On allowing Japanese to continue whaling

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On allowing Japanese to continue whaling

Postby ray245 » 2010-03-25 12:33pm

I had this discussion with my debate coach, and I was asked to give him a proper reason as to why Japan should stop whaling. The problem is, he is taking the position of a person who believes that he has a right to be selfish, and that the extinction of whales is not of concern to such a person.

His position was that the enjoyment of eating whale meat is legitimate reason to ignore what the rest of the international community wants to do, and other people have no right to tell him to stop eating whale meat. He also pointed out that there's no way I am able to convince people in the debate that the extinction of whales will lead to a mass extinction event.

How am I suppose to response to such a view?

He argued that the better way for me to argue against whaling by using the tragedy of the commons argument, and says that preventing whaling for now will preserve enough whales so that future generation can continue to whale.

I find that this argument is rather weak, given that I have to further argue why the culture of whaling should be preserved in a seven minute speech.
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Re: On allowing Japanese to continue whaling

Postby Sarevok » 2010-03-25 02:16pm

He is right. Other than preserving whales because they are humoungous titans of the sea most people have no reason to emphathize with whales. Hell I would not be surprised if a lot of people could not tell that the whale shark is actually a fish and not a whale. Given the sheer ignorance and apathy the best is you can do is appeal to their self interest. Ask them if they want a future where whales have gone the way of dinosaurs. Ask them how dull the oceans would be without such magnificent creatures.
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Re: On allowing Japanese to continue whaling

Postby ray245 » 2010-03-26 03:39am

Sarevok wrote:He is right. Other than preserving whales because they are humoungous titans of the sea most people have no reason to emphathize with whales. Hell I would not be surprised if a lot of people could not tell that the whale shark is actually a fish and not a whale. Given the sheer ignorance and apathy the best is you can do is appeal to their self interest. Ask them if they want a future where whales have gone the way of dinosaurs. Ask them how dull the oceans would be without such magnificent creatures.


However, he is saying that he is debating as a person who views that he does not care if the oceans will no longer have whales in the future.
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Re: On allowing Japanese to continue whaling

Postby Alyrium Denryle » 2010-03-28 03:19pm

ray245 wrote:I had this discussion with my debate coach, and I was asked to give him a proper reason as to why Japan should stop whaling. The problem is, he is taking the position of a person who believes that he has a right to be selfish, and that the extinction of whales is not of concern to such a person.

His position was that the enjoyment of eating whale meat is legitimate reason to ignore what the rest of the international community wants to do, and other people have no right to tell him to stop eating whale meat. He also pointed out that there's no way I am able to convince people in the debate that the extinction of whales will lead to a mass extinction event.

How am I suppose to response to such a view?

He argued that the better way for me to argue against whaling by using the tragedy of the commons argument, and says that preventing whaling for now will preserve enough whales so that future generation can continue to whale.

I find that this argument is rather weak, given that I have to further argue why the culture of whaling should be preserved in a seven minute speech.


Against such an argument, it is impossible to actually debate the issue of whaling directly. You have to attack the underpinnings of his argument. Namely that it is OK to be selfish, that other organisms do not matter etc.

Sometimes you have to attack someone's beliefs and tie that into how their position is incorrect rather than just attacking their position.
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Re: On allowing Japanese to continue whaling

Postby Surlethe » 2010-03-28 03:41pm

Alyrium Denryle wrote:Sometimes you have to attack someone's beliefs and tie that into how their position is incorrect rather than just attacking their position.

This is absolutely correct. More pertinently, there are two cases where a person differs with you on a value judgment*. Either (1) that person agrees with your moral principles, but disagrees on their implications, or (2) that person disagrees with your moral principles. If (1), then the issue is one of logic. If (2), then you have to attack their beliefs.

