The Instigator
Pro (for)
0 Points
The Contender
Con (against)
4 Points

Should the United States switch to the metric system?

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 4/22/2013 Category: Society
Updated: 3 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 994 times Debate No: 32756
Debate Rounds (3)
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Votes (1)




The United States is using and old and outdated system while the rest of the world is using the metric system. I believe that it is in our best interest to switch to the metric system.


Hello Pyrotyguy. I was just thinking about this topic the other day so thanks for offering it. I look forward to a fun debate. I would like to make it clear that, at all times, my intent is to attack your argument and not you yourself.

1. I believe that there is nothing broken with the old English system that the United States makes use of so changing it would simply be change for change's sake--an often ill-advised (and often impulsive) reason to decide on a course of action.

2. The argument that we should change to another system just because other countries are doing it smacks of herd mentality, more precisely a choice based solely on conformity reflecting an example of group think. This is, again, a deeply flawed reason for decision making and often results in unwanted outcomes.

3. I do not believe that the old english system is "outdated" it is still a practical system, demonstrated by the fact it is used everyday by millions of people with no problems or complaints, at least none that I have ever heard of.

4. Further, the premise seems to implied that because something is older that it cannot be useful or desireable. I believe that is fallacious and non-deductive, further if it is based on induction I should like to see the information behind that premise proven.

5. The cost of replacing every item within our society that uses the old English system, combined with educating the young and the much more difficult task of re-educating the older populace far outweighs any benefit which would be incurred from the switch. How many road signs would become obsolete overnight? How many cookbooks? How many orders would be wrong? How many people would run out of gas, having no clue how far it may or may not be to the next town? How many property records and assessments would need to be redone, how many errors would be made in the conversion? A good deal of land and mineral rights would be mistakenly robbed from their legitimate owners. Etc, etc, etc.

I look forward to your answer.
Debate Round No. 1


Hello TruthTrust, I look forward to this debate also as it is preparing me for a school project I am working on.

1. First off for your point three , I believe that our current system is in fact unpractical due to the rate in which we convert up.

12 in. = 1 ft. then 3 ft. = 1 yd then 1760 Yd = 1 mile
While in the metric system you simply ad a zero
so that 10mm = 1 cm then 1 m = 100 cm then 1 km = 1000 cm

2. as for your filth point of replacing everything that uses the standard measurements.
Given I doubt either of us knows exactly how many road signs they're are in the us lets put an estimate of saying that their are 10,000,000 speed limit signs at about 25 dollars a sign that brigs it to 250,000,000 which I understand sounds like alot of money but considering things that we spend money on that we don't need such as:

"The Obama administration has plans to spend between 16 and 20 million dollars to help students from Indonesia get master’s degrees."

"The U.S. government spent 27 million dollars to teach Moroccans how to design and make pottery in 2012."

"The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs spent $175 million during 2010 to maintain hundreds of buildings that it does not even use. This includes a pink, octagonal monkey house in the city of Dayton, Ohio."
seen from various news sights and channels

if we put money that we spend on things that we dont need that 250,000,000 isnt so much

As for the cookbooks and such, I'm sure people would keep they're measuring devices and use them until they gradually get new ones or replace the old.

As for education most students (In my area at least) have needed to learn the metric system for science and math classes.

3. my third and final argument for this round will be that as any person that visits the U.S (Aprox. 65 million a year) needs to use the standard system which causes problems for them


Pyrotyguy good luck on your school project. I would encourage you to build a case supporting your position if that is the case, rather than solely attacking my case. I launched into the argument rather quickly (looking around on the boards it appears that the first round is commonly for acceptance only)which might have gotten you sidetracked.

First, I'd like to incorporate all my prior arguments and address your arguments from this round.

1. Addressing your #1 from Round 2--I disagree. The Old English system is incredibly practical, given the fact it is used everyday with ease as I pointed out before.

I would add that the different standards of conversion are really a non-issue for anyone with a teenage to adult IQ. We count on the user to know how many inches are in a foot and feet in a yard or a mile, and you know what? People remember. People can also do basic math. This argument really just sets out what is a minor annoyance for the math or memory challenged in our population...and that at best. I, for one, would look askance at someone who doesn't know how many inches are in a foot or feet in a yard. These are just basic skills required in a society, any society these days and are the least of many complexities we deal wit on a day to day basis.

2. Regarding your arguments under #2 from Round 2:

Your argument makes a stab in the dark concerning the number of signs in America and cost of replacement, indicating a quarter of a billion dollars would be needed for replacement. Then you list several instances of wasteful government spending that spend comparable or lesser sums to the one you proffer would be needed for the replacement of signs.

First off, I would point out that the estimation your argument provides does not include labor which would raise the amount significantly. Not just the physical laborers, but the middle men and the government employees needed to administer such an undertaking, the larger signs would require the diversion of traffic resulting in further opportunity costs for drivers, etc.

Also, what are we to draw from your argument's comparison of this proposed program to examples of government waste? I actually think that it is a fairer comparison by far to suggest that changing to the metric system would indeed be just another example of wasted government money--like teaching Morrocans how to make pottery. Wasteful, wasteful, wasteful and unnecessary.

Finally there is the old adage that "two wrongs don't make a right". I don't see how pointing out examples of corruption and profligate spending bolster the argument at all. "Everyone else is wasting money so it's somehow okay." seems to be it, basically. This seems irrelevant and is DEFINITELY a morally indefensible position.

As for the cookbooks and measuring instruments--yes I suppose people would have to make due with replacing perfectly fine items because that's what people HAVE to do when they're forced into change against their will.

3. In your argument 3 of Round 2 it is asserted that: "...any person that visits the U.S (Approx. 65 million a year) needs to use the standard system which causes problems for them."

Well, the United States is under no duty to change it's laws at the pleasure of non-citizens. They don't vote, they hold no sovereignty in America why should the government change the system of measurement to suit someone they don't serve and hold no duty toward?

Additionally, travellers routinely accept new customs and standards whenever they enter any country it's part of the nature of "travel" itself. Whether it be measurement or cuisine or manners, it is the duty of the traveller to adapt, not the country he visits. An argument to the contrary is, forgive me, a little ridiculous.

4. In closing I would point out that my opponent dropped assertions 1, 2 and 4 from my prior round.

Pyrotyguy, customarily the first round is for acceptance only but I jumped right into argument there. If you like I'll just use my last round for the acceptance and make no additional arguments? In the interest of fairness.
Debate Round No. 2


pyrotyguy forfeited this round.


Pro has forfeited in the final round.

I incorporate all arguments from my prior rounds and urge a vote for Con given the forfeit.
Debate Round No. 3
No comments have been posted on this debate.
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by Ragnar 3 years ago
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Total points awarded:04 
Reasons for voting decision: Incredible conduct from con. Pro made a wasteful argument without sources for cost figures, and was caught doing it. Con also used fallacies, but those were unchallenged. con gets the argument point.