The Instigator
Danielle
Pro (for)
Winning
7 Points
The Contender
UtherPenguin
Con (against)
Losing
0 Points

It is better to be an Optimist than a Pessimist

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Post Voting Period
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after 1 vote the winner is...
Danielle
Voting Style: Open with Elo Restrictions Point System: Select Winner
Started: 7/13/2016 Category: Philosophy
Updated: 9 months ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 1,423 times Debate No: 93700
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (17)
Votes (1)

 

Danielle

Pro

Introduction

Many thanks to UtherPenguin for accepting this debate on behalf of bsh1's Unique Topics tournament. I'm happy that we chose a more philosophical concept, and I look forward to discussing it with my opponent. I will begin my arguments in Round 2.

An optimist is a person with a positive outlook on life. A pessimist is a person with a negative outlook on life. Dispositional optimism and pessimism are typically assessed by asking people whether they expect future outcomes to be beneficial or negative. In this debate, I will be arguing that it is better to be an optimist than a pessimist.
UtherPenguin

Con

I will assume this round is for acceptance, in that case, all rules are accepted.

Opening in the next round.

All thanks to Pro.
Debate Round No. 1
Danielle

Pro

Thank you, Con. Let's begin.

“A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty.”
-- Winston Churchill

Optimism and Physical Health

Research shows a connection between optimism and one's health and emotional + physical well-being. For starters, optimists are less likely to have certain diseases or have them develop over time [1]. "One study published in 2009 found that optimists were more likely to live longer than pessimists, thanks to a decreased chance of heart disease. The study reviewed 97,253 women over the age of 50 who participated in the Women’s Health Initiative, and found that the most optimistic women were 30 percent less likely to die of heart disease — and 14 percent less likely than their pessimistic counterparts to die from any cause during the study period" [2].

This may be due to optimists having healthier lifestyles. For example, they smoke less, they are more physically active, they consume healthier foods, and they consume alcohol moderately [3]. This makes sense: optimistic people are happier [4] and happier people are healthier people [5]. Furthermore, optimism also plays a role in the recovery from illness and disease. Multiple studies have investigated the role of optimism in people undergoing treatment for cancer, and have found direct links between one's attitude (optimism) and level of improved health [6].

Optimism and Mental Health

Optimists have less stress than pessimists, which can not only be observed in their behavior, but at the physiological level as well. Pessimists have shown higher levels of cortisol (the "stress hormone”) and trouble regulating cortisol in response to stressors [7]. This impacts people's ability to deal with assignments (sometimes encouraging anxiety) as well as their relationships and interactions with others. Further, pessimism is linked with higher instances of depression [9]. There is a lot of evidence to suggest that optimism is important in coping with difficult life events and tragedy [6].

Optimism and Success

Optimistic people are more successful. First, let's note that in order to even begin taking on a project or new venture, one must believe in their idea and their abilities. Pessimistic people will not be inclined to challenge themselves or take risks (therefore forfeiting potential rewards) because they might not have faith in their success. Moreover, "optimists fare better in situations where persistence and not giving up, even in the face of extreme adversity, may take them farther than people who focus only on what will go wrong, blocking them from their goal" [2].

Optimists emerge from difficult circumstances with less distress than do pessimists. That is, optimists seem intent on facing problems head-on, taking active and constructive steps to solve their problems, while pessimists are more likely to abandon their effort to attain their goals [8]. "Evidence for the connection between motivation and optimism or pessimism was found in a new study by Abigail Hazlett and colleagues published in Social Cognition. In two initial studies, optimists were found to have a ‘promotion focus.’ In other words they preferred to think about how they could advance and grow. Pessimists, meanwhile, were more preoccupied with security and safety" [9].

Being optimistic doesn't mean being careless and taking profound risks. It means having the audacity of hope (http://tinyurl.com...) to take reasonable risks in the first place. Consider a scenario where a young person tried out for a sports team but didn't make the cut. A pessimist would think, "I'm such a failure! I never do well in this sport! I'm not trying out anymore." Meanwhile, an optimist would say "That's unfortunate, but it's just one try out. I can practice and try again, or try something else I might be better at."

