The Instigator
amispami
Con (against)
Winning
12 Points
The Contender
Yogurt
Pro (for)
Losing
0 Points

High school Public Forum Debate resolutions should not confront sensitive religious issues.

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 3 votes the winner is...
amispami
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 11/14/2010 Category: Education
Updated: 6 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 3,645 times Debate No: 13662
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (1)
Votes (3)

 

amispami

Con

This debate will be (if you chose to accept it) in a modified Public Forum format with the rounds as following:
1. first speeches
2. questions ONLY
3. answering those questions
4. closing speeches.

For clarification, I will define the terms:

High school: Grades 9-12
Public Forum Debate: persuasive and logical arguments in a manner that is accessible to a wide variety of audiences
Resolutions: advocacy for solving a problem or establishing a solution
Should not: ought not if leads to significant negative reaction
Confront: debate
Sensitive: historically shown to provoke a negative reaction
Religious issues: conflict that stems from religion

On to my three contentions.

Firstly, Religion is taught in public schools. Not only has the supreme court rules that teaching religion in school is appropriate, it has repeatedly ruled that it is a civic nessesity. Justice Tom Clark wrote "It might as well be said that one's education is not complete without a study of comparitive religion or of the history of religion and its relationship to the advancement of civilazation." Regardless of whether a student choses to debate religious topics, they will be exposed to comparitive religious education as they should be. Stephen Prothero, a religion professor at Boston univerisity, said "Even if religion doesn't make sense to you, you can't make sense of the world without knowing something about the world's religions" If schools did not teach about religion, students would have an incomplete grasp on world history. Because they do teach comparitive religion, further exploring the more sensitive aspects in debate can do no harm, only expand the understanding of these issues and the education of those debating them.

Secondly, Students are not forced to Debate against their beliefs. Because Debate is a voluntary activity, no student will be forced to debate sensitive religious issues if he does not wish to. If for some reason a student has a problem debating the topic, they can simply chose not to debate that month. These students will not be deprieved of the opportunity to debate, as there are many other forms of debate with different topics that the debater could take part in for that month. Just because a few debaters have an objection to a topic, does not mean that the topic should be censored. The countless other debaters that want to take advantage of multipul benefits of debating sensitive relious should not be denied the opportunity to because of a select group of people. If the debater still wishes to debate in public forum, they can run cases that do not directly adress the sensitive issues. Both of these options are availible to all students, and so debaters are not forced to debate against their beliefs.

And third, We should debate sensitve religious issues. Seuanne Dolentz said, "Raising the question of religion and spirituality can start some heated debates, but that doesn't mean they should be avoided." Religious beliefs are personal beliefs, and like other personal beliefs such as poltical veiws, they should be debated. Aaron Meyers explains that ," Religion is given special privileges in most areas of public life, from politics to casual conversation ... People treat religion as if it is something immutable, like race or sex, rather than as a choice that a person makes for themselves." Religious beliefs are views people choose to adopt and like all other views they should be debated to fully understand their merits and downfalls. Refusing to debate about religion and thereby leaving it uncontested, inhibits the dissemination of valuable information and arguments about prominent beliefs that affect many facets of humanity. As Matt Cherry, the Executive Director Of the Council for Secular Humanism said, "religious and philosophical views should be every bit as open to debate and discussion as political beliefs".

It is for these reasons I urge you to vote con!
Yogurt

Pro

Your definitions are not exactly "for clarification", and are not accurate in many ways.
High School Public Forum Debate Resolutions has a very specific definition: the resolutions the National Forensics League releases every month to Public Forum. My opponent has disregarded the phrase "Public Forum"
I agree with Confront.
Sensitive: History is not the only source of evidence or reasoning. There are many other forms of evidence.
Also, the Con side has a connotation of sensitive, which is provoking a negative reaction. This is abusive because if all sensitive religious issues are negative, where are the grounds to debate? Also, all sensitive things are not negative.
Therefore I will define emotional as: triggering emotional responses
Religious issues: I'd like to put up another definition of religious issue as simple a controversial issue pertaining to religion because his definition is a bit confusing. What, specifically, is stem? How do you measure a conflict?

