The Instigator
Noel
Pro (for)
Losing
13 Points
The Contender
Logical-Master
Con (against)
Winning
36 Points

Resolved: Tell others that the water will be shut off.

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 6/2/2008 Category: Society
Updated: 8 years ago Status: Voting Period
Viewed: 1,330 times Debate No: 4305
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (13)
Votes (10)

 

Noel

Pro

I will present the resolution in terms of a predicament.

First, in verse.

~~~ Thirsty Thinking ~~~

Amy learns that the water will
be shut off all this day.
It's hot, sweaty, and humid too
and bound to stay that way.

Amy is 10 and friends with Ann
both saving for new bikes.
They could keep mum and sell cool drinks
with regular price hikes.

Or should they spread the news to all
to fill reserve containers?
To make profits or be prophets,
earn praise or retainers?

OK, doggerel perhaps, but original and on-point. Perhaps you prefer plain prose. On a hot, humid day, ten-year-old Amy learns that the local water supply will be shut off in the neighborhood all afternoon. Amy and her best friend Ann are saving money for new bicycles. Amy knows that if she keeps the information to herself and stores enough water, she can sell it this afternoon to thirsty neighbors and workers.

For round 1 reasoning, consider the guidance of Kant and Mill.

If we should strive to always treat others equally and fairly (Kant), then Amy should tell everyone since they have a right to know.

If we should do whatever produces the most happiness for the most people, as Mill might suggest, then Amy should tell everyone since they should not have to pay.

In either case, Amy should tell others.
Logical-Master

Con

Let me start in verse. Bear with me on how crude this might sound:

~~ALT: Thirsty Thinking (rebuttal of the devil's advocate)~~~

There once was lad named Amy
who heard a suspicious tale.
She heard the water would be shut off
on a day as hot as hell.

She sat and wondered what she should do
while seeing her good friend Ann.
The two conspired long and hard
to see what they could plan.

The two longed for merriment
on a brand new bike today.
The tale they heard just now
was the easiest way to pay.

Though even if they told the tale
their willingness would be for naught.
For who believes small children
on matters that effect the lot?

Alright, now taking everything into consideration, Amy should probably keep the information to herself.

1) As suggested at the end of my rhyme, telling everyone that the water will be shut off in advance would probably be pointless. After all, we're talking about two ten year children? In our society, such status almost always gives one next to zero credibility. We are under the belief that "kids say the darnest things." The neighborhood will probably take it as a joke and the parents of Amy would lecture/punish her severely for "lying." Even when neglecting the fact that Amy is just a 10 year old tike, we've gotta keep in mind that this is a pretty wild story in itself. Even me being 18, I doubt I'd be able to convince my community to act in advance on this without solid evidence. Which brings me to my next point.

2) In order to persuade the neighborhood to listen, Amy is gonna need some solid evidence. Hearsay won't get her anywhere, especially as a ten year old. Now given that she is just a ten years old, her resources are going to be pretty sparse. Given that she has until the afternoon to get some conclusive evidence, it's pretty pointless in going that route. By the time she even gets close to exposing a water corporation on their inexcusable methods, the afternoon would be long gone (actually, months may have passed at that point).

3) Thus, rather than attempt to battle the likely inevitable, Amy should simply go ahead and fill up the water jugs herself so that she could supply them to the likely narrow minded neighbors when the time comes. Plus, what do bikes for ten year olds cost nowadays? Like 50 bucks ( http://www.walmart.com... )? She could sell the water cheaply. Plus, considering the fact that she did do all of this labor and is using these supplies, she would be entitled to payment here. In this case, it is certain that the neighborhood won't go thirsty for a torturous amount of time. In PROs case, even if Amy tells her tale, it is very much unlikely that many anyone will believe her, thus everyone will go without water. Thus, she would be doing what produces the most happiness for the most people (as in not reasoning with the people who will likely inevitably end up with no water, but insuring that they do end up with water, but for a cheap prices)

4) Finally, this helps Amy develop some business skills and general intelligence, so Amy's personal benefits would no doubt be more practical than simply getting a bike. Besides, gotta learn the value of a dollar at some point.