"Optimists don't necessarily have more muscle mass or greater athletic ability than pessimists. But what they do have is hope. In a study co-authored by Martin Seligman, PhD, director of the Penn Positive Psychology Center at the University of Pennsylvania, a group of swimmers was instructed to swim their hardest then were told a false time—one that added several seconds. The optimists used this negative feedback to fuel an even faster time on their next swim; the pessimists performed more poorly than before" [10].

Based on these characteristics, it's no wonder that optimists get more call-backs for job interviews and promotions [10]. We can therefore assume that optimistic people are better off financially than their pessimistic peers. Indeed, it's no surprise that optimists have been measured to make more money [13].

Optimism and Happiness

Optimistic people have a positive outlook on the world, and thus experience a greater level of contentment. If you think that the world is inherently good, and that life will work out in your favor, you're more likely to rate [perceive] your own health and sense of well-being as being better. A recent meta-analysis of optimism supported past findings that optimism is positively correlated with life satisfaction. This has been verified by statistics from a study of more than 150,000 people living in 142 countries [10].

Optimistic people are in the habit of being thankful; they tend to feel more fulfilled. Since research shows that gratitude is consistently linked to happiness, it proves optimistic people are happier [11]. And remember - happier people are healthier. Optimism promotes laughter. It is also obviously associated with your daily mood. This is consistent with optimistic people being happier and healthier in mind/body overall.

Optimistic people are also more fun to be around. Being surrounded by people and beloved in your social circles promotes well-being and increases one's support system. Plus, optimism promotes communication and bonding. Studies show that optimists make better dates [10]. If and when things go awry with a friend, optimism encourages forgiveness and the possibility of moving on.

As you can see, optimism significantly improves our relationships with others. However it also improves one's relationship with the self. Optimism promotes constructive change and growth. This sometimes takes the form of heightened awareness and spirituality [12].

Conclusion

In conclusion, optimism gives you a reason for living. It enables you to handle your emotions and put your feelings in check, which is a way to deal with disappointment or failure in a positive and constructive way. Optimism promotes self-respect and self-esteem, thus increases one's propensity to act admirably and with integrity. Optimism gives you confidence, and the ambition + hope to be proactive and productive. It inspires people to reach for their dreams and bring new adventures or success to one's self and others. This is not only good for the individual, but society as a whole. If certain scientists or explorers did not believe it was possible to succeed in their endeavors, we would not have some of the discoveries or insights that help us today. Furthermore, optimists take fewer sick days [10]. They are arguably better for the overall economy based not only on how much they produce, but by encouraging new ventures, discoveries and opportunities.

Optimism enhances your coping skills and ability to problem solve. It's inspirational. It also makes you more tolerant. After all, if you are not likely to be rattled or thrown off by every little criticism or failure, you have more patience and less irritability. This makes you more pleasurable to be around and you will have larger and more supportive social circles.

Optimism also increases your overall sense of satisfaction. This is directly associated with one's level of happiness. Happier people are healthier people. So in a practical way, optimism increases one's level of health, improves their immune system, boosts their recovery and promotes longevity.

Countless studies have been conducted on optimism, and the vast majority of them support the same conclusions: optimism is healthy! Optimists even have healthier babies. Are there downsides? There are a few. However there is a large, scientifically valid body of research that indicates that optimistic people are generally better off in life than pessimists. Thus it is better to be an optimist than a pessimist.


[1] http://tinyurl.com...
[2] http://www.medicaldaily.com...
[3] http://tinyurl.com...
[4] http://www.dailymail.co.uk...
[5] http://positivepsychologynews.com...
[6] http://www.pursuit-of-happiness.org...
[7] http://www.concordia.ca...
[8] Scheier, Michael F.; Carver, Charles S.; Bridges, Michael W. (2001). "Optimism, Pessimism, and Psychological Well-Being". In Chang, E. Optimism & Pessimism: Implications for Theory, Research, and Practice. Washington, DC: American Psychological Association. pp. 189–216.
[9] http://guilfordjournals.com...
[10] http://www.happify.com...
[11] http://www.health.harvard.edu...
[12] http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov...
[13] http://www.telegraph.co.uk...
UtherPenguin

Con

Unfortunately, an error on the document that I use to type out my argument has caused me to lose the majority of my data. Seeing the current time left I concluded that I would not be able to sufficiently retype my argument to the original. Apologies for the incompetence on my part, I will have to pass this round and post my rewritten argument in the next. Once more apologies for the inconvenience for Pro as the fault is mine.
Debate Round No. 2
Danielle

Pro

Per bsh1's suggestion, I will pass on Round 3 and let my opponent continue his argument in R3. Then we can both conclude in R4, turning this into a 2-round debate, which I think will be sufficient anyhow. Thanks Con! I look forward to reading your round.
UtherPenguin

Con

Much apologies for my previous absences, thanks to Pro for this debate and without further ado, my opening case.

