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The Contender
Con (against)
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Studying English(Pro) vs Math(Con)

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 4/25/2015 Category: Education
Updated: 1 year ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 370 times Debate No: 74170
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (1)
Votes (1)




I think studying English is better than Math because Math formulas boggle my head. I am currently in 7th grade.
While English essays are long, they are not as bad as writing all those numbers that can stop making sense if you lose concentration or take a break for a while. I do not like algebra.



This debate is about the study of a linguistics of one language (English) and the study of a wide-range of things (Math). We can define the study of English as a broad study inclusive of literature, complex linguistics and grammar, and the study of the applications of English in everday life (rhetoric). The definition of math is still disputed. For the sake of this debate, I shall take Benjamin Pierce's "mathematics is the science that draws necessary conclusions" definition.

Hence, since this is a value debate, we shall talk about the ends only (i.e. results) and not means-we shall not also talk about the pragmatic usage of the ends (money earned) as the fields of mathematics (and English) are too broad to have one definite job in mind, but we shall talk about the intrinsic value of the ends (epistemological ability). The BoP of the prop-side is to prove that English has ends which are more intrinsically useful than math.


a.) Truth and Language

For years, philosophers have been working on the fundamental "problems of philosophy." Many great minds have been swallowed by these problems-Shakespeare included, whose Romeo and Juliet was more of an exposition of a tragic and dark fatalism. However, many old problems of philosophy are now more or less solved-for example, the beginning of the universe, in which Herbert Spencer in his First Principles spent so much time analyzing, has been solved by a relatively simple model called the Big Bang Theory. My point here is the following-following Ludwing Wittgenstein's famous "what can be said at all can be said clearly, and what we cannot talk about we must pass over in silence"- is that the intrinsic value of the English language can ultimately be used to say something only, or deduce something analytically. However, a synthetic conclusion cannot ever be reached via English alone.

More must be said on this. Hence, I shall go into the theory of semantics. Semantics is the study of meaning. We cannot create a theory of semantics based only upon the English language alone. For example, define "a"-accordingly to some sources, "a" is "not any particular or certain one of a class or group." But what is a "group" so to say? A group is
"a number of people or things that are located close together or are considered or classed together." Hence we are led to a circular definition of the word "a"-hence, we have no definition of the word "a" whatsoever (in the English language that is). This is crucial-in English, we can barely assert any certainty, even in the definitions of the smallest and easiest terms.

But to go further, let us take the Kantian concept of antinomies i.e. "whatever conclusion is reached via reason has an equal and opposite reason against the conclusion." For example, if I assert that "God exists" because God created the universe, we could hence say that no one created God, hence, God does not exist etc. No absolute conclusion can be reached on these fields. Pragmatically, this has also been the case. Kurt Gödel's incompleteness theorems destroyed the volumnious works of the logical positivists by showing that no consistent mathematical system can be complete. Newton's Principles also destroyed the previously accepted De Physica of Aristotle by showing that objects are not things that what to be reunited, but are held together by a force called gravity.

What has been concluded here is the following: that the English language alone cannot lead to any "certainties." Only the possibility of mathematics, and logical analysis of language can lead to certainties.


a.) Math is Hard

Life is hard. Does that mean death is more than life?


One more argument will be presented in the next round. The opposition's argument does nothing to affirm the motion whatsoever. It is henceforth negated!

Debate Round No. 1


I think you have set off on the wrong direction. I didn't mean whether the subjects have certainties or not, but which subject is easier to study and can be thought of as better than the other. Also I am talking about studying them in school.
While you put in terms English rhetoric and semantics increases difficulty, the same thing can be done for math. While Math is mostly about numbers, I could twist around the straightforward definitions of say algebra to confuse the students. In English too they can be expressed in a far more understandable way.

Math can at times lose its usefulness. It is just like my friend said 'Just learn the four operations, add, subtract, divide, multiply and then throw the book in the bin. I have not been using algebra in my daily life, as we don't take the time to substitute a value for the place of x and switch around things, for it goes automatically. For example I ask what number to add to 5 to get the sum of 9? You will say four, not run around for a piece of paper or write a variable and then solve it. For further reference I will refer to my debate 'Is algebra useful in our daily lives?'
What is the use of graphs as well, when we have soft wares in which we can just put the values and the graph will pop up? Ms. Excel has that facility. I don't get why I need to draw it.

