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People that don't know basic grammar should have their opinions forcibly removed

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 1/28/2019 Category: Funny
Updated: 3 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 1,213 times Debate No: 120071
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (9)
Votes (1)




People that cannot tell the difference between their, There and they're, You're and your, People that don't know where apostrophes go, And those guys that go and commit various other egregious grammatical errors should be stripped of their right to have an opinion. I have yet to see a single case where allowing these people to speak was a good thing. I have lost brain cells and you cannot deny my lived experiences. Feel free to make a meager attempt at changing my mind.


Nobody is good at everything; it's therefore superficial to judge others against such a narrow criterion.

If my car won't start then who should I go to for help? A professional car mechanic with over ten years' worth of experience? Or somebody who knows how to use an apostrophe? Clearly having poor language skills doesn't occlude you from gaining expertise in other areas of life.

Moreover, Why have you chosen spelling and grammar as your litmus test for intelligence? I might as well say, "when somebody doesn't know how to differentiate an equation I automatically dismiss all their opinions as ill-informed". Or, "if somebody can't play a musical instrument then I can only assume they're a bit dim. " To look down on those who don't share your gifts and talents is very arrogant.

In short, I would argue that it's far better to focus on what somebody's opinion is built upon rather than getting distracted by their spelling and grammar. It's the person who thinks that they're an expert in everything and anything I fear the most!
Debate Round No. 1


I think you've misunderstood my position. I never argued that a lack of grammar indicates a lack of intelligence. I would argue that a complete lack of basic English skill in a native speaker is a pretty good gauge of their ability to create a coherent argument (and therefore experience with debating), However, As English grammar and essay writing are taught in the same class, And if they didn't get the basics, It's pretty easy to assume they didn't take interest in the advanced classes. I'm not saying they aren't intelligent, Because I have no way of judging their ability in other subjects through their grammar, I'm judging their ability to make an argument and also making an assumption about their literacy level.

It's actually assumptions like this that help arguments rather than hindering them. Reading a lot of books tends to help you distinguish basic grammar. If I want to know how someone will respond to a rational re-evaluation of their opinions (or whether I should try appeals to emotion and sneaky tactics), I should check how often they re-evaluate and check their opinions themselves. If I want to know how often they re-evaluate their opinions, I should check how much media they consume. If they don't consume a lot of written media, They are likely to be less exposed to differing opinions and ideologies and will therefore be more likely to hold their own opinions with more rigor.

I understand that you can get knowledge on debating through other methods, Which is why it's not necessarily people with bad grammar that I would love to be suppressed, It's what they often represent: people inexperienced with debate. They grind my gears. For example, The ones who are the most feverish about politics today are often the most ill-informed and the least well read, And I don't like having unqualified, Inexperienced reactionaries deciding the political climate of society. My personal guilty pleasure is holding the opinion that they should be silenced until they themselves pursue the qualifications necessary to engage in actual arguments (learning to read and write), Rather than just diving right in to otherwise normal conversations and throwing around their basic opinions until they've dragged everyone down into whatever level of hell they reside in. I'm not claiming I'm brighter than your average doorknob, But at least I have my reading experience going for me whenever I decide I'm going to engage in a discussion.

TL;DR whenever I'm talking to someone and one of these sea sponges chimes in, They make me want to cry because these people have the majority sway in online discussion. They're everywhere. I want the bar on politics to be raised from the gutter again so people that don't know about politics ( i. E. Haven't ever read anything or formed a proper three-dimensional opinion) stay out of politics.


I apologise if I misunderstood your position. My main argument, However, Still stands; accuracy of grammar is a very narrow criterion to judge somebody against. Not all opinions are rooted in academic knowledge; for example, I would struggle to win a debate over sport or fashion regardless of my opponent’s grammar skills. Therefore, I believe that my previous argument applies to knowledge just as much as it does to overall intelligence.

You point out that those with high literacy skills tend to be well-read. That may be true, However you’ve completely ignored the important role experience plays in shaping our opinions. For example, A homeless person may not have read many books however that doesn’t make their opinion over the unfairness of society invalid. Conversely, Somebody who’s read numerous fantasy novels doesn’t suddenly become an expert on drug addiction simply because they own a bookshelf. Spelling and grammar are too cruder benchmarks to judge expertise by.

If your main concern is over how informed somebody’s opinion is then this should be your focus. You are, No doubt, Familiar with the ad hominem fallacy. This fallacy should not be confused with general name calling and rudeness, Rather, Any attempt to attack the person at the expense of the argument commits this fallacy regardless of how accurately and politely it is presented. The Internet Encyclopaedia of Philosophy gives the example of judging Johannes Kepler's astronomy based upon her age, Stating “reasoning should stand or fall on the scientific evidence, Not on the arguer's age or anything else about her personally. ”(1) It’s important to note that even if there is a correlation between age, Experience and knowledge the example on the Internet Encyclopaedia of Philosophy still stands. Dismissing an argument because its wording contains a grammatical error commits the ad hominem fallacy; I fail to see how committing a logical fallacy is going to raise the level of a debate.

