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The Contender
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6 Points

Most debaters on here resort to absurd semantics to win

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Post Voting Period
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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 10/2/2015 Category: People
Updated: 1 year ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 359 times Debate No: 80451
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (10)
Votes (1)




I can already see it now.

"Most!!!? you are telling me that MOST DEBATERS on here resort to absurd semantics to win? MOST? you cant be serious!!! only 49% of debaters do that, and that is not MOST. so you are WRONG, and I WIN HAHAHAHAHA"

This is exactly what I am talking about people.

This place used to be halfway decent but it has devolved into ridiculous word games where people nit pick small phrases their opponent used instead of focusing on the main topic at hand. Usually when people say most in the negative they mean "far more than I would expect from the general public" but its far easier to just say most, and you know what they meant in the first place, so get off it. you are just using BS semantics to try and make yourself seem intelligent.

I also see a lot of people using the first round to cripple their opponent with constraints.

(these are for example and are not actual rules for this debate (sad but needs to be said))

RULE 1: Burden of Proof is on my opponent! (basically showing they don't have to prove anything and if they are asked to do so act as if this is an instant forfeit.)

RULE 2: Opponent can not use X to support their claim. (usually something insane like a Christian cannot use the bible to support their argument. it takes the oppositions main source of evidence and argument and outlaws it right off the bat)

RULE 3: This debate can only be accepted by "blah blah blah blah blah" (usually some extremely rare thing like a Muslim American Female with one leg and exactly 4 dogs. quit trying to pick your opponent and take all comers, you are just showing how pathetic your debate skills are)

RULE 4: (not actually listed but implied over and over) If you disagree with me you are RACIST/SEXIST and I will continue to point that out over and over regardless of any evidence you submit to the contrary. This is the most chickenshit tactic of all.

I see these things on here all the time people.

Can we admit things have gone too far?


I accept Pro's debating challenge.

What I can say, is this. Yes, I can see things have gone too far with (so-called) "most" of the DDO community. I see your issues with the word "most". Though, when debating, debaters tend to be very "exact" and "specific" with what they mean. They tend to pick out small phrases from an argument and argue on that. It is not such a big problem. When people say the word "most" and mean "far more than I would expect from the general public", it does not match the real definition of the word, and therefore the opponents must point it out. Well, according to most people, the word "most" means the majority, basically.

So "most" of the debates' first rounds "cripple their opponent with constraints"? Well, I've looked through MANY debates on DDO, and so far I have not seen any of these constraints in any of those debates. Sure, it is unfair and pointless, and stupid even, but it is not the majority that is doing it. Well actually, most of the people on here play fairly. Besides, there's no saying that the opponent can't question the rules. Sure, they might be ignored, but the voters should actually realise how unfair the rules are, and not just worry about if the people are actually following the rules. Both debaters have equal rights to a debate!

To be honest, I never really thought of the word "most" meaning anything other than "the majority". So if I point these small phrases out, I am not just pointing these small phrases out for the sake of it.
Debate Round No. 1


SITR forfeited this round.


As I was saying, most of the debaters do NOT use absurb semantics to win. Besides, the reason why people pick out small phrases from the text and explain them, especially the word "most" in this debate, is that it is important. The word "most" is pretty much the whole focus here. To debate, one must know theirs and others' definitions of key words. In our case, it is the word most. Your definition of the word is "far more than expected from the general public". But is it the correct definition? That, you have to think about. When debating it is much more powerful to use the correct definitions, or something rather close to it. The word "most" means "the majority". It does not mean "far more than expected from the general public". And besides, who is "most people"? In debating, there are no shortcuts. Debaters must specifically state their arguments, and if what they meant is "far more than expected from the general public", then they should say so. Just because it's "easier" to say "most", does not mean shortcuts are to be used. Because word definitions are important in our case, with the word "most", people need to point that out. It is an IMPORTANT keyword in our case. This debate pretty much revolves around the word "most". Because whether or not those semantics are absurd, whether or not they are unfair, whether or not they should be used - is not important. What's important is what "most" is. What's important is the amount of people doing it in general. This isn't a word game where people nit pick small phrases their opponent used instead of focusing on the main topic at hand. This IS the main topic at hand. And for you to say we should "get off it", you are basically saying "Opponent can not use X to support their claim", which is semantic number 2. Now I don't know if, when you said "most people", you meant yourself too. But clearly, the majority of people are not doing this.
Debate Round No. 2


SITR forfeited this round.


