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after 1 vote the winner is...
Voting Style: Open Point System: Select Winner
Started: 5/27/2016 Category: Entertainment
Updated: 4 months ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 309 times Debate No: 91923
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (13)
Votes (1)




I want to have fun debate that doesn't take things too seriously. Whoever accepts can offer three possible topics and I'll choose the one I like best. If all of the topics con gives are bad, then I reserve the right to present my own.

No rules, just don't be a dick. Treat this debate lightly, and let's have some fun.


My 3 Proposed Topics

Resolved: In response to the current crisis, a government should prioritize the humanitarian needs of refugees over its national interests.

Resolved: In the United States, private ownership of handguns ought to be banned.

Resolved: On balance, economic sanctions are reducing the threat Russia poses to Western interests.
Debate Round No. 1


All of these topics are pretty heavy, heavier than I wanted when starting this debate. This debate is now about Coffee.
Coffee without sugar is better than coffee with sugar

First is dependency,

Let me start out by saying that I am not arguing that if someone wants to put sugar in their coffee that they are a bad person. This argument does not start from a place of elitism or purism. What I am arguing is that coffee that does not have sugar in it is better than coffee that does have it. I understand that it can take time to get used to drinking coffee black or with only cream, and that sweetener can help one become used to the taste. If you are a fledgling coffee addict, then by all means put a little sugar in your coffee - the issue arises when one continues to sweeten their coffee after years of drinking it. This also leads to the the conflation of coffee with soda and other caffeinated beverages.
As any coffee drinker should know the more one drinks coffee, the more dependent they become on it to start their day. By failing to acknowledge that unsweetened coffee is better than sweetened coffee one will never think to check how dependent they are on the sugar in their drinks.

Next is health,

Sugary beverages are a leading cause of diabetes and obesity the world over[1]. Particularly when one becomes used to the sweetness of their drinks, she or he may not realize how much sugar they are really consuming. By failing to recongize that coffee without sweetener is better than coffee with sweetener, we contribute to these unhealthy habits and promote cardiovascular disease for the next generation. It's not even enough to promote the idea of moderation with with sugary beverages, as it creates the idea things such as candy and soda can be a regular part of a healthy diet. The criticism behind mixify[2] is a good example of this - while there is nothing wrong with indulging in these things periodically, we're fooling ourselves if we think we try to pretend that we can outwork a bad diet.


As an underview, I want to note that this health-centric position of advocacy is by no-means critical of larger-folks, but of the poor habits which contribute to the unnecessary spread of disease. Food is a cultural reality and we shouldn't expect to be able to change deeply ingrained habits overnight. What we can however do, is recognize our bad habits and start change them slowly. These kinds of changes in behaviour should stem from a place of self-love towards our bodies rather than a place of hate or discontent.

One crucial step in promoting healthy lifestyles is to simply admit that coffee without sugar is better than coffee with it. When we do that, we can acquire a taste for black coffee, or coffee with just a bit of creamer and cut out at least of unnecessary source of sugar in our diets.


First I'll like to note the resolution is skewed in favor of Aff. But here it goes...

Observation: Superior quality does not only concern health. Taste and other factors are important when considering "better".

Cont 1 - Taste

A - Poll

Coffees Served: 129
Added Sugar or Artificial Sweeteners: 90
No Sweetening: 39
70% of people add sugar to their coffee

Live Science, September 2015
Study found that 65% of people add sugar to their coffee

From both studies, the majority (approximately 2/3rds) of people prefered adding sugar to their coffee. It should be concluded that coffee with sugar tastes better than coffee without (according to the majority of people).

B - Science

It is the caffeine in coffee and tea which is responsible for the bitter taste. But when sugar is added it causes caffeine molecules to clump together so they have less surface area to stimulate the taste buds.

Cont 2 - Sugar raises LDL, which is good for the brain

Perlmutter, MD
Low density lipoprotein has been given a bad rap. LDL is a carrier protein, one of its [functions] is to carry [cholesterol], a fundamentally important chemical, to every cell in the body. This chemical is a critical component of cell membranes, serves as a brain antioxidant, and is the raw material from which your body manufactures vitamin D, cortisol, estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone. Low levels of LDL [is] associated with compromise of brain tissue. Researchers concluded that higher levels of LDL were associated with less risk of [worrisome] brain changes. Increasing [LDL] cholesterol tended to be associated with a decreased frequency and severity of all MRI markers of cerebral small vessel disease. This study is one of many that should clearly reframe our view of LDL as higher levels appear to be strongly brain protective.

