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RFD: FT v. Bsh1 (Animal Rights)

YYW
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11/8/2015 2:31:37 AM
Posted: 1 year ago
Disclaimer:

I have no more favor for one debater here over the other, personally or otherwise. I am ambivalent to the topic. While it is the case that I can easily separate myself from any potential influencing factors while wearing my "judge" hat, there are no such factors even at play here.

Housekeeping:

To begin, I want to make a few things clear from the get-go. Burdens of proof are what they are. They are not defined by the debaters, beyond the extent to which debaters chose their own resolution to debate. It is the kind of resolution itself that determines the BOP, not "arguments" that debaters proffer with respect to that question. It is not even a question; it is a happening by operation of the ordinary course of events in the debate world. All normative resolutions entail equal burdens of persuasion; all positive resolutions entail a sole burden of proof on the debater making the claim.

A normative resolution is one which deals, in simple terms, with questions of opinion. Animal rights is a normative resolution. This case is about animal rights. The burden of persuasion is therefore equally imposed on each debater. To do otherwise would be to advance one side at the other's expense, which would be manifestly unfair. Even if it was the case that PRO's position represented a profound deviation from the status quo, the resolution's relationship to the status quo has nothing to do with any debater's burdens. The status quo is irrelevant.

Anyone who disagrees with this is wrong: (1) because they assume that the status quo is self justifying, which it is not; (2) because to impose unequal burdens of persuasion on any debater would be to advantage one debater at the expense of the other, which would be manifestly unfair; and (3) doing such a thing would be contrary to the purpose and function of debate, in this or any other normative instance.

Definitions:

I ordinarily don't discuss definitions, but in this instance they are highly relevant because the outcome of this debate will turn on what a "right" is or what "rights" are. Both debaters agreed (bsh1 by explicitly stating it, and fourtrouble by tacitly endorsing it) that a "right" is "something that one may properly claim as their "due" and/or a moral OR legal entitlement to perform, or not to perform, or have others perform or not perform certain actions, as well as to be in, or not to be in certain states. This is a conceptually correct definition. Nothing in this definition requires agency, consciousness, or anything else. There is no aspect of self awareness mentioned for rights.

Arguments, as divided by rounds:

1. Round 1:

Bsh1 argues that animals are due the right not to needlessly suffer. Not needlessly suffering is a right because it is at once a state, and entails certain actions of others, such that it is consistent with the agreed upon definition. Therefore, animals are due at least a right with regard to not being made to needlessly suffer. I am unpersuaded that there are no relevant differences between babies and animals.

FT argues that bsh1 is "arguing for a massive shift in the way we view animals." This is because, he says, animals have always been regarded as property. This argument is nonsense, because even if FT correctly described the status quo (which he did not), the resolution's kind, not its substance defines the burden of proof. See the above discussion for a further explanation of why this nonsense. I will say nothing more on the issue.

FT proceeds to argue that "nothing" will be "left of human society if we treated animals not as property but as independent holders of rights." (FT assumes that the state of being property entails the absence of all rights; whereas Epstien was only talking about legal rights of a certain kind.) FT proceeds to argue that human action would be actually constrained if any animal rights are recognized, on these fronts: no more animal testing, all rights are degraded, new plaintiffs (which is the least persuasive of his arguments), meat ad seafood are no longer up for consumption, hunting is a thing of the past, and lots of animals would go extinct.

FT then concedes Bsh1's point, in indicating that animal welfare should be recognized... which is where he lost this debate. To "adequately protect animals" is to acknowledge that animals have the right not to be made to needlessly suffer. While it is the case that bsh1's contention with regard to the absence of relevant distinctions between babies and animals was profoundly overreaching, and entirely unpersuasive, he wins this debate if FT concedes explicitly or implicitly that animals have the right not to needlessly suffer. That is exactly what FT did, while straw-manning the thrust of bsh1's case in the process.

Needless to say, I am quite surprised by FT's (I am quite sure unintentional) concession. It's a damning concession, nevertheless.

