The Instigator
TheCommonSense
Pro (for)
The Contender
BMHTheGreat
Con (against)

Should under-18s have the right to vote?

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 11/7/2016 Category: Philosophy
Updated: 3 weeks ago Status: Debating Period
Viewed: 244 times Debate No: 96809
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (4)
Votes (0)

 

TheCommonSense

Pro

This is a debate for whether or not under-18s should have a right to vote. I am going to limit it to an age of 14 at the least, as this is around an age where we begin to learn the most, and is the end of Year 9.

Here is my argument: I believe that under-18s should have a right to vote because many new laws affect them the most, unlike older citizens. For example, the BREXIT vote. The majority of voters who voted to leave the EU in Britain were over the age of 50, giving them 31 years left in them with our Life Expectancy. Therefore, this vote affects them the least, whereas at my Secondary School we had a mock Referendum, and an insane percentage of 98% of people voted to REMAIN. However, none of us were allowed to vote in the real election, and if we had it would have made it more representative of our society, and of those who will be the most affected by new laws.

Also, many adults believe teens are self-absorbed and that they think they know everything. Being a teen myself I couldn't say more that the opposite is true. Many people I know were watching as much of the campaigning as possible, and many managed to pick out and talk about the less grounded facts that both sides presented. We had a full-on debate in most of my classes and the teachers were unsurprisingly impressed with what we knew.

So now to you, my opponent, what is your argument?
BMHTheGreat

Con

I would like to thank my opponent for a well-organized argument, as well as being very appropriate and professional.

First of all, however, I want to recognize the parameters in which you have selected this argument: You have stated that ages 14-17, at least, should be able to vote, and also may be able to extend that to around 10-17 (I know you stated the end of year 9, but 10 makes it simpler). So the constant for this argument that you have stated is a person who is *at least 14* should be able to vote. The variable is around 4 years before (to the age of 10).

Let me first make an argument based on these rules you yourself have set up.

Let's talk about the brain.
As you said yourself, adolescence (around age 12-18) is "around an age where we begin to learn the most". I would state this as true, mainly because during adolescence is when the volume of gray matter from your brain is the highest. I'm not going to go into detail, mainly because I'm not an expert in the field, but the gray matter of the brain is where all the synapses are.
While this is an important part of the learning and aging process, it is evidence against your argument. In the adult brain, all these synapses of gray matter have dwindled.
Why? Because the brain becomes more efficient. It focuses the mind, so to speak. Adolescents are learning more because this is where their development is rapidly increasing. And the problem with this is that the focus of an adolescent will also change rapidly. One minute they could think this, the next day they think that. They are still only in the *learning phase.*
An analogy to a child being able to vote would be like telling a first-year student of chemistry to try and teach chemistry while still learning it. The mind of most adolescents just aren't ready for that, even if you believe they are.
Another thing about adolescent brains are that they go through an enormous change in emotional and hormonal behavior. And these hormones and emotions can sway the logical reasoning of any decision. This is again, because the body is still developing.

The second thing I would like to address is your claim that people under the age of 18 should be able to vote because "many new laws affect them the most, unlike older citizens."
I understand your logic behind the assertion, but that way of thinking is just plain unreasonable.
Why wouldn't children under the age of 10 be able to vote? They would have more years of experience with what the votes" decisions create than children of the age of 10. Maybe we should let 8 year-olds vote. Why stop at 8? Let's say that anyone over the age of 2 can vote.
It sounds ridiculous, doesn't it? But it's only a few years, what difference does it make?
Years on Earth shouldn't determine who can cast their vote.
Each person has a life in which they will be able to live, and should all be respected as citizens, no matter how long they will live after their decisions, with the ability to exercise their right to vote.
The point of this is that that way of thinking creates holes. It makes people who are younger look superior to those who are older, which, in the case of voting, is almost always the opposite of the case. People who are older have experience. They know about these kinds of things because they've been through it before.

Lastly, I'd like to speak about your personal example of teenagers who all voted against Britain leaving the European Union. I'm not going to state my personal opinion on the decision, not only because I am not from Britain, as well as my knowledge behind the event or the two sides lacking.
However, what I do know from my own high school (secondary school) is that teenagers can be unreliable. They can be ignorant, yet stubborn. Some can be easily swayed by their peers. They can be very self-absorbed, mainly because this time of their life is about finding out who you are, and that's okay.
I know as a teen it can be difficult to deny that you should not be able to vote, but I myself have accepted it. I thought like you did when I was in middle school and early high school, and I thought that my powers as a teenager were limited. I thought I was treated like a child. But now that I'm 17 and have thought about it more, I recognize that I *would not* be fit to vote for something that could be detrimental to our government and our country, and the same I can say about other teenagers. They are, as a whole, immature. This isn't a flaw, it's just part of the process.
I'm not saying that some can"t be mature and make mature decisions, but the same could be said about most any citizen of any country. Most of them are ignorant to what they are really supporting. A great example could be of the U.S. and their citizens voting for each presidential candidate. Children and teens say very nasty things about each candidate with absolutely no evidence supporting their claims. Why would they do this? Because they are influenced. Influenced by their peers and their family and friends and YouTube videos and blog posts. They don't often question things that should be questioned.

