The Instigator
iamanatheistandthisiswhy
Pro (for)
Losing
0 Points
The Contender
Envisage
Con (against)
Winning
12 Points

There is nothing wrong with incestuous relationships

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 4 votes the winner is...
Envisage
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 6/9/2014 Category: Society
Updated: 3 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 4,091 times Debate No: 56286
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (30)
Votes (4)

 

iamanatheistandthisiswhy

Pro

I hold the position that incestuous relationships are socially acceptable, if (and only if) no children are born out of these relationships.

This debate should not focus on semantics, as such please accept the following definitions if you wish to debate this topic.

Definitions:
Incest: sexual intercourse and/or a romantic relationship between people who are very closely related. i.e. brother and mother
Socially acceptable: worthy of being accepted in society.

First round is for acceptance.
Envisage

Con

Thanks Pro.

I will be arguing that incestual relationships are harmful for society if they are seen as socially acceptable.

Best of luck Pro!
Debate Round No. 1
iamanatheistandthisiswhy

Pro


Thanks to my opponent for accepting this debate. I know from past experiences that my opponent will surely offer some strong arguments and I look forward to them.



Firstly, as stated in the first round I think incestuous relationships are socially acceptable if (and only if) there are no children born out of these relationships. One argument that could possibly be raised is that a child could still be conceived in these relationships, and then to adhere to my premise this baby needs to be aborted. However, that would be a debate on the ethics and or social acceptance of abortion and not incestuous relationships. As such this debate focuses purely on sexual or non-sexual incestuous relationships and their social acceptance.



So why do I feel that incestuous relationships are socially acceptable?



If two or three or four people are willing and compliant partners in a relationship, i.e. polygamy, male female, female female, etc., who are we to take this right away from them. This is especially true when we consider that any activities these people are involved in take place behind closed doors and is essentially a personal activity. These activities can be considered liberties in so much that the government and society should have no recourse to determine what types of consensual relationships we engage in. Using this same line of reasoning it holds that an incestuous relationship should not be judged inappropriate by society when it is a personal consensual relationship.



The question could also arise is incest actually socially acceptable? If we consider the Japanese society that is very sexually progressive on many fronts, we see that indeed incest is socially acceptable. This is evident in their pornography markets where incest is a market that sells. In the same way, markets exist for this incest porn in other countries.(1) How big these markets are exactly is unknown for the same reason that we don't know what other fetishes are top selling. We just know that these markets exist as it fits the supply and demand concept of economics. To the readers, at this point I have not included references as younger readers should search for porn and not get it dished up so easily. Maybe I should also mention that on 4chan's infamous /b/ forum there are often incest threads. I think all these examples point to the fact that incest is already socially acceptable we just don't want to acknowledge this fact.



Another example of society becoming more accepting of incestuous relationships lies in the fact that some states, as well as other countries, allow a person to marry their cousin.(2) However, even these laws which prohibit incest in states and countries have only been applied in recent history and this is partly or mostly due to the influence of the church.(3) To digress, we do know the church is completely uptight when it comes to sexual matters, as such it should come as no surprise that the laws were changed to adhere to their morality. So while cousin relationships are not normally what someone thinks of when they think incestuous relationships. Even these cousin relationships are prohibited mainly for reasons of offspring safety, but as the proposition of the debate states children will not be born.



In closing, the biggest problem with incestuous relationships is the stigma attached to it by society due to congenital birth defects. However, if no babies are been born into these relationships why should two people that love each other be prohibited from sharing a relationship.



I hand the debate over to my opponent for opening statements and/or rebuttals.



(1) http://www.chicagoreader.com...


(2) http://www.cousincouples.com...


(3) http://pennpress.typepad.com...


Envisage

Con

Thanks Pro.

I. Preface

The exclusion of incestuous relationships which results in childbirth is noted. I will avoid using this as an argument. The resolution sets the burden of proof squarely on Pro, so if my nts are more convincing, I win, or if I negate all of Pro's arguments, I also win.

So without further ado...