*Well, you could be in the wrong on either point, but let's not assume that.
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Re: On allowing Japanese to continue whaling

Postby Darwin » 2010-07-08 03:34pm

There's no debating with his 'selfish person' stance. Said person will do whatever he likes, regardless of any consequences that don't impact him immediately in some significant way. You may as well ask why he is taking the stance of a sociopath (Or large corporation, same thing) in this debate, as there is no working with that.
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Re: On allowing Japanese to continue whaling

Postby Anguirus » 2010-07-08 04:21pm

You should note that that same "moral position" can be used to justify absolutely anything. Murder, rape, whatever. It's clearly not a "moral position" that society can afford to accept.
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Re: On allowing Japanese to continue whaling

Postby Straha » 2010-07-10 02:53pm

Ray, what kind of debate do you do? Because your coach (and the rest of your debate squad) sounds even more vacuous and rhetorically minded than Worlds/WUDC debate...
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Re: On allowing Japanese to continue whaling

Postby LionElJonson » 2010-07-31 04:33am

Ask him if he enjoys paying taxes so whale meat can be fed to dogs.

Seriously, so few people buy whale meat in Japan that the government subsidizes them, and then the whalers proceed to sell it to pet food companies because almost noone else will buy it.

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Re: On allowing Japanese to continue whaling

Postby ray245 » 2010-07-31 04:50am

LionElJonson wrote:Ask him if he enjoys paying taxes so whale meat can be fed to dogs.

Seriously, so few people buy whale meat in Japan that the government subsidizes them, and then the whalers proceed to sell it to pet food companies because almost noone else will buy it.


Yeah, but that is not a commonly accepted fact by the general public, which means it will result in me spending even more time justifying it in a debate.
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Re: On allowing Japanese to continue whaling

Postby Sarevok » 2010-07-31 06:21am

Attacking Japaneese whaling from ethics point of view is pointless. Whalers are not going to listen to reasons on why what they are doing is harmful. A more fruitful and productive debate topic would be what can be done to stop them through enforcement measures.
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Re: On allowing Japanese to continue whaling

Postby ray245 » 2010-07-31 06:40am

Sarevok wrote:Attacking Japaneese whaling from ethics point of view is pointless. Whalers are not going to listen to reasons on why what they are doing is harmful. A more fruitful and productive debate topic would be what can be done to stop them through enforcement measures.


The way my coach frame the debate is that there the international society cannot simply impose their belief systems onto the Japanese.
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Re: On allowing Japanese to continue whaling

Postby Sarevok » 2010-07-31 06:46am

That sucks. A debate on how to use beurocracy to clamp down on Japan and whaling would have been enlightning. That whales are in dwinlding number and what Japan is doing is wrong is a fact as obvious as the statement the sky is blue. There is nothing to be gained by argueing this point. Those who have made up their minds will not change it, But a debate on best measures to preassure Japan could yield valuable insights on what could be done to change the issue.
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Re: On allowing Japanese to continue whaling

Postby LionElJonson » 2010-07-31 06:53am

The only thing you can do other than attacking him as a person is to appeal to self-interest; that is, that whaling is detrimental to Mr. Psychopath personally, though things like higher taxes due to the government subsidization of a floundering industry.

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Re: On allowing Japanese to continue whaling

Postby ray245 » 2010-07-31 07:12am

Sarevok wrote:That sucks. A debate on how to use beurocracy to clamp down on Japan and whaling would have been enlightning. That whales are in dwinlding number and what Japan is doing is wrong is a fact as obvious as the statement the sky is blue. There is nothing to be gained by argueing this point. Those who have made up their minds will not change it, But a debate on best measures to preassure Japan could yield valuable insights on what could be done to change the issue.


WUDC debates is more focused on entertaining the crowd than to enlighten the crowd. The rules would not allow you to produce evidence that challenged the public knowledge. Lying about facts is accepted among that circuit, as long as the member of the general public would be able to find it believable.
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Re: On allowing Japanese to continue whaling

Postby LionElJonson » 2010-07-31 07:30am

ray245 wrote:
Sarevok wrote:That sucks. A debate on how to use beurocracy to clamp down on Japan and whaling would have been enlightning. That whales are in dwinlding number and what Japan is doing is wrong is a fact as obvious as the statement the sky is blue. There is nothing to be gained by argueing this point. Those who have made up their minds will not change it, But a debate on best measures to preassure Japan could yield valuable insights on what could be done to change the issue.


WUDC debates is more focused on entertaining the crowd than to enlighten the crowd. The rules would not allow you to produce evidence that challenged the public knowledge. Lying about facts is accepted among that circuit, as long as the member of the general public would be able to find it believable.


