The Instigator
Darth_Grievous_42
Pro (for)
Losing
19 Points
The Contender
Kleptin
Con (against)
Winning
56 Points

The Burden of Proof should be Optional, not Necessary

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 2/13/2008 Category: Technology
Updated: 9 years ago Status: Voting Period
Viewed: 2,306 times Debate No: 2620
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (5)
Votes (21)

 

Darth_Grievous_42

Pro

After reading many debates, it seems that the words "burden of proof" comes up a lot. I do not think it is fair that someone should HAVE to back their evidence up, but rather it should be optional. Evidence, of course, adds to any debate. If someone wants to give a good argument on why "Nazi's were good people", they should probably have a good amount a proof as to why they can say something that goes completely against the common grain. There is a staggering amount of evidence to say that they were not, but very few examples of goodness. But there still are. This knowledge that there is some contradiction should be evidence enough to assume that maybe, Nazi's were good people. However, many people have claimed that if they can't show some sort evidence, then they are automatically the loser (another trend seems to be that the person who made this claim will not show much or any evidence to their own stance). If the Pro decides he wants to have a good debate, then he could point out the personal stories of surviving Jews who said that a Nazi pulled them away from the gas chamber line, or gave them some bread. But if he doesn't, con will claim that since he won't show evidence, there must not be, even though there is. So it seems to me that the burden of proof "argument" is more of a suggestion that has been turned into a requirement. If con wants to see evidence, they should provide their own, not try and force Pro to do so. Giving proof is definitely a good idea if one wants to give their point a good go, but is not grounds for saying they have no argument at all.

Note: please don't accept this debate if you don't intend to take it seriously. The opponents argument, thus, is "The Burden of Proof should be Necessary, not Optional". (this is the polar opposite of my proposition, therefore, an acceptable stance)
Kleptin

Con

I believe you have a misconception as to what debates and arguments are.

"Burden of proof" falls on those making claims as opposed to statements. Let's take the classic case of the existence of God.

Claims:
God exists
God does not exist

Statements:
There is not enough evidence to prove the existence of God

If a person's thesis argument is that God exists, the burden of proof falls on him, and he MUST provide evidence.

Simply stating that god exists is not an argument, it is merely a thesis statement.

A person can't carry on a debate ad nauseum because a debate is not about who repeats their points the msot times, or who uses the biggest font.

It's about the strength of the argument, how well the arguments are strung, and whether or not there are logical flaws.

To put things simply, if a situation calls for burden of proof, proof MUST be provided, or the debate is lost. If there were no objective modes of deciding whose point is stronger, debates would simply be shouting matches.
Debate Round No. 1
Darth_Grievous_42

Pro

I do not have a misconception of what a debate is. Debates are civilized arguments, and arguments are justifications of our beliefs. This means that the person only needs to justify their stance, by whatever means they deem necessary. It is their view, and they thus must be able to decide how to defend it. If they chose to not defend it well, by way of providing evidence, then that's their problem. It is not up to the opponent to demand that they provide evidence in a debate made purely for entertainment purposes. Burden of proof is an obligation in legal proceedings, not 'civilian' debates. I have a college textbook on philosophy, under 'arguments' here are only five: Deductive, Inductive, Argument by Analogy, Logical Possibility/Counter Example, and Reductio ad Absurdum. You can look these up for yourself. Under fallacies, it lists fifteen, 3 of which I can relate to Burden of Proof. They include attacking the straw man, distraction, and irrelevancies.

Attacking the Straw Man: A debater is unable t refute his opponents points, and will instead continually question his opponent without raising any of his own points. This has been the case, were rather than try and produce their own counter example, debater will say "passing the burden of proof", questioning the legitimacy of their opponents case, and will conveniently not say anything in defence at all.

Distraction: A debater will make statements that lead away from the main issue. Burden of proof certainly does this, as it makes the opponent have to post links to websites, book references, videos etc, rather than press on with the issue they're defending, in the end weakening their point.

Irrelevancies: Arguing a point by arguing everything else (charts, statistics, etc) without attacking the point. This is a fallacy on both of the debaters. Rather than attack he issue, they will have to validate and argue on a chart.

Nowhere is there a "Burden of Proof" argument, rather, it is a misconstrued concept from legal proceedings. There it really matters, but in a place like this, civilized debates do not need to prove anything physically, one only needs to attempt to justify their own belief how they want. So he is not required to prove 1 thing particularly, only their own stance. If the argument is "God Exists", there is no real way to show that with physical evidence, only personal accounts. Inversely, there is no way to prove he doesn't. If cons says that pro has the burden of proof, that is not an argument on their part, but they'll take it as such. They would also be accountable for proving that God does not exist if they feel the need to call upon it. Showing again burden of proof can only be a suggestion. In legal cases, there is a definite outcome, thus evidence is needed, here though, it is just a way to back up an argument that can be made on personal beliefs alone. One can back up an argument by what they know, but it would behoove them to back it up. The opponent cannot demand that proof be shown, only suggest it. Otherwise, its merely a deterant.
Kleptin

Con

"Debates are civilized arguments, and arguments are justifications of our beliefs."

