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Burden of Proof and what it actually means

schachdame
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7/10/2014 9:53:26 AM
Posted: 2 years ago
It's already difficult to understand who actually holds the burden of proof under what setting but it's even worse to figure out how to fulfill your BOP if you have it.

Who has it?
- if it's an unusual claim "women are no people"
- if it's a claim of common knowledge "the earth is round"
- if it's already controversial "abortion is/is not sin"

When is it shared?

What does it mean for the debaters?
- is the one who is not holding the BOP freed from making own arguments? (and what does that mean for the common rule "2nd round arguments only")
- what makes a BOP fulfilled?

I hope some of the experienced debaters can enlighten the problem. The answers would be of so much help for me and my understanding of debates and debate resolutions.
whiteflame
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7/10/2014 10:33:52 AM
Posted: 2 years ago
Before I start, I'll just note the BoP isn't always straightforward. The burdens in a given debate round can really heavily depend on the arguments given and the ways in which the resolution is phrased. It can depend on the side you take, though I think people put too much stock in that. Often, views of the burdens within a given debate round are flawed, mainly because each side is trying to build a case for their burdens being lesser than their opponents'. Often, though, they're simpler than they seem.

- if it's an unusual claim "women are no people"

I'm guessing you meant "not" instead of "no." I would argue that the burden is shared here, to some extent. Since the claim being made by Pro here would be one that is generally not accepted as true, they would have the biggest mountain to climb in terms of proof, though that's really not a BoP situation, but rather conquering a "bias" of sorts. We are biased by what we believe to be true.

- if it's a claim of common knowledge "the earth is round"

Pretty much the same thing holds true here. The person stipulating that the earth is round has a burden to show that that is the case. The person stipulating that it is not round actually has less of a burden, since they merely have to show that it is any other shape but round. But we do run into the "bias" issue. I'm putting bias in quotes because I don't believe it's necessarily bias for us to agree with what we've been told and shown throughout our lives to be true. For debates like this, voters should endeavor to put some of that knowledge outside the debate, but that's not easy.

- if it's already controversial "abortion is/is not sin"

The burden would mainly be on the side saying it is a sin, since that is a positive statement that requires evidence to uphold. The side arguing against it doesn't need to necessarily prove that it is not a sin, but rather that there is significant uncertainty when it comes to the given sin. In this case, bias definitely plays a role, and this time not in quotes. Our convictions with regards to this contentious issue can greatly affect our ability to make a decision based solely on what was said in a debate like this.

When is it shared?

It's almost always shared. As long as there's any onus on both sides to prove something, they are required to meet a certain burden. That burden doesn't exist for a debater who merely has to show how their opponent's argument is wrong. If, for example, someone makes the debate that is entitled "God exists," then it is sufficient for Con to merely show that Pro's arguments are insufficient proof. They do not necessarily have to prove that God does not exist, though they might be given or choose to shoulder that burden. Really, any argument one makes engenders a burden that one support it, though. No side can merely make claims and hope to win the debate.

What does it mean for the debaters?

It tells the debaters the minimum level required for them to win the debate. If one meets his/her burden, that should be sufficient to win the debate, since, to one extent or another, they will have proven the resolution true/false.

- is the one who is not holding the BOP freed from making own arguments? (and what does that mean for the common rule "2nd round arguments only")

One who does not hold any BoP is one who need not make any positive arguments. This is an important distinction, since arguments are still required in order to show that the other debater has not met their burdens. Theoretically, if the person with BoP simply fails to meet it in their own arguments (and this does happen), then the debater without BoP need not assault the case at all, and need just show that they haven't met that BoP. They could theoretically leave rounds blank, but that's not a smart way to handle it, since then you're leaving it up to voter interpretation entirely.

- what makes a BOP fulfilled?

This one's tricky, and little nuances in the way a resolution is phrased can make a big difference. Words like "in general" and "on balance" can dramatically affect it. Proving the Earth is round, for example, requires pretty solid proof that the Earth is round. There has to be little doubt by the end of that debate that the Earth is actually the shape that fits as "round." If I posted a debate about the wrongness of abortion, Pro would have to show that it is wrong to get an abortion, beyond a reasonable doubt. However, if I add an "on balance" to the start of that debate topic, Pro could win with uncertainty as long as they've shown that there is some net harm that outweighs some net benefit. Uncertainty may still exist, but there can be enough certainty to satisfy the BoP provided by the phrasing of the resolution.

This one's not straightforward, though. Adding those words doesn't necessarily alter the BoP, even in this situation. It's more straightforward when we're discussing actual policy, where it's always a balance of impacts (their strength and probability) coming from each side.
schachdame
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7/10/2014 10:55:02 AM
Posted: 2 years ago
Thanks for the detailed reply. I am glad to see so much effort invested in resolving my confusion.
It makes sense that the mere common perception of a statement as true or false is not relevant for the BOP, because then a lot of BOPs would become questionable.
Phrasing a debate is sure an art itself.

At 7/10/2014 10:33:52 AM, whiteflame wrote:
Before I start, I'll just note the BoP isn't always straightforward. The burdens in a given debate round can really heavily depend on the arguments given and the ways in which the resolution is phrased. It can depend on the side you take, though I think people put too much stock in that. Often, views of the burdens within a given debate round are flawed, mainly because each side is trying to build a case for their burdens being lesser than their opponents'. Often, though, they're simpler than they seem.

Wouldn't that mean that it's usually poor arguing style to bring up the BOP question in the beginning? Isn't it purely the voters responsibility to decided whether one has meet it?
Of course this applies to most issues that are kind of "conduct". It feels wrong and pointless to point out conduct mistakes form your opponent.

And what are good techniques to deal with people who bring up the issue in an attempt to justify weaknesses in their own argumentation? Does it make sense to address this or is it better to ignore it and hope the voters/readers are seeing that this is not justified?
bsh1
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7/10/2014 11:05:42 AM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 7/10/2014 9:53:26 AM, schachdame wrote:
It's already difficult to understand who actually holds the burden of proof under what setting but it's even worse to figure out how to fulfill your BOP if you have it.