II. Incest is Destructive to the Family Unit

Note that family units, especially in the third world, are of increasing dependence for especially the younger members. With children living with their parents for longer than ever before, expecially in light of rising house prices, it follows that by allowing incest relationships adds a large unnecessary stress onto such an important unit. Remember that most relationships invariably end in separation, and marriages also exciting ting very high divorce rates (typically above 30%).[2] That being the case, the familial 'safety net' after a failed relationship is going to be increasingly stressed if that relationship was incestuous.

The reasons for this should be quite obvious, it is significantly more difficult to divorce yourself from the person as a result from a bad relationship if it is a member of your immediate family.

There are many other examples one could give, even just sexual advancements of say a parent or sibling onto another would inevitably result in uncomfortable, familial destructive results. By having incest as taboo, then even sexual advancements, open attraction, etc would become remain socially unacceptible, and the absence of these is clearly of benefit to the family unit.

If we value the efficacy of the family unit as a positive impact in society, then we should see anything that unnecessarily jeopardises it to be an unacceptable act. It is 'wrong'.

III. Institutes/facilitates child abuse

One of the major sects of child abuse are sexual abuses done by parent to child. In today's society, clearly if we see any sexual relations occurring between parent and child, it is a clear instance of child abuse, and the 'consensual' defence is non-existent, it does not and should not matter whether of not the child was willing or not.

Parents are in a special position of responsibility of the child, a far more significant position than say for example, teachers are. That being the case we should value the relationship between parent and child of utmost importance, especially given that such relationships significantly affect the mental well-being of the child in later life.

By having incest socially acceptable, we open the door to obscuring clear instances of child abuse, and as such, shoot ourselves in the foot when attempting to apply jurisdiction to them.

I will leave these two contentions as they are and reenforce them in later rounds as needed, now for rebuttals...

IV. Rebuttals

IVA. Liberties

Pro's first argument states something to the effect that incestual sexual activities should be considered liberties, especially if done behind closed doors, presumably because they will not impact society. However this is clearly a rather myopic view of incest, as nothing occurs within a vacuum. And while I will quickly concede that incestual relationships that are most entirely benign to both family and society, I will quickly contend that the same can be said for virtually any sexual relationship, including paedophillic and bestial. Clearly there are reasons why we view the latter two as unacceptible even if done out of view of public, and are not considered liberties, even if consenting. That being the case it is clear that their 'right' is something that can be either taken away from them in lieu of reasons such as those I gave in my opening arguments, or 'granted' in the view that all rights are given.

Even this being the case, it doesn't address the resolution 'There is nothing wrong with incest', as having a liberty, or right doesn't mean that this particularly right is not 'wrong' in the light of society.

IVB. Japanese Porn

I think my mouth hit the floor when I read this argument. Forgive me if this is a strawman, but Pro's argument seems to be the following:

P1) ???
P2) Incest sells in the Japanese porn market
C) Incest is socially acceptable

Pro did expand a bit, with 4chan's b forum etc, which follows the same reasoning.

So to tie what pro presented to the resolution, we need to fill in the missing premise, which needs to be an A premise to form a BARBARA syllogism. The most obvious one seems to be:

P1) Anything that sells in the Japanese porn market is socially acceptable
P2) Incest sells in the Japanese porn market
C) Incest is socially acceptable

This missing premise is rather easy to refute, and a colourful view of the Japanese porn market also upturns examples such as "chikan" (public train molestation), rape-roleplays, as well as hentai porn (which itself is rife with examples of paedophilia, rape, and inter-special sex). I will not post the references here (for obvious reasons), PM me if you require these.

Anyway, given that we have examples that clearly falsify the hidden premise, and also the fact that pro has not actually supported this hidden premise, it is just assumed, then his argument is rightly unsound.

I think Pro may have been attempting to argue for 'social views' on the situation, I ask Pro for clarification here.

IVC. Cousins

Forgive me, we didn't set a definition of incest, but my working definition is that which is set by UK law, which does not include cousinship within the definition.[1] but this runs into Pro's previous point, a trend towards fewer relationships being seen as incestious, or wrong, does not indicate that 'There is nothing wrong with nicest' as per the debate resolution, it only indicates it is 'less wrong than before'.

V. Conclusion

I think we have illustrated a decent portion of the debate now, I entered the debate unsure of my position, but as I stand now I feel that the balance of evidence and judgement falls rightly on. Y side of the fence. Back to Pro!

