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RFD: Whiteflame v. Bossy (Good and Evil)

YYW
Posts: 36,391
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9/13/2016 3:12:22 AM
Posted: 2 months ago
I. Resolution & Disclosures

This was a debate about whether "Society should regret the common narrative of good triumphing over evil in children's entertainment." I have to admit that was perplexed at the weirdness of this topic. Surely there are some things that society should regret, but why should society in general "regret" anything? Can society even collectively regret something? The sheer novelty of the resolution alone was enticing.

With respect to disclosures, it should be noted that I hold both PRO and CON personally in substantially similar (even though not quite congruent) levels of contempt. The degree of contempt is the same, even if the reasons for my feeling in so in relation to both of them differs considerably. However, the debaters themselves are irrelevant. All and only that which matters is what is contained in the substance of the debate. Alas, I believe it an exercise in good prudence to disclose things that some people may believe may make me "biased" against the debaters, that all may be readily aware of potential sources of bias as will equip them to ascertain for themselves whether or not I have been fair.

I believe I can be fair here, despite my ill feelings towards both, because both are equally offensive to me even if the reasons for their causing such feelings are different from one another. However, I also believe that both debaters have a right to know how I feel about them, once more, because they both put a lot of effort into this debate. Despite my animosity, I will do my best to do right by them both because I think that is fair, and because it would be beneath me to be unfair. Thus, we begin.

II. Burdens

The burdens for such a resolution as this ("Society should regret the common narrative of good triumphing over evil in children's entertainment.") are normative because this is not a debate about fact or things that are provably the case. Rather, this is about what feelings or positions that "society" should have in relation to "the common narrative" of "good" overcoming evil in children's entertainment.

Thus, the affirmative must show, that society should regret the common narrative of good triumphing over evil in children's entertainment. The negative, in contrast, must show that society should NOT regret the common narrative of good triumphing over evil in children's entertainment. It is cognizable on CON that society should have no feelings at all towards the said narrative; as much as it is that society should embrace or celebrate that narrative. Both would suffice to negate.

The only arguments that matter are those which are linked directly to impact the resolutions. Nontopical arguments cannot be fairly counted, because to count them would be to unfairly prejudice the debater who availed himself to make topical arguments, by rewarding the deviating debater's moving the goal post from a debate of the resolution itself--odd as it seems--to a debate of something other than the resolution. Such tactics are abusive, and highly prejudicial to the exercise debate entails in that they are offensive to debate's value and purpose. Thus, the only arguments which can be counted will be topical; meaning that they are directly linked to the resolution.

III. Arguments

PRO's arguments centralize on (1) creativity; and (2) real world learning.

Regarding the first, PRO posits that it is necessary to engender creativity in society's children because this plays a substantial role in producing inventions and generally facilitating societal development. Entertainment impacts creativity, and repeated exposure to novel concepts stimulates creative growth while repeated exposure to the same old story has the opposite effect. Entertainment, PRO claims, should be used for the purpose of engendering creativity. Repeated exposure to the same narrative of good triumphing over evil, however, blights creative growth, adversely affecting society's interest in children's creative development, which is something society should regret.

Regarding the second, PRO seems to allude (and it may be possible that I am being unfairly charitable here) to the idea that learning should emphasize the nuance of human complexity by (a) not simply labeling people as "good" or "evil," (b) appreciating root causes for human action (e.g. child abuse), (c) recognizing individual's "intent" with respect to the actions that they take, (d) illustrating the very real potentiality that evil could in reality triumph over good, and etc. These are bad, says PRO, because they create a myriad of false perceptions that blight children's ability to appreciate moral nuance while in the same sense inducing children to oversimplify and therefore misunderstand relevant considerations in play; which society should regret.

CON discusses (1) what good and evil mean, and (2) the aesthetics of morality.

Regarding the first, quoting, among others, Kant and Aristotle, CON describes morality as governing what one should do, which requires in the same sense the ability to do the thing that should be done, as, relying on Aristotle, the moral law cannot oblige of humans more than humans are capable of. Virtue and vice both being within our means, to become either is to do so by choice, such that to chose anything but good is to do so to the exclusion of good itself even if an active choice towards good or evil is never made. (As an aside, this was a reasonably incoherent argument and I am being perhaps unduly charitable here, as well.)

Regarding the second, CON alludes to the notion that we learn an artist's moral code by what they deem worthy of creation, who is, at the same time, always already entangled in the world's imperfection but desirous of moving the world towards man's best and highest potential by facilitating choices consistent with those goals, which can only be advanced by good triumphing over evil in every case. To do otherwise, is to achieve that which is regrettable: idealizing a world in which evil triumphs over good.

IV. Clash

In response to PRO's first argument, CON suggests that even if the end result of the plot is known, the path there remains unknown; the path, of course, which could provide sufficient complexity as to stimulate creative development. Further, CON suggests the substantial absurdity of quantifying that which cannot be quantified (i.e. creative development); as well as advancing the notion that creative development in its own rite is not inherently good or worthwhile (e.g. serial killer creativity). In response to PRO's second argument, CON suggests the absurdity of how calling an evil man evil is in any way improper. Moreover, human choice (agency) being the sole cause of evil's pervasiveness is not nuanced; and instead obfuscated by discussion of "root" causes.

