The Instigator
OMGJustinBieber
Con (against)
Winning
25 Points
The Contender
DanT
Pro (for)
Losing
12 Points

Equal Opportunity

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 8 votes the winner is...
OMGJustinBieber
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 12/18/2011 Category: Politics
Updated: 5 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 9,931 times Debate No: 19958
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (66)
Votes (8)

 

OMGJustinBieber

Con

Resolved: In the United States, all individuals have an equal opportunity to advance social class.

First round is for acceptance, clarification of terms, and other concerns.

It should be specified that this discussion will be on the topic of substantive liberties rather than formal liberties. Yes, all individuals under a capitalist system may be legally allowed to acquire capital but that is not the point of this debate. This debate will focus on the real life prospects of individuals born with different natural abilities.
DanT

Pro

To clarify this debate arose out of a discussion on the forums. The term social class is used in the socio-economic sense, not the socio-cultural, or socio-political.

All individuals have an equal opportunity to advance in their socio-economic class.

I will take this time to clarify terms.

(adj) equal (having the same quantity, value, or measure as another)
http://wordnetweb.princeton.edu...

(n) opportunity (a possibility due to a favorable combination of circumstances)
http://wordnetweb.princeton.edu...

(v) advance (develop further)
http://wordnetweb.princeton.edu...

(n) social class, socio-economic class (people having the same social, economic, or educational status)
http://wordnetweb.princeton.edu...


Educational Socio-economic clases are;

High School Degree or GED (basic education)
Some College (atleast 1 course)
Associate's Degree (atleast 2 tears)
Bachelor's Degree (atleast 4 years)
Master's Degree (atleast 6 years)
Doctorate's Degree (atleast 8 years)

Economic Socio-Economic classes are;

Upper Class (top 10% of incomes)
Middle Class (top 50% of incomes)
Lower Class (Bottom 50% of incomes)

One could also divide those up even more;

Super Rich (top 1%incomes)
Rich (top 5% incomes)
Lower Upper Class (top 10% incomes)
Upper Middle Class (top 15% incomes)
Lower Middle Class (top 50% incomes)
Working class (bottom 50% icomes)
Poor (minimum and part time wages)

It would be easier for both sides to stick to Upper, Middle, and Lower classes, rather than the more detailed classes.
Debate Round No. 1
OMGJustinBieber

Con

As Dan mentioned this is a discussion that began on the forums and carried over into a debate setting. I'm particularly interested in the line Dan is arguing here due to the fact that it's a position that is rarely argued (in my experience) even by those on the libertarian-right. Regardless, Dan was adamant about the position and I'll begin my argument for why equal opportunity is not a legitimate argument for justifying differences in class.

Differences in Natural Ability

This is the first point that comes to mind, as I specified in the introduction this point relates to substantive liberties rather than formal liberties. It's no secret that people are born with certain advantages and disadvantages, some capable of being overcome while others are utterly crippling. In my mind, this alone should invalidate the "equal opportunity" argument. Dan mentions here that he has an IQ of 128 or 142 depending on the scale. A friend of mine suffers from Williams Syndrome which entails an IQ in the 60s [1]. Needless to say, an IQ at that level severely hampers job prospects and relegates many of those in that IQ range to a life of permanent low-wages. State records in Wisconsin found that around 10,000 physically and mentally disabled workers don't even make the minimum wage [2]. Take this in contrast to a friend of mine who will be graduating Notre Dame shortly and is guaranteed a job at an investment firm upon graduation. It's these very blatant inequalities in natural abilities that should render the claim of "equal opportunity" dead in the practical world. Whether the quality in question is athletic ability, intellect, or somewhere else there were be vast differences in ability from the moment of birth in the form of genetics.

Economic Differences


Each family will divide its income in different ways depending on the priorities of that household. Choices such as "Will my child attend a private school rather than the public one?" Or whether tutors will be hired (and how often) are all decisions that need to be made by households with a given amount of disposable income. Even those in the same income brackets will invariably divide these differently depending on the needs of the children or external costs such as medical care or providing supplementary income to a family member in need. It follows that each child in a given income bracket will be allocated a different amount of income that will be spent either on education, athletic endeavors (private trainers, perhaps), music lessons, or any number of other activities. Moreover, if a child is not given the resources needed to succeed in a certain area (for instance, if the family does not provide piano lessons for a child has a strong natural ability in that area) that talent may never be recognized. Combined with the natural abilities point, it should follow that in actuality the resources provided for a child's growth will entail that there is no true equality of opportunity.

Remember, the equality of opportunity we are referring to is one that relates to the "everyday." If there are two children who have a very strong natural ability in cello yet only one is provided with the resources to pursue that talent there will inevitably be a strong difference in substantive opportunities. A similar line of thought applies in sports and academics. Vast differences in resource allocation during childhood will mold experiences as an adult.

Cultural Differences

Previous discussions with DanT on this topic implies that he conceives of "success" in an atomistic framework that depends solely on motivation and intellect [3]. Even if this is true, it seemingly supports my first argument and leads to a concession on his part. It should also be noted that both Dan and I agree that IQ is largely heritable. I want to take this issue away from the traditional nature vs. nurture debate and ask Dan to consider the same individual (lets say this boy is intelligent, but not a genius) and consider him in two different cultures and environments. In one, the boy is in a successful public school absent gang violence and given parents who routinely instill the value of education. In the other, the boy attends a public school plagued with gang violence and instilled with family values stressing the necessity to stand up for oneself and practical, hands on knowledge over intellectual theorizing. In this situation, the conceptions of "the good life" vary from one focused largely on education achievement while the other conceives of success more through personal attributes. Of course, if we were to apply "equal opportunity" in terms of advancing economic class one of these conceptions of "the good" has better implications for that goal.

