The Instigator
larztheloser
Pro (for)
Losing
0 Points
The Contender
Double_R
Con (against)
Winning
10 Points

That it is possible to give an objective vote for any given debate

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 3 votes the winner is...
Double_R
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 6/14/2012 Category: Miscellaneous
Updated: 4 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 2,389 times Debate No: 24273
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (30)
Votes (3)

 

larztheloser

Pro

My opponent and I will be debating whether or not it is necessary to bring one's personal opinion into a vote when voting on a debate. I have the BOP in this debate to show that it is not necessary, that is, that the vote for any given debate can be objectively derived.

Structure will be as per normal for DDO debates. First round is acceptance.

Some definitions:
Objective = not influenced by personal feelings, interpretations, or prejudice; based on facts; unbiased (http://dictionary.reference.com...)
Debate = a formal contest in which the affirmative and negative sides of a proposition are advocated by opposing speakers. (http://dictionary.reference.com...) Specifically, the context for this debate is debates hosted on the internet domain "debate.org."
Vote = the allocation of points to debaters through the voting process on the internet domain "debate.org."

Note that I do not need to show votes on debate.org are objective, only that it is possible to give an objective vote.

Oh, and when voting ... try to be objective!
Double_R

Con

I accept.
Debate Round No. 1
larztheloser

Pro

I'm glad my opponent has accepted this challenge, and look forward to a constructive debate.

To be objective about a debate, every part of the vote must be derived from the debate, and nothing is allowed to be missed from the debate. For example, a vote that is based on arguments that were not in the debate is based on personal prejudice and thus does not meet the criteria for being objective, nor is it based on the facts of the debate or unbiased. Similarly, a vote that misses arguments from the debate is not an objective vote. Otherwise, one is bringing in personal prejudice towards what arguments to run. The only exception to this latter rule would be if a debater shows why an argument should be ignored by judges, in which case judges would obviously need to show why that case stood in the debate to be objective.

On each argument, the decision of who won that point and why does not require any input from voters. Individual arguments can be called drawn if niether debater gained significant ground on that point, so long as it would not result in a drawn debate. It might be based on whether the point was dropped by one of the debaters. It might have been a conceeded point. It might have been that one debater was able to present a clearer case, which could be justified by internal consistancy or the use of words objectively considered "jargon" to confuse people (in the way that many dictionaries would identify words that are jargon). It might be that one debater was able to present a more compelling narrative, for instance because only one debater bothered to explain how the argument works in practice, or because the debater was able to show why their narrative was more realistic, and they won that point. It might be that an argument failed on any one of thousands of other objective criteria, such as that it was brought out too late (which could be objectively judged by the debater's opponent's ability to respond) or that it was missing causal links (which can be objectively determined with logic). In some circumstances, it might also be appropriate for an opponent's argument to cancel out an argument if the opponent manages to prove that it is a more important argument.

The relative weighting of each argument can be objectively derived from the debate from what the debaters agree the most important points to be, or failing that, from the amount of time that was spent on those points during the debate. The decision as what qualifies as an objective reason for awarding an argument to one debater over the opponent's rebuttal can be derived from the definition of objective.

The overall decision of who won the debate (with the assumption that debaters ought to vote for the winner) can be determined by checking the burdens of proof of the debaters. The debater with the burden of proof can be objectively determined by the resolution, as the person bringing the claim. The key exception to this is if debaters agree to a different, valid burden of proof. The validity of any given burden of proof can be objectively determined by whether or not it might lead to an impossible-to-judge outcome. If the side with the burden of proof had no arguments left standing at the end of the debate, then they have failed to prove the resolution. If the side with the burden of proof had arguments that were left standing, then they have been able to prove the resolution in some way.

The reason why this works for any given debates is that the only inputs the process requires is the arguments on two sides of a proposition, which just so happens to be the very definition of debate that con agreed to.

What my opponent needs to provide, in this debate, is some instance where this system could not be used to objectively determine a winner. I look forward to his case.
Double_R

Con

Thanks to Larz for the challenge.

Pro defined objective in round 1. The first part of that definition is the most relevant in pertaining to the resolution and states: “not influenced by personal feelings, interpretations, or prejudice”. The challenge to Pro in this debate will be to show how it is possible to determine which argument to accept as more convincing without the use of personal opinions, being that accepting any contended argument as stronger is to automatically show a different opinion then the person who contended that argument.

The Problem of Infinite Regress

The regress argument is a problem in epistemology and, in general, a problem in any situation where a statement has to be justified. According to this argument, any proposition requires a justification. However, any justification itself requires support. This means that any proposition whatsoever can be endlessly (infinitely) questioned, like a child who asks "why?" over and over again.
(1)


Infinite regress is a well known, well discussed concept in philosophy. Philosophers have wrestled with many different approaches to solve this problem as I will highlight below:

Foundationalism - This solution can be summarized by saying that a proposition is true “just because”. In other words we must accept a proposition to be true with no justification. We then use that proposition as our basis to justify any other proposition.

