The Instigator
DanT
Con (against)
Losing
9 Points
The Contender
Double_R
Pro (for)
Winning
22 Points

RESOLVED: The phrase "Equal Opportunity" refers to probability, not possibility.

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Post Voting Period
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after 7 votes the winner is...
Double_R
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 1/3/2012 Category: Miscellaneous
Updated: 5 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 9,945 times Debate No: 20206
Debate Rounds (5)
Comments (126)
Votes (7)

 

DanT

Con

By accepting this debate, the following definitions are also accepted as part of the resolution.

(adj) equal (having the same quantity, value, or measure as another)
http://wordnetweb.princeton.edu...

(n) opportunity (a possibility due to a favorable combination of circumstances)
http://wordnetweb.princeton.edu...


This debate was started over a disagreement of the meaning of "equal opportunity" in another debate, and the above definitions were accepted as clarification of terms in round 1. Thus the definitions are carried over into this debate. The above definitions are not negotiable.

Debate Round No. 1
DanT

Con


I. Probability doesn't make sense

The literal Definition of "Equal Opportunity" is having the same quantity of favorable circumstances to create a possibility.


(n) measure, quantity, amount (how much there is or how many there are of something that you can quantify) [1]

I will like to point out quantity is not the same as quality, because quantity is an amount, whereas quality is a grade.

(n) quality, caliber, calibre (a degree or grade of excellence or worth)[2]

Within the definition of Equal Opportunity it clearly states, that opportunity refers to possibility, not probability.

(n) possibility (a future prospect or potential) [3]

probability is the chance that something may happen, whereas possibility is the potential of something to happen.

(n) probability, chance (a measure of how likely it is that some event will occur; a number expressing the ratio of favorable cases to the whole number of cases possible) [4]



Probability is a horrible method to measuring equal opportunity, because it ignores free will, as well as a wide variety of other x factors. Thus it is only natural that the definition would include possibility, and exclude probability.

The Probability that one will remain in the bottom 50% of incomes is 50:50, whereas the probability that one will rise to the top 1% of incomes is 1:99. Probability is thus a good measure for calculating odds within a community, but it is horrible if used for the term equal opportunity.

The Definition of equal opportunity further extended is;
Having the same quantity of favorable circumstances to create a future prospect.

If probability was to replace possibility in the definition, the extended definition would read;
Having the same quantity of favorable circumstances to create the odds that an event will occur.

If probability was to replace possibility in the definition; then the only way to have equal opportunity is if everyone had the same job, the same salary, and the same life entirely.


II. Etymology of the phrase

The word equal comes from the Latin aequālis,[5] meaning uniform, or unvarying.[6] It is comprised of the word aequ-, meaning even,[7] and the suffix -ālis , which is added to create an adjective, from a noun.[8]

The word opportunity comes from the Latin opportunus,[9] meaning advantageous,[10] and the suffix -itas, which turns a adjective into a noun of state.[11]

The Latin word opportunus, actually comes from the Latin phrase "ob portum veniens", which means, "coming towards a port".[12]


The Latin phrase is thus either "aequalis opportunitas", or "aequalis ob portum veniens"

The Latin phrase "aequalis opportunitas"means "even with advantages", while the latin phrase "aequali ob portum veniens",means "even with port because of when he came".

Thus from the Latin we see that opportunity originally referred to an event, which was considered advantageous, and equal opportunity refers to having the same opportunities, or else an even number of opportunities.

When we look at the origin of the word opportunity, and the Latin phrase "ob portum veniens", we can see clear as day that opportunity is not referring to probable odds, but rather a possible event.

The origin of the word probable comes from the Latin probabilis, meaning that may be proved,[13] while the word possible comes from the Latin word possibilis, meaning that may be done. [14]

Probabilis comes from the Latin word probare, meaning to test,[13] while possibilis comes from the Latin word possum, meaning able. [14]

Since equal opportunity refers to equal ability, and not equal testing, equal opportunity thus refers to possibility, not probability.

III. Summary

Since the given definition states that opportunity refers to possibility, and since the expanded definition of equal opportunity makes no sense with possibility replaced with probability; the definition of equal opportunity refers to possibility. Furthermore the Etymology of the words, clearly indicates that opportunity originates from advantageous events; whereas probable come from a Latin word meaning that may be proved, possible comes from a Latin word meaning, that may be done; thus possible’s etymology is compatible with opportunity, whereas probable’s etymology is not.


1. http://wordnetweb.princeton.edu...
2. http://wordnetweb.princeton.edu...
3. http://wordnetweb.princeton.edu...
4. http://wordnetweb.princeton.edu...
5. http://en.wiktionary.org...
6. http://en.wiktionary.org...;
7. http://en.wiktionary.org...
8. http://en.wiktionary.org...
9. http://en.wiktionary.org...
10. http://en.wiktionary.org...
11. http://en.wiktionary.org...
12. http://en.wiktionary.org...
13. http://en.wiktionary.org...
14. http://en.wiktionary.org...



Double_R

Pro

Con puts forward a good argument that shows why possibility should be accepted in the definition of Equal Opportunity (EO). However this debate is not about which word should be used in the definition the words individually, but rather what the phrase refers to.

Take for example, take the phrase Pro life. While Pro, and life have definitions of their own, and combined together form a definition that would include someone who is against capital punishment and euthanasia, the phrase only refers to an individual’s position on abortion(1). Therefore simply combining definitions is not the best method to understand what the phrase itself truly means.

Understanding Possibility and Probability

Before we can determine whether EO refers to Probability or Possibility we must first understand the difference between the two words as it relates to the resolution. First allow me to repeat Cons simplified explanations of what each word means:

“probability is the chance that something may happen, whereas possibility is the potential of something to happen.”