Now in response to PRO's reasoning, I don't like Kant or Mill, but their reasoning doesn't really help PRO. I've already covered Mill, so lets just move on to Kant. Since it's a given that everyone would be paying for the water, we can scratch out any protestations concerning equal treatment.

As for those who may find the fact that Amy is charging money as being unfair no matter how cheap a price (again, a bike should be pretty cheap, especially ones for ten year olds), these cheap skates would have the necessary incentive needed to learn a valuable lesson (which is to stock up on water supplies during the time of a heat wave). Thus, this would be fair/just in that rather than necessarily supplying others with fish, Amy is teaching them how to fish. After all, if you give a man a fish, he will eat for one day. Teach a man to fish and he will eat for the rest of his life.

That's all for now. Bear in mind, some of these points may need two rounds of elaboration.
Debate Round No. 1
Noel

Pro

Logical-Master, thank you for taking this topic in a playful spirit. Your verse puts me to shame and raises expectations for your reasoning. So let's get to it. You would have Amy keep quiet because (1) nobody will believe a ten-year-old and (2) she lacks resources to convince others. Having declared her effort futile, you encourage Amy to (3) sell the water, albeit cheaply, and in doing so (4) teach her neighbors a lesson about being prepared.

Let's take your second point first. If Amy had the resources to convince others, then they would believe her. Thus, your point (2) is a restatement of (1) and you've put forward only the one reason why she should keep quiet; namely, lack of credibility. You assert that people will not believe a ten-year-old, perhaps not even someone as senior as your 18 years. Now I understand what you believe, Logical-Master. Perhaps in the next round you could tell why you believe it.

In the interim, let me step outside the aforementioned playful spirit to cite a reason why we must listen to children, especially when they appear sincere. Ours is a scary world of child abuse, neglect, bullying, and abandonment. The practice of dismissing an alert from a child is no longer an option. Don't get me wrong; telling neighbors about a water shortage is not in the same league as reporting abuse -- but then that is not my point. Rather, these unsavory realities have raised public awareness such that a child likely would be heard.

If Amy will speak sincerely,
others will hear clearly.

To go further, even if people do not believe Amy directly, though it would seem they must, even then she could alert those who would in turn be believed. Perhaps she has an 18-year-old brother. Or that nice lady who lives kitty-corner. Or teaming up with Ann they can find strength in numbers as they plead a case to their mothers.

OK, so Amy and Ann will be believed. Their lack of credibility was the foundation four your points (3) and (4), which thus fall like a house of cards. But let's examine the merits of these points anyway. Your point (3) is, essentially, to sell the water and stash the cash. Perhaps I am a bit harsh; sell it, but cheaply. Why? I suspect, Logical-Master, that you sense Amy would be taking advantage of others and so are hedging that fact with false altruism. Be consistent with your point (4) and allow her to leverage the principle of supply-and-demand to drive up prices. Sure she wants a bicycle, but you've made her an entrepreneur. In other words, Logical-Master, your third and fourth points are not consistent.

Finally, it sounds like you would have Amy stick it to any boy-scout drop-out neighbors who just weren't prepared. The last vestige of altruism has been lost and your Amy is revealed to be an incredible, but otherwise aggressively entrepreneurial youngster. Well, when it comes to water, no wonder "evian" spelled backwards is "naive".
Logical-Master

Con

NOTE: PRO makes the accusation that my first two points were the same. If you intend to believe this regardless of what is said, skip down to "Nobody will believe a 10 year old." . For the rest, stick around. Upon close observation, it is rather clear that these two points are not the same. This is due to the fact that one with acceptable credibility doesn't need an acceptable amount of resources. All the same, one with an acceptable amount of resources doesn't need and acceptable amount of credibility. Thus, it is rather apparent that the first two points were created to individually point out that Amy more than likely lacks the two tools (#1: credibility to rely on self-testimony. #2; Empirical evidence) which she could use to convince this neighborhood of their inevitable plight.

