The Instigator
dvhoose
Con (against)
Winning
49 Points
The Contender
mongeese
Pro (for)
Losing
45 Points

Humpty Dumpty Was Pushed

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 6/7/2009 Category: Miscellaneous
Updated: 7 years ago Status: Voting Period
Viewed: 6,830 times Debate No: 8554
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (15)
Votes (18)

 

dvhoose

Con

As I was browsing through my list of previous debates, I found this one. I had quite a bit of fun debating it, and decided I'd revive it and see if anyone else thought it would be fun.

As my opponent, you would be arguing FOR the resolution; that Humpty Dumpty WAS pushed, and didn't simply fall.

I will leave the first round decision up to my opponent. They can simply accept, or they can create a case. I have no problem with either.

To avoid semantics, Humpty Dumpty is the nursery rhyme character from the following rhyme

Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall
Humpty Dumpty had a great fall
All the King's horses and all the King's men
Couldn't put Humpty together again [1]

With that, I, in advance, thank my opponent, and hope for a fun, engaging debate! :)

--SOURCES--
[1] http://en.wikipedia.org...
mongeese

Pro

Alright, I accept this debate.

Push - to press against with force in order to drive or impel (http://www.merriam-webster.com...)

Fall - the act of falling by the force of gravity (http://www.merriam-webster.com...[2])

If someone pushes you off of a wall, you could very easily have a great fall.

And so, I ask my opponent, why couldn't Humpy Dumpty have been pushed off the wall to have a great fall?

In fact, how could he fall without being pushed?

Perhaps the wind hit him.

In that case, the wind pushed him off the wall.

Perhaps he kicked the wall with his heel, and this thrust him forwards.

In that case, he pushed himself off the wall.

Perhaps he just budged his bottom a little too far forwards.

In that case, he still had to push himself forwards.

There is no case in which Humpty Dumpty could have had a great fall without being pushed in some way, shape, or form.

I await your rebuttals.
Debate Round No. 1
dvhoose

Con

I thank my opponent for a speedy response.

While I accept my opponent's definition of 'fall' I reject the definition of 'push'. The definition of 'push' should look more like 'the act of one exerting force against any object, therefore causing it to move.' While I have no source to document this definition, you (the reader/voter) should prefer my definition for the following reasons:

1) The resolution obviously centers around the fact that Humpty Dumpty didn't fall of his own accord; that perhaps a darker motive was behind Humpty's death, yet was simply written off as an accidental suicide.

2) Common sense: Obviously, wind or a person's foot has enough energy to exert a force, but if you see someone sitting on a wall, and then become dislodged for no apparent reason, you wouldn't say they were pushed off, you would say they fell off.

3) Framer's intent: As the framer, I assure you, the reader/voter, that this debate wasn't intended to fall victim to a mindless semantics trap.

My opponent's three resons for Mr. Dumpty's fall thus become irrelevant when applied to my definition

1) The wind was too strong- the debate argues that an outside being pushed him
2) He kicked the wall, and thus fell- self-induced, the debate argues that an outside being pushed him
3) He slid to far forward- self-induced, the debate argues that an outside being pushed him

Humpty could have had his great fall without being pushed if it was self induced or caused by a non-being agent (such as the wind). We're looking for a non-accidental cause for Humpty's fall.

That said, I will present my case:

[Contention 1- The Nursery Rhyme]

I posted this rhyme in Round 1, and I look to draw a contention from it.

Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall
Humpty Dumpty had a great fall
All the King's horses and all the King's men
Couldn't put Humpty together again

Ah, there it is again. Now, when we look to the actual words, it simply mentions that "Humpty Dumpty had a great fall." Not "Humpty Dumpty was murderously pushed," not "Everyone in the village hated Humpty, so one day, a man, full of rage and prejudice against Humpty ran and pushed him from the wall upon which he sat." We have absolutely no reason to believe that anyone wanted Humpty dead. No one wished harm upon poor Humpty.

