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BOP for Negative Statements

bluesteel
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8/14/2014 6:22:57 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
When the resolution is phrased as a negative statement -- e.g. "Barack Obama is not one of the worst presidents ever" -- should the BOP be placed on Pro or Con, if Pro is the one who goes first? Explain your answer.
You can't reason someone out of a position they didn't reason themselves into - Jonathan Swift (paraphrase)
Mikal
Posts: 11,270
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8/14/2014 6:26:05 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 8/14/2014 6:22:57 PM, bluesteel wrote:
When the resolution is phrased as a negative statement -- e.g. "Barack Obama is not one of the worst presidents ever" -- should the BOP be placed on Pro or Con, if Pro is the one who goes first? Explain your answer.

In real debate it would be on the one affirming. It would be on the person saying He is a good president *

On here it always works backwards and im happy with it that way. It would be on the person affirming he is not a good president, due to the title of the debate

Either way is fine though, but generally in real debate its the affirmative right?
bluesteel
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8/14/2014 6:39:36 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
I'll give my two cents:

While it's not impossible to prove a negative statement [http://departments.bloomu.edu...], it's much more difficult to prove a negative than a positive. I'll give three brief examples that show this.

(1) Barack Obama is not one of the worst presidents of the United States. If this were *not* a debate (with limited characters), it would be fine for Pro to have the BOP. Pro could write an entire book about all the good things Obama has done and then write five more books about why five other presidents were far worse than Obama. But character space in a debate is limited. All that really matters for this debate is what arguments Con raises for why Obama was a really bad President. It makes way more sense to have Con have the burden to explain why Obama is so bad and to have Pro refute those reasons.

(2) Vaccines do not cause autism. I've seen all the research on this. There's a lot. But to really walk someone through all the science on it is difficult and pointless. Pro could write a 400 page book on why vaccines don't cause autism, and a lot of it would be preemptively refuting arguments by anti-vaxxers. But for debate purposes, what really matters is what Con brings up. There is mercury in vaccines that causes autism? No, there isn't. They stopped using thimerisol years ago. And some countries *never* used it and still have the same autism rate we do. Too many vaccines at the same time, immune system can't handle it? Vaccines no longer use the full (dead) virus. They isolate certain viral proteins to help you form antibodies. So it doesn't really "tax" your immune system because the viral toxins have been removed. It's just enough viral protein so you can develop an immunity. Etc.... Whatever Pro types in R1 is largely irrelevant; it matters more what arguments Con raises and how well Pro refutes them.

(3) Airmax is not bladerunner. If I were Pro on this and had to argue first, I would have no idea what to say. It's such a stupid argument, there's nothing to even discuss as Pro. You have to wait for Con to say all of his dumb reasons for believing this before you'd even have something to say.

So there are two reasons that the BOP should always be on the person defending the affirmative (not the negative) statement, regardless of who goes first. (1) Debates have limited space and it's much more difficult to prove a negative than a positive, so it's unfair to place the BOP on Pro to prove a negative, and (2) as a practical matter, if the entire debate hinges on which arguments Con happens to bring up (and how well Pro refutes them), then BOP properly belongs on Con.
You can't reason someone out of a position they didn't reason themselves into - Jonathan Swift (paraphrase)
bluesteel
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8/14/2014 6:43:26 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 8/14/2014 6:26:05 PM, Mikal wrote:
At 8/14/2014 6:22:57 PM, bluesteel wrote:
When the resolution is phrased as a negative statement -- e.g. "Barack Obama is not one of the worst presidents ever" -- should the BOP be placed on Pro or Con, if Pro is the one who goes first? Explain your answer.

In real debate it would be on the one affirming. It would be on the person saying He is a good president *

On here it always works backwards and im happy with it that way. It would be on the person affirming he is not a good president, due to the title of the debate


Either way is fine though, but generally in real debate its the affirmative right?

