It looks like you're using an Ad Blocker.

Please white-list or disable in your ad-blocking tool.

Thank you.


Some features of ATS will be disabled while you continue to use an ad-blocker.


Exhibition. The Vagabond v Semperfortis: Is The Pen Mightier Than The Sword?

page: 1
<<   2 >>

log in


posted on Jan, 16 2008 @ 09:17 PM
The topic for this debate is "The Pen is Mightier than the Sword".

The Vagabond will be arguing the pro position and will open the debate.
Semperfortis will argue the con position.

Each debater will have one opening statement each. This will be followed by 3 alternating replies each. There will then be one closing statement each and no rebuttal.

Character limits are no longer in effect- you may use as many characters as a single post allows. It still pays to be clear and concise though.

Editing is strictly forbidden. This means any editing, for any reason. Any edited posts will be completely deleted. Critical edits, for instance to correct coding errors which affect readability or link function, should be addressed to Chissler.

Opening and closing statements must not contain any images. Other posts may have 2 images each.

The use of links and other references is unlimited, but no source shall be directly quoted from.

The Socratic Debate Rule is in effect. This means that in each post, a debater may pose up to 5 questions to his opponent, which his opponent must answer directly. In the case of a yes/no question, this means either as a yes, qualified yes (with explanation), no, or qualified no (with explanation). In the case of an either or question this means selecting one, but providing any qualification of the choice which is necessary.

Responses should be made within 24 hours. Time may be extended by mutual agreement.

This is an exhibition: The title will not change hands and ranking points will not be wagered. Each fighter will receive 1 ranking point for participation.

There will be no judgement of this debate, However when the debate is concluded, any fighter may make comments on the debate in this thread.

[edit on 21-1-2008 by The Vagabond]

posted on Jan, 21 2008 @ 07:22 PM
It's certainly a pleasure to be debating again so fast on the heels of my debate with Byrd. I'd like to thank my fellow exhibitionist, Semperfortis, for agreeing to this little exhibition match (I trust my opponent won't mind me calling him that- it's a little known fact, but Republicans do in fact have a sense of humor about sex. How could they not: it's been 24 years since they last elected a president who wasn't named Bush).
Now that I've offended many of you, lets do it.

The Pen is mightier than the sword.

Here we have one of those old adages which we most of us only pretend to, or perhaps wish that, we really believed. The saying originated in the play Richelieu; Or the Conspiracy by Edward Bulwer Lytton. Even in that play it carried a qualification: Only under the control of great men did Lytton say that the pen is mightier than the sword. As an example, the character Richelieu points out sorcery. Great, now I've got a pen and a magic wand, and my opponent has a sword. Some would say I'm in big trouble. Let's face it: on the surface it isn't that convincing, and most of us don't act as if we believe it.

We are fools for not believing it.
The power that comes from the sword is fleeting and imprecise. The power of the pen is fine and enduring.

The pen is mightier than the sword.
This principle is evident in the very design of human beings. The human body and the human brain are built to take maximum advantage of ideas, not to take maximum advantage of violence.
Any doubt of that is easily resolved by our history. History does not belong to the best armed, or to the cruelest, but to the most ingenious.

Throughout this debate we will examine the function of the human brain and body as well as the rise and fall of empires, ideologies, and religions. When we tie it all together, it shall be clear that violence- the power of the sword- is a cheap trick, and that an idea- the power of the pen- is the mightiest and most profoundly impactful force known to man.

Point 1: The Human Body and Civilization
For some of us, myself included, this will be an unpleasant exercise, but I would like to ask you to look at yourself for a moment.

You are unbalanced because you stand on two legs.
You are slow: your top speed is probably somewhere between 6 and 12 miles per hour, and probably not for very long at that.
Your claws are pathetic- even if you don't chew on them.
Your teeth are mostly blunt and you can't fit all that much in your mouth (although we all have one uncle who never ceases to amaze in that regard).
You aren't even that hairy (I hope).
According to many, the closest thing in nature to your flesh is the flesh of a pig: you taste like bacon.
You're not even hard to see, or nocturnal, or poisonous.

You are, quite possibly, nature's perfect food.

Self defense, by the standards of the animal kingdom, REALLY isn't your thing. Why hasn't your dog eaten you yet? (if your dog is a poodle or something ridiculous like that, disregard that question)

The reason that your dog does not see a 160 pound bag of bacon bits when he looks at you is not because he loves you. He loves you because you are smart and he is (comparatively) kind of dumb. You give him space, food, and time that you can spare, and he gives you everything he's got (even bladder control, which I imagine is a really difficult concept for an animal who doesn't see anything unsanitary about licking its own butt). The closest thing to a sword you'll ever need with your dog is a rolled up newspaper and even that is unnecessary if you know what you're doing. That's a pretty smart bargain.

Human beings dominate this planet not by violence but by the ability to take advantage of ideas: The ability to civilize. We've got free hands and opposable thumbs that allow us to use any tools we can dream up to solve problems.

This has given us additional resources. No longer are we hunters and gatherers who have only what we can accumulate through force. We cultivate, we get more resources for less exertion, and as a result, we have soft but compelling power. This gives us domestication of animals that are superior to us in terms of violent power.

Everything we have, including the very ability to forge a sword, is based not on violence, but the power of ideas- the pen.

Socratic Debate Option Invoked
I'd like to wrap up this introduction with a few questions for my opponent:

1. What was the single most influential violent event in history?

2. What was the single most influential ideological event in history?

3/4. Which was more meaningful, and why?

5. If were given the power to accomplish just one thing, for the purpose of improving the future for humanity, what would you choose to accomplish?

posted on Jan, 21 2008 @ 09:10 PM
Exhibition Debate.

The Vagabond v Semperfortis:

“Is The Pen Mightier Than The Sword?”

Semper’s Opening

Let me say at the outset of this adventure, how very honored I feel in having a chance to debate my opponent.

In just the short time I have been involved with the debates, I have marveled at TheVagabonds commitment to the debates and his tireless efforts to see they continue.

I thank him again for this opportunity and hope I can give him a good “run for his money”.

Now on with the debate.


For the purposes of this debate, I will reference the “Pen” as communication; oral, written or otherwise.
I will reference the “Sword” as the application of any physical force, however subtle or overt.

In this debate, I intend on showing you conclusively that the “Pen is NOT mightier than the Sword”.

I will present to you historical instances where those that have depended on the pen, have fallen by the sword.

I will give you instances where those that desired true change, those that significantly effected their environment, turned from the pen and took up the sword to effect the changes they desired.

I will concentrate my debate on those two proposals and the rebuttal of my opponents posts. You will come to see where the pen is of little consequence without the use of the sword.
I will show you historical cases where the use of the pen became so ineffective as to force comparatively nonviolent persons into acts of violence to achieve their goals.

I will not argue the fact that the Pen is responsible for the initiation of change or action, just not the implementation. Thus not the true “power” behind that change or action.

At the end of this debate, I will leave you with no alternative except to accept that the sword is far mightier than the pen.


