The Instigator
Pro (for)
The Contender
Con (against)

Grandzam won the debate with RPC about evolution

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Grandzam has forfeited round #3.
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Voting Style: Open with Elo Restrictions Point System: Select Winner
Started: 2/8/2017 Category: Miscellaneous
Updated: 11 months ago Status: Debating Period
Viewed: 341 times Debate No: 99738
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (5)
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This debate has its origins in a complete disagreement between me and my opponent. The point of this is to help both of us understand eachother's viewpoints and to learn more about the nature of debate. I urge my opponent not to accept if they do not feel up to this challenge. If they do, however, I expect this to be fun and rewarding and completely worth their time.

The first round can either be for acceptance or for putting an opening argument, depending on whether my opponent wants to prove right away why I am wrong or whether they want to wait to attack my particular reason for victory. I am ready for either. No new arguments in the last round. Good luck!


I accept.
Debate Round No. 1


P1: Theory shells can be used to win a debate.

Con seems to have already (privately) conceded this contention before with the Zaradi debate, but I will explain fully here. A theory shell is just an argument that instead of arguing about the resolution, argues about something that the opponent has done[1]. Many debaters assume that an argument for or against the resolution is required to win the debate. This is usually the case, but an argument that directly claims that you should win to punish your opponent for unfairness or a similar reason[1] is not outside of what can be argued, as I will show in the rest of this contention.

Here just a strawman example of what someone unfamiliar with debate theory might say:

"Rationally, if the topic of the debate is "evolution should be taught in public schools" and you make NO argument as to why evolution should be taught in public schools, you cannot POSSIBLY be considered the winner of the debate."

I am arguing that there is, in fact, a way to win without saying anything about the resolution. If you make a good argument that says your opponent deserves to lose the debate, why should that be ignored? As is evident from the argument, if your opponent fails to refute it they automatically lose the debate. Anyone who argues otherwise assumes that debaters are not allowed to talk directly to judges or voters, which is clearly incorrect.

An example of this is an argument about the burden of proof. These are typical arguments made by debaters to show what the debaters must do to affirm or negate the resolution. Notice, they do not themselves argue for either side, but directly tell judges how the round should be evaluated. This is a clear example of debating about what the judges should do. A run of the mill BOP argument by pro might be something like the following, "The resolution only requires me to show that the resolution is true in at least one case. If I can do that I win the debate." This kind of argument should definitely be allowed, as it lets debaters talk about how they interpret the resolution in their case. Otherwise, a problem might arise where judges might have a different idea about the BOP than you, and you would not be able to argue for a different interpretation. Plus, these are clearly commonly used around DDO, so most would consider this to be a part of debate.

There are other kinds of arguments that do things like this, with debate theory among them. Instead of telling judges how to evaluate arguments, you are directly telling them to vote for you for some stated reason. This is not really different fundamentally, only in magnitude. There are also, just like with BOP, problems that might occur if these are not allowed to run. If your opponent uses extremely unfair tactics to win, why not be able to call that out? This is debate right? Anything can be contended with in debate, and not being able to argue against unfairness makes no sense.

Take this example of a debate by Zaradi who won with three votes, two of them being by some of the best debaters on this site[2]. His argument was basically that the opponent made the resolution of the debate extremely hard for Con to win, with the (abbreviated) reasoning that

1. There was very little ground for Con to argue against the resolution as it stated a literally true fact.
2. Giving the opponent little opportunity to be able to effectively argue damages fairness and the educational value of the debate.
3. Fairness and education are principles that are essential to debate, so judges should vote against him to punish the violation to these standards.

The only point that Pro attacked was point one, and Zaradi masterfully defended it. This is clearly an example of a theory argument because Con did not even contest the fact that sea lions are seals. If my opponent concedes that this was a win for Zaradi, I have proven two things. First, I have proven that a theory shell is an admissible argument to use to win a debate. Second, I have proven the strawman statement a few paragraphs above to be false, there definitely exists a way to be considered the winner of the debate even if their arguments don't affirm or negate the resolution in any way.

P2: Dropped arguments should be assumed as true while voting.