And that should be enough to prove my point.

So when we look at the debate so far, we see a couple things:

1) The semantics argument destroys the entire purpose of this debate. As we're on a debating website (which, coincidentally has a purpose to spark debate), you, the reader/voter, should reject my opponent's definition of 'push', favoring mine as is encourages debate and thoughtful discussion.

2) From my Contention 1, we see no reason to believe that Humpty was pushed; no reason to believe that anyone wanted to kill Humpty, and thus are forced to conclude that Humpty's death was tragically, an accident induced suicide. (He fell, he didn't jump)
mongeese

Pro

"1) The resolution obviously centers around the fact that Humpty Dumpty didn't fall of his own accord; that perhaps a darker motive was behind Humpty's death, yet was simply written off as an accidental suicide."
I did not interpret this debate to center around darker movites; I interpreted this debate to center arround a force of physics taking effect on Humpty Dumpty.

"2) Common sense: Obviously, wind or a person's foot has enough energy to exert a force, but if you see someone sitting on a wall, and then become dislodged for no apparent reason, you wouldn't say they were pushed off, you would say they fell off."
What we say is not always what is. As long there was a force that physics would classify as a push that took effect on Humpty Dumpty, Humpty Dumpty was pushed.
If he was dislodged for no apparent reason, a man who understood physics would know that Humpty Dumpty could only have been moved by either a push or a pull. Gravity was the only possible pull, but it could not have made Humpty Dumpty fall on its own. It needed something to move Humpty Dumpty's center of gravity off of the wall. This must have, therefore, been a push. Common sense, being common, isn't necessarily true. A physics professor would be more reliable in this case than a random hobo. The physics professor would agree with me.

"3) Framer's intent: As the framer, I assure you, the reader/voter, that this debate wasn't intended to fall victim to a mindless semantics trap."
Then why didn't you say so in Round 1? Any framer's intent can only really have any effect in Round 1. Additionally, the framer's intent plays no part in debate. Only what the framer implied.

"1) The wind was too strong- the debate argues that an outside being pushed him
2) He kicked the wall, and thus fell- self-induced, the debate argues that an outside being pushed him
3) He slid to far forward- self-induced, the debate argues that an outside being pushed him"
Outside being? That was not in the resolution, at all. It merely says that he was pushed. Any clarification should have been done in Round 1. By Round 2, it is far too late to change the resolution to your own advantage.

"Humpty could have had his great fall without being pushed if it was self induced or caused by a non-being agent (such as the wind). We're looking for a non-accidental cause for Humpty's fall."
In that case, the resolution should have read something like, "Humpty Dumpty's Great Wall was not Accidental," or "Somebody Pushed Humpty Dumpty," with a clarification that "somebody" could not include Humpty Dumpty.

"We have absolutely no reason to believe that anyone wanted Humpty dead. No one wished harm upon poor Humpty."
Just because we have no reason to believe something based off of limited information, doesn't mean that it couldn't be true.

"And that should be enough to prove my point."

Humpty Dumpty was pushed by either the wind or himself.

My opponent is attempting to define "push" far too late. His definition isn't even sourced.
Something that is "obvious" should have been clarified, so that it really would be obvious for all to see.
Common sense is not applicable here, as it only talks about what a random person would interpret something as, without having any analysis of any definitions, as a person who looked at a proper definition of "push" would realize that Humpty Dumpty was, indeed, pushed.
The framer's intent means nothing if it was not established in the first round.

Therefore, my definition remains.

Humpty Dumpty, therefore, was pushed.

"1) The semantics argument destroys the entire purpose of this debate. As we're on a debating website (which, coincidentally has a purpose to spark debate), you, the reader/voter, should reject my opponent's definition of 'push', favoring mine as is encourages debate and thoughtful discussion."
With the semantics argument, we can debate physics. Definitions that encourage debate should not always be favored. Besides, we can have thoughtful discussions on physics. Physics requires more thought than conspiracy theories.

