The Instigator
Pro (for)
0 Points
The Contender
Con (against)
7 Points

On Balance, Spanking is Detrimental

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Voting Style: Open Point System: Select Winner
Started: 3/22/2018 Category: Health
Updated: 1 month ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 543 times Debate No: 111214
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (15)
Votes (1)




First round is for acceptance. BOP is shared.


I accept the debate, and thank Pro for the challenge.
Debate Round No. 1


Spanking, in its colloquial sense, is the topic of this debate. I intend to demonstrate that spanking is an overall harm to kids, and that that other punishments are preferable to it.

I. Noncompliance

I open my case with a study conducted by Tulane University researchers [1][2]. In it, the mothers of 2,500 3-year-old children were asked how frequently they spanked their children. After 2 years, when the children were 5, the researchers assessed the aggressive behavior of these kids who were spanked frequently and of those who weren’t. Among the potentially confounding variables controlled for were substance abuse, depression, stress, psychological maltreatment, spousal abuse, and consideration of abortion [1]. The first of its kind to control for these issues, the study found that “the children who had been spanked were more likely than the nonspanked to be defiant, demand immediate satisfaction of their wants and needs, become frustrated easily, have temper tantrums and lash out physically against other people or animals” by about 50% [2]. With a P-value (the chance the connection is due to random variation) of under 0.0001 [1], these findings are statistically significant, and the null hypothesis can be thrown out.

These results show a truth: that spanking teaches children that aggressive behavior is useful in stopping undesirable behavior. It’s no surprise, then, that children will become more noncompliant as they are reprimanded so aggressively. The more often a child is the recipient of corporal punishment, the more often they will employ belligerent behavior to solve their conflicts with others. Kids learn how to act by imitating their parents’ actions, so it should follow that by acting in a consistent way, a certain action should effect child behavior as they grow into adolescence and adulthood.

II. Antisocial behavior

Another study shows another detriment of spanking. In a survey of mothers of about 3,000 6-year-old children, Murray Straus of the University of New Hampshire analyzed the relationship between antisocial behavior and corporal punishment [3][4]. Controlling for the level of each child’s antisocial behavior at the start of the study, the family’s socioeconomic status, the sex of the child, and the amount of emotional support the household provides, the researchers examined the children’s tendencies after three years [3]. Antisocial behavior, specifically, “cheating, lying, disobedience at school, breaking things deliberately, not feeling sorry after misbehaving or not getting along with teachers”, had a strong association with the amount of spanking the child received at the beginning of the study [3][4].

We understand these findings when we realize the undermining of trust that occurs on the child’s end. Parents are supposed to provide unconditional love and raise their children in an environment where they feel safe, but in households where spanking is the norm, increased hostility toward authority figures ensue. This breach of trust can cause children to struggle in their future friendships, and have trouble forming healthy relationships adults.

III. Supplementary findings

Even more evidence supports this stance. In a meta-analysis by experts from two state universities, 50 years of research involving 160,000 children were comprehensively studied [5]. In it, “researchers looked at a wide range of studies and noted that spanking was associated with negative outcomes consistently and across all types of studies, including those using the strongest methodologies such as longitudinal or experimental designs….Both spanking and physical abuse were associated with the same detrimental child outcomes in the same direction and nearly the same strength.” [5] These detrimental outcomes consisted of antisocial behavior, aggression, mental health issues, and cognitive difficulties [5]. With the researchers calling it the most complete analysis to date of the effects of spanking, it’s hard not to be skeptical about the significance of these findings.

Another Pediatrics study examined the long-lasting effects of spanking and yet again came to a similar conclusion [6][7]. 1,900 families were studied across 20 medium to large U.S. cities, and it was found that “Mothers who were still spanking their child by the age of 5 -- no matter how often -- were more likely to have a child who was more aggressive than his or her peers by the time they turned nine. Mothers who spanked their child at least twice a week when they were 3 also had children more likely to have these problem behaviors.” [6] Another surprising finding was the effect this had on cognitive ability: “Children who were spanked at least twice a week by their fathers at the age of 5 were more likely to score lower on vocabulary and language-comprehension tests.” [6] Not only do these results give reason to think that spanking negatively impacts behavior, it suggests that it has far-reaching mental downsides.

