The Instigator
Logos
Pro (for)
Losing
15 Points
The Contender
MoonDragon613
Con (against)
Winning
24 Points

The Law of Diminishing Returns Applies to Kittens

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 6/4/2008 Category: Miscellaneous
Updated: 8 years ago Status: Voting Period
Viewed: 2,119 times Debate No: 4337
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (7)
Votes (13)

 

Logos

Pro

The Law of Diminishing Returns states that for each additional unit of input added to a production system, there is less additional output. Planting one kilogram of seeds might yield one ton of wheat, but two kilograms of seeds will not result in two tons of wheat. By the same logic, having two kittens is more enjoyable than having one kitten, but not twice as enjoyable.

If you have one kitten, assuming you are a cat person, you gather some enjoyment from it. It cuddles, does cute cat things, etc. Having two cats is indeed more enjoyable; more cute cat things are done. However, dividing your attention between multiple kittens means you do not get the full benefit from each cat. Kitten A might be doing something entertaining while you are playing with Kitten B, for example. Since your time and attention are finite, there is no way to fully appreciate multiple cats, particularly in large quantities. If you had one hundred kittens, would you even notice if another were added?
MoonDragon613

Con

There are two distinct reasons why the resolution is a false statement and therefore you should vote Con. They are distinct so that if you accept either argument (or both) you are obligated to agree with Con and vote against the resolution.

Reason #1: The synergistic effect of kittens.
For the resolution to be true, my opponent states clearly that having two kittens must be less enjoyable than twice the enjoyment of having one kitten. But the reason why the Law of Diminishing Returns does not apply between one kitten and two kittens is that the synergistic effect of kittens playing together overcomes the fact that you already had a kitten. This is best illustrated by replacing the word kitten with the concept of a naked female.

From the prospective of a male, one naked female is good. Two naked females however is much much better. Why? Because when you have two naked females, there are new horizons opened up, horizons which yield much higher utility, so high in fact, that two females together is worth significantly more than having one female twice, or doubling the value gained from having one female.

Now with kittens it is a little harder to illustrate graphically, but the concept is still the same. Two kittens can play with each other, or engage in fierce cat fights, depending on the breed. One war like kitten in fact is actually worthless in and of itself. It's not until two when the utility/enjoyment of the kittens spike. And if the law of diminishing returns is not applicable for the increase of one kitten to two kittens, then the blanket resolution "the law of diminishing returns applies to kittens" is false.

Reason #2: The perspective of cat
The Pro has based his entire argument on the point of view of what he calls "a cat person". But we are not all Cat people are we? In fact, in the world there exist many people who do not like cats. For example the zounds who are allergic to cat hair. In fact, to Those people, every kitten produces a NEGATIVE utility. Now if we accept the arguments of Pro, we see that as Cat haters increase the number of cats in their possession, the negative worth of each New cat is smaller than the negative worth of the previous.

Let's take the point of view of Jimmy who's allergic to cats. The first kitten will fill his house with x number of cat hair. This causes his allergies to flare up when he walks around the house. The second kitten adds another x hair. But by the 10th cat, the house becomes already filled with cat hair. An additional x cat hair would not have much more impact on Jimmy's allergic reaction to cats. Thus instead of diminishing returns, I have just proved to people who hate kittens, there is a law of POSITIVE RETURNS. For each Additional unit of input added to a production system, there is GREATER additional output.

If either argument flies, then you must vote against the resolution. And since they both fly, the resolution has been proven false. Thank you.
Debate Round No. 1
Logos

Pro

Regarding the "Synergistic Effect of Kittens":

While it is true that multiple kittens have added utility, what is being forgotten is the added stress that additional kittens can bring. The spectacle of two or three kittens playing does provide some extra entertainment, but not enough to overshadow the costs of feeding two cats, or the time spent cleaning two litter boxes. The extra stress, taken alongside the inability to focus on multiple cats at once, negates the added utility of multiple kittens.

It is also worth noting that kittens can and will synergize in a negative fashion, producing even more stress. Having several kittens opens up the possibilities of cat fights, which lead to damaged furniture, vet bills, and the like. Not to mention kittens whose propensity to cause trouble is increased by having other kittens around.

Regarding the "perspective of cat":

Kittens are, for the purposes of this debate, considered sources of amusement. Someone who does not consider cats a source of entertainment would not be collecting cats in any number, given that they would never produce any amusement for him. To continue the wheat analogy; someone who cannot eat wheat will always have zero returns from a wheat farm. However, for those of us who can eat wheat, the farm would have varying returns, as we have a use for the output.

In short, only those who can utilize a system's output are considered when the returns are quantified.

If only the people who would own kittens are considered, and when one acknowledges that additional kittens require additional work, the diminishing entertainment becomes clear.
MoonDragon613

Con

"While it is true that multiple kittens have added utility, what is being forgotten is the added stress that additional kittens can bring."