To meet the burdens of the debate, I will address the benefits of pessimism and the vices of optimism in three regions of life where these mindsets are most vitally used that being: Psychology, Ethics and Social Vice



Pysch

“You have power over your mind - not outside events. Realize this, and you will find strength.”
R13; Marcus Aurelius [1]

19th Century psychologist William James writes of an equation that Happiness= Expectations/Reality. To James, there are two approaches to increasing overall wellbeing. By either Changing one’s reality to meet or exceed expectations, or lowering one’s expectations to accommodate with reality [2].

Optimism is inseparably linked to heightened expectations of one’s reality, what defines optimism is “seeing the glass half full”, thusly, one cannot adequately adhere to such a mindset without whole-heartedly accepting the former approach set out by William James, that being to seek changing reality to fit one’s expectations.

To Stoic Philosopher Marcus Aurelius, such a proposition would have disastrous implications. Firstly, before addressing the science of the issue, Aurelius writes that by carrying high expectations or by trying to maintain a “positive outlook” one is, in turn, investing their own wellbeing into outside event, things that are beyond one’s own control. Inevitably, when well being is placed on such spontaneous factors, overall inner peace becomes just as unstable as one’s looks or finances. By looking towards such a mentality, one neglects the ability of the human mind to forge it’s own path to tranquility, because as Aurelius states, one has control over their mind, but not outside events.

Optimism by its very nature forces an unhealthy mentality where the mind is neglected and personal pursuits become a measure of well being. This philosophical deduction concludes what modern psychology has now come to verify.

In fact, Aurelius’ meditations have come to influence the modern psychological coping mechanism of “defensive pessimism” [4], Illustrated below by psychologist professor Julie Norem [6]:

When people are being defensively pessimistic, they set low expectations, but then they take the next step which is to think through in concrete and vivid ways what exactly might go wrong. What we’ve seen in the research is if they do this in a specific, vivid way, it helps them plan to avoid the disaster. They end up performing better than if they didn’t use the strategy. It helps them direct their anxiety toward productive activity.” [5]

In short, pessimism helps in overcoming anxiety and facing inevitable life challenges while managing secure tranquility and one’s well being, in such a matter that optimism simply cannot fully emulate.

Sources:

  1. 1. Aurelius, Marcus. Meditations. Comp. Gregory Hays. NYC: Modern Library, 2002. Print.
  2. 2. http://www.pursuit-of-happiness.org...
  3. 3. https://www.youtube.com...
  4. 4. http://www.wsj.com...
  5. 5. http://www.theatlantic.com...
  6. 6. http://www.wellesley.edu...



Ethics

Religions, for centuries before the modern era had been known for preaching dark messages on human nature. The Buddha told his followers that life and pursuit desire was the root of human suffering [2].Augustine of Hippo wrote in length on the fallen state of humanity and the futility of human imperfection [3].

It would seem strange then to the optimist, how religion, despite having its reputation as a comfort mechanism, would peddle such bleak messages.

It is, from the surface, that pessimism would necessitate an unbearable bleakness. However, it is in pessimism, not optimism, that religious figures and philosophers over the past millennia looked towards as a source for comfort. It is often in the darkest thinkers, who paradoxically, are most effective at lifting one’s mood.