Additionally, even controlling for parental influences that child in the gang-infested school is likely not an atomistic individual that will be ignored by his peers if he focuses his energy on academics. In interactions between males in a gang-related setting, or really any setting for that matter, the element of relative status within that group will play a major factor in determining success in relation with one's peers. Given the need to balance social and status-related issues with academic ones, the child in the gang-related setting will face tougher circumstances in the idea that "proving oneself" through the gang environment usually has dangerous implications. Failure to do so will likely result in social alienation, bullying, and shame towards one's family. Once this atomistic conception of an individual is abandoned it becomes much easier to perceive the fairly obvious truth that natural ability, economic situation, and cultural values all create an uneven playing field for individuals when the goal is advancing social class.


Good luck to Pro.

[1]http://www.nytimes.com...;

[2]http://www.wkow.com...?
clienttype=printable
[3]http://www.debate.org...;

DanT

Pro

Classes and wages

The current salary requirements for socio-economic classes, as defined in round 1, are;

Upper Class (>$113,799)
Middle Class ($33,049 - $113,798)
Lower Class (<$33,048)

(1)

Mental retardation

Mental Retardation is a disability that has to do with how well or how fast a person can think and learn. If properly trained and placed in the right job, mentally retarded workers should have no problem adjusting to their careers. There are many types of jobs the mentally retarded can excel at; such as factory work, construction, clerking, truck driving, carpentry or painting. (2)

A carpenter can make $24,730-$70,005 annually. Within the carpentry profession, one could go from Lower Class to Middle Class, simply by doing a good job. (3)

A painter makes $20,853 to $61,017 annually; again, painters allow for one to go from lower class to middle class. (4)

It is true that in the past, most colleges wouldn’t give people with Intellectual Disabilities a chance at admission. However largely due to the equal treatment guarantee of Section 504 of the Vocational Rehabilitation Act of 1973, the number of MR adults who have been attending college has increased, and is continuing to increase. (5)

Post-secondary education opportunities for young adults with ID, is growing in the U.S., Canada, and the rest of the globe. There is an increasing list of programs designed to give ID students the opportunity to obtain their ideal careers. Many are at community colleges and universities but some are independently run colleges. One example would be Shepherds College in Union Grove, Wisconsin. Shepherds College was founded by an organization named Shepherds Ministries which has been working to help intellectually disabled Wisconsinites, since 1957. (6)

Besides having access to higher education, special talents, such as athletic talents, or artistic talents, allows for someone with MR, to generate large revenues. Professional Athletes, professional musicians, or even as professional sculptors, are capable of generating Upper class revenues. It is no secret that talented artisans and athletes make allot of money.

Socio-economic classes’ relation to Socio-cultural classes

My opponent has suggested that Socio-economic classes are dependent on the socio-cultural environment. Although Socio-cultural classes are related to Socio-economic classes, socio-economic classes are not dependent on socio-cultural classes, but rather one’s socio-cultural class is dependent on their socio-economic class.

For example, the Italian Mafia was created in a time in American history, when businesses would not hire Italians, due to the large number of Italian immigrants. Since Italians could not find work in legitimate careers, organized crime flourished in the Italian communities, because it was a way to provide for one’s family. The Italian mob was further fueled by the prohibition era. The socio-economic impact of the prohibition lead to the black market of alcohol, and thus the mafia capitalized on bootleg liquor. (7)

Another example would be the outlaws of the wild-west. When the civil war ended, the south was plagued with a horrible economic depression, and those who were formerly employed as soldiers, in the US and CS Militaries, now were unemployed. Many of the ex-soldiers became outlaws, making money on their military expertise. Some of the unemployed southerners ended joining the outlaw gangs, because it meant income. A perfect example of this would be Jesse James; many considered him to be the Robin Hood, of his day. Jesse James was part of the Confederate Militia, and when the civil war ended, Jesse concluded that making a living with his guns was easier and more exciting, than a life as a Missouri farmer. (8)

The gangs and mafias of today’s ghettos are no different; gang culture resulted from the socio-economic situations within the ghettos, and gangs have become perpetuated by the war on drugs, creating a black market monopoly. It is ultimately up to the individual whether or not they want to stick with gang life, or get out of the ghetto. Many have succeeded, but more have failed; not due to the environment, but rather due to the lure of the easy money that gang life provides.

In the end, it’s your own decision, your own free will that determines whether or not you stick with gang culture, or pursue a legitimate career.

Minimum importance of a High School Diploma

The quality of High-school education is of little importance when it comes to socio-economic classes. A drop out with a GED can get the same job as someone with a high school diploma. The GED diploma was created in 1942 for people who were not able to finish high school. The GED is considered equal to a high school diploma by 97% of colleges and universities, as well as virtually all business employers. (9) What is important is not primary education, but rather post-primary education. Post-primary education is the easiest way to get a higher salary, however someone with no college experience can work their way up to a higher middle class salary through raises and promotions. There are computer programmers with a 6 digit salary, who don’t have a degree in that field. Acquiring skills in the field can be just as beneficial as a college degree, if not more.