We both agree that probability is the chance that something may happen. However Cons definition of possibility lacks an important element which seems to cause him to misinterpret it. Here is the full definition:

Possibility: (a future prospect or potential) "this room has great possibilities"

Not to allege that Con was being deceitful, but the underlined example is important. This shows clearly that possibility refers to a potential, not the potential. For example notice that “possibilities” as written in the definition is plural, because there are many of them. One possibility for the room is that it could be painted blue, another is that it could be painted red, etc… All of these possibilities together form the potential. This is an important distinction because possibility in the singular form refers to something that either exists or it doesn’t. More on that later.

Moving on, let’s continue by analyzing how these words work in context. As an example, consider someone asks you the following question:

Is there a probability that it will rain today?

This question doesn’t really make sense. Beginning the question with “Is there a…” indicates that this is a yes or no question regarding its existence. Probability does not fit into this type of question because probability always exists. The chances of anything happening is a probability, even if that chance is zero. Now consider the following example:

There is a strong probability that it will rain today.

This sentence fits in with perfectly with probability because it is not a yes or no, but simply indicating a certain level of chance in which probability is described as “strong” indicating a high percentage or ratio. Now let’s compare this by using Possibility to the same two examples:

Is there a possibility that it will rain today?

This makes perfect sense because possibility either exists or it doesn’t, therefore a yes or no answer to this question is valid.

There is a strong possibility that it will rain today.

Now this is where it get’s interesting. Although possibility either exists or it doesn’t, using the word “strong” to describe it is still valid. What is interesting about this example is that in the last sentence the word possibility was described as “strong”, forming a phrase that refers to probability. Ie: the probability that it will rain.

Applying Equal Opportunity to Possibility / Probability

According to Cons definition, Opportunity is: a possibility, due to a favorable quantity of circumstances. Notice how possibility in this definition is simply the result of favorable circumstances. In other words these circumstances are not part of the possibility, they are simply what caused it to exist. Therefore the circumstances can not be used to measure the possibility, which is exactly what Cons argument does.

However even if we accept the argument that the quantity of favorable circumstances which lead to the possibility can be utilized to describe it, then there would have to be a significance in doing this. For example; if an individual has 1 favorable circumstance that leads to a possibility, then the possibility exists. If another individual has 2 favorable circumstances that lead to the very same possibility, the possibility still exists just the same. However according to Cons application of this definition, the individual with 2 favorable circumstances has a greater opportunity then the individual who only has one.

The significance to doing this is that by using the number of favorable circumstances we are now creating a metric to measure the opportunity. If opportunity refers to possibility then no metric would apply because possibility simply exists. However by measuring it we now cross into the definition of probability, the same way that using “strong” to describe possibility did earlier.

To take a closer look at this let’s use the following analogy. Suppose the freshman baseball team is playing a game against the varsity team. The game is now in the 5th inning and the score is 2-2. At this point, both teams would have an equal opportunity to win the game because the circumstances at this point are equal. Now suppose the Freshman score 4 runs in the top of the ninth making the score 6-2. In this scenario the freshman team now has a great opportunity to win, because they have two favorable circumstances; (1) they are up by 4 runs, and (2) it is late in the game so the varsity team will only have one inning left to catch up. In this scenario the freshman team clearly has a better opportunity to win at this point.

When looking at this scenario it is easy to see how EO does not apply to possibility. If it did, then saying that the freshman team had a better opportunity to win going into the bottom of the ninth inning would be false, because both teams still had a possibility to win (this BTW was essentially Cons argument in his last debate). Clearly however, the statement is not false. The freshman team does have a better opportunity at that point because the favorable circumstances for them made the probability of winning in their favor.

Conclusion

Con provides a good argument which shows that the word possibility can be properly utilized in the definition of EO, however that is not what this debate is about. This is about how the phrase should be applied. It is clear to see why EO does not refer to possibility, because possibility can not be measured. If it simply exists for two different people it would be meaningless to refer to it as equal.
Debate Round No. 2
DanT

Con

Pro said “take the phrase Pro life. While Pro, and life have definitions of their own, and combined together form a definition that would include someone who is against capital punishment and euthanasia, the phrase only refers to an individual’s position on abortion”


This is not necessarily true. “Pro” is used in adjective form, to describe the noun, “life”.


(adj) pro (in favor of (an action or proposal etc.)) "a pro vote" [1]


(n) life (the period during which something is functional (as between birth and death)) “the battery had a short life”[2]


Pro Life, literally means in favor of being born


Pro living would be in favor of keeping a prisoner alive (or alternatively con death).


(n) living (the experience of being alive; the course of human events and activities) "he could no longer cope with the complexities of living"[3]



Understanding Possibility and Probability


Pro took the example of possibility out of context, and ignored the definition entirely, drawing the conclusion that, “possibility in the singular form refers to something that either exists or it doesn’t”


The definition was, “a future prospect or potential”, not a prospect or potential.


Just because you did not choose one of the many possibilities, does not mean it no longer exists. Take for example, a fork in the road, you can go down one road, but the other road will still be there; each road is a potential path. Another example would be rain, the probability of rain could be 1%, but there is still a possibility of a potential storm cloud, in that 1%.




A 1% chance of rain may be highly improbable, but it’s still possible; only a 0% chance of rain could make it impossible.


If you truly believe that painting your room blue takes away the possibility to paint it red, than you must have a lot of regrets.



A Strong Possibility


(adj) strong (of good quality and condition; solidly built)[4]


In the last round I pointed out the difference between quality and quantity. A strong possibility refers to the quality of the possibility, not the quantity.


In the last round I provided a definition for probability, which was, “a number expressing the ratio of favorable cases to the whole number of cases possible


100% is possible, and every percentile is a possibility; probability is the number of favorable cases compared to the 100% possible; a strong possibility would be a higher quality percentile, since each percentile is a possibility.


It is possible you may be president one day, but it is improbable due to the competition.


