The Instigator
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4 Points
The Contender
Con (against)
14 Points

Technology is killing the quality of the human spirit.

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 4/8/2011 Category: Society
Updated: 6 years ago Status: Voting Period
Viewed: 4,392 times Debate No: 15851
Debate Rounds (5)
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Votes (5)




I feel with every passing generation since 19th century, there has been an increasing loss of importnt human qualities due to technology.

When the elder generation (ages 60-80) speak of their youth they speak of memories filled with the playing out of imagination and only things derived from imagination. Things such as playing dress up, building forts, learning to work around the house or elsewhere, hanging out with friends, and many other things that did not involve technology.

When the middle aged generation (ages 40-60) speak of their youth, they speak of playing out things derived from their imagination mixed with a little technology. Television, movies, videogames, radio, and low tech gadgets that were popular at the time.. But were ony being first introduced on a large scale and were not a part of the normal way of things. This generation speaks of this technology with a youthful desire, but with technology not being readily available, they were forced to be social, use their imagination, and live without the everyday use of technology if need be.

With the young adult generation (ages 20-40) speak of their youth, they speak of television, videogames, movies, pagers, cellphones, computers, and etc., to the point where living without this technology would be unacceptable and unheard of.

The youth generation (ages 0-20) would barely even know how to function without a computer, cellphones, microwave, etc.

Think about it... If there were no phones, how would you contact someone you needed to contact? Here were the obvious options...

A.) You go to find the person or persons at places where they are likely to be found.
B.) You write a letter and send it in the mail to the person or persons.
C.) You tell someone that you know will be in contact with them shortly the information that needs to be given or asked.

Now in each of these situations you develop important qualities...

A.) This option forces the perso to go outside into the world on a small quest or mision to find the person. During this process you have to reason with..

Where would they most likely be? How will I get there? What might I face along the way? Etc.

All of these things develop problem solving skills, force the use of imagination or reason, which infuses the human spirit with quality.

In comparison, nowadays all most people do is scroll through the names in a cellphone, push a button, and talk or leave a message. This develo almost nothing of quality in the human brain or spirit, mentally or physically.

B.) This option forces you to put your thoughts down on paper, which developes mental organization and clarity, imagination of word usage, vocabularly, penmanship, and other things as well.

In comparison, all you have to do now is shoot a quick email, text message, or social network comment, and your effort is done. This also develops very little the human brain or spirit, when all you have to do is find a key and push it, a letter pops up on the screen, and each and every word is spell checked with no effort mentally.

C.) This option forces you to think of social situations around you and what is going on in everyone's life in order to figure out who might be in contact with the person or persons that you need to ask or give information to. And once you find that person you must talk to them in person, which forces you to use social skills in order to complete your objective.

This is only one example of many that shows how technology is killing the quality of the human spirit.

I love technology for all the wonderful things it does to help us, but I am sorry to say that it comes at a great cost.


I'm afraid I don't share my opponent's sentiments. I'll keep my opening round fairly short, as my opponent has not elaborated much of a proper argument yet.

This debate is centrally around whether technology causes a loss of human quality. I argue that technology is how people manifest a laziness that might have some other cause. In particular, I argue that laziness itself is inherant to human nature, and thus we, not our inventions, are the murderers of our own spirits. I also argue that technology enables you to exercise human qualities in superior ways to what has ever been possible in the past.


Imagination, problem solving skills, reason, mental organisation, spirituality, and social skills have been so far defined as examples of human qualities. From these I will draw out the rule that a human quality is any mental ability that can be learnt. The opposite of this I deem to be laziness, the non-exercise of mental ability.

I will define technology, based on the affirmative's opening case, to be any practical application of the electronic sciences.


What my opponent needs to do, to substantiate any of his arguments, is show why technology caused the problem. All of his arguments so far are examples of how people use technology to be lazy. They do not tell us why those people are lazy. To win this debate, my opponent must exclude the possibility that without technology, these people would still be lazy. Yes, the laziness would naturally be less manifest. Human spirit is, I think, prima face not elevated by the inability to manifest itself, if that human spirit were to be taken to include an element of laziness (as I will go on to show).

Being lazy is more than just doing less to do an action ... it is also about doing less overall. I tend to think people today do more than people did back in our grandparent's day. For instance, look at working hours. Look at the type of labor - most labor back then was menial work, while today we are beyond that era, and can achieve more while doing less. That isn't laziness, that's symptoms of working smarter and harder. They're not mutually exclusive.