Cont 3 - Sugar increases cholesterol, which is beneficial to the body

A - Cholesterol is good


Cholesterol is [vital] to the human body. If you had no cholesterol in your body you would be dead. No cells, no bone structure, no muscles, no hormones, no sex, no reproductive system, no digestion, no brain function, no memory, no nerve endings, no movement, no human life - nothing without cholesterol. It is utterly vital.

B - Sugar increases cholesterol

Perkins, Nurse
Sugar calories increase cholesterol.

Thus I negate.
Debate Round No. 2


Quora is not an authoritative source. The first line notes that Luster watched what customers at his job ordered with their coffee. Even then, more people drank black coffee (39) than coffee with sugar (34). the 90 number con gives is doctored by adding together sugar and artificial sweetener. The doctored citation is an independent reason to vote Pro.

Statbrain makes a distinction between black coffee (which 35% of people drink) and people who added sugar OR cream to their coffee (65%). Con presents this number as people who add sugar when it really represents multiple variables. He doesn't try to cite 'Coffee or cream' in his prior round, he outright omits 'or cream. Do not vote on doctored sources, vote Pro on Academic integrity.

The telegraph article shows that sugar masks the taste of caffeine, an essential element of coffee. People who add sugar do so because they don't like this taste.Those who have to add sugar to their coffee in order to drink it don't like the taste of coffee in the first place, but rather of sugar.

Mutter is a celebrity doctor who's work has almost no support in the medical community[1]. His advice should be given as much weight as the likes of Dr. Oz. Mutter's medicial opinions are such in order to push spurious supplements and diet books which he profits off of. He also promotes 'detox treatments' which the medical community, again, debunks[2]. Mutter is a bad scientist who lies in order to profit.

Harcombe is even worse than Mutter. She lacks an M.D. or Ph.D, but relies on appeals to authority to sell products and books. The ASA[3] investigated six advertisements from her and found five to be intentionally misleading. Harcombe propagates bad science by leading potential buyers to believe she is an authority (such as calling herself a Ph.D student despite not being enrolled anywhere[4]) and uses that buy in to sell more books. At least Mutter had an M.D.

The SFGate article is a caution against eating too much sugar, read it.

Impact Calculus
Even if we accept Con's expanded frame on 'Better' to include preference for taste, he still fails to show that more people prefer coffee with sugar. Instead he skims a few articles and posts them in the hopes that he can have readers vote on an appeal to authority. Prioritize concrete benefits such as health over intangibles.

Second, is that Con's misuse of evidence promotes bad debate practices and academic dishonesty. Con never formulates an original argument, but instead cites various sources which fail to intersect.


Rebuttals on 1AC:

First is evidence. My opponent defends his claim but doesn't link it to any specific piece of evidence. Both the Harvard School of Public Health and MSNBC links to the websites home pages, but not to any papers or articles that back his claim. Thus, due to not providing the links to the actual articles, the judge should drop this argument.

Second is the use of extremes. The nature of this debate is to discuss whether coffee is better with or without sugar. In dependency, my opponent states "by all means put a little sugar in your coffee". In health, he states "there is nothing wrong with indulging in these things periodically". However, in his arguments, he assumes a relatively large consumption of sugar and makes health arguments (diabetes and obesity) based on overconsumption. The negative stance, however, is to defend coffee with sugar is better assuming moderate consumption. Thus the arguments are non-topical.

Third is the dependency disadvantage is non-unique. Dependence on coffee can result without the use of sugars via caffeine dependence (Sources:,

Fourth is my opponents critique on moderation. He states that the idea of moderation "creates the idea [that] things such as candy and soda can be a regular part of a healthy diet". Note that this is a straw man argument as the Negation is not promoting candy or soda as a regular part of a healthy diet, nor has my opponent given evidence of why that would take place in the public perception.

Defending 1NC:

First note that Quora serves as valuable source when it provides evidence that is backed up by other sources (in this case Statbrain). Multiple pieces of evidence together increases reliability of source. Because I have two pieces of evidence, the judge should drop the unreliability argument.