VI. References

1. http://www.legislation.gov.uk...
2. http://www.cdc.gov...
Debate Round No. 2
iamanatheistandthisiswhy

Pro


Thanks Con.



Just to clarify something form the previous round, the reason I pointed to the Japanese Porn market was to show that incest is socially acceptable in cultures around the world. This includes other markets beside Japan as pointed out above. So my opponent rightfully calls his argument a strawman as by definition it is “exaggerating, misrepresenting, or just completely fabricating someone's argument, it's much easier to present your own position as being reasonable, but this kind of dishonesty serves to undermine honest rational debate.”(1) Additionally, pointing out inter species sex, train rape etc is a Red Herring fallacy as it has nothing to do with the debate.



I think we needs to address something very important in this round which is a central feature of Con's argument. That is, incest does not equal pedophilia. The proposition of this debate stands within the definitions of a consensual relationship between people of the right age. If this was a debate about pedophilia we could bring up this argument, however as it stands it is a Red Herring fallacy and an appeal to emotion.



In fact this line of reasoning (viz pedophilia argument) could be used to show any relationship is socially unacceptable as child abuse and or pedophilia could occur in any relationship. Or taking the argument even further using the debate definitions, we can show that incestuous relationships are far better than normal relationships as they do not produce children. No children means no child abuse and so these relationships are more socially acceptable. This argument I have given is completely irrational but it points out the flaws with Cons argument for child abuse and pedophilia.



I believe this above rebuttal also ratifies the liberty argument as presented in my opening round argument to be logically valid.



Interestingly on a side note, bestiality is legal in many places. However the persons who engage in these activities usually get charged with animal abuse, trespassing or something else.(2) Follow the reference 2 cited its a bizarre, but interesting story. You should check it out although it has nothing to do with the debate.



With that out of the way let me move onto further rebuttals of the arguments. Please readers remember that child abuse and pedophilia are fallacious arguments against incestuous relationships.



According to my opponent incest can lead to destruction of the family unit. If we accept this as true, then we have to look at other truths about non-incestuous relationships. The truth is that any relationship where the family member moves out of the house and into another house with their partner is also destructive to the family unit using the line of reasoning my opponent has put forward. As such we should stop any relationship at all that can lead to the breakup of the family unit (i.e. marrying or moving in with a spouse), “if we value the efficacy of the family unit as a positive impact in society, then we should see anything that unnecessarily jeopardizes it to be an unacceptable act. It is 'wrong'”.



Regarding the incest argument my opponent has completely misunderstood my argument when he says “a trend towards fewer relationships being seen as incestuous, or wrong, does not indicate that 'There is nothing wrong with nicest' as per the debate resolution, it only indicates it is 'less wrong than before'”. I was in fact pointing out that these cousin relationships have only been prohibited in recent history and this is due partly to the influence of the church. Perhaps my opponent made the Freudian slip of “nicest” when referring to incest as he realizes that it is actually not unacceptable socially.



With that I believe I have sufficiently defended my arguments and I hand the debate back to my opponent.



(1) https://yourlogicalfallacyis.com...


(2) http://www.thestranger.com...


Envisage

Con

Thanks Pro.

Social Acceptance

Let me see if I can pull this argument back on track. Because in either case Pro's argument regarding Japanese pornography is a non-sequitur to the resolution. Pornography serves only a limited purpose, which is principally for entertainment. There are many things that also fall in this specific category of entertainment which we would strongly regard as socially unacceptable (such as besiality, paedophilia, as well as molestation/rape).

Moreover the broader take on entertainment (such as the filming industry), also encompasses virtually every socially unacceptable act we can imagine, sadomasichism, murder, torture, etc.

Therefore, from my previous arguments, and the above reasoning, it is clear that what people want to watch, or be entertained by, is not in alignment with what is perceived as socially acceptable. It simply does not support Pro's argument that there is nothing wrong with incest. Nor do I see how it could be made to show as much.

For this argument to work Pro needs to show how the social demand for incestual porn equates to it being a socially acceptable act. I could make the exact opposite argument, in that such material may well be of interest precisely because it is currently seen as socially taboo, with a similar level of support (I.e. Very little).

