Round 2: schrodingers dog vs vkey08 - "Health Tax"

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posted on Dec, 14 2009 @ 05:09 PM
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The topic for this debate is "The Government should implement a 'health tax' or ban on unhealthy foods to promote better lifestyles among its' citizens. ”

"schrodingers dog" will be arguing the "Pro" position and begin the debate.
"vkey08" will be arguing 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.

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posted on Dec, 15 2009 @ 03:18 PM
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Hi folks …

Before we begin, allow me to extend the usual, but still heartfelt and earnest 'thank you' to chissler, judges, readers, and most of all my esteemed opponent vkey08 for engaging me in the undertaking of this worthy intellectual duel.


The topic for this debate is "The Government should implement a 'health tax' or ban on unhealthy foods to promote better lifestyles among its' citizens” and I will be arguing the "Pro" position.

 


So I'm looking at this debate topic yesterday when it was first posted, and I don't mind telling you that a massive eye-roll took place when my eyes first laid upon it … 'Oh this is just great!' I mumbled to myself, all I got to do is convince a bunch of fiercely independent ATSers that we need MORE taxes and MORE government/ptb/NWO intervention!


Yet ...

Once I have laid all the facts before you, deconstructed the false premises upon which any contrary course of action would be founded, highlighted existing structure and legality, considered the alternatives, it will become abundantly clear that for all possible reasons that matter to a society, the government should tax and regulate unhealthy consumption.

Fact is, not only do all governments already do this, but they do it precisely because it is one of their primary raisons d'être!

Furthermore I will show beyond a doubt that such "pay for play" taxation is not only the fairest and most equitable of all, but will in fact inevitably lead to LESS taxation, LESS government, and a healthier population.

I will expound upon these fundamental elements as we delve deeper into this debate. For now and for the purposes of this opening post, I will say the following and urge you to keep it in mind as this debate unfolds …

My opponent CANNOT make her case on ideological, philosophical, or moral principle!

Principle is black and white, one either argues for or against it … does one believe the necessity of government or does one wish for anarchy. Social contracts either apply or they do not!


Social contract describes a broad class of theories that try to explain the ways in which people form states maintain social order. The notion of the social contract implies that the people give up some rights to a government or other authority in order to receive or maintain social order through the rule of law. It can also be thought of as an agreement by the governed on a set of rules by which they are governed. 1


Thus ...

… note as my opponent makes her case, that she will ONLY be able to make her stand on "degree" … namely that "x" much of taxation/intervention is too much or too little. Yet she will not be able to put forth a basis upon which that choice should be made that doesn't contradict her stated position! Other of course than the usual "the governments needs to stay off of up in my business" facepalm!


And even if she managed this considerable task, it would simply be irrelevant … for as I will clearly demonstrate and have already stated, such governmental measures would actually both limit taxation AND make it more equitable!

I'm sure my esteemed opponent is counting on our common inherent distrust of all things governmental and will attempt to use that to her advantage. Easy enough to do but totally outside of the scope of this debate. The issue of trust between citizenship and their government is surely a worthy one, but it isn't THIS one. Unless my opponent concedes this point this debate will be relegated to a simplistic "do we trust the gov. to get anything right … no? … well there you go!"
I have no doubt this tactic will be attempted, I for one will only acknowledge it to point it out as disingenuous, and will not humor it further.

Finally, my opponent will no doubt try to put forth the slippery slope fallacy, in the hope of tugging at your conspiratorial strings … "What's next?" she will say with great ignominy and outrage, and something cute and cuddly that the government will tax next will be exampled.


Except that ...


Slippery slope arguments falsely assume that one thing must lead to another. They begin by suggesting that if we do one thing then that will lead to another, and before we know it we’ll be doing something that we don’t want to do. They conclude that we therefore shouldn’t do the first thing. The problem with these arguments is that it is possible to do the first thing that they mention without going on to do the other things; restraint is possible. 3


We're not talking about anything other than the limited scope of the debate topic.

Invoking any other subject or abstract example will be mere deflection and misdirection based on causal fallacies and nothing else!


My fellow ATSers.

I have outlined the clear scope of this debate ...
I have indicated how I will proceed to make my case ...
I have pointed out the clearly unattainable argumentative position that my opponent finds herself in ...