Who has it?
- if it's an unusual claim "women are no people"
- if it's a claim of common knowledge "the earth is round"
- if it's already controversial "abortion is/is not sin"

If a positive claim is being made (e.g. X should be immoral, or X ought to do Y) then the burden of proof is always on the person making the claim. If the resolution is proposing a change to the status quo or is making a claim against something widely regarded as fact (e.g. the U.S. should become a parliamentary system, or The Earth is Round) the person supporting the change to the status quo or the change to the thing regarded as fact has the BOP. Otherwise, the general rule of thumb is that Pro has the BOP.

So, if we used these examples, if the resolution were "X should be Immoral" Pro has the BOP. If the resolution were "The U.S. should become a parliamentary system" Pro has the BOP. Interestingly enough, if we changed that wording to "The U.S. should not become a parliamentary system" I would argue that Con has the BOP. And lastly, if the resolution were "The Earth is Round," Con has the BOP.

When is it shared?

Normally in resolutions like: "Narendra Modi will likely make a better PM than would Rahul Gandhi." In situations like these, Pro is required to show that Modi would be better, whereas Con is required to show that Gandhi would be better. Both Pro and Con share the BOP. So when it's an X vs. Y topic, the BOP splits.

BOP can also be shared or tweaked depending on what the instigator writes in their R1. So, an instigators can specify that the BOP is shared. If they did that and the topic was "The U.S. should become a parliamentary system" Pro would have the BOP to affirm the topic, and Con would have the BOP to negate it.

But doesn't Con always have to negate the topic? No, Con doesn't. I'll explain why in just a second.

What does it mean for the debaters?

If Pro has the BOP, they must prove the resolution true on balance, or uphold it on balance. All Con needs to do is stop the affirmative from affirming. This means that Con does not need to offer a constructive case; all Con must do is successfully rebut each on of Pro's points.

So, at the end of the round, Con might not have given you a single reason why a parliamentary system is bad, but as long as Pro hasn't shown you why that system is good, you still vote Con.

What a shared BOP does is it requires Con to provide reasons for negating the topic, i.e. why a parliamentary system is bad. It requires Con to offer constructive arguments, and not simply rebut.

- what makes a BOP fulfilled?

A BOP is fulfilled when a debater has shown that they've met it on balance. So, if the topic is: "Abortion is Immoral" if Pro shows that the resolution is true in general, Pro has met their BOP.

There are some exceptions to this. For instance, if the topic was "Abortion is always Immoral" then Pro must show that every single instance of abortion that could possible or ever has occurred is Immoral. This makes it easier for Con.

Hope this helps!
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schachdame
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7/10/2014 11:22:53 AM
Posted: 2 years ago
bsh1 wrote:
If the resolution is proposing a change to the status quo or is making a claim against something widely regarded as fact (e.g. the U.S. should become a parliamentary system, or The Earth is Round) the person supporting the change to the status quo or the change to the thing regarded as fact has the BOP.

Not that I want to cause any trouble but isn't that something else than what whiteflame said?

whiteflame wrote:
Pretty much the same thing holds true here. The person stipulating that the earth is round has a burden to show that that is the case. The person stipulating that it is not round actually has less of a burden, since they merely have to show that it is any other shape but round.
YYW
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7/10/2014 11:54:28 AM
Posted: 2 years ago
There are two kinds of claims: normative and positive. Normative claims are claims that can't be falsified, whereas positive claims can be falsified.

An example of a normative claim would be, for example, anything that entails an opinion, subjective perspective, or anything about ethics, morality or metaphysics.

Examples of normative claims:

"London is better than Paris."
"Toyota's suck."
"Abortion is wrong."

Examples of positive claims:

"High tide will occur at 2:45 today."
"Technological problems with the ignition switch on GM vehicles exposed drivers of those vehicles to increased risks."
"The morning after pill facilitates abortion."

If a debate is over a positive claim (that is, a claim for which we can produce some real world evidence to show that something is the case or not the case), then he or she who is making the positive claim has the full burden of proof. To win the debate, PRO must produce evidence showing that his or her claim is the case. If CON can prevent PRO from doing that, then CON wins the debate.

If a debate is over a normative claim (that is, an opinion which we can't objectively say is the case or not) then the burden of proof is shared, where "shared" means that PRO has the full burden to affirm the resolution and CON has the full burden to negate the resolution. To win the debate, PRO must both sustain his or her burden and prevent CON from sustaining his or her burden. Conversely, for CON to win the debate, CON must prevent PRO from meeting his or her burden, and CON must also meet his or her burden.

It is not the case that "he or she who makes the claim always has the full burden" as the kind of burden is contingent upon the nature of the claim being made. This is because while things that are objectively the case can be settled with relative ease (that is, simply by producing evidence for or against some positive claim's being the case), other kinds of claims (the stuff of opinion) are more complex to discuss.

There are several kinds of ways that normative resolutions may be discussed: we can evaluate the values and principles upheld or sacrificed in holding a specific position just as surely as we can evaluate the kinds of real-world consequences that follow from holding a certain position. Generally, normative resolutions are best analyzed through a deontological or utilitarian framework, or some variant thereof, like consequentialism. It's more complicated than that, but I say this only to give you a good idea.

The reason that positive and normative claims have different burdens is because while positive claims can be settled with evidence, normative claims can not. Insofar as we're discussing opinions, we cannot leverage a total burden onto one side or the other because doing so renders undue deference to one perspective at the expense of the other. To be fair to both debaters, then, requires that in debates over normative claims, both debaters face an equivalent burden.

Delineating between normative and positive claims, though usually not contentious, can become contentious when we're talking about metaphysical questions like the existence of God. It would seem like, since we're talking about "existence" where "existence" seems to demand evidence for that claim to be sustained, the question of God's existence cannot be positive because positive claims can only deal with the physical world as it is. As such, no positive claims can be made about the metaphysical, being over and above the physical, as there is no way to produce evidence for or against them.

In many cases, however, debaters will state things like "PRO has the full burden" when they're talking about a subjective question like the ethics of abortion or gay rights, because they believe, like Edmund Burke, that the status quo is self justifying. But, this is not the case, and problematic for some very practical reason. First, moral and ethical norms vary from place to place, so it's very difficult to make arguments from convention. Second, even if we can define norms, norms are not static and insofar as they change over time it is an exercise in futility to say that humans "got it right" at any other point in time. Thirdly, we might not agree on what those norms are or what they mean because we do not all share the same values. But, even if we could determine what the norm was and we agreed on it and the value structure behind a given norm, that still doesn't mean that the status quo shouldn't have to be justified when challenged.