Before I support my own contentions, I would like to refute all my opponent's contentions.
Con Contention 1: We teach these at schools, so why not Debate?
The core of my opponent's argument is from the connection between school and debate. Debate is different from school because they offer switch-side debate and therefore this contention has no ground in this debate. This debate forces students to debate against their own beliefs, which is unfair and obviously not moral. I will go deeper into this in my first contention.
Furthermore, the very constitution they cite contradicts the contention. The Free Exercise Clause says that nothing should be made to prevent the free exercise of a religion [1]. This Clause is breached when we force debaters to advocate another belief. Also, McCollum v. Board of Education (1948) and Zorach v. Clauson (1952)[2] has shown that even not under school hours, no program can be held on school grounds that may advocate a religion. Debate tournaments are on school grounds, so we cannot allow sensitive religious issues to be advocated.

Contention 2: Do not need to debate against their own beliefs
First I'd like to point out that this is not a contention and is simply a refutation. I will address this topic further in my first contention.

Contention 3: We should debate sensitive religious issues
What? This is not a contention, but an overview. The Con says that they are unlike political issues, but religious issues are a lot more sensitive. It is a way of life for many people. People devote Sundays to go to church, and therefore more sensitive than political issues. He also says that people treat religion as if it is "something immutable". 37% of America have an unfavorable view of Islam. 46% believe that Muslims are more likely to engage in violent acts [3]. One fifth of America is religiously isolated, which are people who believe all other religions are false and "they don't always treat those of other religious faiths with respect, and they don't always feel respected by members of other faiths [4]."

Now on to my own contentions.
Contention 1: Public Forum debate can offend people that have religious views. In Public Forum, students must argue for both sides of a resolution. Because of this, students would be arguing against their own belief. We offend debaters when we force them to argue against their religious beliefs. Allowing the debate of sensitive religious issues causes a negative cognitive response from the brain. Research has been conducted by Dr. Newberg that it is scientifically proven that debating religious issues triggers a large increase in stress and anger response. He says that "whether it's people who believe in abortion versus those who don't, whether it's just one religion versus another, ¡­ [it] turns on the different parts of the brain that are involved in our stress response and our anger response [5]." Because an anger and stress response occurs, debaters can become emotional and ruin the environment of the debate. This could cause debaters to lash out and make rash decisions. By allowing this, people taking part in this debate will be offended. The NFL did not want one to feel uncomfortable because they were "forced to debate on a side of the resolution that had a religious inclination opposed to their personal religious beliefs [6]." One of the goals of Public Forum debate is to increase the participation, but because the original November resolution forced people to debate against their own belief, many students did not want to participate. They took down the original Public forum topic because of the major reason that participation would decrease. Resolutions that single out specific religious groups, like how the prior November resolution singled out Muslims would alienate and offend members of that religion. If we debate sensitive religious issues, we are causing an even greater drop in the diversity among the participants. Everyone should have the right to participate in debate, and by debating sensitive religious issues, Public Forum is taking away this right. Because participation decreases, less people are being educated by public forum debate, and it is morally wrong to offend debaters.

Contention 2: It is proven that adolescence is a stage of strong emotional and behavioral response. As the affirmation we strongly believe that added on to the fact that we are merely teenagers, we are hormonal and are not mature enough to debate sensitive religious issues. Ronald Dahl's Adolescent Brain Development Article states that adolescence is a stage with "difficulties in the control of behavior and emotion [7]." First of all, as teenagers, we do not have the life experience nor the brain maturity to talk about sensitive religious issues in a debate environment, where it is supposed to be educational and fun. To add on, in adolescence we have difficulties controlling our behavior and emotions. We may be more susceptible to lash out and say offending things to other debaters. This will offend debaters and ruin the debate environment. As Aristotle states, Youth are heated by nature as drunken men by wine. Religious issues need to be approached with caution, as a small misstep would offend a great amount of people. As teenagers we do not possess the cognitive mindset to debate these issues.

The Con side really only has one contention, as the second contention is a refutation and the third one is just a general statement. This contention has been refuted many times in this debate. Because we offend people and participation decreases and adolescents are too immature, please place a ballot for the Affirmation, or Proponents of this resolution.

[1]:http://en.wikipedia.org...
[2]:http://pewforum.org...
[3]:http://people-press.org...
[4]:http://www.gallup.com...
[5]:http://www.pbs.org...
[6]:http://globaldebateblog.blogspot.com...
[7]:http://www.psych.umn.edu...
Debate Round No. 1
amispami

Con

Please only ask questions in this round! Thanks! And just for clarification, I'm a she...

1. Can you please clarify your definition of Sensitive?

2. You said, "This Clause is breached when we force debaters to advocate another belief." How are we forcing them to debate? Can they not choose to debate another form of debate or run a backwards case?