Bibliography

1. The Heritage foundation. 2011 Budget Chart Book. [Online] 2008. http://www.heritage.org....

2. Ursinus. FACTS ABOUT MENTAL RETARDATION. [Online] http://webpages.ursinus.edu....

3. Pay Scale. Carpenter. Hourly Rate for Carpenter Jobs . [Online] Dec 17, 2011. http://www.payscale.com....

4. —. Hourly Rate for Painter Jobs. [Online] Dec 13, 2011. http://www.payscale.com....

5. Jones, Larry A. and Moe, Randi. College Education for Mentally Retarded Adults. [Online] 1980. http://www.eric.ed.gov....

6. Goldstone, Christina. Daniela's Journey to Shepherds College: New Opportunities in Post-Secondary Education for Young Adults with Intellectual Disabilities. [Online] 2011. http://www.eric.ed.gov....

7. History Channel. Immigration and Prohibition. [Online] http://www.history.com....

8. —. Old West. [Online] http://www.history.com....

9. Ormsby, Michael. GED Diploma or High School Diploma? What’s Best for You? . [Online] http://www.passged.com....

Debate Round No. 2
OMGJustinBieber

Con

Lets take a look at how Pro responded to my objections set forth in R2.

Differences in Natural Abilities

Pro intentionally tries to shift the focus away from probability of improvement to whether improvement in social class is possible. Pro has completely dropped the issue of vast differences in natural ability. Pro focuses on mental retardation for much of his response to my first objection, and in doing so neglects the main point of my objection: That there are vast differences in natural ability due to genetics and Pro mistakenly focuses on whether those who are less advantaged in this area can, regardless of probability, advance. Even the jobs cited as doable with MR are not, by and large, jobs of the top 10% casting doubt on a rise from the middle to upper class. Additionally, some of Con's points even seem to concede certain points to my case:

"It is true that in the past, most colleges wouldn’t give people with Intellectual Disabilities a chance at admission. However largely due to the equal treatment guarantee of Section 504 of the Vocational Rehabilitation Act of 1973, the number of MR adults who have been attending college has increased, and is continuing to increase. (5)"

This is a positive development, but it never states that college admission levels are equal - nevermind the issue of how much ID students benefit from the college experience. This is not a question of whether ID individuals can succeed in the abstract, but what the probability of success is when compared to, say, a child Shaquille O'Neal or Kobe Bryant. I have to ask Con this directly since it was neglected last round: Does a mentally retarded child and a Shaquille O'Neal/Kobe Bryant (as a child) have the same chance of improving social class? Con essentially has to argue here that differences in natural ability are irrelevant, and to avoid this ridiculous concession he has skirted the question.

In his last paragraph Pro sneaks in the concept that it may be possible for those suffering from mental retardation to succeed in sports, sculpting, and as musicians. Unfortunately, he never cites examples. I urge Pro to show me mentally retarded individuals at the peaks of their field who have become that through hard-work rather than the occasional "idiot savant" who has a strong natural ability. Pro cannot deny the inherently enormous natural abilities required to reach the level of professional sports, for instance. If certain job opportunities are immediately declined to individuals with certain difficulties than "equal opportunity" cannot possible be claimed.

Differences in Economic and Cultural Upbringing

This entire relational argument that Pro brings up is a red herring. In spending so much time arguing against a thesis I never advanced Pro ignores most of my points so I will have to reiterate them to the listeners. In the end, Pro weakly reasserts "free will" despite my earlier argument. Pro never addresses the bulk of my second argument on economic differences and allocation of income within social classes.

Restating arguments/points ignored by Pro:
-The cello example brought forth at the end of the argument (differences in income allocation resulting in some talents remaining unrealized.)
-Insufficient income allocation in a given household to pursue a talent that a child possesses.
-Different conceptions of "goodness" advanced by different cultures implying different "good" outcomes.

Moreover, lets revisit this "free will" position put forth by Pro in arguing against the importance of gang violence or cultural influences. I feel as if Pro needs to flush this out a little more, and I'm going to respond by proposing another scenario. Lets take two individuals with a given intelligence level (as in the last one, intelligent but not genius) in two environments. One is a private school that encourages intellectual development and is free of gangs, the other is heavily gang-infested where the boy is called upon to join a gang or suffer social, if not violent, consequences. If the two boys are moderately-resistant to gang pressure then pressure applied past the moderate level will result in succumbing to gang activity for only one of them. Of course, in Pro's world is simply a matter of free will and Pro conveniently forgets to address the question of what occurs when the gang becomes violent to him or his siblings due to refusal to join a gang.

This is not pure theory, a study found "When asked about the perceptions of gang participation, 59% of youths identified as juvenile delinquents indicated that peer pressure and the absence of family bonding were the main factors of perpetuating gang participation. Most groups also surveyed gang participation as a way of seeking protection [1]." This protection clause is the most direct counter to espousals of "free will" in terms of gang participation. Additionally, the Violence Prevention Institute cites the general reasons for joining a gang as a form of identity, fellowship, protection, and intimidation [2]. The latter two have directly coercive elements casting serious doubt on the idea that if someone wants to be uninvolved that the decision will be carried through scot-free.

