The Instigator
twocupcakes
Pro (for)
Winning
8 Points
The Contender
TheDiabolicDebater
Con (against)
Losing
0 Points

The drinking age is the USA should be lowered to 19

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 2 votes the winner is...
twocupcakes
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 5/8/2012 Category: Society
Updated: 4 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 3,946 times Debate No: 23485
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (4)
Votes (2)

 

twocupcakes

Pro

I will argue that the drinking age in the USA should be lowered from 21 to 19. Con will argue that the drinking age should remain at 21.I hope for a good debate. First round acceptance. Good Luck.

72 hour response times. 4 rounds.

Here is a fun quote.

"Too much of anything is bad, but too much good whiskey is barely enough."
― Mark Twain
TheDiabolicDebater

Con

I accept. Please state your case.
Debate Round No. 1
twocupcakes

Pro


Thank you for accepting the debate.

Here are my arguments

Not allowing 19-20 year olds the freedom to drink in inconsistent with many other responsibilities given to them such as voting, smoking, joining the army, owning a gun ect.

1. Not allowing 19 year olds to drink is logically inconsistent with other freedoms that are granted to young adults. At 18 kids can fight in the army, drive a car, smoke a cigarette, own a gun, vote, serve on jury duty, sign a contract, and take out a loan. Often times, people claim that the the 19 year olds are not mature enough to decide whether to drink or not. We trust 19 year olds with much greater choices and responsibilities then whether to consume alcohol. If they are mature enough to engage in lethal force against enemies and possibly die or kill others or get a mental disorder, operate a heavy vehicle where a mistake could cost lives and ruin property, smoke a highly addictive drug that causes 1 in 5 premature deaths and is detrimental to every organ in the body [1], help determine laws and choose leaders,own a weapon designed to kill could enable a death( murder, suicide accident), decide whether a peer should go to jail/face execution, enter into a binding agreement, they are responsible enough to decide whether to drink or not. The harmful effects of these other actions are worse then the harmful effects of alcohol. Furthermore, there are many benefits of drinking alcohol (argued later). It is logically inconsistent to not allow drinking for 19 year olds, when these other freedoms are allowed.

2. The Law has been Ineffective at stopping drinking

The law has been a complete failure. Not many people follow the law. 82 % of college students under 21 drink [2]. Should we really have a law that 4 out of 5 people break? Most people who do not drink choose not to do so for health or religious reasons. Almost no one chooses not to drink for the sake of being a law abiding citizen. One could object saying that everyone speeds, but having a speed limit is a necessary law. The difference is that speeding is not strictly enforced. If an officer clocks someone is going 1, 5, or even 10 over the limit it is rare that they will get a ticket. In fact, most would agree that an officer would be in the wrong for this. Tickets should only be handed out if someone is driving recklessly or going way over the limit. Same with drinking. Drinking at 19 should be regarded as going 5 over the limit,
not worthy of punishment.

3. The law does not greatly effect drunk driving deaths

The reason the drinking age was raised from 18 to 21 in 1984 was to decrease drunk driving deaths. Many people claim that this law is effective because drunk driving deaths decreased after the law was passed. However, the drunk driving deaths have been decreasing at a relatively constant rate since 1982. In 1982 there were about 26 thousand deaths compared to about 13 thousand in 2009. Again, it has been decreasing each year at relatively constant rate.[3] As time goes on, and people become more aware of alcohol dangers, and life saving technology improves drunk driving deaths decrease, regardless of the drinking age.

4. Punish the crime, not the derivative of the crime

If people have a problem with drunk driving, they should increase the penalty for drunk driving. They should not punish a "derivative of the crime they are against". For example, a reasonable way to deal with drunk driving would be to make jail mandatory for DUIs, not to make it illegal to drink. Responsible drinking is a victimless crime. Those adults who drink responsibly should not be deprived of liberty for the poor actions of a few.