Applying Equal Opportunity to Possibility / Probability


Pro says “these circumstances are not part of the possibility, they are simply what caused it to exist. Therefore the circumstances can not be used to measure the possibility, which is exactly what Cons argument does.”


Obviously he didn’t read my argument too carefully because the first line I wrote in round 2 was “The literal Definition of ‘Equal Opportunity’ is having the same quantity of favorable circumstances to create a possibility.”


On an unrelated note, I would also like to thank Pro for admitted circumstances can’t be used to measure opportunity; I’m glad you can finally own up to your mistakes.



Pro claims, “if an individual has 1 favorable circumstance that leads to a possibility, then the possibility exists. If another individual has 2 favorable circumstances that lead to the very same possibility, the possibility still exists just the same. However according to Cons application of this definition, the individual with 2 favorable circumstances has a greater opportunity then the individual who only has one.”


This is faulty logic, as a circumstance does not equal a possibility; notice the word combination in the definition, “favorable combination of circumstances”.


(n) combination (a collection of things that have been combined; an assemblage of separate parts or qualities)[5]


(n) circumstance (a condition that accompanies or influences some event or activity)[6]


Circumstances make up the quality of a possibility.


Pro said, “The significance to doing this is that by using the number of favorable circumstances we are now creating a metric to measure the opportunity. If opportunity refers to possibility then no metric would apply because possibility simply exists. However by measuring it we now cross into the definition of probability, the same way that using ‘trong’ to describe possibility did earlier.”


Strong is used in the sense of quality, not quantity, as I have already pointed out; I also pointed out that circumstances are a quality of opportunities; thus equal circumstances means an equal quality of opportunities, so yes it similar to describing it as a strong opportunity, just not the way you assume.



Pro used a baseball analogy to describe a “great opportunity to win”, yet he ignores the fact that “great” refers yet again to the quality not the quantity, and winning is the opportunity, while losing is an alternative possibility.


Pro also ignores the fact that improbable does not = impossible.



Measuring Possibility



Possibilities can be measured, for example you are given 3 doors; door # 1, door #2, and door #3; you have 3 possibilities.





Reclarification of Equal Opportunity


I noticed a mistake I made when given my original combined definition of equal opportunity; pointing out that mistake actually strengthens my argument.


Opportunity was defined as “a possibility due to a favorable combination of circumstances”[7]


Thus, equal opportunity is “the same quantity of possibilities, due to a favorable combination of circumstances”


Thus opportunity it’s self is a form of possibility, and equal opportunity is thus equal possibility.



Conclusion


Opportunity itself is a form of possibility; possibilities can be measured, and because probability = favorable cases / all cases possible, probability is dependent on possibility. Words such as “strong” and “great” refer to the quality of a possibility, or probability. So long as there is not 0% probability, there is still a possibility. The definition of equal opportunity is literally equal possibility.





  1. http://wordnetweb.princeton.edu...

  2. http://wordnetweb.princeton.edu...

  3. http://wordnetweb.princeton.edu...

  4. http://wordnetweb.princeton.edu...

  5. http://wordnetweb.princeton.edu...

  6. http://wordnetweb.princeton.edu...

  7. http://wordnetweb.princeton.edu...

Double_R

Pro

Allow me to begin by briefly bringing up 3 parts of the last round that I just had to point out. Afterward I will move on to making my argument showing why Con has yet to say anything that negates my case.


Attacking the Straw Man


2 questions for Con:


In the beginning of the last round I stated: “All of these possibilities together form the potential. This is an important distinction because possibility in the singular form refers to something that either exists or it doesn’t”. Exactly where did I make the argument that choosing one possibility stops another possibility from existing?


In the baseball analogy in my last round I stated: If it did, then saying that the freshman team had a better opportunity to win going into the bottom of the ninth inning would be false, because both teams still had a possibility to winHow was I ignoring the fact that improbable does not = impossible?


Pro Life


Con states: “Pro life literally means in favor of being born”. Con completely made this up. His own definition according to what he provided is: “in favor of the period during which something is functional”. There is nothing in this definition about being born, it refers to the period between birth and death. This shows that someone who is for capital punishment would technically not be Pro-Life according to this definition. However as my source demonstrated, the phrase “Pro-life” is not used that way, it only refers to abortion. The point of this is to show that cherry picking a bunch of definitions for every individual word in this debate accomplishes little besides putting the readers to sleep. Con should provide more examples to make his point.


Definition of Equal Opportunity


In the beginning of the last round Con gives us a literal definition of Equal Opportunity:


“having the same quantity of favorable circumstances to lead to a possibility”


However, in the end of the round Con gives us a new definition:


“the same quantity of possibilities, due to a favorable combination of circumstances”


I am not going to bother refuting either of these until Con can figure out which definition he is arguing.


Moving on…


Reclarification of Equal Opportunity


Con restates the definition of Opportunity:


A possibility, due to a favorable combination of circumstances”


I never argued against the concept of this definition, Con simply hasn’t understood my argument. To clarify, the only difference between a possibility and an opportunity is whether the circumstances that lead to it are positive. In my baseball analogy we would say that the freshman team had an opportunity to win, because they were up by 4 runs late in the game. However we would not say that the varsity team (who was losing) has an opportunity to win, we would say that there is still a possibility they can win. Opportunity doesn’t fit, because their circumstances are not favorable. Favorable circumstances are what makes a possibility an opportunity.


Taking this further, suppose I was to claim that all Americans have an equal opportunity to succeed. The reason why the word opportunity is used here is because America is considered a great place to succeed. We are the wealthiest nation in the world, we have a strong functioning government, etc… Therefore the fact that we live in America is considered a favorable circumstance which leads to the possibility of our success. Even people born in the worst neighborhoods, live under this favorable circumstance, so succeeding in America is still considered an opportunity that we all share.


