The Instigator
brian_eggleston
Pro (for)
Losing
10 Points
The Contender
Danielle
Con (against)
Winning
14 Points

Soothsaying for financial gain should be outlawed

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 3/8/2010 Category: Politics
Updated: 7 years ago Status: Voting Period
Viewed: 2,301 times Debate No: 11307
Debate Rounds (2)
Comments (16)
Votes (6)

 

brian_eggleston

Pro

Soothsayers such as fortune-tellers, astrologists, tarot readers and clairvoyants prey on vulnerable and impressionable women by claiming to be able to predict their futures using totally spurious, irrational and scientifically discredited techniques such as reading tealeaves and interpreting the movement of the stars.

Of course, these paranormal mediums' abilities have no merit or substance whatsoever – if they really were able to see into the future they would live in the lap of luxury on the proceeds of their lottery jackpots and winning bets on the results of sporting events.

Instead of this though, these mystic con-merchants go about swindling gullible ladies out of their husbands' hard-earned cash. I'm sure any right-minded person would agree that that sort of behaviour is both deceitful and dishonest.

Furthermore, these miserable tricksters purposefully make their predictions vague and open to interpretation to ensure that it is impossible to take legal action against them when their felonious forecasts transpire to be incorrect.

Because these supernatural swindlers' deliberate deceptions are tantamount to fraud I affirm that legislators have a duty to protect gentlemen's money from suggestible spouses' susceptibility to psychic scams by completely outlawing soothsaying for financial gain forthwith.

Thank you.
Danielle

Con

Thanks for the debate, Brian, and good luck.

Pro's Arguments:

1. Self-professed fortune tellers cannot really predict the future.
2. Women use their husband's money to pay fortune tellers.
3. Fortune tellers act within shady but legal means.
4. The government has a responsibility to protect a husband's money from his wife.

Rebuttal:

1. Pro asserts that fortune tellers cannot really predict the future. However, he has absolutely no proof that this is true in every case - even if many don't predict lottery numbers. Furthermore, as Pro's third argument points out, these swindlers are always acting within perfectly legal means and are sometimes more straight forward than Pro gives them credit for. For instance, if one advertises themselves as a tarot card reader, then said person isn't advocating that tarot cards can accurately predict the future but rather that they know how to do tarot readings which is in fact a perfectly legal if only "for fun" activity.

2. Obviously it is not only women who attend said fortune tellers, and clearly Pro can in no way prove that those who do visit fortune tellers do not use their own money.

3. Again, since fortune tellers act within perfectly legal means and do not perform a job that causes direct harm upon an individual, then there is no reason to outlaw this industry. In order to retain legal status, for instance, many fortune tellers have to advertise along with the slogan "For entertainment purposes only." In other words, there are no guarantees and an up-front distinction that whatever is said holds no real or legal bearing. Those who choose to believe in this practice do so at their own discretion, and are not tricked or manipulated into anything without fair warning. In other words, individuals are responsible for their own gullibility as well as keeping tabs on their own money.

4. Pro has not provided any reason explaining why it is the government's right or responsibility to determine how people spend their money (on legal things) and why. Further, he has not explained why this should be illegal at all. His only argument is that women use their husband's money (which I've refuted) and that fortune tellers are swindlers which I've also refuted.

Conclusion:

Many professions can be considered swindlers including lawyers, doctors and more. Let us also consider religious professions - Priests get paid to preach the word of God even though they cannot prove that God exists or that they know what God is saying. Yet despite this, if people choose to believe in the message, then they do so at their own discretion and any money they non-forcibly donate to the church is fair game. Now, if Pro's argument is that women should not be able to steal their husband's money, then that would be a whole other issue. However the resolution does not mandate that women do such thing (steal) in regard to paying fortune tellers, so that argument alone is not enough to merit points for the Pro.
Debate Round No. 1
brian_eggleston

Pro

Firstly, I would like to thank TheLwerd for accepting this debate.