In later rounds it is indeed the case that many of PRO's points were dropped by CON, namely, due to the non-responsive nature of his rebuttals. For example, it is not enough to simply say "I have disproven this in my constructive case." CON must have shown WHY the idea that proposition holds. Absent the analysis, the impact is hollow. PRO correctly describes this occurrence, which emanates, for example, from PRO's analysis with respect to the impact of role models. PRO says that "idealized role models ... do more harm than good" because such utilization sets children "up for failure via ... [e]go depletion, which refers to the idea that there"s a limited pool of mental resources available to draw upon for the purpose of self-control and willpower, is an important facet of humanity that has been proven multiple times in psychological literature." This has the effect of raising a goal to an unattainable apex predicated upon unreasonable expectations. In this way, PRO turned Aristotle against CON, and provided a basis for due society's regret.
Tsar of DDO
YYW
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9/13/2016 3:17:03 AM
Posted: 2 months ago
V. Outcome

http://www.debate.org...

This debate was won by PRO and lost by CON because the weight of the impacts suggests that a more substantially cognizable harm to society generally exists in the world in which children's entertainment narratives prolifically hold good triumphing over evil. CON made a reasonable effort to show that creativity (the lack of which in such a world, and which was one of PRO's harms) is itself not something so much to be desired for its own sake, but that literature and children's entertainment should serve as a model for children to follow. This, however, brings about outcomes in the form of psychological misconceptions, says PRO, with respect to whether the good is itself ascertainable as may cause children to not choose to act towards the good's advancement. In that way, PRO undercut the most critical point in CON's case, and advanced his burden, thereby winning the debate.
Tsar of DDO
ShabShoral
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9/13/2016 3:35:21 AM
Posted: 2 months ago
Thanks for the RFD - it's very fair.
"This site is trash as a debate site. It's club penguin for dysfunctional adults."

~ Skepsikyma <3

"Your idea of good writing is like Spinoza mixed with Heidegger."

~ Dylly Dylly Cat Cat

"You seem to aspire to be a cross between a Jewish hipster, an old school WASP aristocrat, and a political iconoclast"

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"fvck omg ur face"

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dylancatlow
Posts: 12,254
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9/13/2016 3:22:28 PM
Posted: 2 months ago
" Surely only the totality of the culture, the thing which is bad in itself, is regretful, not just one atomic portion?"

Would it be unfair to deduct points from Con simply for using the phrase "atomic portion" and in place of "part"?
dylancatlow
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9/13/2016 4:32:43 PM
Posted: 2 months ago
Con spends a great deal of time arguing that the good ought to triumph over evil in the real world but fails to establish a clear connection to his case. It simply doesn't follow that X being moral implies that children's fiction should stick to the trope of X being realized. This sort of flawed thinking is illustrated by the following quote: "When I say that one must not create evil, I am referring to evil"s primacy. There may be an evil element in the work, but the work does not cast evil upon the world as long as that element is snuffed out." The moral primacy and superiority of evil is not implied by deviating from the GTOE theme. This is Con's fundamental error throughout the debate.

He blunders in other ways as well. For example, he argues that creativity is not an intrinsic value in an attempt to undermine Pro's contention that GTOE inhibits children's creative potential. Of course, the notion that one should promote and protect creativity does not depend on the assumption that creativity is a good unto itself; one can easily use human wellbeing as the standard when arguing that creativity is virtuous in a societal context. Con disputes that this sort of moral reasoning is warranted when he says " Nowhere in "X damages society along these lines" is "Society has a moral duty to rally against X" implied. " And yet, it's entirely reasonable that members of a society should "regret" i.e., regard as an error, pushing the GTOE trope on children when it harms them and when there are clear alternatives that wouldn't harm them.

Con trivializes a good deal of Pro's case when he states "Good and evil cannot coexist; a good man cannot be evil." While the latter part may be true, the former part is clearly not. An evil man can have good aspects or have committed some good deeds whether or not they suffice to qualify him as a "good man" overall. Presenting the world in this light encourages children to think hard about morality and to question whether the "good side" has all the answers. In other words, if the world is not black and white, moral thinking requires not only that children identify the "good" and "bad" side and record what they do, but also deconstruct their actions. By doing so, children combat their innate "moral tribalist" tendencies that have so often stood in the way of meaningful change.
ShabShoral
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9/13/2016 4:38:00 PM
Posted: 2 months ago
At 9/13/2016 3:22:28 PM, dylancatlow wrote:
" Surely only the totality of the culture, the thing which is bad in itself, is regretful, not just one atomic portion?"

Would it be unfair to deduct points from Con simply for using the phrase "atomic portion" and in place of "part"?

YYW is a much better voter than you.
"This site is trash as a debate site. It's club penguin for dysfunctional adults."

~ Skepsikyma <3

"Your idea of good writing is like Spinoza mixed with Heidegger."

~ Dylly Dylly Cat Cat

"You seem to aspire to be a cross between a Jewish hipster, an old school WASP aristocrat, and a political iconoclast"

~ Thett the Mighty

"fvck omg ur face"

~ Liz

"No aspect of your facial structure suggests Filipino descent."
~ YYW
dylancatlow
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9/13/2016 5:16:03 PM
Posted: 2 months ago
At 9/13/2016 4:38:00 PM, ShabShoral wrote:
At 9/13/2016 3:22:28 PM, dylancatlow wrote:
" Surely only the totality of the culture, the thing which is bad in itself, is regretful, not just one atomic portion?"

Would it be unfair to deduct points from Con simply for using the phrase "atomic portion" and in place of "part"?

YYW is a much better voter than you.

Would it have helped if I had begun my RFD by denouncing you?