The Instigator
Pro (for)
0 Points
The Contender
Con (against)
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Debating is good for you!

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Post Voting Period
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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 8/22/2016 Category: Miscellaneous
Updated: 2 months ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 261 times Debate No: 94915
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (4)
Votes (0)




My first debate on here! As many people try to stay away from politics and science, their will to debate has decreased. This is a problem, since debating has many good effects on people, such as:

-It gets people to think critically.
-Debate can challenge bias.
-You can meet many cool people by debating.
-Debate can encourage positive action.

And many more. I don't know why anyone who dislikes debate would be on this website, but I'd like to hear the standpoint of anyone who dislikes it, or thinks that debating has bad consequences.


I accept.

BoP Analysis:
BoP is shared, but in order for my opponent to win, they must prove uniqueness. None of these arguments are unique to debating and in round 2 I will elaborate on why intellectual discussion is better for you. If I can prove intellectual discussion to be superior, I then prove debate to be harmful, as your are engaging in an activity that does not give you the maximum value in terms of benefits.

Thank you. I await Pro's arguments.
Debate Round No. 1


Thank you for your response contender! You argued that my argument must be unique, but this isn't related to the topic at hand: whether debating is good or not. Furthermore, this is a debate about how healthy (psychologically, academically, etc.) debating is, not a contest between intellectual discussion and debating. Even if you did prove intellectual discussion to be superior, both can still be good for you at the same time.

Now let's get to the meat of my argument. Although fewer than half of African Americans who go to school actually finish it, males of that group of people who debate are 70% more likely to graduate and 3 times less likely to drop out than non-debaters. A study in Minnesota during 2005 uncovered that students who debate get higher scores on tests than students who don't debate, debaters have higher self-esteem, have little attendance issues, etc. (Source: "Debate: Key to better Academic Achievement" by Alfred C. Snider. Vermont, date of publication not specified).

Conclusion for this round: Debating not only helps academically, but can improve communication, as well as cause students to enjoy school more. Again, thank you for the response. I apologize if this resolution is too difficult to negate, but I have encountered many people who believe that debate is simply an inferior form of communication and nothing more.


Thank you, Pro.

No need to worry about how this is difficult to negate. If I was so concerned with that I wouldn’t have accepted the challenge. I like to challenge my skills.

My opponent has rejected the idea of uniqueness being an important concept in this debate. I will prove in this round why it is important, and why this must be at the forefront of the minds of voters.

I. Uniqueness

In real-life policy debate, which is something Pro seems to value, uniqueness is a common argument used by negative teams. If the affirmative team (in this case DocMan) cannot provide unique benefits to their side, there is no reason to affirm.

II. Opportunity Cost

Furthermore, opportunity cost comes into play in this debate. Opportunity cost is one of the most basic concepts in economics: for every choice we make or action taken, we give up the next-best alternative. In this case, we will examine the value of open-minded intellectual discussion as opposed to debating. More on this later.

III. Problems with debating

In debates, the objective is not to learn, it is to win. If learning is a byproduct of attempted victory so be it, but this is not the goal. Debating is a competition before all else.

A. Organized Debate

In organized formal debates put on by the NSDA, individuals prepare both an affirmative and negative case for a resolution. They likely do not have a strong conviction for either side. Therefore, they are not even doing debate to support a position, but rather to win. The easiest way to win is to encounter arguments you are already prepared for. Therefore, it is actually against the debaters’ interests to encounter new knowledge. When debating you don’t want to learn, you just want to win.

B. Unorganized Debate

By unorganized debate, I’m referring to debates among individuals that are just casually arguing without structure, whether it be about politics, movies, sports, economics, etc. In this setting, the objective remains the same. You are trying to win. The major difference is that in these debates, participants usually have strong opinions on an issue. This means that they will fight hard for their side, and reject new information contradicting their opinion. Usually they will become even more ingrained in their original position. Therefore, in unorganized debate, pursuit of knowledge is not the reality. In fact, the opposite is true, as “debaters” even reject new knowledge.

C. Political Debate*

Political debate, whether or not it is organized, is a hybrid of the two aforementioned forms. It shares the common objective of victory. It often has a general structure (presidential debates, bill hearings, etc.) but not always (you could argue all campaign rhetoric is debate) so I’d argue in that respect it is more similar to organized debate. However, like unorganized debate, politicians have pre-formed opinions on major issues, and just like unorganized debate, they will attempt to prove their own position correct, even rejecting common knowledge. A prime example of this is climate change. Regardless of its cause, its existence is indisputable. [1] However, many Republicans refuse to acknowledge this fact. Debate hinders communication.

*This applies only to political debate between/among actual politicians. Political debate among normal citizens falls under “unorganized debate.”