I am not sure if Pro's attack on my typo of incest (c.f. 'Nicest') was made as a joke or a serious point, but in either case are irrelevant and out of place in this debate. Even if his argument that the fact that cousin relationships are now being seen are socially acceptable depicts a trend are true, it doesn't get him to what the resolution states 'There is nothing wrong with incest'. It doesn't matter what the influences for such statutes originally were, he would have to demonstrate that all forms of incest (as perceived today) should be seen in the same light as cousin relationships in order to make progress on his resolution.

As it stands, incest is not seen as socially acceptable in the vast majority of societies, and this if public perception were supposed to be the measure of what is right or wrong, then this simple fact is enough to negate the resolution. Incest is wrong because society generally perceives it as wrong (as subjective and weak this argument might be).

II. Child Abuse:
My argument against incest from the perspective of child abuse is not as Pro depicts. I will quickly grant that child abuse can occur within any relationship, but my argument was that by having incest as a socially and legally acceptable action, it would 'mask' acts of genuine child abuse, from which over 90% occur by someone that the child knew [1]

Therefore, by having incest as unacceptable, the scope for 'getting away with' these actions, and by promoting a mentality that automatically taboos such actions from the mind sets of parents/uncles/aunties guys, would indirectly protect vulnerable child populations. Pro seems to be pushing an efilism reducio argument (if more incest then less children, if less children then less child abuse), however for this to work he needs to be able to address the coupled factors. Which is the moral acceptability of a reduced population size (from having less children), since society as it stands today generally values human life (and thus forms a counter-counter argument).

III. Family unit:

Pro's only response to this argument seems to be that if we I accept my line of reasoning then we ought to be preventing the examples he listed. Well first one needs to apply Hitchen's razor to these claims, since they were unsupported, and do not consider the balance of other issues that may be involved with these. The second point is.... so what? It may well be true that we ought to prevent some of those actions listed. It has no bearing on this debate if they do, and might make for another interesting topic, it's akin to stating you should be allowed to murder because otherwise if we weren't allowed to murder we wouldn't also be allowed to rape pillage and steal. The argument is just besides the point.

IV. Conclusion

Pro's reasons for supporting the resolution I have shown to be either non-sequiturs, or weak for reasons as described. There are a number of things that are indeed wrong with incest, for which most responses have been branches of an appeal to the consequences, where the concequences don't even appear severe enough to be compelling.

Therefore I pass this debate back to Pro for the last round!

V. References

1. http://www.nspcc.org.uk...
Debate Round No. 3
iamanatheistandthisiswhy

Pro


Thanks to Envisage for entertaining this premise and providing rebuttals that I can sink my teeth into.



Firstly, just a note that the “nicest” comment was meant in jest. It was clearly a typo, I just could not in good conscience not bring a little humor to the debate.



Now let me jump headlong into the counter arguments. Pornography's primary purpose is to arouse.(1) As such my argument as distasteful as it may sound is not a non-sequitur as there is a link between the pornography (with titles ranging from incestuous, family that lays together, keep it in the family, to forbidden love) and the desire for incestuous relationships. As a side-note and further evidence of this, maybe Verizon would not be defending their right to offer incest based porn if it was not a hot seller.(2)



Maybe my opponent would like to point out in his final round argument how this argument is a non-sequiter. I don't want to mislead, but I really do not see that there is no link especially considering porn is made for arousal.



Now, we can bring up the fact that people get aroused by pedophilia, rape and snuff (murder) which is not socially acceptable. However, this is not the topic of debate. Additionally, these acts are already prohibited by jail time. Whereas if father and daughter have a relationship what will happen to them. A misdemeanor at most in extreme cases, but usually nothing.(3)



Regarding the link between incest and child abuse con has agreed that child abuse can happen in any relationship “I will quickly grant that child abuse can occur within any relationship”. My opponent then adds a big but. However, this but argument is void as even if it could occur it can occur in all relationships and so the argument fails.



As for the reductio ad absurbum argument, viz. less children less child abuse, you are right that is exactly what I was trying to do. I was trying to show that this whole claim about child abuse is ridiculous and a red herring. So as for the counter counter argument, it is unnecessary as this was meant to be absurd in the first place to highlight the red herring fallacy.



