The Instigator
MTGandP
Con (against)
Losing
59 Points
The Contender
Danielle
Pro (for)
Winning
60 Points

TheLwerd is a decent human being with a good head on her shoulders.

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 8/29/2009 Category: Miscellaneous
Updated: 8 years ago Status: Voting Period
Viewed: 7,532 times Debate No: 9365
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (32)
Votes (23)

 

MTGandP

Con

On theLwerd's profile, it says

"I'd like to think that I'm a decent human being with a good head on my shoulders. Feel free to debate me on it if you disagree."

I take that challenge. I am going to be taking multiple routes of argumentation.

Definitions (from Merriam-Webster)
Decent: conforming to standards of propriety, good taste, or morality.
Conform: to be similar or identical.
Good: of a favorable character or tendency.
On: used as a function word to indicate position in contact with and supported by the top surface of .
Head: the upper or anterior division of the animal body that contains the brain, the chief sense organs, and the mouth. (see http://kottkegae.appspot.com...)
Neck: the part of an animal that connects the head with the body. (see http://www.wunderkabinett.co.uk...)
Shoulder: the laterally projecting part of the human body formed of the bones and joints with their covering tissue by which the arm is connected with the trunk. (see http://tell.fll.purdue.edu...)

Contention 1: theLwerd is not decent, since she does not conform to traditional standards of morality. For example, she believes that gay marriage should be legalized even though only 33% of Americans agree with this position (http://www.pollingreport.com...). She also supports abortion, and if you search "abortion" on Facebook (http://www.facebook.com...), you will find far more anti-abortion groups than pro-abortion groups. It seems clear that the conventional sense of morality is that both gay marriage and abortion are wrong, and yet theLwerd supports them, so how could she be conforming to moral standards? These are only two examples.

Contention 2: theLwerd's head is not good. Even though "good" is subjective, just look at her profile picture. Its all warpy. Does that look good to you?

Contention 3: theLwerd's head is not on her shoulders. In fact, her head and her shoulders are separated by her neck, and therefore her head cannot be considered "on" her shoulders.

Note: If any of these three contentions remain standing, then I will have won since all three points are included in the resolution and all three must be affirmed.
Danielle

Pro

I'd like to thank my opponent for this challenge and look forward to a fun debate.

[ Definitions ]

I'll agree with my opponent's proposed definitions as well as provide some of my own.

A) Standard: A rule or principle that is used for the basis of judgment
B) Decent: Respectable; Worthy; Adequate

Because both mine and my opponent's definitions are both correct and both feasible for discussion in terms of this debate, it would only be fair to accept BOTH of our proposed definitions. Let's begin.

[ Rebuttal ]

1. Decency

Con believes that I do not fit the description of "decent" because I do not conform to traditional standards of morality. First, let's observe that through my proposed definition, his reasoning (my support of gay marriage, for example) does not stand -- I can still be a respectable, worthy and adequate person despite my avocation for such issues.

Moreover, I believe I can be considered a decent person even by my opponent's proposed definition. In order to do so, I must simply hold similar values to moral standards. However, morality cannot be measured simply by a majority opinion; it is fallacious to assume that the majority belief is always correct (moral) via the argumentum ad populum citation of faulty logic. You cannot conclude a proposition to be true because many or all people believe it. In other words, even if more people are opposed to gay marriage than are for it, it does not necessarily make that ideal the moral choice meaning I can still conform to moral standards without conforming to the majority opinion. Further proof of this issue is the very definition of 'standard' itself, which reads - a rule or principle that is used as the basis of judgment. Nowhere is the majority opinion considered an absolute standard for morality OR decency via my opponent's definition or my own.

2. Good Head :P

Con begins by noting that what's "good" is subjective. Therefore, even if we were to ignorantly assume that the head displayed in my profile picture was my own, clearly you cannot prove that a "warpy" head is not a good head. First of all, it is a drawing - not a photo - meaning that whether the head was warpy or not has no bearing on the actual head's (the basis for the drawing) function... which, by the way, is Johnny Depp's. Second, the warped head may be a visual distortion of the artist or even you - the viewer - which again says nothing about the character's head. Finally, Con cannot prove that the displayed head is my own, OR that my actual head is "warpy." This point is null and void.