Concerning why I believe myself as an 18 year old would not be able to convince a community, I stated my reason quite clear ". . . convince my community to act in advance on this without solid evidence." If anything though, this does help me in seeing where the confusion of where "my first two points being the same" came from. In point one, I begin to lead into point two with the following line: "Even when neglecting the fact that Amy is just a 10 year old tike . . ." My apologies. This should have been where point 2 started.

With that being addressed, I think I can return to the real debate:

===========================================
RE: RE: Nobody will believe a ten-year-old
===========================================

1) Alright, so the first part of PRO's rebuttal to this basically consist of the notion that "a child speaking sincerely will no doubt be convincing to adults, as shown by all the cases of domestic violence." As interesting as a response this is, I cannot help but point out that my esteemed opponent has already exposed the flaw in this argument for me. Observe the following:

"Don't get me wrong; telling neighbors about a water shortage is not in the same league as reporting abuse -- but then that is not my point. Rather, these unsavory realities have raised public awareness such that a child likely would be heard."

The fact that the gravity of these two situations are incomparible is exactly why simply warning the neighborhood sincerely would be ineffective. When it comes to matters such as domestic violence, I would agree that adults are likely going to listen in on children to express their observations on this matter. This is because (as Noel points out) such is common in today's society; it's perfectly reasonable to suggest that Amy could easily be involved in a child centered domestic dispute, given the high rate of occurrences at which they occur today. But when it comes to a matter such as the water cutting off, is there really a high rate of occurrences where a ten year old has in depth knowledge on the clandestine plans involved in a powerful corporation? This alone would suggest that PRO is simply using a false analogy. Sincerely or not, that won't change the fact that people will consider Amy's "knowledge" as being questionable at best.

Furthermore, we're talking about individuals of the age who act out what they see on their precious Saturday morning cartoons as well as hold great belief in fictional beings such as Santa Claus or the Boogey Man. They'd probably think she was simply playing a game with her friend ann. At most, they'll probably believe that Amy just misheard something on TV. Again, her age is one of the main reasons telling her story would most likely be unsuccessful.

2) The second part of PROs rebuttal consist of the idea that Amy could simply get help, but this doesn't change the fact that skepticism will be prevalent. Who is to say that the 18 year old big brother, the nice lady, or their mothers will believe the story? Furthermore, even IF the above believed Amy, this still wouldn't work as well as PRO is hoping. After all, Amy and Ann have until the afternoon. By the time they managed to convince an ENTIRE neighborhood (which again, I doubt it due to the matters I spoke of before that concern both Amy's credibility as well as the lack of evidence), it would be too late. Thus, we'd be stuck with a whole neighborhood who knew the water would run out but didn't do anything about it. At the very least, not everyone in the neighborhood would have access to water by the time Amy was finished protesting. Now when going back to PROs use of Mill in PRO R1, I cannot help but notice that she advocated "happiness for the greatest number of people." Taking this into account, my plan insures without a doubt that the whole neighborhood would get water, thus would insure happiness for the greatest number of people.

My objections presented to the resolution in my first two contentions still stand, so I will now move on to PRO's rebuttal to my third and fourth contentions.

======================================
RE: RE: Sell the water, albeit cheaply
======================================

The price of the bikes (as I had shown in R1) would likely be cheap (50 bucks per bike), thus, Amy would essentially trading her labor for two bikes. This is matter of equivalent exchange as there was no point in the original story where it was suggested that Amy desired more money than she needed. Raising the prices to the level of "high way robbery" would not only be unfair but utterly pointless.

