The Instigator
bsergent
Pro (for)
Winning
53 Points
The Contender
solo
Con (against)
Losing
49 Points

People treat the debates like a poll. "Vote for who you already agreed with." and I can Prove it.

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 12/26/2007 Category: Society
Updated: 9 years ago Status: Voting Period
Viewed: 2,478 times Debate No: 1021
Debate Rounds (5)
Comments (24)
Votes (27)

 

bsergent

Pro

I've lost nearly all my debates to people who have clearly never debated anything before in their lives and have no respect for logical or scientific rigor.

People treat the voting period like a poll or a survey. I even find myself tempted to do this.

I'm going to launch a series of debates to prove it.
solo

Con

[I believe that even the voters that agree with your statement will appreciate that my argument is stronger.]

You wrote <>

You're basing this argument on the fact that you've lost all of your debates, but yet have to prove if you're worthy of swaying public opinion. Perhaps you aren't as skilled at debate you think you are, a point I will get to in just a moment.

You also write <>

You cannot possibly "know" what the voters are thinking unless they leave comments freely admitting this behavior. Just because you admit to being tempted to do this yourself does not mean that others are giving in to the same notion.

You end with <>

This is the comment that has led me to question your debating skills, as I did above. If you were truly skilled, you would have conducted your experiment and attained the sought results, as opposed to locking yourself into a debate that you willfully announce that you cannot win with this statement.
Debate Round No. 1
bsergent

Pro

"You're basing this argument on…"

No I'm basing it on the fact that in every debate I've lost, it was to the most popular position in each case. Despite the presence of numerous logical errors in my opponent's arguments.

In many cases key portions are left unrefuted, and in some cases replaced by straw man arguments.

"…but yet have to prove if you're worthy of swaying public opinion."

Fallacy. Public opinion does not denote factuality. I may be correct and simultaneously wildly unpopular. The ability to convince a crowd of a given idea has no relation to the validity of the idea. Hitler, evangelists, heaven's gate, Moonies, scientology, etc.

"You cannot possibly "know" what the voters are thinking.."

Their actions demonstrate a high likelihood of a given thought process. Unless you want to get into deep epistemology you're going to have to grant that actions reflect thought. My proof will be in the other arguments I've posted. I'll get votes, despite a total lack of defense of my positions. I may even win one or two. I could further prove the point if I was willing to select absurdly popular points, such as the existence of Jesus, or stereotyped partisan politics.

"If you were truly skilled, you would have conducted your experiment…"

You assume that my experiment here is the first experiment of its type I've conducted. Not so. I've been debating online for well over a decade. I noticed long long ago that people ignore ideas and evidence.

Greater minds than me have noted this fact.

My favorite of which is…

"A new scientific truth does not triumph by convincing its opponents and making them see the light, but rather because its opponents eventually die, and a new generation grows up that is familiar with it." - Max Planck

"…that you willfully announce that you cannot win with this statement."

I merely commented on how wins occur. I believe most people agree with me on this point, and they will vote accordingly. Of those that actually read the arguments, I'll have them too, I expect to win this one. But you are right in terms of actually winning the debate via points covered and logic, no, debates aren't won here in that fashion, if ever.

Excellent arguments. Thank you.
solo

Con

<>

Perhaps others are able to draw natural conclusions that you are unable to grasp. Some folks are accepting of 2 + 2 = 4, as opposed to needing 1 + 1 + 1 + 1 = 4.

<>

Many would disagree with you here. There is no proof that any gods exist, but Christianity has endured for millenia. If a crowd does not provide any given idea with validity, then the idea does not matter and eventually dies, thus invalidating it, as indicated by the quote from Max Planck which you cited. It was the same case with the Greek and Roman gods that are now considerd mythology. Public opinion denotes factuality very much so. People are smart, much smarter today than ever before, and they treat the debates like a debate and their votes are based on the presented arguments.

<>

Again, I disagree. People do not necessariy come online to represent themselves, but more so the individual they perceive themselves to be and the individual that they want to be perceived as, actually. People are striving to be the best they can be; better than they themselves think possible.

<>

I'm confused. If you've conducted this experiment time and again, why haven't you posted the results to "prove it" as you've claimed? It calls your debating experience into question, again. I have a high school diploma, as do the majority of the users on this site, so we're not only qualified to think logically, but we possess the education to critique a debate and vote accordingly.

<>

But in making the obvious flaws that you're making in this debate (and like in the others), don't you think people will see right through what you're doing? I think it may be a deceitful and possibly spiteful way to insult someone's intelligence and maneuver them into voting for your debate.
Debate Round No. 2
bsergent

Pro

"Perhaps others are able to draw natural conclusions that you are unable to grasp."