To summarize, an opportunity is simply a possibility that exists because of favorable circumstances. If the circumstances were unfavorable, it would still be a possibility, but not an opportunity. Since this debate does not focus on the circumstances being favorable or unfavorable, opportunity and possibility are almost interchangeable.


Measuring a Possibility


Con claims that a possibility can be measured. To support this argument he gives an example of 3 doors, each one representing a different possibility. He concludes that there are 3 possibilities, which is supposed to affirm his argument. However Con never measured any of these possibilities, all he did was count the number of them.


One question Con must answer is this: how do you measure a possibility? Consider the earlier example: “There is a strong possibility that it will rain”. What is it that makes the possibility strong? When faced with this point, Con goes on an obfuscatory rant saying that a strong possibility would be “a higher quality percentile”. In other words, a higher probability.


To further make this clear allow me to demonstrate the obvious. If the probability of rain was 80%, then rain would be considered a strong possibility. If the probability of rain was 1%, this would not be considered a strong possibility. Clearly the difference between a strong possibility, and a weak possibility, is the probability of it. The point here is that the only way to measure a possibility is to determine its probability. This is a fact that Con seems to deny.


The reason why this is, is because probability is what makes something a possibility. If the probability of an event occurring is 0% then it is not a possibility. But if that probability is 0.01%, it is now considered a possibility. Now if the probability is 10%, it is still a possibility. If it is 99%, it is still a possibility. Words that describe these possibilities don’t change the fact that they are still a possibility. Therefore when determining if something is a possibility, the probability does not matter as long as it is above 0%. That is why possibility either exists (if the probability is above 0%) or it doesn’t exist (the probability is 0%).


There is no way to measure a possibility without referring to the probability of it occurring, because the probability is what makes it a possibility.


Communication


Now let’s consider for a moment what we are talking about when trying to determine what a phrase refers to. Consider the following sentence:


“Mary is a beautiful girl”


In this sentence let’s ask ourselves, does the phrase refer to the fact that Mary is beautiful, or the fact that she is a girl? Well, let’s imagine I challenge Con to debate me on the resolution “Mary is a beautiful girl”. Con accepts, then proceeds to refute my resolution by arguing that she is not a girl. Clearly this would not have been the intention of the debate, otherwise I would not have included the word beautiful because by doing so I am giving myself an unnecessary point to establish. So If I were to challenge him to this resolution I would clearly be referring to her beauty, not her gender.


Equal Opportunity


Since Opportunity is a possibility (ie: possibility of being successful) and equal is a measurement which refers to probability, the “Equal” becomes the description the same way “beautiful” was the description for Mary. If it was not generally agreed that all Americans have an opportunity to succeed, then this would need to be established before we can debate whether that opportunity is equal. Therefore when someone uses the term “Equal Opportunity” it is quite obvious that they are not referring to the fact that the opportunity exists, they are referring to whether that opportunity is equal.


Since equal is a measurement of the possibility, and a possibility can not be measured in any relevant way without referring to probability, it is obvious that Equal is referring to Probability. Therefore the phrase “Equal Opportunity” clearly refers to probability.

Debate Round No. 3
DanT

Con

Questions

Pro said, “I am not going to bother refuting either of these until Con can figure out which definition he is arguing. “

Both definitions apply; the first applies to equal quality, and the second applies to equal quantity. Circumstances are a quality of opportunity, while opportunities are a form of possibility.

(n) equal opportunity (the right to equivalent opportunities for employment regardless of race or color or sex or national origin) [1]

To measure the quantity of opportunities one weighs the opportunities themselves, to measure the quality of opportunities one weighs the required circumstances. Both of these are taking into consideration when one tries to improve equal opportunity, thus both definitions apply.

Pro asked How was I ignoring the fact that improbable does not = impossible?”

You claimed equal opportunity was referring to probability, when in reality it was referring to the quality of the opportunity. Both had equal opportunity in the sense of quantity, but not in the sense of quality. The circumstances changed, thus the quality changed.

Pro Life

Pro said, “Con states: ‘Pro life literally means in favor of being born’, Con completely made this up. His own definition according to what he provided is: ‘n favor of the period during which something is functional’ There is nothing in this definition about being born, it refers to the period between birth and death.”

Life refers to the period between birth and death, while pro refers to being in favor of an action or proposal. Life begins with birth, so to be pro life is to be pro birth; birth being the starting point of life.

Pro life literally means in favor of becoming functional, or in favor of birth.

Pro proposed, “the point of this is to show that cherry picking a bunch of definitions for every individual word in this debate accomplishes little besides putting the readers to sleep. Con should provide more examples to make his point.”

Life according to the Merriam Webster dictionary means,the sequence of physical and mental experiences that make up the existence of an individual”,the period from birth to death”, or “the period of existence”. [2]

Basically the same thing I just said.

Merriam-webster dictionary calls opportunity, “a favorable juncture of circumstances”, they also give an alternative definition; “a good chance for advancement or progress”. The 1st definition is relevant to the phrase, “equal opportunity”, the 2nd is relevant to the phrase, “window of opportunity”; both are expressing the same meaning as Princeton’s definition. [3]

Reclarification of Equal Opportunity

Pro says,

“we would not say that the varsity team (who was losing) has an opportunity to win, we would say that there is still a possibility they can win. Opportunity doesn’t fit, because their circumstances are not favorable. Favorable circumstances are what makes a possibility an opportunity.”

No, they still have an opportunity to win(unless probability is 0), but the opportunity is small (refers to quality). Again, probability = favorable cases / all cases possible. So if the probability is 1% there are 100 possibilities, and 1 favorable case. A 0% probability has no possibility because there is no percentile.

Favorable circumstance / (favorable circumstances + unfavorable circumstances) = probability

Favorable circumstances + unfavorable circumstances = circumstantial opportunities

Favorable circumstances = favorable qualities

0 < Favorable circumstances = opportunity to win

Equal Opportunity is used mainly to refer to quantity of possibilities, but it sometimes refers to the quantity of qualities.