3. Head and Shoulders

My opponent proposes that my head is not indeed on my shoulders; it is on my neck. Let's begin by noting that my opponent cannot actually prove that my head is on my neck, as there are people who suffer from a condition where what is supposed to be their neck bone is actually fused with their shoulders, thus not allowing them to turn their head. Since a neck is merely defined as narrowed region of the body connecting the head to the trunk by encyclopedia.com, this may very well be the case for me.

However, I'd like to acknowledge the fact that I do indeed have a working neck (though my opponent nor myself cannot prove it to be so). That said, simply because my head is on my neck does not mean that my head is not on my shoulders. Let's use my opponent's example and usage of the word 'On' from his proposed definition. He uses the example of a book lying ON the table. However, what if there were a table cloth on that table? The book would then actually be ON the table cloth. Moreover, the book would still be ON the table.

We can apply this analogy to my head. My head is both on my neck and my shoulders; the neck merely connects the two. Thus if your parent were to say, "My job puts food on the table," they may literally mean "My job puts food on the plate on the table." Still, the first claim that food is on the table is still correct. Likewise, my head may very well be on my neck, but it is still on my shoulders via the connection.

Back to Con.
Debate Round No. 1
MTGandP

Con

1. Decency

Many folks, such as these people (http://nefworldwide.files.wordpress.com...) would not agree that my opponent is respectable. They believe that "God hates [her]". This is a widespread and well-respected movement.

I agree that morality is not measured by a majority opinion, nor do I believe that the majority is always correct. But let us revisit the definition of "decent": "conforming to standards of propriety, good taste, or morality." To conform is to be similar or identical to majority ideals or opinions. My opponent therefore does not conform to moral standards. It is true that the majority is not the only standard, but it is the strongest and most noteworthy standard, and which must be conformed to.

2. Good Head (sicko :P )

No rigorous proof as to the goodness of a head can be created. However, it can still be widely agreed upon that a warpy head is not a good head. For example, facial expressions are difficult. It is hard to fit through doorways, and conform to the conventional idea of beauty.

But my opponent has brilliantly found the only small flaw in my argument: that the head on her profile is not actually her head. You can see an actual picture of her head right here: http://www.debate.org... However, I still contend that it is not a good head. Notice that, since my opponent is Pro, she is the one making the assertion that her head is good, and it is up to her to prove the very thing that she declared subjective. But I will point out various problems with her head. Notice that her eyes are exposed (besides her glasses, which are not part of her head). If she had a protective film over her eyes, they would not be so easily blinded. And look at her ears. They are underneath a thick layer of hair, inhibiting her hearing ability. Her head is not good.

3. Head and Shoulders

I can indeed prove that my opponent's head is on her neck. See photo (http://www.debate.org...). Additionally, said condition is very rare, so it is unlikely that she has it.

My opponent tries to modify the definition of "on", which, remember, she accepted. She admits that her head is not in contact with her shoulders, and is therefore not "on" them, therefore conceding this contention and the resolution.

Resolution negated. I look forward to my opponent's surely intriguing response.
Danielle

Pro

You mean back to Pro ; )

Now in response to Con's contentions...

[ Decency ]

1) My opponent says, "It is true that the majority is not the only standard, but it is the strongest and most noteworthy standard, and which must be conformed to." Keeping in mind that the majority opinion being necessarily correct is indeed fallacious (which my opponent agrees with), I'd like to point out that Con did not explain how or why that majority opinion is the strongest and most noteworthy standard. Therefore we should accept my point that I can still be a decent person even if I disagree with the majority on several occasions.

Moreover, this ideal is simply combated using my opponent's own mentality: If we observe all or many moral issues for most of which my ideology WOULD conform to majority opinion, then his point would be moot. For instance, I think murder, cheating and stealing are all wrong along with a plethora of other issues for which the majority of people and I would tend to agree. In that case, since I agree with the majority in most cases, it would appear as if that majority would trump those few things for which I am the minority... meaning, as a whole, I would still be considered a decent person even using Con's standards.

