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

Ego's dictate debates instead of facts.

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 3/16/2017 Category: People
Updated: 1 year ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 476 times Debate No: 101072
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (5)
Votes (1)




People only care about winning debates, not about whether they're right or wrong.


I wish my opponent the best of luck and hope that we both thoroughly enjoy the debate.

standard debate rules apply. no ad hominems, trolling, unprofessional mannerisms, or new arguments in final speeches. standard debate rules in regard to dropped arguments also apply. (attacking subpoints.)

That is what leadership is all about: staking your ground ahead of where opinion is and convincing people, not simply following the popular opinion of the moment. it is because I believe the words of Doris kerns goodwin that I must negate the resolution which states resolved: Ego's dictate debates instead of facts. before we begin I would like to offer the following definitions and observations in order to clarify the grounds and framework of this debate. firstly is ego. ego is defined by the Cambridge English Dictionary as, the idea or opinion that you have about yourself. nextly, instead is defined by the same source as, rather than; an alternative. (note that if you visit the site I am using the American English tab as that is my nationality) finally, dictate is defined as to give orders, or state something with total authority: thus the resolution states that the ideas one has about themselves are the driving forces of debate rather than facts in all circumstances.

throughout my next arguments, I shall prove that two areas of science or thought leave no room for the resolution. psychology and logic.

Psychology. subpoint A the psychology of persuasion offers no room for the resolution. (1) psychological theorists have found that people's actions are all subject to one form of persuasion or another.

Contention 2. Logic leaves no room for the resolution. if the resolution were true, no one would have reason to debate. you debate, you convince no one who doesn't already agree with you and nothing changes. we can see throughout history and throughout our own lives that this simply is not true.

and I'm out of characters. I eagerly await your response.
Debate Round No. 1


I have no desire to get into semantics, but I'll note that dictionary definitions are open to interpretation and in many cases don't accurately reflect the meaning of words, nor do they go into enough detail about abstract concepts such as ego.

I'll amend your resolution to be more in line with what I intended the debate to be about.

-- The sense of self* is the driving force of debate rather than facts. --

I see this as a general statement, not an absolute one. When dealing with human behaviour, it's practically impossible to speak in absolutes, as there will always be inevitable deviations. I'm arguing from a perspective that accepts this premise as generally true, while allowing for exceptions to exist.

1. The existance of persuasion is not incompatible with the above premise. People are persuaded through a variety of factors, only some of them based on reason. Fallacies are often very persuasive, they are basically designed to make people believe falsehoods. Intentional or not, it's manipulation. The amount of fallacies and the ease with which they're used might point to the ego being involved. People have been known to concede to points for no other reason than being fed up with the debate, regardless of any valid points on either side.

2. Evolution suggests that debating originated as a means to verbally establish dominance. This is a plausible alternative cause supported by the fact that humans are not naturally capable of applying logic. The existence of a noticable effect of a debate does not take into consideration whether the results of that debate are in line with any established facts or whether a concensus was reached through intellectual discourse. Your reasoning here is flawed: People debate to achieve results --> Results exist, so that's why people debate. I call this circular reasoning (or affirming the consequent, if you want to get technical).

* Just like ego, I primarily use this to mean the preservation of one's psychological identity.


1. my opponent attacked my first point by stating that persuasion is included in the resolution. however, the cognitive dissonance phenomenon would show us that it is the ego, the sense of self, that is altered to accommodate debate. Debate does not generally diminish to accommodate ego. if you are persuaded to change your attitude alignment, then your ego will change to accommodate. ego is driven by debate, debate is not driven by ego.

2. My opponent attacked my contention on logic by stating that humans are not capable of naturally applying logic. however, this premise is not scientifically grounded. the cerebral cortex is linked to higher thought processes one of which is logic. Humans are therefore capable of naturally applying logic. furthermore, speaking in terms of evolution is to speak in terms of improving upon ones species becoming more complex over time. even if debate orginated as establishing dominance, as we developed as a species this drive diminished and became a method through which we attempt to convert others to our point of view or be converted.

my opponent provided no arguments of his own for me to attack. So I shall await his next response.
Debate Round No. 2


Your clinical approach to this debate is amusing, but I can't help but wonder if it's purpose is objectivity or obfuscation.