Furthermore, English has a lot of uses in our daily lives. We always need to speak, and English is a global language. We also get times when we need to convince others of our view, like arguments and even this debate, and usage of semantics and rhetoric help in convincing the other person. Even without semantics, knowing good vocabulary can help muster more reasons to persuade the other person.
Plus English can be entertaining if you like reading novels, while Math entertainment is more limited compared to the wide range of books available.
Math is hard, but you say life is hard. But who said death is easy? It is a painful process, whichever way you wanna die.
English is easier than Math, simply because it has more uses so our expertise is increased. From all subject except foreign language to even games, English prevails.



a.) Semantics

Firstly, the proposition side has not (a) provided an adequate criterion for indeed having a good debate. He suggests that the "[ease of] to study [which can be thought] of as better than the other." However, this criterion is, frankly, lame and ultimately, worthless. If the easiest thing were the most useful thing, then death would be easier than life. Then blabbering on, such as Hegel does, would be better (and easier) than making a point, as Hume does. He has also (b) doubted the "certainty" and "intrinsic value" criterion, but his criterion of ease is much more absurd. And even if he makes it so that he rejects my criterion, he ultimately uses it when he states that "math can at times lose its usefulness," implying that the intrinsic value criterion has been accepted.

b.) Intrinsic Value of Algebra

We are told that the opposition "[has]not been using algebra in...daily life." However, people from many fields use algebra daily. From complicated subjects such as physics, the usage of such easy theorems such as that of Pythagoras has helped scientists learn more about the universe. The opposition hence mistakens his life, which is a "particular," to be universal. Apart from this, the intrinsic value of algebra is much more useful in finding good conclusions. The opposition refers the question: "Is algebra useful in our daily lives?" An absurd question-but perhaps relevant. I argue-yes it is. Finding conclusions to an unknown variable i.e. solving it is much more useful than the pure speculations that the opposition can achieve with the English language.

c.) The Case of Ms. Excel

The opposition talks about "Ms. Excel has that facility [to make graphs]," hence we should not learn how to make them. Are we willing to prostitute our epistemological knowledge to some computer program? That is just an absurd conclusion-"because we have Excel, we should ignore the practical makings of a graph." For ultimately, what Ms. Excel can do is all based on math, which is based on the ability of someone to do math. The opposition "[doesn't] get why [he] need to draw [a graph]" because Ms. Excel does it for you. However, even if Ms. Excel draws it for you, Ms. Excel is pretty blunt-for example, if you tell Ms. Excel to graph a graph from a simple Cartesian method, Ms. Excel would get confused. Apart from this, if one does not learn good math, one does not learn the contents of the graph.

d.) English

There are 1.2 billion English speakers in this world. That means 16% of the world speaks English. Many more people know how to count than speak English-is the opposition saying that we live in a homogeneous world where every speaks the language? Everyone knows how to count-but only 16% of the world speaks English. Is English more useful? If the opposition were to take a trip to Shanghai, China, the opposition would doubt the usefulness of English-because no one speaks English there. The opposition suggests that "English can be entertaining if you like reading novels." I do like reading novels too-from the translated works of Victor Hugo to the many beautiful sonnets of Shakespeare. But America's best-selling book, the Bible, was not written in English, but rather Hebrew!


The opposition's case is based upon ease-because x is easier, henceforth x is better. This is flawed-laziness is easier than hard-work, yet hard-work pays off in the end. Disorganization is better than organization-but organization is ultimately more useful. English is not a global language-only 16% of the world knows how to speak it. The opposition states that "even without semantics, knowing good vocabulary can help muster more reasons to persuade the other person," which is to a point, ironic. The opposition presents no good counter-argument to the main assertion of my only case, and henceforth, I am not obliged to present any other arguments whatsoever. The resolution is NEGATED!