And when all is said and posted, there will be only one clear course of action and only one possible outcome for this debate ...

Not only SHOULD the government implement a 'health tax' or ban on unhealthy foods to promote better lifestyles among its' citizens, it in fact MUST and already DOES!

I thank you once more for your time and attention and leave the floor to my no doubt incredibly healthy and socially conscious opponent.


Oh, I almost forgot ….

Socratic Question No. 1:

Is it your position that a seven year old should have unhindered access to heroin and crack coc aine?


And so it begins ...



posted on Dec, 15 2009 @ 04:19 PM
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Firstly to my esteemed opponent, thank you for this lively debate, and I will try to live up to your expectations. Thank you ATS for making this possible and finally I wish to thank everyone reading for taking the time to listen to the debates as they unfold, whither you agree or not, we all learn something that we may have not known before going in.

I will at the outset say that this is not, in my view, about anything other than the taxation of items deemed to have unhealthy consequences for the people consuming the items. So in that fact I concede to my opponent that this will not take a turn for "Do you trust your government to do this and make these decisions for you? I thought not" line of thought, it would simply be unproductive and take away from a very important issue, one that I have seen up close and personal here in New York, when our Governor first proposed it last year as a revenue enhancing stream.

That is where it lays though, it was rejected on the basis that while it may or may not lead to healthier people, there simply wasn't enough information on the subject matter, it was still a tax that hit a segment of the population harder than another.

Take for instance some of these proposals as they were defeated, one, here in New York even had the "fat tax" levied on Whole Milk, and by default baby formula, which by it's very nature NEEDS to have some level of fat in it for the child to grow and develop.

Another argument, some children need or crave by design some of the ingredients in the food that they wished to tax. I am a parent of autistic children, and they crave, you guessed it, potato chips, not because they taste good or are junky for you, but because their bodies need something that is in them, the fat content. Taxing those chips would place like families paying more of a tax burden than other families simply by design of the child.

Enhancing revenue is all fine and dandy, but when it gets down to it, they would be hard pressed to tell me what health benefit could come from possibly taxing sugar filled items and not aspartame filled items, sugar being a natural substance that all bodies need to function, and Aspartame being a synthetic sugar substitute that has none of the nutritional value of naturally occurring sugar. Do we really need to single out sugar as the all encompassing evil to society? I think not.

In the end t boils down to a situation to where the research is simply not there to support the claims that taxing sugared and fatty foods will do anything to curb obesity in the United States any more than telling the population to exercise more would.

As for the final question asked of me, I do not and never will advocate for any item deemed as illegal to be allowed in the hands of anyone, minor or not.

This concludes my opening, I hope in the coming days to show that this, while a noble effort, falls short of it's intended goal, and just adds yet another burden to our economy-strapped families.


(A personal addendum here at the end for all: If I ask for an extension tomorrow or whenever, I apologize in advance, an organization i am currently involved in litigation with tried to scare me away by filing complaints with CPS about my parenting abilities, it's all coming to a head now and looks like it's going to be a fight even though they have no evidence...it is kind of the most important thing on my mind right now..)



posted on Dec, 16 2009 @ 03:46 PM
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In response to my socratic question you said:


I do not and never will advocate for any item deemed as illegal to be allowed in the hands of anyone, minor or not.


Aaaaaaaaand you just conceded half the debate!


For you just acknowledged that the government has the right to ban substances or behavior based on what is proven to be unhealthy and/or detrimental to a society.

And rightfully so … as I said in my opening post, intelligent people can disagree on degree, thresholds if you will, but the inherent right, nay duty, of a peoples' government is to ban and/or control dangerous/unhealthy substances.

Though it doesn't bode well for your position in this debate, I for one am glad we can find mutual agreement on this fundamental point.

Now that that's behind us, allow me to address the following comments:


Take for instance some of these proposals as they were defeated, one, here in New York even had the "fat tax" levied on Whole Milk, and by default baby formula, which by it's very nature NEEDS to have some level of fat in it for the child to grow and develop.


Ok.



In the end t boils down to a situation to where the research is simply not there to support the claims that taxing sugared and fatty foods will do anything to curb obesity in the United States


I wholeheartedly agree!