Sounds more like politicians than proper debate, to me. :? Isn't debating supposed to be about exposing the truth, rather than obfuscating and concealing it behind a plausible-sounding pack of lies?

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Re: On allowing Japanese to continue whaling

Postby Sarevok » 2010-07-31 09:05am

In that case ray you should act like a politician. Make a style over substance screed that will win over the audience. Spend more time improving oratory skills rather than researching facts and statistics on whaling.
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Re: On allowing Japanese to continue whaling

Postby Alyrium Denryle » 2010-08-01 12:56pm

Sarevok wrote:In that case ray you should act like a politician. Make a style over substance screed that will win over the audience. Spend more time improving oratory skills rather than researching facts and statistics on whaling.



Appealing to emotion would definitely work. Reverse the situation with a noun replacement


His position was that the enjoyment of eating orphans is legitimate reason to ignore what the rest of the international community wants to do, and other people have no right to tell him to stop eating the sweet succulent flesh of orphans. He also pointed out that there's no way I am able to convince people in the debate that the extermination of orphans will lead to a human population collapse.
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Re: On allowing Japanese to continue whaling

Postby Straha » 2010-09-12 06:44am

I know this is sort of a necro but this sub-forum is dead anyway.

LionElJonson wrote:
ray245 wrote:
Sarevok wrote:That sucks. A debate on how to use beurocracy to clamp down on Japan and whaling would have been enlightning. That whales are in dwinlding number and what Japan is doing is wrong is a fact as obvious as the statement the sky is blue. There is nothing to be gained by argueing this point. Those who have made up their minds will not change it, But a debate on best measures to preassure Japan could yield valuable insights on what could be done to change the issue.


WUDC debates is more focused on entertaining the crowd than to enlighten the crowd. The rules would not allow you to produce evidence that challenged the public knowledge. Lying about facts is accepted among that circuit, as long as the member of the general public would be able to find it believable.


Sounds more like politicians than proper debate, to me. :? Isn't debating supposed to be about exposing the truth, rather than obfuscating and concealing it behind a plausible-sounding pack of lies?


It is [oliticians' debate. WUDC ("Worlds") is about being a rhetorical laboratory. The debaters tend to have a VERY wide base of knowledge, with very little depth to it. The rules of the game, however, are set up to emphasize this sort of generic knowledge. Reading from evidence is forbidden, as is philosophically critical argumentation (this actually makes a lot more sense than it sounds, but it's kind of hard to explain), topics are only announced thirty minutes before the debate begins, and there's a HUGE emphasis about accessibility to the layman.

As arbitrary and stupid these rules might seem to you, if you know anything about organized debate I assure you there is a sort of logic to this. If you don't impose these sorts of regulations the debates you end up with look like this:



or this (this is actually a fantastically interesting debate)

http://www.uvm.edu/~debate/watch/cedafinal02a.m4v

or this

http://puttingthekindebate.com/2010/07/06/ndt-2010-octas-west-georgia-bs-vs-northwestern-fs/ .

A lot of people reacted to this sort of debate and the lack of persuasion, and the emphasis AGAINST oratory, and set up rules that essentially straight-jacket debate into WUDC. If anyone is actually interested I'd love to go on more about this, but long story short the style of debate that Ray engages in is stylistically kept almost braindead, but it's for understandable reasons. (As an aside: whenever people from the fast talking styles of debate I linked to above ever go into WUDC style debate tournaments they tend to fucking CRUSH the opposition like daisies before tanks.)


Ray: Just remember that you don't debate to change the other team's mind, you debate to the judge(s) so don't engage the other team. Second, when you're in a debate like this find a way to concede a big part of the opponent's argument and turn it against them. Finally, you need to find a quick way to link to a big booming impact that can make your argumentation matter more than theirs.

I'm going to assume that you were debating something like "This house would allow Japan to engage in unrestricted whaling for the purpose of food" or something like that. So say something like "whales are a key part of the food chain in the ocean, to allow the overhunting of whales would jeopardize the entire fragile ecosystem triggering massive extinction of wildlife and possibly humanity." Then concede that everyone has the right to act selfishly and in their own interests. Then say that it's 'this house's' selfish interest to make sure that Japan never sees a pound of whale flesh consumed so that you can enjoy your lifestyle, and that this house has the overarching right to impose its will on Japan if it so chooses. Then you can throw on top all sorts of moral screeching if you want depending on how the round is going down.
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Re: On allowing Japanese to continue whaling

Postby ray245 » 2010-09-12 07:38am

Straha wrote:
A lot of people reacted to this sort of debate and the lack of persuasion, and the emphasis AGAINST oratory, and set up rules that essentially straight-jacket debate into WUDC. If anyone is actually interested I'd love to go on more about this, but long story short the style of debate that Ray engages in is stylistically kept almost braindead, but it's for understandable reasons.


