The Instigator
PoeJoe
Pro (for)
Losing
0 Points
The Contender
SomeKid
Con (against)
Winning
38 Points

Magic is a Waste of Time

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 7 votes the winner is...
SomeKid
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 9/20/2008 Category: Entertainment
Updated: 8 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 3,932 times Debate No: 5478
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (16)
Votes (7)

 

PoeJoe

Pro

---- Premise / Introduction / Resolution ----

My opponent, SomeKid, is a real-life friend of mine, so be nice to him. Arguably, we started our friendship at a football game. Our high school band was playing in the stands, when, to entertain his peers, SomeKid started performing magic tricks. I was truly mesmerized. Dumb me. In hindsight, I now see how foolish I was being; magic is an idiotic, trivial, futile, supercilious hobby. Hence the reason I strongly support the resolution: "Magic is a waste of time".

I'd also like to note that SomeKid is a new user. As such, I'd like to take the time to formally introduce him to all you vultures! He's a good debater. He has a clear head, and has the ability to think things through. He studies psychology in his free time, and can provide you with a good psychology debate. He often labels himself as "ignorant", but as you will soon see, he is far from that.

With all that said, I will now begin my arguments.

---- Contention 1: All deception is bad ----

Imagine this:
John is lying on his hospital bed. His skin is a ghostly white, and he needs a machine to breath. He is unable to move or speak, and so he continues vegetating, thinking only of times he was legitimately happy. His doctor, Dr. Tu, walks in. Now, Dr. Tu is a sensitive type; it is no surprise as Dr. Tu knowingly lies to his patient. "You'll be fine!" Tu assures him. Now John is in his last hours. He still remains hopeful, but at the same time, confused. John's mind becomes obsessed. Tormented--no tortured--because of his doctor's deception.

Magic uses this exact same deception. In fact, ALL deception is bad. Ergo, magic is bad, and is therefore a waste of time.

---- Contention 2: No useful purpose ----

Carpenters build things made of wood. Politicians bicker about how best to improve their respective countries. Computer programmers write code to enhance the experience of computer users. Teachers pass on knowledge to students in the hopes that they will use it to further their lives. Artists attempt to enhance the lives of many through beauty. Military personnel fight for freedom, liberty, and democracy. Doctors believe in the value of human life, and work hard to save those in danger. Business-men-and-women strengthen the economy by advancing the companies they work for. But what in the Sam Hill do magicians do?

Magicians serve no useful purpose to society. Therefore, magic is a waste of time.

---- Contention 3: 'Magic' as a word ----

When you, the audience member, were a child, did a parent, teacher, or a superior ever ask you, "What's the magic word?" How about, "It works like magic"? Or "He has a talent; a ‘magic touch' per say." Or in recent times as a sarcastic response, "How do you do it? Magic"? I'm sure we've all heard at least some of the above idioms.

My point is that the word ‘magic' is a waste of time. Why not just say, "Say please." Or, "It works well." Or, "He is good." Or, "I don't know." All of these phrases are much shorter, and therefore waste less time in conversation. ‘Magic', again, is a waste of time.

---- Conclusion ----

I have provided three contentions as to why magic is a waste of time. My opponent now must counter these three claims, and make points of his own as to why magic isn't a waste of time.

I leave the floor open to my opponent. I hope we'll have fun.
SomeKid

Con

My opponent, PoeJoe, is a real life person. He actually exists. If anyone wants to debate me on the issue, private message or email me to let me know. I will decline.

Magic is my hobby. I collect and read more books on the subject than any other. PoeJoe (PJ from now on) knows very, very little on the subject. He most likely doesn't even really care much about the subject. But, knowing that I do, he is trying to provoke me into debating him. My fault, really. I told him I would try to avoid debating. My resolution is crap, apparently.

I am a new user, but I don't actually debate much, so I can't be called a "debater" much less a good one. PJ's description of me is wrong. I don't have a clear head; I ramble and correct myself after I write. I rarely think things through; I'm impulsive. That said, I do seem to have a knack for getting people to think I'm smarter than I am. I don't "study" psychology in my free time. To perform magic effectively and well, one must learn a lot about human behavior, words and their effects, and timing, among other things. Basically, psychology is important to magic. Magic was important to psychology's genesis, but I'll get to that later.

