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The gift of debating and speaking isn't necessarily good.

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 1 vote the winner is...
It's a Tie!
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 3/3/2014 Category: Philosophy
Updated: 2 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 521 times Debate No: 48255
Debate Rounds (5)
Comments (4)
Votes (1)




Top of the morning to you. Or afternoon or evening or whenever.

The resolution is simple: The gift of debating isn't necessarily good

we will be using the following definitions:

a natural ability or talent.
"he has a gift for comedy"
synonyms: talent, flair, aptitude, facility, knack, technique, touch, bent, ability,expertise, capacity, capability, power, faculty

  1. a formal discussion on a particular matter in a public meeting or legislative assembly, in which opposing arguments are put forward and which usually ends with a vote.
  1. argue about (a subject), especially in a formal manner.
  1. a formal address or discourse delivered to an audience.
I will argue in favor of the resolution that being extremely talented in debating and speech isn't necessarily a good thing and might not be in favor for the general population.

5 rounds, 4 will be used for debating, 72 hours to post the argument, 10.000 characters, a month of voting time (why so long? Because I felt like it.)

Few ground rules:
1. There will be four rounds, with one round for acceptance, rules or dismissal (see below).
2. my opponent has the choice of going first and present his arguments in the first round. if he chooses to do so he must type in the fourth and final round for something akin to "No round as agreed upon".
3. If you chose to use sources they must be properly cited (a.k.a No plagiarism)
4. try to make structured and logical arguments. Trolls not allowed.
5. no forfeits. I'd appreciate it if you can make the most of your rounds.
6. try and follow the round structure below

Failure to follow these rules by either party will result in a 7 point penalty.

The round structure is as followed for either party:
Round 1: Rules set by Pro, Con accepts or starts his opening statement.
Round 2: Opening statements by both parties. If Con was first he may post his rebuttals.
Round 3: Rebuttals by both parties.
Round 4: further Rebuttals by both parties: If Con went first He'll post his final rebuttals and closing statement.
round 5: Closing statements. If Con went first he forfeits this round and Pro won't make any new arguments as Con cannot refute them. If Pro went first Con won't make any new arguments as pro cannot refute them.

Any further discussion, questions or revisions on the rules and structure of the debate should be posted in the comments in order to avoid any unfortunate disagreements or misunderstandings once the debate starts.

everything clear? good. Good luck and happy debating.


I will accept this debate challenge. I thank my opponent for selecting an interesting topic.

My Position: The gift of speech and debate is necessarily good.

As discussed in the comments, the question of what qualifies as "good" must be answered. My opponent and myself agreed that "good" must be defined as it applies to the public sphere, i.e., those who are not gifted in speech and debate, the people on the recieving end of a speech, etc.

I'm sure my opponent can agree that having a gift is good, so we will not debate this. Rather, we will be debating the implications and perceptions of speech and debate.

I look forward to this debate, and hope it will be challenging and enlightening.
Debate Round No. 1


WHEN, O Catiline, do you mean to cease abusing our patience? How long is that madness of yours still to mock us? When is there to be an end of that unbridled audacity of yours, swaggering about as it does now?“[1]

With those words the famous politician and philosopher Marcus Tullius Cicero started the first of his four speeches collectively known as the Catiline Orations, often regarded as the best speeches he ever made. The speeches where made to the senate in the Temple of Jupiter Stator and were made to expose the plot of Lucius Sergius Catilina that aimed to overthrow the Roman government along with his allies. The speeches where given over the course of four days and ended with the execution of Catiline's conspirators. Cicero ordered the death of Catiline and although people as high ranking as Julius Caesar thought exile was much better suited for those affected Cicero managed to shift the votes with words. Along with the executions Catiline fled Rome until his death in war when his troops where surrounded by Quintus Caecilius Metellus Celer.

What makes Cicero's feat that much more impressive is the fact that he did all of this without ever giving out a valid proof. He states that he will give a proof in the speech; he calls upon the witnesses of his own guard and he is incredibly sure of himself: but he sealed in the fate of numerous Romans using the power of his words and essentially saved the republic if the history books can be accounted for. He isn't as us that need sources for every single argument we make: He had no voting column for “used the most reliable sources.”