To start off with, I would like to say that I cannot prove that some psychic mediums cannot tell the future any more than I can prove that God, Allah, Buddha, Shiva and all the countless other deities that humans believe in don't exist. All I know is that they can't all exist and be all-powerful and the likelihood is none of them exist.

This brings me to my opponent's point about making preaching with menaces illegal. I've seen this on television in Texas – some frothing evangelist comes on and starts ranting on about us all being sinners and telling us that the only way to redeem ourselves is to call the number on the bottom the screen with our credit card details to hand. To my mind, that sort of thing should be outlawed as well but freedom of religion is enshrined in constitutional law (at least in America), which is why I didn't add preachers to my list of soothsayers.

By the way, I don't know why soothsayers' victims are mostly women, but they are. If you don't believe me, go to the newsagents and look at the magazines aimed at women (Cosmopolitan, Good Housekeeping, Idle Chit-Chat Weekly, etc.) and see how many of them have astrology pages. Then look at the magazines aimed at men (Car and Driver, Viz, GQ, etc.) and see how many astrology pages there are in them. I bet you will find far more psychic mumbo-jumbo in the women's journals than in the men's.

Similarly, take a look at the testimonies on this psychic readings website:

http://www.psychicreadings.org.uk...

You will find that they are all from women except one, which is from a certain Mr. C who wrote:

"Dear Luke,

You are simply amazing and the best, in fact I would go so far as to say you are wonderful and fantastic. You really are!

It is my profound wish that one day we could meet as I would love to take my belief in all things spiritual further. Perhaps one day my wish will come true. I would love to buy you a meal in Manchester as my way of saying thank you properly for all you have done for me.

Luke, thank you so much, I appreciate all that you do for me and I am very grateful.

With warmest wishes,

Mr C"

I don't know how that reads to you, but to me it sounds like Mr. C is asking Luke out on a date. So although Mr. C may not, biologically speaking, be female he obviously is very effeminate.

Moving on, of course, I accept that not all women who get ripped-off by supernatural spivs are wasting their husband's money - some may still be single and are chucking their fathers' money down the drain, others might even have jobs and be squandering their own cash, who knows?

Whatever, the point is that these fraudsters are targeting those women who have more money than sense and that is morally wrong, even though it may not yet be illegal.

Look at this way, if an entire industry was based on conmen diddling pensioners out of their savings or fraudsters jewing the handicapped out of their disability benefits, laws would be introduced to protect these vulnerable people and I fail to see why weak-minded women don't deserve the same protection.

In conclusion, these mercenary mediums are exploiting people's mothers, wives and daughters and their actions will have an adverse affect on their whole families' finances. This means the entire household has to suffer to satisfy these unscrupulous spiritualists' avarice and greed, and that is why soothsaying for financial gain should be outlawed.

Thank you.
Danielle

Con

Hi again, Brian, and thanks for the debate. Many apologies for not being able to post sooner -- I haven't been on DDO for a bit and have now just a few minutes left to respond, so without further adieu:

You'll notice that Pro has never provided substantial reasoning to prove the resolution. As I've said in the last round, his main arguments were that fortune tellers cannot really predict the future (which he admits may or may not be true); that women use their husband's money (which he admits may or may not be true); that fortune tellers act within shady but legal means (which he cannot deny) and that the government should protect these so-called gullible spenders (which he cannot defend, and I'll prove that now...).

First, Pro notes that preachers cannot be considered soothsayers because of laws that protect freedom of religion. I do believe this argument loses him the debate, considering that many religions use astrology and that astrology is not only present but sometimes the root of various religions or social institutions [1] [2]. So, if Brian's point is that these matters of a religious nature should not or can not be outlawed, then astrology must fall into that category and therefore his point is moot considering many cultures utilize astrology as part of their religion (such as gypsys or pagans, for example).

Next, regarding government protection Pro says that the government has the right and responsibility to step in and protect citizens from their own gullibility. He cites examples such as failing to provide benefits in other industries as worthy of being deemed a crime. On that note, first I'd like to point out that he ignored my point from the last round in which I explained that many times mediums have to use the phrase "For entertainment purposes only" which eliminates all legal bearing for them to provide concrete and substantial results. Not to mention that this type of industry is different than the ones Pro has mentioned in which something tangible must be exchanged.