============================================================
RE: RE: Business skills, intelligence, and value of a dollar
============================================================

I believe PRO missed the point of this contention. I'm not trying to make Amy out to be some aggressive business tycoon (straw man). Rather, I'm merely suggesting that more comes out of this for Amy than simply getting a bike. The only way PRO's argument would have any validity would be if Amy's goal was merely to make money for the sake of having money. For in that case, PRO would be correct in that Amy could get the most amount of cash through skyrocketing the prices However, given the fact that she merely wants a bike for herself and her friend, such action isn't even remotely the case.

Besides that, the skills which I brought up only come as unintended.

===================
RE RE: Valuable Lesson
===================

PRO:"Finally, it sounds like you would have Amy stick it to any boy-scout drop-out neighbors who just weren't prepared."

Response: Of course. If they wish to avoid what they think of as a predicament in the future, then this is indeed the best course of action; give them an incentive to avoid what they consider a problem, and therefore help them. This is indeed altruistic. Given that PRO's rebuttal to my previous contention falls apart, her rebuttal to this one has as well (the idea of Amy being an aggressive entrepreneur is what it relied on).

Thus, I believe I've shown that Amy is better off not telling anyone about the water than she is telling everyone about the water. For as I've shown, the benefit of having water is GUARANTEED for my plan, whereas PRO's plan relies on the off chance that people are really going to abide by the words of a ten year old on a matter such as this.

With that said, I now await PRO's final rebuttal.
Debate Round No. 2
Noel

Pro

As we draw our dialogue to a close, I'd like to thank Logical-Master for welcoming this novice and engaging with a little light-heartedness. And now, as length of rhetoric is not necessarily commensurate with reasoning, let's focus. Here is Con's argument laid out.

(1) Amy is ten.
(2) Nobody believes a ten year old.
(3) Therefore Amy shouldn't even try to warn them.
(4) Since she shouldn't even try, she should take advantage of the situation.

I cannot help but pause express a bit of disappointment. I am not disappointed in my worthy adversary; certainly not. Rather, we've shunted onto a track of 'Amy shouldn't try to convince others'. I lament that this forgoes a much anticipated opportunity to explore why Amy might be motivated to cash in on the water shut-off secret. On what principled basis might Amy act by her own fiat. I say the opportunity is lost because, even if the task is taken up by Con in his final remarks, it affords the two of us no further chance to examine that motivation. Instead, if Con is correct, Amy's fate rests in the age-discriminating attitude of others. It is as though we are saying to her: whatever your internal struggle of values Amy, my dear, it doesn't matter since others won't believe you. Sigh. On now to what was, in fact, presented rather than linger longer in lamentation for lost opportunity.

In Logical-Master's argument, there are two premises and two conclusions. The first premise [Amy is 10] is given as a fact, but the second premise [Nobody will believe a ten year old] cannot be established. It is either false or not provable and so the argument is unsound. Logical-Master accepts the burden of showing that nobody -- not one person -- will listen. Because if they do, even one, then Amy should try to warn others. That is a huge burden, and by the measure of a reasonable person, essentially an impossible task.

So why does Logical-Master find Amy so incredible, so beyond possible belief by absolutely anybody? It has nothing to do with her personally. Rather, apparently, all ten-year-olds are victims of age discrimination. And what does Logical-Master allege of ten-year-olds: why, they believe in Santa Claus; they are frightened by the bogey man [er, person -- bogey being sans gender]; they are given to acting out the fantasy of Saturday morning cartoons [shudder that Amy should find Robot Chicken]. Logical-Master, please be reminded that Amy is 10, not 2.

Whatever Logical-Master's attitude toward ten-year-olds, his argument breaks the rule of universal generalization. One can validly generalize, as an example, as follows: any arbitrarily chosen person has DNA, therefore Amy has DNA. That's because it follow from being a person that one has DNA.

... Here comes the dramatic build-up.
... Let me borrow your equals sign effect.
... It was kind of ASCI-retro dramatic.