In an additional study, 758 young adults were asked if they received corporal punishment as a kid. Those who said they had were also more likely to have recently committed dating violence [8]. Confounding variables such as physical abuse, age, sex, ethnicity, and socioeconomic status were controlled for, with a confidence interval of 95% [8]. This indicates statistical significance, and puts a serious thorn in the side of those who allege spanking has no long-term harms.


Spanking one’s kids arguably leads to noncompliance, antisocial behavior, violence, and cognitive inability. When organizations such as the American Academy of Pediatrics denounce the practice [9], and 53 countries outlaw it [10], it becomes time to evaluate the practice and decide if it really needs to be abandoned.

Thus, I affirm. Over to Con.

= Sources =



Why PRO is wrong

I. Weak associations
PRO gives us a few studies and metas which collected some vague statistics about "spanking", and certain life outcomes. All of them, when used for PRO's purposes, have the same problem: They establish correlation, but not causation.

Don't believe me? The people who conducted the analyses agree. Dr. Elizabeth Gershoff, author of the largest meta-analysis on spanking so far (#5 in PRO's sources) says:

"The primary limitation of these meta-analyses is their inability to causally link spanking with child outcomes. This is problematic because there is selection bias in who gets spanked"children with more behavior problems elicit more discipline generally and spanking in particular (Larzelere, Kuhn, & Johnson, 2004). Cross-sectional designs do not allow the temporal ordering of spanking and child outcomes that could help rule out the selection bias explanation. As noted above, randomized experiments of spanking are difficult if not ethically impossible to conduct, and thus this shortcoming of the literature will be difficult to correct through future studies." [1]

Most of PRO's other studies (6/7. and 8) are purely correlational, so this problem applies to them too.

Side note: PRO also misunderstood the implications of a small p-value. P-values have nothing to do with the likelihood that a correlation = causal association. A p-values is just a measure of confidence that the properties of a given sample set aren't due to chance.

PRO cites some other studies too, but they aren't safe either. These (1, 2, and 3) use a longitudinal design instead of a cross-sectional one. In other words, instead of comparing totally different kids at the same time, they look at the same kids before and after a certain period of time. While this is supposed to show that spanking (and the Gershoff meta cites them as the best indication of that), they can't actually do this. As Dr. Robert Larzelere points out:
"[the] medical field would not be impressed by the fact that patients who received chemotherapy last year are now more likely to still be battling cancer than people who had never had cancer. Medical doctors would ignore such longitudinal correlations unless the research (1) compared patients who had the same severity of cancer to start with, and (2) showed that another treatment was more effective than the selected chemotherapy" [7]

Interestingly, when a meta-analysis [3] adjusted for the traits kids exhibited before spanking, the association between virtually vanishes.

II. Bad definitions
PRO's studies have another problem: They don't agree (with us and each other) about what counts as "spanking."

All studies PRO cited suffer from this problem. Some of PRO's studies (#6 and 7 on his reference list) actually acknowledged this limitation in research: "Although the parents were asked about spanking, qualitative explorations by one of us (M.A.S.,unpublished data, 1980) indicate that parents do not usually restrict this term to mean hitting a child on the buttocks." [2, pg. 762]

The only exceptions are found in 4 out of the 75 studies that Gershoff's meta [1](#5 in PRO's sources) looked at. Not surprisingly, those 4 also found that spanking is just as beneficial as all the other forms of discipline it was compared to, and that negative association were pretty marginal and explained by other factors.

III. Worse conclusions
This half-assed way of sifting through data leads us to some pretty weird conclusions. When researchers apply [4] the above methodologies to other forms of discipline (including time-outs and child psychotherapy), a superficial connection with bad outcomes appears too. If PRO wants us to assume he's right based on that, we'd have to believe those other things are just as bad too.