"2) From my Contention 1, we see no reason to believe that Humpty was pushed; no reason to believe that anyone wanted to kill Humpty, and thus are forced to conclude that Humpty's death was tragically, an accident induced suicide. (He fell, he didn't jump)"
He could have jumped to induce the fall. We see that Humpty fell; therefore, he must have been pushed off the wall to get off the wall.

Now, I'd like to add more to my physics argument.

The nursery rhyme implies that Humpty Dumpty hit the ground and shattered into multiple pieces.

When Humpty Dumpty hit the ground, he was pushing on the ground.

By Newton's Third Law of Motion (http://en.wikipedia.org...), the ground then pushed Humpty.

This combination of gravity and the ground pushing on Humpty is what caused Humpty to shatter.

Therefore, by Newton's Third Law of Motion in combination with gravity (http://en.wikipedia.org...), Humpty Dumpty was pushed.

The resolution is clearly affirmed.
Debate Round No. 2
dvhoose

Con

Basically at this point, judges, your decision comes down to which definition you prefer. I listed reasons as to why you should prefer my definition in my last speech and a couple more in this round.

<>

As I mentioned that this was a debate I had done previously, it wouldn't have been to hard to find the other debate and see in which direction I wanted this to go. Did it have to play out exactly like that? No (obviously, look at this one...), I was expecting someone who could debate a little more imaginatively (no offense to my previous opponent, who did a great job in creating ways in which Humpty could have been murdered).

If that wasn't enough, I stated in round one "To avoid semantics..." making it clear that I wasn't looking for a semantical argument to be made.

Judges, it rests in your hands. If you accept my definition, my opponent has made no claims against my contention. If you accept my opponent's definition, then continue to read because I'm going to attempt to refute my opponent's case :)

My opponent describes three scenarios in which Humpty would have been 'pushed' by himself or the wind.

[Wind]

While a decent argument, my opponent would have to prove that
1) There was wind on the day Humpty fell and
2) Said wind was strong enough to push Humpty do his death.

That aside, even with wind present, Humpty's egg design makes him aerodynamic and therefore wind would simply pass right around him... there is no surface large enough for a regular wind to create enough a drag to create a force large enough to blow Humpty over.

[Kicked the Wall]

I ask you the judge, to sit down on a couch or something with which you have the ability to attempt to kick the solid surface below you (much as my opponent suggests Humpty would have done). Now try to kick the 'wall' hard enough for you to fall. The only way you could possibly do this is if you were trying to press your feet into the 'wall', not kicking it! When you rest your feet against the 'wall' and push back, you naturally lean forward, this doesn't create a push, but when you lean forward far enough, gravity takes it's pull and you have a great fall, usually on your face. So we see a pull here, not a push as my opponent suggests.

[Scooted Forward]

Suppose Humpty had scooted forward. Now what is the method of scooting forward? My opponent suggest that it would be "budg(ing) his bottom a little too far forward." As my opponent mentions no use of hands, we can only assume that Humpty would have scooted forward by moving one cheek forward, then the other cheek forward further, creating a sort of zig-zag pattern, much the way we walk, putting one foot in front of the other. In no way is Humpty pressing against anything in order to move. Certainly he is using the wall as a (assumed) flat surface upon which to move, but that doesn't count. No push.

And even if you don't like any of those explanations, please recognize that the push wouldn't be the cause of the fall. This reminds me of a (very poor) joke I once heard: How do can an egg fall 3 feet without breaking? Drop the egg from 4 feet!

You see, any push that Humpty would have experienced wouldn't have been enough to cause him to fall. It would have been gravity's ultimate pull which would have sealed Humpty's fate.

I'd like to propose another scenario in which Humpty could have fallen.