High School Diploma

Again, we see the focus on how it is possible that X, Y, and Z may occur without a decent High School education (although with a diploma.) We've repeatedly seen a focus on possibility over probability which seems to underly our dispute. If someone has learned nothing in High School how can we expect them to succeed in college level courses? An introductionary level physics course presupposes knowledge in algebra and trigometry. One must be able to write competently, at the very least, if one wants to pursue an English major with the hopes of becoming a writer. If trained professionals in the first 18 years of one's life do not teach adequately (or if the individual is subject to damaging external influences) then that individual will be severely limited in the job market. My focus here, which Pro seems to disregard the importance of, is acquiring the skills necessary to be competitive in the job market. Moreover, teaching oneself can be counter-productive granted if you misunderstand the concepts there is no one to correct you.

Meta-Issues

It's important to note some of these larger issues that have pervaded through this discussion. If I am correct, Dan seems to perceive the drive to succeed in terms of social class as a result of both intellect and drive. The latter is potentialy unlimited, as Pro believes, and simply a matter of the quality of the individual. The issue of intellect (which we both agree is highly genetic in nature) has not been sufficiently addressed. Much of Pro's argument rests on the possible as opposed to the issue of how probable a given outcome is. Despite his focus on this he has never demonstrated that those afflicted with MR can enter top-tier jobs such as CEOs of major corporations, corporate lawyers, or other professions that demand a high degree of intellectual ability. If some of the highest paying jobs are off limits to a certain types of people it's unjustified to claim equal opportunity for everyone.

[1]http://myelsie.org...;
[2]http://www.violencepreventioninstitute.com...;
DanT

Pro

Differences in Natural Abilities

I did not avoid the subject as my opponent suggested, and I did not drop a single topic discussed by con. Everyone has their own natural disability, and every disability is capable of being overcome. The probability of someone with MR to overcome their disability rests on the individual, same goes for geniuses too. Everyone has an equal opportunity to advance, regardless of their disabilities.

People with MR are not confined to the jobs I listed. There are colleges designed to teach people with MR.

For the sake of argument, here's some careers that are related to the jobs people with MR excel in. A construction project manager can make up to $115,440 annually; that places them in the Upper Class. By attending college someone with MR can obtain a job as Project Manager. (1)

A Product Line Manager can make up to $141,283 annually, which places them in the upper class; someone with MR can become a line manager, with a college education. (2)


College Admission equality


College admission levels are equal, regarding acceptance, due to the
equal treatment guarantee of Section 504 of the Vocational Rehabilitation Act of 1973; (3) as for the number of MR students who apply, it is again up to the individual. When people like con tell the individual they will not go far in life, due to their disability, the individual has a choice, many choose to prove them wrong.

“Does a mentally retarded child and a Shaquille O'Neal/Kobe Bryant (as a child) have the same chance of improving social class?”


MR has no bearing on athletic ability. Someone with MR can easily be the next Kobe or O'Neal.




Equal Opportunity in employment.

Con said "If certain job opportunities are immediately declined to individuals with certain difficulties than 'equal opportunity' cannot possible be claimed.”

Well, it's illegal to decline someone's job application due to a disability, according to the Americans with Disabilities Act. (4) Doing so would open a door to a law suit.

People with disabilities are more than capable of regular careers. One example is Brad Cohen, who has Tourette syndrome. Cohen managed to become a very successful teacher, who won awards for his teaching ability. He has authored books, met the president, and even had a documentary made about his success.




Another example would be Kyle Maynard, who has no arms and no legs, and is undefeated in wrestling, and has studied Jui Jitsu, as well as participating in MMA.





Differences in Economic and Cultural Upbringing

I did not ignore "economic differences and allocation of income within social classes." I pointed out that you had it backwards

"Insufficient income allocation in a given household to pursue a talent
that a child possesses.


My Grandfather R.J. Hannon grew up poor in a New England mill town (Webster MA), during the Great Depression. He later became a CEO and VP of a corporation. (5)

Just because you are poor, does not mean you can't succeed.

Different conceptions of "goodness" advanced by different cultures implying different "good" outcomes.


As stated in my last argument, one's socio-economic class helps determine their socio-cultural class. Until one gets out of their socio-economic class, they remain in that socio-cultural class. The socio-cultural class has no bearing on the socio-economic class.

When it's easier to make money illegally, it becomes more appealing than making money legally. It has nothing to do with good and evil, it has to do with, the appeal.

For example, Jesse James found it more appealing to rob banks, and trains than to toil away on a farm in a devastated economy. (6)

The individual has a choice, and the environment of the individual does not change this fact.


Gang Pressure

Gangs don't force enlistment into their organization. Street gangs often try to appeal to those they enlist. Forcing one to join a gang, doesn't create loyalty amongst the gang members pressed into the group. Furthermore, initiations usually involve severe beatings, so threats on the individual are
pointless.

The driving force behind all Gangs is money. When recruiting that is the main pitch, while there may be secondary pitches, such as ideology, family, and social acceptance. Ideology is one of the main pitches used to recruit urban middle class kids.


Gangs are not confined to the Ghettos, and the poor; the urban middle class kids also are recruited by gang members. The socio-economic situation of the Ghetto kids allow for a stronger sales pitch by recruiter. As stated before, it's about the money.

Ultimately it is up to the Individual to join or to decline. Although joining is voluntary once they join, they cannot leave, but again, it was their own choice.




Con stated;

"When asked about the perceptions of gang participation, 59% of youths identified as juvenile delinquents indicated that peer pressure and the absence of family bonding were the main factors of perpetuating gang participation"

Peer pressure is a choice. No one is forcing you, they are influencing you. If peer pressure is forcing one to join a gang, than a vacuum salesman is forcing you to buy a vacuum.