Round 2:

Bsh1 criticizes FT's scattershot argumentative approach, which was not without merit although his iterations of those contradictions left much to be desired. The fact that bsh1 recognizes that PRO conceded the point regarding limited suffering is really what matters here. ("This is a contradiction in Con's case, since he himself argues for limiting animal suffering.") The approach to the Rawls rebuttal, and "Justification" point of rebuttal generally, didn't really do a whole lot beyond that.

More progress was made regarding the utility point, in the sense that bsh1 indicates that most essential point of rebuttal where he explains why FT was strawmanning his case ("Granting animals rights is not granting them equal rights to humans.") Bsh1 itemized attacks on FT's parade of woes with regard to recognizing animal rights. This was not needed, but he did it so there you go...

FT responds, for reasons beyond rational comprehension, that "justice is sometimes unfair." This is totally irrelevant. (It is also perfectly contradictory given his reliance on Rawls.) Then, FT proceeds to attempt to rely on Rawls. And then, FT criticizes Bsh for internal inconsistency. (It is rare that irony is so overbearing in any debate.)

FT tried to make a point between the semantic distinction in use of the word "requires" and "allows." The distinction might be meaningful if we were talking about the difference between mandatory and permissive language in federal statutes, but in discussing a normative resolution the distinction is specious.

The word requires, in any instance, simply means that the latter necessarily proceeds from the former, which bsh1's argument amply establishes. All of the other rebuttals had no impact at all. It's scattershot argumentation that lacked clarity, organization, focus, and purpose. None successfully mitigated the damage that his Round 1 concession did, although I anticipate that many incompetent judges will be distracted by this method. It's a weak form of argumentation, but one which can be easily misunderstood as a show of force by inexperienced debaters or stupid judges.

More to follow in the next post. I lack sufficient character space to post my next section containing the further rounds, and my final remarks.
Tsar of DDO
YYW
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11/8/2015 2:45:33 AM
Posted: 1 year ago
Round 3:

Bsh1 continues to hit hard, both explicitly and implicitly, on FT's first round concession, and the reasons why that makes his the stronger case. In this round, like previous ones, there is an incredible amount of pulp. This was the case with both debaters, though, so whatever. This lacked structure and form as well, but at least it was substantively sufficient in maintaining the ground he already occupied. The legal point here, though, still went too far. The point to all of it was that FT made a whole bunch of assumptions and straw-manned bsh1's case in materially damning ways, so both due to stuff that bsh1 did and stuff that FT did, bsh1 is still winning. FT regained no ground.

Round 4:

This was extremely irritating to read, and could have been dropped from the debate and it would have had no impact on the overall outcome. Nothing new or materially impactful was discussed here. By "materially impactful" what I mean is "nothing happened that changed the outcome." It could have, certainly, because there were holes in both debater's arguments, but it neither debater got the "knockout" argument.

FINAL THOUGHTS

The good things:

It's one of the better debates on animal rights I've seen, although I distain the topic and am indifferent to its discussion. FT is clearly making progress in the way of learning to debate, which is nice to see as well. A courageous move taking on bsh1, too, and I think that a few debates down the road he might well be able to beat bsh1. I would like to see a rematch here, on something that does not involve animal rights, abortion, or any other topic i don't care about.

If I were grading this, I'd give bsh1 a B+, and FT a B- (despite his concession).

The Areas for Improvement:

This debate was irritating to read. I hate jargon and debate-speak. Words like "cross apply" this or "self refuting" that or whatever... debate-speak, like contemporary christian music, makes my blood pressure elevate unnecessarily.

It's extremely important to be sure you're not conceding stuff that you shouldn't be conceding. I am virtually certain that FT not only did not realize what he did, but that he will adamantly disagree with me that he made the concession he did, and, even if he did make such a concession, that it was as damning as it was. And yet, here we are.

Both debaters need to edit better. Especially with these stupidly long debates. Less is more. Get to the point, and don't make me read bad examples, irritating scattershot crap, or tangential ramblings. Both debaters need to make better use of word economy, as well.
Tsar of DDO
spacetime
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11/8/2015 3:42:59 AM
Posted: 1 year ago
Nice RFD. If I was able to vote, I would have voted for bsh1, and for very similar reasons.
Call me King Pootie Tang.
YYW
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11/8/2015 5:07:16 AM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 11/8/2015 3:42:59 AM, spacetime wrote:
Nice RFD. If I was able to vote, I would have voted for bsh1, and for very similar reasons.

