The Instigator
dipper
Pro (for)
Winning
3 Points
The Contender
hutch976
Con (against)
Losing
2 Points

People of all ages should be considered inherently equal.

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 2 votes the winner is...
dipper
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 3/16/2017 Category: Society
Updated: 1 year ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 641 times Debate No: 101032
Debate Rounds (5)
Comments (18)
Votes (2)

 

dipper

Pro

Hello, everyone! Welcome to my first debate topic on this forum. I look forward to participating here.

To make sure my opening position is clear, "people of all ages" means any human being in existence, "inherently" means "by default" and "equal" means "presented with equivalent opportunities to engage in all rights, privileges and responsibilities of the human condition compared to any other human being".

I am taking the position that, before considering any other factors, an 8 month, 8 year, 18 year and 80 year old person should be treated and evaluated no differently from one another in any way.

I have no particular "rules" for debate, other than that the goal should be to get as close to the top of the debate pyramid as possible (google 'debate pyramid' if you don't know what I'm talking about).
hutch976

Con

I accept this debate, and I assert that "people of all ages" (meaning any human being in existence) are "inherently equal" (by default, presented withe equivalent opportunities to engage in all rights, privileges, and responsibilities of the human condition compared to any other human being".

I will await your opening argument, as you are Pro and have the BOP.

I will also give you this little expression to chew on:

"Treating unequal things as equal, is as unjust as treating equal things unequally."
Debate Round No. 1
dipper

Pro

Greetings and warmest regards to my opponent.

Human society has come to realize, time and time again, that a person's individual aspects override their classification in terms of what they can do, how well they can do it and, by extension, whether or not they should have the right to do it. We began with landowners of a particular race and gender; we then expanded to include all races, and then both genders. The time has come for society to embrace these precedents and take a long look at inherent equivalency of age.

I present the following premises in support of this position:

1. Experience is qualitative as well as quantitative.

It is obviously concedable that the longer one has been alive, the more experience they have. That is the defining characteristic of age, and its only universal truth (by universal truth, I simply mean there are no exceptions; this contrasts sharply with, say, the argument that physiological changes are a reliable sign of aging, since a number of conditions exist in which people experience physical changes more rapidly, more slowly, or not at all). However, simple quantity is given too great a weight in society. If Person A has spent six years studying the art of playing the piano, and Person B has never touched one in their lives, then which person should be called upon to perform in a concerto? Person A is obviously the superior choice, and this remains true if Person A is ten years old and Person B is fifty.

This truth is also without exception; name any task within the purview of the human experience, and there exists a young savant whose capability exceeds that of their elders.

2. Age-based policies are inherently inaccurate.

Take, for example, the concept of a mandatory retirement age. The primary purposes of such a policy are often to infuse a company with new ideas and remove someone whose capacity to perform their duties has become diminished. Used as the benchmark to accomplish these goals, age is a poor determinor; there is no guarantee that a person of any specific age is diminished in capacity, and there is certainly no guarantee that someone who is chronologically younger is automatically in possession of new ideas and insights. It is quite easy to propose a reasonable scenario in which neither fact would survive scrutiny, and thus the application of the age based policy is naught but an oppressive semantic applied for its own sake.

On the other side of the spectrum, a minimum driving age makes the assumption that those who have not yet attained it are inherently incapable of accepting the rights and responsibilities associated with being a licensed driver. This, too, is not necessarily accurate; studies show that younger drivers are more accident prone, certainly, but I would assert that the more accurate representation of that dynamic would be "drivers with less than X years experience are more accident prone"; such rates among people who have attained their licenses later in life match the same curve as their younger peers. Therefore, if one presumes 3 years as the amount of experience needed to be a less dangerous driver, then if the driving age were lowered to 12 tomorrow, the 16-18 category would suddenly rank as consistent in safety with their 35-40 counterparts. This is, of course, consistent with my first premise.