Let us keep in mind that Con did not respond to my point that according to MY definition of decency (which must be accepted and Con did not deny that) I am still a moral person even if my beliefs are sometimes in he minority. So again, I have proven to be a decent person by both of our proposed standards. Not to mention that morality and subsequently decency are subjective.

[ Really Good Head ]

2) As far as warpy heads go, Con submits that warpy heads are not good because facial expressions are difficult, it would be hard to fit through doorways, and harder to conform to ideals of conventional beauty. First off, who is to say that a warpy head wouldn't make facial expressions easier or more interesting? My default picture is an example of this being the case. Second, tall people have a hard time fitting through door ways: are they not good? Finally, style and beauty are transient; what is considered attractive one day might be thought of as ugly the next. One trend that seems to stand the test of time is that 'the industry' likes things and people that are different. A warped head in this sense would actually then be beneficial.

Also, note that Con did not refute the fact that the seemingly warped head may just be a visual distortion of the artist or the viewer. Considering how the head in my default picture was a drawing, this may very well be the case. Not to mention that every aspect of our perception is the result of wiring in our brain; in other words the displayed picture may not actually be warped at all.

Now, as far as MY actual head, let us admit that Con again has no proof of the quality of my actual head. For instance, the photo he submitted may not even be the real me, OR it could be an extremely old photo that depicts how my head once was and not how it actually is. Contrary to Con's hopeful assertion that it is somehow it is my burden to prove that my head is a good one, let us address the typical protocol of debate/philosophy: The one who is making the claim ha the burden of proof - not the other way around.

In this case, this debate was instigated by Con who made the assertion that I was not a decent person and that I don't have a good head on my shoulders. Sure he could say it was in response to what's posted on my profile; however, that's irrelevant - by that standard the instigator would never have the burden as every theory or hypothesis would be based off of previous assertions. Let us not be distracted and recognize that Con officially has the burden of proof here, meaning it is actually up to him to prove all of his claims true (whether he's Pro or Con). Pro just usually has the burden because they tend to post first, but this debate could have very well been posted as "theLwerd is not a decent human being and does not have a good head on her shoulders" for which my opponent would be Pro. I think you get the point.

Keeping all of this in mind, once again I can combat my opponent using his very own standards. He noted that my head is not good because I lack a protective film over my eyes; however, a simple biological description of the eye will prove otherwise -- "Small glands at the edge of the upper and lower eyelids secrete an oily substance that contributes to the tear film and keeps tears from evaporating [1]." In other words, I do have a protective film over my eyes, making my opponent's claim false and thus not contributing to his side of the resolution. Furthermore, it may be a GOOD thing that my ears are shielded/protected from my hair (which is hardly inhibiting as we can logically assume it's not detrimental to me in any way including audio impairment) as the very purpose humans have body hair in general is for protection.

[ Head and Shoulders ]

3) Yes, my head is on my neck, and it's also on my shoulders. Con has said that I have tried to manipulate the definition of the word 'on' which I have accepted (word to indicate position and supported by the top surface of); however, I have done no such thing -- I have merely explained why the word on applies to my head being on my shoulders. As I've mentioned, my head is connected to my shoulders by my neck. Ultimately my shoulders support my head. Similarly, if there was food on a plate on a table, no one would argue that there wasn't food on the table simply because there was a plate in between connecting the two. Yes, the food would be on the plate on the table - the food would be on the table. Con has yet to refute this analogy.

[ New Arguments ]

A) On final note, as long as new arguments can still be introduced (it isn't round three, after all), let us consider that placing one's head on anther's shoulder is a common sign of affection in western culture. Because we can deduce that I am a part of that culture, it would not be strange to assume that one would place their (good) head/s on my shoulder/s. Con cannot prove that this was not the case when I wrote that statement. He also has not provided a reason as to why I'd lie.

B) Because semantic arguments have been fair play in this debate, I'll introduce this one: Suppose that "head on my shoulders" was the name of my dog or a personal term that I have for the word dog in general. Apply that mentality to the sentence in question, and it would not only make perfect sense but also stands a very hard thing to disprove.