4. Many societal benefits for reducing the drinking age

Decreasing the drinking age will create more responsible drinkers and lead to a better society. Not allowing young adults to drink is somewhat of a self fulfilling prophecy. Society treats 19-21 year olds like they cannot handle responsibility, and 19-21 year olds act accordingly. In Canada ( a country with similar culture to USA), the drinking age is either 18 or 19. While more college students drink in Canada, there are less binge drinkers in Canada than in the USA [4]. If 19-20 year olds could drink, they could go out to pubs/clubs which would be more safe than frat houses, house parties. It would be more safe because there are adults around, and if someone does become too drunk, they would not be afraid to seek help or get help for a friend. For example, at University of Colorado an underage student died of alcohol poisoning after a fraternity initiation. The student passed out of the couch and did not wake up. No one got help for the student because the feared being punished for breaking underage drinking laws [5].

Every country in North/South America and Europe has a drinking age lower than the USA. The only countries that are as/more strict on underage drinking are Islamic fascist countries such as United Arab Emirates and Tajikistan[6]. There is a lot of social value in drinking. Having a drink with someone is a good way to make friends and network. Society should focus on teaching responsible drinking instead of trying to trying to eliminate 19-20 yo drinking. No one should have a problem with someone who is done high school, drinking.

Conclusion

I have shown that a 21 yo drinking age is logically inconsistent with other freedoms given to young adults, the law has been ineffective at stopping underage drinking, the law did not greatly affect drunk driving deaths, it is wrong to deprive responsible acting adults of their liberty to drink and their are many societal benefits of lowering the drinking age. The USA should lower the drinking age to 19. Vote Pro.


[1]http://en.wikipedia.org...

[2]http://www.alcohol101plus.org...

[3]http://www.alcoholalert.com...


[4]http://alcoholism.about.com...

[5]http://www.thedenverchannel.com...

[6] http://en.wikipedia.org...
TheDiabolicDebater

Con

Pro has the burden of proof in this debate, so if I adequately refute his arguments then this will be an easy vote for Con.

For clarification, I will first outline why the drinking age should remain at 21.

Facts

1) The corpus callosum functions to transfer motor, sensory, and cognitive information between the two brain hemispheres. [1]
2) The corpus callosum typically does not finish developing until the mid-20's. [2]
3) There is an association between heavy drinking and physical brain damage. Consuming alcohol causes brain shrinkage, especially in the frontal lobe, where higher cognitive faculties are located. [3]
4) In 2009, there were over 9000 fatal car accidents involving alcohol consumption. [4]

Conclusion

Now, let's apply these facts to the resolution. If we affirm the resolution, we are allowing 19 year olds that are still undergoing vital brain development, to partake in a substance that further degrades their cognitive functions and cause brain shrinkage. This is not only causing harm to themselves, but it also harms other people; especially on the road. We must negate this resolution because we are socially and morally obligated to protect our teenagers, as well as the people those teenagers could potentially harm.

Now, moving on to Pro's arguments.


1. Not allowing 19 year olds to drink is logically inconsistent with other freedoms that are granted to young adults.

Pro's argument here is essentially that 19 year olds are allowed to do other dangerous things, therefore they should be allowed to drink alcohol as well. This argument is only effective if I am defending the entire status quo, which I am not. If Pro expects me to do this, then they are placing a very heavy burden on me. In this debate, I am only tasked with defending the current age that citizens are allowed to drink at.

Furthermore, none of the things Pro has listed here are as serious as teenage alcohol consumption in their potential physical dangers. This contention fails because it is not a logical argument, it is simply an attempt at shotgun argumentation to try and overwhelm me. Pro is trying to make a change to the status quo, so they must fulfill their burden of proof instead of trying to shift it over to me.

2. The Law has been Ineffective at stopping drinking

This argument is absurd. I could easily make an argument that the law has been ineffective at stopping murder, but that does not mean the act of murder should be decriminalized. Furthermore, this is contention blatantly false, as fatal accidents involving alcohol have decreased in the last ten years. [4]

3. The law does not greatly effect drunk driving deaths

This contention rests on a bare assertion. This bare assertion is that drunk driving deaths have decreased, but not because of drunk driving laws. Pro provides no evidence for this, so we can safely dismiss this argument as a bare assertion fallacy.

4. Punish the crime, not the derivative of the crime

I agree that drunk driving should carry harsher penalties, but I don't see how this warrants lowering the drinking age to 19.

"Those adults who drink responsibly should not be deprived of liberty for the poor actions of a few."
The fact of the matter is that people often don't drink responsibly, therefore we need to take measures to prevent drunk driving as well as underage drinking.