The point of me posting this thread is to question *why* the DDO community believes that Pro should always have the BOP, regardless of whether the resolution is worded as a negative or positive statement. I think the offline debate convention -- of phrasing everything as a positive statement -- makes way more sense, but if you're going to have negative statement resolutions, the BOP should be on Con. I'm arguing for a change in how we think of BOP on DDO.

inb4 raisor comes in and says that everything should be left open to the debaters. I'm talking only about situations where neither debater explicitly makes a BOP argument.
You can't reason someone out of a position they didn't reason themselves into - Jonathan Swift (paraphrase)
UchihaMadara
Posts: 1,049
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8/14/2014 6:43:29 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 8/14/2014 6:22:57 PM, bluesteel wrote:
When the resolution is phrased as a negative statement -- e.g. "Barack Obama is not one of the worst presidents ever" -- should the BOP be placed on Pro or Con, if Pro is the one who goes first? Explain your answer.

seems to me like it would be on pro, since it is really hard to come up with positive arguments in favor of negative statements. in such a debate, all pro can really do in that first round is pre-empt potential con arguments, like what happened in that video game violence debate between debatability and wylted.
YYW
Posts: 36,289
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8/14/2014 7:04:32 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 8/14/2014 6:22:57 PM, bluesteel wrote:
When the resolution is phrased as a negative statement -- e.g. "Barack Obama is not one of the worst presidents ever" -- should the BOP be placed on Pro or Con, if Pro is the one who goes first? Explain your answer.

That's an opinion, so the BOP is shared/split/equal/whatever. To give the BOP to one side or the other is to offer undue deference to one side of the debate over the other. So, both sides must have an equal burden: PRO must affirm, whereas CON must negate (affirm the logical opposite of the resolution).
Tsar of DDO
bluesteel
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8/14/2014 7:07:24 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 8/14/2014 7:04:32 PM, YYW wrote:
At 8/14/2014 6:22:57 PM, bluesteel wrote:
When the resolution is phrased as a negative statement -- e.g. "Barack Obama is not one of the worst presidents ever" -- should the BOP be placed on Pro or Con, if Pro is the one who goes first? Explain your answer.

That's an opinion, so the BOP is shared/split/equal/whatever. To give the BOP to one side or the other is to offer undue deference to one side of the debate over the other. So, both sides must have an equal burden: PRO must affirm, whereas CON must negate (affirm the logical opposite of the resolution).

I'm not sure if it's actually coherent to say that "BOP is shared." Does that mean if neither side convinces you, you just don't vote on the debate? I can't think of a real-life example where there is a shared BOP. I don't think you can even call it a "burden of proof/persuasion" if both sides share it equally.
You can't reason someone out of a position they didn't reason themselves into - Jonathan Swift (paraphrase)
YYW
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8/14/2014 7:13:16 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 8/14/2014 7:07:24 PM, bluesteel wrote:
At 8/14/2014 7:04:32 PM, YYW wrote:
At 8/14/2014 6:22:57 PM, bluesteel wrote:
When the resolution is phrased as a negative statement -- e.g. "Barack Obama is not one of the worst presidents ever" -- should the BOP be placed on Pro or Con, if Pro is the one who goes first? Explain your answer.

That's an opinion, so the BOP is shared/split/equal/whatever. To give the BOP to one side or the other is to offer undue deference to one side of the debate over the other. So, both sides must have an equal burden: PRO must affirm, whereas CON must negate (affirm the logical opposite of the resolution).

I'm not sure if it's actually coherent to say that "BOP is shared." Does that mean if neither side convinces you, you just don't vote on the debate?

"Convincing" implies a degree of subjectivity in the act of judging that I'm just philosophically uncomfortable with. Talking about "convincingness" as it applies to arguments seems to reduce judging to something that the legal realists would purport is the way that common law judges judge.

I can't think of a real-life example where there is a shared BOP. I don't think you can even call it a "burden of proof/persuasion" if both sides share it equally.