1. Cognitive dissonance is the bypassing of logic in order to maintain or preserve ego when confronted with truths that are in direct conflict with an individual's core beliefs and ideas. I see this as supporting my view rather than disproving it. When you accept another point of view, your ego reconciles it with those core beliefs instead of adapting them. Though exceptions do exist, these people are very open minded and highly proficient in the application of reason and have learned to dismiss ingrained ideas if they are presented with credible evidence.

2. While the cerebral cortex is indeed linked to higher thought processes, the limbic brain, which governs our instincts, remains the dominant one. When the limbic brain says "go", you go, regardless of what the cerebral cortex has to say on the matter. Higher thought functions only happen when the limbic brain allows them to happen. Which isn't as often as you think. Even during the most friendly of debates, the body starts producing adrenaline, which is controlled by the limbic brain and will in turn heighten your instinctual responsiveness. As a result of this, higher brain functions like reasoning and logic take a back seat. Your claim that my premise is not grounded in science is flatout wrong. Everything I've described can be demonstrated and is accepted as the general concensus among scientists. The idea that human evolution has advanced to the point where people's higher brain functions take precedence over their instincts is contrary to all available evidence. Conditioning makes it possible to limit the hold the limbic brain has on other functions, but this is far from an inherent human capability. I offered a credible rival cause, which you dismissed as no longer relevant, when it quite obviously still is.

Debunking these 2 points is more than sufficient for me to state my case.


1. My opponent has misstated the definition of cognitive dissonance. cognitive dissonance occurs when we make decisions or come to new realizations which causes our perception of self to change. thus we can see that we are not bypassing logic, we are bypassing our preconceived notions about ourselves and the world in order to change our beliefs. usually, this happens during a debate when valid arguments are presented. thus, cognitive dissonance theory would show that the sense of self can and will change to accommodate a debate which would show that we do care about being right or wrong not just about our winning. if this were the case cognitive dissonance would not occur as we wouldn't care if our beliefs thoughts and actions lined up because we just cared about winning the debate at hand. this was believed by Dr.Leon Festinger when he developed his cognitive dissonance theory.

2. my opponents point on the Limbic system would imply that our actions are driven from base primal impulses created by our limbic nervous system. this is not true. take for example a part of the limbic system, the cingulate gyrus. the cingulate gyrus helps to inhibit aggressive behavior which interferes in higher cognitive functions along with the other parts of the system that I can't get to because of the character limit, the limbic system is what allows our cerebral cortex to function properly without our primitive aggressive and emotional behavior taking the helm in every engagement. it's the limbic system that allows us to have these friendly debates my opponent mentioned because it keeps us from attacking each other or becoming emotional. the limbic system does not harm logic. it fosters its proliferation.(2)

also, I liked that you called my scientific approach amusing then accused me of trying to confuse people. nice touch.

(1) Dr.Leon Festinger
Debate Round No. 3


1. I have not misstated the definition of cognitive dissonance, though it was incomplete. (please note that I did not do this on purpose, I just assumed there was nothing else to it, which was a mistake on my part). But the basic idea is still holding (or be confronted by) two conflicting beliefs. What you describe is one of four means of reducing cognitive dissonance, not the phenomenon itself. The other three support my view quite well and involve ignoring logic in favor of protecting ingrained beliefs. You have yet to explain why fallacies are so prevalent during debates, as it's incompatible with your claim that humans are capable of naturally applying logic, and without this, your "debate drives ego" premise doesn't hold up.

2. I did some digging and found that the cingulate gyrus REGULATES aggression and emotions, which is quite different from merely inhibiting it. The larger structure the gyrus is located in is called the cingulate cortex, which regulates several other things as well: pain, empathy, maternal instincts, recognition, language expression, memory formation, decision making and many other subconcious functions.

Let that sink in for a moment...

As previously established and confirmed by yourself, higher brain functions are located in the cerebral cortex, which include logic and reasoning. The cingulate cortex, a part of the limbic brain, doesn't only regulate instincts, emotions and aggression, it also regulates the decision making process. Considering the fact that the limbic brain always takes precendence, it can and often will override those higher functions. This is further confirmed by recent studies (google: Antonio Damasio) and brain scans showing that emotional centers light up like a christmas tree during debates.

I thus thank my opponent for providing me with the means to disprove his claim.