Why I'm right

All the concerns I brought before aren't just mine; they're articulated all the time by other researchers too. One of them (whom I cited earlier) is Dr. Larzelere [5], who conducted a meta-analysis [6] in 2005. This analysis took care to adjust for all the problems I've mentioned so far, and found the following:

"Reviewing fifty years of research on child discipline, [Larzelere and Kuhn] identified 26 relevant studies on child outcomes of physical punishment. Their conclusion: Child outcomes of physical discipline depend on how it is applied. The outcomes of physical discipline compared unfavorably with alternative disciplinary tactics only when it was the primary disciplinary method or was too severe (such as beating up a child or striking the face or head). The outcomes of "customary" [that is, regular use] physical discipline were neither better nor worse than for any alternative tactic, except for one study favoring physical discipline for reducing drug abuse. They also identified an optimal type of physical discipline, called conditional spanking, which led to better child outcomes than 10 of 13 alternative disciplinary tactics and produced outcomes equivalent to those of the remaining three tactics." [8]

So, when the research is properly conducted, we find that spanking is usually about as good as other forms of parental discipline, and can be one of the most effective if properly administered.

Summary: PRO only establishes superficial correlations, and his studies don't distinguish spanking from inappropriate forms of discipline. Taking vague statistics like that at face value would also lead us to believe many forms of discipline are harmful, so that approach leads us to bizarre conclusions in addition to being ill-founded. Research made with these concerns in mind shows the exact opposite: Spanking is actually effective when not administered abusively, which is more often than not.

vote CON

Debate Round No. 2


Thanks, Con.

Correlation vs causation

a) Sure, studies on this topic can only correlational, for a study to prove to causation would have to be experimental, which would obviously never happen for ethical reasons. Con insists that my studies should be dismissed simply because they’re correlational, but this isn’t how research works. The point of these studies is to find the most likely cause of an outcome, and account for anything that may confound the result. Let’s say I found that higher levels of exercise correlate with lower rates of cancer and heart disease. This alone doesn’t prove causation, but when paired with expert testimony on how exercise can lower your risks of cancer and heart disease, we can use common sense to infer that the former probably causes the latter. Considering how Con provided zero compelling confounding variables that would’ve distorted the conclusions, my case becomes that much more emphatic.

b) Con says my evaluation of the P-value is wrong because I asserted that it shows a higher likelihood of causation. This is a straw man; I only stated that the findings with low P-values (lower than 0.05) imply an unlikelihood of them being due to random chance (statistical significance), and that the null hypothesis should be thrown out.

My studies show that spanking probably causes the mentioned outcomes, which is fair to assume with high confidence intervals and no confounding variables exist to distort that assumption. Con would have you believe that the null hypothesis is true, despite some of the studies directly negating that notion.

Longitudinal vs cross-sectional

a) The contention made is that my longitudinal studies don’t account for the traits the children exhibited prior to the study, but Con is dead wrong here. My studies explicitly state that they do; the Tulane University one found an association with spanking and higher levels of aggression, “even with controlling for the child’s level of aggression at age 3” [2]. Murray Straus’ antisocial behavior study stated that “the analysis controlled for the level of [antisocial behavior] at the start of the study” [3]. The study analyzing 1,900 families found that maternal spanking was associated with more externalizing behavior later on, “even after an array of risks and and earlier childhood behavior were controlled for.” [7] The prior traits were accounted for, despite his objections.

b) Longitudinal methodology is actually superior to cross-sectional when it comes to assessing the effects of spanking. Longitudinal studies follow participants over a period of time, assessing anything that occurs in a period of, say, a few years. Cross-sectional ones are static in contrast; they only take in information from a population at *one* point in time, rendering them useless when trying to find the long-term effects that spanking may have.


Con asserts that the definition of spanking differs from study to study, but doesn’t go far in elaborating. His source states that, in that study, spanking was “often used to refer to most forms of [corporal punishment] that are within the socially acceptable level of severity, such as a slap on the hand for taking something off of a supermarket shelf” (Con’s 2nd source). While this definition is broader, how would a slap on the wrist confound a conclusion made on the effects of a slap on the behind? There’s no reason to assume the former is more severe than the latter, as they are both physical punishments than induce pain. I would judge the latter as harsher, given that it usually happens in repetition and hits a more sensitive body part. Until Con can show a significant difference, this point is moot.