To prove that most people are not the ones using absurd semantics to win debates, I suggest you look through at least the debates still in the challenge period. Most people don't use absurd semantics to win, because most people play fairly. And challenging certain people and not all people to debates is not cowardly. Not everyone does that all the time. If they do, they do it once in a while. How often do you come to a debate in the challenge period and find it closed to certain people or a certain person? It's not cowardly, because if people do that once in a while, they want to test the skills of certain people. Other debates, they test the skills of all people. It's not fair to judge people's reasons as to why they offer closed debates.

Since my opponent has got nothing more to say, I hereby rest my case for now.
Debate Round No. 3
10 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by SubTh3ory 1 year ago
V5RED, I don't think what Skipsaweirdo said has much to do with your experience of other atheists. He is simply saying any claim made, positive or negative, is placing itself in the BoP position.
If I say "god does not exist", I am effectively placing the burden on myself to prove this assertion.
BoP is not a Positive Assertion exclusive rule.

Here's Wikipedia's notion on negative claims and the BoP:
"A negative claim is a colloquialism for an affirmed claim that asserts the non-existence or exclusion of something. There are many proofs that substantiate negative claims in mathematics, science, and economics including Arrow's impossibility theorem.

A negative claim may exist as a counter point to a previous claim. A proof of impossibility or an evidence of absence argument are typical methods to fulfil the burden of proof for a negative claim."

It get's irritating when people state that because they don't see "most" people in a particular category stating the claim "god does not exist", then the BoP is simply a traditionally theistic obligation.
Posted by n7 1 year ago
Most debates that I've seen have a no semantics rule
Posted by V5RED 1 year ago
Skipsaweirdo, most atheists I know and have listened to do not claim that no gods exist. We simply reject claims that he exists which is not the same thing. Some god claims are logically inconsistent, so those can be proven false, but there is no BoP when rejecting a claim.
Posted by skipsaweirdo 1 year ago
Burden of proof has nothing to do with a positive or negative claim, a claim must be backed either way. If I say, "there is no cancer in Bob", and another doctor says "Bob has cancer", both have burden of proof. And on a daily basis both use tools to prove the claim.
God exists is just as much of a claim as God doesn't exist. Any logician will tell you burden lies equally on both claims.
Posted by Mr_Anderson 1 year ago
Well as I understand it, burden of proof lays with the one who is making a positive claim.
Posted by MagicAintReal 1 year ago
I'm a a Muslim American Female with one leg and exactly 4 dogs, and I'm offended.
Posted by Wylted 1 year ago
If somebody uses stupid semantics, judges should punish them for it in my opinion, and I will. You have to do a good job of contesting the unfair semantics, though.
Posted by Wylted 1 year ago
Pro is racist and sexist
Posted by whiteflame 1 year ago
Interesting that you start off the debate by pointing to the very first word in your resolution, saying that we'll make a big deal of it, and then using that as a means to prove your point. It's the first word, and the one on which a debate like this would hinge, because it establishes a threshold, one that would be very difficult to prove since you'd have to look through a great deal of debates to establish it and then present the data.

I think you're conflating good semantics and bad semantics. The former focuses on clarifying the debate and the latter on skewing it. Examining every word in the resolution and understanding its meaning in context is important. Not doing so is a little like playing a board game without reading the rules first - sure, you might have fun without them, but eschewing the structure makes the game something different from what it is. Debate has rules and part of those rules is to address the resolution as it stands, not as one side wants it to be.

There are plenty of examples of semantics being used to wreck what could have been a perfectly good debate, but just like when someone exploits a tactic in any game by overusing it, you don't blame the tactic as a whole for how it's sometimes used. Debate is, quite literally, a game of semantics. You're using semantics with this very debate, both in trying to prove your point and just as a means to have any debate whatsoever. Without semantics, there is no debate, not this one or any one. Whether it's on DDO or IRL, debate is semantics. If you want to address the absurdities of its usage, then separate the good from the bad and explain how you would evaluate what's problematic instead of just taking a shot at all resolution also analysis.
Posted by Atheist-Independent 1 year ago
This is pretty much true.
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by lannan13 1 year ago
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Total points awarded:06 
Reasons for voting decision: Forfeiture