Argument 1: Laziness a part of human nature

If laziness was not an inherent part of human nature, communists would be ruling the world. Why? Because without external influence, a non-inherently-lazy person would be infinitely productive. Communism specifically precludes external influence. Therefore communism should not have failed. Yet it did.

If laziness was not an inherent part of human nature, Fredrick Winslow Taylor's Scientific Management would be the norm. Why? Well, think about it. The only reason it failed was because not everyone could keep up with the work - they WANTED breaks and fair conditions. These can only be by-products of laziness - the willingness to work less hard.

Laziness is quite useful. It avoids wasting excess energy and reduces your risk of exploitation. If laziness were not a part of human nature, I would be glad technology put it there. But given the vast number of pre-technology references to laziness, I think you'll find that one can be lazy for reasons other than technological ones.

My opponent will not win this argument because he will not be able to prove laziness is caused by technology.

Argument 2: Technology builds human qualities

Imagination: Electronic music, graphic design and even many creative video games have allowed imagination to flourish in ways we would never have predicted. Most technology out there is derived from imagination as much as a pattern on a blanket is derived from the imagination. While there are rules, without imagination there can be no design.

Problem Solving:
Like computers don't have problems to solve!? Programming, some video games, everything creative, technical work such as networking, and many other information technology issues have a vast problem solving component.

For goodness sake, you're using technology to reason right now!

Mental Organization: Keeping mental track of hundreds of files, contacts, websites and other new data which older generations never needed to worry about is a huge feat of mental organisation. That's why old people, who didn't learn it as youths, have such trouble with it.

Spirituality: Ever heard of the Church of Google? I rest my case.

Social Skills:
Society is a construct, and can be built around anything, including technology. Therefore using facebook or twitter efficiently is a social skill.


My opponent shows no conclusive causal link between laziness and technology, as he must do. He also does not show why technology is actually bad, on balance, and needs to respond to my analysis that technology can build the quality of the human spirit. For all of these reasons I am proud to negate.
Debate Round No. 1


I must state that I expected my opponent to be from the youth generation. Anyone from this generation has no bearing to measure how different it has been through the decades. Humans are not lazy by nature in my opinion. Lock a human up in a room and he will beg to be released. He will beg of this so he can use energy, express imagination, and be part of the world around him.

I will prove that technology makes us lazy through logic and intelligent reasoning. If there was no technology think of how you would entertain yourself and the human qualities it would bring. In my opinion it would be extremely difficult for Con to do this given his young age.

If you did not have a television, what would you do? Stare at a wall because you are naturally lazy? No, I wouldn't bet on it.

If you did not have a computer, what would you do? Watch television? Can't. Listen to the radio? Can't.

You would be forced to look inside yourself in order to find ways of entertainment and expression. This path alone promotes the growth of human qualities. Nobody ever said that the growth of human qualities was more fun. Humans are persuaded to make choices based on personal enjoyment and the truth is that technology is very enjoyable to most humans. And in being so enjoyable, it persuades us to choose technology over the less enjoyable manual route. It is like modern day magic or magical devices, and humans love magic.

Technology makes us lazy because it gives us options that were not there before. Options that would not exist without technology. So, your opinion of humans being lazy by nature has no bearing here.. Because even if humans are naturally lazy, they would be forced to action through things that are more important than laziness in life. Self entertainment, providing food, providing shelter, and providing other resources for self, family, and/or friends that are needed for survival.

Technology let's humans do these things with very little action involved, and humans will choose these options because they are more enjoyable or free up more for future enjoyment. Technology makes us more lazy because it gives us the option to be lazy in many situations. Regardless of our human nature, without technology we wouldn't be as lazy.

I prove my point through logic and life experience.

And just to clear this up Con. This topic is not "Technology makes people lazy". But I will humor you, as the subjects are indeed linked.


"Technology makes people lazy" is indeed the topic, as laziness I have defined as the opposite to the quality of the human spirit. I would like to thank my opponent for his curt responses, and ask that he refrain from ad hominum attacks in future.

What this is really about, I think, is the difference between a manifest laziness and causation of laziness. My opponent has no analysis at all that the cause of laziness, and therefore the loss of the human spirit, is technology, and he refuses to engage with any of my points on this issue. Yet what he describes is how people use the options given to them by technology to manifest their laziness. There is a difference.