Yes. But remember that in a debate, the goal should be to attempt to do two things.

1. Above all else, find the truth.
2. Convince your opponent.

Creating a fantastic argument based on a flawed premise is only second best. Without any evidence, you essentially have no argument at all.

"This means that the person only needs to justify their stance, by whatever means they deem necessary."

No. Sleazy tactics and logical fallacies ruin the debate.

"It is their view, and they thus must be able to decide how to defend it."

Precisely. And defending it necessarily involves a proof.

"If they chose to not defend it well, by way of providing evidence, then that's their problem. It is not up to the opponent to demand that they provide evidence in a debate made purely for entertainment purposes."

Similarly, if two soccer (football) teams are playing a match, one team most definitely has the right to stand there and do absolutely nothing. But if so much as one goal is scored on them, the other team has the luxury of being able to stand there, mock them, and still win when the buzzer sounds.

If the opponent makes ONE point, any argument at all, and the person refuses to provide proof of his argument, the opponent wins.

"Burden of proof is an obligation in legal proceedings, not 'civilian' debates. "

I find this to be a complete untruth. I ask that you justify your argument. Since both legal proceedings and debates involve discovering the truth through presenting arguments and evidence, I find this statement to be false.

"I have a college textbook on philosophy, under 'arguments' here are only five: Deductive, Inductive, Argument by Analogy, Logical Possibility/Counter Example, and Reductio ad Absurdum. You can look these up for yourself."

All of which involve the presentation of a logical proof.

"Under fallacies, it lists fifteen, 3 of which I can relate to Burden of Proof. They include attacking the straw man, distraction, and irrelevancies.

Attacking the Straw Man: A debater is unable t refute his opponents points, and will instead continually question his opponent without raising any of his own points. This has been the case, were rather than try and produce their own counter example, debater will say "passing the burden of proof", questioning the legitimacy of their opponents case, and will conveniently not say anything in defense at all."

That is a faulty definition. Did you take directly out of the book? Straw man is a single fallacious argument, not a debating style. It is when an opponent misinterprets a point and attacks that point instead of his opponent. Hence the analogy of someone building a straw man resembling his opponent and attacking it to give the illusion that he is victorious in combat. Your explanation has nearly nothing to do with that. I've caught many of these in my time and several on this site. An example would be

A: Science does not seek to protect itself. It seeks only to protect religious nuts from harming themselves.

B: Are you saying I'm a religious nut? Your personal attack shows that you are biased and therefore, your position is compromised.

"Distraction: A debater will make statements that lead away from the main issue. Burden of proof certainly does this, as it makes the opponent have to post links to websites, book references, videos etc, rather than press on with the issue they're defending, in the end weakening their point.

Irrelevancies: Arguing a point by arguing everything else (charts, statistics, etc) without attacking the point. This is a fallacy on both of the debaters. Rather than attack he issue, they will have to validate and argue on a chart."

Ah. I know where the confusion of yours stems from. You have confused satisfying the burden of proof with citing sources.

I am not one to drag out a debate, but since this is round two, I must make this clear.

I believe your definition of "Burden of proof" is incorrect. The Burden of proof can be satisfied by proposing a logical argument. It need not be citation of fact or expertise. The burden of proof falls on the thesis statement "All chihuahuas are animals" and can be satisfied by saying "All chihuahuas are dogs, All dogs are animals".

Thus, when you propose that satisfaction of the Burden of Proof is optional, it sounds to the rest of us as if though you are suggesting the mere statement of a thesis and no following argument.

You mean to say that citing sources and providing physical evidence should be optional.

That is completely different from "Burden of proof".

I argue now that "Burden of proof" MUST be MANDATORY because otherwise, there will be no debate.

Unless you can successfully prove that a debate in which no logical arguments are offered is fine, This debate has been decided in my favor.

The burden of proof is on you ;)
Debate Round No. 2
Darth_Grievous_42

Pro

On debate goals
1) You can find the truth without evidence. The truth is always out there, again though, evidence helps.
2) It is to convince the audience, which you can do without proof but it helps. Again showing its a luxury one should put the best of use to, but not a necessity.

"Creating a fantastic argument based on a flawed premise is only second best. Without any evidence, you essentially have no argument at all."

You can have an argument without showing evidence. So long as you know it, that is proof enough that there is some modicum of substantiation.