4. Many societal benefits for reducing the drinking age

So let me get this straight; one underage student died of alcohol poisoning in Colorado, and you're blaming his death on the laws regarding alchohol, as well as using this instance to warrant the lowering of the drinking age?

I really don't see how that logically follows. By keeping the current drinking laws in place, we are providing a deterrent to under age drinking. I don't know about you, but drinking alcohol under age seems a lot less appealing when I consider the fact that I can be fined at least $250.

What this debate comes down to is the fact that under age drinkers are harming themselves as well as other people around them. The current laws against drinking have been effective in lowering fatal car accidents involving alcohol, and that is what's important here. The Pro case is willing to wrecklessly allow young teenagers to partake in a substance that degrades their cognitive functions and impairs their decision making.

With Pro's case refuted, we can safely negate this resolution.


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Sources
1) http://biology.about.com...
2) http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov...
3) http://www.alcohol-drug.com...
4) http://www.census.gov...
Debate Round No. 2
twocupcakes

Pro

Burden of Proof

Do I have the burden of proof? It seems like it should be shared? If the state is going to deprive young adults of their liberty they should present good reasons. Does the instigator, or the person who wants to change the status-quo always have the BOP? Or is it like calling "shotgun", the first person to mention it decides it?

I don't really understand why BOP is often debated. While BOP may affect who the reader agrees with, it does not effect the quality of arguments (which is what is voted on). Claiming to not have the BOP is no excuse to make weaker arguments.

1. Not allowing 19 year olds to drink is logically inconsistent with other freedoms that are granted to young adults.

It is helpful to compare the dangers of drinking to other responsibilities granted to 19 year olds. Comparing these parallel examples help determine whether drinking is a responsibility 19 year olds can handle. It is a logical argument. If A is more dangerous/at par with than B, and 19 year olds can handle A, then they can handle B. I didn't mean to overwhelm/sabotage my opponent. It probably seems overwhelming because there is no other responsibility at 21 to compare to drinking. All the other responsibilities are granted at 18. To have logically consistent beliefs, one would have to think that the age of some/all responsibilities (joining the army, owning a gun, smoking) should be changed to 21 ( therefore making 18-20 yos in the USA the oldest "kids" in the world), or claim that there is a reason that makes drinking more dangerous. My opponent claims that there is a reason that makes the choice to consume alcohol more dangerous than the many other comparable responsibilities mentioned in round 1. Further argumentation in this debate will show otherwise.

2. The Law has been Ineffective at stopping drinking

My opponent argues he argument can be made for murder. I proved that over 4 out of 5 underage students drink. The percentage of underagers who break this law is VERY HIGH. The percentage of people who break the murder law is VERY LOW. The latest homicide rate in the USA is 4.8 murders per 100,000 people or .000048% [1]. So, if no one committed duplicate murders, .000048% of people in the USA murdered people. So, about 82% of Americans break the underage drinking law, while .000048% break the murder law. How can you make the same argument for murder?

My opponent argues that since overall drunk driving fatalities have decreased the past 10 years, the law has been effective. I assume that this was meant to object to my argument regarding drunk driving fatalities, so I will address it there.

3. The law does not greatly effect drunk driving deaths

This is not a bare assertion. Drunk driving deaths have been decreasing at a constant rate since 1982 to present day. The law to change the drinking from 18 to 21 occur in 1984. If the law had a profound effect on overall drunk driving deaths, the drunk driving decrease should have accelerated around 1984,1985. However, it did not, the decrease remained constant. There is a natural rate of decrease. This is because of increased vehicle safety technology, life saving technology, alcohol awareness, that occurs with time. My opponent showed that overall drunk driving deaths decreased from 1999-2009. This is consistent with the natural decrease of drunk driving deaths. Also, since the law was past in 1984, the effects just after the law passed compared to before would present a better case. It is hard to believe that the effects of raising the drinking age are just occurring now.