3. How is debating both sides of sensitive religious issues advocating religion?

4. You state that Americans have an unfavorable view of the Islamic religion. Isn't the fact that Americans are so uneducated about the worlds religions that they hold these intolerant view only futher proof that we should debate religious issues to increase our understanding, tolerance, and decrease bias?

5. Can't any topic or statement offend somebody? I have debated many people that have made very offensive comments regardless of the topic.

6. In your first contention you say again that Debaters are "forced" to argue against their own beliefs. How exactly are they forced? Can't they choose not to debate that month or pick a different form?

7. You said that debating religion angers people. Should we not debate religion simply because people are offended by it? Shouldn't religious beliefs be open for contestation just like any other?

8. I ask for evidence that the NFL changed the topic because people refused to debate and that diversity is dropping because of sensitive religious issues. As of right now, you have no actual logic or facts to support your case.

9. "We do not have the life experience nor the brain maturity to talk about sensitive religious issues in a debate environment" Were else could we safely develop our maturity or experience? Isn't debate the best venue to foster understanding and tolerance?

If you would please not answer these questions, but just ask your own so we have equal debate time. Thanks!
Yogurt

Pro

I'm sorry i didn't know you were a she D: because of the male professor picture, and I apologize.

1. Do you agree with my definitions?
2. What is comparative religion? :P
3. How is school comparative to the debate community?
4. If debate is advocacy, would you agree that at least one of the rounds in the tournament will be aff/neg, and they will have to argue against their own beliefs in that sense?
5. How is there any way of knowing if an opposing side will bring up a very sensitive contention and offend the debater?
6. Can you clarify " they can run cases that do not directly adress the sensitive issues"?

These are all the questions I have. Thank you for providing a nice and follow-able case.
Debate Round No. 2
amispami

Con

Thanks for posting so quickly! I'll answer your questions:

1. I agree with all but the definition of Sensitive, as it is confusing.

2. Comparative religion is teaching students about religion. Not telling them they should believe this but simply, some people believe this and this is what it is. It is crucial to ensuring tolerance. James Moore said, "Knowledge of Islam will enable the American people to make rational decisions and increase religious tolerance and social justice." He went on to say Islam education will, "abolish harmful stereotypes, reduce prejudice and discrimination, and improve intercultural understanding." Clearly, religious education will increase tolerance, and the education gained by debaters is key to increasing tolerance. Schools that teach comparative religion are helping raise the next generation to be a tolerant one.

3. My contention was that students will be exposed to religion anyways, and futher exploring it in a debate setting is very positive. As I have said, education is a must. Stephen Prothero, a religion professor at Boston univerisity, said "Even if religion doesn't make sense to you, you can't make sense of the world without knowing something about the world's religions" Comparative religion education can do nothing but encourage full understanding and tolerance. As we have established, America is a nation in severe need of tolerance.

4. No, they will not have to debate against their beliefs. They can opt out of debating public forum for that month or debate another type of debate. They can also run backwards cases, which I will explain in my 6 answer. Eric English said, " Just as walking a mile in unfamiliar shoes lends perspective, switch-side debating increases appreciation of contrary opinions as the debater ‘‘tries on' an unfamiliar idea rather than relying on simplification, reduction, or rejection." They don't have to believe what they are saying to debate. In fact, every debater WILL debate against their own beliefs. Everybody has a opinion, and because of switch-side debate, they will debate against their opinion. Though many resolutions don't directly address sensitive issues, many debaters will have to debate against their strong, personal opinions. The best debaters are the ones that can argue against their own opinion. Not only does this foster understanding, but it improves the debaters skills. If you would answer this question (though you do not have to as I have already asked my questions, its up to you), what makes sacred, personal beliefs any different then religious beliefs?

5. There is no way of knowing. There is no way of knowing that a topic that confronts sensitive religious issues will offend anyone either. Personally, I have heard very offensive statements and contentions in my debate experience, even if the topic itself didn't confront sensitive issues.

6. For example, a case that doesn't directly address this debate would be you arguing that debate should be avoided all together. Running a case like this allows debaters to debate and win without talking about the issues that they wish to avoid.
Yogurt