High School Diploma

My opponent asked, "If someone has learned nothing in High School how can we expect them to succeed in college level courses?"

If they learned nothing, they would not have their GED or Diploma. The quality of education is meaningless, so long as the basics are taught. I was absent most of high-school, and the teachers were not very good to begin with, yet I managed to get a 3.7 GPA in college, and I managed to make the Dean's list every year I've attended.



If one has a GED or a Diploma, it means they have the basic skills needed for college. (7)

One does not go to college already knowing what they are to be learning, one goes to college in order to learn. If I were t pursue a English major, I would be taught, in college, the skills needed.

Meta-Issues

The individual's motivation and drive is most certainly the core factors behind their own success. Just because one is MR does not mean they cannot achieve a higher socio-economic-class, I have already addressed this, and I believe I have sufficiently proven my point.

Possibility and probability

The resolution states; "This debate will focus on the real life prospects of individuals born with different natural abilities."

(n) prospect (the possibility of future success)

I have been focusing on the Possibility because that is what is in the resolution. If Con wanted, this debate to be about probability, than Con should have put it in the resolution.

So far I have proven the prospect quite clearly. Everything my opponent claims to hinder equal opportunity is possible to be overcome. Probability rests on the shoulder of the individual; therefore probability is not a decent argument.


Bibliography

1. Pay Scale. Salary for Project Manager, Construction Jobs. [Online] Dec 20, 2011.
http://www.payscale.com....

2. —. Salary for Product Line Manager Jobs. [Online] Dec 14, 2011. http://www.payscale.com....

3. Jones, Larry A. and Moe, Randi. College Education for Mentally Retarded Adults. [Online]
1980.
http://www.eric.ed.gov....

4. Americans with Disabilities Act. [Online] http://www.ada.gov....

5. Hannon, Robert J. Robert Hannon to Chris Langan. mega society. [Online] Aug 31,
1992. http://www.megasociety.org....

6. History Channel. Old West. [Online]
http://www.history.com....

7. Ormsby, Michael. GED Diploma or High School Diploma? What’s Best for You? .
[Online] http://www.passged.com....

Debate Round No. 3
OMGJustinBieber

Con

Meta-Issues

Pro has revised his initial conception of success as now one hindering solely on "motivation and drive." In other words, personal effort. This brings us to the issue of possibility vs probability. Pro just picks a definition that vaguely fits his own agenda. Dictionary.com defines prospects as:

a. an apparent probability of advancement,success, profit
b. the outlook for the future [1]


Pro likely finds this definition (in terms of our debate) too deterministic, so we have essentially two playing fields: The one of probability and that of possibility. However, a focus purely on possibility is flagrantly disingenous. Take, for instance, the question of survival of those in Auschwitz during WWII and Greek civilians. A focus on possibility could stress the fact that, out of the 1.3 million sent to Auschwitz, 144 were able to escape under extraordinary circumstances [2] - thus, Pro could claim that both Auschwitz prisoners and Greek civilians had "equal opportunity" for survival given that it is possible to escape Auschwitz, in some abstract sense for some of its inhabitants. Of course, Auschwitz is not the American economy but this example still exposes shortcomings in a focus purely on possibility.

High School Diploma

Pro has a habit of focusing extensively on personal experience, and he does so again in this topic. It would be absurd to believe that everyone with a GED/HS diploma is on an equal playing field, as some of us who graduate do so with honors while others do so with D's and Fs. This isn't even to mention the wide disparity of qualities of High Schools across the US. Pro can't cogently argue that intelligence is not important in today's economy, and I don't believe he has made that argument. I take this point as established. Also note the wide variance of colleges with some with acceptance rates of nearly 100% (implying a lower level of academic quality) to the Ivy Leagues. One would have to be deluded to believe the education quality - not to mention name recognition to employers - makes an equal playing field.

Gang Pressure

Much of Pro's argument is predicated on maintaining this conception of an atomistic individual only held back by his own lack of motivation. Pro spends much of his time in this response describing the social forces behind gang activity which is not directly relevant to the argument. Pro does not directly address the main point of my argument here that intimidation and protection are main reasons for gang membership. Pro has not adequately addressed this, instead dropping back to his original point reiterating the power of free will. Just as it would do no good for a Jewish intellectual in Nazi Germany in the late thirties to have unlimited amounts of "motivation and drive" to succeed economically and utterly neglect the circumstances he is subject to, repeated studies of gangs have confirmed that coercive factors are present. Ignoring gang pressure - which is more than simple peer pressure - may result in violence to oneself or one's family. Simply put, the drive to succeed economically is one of many aspects of living well and Pro's narrow view on that subject does not account for coercive circumstances. One may not be joined to force a gang, but the consequences for abstaining may be very severe and unpredictable.

Economic and Cultural Differences

My first criticism is not addressed. This was criticism is closely tied in with my second criticism, but revolved more around "missed opportunities" in the form of recognizing talents.

The second criticism is not answered adequately. Pro simply resorts back to rags-to-riches stories that does not contradict anything I have already said. My point here is that if two identical individuals - say, both extremely talented in the violin yet average in all other aspects - yet if one is denied the allocation of income needed to pursue that talent there is an uneven playing field. One of those individuals, with his extraordinary talents, has a leg up on the other individual who is relegated to relying on his average abilities.