Back to Con so he can talk some more about my good head ; )

Source:

[1] http://www.merck.com...
Debate Round No. 2
MTGandP

Con

Contention 1: Decency

A standard is "something established by authority, custom, or general consent as a model or example". Since there is no authority on morality, custom and general consent are the most important standards. It is customary to believe that most of my opponent's strongest beliefs are morally wrong -- and, indeed, that even her lifestyle is wrong -- and it is also generally agreed upon.

In order to be decent, one must conform to most or nearly all of the most important standards. Homosexuality today is a very important standard, as is abortion. Since abortion is considered to be murder by the majority of people, my opponent would be considered to support murder.

Since my opponent supports murder, she is clearly not respectable, and therefore not decent. The other two synonyms of "decent" do not seem to be applicable, but if they were, my opponent would not be them.

========

Contention 2: My Opponent's Head

Humans have evolved to be able to read human emotions. A warpy head would be much more difficult to read. As a tall person, I can say that I am definitely made worse because of my inability to walk through low doorways without bending over. Difference is good, but only on a small scale. People with strange mutations, for example, are considered ugly and "deformed" has strong negative connotations.

My opponent's head at least looks warpy; it is therefore not a good head.

It is acceptable to assume that one of the two pictures I have submitted are actually my opponent's head. It is the most likely possibility: it is more likely to be her head than anyone else's. Therefore, both of my arguments still apply. And how much could her head really change over the years? How old could the photo be, considering the age of the person in the photo and the fact that my opponent is 22 years old?

I have provided a picture that my opponent herself stated was a picture of her. How much more proof is needed?

I would argue that Pro has the burden of proof, but let's not get into that. The place for that is here: (http://www.ddofans.com...)

"He noted that my head is not good because I lack a protective film over my eyes; however, a simple biological description of the eye will prove otherwise"
I was referring to a film that protects from dirt, and bullets, and the like. Have you even gotten dirt in your eye? I sure have. A person incapable of getting dirt in his or her eye would certainly be superior in that respect. Someone with bulletproof shields would be even better.

And her hair is in the way. Ears should be protected by a strong forcefield, but this forcefield should let sound through. Hair is easy to get through, and it blocks out sound. Not good. I have no time to continue listing the physical defects on my opponent's head, but there are plenty of them.

========

Contention 3: Head and Shoulders

My opponent is still going against the provided definition of "on". Additionally, her arguments by analogy are trying to use figurative definitions of "on", which go against the given definition. If I put food on a plate on the table, the food is not literally "on" the table, and any student of grammar could tell you this. Also, allow me to apply an argument ad absurdum to my opponent's definition. My head is on my shoulders; my shoulders are on my torso; my torso is on my legs; my legs are on my feet; my feet are on the ground. Therefore, my head is on the ground. But it is clearly not. Additionally, we could say that my feet are in my shoes, therefore my head must be in my shoes. But this is also ridiculous.

There are other flawed and unacceptable definitions of "on" as well. For example, if you have ever flown, you were probably told to "get on the plane". As a great and wise man once said, "F**k you, I'm getting IN the plane!"

========

New Arguments

A) The resolution is an absolute statement. Since my opponent is the one making the assertion, she must prove that she constantly has someone else's head on her shoulders. And as an additional note to the reader, I ask, do you seriously believe that my opponent has someone's head on her shoulders all the time? Or that she even had a head on her shoulders at the time of writing the statement in question?

It is absurd to give the the burden of proof. I cannot possibly prove that my opponent did not have someone else's head on her shoulders at the time. Since she is capable of providing proof while I am not, it should be up to her to do so.

B) This is unfalsifiable, and therefore not an acceptable claim. (http://en.wikipedia.org...) But even so, it cannot possibly true since my opponent failed to capitalize the phrase. And this goes against three of my definitions, all of which my opponent accepted.

========

Remember that I have to win only one of the three areas to be victorious. And let's be honest: I won all three areas. Epic win for Con! Vote for teh me!
Danielle

Pro

[ Decency ]

Con begins by providing that the term standard means: Something established by authority, custom, or general consent; however, note that THIS IS NOT THE DEFINITION WE HAVE AGREED UPON at the inception of this debate. Since Con cannot introduce a new definition in the final round, we must accept and go with the original agreed upon definition of standard, which instead reads: A rule or principle that is used for the basis of judgment.