I won't give you a good psychology debate. Honestly, I don't know enough to debate the matter. Barely enough to use it as a tool for analysis.

It's true. I am ignorant. I don't consider myself stupid, though. I just don't know much about most things. That said (and I say "that said" a lot), I know enough about magic to argue against PJ on the subject.

1. All deceptions are bad.
PJ probably intended this first point to be an inside joke and doesn't actually take it seriously himself (same can probably be said of the whole debate). An English teacher of ours ( though being older, I had her a year before PJ) discussed the subject in her class. A definition of deception should be made clear before seriously debating this point. Lets assume it is to give misinformation or withhold information from another. Before this definition become necessary, though, I would like to point out that audiences know that when they see a magic show or trick, that they are going to be deceived. They just don't know where and what the specific deceptions are.
PJ is inelegantly trying to use a psychological technique I introduced him to a couple days ago. Association. He gave us a story where deception is used in a harmful and, by most standards, 'bad' way. Then he associated this to magic to give it a bad taste in our mouth.
Imagine a different situation. A couple young people are a bit stressed out from work. They are tired and bored of their day-to-day life. They come across a good magician (1 in 10) and watched his act. Seeing things that they know shouldn't be possible opens up their minds and brightens their day. They know in the back of their minds that deception was used, but walk away feeling enchanted and GOOD anyways. They don't care about the method or trick. They cherished their signed card and memories for decades.
The above actually happens quite a lot in entertainment magic. Restaurant workers frequently meet people who recall the wonder of a magic trick they saw years before- and without any negative feelings, either.

That said, some people do use deceptions parallel to those used by magicians in ways that are counterproductive or even malevolent- stealing from people who don't know better. Even in the magic community, there is controversy and dislike towards such things.
When PJ and I agree on a clear definition of deception, we can argue different points.

2. No useful purpose.

PJ again uses association to his advantage here. He links common professions to their obvious functions and uses the fact that people are generally ignorant on magic to confuse people of it's function.

Actually, it's odd that PJ includes "art" as a useful thing. To many professionals, magic is an art. Like many arts, when done non-artistically, it becomes a craft, but that applies to all arts. Because there is the 'craft' aspect of magic, many magicians become proficient or even expert at many fields outside of magic. (Paul Curry, a very famous magician was also a mathematician who created several well known paradoxes. Lennart Green, another brilliant magician, is also known for his erudition on maths. He applies his expertise to magic to create new magic concepts.) Personally, I am learning a few things about psychology and communication through my interest in magic.

Notice that PJ basically states that he doesn't know what magicians do, therefore they don't do anything. I don't have fallacies memorized, but that kind of argument probably has a nifty Latin label somewhere.

Many sciences had their genesis in ancient magic. Medicine men who used magick herbs and techniques paved the way for modern medicine. Chemistry obviously has it's ancestry in alchemy. Study of psychology has a strong background in 'Psychic readings', another branch of magic.

There is a quote somewhere of the magic of "today" being the sciences of tomorrow. Magicians utilize and produce new ideas (paradoxes, tools, etc.) to produce their effects. From the seeds of magic, many sciences an technologies grow.

3. Magic as a word.

Sure, why not. I really don't care about magic as a word. That said, you are somewhat wrong.

When people use magic in some of the contexts you provided, they were merely using figurative language. Hyperbole allow people to get a better understanding of the other people experiences more easily. It's a tool of communication, and I really don't care about it.

Conclusion.

Magic may be a waste of time for you, but it's not for me. It depends on the person, like many things that are considered to waste time.
Debate Round No. 1
PoeJoe

Pro

---- Magic as a Word Redux ----

I'd like to start off by saying that my opponent's response was… uh… magical.