Coherentism – This is the belief that a chain of reasoning loops around into a circle, otherwise known as circular logic. For example proposition A is supported by proposition B, which is supported by proposition C, which is supported by proposition A. This is a highly challenged solution and such logic is often used on Debate.org as a rebuttal onto itself, so I don’t think it would be wise for Con to accept this type of reasoning.

Infintism – this simply argues that the chain is infinite, however if it is infinite then no statement can ever be justified.

Applying the Problem of Infinite Regress to Voting

A quality debate argument is one that lists contentions to support or negate a resolution, then uses arguments to support those contentions. In order to judge which debater won we must decide which contentions were stronger, which can only be done by deciding which arguments were stronger. But how do we do that? In order to judge which arguments were stronger we must at some point base that decision on a proposition that has not been justified. Allow me to use the following oversimplified example of a debate about the legality of abortion (one of the most common topics on this site):

Pro – Abortion should be illegal because it is killing the baby which is wrong because the baby has a right to life.

Con – A fetus is not alive. If something is not alive it can not have a right to life.

Pro – A fetus has the capacity to become a fully functioning human being therefore it does have a right to life.

Con – The capacity of something to be alive is irrelevant. We do not recognize something which is not yet alive as having rights.

In this example both Pro and Con seem to have come to an impasse. So how can any voter decide which argument is more convincing without referring to their own personal opinions? My opponent can claim that in order to do so you would have to look at the supporting arguments and see which one presented a stronger case to affirm their contentions. However just as you can not determine the strength of either of the above arguments without basing your decision on an opinion, you would not be able to evaluate the strength of a supporting argument without also basing it on an opinion. Any attempts to justify that opinion as objective requires choosing a set of initial propositions to base that opinion on and establishing them as true. In other words Pro must solve the problem of infinite regress, something philosophers have been trying to do for centuries.

Interpretation of Objective

Assuming Pro does not intend to solve this problem, he may claim that the standard of objectivity I have set thus far is unreasonable. After all, given the argument above the very word objective has no meaning as nothing could ever be truly objective (which is the point BTW). If Pro wishes to make such a claim he would have to define objectivity differently. Not differently from the definition above, but differently as in the type of term. Perhaps we should not be looking at objectivity in the sense of a simple is or is not proposition. The only way for him to make such an argument would be to claim that he was referring to objectivity as a relative term. So let’s explore that possibility.

To establish objectivity in such terms we would first have to establish a way to measure it. Since this debate is about voting, I will use an example of a debate RFD (reason for decision) to demonstrate. Suppose the reader reads a debate and votes. He justifies his vote with proposition A: “I agree with Con”. If the reader does not have any justification for this proposition then the vote is considered highly subjective. He agrees with Con “just because”.

Now let’s assume he justifies proposition A with proposition B: “Cons Argument XYZ outweighed Pros argument ABC”. Now this vote seems less subjective because it accounts for the arguments in the debate. If the reader now supports proposition B with proposition C (Cons argument XYZ outweighed Pros cases because…) then we might consider his RFD as supported enough to be accepted as relatively objective. So naturally, by this metric the further we justify these propositions the more objective the vote becomes.

This type of reasoning however is fundamentally flawed. As human beings we are restricted to justifying propositions based on our own personal life experiences. So if I justify proposition A with B, and B with C, and C with D, etc… eventually I will get to a point where the initial justification is supported only because of knowledge or experience that I have gained in my own personal life. Therefore the base criteria from which all of my justifications are derived is by definition; subjective.

Given this fact, our metric for measuring objectivity fails because it hinges on the notion that the deeper we root our justifications in subjectivity, the more objective they become. Such a notion is quite obviously absurd.

Conclusion

Having considered all of this, every argument in Pros case thus far fails as every statement he has made as to what to judge in a debate, what to consider important, how to determine which criteria to base the arguments on, etc… each require individual justification. Now he may claim that as long as it is these concepts utilized as opposed to whether he agrees with the individual arguments then he is being objective, however he can not make any decisions as to what to accept and what to disregard without applying his individual interpretations and justifications to those arguments. Therefore it is impossible for him or any voter to be objective when voting on a debate.

(1) http://en.wikipedia.org...
Debate Round No. 2
larztheloser

Pro

First of all, let me thank my opponent for opening his case. He essentially presented two arguments, which he has labelled "infinite regress" and "interpretation of objective." Furthermore, his so-called "conclusion" asserts a seperate argument that I will deal with briefly to begin with...