I hope this clarifies things a bit.
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whiteflame
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7/10/2014 12:21:47 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 7/10/2014 10:55:02 AM, schachdame wrote:
Thanks for the detailed reply. I am glad to see so much effort invested in resolving my confusion.
It makes sense that the mere common perception of a statement as true or false is not relevant for the BOP, because then a lot of BOPs would become questionable.
Phrasing a debate is sure an art itself.

At 7/10/2014 10:33:52 AM, whiteflame wrote:
Before I start, I'll just note the BoP isn't always straightforward. The burdens in a given debate round can really heavily depend on the arguments given and the ways in which the resolution is phrased. It can depend on the side you take, though I think people put too much stock in that. Often, views of the burdens within a given debate round are flawed, mainly because each side is trying to build a case for their burdens being lesser than their opponents'. Often, though, they're simpler than they seem.

Wouldn't that mean that it's usually poor arguing style to bring up the BOP question in the beginning? Isn't it purely the voters responsibility to decided whether one has meet it?

Actually, I find it's most beneficial to make it clear off the bat. That frames both the debaters' arguments (though it may lead to some issues, for sure), as well as the mindset of the voters going through the debate. Without this analysis, the best they can do is look at all of the arguments as important to the debate, which can often be a daunting task. Some voters will be able to figure out the burdens involved in the debate, but many won't, so it's helpful to direct the conversation. It's just not helpful to do so in an overly biased way.

Of course this applies to most issues that are kind of "conduct". It feels wrong and pointless to point out conduct mistakes form your opponent.

And someone who utilizes burdens analysis to bias the debate heavily in their favor off the bat is someone who, I believe, deserves a conduct violation. But since this heavily applies to arguments and how they're weighed in the debate, I'd say it goes well beyond conduct.

And what are good techniques to deal with people who bring up the issue in an attempt to justify weaknesses in their own argumentation? Does it make sense to address this or is it better to ignore it and hope the voters/readers are seeing that this is not justified?

Well, there are good and bad ways in which people try to use burdens to justify a win in a debate where their arguments aren't necessarily strong. The bad way to do it is to try and expand a burden or two in the debate to its extremes to try and make your arguments look more potent than they actually are. A lot of people try and put a bigger onus on their opponent after a couple of rounds, when they realize they're losing the straight weighing game between arguments. The best way to hit this is just to remind voters of the actual burdens, let them know that these were entirely fair and reasonable, and that the expansion is nothing of the sort.

The good ways in which people use them is as a weighing mechanism. As I said, burdens analysis can be used as a weighing mechanism. There are a lot of arguments in a given debate, and some of the best debaters I've seen have used the following line: "even if you're buying every single one of these arguments, this argument is the sole reason you need to vote for me." And based on the burdens, that may or may not be true, but they'll usually make a very strong effort to link it to their burdens and show that it's the key thing in the debate. The best way to counter this is to show that all of those other arguments do matter, and why they are going to counter any and all of the arguments they believe they're winning, though this also requires a lot of burdens analysis.

It's best to address either of these. The only one you could get away with not touching is just a tossed out BoP argument that just asserts you don't meet it without warrants. You can just say it's unwarranted and move on.
YYW
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7/10/2014 12:22:56 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
To further clarify, normative statements are focused on what we believe should be or ought to be. In such statements, we express our judgments about what is good and about what is bad, what is desirable or undesirable, what is right or wrong. We make value judgments and state our opinions rather than confining ourselves to a description of the facts. Normative statements are not testable, whereas positive statements are. This means that it is impossible to prove such statements false by referring to factual evidence gained through direct experience and observation. The opposite is the case for positive statements.

It should also be noted that normative and positive statements share equal intellectual legitimacy, but they do fundamentally different things. Whereas normative beliefs (about what should be) govern our goals and objectives, positive analysis can tell us if we've met them or not. So, the normative and positive compliment one another. Empirical evidence, likewise, can inform our understanding of the practicality of normative objectives. For example, positive analysis can't tell us whether universal health care is right or wrong, but it can tell us if it's achievable.

The difference between normative and positive claims is, really, the foundation of science. Both hard and social science rely on empirics, whereas political theory, for example, is an exercise in normative inquiry.
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whiteflame
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7/10/2014 12:23:34 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 7/10/2014 11:22:53 AM, schachdame wrote:
bsh1 wrote:
If the resolution is proposing a change to the status quo or is making a claim against something widely regarded as fact (e.g. the U.S. should become a parliamentary system, or The Earth is Round) the person supporting the change to the status quo or the change to the thing regarded as fact has the BOP.

Not that I want to cause any trouble but isn't that something else than what whiteflame said?

whiteflame wrote:
Pretty much the same thing holds true here. The person stipulating that the earth is round has a burden to show that that is the case. The person stipulating that it is not round actually has less of a burden, since they merely have to show that it is any other shape but round.

We're just looking at the situation differently, but coming to the same conclusion - that the onus is on the person arguing against common perception. bsh1 views that as a part of their basic burdens, I view it as a part of surmounting entrenched views. I don't think it's a part of their burdens, but realistically it's something they must do to win the debate, so you could characterize it that way.
Envisage
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7/10/2014 12:41:35 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 7/10/2014 9:53:26 AM, schachdame wrote:
It's already difficult to understand who actually holds the burden of proof under what setting but it's even worse to figure out how to fulfill your BOP if you have it.

Who has it?
- if it's an unusual claim "women are no people"
- if it's a claim of common knowledge "the earth is round"
- if it's already controversial "abortion is/is not sin"

When is it shared?

What does it mean for the debaters?
- is the one who is not holding the BOP freed from making own arguments? (and what does that mean for the common rule "2nd round arguments only")
- what makes a BOP fulfilled?

I hope some of the experienced debaters can enlighten the problem. The answers would be of so much help for me and my understanding of debates and debate resolutions.