What does this have to do with anything? I'll admit that I am unable to grasp how this statement answers the one you seem to suggest it answers.

"If a crowd does not provide any given idea with validity, then the idea does not matter and eventually dies..."

This is not an attack but I question your sanity. Are you seriously suggesting that if enough people disregard gravity, the universe will fly apart?

"Public opinion denotes factuality very much so."

Public opinion correlates with factuality but does not cause it, and in fact has no impact on it what so ever. Opinion is the perception of an event, and factuality is the event itself. To say that perception effects reality directly is like saying that the baby who covers up his eyes to hide during peek-a-boo is actually blacking out the world.

It's a basic logic concept, correlation does not denote causation. For example, dodge viper ownership correlates closely with affluence, this does not mean purchase of a dodge viper will make one rich.

"People are smart, much smarter today than ever before…"

That's debatable in and of itself. While IQ scores have gone up ever since we developed a test for them, whether or not those tests actually measure what we call intelligence, as opposed to skill at taking tests, is unknown.

"…why haven't you posted the results to "prove it" as you've claimed?"

I did, and here I will again. But if you're referring to my previous experiments, they were on unrelated forums and irc chat rooms from ages ago and I will not reprint those private conversations here assuming I even logged them at the time, and could find the logs now. I did the experiments for my own edification, I was not looking to publish.

"I have a high school diploma, as do the majority of the users on this site, so we're not only qualified to think logically, but we possess the education to critique a debate and vote accordingly."

Having the ability to do something and actually doing it are wildly different things.

Beyond that, Jay Leno has made spectacularly funny examples of just how dim the average American can be. But anyway, for the record, I'm a drop out with a GED and some college (54 hours 3.1 GPA). You'll not hear me being classist about ‘education'. Many of our species greatest minds were self-educated. This ideological reliance on formal education to grant the attribute ‘intelligent' is a relatively recent phenomenon, and stems mainly from the government's desire to tell us what to think. Asimov wrote a great article entitled "What Is Intelligence, Anyway?" about education and intelligence. You've touched an an interesting subject, quite separate from the main point.

"…don't you think people will see right through what you're doing?"

Perhaps. The question is however what will they do if and when they do? Do I expect them to cheat? By say voting for what they disagree with just to 'prove' me wrong? No, simple stubbornness or loyalty to an idea will prevent that in most cases. Do I expect them to say to themselves "This guy's an idiot, of course I'll read the debate and vote accordingly, no matter my personal position!" Well, that's one of my goals.

"I see many things. I see plans, within plans."

-‘Third Stage' Guild Navigator _David Lynch's Dune, 1984.

"I think it may be a deceitful and possibly spiteful way to insult someone's intelligence and maneuver them into voting for your debate."

My position in the sample debates was that anyone who voted for me did so without reason beyond preconceived opinion, as I did not present a single argument. Why would I set out to insult people who agree with me? Besides, even if that were the case, why would it be a bad thing? I don't really want people who don't bother to think on my side anyway, they're a liability. I'm not looking for yes-men I'm looking for independent, thinking, humans.

This entire debate is moot, I got votes without arguing in the other debates. That's proof positive people do not read debates and vote merely with their prejudice. The only thing left to debate is degree.

You've stepped on a daisy cutter solo, but at least it was for a good cause, we got people thinking. :)

---

Here again are the links to the debates in question.

http://www.debate.org...
http://www.debate.org...
http://www.debate.org...
solo

Con

I think your arguments are brilliant. I'm sorry that everyone, including yourself, is not able to see the genius in your work.

You not only deserved the votes you got, but the votes that you did not get.

;op
Debate Round No. 3
bsergent

Pro

Well thank you very much. I have great hope for this place, and the concept it embodies. In my book I suggest a form of direct democracy that uses the internet as a medium for both suggesting and debating laws, as well as voting for their establishment and appeal. This is the first example of a such a system, never before has been controversy and public opinion been the goal of an internet project so directly. I had hoped to be the inventor of a place like this, but sadly I have neither the resources or the skill.

You give me hope for the future. And actually your concession is the most damning argument against my general position on the pettiness of the current generation, because as you said people are petty, and my argument was meant partially to point that out, and your concession is the precise opposite of petty.

It's actually rather grand and I think scores you so much of amoral victory that its safe to call this a tie. If there were a mechanism for it I'd offer a draw.