Everything I mentioned can be googled. I wanted to include links, but my own word limit was working against me.

Thank you for this debate.


1. While it is true that there are indeed multiple ways to relieve cognitive dissonance, they all rely on one thing that has to happen first. You have to recognize that one of your beliefs or actions are wrong.Once you identify this truth, then what you do after that can only be measured on an individual basis. If the resolution were true, and ego dictated debate, then we would never recognize that one of our beliefs were wrong and cognitive dissonance would never occur. That has been the point of my entire cognitive dissonance argument. As for his point on fallacies, fallacies are only identified when we apply logic to them. we apply logic, and we find that the statement doesn't make sense. fallacies are errors in logic nothing more. If a machine malfunctions, is it therefore incapable of naturally running its programming? errors in logic do not disprove logic. Especially when logic must be applied to identify them.

2. I would like to point out that the limbic system and the cerebral cortex work together, they do not fight each other.Together, the limbic system and the cerebral cortex create the human consciousness. while the cingulate gyrus regulates aggression and emotions, we have to recognize that aggression and emotional reactions are appropriate and the cingulate gyrus ensures that we only have them when appropriate. it also receives its input from the neocortex which is involved in conscious thought. simply because every thought or decision we make doesn't make it's way to the command center, doesn't mean that we're not in control. Also, simply because we feel emotions during debates and don't go through them like machines, is not evidence that they are overriding higher brain functions. To feel is to be human. To think is to be human. these do not contradict each other, they go hand in hand and foster each others proliferation.

And with that, I'm out of characters. Thank you for the debate.
Debate Round No. 4
5 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 5 records.
Posted by IndestructibleAntilope 1 year ago
Thank you for the tips. I'm not new to debates, but I'm new to formal debates.

In the first round I tried to make clear the resolution was a general truth, not an absolute one, though. But my wording could've been a lot better, I agree.
Posted by Intolerant_Liberal 1 year ago
Most people don't like people disagreeing with them for starters, and if a person stands on their pov, then they tend to get angry if someone challenges it, seeing it as a personal attack. Ego is or can be most people's Achilles heel.
Posted by Yraelz 1 year ago
Personal tips for the debaters.

Pro: I think you need a better defined resolution. You've cast this one as an extreme, it would have been very easy for an opponent to use the following argument, "a balance of ego and facts dictate debate". With the way you've worded the resolution a fair negation stance could have been "debate is dictated 99% by ego and 1% by facts." That's obviously not what you were going for. A fairer resolutional wording might have been:

"On balance, humans are interested in debating more to uphold their ego than to uphold facts."

Con: I think you need slightly more explicit links on how your arguments negate the resolution. For example, in round 1 you say, "the psychology of persuasion offers no room for the resolution." I'm left wondering what exactly it is about the psychology of persuasion that means egos don't dictate debates. I think you need warrants like, "the psychology of persuasion shows that people are susceptible to being persuaded which could not occur in a world where egos were 100% the driving force for debates."

Both Debaters: There are multiple instances in this debates where you are just running counter-factuals against each other. That's fine, but you really need strong logical or warrants or citations if you want to win the point without the judges intervening for you. I realize the character limit was low here but I would suggest using tinyUrl like Hayd and I did in this debate:
Posted by IndestructibleAntilope 1 year ago
There's elegance in being concise.

So, yes, I did that on purpose. Call it an experiment.
Posted by passwordstipulationssuck 1 year ago
Did you set the character limit this low for all speeches or am I supposed to use this first speech as my introduction to the framework?
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by Yraelz 1 year ago
Agreed with before the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
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Total points awarded:42 
Reasons for voting decision: I think it's pretty difficult to judge this debate because (a) the resolution is vague and (b) there are many competing claims without evidence to substantiate them. Ultimately I look for the easiest place to vote which is on an argument that Pro makes in round 2: "Fallacies are often very persuasive, they are basically designed to make people believe falsehoods. Intentional or not, it's manipulation." This argument is dropped in Con's round 2 & 3. Con responds in round 4 but I'm not going to give a new response in the final round any weight. Thus I vote Pro on fallacies demonstrate that the ego is driving debate. For S&G I also vote Pro, Con fails to capitalize at least 20 sentences, Pro does not. For sources I vote Con, although the sources were not well defined they were the only sources introduced into this debate. Conduct remains tied.