I can. All normative resolutions ever. Only positive ones have disproportionate BOPs.
Tsar of DDO
Mirza
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8/14/2014 7:19:24 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 8/14/2014 6:39:36 PM, bluesteel wrote:
(1) Barack Obama
All that really matters for this debate is what arguments Con raises for why Obama was a really bad President.
No, Con must show why him being a really bad president makes him one of the worst. The burden being places on both debaters seems to be equally weighed in this case. Pro can do his job by narrowing "one of the worst presidents" to the top four (on a negative scale), and attempt to prove that there are four that have been worse than Obama.

The instigator can choose to place the BoP on the contender, nonetheless, if that is made clear in his opening round.
YYW
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8/14/2014 7:27:04 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
And really, I take issue with the very way the OP question was worded. There is no question of where the BOP "should" go, it's only a question of where the BOP is.

If the resolution is positive (like, a claim about what objectively is the case), then the BOP is on s/he who is making the claim

If the resolution is normative (insofar as it's not falsifiable, testable with empirical evidence, is the stuff of opinion, etc), then the BOP is equivalent -meaning that PRO must argue in favor of the resolution and CON must argue in favor of the resolution's logical negation in order to win.

There is no "should" that comes into that picture.
Tsar of DDO
whiteflame
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8/14/2014 7:35:36 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
Note that I'm generally against this kind of resolution as a rule. I think it confuses the issue of who has BoP, since Pro is affirming a negative statement. That being said, since it does happen, I think BoP is split more oddly in this circumstance. BoP rests with the one making the positive case, so it would lie with the negation. However, should uncertainty reign by the end, I think the victory would be Con's. Pro has effectively set their burden as proving "not X," automatically providing Con with a burden of proving "X." If Con fails to provide sufficient reason for X to be true from the outset, then they have failed to meet their burden and Pro takes the debate. If Con does meet that, and Pro simply makes it questionable as the debate goes on rather than meeting their burden directly, then Con would take the debate. They will effectively have failed to meet the resolution, and therefore have failed in their burden.
zmikecuber
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8/14/2014 9:11:07 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 8/14/2014 7:35:36 PM, whiteflame wrote:
Note that I'm generally against this kind of resolution as a rule. I think it confuses the issue of who has BoP, since Pro is affirming a negative statement.

Agreed.

That being said, since it does happen, I think BoP is split more oddly in this circumstance. BoP rests with the one making the positive case, so it would lie with the negation.

You mean the BoP rests with Con? But can't you make a positive case for a negative statement? If I say: God does not exist. I am claiming that this statement is true. So I am making a positive claim, even though that claim is denying the existence of God.

However, should uncertainty reign by the end, I think the victory would be Con's. Pro has effectively set their burden as proving "not X," automatically providing Con with a burden of proving "X." If Con fails to provide sufficient reason for X to be true from the outset, then they have failed to meet their burden and Pro takes the debate. If Con does meet that, and Pro simply makes it questionable as the debate goes on rather than meeting their burden directly, then Con would take the debate. They will effectively have failed to meet the resolution, and therefore have failed in their burden.
"Delete your fvcking sig" -1hard

"primal man had the habit, when he came into contact with fire, of satisfying the infantile desire connected with it, by putting it out with a stream of his urine... Putting out the fire by micturating was therefore a kind of sexual act with a male, an enjoyment of sexual potency in a homosexual competition."
zmikecuber
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8/14/2014 9:12:44 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 8/14/2014 6:22:57 PM, bluesteel wrote:
When the resolution is phrased as a negative statement -- e.g. "Barack Obama is not one of the worst presidents ever" -- should the BOP be placed on Pro or Con, if Pro is the one who goes first? Explain your answer.

I would think Pro. How would the debate work if Con had the burden? Does Con just go right away in R1? Then does Con get the first word AND the last word in too?

It just makes more sense to have the instigator generally carry the burden of proof. Unless it's shared...... I dunno, BoP is tricky sometimes especially when it's not specified.