"No. Sleazy tactics and logical fallacies ruin the debate."

Ruin how? They take the fun out of it? Isn't your stance that its not about fun, only convincing? If you simply can do it, doesn't that mean fallacies are a good thing?

"Precisely. And defending it necessarily involves a proof"

No, defending it only requires manipulation. Facts help that, but words are still just as effective. As long as you can convey your point and make others believe it your making an argument, with or without direct proof.

"Similarly, if two soccer (football) teams are playing a match, one team most definitely has the right to stand there and do absolutely nothing. But if so much as one goal is scored on them, the other team has the luxury of being able to stand there, mock them, and still win when the buzzer sounds"

Similarly, a man can stand there with as many charts, graphs, and articles as he wants, but someone with better powers of self reasoning will always win. This is why religion is so much more prominent than science. You can show as much proof as you want, but the on who is more appealing will win.

"I find this to be a complete untruth. I ask that you justify your argument. Since both legal proceedings and debates involve discovering the truth through presenting arguments and evidence, I find this statement to be false"

I already did justify it. Perhaps you did not read my last round clearly enough. I had prior knowledge of what Burden of Proof is and presented it. You can wikipedia Burden of Proof, and it will say the exact same thing. I know, I looked, and you can do so on your own.

"All of which involve the presentation of a logical proof."

No, only logic, which you do with your mind, not with hard evidence. As you'll recount, the only 'evidence' we have both shown is strictly word oriented. Very vague and unspecific to real happenings, yet clear enough so the opponent and audience can understand. Your only proving my point.

On your last point about me misunderstanding what burden of proof is. I believe it is your definition that may be incorrect. As I said, burden of proof is purely legal. What it is is the necessity to show hard evidence to prove something to be true. For instance, without a murder weapon, bodies, and plausible links you cannot convict a serial killer. Law enforcers have to show this as it will determine the further lifestyles of human beings. It is the burden of the police and lawyers to provide proof for their cases. It is rather the members of this site who may or may not have misconstrued it into using it as a cheap tactic in attempting to show the possible ineptness of their opponent. What you are describing is exactly what I am proposing, in that if one can logically conclude their premises there is no need to provide hard evidence. I've been saying this from the beginning of this debate. If there is anyone who is at fault for arguing on a wrong point it is you. If this is the case then it is I who have won.

It seems that it is you who in this last round must prove, as I said in the beginning "con's position: That the burden of proof is not optional, but necessary". I have, for this whole debate, rebutted every one of your examples, showing that ones own prowess is enough to win a civilian debate. You are saying that hard evidence is needed, which is what burden of proof is, thus treating any regular debate like a legal proceeding. Trying to switch our positions will not win you this debate, only prove that you don't know what your talking about.

I remind the voters of my stance and my opponents. I have argued on my case the entire time, while my opponent has been misguided by his own misunderstanding. While voting, remember it is not which side you agree on on a personal level, but which side presented and defended their case better.

So that people might be clear on what Burden of Proof is, I will provide some right now with the wikipedia article link. Perhaps then this may finally be settled:
http://en.wikipedia.org...

Darth_Grievous_42 out.
Kleptin

Con

"On debate goals
1) You can find the truth without evidence. The truth is always out there, again though, evidence helps."

Wrong. You can state the truth without evidence, but you would not be able to correctly designate it as truth without it.

"2) It is to convince the audience, which you can do without proof but it helps. Again showing its a luxury one should put the best of use to, but not a necessity."

Wrong again. Argumentum ad populum is a logical fallacy. The fact that many people believe it is not enough. Debate is a way to hack away at arguments and ideas until only the truth remains. The truth is visible when there are no logical flaws in an argument.

"You can have an argument without showing evidence. So long as you know it, that is proof enough that there is some modicum of substantiation."

Not about evidence. The argument itself satisfies burden of proof. You cannot have a conclusion without an argument, you can only have a thesis.

"Ruin how? They take the fun out of it? Isn't your stance that its not about fun, only convincing? If you simply can do it, doesn't that mean fallacies are a good thing?"

Wrong. That's your stance. I believe that the truth is objective and the goal of debate is to find it. As I said before, convincing someone of something doesn't make it true.

"No, defending it only requires manipulation. Facts help that, but words are still just as effective. As long as you can convey your point and make others believe it your making an argument, with or without direct proof."

This is where we clash. You don't believe in truth. To you, the truth is what everyone believes. To me, the truth is an objective ideal that we must get to in debate.

"Similarly, a man can stand there with as many charts, graphs, and articles as he wants, but someone with better powers of self reasoning will always win. This is why religion is so much more prominent than science. You can show as much proof as you want, but the on who is more appealing will win."