Equal opportunity refers to obtaining a career, being chosen for the career is the opportunity, and the obtaining the requirements are the circumstances. One may be given the opportunity to go to obtain the requirements; since opportunity is required for circumstance, and circumstances create opportunity, both opportunity and favorable circumstances can be used to measure equal opportunity.


Pro says “We are the wealthiest nation in the world, we have a strong functioning government, etc… Therefore the fact that we live in America is considered a favorable circumstance which leads to the possibility of our success. Even people born in the worst neighborhoods, live under this favorable circumstance, so succeeding in America is still considered an opportunity that we all share.”

That is based purely on speculation, and is extremely faulty logic. In America we have an equal opportunity to advance our social class; that is where the term comes from, not from an equal opportunity across the board. Different social classes have different destinations. The Lower class may advance to a middle class lifestyle, the middle class may advance to an upper class lifestyle, and the upper class may advance further within the upper class, setting a new standard for everyone else.

Measuring a Possibility

Pro said, “He concludes that there are 3 possibilities, which is supposed to affirm his argument. However Con never measured any of these possibilities, all he did was count the number of them.”

Counting is measuring. If I count 3 beans, the measure of the number of beans is 3, if I have 3 beans, and the guy across from me also has 3 beans, we have an equal number of beans. Capiche?

Pro said, “The point here is that the only way to measure a possibility is to determine its probability. This is a fact that Con seems to deny.”

Pro ignores the fact that probability is measured in percentiles, while circumstances (the quality of possibilities) are measured in units (as shown above).

Probability correlates with the quality of opportunity, but probability does not = the quality of opportunity.

If there are 100 possible outcomes, 10 possibilities for rain, and 90 possibilities for sun, than the probability of rain is 0.1 (10%), while the quality of the opportunity of rain is 10.

0.1 probability < 10 quality of the opportunity

Opportunity has nothing to do with odds, like with probability; it has to do with prospects, like with possibilities.

Pro claims, “There is no way to measure a possibility without referring to the probability of it occurring, because the probability is what makes it a possibility.”

Pro has it backwards, you cannot measure probability without possibility, you can measure possibility without probability, but the possibility will be 0.



Probability does not equal the quality of opportunity.

Communication

pro said; Well, let’s imagine I challenge Con to debate me on the resolution ‘Mary is a beautiful girl’. Con accepts, then proceeds to refute my resolution by arguing that she is not a girl. Clearly this would not have been the intention of the debate”

The resolution of this debate is, “The phrase ‘Equal Opportunity’ refers to probability, not possibility.” Equal being an adjective comparable to beautiful, while opportunity is a noun comparable to girl; the analogy is a red herring, with no relevance to the debate.

This is nothing more than a ploy to distract from the debate.

Equal Opportunity

Pro says “when someone uses the term “Equal Opportunity” it is quite obvious that they are not referring to the fact that the opportunity exists, they are referring to whether that opportunity is equal.”

But in order to measure opportunity it must exist.

Pro claims “Since equal is a measurement of the possibility, and a possibility cannot be measured in any relevant way without referring to probability, it is obvious that Equal is referring to Probability”

Measuring possibility is possible;

To measure quantity you could count the possibilities, such as counting doors; to measure quality you can count the favorable circumstances.

1.http://wordnetweb.princeton.edu...

2. http://www.merriam-webster.com...

3. http://www.merriam-webster.com...

Double_R

Pro

In the past round I took an “A to Z” approach which I feel showed how equal opportunity refers to probability, not possibility. Con has contented many of my individual statements but in his attempts to convey an overall message, he seems to be just repeating the same arguments that do not refute any of the main points I have made. I am not going to feed into an unproductive quote battle, and thus I will simply focus this last round before our concluding statements on the main points that Con must provide answers for in order to win this debate.


Measuring Opportunity


This is the main point I have made which has not been refuted. First of all Con and I agree that an opportunity is almost the same exact thing as a possibility. The only difference is in what you focus on when using the word. But the main question is: How do you measure a possibility without referring to probability?


Throughout the round, Con made many attempts to answer this question which all fail. Below are as many of them as I could post without being repetitive:


“Counting is measuring. If I count 3 beans, the measure of the number of beans is 3, if I have 3 beans, and the guy across from me also has 3 beans, we have an equal number of beans. Capiche?”


No. I was not talking about measuring the number of possibilities, or in this case “beans”. I was specifically talking about measuring a possibility, as in singular. Counting the number of beans is not the challenge I posed, measuring one single bean is. Capiche?


“If there are 100 possible outcomes, 10 possibilities for rain, and 90 possibilities for sun, than the probability of rain is 0.1 (10%), while the quality of the opportunity of rain is 10.”


This makes absolutely no sense. Con is simply using the word “quality” to hide behind probability. According to this statement they mean the same exact thing, all he did was use move the decimal place over and call it something else.


“You claimed equal opportunity was referring to probability, when in reality it was referring to the quality of the opportunity. Both had equal opportunity in the sense of quantity, but not in the sense of quality. The circumstances changed, thus the quality changed.”


This claim was in response to a question about my baseball analogy. Con here is stating that both teams did not have equal opportunity to win the game in the sense of quality, because the circumstances changed. Con has of course yet to make any distinction between quality and probability. But at another point in the round he did attempt to do so:


“to measure quality you can count the favorable circumstances.”


If counting the favorable circumstances is how you measure quality then there is no difference between this and probability, because that is exactly what it leads to. The circumstances that changed in the analogy were (1) that the freshman team gained a 4 run lead and (2) it was late in the game. These circumstances were favorable to the freshman team because it now gave them a better chance of winning the game. That is what a favorable circumstance does. If it does not raise the odds of the end result being favorable, then it would not be a favorable circumstance.