3. Age-based policies are often redundant and self-defeating.

There is no better example of this than the minimum working age in the United States. Initially proposed in the early 20th century, the minimum age was established as a response to very real dangers faced by children in the workforce. Unsafe conditions led to horrible accidents in mines and factories, and youth were often exploited for their willingness to work for next to no salary. Recently politically empowered mothers put forth the plea that their childrens' safety was at stake, and legislation was passed to remove them from harm's way.

As wonderful as that sounds, conceptually, it ignored the realities that such problems were problems for ALL Americans, not just children. Eventually this was realized, and dealt with through legislation which established a minimum wage for the worker and a minimum requirement of safety in the workplace, with mandatory inspections of all facilities and very rigid standards. These regulations accomplish everything that chlid labor laws set out to do, making them no longer necessary. Their continued existence now requires those children who want or need to work to do so discretely - which often means doing so for lower than minimum wage, in facilities which do not meet those rigid safety standards. That the restrictions are now causing the conditions they were meant to protect against is an irony that should be lost on no one.

4. Age-based restrictions contribute to low self-esteem.

There is an inherent attack in dismissing one's contributions solely based on their age; for youth, it means internalizing the idea that they are somehow less valid or valuable, and for elders, it means internalizing the idea that any value they had is now irrevocably gone. Both are tragic, but particularly in youth, this can lead to a lifelong pattern of belief in their own inherent inferiority, because society most certain never formally gets around to undoing such perceptions when its citizenry crosses the magic age line. Indeed, most governments arguably prefer a docile citizenry, so such perceptions serve them well.

5. A free society has an obligation to lean towards the permissive in all grey areas.

There is a counterargument to be made that would frequently contain the words "more often than not". It would sound something like this:

"Perhaps some seventy year olds could continue to function well in their jobs, but more often than not, they are, in fact, too diminished to be as effective."
"There may be some twelve year olds who can handle alcohol responsibly, but more often than not, people under twenty-one are too irresponsible to be drinking."

While I would cede these both as true statements, the simple fact remains that their corrolaries are also truisms, and therefore any blanket policy which does not take individual variance into account is needlessly oppressive. There is no minimum population at which unjustly discriminating against them for the ease of simplicity is acceptable behavior for a civilized, free society.

Conclusion

These five premises strike me as adequate support for the conclusion that people of all ages should be considered inherently equal. Continuing to use age as a standard by which we permit or deny things on a massive scale is as inappropriate as using hair color, race, gender, or any other irrelevant demographic. Which is to say, not at all.
hutch976

Con

So I ask my opponent but one question:

Do you think an 8 month old baby should be allowed to cast a vote in a democratic election? More to the point, do you think there should be any age restrictions for choosing the people who govern our society and order men and women into battle?

Are you really proposing that an 8 month old (As you stated in your opening argument) should have the same vote as a 30 year old?

Should we also draft that 8 month old into service?
Should we let the 5 year old work in a factory?
Is it ok for a 66 year old man to marry a 5 year old girl?

Or should we have some form of age restrictions? Imprecise though they may be.

You're premises, I fear, do not work in practicality and reality. Do some societal laws and ideas need some revision? Sure. Are some teenagers more responsible than some adults? No doubt. Does this mean we should get rid of age restrictions all together? Absolutely not.
Debate Round No. 2
dipper

Pro


Firstly, that's six questions (nine if you count the rhetorical ones).

Second, my answers, in order, are as follows:

1) Do you think an 8 month old baby should be allowed to cast a vote in a democratic election?

I don't think the baby should be denied a vote because he or she is 8 months old. Assuming we're talking about a typical 8 month old baby, there are issues of linguistic expression and physical ability to pull a lever at five feet in height that would be obviously prohibitive. Questions of intelligence exist as well, but bluntly, those self-same questions exist for a significant portion of the adult population, and it seems unfair to me to selectively apply a requirement of minimum intelligence to one demographic and not another. Whether there should be a universal minimum intelligence for voting is beyond the scope of this debate.