As Augustine writes, in a parable of two cities, the City of Men and the City of God. The latter being a heavenly utopia where all ideals are fully realized and full meritocracy is born, but as Augustine argues, men are wholly incapable of producing such a city. Instead, humanity is doomed to the City of Men, where the wicked prevail, injustice is rampant and nice guys do finish last. [3]

This mindset which gives birth to Augustinian Pessimism is in part defined by an ethical system of charity and an excessive empathy towards others. Augustine writes of this parable in refutation of the long held optimism that held together the Roman empire. It is in realization of the failure in humanity’s attempt at creating the meritocratic city of God on earth that one develops an empathy for the weak and downtrodden, as it’s not a vice that one is born into poverty neither is it a virtue to be rich. But rather, it is simply a result of being born into a world where people by their very nature are incapable of true justice or completely living up to their values [4].

The ethical implication of accepting optimism or believing in meritocracy comes in assuming that those who fail in the presumably ideal society do so by their own incompetence. It assumes thusly that being wealthy is indicative of one’s value as a person and that suffering in life is due to a person’s failure in “not giving up”. Optimism breeds a correlation with belief in meritocracy, thusly, the moral problems of an assumed meritocracy can be easily attributed to one’s personal optimism.

Sources:

  1. 1. http://www.patheos.com...
  2. 2. https://www.youtube.com...
  3. 3. https://www.britannica.com...
  4. 4. https://www.youtube.com...


Social vice

In the famous novel Brave New World, author Huxley writes of a dystopian world in which society is divided into castes, engineered from birth to indulge in erotic activities and distaste any intellectual pursuit in an attempt to create a society maximally happy society [1]. Huxley manages to demonstrate the ultimate vices that come when a society tries to champion optimism as a dominant philosophy.

However, when taking a step away from the fictitious world of Huxley and into the modern day, one will find similar lesser iterations of this dystopian world covered by the insidious intentions of large, transnational institutions.

Concepts that on the surface seem to be questions of subjective assessment, happiness for example, have been now spoken of routinely by psychologists, doctors and self help gurus as natural, physical or objective matter of fact. To the point that the rhetoric of psychology is being increasingly conflated with the language of the natural sciences and human biology, similar to Huxley’s world in which personal well being is measured in part by pursuit of bodily pleasure. [2]

This benefits large governments and transnational corporations as a means of subduing workers and consumers into a domesticated state of “happiness” in which all other emotions and their merits are shoved aside for blinding optimism.

According to psychologists like prof Dacher Keltner, the brain uses various emotions to “organize” one’s thoughts thusly [3], for example with emotions like anger, one is more sharply acute to surrounding injustices, compelling one to act. Disgust and fear deter from actions that pose potential harm and danger. Thus, with happiness being forced as a dominant overall emotions. It blinds one’s thinking to be overtly obedient to one’s condition, failing to provoke any response or call to action. With one’s work conditions, it doesn’t matter if a decreasing pay and increasing hours are having a negative impact on one’s own well being, if they are compelled to put a “smile on their face”, then issues of increasing concern are quickly thrown under the rug.

As writer William Davies argues:

“The relentless fascination with quantities of subjective feeling can only possibly divert critical attention away from broader political and economic problems, with ‘happiness science’ becoming a critique turned inward” [4]

Sources:

  1. 1. http://www.sparknotes.com...
  2. 2. https://www.youtube.com...
  3. 3. http://psychology.berkeley.edu...
  4. 4. https://www.versobooks.com...



In conclusion

As studies from various psychologists from Dalcher Keltner to Julie Norem, optimism fails in practical spheres of life in comforting one’s personal anxiety. It creates a warped perception of reality shaped by one’s increased expectations. When one inevitably fails, optimism not only betrays the trust that high expectations had brought forward but also forsakes the individual with the greater depression of disappointment. It builds one up just to break them down again. By putting one’s trust in their expectations and investing inner peace for factors that rest beyond their control, they sacrifice sovereignty of the mind.

It is in pessimism that truly identifies and evaluates the reality as a whole, when high expectations are no longer capable of betraying the trust of one’s own well being, it in pessimism that one is protected from the tensions of expectations, shielded from the anxiety of defeat and truly empathetic towards the downtrodden.

In short, Pessimism is not only a practical means of tackling anxiety and reducing the tensions of expectations, but it is also ethically sound as a moral lens from which empathy is born. Therefore, it is fare better for one to be a Pessimist than an optimist.