Keeping that in mind, my original point applies. I have maintained that there are standards for morality; however, a majority opinion should NOT be one of them. It would be fallacious to accept this faulty logic, and Con has not denied that reality. A more appropriate standard would have been logic itself, or perhaps the citation of a moral theory such as Utalitarinism. However, Con's only proposed standard was ad populum, which would be an inappropriate standard on the grounds that it is not logically acceptable.

Again, Con cannot assert that custom is the appropriate moral standard; that is only another fallacy: APPEAL TO TRADITION. Again, Con is putting forth additional faulty logic which cannot be applicable to the standard of decency or this debate in general.

So, because I have actual reasoning to support my beliefs, you absolutely cannot dismiss them as being indecent based on tradition or the number of people who may disagree with me. The ONLY way Con could have done this would have been to attack those beliefs and explain why they were indecent for reasons that did not prove fallacious. Because he has not done so, you cannot consider me indecent for the reasons he has cited.

Furthermore, Con did not respond whatsoever to my point that even if my belief on one or two issues were immoral or indecent (they're not, but I digress), that this would not necessarily make me an indecent person in general. For instance, people are not perfect beings; everyone does something wrong or immoral at some point in their lives. Does that make one an inherently BAD person? No. Similarly, even if I did hold one or two indecent beliefs, I would not be an indecent person in general making Con's assertion again entirely fallacious.

Remember: Con's point was that I supported abortion (which can be considered murder). Note that I am not for late-term abortion; in other words, I am not against the killing of a conscious fetus, meaning it is not murder by legal as well as scientific standards. And finally, keep in mind that what some people consider murder, other people see as being perfectly acceptable. For instance, technically implementation of the death penalty is murder; however, some people feel it is an acceptable choice the same way many people feel that abortion is a perfectly acceptable choice. My point here is that simply terminating life is not and cannot always be considered murder. This is a moot point.

With all of these points in mind, Con has failed to prove that I am not a decent person.

[ Good Head ]

Con begins by asserting that a warpy head would be much more difficult to read (emotionally) than a non warpy head. I would tend to agree with that statement. However, this is entirely irrelevant, as Con has failed to prove that MY head is indeed warpy. In fact, he has done the opposite! Originally he cited my default DDO picture as being my head, which I denied and noted was actually a DRAWING of Johnny Depp's head. My opponent did not refute this, meaning he accepted that reality and thus could no longer bring up a warpy head argument. He also then cited another image of my head which he was indeed correct in establishing as my head. Because said head is not warpy or deformed in any way (physically) nor has Con argued as such, we must accept that my head is not warpy or deformed, so far making it stand that I indeed have a good head.

Next Con has said that my head could only be considered if it had a protective bulletproof film over my eyes. He did not indicate why this would necessarily be good. For instance, such a film might not be see-through therefore inhibiting my sight which I would argue is not good. Moreover, if I were to have such a film, I would be very different from all other people who also do NOT have such a film. Con himself has said, "Difference is good, but only on a small scale. People with strange mutations, for example, are considered ugly and "deformed." In other words, if I did have such protection (including over the ears as Con has suggested), I would be considered NOT GOOD by Con's own standards. I rest my case on this point. Con has not proven that I do not have a good head.

[ Head on Shoulders ]

Con has given nothing sub stantial to prove that there is no read on my shoulders. First, in analyzing my analogy about food on a plate on a table, we can see that this same logic applies to the head on my shoulders. If there is food on a plate on a table, I would assert that the food is on the plate but ALSO on the table. Con has inquired about whether or not a head can also be considered on the ground since the head is on the shoulders; shoulders on torso; torso on legs; legs on feet; feet on ground; ground/shoes - etc. First! Note that CON HIMSELF SAYS:

"My head is on my shoulders; my shoulders are on my torso..."