Finally, You bring up the example of politics. You write, “it's not necessarily people with bad grammar that I would love to be suppressed, It's what they often represent”; I personally think it’s dangerous to supress any group of people. Those with low levels of literacy tend to be the poorest and most disadvantaged in a society and there’s no reason to assume that a politician from a very privileged background is going to fully understand their plight. Even before we begin to consider those with a less than honest agenda, A top private education will automatically mean you lack some of the life experiences that might be of great relevance to certain policy areas. “Re-evaluating their opinions”, As you put it, Is precisely about listening to a broad and diverse range of views rather than limiting yourself to those with a similar background and education to yourself. It’s easy to focus on the lies and bad arguments that got Donald Trump into power, However, Maybe if Hillary Clinton had done more to listen to the concerns of ordinary people she would have pulled in enough votes to push her over the line. It is by completely ignoring the opinions of the masses that creates an environment where the popularism of Trump flourishes.

Consequently, I believe you’ve failed to demonstrate how literacy automatically correlates to expertise outside of certain academic disciplines, You’ve failed to explain why we should focus on somebody’s grammar instead of going straight to the argument itself and failed to show why supressing already marginalised groups of people is going to make the world a better place. Thus, I maintain that people who don't know basic grammar should still be entitled to an opinion. This doesn’t mean that all opinions are valid, Simply that arguments should be judged on their own merit.

1. Https://www. Iep. Utm. Edu/fallacy/#AdHominem
Debate Round No. 2


Before we even continue into round 3, I want to say to anyone reading that I don't actually believe a word of the bull I'm writing (I did stick this under "Funny" for a reason). I just want to see how well I can argue for the removal of free speech. Pathetic excuse, I know, So I'll keep going. And I'm not posh, Don't assume that I'm not just using flowery words to make my argument seem credible. I went to an outback public school.

Anyway, I would just like to point out some clever ways you've used to try to change the debate into something it isn't, Whether intentional or unintentional, So you can try to gain some moral ground on me. Firstly, You're the one assuming that poor grammar = homelessness, And I can't see the reason why, As I've never mentioned homeless people. Back in my "high-class" "college" "prep" "school" there were a mix of income classes, And yet there were still people all across the social backgrounds there who didn't know basic grammar or writing skills. It isn't a ban on the lower class, It's a ban on anyone who doesn't have / doesn't care about basic language skills. Even if we were talking about a hypothetical near-illiterate homeless man experienced with the ways of the world, He's still had no way of ever getting a balanced opinion because he's read next to nothing, And therefore even if he thinks the world is unfair and can give reasons why, He hasn't read a discussion between people who have good ideas on how to make the world more fair, So he wouldn't make it very far in a debate on income disparity. If his opinion's been criticised by someone else, He will never know, So I don't know why you would assume this guy would have a three-dimensional, Well-rounded opinion (and therefore be contributing to a productive debate) when he hasn't even gone to a library to do research on the discussion. They're free books. There's no economic barrier here.

Secondly, Saying that this is ad hominem is a bit of a stretch, Actually. I'm not attacking anyone's character, I'm attacking their expression, Just like anyone would in a debate. Someone who is more experienced at expressing their opinions can share the same opinion as someone who is terrible at making opinions. You're almost making the "fallacy" fallacy here by saying that I'm somehow preventing an opinion from being voiced. You're suggesting that just because they argue their opinion poorly, Nobody who is better with debating would share their opinion (i. E. Suggesting that it must be wrong somehow by saying that it is inherently an uneducated opinion and nobody educated can share it). I'm not preventing any opinion from being voiced, I'm placing a filter on political discussion to stop people inexperienced with language skills (who likely never re-evaluated their opinions due to a lack of reading) from throwing their opinions into any and every discussion. No-one who still holds the opinion after comparing it to academic criticism is banned from having that opinion, Because it's not like an opinion can really be objectively wrong. (make jokes about my name here)

Third, The problem with fantasy novels is that you can get really immersed in a fantasy novel without paying attention to the wording. It's not like anyone just reads fantasy novels solely to learn how to write well (and get better at discussion), They often read them for their story and content. I'm not using fantasy novels as a writing textbook and nobody else is, So if you read books for those reasons (not looking for any underlying meaning or the expression of the writer) you're unlikely to improve your grammar skills much, An indication that you read books solely for fun and not for a discussion. So again, You're unlikely to be good at a discussion, Because you're not focusing on the wording of what you read, You're focusing on the content. Most people read persuasive writing to have a discussion or to learn how to write persuasively, Though, So those texts are more likely to improve your writing skills. I. E. The less intellectually focused the books you're reading and the less focused the authors are on starting a discussion, The less likely you're reading them to learn how to write well, Obviously, And the less likely you are to be good at grammar. Though I will say, Reading a lot of popular fantasy novels can expose you to a lot of moral arguments without you really realising, So it's unfair to use them as an example of trashy literature. It's not really a stretch to say that you can understand addiction a bit better by reading the Lord of the Rings.