Justifying RFD Criteria

What I have described is a system for ensuring every part of the vote is derived from the debate, and nothing is missed from the debate. My opponent has not contested this. One of the things he does contest, however, is whether the system itself can be objectively derived. Although he doesn't go into this in any depth, he does state:

as every statement he has made as to what to judge in a debate… each require individual justification

In other words, he contests that I have not shown the causal link between using my system and actually meeting the criteria of being objective. Note that my system is not necessarily the only way to give an objective vote, meaning that what I need to do to show that the criteria are justified is to show that they actually lead to objective votes. Again, here are my two criteria:
  1. derived from the debate
  2. nothing is missed from the debate
I gave a number of examples of why this translates into objectivity in round two, which my opponent ignored, but I'll justify it formally. The definition of objective indicates that an objective vote is one not influenced by personal feelings/interpretations/prejudice, and therefore, no element of the vote may be derived from the voter. As it so happens, looking back over my two criteria, no element of the system I proposed in derived from the voter, as it considers the debate, the whole debate, and most importantly, nothing but the debate. It follows that my system evaluates the debate, and is thus justified if it in fact works. Which brings me on to my opponent's more important contentions...

Infinite Regress

Allow me to take this first from a practical perspective and then from a more philosophical one. Con proposes the following simple debate:

Pro – Abortion should be illegal because it is killing the baby which is wrong because the baby has a right to life.
Con – A fetus is not alive. If something is not alive it can not have a right to life.
Pro – A fetus has the capacity to become a fully functioning human being therefore it does have a right to life.
Con – The capacity of something to be alive is irrelevant. We do not recognize something which is not yet alive as having rights.

Let us now apply my system to this debate. There's one issue, on rights. Niether side has been able to prove the point sufficiently over the claims of the other debater - as my opponent has rightly pointed out, we have reached an impasse. Since pro had the burden of proof in this debate, pro did not fulfil their onus, and con should be declared the winner.

Of course, if there were supporting arguments or more issues, the debate would have been more complicated. The basic point is that the fact that there is an impasse is entirely objective - each side only made a series of assertions that, as my opponent has rightly pointed out, are no better than the others. That pro had the BOP can also be objectively derived, and my opponent doesn't contest this. Therefore, it follows that even in these kinds of extreme, rare scenarios, one does not need to appeal to subjective criteria to judge a debate.

Now let's take a look at this from a more philosophical perspective. Infinite regress applies only when one doesn't accept a common objective truth. A simple example would be if some person believed God made everything happen, they might have a discussion with somebody else like this:

Person A: Why is it raining today?
Person B: God did it.
Person A: Why?
Person B: Tada! Infinite regress!

If, on the other hand, person A also believed God made everything happen, it might look more like this:

Person A: Why is it raining today?
Person B: God did it.
Person A: I agree.
Person B: Tada! No infinite regress!

Debating is an example of the latter because it assumes that the debate itself is the objective truth from which all votes are derived. Since there is such a commonly shared standard, there is no problem of infinite regress.

Interpretation of objective

My opponent is right in reasoning that depth of argument does not show objectivity. It's usually useful to help show the losing team why they lost, but it has nothing to do with the objectivity of the vote. Here's my big question: so what? Sure, my system can yield both concise and longer RFDs, but the point is it's objective.

The right answer is that while a vote may appear more objective than another, a vote can either be based on personal opinion or not based on personal opinion - the middle is excluded. The very definition of objectivity excludes the idea of any sort of "scale", and my model has nothing to do with this. So how do I interpret objective? Exactly as I defined it. I should hope my opponent will start doing that too.

Conclusion

My opponent has demonstrated many times an apparent disregard for my model. He claims that my system diagnoses whether I, personally, agree with any of the arguments in the debate, when in fact it is this very kind of subjectivism my model eradicates. He claims that my system accepts and disregards points, when in fact one of the two key principles is that nothing is disregarded. My opponent is wrong about voting, and he's wrong in this debate. My opponent has failed to engage with all of my material, and thus I declare that the motion stands.
Double_R

Con

I like to thank Pro for sharing his opinion that I am wrong in this debate. Although somehow, I doubt that will encourage the voters to be objective. Or maybe I am just wrong on that as well.


Pro claims that I failed to engage with all of his material, implying that I made concessions. It would appear by this statement that Pro does not understand my argument. His entire round 2 case was built on a foundation that a voter can decide the winner of a debate by using criteria that does not take into account the voters opinion of the individual arguments. Rather then engage with Pro on every individual contention, I simply attacked the very foundation that all of his arguments were built on. I did so by showing that every single criteria a voter can use to decide the winner can only be based on the voters personal interpretation of how the winner should be decided. In other words, their opinion.


I also showed via my infinite regress argument that applying debate arguments to the voters subjectively chosen criteria requires personal interpretation of the arguments themselves, which will eventually be based on an unsupported proposition. This negates everything Pro stated in the previous round. To defeat my argument Pro needed to show that my basic contentions were false, which he failed to do in this round.