I recently had to totally concede a point also. And I must say that I did not feel bad about it, I hope you are equally proud of yourself, because you should be.

And you're absolutely right I should not have made it 5 rounds, but I did not expect a concession, despite my opinion that my opinion was correct. :)

An important fact that history has taught us is that if rationality won battles we'd have given up on the concept of war long ago. Thus, I did not expect you to to respond to rationality. My deepest apologies for underestimating you. I look forward to our next debate, I'm sure it will be more fair than this one. :)

Thank you all for your time and attention.
solo

Con

You are entirely too kind. I hope 2008 brings you much success in your endeavors to help others. Thank you very much.
Debate Round No. 4
bsergent

Pro

You're welcome.

Did you know it takes a roach several days to die of hunger if it's head is cut off? I wish I was that durable.
solo

Con

HA! I also should thank you for having such a wicked sense of humor. You're FUNNY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Debate Round No. 5
24 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by dalzuga 9 years ago
dalzuga
This debate proves bsergent's point.
http://www.debate.org...
Posted by sagarous 9 years ago
sagarous
Ummm...can someone point out the points of Rounds 4 and 5?
Posted by TheKid 9 years ago
TheKid
You guys went back and forth over solo's claim that bsergent was losing debates because he was incapable of "swaying public opinion." You argued over public opinion's relationship to fact, and I thought you both had good points, and there could be a good separate debate there. But your dispute missed the point.

The point of this debate was whether people were voting based on preconceived opinions or on the quality of arguments. "Swaying public opinion" may have nothing to do with fact, but neither does the quality of arguments. These debates aren't a contest to see who can best identify the truth; they are a contest to see who is most convincing. Therefore, "swaying public opinion" is very relevant, because the best arguments will be best able to do it.

Bsergent says "The ability to convince a crowd of a given idea has no relation to the validity of the idea. Hitler, evangelists, heaven's gate, Moonies, scientology, etc." That's true, but again, debate isn't about identifying truth. It's about convincing people. You can say Hitler was wrong, but it would be tough to say he wasn't a good debater.
Posted by Vikuta 9 years ago
Vikuta
I will admit that I was going to vote for bsergent on his universal health care debate with clsmooth. I figured he was going to present the "classical" arguments in favor of universal health care. After a quick glance I realized that he didn't, so I didn't vote for him.
Posted by bsergent 9 years ago
bsergent
Some of you seem to have misunderstood the point of the single round debates. They were a proof of concept, not actual debates. Think candid camera, only more sophisticated :)

And Leonitus_Trujillo, not at all, as you can see, your win there merely helps provide me with a win here. Unless you actually think restating your opinion over and over without any sort of justification actually passes for debate.

And leave my con alone. All open minded people get to abandon an idea at some point, maybe the rest of you should take lessons.

Determination is only valuable when in service of truth, the search for truth must come by definition come first.
Posted by Scyrone 9 years ago
Scyrone
Eh, personally I still disagree with bsergent. Honestly, I think he placed too much faith in this site. He let the people here decide who he was. That is why i don't debate for the fun of it. I debate to learn from others. If they say "You suck Scyrone." I won't care. If they come up with ideas that could defeat my own then I have learned something.

I don't vote in this one because:

1) The CON gave up and was swayed so easily.

2) The PRO did not use sufficient evidence (maybe doing more than one round in other debates would work).

3) In past debates, the PRO has always complained he did not win (except with a few). It shows his repeating behaviour is just part of his personality, not "logical reasoning that he is right".
Posted by Rousseau 9 years ago
Rousseau
Just a though, bsergent. Make your debates a tad longer. You linked 3 debates that were 1 round, and I beleive that with just one round, the Con usually will win for lack of the Pro side giving their responses.
Posted by jwebb893 9 years ago
jwebb893
i personally have voted againts my own beliefs mnay times, and i call on others to do the same
Posted by bcaldwell100 9 years ago
bcaldwell100
wow, well I personally agree with the pro, I was tempted to vote con until Round 3 where the con just gave up. Very disappointing I really wanted the con to address some of the attacks the pro placed on his logic. Especially the one about public recognition validating ideas. The gravity example actually works for the con. The public recognized the force and therefore validated the concept, they wouldn't reject gravity BECAUSE it is a valid fact.
I have to vote pro
Posted by dalzuga 9 years ago
dalzuga
bsergent you are a genius. it is now 1 AM and i just was unable to get off the computer for hours now. i felt the same way as you do BEFORE i read you. and EVEN SO i decided to stick to my message and read through the debate before i cast my vote.
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Vote Placed by m93samman 6 years ago
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