Do we really need to single out sugar as the all encompassing evil to society? I think not.


No we don't … I believe you are misunderstanding the debate.

I never suggested that either milk or sugar should be either banned or taxed, and the debate topic is "The Government should implement a 'health tax' or ban on unhealthy foods to promote better lifestyles among its' citizens.” not POTENTIALLY unhealthy where the health benefit/harm is mixed or inconclusive.

You are taking hypothetical substances that at least at the moment do not fall under the "sin tax" category. I am happy at a later point in this debate to address the aforementioned scientific thresholds for implementing a sin tax, but the point is … does the government have the right to implement such sin tax where the consensus has already been established.

The simple answer is yes.

The perfect example of this of course is tobacco. No one to my knowledge has any evidence that the benefits of tobacco outweigh the health risks. Thus the government rightfully controls and taxes (heavily I might add) tobacco consumption.

Listen, as a smoker for the last twenty years I don't much like it on a personal finance level, but on a societal level I both understand it and agree with it.

Another obvious and more foodie example would be alcohol which is also heavily taxed.


Sumptuary taxes are ostensibly used for reducing transactions involving something that the society considers unwanted, and is thus a kind of sumptuary law. Sin tax is used for taxes on activities that are considered socially proscribed. Common targets of sumptuary taxes are alcohol and tobacco, gambling, and vehicles emitting excessive pollutants. Sumptuary tax on sugar and soft drinks has also been suggested. Some jurisdictions have also levied taxes on illegal drugs such as coc aine and marijuana.1


But as far as the scope of this debate, you are in my humble opinion missing the mark …

Simply, and it bears repeating, because you are focusing on foods that might potentially be considered unhealthy, or as Mr. Wiki says "suggested", where the debate topic is simply on unhealthy.

Now …


Aspartame being a synthetic sugar substitute that has none of the nutritional value of naturally occurring sugar.


I'm glad you brought up aspartame, because it is a rather indicative microcosmic example of the existing process. Though there are many studies indicating the health hazards of aspartame, there are many others which indicate little or no hazard. The most widely accepted study for its neutrality is the Fondazione Ramazzini one, which concludes:


Sweeteners with aspartame is already banned in japan and in some other countries after a study about its harmful effects conducted in Italy concluded that in fact aspartame is not good for our health, that it could cause cancer and other serious diseases. The research studies was done by Fondazione Ramazzini in 2005.

There has been debates regarding this matter and the bad effects of aspartame to the human body. Debates continue, and there will always be discussions about this matter for as long as aspartame continue to exist in the market. EFSA (European Food Safety Authority) has confirmed its dangerous effects however did not totally banned its usage, however, they have issued a report stating that the limit of 40 mg for every kg of body weight should be observed when using aspartame.


So right there you have different governments either banning, controlling, or as in the case of the United States, staying out of regulating aspartame consumption.

Precisely in line with my position in this debate.



posted on Dec, 16 2009 @ 09:32 PM
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I am going to keep my first rebuttal concise and short.

"The Government should implement a 'health tax' or ban on unhealthy foods to promote better lifestyles among its' citizens. ”

The key word there being food, not drugs, not alcohol, foods.

And to do that the various state governments have to this point debated placing heavy taxes on fatty and/or sugary foods, again the key word here being food.




any solid substance (as opposed to liquid) that is used as a source of nourishment; "food and drink"


The body needs fat and sugar to survive, and yes in excess these things are unhealthy, but does that really mean that we should tax them as we do Cigarettes (I am also a smoker, I vent about the tax on cigs, but....I don't drink alcohol so that one doesn't really affect me) or go so far as to make them illegal as we do mind altering drugs? This borders on the insane.

Take it through it's logical steps. We tax certain FOODS to attempt to keep people from buying them and steer them twords "healthier" forms of sustenance. The initial tax doesn't work, so we tax higher and higher until these foods carry a stigma worse than smoking ever could. But.... the body NEEDS these substances to survive and function, even apples, bananas, etc, have sugar in them, meats, peanuts, etc have fat in them, again the debate topic specifically mentions FOODS, who is in a position to say what is patently unhealthy from one person to the next when it comes to food. More research, more facts are needed before taking the dangerous first step of taxing the living daylights out of food, that people use day to day.



posted on Dec, 17 2009 @ 03:17 PM
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Oh my, the examples of tobacco, alcohol, and drugs were only relevant to establish governments' rights to tax and control/limit/ban the usage of substances proven to be harmful and/or detrimental to public health and society. A fact that is now abundantly clear.


