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Why Instigate A Debate & Then Argue Con?

OhioGary
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1/20/2013 5:37:19 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
Hello everyone:

I'm new to Debate.org but I've noticed that a fair number of debates have the instigator propose a resolution and then argue Con. To me, it seems a bit odd. Would it not be better to just rewrite the resolution in negative form and then argue Pro?

Have any of you instigated a debate and then chose Con? Why did you do it? What is the benefit of structuring the debate this way?

Thanks for your insight on this!
"There ain't no good guy. There ain't no bad guy. There's only you & me & we just diasgree."
SarcasticIndeed
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1/20/2013 5:41:35 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 1/20/2013 5:37:19 PM, OhioGary wrote:
Hello everyone:

I'm new to Debate.org but I've noticed that a fair number of debates have the instigator propose a resolution and then argue Con. To me, it seems a bit odd. Would it not be better to just rewrite the resolution in negative form and then argue Pro?

Have any of you instigated a debate and then chose Con? Why did you do it? What is the benefit of structuring the debate this way?

Thanks for your insight on this!

It's because resolutions seem more friendly and clear in positive form. "God Exists" sound better than "God Doesn't Exist". Not needed, but some people would likely find it more appealing that way. This isn't always the case, of course.
<SIGNATURE CENSORED> nac
phantom
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1/20/2013 5:51:58 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
It's more proper but since some people don't like it, I'm more cautious about doing it.

Take the issue of whether God exists. For this topic, the affirmative is in general that God exists. Thus the pro position is that God exists while the con position is that he does not. In order to retain this meaning, debaters take the con instead of pro even though they are instigating.

It's also a question of burden of proof sometimes. Some people think the pro should always have the BoP. They thus take con when they don't think their position requires the burden of proof.

And lastly, some people just do it to avoid confusion. Sometimes when I'm reading a debate or voting on a debate, if it's on say the existence of God, but the person who believes in God is con, I get the sides mixed up because normally you would associate belief in God with "pro" and non-belief in God with "con".
"Music is a zen-like ecstatic state where you become the new man of the future, the Nietzschean merger of Apollo and Dionysus." Ray Manzarek (The Doors)
Raisor
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1/20/2013 5:56:00 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
I agree with the above.

If you are advocating a policy position, the pro typically advocates a change from the status quo, e.g. "the us should invade iran" rather than "the us should continue not invading Iran"

In this case maybe an instigator wants to debate a particular policy position but wants to defend status quo or an opposing policy.

I agree that with more valu oriented debates the instigator should rewrite the Rez as something they would affirm.
TUF
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1/20/2013 8:00:52 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 1/20/2013 5:37:19 PM, OhioGary wrote:
Hello everyone:

I'm new to Debate.org but I've noticed that a fair number of debates have the instigator propose a resolution and then argue Con. To me, it seems a bit odd. Would it not be better to just rewrite the resolution in negative form and then argue Pro?

Have any of you instigated a debate and then chose Con? Why did you do it? What is the benefit of structuring the debate this way?

Thanks for your insight on this!

I agree with you, but I guess it doesn't really matter much.
"I've got to go and grab a shirt" ~ Airmax1227
drafterman
Posts: 18,870
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1/20/2013 9:09:57 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
The instigator usually gets to set the battleground, as it were, defining terms and setting the conditions of the debate. Some people may value that over getting the final word in.
DoctorDeku
Posts: 162
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1/20/2013 9:25:17 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 1/20/2013 5:41:35 PM, SarcasticIndeed wrote:
At 1/20/2013 5:37:19 PM, OhioGary wrote:
Hello everyone:

I'm new to Debate.org but I've noticed that a fair number of debates have the instigator propose a resolution and then argue Con. To me, it seems a bit odd. Would it not be better to just rewrite the resolution in negative form and then argue Pro?

Have any of you instigated a debate and then chose Con? Why did you do it? What is the benefit of structuring the debate this way?

Thanks for your insight on this!

It's because resolutions seem more friendly and clear in positive form. "God Exists" sound better than "God Doesn't Exist". Not needed, but some people would likely find it more appealing that way. This isn't always the case, of course.

I agree with this analysis, but I'd also stand to argue that they way the resolution is phrases implies certain burdens. With the resolution "God Exists" primary burden is on the instigator to prove that claim either true or false, while the contender only has to disprove the instigator. With the resolution "God does not exist" the contender's burden doesn't change, but the instigator's does.
wiploc
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1/22/2013 1:36:31 AM
Posted: 3 years ago
Mostly, it just causes confusion when people instigate as Con.

But, sometimes, you want the other guy to argue first. Then you should instigate as Con. But be very clear.