It's not about who wins. It's about who is correct. The religious person may win by popularity, but he isn't the true winner because he did not arrive at the truth. The scientist with all the evidence would be the true winner. The truth does not depend on popularity.

"I already did justify it. Perhaps you did not read my last round clearly enough. I had prior knowledge of what Burden of Proof is and presented it. You can wikipedia Burden of Proof, and it will say the exact same thing. I know, I looked, and you can do so on your own."

You did not view the disambiguation. According to wikipedia, there are articles for legal proceedings, rhetoric (aka DEBATE, which is the article with MY definition) and logical fallacy, which shows what happens when someone uses burden of rpoof the wrong way.

"All of which involve the presentation of a logical proof."

"No, only logic, which you do with your mind, not with hard evidence. As you'll recount, the only 'evidence' we have both shown is strictly word oriented. Very vague and unspecific to real happenings, yet clear enough so the opponent and audience can understand. Your only proving my point."

Wrong. This is only due to your misguided belief that the burden of proof is the same as hard evidence, which is is not. The burden of proof is simply the presentation of a logical argument. So in reality, you are proving *my* point.

"On your last point about me misunderstanding what burden of proof is. I believe it is your definition that may be incorrect. As I said, burden of proof is purely legal. What it is is the necessity to show hard evidence to prove something to be true. For instance, without a murder weapon, bodies, and plausible links you cannot convict a serial killer. Law enforcers have to show this as it will determine the further lifestyles of human beings. It is the burden of the police and lawyers to provide proof for their cases. It is rather the members of this site who may or may not have misconstrued it into using it as a cheap tactic in attempting to show the possible ineptness of their opponent. What you are describing is exactly what I am proposing, in that if one can logically conclude their premises there is no need to provide hard evidence. I've been saying this from the beginning of this debate. If there is anyone who is at fault for arguing on a wrong point it is you. If this is the case then it is I who have won.

It seems that it is you who in this last round must prove, as I said in the beginning "con's position: That the burden of proof is not optional, but necessary". I have, for this whole debate, rebutted every one of your examples, showing that ones own prowess is enough to win a civilian debate. You are saying that hard evidence is needed, which is what burden of proof is, thus treating any regular debate like a legal proceeding. Trying to switch our positions will not win you this debate, only prove that you don't know what your talking about.

I remind the voters of my stance and my opponents. I have argued on my case the entire time, while my opponent has been misguided by his own misunderstanding. While voting, remember it is not which side you agree on on a personal level, but which side presented and defended their case better.

So that people might be clear on what Burden of Proof is, I will provide some right now with the wikipedia article link. Perhaps then this may finally be settled:
http://en.wikipedia.org......

Darth_Grievous_42 out."

Hilarious. This debate is now quite over. My opponent has sadly centered his entire argument of "Burden of proof" on the WRONG WIKIPEDIA ARTICLE.

http://en.wikipedia.org...

Burden of proof (rhetoric)
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search

Burden of proof means the reasons that have to be met before a proposition of fact, value, or policy can be evaluated.

My opponent has looked merely on the first result of "burden of proof", which has to do with law. However, he did not take the time to click "DISAMBIGUATION" and find the article associated with RHETORIC.

We are talking about debate, thus, the article on RHETORIC would be the valid one.

Thus, your argument has completely disintegrated. Burden of proof does not only apply to law, and does not strictly mean hard evidence. According to the provided definition, it is merely the amount of reasoning or evidence needed to come to a valid conclusion.

BY DEFINITION, THE BURDEN OF PROOF MUST BE SATISFIED FOR A DEBATE TO BE CALLED A DEBATE.
Debate Round No. 3
5 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 5 records.
Posted by zarul 9 years ago
zarul
My opinion on it is that evidence is optional until the opponent asks for it. At that point, you must provide it, and the reciprocal is not always true (you need to tell your opponent to provide evidence too).

I also accept sources unless they're argued against, and take sourced claims over unsourced claims, that's basically my argument, now to read this debate!
Posted by sadolite 9 years ago
sadolite
I can assue you the burden of proof is optional when it comes to global warming.
Posted by Kleptin 9 years ago
Kleptin
You don't need to read much of it.

"Hilarious. This debate is now quite over. My opponent has sadly centered his entire argument of "Burden of proof" on the WRONG WIKIPEDIA ARTICLE."

That was the clincher. He objectively lost this debate due to a simple careless mistake x.x
Posted by Yraelz 9 years ago
Yraelz
I concur with Kleptin also but am much to lazy to read this debate right now so I won't bother voting.
Posted by Logical-Master 9 years ago
Logical-Master
I must concur with Kleptin. Without the burden of proof, we wouldn't be able to get anywhere in most debates.
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