The key word there being food, not drugs, not alcohol, foods.


Sooooo you are hinging your entire position in this debate on the definition of food?

You know in the US the overseeing agency is called the Food and Drug Administration right?
And you do know that tobacco falls under its jurisdiction under the The Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act?


But what the heck, let us deal with foods then … Last Stand Hill and all.


You seem to be under the impression that taxing and/or controlling harmful FOOD would be a some sort of terrible leap into uncharted waters of governmental intervention onto our lives. Yet as I have already mentioned, this is neither something new or nefarious.

Let us go through a few examples on top of the aforementioned Aspartame:

Los Angeles city council issues fast-food ban for poor neighbourhoods


The fast-food restaurant ban, passed unanimously by the city council, is intended to entice healthier restaurants into the low-income area of south Los Angeles


Trans Fat - Public response and regulation

One example:


Denmark became the first country to introduce laws strictly regulating the sale of many foods containing trans fats in March 2003, a move which effectively bans partially hydrogenated oils.


List of Banned Food Additives in the US and abroead

There are many many further examples but we do have a citation limit and the point has been fully made.


So did I hear you correctly?


Take it through it's logical steps. We tax certain FOODS to attempt to keep people from buying them and steer them twords "healthier" forms of sustenance. The initial tax doesn't work, so we tax higher and higher until these foods carry a stigma worse than smoking ever could.


*shakes head, rolls eyes, giggles, and vaguely remembers saying in his opening …*


Finally, my opponent will no doubt try to put forth the slippery slope fallacy, in the hope of tugging at your conspiratorial strings … "What's next?" she will say with great ignominy and outrage, and something cute and cuddly that the government will tax next will be exampled.


Except that ...


Slippery slope arguments falsely assume that one thing must lead to another. They begin by suggesting that if we do one thing then that will lead to another, and before we know it we’ll be doing something that we don’t want to do. They conclude that we therefore shouldn’t do the first thing. The problem with these arguments is that it is possible to do the first thing that they mention without going on to do the other things; restraint is possible. *


So stop doing that!



Ladies and gentlemen, let us quickly synopsize what has been established to this point:

- The Government should AND DOES implement a 'health tax' or ban on unhealthy FOODS AND A PLETHORA OF OTHER PRODUCTS to promote better lifestyles among its' citizens”

Caps to indicate what has I have argued successfully to date.
Bold to make sure my opponent doesn't miss the food part.


With half of the debate behind us I have conclusively addressed the "control/ban" element of the argument …

My opponent, for reasons that have yet to be revealed, has addressed milk and sugar, and terrified us with a "they're coming for our peanuts" doomsday scenario based on a logical fallacy.

My next post will focus more on the Tax aspect of the argument (I bet you can't wait for that), furthermore ... it is my ambition to use the word "anathema" successfully in a debate post!

Will I manage?
Stay tuned!



posted on Dec, 17 2009 @ 08:40 PM
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Dietary Goals for the United States

1977.... this was published in 1977. This is when the United States Government decided that it was a good thing to control what we ate, and from that sprung the taxation of certain food over other food. But a comment made in 1980 sums it up better than I could:




Phil Handler, then president of the National Academy of Sciences, testified in Congress to the same effect in 1980. ''What right,'' Handler asked, ''has the federal government to propose that the American people conduct a vast nutritional experiment, with themselves as subjects, on the strength of so very little evidence that it will do them any good?''


Source

Now 30 years or so later, we have higher rates of Diabetes Source, Higher rates of dementia/Alzheimer's, and higher rates of obesity then ever before. Am I to understand my esteemed opponent that this is a good trend? Coincidental that it began an upswing around the same time our government decided to tell us what to eat and what was bad for us in our daily diets?

So to break it down simply, the government is saying that a) we need to tell the population what to eat, and b) we can then tax those foods we deem unhealthy, even though the science clearly states that through doing a and b the results are actually doing more harm than good.