I certainly won't mind creating a new thread to discuss about the different debate formats.

(As an aside: whenever people from the fast talking styles of debate I linked to above ever go into WUDC style debate tournaments they tend to fucking CRUSH the opposition like daisies before tanks.)


Do you have any video recording about such debate? It will certainly be interesting to watch it.


Ray: Just remember that you don't debate to change the other team's mind, you debate to the judge(s) so don't engage the other team. Second, when you're in a debate like this find a way to concede a big part of the opponent's argument and turn it against them. Finally, you need to find a quick way to link to a big booming impact that can make your argumentation matter more than theirs.


So essentially I am suppose to concede to them on philosophical grounds?

I'm going to assume that you were debating something like "This house would allow Japan to engage in unrestricted whaling for the purpose of food" or something like that. So say something like "whales are a key part of the food chain in the ocean, to allow the overhunting of whales would jeopardize the entire fragile ecosystem triggering massive extinction of wildlife and possibly humanity." Then concede that everyone has the right to act selfishly and in their own interests. Then say that it's 'this house's' selfish interest to make sure that Japan never sees a pound of whale flesh consumed so that you can enjoy your lifestyle, and that this house has the overarching right to impose its will on Japan if it so chooses. Then you can throw on top all sorts of moral screeching if you want depending on how the round is going down.


I see. But won't this grant the opposition an opportunity to turn this debate about whether my side can prove that overhunting of whales would jeopardise the ecosystem? It won't surprise me if teams throw out stupid examples like how the extinction of Dodo birds did not result in a mass extinction to derail the entire debate.

Appealing to emotion would definitely work. Reverse the situation with a noun replacement


His position was that the enjoyment of eating orphans is legitimate reason to ignore what the rest of the international community wants to do, and other people have no right to tell him to stop eating the sweet succulent flesh of orphans. He also pointed out that there's no way I am able to convince people in the debate that the extermination of orphans will lead to a human population collapse.


But such a view can be easily dismissed by a person who reject the idea that animal rights altogether.
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Re: On allowing Japanese to continue whaling

Postby Straha » 2010-09-12 08:32am

ray245 wrote:
(As an aside: whenever people from the fast talking styles of debate I linked to above ever go into WUDC style debate tournaments they tend to fucking CRUSH the opposition like daisies before tanks.)


Do you have any video recording about such debate? It will certainly be interesting to watch it.


I do not. I know there's a Public Style debate which James Madison University hosts every year where there's considerable overlap, and I know that there are videos of those debates online somewhere. If I can find one where I can recognize some of the teams I'll let you know.


So essentially I am suppose to concede to them on philosophical grounds?


Yes! This way you limit the points that you need to win (that whaling leads to your death, in this case) while forcing them to either engage you on ground of your choosing or to debate against themselves.

You basically understood the predicament with your response to Alyrium, a direct assault on their point of view requires you to do A LOT of work. It's certainly doable, but it's not an efficient use of your time. Instead of trying to win grandiose claims on moral responsibility, ethics and rights, concede the arguments you can afford to concede and make the debate one of your own choosing. Good debaters win debates through overwhelming strength of argumentation against their opponents, great debaters do all that while concede key parts of their opponents' arguments in such a way as to cripple them.

If you want a sort of metaphor, think of boxing and judo. Don't get into a slugfest, use the weight of the opponents arguments to against them.

I see. But won't this grant the opposition an opportunity to turn this debate about whether my side can prove that overhunting of whales would jeopardise the ecosystem? It won't surprise me if teams throw out stupid examples like how the extinction of Dodo birds did not result in a mass extinction to derail the entire debate.