Con’s studies

The argument in the alternative discipline study cited is that negative outcomes have been associated with non-physical forms of discipline, as well as spanking. But his study actually stated that time-outs weren’t really predictors of negative outcomes: “Removing privileges and sending children to their room did not have as many significant associations with antisocial behavior.” (Con’s 4th source) His source did say that child psychotherapy was associated with antisocial behavior, but this can only be the case when we understand that worse behaved children are going to be taken to psychotherapy sessions more often. Common sense would indicate that, if we adjusted for that, antisocial behavior would likely improve over time, since psychotherapy is known to be helpful. The same can’t be said for spanking.

The meta-analysis I cited reviewed 3 times as many studies as Con’s did (88 vs 26). Con’s meta, furthermore, doesn’t even let us access any of the 26 studies it’s supposed to be summarizing, so I’m unable to tell what methodologies they used, what variables they controlled for, what the sample sizes were, or how the researchers came to conclusion they did. Gershoff’s meta, in contrast, is far more detailed and explains every element of the study design (Con’s 1st source). You should, therefore, buy mine over Con’s.


Con’s rebuttals are weak, and his neg case is frail. My studies account for various confounding variables that show spanking to be the likely cause of negative outcomes mentioned. The methodologies used are superior to other ones, despite his objections. Unless he can show how they encompass physical abuse, his definition point is moot. The sources he provided didn't really go anywhere, and they certainly don't compare to the affirming ones.

For sources, refer to the previous round.


PRO's defense:

I. "Correlation doesn't have to prove causation"

So, PRO's first big idea is to defend crutching most of his case on pure correlations. He excuses this by telling us that correlation doesn't have to prove causation, but that it makes a causal relation more probable. PRO doesn't tell us how much more probable it is as a consequence, or at least, if it affects the probability enough for us to be concerned. PRO just says it some way.-

PRO's biggest and most up-to-date source (Gershoff 2016) explicitly tells us that the correlations can't be used to infer causation. Instead, their analysis points to other sorts of studies (longitudinal, mainly) to back up the main thrust of their conclusion. So, this point of PRO's doesn't hold up on its own either way. Correlation can't prove causation, and it can only supplement that hypothesis if we take the rest of PRO's case at face value.

(also, the analogy with exercise and cancer is cr@p, because common sense suggests you should believe expert advice when given no other options. It really makes no difference if they toss in a vague statistic or not)

II. "The confounders don't matter/are adjusted for properly."

PRO only points to two of his 3 longitudinal studies which adjusted for the confounding variables I pointed out. The third (#1 in PRO's sources) was not included in PRO's defense, and did not adjust for earlier childhood behaviors, so you (the voter) can take that as a concession; along with all the other studies that weren't longitudinal (read: the vast majority in Gershoff's meta and all the other individual ones PRO cited).

The other two were included in my metas (Straus 1997 in the Larzelere meta, and the Tulane University study in my [3]rd source), and those analyses found no significant negative effect from spanking. So, PRO's wrong about this too; his other studies were addressed. Additionally, the analyses that look at his studies show that confounders absolutely matter and they absolutely affect the results when adjusted for.

III. Definitions

PRO's totally lost if he thinks inconsistently defining your explanatory variable can't affect analyses. The Gershoff meta, for example, includes a study [9] where "spanking" could mean hitting children on the back or the head. How can PRO know the other studies don't also include excessive or abusive applications of spanking, or different but similar practices? The answer is that he can't. Also, as I pointed out in R2, the only studies that defined spanking clearly did not find any particular negative effects. PRO dropped that point too.

PRO's attack:

I. My 4th study didn't say time-outs aren't superficially correlated with bad outcomes, as spanking is. It said they are, but that the association is not as significant as with child psychotherapy; there is no denial that significant (but unadjusted) associations persist anyway. Also, as I demonstrated earlier in Section II (addressing Con's defense), the confounder in case of child psychotherapy is absolutely the case in spanking research too.

II. PRO's only major argument against my meta is that his (Gershoff 2016) looks at more studies. Since both metas use intentionally different methodologies, this is already a useless comparison. I also explained in R2 (not to mention sections II and III here) why Larzeleres's meta is methodologically superior to Gershoff's (something PRO didn't directly address). Since this is the core thrust of my affirmative case, voters can extend it entirely.