But what if, what if we remember that history is indeed written by the winners. What if Catiline was innocent of the crimes Cicero accused him of? Then, by the gift of speech, Cicero would have successfully murdered one of the higher ranking senates and consulates and was praised a hero for his actions. Let's take on the role of a random voting senate member: Cicero came In and told us that Catiline had tried to murder him on the day of elections. Catiline doesn't like the accusing and reacts violently, who wouldn't, it's a serious accusation in those times. He has no proof and yet you all agree to disband the elections and the consul that Cicero was gained absolute power. Later on Cicero calls you to the temple and delivers a short, to the point speech that is incredibly convincing, condemning all those that defend Catiline, but still provides no 'real' evidence. Catiline vanishes that evening.
Cicero responds in his next speech that he has fled to his army and outhouses him as a traitor using that single fact that Catiline had fled the city. For what we know at this point he could have been terrified that Cicero would succeed in murdering him. Cicero keeps going in speeches 3 and 4 and forces you to look at those that tried to help him and outhouses them as traitors as well. The chief priest of the Roman state religion and future emperor, albeit this is unknown to us, along with a large portion of the senate speak up and suggest to exile the traitors but Cicero argues that they are to be executed: Driven by the fact that Catiline had fled and the power of his words you vote for death: No concrete proof had ever landed on the table and yet you are ready to kill someone by the word of one man, a semi-invalid consul.

Now, you'll forgive my obnoxiously long introduction to this debate but I felt that we needed a small history lesson before we could begin to show that when it comes to debates the truth isn't the objective; the objective is to make everyone prefer you over the truth. When someone can make you choose him over the truth that man has no limits on his power and is dangerous. His gift of speech isn't good for we cannot trust what he says.

The power of words.

Let's take a page from the book of Plato in the Socratic dialogue “Gorgias” where Socrates and Gorgias discuss the nature of rhetoric speakers and the true nature of them: That they possess no real world skill but can still convince their man that their skill is superior than other crafts. In one passage of the book[2] Socrates notes to Gorgias that his rhetorical skill must be a thing of marvel, to which Gorgias replies (paraphrased):
“On several occasions have I spent time with my brother [a physician] as he was attending one of his patients, who would not allow him to give him medicine nor operate his illnesses. I could however persuade the patient to do those things for me just trough the use of rhetoric”

Trough the use of speech Gorgias was able to get a person to prefer him, a rhetoric speaker, someone with the gift of speech, as his doctor over an actual learned doctor. A skilled speaker went against someone’s better judgement and still won: For those are the powers of words. The greatest speakers can make someone doubt their own senses and change their perception of truth. For the general populous being a gifted speaker isn't good, because it gives you a power that you need to be responsible with.

So, if I had this power, would there be a limit to what I could do? Would I be able to manipulate others every time? Could I use my speech to rise to power and dictate an entire nation with my speech alone no matter what my message is? I say that I am, and that is because it has happened: one man has indeed shown that it is possible and showed us the true darkness of a great speaker. May I introduce the greatest orator in the 20th century:

Commander of the third Reich

One round in and I already involved Godwin's law; but this time it's for a reason:
How can an artist that was born in Austria become the leader of Germany and indirectly take 11 million lives? By being a genius. The man was twisted, blinded with rage over the loss of WWI and a psychopath, but he was a genius none the less for he knew how to turn people around himself with a few honey coated words. He joined the German worker party, a controversial party, but he quickly made sure that someone noticed him. I quote:
“He disagreed with how they [the party] were organised leading him to make a passionate speech. Hitler quickly cemented his reputation as an engaging orator through his passion about the injustices faced by Germany as a result of the Treaty of Versailles.

It soon became clear that people were joining the party just to see Hitler make his speeches, which would leave the audience in a state of near hysteria and willing to do whatever he suggested.“[3]

A controversial topic in a controversial party and people were joining just to witness the gift that Hitler had: The power of his speech, the debates he could win every time he stepped to the podium.

This gift was finely tuned; His speeches where spot on and he made sure that he always spoke to the hearts of those betrayed; and eventually rose to power becoming the leader of the most tragic line of events ever to hit the western world, and it all started with the gift of debate.

the truth isn't the objective; but to make everyone prefer you over the truth.”

