO. Similarly, I'll make a good bet that you had never really considered Australs.

Without being qualified in debate, anyone who can be a primary school teacher can be a debate teacher. And given how primary teachers can sometimes be, I wouldn't exactly trust them as the greatest bastions of logic and intelligence. My opponent has to justify how students will learn anything of the things he talked about which youth do not already learn in their first years of schooling.


To win this debate, my opponent needs to show why a debate class would be beneficial to all high school students. Debate is a learning aide, nothing more, and nothing less. It is preferred by some and shunned by others. It doesn't make you smarter, rather just directs you to certain topics in a competitive setting. There isn't even an agreed model for how it should be taught or done. It isn't enough to warrant taking time away from other vital areas of learning, such as language, math, science or social studies.

Debate is very valuable to society, and in my view valuable to education. But it's one part of a much broader picture, and we should never lose sight of that. I'm proud to oppose the motion.
Debate Round No. 2


Rebuttal I: Debate provides no useful exclusive benefit

Con's first argument misrepresents the situation. These classes benefit from those skills, and you will learn slight amounts of them, but the classes themselves do not teach them. English does not teach reasoning and research. You use research, and are taught how to use website X or Y and MLA, and not much else. These classes scratch the surface as much as needed.

What Con doesn't understand is that those classes don't adequately teach those topics. Is that wrong? No. In English class, the teacher can't spend the needed amount of time to teach you the full subject of Research, Reasoning, etc... The same is for all other classes. To adequately teach students those skills, one can not rely on the scraps you get in the other classes.

As for IQ, Debate practices all the important qualities that IQ tests. As my prior round stated, Debate uses and exercises multiple skills and traits that conveniently measures one's IQ. To increase IQ, one has to exercise the following skills:

- Problem Solving
- Understanding Relationships (and Relevance)
- Reasoning
- Ability to Store Information
- Ability to Retrieve Information (1)

Each of these are best exercised in debating, where one one is trained on, used, competitively tried throughout the school year. Nothing exercises these better.

Con's logic is flawed when placed near reality. In the US, students have on average of 2 - 3 electives (free-to-choose courses) to use on extra courses each year. This is about 8-12 total. In Missouri, you must pass at least 7.5 electives.(2) This pretty much leaves open 8-12 classes that can be used for Debate Class. The idea that you have to give up another important course is unwarranted.

The fallacies Con brought up is both Appeal to Authority and Appeal to Wisdom, and is based on the idea that because they are a debater, they are immediately right. The fallacy doesn't say the debater isn't smart, just that being smart doesn't make you right. Con misrepresents the case. "Being able to stand behind a podium and say "The proposition in the debate is wrong" does indeed not make you smarter... Training, excising the skills you use behind that podium, and than using them over time, however, does.

However, in fact, we do know it does make you smarter. A study among high school students found those who debated to have a higher IQ. When the study was broaden to the NFA and compared to nearly 15,715 others, the Debaters had higher IQs than the average person.

"Nor does debate focus on these things more than other subjects."

I've already addressed this... Other school subjects only skim the surface. As for the rest of his argument, Debating Class would, in fact, put heavy emphasize on these traits. Such a class builds on them. Other classes only have time to build on English, History, etc... But Debate class would better strengthen these traits more so than the other classes can.

Bringing up other nations not having the class is irrelevant. What causes low IQs and what fixes them are different. Con's argument is flawed. The US has a different culture, and many issues that might lower IQ. Comparing it in those respects with the rest of the world doesn't help, as the World to too broad to measure loose variables to. The average IQ, however, is set on a global measurement, so measuring nations by it is efficient (Another example is measuring the world by Nominal GDP being bad, but by PPP GDP being good.) Con basically said that because the other nations don't have X but their IQs are higher, X doesn't work.

Con should understand that Politicians are at the prime of intelligence (Media, not so much.) Making the general population smarter doesn't absolutely increase their intelligence. Con is also comparing the Debate Class I'm discussing with other Debate Classes. This is false dichotomy, that we either get [this type of debate class] or [no debate class.] Con also Generalized Debate Programs in High School, as they often have a list of options as opposed to presetting your debate for you. Not to mention the fact that nearly every class has preset lessons. The debates being preset does little to effect the learning curve. If presetting did affect your learning, than don't have the debates preset.