Why can't you vote?
Tsar of DDO
spacetime
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11/8/2015 5:09:04 AM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 11/8/2015 5:07:16 AM, YYW wrote:
At 11/8/2015 3:42:59 AM, spacetime wrote:
Nice RFD. If I was able to vote, I would have voted for bsh1, and for very similar reasons.

Why can't you vote?

It says I need to confirm my identity and complete three debates before I receive my voting privileges.
Call me King Pootie Tang.
YYW
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11/8/2015 5:13:39 AM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 11/8/2015 5:09:04 AM, spacetime wrote:
At 11/8/2015 5:07:16 AM, YYW wrote:
At 11/8/2015 3:42:59 AM, spacetime wrote:
Nice RFD. If I was able to vote, I would have voted for bsh1, and for very similar reasons.

Why can't you vote?

It says I need to confirm my identity and complete three debates before I receive my voting privileges.

Ah ok
Tsar of DDO
fire_wings
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11/8/2015 10:57:33 AM
Posted: 1 year ago
Your RFD is so good. You are a good voter.
#ALLHAILFIRETHEKINGOFTHEMISCFORUM

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Wtf you must have an IQ of 250 if you're 11 and already decent at this- 16k

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YYW
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11/8/2015 2:11:15 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 11/8/2015 10:57:33 AM, fire_wings wrote:
Your RFD is so good. You are a good voter.

Thanks :)
Tsar of DDO
Greyparrot
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11/8/2015 3:01:20 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
If you look at just the arguments, FT should have won if the argument was about "should animals receive justice." But that is not what this debate is about at all. It's not even about: "applying justice to animals would be inherently arbitrary by its very nature." BSH wins for simply proving legally that justice requires rights. Not much else to add.
YYW
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11/8/2015 3:02:14 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 11/8/2015 2:49:22 PM, Greyparrot wrote:
I totally disagree with your reasoning in your RFD, but BSH won for other different reasons anyway, regardless.

You're welcome to disagree, but once FT made the concession, where he thereafter failed to undo the damage, he clearly and plainly could not win the debate.
Tsar of DDO
YYW
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11/8/2015 3:05:28 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 11/8/2015 3:01:20 PM, Greyparrot wrote:
If you look at just the arguments, FT should have won if the argument was about "should animals receive justice." But that is not what this debate is about at all. It's not even about: "applying justice to animals would be inherently arbitrary by its very nature." BSH wins for simply proving legally that justice requires rights. Not much else to add.

That's not really accurate. The resolution is about whether justice requires recognition of animal rights. Bsh1 showed that it did, and FT could not prevent him from doing that. Bsh1 defined a right pretty broadley, and FT danced around that without ever going to the foundation of the argument.

The legal point was poorly articulated on both sides. Bsh1's argument was very weak there, and FT's was equally weak. Both were weak for different reasons, and to turn the debate on *that* argument is to judge the debate incorrectly.

Notice the definition of "rights." It's disjunctive, not conjunctive. So, Bsh1 could have argued legal, OR moral rights. He lost legal rights; but FT didn't win legal rights either. Bsh1 won the moral. FT at no point in time undermined that.
Tsar of DDO
bsh1
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11/8/2015 4:28:09 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
I mean, I strongly disagree that there are major differences between marginal cases (babies/the mentally ill) and animals. That said, I appreciate your vote and the feedback. Thank you.
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YYW
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11/8/2015 4:44:53 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 11/8/2015 4:28:09 PM, bsh1 wrote:
I mean, I strongly disagree that there are major differences between marginal cases (babies/the mentally ill) and animals. That said, I appreciate your vote and the feedback. Thank you.

You're welcome.

This is a debate that I anticipate will be misjudged by many. FT did a lot of things there that could easily distract judges, and I expect that many (perhaps even some good judges) will make grievous mistakes in judging the debate. Sadly, this happens every single time.
Tsar of DDO
YYW
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11/8/2015 4:55:30 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
As always, if anyone (not just the debaters themselves) has questions or disagreements with my RFD, all are free to ask.