Now with regards to the family unit argument, I believe by following Cons line of reasoning I showed that this argument is void. While you may apply Hitchen's razor to this argument the fact remains that either outcome is the same outcome. As such this argument is void. Either it works for both our argument or its works for neither of our arguments. As it was not my argument initially, I will happily accept it as a dropped argument by Con or a complete rebuttal by me.



I believe in this debate that I have shown with strong and validated arguments that incest is socially acceptable, even though people do not want to speak about it.



Even Con has said that his arguments are weak “Incest is wrong because society generally perceives it as wrong (as subjective and weak this argument might be)”.



As such all I can do is hope that the voters see the flaws in these arguments. Remember, the only possible argument against incest is children born in these relationships. However, we have removed that option from the debate in the proposition.



Thanks again Con and I look forward to your final round.



(1) http://www.duhaime.org...


(2) http://www.foxnews.com...


(3) http://www.nolo.com...


Envisage

Con

Thanks Pro.

I. Preface

Thanks for the debate Pro on this rather awkward and unusual topic. It's definitely a discussion I seldom have around the dinner table. I will mostly use this round to clear up misconceptions and summarise my arguments, since I think I have addressed most of Pro's points.

To summarise my thoughts of the debate, it appears to me that Pro has set himself a very difficult to defend resolution, since to prove there is 'nothing wrong' with something appears to be hard for virtually anything, even actions that we consider moral, such as charity donations. A case could always be made there there are some negative knock-on effects, regardless of whether or not objectively it's overall a good thing or not.

As for incest, the case is even more difficult to show as I have already demonstrated. As far as I am concerned, Pro simply has not met his burden of proof to demonstrate the likely truth if the resolution, and my arguments to show it false have generally been mishandled.

So onto the summaries and last rebuttals..

II. Pornography

... Because all good rebuttals start with some good porn. Please note I never contested that incest sells, and I would imagine if incest porn markets were allowed to open in the western countries that have banned it, then I would not be the least be surprised if it sold here.

The fact is, this is entirely besides the point, and it doesn't matter what the semantics of what the purpose of pornography is, whether it is for entertainment of arousal (I would argue that arousal is a subset of entertainment). The simple fact is, what people are entertained/aroused by simply does not demonstrate that there is nothing wrong with incest.

Pro has asserted that pornography demonstrates a public desire for these types of relationships. Even if we assume this was true, I contest that what the public desires does not correlate with what is right or wrong. My previous examples stand, video games where you go around shooting everyone, or pillaging, stealing (Grand Theft Auto, Call of Duty), or within the porn market itself with molestation (role-play) porn, bestiality, etc would by this exact same reasoning would show a public desire for these motions. It simply does not follow that what the public desire is right or wrong.

Moreover I would contest that it even shows a desire, since I have already argued that arousal/entertainment could very conceivably be BECAUSE it's not something they physically desire in life, but only fulfils a certain area of satisfaction (sexual).

Remember the burden of proof was in Pro to demonstrate this to be the case, and he simply has not done this.

III. Liberties

I am actually rather surprised that Pro has not defended this contention further. My original argument that societal liberties do not correlate with what is 'right' has not been contested by Pro. Instead he has only addressed the other examples. My counter arguments from a large part I of my rebuttals to liberties, I never did grant that people who love each other have the right to a relationship, and indeed this is a right which Pro did not substantiate.

Please also note my argument :
"Incest is wrong because society generally perceives it as wrong (as subjective and weak this argument might be)" was made assuming the same logic and reasoning Pro has put forth to tie the social perception and liberties to the resolution. I have shown that the logic is weak, and applying the same standard allows me to yield the pitiful argument I have just given with exactly the same level of justification and conviction that Pro has presented for his.

IV. Institution of child abuse
I really don't see how my argument is void. Allowing incest would mask cases of genuine familial child abuse, which is an additional negative over other relationships. Therefore it is quite black and white this qualifies as 'something wrong with incest'.

Please note that Pro's reducio argument is actually a slippery slope fallacy,[1] with linked assumptions with increasing lack of soundness, which leaves to a cumulative overall highly unsound argument. Moreover my arguments are only red herrings if they are unrelated to the arguments or the resolution, but Pro has not shown this to be the case.