Third criticism: Socio-cultural classes do emphasize different values, which will inevitably relate to socio-economic class. Not everyone is imbued with the same values from birth stressing the importance of becoming wealthy along with the value of education. Different cultures will imbue their inhabitants with different conceptions of goodness that will inevitably vary in their treatment of success. Take, for instance, an Amish family vs a wealthy conservative one. How could it be reasonable to expect a child born in each of these familes to advance social classes? The Amish Church has around an 80% retention rate [3] which bolsters the claim of the strength of the Amish culture in capturing the "hearts and minds" of its young. Even if the Amish child leaves the settlement he is at a clear disadvantage skill-wise.

Employment/College Admissions

It may be illegal to deny someone purely because of a disability, but this again is a red herring. The questioning of hiring an employee is reducible to whether that employee can fulfill his/her proper function in the workplace. I'm fine with Tourettes example used by Pro (Tourettes has no impact on intelligence) but the Kyle Maynard one is interesting. Has Pro implied that an athlete with no arms or legs is in MMA? Well, yes and no. Maynard is 0-1 in amateur MMA and his MMA career is currently on hold. To state the obvious, there is no way that an athlete with no arms or legs could ever become a professional MMA fighter, or participate in most sports for that matter. Here, we can even use Pro's focus on possibility to state that a man with no arms or legs has a 0% possibility of making it to the professionals in most sports. Pro may counter that such certainty in unwarranted, but remember we're speaking in the realm of practicality and under that concept I believe the 0% label is justified. Objective boundaries exist in the athletic sphere when one is without arms or legs. It's a blatant fact that Maynard will never become a professional high jumper.

Even if MR individuals do attend college at an equal rate I'll go on to cover this in the next section. The issue is not crucial, and for now take note of Pro dodging the question of whether a child with MR and Kobe/Shaq have the same chance of advancing social class. Pro weakly appeals to the semantic point that I did not specify that the MR child is not extremely gifted in anything.

MR/Natural Abilities

So much of Pro's argument is speaking from theory and potentiality, that he clearly avoids the concept that this argument is centered around the substantial, real-life issues facing those with MR. Let's clearly state what those with MR are dealing with:

Those with mild MR have a mental age of 5-8. Academic skills are potentially at a 6th grade level, but usually at a third grade level [4]. In chalking down success to motivation, Pro implies that the only reason those with MR cannot become astrophysists are because they are unmotivated. This is clearly absurd. It gets worse, those with moderate mental retardation have a mental age of 1 to 5 and are unlikely to progress beyond a second grade level [5]. In preserving his vision, Pro must again chalk down the position that those with a permanent mental age of 5 cannot become astrophysisists due to laziness. It's apparent that certain job opportunities are immediately out of reach for those with MR. I requested in R3 that Pro cite names of individuals with MR at the peaks of their field. This has not been done thus far.


Conclusion

The BoP is simply Pro defending the claim that everyone has "equal opportunity" - thus allowing me to compare people with a permanent mental age of 2 and Einstein. I applaud Pro for his effort, but our discourse exposed several charges that Pro either ignored or refuted poorly. I urge a Con vote. Sources in comments.
DanT

Pro


MR/Natural Abilities

Con gives a fixed mental age for people with mildly retarded IQs, however the mental age is not fixed.

IQ = 100 x Mental Age ÷ Chronological Age (1)

One is considered mildly retarded if their IQ is between 55 and 70. If someone is 25 their Mental age would be between 14 and 18 if they were mildly retarded. (2) Con’s Mental Ages would only apply to those with a chronological age of 7 and under.

MR is a disability that has to do with how well or how fast a person can think and learn.
Most MR adults can work and are able to hold steady jobs - if properly trained and placed in the right job. Adults with MR succeed in tasks that are well explained. (3)

MR Examples

My opponent claims “Pro dodging the question of whether a child with MR and Kobe/Shaq have the same chance of advancing social class." This is False, as I provided a video of mentally retarded Basket Ball players, who play an amazing game.


Employment/College Admissions

My opponent has thrown into the debate a common myth about those with MR.

MYTH: Persons with disabilities are unable to meet performance standards, thus making them a bad employment risk.
FACT: In 1990, DuPont conducted a survey of 811 employees with disabilities and found 90% rated average or better in job performance compared to 95% for employees without disabilities. A similar 1981 DuPont study which involved 2,745 employees with disabilities rated average or better in job performance compared to 90% of employees without disabilities. The 1981 study results were comparable to DuPont's 1973 job performance study. (3)

Disabilities and sports

My opponent claims, “a man with no arms or legs has a 0% possibility of making it to the professionals in most sports”, however Kyle Maynard is undefeated in wrestling, and has competed against some of the best Jui Jitsu Martial Artists.


Violin talents

Con claims, “say, both extremely talented in the violin yet average in all other aspects - yet if one is denied the allocation of income needed to pursue that talent there is an uneven playing field.”

Playing the violin is a skill, and having a talent for the violin comes after one first acquires the skill to play it, not before.

Amish Cultural

Con stated “Even if the Amish child leaves the settlement he is at a clear disadvantage skill-wise.”

The Amish are highly skilled in carpentry, and construction, as well as being highly motivated. An Amish man who decides to leave the community would do be promoted fast in construction, and would likely make the $115,440 salary of a construction project manager (4), within their life time; if they choose to go into that field.