The best solution is to just say right away who has the burden....
"Delete your fvcking sig" -1hard

"primal man had the habit, when he came into contact with fire, of satisfying the infantile desire connected with it, by putting it out with a stream of his urine... Putting out the fire by micturating was therefore a kind of sexual act with a male, an enjoyment of sexual potency in a homosexual competition."
Ore_Ele
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8/14/2014 9:17:19 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 8/14/2014 6:22:57 PM, bluesteel wrote:
When the resolution is phrased as a negative statement -- e.g. "Barack Obama is not one of the worst presidents ever" -- should the BOP be placed on Pro or Con, if Pro is the one who goes first? Explain your answer.

Sorry if someone already answered this, I just say the question and dove in.

The issue is not with it being a "negative" statement, but that it has undefined bounds, "one of" is absolutely subjective. To be "one of" do you have to be in the bottom 10%? bottom 25%? bottom 2%?

Think of it this way. If the debate is "Obama is not the worst president ever." The BOP HAS to be on Pro to show at least one president that was worse. Con cannot (reasonably within any character limit that anyone would ever read) show that they are worse than every single president. It is up to Pro to show one that is worse, and Con to refute that one.
"Wanting Red Rhino Pill to have gender"
whiteflame
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8/14/2014 9:28:23 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
You mean the BoP rests with Con? But can't you make a positive case for a negative statement? If I say: God does not exist. I am claiming that this statement is true. So I am making a positive claim, even though that claim is denying the existence of God.

In certain cases, you can. I'm referring to those instances in which the negative statement requires a positive case to work with. That's part of the reason I don't like titles with negative statements - it heavily depends on whether or not a negative statement can reasonably be affirmed.
zmikecuber
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8/14/2014 9:29:52 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 8/14/2014 9:28:23 PM, whiteflame wrote:
You mean the BoP rests with Con? But can't you make a positive case for a negative statement? If I say: God does not exist. I am claiming that this statement is true. So I am making a positive claim, even though that claim is denying the existence of God.

In certain cases, you can. I'm referring to those instances in which the negative statement requires a positive case to work with. That's part of the reason I don't like titles with negative statements - it heavily depends on whether or not a negative statement can reasonably be affirmed.

Hmm... that sounds rather subjective I suppose. It would just be best if the debaters would state who should carry the BoP.
"Delete your fvcking sig" -1hard

"primal man had the habit, when he came into contact with fire, of satisfying the infantile desire connected with it, by putting it out with a stream of his urine... Putting out the fire by micturating was therefore a kind of sexual act with a male, an enjoyment of sexual potency in a homosexual competition."
Ore_Ele
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8/14/2014 9:36:06 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 8/14/2014 9:29:52 PM, zmikecuber wrote:
At 8/14/2014 9:28:23 PM, whiteflame wrote:
You mean the BoP rests with Con? But can't you make a positive case for a negative statement? If I say: God does not exist. I am claiming that this statement is true. So I am making a positive claim, even though that claim is denying the existence of God.

In certain cases, you can. I'm referring to those instances in which the negative statement requires a positive case to work with. That's part of the reason I don't like titles with negative statements - it heavily depends on whether or not a negative statement can reasonably be affirmed.

Hmm... that sounds rather subjective I suppose. It would just be best if the debaters would state who should carry the BoP.

Agreed. There are many negative statements that can be proven. "I am not a boy" is something that be proven. Or to use the wiki example, "Jane is not here," can be proven.
"Wanting Red Rhino Pill to have gender"
whiteflame
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8/14/2014 9:51:00 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 8/14/2014 9:29:52 PM, zmikecuber wrote:
At 8/14/2014 9:28:23 PM, whiteflame wrote:
You mean the BoP rests with Con? But can't you make a positive case for a negative statement? If I say: God does not exist. I am claiming that this statement is true. So I am making a positive claim, even though that claim is denying the existence of God.

In certain cases, you can. I'm referring to those instances in which the negative statement requires a positive case to work with. That's part of the reason I don't like titles with negative statements - it heavily depends on whether or not a negative statement can reasonably be affirmed.