But what do I mean in saying that anyway? Am I applauding his efforts? Am I amazed by the quality of his opening argument as a first-time debater? Am I impressed by his grammar and spelling? Am I implying that his debate skills are supernatural? Am I intentionally adding a vague, ambiguous tone to my statement? The reader is not sure.

To counter my argument that many idioms including the word "magic" waste time, my opponent wrote that, "Hyperboles allow people to get a better understanding of the other people experiences more easily." This is not the case. In fact, I'd argue just the opposite: Idioms add a vague, ambiguous tone to statements.

When someone states someone has a "magic touch", or that something "works like magic", the intended communication becomes distorted. My opponent cannot deny that idioms are mere substitutes for real language.

And they are bad substitutes at that. It is much clearer to explain—even if only with a sentence or two—what someone means through more normal language. Even a simple "He knows what he is doing", or "This works well" are already clearer statements.

Additionally, my opponent never denied that the word "magic" wastes time. He only went on to speculate whether or not the word "magic" (when used idiomatically) provides a clearer understanding. It doesn't. But even if it did, my opponent has conceded that "magic" wastes time.

In other words, my opponent—in not addressing my argument—has agreed that the word "magic" wastes time.

---- All Deception is Bad Redux ----

I made the incorrect assumption that my opponent was not experienced enough to argue semantics and definitions. That said, I will agree with the definition my opponent has provided for "deception," "the act of giving misinformation or withholding information from another." I apologize.

My opponent starts of his rebuttal by saying that my argument is a joke. It isn't. And I take great offence to his statement. Moreover, even if it was a joke, that statement alone, doesn't negate my point. I strongly question my opponent's attempt to deface and denigrate the value of my argument. Why does he include a valueless rebuttal that only serves to paint me as a clownster? I don't know.

My opponent then goes on to state that audiences know that they are going to be deceived while attending a magic show. This is wrong, so wrong, on many levels. First, many children don't know. I can, as I am sure many in the audience can, recall wondering the truth in magic as children. So essentially, magicians manipulate the weaknesses of children's unperfected minds. Secondly, you can never be sure that you are being deceived. Otherwise, the term "deceived" wouldn't exist. Many magicians claim supernatural powers—they make the news sometimes—but do they? They probably don't. But. You can never prove they don't just as you can't prove they do. Case in point: There will always be some uncertainty involving truth in magic. Last and most important, an infallible ability to detect deception would still be entirely irrelevant. Rape and rape under the influence of a sleeping pill are equally bad… no?

My opponent then goes on to claim that magic can do "good" things as well. To prove this claim, my opponent enlists the imagined example of a group of people, stressed out from work, being relieved from magic. Two points in response. First, the German people, for a short period of time anyway, were united under Hitler. Hitler used his eloquent speaking style, and deceitful cunning to trick the Germans into following him. Point being, temporary happiness through lies isn't necessarily a good thing. My second point in response is that this supposedly "good magic" is still, even if it were "good", a waste of time. Imagine all the potential contributions that magicians could have made to the world. If it is indeed true that some magicians are also renowned mathematicians, then imagine all the problems that could have been solved by those magicians/mathmeticians had they not spent their time performing trivial lies. As for the relief of the masses, surely magic is not the only thing that relieves stress. Music, art, debate.org, sports, television, video games, socialization, masturbation, sex, and dance are all things that are much more "relieving" than magic. My opponent's claim that magic is the only way to relieve stress is simply nuts.

My argument—that all deception is bad—still stands.

(By the way, I'd like to highlight that my opponent has admitted that magic is often times used for bad purposes. "…some people do use deceptions parallel to those used by magicians in ways that are counterproductive or even malevolent…")

---- Magic Serves No Useful Purpose --

My opponent begins his argument by saying that many magicians also use their logical abilities in the field of mathematics. I have already countered this. However, I would like to address the following statement:

"There is a quote somewhere of the magic of ‘today' being the sciences of tomorrow"

No. There is just no feasible way pulling a rabbit out of a hat can help the field of genetic engineering for rabbits. There is just no way cutting a plant by cutting its shadows can lead to teleportation. There is just no way escaping from a coffin can lead to… um. There is just no way cutting a pretty lady in half can help the discovery of a sharper metal. The age for magic's contributions to science is long gone. Sorry. You bear the burden of proof in that statement. So prove it.