Pro

1. My definition of sensitive was simply something that triggers an emotional response in many people.
2. Sorry, we are not forcing them to debate. It's jsut that to eupport educational value it is assumed that they will debate the topic presented. What is a backwards case? They can choose to debate another topic, but LD is very different from PuFo as it is more morals and less religious issue-based, i believe. Correct me if I'm wrong.
3. Debate is advocacy, and for example, a sensitive religious issue >God exists. This requires a side regarding atheistic and theistic religions.
4. This leads me to my 2nd contention, which is about being able to handle these things. Also, we cannot increase tolerance when we bend every fact about these issues towards a case in order to win. The point of debate is to win, and people may give misinformation. Misinformation is worse than no information at all.
5. Religion is taking it another step further. I can say that Obama is a bad president, though we probably will not get into a fight like that. I can say you God is bad, which will be a lot more sensitive. Also, are there any people praying to politicians? Religion is a way of life for many people.
6. If we choose not to debate, we lose valuable education. I think i answered the other question in the previous questions.
7. We should not debate religion not because some are offended by it. Many people are offended. Many people dropped out because of the original November Resolution. Anger makes lashing out and offending people more likely, and the debate enviroment is ruined.
8. http://globaldebateblog.blogspot.com...
I have provided 7 citations for my evidence on my case. I don't see how this has no reasoning. Please explain.
9.Debate is not the best venue to foster education and tolerance. There are many other ways, like talking to people of another religion, being educated in the other religion. There are more direct ways to learn this. Public education also helps a lot.
I tried to refrain from just saying no to a lot of the questions. I'd like to thank you again for the opening this debate. But where do you put your refutations?
Debate Round No. 3
amispami

Con

In my last speech I will prove that I have one.

First, I will refute the answers of the Aff.

1. "My definition of sensitive was simply something that triggers an emotional response in many people." I agree with this.
2. "Sorry, we are not forcing them to debate. It's jsut that to eupport educational value it is assumed that they will debate the topic presented. What is a backwards case? They can choose to debate another topic, but LD is very different from PuFo as it is more morals and less religious issue-based, i believe. Correct me if I'm wrong." Thank you for realizing that no one is forced to debate. A backwards case is the same thing as a case that doesn't directly address the resolution or addresses it in a round-about way. LD is not very different from LD, and that comment has no relavancy as the option to do LD instead of Pofo is still there.

3. "Debate is advocacy, and for example, a sensitive religious issue >God exists. This requires a side regarding atheistic and theistic religions." You have forgotten the definition of Religious issues. It is a issue that comes from religion, not debating religion itself. No person would be forced to argue that god is not real. So, not only would someone not have to participate in debate at all, but even if they did choose to debate, they would never directly address religion itself.

4. "This leads me to my 2nd contention, which is about being able to handle these things. Also, we cannot increase tolerance when we bend every fact about these issues towards a case in order to win. The point of debate is to win, and people may give misinformation. Misinformation is worse than no information at all." You didn't answer my question. I asked if the fact that America is so bias means that we should debate to decrease that bias and increase tolerance. Also, information falsification is present in EVERY SINGLE DEBATE. If you continue to argue that, to avoid hypocrisy, you have to debate that we should never talk about anything ever, which, isn't true.

5. "Religion is taking it another step further. I can say that Obama is a bad president, though we probably will not get into a fight like that. I can say you God is bad, which will be a lot more sensitive. Also, are there any people praying to politicians? Religion is a way of life for many people." If you said Obama was a bad president, we would get in a fight. And what is the difference between religious and political views? By saying that we should only be sensitive to people religious views, you are denying the non-religious people the right to not practice a religion and be treated fairly. Political views are often as sacred as religious ones, and praying isn't the determining factor to wether a issue is sensitive! Religion is a way of life for some people, but so are many other things (such as politcal veiws) that we pay no special attention to. Religion is no different then another view, such as being a communist, and should be challenged like any other.

6. "If we choose not to debate, we lose valuable education. I think i answered the other question in the previous questions." It is only the person who CHOOSE to opt out that will lose education that has been proven to decrease bias. And, you're right, you have allreadly conceeded that contention.

7. "We should not debate religion not because some are offended by it. Many people are offended. Many people dropped out because of the original November Resolution. Anger makes lashing out and offending people more likely, and the debate enviroment is ruined." Not only do you have no evidence saying people dropped out, but you ignore the fact that every topic has the potential to be offensive. Arguing that resolutions involiving senstive religious issues should be avoided because they can offend students is hypocritacal, as every resolution has the potential to be offensive, and every debater has the potential to offend his opponets. Throughout NFL history, resolutions have addressed issues of race and sex. Offense comments have been made. In each resolution, there is a tie to religion. Last months topic about wether NATO's presense improved the lives of Afghan citizens certainly addressed religious issues and issues about sex. Certainly, offensive statements had been made during many debates, and banning the debating sensitive religious issues will not prevent particpents from becoming offended.