Economic and Cultural Differences

My opponent has claimed that I did not address certain criticisms; however I addressed each criticism he has thrown out so far. Just because he didn't read it, does not mean I didn't wright it.

Everyone has their own advantages and own disadvantages.

Gangs

Con said, “One may not be joined to force a gang, but the consequences for abstaining may be very severe and unpredictable.”

I assume Con means one may not be forced to join a gang. Con keeps falsely referring to my arguments as red herrings, when con is the one really using red herrings, and this vague argument is a perfect example.

So far Con’s only refutation for my argument against gangs is,Pro has not adequately addressed this, instead dropping back to his original point reiterating the power of free will.”

The agreed upon definition of opportunity is “a possibility due to a favorable combination of circumstance” (5), one circumstance could be choosing not to join a gang. Choices we make is a circumstance, which determines the possibility of our future; thus it is part of the definition of opportunity.

Differences in Natural Ability

Con said, “It's no secret that people are born with certain advantages and disadvantages, some capable of being overcome while others are utterly crippling. In my mind, this alone should invalidate the ’equal opportunity’ argument.”

Opportunity is a possibility due to a favorable combination of circumstances, thus one circumstance alone does not define one’s opportunity. An IQ of 60 may not give someone the possibility of becoming a CEO, however if they attend college, they can achieve one of the high income jobs I have mentioned earlier; especially colleges like Shepherds Colleges, which is established for giving people with MR a higher education. (6)

Equal Opportunity

The agreed upon definitions of Equal, opportunity, advance and social class was;

(adj) equal (having the same quantity, value, or measure as another) (7)

(n) opportunity (a possibility due to a favorable combination of circumstances) (5)

(v) advance (develop further) (8)

(n) social class (people having the same social, economic, or educational status) (9)

Thus the definition equal opportunity to advance social class is having the same quantity of favorable circumstances, allowing one to further develop their education or income.

I believe I have proven that everyone has an equal opportunity to advance in education, or wealth.

Conclusion

Everyone has their own disadvantages, and advantages. I believe I have proven that in the US, everyone has the same quantity of favorable circumstances, allowing them to further develop their education or income. If you agree, please vote Pro.

Bibliography

1. mega foundation. What Does "IQ" Stand For, and What Does It Mean? [Online] http://hiqnews.megafoundation.org....

2. Artmann, Robert. Mental retardation. [Online] http://www.iq-tests.eu....

3. Ursinus. FACTS ABOUT MENTAL RETARDATION. [Online] http://webpages.ursinus.edu....

4. Payscale. Salary for Project Manager, Construction Jobs. [Online] Dec 20, 2011. http://www.payscale.com....

5. Princeton. Opportunity. [Online] http://wordnetweb.princeton.edu....

6. Goldstone, Christina. [Online] 2011. Daniela's Journey to Shepherds College: New Opportunities in Post-Secondary Education for Young Adults with Intellectual Disabilities. .

7. Princeton. Equal. [Online] http://wordnetweb.princeton.edu....

8. —. advance. [Online] http://wordnetweb.princeton.edu....

9. —. Social Class. [Online] http://wordnetweb.princeton.edu....


Debate Round No. 4
66 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by DanT 5 years ago
DanT
Only if my definitions are included, because my definitions were accepted in round 1 as clarification of the resolution.
Posted by Double_R 5 years ago
Double_R
I'll tell you what, you really think you are that much brighter then everybody else then put your money where your mouth is and debate me on this.

RESOLVED: The phrase "Equal Opportunity" refers to probability, not possibility.

Since I am one of the dim people here you should have no problem accepting, or are you now going to make up some excuse?
Posted by DanT 5 years ago
DanT
16kadams didn't know who pro and con was.

wiploc ignored the part about advancing one's social class, and focused on disadvantages between social classes.

Mangani gave a vague RFD, which didn't reflect the debate, and also vote bombed.

Danielle focused on con's argument and ignored mine entirely, her RFD was 5 paragraphs praising con, with no reference to me.

LiberalHoyaLawya claimed prospects meant probability, not possibility, when the agreed definition states prospect is a possibility.

Double_R also focused on probability, ignored the definitions, and vote bombed.

imabench seems to be the only one who read the entire debate, and apparently it upset his migraine.

This debate is a shining example of bad voting conduct.
Posted by DanT 5 years ago
DanT
I never argue a point, that I have not first researched, and when I feel my argument has become weak, I drop the position.
You should try this some time, than maybe you wouldn't look like such a fool.
Posted by DanT 5 years ago
DanT
@ Double_R

I'm not really trying that hard, because you have a weak argument. I hate having to repeat myself, and that's exactly what you are making me do, because you fail to grasp the simplest of concepts.

We are debating about an equal combination of circumstances, which makes something possible. You have poor reading comprehension skills. You can't even correctly apply definitions. Which explains your vote's lack of relevance.

I have already proven that the same quantity of favorable opportunities exist, for everyone to move up in their social class.

Note yet again, this debate is about advancing in one's social class, thus comparing two separate social classes is impractical.

This site has some pretty bright people on it, but there are also plenty of dim people on here. You being one of them, judging by this conversation.