Let's think about this. Humpty was sitting on a wall. Who sits on a wall? How do we know that this wall was sturdy enough to support Humpty's weight? We don't! The wall could have simply been too weak to withhold Mr. Dumpty's weight, the shattering the wall and bringing Humpty to his death. No push involved! Only gravity's pull.

Which brings me to Newton's 3rd law of motion.

"For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction." [1]

Don't think of this like the ground is pushing back. The ground is an inanimate object, and cannot push against with force in order to drive as my opponent's definition states.

Instead, think of it this way:

You are standing on the middle of a football field. At the 50 yard line. Glenn Dorsey, the 6'1", 297 pound defensive end [2] is going to run at you as fast as he can and absolutely crush you. What are you gonna do? If you're gonna take the hit (as the ground was forced to), you're going to brace yourself. Maybe lean forward, try to plant your back foot, and gain a little leverage. THAT is how you would 'push' back. Did you actually push? No. You failed miserably, sorry. Haha, but you get my point.

At this point, judges, you can favor my definition, and therefore my contention, which stands uncontested, or you can accept my opponent's definition and see that Humpty wasn't pushed at all, only pulled upon my gravity, whether it be do to Humpty's relocation of his center of gravity, or the wall simply crumbling due to Humpty's weight.

Resolution negated!

--SOURCES--
[1] http://www.grc.nasa.gov...
[2] http://www.kcchiefs.com...
mongeese

Pro

"Basically at this point, judges, your decision comes down to which definition you prefer. I listed reasons as to why you should prefer my definition in my last speech and a couple more in this round."
For one thing, my definition came first. For another, my opponent's definition is not sourced. There was no possible way of knowing that he could use such a definition, because it isn't a real definition. If I were to start a debate, "Pigs can Fly," and my opponent says, "No, pigs can't fly, stupid," and gives a valid definition for "fly," and then I create my own definition for "fly" that meant, "traveling through air," without a source, who should you believe? The other guy.

"As I mentioned that this was a debate I had done previously, it wouldn't have been to hard to find the other debate and see in which direction I wanted this to go."
You never sourced the other debate. Plus, why have the second debate go in the exact same direction as the first?

"Did it have to play out exactly like that? No (obviously, look at this one...), I was expecting someone who could debate a little more imaginatively (no offense to my previous opponent, who did a great job in creating ways in which Humpty could have been murdered)."
Pushed and murdered are two entirely different concepts.

"If that wasn't enough, I stated in round one 'To avoid semantics...' making it clear that I wasn't looking for a semantical argument to be made."
To avoid robbery, I shall ask my neighbor to call the police if he sees anything suspicious happening at my house. My neighbor then robs my house. Just because I try something to avoid being robbed, doesn't mean that I can't get robbed.
When you said that you were trying to avoid semantics in that way, that meant that that was your only line of semantical defense. You needed more.

"Judges, it rests in your hands. If you accept my definition, my opponent has made no claims against my contention. If you accept my opponent's definition, then continue to read because I'm going to attempt to refute my opponent's case :)"
You can't accept my opponent's definition, because that would be definition abuse.

Okay, about the wind. If the wind were strong enough to push Humpty over, then he would have indeed been pushed. I'm just trying to cover all the angles here.

If Humpty did in fact press his leg against the wall, that would be a very obvious push against the wall, resulting in a push against Humpty.

http://nemendur.khi.is...

Humpty Dumpty sat on a brick wall. Brick walls don't fall apart because an egg sat on it.

"Don't think of this like the ground is pushing back."
Newton disagrees with you.

"The ground is an inanimate object, and cannot push against with force in order to drive as my opponent's definition states."
Newton still disagrees with you.

"THAT is how you would 'push' back. Did you actually push? No. You failed miserably, sorry. Haha, but you get my point."
A hobo would see that and conclude that you did not push.
Isaac Newton would see that and conclude that you must have pushed.
Who would you believe? An uneducated hobo, or Isaac Newton, one of the most famous scientists of the current era?
http://en.wikipedia.org...