Second, the government has no business in stopping people simply from being gullible. For instance, if a man wanted to sell his property for $200,000 even though its perceived and listed value was just $100,000... then that's his prerogative if the buyer is willing to spend that amount of money for that product. Similarly, fortune telling is a service rather than a product (as a back massage, for example). If one wanted to charge $10,000 for a back massage and someone was willing to pay for it, then no matter how ridiculous Pro thinks that is, the buyer and the seller have every right to engage in that type of sale. The same logic applies here to fortune telling. The seller must divulge the service at face value and if the buyer chooses to believe or accept what the service has to offer, then regardless of how silly it sounds to others it is still perfectly legal and acceptable. The government's job cannot be to police the world of gullible people. Not to mention that people who spend money on this might not be gullible; they might just have nothing better to do with their money. If a seller offers fortune telling and provides the service of "fortune telling," then regardless of what the seller says, if the service is provided as offered then the seller has done nothing wrong. Whether or not the buyer chooses to buy into the seller's words is up to their own discretion.

Now, if you'll notice, Pro's only source simply cited a letter from a man who attends psychics. What does that have to do with anything? He's also pointed out that magazines marketed towards women tend to contain things like astrology readings which again is irrelevant to the debate. Since he cannot prove that women use their husband's or father's money on this type of thing, then regardless of the sex of who believes in astrology more still doesn't really affect whether or not this practice of fortune telling should be legal. Men commit FAR more violent crimes and murders than women on a huge statistical basis -- does that mean we should outlaw guns or knives for men?

In conclusion, Pro's points simply fall short to uphold the resolution. In the last round he points out that vulnerable people who "have more money than sense" need to be protected. However, I've explained that many people who utilize astrology do so for religious purposes... and while that may seem unreasonable to a non-believer, it is still perfectly acceptable within the realms of the law. Furthermore, Pro writes that mercenary mediums are making it so entire families have to suffer at the hands of gullible buyers. However, that is obviously the fault of the buyer and not the mediums. If an alcoholic is ruining their family, we blame the individual - not the beer company. If one's attendance at these mediums is hurting their family, then they should take it upon themselves to prioritize their values. If they value the service of fortune telling, that's their prerogative.

Also, keep in mind that individual cases of fraud can and SHOULD still be investigated on an individual basis, such as this NY psychic who 'swindled' thousands from her client [3]. This allows for certain cases to be investigated for foul play while not eliminating an entire industry that provides jobs and an entertaining, non-threatening (and legal) service. I know that I've been to the psychic for $10 readings on several occasions in my life; to me it's just for fun and I didn't mind spending the money -- I could have or would have just as easily used that cash to buy a movie ticket which may or may not have provided the same level of entertainment. Bottom line: people need to take financial responsibility for their own purchases.

Thanks again for the debate :)

[1] http://www.factsbehindfaith.com...
[2] http://www.smoe.org...
[3] http://www.nydailynews.com...
Debate Round No. 2
16 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by mattrodstrom 7 years ago
mattrodstrom
I think an FPA would be appropriate. (not really... but kinda:)

That is a Federal Pshycic Administration.

They would simply ensure that people didn't claim to be providing "Psychic Services" without actually being able to show the government that there services are of a psychic nature.
Posted by Danielle 7 years ago
Danielle
Yeah - About 15 minutes. It didn't take any research lol it was just a straight rebuttal of opinions... and I type fast.
Posted by Kinesis 7 years ago
Kinesis
Holy cr*p, you typed all of round 2 in only a few minutes?
Posted by Alex 7 years ago
Alex
why would preachers be considered soothsayers? they don't charge
Posted by mattrodstrom 7 years ago
mattrodstrom
Also.. in Britain (eggles "mother country") women are evidently twice as likely as men to believe in astrology

http://www.gallup.com...