Justifying RFD Criteria


Pro claims that his system is objective because the vote considers “the debate, the whole debate, and most importantly, nothing but the debate”. As my previous argument demonstrated, that is not possible. A voter can not evaluate the strength of any argument without first understanding that argument. Understanding that argument requires the voter to draw back on their personal understanding of what was said which can only be derived from that voters own personal life experiences.


For example, suppose I instigate a debate proclaiming that same sex marriage should not be legal and I support that resolution in part by arguing that the government has no interest in legally recognizing personal relationships among its citizens. In order for any voter to evaluate the strength of that statement the voter must first understand what a government is and what its role in society is. The voter must also understand what personal relationships are, and whether it is reasonable for them to play a role in legality. To do that they must understand what laws are and why we have them, etc… If none of these points are argued any further then the voter is left to their own personal interpretation of every single one of these factors.


The only way around this as Pro seems to have implied, is that if I do not support my argument deep enough then it should be not considered as meeting the burden of proof. First of all what is the burden of proof and who determines that it is solely on me? How does Pro answer this without referring to his own subjective interpretations of what it is? Many members here have different views of what constitutes the BoP, so Pros own criteria is itself subjective.


More importantly however, in order to determine whether my already subjective burden has been satisfied, Pro must decide just how far in depth I have to support my propositions to be considered a supported argument. If I argue that the government has no interest in recognizing personal relationships, supported by arguing what a governments role in society is, supported by explaining what the criteria for determining the government’s role in society is, etc… After all that Pro can simply claim that I did not explain why my criteria should be accepted, therefore I did not meet my burden. On the other hand if he accepts my argument as worthy of evaluating, he can only do so by applying his own opinions of the criteria I provided. In other words, because I never explained why my criteria for determining government’s role in society must be accepted, he has to answer that himself which negates the resolution. If he does not answer them himself then he can not evaluate my arguments because nothing I said would be justified.


Infinite Regress; Practical Perspective


Here Pro argues that my example abortion debate which has come to an impasse can be decided by the BoP. I have already shown why this is itself subjective but more importantly, this demonstrates the issue with Pros concept. Disregarding my previous argument for a second, accomplishing true objectivity according to this concept requires never basing a vote on the strength of arguments in the debate, but rather on which debater fulfilled the criteria set by the voter. The voter is then failing to answer the very question he is supposed to be answering which is: Who made more convincing arguments?


Pros system can only derive an objective vote by using criteria that has nothing to do with being convincing but rather determining whether the subjectively chosen “rules of debate” were followed by the debaters. This defeats the purpose of a debate.


Infinite Regress; Philosophical Perspective


Pro claims that infinite regress applies only when one doesn’t accept a common objective truth. First of all, the purpose of the problem is to demonstrate that it is humanly impossible to establish an objective truth. Second, two people agreeing on a proposition does not make the proposition justified. I do however accept that if two debaters agree on a proposition then the voter must accept that as an objective truth for the sake of voting. However, voters are not voting on the agreements, they are voting on the disagreements. Therefore by Pros own claim the problem in then reinstated and thus, still needs to be solved.


Interpretation of Objective


Pro suggests that I choose a definition of objective to base my arguements on, once again demonstrating a lack of understanding of the argument I made. The purpose of my argument was to show that objective does not work as a relative term, forcing us to revert back to solving the problem of infinite regress to establish an objective vote.


Pro has already agreed with this concept by stating that “the very definition of objectivity excludes the idea of any sort of scale”. Now that we have agreed, let’s go back to the question the voter is asked: “Who made more convincing arguments?” According to the questions use of the word “more” it can not be answered without the use of a relative scale to determine the winner. Therefore determining the winner requires the use of something which by Pros own admission, contradicts the definition of objective.


To get around this Pro must show why it is justified for a voter to vote without answering the questions they were asked, or he has to show that an objective vote is actually an objective determination of which debater is right and which is wrong. I look forward to his insights on that.


Conclusion


Pros arguments simply aren’t holding any water. He appeals to his own opinions of how a debate should be decided to prove that a debate can be decided objectively. His interpretation of an objective vote seems to be a vote that uses some sort of point system to determine who followed his subjective rules as opposed to a vote which actually answers the question being asked. And most importantly, he has failed to explain how a person can vote without using their own personal interpretations of what was said just to understand, let alone evaluate the strength of the arguments made.


Debate Round No. 3
larztheloser

Pro

First of all, allow me to apologise for the mishap with the formatting of my previous round. I thank my opponent for being such a good sport about that. To read the round, I encourage voters to paste the text into a text editor, where the formatting should (hopefully) correct itself.

In round two I demonstrated a system for voting objectively. My opponent conceeded that the system itself worked, but argued that it was based off two premises he did not accept as being objective. In round three I answered both of them, and furthermore answered a claim my opponent made in his conclusion despite the fact it wasn't properly substantiated. In that metanarrative of the debate, you will note that my opponent did, in fact, conceed every point I made, instead focusing on the assumptions that he claimed underpin my points. Since I showed in the previous round that niether of the points were, in fact, assumptions of my model, it seems that my opponent is really just refusing to engage with my points but rather shifting his onus to a different set of points that he wants to argue.