===========================================

Logical-Master needs show

[as to the subject] -- that any person 10 years of age, any arbitrarily chosen 5th grader, is beyond the realm of credibility

[as to the context] -- and not just incredible, but that nobody -- not a single person -- will believe him or her

[as to the content] -- a fortiori, that none will believe the younger exactly and for no other reason than for the property of being 1 decade of age

===========================================

Nope, Logical-Master, your presumed premise is impossible to prove. Frankly, I think it is false, but whether false or impossible to prove, your argument is unsound. It both breaks universal generalization and presumes to prove an absolute that simply escapes the reasonable person rule.

Apart from poor Amy, as a practice "they won't listen, so don't even try" is a slippery slope and, fortunately not one always heeded historically. So, to close, having visited the house of Con to clashed on his turf, I reaffirm the rationale established at the outset, based on the principles of Mill and Kant, that guide Amy as she sets about warning others about the pending water shortage.

-- Noel Leon
Logical-Master

Con

I'd like to also extend thanks for this has been a fun and educational debate. I look forward to having another dance like this in the future. But alas, let us first proceed with this final act.

In her final round, my worthy opponent takes a big risk. Rather than deal with the multiple arguments I had presented, she ignores those and focuses on what appears to be the crux of my case. Upon observation of her round, I whole heartedly agree with my opponent on that notion that the argument she is citing is fallacious. In fact, I cannot help but marvel at how my opponent skillfully pinpointed the errors in the aforementioned argument. Her efforts ALMOST make me want to believe that I've lost this debate. However, I must regretfully inform you that there are but two crucial flaws that not only overturn her argument but conclusively seal her defeat in this debate. I will focus this round on presenting those flaws.

=========================================
MY OPPONENT'S DOWNFALL PART ONE (first flaw):
=========================================

1) PRO states that my second premise is that nobody (NOT ONE) person will believe a ten year old girl, but if we look back to my very words in the previous rounds, we can see that this has not been suggested by yours truly. Observe closely:

"As suggested at the end of my rhyme, telling everyone that the water will be shut off in advance would probably be pointless. -R1

"Thus, rather than attempt to battle the likely inevitable, Amy should simply go ahead and fill up the water jugs herself so that she could supply them to the likely narrow minded neighbors when the time comes." -R1

"They'd probably think she was simply playing a game with her friend ann." -R2

"Again, her age is one of the main reasons telling her story would most likely be unsuccessful." -R2

When observing these statements, what do you notice is in common with them? They all speak in terms of probablity. Therefore, throughout this debate, I've been suggesting likelihood rather than speaking in absolutes. Taking that into account, what you see in PROs final round is none other than a strawman (argument developed by PRO rather than myself) version of my argument.

With this noted, THE THREE BURDENS WHICH PRO SET UP ARE TO BE DISMISSED SINCE THEY RELY ON AN ARGUMENT WHICH I NEVER PRODUCED.

2) Furthermore, PRO suggest that even if one person will be willing to believe AMY, she should try to warn others, yet this once more goes back to the moralist which my opponent had advocated and brought up in round 1. If merely 1 one person listens to Amy, merely one person is guarenteed to have water. On the other hand, my plan for Amy eliminates the matter of the neighborhood having to buy into Amy's uncanny story and insures everyone gets water. Thus, by Mill's belief, happiness for the most people will more likely come from Amy not telling anyone about her story and filling up water jugs herself than it would from Amy gambling on people believing her despite the circumstances.

To quickly highlight the matter of Santa Claus and the Boogey man, I was perhaps being a bit extreme, but the point still remains. Kids are typically immature and like to emulate fiction (which is often due to video games or TV).

=============================================
MY OPPONENT'S DOWNFALL PART TWO (second flaw):
=============================================

What my opponent is forgetting is that I didn't just provide one reason as to why it was likely that Amy's attempts would be unsuccessful; I provided two reasons. Ladies and gentleman, please observe my own words presented previously:

"Even me being 18, I doubt I'd be able to convince my community to act in advance on this without solid evidence. Which brings me to my next point."