I made a formal version of the situation of BoP from the perspective if belief without evidence

A: It is more rational to believe than disbelieve (assumption)
1. If A is true, then it's rational to believe all propositions a1, a2, a3...
2. a1 is mutually exclusive to a2, a3... etc.
3. a2 is mutually exclusive to a1, a3... etc.
... Ad infinitum
4. A entails believing contradictory claims
5. Believing contradictory claims is irrational
C. A & 5 form a contradiction (both rational and irrational), therefore A is false.

A is it's more rational to believe than disbelieve before given evidence in support/denial of a claim.
bladerunner060
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7/10/2014 1:05:41 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 7/10/2014 9:53:26 AM, schachdame wrote:
It's already difficult to understand who actually holds the burden of proof under what setting but it's even worse to figure out how to fulfill your BOP if you have it.

Who has it?
- if it's an unusual claim "women are no people"
- if it's a claim of common knowledge "the earth is round"
- if it's already controversial "abortion is/is not sin"

When is it shared?

What does it mean for the debaters?
- is the one who is not holding the BOP freed from making own arguments? (and what does that mean for the common rule "2nd round arguments only")
- what makes a BOP fulfilled?

I hope some of the experienced debaters can enlighten the problem. The answers would be of so much help for me and my understanding of debates and debate resolutions.

I take a simpler view than some of those on here. In general, the one making the claim has the BoP. The resolution is the claim upon which we score. In real life, positions can change and the BoP can shift. In debates, however, the BoP is generally static: the resolution is the resolution we're voting on.

So, in general, the Instigator has the BoP to prove the truth of the resolution they've put forward--whether it's a negative, positive, normative, status quo, whatever--they have the BoP. Now, sometimes, it's trivially easy for them to make an argument that fulfills that BoP--there is a shared and universal experience. In that case, it makes it seem as though the BoP shifts to the opponent, but really, it doesn't, it still lies with the original "moving party"--they've just managed to fulfill it easily.

If you put forth the claim: "Debate.org is a website that exists", it's a clearly true statement. Some people might say that the BoP is on your opponent to prove otherwise. But the resolution I just noted is NOT "Debate.org does not exist", it's that it DOES, and the burden is on the one making that position. It's just that it's trivially easy to fulfill it, which shifts the appearance of the burden onto their opponent.

Of course, if you want to debate someone who's willing to assert a claim, you can instigate it, and let them go first, though it's good form to note that you've set up a debate in which you want the opponent to have BoP. Same thing if you want the BoP to be shared. Sometimes the way the debate is structured lends itself to judges assuming a certain viewpoint, so it's generally good to explicitly note what you want the BoP to be.

BoP is mostly useful for when a claim is either not fully established on its face by the one asserting it, or when the arguments for and against are equally strong. But it also addresses who must make a constructive case. The one without the BoP doesn't have to make any kind of case--the bare minimum they need to do is to destroy the arguments put forth by their opponent. In debates about courses of action, though, usually at least ONE good thing is going to withstand rebuttal, and if that ONE good thing is enough, on its own, to fulfill the bare minimum of BoP, then it might be up to the opposition to put forth a constructive case for a different position.
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YYW
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7/10/2014 1:15:47 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 7/10/2014 1:05:41 PM, bladerunner060 wrote:
At 7/10/2014 9:53:26 AM, schachdame wrote:
It's already difficult to understand who actually holds the burden of proof under what setting but it's even worse to figure out how to fulfill your BOP if you have it.

Who has it?
- if it's an unusual claim "women are no people"
- if it's a claim of common knowledge "the earth is round"
- if it's already controversial "abortion is/is not sin"

When is it shared?

What does it mean for the debaters?
- is the one who is not holding the BOP freed from making own arguments? (and what does that mean for the common rule "2nd round arguments only")
- what makes a BOP fulfilled?

I hope some of the experienced debaters can enlighten the problem. The answers would be of so much help for me and my understanding of debates and debate resolutions.

I take a simpler view than some of those on here. In general, the one making the claim has the BoP.

I agree, but only because PRO is claiming the resolution and CON is claiming ~(the resolution). So, insofar as both debaters are making claims, it is the case that the one making the claim has the BOP -unless the claim is positive, in which case only the affirmation has the burden.
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YYW
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7/10/2014 1:24:52 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 7/10/2014 9:53:26 AM, schachdame wrote:
It's already difficult to understand who actually holds the burden of proof under what setting but it's even worse to figure out how to fulfill your BOP if you have it.

Who has it?
- if it's an unusual claim "women are no[t] people"

Whether the claim is usual or unusual has no bearing on who has the burden of proof.

- if it's a claim of common knowledge "the earth is round"

If we're debating about something that can be empirically tested, like whether the earth is round or not, then the burden is on he or she who makes the claim. Whether the claim is common knowledge or not has no bearing on who has the BOP. However, if the claim is common knowledge, it would be very easy to meet that burden.

- if it's already controversial "abortion is/is not sin"

What counts for a sin or not is an inherently normative resolution, because that's a moral/theological debate. As such, the BOP is shared.

When is it shared?

Whenever we're talking about something that can't objectively be shown to be the case, (opinions) the BOP is shared.

What does it mean for the debaters?

A shared burden of proof is kind of a misnomer. It means that the affirmation has the responsibility to affirm the resolution where as the negation has the responsibility to negate the resolution.

If we're arguing about the ethics of abortion (because that's a normative issue), then it would break down as follows:

Resolved: Abortion is immoral.

PRO has the responsibility to show that abortion is immoral. CON has the responsibility to show that abortion is not immoral. That's different than showing that abortion is "necessarily moral" because to show that something is moral is different than showing that something is not immoral, as abortion could be morally neutral. All CON must do to meet his or her burden, in that case, is to show that abortion is not immoral... meaning that abortion is at least morally neutral, to satisfy his or her BOP.

- is the one who is not holding the BOP freed from making own arguments? (and what does that mean for the common rule "2nd round arguments only")

Yes, insofar as CON would not have to affirm the negation of the resolution, but the only case where a debater would be in such a situation would be where the resolution entailed a claim of what is empirically the case.

- what makes a BOP fulfilled?

When a debater has made a logically sound argument that sufficiently shows what they must show.

I hope some of the experienced debaters can enlighten the problem. The answers would be of so much help for me and my understanding of debates and debate resolutions.
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bsh1
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7/10/2014 6:53:27 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 7/10/2014 11:22:53 AM, schachdame wrote:
bsh1 wrote:
If the resolution is proposing a change to the status quo or is making a claim against something widely regarded as fact (e.g. the U.S. should become a parliamentary system, or The Earth is Round) the person supporting the change to the status quo or the change to the thing regarded as fact has the BOP.