Debate Round No. 2


Con should have read round 1 a bit more properly.
It states that I am in 7th grade, so we are talking about the usefulness in that time, and I am sure no young quantum physics guys are common yet.
Firstly, the proposition side has not (a) provided an adequate criterion for indeed having a good debate. He suggests that the "[ease of] to study [which can be thought] of as better than the other." However, this criterion is, frankly, lame and ultimately, worthless.
English is easier AND better than Math. And since I am the instigator, I had provided the criterion I wanted to debate upon, and therefore con may not have accept it if it is 'lame'.
For ultimately, what Ms. Excel can do is all based on math, which is based on the ability of someone to do math.
And half the Math sums are based on whether you understand the questions or not, which may be in English. And no, 1.5 billion people speak English-
Furthermore, English still is the most spoken language, and there may be a few English speakers in every country. Although all the world know math, suppose some statistics had to be shared on the internet for global issues. How will an Indian understand Chinese, or vice-versa? English is the most used language, that is for sure.
From the start it was about which was more difficult 'formulas boggle my head' yet Con has drifted to usages of these subjects. The question here is which is better to study, English or Math??
Ms. Excel- Who cares about the past, now that Ms Excel makes graphs, why we need to do it on paper? Reading a graph is a different thing, maybe we can learn that but why waste time making those things? And as for Cartesian grid, Ms Excel has different graph formats. You could choose the one which seems similar.
Unless Con can provide enough reasons to show Math is easier and one is more likely to study it than English in school if it was optional, I can say that the resolution is resolved.



a.) Criterion Dispute

Side proposition has stated that "I am the instigator, I had provided the criterion I wanted to debate upon." This stretches the line-the opposition has not provided any criterion in Round One, and even if he had, his criterion has been disputed by side-opposition and it seems that side-proposition has been unable to refute it, or provide sufficient reasons to reject it. Frankly, this debate is not base on age. This debate is based on the "intrinsic value" criterion-and to this, side-prop. has attempted to use the "ease" criterion. But in terms of consistency, building a straw-hut is much easier than building a luxury palace-yet we would all prefer to live in a luxury palace than a straw hut. Ease does not increase desirability.

b.) English

The opposition has attempted to refute my statistics on the number of total English speaker, but de minimis non curat praetor. (The statistic presented by side-proposition is ±500m of the stat., which is predictable due to the extreme difficulty of measuring language speakers) However, what is not de minimis is the assertion that English is the "is the most used language" in the world. Chinese is; accordingly to a study by Ethnologue, Chinese has 1,197 million speakers, whilst English has 335 million speakers. The opposition expects to find that a math test in China will be written in English. [1]

c.) Excel

The opposition has an intimate relationship with Excel. He thinks that it would be able to answer any question in anything. Let us talk about Cartesian co-ordinates here. The well known Cartesian formula is y=mx+b, or slope-intercept form. Now, the opposition thinks that Excel does this for you-no it cannot. This is where Excel ends-one must find the points of the graph, or the slope of the line described by the formula, then add it in into Excel. And apart from this, when it comes to Parabolas and Functions, Excel's ability is severely limited by that. The opposition says "who cares about the past?" If you don't, millions of people do-do we really want to prostitute our rationality in some AI-thing in which we would be unable to understand if not for our mathematical education? Does it ever bother side-proposition that by doing this, the computer is smarter than us?


a.) Criterion Dispute

The opposition has been disabled from providing any form of persuasive argument for the criterion of ease, which henceforth leaves us with the intrinsic value criterion, which the opposition still has not refuted, except using several ad hominem-type arguments i.e. "I made this"

b.) Arguments

The opposition raises almost no argument whatsoever in support of his baseline. No good arguments were raised in support of the values of the study of English.

c.) Refutations

The opposition's refutations are de minimis in reducing the argument of my case.

The resolution is


Debate Round No. 3
1 comment has been posted on this debate.
Posted by Himans45 1 year ago
I'm fairy sure mandarin is more spoken than english.
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by 9spaceking 1 year ago
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Total points awarded:03 
Reasons for voting decision: con uses logic and a neat organization to beat pro.