- Explicitly state that Pro has the burden of proof.

- Don't argue in the first round. Say that Pro gets to argue in the first round but not the last round. That way, she goes first and you go last, which is fair.

- End all your posts with "Vote Con." Ask Pro to end all her posts with "Vote Pro." This helps keep the audience oriented.

When is this appropriate? When you want to refute an argument. Suppose I wanted to refute the free will defense. I'd need someone to state a version of the free will defense before I could refute it. If there wasn't a free will defense debate on offer, I could start one myself, but I'd have to initiate it as Con.

But, normally, the instigator argues first, and she causes unnecessary confusion if he does so as Con.
imabench
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1/22/2013 6:45:43 AM
Posted: 3 years ago
BECAUSE THIS IS AMERICA

nac
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PhatnomRegiment7
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1/22/2013 8:09:31 AM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 1/22/2013 6:45:43 AM, imabench wrote:
BECAUSE THIS IS AMERICA

nac

nuff said.... MURICAH!
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malcolmxy
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1/22/2013 8:57:41 AM
Posted: 3 years ago
people remember the first thing they read, the last thing and very little in between. As con, voters remember Pro's intro and your conclusion...and you get the last word in. seems most would prefer this when I think about it.
War is over, if you want it.

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wiploc
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1/22/2013 10:28:35 AM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 1/22/2013 2:29:57 AM, darkkermit wrote:
because BOP is on Pro. Thus if you start the resolutiion as COn, you're more likely to win.

The only reason we say that the burden of proof is on Pro is because we assume that Pro argues first. If Con argues first, Con has the BoP.
RoyLatham
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1/22/2013 10:29:57 AM
Posted: 3 years ago
I think the main reasons are to avoid the work of preparing a case and to try to shift the burden of proof to the opponent. In traditional debate Pro must initiate and must prove his case. Also, traditionally, Pro is proposing a change in the status quo. Proposing as Con gives the instigator the luxury of just objecting to whatever Pro says -- or at least the instigator thinks that's the case.

Proposing as Con proves confusing to readers of the debate. I think the option should be eliminated. If a person wants to go Con on an academic debate topic, not the usual situation, they should use the forms or PM to find someone who wants to debate as Pro.
Korashk
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1/24/2013 6:17:18 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 1/22/2013 2:29:57 AM, darkkermit wrote:
because BOP is on Pro. Thus if you start the resolutiion as COn, you're more likely to win.

Exactly, people instigate as Con because they're a bunch of pansies afraid to lose.
When large numbers of otherwise-law abiding people break specific laws en masse, it's usually a fault that lies with the law. - Unknown
OhioGary
Posts: 68
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1/26/2013 7:51:34 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 1/22/2013 10:29:57 AM, RoyLatham wrote:
I think the main reasons are to avoid the work of preparing a case and to try to shift the burden of proof to the opponent. In traditional debate Pro must initiate and must prove his case. Also, traditionally, Pro is proposing a change in the status quo. Proposing as Con gives the instigator the luxury of just objecting to whatever Pro says -- or at least the instigator thinks that's the case.

Proposing as Con proves confusing to readers of the debate. I think the option should be eliminated. If a person wants to go Con on an academic debate topic, not the usual situation, they should use the forms or PM to find someone who wants to debate as Pro.

Wouldn't it be easier to just revise the resolution as a negative?

Instead of taking Con on the resolution "Everyone should be forced to buy Obamacare."
Why don't I just take Pro on the resolution "Everyone should not be forced to buy Obamacare."

I just joined a few weeks ago and think that eliminating the Pro/Con option may encourage better structuring of the resolution from the start. I'm in the middle of a debate where I'm losing because one of the voters thought I had BOP as Pro/Contender. It's ridiculous.
"There ain't no good guy. There ain't no bad guy. There's only you & me & we just diasgree."
wiploc
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1/26/2013 8:12:59 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 1/26/2013 7:51:34 PM, OhioGary wrote:
At 1/22/2013 10:29:57 AM, RoyLatham wrote:
I think the main reasons are to avoid the work of preparing a case and to try to shift the burden of proof to the opponent. In traditional debate Pro must initiate and must prove his case. Also, traditionally, Pro is proposing a change in the status quo. Proposing as Con gives the instigator the luxury of just objecting to whatever Pro says -- or at least the instigator thinks that's the case.

Proposing as Con proves confusing to readers of the debate. I think the option should be eliminated. If a person wants to go Con on an academic debate topic, not the usual situation, they should use the forms or PM to find someone who wants to debate as Pro.

Wouldn't it be easier to just revise the resolution as a negative?