Now I want to ask you something, Because I want to know if this is the case for you. As I stated before, I have never had a constructive political debate with someone who doesn't know basic grammar skills, And I think this is because they don't have much experience with debate, As debate is a literary subject. This study (http://www. Journal. Aall. Org. Au/index. Php/jall/article/viewFile/406/253) seems to back me up here. It shows that poor grammar and complexity of discussion have strong correlation. Sorry to cite evidence late into the debate, But I haven't seen anything concrete to back up your general assumption that you can have a productive and complex discussion with someone with poor language skills either. Have you? Looking at your "The god of the bible does not exist" debate you participated in, It's an example of what I'm talking about. He started that debate without looking to have a constructive conversation. He immediately put you in a restrictive box to prevent you from making a good argument for God being real, And from an outside perspective, It seems like that's because he didn't *want* to debate. There was no room for a discussion there. His actions didn't seem like those of a logical atheist, And I should know, Because I'm an atheist and I didn't think he started that discussion for logical reasons, Only irrational ones. I've seen what good, Complex, Productive religious debates look like, And that wasn't it.

But most importantly, His grammar was really bad. It's either like he didn't care about his writing (and therefore didn't care about the debate) or was just bad at debating, And therefore didn't make a productive debate. Do you want to raise the level of a discussion, Or keep it low by allowing anyone to make one? What if everyone continued improving and re-evaluating their opinions, And the only debates available were really productive ones? Wouldn't that make debates better? Are you sure you really want to raise the level of a discussion? You made it seem like that was your goal, But it doesn't look like that's really the case if you really just want to let inexperienced people start debates. It's unlikely that the state of debates will ever change if you stunt their complexity from the very beginning, And the overwhelming majority of debates will continue to be between someone who wants a conversation, And someone who doesn't.


Before I delve into my closing statement, I would like to firstly reassure everybody that I hold The_Right_Opinion in very high regard! As I want to practice and challenge my debating skills too, I will continue my role of con and explain why I believe that, Despite The_Right_Opinion being a very strong and articulate opponent, Their argument ultimately fails.

I don’t think it’s fair to characterise me as trying to “change the debate”. If your position is that only those with basic grammar skills should be allowed to participate in academic discourse, Then you should have made that clearer in your opening round. I genuinely assumed that by ‘opinions’ you meant opinions in general, Which would include our hypothetically illiterate car mechanic advising you on why your car won’t start. Setting up a debate takes a lot of skill; if you’ve found yourself arguing for a position you don’t hold then my advice would be to next time define your terms better. This isn’t just to prevent those who want a technical win (I tried to be generous and not take the debate title as an endorsement for a grammar Gestapo), But also to avoid it from genuinely being misunderstood. I’m also not trying to gain the moral high ground on you personally, Rather, I’m trying to show, As con, That allowing everyone the right to hold an opinion is the morally right thing to do.

The correlation between literacy levels and poverty are well documented; therefore, This isn’t just an assumption. For example, One of the largest surveys done on this found that 51% of homeless people lack the basic literacy skills for everyday life (never mind having functional levels of grammar) (1) A different study, By the European Commission, Found that ‘The international literature shows that poverty and functional illiteracy can mutually influence and reinforce each other in various ways. ’ (2) By banning those with low levels of literacy from having an opinion you are, Inadvertently, Supressing the opinions of the “the lower classes” because the two are linked. Whilst you are correct in pointing out that some children from lower socioeconomic groups will do well at school, This will in most cases lead to them getting a better paid job than their parents and therefore moving out of the lower economic group currently underrepresented. Even if a minority of these people stay to live within their original community, They will be outnumbered, In places like parliament, By those from more privileged backgrounds. Allowing only a few lone voices to represent those living in poverty still leads to that group being underrepresented in political discussion.
Your position isn’t a direct attack on the homeless, However will lead to groups statistically correlated with low levels of literacy getting supressed.

You argue that those without a formal education should be denied an opinion because their views aren’t well-rounded. The problem is, As I’ve already pointed out, Experience also plays an important role in shaping our beliefs and therefore you could equally make the same accusation towards those with only a theoretical knowledge of a subject. I’d also like to point out that an opinion doesn’t have to be well-rounded in order for it to be worth listening to; when a politician goes out to meet people from their local community, They’re not expecting to find an all-knowing oracle. When a managing director goes onto the shop floor, They aren’t looking for some high-level consultancy. When a company runs a consumer focus group, They aren’t looking for one person who can solve all their problems. So long as somebody’s opinion adds something to the discussion then their opinion has some value.