Second, whilst it is true that both sources state either coffee and cream (or and artificial sweeteners), the statistic is still valid as artificial sweeteners and cream are substitutes for sugar. I showed under science that sugar, cream and sweeteners all serve to mask the bitter taste of coffee. In a binary world where cream and artificial sweeteners aren't an option, sugar will be used to mask such taste (people will transition from cream and sweeteners to sugar). Thus, both the Quora and Statbrain numbers are still valid.

Third, my opponent comes up with no refutation under science. All he says is that people who add sugar don't like the taste of coffee. Whether that is or is not the case is irrelevant. The fact is, people prefer coffee with sugar (or some other substitute) than plain coffee without.

Fourth, I provided a link to the research that Mutter's claim was based off. Mutter was not one of those involved.

Fifth, On the SFGate article, I agree that it does caution against eating TOO MUCH sugar. Again, I argue based on moderation.
Debate Round No. 3


I'm not sure why my links did that uptop. Sorry about that here are the proper links

MSNBC on Mixify:
Harvard on Sugary beverages:

The first mistake in linkage is not a reason to vote Con, it was an honest mistake. Read the articles, they're still sound in supporting the argument that was made.

You can enjoy unhealthy things in moderation without claiming them to be better than healthy things. I can eat a cheeseburger without claiming to to be better than a salad. The only thing I have to maintain is that coffee without sugar is better than coffee with sugar. I don't have to throw coffee with sugar under the bus.

Dependency is not inherently harmful, but dependence on sugar is. Coffee and Caffeine don't cause diabetes or obesity while sugar does. The problem comes from a dependency on sugar specifically.

The moderation argument is not a strawman, it came before any negative arguments were made at all. It is a constructive argument to give nuance and balance to the pro in order to encourage more thoughtful and balanced debate practices.

Multiple pieces of trash evidence don't strengthen a claim, they only encourage appeal to authority fallacies. The quora article was an anecdotal account of a restaraunt employee and the statbrain source was blatantly doctored by Con. The voting issue under evidence doctoring is that it is a dishonest practice that intentionally misleads readers.

Articifical Sweetened and sugar are no the same thing - they serve similar purposes, but sugar is chemically different from something like Splenda or Equal. Showing people put sweetener in their coffee is not a reason to vote Con.

I work at McDonalds as the mid-day manager, and I could (honestly) tell you that most people order their coffee black. It doesn't matter though because it's anecdotal - there's no falsifiable behind the claim. Con's analysis on the statbrain source would like claiming that 100% of the earth was covered in land if a source said '100% of the earth is covered in land or water' - you can't meaningfully draw anything from that.

If people need to mask the taste of something to drink it, they don't like the thing they're drinking. That is a logically sound argument.

Con drops my evidence indicts against Mutter and Harcombe, so if nothing else he loses for promoting bad scholarship. More on that at the bottom.

The SFGate article claims that sugar can raise cholesterol and that cholesterol is bad for your health. It is a net negative for the Con. At best, moderation is a wash for both sides.

Impact Calculus
Con's misuse of evidence, article skimming, evidence doctoring and promotion of fad diets as sound medical advice promote bad scholarship and are exemplars of bad debate. These are reasons to vote him down independent of any other topical content.



1. No Evidence for Dependency
Aff has no evidence linked to show that sugar dependency is real. Without providing any form of evidence for dependency, one must immediately drop that argument.

2. MSNBC Evidence Is Non-Topical
Aff's MSNBC evidence is a critique on Coca-Cola and soda (if you don't believe me, read it). This is non-topical to a debate on coffee.

3. Harvard Evidence Has No Author
Aff's evidence has no author. In order to determine evidence reliability, Aff needs to provide an author so that the opposition has the opportunity to research the author to determine whether the author has perverse incentives, lack of expertise or any other indicator of a lack of reliability. Just as Aff was able to criticize the Perlmutter evidence on the basis that Perlmutter is not reliable, Neg must be given the opportunity to look at the author of Aff's evidence. Aff's failure to provide the author is a reason to drop the evidence.