That concludes my opening case, on to you Con ;)

Debate Round No. 3
Danielle

Pro

Re: Psych

Con presents Marcus Aurelius' contentions:

- It would be problematic to invest one's well-being into things that one could not control; the instability prevents tranquility

- "Optimism by its very nature forces an unhealthy mentality where the mind is neglected and personal pursuits become a measure of well being"

- Pessimism helps people avoid disaster; pessimism helps in overcoming anxiety and facing inevitable life challenges

First, there are innumerable things in our lives, communities, countries, continents, world, atmosphere and solar system that we cannot control. The entire universe is unstable, yet that does not prevent our tranquility. In fact, most of us know there is constant havoc and destruction going on in the world 24/7, yet our brain compartmentalizes information so that we focus on our immediate lives and well-being, followed by the well-being of those we associate with. We can accept there will not be a perfect life or utopia and yet still be content and strive for the best (optimism) or be miserable because utopia/perfection can't exist, and not do anything to do or be better (pessimism).

Con's second statement is unsupported. It's a nonsensical bare assertion that I won't have the opportunity to refute per Con's explanation. Why would optimism force the neglect of the mind? It's safe to assume that many intellects are optimists, particularly scientists and inventors who seek to understand the world and improve it. That is fueled by optimism. Pessimism does not inspire the pursuit of anything worthwhile; instead it not only accepts the negative but harps on it instead of making it better.

Pessimism might help people avoid disaster, but it also forces people to avoid reward. Optimism does not make people anxious. Furthermore, optimism does not disrupt tranquility; it supports it. As I've explained in previous arguments, optimism helps people cope with failure. It helps people manage their anxiety and depression. I've mentioned this in the "Mental Health" section from my R2 but will expand later.


Re: Ethics

- It is in pessimism, not optimism, that religious figures and philosophers over the past millennia looked towards as a source for comfort, eg. Buddha and Saint Augustine

While Buddha taught that desire was the root of all suffering, Buddha also taught that one could become enlightened by overcoming desire. This is not pessimistic; this is optimistic. It would be pessimistic to assume that one's desire was inevitable and they were doomed to failure for eternity. Yet Buddha taught that Nirvana was possible.

Similarly, while St. Augustine (and other Christians) believe in the inevitable sin of mankind, they also firmly believe in salvation. "Augustine’s view of salvation flows logically from his understanding of the fallen human will: because the will cannot incline toward God of its own accord, God must initiate salvation... For Augustine, Adam’s sin was decisive for all humanity, damaging human nature such that it tends toward sin and is unable to embrace God. In light of this anthropology, Augustine views salvation as a process initiated and completed by Christ" [1]. Alas, there is hope and opportunity for people to achieve salvation according to St. Augustine. This is not a pessimistic view.

Assuming that you are damned is pessimistic and does not compel success; it necessitates failure through lack of initiative. Lack of confidence promotes complacency. It allows anger, sadness and resentment to fester. Hope is optimistic and empowering. In fact, contrary to Con's proposition that religion centers around negativity and pessimism, HOPE is one of the three theological virtues in Christian tradition [2].

- Optimism breeds a correlation with belief in meritocracy; essentially society will believe that failure = lack of trying and that success is deserved ... "It assumes thusly that being wealthy is indicative of one’s value as a person and that suffering in life is due to a person’s failure in “not giving up"

Optimism does not promote the ideal that one must achieve some particular marker or standard in order to be successful. On the contrary, optimism allows one to feel successful even if they have, for all intents and purposes, failed. For example if one attempted to run a marathon, but only finished 3/4 before having to stop, a pessimist would focus on their failure. They would use that as a future indicator of their predictable failure, and not celebrate their effort. They would also be deterred from trying to improve.

The optimist recognizes the utility and benefits of their accomplishment. They would either celebrate this victory and try to run again, or shrug it off by saying "That's okay, I'm good at other things." Therefore Con's assertion is completely false; optimism does not mandate mediocrity. However, pessimism breeds depression and contempt. Instead of focusing on one's talents or possibilities and future opportunities, pessimists believe their failure is an indicator of their worth and/or abilities.

- Optimism blinds one’s thinking to be overtly obedient to one’s condition, failing to provoke any response or call to action

This describes pessimism. Optimism inspires change and growth. Pessimism fails to provoke any meaningful advancements.