That's about it when it comes to addressing this crucial point in this debate. I think it is obvious from the start that you can not measure a possibility without referring back to probability. And since we both agree that equal is a measurement, there is no way for Con to win this debate without showing how this can be done.


The only way for Con around this would be to argue that Equal Opportunity is referring to the number of possibilities as he has on occasion. But if opportunity = possibility, then this is literally saying that possibility = the number of possibilities. This is clearly an absurd argument. This argument might work if the phrase we are debating is “Equal Opportunities”, however that is not the case as the resolution clearly states.


And just to go further into it, this entire discussion began with a dispute in another debate which was about whether Americans have an Equal Opportunity to succeed. Success was defined as moving up in ones social class. In this case success was the possibility(singular), and the many different circumstances and number of ways one can succeed are all factored into determining the quality of that possibility. In other words, how likely it is, in other words the probability of it becoming reality.


Communication


Con claims that my “Mary is a beautiful girl” analogy is a red herring and nothing more than a ploy to distract from the debate. However Con gave absolutely no reason why it was a red herring and apparently just expects the readers to agree because he said so.


The last time I checked, a debate about what a phrase refers to is a debate about communication. Therefore demonstrating that a phrase containing an adjective followed by a noun focuses on the adjective is clearly a relevant point. Con has made no attempt to refute this so I see no reason to continue this point.


Conclusion


The three main points that have been established throughout this debate are as follows:


1. Opportunity = Possibility. Con has made this clear many times.


2. Possibility can not be measured without referring to probability.


3. The phrase “Equal Opportunity” focuses on “Equal”, which is a measurement of the Opportunity(Possibility).


With these three points established Con can not win this debate. He has one more round to successfully counter them.

Debate Round No. 4
DanT

Con

Pro has ignored all my core points, forcing me to repeat myself. His inability to listen to opposing viewpoints is why his arguments are weak. Pro suffers from belief bias, and this is reflected in the debate.

Measuring Opportunity

Pro asked,This is the main point I have made which has not been refuted. First of all Con and I agree that an opportunity is almost the same exact thing as a possibility. The only difference is in what you focus on when using the word. But the main question is: How do you measure a possibility without referring to probability?”

First off, I have stated countless times I disagree with your belief that possibility and probability is similar; you just don’t listen.

As stated in my last round;

Favorable circumstance / (favorable circumstances + unfavorable circumstances) = probability

Favorable circumstances + unfavorable circumstances = all possibilities

Favorable circumstances = quality of opportunities

0 < Favorable circumstances = 1 or more opportunity

Pro said, “I was not talking about measuring the number of possibilities, or in this case “beans”. I was specifically talking about measuring a possibility, as in singular. Counting the number of beans is not the challenge I posed, measuring one single bean is. Capiche?”

However pro original challenge was, “Con never measured any of these possibilities, all he did was count the number of them.” Thus I showed how counting is measuring “possibilities” (plural).

If Pro wanted me to measure the quality, not the quantity, he should have said that. Both quantity and quality can be taken into consideration when measuring opportunities.

Pro said, “Con is simply using the word ‘quality’ to hide behind probability. According to this statement they mean the same exact thing, all he did was use move the decimal place over and call it something else.”

Well here is another example; you have a 75% chance of rain, 150 favorable circumstances, and 50 unfavorable circumstances; you have a 0.75 probability, while the quality of opportunity is 150. 75% = 0.75, 100% = 1.

Pro claims, “If counting the favorable circumstances is how you measure quality then there is no difference between this and probability”

That’s not true, if both people have 75 favorable circumstances, but one person has 50 unfavorable circumstances, while the other person has only 25; they have equal opportunity, but they do not have equal probability.

Communication

When referring to his analogy, Pro claims, “Con gave absolutely no reason why it was a red herring and apparently just expects the readers to agree because he said so.”

I’m starting to think Pro didn’t bother to read my argument; in my last round I said, “’The phrase ‘Equal Opportunity’ refers to probability, not possibility.’ Equal being an adjective comparable to beautiful, while opportunity is a noun comparable to girl; the analogy is a red herring, with no relevance to the debate.”

Notice the semicolon; I explained why it was a red herring before calling it a red herring, within the same sentence.

Definitions

(n) possibility (capability of existing or happening or being true) "there is a possibility that his sense of smell has been impaired" [1]

(n) probability (a measure of how likely it is that some event will occur; a number expressing the ratio of favorable cases to the whole number of cases possible) "the probability that an unbiased coin will fall with the head up is 0.5" [2]

(n) opportunity (a possibility due to a favorable combination of circumstances) "the holiday gave us the opportunity to visit Washington" [3]

Conclusion

Both pro and con agree opportunity refers to possibility; pro had to prove equal opportunity refers to probability not possibility. Equal Opportunity refers to both the quality, and quantity of opportunities; I have proven that the quality of the opportunity does not equal the probability, and I have proven that the quantity of opportunities may be measured. Probability is dependent on possibility for measurement, not the other way around.

I have proven that opportunity refers to possibility, and my opponent has not proven the relevance of probability to phrase equal opportunity; pro has however agreed that opportunity refers to possibility.

  1. http://wordnetweb.princeton.edu...
  2. http://wordnetweb.princeton.edu...
  3. http://wordnetweb.princeton.edu...
Double_R

Pro

Con claims that I ignore all of his core points. As far as I can tell, Con really hasn’t had a core point. Almost every argument he has made has been a response to a specific statement that I made, and his arguments have been very inconsistent and even contradictory at times. Still, I did not ignore his points, I simply spent more time building my case then refuting his. Cons arguments were mostly based on trying to establish the definition of quality and quantity, and how it applies to the phrase. My arguments were based on showing where his arguments lead, and were composed of 2 main concepts which Con had to refute to negate the resolution. Focusing on them was the sensible thing to do, Con should have done the same.