I can not effectively take anything away from the power of the pen; far from it. I use the power of the pen each and every day and wish that power was enough so as to cause my other duties to become unnecessary. Sadly that has not been the case, nor will it be anytime in the future.
To sum it up:
The power of the pen is useless without the power of the sword to back it up.

The Founding Fathers created a document that can be considered one of the greatest examples of the written human endeavor in existence. This fine example of the “pen” has lasted for over two hundred years and has substantially upheld an entire nation. However one must consider where this document would be if not for the sword that gave this document the power it now enjoys.

Did the Declaration of Independence free the Colonies? Did the Constitution? No.
It was the Colonists that took up the sword in defense of the documents so boldly written by the pen. Those same Founding Fathers were without exception men of violence when violence was seen as necessary to achieve their objective of a free nation.

The issue of slavery was not to be decided by the 13th amendment, it took violence and the use of the sword to effect the changes that freed a people.

Moses tried talking sense to the Pharaoh, and yet at the end, violence, the use of the sword was necessary to free the Jewish people.

I could go on and on, but I will not bore you with more examples. The fact is that in every instance where the pen was used to institute change, the sword was needed to effect that change; thus making the sword the power behind the pen.

One could then surmise perhaps then that they are of equal merit. Yet again historically the sword has been able to effect great change without the use of the pen.

Take for instance the use of the Atomic Bomb on Japan during the Second World War. Upon discovering negotiations (The use of the pen) to be fruitless, the United States turned to the sword, and right or wrong, effectively ended that war.

During that same war, the use of the “pen” by England, in attempting negotiations with Germany, turned out to be not only less effective, but ultimately deceptive as well and required the use of the sword to correct that error and to survive as a nation.


My opponent would have you believe that simply because we are not the “Lions” of the animal kingdom, that we are not fit for violence.

I submit to you that we have indeed tamed the King of Beasts, and every other creature on the planet. Not through the written or spoken word, but through our ability to effect control of our environment; in effect using our violent nature to control the violence inherent in other species.

My opponent would lead you to believe that we are gentle creatures, built only to “tip toe” through the lilies without a care in our lives. He even mentions the make up of the brain as being significantly dedicated to reason and not violence.

I and many experts would argue with my opponent on that front. Several studies involving “Flight or Fight” that I am particularly familiar with in my profession, have concluded that the violent sections of the brain have the capability to override the cognitive sections of the brain at will.

Designed for Violence
Brain and Violent Media

Who can argue that man is not violent knowing mankind’s past? In defense of this proposition put forth by my opponent, I submit to you the entirety of Human History.

Now I must draw some reigns in here on my opponent.
If it is your intention to propose that man’s ingenuity equates the use of the pen, I must argue most strenuously against that as it is mankind’s very ingenuity that has allowed him to be as violent as he has always proven to be, to design and develop the weapons of war that have so formed our futures.

As for my opponent’s assessment of the human body, well….

All of that is true and misleading.

All of those attributes you so easily dismiss enable us to effectively utilize the tools and weapons of war we have so readily constructed; making the “Sword” even more effective and valuable historically.

Our bipedal construction gives us reach and jumping ability.
Our binocular vision, depth perception.
Though we have no claws, we have opposing thumbs to grasp our swords with.
We are not hard to see, but we have invented the weapon of camouflage. We are not nocturnal, but have invented artificial lights in order to wage war at night. We are not poisonous, yet we have adapted the poison of others to our use in killing.

Answers to my opponents Socratic Option:
1. Use of the Atomic Weapon during WWII
2. Forming of the Roman Empire and the establishment of a Representative form of Government.
3. #2. As this allowed the establishment of a stable government and thereby stimulating all other endeavors of man.
4. Replied
5. Create/Discover an inexhaustible energy supply.

Now my question under the current Socratic Option.

1. Name any significant world changing event that did not involve violence in anyway.

As much as we would like to deny it, or change it, the Sword is an ever present feature in our historical accomplishments, endeavors and even failures. As peaceful as we would believe ourselves to be, we ultimately turn to the sword to effect the changes we deem necessary in our environment.

The Sword is not only more powerful than the Pen, the Pen is nothing without the Sword.


posted on Jan, 22 2008 @ 10:01 PM
I will begin my second post by correcting a mistake of some consequence that my opponent has made.
My opponent asserts the meaning of the pen to be limited entirely to communication. This is an unjustifiably limited view. What does the pen do, but encode information? Information is not set down merely for transmission to others but also to be seen in other ways, and to be stored and referenced. Could you design a nuclear weapon without first drawing upon our stored knowledge of physics, and from that knowledge constructing complex equasions and models which most of us could not hope to handle without setting them down on paper? The pen is not merely communication but information, and ideas.

The joint and separate powers of the Pen and the Sword
Without question the pen and the sword must work together in a great many instances, and this gives them each great value. The pen gave birth to the design of the sword, and the pen gave birth to the strategies within which the sword is employed, yet certainly the designs and the strategies are often devised in vain if the sword is not actually swung. As important as the sword is however, it pales when compared to the pen. As my opponent has suggested, the key to this debate lies in large part with which of these two instruments has use independent of the other. It is the pen, and not the sword, which is of greatest independent use.

Answer to my opponent's question: My opponent asks me to identify a significant world changing event that did not involve violence in any way. The phrase "in any way" means that even events in which violence had no meaningful impact or in which violence was counter-productive still must be included. When the question is constructed that way, I have no problem admitting that if you want to play six degrees of separation, no event has ever been isolated from violence. However, if one considers the actual engine of change, rather than inconsequential isolated incidents, there is no shortage of world-changing events shaped entirely by the pen. Women's suffrage was achieved without any positive contribution from violence. One cannot even argue that it wouldn't have happened without the world wars, as New Zealand, Australia, Finland, Denmark, and Norway all made the move before WWI. Let us not forget the civil rights movement either.
The civil war did not resolve the issue of racial equality in America. The sword was far too imprecise, and its power too fleeting, to resolve the question. The sword's power only governs those who fear the consequences, and vanishes entirely the minute the man holding the sword turns his back. It was the slow and progressive work of the pen, building and proliferating ideas in every generation, which brought victory. The pen reduced the number of people who would raise the sword against the civil rights of minority in every generation, and eventually rendered the sword impotent to stop progress. The sword killed Dr. King, certainly, but it was powerless to stop his ideas.

Even my opponent has raised an example of where the pen stands alone, and in fact renders the sword obsolete in one of its applications.
I asked my opponent: "If were given the power to accomplish just one thing, for the purpose of improving the future for humanity, what would you choose to accomplish?". He replied that he would create an inexhaustible supply of energy.
Now I ask my esteemed opponent, of what value is the sword to that great endeavor?. There is no one to slay from whom you can take that energy source- it does not exist yet. When that great feat is accomplished, the pen will have rendered the sword obsolete in the quest for yet another of society's needs: no longer will we struggle for control of the limited energy resources on this planet, but instead we will be able to share from an inexhaustible supply, and gain the compliance of others by incentive rather than consequence, just as I alluded to earlier in the matter of our mastery over more physically adept animals.

Though it's neither here nor there, I will conclude my rebuttal by noting that we liberals actually tip-toe through the tulips, not the lilies (or so I've been told- I'm not much of a botanist).