Some may argue that the fatalities of 19-20 year-olds would increase (This is an important statistic and may be why my opponent claimed I made a bare assertion. I thought I would let my opponent bring this argument up instead of making it myself) . This is probably true. A study shows that a drinking age of 21 leads to a 5% decrease in in 18-21 year-old drunk driving fatalities. However, this is also shows that a 21 yo drinking age results in an 8% increase in 21-23 yo old deaths [3]. Drinking experience is more important than drinking age. A higher drinking age just shifts deaths to higher ages. Dr. Mike A. Males of the University of California states"The bottom line is that raising the drinking age to 21 did not improve a young person's odds of avoiding fatal alcohol mishap before age 25." [3]

4. Punish the crime not the derivative of the crime

This shows that the reason that under 21 yos cannot drink, should not solely be to prevent drunk driving. The chain of causation is too distant to ban alcohol usage for those under 21, solely to prevent drunk driving. This is especially true seeing as how drunk driving is not punished harshly. Prohibiting alcohol consumption is an overreaction to drunk driving crashes. For example, texting and driving is very dangerous. Some studies claim that it is more dangerous than drinking and driving [2]. Prohibiting those under 21 to own a cell phone with texting features is an overreaction. However, laws against texting while driving are acceptable. This shows that it is wrong to have a drinking age of 21 soley for the reason to prevent drunk driving as it is not the most appropriate action.

5. Many societal benefits for reducing the drinking age

Not just for this one incident. I was giving an example of how many lives are lost each year due to underage drinking off the roads. 1000 lives of 18-24 year olds are lost due to drinking off the roads. Also, 60% of deaths due to underage drinking are for incidents off the roads.[6] These lives are just as important to protect. The 21 drinking age may slightly decrease the amount of drinkers, however it increases the amount of heavy drinkers. As I showed in round one,compared to Canada, while less college students drink in the USA, more American students binge drink. Binge drinking is the cause of most problems ( alcohol poisoning, health damage)[5]. My opponent claims that "There is an association between heavy drinking and physical brain damage." The 21 drinking age increases heavy drinking, which results in the majority of health problems.

Having a drink is a good way to relax, make friends, and network( American employees cannot drink with their co-workers bosses, this is a big disadvantage especially in a business professional environment). Studies show that moderate drinkers are in general happier people[5]. If 19-20 yos are treated like adults, they will act more like adults. Police should not waste time and money enforcing this rule. There are better things they can do with this time.

Conclusion

The 21 year old drinking age is a failed, absurd social experiment. The USA is the only modern democracy, and one of the only countries in the world to have a drinking age this high. many countries such as Spain, Greece and Italy teach there children to drink in moderation as early as preschool [3]. Both the Ukrain and South Korea have tried the 21 yo drinking age, concluded it did not work and abandoned it [3].

I have shown that a 21 yo drinking age is logically inconsistent with other freedoms given to young adults, the law has been ineffective at stopping underage drinking, the law did not greatly affect drunk driving deaths, it is wrong to deprive responsible acting adults of their liberty to drink and their are many societal benefits of lowering the drinking age ( including decreasing the amount of binge drinking). The USA should lower the drinking age to 19. This should be an easy vote for Pro.

[1] http://en.wikipedia.org...

[2] http://www.cnbc.com...

[3] http://www2.potsdam.edu...

[4] http://alcoholism.about.com...

[5] http://www.masenka.be...

[6] http://www.chooseresponsibility.org...
TheDiabolicDebater

Con

Yes, you do have the burden of proof because:

A) You are the instigator, and you never specified that the burden of proof was shared
B) You are attempting to make a change to the status quo.

Pretty reasonable, if you ask me.

1. Not allowing 19 year olds to drink is logically inconsistent with other freedoms that are granted to young adults.

Once again, this argument was merely an attempt to shift the burden of proof. I am not going to defend the entire status quo, because this resolution is only about the drinking age.

To reiterate my main point, just because 19 year olds are allowed to do other dangerous things, it does not mean they should be allowed to drink as well.

To say that other countries throughout the world have lower drinking ages does nothing to help the Pro case. Whether or not a belief is popular has absolutely nothing to do with that belief being right.

2. The Law has been Ineffective at stopping drinking
In his response, Pro completely missed the point of my attack. I was not claiming that laws against murder are ineffective and thus we should legalize murder. I was simply providing a hypothetical example of how Pro's logic in this contention fails.

My point was this:
Just because a law is ineffective at accomplishing something, it does not mean we should remove the law. Even if the law has been ineffective at stopping drinking, (which it hasn't as I've already proven) that doesn't warrant removing the law entirely.