Nevertheless, I will entertain him.

Who made more convincing arguments?

If I had written up an absolutely and perfectly convincing argument that "2+2=4", then my argument might well be more convincing, but it has absolutely nothing to do with the debate topic. Burden of proof is an objective system for measuring the relevance of an argument to the debate. The winner of an argument can in turn be determined by objective measures of convincingness.

The question of "Who made more convincing arguments?" is thus not the only criteria that my model uses - and remember, as pro, it's my job to defend a model of what voters should be asking, not my opponent's. Indeed, the fact that my opponent contradicted my model of how voters should vote with no further evidence is a further sign that he is shifting his onus by ignoring my case. He even tries to contradict my notion of BOP! Again - I only need to show that it is POSSIBLE for a vote on a given debate to be objective. I do NOT need to show that any given voter is doing that kind of voting.

Justifying RFD Criteria

My opponent begins the substantive part of this contention by claiming that interpretation of arguments must be derived from personal life experiences. I showed two rounds ago why that is not the case - the interpretation of an argument should be the same as the debater's interpretations of the argument, which can be objectively derived from the debate. The strength of an argument should be evaluated only insofar as the opponent's response to it. Why? Because otherwise, as I said last round, you're not evaluating the debate alone. That's why my opponent's same-sex marriage debate analogy fails - it isn't a debate because only one side of the proposition was advanced.

My opponent furthermore asks how burden of proof can be objectively derived. I explained how in round two, which I still maintain my opponent has not yet read. The evidence is insurmountable by now.

Finally my opponent asserts that the depth of argumentation is my model for working out whose argument is superior, despite me specifically stating last round that the depth of argumentation has nothing to do with the objectivity of an argument in the context of voting. If you'll go back to round two, you'll note that I provided an in-depth analysis of how one can determine, objectively, whose argument is superior. Basically, points that make one debater's argument objectively better than an opponent's do exist, for instance the internal consistancy of a point.

My opponent has failed to show that my system of voting is not based on the debate, and thus he has not shown that the debate does not justify the vote.

Infinite Regress; Practical Perspective

My opponent appeals to his own arbritrary standard of how to vote, which is:
a) not derived from the debate, thus subjective, and
b) not my model, which is what we're actually debating here (this also serves as a practical demonstration of BOP, by the way), and
c) no longer an example of infinite regress, proving my point

Infinite Regress; Philosophical Perspective

My opponent's trouble with my explanation is that "voters are not voting on the agreements, they are voting on the disagreements." While it is true both debaters disagree on the motion, the debaters do agree on what they wrote in the debate. Voters are not evaluating who is right or wrong about the motion (which is what the debaters disagree about) but on whose arguments for the motion were superior. While they may disagree about whether they presented superior arguments, the fact that they do agree on one thing means that the superiority of arguments can be objectively derived without infinite regress.

For example, say one debater lost an argument because they completely ignored their opponent's round two model (hint hint). The debater may think they have won the point, but the fact that they ignored the model can be objectively derived from the debate which they agree to, and thus show they never established the point's relevance to the debate. So while a debater may go back and ask "why" to an element of a vote, the fact that it is grounded in the debate as a whole (which they accept) ensures the regress stops.

Interpretation of Objective

I did not suggest anything to my opponent except to ask him why it's relevant that my model does not assess depth of argument. Curiously, he completely ignored that and rather continues to claim that I am using objective as a relative term, which I have denied twice already.

This debate is NOT about whether voting based on "who made more convincing arguments" is objective. That's not what I had to prove. I had to prove that it is possible to assign points to a winner based on objective criteria in a debate. I outlined my own model for this, and the fact that my opponent keeps refering back to "who made more convincing arguments" is even more evidence that he didn't read my round two case.

Conclusion

What I've given you in this debate is one way of determining, given only the debate, an objective winner. My opponent has ignored this and appealed to a subjective standard, to try to show standards are subjective. There's only one standard that's relevant to this debate - mine. The question for the voters is whether or not this standard is necessarily objective.

I encourage voters to give my method a try and see for themselves if they come upon an infinite regress in this debate. You will not. You will be able to decide a winner objectively. Your vote will be justified. And if I win or lose an objective vote, you will still have my thanks for at least deciding this debate fairly, not according to your own personal standard. That's something that's very rare on this site, and to my mind at least very valuable.