This should be obvious. In order for a debater to legitimately earn your vote, that person needs to have convinced you that they have won in the debate using their own arguments. Voting for someone implies that you think they have won by providing the best reasons to negate or affirm the resolution (external things like fairness can be reasons), and that you have weighed the impacts of each side against each other to determine this[3]. Impacts can only be used in your vote if the debater has included a warrant (a reason) for the impact and you believe that the debater has done better to demonstrate the truth of the impact than their opponent has done to demonstrate it's falsity.

If the warrant for an impact is completely dropped, then the impact must be used in your vote due to the warrant demonstrating the truth of the impact better than the opponent's doing nothing to demonstrate its falsity.

C1: I have made a proper theory shell with impacts that transcend the opponent's argument for the resolution. It then logically follows that I have won the debate.

This is the debate in question[4], because it is the only debate between me and RPC about genetics. My round 2 argument explains the four things central to a theory shell[1][5].

A - Interpretation. This is where I explain a rule of debate that I believe must be followed. This rule is obviously Debaters must not use more than the amount of characters set as a limit in the beginning of the debate

B - Violation. This is where I point to my opponent breaking this rule. First, I pointed to his google doc as being approximately twice as large as the 8k char limit. Second, at the bottom, I explained why this is a genuine argument and not a source.

C - Standards. This is where I explain the reasons for my interpretation. The reason is simply that I created the debate with the expectation that I would only have to refute 8,000 chars or less. Further, it breaks the limitation imposed by the site that lets him debate. This harms fairness and education for reasons I explained in the debate.

D - Voters. This is the nail in the coffin. This is the argument that explains why breaking the interpretation should cause my opponent to lose. I explained that voting Pro encourages abusive rule breaking. I then gave an alternative, to vote Pro to uphold the standards of good and fair debate.

Since this is clearly a complete theory shell, this is a workable argument that can win a debate by P1.

Everything in this shell went dropped. The only counter argument made to this was that his doc was a source, not an argument. This is, however, a faulty argument since I had already explained why his document should be considered an argument and not a source. He did not refute those arguments nor provided his own that explains why his doc was a source. This is a dropped argument and therefore you must accept it by P2.

My shell directly says I win (allowed by P1), and this is dropped meaning you must accept my victory by P2.



Theory shells can be used to win a debate, but in this case, your "theory shell" was a Red herring. RonPaulConservative did not use more than the amount of characters set as a limit in the beginning of the debate.

His Essay Was a Source, You Failed to Prove Otherwise

Your explanation as to "why [RonPaulConservative's essay] is a genuine argument and not a source" is as follows:

"Do not let my opponent get away with this by claiming that his doc is merely a source. Good sources encourage fun and accessible debate by providing the warrant for facts that would be impractical to prove on one's own . . .This source, however, is just a long argument against evolution."

So, you're saying that...

P1) RonPaulConservative linking to an essay isn't fun or practical.
P2) Realistically, RonPaulConservative could have expounded on his argument within the character limit.
P3) RonPaulConservative's essay is just a long argument against evolution.
C) Therefore, RonPaulConservative's essay is not a source.

This argument fails. Just because the source "is just a long argument against evolution" does not mean it isn't a source. And while you may think that RonPaulConservative should have condensed his argument into 8,000 characters and posted it directly into the debate for the sake of fun, accessibility, and practicality...the fact that RonPaulConservative didn't do this does not mean his essay is not a source.


RonPaulConservative didn't use more than the amount of characters set a limit in the beginning of the debate. You have no excuse for failing to address his claim that evolution is false.
Debate Round No. 2
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Debate Round No. 3
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Debate Round No. 4
5 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 5 records.
Posted by squonk 11 months ago
Posted by Grandzam 11 months ago
I haven't given up, but it will take me a while to post my argument because of other deabates that I need to do.
Posted by Grandzam 11 months ago
lol keep this to the debate. At least you aren't sticking to that statement about the topic of the debate
Posted by squonk 11 months ago
As the voter, I am allowed to evaluate both parties' arguments. You argument (that RonPaulConservative's essay is part of his argument & not a source) was not legitimate. It was a Red herring. If you successfully argued that RPC broke the rules, you may have been considered the winner. But you didn't.

So, I have to choose been "lousy argument that evolution is false" and "fallacious argument that RonPaulConservative broke the rules of the debate." A lousy argument is better than a fallacious argument.
Posted by Grandzam 11 months ago
You can always try semantics, or ironically your own theory shell :D I wont hate you if you do that.
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