Not that I want to cause any trouble but isn't that something else than what whiteflame said?

Pretty much the same thing holds true here. The person stipulating that the earth is round has a burden to show that that is the case. The person stipulating that it is not round actually has less of a burden, since they merely have to show that it is any other shape but round.

I totally but respectfully disagree with whiteflame here. If someone is challenging a known fact, they have the BOP. It is SOP that the person taking the accepted stance has less to do for a variety of reasons, particularly that their stance has the credibility that comes from being widely accepted and that their stance has been supported by research or thinking conduct by myriad other entities.

Think of it like a court case. Everyone is presumed innocent, and because of that presumption, the prosecution has the BOP to show that the person is guilty. In the case of this resolution, we (society, the scientific community, etc.) presume that the Earth is round, therefore the person challenging this presumption has the BOP.

Whiteflame's errs, IMHO, when he says that because Con has to show that the Earth is any other shape that he has less of a BOP. He is conflating "ground" with "BOP." Pro's ground in the debate is more limited, but that does not mean that Pro has more of a BOP. They're two separate concepts.
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bladerunner060
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7/10/2014 7:15:20 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 7/10/2014 6:53:27 PM, bsh1 wrote:
At 7/10/2014 11:22:53 AM, schachdame wrote:
bsh1 wrote:
If the resolution is proposing a change to the status quo or is making a claim against something widely regarded as fact (e.g. the U.S. should become a parliamentary system, or The Earth is Round) the person supporting the change to the status quo or the change to the thing regarded as fact has the BOP.

Not that I want to cause any trouble but isn't that something else than what whiteflame said?

Pretty much the same thing holds true here. The person stipulating that the earth is round has a burden to show that that is the case. The person stipulating that it is not round actually has less of a burden, since they merely have to show that it is any other shape but round.

I totally but respectfully disagree with whiteflame here. If someone is challenging a known fact, they have the BOP. It is SOP that the person taking the accepted stance has less to do for a variety of reasons, particularly that their stance has the credibility that comes from being widely accepted and that their stance has been supported by research or thinking conduct by myriad other entities.

Think of it like a court case. Everyone is presumed innocent, and because of that presumption, the prosecution has the BOP to show that the person is guilty. In the case of this resolution, we (society, the scientific community, etc.) presume that the Earth is round, therefore the person challenging this presumption has the BOP.

Whiteflame's errs, IMHO, when he says that because Con has to show that the Earth is any other shape that he has less of a BOP. He is conflating "ground" with "BOP." Pro's ground in the debate is more limited, but that does not mean that Pro has more of a BOP. They're two separate concepts.

bsh1, though, I'm not sure I agree with either of you, here... if I set up a debate, and the resolution was: The Earth is Round (clarifying "round" to include oblate spheroid in my R1, of course), the BoP would be on me to prove that the Earth is Round.

I would have a wealth of information at my disposal for that, but the fact that it's commonly accepted as true wouldn't affect my BoP in the debate, that is, I would STILL need to make a constructive case, and Con would ONLY have to rebut my constructive (with the option of creating their own constructive).
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bladerunner060
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7/10/2014 7:17:12 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 7/10/2014 1:24:52 PM, YYW wrote:

Resolved: Abortion is immoral.

PRO has the responsibility to show that abortion is immoral. CON has the responsibility to show that abortion is not immoral. That's different than showing that abortion is "necessarily moral" because to show that something is moral is different than showing that something is not immoral, as abortion could be morally neutral. All CON must do to meet his or her burden, in that case, is to show that abortion is not immoral... meaning that abortion is at least morally neutral, to satisfy his or her BOP.

I think I disagree with you on this...I don't think that Con would have the burden to show that abortion was not immoral--I would think that Con would only have to show that Pro had not proven it IMmoral, which might imply that it's therefore morally neutral, but does not require a separate constructive.
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bsh1
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7/10/2014 7:18:54 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 7/10/2014 7:15:20 PM, bladerunner060 wrote:
At 7/10/2014 6:53:27 PM, bsh1 wrote:
At 7/10/2014 11:22:53 AM, schachdame wrote:
bsh1 wrote:
If the resolution is proposing a change to the status quo or is making a claim against something widely regarded as fact (e.g. the U.S. should become a parliamentary system, or The Earth is Round) the person supporting the change to the status quo or the change to the thing regarded as fact has the BOP.

Not that I want to cause any trouble but isn't that something else than what whiteflame said?

Pretty much the same thing holds true here. The person stipulating that the earth is round has a burden to show that that is the case. The person stipulating that it is not round actually has less of a burden, since they merely have to show that it is any other shape but round.

I totally but respectfully disagree with whiteflame here. If someone is challenging a known fact, they have the BOP. It is SOP that the person taking the accepted stance has less to do for a variety of reasons, particularly that their stance has the credibility that comes from being widely accepted and that their stance has been supported by research or thinking conduct by myriad other entities.

Think of it like a court case. Everyone is presumed innocent, and because of that presumption, the prosecution has the BOP to show that the person is guilty. In the case of this resolution, we (society, the scientific community, etc.) presume that the Earth is round, therefore the person challenging this presumption has the BOP.

Whiteflame's errs, IMHO, when he says that because Con has to show that the Earth is any other shape that he has less of a BOP. He is conflating "ground" with "BOP." Pro's ground in the debate is more limited, but that does not mean that Pro has more of a BOP. They're two separate concepts.

bsh1, though, I'm not sure I agree with either of you, here... if I set up a debate, and the resolution was: The Earth is Round (clarifying "round" to include oblate spheroid in my R1, of course), the BoP would be on me to prove that the Earth is Round.