Taxes are levied by governments for one thing and one thing only, to fund whatever is going on at the time, this is no different, there's no real reason to force a tax upon the country that denies you the rights to eat what you wish (again I will state, drugs, alcohol and even smoking have scientific research behind them proving how bad they are, and in the case of alcohol the FDA even suggests drinking a glass of wine a day, due to the nature of the fermented grapes...) If I want to have a doughnut, I should be able to purchase said doughnut without a 5 dollar tax because someone needs a new bridge in Walla Walla.. If you have scientific evidence that taxing these things does any good, please do share, but for now, the results are inconclusive and our government should not make decisions based upon incomplete data, that turns our population in a giant cage of guinea pigs..



posted on Dec, 18 2009 @ 05:14 PM
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24hr extension please.



posted on Dec, 18 2009 @ 05:25 PM
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you have been extremely courteous to me so far so have at the 24 hours you need and more if needed.



posted on Dec, 19 2009 @ 01:51 PM
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Ok, so my opponent seems to have gotten fixated on sugar and donuts … mmmm donuts!


So to break it down simply, the government is saying that a) we need to tell the population what to eat, and b) we can then tax those foods we deem unhealthy, even though the science clearly states that through doing a and b the results are actually doing more harm than good.


Some might be saying that, but not me, and not in this debate. Again I need to remind my opponent that the topic is "tax and ban UNHEALTHY foods" not "tax and ban foods who's detrimental health potential is debatable or yet to be conclusively determined."

In fact you seem to agree completely with said premise:


Taxes are levied by governments for one thing and one thing only, to fund whatever is going on at the time, this is no different, there's no real reason to force a tax upon the country that denies you the rights to eat what you wish (again I will state, drugs, alcohol and even smoking have scientific research behind them proving how bad they are …
(emphasis mine)

Aaaaaand you just conceded the second part of the debate!

To be sure …


our government should not make decisions based upon incomplete data


Ah, so then it IS fine when the data is complete!

I'm glad we agree on this point as well.

Which for anyone counting, now makes that 2 for 2.



It's really very simple … foods and additives are continually studied, when one is much like tobacco CONCLUSIVELY found to be overwhelmingly unhealthy and detrimental, it is sin-taxed.

You have already agreed that the government has the right to levy such tax when you said:


I do not and never will advocate for any item deemed as illegal to be allowed in the hands of anyone, minor or not.


… and you just conceded that it is reasonable to do so when the product's harmful effect is conclusively established.


There seems to be little left to debate, but since I promised to talk about taxes, and risking anathema
, I will briefly do so …

The reasoning behind using the sin-tax methodology is quite simple and rather self evident. Consider the health care debate before the US congress and the existing national health care systems around the world. Fairness and equity dictate that should one wish to thumb their nose at their wellbeing the rest of us shouldn't have to pay for their poor choices.

It is surely everyones right to have the freedom to self destruct, but it isnt their right to have ME pay for it!

After all, why should a non-smoker have to bear the burden and pay for a smoker's choices?

Same applies to any food products that have been proven to be that detrimental.


I will leave this reply short and sweet … and promise not to tax you for the latter.



Mod edit: fixed bbcoding



[edit on 12-19-2009 by chissler]



posted on Dec, 20 2009 @ 08:33 AM
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Same applies to any food products that have been proven to be that detrimental.


Now interesting statement there.

Where is the science on the foods that they are trying to tax? I have yet to read anything that is conclusive that sugary foods or fatty foods cause obesity, other health problems, etc, they flip flop so much on the data that it's hard to tell one day to the next what's good for you and what isn't.

Oh wait that's right, you shouldn't have to pay for someone to self destruct, so lets give away the right to find out for ourselves what foods are harmful to our own bodies, what is harmful to you may not be to me and vice versa..

But you're right, the government should regulate what we eat, it's so much simpler than using your own common sense and good judgment to figure out how much is too much for yourself. Stated it once, will state it again, ciggies, and booze are not food. Drugs are not food. And while the agency may be called the Food and Drug Administration, you would probably see if you dug deeply enough into the agency, that the sections that deal with Food, and the sections that regulate Booze are totally different operations, as far as drugs go, last I checked most of that Authority had been transferred to the DEA.