Point 1: The Human Body and Civilizaton: Concluded
In my first post I pointed out that the human body is not made to dominate violently. Our ability to civilize, to entice with the fruits of our civilization, to bait an animal into a corral, is what has given us dominance.
My opponent claims that our ability to manipulate the environment is necessarily violent and thus that our dominance is dependent on the sword. I disagree. The tools of construction exist to implement ideas and fall under the category of the pen. Only the tools of destruction fall under the category of the sword. You can't beat swords into plowshares and then claim that war put food on the table.
We construct cities where predators cannot lurk in the brush. We create conveyances that carry us through open spaces safe from the elements and the local wildlife. We build for ourselves a world outside of the reach of certain aspects of nature, and this is why humanity does not live in fear of predators, despite being excellent prey.

Point 2: The Human Brain (rebuttal included)
If one reads my opponent's first link, which he has labeled "designed for violence" he will find that the essay is in fact titled, "Are we designed for violence" and it concludes that we are not, and in fact that we are neurologically predisposed against violence. Violent behavior is not for the sake of violence, but for the sake of other goals, and results from neurological disfunctions which cause us to omit processes which cause us to discriminate against violence in our decision making processes.
My opponent's second link on violent media also refers to the parts of the brain which supress violent behavior, noting that these can become less active due to outside stimulus. However, the fact that we have a mechanism to supress violent behavior does not mean that we would otherwise be predisposed to violence, but only that we would otherwise be indifferent to violence. That can be found even in my opponent's own first link. I offer an analogy: If you had a certain disorder of the amygdala, you would not be capable of fear as normal people experience it. This does not demonstrate that you have a suicidal nature which must be suppressed, it just means you wouldn't take certain things into account normally. The same is true of how the inhibitive mechanisms of the frontal lobe supress violence. If those mechanisms are defective, it does not unveil an innate propensity for violence, but merely takes the aversion to violence out of our considerations.

All of that however has to do with defects of the human brain. Now let's talk about a properly functioning brain.
We have already covered the fact that the human brain is wired to prefer non-violent behavior when functioning normally. Additionally, the human brain knows that if you're not strong, you better be smart. And since you are nature's perfect food strong is usually out of the question. That's why the human brain is wired to always try something clever first. Only if clever preparation fails to protect us, and a threat becomes immiment, will the brain "downshift" and allow the primitive reptilian brain to trigger a fight of flight response. Relationship of the R-complex, Limbic System, and Cerebral Cortex. Violence is the last resort, as far as the brain is concerned, because while it is the swiftest response it is also that which has done us the least good in the course of our evolution. If that were not the case, humans would walk around in fight or flight mode all day until some stimulus triggered us to calm down and start thinking.

Wrapping up
So far my opponent has characterized the greatest initiative of the pen as greater than the greatest initiative of the sword. He also admits that if he could accomplish one thing, it would be a work of the pen, not of the sword. My opponent's approach has been that the two are so closely related that they are virtually equal, but that the sword gets the final word and so it is slightly superior. Such sophistry can't stand. When the pen and sword cooperate they are vital to eachother. An army can accomplish nothing of consequence without a cause or without a strategy. It comes down to which can do more on its own, the pen or the sword. The Pen kept working when the sword was laid down in the struggle for civil rights. The pen triumphed for women's suffrage without significant contribution from the sword. The human body and human brain have developed to maximize their use of the pen, not the sword. In the coming posts we will delve even deeper into history, and resolve once and for all that the pen is the greater of these two often complimentary instruments because it has the capacity to accomplish great things without the help of the sword, and because it can in many cases render the sword unnecessary.

posted on Jan, 23 2008 @ 06:47 AM
Exhibition Debate.

The Vagabond v Semperfortis:

“Is The Pen Mightier Than The Sword?”

Semper’s Reply #1


“Let’s bring the debate back into focus” Shall we?

If we are to predispose that the term “Pen” references any idea, then this debate can only be fairly argued by defining the “Sword” as an action, any action. So we shall proceed as defined by my opponent.

Ideas vs. Actions:

Of what use are ideas without actions? My opponent’s own argument has established the debate for me. I was perfectly happy to remain defining the “Sword” as violence, but now that we have new, broader definitions to follow, if the “Pen” is an idea, then the “Sword” must be an action.

Of what use is any idea, any thought or human design without the “action” necessary to carry out, to bring to fruition that very idea?

My opponent mentions woman’s suffrage. Where would women be today if that had remained simply an idea? Someone’s random thought without action?
Where would the Races be today if Equal Rights had stayed only in the mind of the great Doctor? Never acted upon?

So let’s examine the foundations of both Ideas and Actions.

We all have ideas; all day long our minds are racing, formulating expressions, examining information and either accepting or discarding those very same ideas. Yet in order for any of those ideas to come to pass, one must resort to action. That is a fact.

What about action? Can there be action without thought? Without any idea?

How about “Involuntary Manslaughter”?

A death that is brought about by the “Unintentional Killing” of another due to negligence or reckless behavior.

Action without thought.

Shoot an arrow straight up into the air with no thought as to where it may land. Possible consequence? Devastating to you.

Consider this:

If there was no action without thought, we would never survive a confrontation as we would never “React.”
Muscle memory process learned in Martial Arts would be useless as we would have to take the time to “Think” about an action before acting. How long do you suppose we would have survived prehistorically like that?

Someone throws something at your head and you duck. Do you have to think about it? Of course not.

All perfect examples of action without thought, without an idea, and yet I can find no instance of thought without action making an impact on life, or anything else for that matter.

Even beautiful poetry must be written down for us to enjoy it.

Again, the sword proves far mightier than the pen.

There can be no knowledge of an idea without an action. No one knows if I have invented or discovered that “Inexhaustible Energy Source” unless I take action and write it down, tell someone else, or build the thing.

Ideas without actions are useless, meandering thoughts that we all have everyday and have no impact whatsoever on our lives.

The sword is the power behind the idea, the action to see that idea become form and substance. Key words, the “Sword is the Power.”

The sword can also effectively be used without thought, with no idea to wield it, as I have shown. The pen has no such ability.

My opponent spends some time on the good Dr. King.
Dr. King had a dream, but that dream would have been meaningless without his courage to act; to stand before an angry nation and actively express himself and actively tell us his dream, his ideas. Dr. King knew the sword was the way to effect change, that the pen was powerless by itself. Of what use was Dr. King’s dream without the courage to act on that dream?

Dr. King was the Sword!

Ever hear this?

“Actions Speak Louder than Words”

(Yes I concede that it was Tulips and not Lilies)

In my opponents paragraph on the Human Body and Civilization he again emphasizes my point exactly.
He states, “Our ability to civilize, entice and bait” all action words, all parts of the sword. All ideas that had no meaning, no form yet brought to life through action, through the use of the sword.

He continues on using such words as construct, create and build all defining instances of the use of the sword. Not ideas, but actions. The Sword.