4. Neg's Polls Stand
Neg gave two different polls showing that people prefer coffee when the bitter taste is suppressed with either sugar, cream or artificial sweeteners. In a binary world without cream or artificial sweeteners, those people who wish to suppress coffee's bitter taste (which is a majority of 65-70%) will turn to sugar. People prefer the taste of sweeter coffee to more bitter coffee. Aff never criticizes the Statbrain poll (thus it stands).

5. Neg's Science Card (Knapton) Stands
Neg showed under science that people prefer the taste of coffee with sugar to coffee without. Whether it is because they inherently dislike the taste of coffee is irrelevant. The fact remains that they prefer coffee with sugar than coffee without.

6. Perlmutter Evidence Stands
Neg's Perlmutter evidence still stands as while Aff criticizes the secondary source (by Perlmutter), he/she never criticizes the primary source (, which was provided. The author's of the primary source are Sabrina Schilling, MSc; Christophe Tzourio, MD, PhD; Carole Dufouil, PhD; Yicheng Zhu, MD, PhD; Claudine Berr, MD, PhD; Annick Alp"rovitch, MD, MSc; Fabrice Crivello, PhD; Bernard Mazoyer, MD, PhD; St"phanie Debette, MD, PhD.

Summary: Aff fails to provide evidence for dependency, his/her MSNBC evidence is non-topical, and fails to provide an author for the Harvard card. This means that both his/her contentions should be dropped (as the evidence is either non-topical, has no author, or doesn't exit). Thus, Aff no longer has any offense and loses the debate. Neg still maintains offense due to Taste (especially the Science Card) and Health (as the Aff never criticizes the primary source/original research that was provided).
Debate Round No. 4
13 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by AribtraryMoniker 4 months ago
Thanks for voting Ragnar
Posted by Wylted 4 months ago
Yeah I thought in the beginning of round 3 it was goong to be a clear win for pro, but then con's response was extremwly good. Not sure who would have voted for.
Posted by Ragnar 4 months ago
FYI my votes give a lot of commentary from my thoughts as I read your arguments, and general advice. That I call out certain obvious fallacies, doesn't mean I've dismissed the points, merely that I am literate enough to understand them.
---RFD (1 of 5)---
Both did a good job, but in essence this boils down to a BoP issue (I hate that type of RFD, but here I am making it). After reading the debate a few times, and looking at the weight of their evidences toward the resolution and counters etc, con has cast strong doubt on pro's positive claim that un-sugared coffee is better, while not proving his own claim that sugared coffee is better, the setup gives him victory when pro has failed (which he would have easily succeeded against a less skilled opponent). The opening sources only coming into play in the last round, and the strong doubt cast upon their relevant sealed it worse than if they had just been left broken.


Resolution: Coffee without sugar is better than coffee with sugar. Con asserts that this is skewed, as a sugared coffee drinker I'll generally disagree, and further point out that BoP rests on pro. Regardless, con knew the rules, and knew pro was looking for a light topic, even if [insert pun about dark coffee here]. I suggest in future have an apply in comments rule, and negotiate the resolution there. ... Regarding the potentially moved goalpost of if con may include other sweetening's, it's really not the impact pro wants it to be, data not being precise enough will always be a problem, that one piece of observational data does not separate sugar and sweetener packets is not a reason to automatically vote one way or the other (granted it makes the margin of precise sugar preference smaller).
Posted by Ragnar 4 months ago
---RFD (2 of 5)---
Copy/Paste issues (mostly advice):
@pro:DDO shortens the display of links, when copying from a previous argument you end up copying the display rather than the link itself. Since you are only taking credit for your own words, I don't consider it plagiarism, but I cannot give credit for those sources.
@con: Thank you for doing proper bracketing inside your quote edits, but next time please also remember to put quotation marks around them (you can also indent via bullet points). You relied heavily upon quotations, and it becomes hard to separate where a quotation ends and your analysis to link it to arguments begins. I am not throwing your case out largely because pro is getting the same leniency with his copy/pasted argument, but I highly suggest reading then following the advice on this page:
@both: Each of you would do very well on future sources, to move a step closer to each other's style.