Con fails to understand that Debate Class holds a wide range of lessons that are fully engaged in the class, as opposed to the skimmed versions in other classes. Such as:
-Actual Unguided Research, which is hardly touched on in other classes, usually only enough to get the project done.
-Applying Rhetoric to conversation.
-Public discussion on important issues.
-Politics (as having the teacher discuss politics is not okay, but Politics are too important not to be taught. I'll hit on this better later.)
-Having opinions and views properly challenged and opposed. This build tolerant towards being confronted with opposing views, a major issue in the US. It also helps challenge, exercise, and build on one's views.
-Learning Fallacies
-Understanding proper forms of argumentation as opposed to the rogue form used in US society.

The last 4-5 I gave aren't practiced in other classes, answering Con's last words: " Pro needs to demonstrate what debate class can teach that other classes don't."

Many of Con's arguments come down to a misunderstanding of American Schools.


Rebuttal II: People are smart in different ways

This doesn't meet the situation in the US Education System appropriately. Everyone is different in some way or another, especially when it comes to learning. In the United States, education is set up to meet different learning types with different teaching strategies (4). The set up meets the needs of unique learners, and people with different forms of intelligence.

By no means is Education black and white. By Con's logic, we wouldn't have English class because everyone learns English differently. The US has a system that allows for all these differences (5). Allowing a class to be left out because not everyone will pass it, or because some will do better than others, isn't very logic.

The prime purpose of school isn't that you learn X, Y, and Z... But that you learn how to learn and apply reasoning to X, Y, and Z. Everyone is leaving school knowing a lot but still not being intelligent because they can't apply logic to what they learned, or logically apply what they learned to life and current events. School shouldn't only teach us based on what we are like, but also on what the real world will be like, and the real world is full of competition and having to socialize and face others, and even a non-competitive, anti-social, child must learn how to do that.

There are many types of debates to meet the diverse needs of every student, and learning more than one will do a student well (6).

"There's something wrong with using a debate class to teach logic, research and learning patterns. In that case, why not have a class on "logic, research and learning patterns"?"

Debate class provides a much broader setup that better links important topics. It applies logic in conversation among students, and includes opposing viewpoints in the class as opposed to the teacher's viewpoint, which has became an issue in most schools (7). Instead of hearing the teacher's version of logic, you hear a diverse range of logic applied. An emphasize on debate helps broaden the topic and give everyone a chance to defend their own logic in an actual conversational manor, as opposed to only practicing it as a secondary topic.

Making Debate only a secondary subject of the class ignores every reason I gave for it being a prime focus.

"The worst-case scenario is that the endorsement of particular modes of learning also becomes an endorsement of academic elitism for high-performing debaters."

This applies to literally every class in School. One could argue this with Art Class, or P.E.. P.E. being a required class to graduate.


Rebuttal III: No qualified teachers

As good as that argument would have been, Con does't know that there are college/university courses for Debate (8, 9). Most Teacher's qualify by having a degree in Logic and Rhetoric.

The NFA is a great place to turn for information on how to judge a debate (10). In fact, viewing that page, we already see the NFA has an online classroom, so that alone hurts Con's case against the ability to have a Debate Class. Looking through the 10 topics (4 debate types), we see each one has PDFs on how to judge the ability of a debater.

The premise is that qualification (of teacher or class) isn't an issue.


Conclusion: For the Low Costs, the benefits to society are worth it to have a Debate Class. Debate Classes emphasizes on many aspects relevant to Education that other classes only have time to skim over (hint why in the US, writing teachers often have to repeat how to do research every time research is required, because students aren't truly taught it.) Debate Class also appropriately covers important topics that other classes can't touch on, including "logic, research and learning patterns."

Be it called Debate Class or Logic and Rhetoric Class (as names and slight variants aren't relevant to the overall issue, so long as Debate is the major premise), at least 1 year is needed in all Schools to better exercise student's application of Research, Logic, Reasoning, Discussion, Understanding of other opinions and viewpoints, and Critical Thinking.