Instead of taking Con on the resolution "Everyone should be forced to buy Obamacare."
Why don't I just take Pro on the resolution "Everyone should not be forced to buy Obamacare."

If, as Roy suggests, you're trying to avoid the burden of proof, that wouldn't work for you. But, normally (assuming that avoiding the burden of proof is not your goal) your suggestion is perfect. It's what people ought to do.

I just joined a few weeks ago and think that eliminating the Pro/Con option may encourage better structuring of the resolution from the start.

Sometimes it is right to initiate as Con. Suppose I wanted to argue against the free will defense. I'd have to let my opponent argue first, articulate his version of that defense. Otherwise, I'd be throwing away my opening round.

If I argued first, and did a good job of both articulating the free will defense (so readers would know what I was refuting) and then destroying it, my opponent would say, "That's not how the FWD goes; that's a strawman argument. Here, let me show you how it's supposed to go." And then, having properly dismissed my entire opening post ("properly," because I've demonstrated that he can't beat it) he'll rephrase the FWD into something he thinks he can defend. Which leaves me at square one, but with one of my rounds already wasted on attacking a version of the FWD which my opponent isn't defending.

I'm in the middle of a debate where I'm losing because one of the voters thought I had BOP as Pro/Contender. It's ridiculous.

Who argued first? Give us a link.
OhioGary
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1/26/2013 8:35:04 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 1/26/2013 8:12:59 PM, wiploc wrote:
At 1/26/2013 7:51:34 PM, OhioGary wrote:
At 1/22/2013 10:29:57 AM, RoyLatham wrote:
I think the main reasons are to avoid the work of preparing a case and to try to shift the burden of proof to the opponent. In traditional debate Pro must initiate and must prove his case. Also, traditionally, Pro is proposing a change in the status quo. Proposing as Con gives the instigator the luxury of just objecting to whatever Pro says -- or at least the instigator thinks that's the case.

Proposing as Con proves confusing to readers of the debate. I think the option should be eliminated. If a person wants to go Con on an academic debate topic, not the usual situation, they should use the forms or PM to find someone who wants to debate as Pro.

Wouldn't it be easier to just revise the resolution as a negative?

Instead of taking Con on the resolution "Everyone should be forced to buy Obamacare."
Why don't I just take Pro on the resolution "Everyone should not be forced to buy Obamacare."

If, as Roy suggests, you're trying to avoid the burden of proof, that wouldn't work for you. But, normally (assuming that avoiding the burden of proof is not your goal) your suggestion is perfect. It's what people ought to do.


I just joined a few weeks ago and think that eliminating the Pro/Con option may encourage better structuring of the resolution from the start.

Sometimes it is right to initiate as Con. Suppose I wanted to argue against the free will defense. I'd have to let my opponent argue first, articulate his version of that defense. Otherwise, I'd be throwing away my opening round.

If I argued first, and did a good job of both articulating the free will defense (so readers would know what I was refuting) and then destroying it, my opponent would say, "That's not how the FWD goes; that's a strawman argument. Here, let me show you how it's supposed to go." And then, having properly dismissed my entire opening post ("properly," because I've demonstrated that he can't beat it) he'll rephrase the FWD into something he thinks he can defend. Which leaves me at square one, but with one of my rounds already wasted on attacking a version of the FWD which my opponent isn't defending.

I'm in the middle of a debate where I'm losing because one of the voters thought I had BOP as Pro/Contender. It's ridiculous.

Who argued first? Give us a link.

I'm up by 1 as the Pro/Contender, so I didn't argue first and I'm not losing as of now but I was yesterday. The first voter said that I had the nearly impossible task of proving the resolution proposed by the Con/Instigator. If I don't have the burden of proof, then the task of proving the resolution rested with Con/Instigator and I argued that in the debate. The third voter said that I lost the argument in Con's opening arguments. If that's correct, then I lost before I said anything in the debate. I don't think that's possible. I'm not trying to be sour grapes and if I lose then I lose, but those votes don't make sense to me.

http://www.debate.org...
"There ain't no good guy. There ain't no bad guy. There's only you & me & we just diasgree."
wiploc
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1/26/2013 11:17:22 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
He invited you to go first, but you declined; whereupon, he went first. He assumed the burden of proof. He cannot escape that burden by styling himself "Con."
OhioGary
Posts: 68
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1/27/2013 12:34:59 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 1/26/2013 11:17:22 PM, wiploc wrote:
He invited you to go first, but you declined; whereupon, he went first. He assumed the burden of proof. He cannot escape that burden by styling himself "Con."