I'm not sure that I agree with that. Again, I think that the person challenging a commonly held notions, just as is the case with someone challenging the status quo, bears the BOP in this case. It matters of fact, I always have a presumption in favor of the fact; therefore, it is Con's job to overcome said assumption if Con wishes to win. To me, that entails offering some plausible alternative, i.e. presenting a constructive. I would definitely assign the BOP to Con in this case--though I could also see an argument for splitting it down the middle.
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whiteflame
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7/10/2014 7:19:05 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 7/10/2014 6:53:27 PM, bsh1 wrote:
At 7/10/2014 11:22:53 AM, schachdame wrote:
bsh1 wrote:
If the resolution is proposing a change to the status quo or is making a claim against something widely regarded as fact (e.g. the U.S. should become a parliamentary system, or The Earth is Round) the person supporting the change to the status quo or the change to the thing regarded as fact has the BOP.

Not that I want to cause any trouble but isn't that something else than what whiteflame said?

Pretty much the same thing holds true here. The person stipulating that the earth is round has a burden to show that that is the case. The person stipulating that it is not round actually has less of a burden, since they merely have to show that it is any other shape but round.

I totally but respectfully disagree with whiteflame here. If someone is challenging a known fact, they have the BOP. It is SOP that the person taking the accepted stance has less to do for a variety of reasons, particularly that their stance has the credibility that comes from being widely accepted and that their stance has been supported by research or thinking conduct by myriad other entities.

Think of it like a court case. Everyone is presumed innocent, and because of that presumption, the prosecution has the BOP to show that the person is guilty. In the case of this resolution, we (society, the scientific community, etc.) presume that the Earth is round, therefore the person challenging this presumption has the BOP.

I see where you're coming from, but rather than say they have no or a lesser burden of proof, I'd say that they have less to do to convince the vast majority of judges. I think it's fine if you guys want to refer to that as a part of their BoP, since it's required to get votes in all those instances, but my view is that it's separate from BoP, since the issue that's preventing them from getting through to judges is the outside experiences and knowledge of those judges. For someone who is supporting a known fact, their BoP would be very simple in my estimation, which is to present the reasons it's a known fact, which are normally readily at hand. It's an easy BoP to uphold, but they still have it.

Whiteflame's errs, IMHO, when he says that because Con has to show that the Earth is any other shape that he has less of a BOP. He is conflating "ground" with "BOP." Pro's ground in the debate is more limited, but that does not mean that Pro has more of a BOP. They're two separate concepts.

I don't think the terms are so obviously separated here. The BoP for someone supporting the resolution "The Earth is Round" would be to show that the Earth is actually round. Con would, effectively, have the burden of showing that it is not round. I'd say that's a lesser BoP, because that can be satisfied with a multitude of arguments that can each be aimed at showcasing how the planet can be different shapes. I would argue that the capacity to make such a wide array of arguments and get through the round with a victory by only winning one is a lesser BoP than having to win a single argument. Yes, it has a lot to do with ground as well, and Con could theoretically choose just one alternate shape and go with that, thus making the BoP equal, at least in my perspective. From yours, it would still not be equal because Con would be arguing a counter-factual.

Note that I'm not saying your perspective is wrong. I think we're basically on the same page here, we just have different views of what each semantic term encompasses.
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7/10/2014 7:20:06 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 7/10/2014 7:17:12 PM, bladerunner060 wrote:
At 7/10/2014 1:24:52 PM, YYW wrote:

Resolved: Abortion is immoral.

PRO has the responsibility to show that abortion is immoral. CON has the responsibility to show that abortion is not immoral. That's different than showing that abortion is "necessarily moral" because to show that something is moral is different than showing that something is not immoral, as abortion could be morally neutral. All CON must do to meet his or her burden, in that case, is to show that abortion is not immoral... meaning that abortion is at least morally neutral, to satisfy his or her BOP.

I think I disagree with you on this...I don't think that Con would have the burden to show that abortion was not immoral--I would think that Con would only have to show that Pro had not proven it IMmoral, which might imply that it's therefore morally neutral, but does not require a separate constructive.

If the resolution is a question of moral opinion, the only fair way to judge it is to assume shared, equivalent burdens. To do otherwise is to lend undue deference to one perspective.
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ChosenWolff
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7/10/2014 7:21:23 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
Bsh1 is 100% wrong here, and I've noticed her using the BOP explanation in votes (which made me mad). The resolution is the BOP. Whomever is affirming or denying the resolution has the BOP, or in other words, the instigator. If you say "Fish swim", it is up to you, to prove that fish swim. If your resolution is "Fish swim", and you're con, your goal is to prove fish don't swim. The BOP is extremely simple if you tag it on the instigator.
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7/10/2014 7:22:56 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 7/10/2014 7:21:23 PM, ChosenWolff wrote:
Bsh1 is 100% wrong here, and I've noticed her using the BOP explanation in votes (which made me mad). The resolution is the BOP. Whomever is affirming or denying the resolution has the BOP, or in other words, the instigator. If you say "Fish swim", it is up to you, to prove that fish swim. If your resolution is "Fish swim", and you're con, your goal is to prove fish don't swim. The BOP is extremely simple if you tag it on the instigator.

hes 100 percent right in regards to formal debate. This site allows you to do what you want with the BOP, but in general he is correct.
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7/10/2014 7:34:08 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 7/10/2014 7:19:05 PM, whiteflame wrote:
At 7/10/2014 6:53:27 PM, bsh1 wrote:
At 7/10/2014 11:22:53 AM, schachdame wrote:
Not that I want to cause any trouble but isn't that something else than what whiteflame said?

Pretty much the same thing holds true here. The person stipulating that the earth is round has a burden to show that that is the case. The person stipulating that it is not round actually has less of a burden, since they merely have to show that it is any other shape but round.

I totally but respectfully disagree with whiteflame here. If someone is challenging a known fact, they have the BOP. It is SOP that the person taking the accepted stance has less to do for a variety of reasons, particularly that their stance has the credibility that comes from being widely accepted and that their stance has been supported by research or thinking conducted by myriad other entities.

Think of it like a court case. Everyone is presumed innocent, and because of that presumption, the prosecution has the BOP to show that the person is guilty. In the case of this resolution, we (society, the scientific community, etc.) presume that the Earth is round, therefore the person challenging this presumption has the BOP.

I see where you're coming from, but rather than say they have no or a lesser burden of proof, I'd say that they have less to do to convince the vast majority of judges.