Con's prime arguments are based off a misunderstood view of American Schools and culture. Other's are irrelevant questions that are only issues if you make them issues (example being how the class sets up debates. It's only an issue if you set it up badly.)

My Arguments and Premises from R2 still stand.


It is possible to teach debate in such a way that it increases general learning skills, and that's what my opponent wanted to do. It is also possible, even if this is not the norm in America, to teach language or math the same way. It is also possible to teach debating in such a way that it only scratches the surface as much as needed.

I cannot believe the premise, however, that math (for example) in American education only scratches the surface of things like problem solving. Math is inherently a problem based subject, so what pro is essentially saying is that American students only scratch the surface of mathematics. Reading and writing both require the understanding of extremely complex relationships because English is an extremely complex language.

I did accept pro's premise that Americans are a little stupid, but Americans are not THAT stupid. Nevertheless I thank pro for concluding their case.

1. No exclusive benefit

In this debate, pro spent a lot of time asserting that debate somehow focuses on raising IQ more than other subjects. He did not show how or why this would be the case. He simply said that it does, and that's not good enough.

Furthermore, he did not show why other subjects don't focus on areas that IQ measures. He simply asserted that they don't, and again, that's not good enough. I've made the claim that even if current classes don't teach their students well, they still have the same incentives as a debate class would to teach their students well. It's simply that they don't. If the classes in the status quo have exactly the same incentives to teach the things pro says will raise the IQ students, and they don't focus on those things, I wonder why pro thinks debate will focus on those things?

Oh right, because pro thinks that's "the nature of debate". But - in science class (I assume there's such a thing in America) you'll probably learn something about the scientific method, which is the basis for all science. That requires the ability to store and retrieve information (both the method itself and remembering the method), an understanding of relationships (between input and output variables), and reasoning/problem solving (in determining a method and conclusion based on the results of the experiment). So it's the nature of science too - it underpins everything that science ever does. I could do exactly the same for literature or economics or anything else.

So when pro claims "nothing exercises these [IQ measures] better", he actually needs to justify that. That's the whole point of this argument, and pro missed it.

While I appreciate the system probably wouldn't be structured in such a way that really important facts would be missed by students, giving up an elective does reduce the student's learning somewhere, just as debate increases it somewhere else. The point was, however, that the learning you're giving up or gaining wouldn't be in IQ, because both classes taught the skills that IQ measures.

My opponent's study proved a correlation between high IQ and debating. My opponent talked about it as if it proved causation. It didn't. It simply measured the IQ of debaters and compared it to the average IQ. My explanation from last round of data like this is simple - that even though you do not need a high IQ to be a top-performing debater, a combination of elitism and the fact that high IQ is an advantage has meant that high-IQ people are more likely to debate, not that debate has made people have higher IQs.

To go over the specific list pro gave in the last round:

- Unguided research should probably be done in other classes if it isn't already. I can't believe all American schools never expect students to read any books outside of class. Last I checked that's unguided literature study. The same is true of most other classes. The benefits of such research to a student's understanding of literature as a whole are clear and, I suspect, not in contention, so other classes have exactly the same incentives to teach this.

- Debate is not a conversation, so applying rhetoric to conversation is not really applicable. Rhetoric is a specific study within language, which if it isn't covered, probably should be as part of standard language classes. Actually putting it into practice language has the same incentive, and again I might reiterate that debate is one tool a teacher might use to help accomplish this.

- Let's assume the economy is important. Therefore, so long as discussions happen in economics classes, the study of economics qualifies as "encouraging public discussion on important issues". An average economics class is considerably more public than an average debate room. If discussions do not happen in economics, then that shows economics is not acting on that incentive, since such discussions would involve students in the learning process and thus help them improve. The same would go for any other matter you consider "important" that's taught in school.

- My opponent said he'll explain what he means by politics "later", and then doesn't. Even if civics is in no way an option in America's education, plenty of other classes, especially social studies, have strong incentives to talk about it.

- On having views opposed, imagine if I was to say in geography class the world revolves around me, given that we've established geography, as will all classes, has strong incentives to promote discussion, rather than some sort of rote-learning model. If I'm not corrected, I'll do worse on my tests. So any discussion that's one-sided in education has incentives to become balanced.