Yes. But debate is called 'debate,' it's not called 'agree'. You're going to have to debate somewhere, and it might as well be here because, in this aspect of the debate, you are empirically right. Moreover their argument is pure defense and yours is hugely offensive. In other words, your argument is a reason that you should vote against the opposition, while their argument is a reason why voting for you might not work but is NOT a reason why you should vote for them or against you. If they make this argument call them out on it and frame it like that and you're fucking golden because they've essentially conceded the round to you.

I mean, sure, if you don't want to get into this particular debate, that's fine, you can go down a number of other roads through conceding the philosophical level of the debate, but I just think that this is the easiest and quickest way to victory because all you need to win is that whales are an important part of the ecosystem. Whales are big and there are so many species dependent on whales that to cause more damage to whales will damage those species, which will damage others, and so on and so forth. The ripples could be tremendous and there's a pretty good risk of catastrophe somewhere down the line. (Hell, use the Dodo example against them. There's a kind of tree that's now going extinct because the dodo was necessary to digest its seeds. Without the dodo it can't reproduce properly and is going extinct causing quite a bit of damage to the local ecosystem). If you win that there's a catastrophe coming as a direct result of the opposition's mindset you've won the game.

At the end of the round all you need to do is frame it like this: If you vote for your opposition you have the risk of getting what could be a new tasty meal. However this comes at the risk of losing every other tasty meal in the ocean AND killing all life as we know it on the planet. Purely from a selfish mindset, this risk, even if it's not that great a risk, outweighs all the potential benefit that your tastebuds might get from whale flesh, and only by voting for your side can you ensure an ongoing life of pleasant hedonism. That's where the judge needs to look first and foremost and everything else should be secondary.


Certainly, there are ways that the opposition can win this round, but they're going to be two steps behind you the entire way as long as you keep conceding their framework of "maximize personal pleasure" and hammer them on the fact that their action is directly inimical to their goal.
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Re: On allowing Japanese to continue whaling

Postby Kanastrous » 2010-09-13 03:39pm

What about practical arguments based upon the as-yet not-fully-explored utility of whales?

For example, we have much to learn about the position of various whale species in the pelagic food chain etc - there exists the possibility that knocking out a major link in that chain via exterminating whales may affect human interests affected by that system.

Or perhaps once mapped, cetacean genomes might contain items of interest in treating or preventing human disease, or diseases affecting species upon which humans depend (or, if your interlocutor is older, fatter, or balder, harp on prospective advances in gerontology, dietetics or hair restoration, etcetera...)

The argument basically being that there may prove to be more useful things to do with whales, than eat them.
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Re: On allowing Japanese to continue whaling

Postby Straha » 2010-09-18 12:22am

Kanastrous wrote:What about practical arguments based upon the as-yet not-fully-explored utility of whales?

For example, we have much to learn about the position of various whale species in the pelagic food chain etc - there exists the possibility that knocking out a major link in that chain via exterminating whales may affect human interests affected by that system.

Or perhaps once mapped, cetacean genomes might contain items of interest in treating or preventing human disease, or diseases affecting species upon which humans depend (or, if your interlocutor is older, fatter, or balder, harp on prospective advances in gerontology, dietetics or hair restoration, etcetera...)

The argument basically being that there may prove to be more useful things to do with whales, than eat them.

Defense, and bad defense at that.

You're conceding killing Whales is good (and are, in fact, making an extra argument(s) for their slaughter) and only challenging the timeframe in which to do it. This means they can go for any number of things and easily win: only killing some whales now, killing whales for the purposes of 'science' and eating the meat found therein, making the claim that everything valuable from whales has already been found, or that anything useful in whales could be found with current carcasses.

What you need to go for in this situation is a reason why killing Whales is undeniably BAD. Like that it causes extinction, or that conflict between whalers would trigger conflict between Japan and China triggering some sort of nuclear war, etc. etc. etc. Not just that it might not be a good idea to kill a whale
"My annoyance is exacerbated by the fact that the suffering I am witnessing now cannot exist on its own, it has to fall into the hierarchy of a “lesser animal suffering.” In the made-for-TV reality of American culture, the only acceptable genocide is historical. It’s comforting—it’s over. Twenty million murdered humans deserve to be more than a reference point. I am annoyed that I don’t have more power in communicating what I’ve seen apart from stuttering: “It’s like the Holocaust” " - Susan Coe


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