"At this point, judges, you can favor my definition, and therefore my contention, which stands uncontested..."
Uncontested? It's a definition that you used in Round 2 without sources. In Round 1, that would have been fine. In Round 2, though, that's clear definition abuse. It is contested. It is pushed off of a wall. It is shattered.

"...or you can accept my opponent's definition and see that Humpty wasn't pushed at all, only pulled upon my gravity, whether it be do to Humpty's relocation of his center of gravity, or the wall simply crumbling due to Humpty's weight."
According to the ever-knowledgeable Isaac Newton:
http://www.iit.edu...
"Some Practical Applications of Newton's Third Law
1. An athlete executes a high jump by pushing against the earth which, in turn, pushes him/her up in the air."
Gravity pulled Humpty downwards. Humpty pushed the ground. By Newton's Third Law, the ground pushed back at Humpty. This is what resulted in his shatter.
Technically, something can't shatter without being pushed. A pull isn't enough to shatter anything, until that something collides into something else, in which case, they both push against each other and either one of them or both of them may shatter.

If the wall crumbled, then Humpty would have been pushed reciprocally by the bricks, rather than the ground. It's still the same thing. Humpty Dumpty was pushed.

Resolution affirmed!

Now, who are you going to believe, the uneducated hobo, or Isaac Newton?

(HINT: Isaac Newton)
Debate Round No. 3
dvhoose

Con

The judges are free to vote whichever way they choose. The definition I offered is fair, and neither abuses the PRO or CON side. It fits the context of this debate, and, through implications, was offered in the first round. That's all I'm saying.

I shouldn't have had to source the other debate. I already told people where it was located, and you obviously did some other research (finding definitions, Newton's 3rd Law, etc.) It wouldn't have been to hard. Besides, it could have offered ideas...

I didn't necessarily want this debate to follow in the footsteps of the other one, it would have been merely a guide.

Your defensive of semantics using robbery as an example is a flawed one. Why would someone ask their neighbor to call the police if something suspicious was happening? Because they don't want something suspicious happening at their house! You can obviously attempt to protect yourself, but obviously it can't work always.

[The Wind]

My opponent uses 'if', as in "If the wind were strong enough..." He never makes a claim contrary to my position last round, in which the wind couldn't be strong enough to cause Humpty to fall.

[Kicking the Wall]

Pressing Humpty's foot against the wall would not have been him "pressing against with force in order to drive or impel" as my opponent's definition states. Who would sit on a wall and purposely fall off? As Humpty was not pressing in order to drive or impel himself, he wasn't pushing, according to my opponent's definition.

Newton may disagree with me, but your definition does not. As the ground was not looking to drive or impel, it wasn't pushing. The ground wasn't even pressing with force, it was reacting to the force that had been applied to it.

My opponent claims 'definition abuse' as the reason he didn't respond to my claims. In a 4 round debate, my opponent has had plenty of time (and space) to refute my single contention. The fact that he hasn't even touched it at all means it's a dropped argument, bring it straight across the flow to the CON side.
mongeese

Pro

"The judges are free to vote whichever way they choose. The definition I offered is fair, and neither abuses the PRO or CON side. It fits the context of this debate, and, through implications, was offered in the first round. That's all I'm saying."
Well, then, it should have been offered in the first round without the need of implications. A Round 1 definition trumps a Round 2 definition. A sourced definition trumps an un-sourced definition. My definition trumps my opponent's definition.

"Your defensive of semantics using robbery as an example is a flawed one. Why would someone ask their neighbor to call the police if something suspicious was happening? Because they don't want something suspicious happening at their house! You can obviously attempt to protect yourself, but obviously it can't work always."
Exactly. Your defense did not work. I used a semantical argument that you did not prepare for, like the man asking his neighbor to report suspicious behavior. He was not prepared for his neighbor robbing his house.