IV. Where discussion gains the edge

Intellectual discussion allows for literally every benefit mentioned by Pro in the first round. One setting where this could (but oftentimes doesn’t, unfortunately) happen is in the classroom. If teachers expose their students to open discussion this allows students to listen to and entertain ideas that differ from their own in a non-competitive environment. This does everything Pro advocates: stimulates critical thinking, challenges bias, meeting other intellectual individuals, and encouraging positive action. Something such as a current event classes would also work better to encourage positive action, as NSDA topics are covered either on a monthly or yearly basis. Not many issues are covered. Intellectual discussion can visit more topics and in turn facilitate even more action than debate.

To conclude, we must look at this from an economic perspective. By choosing to debate, our opportunity cost is choosing not to discuss, which gives every advantage of debate while at the same time incurring few, if any, disadvantages.

Now, so as to not bring up new arguments in the final round and have my opponent be unable to respond, I will attack his constructive here.

I. False Cause Fallacy

I examined my opponent’s R2 source, and his particular evidence refers only to real life debates on the Minnesota and Chicago circuit. Please note that the benefits seem incredible, but they are inflated statistics. Poor students are unlikely to join debate, so would-be debaters are going to be more likely to graduate even without debate. All but one of the other stats compared the debaters to a random sampling of non-debaters. The same principle applies to each of these cases. It’s not the debate that increases intelligence, but rather intelligent people who are more likely to debate. The only somewhat valid example of debaters becoming more intelligent thanks to their debate experience is how they superseded non-debating peers in their improvement rates from pre-test to post-test. However, this is marginal evidence at best. Again, debaters are more likely to be intelligent and therefore more likely to be willing and able to learn more from pre-test to post-test.

Thank you, back to Pro.

Debate Round No. 2


I. Introduction and why Uniqueness is not necessary in this Debate

Thank you again for the thought provoking response warren42! As you viewers can see, my opponent suggests that uniqueness (in the context of a debate of course) is important and therefore applicable to this debate. The issue with this is that this isn't a policy debate, making the use of uniqueness inapplicable to this debate since we are not discussing policy, but whether debating is beneficial or not. According to James Kellams, author of the blog Everyday Debate, "uniqueness, in policy debate terminology, is the current situation that will be uniquely altered by enacting the plan." [1] In other words my opponent and I are not discussing whether or not to enact a plan, but if debating is beneficial or not.

II. Organized Debate is not just about Victory

In Part A of my opponent's previous response, he explained that debaters likely do not have a strong conviction for the opposing side. In reality, any professional debater would know that the opposing viewpoint is just as important as his own. He or she must know statistics, studies, evidence, etc. that contradicts what they believe in. Without this knowledge, the debater will likely get caught off guard and will not know how to respond. Exploring these opposing viewpoints can widen one's horizons, and get them to see things in a way the debater never thought of before. The goal may be to win, but a debater will never be successful if he does not absorb as much accurate information that he or she can. For example, if I were to debate that climate change is a reality (I agree with my opponent that climate change is true, as it is factually proven), I would need to know how it's caused, the science behind it, and most importantly: why my opponent would deny it, as well the "evidence" behind his argument. Lastly, your statement, "when debating you don't want to learn, you just want to win," is a generalization. There are no statistics I know of supporting that statement that debaters don't wish to learn, and I myself debate to learn and make new friends (I'm sure many people share this sentiment); myself and many others see victory as a secondary benefit of debating.

III. My argument on Unorganized Debate and Political Debate

Many of the contender's statements about unorganized debate are true, such as: the objective is typically to persuade the opponent, many people do reject new information, etc. I would like to clarify that just because many people dislike new information, does not mean that debate as a form of communication is bad. The failure to obtain new knowledge from unorganized debates is typically due to the mediocrity of some casual debaters. Another generalization my good opponent made is, "therefore, in unorganized debate, pursuit of knowledge is not the reality." As I previously said, this is the case in many examples, but in many more the pursuit is to get a new perspective as well as information. Again, I have never seen a statistic stating that most debaters (casual or not) reject new knowledge.
I was going to make a separate section for political debate, but I find that many of the same principles apply. As you guys have learned from this section, it is the person that makes the debate, meaning that you may not get the benefits of debate if you debate with a casual or ignorant debater. Back to the climate change example, if I debated with a Republican about climate change, I would gain nothing from the debate due to his ignorance on the matter. If I debated with a Democrat or scientist about climate change however, I would gain valuable information and the effect it has on my life. Another incorrect statement is at the end of my opponent's view on political debate, "debate hinders communication." Studies have found the opposite actually. In a document titled "The Benefits of Debate", the producer explained, "Debate students excel in written and oral communication, and greatly improve their reading comprehension (sometimes 25% more than their peers). [2]

IV. Discussion vs Debate

In terms of comparing negatives and positives, both discussion and debate are equally great. As my opponent and I have agreed, both forms of communication have similar positive effects on those who participate in them. Earlier, I mentioned that a mediocre debater can really change a debate for the worse. The same logic definitely applies to discussion. If I were to have a discussion with a Republican about global warming, I would gain nothing from said conversation, just like if I were to debate with him. Just because it is possible to have a terrible intellectual discussion with someone does not mean that intellectual discussion as a way of communication is poor. This same idea is also applicable to debate. Remember, just like debate, it is the person that creates the conversation. It is not the other way around.