Re: Social Vice

Here my opponent describes the Huxley novel Brave New World, in which the characters are excessively optimistic to their own detriment. This analogy is fallacious in that any trait taken to the extreme or outside levels of moderation can be problematic. Literally anything. Healthy food is nutritious, but too much can make you sick. Too much exercise can be problematic. Excessive kindness can get you taken advantage of and too much trust makes you vulnerable. In other words, Con is focusing on excessive optimism whereas criticizing excessive pessimism is too easy.

Pessimism can lead to nihilism and/or apathy: the belief that there is no right and wrong and nothing (including one's life) or actions matter. That can not only fuel depression, but why not suicide or murder? I've explained how pessimism can negatively impact mental health (especially depression and frustration) which is far more likely to result in self-harm or violent outbursts.

The father of philosophical pessimism is Arthur Schopenhauer. "The ascetic attempts to deliberately break the will by refusing the agreeable things of life, by seeking the disagreeable things of life, and by constantly debasing the will through penance and self-chastisement" [3]. There is nothing satisfying, inspiring or fulfilling about the pessimistic worldview. Con must explain why rejecting things that are agreeable and specifically looking for that which is disagreeable is a beneficial way to live.


Conclusion

Throughout this debate, Con has repeatedly insisted that pessimism quells anxiety. However I've explained that optimists fare better in situations where persistence and not giving up are required. Optimism helps people manage their anxiety which is a fact supported by science. "A fascinating new study from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign has identified that healthy adults who have a larger orbitofrontal cortex (OFC) tend to have less anxiety and are more optimistic" which fuels positive performance [4]. Researchers at Concordia University's Department of Psychology have found that “the stress hormone” cortisol tends to be more stable in people with a positive outlook. "Pessimists generally had trouble regulating their sympathetic nervous system when they go through stressful experiences. The inability to look on the bright side causes cortisol to stay constantly elevated" [5].

What's the problem with this? In his article Cortisol: Why “The Stress Hormone” Is Public Enemy No. 1, Christopher Bergland describes how chronic stress and elevated cortisol levels also increase risk for depression, mental illness, and lower life expectancy [6]. What is the point of life and freedom if one is miserable? Arthur Schopenhauer advocated becoming a recluse and to avoid or deny one's will, that is, anything that would make them happy [3]. Why is this a favorable way to live?

Schopenhauer like other pessimists cannot appreciate the positive in life. Indeed he regarded lovers as the traitors who perpetuate the wretchedness of life, because they produce new individuals to be thrown into this world of suffering, despair and death [3]. Meanwhile most people celebrate birth and the creation of new life; the opportunity for prosperity and goodness.

In his section on Psych, Con writes abour William James. This particular philosopher said, “We don’t laugh because we are happy, we are happy because we laugh.” Since then, research has been done proving that laughter is, in fact, a useful medicine and that happiness is directly linked to a positive attitude and optimism.
Being outgoing, optimistic, and laughter-filled can keep you healthier according to various studies [7].

Remember that optimistic people have better relationships, higher social status and reduced loss of well-being following adversity. Furthermore, health preserving behaviors are associated with optimism while health-damaging behaviors are associated with pessimism [8]. Not only has optimmism been measurably demonstrated with one's health and emotional well-being, but philosophical optimism prevails as well. Pessimism leads to depression and low productivity. "Optimalism allows for failure in pursuit of a goal, and expects that while the trend of activity will tend towards the positive... it is not necessary to always succeed while striving to attain goals... Optimalists accept failures and also learn from them, which encourages further pursuit of achievement" [8].

Thus, overall it is better for one's mental, physical and emotional well-being to be an optimist than a pessimist.

It is not only better for the individual, but the collective society (comprised of individuals) as a whole.

Thank you for this debate.

SOURCES: http://tinyurl.com...

UtherPenguin

Con

Now it’s for our wrap up. L-l-let’s we’ve got. R-r-r-ready? Begin.

R1: Faulty Logic

In Pro’s first two pillars, several studies are shown in arguing that optimistic thought is strongly related to advancement of one’s physical or mental, going on the conclusion that it is optimism in of itself that fuels these benefits, and is such an inherent result of optimism.

The logic behind Pro’s first two arguments is heavily dependent on conclusion of definitive a cause through a series of indefinite correlations [1], in other words, the Post Hoc or False Cause fallacy.