Remember: Larzeleres's meta found that spanking is, at worst, of no negative or a slightly positive effect; and at best, one of the most effective child disciplinary tactics out there. So, in light of PRO failing to prove any significant long-term detriment, this shows spanking cannot be detrimental on balance.

III. Also, all the papers Larzeleres's meta analyzed are accessible, and found at the bottom of link [6] in my R2 sources.

PRO didn't save face-value correlations, so voters can dismiss the overwhelming majority of studies he and his metas cite. As I proved in Section II here (and section I in R2), metas that look at proper (longitudinal) study designs come to the opposite conclusion. They include both papers PRO said I didn't take into account, so that point is as useless as his defense of inconsistent definitions. That covers all my major negations of PRO's case; and my affirmative case remains untouched too.

Voters: PRO's wrong about literally everything of consequence, and I'm still right too. VOTE CON!


1-8 see R2

Debate Round No. 3



Correlative studies exist to point to what, with all things considered, is probably the cause of certain outcomes. In the absence of reasonable confounding variables that Con could have offered, why should we buy his claim that my evidence shows nothing? I’ve shown why spanking is more likely than not responsible for the behaviors mentioned, and Con’s response is essentially that it must be completely conspicuous to have any validity.

Con’s overarching premise here is that, even when a study with a strong methodology controls for every possible confounding variable and has a high confidence interval, any conclusion that spanking is probably the cause of negative outcomes should be rejected without question. This is silly; my studies took the time to thoroughly control every variable that would probably confound the outcome, so Con would need a strong basis to dismiss them. As was mentioned earlier, a causal experiment would be unethical (parents wouldn’t volunteer to spank their kids in front of researchers), so in the absence of such, the next best thing must be looked at.

All of Con’s studies are correlative too, so dismiss every study/analysis he offers if he’s right about this. Con argument here is essentially that, because causation can’t be demonstrated, all evidence both ways is inconclusive. If we accept this as true, then there’s no possible way for him to negate the resolution - his shared burden requires him to show that spanking isn’t a detriment. In order to do this, evidence is required, none of which would work as it would all be correlative.

The exercise analogy is absolutely relevant to this, because while no study has proven (by Con’s standards) causality between exercise and a lower risk of certain diseases, the research is unequivocally regarded as conclusive. You don’t need a causal experiment to show how two things are inextricably linked.

My studies

a) All three of the studies I mentioned *do* mention controlling for prior aggression. Con trips up by saying my first link wasn’t included in my defense, but the first and seconds links are of the same study, and I cited the second one.

b) Con plays bait-and-switch by asserting that cross-sectional methodology is superior to longitudinal in R2, and then goes along with my explanation the latter is better than the former in R3. Which is it?

c) He alleges that 2 of my studies “have been addressed” because they’re included in larger meta-analyses that came to different conclusions. That’s not a rebuttal - I individually presented those 2 studies and explained the conclusions they came to, and Con dodges them by asserting that other studies overshadow them somehow. This is basically a concession. He then says that his analyses “show that confounders absolutely matter and they absolutely affect the results when adjusted for”, but doesn’t even mention the confounders he’s speaking of, so it’s impossible to follow his argument. It’s almost as if Con was in a rush to type this.

d) Con points to *one* study in the Gershoff meta and says its broad definition of spanking is evidence that every study could have questionable definitions. Firstly, Con hasn’t shown a study that conflates actual abuse with spanking, so there’s no reason to assume that most studies use definitions that aren’t colloquial. Secondly, he hasn’t explained how minor slaps to other parts of the body are worse than striking the behind, so why would this matter anyway? Thirdly, his definition dilemna should also apply to his studies, so why are mine so problematic?

Con’s studies

Time-outs were found to be less significantly associated with bad behavior as spanking in the non-physical discipline study, so they aren’t really comparable. He states that “the confounder in [the] case of child psychotherapy is absolutely the case in spanking research too”, but *what* confounder is being talked about here? There’s no elaboration given, so there’s no way to dissect this context-less point.