The perfect solution, to me, would be to raise the voting age to 25, when the brain is (most acceptably) fully developed, but also to make citizens take a test for their understanding about the things they are voting for. Those who are ignorant and do not know should not be able to vote, while those who know exactly what they are voting for can share their view and vote.

Thank you for reading, and I hope to be entertained with an exceptional debate.

Resources:
https://www.nimh.nih.gov...
Debate Round No. 1
TheCommonSense

Pro

Thank you for setting yours out easily as well, though it did take me a while to read.

In acknowledgement of your response what I said about my parameters, and your information about the brain, which I will use to determine what the parameters should be more accurately, I would like to say this. If we are to consider what you said about the grey matter, there is the greatest amount of synapses during the early years of Secondary school, around the age of 11-13 for boys, and around 9-11 for girls (www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov). Therefore, around the age of 14, for example, there is considerably less Frontal grey matter than the years before, with a steep decrease on NCBI's graph. So Frontal Grey matter is decreasing largely by the age of 14, as are most of the others, so I believe in the terms of brain activity, this is a reasonable parameter.

You also mentioned hormones and emotions, which I know can definitely affect anything in life, and you said "These can sway the logical reasoning of any decision". May I point out that you said "logical". While I know this is unflawed reasoning, it made me think about another topic, reasoning tests. These test logical thinking, and perhaps to combat the influence of decisions by other people, it could be implemented into voting systems for under-18s to make sure they understand why they are voting for whatever they vote for. You also added this at the end of your argument, with it saying it would stop those who were ignorant shouldn't be able to vote. This could also be applied to those who are younger and it would allow those who while younger are smart enough to figure why and who/what to vote for.

Next, "Many new laws affect them the most". I agree, once that you explained it, that my reasoning was unreasonable if looked you looked closer at it, despite my logic. So I also believe now that "Years on Earth shouldn't determine who can cast their vote." But what about years they already have been on Earth. Apply the same rule to that it it would come out with the answer that, it shouldn't. So that rule would deem that under-18s should be allowed to vote, but then rules are never good all the time. You also said "This makes those who are younger look superior to those who are older", but just like the previous quote, the "Only Over-18s rule" make those who are older look superior to those who are younger. While it is just like you said, in the case of voting, this is definitely the case, as they have the experience. However, as quoted from eremedia.com, "Because with less history to cloud their vision, they may see problems in a new way and from a fresh perspective.", on the topic of work experience, the same could be applied to voting. Say for example, the British EU referendum,. As you said you didn't know much on the subject, let me say this. Britain joined the EU in 1973, and there was no referendum held. This made many people who were doing reasonably well, despite the problems the country had faced after WW2, feel that they didn't get a say, and that it wouldn't bring any good. Today, most of these people are still alive, as it has only been 43.86 years, and many still hold the same opinion. When they were given a chance to decide to leave, they took it, believing, in the words of one of my relatives "It'll go back to the way it was before". But there are now also many people now who were too young or weren't born who didn't have any experience with life and what it was like before the EU. and so therefore, may have been able to more logically deduce the consequences. (This is purely thought, I don't mean to say that older people cannot logically deduce things ore that the logical deduction is that we should stay. This is simply my deduction, and I expect you will prove me wrong)

Finally, I like to talk about what you experienced as a teen and that they are immature, mostly. I couldn't agree more, which is why I'm on here to talk about those who aren't the "mostly". Teens can definitely be unreliable, I myself forget things a lot of the time, and we can be immature, which is part of the process. We are maturing, which means we can't be mature already. But let me bring up the subject of grey matter again, and girls this time. I mentioned earlier that their grey matter was at a peak around 9-11. By 14, for example again, using the scale on the NCBI site, which unfortunately was not labeled, the peak for Frontal grey matter in girls is 227, and by 14 it is 215. This over a whole is lower than boys on the entire chart, but it shows that girls mature fast enough by the age of 14 that they could probably vote with reason around that age. The test you spoke about could once again come into play here, and may be able to decide whether the participant is mature enough too.

Sharing your view might also help with these tests, as it could help those who were ignorant learn more about what they didn't know so that they could vote next time.

Once again it is your go, and I hope I managed to meet your expectations.

Sources:
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov...
https://www.eremedia.com...
BMHTheGreat

Con

Well played. Your response exceeded my expectations. In fact, after seeing there was only an hour left for you to reply, I honestly thought you dropped the debate. I must apologize for underestimating you. Now onto the fun part.