My opponent spends some time explaining how it is that we have the mechanisms to suppress violence. What person will not fight to the death, without thought, to defend themselves or their child? We kill for food, we kill for passion, we kill for politics and we kill for convenience. All violent actions, all supposedly suppressible and yet here we are living in a violent world, in our violent society around our violent neighbors. If our violent natures are so completely suppressible, why the need for everything I carry in my car and on my person each and everyday?

The very fact that we have used the sword, our actions, to dominate this world as effectively as we have, negates my opponent’s argument quite completely as to us being any sort of “perfect food”. Want a perfect food? Look to the Plankton my friend. A drifting, floating organism incapable of action and considered the most important food source in the planet.

“All Things Tend To Chaos”

Science Writer Steven Pinker’s book, “The Blank Slate”, clearly illustrates man’s inclination for violence kept in check only barely by imposed restraints.

He further states that “direct signs of design for aggression” include the fact that “disruptions of inhibitory systems (can lead to aggressive attacks)”. This establishes our proclivity for violent action as only being suppressed not absent.
The violence comes first to us naturally, and is then suppressed, so you tell me which is the more natural.

Now I am not saying that Humans resort to violence simply for the sake of that violence. Hardly. In fact the only mammal known to exhibit such inclinations is the common house cat.
I am saying that Humans will at times use violence without hesitation or restraint or even thought; that the violent nature of the Human species trumps the ideological every time. The sword is indeed mightier than the pen.

When “OG” the Prehistoric Human, hit “UG” over the head and took his food, did “OG” stop to consider that he should repress his violent nature, or did he act violently to survive?

If we are going to approach this historically, we were “Prehistoric” far longer than we have been what could be considered “Modern”. The Pen, or an idea won’t feed “OG”, for that he must act.

“Science Daily” found that our violence is controlled by a series of “Checks and Balances” that regulate negative behavior.
Science Daily
Remaining politically correct, as a whole we may conclude differently, but we all know the truth.
If that violence must be controlled, it would follow that it is the more natural action. More basic to our functions as humans.

Be that as it may be, the fact that we suppress our violent natures in no way proves or disproves the simple conclusion that actions are more powerful than ideas and therefore, the sword is far mightier than the pen.

As my opponent “wraps up” he again completely supplies you with proof of my argument. He states in his summation “The ‘use’ of the pen” and “the ‘work’ of the pen” all actions not ideas as my opponent would have you believe.

He further states the pen has the capacity to accomplish great things without the use of the sword. For this I would again make use of the Socratic Option.

“What idea has ever brought the slightest change, without the use of some action?”

Please feel free to elaborate for I know of no thought, no idea that has ever caused anything by itself without action. (Short of telekinesis of course, which is still an action)


My original two definitions that restricted this debate to violence and communications have been broadened by my opponent. I will not allow him to expand on his definition of the “Pen” and yet restrict my definition of the “Sword” and as such have encompassed his debate parameters into my reply.

This in essence brings to the table the question. What ever happens without an action? The answer is easy and succinct, nothing.

An idea can not bring about change if that idea is not acted upon. Hence the sword proves mightier than the pen.
A thought has no substance without action to bring that thought to life. Again, the sword proves mightier than the pen.

Yet I have shown you where action without thought can bring great and sometimes terrible consequences.

Again, the conclusion is impossible to escape.

The Sword is far mightier than the Pen.

Thank you,


posted on Jan, 23 2008 @ 04:07 PM
My opponent has clearly come to understand that the powers of destruction are inferior to those of construction, because he is now attempting to define any action, even a constructive one, as the territory of the sword.

My opponent says that it is only fair that the sword be defined as action, any action.
Socratic Question 1:
Do you believe that the sword represents the act of writing? Your post heavily infers that you do, but I want to be absolutely clear: Can you stand here with a straight face and say that the sword represents the act of writing better than the pen does?

The definitions I proposed were based on the symbolism of the pen and the sword. What does the pen do? It sets down information. What is information? Knowledge and Ideas. What does humanity do with knowledge and ideas? It builds. What does the sword do? It destroys.

Construction verus Destruction, Peace versus Violence: that is the contrast made by the symbols. If there was anything unfair about that, my opponent should have spoken up when we chose the topic. The fact that half way through the debate I have convinced my own opponent that my side is clearly correct does not make the topic unfair. Yet my opponent only justifies his definition by "fairness". The definition I have offered is based on logic.

By focusing his entire second post on this ridiculous definition, and basing all of his rebuttals and arguments on it, my opponent has provided a psuedo-response.

He does not provide any response to the fact that his own sources from his previous post contradicted his arguments about a violent human nature- he simply continued to talk about that violent human nature, this time with the example of cavemen, who none of us have ever seen. In other words, he asks you to decide the debate based on stereotype and speculation, because his own facts worked against him.

My opponent even based his one question on this definition, which I find amusing, because I still have an answer. Psychosomatic illness.
The power of the mind over the body: The idea that you are sick can make you sick. As a matter of fact, the US Government claims that Gulf War Syndrome is psychosomatic. That would mean that your thoughts CAN KILL YOU.

That, of course, perfectly represents the problem with my opponent's definition. His example of action without thought: Involuntary Manslaughter. And a thought without action? Also deadly.

My opponent's definition of the question forcibly separates thought and action- two things that were never meant to be separated, and the result of that is not a question of which is better, but which is worse, because both are very dangerous. If that were the definition of the question, nobody would bother to ask the question.

The true definition is peace versus violence, construction versus destruction: those are things that ARE meant to be separated. Each has its time and its place and compliments and even creates the other in a yin and yang cycle, but they are opposites and they can exist independently, unlike thought and action. My opponent's defintion simply doesn't make sense.

The Pen and Sword in Religion
The history of Christianity provides an outstanding example of the power of the pen over the sword. Whether you believe it is by Providence or for secular reasons, perhaps psychological or sociological, for some reason, Christianity does its best work when it is wielding the pen in opposition to the sword. It does its worst when it wields the sword.

The Vatican attempted to destroy percieved cults of John the Baptist and Mary Magdalene by the sword. Where did it get them? Those ideas are bigger news today than they ever were before: could the Da Vinci Code have sold over 60 million copies if there had never been an attempt to supress the idea? Ideas that once represented less than 1% of Christianity today can sell half as many copies as the bible itself, because the sword was counter-productive.

On the other hand, when Christianity stands against the sword with only the pen, it thrives. Where is Christianity growing the fastest? China. It's even doing well in Sudan. What the crusades could never accomplish is being accomplished by sending books to places where they aren't allowed. The sword is not only failing to stop the pen- the sword is undermining itself against the pen.

Wrapping Up
My opponent's definition is clearly flawed, and is a sign of desperation. My opponent has raised no point now that does not rest on that definition, which is defeated.

My opponent has already conceeded the superiority of the pen in his answers to my first questions, so he's done if he can't change the definition of the pen, but he can't.

While my opponent protests that it isn't fair that he's stuck with the wrong position, I've shown you that our bodies, our minds, and our behavior with respect to religion all reflect the superiority of the pen. I have done so, in the case of the mind, using my opponent's own links.

I will now conclude for this round so that my opponent can recover from what my pen has inflicted on him.

posted on Jan, 24 2008 @ 06:34 AM
Exhibition Debate.