Disregarding Unfavorable Circumstances


In the last round Con made the following argument regarding the quantity of favorable circumstances clear with this sentence:


“That’s not true, if both people have 75 favorable circumstances, but one person has 50 unfavorable circumstances, while the other person has only 25; they have equal opportunity, but they do not have equal probability.”


This plus his quality of rain example he clarified last round finally give a clear answer to the question I have been asking throughout this entire debate; how you can measure a possibility without referring to probability? According to Cons arguments the difference here is that measuring opportunity does not factor unfavorable circumstances, only favorable ones. Meanwhile probability factors the unfavorable ones.


Con never stated that unfavorable circumstances should not be factored in the quality of an opportunity. His point here was very hard to realize throughout the debate because first off, it is an incredibly absurd argument to the point that you just don't expect that to be the message, making it difficult to catch. I will go more into that in a few minutes. And second, because Con not only communicated this extremely poorly but even contradicted it a few times. I’d like to remind the voters of Cons quote from round 3:


“On an unrelated note, I would also like to thank Pro for admitted circumstances can’t be used to measure opportunity; I’m glad you can finally own up to your mistakes.”


I never did find out who he is talking too with this comment, but I had more important things to focus on. This is just one of the many contradictions in Cons arguments throughout the debate which made it very hard for me to figure out what he is talking about. Anyway, the point of my original argument was that circumstances can not be used to measure a possibility because by doing so you now cross into the realm of probability. I have made this argument consistently in every round. Now I’d also like to remind the voters of Cons own definition of opportunity according to his last round and more importantly, the acceptance round:


Opportunity:a possibility due to a favorable combination of circumstances”


Notice that this definition does not say “a combination of favorable circumstances”. A favorable combination is a combination (favorable and unfavorable circumstances together) that is overall favorable. Cons own definition contradicts his argument.


The last thing I will point out about this is that Con did show this argument about disregarding unfavorable circumstances in his charts. However, I remind the voters that posting a picture is no different then posting a youtube video or any other source. It is not my responsibility to read and figure out what his charts are showing, there is a character limit for a reason. It was Cons responsibility to explain what his charts showed yet not once did he explain anything in them so I have no obligation to understand and respond to arguments he didn’t make. Since this is the first time in this debate he has stated anything that clarifies his position that unfavorable circumstances should be disregarded when measuring an opportunity, I have every right to refute it here.


All Circumstances Should be Factored


Let’s compare the following example: We have two young adults that wish to earn a degree in the countries top college. They both have 4.0 GPA’s in high school (favorable circumstance #1), they both have the money to afford the best college (F.C. #2) and they both got nearly perfect scores on their SAT’s (F.C. #3). However, the year is 1950, and the first person is black, the second is white. The nations “top college” is racist against blacks and also concerned about their reputation if they accept one. So in this scenario do they both have an equal opportunity to earn a degree in the countries top college?


The answer is obvious and highlights why Cons argument is so absurd. These two people have the same quantity of favorable circumstances, however the unfavorable circumstance not shared by both can not be reasonably disregarded. In fact this example is practically where the term “equal opportunity” comes from.


Now Con could try to argue that that being white was a favorable circumstance, and since that person had one more favorable circumstance, he had a higher “quality of an opportunity”. But this argument would only show why both must be considered. Every circumstance can be considered favorable or unfavorable depending on which viewpoint you are looking at it from. Con prefers this method because it allows him to pick and choose which circumstances he would like to disregard so that he can claim that any two people have equal opportunity. Cons argument of disregarding unfavorable circumstances completely ignores the point of the word “equal”.


Communication


In the last round I showed how Con referred to my analogy as a “red herring with no relevance to the debate” while providing no support for this statement. Con then tried to explain himself with this:


“Notice the semicolon; I explained why it was a red herring before calling it a red herring, within the same sentence.”


I am absolutely baffled at Cons response. Here is Cons “explanation”:


“’The phrase ‘Equal Opportunity’ refers to probability, not possibility.’Equal being an adjective comparable to beautiful, while opportunity is a noun comparable to girl”


Con literally did nothing except show that my analogy used an adjective and a noun which were both comparable to the adjective and noun used in the phrase we are debating. That only means that it is a valid analogy. It would seem apparent that Con does not know what a red herring is.


Being that the statement is the only “argument” Con made against my point that “equal” is the focus of the phrase “equal opportunity”, my point obviously stands.


Conclusion


There is little that is left to be said at this point. Con still seems to believe that equal opportunity refers to the quality and quantity (as he defines them) of the opportunity. No one uses the phrase the way Con claims, and he provided almost no examples to show how his definitions apply to any real life scenario. Con had no adequate answer to how one can measure a possibility without referring to probability, and no rebuttal to the fact that the phrase equal opportunity refers to the word equal, which is a measurement of the possibility thus crossing into the concept of probability. With these two arguments left standing, the resolution is clearly affirmed.

Debate Round No. 5
126 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by Double_R 5 years ago
Double_R
One round debates accomplish nothing. I certainly prefer at least 3, but 2 and I would reluctantly accept.
Posted by DanT 5 years ago
DanT
unless they are one round, with no rebuttals. Than I could find time.
Posted by DanT 5 years ago
DanT
don't have the time; I'm not doing debates right now.
Posted by Double_R 5 years ago
Double_R
Why don't you debate me on what a votebomb is? Since I am so dense you should have no problem defeating me. Oh wait, that's right... I'll probably win the debate because all I do is misuse words and everyone here is to stupid to understand that, so they vote for me. Too bad we don't have more intelligent people on here like you.
Posted by DanT 5 years ago
DanT
I used the same definition, only difference is I focused on the definition, you focused on a example. This will be my last comment, because you are obviously too dense, and willfully ignorant, to grasp what I am saying; the definition of vote bombing being a perfect example.
Posted by Double_R 5 years ago
Double_R
"You seem to believe that the capability to misuse a word or phrase, is proof of said word or phrase's definition. Thus you misuse words and phrases continuously without providing a source to back up such an application of the word."