8. "http://globaldebateblog.blogspot.com...; Not only is that not a viable source, but it doesn't even give the evidence i asked for...
"I have provided 7 citations for my evidence on my case. I don't see how this has no reasoning. Please explain." You have provided tibits of facts, but have no warrant for your claim.

9. "Debate is not the best venue to foster education and tolerance. There are many other ways, like talking to people of another religion, being educated in the other religion. There are more direct ways to learn this. Public education also helps a lot." Debate is a form of public education, debate is talking to people, and no other venue exists to foster tolerance like debate can! Debate has been PROVEN to increase tolerance. In many cases, the debater wouldn't have ever considered the other side of the arguement unless he was in debate, and this leads to more understanding and less bigotry.

I will return to my contentions, and show how they have not been refuted.

The AFF has not adressed that religion is taught in schools and that debating it futher does no harm. He only asked for clarification.

The AFF has conceeded that students are not forced to debate in this quote, "we are not forcing them to debate."

The AFF has repeatedly said that we should refuse to debate religious issues because they are sacred, but my third contention and arguements clearly show that religion is not the only offensive topic, that all topics can and are offensive to some people, and that religion is a personal belief that should not be exempt from being debate like every other personal belief as religion is no different then any other personal belief.

Now, I will show how the contentions the AFF made do not stand.

They claimed that debating sensitive religious issues can offend people, and I have clearly shown that its power to offend is not unique.

They claimed that adolescents are not able to debate because of maturity. I quote them in saying that most people are mature enough. The few that aren't are presented with a fantastic chance to learn, and those who can should nto be punished for their maturity.

Clearly, the Con has won this debate and I urge you to vote Con!

Thank you for debating! It was very fun!
Yogurt

Pro

I will be addressing my opponent's answers to my answers, maybe briefly refute his points over again, but most importantly explain why I have won.

We are not forced to debate, but to have more education, should we be not doing anything to change when an "overwhelming" amount of debaters leave because of a sensitive religious issue?

I don't see how "God exists" does not derive from religion. It is obviously an issue that comes from religion.

I will try to address the other problems in my summary/final focus.

The Negation has not actually proved how public education relates to debate. I have presented the issue here, as debate allows switch-side debate. This means that one will have to (or leave public forum) debate against his or her own beliefs. We, I agree, are not forcing them to debate, we are providing them an alternative, which is to leave.

My opponent has repeatedly attacked my points with that these issues do not differ from political issues. I will state again, religion is a way of life for many. It may be a basis for their morals or what they do. Politics isn't. We are being more sensitive when we attack a way of life, not just a belief.

Now to refute her refutations to my contentions.
I have emphasized over and over that religion is more sensitive than politics.
My opponent has stated that those who cannot handle this debate of sensitive religious issues has a fantastic chance to learn. If they cannot handle it, they cannot learn from debate, they can learn from general knowledge like public education or asking someone. Then they may be able to debate.

My opponent has brought up the single reason to vote for her in her first case, and I will ask the voters to only address this issue, which is if it is included in public education, why not include it in debate? I have already refuted this point as debate incorporates switch-side debate. I will ask to disregard the point about tolerance, which by the way I have refuted, because it was not brought up in the first case. In her first case there was also no talk about education, so I will ask to disregard this point, which I have also refuted.
She has no credibility whatsoever for what she says. I'm not attacking her honesty, but I have no reason to believe what she is saying with no sources to support her quotes, her statements, and her evidence.

Now, to wrap it all up.
What the Negation side is supporting is discrimination. My not doing anything when people refuse to participate in this debate is discrimination. We are ignoring the absence of many debaters, and the Negation wants to do nothing about it. It is first priority to provide a safe and fun environment for debaters in public forum, and to do that we should try to include as many people as possible. Religion is a way of life, and to offends these people's way of life is unimaginable. We need to include the debate community into our tournaments before we try to incorporate what the Negation is saying. The Dalai Lama once said, of all the various delusions, the sense of discrimination between oneself and others is the worst form, as it creates nothing but unpleasantness. High School Public Forum Resolutions should not confront sensitive religious issues. Please vote for the Affirmation.
Debate Round No. 4
1 comment has been posted on this debate.
Posted by Yogurt 6 years ago
Yogurt
sorry for this scratchy debate, I'm really getting sick of this resolution and feel horrible health-wise D: Also a lot of homework :P
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Vote Placed by scribbles88 6 years ago
scribbles88
amispamiYogurtTied
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Vote Placed by Woodycanuck 6 years ago
Woodycanuck
amispamiYogurtTied
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Vote Placed by elzharb 6 years ago
elzharb
amispamiYogurtTied
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