The Vagabond v Semperfortis:

“Is The Pen Mightier Than The Sword?”

Semper’s Reply #2


Ah, It would appear my approach to the subject matter has somewhat “gotten under” my opponents skin.

My opponent asks if I consider the “Act of writing” as representative of the sword. Yet my opponent simply and quietly refuses to answer my “Socratic Question” as was agreed upon at the start of the debate.

An oversight? Or deliberate deflection?

I have freely accepted my opponent’s broadened definition of any thought, any idea, being relevant to the pen, and yet even after readily accepting his “BROAD definition, he begrudges me the free expression of allowing action to define the sword.

I will answer his Socratic Question, yet I must do so with a question and a comment as I failed to obtain an answer for mine.

“Do I consider the act of writing as representative of the sword?”

Answer: Only if you consider “Un-Acted” upon thoughts to represent the “Pen”.

Question: If you are going to argue the ethereal, how is it you deny me the same?

Now that my opponents concerns have been address as well as his desperation, I shall continue with the debate.

My opponent attempts to convince you that the Pen is simply constructive and the Sword is simply destructive.

I am sure that no one can accept such restrictive definitions as accurate.

The sword, or actions, can be as constructive as the person wielding them. As I mentioned previously,

Doctor Martin Luther King was the sword for the civil rights movement. His actions were not negative or destructive, but positive and led our nation on a path we still continue down to this day.

The pen can be used as justification for the destructive use of the mighty sword. Just read “Mein Kampf” if you have any doubts about the destructive abilities of the pen.

Did not Osama Ben-Laden use the “Pen”, The writings of the Quran, to justify his atrocities?

There are far too many to spend time here listing, you get the idea.

Just for the sake of argument and to mildly placate my opponent is his time of need; let us look at some other positive aspects of the sword.

Temporary pause from Rebuttal”:

President Washington’s contribution to the founding of this nation is a perfect example of the sword in action. Choosing to allow others to draft the documents necessary for securing liberty, he was the sword that led the way to freedom. His was a life of action and he represents the physical embodiment of the sword perfectly.
Did the Constitution or Declaration of Independence free our nation? No. The actions of great men, led by George Washington, the sword of America, gave us our independence.

Again, the sword is far mightier.

When the Republic of North Korea invaded their southern neighbor, South Korea, did we write them a nasty letter, or call them hateful names? Did we use the pen to run them back across their border? Of course we did not. We used the sword that is the United States Military and pushed them back into their own country.

Again, the sword triumphs.

The examples are endless throughout history where the sword was used in a positive manner to effect positive change. Usually when the pen was tried and found to be inadequate.

That’s correct my friends, when the PEN WAS FOUND TO BE INADEQUATE the sword was brought to bear to effect positive change.

As the Pen is historically found to be inadequate to effect change, where is the argument here? The Sword is the instrument of change, the sword is the powerful instrument turned to when the pen fails, and the sword is proven again to be the mightier!

We may not like the fact that violent action has been the instrument of change, both for good and evil, but we can not deny the facts as they exist.

“Continuing with my rebuttal”:

My opponent continues to spend an inordinate amount of time on Human Nature and not the subject. I have rebutted his propositions and he interprets them differently. I say fine, yet this does not affect the debate topic at all. Whether or not humans are inherently violent, I believe they are, does not impact the result. The sword as wielded by those humans is far mightier than the pen.
As I have yet again shown.

My opponent then goes on to open the doors of morality with his Christian references. I did not come here to debate the morality of the pen as opposed to the sword. We are discussing which is mightier; not that which is morally right or wrong, if I am not mistaken and I am sure I am not.

The morality of Adolph Hitler can of course be called into play. Yet when he took action and conquered all of those countries, did he write them nasty letters and expect them to give up? No he used the “Blitzkrieg”. The sword

You can argue the morality, but you can not argue which is mightier in that instance, or in the use of the sword that eventually stopped Adolph Hitler. We did not call him and ask him to stop, we did not write him a note, we did not think him to death, we brought out the sword of freedom, as did all the nations that opposed him and using that mighty sword, we defeated him with our more powerful sword.

We are not arguing morals.

Perhaps it was not moral to drop the Atom Bomb on Japan, but the pen was tried and failed. That’s correct, negotiations were attempted and the approach was refused. So we resorted to the sword, the mightier of the two and we ended WWII.

In finishing my rebuttal, I have puzzled long over the meaning of my opponent’s “Wrapping up.”

I will only say that my definition of the sword fits quite nicely in the debate while my opponent struggles with morals and fails to answer proposed questions.


Now being fair, I must say that the pen has its place. Like the fuse in a grenade, it ignites the sword to action. Also like that fuse, one can not argue which is the mightier. I have thrown many, many grenades and never observed the fuse harm anyone. The grenade and the sword are far and above the mightier.

Again to reference the Declaration of Independence, it was that document, forged by the pen that ignited us into action. Yet it was the sword of the Colonial Army that was the might in giving us our freedom. Again, the sword proves mightier than the pen.

Again and again I have shown you proof that the pen vastly pales in comparison to the sword in terms of Might.

I have shown you historical instances and effectively rebutted my opponent’s references, proven further the power of the sword and the ineffectiveness of the pen.

It is now clear that my opponent’s pen falls far short of the power of my sword.

The sword is indeed mightier than the pen.

Thank you,


posted on Jan, 25 2008 @ 03:35 AM
My opponent has falsely accused me of failing to honor the rules, and I will begin by addressing that.

My opponent's question, in the post before his last post, was as follows

"What idea has ever brought the slightest change, without the use of some action?"

And in my response to his post, I answered his question. I said the following:

My opponent even based his one question on this definition, which I find amusing, because I still have an answer. Psychosomatic illness.

My opponent's question backfired. He asked what he thought was an unanswerable question, and he got an answer. The only response he could come up with was to deny it, and hope that readers wouldn't go back up to my post and read it for themselves in plain black and white. Such desperate and dishonest conduct says a lot about who my opponent thinks is winning this debate.

My opponent will no doubt backtrack now, and claim that he was merely saying my answer "wasn't good enough". Yet my opponent said, in plain black and white that I simply and quietly refused to answer. "Quietly refused to answer" sounds nothing like "gave an insufficient answer", my friend, so don't you dare. In fact I will invest a question on this, lest my opponent clam up and hope that people skim over this fact:

Question 1: Did you or did you not accuse me of refusing to answer a question that I did in fact give an answer to?

The key point in this debate
This debate has come to hinge on the definition of the pen and the sword. My opponent has based every argument he has presented in his last two posts on the idea that all action is represented by the sword and that only ideas are represented by the pen. I will therefore dedicate this post to demonstrating the impossibility of my opponent's definition.

The question at issue is which is mightier, the pen or the sword. This question is metaphorical. Let us examine the metaphors.

What does a sword do? A sword kills. What is killing? The destruction of life. The sword represents the power to destroy.

What does a pen do? A pen writes. What is writing? The creation and recording of information and ideas. The pen represents the power to create.