That's what I thought. I think I'm getting a number of voters who don't really care for Alex Jones and are using the Con vote as their declaration against Alex Jones and all he stands for. In any event, I knew it was going to be a difficult debate. While some of the vote comments still do not make sense, the initial sting is wearing off and I'm off to fight again.

Thanks everyone!
"There ain't no good guy. There ain't no bad guy. There's only you & me & we just diasgree."
DudeWithoutTheE
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1/29/2013 7:04:44 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 1/22/2013 10:28:35 AM, wiploc wrote:
At 1/22/2013 2:29:57 AM, darkkermit wrote:
because BOP is on Pro. Thus if you start the resolutiion as COn, you're more likely to win.

The only reason we say that the burden of proof is on Pro is because we assume that Pro argues first. If Con argues first, Con has the BoP.

Someone needs to tell The_Chaos_Heart this.
OhioGary
Posts: 68
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1/29/2013 9:35:38 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 1/29/2013 7:04:44 PM, DudeWithoutTheE wrote:
At 1/22/2013 10:28:35 AM, wiploc wrote:
At 1/22/2013 2:29:57 AM, darkkermit wrote:
because BOP is on Pro. Thus if you start the resolutiion as COn, you're more likely to win.

The only reason we say that the burden of proof is on Pro is because we assume that Pro argues first. If Con argues first, Con has the BoP.

Someone needs to tell The_Chaos_Heart this.

HAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA!
"There ain't no good guy. There ain't no bad guy. There's only you & me & we just diasgree."
The_Chaos_Heart
Posts: 404
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1/30/2013 11:32:47 AM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 1/29/2013 9:35:38 PM, OhioGary wrote:
At 1/29/2013 7:04:44 PM, DudeWithoutTheE wrote:
At 1/22/2013 10:28:35 AM, wiploc wrote:
At 1/22/2013 2:29:57 AM, darkkermit wrote:
because BOP is on Pro. Thus if you start the resolutiion as COn, you're more likely to win.

The only reason we say that the burden of proof is on Pro is because we assume that Pro argues first. If Con argues first, Con has the BoP.

Someone needs to tell The_Chaos_Heart this.

HAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA!

Except that's false.

The reason people say the burden of proof is upon Pro is because Pro is almost always making the positive claim, whereas Con is not. To prove my point, let's say someone starts a debate as Con, and the resolution is "The United States of America Should Legalize All Drugs". Pro, not Con, would have the BoP, even though Con started the debate and would make the first argument. This is because Pro is still making the positive claim, whereas Con is not, even though Con is arguing first.

And this only applies to the resolution mind you. Individual argument still require proof, regardless which side is making them. So it is not as if Con can just say whatever they please and get away with it; they still have a burden of proof for the things they claim.

BoP has nothing to do with who argues first. It has everything to do with claim making. Most often the one who argues first happens to be the one who has BoP, but this is not always the case.

Honestly, it's pretty sad to see people on a debate website, who don't even understand how BoP functions.
wiploc
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1/31/2013 1:50:27 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 1/30/2013 11:32:47 AM, The_Chaos_Heart wrote:
The reason people say the burden of proof is upon Pro is because Pro is almost always making the positive claim, whereas Con is not. To prove my point, let's say someone starts a debate as Con, and the resolution is "The United States of America Should Legalize All Drugs". Pro, not Con, would have the BoP, even though Con started the debate and would make the first argument. This is because Pro is still making the positive claim, whereas Con is not, even though Con is arguing first.

How do you figure? How can Con argue first without making claims?

And this only applies to the resolution mind you.

Huh?

Individual argument still require proof, regardless which side is making them. So it is not as if Con can just say whatever they please and get away with it; they still have a burden of proof for the things they claim.

But you just said that Con isn't making claims. "Positive" claims, whatever you think those are.

BoP has nothing to do with who argues first. It has everything to do with claim making.

If you argue without making claims, you wasted your post.

Most often the one who argues first happens to be the one who has BoP, but this is not always the case.

I can imagine that in specific circumstances. Suppose the resolution is, "Resolved: Plantinga's Free Will Argument Sucks." ... No, I take it back. I can't think of an instance when the person arguing first shouldn't be styled "Pro," and shouldn't at least share the burden of proof.

Honestly, it's pretty sad to see people on a debate website, who don't even understand how BoP functions.

Awe, now I'm embarrassed and sad. Actually just skeptical.
OhioGary
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1/31/2013 3:12:19 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 1/31/2013 1:07:46 PM, DudeWithoutTheE wrote:
Asserting this over and over does not make it true.