2) More to the point, do you think there should be any age restrictions for choosing the people who govern our society and order men and women into battle?

Again, I freely admit that many characteristics common to eight month old humans are naturally prohibitive. It would be generous to posit that there's even one eight month old on the planet capable of such a weighty office; however, I insist that people should rise and fall on their merits, not their demographic. You are positing that in the event that such an eight month old is found, they should still be denied the right to vote based solely on how long they've been breathing air. I disagree.

3) Should we also draft that 8 month old into service?

See above.

4) Should we let the 5 year old work in a factory?

See above, re: merit-based logic. Note that, compared to the spectrum of the typical eight month old, the typical five year old spectrum presents a statistically significant shift in the bell curve. It is not so generous to assume that there's a single five year old on the planet capable of factory work; indeed, for a mundane task on an assembly line as simple as tying a piece of string onto a product, it's safe to say that the majority of five year olds would be capable of performing the task. On what basis would you deny them the right to compete for such labor?

5) Is it ok for a 66 year old man to marry a 5 year old girl?

Again, the same merit-based argument holds true. The majority of five year old girls may be incapable of choosing a consensual marital relationship with another human being, but that does not mean a blanket line in the sand is appropriate. (I am deliberately ignoring the age of the groom, as it was set to that particular age just to evoke a false appeal to emotion argument. I do not intend to fall victim to the trap of groupthink taboos.)

6) Or should we have some form of age restrictions?


No, we should not. We should have relevant, merit-based restrictions only. In the case of the five questions above, relevant restrictions would be as follows:

1 and 2 - whatever intelligence or citizen-based criteria we see fit to impose on the rest of society
3 - the ability to perform military service
4 - the ability to perform the relevant tasks in the factory
5 - the ability to understand the implications, both emotional and legal, of a marital compact

hutch976

Con

OK, so you're basically just being snarky with your definition of age, and how we use it as a society. You're looking at age as merely a demographical description to a person, and like age, gender, or race, we should not discriminate based upon age.

I seriously doubt you are really suggesting we allow toddlers to vote in a presidential election. It's just not practical. And to suggest that there is no difference between someone based on their age is also scientifically false.

The human brain develops overtime. Human babies do not have the capacity for reason, complex language, abstract thinking, appreciate of aesthetics, the ability to control motor reflexes, etc.

Do you know why they don't have those abilities? Of course, we all do. Because babies have no had the time to develop those functions. The brain develops over time, and over time the capacity of the human brain changes.

http://neuraldevelopment.biomedcentral.com...

^ There's an open peer-reviewed website on any topic you'd like on brain development.

Since time is a major factor in the development of the human brain, age (which is a measure of human's time developing on earth) is a valid metric to use in determining certain rights and privileges.

A newborn baby should not be granted a semi-truck. It has not had proper time for the brain to develop. It has not had time for the body to grow to even reach all the necessary equipment to operate the vehicle. Those factors are based on the time it takes for the human to develop, and the metric we use to measure that time is age.

Age is a critical measure by which we need to gauge children actually. The CDC has a list of milestones that experts use in diagnosing children who may or may not have defects of diseases.

https://www.cdc.gov...

What you are proposing is essentially this: An extreme outlier could maybe exist. Someone can be 8 months old and have the faculty to do anything and everything a 45 year old man and/or woman can.

In the purest and most theoretical sense....I will concede maybe.

But I live in the real world, and using age as a metric to gauge certain privileges human beings can do in society is a good thing. I will concede it is not perfectly employed, but it is useful and good.

I appreciate that your'e debating for the sake of debating, but you're ideas are what I'd expect out of the class clown trying to waste the teacher's time in High School.
Debate Round No. 3
dipper

Pro

My opponent states that I'm "basically just being snarky with [my] definition of age." Putting aside the ad hominem fallacy in that response, I am defining age as "the amount of chronological time which has passed for an individual since birth". If my opponent would like to offer an alternate definition, I would be happy to entertain it, but I genuinely don't see how any other definition could be considered more mainstream than that one.