Consider the axiom, "the pen is mightier than the sword" as you have heard it used.
Has that ever been taken to mean "thinking is better than doing" as my opponent's definition suggests?

Or has it meant that brains are superior to brawn, that peaceful action is greater than violent action?
So who's definition is more accurate- mine, or my opponent's?

My opponent asks "If you are going to argue the ethereal, how is it you deny me the same?"
I respond, "because his definition because does not accurately reflect the metaphor of the pen and the sword, while mine does."
This is not about "free expression" as my opponent put it, but about accuracy. He is welcome to his own opinion, even if it's baseless. He is not, however, entitled to his own facts, just because the existing facts are damning to his case.

I will invest my second question on pointing out this foolishness.
Question 2: Is the right to re-define words to suit your argument really a matter of free expression in your opinion?

That is the entire debate. The rest is merely my opponent's circular logic. He claims that the sword means action of any kind, not necessarily destructive. He then points out that Martin Luther King was a man of action, but that his action was not destructive. Therefore he concludes that the sword is not necessarily destructive. That, my friends is textbook circular logic. He does the same dance with example after example, but ultimately the entire debate comes down to whose definition is correct.
My opponent and I are not even talking about the same thing. One of us is on topic and one of us has completely lost the plot. Unless you believe that the ACT of WRITING is more related to the sword than to the pen, which is a necessary conclusion if my opponent's definition is correct, then my opponent's definition must be wrong and therefore scarcely even talking about the true topic of this debate.

When one accepts the truth that peaceful, thoughtful actions based on ideas are not works of the sword, but works of the pen, then my opponent's arguments all fall apart.
Yes George Washington did wield the sword by the true definition. But later he wielded the pen.

Suppose that George Washington had helped us win the revolutionary war, and then retired from public life. Suppose that ALL of our founding fathers did that. Suppose that when the war was over, and the sword was no longer needed, that none of those men had taken up the pen.

If that had happened, today the United States of America would be no different from Afghanistan- that's what happens when you win the war and then keep fighting instead of picking up the pen. If it were not for their work with the pen, our founding fathers would not be our heroes, but the ARCH-VILLAINS of American history. One can never be great for destruction if one does not then create in equal proportion. That is what separates Alexander the Great from Genghis Kahn, and what separates our Founding Fathers from the Taliban. The sword is an abomination unless it clears the way for the pen. Yet the pen can be great on its own. Therefore the pen is superior.

Last but not least, my opponent has made the mistake of thinking that my links regarding Christianity had something to do with morality. They do not.

I'm talking about RESULTS. About the POWER TO ACCOMPLISH. About MIGHT.

My references make the point that when Christian ideals are opposed by the sword, they are not eradicated, but rather they spread.

And when Christianity has attempted to eradicate a work of the pen by the sword, those works of the pen have not only survived, but gained a greater following.

The point is simple: The history of the world's largest religion demonstrates that the sword cannot eradicate the pen. When the two come into conflict, the pen outlasts the sword.

Wrapping up
On every front my opponent is left with nothing but spin and dishonesty.

He takes links that say very plainly that the brain is not wired for violence and he lables them "designed for violence".

When I started winning the debate early, he tried to change the definition and whine about "fairness" and "free expression" neither of which has a thing to do with what is factual.

When I shoot down that definition he ignores it and keeps going with circular logic and attempts to wrap his position up in the flag.

When he thinks he's got a real stumper of a question and I answer it, he tries to deny that I answered him.

When I present him with history that shows the pen defeating the sword, he writes it off as moralizing.

This debate is clear. The pen creates and records ideas. The sword destroys stuff. My opponent's only rebuttal is that it's unfair and hampers his free expression.

Humans are built and driven to create- only disfunctional brains prefer to destroy stuff. My opponent's OWN SOURCES say so.

Humans dominate this planet because they are best at creating, not because they are best suited to inflict destruction. My opponent's rebuttal hinges on a ridiculous definition.

History shows that those who create ideas usually beat those who try to destroy them. My opponent dismisses this as an irrelevant moral tale.

My case is clear, and it is logical. My opponent's responses are sophisticated but ultimately hollow.

The Pen is Mightier Than the Sword.

posted on Jan, 25 2008 @ 07:46 AM
Exhibition Debate.

The Vagabond v Semperfortis:

“Is The Pen Mightier Than The Sword?”

Semper’s Reply #3

I would like to begin first by addressing Integrity. I make full and complete apology to my opponent and beg his forgiveness in regards to the “Socratic Question” issue I erroneously raised in my previous post. I was negligent in my attention and apparently glossed over the pertinent information and would offer my apologies to my esteemed opponent in this regards.

To answer my Opponent’s Socratic Question: Yes I did.

Now on with the debate:


A few posts ago, my opponent makes this statement. “My opponent asserts the meaning of the pen to be limited entirely to communication. This is an unjustifiably limited view.”

In this statement, my opponent opened the definition of “The Pen” up and expanded it to suit his debate. I initially included a comprehensive definition of “Pen and Sword” to work from and get to the “meat” of the debate.

As my opponent wished to expand on the definition of the “Pen”, as evidenced by his words above, I expanded the definition of the “Sword” to fit those parameters.

Now my opponent makes this statement. “What does a pen do? A pen writes. What is writing? The creation and recording of information and ideas.”

My opponent needs to make up his mind what he is debating.

My opponent also goes on to equate the sword with “destruction”, “killing” and the “power to destroy”.

Yet who can argue that my reference to Dr. Martin Luther King was the “SWORD” of freedom in the Civil Rights Movement?

Was not George Washington, as I referenced, the “SWORD” of freedom for the colonists?

Relax people, I have seen this before. Quite often when a debater finds themselves losing ground in a debate and running out of fresh material, or trying to recover from a reeling blow, they attempt to redefine the debate. This is common and not unexpected. I will however continue with my debate as before completely comfortable in the definitions my opponent was previously comfortable with.

My opponent asks what a sword does. Of course he then follows it up with his definitions; killing, destruction etc, all designed to impact you negatively and in his favor. Let’s examine what else a sword does.

A sword protects
A sword defends
A sword supplies

Throughout history people have attempted to enslave, restrict and remove all liberties from man. This is an unfortunate fact, but a fact no less. At those times throughout history, man has found it necessary to PROTECT himself, DEFEND his liberties and SUPPLY his self and his family with the necessities of life using the SWORD.

During those times in mankind’ history, was communicating an idea enough to resolve the conflict? Could they have written a nasty note and regained their freedoms? Could they have created a document to feed their families?


They turned to the sword to effect the changes necessary to allow them to defend their lives, regain their liberties and supply their needs.

Why did they turn to the sword?

Because the pen was inadequate.

Game, Set and Match

The sword is FAR mightier than the pen.

My opponent mentions that “Brains are Superior to Brawn” and “peaceful action is greater than violent action”.

Does this not depend on the context of what one is discussing? Brains are superior to brawn if one is discussing the human desire to live in peace. Therefore in that context peaceful action is MORE DESIRABLE than violent action.

But let me stress again, we are not arguing what we all would LIKE or prefer, we are arguing which as MIGHTIER.