Con defends against my larger amount of studies point by alleging that Larzelere’s meta has a different methodology than Gershoff’s. But his sources don’t even state what his analysis’ studies’ methodologies are. If you follow his 6th link, it takes us to a vague abstract that says very little about the analysis. A Google search turns up nothing for the actual text of the paper, and most of the papers his link references aren’t actually part of the analysis (there are 95 instead of 26). His other meta-analysis (Ferguson 2013) is the same way: nothing except for abstract was linked. I therefore urge the readers to dismiss any claims made off of those sources, as their inaccessability makes them impossible to respond to.


I’ve showed why each of Con’s points (correlation, design, definitions, confounds) don’t hold up against my studies. Even if a couple of his points are true, they either apply to only some of my references or apply equally to his as well. Additionally, my dating violence study was *entirely* dropped by him, so extend that.

My 5 pieces of evidence I offered trump Con’s 3 (2 of which were just abstracts). My stronger impacts, therefore, affirm the resolution conclusively.

Thanks for the debate Con.


So, who wins this debate will be decided based on who best met their burden of proof. When finished reading, voters should ask themselves: "who did a better job of proving what they set out to prove?"

PRO's last stand:

I. No, not all the studies presented so far are purely correlational cross-sectional studies. I quoted Gershoff singling these out earlier, so PRO really can't pretend I'm including the other longitudinal studies in my R3 critique of "simple correlations". PRO cited (a minority) of longitudinal studies, while my affirmative argument relied on them pretty much exclusively. That also means that my point about bean-counting studies with radically different methodologies being stupid still holds, so voters can extend that too.

The point was that purely correlational studies aren't . Remember: I asked PRO to explain how much weight we should give pure correlations alone in the last round and why. He didn't do this, and now he can't. For that reason alone voters can extend my criticism of the simple correlation studies (read: the vast majority of PRO's case).

II. PRO insists the confounders (self-selection bias) aren't compelling, so there's little reason to doubt his simple correlations...even though his sources (Gershoff) say they I'm not really sure what else to say here. He's basically dropped my points and I pointed this out in the last round, but PRO doesn't seem to have noticed, because he didn't respond to that at all. So, voters can extend that too.

III. I never said cross-sectional studies are better than longitudinal ones. I said the opposite. Most of PRO's case consists of cross-sectional studies, so this actually makes my point.

IV. Obviously, if your studies don't define a key variable consistently, it doesn't make sense to analyze them as if they're always talking about the same thing. PRO doesn't really explain why my reasoning is wrong here, he just says the BOP is on me (it's not, I already explained why this mattes), doesn't explain why, and basically pleads the voter to assume his other studies' flaws can't affect the analysis's results.

Also, getting hit on the head is more physically and psychologically severe than being hit on the behind, even if the strikes are comparably strong. If PRO or any voter doubts this, they should try it themselves. Bottom line: Yes, the difference between that and spanking matters. No, they're not the same thing.

V. The only thing PRO gets right is that his first 3 links only point to two studies, not three. He's also right that they were included in my other metas -- this isn't really a concession, though, because the metas conclusion agrees with me. PRO can say that his isolated studies support him, but that would be cherrypicking, since he'd have to ignore a wider review of studies with the same methodology that came to the opposite conclusion.

Also, the confounders adjusted for were specified repeatedly in R2 and R3.

Extend pretty much my entire negation of PRO.

PRO's flimsy attacks

I. The point isn't that studies didn't find as significant an association with bad effects. It's that they found an association, significant even if lesser, when using the simplistic methodology PRO cheerleads. PRO can't handwave that implication away, soooo extend.

II. The confounder in child psychotherapy is self-selection bias. Read: Comparing spanked to non-spanked isn't informative, because non-spanked children are way less likely to exhibit relevant antisocial behavior in the first place. Given that PRO's main meta notes this near the conclusion, an excerpt that I clearly quoted in R2, where I also explained that this was the specific confounder being adjusted for by Ferguson (see end of section I) there's really no excuse for missing this. Extend.

III. So, the first problem is that I did explain how the methodologies were different. I. I also pointed to an entire source that described how, specifically, the Larzelere meta was methodologically notable. So, PRO's totally wrong right off the bat.