When I'm wrong I admit it; so far you have not proven me wrong. I hate reaping myself but I also hate when people like yourself transfer their own characteristics onto people they disagree with. You are a stubborn fool, who can't admit when he is wrong and you fail to grasp the simplest of concepts.
Your argument falls apart, because you grasp for straws, and thus your argument is not solid. Unlike you my argument is sound, because unlike you I do not resort to distorting reality to confirm a belief.
Posted by Double_R 5 years ago
Double_R
DanT, you are trying really hard to hold onto this absurd position. You really need to give it up. And since you love definitions so much:

Equal: having the same quantity, value, or measure as another
Possibility: The fact or state of being possible

Please explain how it makes any sense at all to debate whether people have "equal possibility". Possibility either exists or it doesn't. To argue that two people have equal possibility is to say that the possibility for both simply exists. Anything is possible. No reasonable person on this planet will argue that it is impossible for someone born in the ghetto to become rich. That is a ridiculous burden to try to place on your opponent, and is blatantly obvious that your opponent never intended on defending that position. Not only is that clear from the resolution and her round 1 but extremely clear according to the very conversation that lead to this debate.

You were wrong. Get over it. Instead of admitting that, you cling onto your completely nonsensical position that this debate was about possibility. If you believe yourself I really do feel bad for you.
Posted by DanT 5 years ago
DanT
Do you use multiple dictionaries to find the definition of 1 word or do you look up words in the same dictionary to clarify the definition?
It's only vague if you wish to distort the definition.

Further more the claim was that the debate was not about possibility, it was about probability, however multiple accepted definitions claim it was about possibility, and no where in the definitions, nor resolution does it say probability.

In other words the claim that it was about probability is unfounded, and the claim that it is about possibility is proven.
Posted by OMGJustinBieber 5 years ago
OMGJustinBieber
We can't let sleeping dogs lie, can we? This will be my last post since I don't expect you to ever admit that you might have been wrong about something.

The original definition was "a possibility due to a favorable combination of circumstances" - the "a possibility" clause is vague, as I have mentioned in other definitions which define "a possibility" in terms of likelihood and even PROBABILITY. Even more, it doesn't make sense to say "equal possibility" since possibility is traditionally conceived of as a binary concept. This leaves the question of "possibility" open to further discussion. That said, even if we go with your definition of pure possibility (which is extremely disingenous and would basically state that an Auschwitz prisoner has the same opportunity for survival as a general holding a desk job during WWII) I still pointed out that Kyle Maynard does not have the same number of "favorable opportunities" due to the fact that he has no arms or legs. Any claim of victory on your part would have had to have been purely semantical and so far removed from the reality of the question. Case closed.
Posted by DanT 5 years ago
DanT
Also Con agreed to my definition of prospects.
Posted by DanT 5 years ago
DanT
According to the Definitions given for prospects, and opportunity this is a debate about possibility.
8 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 8 records.
Vote Placed by 16kadams 5 years ago
16kadams
OMGJustinBieberDanTTied
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Total points awarded:30 
Reasons for voting decision: con refutes all of pros arguments and had better ones overall. Sure everyone has an opportunity, but pro proved that there wasn't. Due to disabilities. But there is = opportunity much of the time, but pro didn't really...back up my opinions.
Vote Placed by wiploc 5 years ago
wiploc
OMGJustinBieberDanTTied
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Reasons for voting decision: Con points out that some people advance more easily than others. Pro replies that some individuals in disadvantaged groups manage to make it out of those groups anyway. That is true even though some groups are disadvantaged, have less opportunity. Pro mentioned an armless legless wrestler, who is "undefeated," whatever that means in this context. Does Con really believe he wouldn't be even better, have more opportunity to win if he had arms and legs? That's laughable. Victory: Co
Vote Placed by Mangani 5 years ago
Mangani
OMGJustinBieberDanTTied
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Total points awarded:60 
Reasons for voting decision: Pro presupposed most of his points, but provided little to no evidence in support of his claims. Con gave various empirical examples of how Pro was wrong.
Vote Placed by Danielle 5 years ago
Danielle
OMGJustinBieberDanTTied
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Reasons for voting decision: See Comments Section
Vote Placed by Lordknukle 5 years ago
Lordknukle
OMGJustinBieberDanTTied
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Total points awarded:07 
Reasons for voting decision: Counter Vote-bomb DOuble R
Vote Placed by LiberalHoyaLawya 5 years ago
LiberalHoyaLawya
OMGJustinBieberDanTTied
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Total points awarded:32 
Reasons for voting decision: Pro's voluminous citations notwithstanding, he lost this debate in the argument over probability versus possibility. Con emphasized from the outset that this debate was about the "real life prospects" for social advancement, but Pro erroneously believed that all he had to do was show - through highly anecdotal evidence - that SOME lucky people have overcome tremendous disadvantages to show all people have "equal opportunity." Con rebutted Pro on this point in Round 4, and Con failed to respond.
Vote Placed by Double_R 5 years ago
Double_R
OMGJustinBieberDanTTied
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Reasons for voting decision: 6 points as a counter Lordknuckle and Imabench. I don’t normally agree with countering bad votes, but it is blatantly obvious that neither participant understood what this debate was about. 6 points for countering only left 1 point for arguments which was awarded to Con. RFD in comments.
Vote Placed by imabench 5 years ago
imabench
OMGJustinBieberDanTTied
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Reasons for voting decision: I had a headache before reading this debate, and reading this debate sure didnt help it. The Con's job was to show why people should NOT have the right to equal opportunity and Pro refuted all arguments and showed how disabilities thta people have doesnt mean they should automatically not be given a chance at all to overcome.