I think, therefore, that I win this debate by default. My opponent must prove that technology is killing human spirit, not that people are using technologies in ways that show their spirit is killed. If you look at my argument in round one, I in fact prove my point. To this my opponent has only one response - that "regardless" of whether it's human nature, technology helps us be more lazy. Yet what we are arguing here is causation ("technology IS killing"), not whether technology helps us to manifest what I have argued is a confounding variable - human nature.

If you read argument two, in my opening round, you will see plenty of analysis that technology is a double-edged sword: one can use it "spiritfully" and vice versa. I do not deny that some use technology instead of mental exercise, and you do not deny that technology is used by some (I would argue all) as mental exercise. Therefore the point is moot at best, and somewhat irrelevant to the proposition ... and yet you have the burden of proof to show that technology is an expression of laziness manifest. Even if it is, remember, this debate is about not the manifestation of laziness, but the causation. This isn't about "fun" or "options" - choice only allows us to manifest a desire that pre-existed, not create desire. Ultimately, my opponent's argument has therefore little to do with his own topic.

So what did my opponent give you? Well, he generalized a generic youth (and pretended I was such a generic youth). Then based upon this subjective interpretation he hypothesized a scenario and told us his hypothesized outcome. Finally he called that "logic and intelligent reasoning." I prefer to call it "daydreaming."

In fact I do not suppose that I know how anyone else would react without technology. I, too, can hypothesize, but what is the use in that? I for one (if I am a generic youth - if, even, there is such a thing!) would sit down with my friends and play Dungeons and Dragons, or perhaps chess. I would debate with my friends and chat with my family. Is my spirit any more "killed" if I play Dungeons and Dragons or Chess over email? Is online debate or facebook really more harmful than physical debate or chatting? If so, that's what you need to substantiate. I'm afraid that a hypothetical scenario won't cut it.

What it really comes down to is why we are lazy, not how we are lazy. Until my opponent engages with the real issue in this debate, I think the outcome is clear. He has the burden of proof, he has failed. The motion has fallen.
Debate Round No. 2


Con says in round 2 -

""Is my spirit any more "killed" if I play Dungeons and Dragons or Chess over email? Is online debate or facebook really more harmful than physical debate or chatting? If so, that's what you need to substantiate.""

Yes, the human spirit is more killed hrough these means of expression and entertainment than to do he said activities in real life. I have clearly stated this not only in my topic headline, but in my argument as well. I give good logical reasoning by which any intelligent human being can rationalize this conclusion..

A.) Technology gives humans the option to do things with little or no action = True

B.) Without technology humans are forced into action by desire or survival instinct = True

C.) Without technology humans have 2 choices.. Choose laziness and die of starvation and thirst or choose action and survive.

D.) Conclusion - Without technology humans do not have the luxury of laziness and therfore are forced to action through survival instincts and desire alone.

Here are a few moreexampls of my point...

Humans could not just twist a key and push a gas pedal to me from point A to point B before technology.

Humans could not just sit on a couch and stare at a box with moving pictures in it before technology.

Humans could not just push a button and talk to another human before technology.

Sitting and talking to someone develops for more in the spiritually and mentally than chatting with someone online.

If we were having this debate in person it would have a far greater quality in all aspects, other than this version of it online.

If you were chatting with people on facebook for your whole life and never once spent time with them in person.. You would have a much lower quality of a relationship.

Think about this. Understand this. Only then will you see the point of this topic.

I'm sorry Con.. but you lose. And I personally can understand your generation's view. And yes, it does matter how old you are. You would realize this in a real life debate. How a person presents themself, how they speak, how they mble words, their show of confidence or lackof, etc. All these things matter. All of these things measure quality. Online communication measures very little and therefor is of a less quality than real life.

I want to thank you for your time Con and for taking up this debate as my challenger. I look forward to your response.


This debate is stagnant. My opponents logic still is just that technology is how we are killing spirits, not why. Without the why answer, there is no causation, only manifestation. He does, however, attempt to demonstrate "logically" (note the quotation marks) that there is manifestation.