3. The law does not greatly effect drunk driving deaths

"If the law had a profound effect on overall drunk driving deaths, the drunk driving decrease should have accelerated around 1984,1985. However, it did not, the decrease remained constant. There is a natural rate of decrease."

So I suppose we are to assume that Pro is an expert on the subject, and thus we should take his expert opinion on the interpretation of the statistics. The fact that there was a constant decrease is notable. I'm not saying the drinking age laws were in and of themselves the entire reason why drunk driving deaths have decreased over the years. However, it would be foolish to think that these laws weren't conducive to the decrease.


At this point I'm going to have to concede because the evidence in Pro's 3rd citation is pretty hard to get around. Not only that, but Pro has literally changed my opinion on this issue. Perhaps I should stick to Philosophy debates...Anyways, good debate. Vote Pro.


Debate Round No. 3
twocupcakes

Pro

Cool stuff man. It was a good debate. Thanks for debating with me. It's cool that you changed you opinion. I respect that.

BOP

Cool. That makes sense. This instigator always has the burden of proof unless it is specified. Or, the person changing the status quo. What if the instigator is keeping the status quo(is it shared then)?haha

Also, I don't really yet understand how having, not having or sharing the BOP changes the arguments. If the BOP was shared or my opponent had it, would I have to argue differenly (just random thoughts, this BOP concept is kinda new to me)

1. Not allowing 19 year olds to drink is logically inconsistent with other freedoms that are granted to young adults.

To reiterate my main point, just because 19 year olds are allowed to do other dangerous things, it does not mean they should be allowed to drink as well.

I agree. By no means do I expect you to defend the status quo. Alone, this point does not prove drinking should be legal. But, comparing drinking to other freedoms helps gauge/establish what standard of danger is acceptable for 18 year olds and what standard is not.

2. The Law has been Ineffective at stopping drinking

If a law is inneffective to the ectent that 82% of the population breaks it each year, it should be changed(in the case of 19-20yo drinking, it should be removed). The murder example is bad example to compare to underage drinking. The murder law is very effective. Also, murder is highly immoral, whereas drinking is not really immoral. Also, If the murder law had been innefective and 82% of the people commited murder each year, something would have to change. Imagine that, 82-100% of the population would be wiped out each year to killings. An innefective law requires a change.In the case of underage drinking it should be removed.

A better example to compare would be speeding, but I awnsered this objection on round 1.

3. The law does not greatly effect drunk driving deaths

Whether I am an expert is irrelevent. Sometimes experts have stupid ideas and sometimes fools get a stroke of genius. The idea/argunment makes sense. Yeah, the laws had some effect on drunk driving deaths. But, it makes sense that better technology/safety standards contribute heavily to DDDeaths. My 3rd citation goes deeper into the effects of the drinking age on drunk driving fatalities.

Thanks again for the debate man. If there is anyone that thinks the drinking age should be 21, I would be happy to debate. Vote Pro.
TheDiabolicDebater

Con

TheDiabolicDebater forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 4
4 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 4 records.
Posted by 16kadams 4 years ago
16kadams
Debate me later and you can find out
Posted by twocupcakes 4 years ago
twocupcakes
Yeah, why shouldn't the 19-20 year-olds be allowed to drink?
Posted by TheDiabolicDebater 4 years ago
TheDiabolicDebater
May I ask what for?
Posted by 16kadams 4 years ago
16kadams
Drinking ave needs to stay 21 btw.
2 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 2 records.
Vote Placed by K.GKevinGeary 4 years ago
K.GKevinGeary
twocupcakesTheDiabolicDebaterTied
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Total points awarded:40 
Reasons for voting decision: the FF is for the conduct. The con had points but that last round couldhave been something beneficial for the con. I stand on the con side and still do but the pro had many good points to why the age should be lowered hence more convincing in short. One of the points remind me of the abortion debate, the law is useless because drinking will still occur regardless. Well done by both Con and Pro. spelling fine for both im not anal about that ever and sources equal for both for presenting theircase
Vote Placed by 16kadams 4 years ago
16kadams
twocupcakesTheDiabolicDebaterTied
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Total points awarded:40 
Reasons for voting decision: Con failed to refute pros arguments. Con FF'd last round, leaving many questions unanswered. Also conduct was dictated by the FF. All of pros points proved lowering the drinking age would be beneficial, and the current drinking age is a useless law. PRO wins this debate