So I leave you today with a question. Are you in any position, or should you be in a position to state "This food is bad for you, you cannot have it, or if you want it, you have to pay through the nose for it." Again the debate is about unhealthy food, and though the past 30 years that HAS focused on sugary and fatty foods, not some phantom food you have yet to mention.



posted on Dec, 20 2009 @ 01:45 PM
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Closing Statement



Ladies and gentlemen, there seems to be very little for me to add at this juncture …

My position is clear, simple, and logical. To substantiate it I have provided numerous sources, logical certainties, and even got the concession of my opponent on the two key elements of the debate:

1. That the government has the right to ban unhealthy foods and substances, and in fact already does so with the blessing and agreement of my opponent.

2. That the government when in possession of established scientific proof has same right to control consumption of said unhealthy foods and substances via taxation.


Furthermore I have addressed the inherently fair and equitable sin-tax methodology, so as it those who wish to play that end up having to pay for the consequent costs of their chosen vice.

Thus I believe I have argued beyond doubt that "The Government should implement a 'health tax' or ban on unhealthy foods to promote better lifestyles among its' citizens."

My opponent has hinged her entire position on logical fallacies such as the old "slippery slope" argument, she has tried to scare us with the ominous "they're coming for our donuts" … other than that she has offered precious little in the way of valid argument and sources to substantiate such argument and her position.

 


I'd like to close by once more thanking chiseler, our judges, and my follow members for taking the time to follow what in my opinion has been a very interesting and stimulating debate … most of all, I'd like to convey my heartfelt appreciation for my worthy adversary.

Regards to all!



posted on Dec, 20 2009 @ 04:18 PM
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My closing will be a lot shorter, as it all really boils down to the one thing my esteemed opponent could not make an argument for.

When it comes to unhealthy foods, who's making the decision and based upon what.

There's not enough research to even start to delve into this area of taxation, we need more hard facts and more evidence before this can be put to a proper debate and a proper looking at, right now it's just perceptions that are driving the tax the fat crowds, and that leaves too much room for manipulation, corruption and kickback.

My opponent claims I make his case for him, when in fact I am stating that on non food, non nutritional items that have been over the course of time been shown to be harmful, the tax upon them is valid. But that's non food items. The last time I checked an ounce of heroin was not a food item under the general definition of food, however a bag of Cheetos was. Again all this shows is we need more research to effectively look at this topic, as right now, there is no basis for taxing food at different rates because of perceptions.

I would like to thank my opponent for putting up with my RL crisis during the course of t his debate, and of course Chissler and the debate set up team for having it in the first place. and finally I'd like to thank again SD for the lively and entertaining back anf forth that makes ATS so much fun.. My opponent is a great person to debate.



posted on Jan, 14 2010 @ 09:57 AM
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Results...



I have to admit that that was one back and forth there! schrodingers dog basically laid out how the debate would go, but failed to do one very important thing. He forgot to link actual research on unhealthy foods to the debate. That information would have put him over the top right away.

vkey08 makes an impassioned argument on the difference between food and everything else, and even goes so far as to illustrate how there is very little research that can either support or refute the premise of this debate.

Because of this, it all comes down to argument style. vkey08 put forth a very compelling argument, but it is this judge's feeling that schrodingers dog made the better argument for this one. Congrats SD!!




There really wasn't much to decide upon with this debate.

I know that vkey08 had some real life issues that took her mind away from the debate and I really hope that everything resolves itself for the best for her and her family. Saying that, she did have a few good points throughout but unfortunately, schrodingers dog just built and maintained the better stance.Had vkey08 pressed further on the issue of the scientific data and possibly posed some Socratic Questions to push her opponent in the direction she needed this debate to go, the outcome may have been different.

The victory goes to schrodingers dog.


schrodingers dog is the victor and moves to the next round.

 
 


This thread is now open to comments from other fighters.



posted on Jan, 14 2010 @ 01:55 PM
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Congratulations S-Dog
Well played, well won... I shall now cheer you on in the next round



posted on Jan, 14 2010 @ 06:30 PM
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Thanks v, and judges, and chissler, and all who took the time to read the debate.


I'm sure if my opponent wasn't distracted with rl issues she would have surely smacked me down ... so thanks again v for a wonderful and enjoyable debate.


For the record, I totally disagree with my position in the debate.





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