First, I do not deny manifestation. Second, there is still no response to my second argument. Third, my opponent's assertion that facebook is not social (ignoring my social constructionism analysis) or that DDO is inferior to live debating is, unfortunately, just an unsubstantiated subjective opinion. You can't argue from opinion, and then call it logic! Fourth, appeals to what humans CAN do now are not logically equivalent to showing that humans are now lazy, simply because they have the ability to be. I have already shown they have the ability to be non-lazy, destroying this contention. Fifth, his argument labeled ABCD has three logical flaws:

1. It is not an argument for causation, but rather for manifestation
2. That laziness can only manifest through technology is clearly false - I can lie in bed all day, thus being lazy, and not die (though I'll be very hungry the next day). The question is one of frequency not existence
3. "Luxury of laziness" implies laziness is a luxury, when in fact as I have shown, it is a very important survival instinct

Therefore I can only conclude that I have thought about and understood this much better than pro, as his arguments continue to be based on ignorance of my case. It seems to me that pro's whole case is based upon a false postmodern dystopia of emotional appeals about our present age. That's not a logical demonstration, in contrast to my logic (see above) that pro hasn't proven anything.

The only other argument he has is ad hominum, attacking me because of my age. First, no it does not matter, it will always be a logical flaw. Second, even if it did matter, reasoning should always be more important than presentation, as demonstrated by my opponent's use of reasoning. Third, even then it does not follow that older people are necessarily better communicators. I have demolished people three times my age in debates, in real life. Still that is not an argument, that is a false appeal. That is ad hominum.

What have I told you? I have shown how technology is not the cause of laziness. I do not contend that it is a mechanism of laziness (which is my opponent's whole case), but I argue that it is one of many mechanisms. Furthermore, I have demonstrated (and this remains wholly unrefuted by pro) that technology can in fact build all the human spiritual qualities which pro claims technology destroys.

Again, the burden of proof is on pro to demonstrate (if I may use a medical analogy) that technology is the cause of death of the human spirit, not the symptom. Further he must refute my analysis that it can be the cure. He has done none of the above - not even made the vaguest attempt to refute my case, or even adapt his case, or even extend his case since round one! How then is it that he claims he has won this debate? By proving nothing, an affirmative team affirms nothing. Technology is not necessarily killing the human spirit. Pro has not excluded this and therefore cannot possibly win. That's how a debate works ... pro is bringing a claim but has not brought any evidence that I have not refuted or shown to be or be based upon a logical fallacy. Pro therefore has not substantiated their burden of proof.

Please vote for the only team to actually bring you proper arguments. Vote for the team that is actually taking this debate seriously. That has actually put some effort into rebuttal. That has demonstrated a willingness to engage on the underlying question of the debate, rather than fringe issues and symptoms. Please, vote con. Pro won't add anything to his argument, and if he does, it will be too little, too late. This debate IS about causation, but even if it were not, my opponent's logic is entirely false. So although there are still two more rounds, this debate might as well end now.
Debate Round No. 3


Con talks in riddles like a child and misses the point of my topic entirely. Con tries to breakdown my topic into a form that can be manipulated in his favor. Smart debating tactic, but adolescent in nature. You attack most of my statements as irrelevant, when your argument has very little to do with my actual debate topic. This debate is not about the causation or manifestation of laziness due to technology. This debate is about how technology is killing the quality of the human spirit.

You defend laziness and think it is necessary to survive! I would like to propose a mental experiment to prove my point. This experiment will involve 2 extremes of man. One that has only ever used technology and one that has never used technology.

1st man - This man ever since birth has never left the walls of the building he grew up in and has used nothing but technology to live his life. Never had any contact with the outside world except through technology.

2nd man - This man since birth has never been confined to the walls of a building and has never seen or used technology. Has only had contact through in the world through real life situations.

Observe these 2 men for 30 years.

Now mentally sit these 2 men in front of you and ponder who you would believe to have a higher quality of spirit.

If you honestly believe that the person living through technology has a higher quality of life and spirit... Then by all means, vote for Con.

But if you feel that actual contact and experiences in the real life world create a higher quality of character...

Then vote for me.

But, if you do feel that there is no difference in quality between real life communication and experiences, as opposed to technological communication and experiences... Then I feel sorry for you. And you are the exact kind of spirit that influenced me to start this debate.

Thank you for your time.


I find it very amusing that my opponent has accused me of "speaking in riddles," then immediately resorts to using a cryptic parable as the only way to substantiate his case. He doesn't reinforce his points, he doesn't attack mine ... and yet he claims it is I, not him, who is missing the point of the topic.

This debate is about whether, not how, technology is killing the quality of the human spirit. If my opponent did not mean to moot this, then he should have chosen a different topic. Pro for anything killing anything must show the causal link between one thing and another. So far my opponent's examples have all been cases of how technology is a manifestation of laziness, not the cause (again, recall that laziness has been defined as the opposite of the quality of the human spirit). I have always maintained that technology is an arbitrary tool, and laziness a vice independant of technology.