HA! I've only been on this site for 2 weeks and figured that guy out.
"There ain't no good guy. There ain't no bad guy. There's only you & me & we just diasgree."
The_Chaos_Heart
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1/31/2013 7:55:48 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 1/31/2013 1:07:46 PM, DudeWithoutTheE wrote:
Asserting this over and over does not make it true.

No, but one-liners don't disprove it either.

http://en.wikipedia.org...

You are simply, verifiably, factually incorrect. Accept it.
The_Chaos_Heart
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2/1/2013 1:38:44 AM
Posted: 3 years ago
Wiploc, the first thing you must understand, is that "pro" and "con" have no bearing on the burden of proof. This is because "Pro" and "Con" refer to the wording of the resolution only. Here's an example.

Resolved: It Can Be Affirmed That God Exists.

In this situation, Pro would have the burden of proof. This is due to the fact that Pro is making the positive claim. I'll explain what that means below. Now let's take another example.

Resolved: It Cannot Be Affirmed That God Exists

In this case, Con would have the burden of proof, for the same reason as Pro above. Let's look at one more.

Resolved: God Does Not Exist.

In this case, Pro once again would have the burden of proof.

So when thinking about BoP, and positive claims, it's best not to focus on the terms "Pro" and "Con", as that can make things confusing. 'Pro' and 'Con' simply mean 'for the resolution' or 'against the resolution'.

So what does it mean to make a positive claim? Well, it essentially means you are trying to affirm something is real or factual, outside of the natural stance, that of skepticism. The best way to understand this, is to think of the claim "unicorns are real". If we were to debate the subject, Pro would have the burden of proof. Con would not need to prove that unicorns do not exist. This is because Con would be arguing the negative, the natural, stance. It is Pro's job to prove unicorns exist, not Con's job to disprove the claim. The reason is to avoid "you can't prove me wrong" type arguments. Imagine if the same debate occurred, but we made both parties share BoP. Con would ask Pro for evidence, and Pro could simply counter "I have none, but you can't prove they DON'T exist!!!" As you can see, the debate would go nowhere. So we assume that the negative is true until otherwise shown. This is done through the institution of BoP, wherein the individual making the positive claim has the burden to prove their case true.

This is why Pro is usually the one with the BoP, and Con is usually the one without. Pro is usually making positive arguments, and Con is usually taking the negative, or natural, stance. Of course, this is not always the case, as shown in the beginning. In some cases too, both sides have BoP, because both are making positive claims. You see that most often in "X vs. Y" debates.

At 1/31/2013 1:50:27 PM, wiploc wrote:
How do you figure? How can Con argue first without making claims?

Here is an example of how Con could argue first, without making a positive claim for in regards to the resolution.

Resolved: God exists

Con RI: There is no sound evidence that would suggest the existence of a deity or deities. One may exist, but we can see no evidence for them, and therefore, have no reason to believe in them. Further more, my opponent certainly is no capable of affirming, without a doubt, that a deity or deities exist.


The debate continues from there, with Pro responding, and then Round 2 beginning.

In this example, Con has made no positive claims. They have no claimed God DOESN'T exist, but have merely assumed the natural stance (skepticism), and have called into question Pro's ability to affirm the resolution.

And this only applies to the resolution mind you.

Huh?

When talking about BoP, it can be spoken of in two ways, though we really only talk about it in this first way. BoP relates to both the resolution itself, and the specific arguments made in the debate. When it comes to the latter, EVERYONE has BoP, no matter what. No one has free range to just make whatever unfounded claims they like.

But normally when we discuss BoP, we are discussing it in terms of who has the burden to prove their entire side true. Who it is that has to prove their case. That always lies with the one making the positive claim.

But you just said that Con isn't making claims. "Positive" claims, whatever you think those are.

Hopefully by this point I've made it clear what a "positive claim" is.

If you argue without making claims, you wasted your post.

Agreed, but that has nothing to do with who argues first.

I can imagine that in specific circumstances. Suppose the resolution is, "Resolved: Plantinga's Free Will Argument Sucks." ... No, I take it back. I can't think of an instance when the person arguing first shouldn't be styled "Pro," and shouldn't at least share the burden of proof.

Take any of my above examples. Let's take the "God Exists" example. Maybe someone doesn't believe this, but wants to argue anyway, so they make the debate, and side as Con. They will argue first, but Pro is the one with the burden of proof.
The_Chaos_Heart
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2/1/2013 1:39:14 AM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 1/31/2013 3:12:19 PM, OhioGary wrote:
At 1/31/2013 1:07:46 PM, DudeWithoutTheE wrote:
Asserting this over and over does not make it true.

HA! I've only been on this site for 2 weeks and figured that guy out.

Evidently not.