You state that children from 9-13 have the highest amount of gray matter, supporting my previous claim. However, you did state that at age 14 there is a rapid decline compared to previous years of gray matter in the brain.
But that"s an important fact: compared to previous years.
And as you can see in the exact article you referenced, at age 14 the gray matter is still VERY high compared to that of someone at age 20.[1] They are *still in the period of maturation*. In fact, they"ve only STARTED maturing to become the efficient mind of that of the adult. They are still unfit to be able to make *world-changing* decisions. So I still support that that the "limit " to an age of 14" is too low. We should wait until a person is fully able to comprehend, assess, and create an opinion based on choices.

I would like to point out that you have also agreed with the fact that many children can be illogical and rampant, and that you agree with the idea that hormones and emotional changes/stresses in the adolescent years can affect decision making. You also support my idea that a test for reasoning and understanding should be implemented, bringing further light upon it, and trying to support your claim of how underage persons could be able to safely vote. But there was also a reason I included an age limit of 25.
At the age of 25, it is widely accepted that the brain has fully matured, and has gotten rid of the most gray matter in the brain as well, fully developed the frontal lobe of the brain which deals with cognitive functions, problem-solving, and especially *planning or longer-term thinking*.[2]
The idea of a test that I created just a safeguard to stop ignorant people over the age of 25 from making uneducated votes. They are still matured fully, even if they are ignorant. They have the ABILITY to think logically.

There are too many factors with my initial statement about a test, however. That is why I specifically used the words "the perfect solution". As everyone should know, perfection doesn't exist. If it was a "perfect world", there would be no conflict, no leaders, no dispute, and no point of this entire website centered around debating. Perfection just doesn"t exist.

And this can disprove your claim about how it can be implemented for underage children. There are just too many factors that could occur. What if the test doesn"t fully reflect the ability of someone to be able to vote? What if a person is able to manipulate this test? What if the process of every individual to take a test before voting is too taxing on time or resources? What if a child is just told exactly what to do to pass the test, but doesn"t actually understand anything? It"s just too unreliable to be able to implement in this argument. That is exactly why I left the idea of a test for last as sort of an idea just to think about. Not to be implemented as evidence. The entire reason the laws of children not being able to vote is because we do not have tests like this. Trying to place this "perfect solution" as evidence is like trying to prove that U.S. soldiers should not be sent to Iraq by saying "What if we just didn"t ever need oil? Then we would never have to send troops to Iraq." (just an example, not expressing any opinion of my own) It just isn"t realistic.

Next, you stated on my claim that "Years [left] on Earth shouldn't determine who can cast their vote" also should be used inversely towards the elder voters, meaning that they shouldn"t vote just because of how long they have lived. Again, the reason that they"ve lived longer by itself would mean nothing, but those years not only have given them experience, but as I have already stated, from years 1-25, they have been able to mature their minds and create sensible and reliable decisions. Although there are ignorant and idiotic adults, there will almost always be even more ignorant children. They are "adults" because, as definition by Merriam Webster, they are "fully grown and developed". Simple as that.
Age having been and age left on Earth should not determine who gets to vote *after the age of fully-developed maturity (~25)* is my claim.

Next, as you stated, you expect me to prove you wrong in your statement about the BREXIT. Well, ask and you shall receive. You stated "there are now also many people now who were too young or weren't born who didn't have any experience with life and what it was like before the EU. and so therefore, may have been able to more logically deduce the consequences." The fact that they WERE born before the EU is an example of how they can be extremely biased and ILLOGICAL when deducing the consequences. They have no idea what could happen now that Britain has left the EU, and it fills them with doubt and uncertainty. Like with many people, change and the unknown is a scary thing, especially when you were brought up and lived everyday the way that you did with the EU. But eventually, change is bound to happen. The idea that a person who hasn"t lived in one particular setting is deciding whether it is beneficial or not is *the exact definition of ignorance*. However, with someone who has lived in a world where both settings took place, with and without the EU, it is much more logical for them to vote for the better choice. I am not, however, endorsing the BREXIT in any way shape or form.

Finally, I would like to comment on your statement about girls that are the age of 14 maybe being able to vote. While it is lower than that of a boy for frontal gray matter, the amount of gray matter *at any age during the years of adolescence for a girl* is lower than that of the lowest of a boy between the ages of 7-17. But still, as I had previously stated, the amount of gray matter is still not nearly as low as the amount shown at age 20 of a girl"s life.
Not only this, but if you were to only allow a girl to vote at a younger age than a male, it would support gender inequality, which would create yet another problem springing from underage persons voting.

In the end, it is just more logical to let adults with more mature brains be able to vote.

Resources:
1. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov...
2. http://memory.ucsf.edu...
Debate Round No. 2
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Debate Round No. 3
4 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 4 records.
Posted by aspynleo 4 weeks ago
aspynleo
This is turning out really well! I am loving the arguments being made in favor and against this topic.
Posted by aspynleo 4 weeks ago
aspynleo
This is turning out really well! I am loving the arguments being made in favor and against this topic.
Posted by BMHTheGreat 1 month ago
BMHTheGreat
I'll take it, if you allow me to.
Posted by jo154676 1 month ago
jo154676
I was watering at the mouth when I saw this title but I saw you took the side I was going to take and got sad :/ (;
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