I'm not sure I'd agree with that. For me, Con would have to do a lot, because, IMHO, they have the BOP. If they're challenging a truism, they have the harder stance. Yes, they have more ground insofar as they could say that the Earth is a triangle or a semicircle or whatever. But just because they have more potential avenues to pursue does not mean that they have the easier side. By virtue of the fact that we all know, without doubt, that the Earth is round, Con has to do a lot more to convince us. Certainly, we can divorce our opinions from the arguments, but if, at the end of the day, the round is close, most judges will probably affirm, IMHO.

I think it's fine if you guys want to refer to that as a part of their BoP, since it's required to get votes in all those instances, but my view is that it's separate from BoP, since the issue that's preventing them from getting through to judges is the outside experiences and knowledge of those judges. For someone who is supporting a known fact, their BoP would be very simple in my estimation, which is to present the reasons it's a known fact, which are normally readily at hand. It's an easy BoP to uphold, but they still have it.

But the simplicity of the BOP has nothing to do with who we ascribe the BOP too. I agree that Pro has the simpler, easier job in the debate, but I would still assign Con the BOP.

Whiteflame's errs, IMHO, when he says that because Con has to show that the Earth is any other shape that he has less of a BOP. He is conflating "ground" with "BOP." Pro's ground in the debate is more limited, but that does not mean that Pro has more of a BOP. They're two separate concepts.

I don't think the terms are so obviously separated here. The BoP for someone supporting the resolution "The Earth is Round" would be to show that the Earth is actually round. Con would, effectively, have the burden of showing that it is not round. I'd say that's a lesser BoP, because that can be satisfied with a multitude of arguments that can each be aimed at showcasing how the planet can be different shapes.

Again, you're conflating "ground" with BOP, as well as assuming that the ease with which a BOP can be upheld has anything to do with who has the BOP. It doesn't. Even if Con could more easily satisfy his BOP, that doesn't mean that he doesn't have the sole BOP.

The Burden of Proof, however easy or difficult it is, is simply the term by which we designate who has to prove their side true. In my view, since the presumption goes in favor of the known fact, Pro doesn't have to prove their side true. Rather, that is Con's job, because Con is challenging a known fact.

I would argue that the capacity to make such a wide array of arguments and get through the round with a victory by only winning one is a lesser BoP than having to win a single argument.

Just because you have more ground doesn't mean it's easier to win. In this case, Con does have a wide array of arguments, but all of those arguments are bad, esp. when confronted with the irrevocable truth of scientific fact. So long as Pro presents a competent case, it will be hard for Con to win. Having more bad arguments at your disposal is worse than having just one good one. Limited ground is sometimes better than large ground.
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bsh1
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7/10/2014 7:36:22 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 7/10/2014 7:21:23 PM, ChosenWolff wrote:
Bsh1 is 100% wrong here, and I've noticed her using the BOP explanation in votes (which made me mad). The resolution is the BOP. Whomever is affirming or denying the resolution has the BOP, or in other words, the instigator. If you say "Fish swim", it is up to you, to prove that fish swim. If your resolution is "Fish swim", and you're con, your goal is to prove fish don't swim. The BOP is extremely simple if you tag it on the instigator.

First, I am a guy. Second, I am right when it comes to formal debate conventions. Moreover, I strongly disagree with the notion that the instigator bears the BOP, as that would lead to some odd inversions of resolutions. But, as long as you specify BOP in the R1 of your debate, you can make it whatever you want.
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YYW
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7/10/2014 7:37:47 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
What I've said earlier is how I judge debates, and I think it's pretty straight forward. That said, my theory of debate (while not uncommon) is not universally accepted -as it's in pretty direct conflict with what Bladerunner has said.

That said, there are a few things to know about this:

Debate is an exercise of persuasion before it is anything else, and some people are more persuadable than others. For example, someone with strongly held beliefs against abortion is going to be harder to persuade to vote for you if you're arguing for abortion than if you're arguing against it -and vice versa. That's just how it is. In an ideal world, all judges would impartially evaluate all normative claims with shared and equivalent burdens -but that doesn't happen, because abortion is one of those issues that everyone's got an opinion on.

So, there's a divergence between burdens of proof in an abstract sense and how burdens of proof actually play out. In an abstract sense, the burden of proof is the threshold of argumentation that is sufficient to affirm or negate a claim such that the arguments presented are sufficient to either affirm -if you are PRO- or negate -if you are CON. In reality, your burden of proof is whatever it takes to get any one given judge to vote for you.

As a general rule, if you're arguing against the current of popular opinion, at least one of two things have to be the case for you to win: either your opponent has to be a complete dullard and foul the debate up in a way that no judge could, despite their biases, rationally justify giving you the loss or you have to be so much more compelling than your opponent (either because your opponent is a complete dullard, or because you're just that much more compelling) that there's no way you can't win. It's very uncommon that that's the case where debaters are nearly equally skilled.

So, if both debaters are evenly matched and one is arguing on the side of popular opinion and the other is not, it's far more likely that the perspective which is consistent with popular opinion is going to net more votes. There are several implications to this: first, if you're looking to get the least biased votes, you should chose issues which don't polarize people -especially issues that don't polarize people on party lines. Abortion, gun control, gay rights, affirmative action and the like are off the table. Issues like LD and PFD topics are generally better, because they don't necessarily require that you take a stance that could have come out of the Republican or Democratic party platforms.

There is, however, good reason to debate the big issues even if they're going to necessarily elicit biased votes. First of all, it gives you the opportunity to figure out how individuals vote on debates. Picking a conventional debate topic -one that your judge is likely to know something about and have an opinion on- will enable you to see within their RFD what exactly they brought to the table to decide your debate, and what biases and preferences dictated that decision. This trick only works with seasoned debaters, though. If there is a clear difference in ability, you're less likely to see judicial bias brightly shining.

Secondly, it helps you clarify your own thoughts on a subject. The act of typing out the stuff that's in your head and organizing in a logical way enables you to more effectively communicate with others who may or may not share the same views as you do. In that way, you're less likely to say something dumb in a conversation or logically inconsistent if you're already done the mental drudgery associated with writing out a coherent argument.

Thirdly, it helps you understand how others think about the issue, which both better prepares you to respond to their objections to your own beliefs and prepares you for future arguments against your own perspective.
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bladerunner060
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7/10/2014 7:46:43 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 7/10/2014 7:18:54 PM, bsh1 wrote:

I'm not sure that I agree with that. Again, I think that the person challenging a commonly held notions, just as is the case with someone challenging the status quo, bears the BOP in this case.