V. In defense of my R2 Source and Conclusive Statement

Even if the statistics were inflated (I would definitely appreciate a reason for this claim), there are many more statements from other sources that explain how beneficial debating can really be. I would also like a source that backs up your point that few poor students join debate, and that students of lesser academic success are less likely to participate in debate. Furthermore, debaters scoring higher than their counterparts is definitely not marginal evidence. Debating helped those students by promoting critical thinking and analysis. There have also been other studies conducted that prove how debate is academically beneficial.

A study conducted by K.D. Barfield (1989) had three hundred students take the SAT-7. Half of the students participated in debating regularly, while the other half didn't. As you may expect, the debaters averaged higher than their counterparts. According to the author, "he (Barfield) also found a correlation between active participation in a highly competitive interscholastic debate program and increase in student GPA." [3]

In conclusion there is no doubt that debate helps communication, spreads valuable information, challenges any bias and prejudice, encourages critical thinking, and encourages analysis. Intellectual discussion is just as great, but does not render debate obsolete or unnecessary. I look forward to my opponent's response, and I thank everyone for reading this!

Thank you warren42, now back to you.



Thank you Pro for an interesting topic. I hope it made for a better debate than most onlookers expected. Now let's get into my closing remarks.

Points of Clarification

It is a logic-based argument that most debaters are strong students before joining, else thy would not be likely to join an academic activity. This stands.

My claim that Pro's statistics were inflated is due to the previous statement. If strong students join debate, they are going to outperform their peers. That would've happened with or without debate. The same response applies to my opponent's round 3 evidence about the SAT. Debaters are, on balance, going to be smarter than their peers. This is not caused by debate.

Key Concession by Pro

" is the person that makes the debate, meaning that you may not get the benefits of debate if you debate with a casual or ignorant debater." -DocMan

Pro essentially conceded here that debating is not inherently good for you. Even in Pro's mindset, you must be debating a good opponent for debating to be good for you.

"Many of the contender's statements about unorganized debate are true, such as: the objective is typically to persuade the opponent, many people do reject new information, etc." -DocMan

Here Pro conceded that debate that is not interscholastic is not beneficial to you. Therefore he reduced his argument to only interscholastic debating. Remember this when voting.

Voting Issues

Effects of interscholastic debating:
Disproven through false cause fallacy used by Pro in his evidence. Logically, intelligent individuals will join an intellectual activity. The only way Pro could've won this is if his evidence compared debaters' GPAs, test scores, etc. before joining debate to their own scores after joining debate. The closest Pro came to this was the pre/post test evidence, which is also refuted by the logic that debaters are smart individuals and would be able to absorb new knowledge better than the average student their own age, which the control group is. No Pro evidence was able to explicitly prove a cause and effect relationship between the two.

Also please remember: the objective of debating is to win. You can be spewing ideas that you don't find true in the slightest ;) and still reach the goal of a debate. Victory.

Effects of unorganized/political debating:
Nonexistant, see Pro's second concession mentioned earlier. Pro admits no benefit to this type of debating.

This is not a real-life policy debate. This is true. However, Pro is implicitly advocating a plan. By saying "Debating is good for you!" Pro is in a sense acting as an advocate to get more people to debate. Therefore, in order to say people should debate, Pro mus provide unique benefits of debate, which has not yet happened.

Opportunity Cost:
Pro has left the economic approach involving opportunity cost uncontested. Therefore as long as it has been proven that discussion is better than debate, Con wins this round. This has been proven, as Con showed that discussion removes the competitive nature from debate, allowing idividuals to be less likely to entrench themselves in their position and more likely to be open to new ideas. As debate replaces discussion as a medium, it is obvious that the comparative costs of debate outweigh any and all benefits.

As Con has won each of the key voting issues, there is only one way to vote. Thank you!


Thank you again, DocMan for a unique resolution. I have enjoyed negating this.
Debate Round No. 3
4 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 4 records.
Posted by warren42 2 months ago
@BackCommander I like to take a challenge. This resolution is difficult to negate. That being said, I also have posted an extremely simplified version of my arguments
Posted by BackCommander 2 months ago
Very weak argument so far Con.
Posted by fire_wings 2 months ago
This is impossible to negate...
Posted by Bored_Debater 2 months ago
It gives people brain tumors! Debating is EVIL!

PS I enjoy debating history and politics.
No votes have been placed for this debate.