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Should the US go metric?

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 7/3/2013 Category: Society
Updated: 3 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 1,286 times Debate No: 35268
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (1)
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We must go metric. It only makes sense.

If we were to change, the change will be slow, so everyone has time to adapt. Metric units are easily converted with prefixes, there is some consistency to how they are formed, and they are taken from logical sources. Why would anyone care about King Henry's waistline, and why is it called a "Yard"? The meter is approximately 1/10,000,000th of the distance from the north pole to the equator. A cubic decimeter is the liter, and one liter of water weighs about a kilo.

There is nothing American about the traditional system, anyway. It is a dead British system.


I accept. This will be interesting. I used to believe like you, but I changed last year.

Fun Fact: the empirical units are used in 3 countries: Liberia, Myanmar (aka Burma), and, of course the USA.

Come at me, bro! I will debate you within 2.54 centimeters of your life!
Debate Round No. 1


TheInterlang forfeited this round.


Hello? You OK?
Debate Round No. 2


I forgot about this debate until just now.

First off, the statement "Why fix something if it ain't broke" doesn't apply in this case. The Customary System is a broken system! Our brains think better in decimals than fractions, and the customary system is FULL of weird fractions! It can take a bit of guesswork to figure out "which is greater, 10/32 or 8/20", but if one were to use a decimal equivalent, 0.3125 and 0.4, you can instantly figure it out. Decimal is like a verbal number line since it is an extention of the whole number system.

Second, the rest of the world is metric, except for Liberia and Burma (a dictatorship). Using the customary system in the US only makes it harder for scientists and science students, who must use both systems. In 1999, a NASA probe crashed due to a poor conversion of customary to metric! Nuts/bolts/screws/sockets come in both customary and metric, and you must have different tools for each. The newest revolution, 3D printing, is largely American, and many 3D printer companies sell material by the pound or mark their build volume in inches, making things potentially confusing for printer users outside America.

Third, it is of no cultural loss. As I said in my first argument, the customary system is an old British system, based on such absurd values as King Henry's waist and foot, and the size of a particular stone. "The distance light travels in ..." is more universal than "the length of king ...'s foot". If you must make a measurement based on human factors, you can simply say "a 20 minute walk", "the width of your thumb", "can fit in one hand", etc.

This is more of a stupid opinion, but I believe obesity may have something to to with the Customary Measures. Look around. Fruit-by-the-FOOT, FOOT-long hot dogs, etc. Since the metric system has no unit equivalent to the foot (and no one wants a meter), they have no way of making those foods stand out.


I suggest that we restart this debate. Challege me!

Anyways, on to the debate at hand.

This system is called the "Imperical System".

You have good reasons why we should change, though some are debatable. I wont rebut yet since the structure is kinda broken now...

The reasons as to why we shouldn't change:

No Harm, No Foul
The Imperical System does no harm to the average Joe. I measure things in feet, yards, miles, etc. I agree that the scientist should be well-versed in the ways of the Metric, but that is no reason for all of America to go Metric!

It will cost a lot of money to expand school lessons to teach both the Metric and the Imperical. We can't just teach the Metric, because things are, as of now, labeled in Imperical.

Older People
What do those who have graduated do? They've paid their dues, graduated from college, got a job, etc., but they grew up on feet and yards. What're these "meters"? How are they supposed to learn the metric without going back to school?
The answer: they learn like I did; they use the Internet to compare meters to yards. We can still do that without America converting.

Failure is not an Option
If we fail to convert America, then we have wasted several tens of thousands of dollars! This failure isn't only POSSIBLE; it has actually HAPPEND

Believe it or not, there was a campaign to convert America to the Metric System way back in 1999. Take a look around. Did it work? We wasted money!

I would happily restart this debate as to get rebuttals in. Just challenge me.
Debate Round No. 3
1 comment has been posted on this debate.
Posted by bloof 3 years ago
I think the hardest change would be length. Every mile marker would need to change, and to have a 'true' metric country you have to have new bolts for every sign you replaced and renumber every interstate exit sign (which are based on miles from the south or west starting point) over 47,182 miles of road.

Another thing is that I find it fine to use different units when they are made to suit different things. Many typographers use points and picas. In construction, imperial is preferred because it can be split many ways without having a decimal point which can be a pain to measure. Even in marching band, a 'step' is used which is 22 and a half inches so it's 8 steps between yard lines.
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