Assuming the truth of a commonly-held belief is a formal logical fallacy.

It matters of fact, I always have a presumption in favor of the fact; therefore, it is Con's job to overcome said assumption if Con wishes to win. To me, that entails offering some plausible alternative, i.e. presenting a constructive. I would definitely assign the BOP to Con in this case--though I could also see an argument for splitting it down the middle.

I disagree--but this may be mere pedantry on my part.

From the get-go, we have nothing--no resolution, no claims, no BoP. We just have people. Then one person makes a claim--this claim is the resolution, and it's what we judge on. They have the full BoP for that claim.

In support of that claim, they will outline facts which support it. If they fail to give any support, they have failed in their BoP. Thus, the opponent's only job is to remove all support. In general, it's often impossible to rebut EVERY point--and at that point, we start weighing arguments. The weight of the heap of evidence for the "earth is round" hypothesis is quite heavy, and thus hard to overcome, provided it's presented.
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YYW
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7/10/2014 7:48:28 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 7/10/2014 7:21:23 PM, ChosenWolff wrote:
Bsh1 is 100% wrong here, and I've noticed her using the BOP explanation in votes (which made me mad).

lol... u mad, bro? Get the fvck over it.

The resolution is the BOP.

No, it is not. The resolution might dictate the nature of the BOP, but the resolution is not 'itself' the BOP.

Whomever is affirming or denying the resolution has the BOP,

If by "the BOP" it is your intention to imply a singular burden, that is true only if the resolution is one that can be affirmed or negated with empirical evidence. Otherwise, the BOP is split/shared.

or in other words, the instigator.

Wrong again. The instigator's burden, as well as the opponent's burden, depends on the nature of the resolution.

The BOP is extremely simple if you tag it on the instigator.

This isn't about being simple, it's about being right. The simple explanation for things may be right, but rightness isn't contingent upon simplicity.
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bladerunner060
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7/10/2014 7:49:57 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 7/10/2014 7:20:06 PM, YYW wrote:

If the resolution is a question of moral opinion, the only fair way to judge it is to assume shared, equivalent burdens. To do otherwise is to lend undue deference to one perspective.

I disagree.

In the case of "Aboriton is immoral", let us think what happens if the Pro gives no argument whatsoever--it would seem only fair to give the win to Con, in that circumstance, even if Con doesn't present anything either.

Now let's say they give only 1 argument: "Abortion is immoral because cow leather is made from cheese".

This argument is utter nonsense. Provided the Con addresses it, it's trivial to rebut--and rebut completely. And if it's completely rebutted, it is as though 't never existed...leaving us, for all intents and purposes, as though Pro presented no argument at all, and it would seem that Con should win.

Con is not obliged to prove anything, except that Pro has failed to support their contention...because if Pro fails to support their contention, they lose.

Again, though, in most cases where the debate isn't just garbage, there are points that CAN'T be completely rebutted, and then we start weighing things.
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bsh1
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7/10/2014 7:53:16 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 7/10/2014 7:46:43 PM, bladerunner060 wrote:
At 7/10/2014 7:18:54 PM, bsh1 wrote:

I'm not sure that I agree with that. Again, I think that the person challenging a commonly held notions, just as is the case with someone challenging the status quo, bears the BOP in this case.

Assuming the truth of a commonly-held belief is a formal logical fallacy.

In argumentation, yes. But in the sense that truism are usually truisms for a good reason (e.g. scientific evidence that the Earth is round), we place the burden of proof on the person attempting to disprove that truism.

It matters of fact, I always have a presumption in favor of the fact; therefore, it is Con's job to overcome said assumption if Con wishes to win. To me, that entails offering some plausible alternative, i.e. presenting a constructive. I would definitely assign the BOP to Con in this case--though I could also see an argument for splitting it down the middle.

I disagree--but this may be mere pedantry on my part.

From the get-go, we have nothing--no resolution, no claims, no BoP. We just have people. Then one person makes a claim--this claim is the resolution, and it's what we judge on. They have the full BoP for that claim.

I disagree, particularly in the sense that debates do not take place in a void. We know what the status quo is and we know what the facts are, and so when such claims are made, we (society) presume in their favor. That is why we place the burden of proof on the individual making a change to the status quo or challenging the facts. This does not mean that Pro should make no arguments at all, merely that Con cannot simply refute, they must construct. I guess, then, this shifts my stance a little, and I would say the BOP is shared, but I certainly would not place is solely on Pro in this instance.
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YYW
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7/10/2014 7:54:19 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 7/10/2014 7:49:57 PM, bladerunner060 wrote:
At 7/10/2014 7:20:06 PM, YYW wrote:

If the resolution is a question of moral opinion, the only fair way to judge it is to assume shared, equivalent burdens. To do otherwise is to lend undue deference to one perspective.

I disagree.

In the case of "Aboriton is immoral", let us think what happens if the Pro gives no argument whatsoever--it would seem only fair to give the win to Con, in that circumstance, even if Con doesn't present anything either.

Sure, but that's not a decision based on a burden of proof, it's a decision based on who showed up to play the game.

Now let's say they give only 1 argument: "Abortion is immoral because cow leather is made from cheese".

lol... I know you're about to probably make some intelligent point about this, but I laughed when I read that.

This argument is utter nonsense. Provided the Con addresses it, it's trivial to rebut--and rebut completely. And if it's completely rebutted, it is as though 't never existed...leaving us, for all intents and purposes, as though Pro presented no argument at all, and it would seem that Con should win.

If PRO didn't meet his burden, but CON was able to point out the absurdity of the resolution, then CON would win. In that case, a kritik would be in order... just because of the nature of the resolution. But again, that's not a call based on BOP's. It's a call based on the resolution's being not conducive to meaningful debate.

Con is not obliged to prove anything, except that Pro has failed to support their contention...because if Pro fails to support their contention, they lose.

It depends on the nature of the resolution. If it's positive, then CON doesn't have to prove anything. If it's not positive, then CON absolutely has to make an argument that negates the resolution.

Again, though, in most cases where the debate isn't just garbage, there are points that CAN'T be completely rebutted, and then we start weighing things.

Indirectly, I addressed that in a post above.
Tsar of DDO