As of now, my argument—that magic serves no useful purpose—still stands.

---- Conclusion ----

I'd like to thank my opponent for accepting this debate, and to thank the audience for taking the time to read this.

Formalities aside, the resolution still stands.

Magic is a waste of time. I have proven this through three undefeated (including one unchallenged) contentions. I have defeated all of my opponent's (rather unclear) arguments. Therefore, I urge a PRO vote.
SomeKid

Con

I don't care about the word magic. You can win there. I just don't care.

I don't feel like typing much, so I won't be thorough at all.

"As for the relief of the masses, surely magic is not the only thing that relieves stress." I never said it was the only way.

Children are ignorant. They believe in Santa Claus, the Tooth Fairy, and ghosts (ok, fine, a lot of adults believe in ghosts too...). Calling magic harmful because children get deceived is like divorcing your parents because they let you believe in Santa until you were 9.

Rape with a sleeping pill doesn't fit the analogy of willing suspension of disbelief. In theatre, people experience similar willingness to be fooled- to want to be fooled. Also, a sleeping pill doesn't affect the will of people the same way as in theater, movies, or magic. To be closer to the truth you would have to say the rape victim knows he/she is being raped and, not only accepts the situation, but contributes to it. I believe this is just called sex. Props for associating magic to rape though. Could have been a bit more subtle, though.

"Music, art, debate.org, sports, television, video games, socialization, masturbation, sex, and dance are all things that are much more "relieving" than magic." Subjective. I prefer magic to video games, as do many (not all, in case you try to be creative in restating what I say) people.

I love how you're deceiving the "audience" (of what, 3 readers...?) in a way by making them think you actually believe or care about what you're writing while damning deception.

Your description of magic's contributions to science being long gone tells more about your lack of knowledge on the subject than the truth of your statements. Psychological research is still being done on aspects of magic and perception.
(http://www.boston.com... one of many similar articles on the 'net). Also, many modern and not-so-modern methods of mind reading reveal a lot about the human mind and psychological suggestion.

I would like to note that PJ described mostly old, outdated tricks that are rarely used in he described. Props to him for referring to Teller's "Shadows" though. That particular act is intended to be more "performance art" than pure "magic".

Objectively, everything is a waste of time (we're all going to die anyways). Subjectively, magic is not a waste of time as I enjoy every moment of performing, practicing, and learning it. It's not a waste. At least to me, and that's all that matters.
Debate Round No. 2
PoeJoe

Pro

I concede this debate. My opponent has clearly defeated all of my arguments.
Debate Round No. 3
16 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by Blackwater 8 years ago
Blackwater
what was the point of this debate?
Posted by PoeJoe 8 years ago
PoeJoe
"Unethical"? Please do explain.
Posted by wjmelements 8 years ago
wjmelements
Conceding a debate is unethical. especially when you agree with the side conceding (even though I didn't this time).
Posted by PoeJoe 8 years ago
PoeJoe
Also, lol @ malapropize.
Posted by PoeJoe 8 years ago
PoeJoe
Math tutor.
Posted by SomeKid 8 years ago
SomeKid
Waitaminit, PJ, you have a job?!
Posted by PoeJoe 8 years ago
PoeJoe
* there s just no way...
Posted by PoeJoe 8 years ago
PoeJoe
School/extra-circulars/job are breaking my back. Also, I didn't feel like beating to death my fallacious arguments; there is just not way for me to win at this point.

Vote CON.
Posted by PoeJoe 9 years ago
PoeJoe
Lol. For a second I thought he really got charged with that third degree felony thing.
Posted by Rezzealaux 9 years ago
Rezzealaux
He be doing school stuff.
I be doing school stuff too but I'm too addicted to this place.

For now, anyways.
7 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 7 records.
Vote Placed by Zerosmelt 8 years ago
Zerosmelt
PoeJoeSomeKidTied
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