"My opponent uses 'if', as in 'If the wind were strong enough...' He never makes a claim contrary to my position last round, in which the wind couldn't be strong enough to cause Humpty to fall."
If the wind was the reason, then it must have been strong enough to push Humpty.
If the wind was not the reason, then we move on.

"Pressing Humpty's foot against the wall would not have been him 'pressing against with force in order to drive or impel' as my opponent's definition states. Who would sit on a wall and purposely fall off? As Humpty was not pressing in order to drive or impel himself, he wasn't pushing, according to my opponent's definition."
Humpty pressed his foot against the wall without realizing the consequences of his actions.
It impelled him.
It matches the definition.

"Newton may disagree with me, but your definition does not. As the ground was not looking to drive or impel, it wasn't pushing. The ground wasn't even pressing with force, it was reacting to the force that had been applied to it."
False. The ground was pressing with force as a reaction to the force that had been applied to it. It pressed by Newton's Third Law to drive or impel Humpty Dumpty away, but the combination of the ground and gravity was too much for poor Humpty, and he shattered.

"My opponent claims 'definition abuse' as the reason he didn't respond to my claims."
My opponent did not counter my claim about flying pigs, which was a ground for tossing out his definition.
Therefore, his definition is tossed out.

"In a 4 round debate, my opponent has had plenty of time (and space) to refute my single contention."
Why bother? I can simply toss out the definition.

"The fact that he hasn't even touched it at all means it's a dropped argument, bring it straight across the flow to the CON side."
However, it doesn't have the definition necessary for it to reach.

In conclusion, when Humpty Dumpty fell, he hit the ground. By Newton's Third Law of Motion, the ground reacted to this by pushing upwards on Humpty, causing Humpty to shatter. Therefore, Humpty Dumpty was pushed.

The resolution is affirmed.

Vote PRO.
Debate Round No. 4
15 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by Volkov 7 years ago
Volkov
B & A: Tied
Conduct: Tied
S & G: Tied
Arguments: PRO; it makes sense, to be honest.
Sources: PRO; more sources than CON
Posted by MTGandP 7 years ago
MTGandP
Arguments to PRO and conduct to CON.
Posted by wjmelements 7 years ago
wjmelements
Reminds me of this one: http://www.debate.org...
Posted by sadolite 7 years ago
sadolite
Voted pro. Although con did not want it to be a semantics trap debate, he none the less allowed it to happen by not clarifying in round one. Pros definition of push is admissible and allows him all possibilities of that definition in the debate. Also pro defined "push" first.
Posted by dvhoose 7 years ago
dvhoose
Haha. In hindsight, yes mongeese, it should have. However, I didn't see that coming, so misc. is what we get. :)
Posted by mongeese 7 years ago
mongeese
This debate should have been in the Science category.
Posted by mongeese 7 years ago
mongeese
Really, guys? Come on.
Posted by mongeese 7 years ago
mongeese
No. Not again.

Who is doing this to me?
Posted by mongeese 7 years ago
mongeese
And that's one "vote-abuse"...

I'm seriously starting to suspect that there are a few people bombing all of my debates.
Posted by mongeese 7 years ago
mongeese
B/A: PRO
Conduct: PRO
"Uncontested? It's a definition that you used in Round 2 without sources. In Round 1, that would have been fine. In Round 2, though, that's clear definition abuse."
Spelling/Grammar: PRO
"My opponent's three resons[sic] for Mr. Dumpty's fall..."
"...did not interpret this debate to center around darker movites[sic]..."
Convincing Arguments: PRO
"In conclusion, when Humpty Dumpty fell, he hit the ground. By Newton's Third Law of Motion, the ground reacted to this by pushing upwards on Humpty, causing Humpty to shatter. Therefore, Humpty Dumpty was pushed."
Sources: PRO
PRO sourced his definition, and used Newton first, and used more sources, and didn't use a completely irrelevant source about football.
18 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
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