The Post Hoc fallacy goes through the following line of though.

Premise 1: X occurs before Y

Conclusion: Therefore X is the cause of X [2]

The problem with this logic is that, as mentioned previously, correlation does not equate to causation. Simply because X comes before Y, that doesn’t mean that it caused Y.

A more tangible example can be seen in Pro’s first two pillars, on the correlation between Optimism and personal health. Take the excerpt below:

“The study reviewed 97,253 women over the age of 50 who participated in the Women’s Health Initiative, and found that the most optimistic women were 30 percent less likely to die of heart disease — and 14 percent less likely than their pessimistic counterparts to die from any cause during the study period”

The line of thought made by Pro thusly in this argument can be summed as followed:

Premise 1: Optimist women tend to die less of heart attack

Premise 2: Pessimist women are more likely to die of a heart attack

Conclusion: Optimism is better for one’s healthy.

It can be seen above that such a deduction is parallel to a Post hoc argument, denoting a singual correlation and thus concluding the cause. Pro tries to defend this conclusion further in the sentences afterwards:

“This may be due to optimists having healthier lifestyles. For example, they smoke less, they are more physically active, they consume healthier foods, and they consume alcohol moderately [3].

However, Pro here only ends up being guilty to the same faulty line of thought, if anything, the justification for Pro’s previous fallacy ends up more fallacious in of itself. As Pro makes an unproven assertion about the state of the average optimist, as well as another correlation which fails to prove a sufficient relationship with the cause.

Thusly, it goes to show that the basis of Pro’s first two pillars are founded on faulty and even fallacious logic, making an arbitrary series of unconnected correlations work together on the hastily made cause. Therefore, the first two arguments, out of the three made, are most certainly fallacious,

Sources:

  1. 1. https://en.wikipedia.org...
  2. 2. http://www.nizkor.org...



R2: Problem of studies

It can be safe to assume that a major pillar of my opponent’s argument stands primarily from inductive reasoning and scientific studies. As said studies were used to in justifications of all three of my opponents pillars and the majority of her sources and citations are scientific studies. As such, the basis of my opponent’s justification in each of said arguments are that scientific and inductive observations either affirm or back up what has already been said.

A large problem not only lies in the validity of such studies (which Pro hasn’t gone into detail of such) but also in defining the “pessimist” from the “optimist”. Take for example, the excerpt from Pro’s argument which I had used in my previous rebuttal:

“The study reviewed 97,253 women over the age of 50 who participated in the Women’s Health Initiative, and found that the most optimistic women were 30 percent less likely to die of heart disease — and 14 percent less likely than their pessimistic counterparts to die from any cause during the study period”

Pro cites a study from MedicalDaily, however, what Pro fails to take note of is the rather arbiturary usage of “pessimist” and “optimist” women. As pessimism and optimism are primarily philosophical positions, one’s that stand in flux with personal preference, then it would make little sense, medically speaking, that such philisopical positions would be conudicive to better or worse cardiovascular health.

In the largest project of its kind, Brian Nosek, social psychologist and head of the Center for Open Science in Charlottesville, Virginia, and 269 co-authors repeated work reported in 98 original papers from three psychology journals, to see if they independently came up with the same results. [1]

According to the replicators' qualitative assessments, as previously reported by Nature, only 39 of the 100 replication attempts were successful. (There were 100 completed replication attempts on the 98 papers, as in two cases replication efforts were duplicated by separate teams.) But whether a replication attempt is considered successful is not straightforward. Today in Science, the team report the multiple different measures they used to answer this question [2].

One reason behind this is the common usage of data dredging or “p-hacking” used by many studies of this nature, which involves automatically testing large numbers of hypotheses about a single data set by exhaustively searching for combinations of variables that might show a correlation [3]

In short, given the nature of most scientific studies done in the field of psychology, it is not sound to depend so strongly upon said studies of inductive nature to justify one’s argument. Despite that, In Pro’s argument, such poor workings of statistics are used frequently in proving each and every one of her arguments.

Sources:

  1. 1. http://www.nature.com...
  2. 2. Open Science Collaboration. Science http://dx.doi.org... (2015).
  3. 3. https://en.wikipedia.org...