In other words, Con has conceed to my point that one's head is on their shoulders!!! As if that were not enough (it just negated his entire point, but I'll continue for the sake of debate), I'll elaborate even further. Let me begin by saying it's ridiculous for Con to try and say that one's head can therefore be IN one's shoes, as being IN something has absolutely nothing to do with this debate (we're discussing about being ON something). Con himself acknowleges this disrepancy in noting in the famous, "I'm getting IN the plane" quote. In and on are not synonomous.

That said, I'll argue that Con has manipulated my point in talking about a head being on the ground because he ignored my important argument about there being A connection (not several connections). I have said that my head is on my shoulders because it is connected via my neck. In Con's example, a head is connected to the ground not through one connection joining the two surfaces (AND SURFACE TOUCHING WAS PART OF CON'S PROVIDED DEFINITION OF 'ON'!) but through various parts of the body where no surfaces are touching or adjoined through a single link.

Finally on this point, I can say that "I" am on the ground. Because "I" am not only a physical entity but a mental one as well... and the mental me resounds in my brain which is in my head... then technically speaking it is logically correct to say that a part of my head is on the ground (if you accept that *I* am on the ground). Nevertheless, I have trumped Con on this point on several accounts. He has not proven that my head is not on my shoulders.

[ New Arguments ]

I do not have to prove that there is constantly someone's head on my shoulders; only that there was a head on my shoulders (perhaps someone elses) at that time that I WROTE THAT STATEMENT. Plus, as I said, Con is making the assertion in this debate in countering something that has already been provided as a theory. Therefore it is his burden to prove that there WASN'T a head on my shoulders at that time, which he can't and hasn't. Saying, "Since she is capable of providing proof while I am not, it should be up to her to do so" is ridiculous. The fact is that not only isn't it my burden, but I CAN'T prove that I had a head on my shoulders at that time, and so we are both in the same boat... and this is a moot point.

I've run out of characters, but note that Con did not even ATTEMPT to respond to my final argument. He has also not effectively refuted ANY of my original claims, meaning he has failed his burden in this debate. This is a clear win for the Pro : )
Debate Round No. 3
32 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by Zetsubou 7 years ago
Zetsubou
MTGP argued better.
Posted by MTGandP 7 years ago
MTGandP
Lwerd voted 7 point to herself . . . twice.
Posted by silntwaves 8 years ago
silntwaves
haha this is funny. i voted pro...but con is awsomee :]
Posted by MTGandP 8 years ago
MTGandP
Possibly because the entire point of the debate is that it's a semantics debate.
Posted by Danielle 8 years ago
Danielle
I maintain that that is a matter of opinion dependent upon interpretation of the definition (especially via the connection considering the biological definition of neck). Anyway, I disagree, but at least that's a legitimate response. It seems odd though that most people vehemently hate and attack semantics arguments/debates on this website, and yet this one is tolerated. Interesting :)
Posted by MTGandP 8 years ago
MTGandP
That was really my main argument. I threw in the other ones just for fun.
Posted by mongeese 8 years ago
mongeese
According to the definition of "on," one's head is NOT on one's shoulders. That's the argument that got the vote.
Posted by MTGandP 8 years ago
MTGandP
I don't know, I think I did pretty well. ;)
Posted by Danielle 8 years ago
Danielle
I do... but I don't want to get into it (I fear banning and my wifesicle, so I can't talk about it :P ). That said, I can't believe I'm losing this debate. Not only is Con's entire argument rooted in semantics, but he says I'm not decent because I support Gay Marriage (this is not only retarded but also fallacious; even if you think one aspect of someone/something is not decent or right, that does not negate that thing/person [decency] entirely). The next argument that "my head" i.e. the head of my former AVATAR PICTURE is warpy. Ok? And finally, the bit about the head not being on my shoulders is detailed at length in my arguments. I guess some more detailed RFDs would be too much to ask. Hmm.
Posted by MTGandP 8 years ago
MTGandP
I don't want to get banned.
23 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
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Vote Placed by Logical-Master 8 years ago
Logical-Master
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Total points awarded:30 
Vote Placed by wonderwoman 8 years ago
wonderwoman
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Vote Placed by nonparticipant 8 years ago
nonparticipant
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Total points awarded:07