I maintain an incredibly high standard for voting, and it's one that I don't think many can equal on this site. It is my hope that through reading my RFD's, people will get at least a general sense of what an RFD ought to look like.

I have seen so many RFD's, composed even by ostensibly good debaters, that are just crap. They lack structure, their analysis of the debate is vague and circuitous, and even if they get the right answer (which happens about 50% of the time), they get it for the wrong reasons.

This is because judging is *hard*. It requires a level of reading comprehension that goes over and above what most people have, and what you're taught in school. You have to both be able to think conceptually, and be able to understand the conceptual interrelations between premises outlined by debaters.

Where debates are very well written and clearly structured, this is much easier to do. The problem is that most debates are neither clearly written nor clearly structured. Even debates that are structured often lack the substantive "bite" that every good debate has.

But, at the same time, debating is like anything else: you only get good at it by doing it. Debating must be regarded in the same way as Edison's invention of the lightbulb. He tried a thousand times to get it, and learned one thousand ways not to make a lightbulb. But eventually, the incandescent lightbulb was created and patented.

Thett3 and Bladerunner are also very good people whose work should be recognized as an example for others to follow.
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FourTrouble
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11/8/2015 6:39:23 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
YYW, you're objectively wrong that I conceded, explicitly or implicitly, that animals have a right to needless suffering. I spent more time arguing that a needless suffering right is unjust than anything else in this debate.

What I argued is that humans have the right to protect animals, not for the sake of animals, but for the sake of humans. That's a human right, not an animal right. Saying that humans could potentially justify protecting animals isn't saying that justice requires that humans do so. Rawls makes this very clear, when he says justice doesn't require animal rights, yet humans should still give animals some protections. There's a difference between saying X is good/bad, and saying X is required/prohibited. And I'm surprised you're unable to see that nuance.
YYW
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11/8/2015 8:11:57 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 11/8/2015 6:39:23 PM, FourTrouble wrote:
YYW, you're objectively wrong that I conceded, explicitly or implicitly, that animals have a right to needless suffering.

I didn't say that you said that "animals have a right to needless suffering." Read what I wrote again. What you did do, however, is implicitly concede bsh1's main point, which is why you lost. You also never recovered from that.

The idea that I am "objectively wrong" where the plain text of what ***you*** wrote not only verifies what I said, but invalidates your claim here is pretty silly. So, I'm not going to argue it with you.

I spent more time arguing that a needless suffering right is unjust than anything else in this debate.

You tried to do that, with a variety of tactics (and specifically talking about the horrible things that would come from recognizing animal rights). You were sloppy with terms and concepts, you equivocated the meaning of conceptually distinct terms, and you straw manned the bulk of what bsh1 said while at the same time employing a scattershot method of argumentation that was almost wholly ineffective.

What I argued is that humans have the right to protect animals, not for the sake of animals, but for the sake of humans.

What you spoke of was "animal welfare," and in so doing you gave bsh1 the win in the first round of argumentation, where in later rounds you never recovered from that initial damage.

That's a human right, not an animal right. Saying that humans could potentially justify protecting animals isn't saying that justice requires that humans do so.

This is where you're shifting the scope of what a "right" is, even now, as you argue the substance of your debate with me. I don't care what your argument is now; what I care about is what you said in the debate.

In any event, you should look to the definition of a "right" which was outlined and defined before argumentation even began.

To give you the win would have required that I ignore too much that was directly undermined by your opponent.

Rawls makes this very clear, when he says justice doesn't require animal rights, yet humans should still give animals some protections.

You really misapplied Rawls, but I don't have the desire to get into that. It didn't impact the outcome of the debate beyond the extent to which bsh1 called you on it.

If you have questions, that's fine, but it's not going to change the outcome.
Tsar of DDO
YYW
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11/8/2015 8:22:17 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
Many debaters who believe that they are talented and who are confident in their work tend to labor under the impression that they are absolutely right, which is why they miss things like implicit concessions. The mistake here that FT made is surely not a novel one; it's happened hundreds of times before. It's also the kind of thing that will, if unrelated, lay the groundwork for a loss if the damage is not mitigated.