Don’t allow my opponent to use all of our natural desires to live in peace and harmony, deflect you from what is being debated here.

As horrendous as one may consider violence, as horrible as physical action is to some, as I have referenced above, the sword proves mightier than the pen in every instance.

Sir Isaac Newton formulated this: “A physical body will remain at rest or continue to move at a constant velocity, unless an external force acts upon it”.
Note that Newton did not say “Until you write it a letter” or “Until you draft a resolution”, no he said quite clearly an “external force”.

Even Newton knew the Sword is Mightier than the Pen.

I asked my opponent this, "If you are going to argue the ethereal, how is it you deny me the same?"

His response was this, "because his definition does not accurately reflect the metaphor of the pen and the sword, while mine does."

I ask all of you this, “Is it my opponents duty or obligation to determine what is more accurate or who’s side more accurately reflects what?

If it is, I lost the debate before I began my friends as my opponent will not obviously decide in my favor.
OF COURSE IT IS NOT HIS DUTY; that is your duty as the readers of this debate, not his.

Answer to my opponent’s second Socratic Question:

“Is the right to re-define words to suit your argument really a matter of free expression in your opinion?”

Answer: As I have shown very succinctly above, you have not only defined, but again RE-defined your “pen” to suit your argument. I was simply trying to continue the debate along parameters that fit with my opponent so as to limit confusion. Yet if you continue to “define” your “pen” it will quickly become hard to follow you my friend.

My opponent says that one of us is on topic and the other has lost the “plot”, I wonder which definition he is using to determine this.

My opponent states that President Washington did indeed wield the sword, but later turned to the pen. I have no “beef” with that, as we all must retire our swords eventually. You must decide which actions of the Great Man are the mightier, violently ripping the colonies from an oppressive rule of arguably the greatest military force on the planet at that time, The Sword, or the day to day ministrations of an Administrator, The Pen?

My opponent again in his Christianity references equates the “Pen” to an “idea’. I really wish he would pick a definition and stick to it, this is hard to follow.

As for Christian ideals spreading, I never once dismissed the power of the pen or the effect it has had on us. In point of fact, I have mentioned it several times. It is just very clear that the pen is NOT mightier than the sword. More persistent? More desirable? Perhaps, but in no way mightier.

In his summation, again my opponent argues in my behalf. While I appreciate it, I can do quite nicely myself. My opponent states that humans dominate the planet because they are best at creating.

No my friend.

Humans dominate because we can use tools. Simply, factual and perfectly inline with my contention. The Sword again proves mightier than the Pen.

Much of the remainder of my opponent’ post is off topic and irrelevant to the debate. Again attempting to sway you with emotional suggestion and hyperbole.

Again after realizing my mistake and making my apology, I began rereading the entire debate thus far. I fail to see how any conclusion can be made other than the fact the Sword is FAR and ABOVE mightier than the pen. Look at some mighty swords from our past.

Alexander the Great,
Genghis Kahn,
President Washington,
Dr. King,
President Lincoln,
"Ike" Eisenhower,
Winston Churchill,

The list is virtually endless.

While all old “War Horses” must eventually hang their swords up, the impact they had in using those swords can not be denied or dismissed. Their swords were perhaps the mightiest instruments ever used on this planet. Not their pens.

As you read this debate, I ask that you remove any emotional repulsion you may have at violence. While the world in general now hates Adolph Hitler, historically you can not deny the power of the sword he wielded. You may not approve of the use of the Atomic Bomb, but in deciding this debate, you can not dismiss the effects of that sword.

In essence, the only conclusion is simple.

The Sword is FAR mightier than the Pen.

Thank you,


posted on Jan, 25 2008 @ 09:49 AM
This has been a great debate. Much has been said in very little time. Our readers certainly have a lot to sort through. I will therefore make my summation brief.

We are confronted by the question, "Is the pen mightier than the sword". In order to answer that question, we must determine what those two items are and what they represent. Indeed that has proven to be the major bone of contention in this debate. We have each accused eachother of attempting unjustifiable redefinitions of those terms.

It is up to you, the reader, to decide who has offered a more compelling definition.

My opponent has asserted several times that the sword represents any action, even non-violent action, even though when he began this debate, he clearly associated it with violence (see his first socratic question).

I have asserted from the beginning, that the sword represents violence, and the pen the cleverness- the creation and application of ideas.

It is up to you to determine now, having read our arguments, what the pen and the sword really mean. You must decide whether or not you believe that Doctor Martin Luther King Jr. really belongs in the same class as Genghis Kahn- whether the leader of one of the most profoundly impactful non-violent movements in history is really represented by a crude weapon.

Once you have determined the definitions it is up to you to determine which item, as you define it after reading our arguments, is more powerful.

You must decide how George Washington made his greatest mark: By getting his butt kicked up and down the East Coast for the majority of the war, or by rejecting the offer of a crown and setting a two-term tradition so that the revolution could not be undone, and asserting the separation of powers between the legislature and the executive (among many other history-making "day to day ministrations of an administrator").

When you consider these questions, remember that my opponent himself, in his answers to my first questions, characterized the foundation of the Roman Empire as an act of the Pen rather than the Sword, and admitted that to be greater than the unleashing of the atomic bomb. You must remember that he chose a feat of knowledge- the discovery of an unlimited energy supply- as the single most important thing he could possibly do if given the power.

Remember that my opponent himself gave you links proving my assertion that the human brain is designed to work with and derive power from the pen ahead of the sword.

Remember that my opponent has based his definition on claims on fairness and free expression, not from any inspection of the two contrasting images.

In my last post, I asked him a very direct question about that, and I got a very indirect answer. I got a paragraph about how my definition confuses him. I'm still curious: does my opponent or does my opponent not believe that his free expression includes the right to re-define words, so that the act of writing is represented by the sword, as he claimed earlier, or so that the sword represents non-violence? We may never know. We sure as hell aren't getting a yes or no out of him.

To conclude, I put the question to the readers in this manner:

What does this world need the most? If you were going to give this world just one thing of incredible importance, what would it be?

Now whatever that thing is, I'm sure it is a daunting task. You are just one person, facing that incredible goal.

Would you rather be just one person with a REALLY big gun? Or just one person with a REALLY good plan? Which of the two would get you further?

My friends, the answer is clear. The pen is mightier than the sword.

posted on Jan, 25 2008 @ 11:16 PM
Exhibition Debate.

The Vagabond v Semperfortis:

“Is The Pen Mightier Than The Sword?”

Semper’s Closing

So it really is at the end. Sad really. All through this debate, my mind has raced during the day formulating and constructing replies to my more than worthy opponent.
At nights I have some difficulty sleeping, trust me not debate related, and would find myself back at the PC writing down ideas. I have been challenged and thoroughly enjoyed this match up and contest of ideas and personalities.

Let me take a moment and openly congratulate my opponent on his recent ATS promotion. For some that may not know, TheVagabond has “many irons” in the fire in his life, and to have shown the dedication and devotion that he has to this site is simply amazing.

Now my closing:

“Is the Pen mightier than the Sword”?