Actually this is a very weak argument. The acquisition of the first cat requires a significant expenditure. You need to buy cat food for the first time, litter box for the first time, and the stress of undertaking a new unfamiliar venture. The second cat is much much easier to take care of than the first cat.

Think of it but use kids instead of cats. Raising your first child? Expensive, incredibly incredibly expensive. Second child? still expensive, but now you know what you're doing, and you already have the stuff. You can start buying in bulk and etc.

Thanks Logos, I actually forgot the sharp decline in cost associated with a second kitten. This is indeed a powerful argument that I should have made in my first round.
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"Kittens are, for the purposes of this debate, considered sources of amusement."

"The Law of Diminishing Returns Applies to Kittens"

One of these sentences is the the Topic of the Debate.
Not my fault my opponent failed to consider negative returns during the first round of argumentation =D
After all, isn't it silly to assume all returns are positive?

The notion that only people who find cats to be entertainment would collect cats is just absurd. Pet store owners collect cats don't they? If I send my friend a cat for his/her birthday, he/she will become a cat collector as well, even if only temporarily. The topic of the debate is whether the law of diminishing returns applies to kittens, and that's the topic I'm debating.
Debate Round No. 2
Logos

Pro

"The acquisition of the first cat requires a significant expenditure. You need to buy cat food for the first time, litter box for the first time, and the stress of undertaking a new unfamiliar venture."

Regardless of how many times one buys cat food, the cost is static. Purchasing cat food for a second cat is not less of a financial drain, simply because one has done it before. The same can be said for litterboxes.

This applies to caring for cats, as well. Even if one has cleaned litter boxes before, cleaning more will take more time. Even if I am a professional cat caretaker, cleaning the second box will take twice as long as cleaning the first one did.

"Pet store owners collect cats don't they?"

True, but they do not use them for their intended purpose, or any purpose beyond selling them. They do not collect returns from the kittens, they only pass them along to someone who will.

"After all, isn't it silly to assume all returns are positive?"

"But by the 10th cat, the house becomes already filled with cat hair.An additional x cat hair would not have much more impact on Jimmy's allergic reaction to cats."

Even if negative returns are considered, my opponent has stated that they hold to the law as well.

Regardless of whether kittens give you entertainment or allergies, you do not notice the effects of your tenth cat as much as you do your first cat. Since this is the case, the law of diminishing returns does indeed apply to kittens.
MoonDragon613

Con

"Regardless of whether kittens give you entertainment or allergies, you do not notice the effects of your tenth cat as much as you do your first cat. Since this is the case, the law of diminishing returns does indeed apply to kittens."

"The Law of Diminishing Returns states that for each additional unit of input added to a production system, there is less additional output."

Cats aren't factories. They don't produce goods. If I were to categorize Cats, I would put them in the service industry. So how do we measure returns on kittens?

The return on kittens = Pleasure you get from kittens - Pain you get from kittens.

For the Law of Diminishing returns to apply to kittens

The return on kitten (x) > return on kitten (x + 1) for all integer values of x.

Everyone still with me? So now to my closing statement:

(1) From the perspective of someone who loves cats but is allergic to cats, the return on the first kitten is LESS than the return on the second kitten because the pain from the allergic reaction for the second kitten is significantly diminished. Therefore, the Law of Diminishing Returns does not apply to kittens.

(2) From the perspective of someone who loves to watch kittens play together, the return on the first kitten is also < the return of the second kitten because when you have 2 kittens, they can play together, something far more amusing than just watching one kitten.

Furthermore because there are 2 kittens, you only have to make one trip to the pet store. All overhead costs associated with kittens will be distributed amongst all kittens, thus having a second kitten cuts overhead associated with the first kitten by half.
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So thank you very much for reading this short closing summation. Now vote con.
Debate Round No. 3
7 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 7 records.
Posted by brian_eggleston 8 years ago
brian_eggleston
"From the prospective of a male, one naked female is good. Two naked females however is much much better."

That comment was enough on its own to get my vote!
Posted by MoonDragon613 8 years ago
MoonDragon613
=P thank you, thank you.
I'll be here all week/month/year.
Posted by Tatarize 8 years ago
Tatarize
Wow. Moondragon is still the best debater on this site.

That was damn impressive.
Posted by beem0r 8 years ago
beem0r
The law of diminishing returns applies to koalas.
Posted by Derek.Gunn 8 years ago
Derek.Gunn
No thanks.
I would just point out that this has occurred before in a Star Trek episode.
"The Trouble with Tribbles"
Posted by MoonDragon613 8 years ago
MoonDragon613
If you wanna challenge me to
The Law of Diminishing Returns Applies to Kittens After 10

Feel free to. I'd have to prepare some new arguments, but i'll think of something.
Posted by Derek.Gunn 8 years ago
Derek.Gunn
Ultimately the marginal rate of (happiness) return must go negative
- unless one is insane.
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Vote Placed by SexyLatina 8 years ago
SexyLatina
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Vote Placed by Kitty 8 years ago
Kitty
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Vote Placed by brian_eggleston 8 years ago
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