Thank you all for an entertaining debate!
Double_R

Con

Throughout this debate I have maintained that Pros opening argument in round 2 was built on flawed reasoning. I demonstrated why in round 2 by applying the problem of infinite regress. In this last round he alleged multiple times that I have conceded his round 2 arguments, implying that I have no rebuttals. If Pros arguments were so irrefutable then why did he essentially drop his entire case by focusing on attacking mine? He keeps saying that I didn’t address his round 2 arguments but after reading his last round multiple times, I have found that with only one exception, Pro did not bother to support any of his claims that I ignored his case. Here is the 1 exception:


“If you'll go back to round two, you'll note that I provided an in-depth analysis of how one can determine, objectively, whose argument is superior. Basically, points that make one debater's argument objectively better than an opponent's do exist, for instance the internal consistancy of a point.”


Here is the consistency point Pro was referring to in round 2 explaining how to determine if an argument was superior:


“It might have been that one debater was able to present a clearer case, which could be justified by internal consistancy or the use of words objectively considered "jargon" to confuse people (in the way that many dictionaries would identify words that are jargon).”


Pro would see that my round 2 argument addresses this if he actually applied it. Dictionaries are not objective. They are written based on a subjective determination of how words are used in society. As Merriam-Webster’s article on how words are added to the dictionary stated: “To decide which words to include in the dictionary and to determine what they mean, Merriam-Webster editors study the language as it's used. The editors scour the texts in search of new words… anything that might help in deciding if a word belongs in the dictionary” (1)


So to sum this up, Pro tries to claim that his determination of whose argument is clearer can be objectively derived because it can be grounded on objective criteria (the dictionary). However, not only is the dictionary subjective itself but most importantly; the dictionary is not in the debate. This forces the reader to refer to something that was not in the debate to determine who won that argument, the exact opposite of what Pro claims his system does.


This is a perfect demonstration of infinite regress at work and why it refutes Pros model. There is no way that the 24,000 characters I have in this debate will be sufficient enough to communicate everything I have said. The voters must have some basic knowledge of what we are discussing to evaluate it, but that knowledge can then only be based on personal interpretations and life experiences outside of the debate which is by definition, subjective.


Who made more convincing arguments?


Pros initial statement here by itself shows why he lost this debate. In the previous round he admitted that objectivity is not a relative term and could not be judged by the use of some sort of “scale”. Yet he explains part of his system with the following:


“Burden of proof is an objective system for measuring the relevance of an argument to the debate. The winner of an argument can in turn be determined by objective measures of convincingness.”


If objectivity is not a relative term then there is nothing to measure, it either is or is not objective. And what is convincingness? Another thing that has to be measured. The very act of measuring convincingness requires judgment of what applies and what doesn’t. The need for judgment contradicts objectivity.


Justifying RFD Criteria


Pro begins here by restating that a voter does not face infinite regress because the arguments in the debate are to be accepted as necessarily true. My rebuttals showed why this doesn’t work. A debate is about conflicting propositions, so in those areas there is no necessary truth. Pro did not address my rebuttal but instead re asserts his already refuted argument.


What Pro is basically saying here is that infinite regress stops because when a debater makes a claim, it is not the voter’s role to determine the truth of that claim. I absolutely agree that it shouldn’t be, and should be avoided as much as possible. But it is not possible when arguments conflict. And even if we disregard this fact then according to this model, argument spamming must always be accepted, nonsense claims like 2+2=5 must always be accepted, and whoever gets the last word will always win because the voters can not interject. All of this completely undermines the question the voters are asked, thus Pros model forces them to ignore it. That is not voting.


Next, Pro refers to my same sex analogy as invalid because it is a one sided proposition. Pro once again seems to have missed the point of the analogy. If a conflicting proposition was given it would require the exact same process to evaluate. I already explained why that process leads to eventual subjectivity in the previous round. Pro does not challenge that process as being necessary, which was the point.


Lastly, Pro then claims that I incorrectly asserted that depth of argumentation is his model for determining whose argument is superior. No I didn’t. I showed how depth of argumentation unavoidably plays a role in determining the strength of an argument and why it is unavoidable. Pro should have refuted this by demonstrating how his model avoids this, instead he just re-asserts that I am wrong because it does. Ok.


Infinite Regress; Practical Perspective


No valid argument here, just more unsubstantiated assertions.


Infinite Regress; Philosophical Perspective


Pro then tries to support his case by giving an example of a debater who lost because they ignored their opponents round 2 arguments. So I ask the voters, did I ignore his round 2?


Either determining whether I ignored his round 2 is subjective (meaning that I automatically win this debate) or it is objective. For it to be objective according to Pro, the voters must determine this using the debate, the whole debate, and nothing but the debate. Since the debate includes arguments made by myself for why I did not ignore his case, and no actual arguments from Pro showing that I did, the only objective possibility is to conclude that I did address his case. Since I objectively addressed his case, Pro needed to defend his case against my rebuttals. Since Pro instead relied on the objectively false claim that I ignored his case, he failed to do so which by his own rules conceded his case to my rebuttals. Without that case he failed to fulfill his BoP, which objectively means he loses this debate.