This is further proof that my opponent's presentation of my case is simply straw man. Notice how I go into an argument that neglects the matter of a 10 year olds credibility (it must also be noted that my opponent has yet to counter this "even if" argument) as I cite why a typical legal adult would have trouble persuading the neighborhood based on self-testimony alone.

================
WHY TO VOTE CON
================

1) The argument PRO is attacking in R3 is not my argument, but rather an argument which PRO created on her own. Thus, not only has she not countered my argument, but the rules which she applied to the aforementioned argument are to go overlooked since they only apply to the argument she created.

2) I didn't just discuss a child's credibility when explaining why it would be unlikely that the neighborhood would believe Amy. I also pointed out that even as a typical adult, it would take more than self testimony to persuade the neighborhood. In this case, Amy would not need sufficient evidence. As I've pointed out, getting this evidence would be next to impossible within her time period (which is up by the afternoon). PRO ignores this argument.

3) PRO didn't argue that I was generalizing in the previous round. Her previous response was basically summed up as "Amy could be sincere to avoid prejudice against her age." Since she hasn't responded to my rebuttal for this argument, you have no choice but to consider it conceded to. The same applies for the rest of the arguments I had made in the previous round.

4) I've shown that both Kant and Mill's philosophy favor my method moreso than they could favor my opponent's method. Once more, both of these philosophers are philosophers which PRO has claimed to uphold.

Taking the entire debate into consideration, not only have I dismantled PRO's objections one by one, but I've also shown that it would be the most logical decision for Amy to withhold her knowledge of the water being shut off and fill up jugs for the neighborhood on her own.

Thanks for the debate. Vote CON.
Debate Round No. 3
13 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by DrAlexander 8 years ago
DrAlexander
Dictionary.com says no, awes is not a word... :(

BUT Oz is, I'll replace it with Oz, meaning a place of euphoria and pleasure. Like in the Wizard of Oz, how can you say no to the munchkin land?

lol
Posted by Logical-Master 8 years ago
Logical-Master
Ha ha! Yes, I frequented that site before. It's amazing how much unintentional innuendo was squeezed into comic books back then.
Posted by Logical-Master 8 years ago
Logical-Master
Hmm, isn't awes a word? That would make a good substitute. :P
Posted by Noel 8 years ago
Noel
Logical-Master

I did not find a way to send you a private message, so excuse this public note. Anyway, I noticed your change of photo (icon/avatar). I recall that comic on a rather funny site and thought you might enjoy taking a look. The commentary on the comics is, in my opinion, the best part. I've no idea who runs the site, but like his or her sense of humor.

http://www.misterkitty.org...
Posted by DrAlexander 8 years ago
DrAlexander
Oh crap,

"Cause" and "awe" don't rhyme!

Oh well, it's my own unique poetic style...

:D
Posted by DrAlexander 8 years ago
DrAlexander
Your logical abilities that you have shown thus far,
have proven you to be quite above par.
It is very humble of you to to claim us as prodigy's past cause,
when infact your debating skills have left us in awe.

Okay, I'm tired of rhyming. Thanks for the compliment Logical.

This is probably one the most interesting debate that I have read thus far.

-Alexander
Posted by Logical-Master 8 years ago
Logical-Master
Such kind words, but I think you or Noel have more of a chance at the title of being a prodigy than I do. :D
Posted by Logical-Master 8 years ago
Logical-Master
Was wondering what you were talking about. Now I see: http://www.snopes.com...

Anyway, apologies for the delay, but I was ironically incapacitated due to some heat problems in Tennessee yesterday.
Posted by DrAlexander 8 years ago
DrAlexander
I have a feeling this debate will be an adventurous one,
one full of money, water, and other buckets of fun.
Logical-Master, debate.org's prodigy
vs Noel the newcomer intrugued with philosophy.

Good luck to both of you guys!

-Alexander
Posted by Logical-Master 8 years ago
Logical-Master
Noel, I have a previous engagement to attend to, so I shall be responding to your rebuttal tomorrow. Till then. :D
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