Debating is wonderful. It lets people state their own opinions and help each other find the truth and why one thing is better than another, but if it where only so simple we would not be having this debate: Like Gorgias, Cicero and Hitler before we can see that a great speaker isn't necessarily the most moral speaker. They can save the nation and they can destroy the nation. They can save a life and they can take millions of them. They control the thoughts and opinions of those around them without the victim even realising it. Even if we look closer to home, right here on the DDO; “IDOE: Satan was the good guy. god was the bad one” and “Is our world merely a flat plate, supported by a shell of a tortoise?” Both topics should be rather one sided, and yet the “wrong sides”, if I may put it that way, are on top. If we where to present the debates to talented orators and have them read the debates to a completely neutral audience with no former knowledge on the subject would we expect them to use their own reasoning and question the orator or would they accept it on the account of his arguments and how they where presented? I'd say that the orator would have the upper hand in this way, “brainwashing” them to a certain degree. Anyone with some minimal knowledge of the world can conclude that there isn't a tortoise in space holding the universe up and by our day-to-day definition of God and satan we know that satan is the bad one; Yet the debates convinced us otherwise, we saw that a skilled speaker needs not the truth, only a way to make the truth less appealing than his own version of it. Even the way the resolution is put forth is a trap, a trick to make the speech more appealing, There is not truth, only how the orator describes it (I'll cover this in my next round). This is what makes a skilled debater dangerous.

In conclusion
Ladies and gentlemen: Is this not wrong? Is it not unfair that someone that has no skills beside the power of his own mind and logic can manipulate those around him to his liking, choosing him over someone with skill? Is this a gift you would like to bestow upon your greatest enemy if you had to give him a true gift? No, for he can use that gift in ways unforetold, given the opportunity and a little preparation. I say that debating isn't necessarily good, and my opponent cannot deny that it has lead to terrible people doing terrible things. Ignorance may be a bliss, but relying on the words of a rhetoric speaker is a dangerous road, and his gift is a gift that you should avoid at all cost, for it is a gift you can never control.

1 )
2 )



i must apologize to my opponent. i will not be able to post for this round. i ran into some health problems this week. i have not been able to construct my argument.
Debate Round No. 2


All right, that's all right. :)

Presuming that your health allows it you're free to make your case in the next round, we'll just have one round less. If you still can't make the debate due to health we'll just call it a tie and I'll re-instigate the topic. no harm done.



Pfalcon1318 forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 3


oculus_de_logica forfeited this round.


Pfalcon1318 forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 4



I ask everyone that is viewing this debate to refrain from voting and keep this debate tied throughout the entire voting period. As per agreement between me and my opponent in a personal message we'll be reinstating the debate later this week: I'll leave a link to that debate in the comments of this debate one it has been created if anyone is interested in reading it.

thank you for your co-operation and have a splendid evening.



My opponent and I have agreed to debate at a later time.

Allow this debate to end with a tie, and a link to the new debate will be provided in the comment section.

Thank you, in advance, for allowing myself and my opponent to honor our prior agreement to postpone this debate.
Debate Round No. 5
4 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 4 records.
Posted by wwwwh 2 years ago
Speach is not inheriantly good. Debate however is because it requires critical thinking which i would be willing to debate is good in most all definitions of the word.
Posted by Pfalcon1318 2 years ago
That can still be referring to the implications of speech and debate. I will accept the challenge, I just wanted you to be aware of how ambiguous good is. You didn't give a definition for it, and i find it strange that "good" is the only word you didn't give a definition for..
Posted by oculus_de_logica 2 years ago
The usage of Debating and speech; as viewed by the general public.

Since "good" is such an ambiguous term I'd say that we have to define it from the viewpoint of those NOT speaking.
Posted by Pfalcon1318 2 years ago
When you say "necessarily good", are you referring to the implications of a gift for speech and debate, or the way in which a gift for speech and debate is seen by others?

it is a semantics question, but arguing over semantics becomes trivial, especially when there is a larger debate topic to discuss.
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by Wylted 2 years ago
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Total points awarded:00 
Reasons for voting decision: Tie