V. Family Unit

I pretty much conceded that the consequences may well be true (there are likely other external factors) going via this line of reasoning. And my reply was... 'so what?'. Just because it is true for other claims doesn't in any ya impact the fact it is also true for this claim. Pro seems to concede this argument given his stance, and therefore the resolution is completely negated.

VI. Conclusion
My position remains largely unchanged from the previous round. Pro has set himself an almost impossible resolution to defend. Moreover the arguments he has provided simply do not demonstrate the resolution to be true, or even support that it is true. Too many unsupported presuppositions lie within Pro's arguments to accept them as useful.

I once again thank pro for this debate, I hold that the resolution is negated, vote Con!

1. http://en.m.wikipedia.org...
Debate Round No. 4
30 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by iamanatheistandthisiswhy 3 years ago
iamanatheistandthisiswhy
5 days to go its time to spam this debate to the front page.

Or to put it differently, I seek sympathy votes.
Posted by iamanatheistandthisiswhy 3 years ago
iamanatheistandthisiswhy
@Envisage: I agree I should have said consenting. Makes sense as a child could consent to multiple things without realizing the consequences.

I may actually try this debate again in the future. It certainly is a topic that gets people riled up :D
Posted by Envisage 3 years ago
Envisage
Me too, as it wasn't a clean set of rebuttals from me, so if I won I didn't expect an outright sin.

When I was debating I was only debating with the title of the debate in mind and the exclusion of children. So I didn't really pay attention that you actually wanted to argue for social acceptance. It was just luck that my arguments managed to push back on that point.

I would recommend you explicitly state "Full Resolution: XYZ" in your future debates if you wanted this to be clear, because it has lost you points in this debate for not doing so I think...

Usually I try to keep the title as the resolution though...
Posted by iamanatheistandthisiswhy 3 years ago
iamanatheistandthisiswhy
Seems I am wrong that this debate was going to be close.
Posted by Envisage 3 years ago
Envisage
Just judge it according to the full resolution given in Pro's opening.
Posted by iamanatheistandthisiswhy 3 years ago
iamanatheistandthisiswhy
I would say social justification. However, I think my opponent should weigh in on this as well.
Posted by Ajab 3 years ago
Ajab
Shall I judge this vote on the resolution which does not limit the scope to socially justifiable, or take the only social justification into consideration. Where there is no direct link to morality, law, et cetera.
Posted by iamanatheistandthisiswhy 3 years ago
iamanatheistandthisiswhy
LOL, I have to agree.

It contained more points of significance about the universe. This debate deal with a few relationships on this one planet.
Posted by Envisage 3 years ago
Envisage
Agreed, it will probably be close.

Our unicorn debate was definitely higher quality though :-p
Posted by iamanatheistandthisiswhy 3 years ago
iamanatheistandthisiswhy
@Envisage: Thanks for the debate. I enjoyed it and I think it will go down to the wire........ Well I hope it will.
4 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 4 records.
Vote Placed by 9spaceking 3 years ago
9spaceking
iamanatheistandthisiswhyEnvisageTied
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Total points awarded:03 
Reasons for voting decision: pro had some irrelevant arguments and con's pointing out of the negative impact of incestuous relationships was not refuted
Vote Placed by whiteflame 3 years ago
whiteflame
iamanatheistandthisiswhyEnvisageTied
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Reasons for voting decision: Pro did set himself a mighty burden, and didn't reach it. Pro's contentions set up a case that attempts to show that incest is morally acceptable by a broad society, but that is not his burden, as Con points out. Con then proceeds to show that child abuse may increase (albeit I am finding the link story hard to stomach, though Pro didn't attack it well enough to eliminate it), and effects on the family unit, while perhaps not unique to this instance, are linearly made worse. So long as I believe there is any wrong, however small, I vote Con, as I do in this instance.
Vote Placed by YYW 3 years ago
YYW
iamanatheistandthisiswhyEnvisageTied
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Reasons for voting decision: CON wins because of his points about the potential for child abuse and his analysis about the impact that allowing incest would have on the family unit. PRO's argument about pornography was irrelevant, and his argument about sexual liberty was insufficiently substantiated. In some cases, a long RFD is required, but this was not one of them. Clear CON win.
Vote Placed by doomswatter 3 years ago
doomswatter
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Reasons for voting decision: RFD in comments.