The hypothetical of toddlers voting in a presidential election was one posited by my opponent, not myself. Certainly my proposed principle, like almost any other, can be taken to absurd extremes in which it's unlikely that an individual would pass the muster of all the other criteria that are involved in doing something. That doesn't make my principle inherently fallacious, any more than the principle that stealing is wrong can be declared fallacious by describing the circumstance of a man stealing a loaf of bread to feed his starving family. Sure, not stealing might be more wrong in that circumstance, but it doesn't change the simple truth that stealing is wrong. I am not proposing a world where all eight month old babies can cast a vote. I am proposing a world where no one is denied the right to vote solely because they are eight months old. There is a world of difference between those two concepts, and I am not debating them "just for the sake of debating"; I am quite serious about it.

This is not just an argument about extremes; this is an argument with many common, practical applications, because while people at the extremes (8 months old, or 100 years old) might be extremely unlikely to fall into needlessly oppressive categories, people on the borders are virtually certain to. There are twelve year olds old enough for a mature, romantic relationship with sexual content, and twenty year olds who most certainly are not. There are seventy-two year olds that can still work just fine, and sixty year olds with plenty of cause to force them to retire. There are thirty year olds perfectly suited to the job of President of the United States, and forty year olds (or perhaps certain seventy year olds) who are not. There are ten year olds who can drive, nineteen year olds who can drink, sixteen year olds who can make valid decisions about smoking, and fifteen year olds who would be more proficient than the most skilled employees at the NSA if hired as cyberdefense consultants. And for all of those, there are the correllary opposites of people who DO meet the age criteria for those activities, and have no business doing them. In many cases, we're not just talking about a small percentage, but actually a majority of people in that age group being oppressed just to protect a significant minority.

Every single one of those people - on both sides of that age divide - are done a disservice by the current age-based criteria. It is too imperfect a tool for a modern society, capable of handling the nuance of individual circumstance.

My opponent effectively conceded this point in terms of miniscule hypothetical extremes. Do they concede it on these border issues as well? If not, why not? And if so, do they also concede that the impact is significant enough to warrant real change to our approach? Why or why not?
hutch976

Con

My opponent claims that I am taking his premises to an extreme by citing absurd hypothetical examples.

My opponent seems to forget that he said that senior citizens should be allowed to marry a 5 year old, based on a "merit based" case-by-base system.

So I am not sure where you are getting off trying to dodge the fact that the very nature of what you are arguing is absurd.

Also, please note that my opponent completely failed to acknowledge the scientific evidence provided to him last round.

Does my opponent think that a newborn infant, fresh out of the womb, should be afforded the opportunity to be the POTUS speech writer?

I would think not, because that human has not had enough time to develop the brain functions and social wherewithal to even be considered as a speech writer. Therefore, we can dismiss this human as a candidate for being the POTUS speech writer, simply by virtue of their age (among other factors). But it is not unreasonable to dismiss a newborn infant from being even considered for employment as a speech writer (or Fighter Jet Pilot, or Chemistry Teacher, or Brian surgeon) based solely on the fact their age is less than one month old!

I agree with you, sir, that sometimes using age as a barrier for certain activities is imprecise. I do not agree, sir, that age should be completed disregarded. Nor do I agree that all humans are equal with regard to their age. So to the questions at the end of your last round, I say to you sir, that I have already answered them! You simply lack critical reading skills given that you have not seen that, and that you failed to address the scientific evidence presented to you.