The other problem is that being unable to read the fulltext is an absurd reason to dismiss a source. It might be reasonable if we had no other way of figuring out how the studies differ in important ways, which clearly isn't the case with my metas anyway. So, barring such circumstances, PRO's already behaving arbitrarily. To demonstrate this, just look at the studies his metas cite: How many of them have an easily accessible fulltext? Gershoff cites over 80 papers. Did PRO look at every single one before assuming their inclusion in the meta was okay? No, but we don't have a reason to care either; which shows my metas would be fine too. There can be reasons where this is a real problem, but they don't apply right now.

By the way, both my metas are easily accessible on popular paywall-bypassing websites like or So even if we forget about everything else that's wrong with PRO's point here, it's still false.

Since that addresses all criticisms of my affirmative case, voters can extend it entirely. Remember: In real-world terms, my metas prove that spanking is, at worst, of neutral effect, and at best, a good thing. The only hope for PRO was that his affirmative is soundly proven, and that its impact outweighs mine. Bottom line: I met my BOP, PRO didn't. Viva CON!

Sources and links:

(1 - 9 see previous rounds)
Debate Round No. 4
15 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by YYW 1 month ago
If you both want me to vote on this, I will. PM me if you do.
Posted by Wylted 1 month ago
I said that after merely glancing. I"ve read it a few times now
Posted by Varrack 1 month ago

1. I use "aggressive" and "noncompliant" synonymously.

2. I'm not sure what you mean by "more accurate".

3. We did mention some methodology differences. Longitudinal studies assess subjects over a certain amount of time, whereas cross-sectional take info from a single point in time.
Posted by Wylted 1 month ago
Finally reading this carefully it looks like con did really well
Posted by Wylted 1 month ago
Also why can"t you guys explain to idiots like me what cross sectional and longitudal is and how they differ. I don"t know these terms. My highest level of education is 9th grade and even with a curious mind these terms don"t pop up naturally.
Posted by Wylted 1 month ago
Pro, just out of curiousity. Do you think maybe temperamental people are more inclined to spank, but comparing the stoic spankers to stoic non spankers may be more accurate?

Also is there any evidence aggressiveness in 5 year olds is bad? Aren"t these the people more likely to become assertive and lead better lives than their door mat counter parts?
Posted by Wylted 1 month ago
I may read through this and vote, but am already disappointed in con with a casual scanning. It seems con did not make any attempt to argue the opposite or to argue any form of semantics which this debate was open to. I don"t agree with abusing semantics but the word "detrimental" can be challenged as well as some attempts made to argue for the benefits of spanking. I found studies on my own that list the benefits of done correctly. I think when you just try to swat at all of somebody"s arguments as opposed to making some of your own, you have to argue almost perfectly. I guess when I get to the library I"ll see if you played this perfect and won.
Posted by revenant_a 1 month ago
Sorry voters, I forgot to finish one sentence in my final reply: "The point was that purely correlational studies aren't ."

I meant to say "The point was that purely correlational studies aren't enough on their own." However, I don't think this takes away from the main thrust of my critique, so it will be a minor confusion at worst.
Posted by revenant_a 1 month ago
yeah, we should debate something more poliphil oriented next
Posted by Varrack 1 month ago
Because it's a naturally data-heavy topic. You can't just make a case that has studies supplement it, it has to be built *around* those studies. No philo arguments or anything that isn't strictly empirical can really be argued.

Plus, we just too many mistakes were made for my liking. I guess it was ok, but...not really my cup of tea
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by YYW 1 month ago
Who won the debate:-Vote Checkmark
Reasons for voting decision: This was a good debate, although PRO would have benefitted from clearly identifying what spanking was, and from distinguishing spanking from those forms of corporal punishment that fall into the category of abuse. By implication, caution must be exercised when relying on self-reporting or otherwise limited studies. PRO cannot win because CON effectively discredited any purported detriment PRO identified, while identifying equally competent evidence that spanking does not necessarily cause harm. Explained in more detail, in my RFD: Overall, not a bad debate. I think PRO might have had a better shot if he reconsidered his resolution. See comments in RFD thread as well.