That's not adolescent. That's not a debating tactic. That's not a riddle. That's a rational response to your case. To call it adolescent, a smart debating tactic and riddlous is to hope that voters will cave in to your emotive language. Voters, don't fall for the trap. Pro has not yet provided substantive analysis for anything.

In this last round, my opponent goes so far as to ask voters to resort (by his own admission) to their feelings surrounding a story he just made up. I guess he has abandoned his old "logic and experience" line of attack, relizing that it wasn't going to work!

The story is, first of all, illogical. Causation is implied, not demonstrated. I claim that the quality of life experienced by the two people in the story is unpredictable. You cannot say in advance that someone's spirit will always react negatively to technology, or vice versa. In the same way one cannot say how one will react to non-virtual experiences.

Secondly, laziness can still exist in both people, but only one can manifest it. That is not to say that laziness is a symptom of technology. Rather, I contend that the use of technology is a symptom of laziness. Remember, I do not need to prove anything, as I have already shown that pro has the burden of proof to carry.

Third, your gut instinct has nothing to do with this debate. Plenty of people have the gut instinct that they should commit suicide, and we applaud them when they do not. The same applies here. You can't use something as subjective as a gut instinct to qualify something as objective as my opponent's own topic.

As I thought, pro's case has gone no further, and he still makes the same emotional, irrational and illogical appeals you heard in round one. My opponent still claims I misunderstand his topic, yet does not even contend with my arguments for why I do not.

This debate is simple. Either vote for pro, who clearly doesn't know anything about debate, or vote for me. That's not ad hominum, that's supported by the facts of the argument above. I wish my opponent all the best with trying to salvage his case in the final round!
Debate Round No. 4


I will try to salvage nothing. My opponent has a young tempered ego and misses the point of my topic entirely. I leave you to your laziness Con, and I hope it gives you all the quality in your spirit that you feel it promotes.

I must say that I was hoping for someone with more intellect, more heart, more life experience, less vocabulary, less arrogance, and less ego. You have left me unsatisfied and craving amore mature opponent. I leave it at that.

Have a nice day.


I'm glad my opponent acknowledges that there is nothing to salvage. After all, he hasn't made a logically coherant case yet. His case has been:

1) I don't like you (and then accuses me of being egoistic) - round 5
2) Fairytales - round 4
3) I think I'm right - round 3
4) Fairytales (involving someone I don't like) - round 2
5) My interpretation of history - round 1

For a detailed discussion of his specific points, see my arguments above. By contrast, in round one, I said:

1) Laziness a part of human nature
2) Technology builds human qualities

None of that has been rebutted or engaged with, therefore both stand. I have also shown why both are absolutely relevant to the moot, and why they destroy any arguments pro could potentially bring up. The burden of proof is on pro in this debate, and as I have said so many times before, he has substantiated absolutely nothing.

When pro says he craves a more mature opponent, what he really craves is a stupider opponent who does not refuse to accept the assumptions on which he builds his case. It isn't about age, it's about which of us had the stronger argument. In this case, pro had no argument and didn't respond to mine. Therefore, how can voting pro be rationalised in a debating context?

I would like to return my opponent's wishes of a nice day, and hope that he comes to appreciate the difference between a cause and a symptom. It's a pretty important distinction. His case is based on the ignorance thereof, so this isn't me being egoistic. I'll leave it at that.

Vote con.
Debate Round No. 5
No comments have been posted on this debate.
5 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 5 records.
Vote Placed by SuperRobotWars 6 years ago
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Reasons for voting decision: See Cliff.Stamp
Vote Placed by Cliff.Stamp 6 years ago
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Reasons for voting decision: First time in awhile I would give clear win to one side. Pro it does not help to keep calling someone juvenile when the bulk of your arguments are condescending insults.
Vote Placed by boredinclass 6 years ago
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Reasons for voting decision: pro drops all of cons arguments in the last speech, and his last argument is an ad hominem
Vote Placed by RoyLatham 6 years ago
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Reasons for voting decision: Con granted Pro's major points about the state of society, but argued that it was necessary to show cause and effect. Neither side had data on causes, but I think Pro's arguments were persuasive enough. Con should have raised better alternative explanations. Con loses conduct for unnecessary insults.
Vote Placed by socialpinko 6 years ago
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Reasons for voting decision: Weak arguments from Pro overall. Also, Pro did not properly refute any of Con's arguments even though Pro himself actually retained the BOP.