Humans develop. Their brains develop. Their body develops. One metric we use to measure how developed they are, and how far along they should be in this development, is age. It is not unreasonable to use age as a measuring stick for implementing policies. It is useful and good, despite some instances where it could be more precise or done on a case-by-base basis.
Debate Round No. 4
dipper

Pro

I only responded to relevant points. All of the scientific evidence presented described typical circumstances, and I happily concede them as fact. But they don't address individual varience, which is the entire thrust of my argument, and they presume a requirement for minimum development that, at the very least, obviously varies from one proposed activity to the next (how much development is truly needed for that job tying strings at a factory?). Therefore, there's nothing in there that actually advances the argument that a catch-all line in the sand is appropriate for a free, civilized society.

Direct quote of my opponent:

My opponent claims that I am taking his premises to an extreme by citing absurd hypothetical examples.

My opponent seems to forget that he said that senior citizens should be allowed to marry a 5 year old, based on a "merit based" case-by-base system.

My opponent, conversely, seems to forget that this is yet another "absurd hypothetical" initiated by themself, not me. I will reiterate the point, not rebutted in the last response, that there is a world of difference between advocating something and stating that there should be different reasons for disallowing it. Doing the right thing for the wrong reason is still wrong.

My opponent asks: Does my opponent think that a newborn infant, fresh out of the womb, should be afforded the opportunity to be the POTUS speech writer?

Again, an absurdist example. And again, I ask my opponent to explain to me under what circumstances a newborn infant who somehow miraculously beats out all the competition for that job should still be denied it, despite somehow managing that impossible feat. They say that this human can be be dismissed by age, "among other factors". I say that simply looking at those other factors alone should be sufficient. Other than saving two minutes of someone's time, where's the benefit of considering age? And are those two minutes really worth all the harm I described in my last round, all those border cases - cases that my opponent conceded to be imprecise? As a reminder, we're talking about potentially millions of people either unjustly oppressed by being denied the right to do things they're more than capable of doing, or else inadequately protected by being granted the right to do things that they really are NOT ready for - all solely on the basis of how long they've been breathing air.

I think it fair to say that the burden of proof is no longer on me at this point. I've already proven that age-based assumptions cause harm. My opponent's only hope of victory is to prove that the benefits of age-based assumptions outweigh that harm somehow - a case that they have not even attempted to make, much less make compellingly.
hutch976

Con

My opponents opening statement was that all humans in existence should never be treated differently based on age for any reasons.

I've provided multiple instances where they should be treated differently, while conceding that age can be an imprecise method and is sometimes, but not always, in need of revision.

I appreciate my opponents zeal for debating for the sake of debating, but if he really thinks humans less than one. Both old should have no legal restrictions as to how it functions in society as a general rule of thumb, then I submit he is either stupid or a troll.

Please also note how my opponent shifted his thesis from the start to the end.
Debate Round No. 5
18 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by whiteflame 1 year ago
whiteflame
We can't alter the coding of the site to put the standards front and center at the start of every debate or as part of the Terms of Service. That's something only Juggle can manage, and we're not Juggle. We're members of the site with a small connection to Juggle, and all we can do is suggest. That's one of the suggestions we've made.

FuzzyCatPotato could vote again if he still had his voting privileges. He doesn't, though that's not because of this vote removal, but rather because of a litany of vote removals done over the past two days. As for the reason for removal, he is required to specifically assess a point made by each side. Merely dismissing one side's argument as appeals to emotion is an assessment, but not of any specific point. It's the way we determine if the reader read through the debate - they have to point to an argument given by each side and explain why they were or were not effective. Stating that an argument is an appeal to emotion is fine, but it must be clear what that argument was.
Posted by dipper 1 year ago
dipper
Alright, after reading the forums here (http://www.debate.org...) I understand a little better what happened here.

This needs to be much more clearly explained. It should be on every "start a new debate" screen or at the very least in the formal Terms of Service, rather than be a nasty surprise for a new member who doesn't go to forums.

So, obvious question... is there anything stopping FuzzyCatPotato from just casting their vote again with a more "up to standard" explanation? Frankly, I don't see how the voter failed to "assess arguments made by both sides". They specifically said Con's arguments were based on appeals to emotion; how is that not a specific assessment of Con?
Posted by dipper 1 year ago
dipper
Wait, what just happened? Peoples' opinions can be OVERRULED BY STAFF?