Being as we are on a forum board, chock full of people that enjoy expressing their opinions to others, relish using the pen as it were, I knew I had a rough road to travel. I was not mistaken. I struggled with numerous issues, not the least was my desire to NOT convince some of the newer members reading this, that their contributions on ATS, their “Pen” if you would, is anything short of amazingly important. I truly hope that my intent was clear and would like to say, win or lose in your minds, I treasure my ability to put pen to paper here especially at ATS. I like to imagine at times I have affected some other lives in my endeavors, educated and been taught, met friends and watched others leave. All of this is part of the great and lasting power of the pen; all so eloquently expressed by my opponent all through this debate. No matter how you may view this debate, I believe that sentiment is held dearly by my opponent as much as by me.

In the short time we had, TheVagabond and I fought over definitions, human evolution, historical significance and even verbiage. We went at it aggressively and completely unfettered in our desire to express our side of the issue. Reading it all again for the umpteenth time, I feel we accomplished that goal.

I am going to completely break the “Semperfortis” pattern of ‘Punching through” with my closing. I have presented my side of the debate as thoroughly as I am capable of in my previous postings and as my esteemed opponent so eloquently put it, “It is now up to you to decide.”

We both approached differently the open and arbitrary definition of the word “Sword” and the word “Pen”. It remains my contention that a “Sword” can not only easily be personified but perhaps this is the better definition in the scheme of things.

The second definition given in the Online Dictionary states:

Sword: “this weapon as the symbol of military power, punitive justice, authority, etc.”
Online Dictionary

To me the great Doctor Martin Luther King, referenced so many times this debate, embodies the “Sword” far more than the Samurai Blade I have hanging behind me as I type this. As does President Washington and all the others I quoted. This I truly believe.

I also believe that in the course of our lives, there comes for us all a time of action. All of us will one day be faced with a choice to act, or not, and we must all live with whatever decision we make at that time. Do we continue to use our “Pen” to insist we be heard, or do we take up our “Sword” and act in defense of ourselves, our liberties and our freedoms? Why is it necessary to take up the sword? Because the pen is inadequate for us all at one time or another and stronger methods are necessary. Mightier methods. Whether we are protecting the liberty of owning our own property, defending the freedom from abuse of a loved one or ourselves or simply fighting to ensure the continuance of our lives, we will all face that choice eventually. We must all ultimately decide that as awesome as the power of the pen is, the mighty sword is at time necessary to combat that which can not be fought by the pen.

In viewing this debate, I would ask one thing of all of you. I would request that you not totally disregard the lives of such men, such embodiments of the sword as Dr. King, Lincoln, Washington and Churchill. To deny their actions, to diminish their taking up of the sword, becoming the physical representative of the sword, is to deny what they fought for; all of our freedoms.

I ask also that you not dismiss easily the opposite end of that use of the sword. While Hitler, Pol Pot, Kahn and the like are evil representations of the use of the sword, it is their misuse of the sword that gave us the hero’s listed above. Also as abhorrent as it may be, their power, their might if you will, is undeniable and historically relevant.

In summing up, I would also like to again address our/your probable aversion to violence. In deciding the result of this debate in your mind, remember that we all have an aversion to violence imposed by living in a civilized society. Whether this is natural or not was also debated, but never denied that it exists. This aversion will make all of us tend to “want” the “pen” to be the mightier. We all want to progress in our civilization to the point where violent behavior, the “sword”, is completely unnecessary and the power of the “pen” will truly triumph the power of the “sword”. I ask that you look upon this with an open mind and remember that we are not there yet. Remember your natural aversion to violence and your obvious propensity for using the pen, and decide which is more powerful upon their own merits, as presented here and not on which you would innately prefer.

Finally I salute my opponent and congratulate him on a well fought debate.

Thank you for your time,


posted on Jan, 26 2008 @ 06:17 PM
What an OUTSTANDING debate. This was a lot of fun. At present, the stars are virtually TIED- (actually I have one more, but semper gave me a star on my closing because he's an incredibly nice guy).

This debate is now open to comment by all debaters.

If I may, I'd like to start a little tradition for this commenting process by pointing out what I think my opponent's biggest strengths were, and what I think my biggest weakness was.

Semper did one thing that almost nobody manages to do against me, and that's STICK TO HIS POSITION.
I love nothing more than getting to closing arguments, and being able to point out all of the points that my opponent has backed down on or reinterpreted his position on.
Semper's consistency was a MAJOR assett to him. The sheer strength of consistent assertion, particularly on the definition of the topic, kept him up, and in fact ahead of me for a good part of the debate, when I was just so sure that I could take a leg out from under him.

He also made very good use of rebuttal. I've often found that when I'm arguing a tough position, I can strengthen my showing by putting as much or more effort into proving my opponent wrong as I put into proving my own position right. He did a very good job of using the rebuttal to make this debate about whether or not the pen can get anything done, rather than letting himself get stuck entirely with whether or not the sword is a good thing.

My biggest mistake was trying to pull to much into the definition of my position. I probably should have kept the debate at Brains versus Brawn rather than trying to claim all of construction and civilization. It may not have been unjustified, but it took a lot of effort to sell, and the clearer and more concise a position can be, the better.

Well fought my friend.

posted on Jan, 26 2008 @ 09:09 PM
I like that tradition, mind if I join in?

TheVagabond's greatest strength in this debate, as far as I am concerned is his ability to intellectually fathom out the deepest subtleties of a topic in the shortest period of time.

No sooner had I attempted a different tact, then he slammed me on it...

That combined with his obviously superior general knowledge, makes him one dangerous opponent in the debate ring.

My biggest weakness?

Convincing myself and assuming that means I have convinced everyone. When I put together what I consider to be a logical and convincing argument, it bewilders me that everyone may not be able to see it... LOL

Agreed my friend, very well fought.


posted on Jan, 26 2008 @ 09:53 PM

This was an amazing debate. I have had a great deal of enjoyment not only reading the well thought out entries but expanding my view of this topic. To my mind you are both winners and I look forward to following a rematch.

Congrats to both of you.

posted on Jan, 27 2008 @ 08:16 AM
Very enjoyable. I had to call some people and tell them about it. This is the type of things to really test our youth in term papers and such.

posted on Jan, 27 2008 @ 08:35 AM
Its impossible for me to judge this debate to either side. Choosing any side would be unfair to the other. So I say its a tie.

The question I would have to both of you is: What are your actual beliefs about the pen being mightier than the sword?

posted on Jan, 27 2008 @ 11:52 AM
Great debate - I thoroughly enjoyed it.

This sets the standard of what it will take to beat semper in the championship, ar any debate for that matter.

posted on Jan, 27 2008 @ 12:29 PM

The question I would have to both of you is: What are your actual beliefs about the pen being mightier than the sword?

Like you said, a tie....


posted on Jan, 27 2008 @ 04:22 PM
It's an unanswerable question- apples and oranges. That's the beauty of it- it puts the burden all on the debaters.

posted on Jan, 28 2008 @ 01:09 AM
WOW!that was amazing...........YOU 2 are the best of the best...!

I think you guys should get another subject to debate on to make sure who is the winner!

new topics

top topics

<<   2 >>

log in