- A similar point must be made for fallacies - because using fallacies makes people do worse on tests, understanding how to overcome those fallacies makes people do better, therefore the incentives to teach this already exist.

- I have no idea what pro means by "proper forms of argumentation." Honestly, I don't. It sounds like a rehash of all of the above just to draw out the list.

So if these things aren't practiced, and I'm just misunderstanding American schools, then that means teachers in America are simply failing to give their students a complete, holistic and involved education. It's not that there's a missing subject, it's that the subjects which are being taught are taught poorly.

2. Smart in different ways

Again, my opponent frames debate like math - if you learn a few facts, you can be a good debater. This is not true. Debate is rather a learning tool - a way to put learning into action.

Here's what happens in every single team debate in history: a bunch of folks get together, talk about a topic for a bit, listen to some speeches, and deliver one or two speeches themselves.

That's ONE way on how to learn. But there are others. Debate isn't necessarily the best way to learn something objectively speaking, and it sure isn't only way. So the confusion pro has is that debate isn't something you learn differently, but a different way of learning. There's not a lot to learn in debate - the rules and perhaps one or two ways to exploit those rules - the real learning happens when you apply debate to a resolution which you then think about and produce some actual arguments from.

So for the US to force students to learn with this specific process is to undermine what pro said was so great about US education, that it caters to all kinds of intelligence and learning styles appropriately.

Pro claims a class on learning & logic cannot be broad like a debate. First of all, most if not all debates, particularly among developing debaters, are highly unlikely to be very broad in scope. Second, learning and logic are both equally interdisciplinary, so I fail to see why debate better links important topics.

Again, encouraging conversation in class is a good idea for all classes, not least because it involves students in the learning process. It doesn't justify a special class just for conversations, let alone debate which is quite different from a conversation.

As for the idea that modes of learning become a source of elitism, pro's argument that this could be applied to any class is contradictory because he agrees with me that the US does not currently endorse any modes of learning above others (I suspect my opponent is confusing how to learn with what to learn again). Being able to learn in the way the government supports should not be taken as an advantage in education. It's akin to teaching a class on flash cards and testing students' use of them.

3. No qualified teachers

All my opponent could point to is one honors paper at the University of Houston, which isn't even among the top 500 universities in terms of debating results ( The program director has been controversial at best in debating circles ( and who has only 4 years of debating experience, or only 2 years coaching experience (

It may well be that the course is nonetheless great. But to me, that sends out all kinds of scary red flags. But the point is con could only find one university teaching debate, and their program is debateable at best. Having a minor in debate from a university with questionable standards is not quite the same as having, say, a batchelor's degree in science or maths.

The other university had no debate courses - only a list of courses with interesting things to debate about with particular reference to politics.

Judging a debate is very different from coaching a debate. Nevertheless, the guidelines in question are extremely subjective, mostly only telling people what not to do when judging, or specific things to look out for, but still allowing loads of room for interpretation. This creates the inherent problem with the subjectivity of judging that my opponent hasn't even addressed.

The resolution is negated.
Debate Round No. 3
3 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 3 records.
Posted by MysticEgg 4 years ago
I could take this, but I fear I'd be viciously opposed by everyone on **debate**.org haha
Posted by rajun 4 years ago
Ooohhh.... see the rules! DK, the last touch is what is needed isn't it? You know what I am talking of...
Posted by bossyburrito 4 years ago
Assuming that the schools will be public either way?
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by Mikal 4 years ago
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Total points awarded:21 
Reasons for voting decision: I think both debaters evened each other out. I did notice a few grammar mistakes by pro. Stuff like "that isn't very logic", which was obviously a typo but still noticeable. So for that S&G to Con. Also another thing that stood out was pros sources. He had an abundant amount of sources, all that went to strengthen his argument. Sources to pro. Other than that I felt it was even. Pro used a way better layout which helped him, but neither debater hammered home any points to sway me to their side. Pro had a good point that not teaching a class because people will possibly do bad is bad logic. The point of the class if for them to learn and teach them aspects of that class. Con offered a very weak response, and I do mean very. Arguments almost went to pro on this because of how weak it was, but he still managed to answer the question in a somewhat logical way. That is the only reason I am awarding arguments a tie. Conduct was tied