Hmm... that sounds rather subjective I suppose. It would just be best if the debaters would state who should carry the BoP.

I absolutely agree. I've said as much in my RFDs.
Wylted
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8/14/2014 11:05:45 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
I typically put it on the instigator. I think instigator should always have it or at least split.

If you're going to instigate a debate saying "God doesn't exist" or any other positive statement, you should be willing to take the BOP. Why would somebody even instigate a debate, where they have nothing to prove? It seems pointless to me.
Ajabi
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8/15/2014 5:42:32 AM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 8/14/2014 6:22:57 PM, bluesteel wrote:
When the resolution is phrased as a negative statement -- e.g. "Barack Obama is not one of the worst presidents ever" -- should the BOP be placed on Pro or Con, if Pro is the one who goes first? Explain your answer.

Well I always follow the Modal Logic System which references the burden on someone or on both parties in accordance to phrasing.

Now the legal Latin maxim reads: 'semper necessitas probandi incumbit ei qui agit'. I think a good translation would be that the burden is necessarily on them that should lay the charges, or make a positive claim. This maxim however only applies to those situations where one seeks legal help. This maxim however only applies to formal court systems.

Now in arguments, books, philosophical treatises, there follows a different maxim, one which states: 'Onus probandi incumbet ei qui dicit, non ei qui negat'. Now even if one is affirming a negation, the burden goes on them automatically.

Now the next step is to see which form of burden it is. Is it the absolute burden, a necessary burden, a possibly burden, or a probability burden. By understand this of the Proposition, we apply a negate mode on it and therefore come to the burden of the Opposition.

So in a statements: No apple's are oranges, Proposition has the burden of necessity.
So necessarily A is not O. So the burden of the Opposition is not to show that all oranges are apples, but to show that some oranges could be apples (in Logic some is taken as 1 or more). This is because the negation of necessarily A is not O, is possibly A is O.

This changes however in accordance to the phrasing of the resolution. So a substantive burden is different. So a probably A is not O would be negated by probably A is O, and we would then qualify whose probability is higher. This is a substantive resolution.

The reason that Elizabeth's debate was a necessity motion was because of the definition of substantively.

If you would like I can send you some articles or links.
Ajabi
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8/15/2014 5:45:32 AM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 8/14/2014 6:22:57 PM, bluesteel wrote:
When the resolution is phrased as a negative statement -- e.g. "Barack Obama is not one of the worst presidents ever" -- should the BOP be placed on Pro or Con, if Pro is the one who goes first? Explain your answer.

If the Pro states such a motion as: bluesteel is possibly the most handsome debater on ddo.

Funny enough this places the burden of proof on the opposition.

Here the Prop has the duty to show: possibly b is H, not the negation of possibly b is H, is necessarily b is not H.

Since necessity out rules possibility here the burden of proof would be on the Opposition. As simple as that.
Ajabi
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8/15/2014 5:50:05 AM
Posted: 2 years ago
Similarly according to Thomas Starkie, in his A Practical Treatise of the Law of Evidence he holds this opinion for he states that even though we must refer to the law we can lay the onus probandi on the plaintiff, in so far as he is the one who makes the complaint, whether it be of a positive type, or a negative one.
RyuuKyuzo
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8/16/2014 3:03:03 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
Here's how I decide:

1. If BoP is explicitly accepted by one party, then that party has the BoP. If they insist on having the BoP, who am I to argue?

2. If it's a policy debate, BoP goes to the debater arguing against the status quo

3. If it's not a policy debate, and it hasn't been explicitly accepted by the negative, the BoP falls on whomever is attempting to affirm the resolution
If you're reading this, you're awesome and you should feel awesome.
RyuuKyuzo
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8/16/2014 3:05:49 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
So in your example, "Barack Obama is not one of the worst presidents ever", the BoP falls to the affirmative, even though they're trying to prove a negative case.
If you're reading this, you're awesome and you should feel awesome.