Conclusion


Pro in her first two arguments is guilty of the Post Hoc fallacy, the line of logic is highly faulty due to her failiure in sufficiently connectiong the correlations she had brought up and credibly connecting them to her constructed cause. Throughout all three arguments, inductive reasoning and scientific studies were the very basis of her proof, however, as the dubious nature of such studies were revealed doubt is only inevitably casted on the validity of Pro’s justifications of her arguments, and in turn, the validity of Pro’s argument in general.

To affirm what has already been previously said:

When one inevitably fails, optimism not only betrays the trust that high expectations had brought forward but also forsakes the individual with the greater depression of disappointment. It builds one up just to break them down again. By putting one’s trust in their expectations and investing inner peace for factors that rest beyond their control, they sacrifice sovereignty of the mind.

It is in pessimism that truly identifies and evaluates the reality as a whole, when high expectations are no longer capable of betraying the trust of one’s own well being, it in pessimism that one is protected from the tensions of expectations, shielded from the anxiety of defeat and truly empathetic towards the downtrodden.

In short, Pessimism is not only a practical means of tackling anxiety and reducing the tensions of expectations, but it is also ethically sound as a moral lens from which empathy is born. Therefore, it is fare better for one to be a Pessimist than an optimist.

All thanks to Pro for putting up a thought provoking debate, I’d be lying if I were to say this wasn’t anything short of one of the most challenging debates I’ve had thus far.


With that, I conclude my side of the debate.

Debate Round No. 4
17 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by BackCommander 9 months ago
BackCommander
For future reference the word "better" turns a debate from a fact based event into a mostly opinion based one. Your arguments boiled down to deciding between mental or physical health. If I were able to vote, Con would definitely have gotten this one.
Posted by makhdoom5 9 months ago
makhdoom5
uther buddy thanks for adding me. well how many other fellow Muslim are here?
Posted by makhdoom5 9 months ago
makhdoom5
well, every person is optimistic and pessimistic, reason for that is very simple. a person would be very sure and feel good on things he is familiar and think he can do. like a doctor could be optimistic on dealing with patient and cure them same for operations. but he will be pessimistic if he is aked to build a building lol its engineer's stuff.
well i can talk about topic now. coz the debate is already done. i know DDO introducing this rule coz of me in past.
hahahahaha
i dont know its still there or not?
Posted by makhdoom5 9 months ago
makhdoom5
wow man evolution of voting system on DDO. seems now peoples are giving much intention to give just vote.
people has to work on their RFD as well.
i remember i had to do a full debate for justifying my last vote. i was the only one voter who did vote againt 7 voter i mean i did vote against what they voted.
and i had to go for full trial.
lol
i lost wish to vote any more.
on the other hand i got vote bombs on my debates where there was a little chance to vote against me.
but in other i did not left any chance lol.
hahahahah
wish best for DDO.
probably these things would make me interested to come back on DDO,.....
Posted by makhdoom5 9 months ago
makhdoom5
man this sucks. if u type in this website that error can happen. i started a debate and typed many rules and also debate. when i posted it come only one line. what the heck. that made me loose interest again for debating here. i am kind of lazy guy not kind of actually so much lazy guy. i remain all the time in my room alone and nothing to do. yet i dont do any thing lol.
it all need for me to have interest in something and if it click my mind and heart then i am not gonna leave it until its all done.
i hope DDO will some how make me come back again. something from DDO made me go from here for 3 years. but lets see this time what will happen.
Posted by lannan13 9 months ago
lannan13
Are you guys okay with me voting and having someone else place holding or should I not do that?
Posted by Peepette 9 months ago
Peepette
Enjoyed reading this debate, hope to have an RFD in s few days.
Posted by Danielle 9 months ago
Danielle
@Uther -- 2500
Posted by ThinkBig 9 months ago
ThinkBig
Note to moderators: My vote was a test vote to see if I had a high enough ELO score to vote on this debate. I am working on my RFD and it won't be finished until tomorrow.
Posted by UtherPenguin 9 months ago
UtherPenguin
What's the Elo limit?
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by Peepette 9 months ago
Peepette
DanielleUtherPenguin
Who won the debate:Vote Checkmark-
Reasons for voting decision: RFD http://www.debate.org/forums/miscellaneous/topic/91255/