In what way is this even possibly okay? If this is okay, why would anyone require voter comments ever? If there had been no comment required, then there would have been no reasoning for someone (I presume my opponent? If so, what a low, disgusting, dirty way to even the score) to object to.

I want an explanation from staff right now as to why I shouldn't just have my account deleted and move on with life.
Posted by whiteflame 1 year ago
whiteflame
*******************************************************************
>Reported vote: FuzzyCatPotato// Mod action: Removed<

4 points to Pro (S&G, Arguments). Reasons for voting decision: Grammar: One question is not six. Pro convincingly presented a case that we should treat people based upon their mental age, rather than their biological age, because this restricts their rights without good cause. Con's rebutals were all soundly rejected by Pro and moreover were often based on appealing to the judge's emotion. Pro's arguments were philosophical; Con failed to work at the level of philosophy.

[*Reason for removal*] (1) S&G is insufficiently explained. This point may only be awarded in instances where one side"s arguments are more difficult to understand. Misusing a number in a single round does not clearly meet this threshold. (2) Arguments are insufficiently explained. The voter is required to specifically assess arguments made by both sides. The voter specifically assesses Pro"s arguments, but generalizes Con"s.
************************************************************************
Posted by dipper 1 year ago
dipper
@powerpikahcu21 - Thanks for voting! Just... you did neglect to award me the convincing arguments points, though. ;)
Posted by dipper 1 year ago
dipper
Getting bogged down in the nuance of the scenario is ridiculous. Either somewhere, somehow, there's a valid reason to allow the marriage and a strictly age-based rule is oppressive. Or, there are NO valid reasons to allow the marriage, in which case a strictly age-based rule is unnecessary and redundant. Either way, my point is valid.

And either way, I don't see the point of continuing this discussion in the comments section. If you really want to hash this out, start a new debate and challenge me, otherwise, let it drop.
Posted by hutch976 1 year ago
hutch976
Or he can just write this thing called a Last Will and Testament, like a normal person.
Posted by SmartNigga 1 year ago
SmartNigga
who every does it first i will help u win
Posted by SmartNigga 1 year ago
SmartNigga
Hey can you help me win "Was the Atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki necessary?" if you do so I will vote for you in your" debate
Posted by dipper 1 year ago
dipper
Because case by case is appropriate. Suppose it's a 66 year old man who is going to die tomorrow, and the 5 year old is his goddaughter, and he has two million dollars that he'd like her to inherit so that she can use it as treatment for a medical procedure, but he has a vicious ex-wife who is entitled to that money as long as he doesn't remarry, but marrying her would entitle her to it.

I see no reason why anyone (other than his vicious ex-wife) would object to him marrying her under those circumstances.
2 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 2 records.
Vote Placed by Sensorfire 1 year ago
Sensorfire
dipperhutch976Tied
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Total points awarded:32 
Reasons for voting decision: Pro and Con both made very interesting points, and I enjoyed reading this debate. I found that both the instigator and the contender were courteous to one another, and used proper spelling and grammar. However, when it came to arguments, Con was lacking. Ultimately, Pro was more convincing in their arguments, giving several good arguments that served their case well. Con, despite having sub-par arguments overall, provided good sources relevant to age and development.
Vote Placed by PowerPikachu21 1 year ago
PowerPikachu21
dipperhutch976Tied
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Total points awarded:00 
Reasons for voting decision: Pro's argument was that we should require a certain skill level, rather than a certain age. Con tried to counter this by saying 8 month olds are too underdeveloped to work at a factory and the like. But, as Pro pointed out, it's not the age's fault, but rather the underdeveloped's part. Seeing as how Con failed to counter that argument, Argument points go to Pro. Pro uses logic, and Con has a site, so neither has poor sources. Conduct and S&G are both good.