Dan, think about this; if that is really true then why can't you show people how fallacious my arguments are? If my arguments are really that fallacious and you still can't defeat them, all that would mean is that you really suck at debating. Don't blame me for that.

Second, I already provided a response to your gripe about me not providing more dictionary definitions. You completely ignored that just like you completely ignored my questions 1 and 2 I posted earlier. If you are so right and I am so wrong why can't you just answer my questions straightforward? Because you are not right, you would rather be willfully ignorant.
Posted by Double_R 5 years ago
Double_R
I can't believe you are still trying to argue that you were votebombed in this debate. I would challenge you to defend that completely nonsense statement in a debate but you will again claim that I am biased and so is everyone who voted for me.

I find it funny that you first use rockylightning's definition to prove what a votebomb is, now that I showed you it was not what you first thought, you present your own definition. If you are capable of learning anything, pay close attention...

The concept behind rockylighnings definition is the same concept in all votebombs. That concept is when a vote is not based on the arguments made in the debate, but personal opinion of the resolution or another motive (like voting for friends). Someone who votes 5 points with the RFD "I like Pros case" is probably a votebomb. It has nothing to do with the fact that all of their points went to one person. Ask ANY RESPECTABLE MEMBER on DDO, they will tell you the same thing.

Your example was not a votebomb, and I suspect you cherry picked it. Look at the comments in the debate. Benny said it was not a votebomb, Imabench did not even deny it and gave another thought as to why he was countered.
Posted by DanT 5 years ago
DanT
"You completely ignored everything that I and everyone else had to say before making your laughably ignorant post.

'It's funny, all the words you attempt to define, and not once have you ever picked up , and/or cited a dictionary; not once have you gotten a definition right either.'"

See right there you misused the word ignorant. "(adj) ignorant (unaware because of a lack of relevant information or knowledge)"

The "post" in quotes is not ignorance.

This is a waste of my time, it's obvious you are going to remain willfully ignorant on all the issues discussed, because it suits your preconceived beliefs. this debate was vote bombed by 4 people out of the 7 people who voted.
Your beliefs are not supported by the any dictionary's definition of "equal opportunity", nor is it supported by any dictionary's definition of "opportunity".
You seem to believe that the capability to misuse a word or phrase, is proof of said word or phrase's definition. Thus you misuse words and phrases continuously without providing a source to back up such an application of the word. You than claim that your own logic is common sense, ignoring the meaning of the word common, as if your opinion were the opinion of the masses.
You are narcissistic, and egotistic; you think that those who believed you had a stronger argument, agreed with you after the debate, once again showing your ignorance as the two are not synonymous opinions.
The only 2 people who voted for you without vote bombing, are the only 2 to give an answer to who they agreed with, before and after the debate; they agreed with me.

I became busy with essays for college as this debate carried on, so I did not give my 100%, this was recognized by the voters, as several aid I started out strong, and my arguments faded. You of course believe that to mean all my arguments were weaker, which is tantamount to denial.

Once again this is a waste of my time, because you are willfully ignorant, and thus ignorant you shal
Posted by DanT 5 years ago
DanT
Take for example this debate;
http://www.debate.org...

The only two votes were a vote bomb, and a counter vote bomb. The vote bombing gave 5 points to pro, and the counter vote bomb gave a 5 point counter vote for con.
Posted by DanT 5 years ago
DanT
If you look at reported vote bombs, and what is widely considered vote bombs on DDO, it's not always all 7 votes, it's when you only give points to one person. For example, Logicrules had his voting privileges suspended because he vote bombed countless time, most of those vote bombs he did not award all 7 points, but rather gave 4or 5 points to one guy and none to the other.
7 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 7 records.
Vote Placed by 16kadams 5 years ago
16kadams
DanTDouble_RTied
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Reasons for voting decision: Sources con as he had so many more, and had reliable ones. Con did well at first but kinda faded. Con's rebuttals didn't really end pros arguments.His rebuttals did not attack the whole case, rather small subtle details. Pro won this debate. Also I will reform the source vote reason: Con had more and they where from great sources from edu Princeton.
Vote Placed by wiploc 5 years ago
wiploc
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Reasons for voting decision: RFD in comments. ETA: Changing my vote. I'm giving conduct to Pro since Con is publicly accusing people who vote against him of votebombing.
Vote Placed by Hardcore.Pwnography 5 years ago
Hardcore.Pwnography
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Reasons for voting decision: CON gets sources for the more reliable .edu sources that backed up his claims nicely. As a result of having better sources that backed up his claims, CON also has better arguments as they were better structured and proved by these sources and his logic. PRO does get conduct, however, as CON was rude many times.
Vote Placed by F-16_Fighting_Falcon 5 years ago
F-16_Fighting_Falcon
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Reasons for voting decision: Comments
Vote Placed by Maikuru 5 years ago
Maikuru
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Reasons for voting decision: I was hesitant to read this debate but it turned out to be very interesting. My RFD mirrors Roy's. Pro did well to establish the difference between a string of words and phrases. He also explained that probability is a necessary component of understanding both possibility and the meaning of the phrase in context. Con's attacks seemed small-scale, focusing on individual words or insignificant points rather than the concept as a whole. Con displayed poor conduct in R3.
Vote Placed by RoyLatham 5 years ago
RoyLatham
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Reasons for voting decision: A good debate on potentially-dull semantics. Con's opening case was strong, but Pro established that phrases have special meanings. Pro established the meaning. Con's rebuttal fell short. Con's "Obviously he didn’t read my argument too carefully ..." loses conduct
Vote Placed by ConservativePolitico 5 years ago
ConservativePolitico
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Reasons for voting decision: Con used a plethora of sources to support his positions while Pro used one (I think just one). But as a whoel Pro had more convincing arguments about the technicalities of the resolution and the implications of the phrase.