Interpretation of Objective


Pro asserts that his only responsibility is to prove he can assign points based on objective criteria. Besides the fact that this is an extremely dishonest and abusive definition of voting, if his criteria are not the question the voters are asked then it is his own interpretation of how a winner should be decided, thus it is not objective.


Conclusion


I think the resolution has clearly been negated. So at this point I will just leave it to the voters to use their own personal interpretations of everything Pro and I have said to evaluate who won this debate.


Personal Note


While irrelevant to the debate, I would simply like to point out that I do not believe in someone voting simply for whomever they agree with and I hope this debate will not be used as an excuse for anyone to do so. I debate this topic passionately because I think that in order to consistently provide fair and honest votes one must understand how their own subjectivity works. Hopefully this debate has helped to give you a deeper insight.


I’d like to thank everyone for reading and to my opponent Larz for an interesting debate.


(1) http://www.merriam-webster.com...

Debate Round No. 4
30 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by Double_R 4 years ago
Double_R
Yes, I caught that part of your argument. My entire point was that it is still ultimately not objective. Let me try one more time to see if we can see eye to eye on this by using your dropped argument comment:

If the sky is blue then abortion should be legal
The sky is blue
Abortion should be legal

Suppose I am arguing Pro abortion and this is one of my arguments. Suppose my opponent responds by stating that the sky is actually red. Is that more convincing then if he were to just drop my argument?

To answer that we must first determine what convincing means. Convincing to me? No, since that would be entirely subjective. Convincing to others? No, since in order to determine what others would be convinced by we have to revert back to our own personal experiences with others, which is entirely subjective. So what if we instead use our voting criteria to determine that dropped points equal concessions? This works, except one problem...

Can you show me anywhere where it states that a dropped point equals a concession? Is it stated in the DDO voting rules? Is it specifically stated in every debate? No, it's not. It is accepted as a voting rule because we agree that it makes sense. A general consensus however does not equal objectivity. And even if the rule is stated then it is common sense that this can not be abused, otherwise I can simply run off 100 different arguments and anything that is not addressed will be considered a concession (aka argument spamming).

We all have different interpretations of how a debate should be judged. Our interpretations of a debate are what determine our criteria. And if our criteria are determined by our personal interpretations then our votes will always be influenced by them, a direct contradiction to the definition of objective.

So no, dropping a point is not objectively less convincing.
Posted by larztheloser 4 years ago
larztheloser
I believe I answered that in the debate: derived from the debate, and nothing is allowed to be missed from the debate. That is both objective and, if applied, not based on personal interpretations. That a point is dropped can be derived from the debate, and considers the debate as a whole, thus meeting the standard.
Posted by Double_R 4 years ago
Double_R
Larz, so this seems to be the core of our disagreement (on this one point). If the criteria can not be objectively determined then nothing that follows can be objective because the vote will always be based on personal interpretations.

You argue that dropping a point is objectively less convincing than not dropping a point. What definition of objective are you using?
Posted by larztheloser 4 years ago
larztheloser
Double_R, there's a difference between criteria being objectively determined and objectively applied. All I'm saying is that my criteria can be objectively applied. It looks like you're asking how the criteria are objectively determined. Even if the answer is "they can't be", the criteria are still objective relative to the debate. The true answer is that they can be objectively determined - ie, dropping a point is objectively less convincing than not dropping a point, but that isn't really the resolution.

That's not to say that there is only one criteria. Many different criteria are evaluated and weighted, in consideration of the burden of proof and the nature of the debate, in order to derive a final outcome.
Posted by YYW 4 years ago
YYW
Topics like abortion, SSM, political debates, etc. have to be argued on the basis of a shared value platform. For example: If I value, say, human life, where abortion represents the unjust ending of a life, then it would follow that I shouldn't support abortion. (I argue a pro-life position from the value of life.) The CON position then has a few options. The CON position can argue within the "life" value framework by arguing that abortion doesn't entail the ending of a life (for various reasons) and is therefore not in conflict with the value of "life." OR the CON position can argue that there are values that take higher precedence then life when the two are at odds (such as medical freedom, for example) rendering the position that PRO argues from the perspective value of life moot. A good debater argues both (to facilitate a "heads I win/tales you loose" scenario). The onus then shifts to PRO to address the assaults of CON and so on. Debate is a lot like chess in that it requires a strategy to victory, but unlike chess in that there is not often a "checkmate" moment (with a few exceptions). In the scenario above, recognize though that PRO has to prove (1) that the value of life is worth holding (a) that life is a superior value to others it may be in conflict with and (b) that when challenged even though other values may be worthwhile, they are ultimately not sufficient to trump the value of life. Pro must then argue, (2) that abortion entails the ending of a human life. CON, in contrast, must attack (1a) and (1b), as well as (2) to sufficiently counter (this can be done by demonstrating a flaw in reasoning, or a host of other ways). To tip the scale, CON must reframe the topic at hand (which can be done in a variety of ways). PRO and CON can engage in a solid debate where there is clash over framework or premises, although most people (I find) don't even know how to follow a framework clash much less evaluate its significance to the debate.
Posted by Double_R 4 years ago
Double_R
Larz, looks like we are getting somewhere. So if it is not possible for two voters to both give objective votes and vote differently then that can only mean that there is only one objective possibility. I think even you have to agree that if there is only one objective possibility then there can not be many different criteria from which a voter may base their votes on. So our next question becomes: what is that criteria and why is it that no other criteria can be accepted?