What FT should have done is attack the substance of what a "right" is, and tailor his argument to specifically advance his burden of persuasion. For example, what he should have said is something to the effect of "Justice does not require animal rights because subjecting animals to needless suffering is morally neutral." or, in the alternative "No moral wrong occurs in the absence of recognizing animal rights."

The bulk of FT's argumentation was more or less an appeal to how undesirable the world would be in which animals enjoyed the same rights as humans. This was, however, an utterly irrelevant point in the sense that the only "kind" of rights bsh1 was arguing for were those **against** needless suffering.

The reason he did this is because he assumed that bsh1's attempting to analogize babies and the mentally informed with animals meant that he believed animals deserve identical rights to humans. That was not the thrust of bsh1's argument. The thrust of bsh1's argument was to show that to benefit from a right does not require a form of moral consciousness or whatever.

So, FT's rebuttals totally missed the point.
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Greyparrot
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11/8/2015 8:29:26 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 11/8/2015 3:05:28 PM, YYW wrote:
At 11/8/2015 3:01:20 PM, Greyparrot wrote:
If you look at just the arguments, FT should have won if the argument was about "should animals receive justice." But that is not what this debate is about at all. It's not even about: "applying justice to animals would be inherently arbitrary by its very nature." BSH wins for simply proving legally that justice requires rights. Not much else to add.

That's not really accurate. The resolution is about whether justice requires recognition of animal rights. Bsh1 showed that it did, and FT could not prevent him from doing that. Bsh1 defined a right pretty broadley, and FT danced around that without ever going to the foundation of the argument.

The legal point was poorly articulated on both sides. Bsh1's argument was very weak there, and FT's was equally weak. Both were weak for different reasons, and to turn the debate on *that* argument is to judge the debate incorrectly.

Notice the definition of "rights." It's disjunctive, not conjunctive. So, Bsh1 could have argued legal, OR moral rights. He lost legal rights; but FT didn't win legal rights either. Bsh1 won the moral. FT at no point in time undermined that.

phyne.
YYW
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11/8/2015 8:29:41 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 11/8/2015 8:22:17 PM, YYW wrote:
Many debaters who believe that they are talented and who are confident in their work tend to labor under the impression that they are absolutely right, which is why they miss things like implicit concessions. The mistake here that FT made is surely not a novel one; it's happened hundreds of times before. It's also the kind of thing that will, if **unmitigated,** lay the groundwork for a loss.

What FT should have done is attack the substance of what a "right" is, and tailor his argument to specifically advance his burden of persuasion. For example, what he should have said is something to the effect of "Justice does not require animal rights because subjecting animals to needless suffering is morally neutral." or, in the alternative "No moral wrong occurs in the absence of recognizing animal rights."

The bulk of FT's argumentation was more or less an appeal to how undesirable the world would be in which animals enjoyed the same rights as humans. This was, however, an utterly irrelevant point in the sense that the only "kind" of rights bsh1 was arguing for were those **against** needless suffering.

The reason he did this is because he assumed that bsh1's attempting to analogize babies and the mentally informed with animals meant that he believed animals deserve identical rights to humans. That was not the thrust of bsh1's argument. The thrust of bsh1's argument was to show that to benefit from a right does not require a form of moral consciousness or whatever.

So, FT's rebuttals totally missed the point.

Corrected. Fuckautocorrect.
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fire_wings
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7/15/2016 11:05:12 PM
Posted: 4 months ago
At 11/8/2015 2:11:15 PM, YYW wrote:
At 11/8/2015 10:57:33 AM, fire_wings wrote:
Your RFD is so good. You are a good voter.

Thanks :)

No prob.
#ALLHAILFIRETHEKINGOFTHEMISCFORUM

...it's not a new policy... it's just that DDO was built on an ancient burial ground, and that means the spirits of old rise again to cause us problems sometimes- Airmax1227

Wtf you must have an IQ of 250 if you're 11 and already decent at this- 16k

Go to sleep!!!!- missmozart

So to start off, I never committed suicide- Vaarka