And being that men are cheap... (or women profligate, it's kinda relative) one would assume the disparity in actually purchasing astrological services and the like would be even greater.
Posted by mattrodstrom 7 years ago
mattrodstrom
I thought this was interesting and it puts some numbers on the disparity in belief in astrology between men and women.

http://www.harrisinteractive.com...
Posted by dogparktom 7 years ago
dogparktom
Brian,

Here is the statute under which the charge was brought:

609.52 Theft

Subd. 2.Acts constituting theft.
Whoever does any of the following commits theft and may be sentenced as provided in subdivision 3:

(4) by swindling, whether by artifice, trick, device, or any other means, obtains property or services from another person; or ...
https://www.revisor.mn.gov...

I don't remember much about the case - it was 30 years ago. I do remember that the defendants were using tarot cards and the glass ball. We couldn't find a similar case in Minnesota or in the country, so we were excited to make law. However, our clients were primarily interested in staying out of jail, so they instructed us to plea bargain and we finally got pleas that were acceptable to them. They didn't care about convixctions on their record. I suppose that the pleas were just a cost of doing business.

At the time, gambling was illegal in Minnesota. Now, of course, we have many Indian casinos. Some say that the casino odds of winning amount to a swindle. Maybe the charges would not have been brought today because of the societal change.
Posted by feverish 7 years ago
feverish
Wow Brian, use of the verb "to jew".

So wrong but funny.
Posted by dogparktom 7 years ago
dogparktom
Brian,

Here is the statute under which the charge was brought:

609.52 Theft

Subd. 2.Acts constituting theft.
Whoever does any of the following commits theft and may be sentenced as provided in subdivision 3:

(4) by swindling, whether by artifice, trick, device, or any other means, obtains property or services from another person; or ...
https://www.revisor.mn.gov...

I don't remember much about the case - it was 30 years ago. I do remember that the defendants were using tarot cards and the glass ball. We couldn't find a similar case in Minnesota or in the country, so we were excited to make law. However, our clients were primarily interested in staying out of jail, so they instructed us to plea bargain and we finally got pleas that were acceptable to them. They didn't care about convictions on their record. I suppose that the pleas were just a cost of doing business.

At the time, gambling was illegal in Minnesota. Now, of course, we have many Indian casinos. Some say that the casino odds of winning amount to a swindle. Maybe the charges would not have been brought today because of the societal change.
6 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 6 records.
Vote Placed by Udel 1 year ago
Udel
brian_egglestonDanielleTied
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Reasons for voting decision: Pro says that soothsayers are lying for money. Con says that Pro hasnt proven they are lying. She also says they are not necessarily misrepresenting their work. She mentions they advertise for being "entertainment purposes" meaning they make a discalimer about their lying. This prevents their legal liability. Pro says that the discalimers dont matter because people (women) are basically too dumb to know better. Pro did not prove that psychics are definitely lying and he did not respond to Con's point about advertising for enterainment purposes. Con argued that the government does not serve to protect consumers beyond certain standards and psychics make enough legal disclaimers, which Pro dropped. For sources, Pro only used one to quote someone on psychics but Con used sources to show how fortune telling is valid in some religions to uphold one of her points for validity. Pro also used bad conduct and was calling women stupid throughout.
Vote Placed by Cliff.Stamp 6 years ago
Cliff.Stamp
brian_egglestonDanielleTied
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Reasons for voting decision: I voted here about three months ago, this is an RFD request. Brian's debates on DDO are obviously meant for entertainment and they provide a unique and appreciated view. Danielle fails completely in this respect to provide any substantial return in kind, though obviously dominates the argument from a rational perspective. Brian engages her but can not match the level of argument, but that is enough to carry the win. Though if I was voting now it would be 4:3, not 3:0.
Vote Placed by Sorrow 7 years ago
Sorrow
brian_egglestonDanielleTied
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Vote Placed by Awed 7 years ago
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Vote Placed by dasamster 7 years ago
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Vote Placed by Danielle 7 years ago
Danielle
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