Remember that your definition of objective only leads to the philosophical interpretation which is something from which its truth value is independent of the human mind. 2+2 will always be 4 regardless of whether human beings agree or not. Saying that your voting criteria is correct can not be true independent of the human mind, because voting criteria is nothing more then a product of it.
Posted by Double_R 4 years ago
Double_R
YYW, thanks for the link. It helped clarify what you were saying before. I agree with what it says about evaluating the validity of an argument, in fact I use that line of reasoning in every debate I vote on. But here is the thing; you say that determining the strength of an argument is not a subjective exercise. For that to be true then the strength of an argument has to be an objective fact. If the strength of an argument is objective then there has to be an objective scale to measure its strength. The only possible scale that I am aware exists is numbers. So the question becomes: do you believe that it is possible to assign an objective numerical value (in other words, a score) to any given argument?

The article you referenced made this easy because it specifically used mathematical possibilities as the basis of its inductive reasoning examples. But what about abortion arguments, SSM, political debates, etc...?

If you agree that it is not humanly possible to objectively assign a numerical value to any given argument then the only thing left is to evaluate whether arguments are valid or not. Then what happens when two opposing debaters both make valid arguments with different conclusions? You would have to determine how much to weigh each argument which goes back to the same numerical scale we already rejected.

Now I am not saying that one can not be oriented in evaluating a debate objectively (I consider myself to be) I am simply saying that the end result in most debates will never be truly objective. BTW normative arguments make up a sizable portion of the arguments on DDO.
Posted by larztheloser 4 years ago
larztheloser
Double_R, the answer to your question is no, however sometimes even the best voters will forget arguments that could influence their decision, or forget to evaluate an argument on a (or several) criteria, something I don't blame them for. While it is possible to give an absolutely objective vote, I'm happy with any vote where voters have just taken an hour or two trying to be objective, even if that means they forget to evaluate something. I wouldn't say forgetting, if not done on purpose, is really subjective because it happens randomly, besides one of the debater's roles should be to remind judges of the most important arguments in the debate.
Posted by YYW 4 years ago
YYW
@Double_R:

lol... I'm not "claiming" anything. It is a fact that there are strong arguments and there are weak arguments. I went looking for an available online resource to find something to explain that better than I can do in 2k characters, and here's the best of the internet I can find from a 30 second google search: http://www.unc.edu....

And the infinite regress problem was clever, but it's ultimately not a problem; the phenomenon you described is a characteristic of normative arguments. The voter's job isn't to accept arguments or reject arguments. The voter's job is to evaluate them. Nothing more. Nothing less.
Posted by Double_R 4 years ago
Double_R
YYW,

"A strong argument is an argument where the premises support a conclusion"

You claim this as a basis of an objective vote, so I ask you: how does the voter determine that the premises supports the conclusion? If you now say because of the supporting arguments for the premises then I will simply ask: how does the voter determine whether to accept the supporting arguments?

Being that a supporting argument is simply a conclusion supported by a premises, we are back to the beginning. This cycle will continue, which is exactly what infinite regress is. So the real question for you is: how do you objectively solve this problem? And if you can't solve it then how do you objectively determine the strength of any argument?
3 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 3 records.
Vote Placed by GORGIAS 4 years ago
GORGIAS
larztheloserDouble_RTied
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Reasons for voting decision: Con had more convincing rebuttals and his analogies were convincing and logical. Pro used a few bare assertions in the debate, and directly told me what I should do a few times as well. My Judging of conduct is based on that.
Vote Placed by darkkermit 4 years ago
darkkermit
larztheloserDouble_RTied
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Reasons for voting decision: Pro had the burden of proof. The 1st round specifically addressed debating on DDO, which would mean the question "Who had the more convincing arguments" needed to be addressed. Double_R's analysis of the infinite regression problem and interpretation of objectiveness was sufficient to show that one can not answer the criteria.
Vote Placed by Maikuru 4 years ago
Maikuru
larztheloserDouble_RTied
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Reasons for voting decision: Con is correct is his explanation that no debate will contain all the relevant information necessary for an objective vote. Understanding any contention requires a pre-existing understanding of the nature of that contention or components therein by the voter, some of which will necessarily be omitted during the actual debate round; debaters craft arguments with the assumption that readers bring with them a certain knowledge base, which introduces unavoidable subjectivity.