Another way of looking at it is this: if you deny certain groups of people the right to hold an opinion then your views will become anything but well-rounded. For example, A journalist is not going to write a well-rounded article on homelessness if they fail to speak to a single homeless person. Of course, A good journalist will look at statistics and consider the opinions of other groups (such as charities working in this area), However considering a range of opinions is not the same as stripping those with low levels of grammar from their right to have a say.

You argue that dismissing an opinion due to its spelling and grammar isn’t fallacious. I beg to differ; you can certainly quibble over the specifics (e. G. Whether or not it’s an ad hominem or a red herring), However the consensus seem to be that it’s still a fallacy (e. G. On StackExchange(3)) as it fails to address the content of the actual argument. Of course, You can avoid committing a fallacy by acknowledging that the opinion itself is correct, However, To dismiss a perfectly valid opinion simply because you don’t like the way it was presented would be a classic case of putting style over substance!

I disagree with your paragraph about fantasy novels. You could equally argue that the person who reads a lot of highbrow non-fiction books will be too immersed in the book’s arguments and data to pay too much attention the author’s grammar. The main point I was making is that reading lots of books only makes you an expert in the subjects that those books are on. Reading lots of biology textbooks doesn’t make you an expert on Shakespeare’s plays nor does reading lots of book about renaissance history make you an expert on quantum mechanics. Therefore, We should be careful in assuming that a debater knows what they’re talking about simply because they know how to spell ‘there’ correctly.

You ask me if I’ve ever had a constructive political discussion with somebody who doesn’t have basic grammar skills. Yes, I have. In Britain we have a magazine called ‘The Big Issue’, Which is sold exclusively by those who are homeless or at risk of becoming so. It's a way of helping them get onto the job ladder. I occasionally buy it and, In doing so, Chat to our local vendor – a guy called Brian. He is functionally illiterate however I’ve learnt a lot from him about the barriers people of no fixed abode face (for example, He doesn’t like going to hostels because the violence and drug use makes him feel unsafe, However points like this could easily get overlooked by, Say, A statistician or a town planner who's only ever visited a library).

Finally, You bring up my debate with backwardseden. The problem is that spelling and grammar is the least of backwardseden’s worries; if somebody makes illogical arguments or displays poor debate conduct let’s judge them on these things and these things alone. You conclude by stating that the “overwhelming majority of debates will continue to be between someone who wants a conversation, And someone who doesn't”. Not everyone whose gifts lie outside of spelling and grammar are trolls. If this is your concern, Then this is what you should focus on. Even if somebody’s arguments are all over the place, All it takes for bad arguments to propagate is for those who know what they’re talking about to do nothing.

Therefore, I believe that those with low levels of grammar should not be stripped of their opinions. Doing so will leave marginalised groups (e. G the unemployed, Immigrants, Those with learning disabilities such as dyslexia) ignored whilst others, With the right education, Are left free to speak outside of their areas of expertise simply because they know how to throw around a few impressive sounding words and use an apostrophe correctly.

Thank you for taking the time to debate this with me - I hope that we've both learnt something from it.
Sources in comments, As this website won't post my response with them in!
Debate Round No. 3
9 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 9 records.
Posted by Debate0ts 3 years ago
One of the lengthy argues
Im impress

Both r very narative.
Posted by The_Right_Opinion 3 years ago
I can't stress your debating skill enough. I thought I had you in a corner but I was absolutely mistaken. I 100% concede here. It wasn't an argument I could hold up anyway, But you went beyond basic scrutiny and completely crushed my arguments. I think I might have more to learn about arguing properly.
Posted by it_is_me 3 years ago
For some reason a bug in this website was preventing me from providing the links for my references in round 3. The links are, Therefore, In my post below:
Posted by it_is_me 3 years ago
1. Https://tinyurl. Com/ya2v6fhg
2. Https://tinyurl. Com/ycl8o5vs
3. Https://tinyurl. Com/ya8lhdtv
Posted by The_Right_Opinion 3 years ago
I just realised how fucked up my grammar is in that last post. The irony.
Posted by SDOT 3 years ago
You sure? I am pretty sure that if this was to be implemented about 75% of the world population would have their opinions removed and quite possibly would include grammar teachers as well.
Posted by omar2345 3 years ago

Just wanted to know.
Not really a fan of his.
Posted by The_Right_Opinion 3 years ago

word for word

if you're looking for remorse then I'm sorry to say my heart is cold and dead to it
Posted by omar2345 3 years ago

Did you copy your name from the Youtuber The Right Opinion?
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by omar2345 3 years ago
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Total points awarded:03 
Reasons for voting decision: Pro conceded in the comment section.

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