1: dependency
Pro asserts: "conflation of coffee with soda and other caffeinated beverages." Otherwise please put the side conversation outside the contention into an introduction heading, for example "If you are a fledgling coffee addict, then by all means put a little sugar in your coffee" is counter to your points about health, it's bordering on being a K of your own topic. Con caught this, and tried a K to the topic "Dependence on coffee can result without the use of sugars via caffeine dependence," vs "Dependency is not inherently harmful, but dependence on sugar is." The source stated "some heavy caffeine users grow irritable, get headaches, or feel lethargic when they can't get that coffee, soft drink, energy drink, or cup of tea" (pro, you could have flipped this to the harms of sugar, but you left it standing).
Posted by Ragnar 4 months ago
2: health
Firstly pro's R1 links were broken until R4. "By failing to recongize that coffee without sweetener is better than coffee with sweetener, we contribute to these unhealthy habits and promote cardiovascular disease for the next generation." Is a nice appeal to the children, but its support was lacking. "we're fooling ourselves if we think we try to pretend that we can outwork a bad diet." That is kind of how all weight lose works, so again, better support would be ideal. Such as direct quotes from the Dr. Yoni Freedhoff. Con of course caught that this debate is not about "candy and soda," but specifically about coffee, about like how this debate is not about all sweeteners in coffee but specifically sugar.

I hate to agree with the dirty final round tactic con used, but "Aff needs to provide an author so that the opposition has the opportunity to research the author to determine whether the author has perverse incentives, lack of expertise or any other indicator of a lack of reliability" is valid due to pro having systematically used the author against con so heavily. (side note, the article stated "The best-choice beverages are those that fall in the green category"drinks that have little or no sugar added to them, such as water, sparkling water, coffee, or tea." This would have been a more effective rebuttal, as the article was against soda, but pro-sweetened coffee ... truthfully more neutral, but it would have been a great rebuttal).
Posted by Ragnar 4 months ago
---RFD (4 of 5)---
3: taste
Con opened this with a well-played bandwagon appeal, backed by multiple sources. Not that popular equals better, but he is proving that healthier does not equal better when the word is so subjective. Pro questions the quality of the sources, but offers no counter evideice (not a bad play, but doubting the precision on the data leaves the debate in the subjective area, which is un-ideal for pro). "Those who have to add sugar to their coffee in order to drink it don't like the taste of coffee in the first place," bit of an extreme claim, it could be supported if you showed lower obesity rates in black coffee drinkers or something, but right now it's in No True Scotsman territory (con called it "irrelevant," slightly surprised con did not pull the counter of edging people away from sugar water using lightly sugared coffee... just a suggested tactic for future debates on this topic, not part of my decision on this one).
Posted by Ragnar 4 months ago
---RFD (5 of 5)---
4: LDL Cholesterol
Sources stating at length how good sugar is for us due to LDL (nicely done, still better to give more of your own analysis). Countered with a two font attack on the source, the first was an effective comparison of him to Dr Ox (even if the source outlined how he's not considered so bad by the medical community), and then how aid source is basically a snake oil salesman for detox diets... The second one weakened it, due to the lack of any source connecting him to detox diets, so it looks like just a Red Herring. Pro (thankfully understanding his own source... you have no idea how frequently people don't) caught that it was an article on said person's website, citing work done by others rather than himself (I fail to see how that is dropped as pro claimed). The next source on it was attacked far more effectively (that one was dropped quite obviously before it was pointed out (still good to point it out)). "The SFGate article is a caution against eating too much sugar, read it." Was very good, but a quote from it would have improved this attack (as much as I already consider the source flipped). The "TOO MUCH sugar" bit did not pull it back, even if it weakened the degree of harm.

5: Impact Calculus
"Con never formulates an original argument, but instead cites various sources which fail to intersect." Very well put, particularly catching the lack of argumentation. This nearly wiped con out of the debate, but he slowly regained ground.
Posted by Wylted 4 months ago
I knew you would pull through. It seemed close to me, I still may go through it to tie the debate or seal the deal.
Posted by Wylted 4 months ago
Ragner where the fvck are you? Less than two hours lefy
Posted by Wylted 4 months ago
You both did great by the way. I'll need to take notes on this to figure out who won. Nust incase Ragner sleeps in.
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by Ragnar 4 months ago
Who won the debate:-Vote Checkmark
Reasons for voting decision: RFD in comments... tough one.