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There are only two genders

(PRO)
WINNER!
9 points
(CON)
7 points
Phos HalasPhos Halas (PRO)
Greetings, welcome to another e-debate. Today's topic I believe is fairly simple. There are two genders. Male and female.

Those two genders are not societal constructs, because they are rooted in physical and genetic realities that are not subject to change.

The topic of this debate will be to address the transgender movement and it's supporters who claim the following:

There are a multitude of genders.

Gender can be changed by 'self identification' or by surgery or hormones.

Gender is a societal construct.

These claims are self evidentially false.

1. Gender is determined by chromosome patterns, not by your feelings.

A male gender is determined by the presence of a y chromosome. A female gender is determined by the presence of two x chromosomes. This is basic biology. Since there are only two genetic expressions xx, xy) there are only two genders. (Yes, I am aware of rare genetic anomalies that may classify a person as intersex, however these are genetic mistakes regarding already existing sexual organs that belong to only two genders.

Again, since we have two genetic expressions, we have two genders.

Society cannot change this. Feelings cannot change this. Surgery cannot change this. Name changed cannot change this. Hormones cannot change this. Hair cuts cannot change this. Pronouns cannot change this. Bathrooms cannot change this. Words cannot change this.

Thank you

Return To Top | Posted:
2019-03-20 01:50:49
| Speak Round
tombos21@gmail.comtombos21@gmail.com (CON)
Greetings! This is my first debate here, so please let me know if I'm violating any debate etiquette, I'm still learning. :) 
Now, I've started this debate in a tough position. My opponent has put the burden of proof on me this argument so it is up to me to prove my points.

Gender is a societal construct.

Well of course it is. Gender is defined as whatever society defines it to be. As our understanding of human culture and sexuality evolves, so must our language. Most dictionaries define gender as male, female, or "a term is also used more broadly to denote a range of identities that do not correspond to established ideas of male and female". The American Psychological Association defines gender as: "The attitudes, feelings, and behaviors that a given culture associates with a person's biological sex. Behavior that is compatible with cultural expectations referred to as gender-normative; behaviors that are viewed as incompatible with these expectations constitute gender non-conformity".[1]

Like it or not, the definition, and the very concept of "Gender" has evolved. 

My opponent's argument rests on the fact that gender is tied to biological sex. This was true ten years ago, but these primitive concepts have changed. For clarity, let's use the term biological sex to mean"Only male or female". And we will use the phrase gender identity to describe "A person’s inherent sense of being a man, woman, or alternative gender [1].

I argue that the idea that one's gender identity should not be tied to their biological sex, its a primitive notion. These are two separate concepts, and they deserve separate identifiers.

---

Before we go any further, we must reach a common ground. Do you accept the idea that people can feel incongruency between their biological sex and gender identity? 


















[1] chrome-extension://oemmndcbldboiebfnladdacbdfmadadm/https://www.apa.org/pi/lgbt/resources/sexuality-definitions.pdf

Return To Top | Posted:
2019-03-20 05:46:04
| Speak Round
Phos HalasPhos Halas (PRO)
A thank you to my opponent for the well thought out response. I would like to make known that I am posting from a phone because I do not have computer access, so I will ask the judges to please excuse my brevity.

My opponent has taken the pretty standard route these days and that is to make gender a separate word from sex. Although my opponent seems to have admitted the two were synonymous at one point, my opponent now thinks that we should expand our definition to exclude biological reality.

If you don't mind tombos, I am going to work backwards a bit an unpack what you have stated.

My opponent asks:

***""Before we go any further, we must reach a common ground. Do you accept the idea that people can feel incongruency between their biological sex and gender identity? ***""


Absolutely, it's a disorder that used to be known as Gender Identity Disorder. Now it is simply referred to as dysphoria.



My opponent states:


***"" I argue that the idea that one's gender identity should not be tied to their biological sex, its a primitive notion. These are two separate concepts, and they deserve separate identifiers.***""

And herein lies the madness of the transgender movement. They have taken the definition of a word, and redefined to the point of delusion

Imagine the absolute absurdity if we tried this with anything other than gender.


My "OLDNESS" is 16 years, but my "AGE" I express as 21, where's my beer?

Reality doesn't work that way. Your AGE is inextricably tied to how OLD you are. The two cannot be expressed differently.

My species is human, but my taxonomy is that of an orangutan.

Again, no. Your species is a biological reality. Hijacking a word and giving it a subjective meaning does not change the fact that you are a human not an orangutan.


I am genetically Chinese, but my ethnic expression is Scandinavian.

These types of things are obviously absurd. Yet when we put the word "gender" and sex in there, we must act as though they are not?

My opponent states:

*** "For clarity, let's use the term biological sex to mean"Only male or female". And we will use the phrase gender identity to describe "A person’s inherent sense of being a man, woman, or alternative gender."***


If only my opponent could settle the debate that easily. The entire point of my original argument was that the gender is tied to a genetic reality. My opponent would like to state that SEX is tied to genes, but gender is not.

My opponent does not seem aware that the word gender comes from the Latin genus which is a biological classification.
 
(https://www.etymonline.com/word/gender)

Simply stating that the definition of a word is outdated and needs to be changed is not going to suffice. Furthermore, we need to be exceeding cautious when the definition we are proposing has no ground in reality.

In summary, my opponent did NOT address my first argument that gender is tied to biology. My opponent simply is asking that we update the meaning of the word to exclude biology.

The transgender movement has waged war on the English language creating new words like "zir" and "herstory'', they have sought to redefine words and their meaning.

This is not acceptable. I ask that my audience consider biological reality and linguistic meaning to be OF VALUE, if we are going to survive as a civilization. Thank you all



Return To Top | Posted:
2019-03-20 12:54:18
| Speak Round
tombos21@gmail.comtombos21@gmail.com (CON)
My position: *** I argue that the idea that one's gender identity should not be tied to their biological sex. These have become separate words with separate meanings.

Opponent: "And herein lies the madness of the transgender movement. They have taken the definition of a word, and redefined to the point of delusion. Imagine the absolute absurdity if we tried this with anything other than gender."

Here are some other words that got redefined over time: [2]
  • "Girl" once meant a young child of either sex.
  • "Naughty" used to mean poor people. Because they 'Had Naught'
  • "Egregious" used to mean something outrageously good - it now means the opposite.

"The transgender movement has waged war on the English language creating new words like "zir" and "herstory'', they have sought to redefine words and their meaning. This is not acceptable. I ask that my audience consider biological reality and linguistic meaning to be OF VALUE, if we are going to survive as a civilization. Thank you all"

Legally I could change my name to zzzxxxyyy. Is this also an affront on language? I'm within my legal rights to do so am I not?
Words change all the time. Definitions change all the time. The Oxford dictionary added 1100 new words last year alone[3]. The notion that adding a few extra words to the English language will somehow plunge us into madness is just silly. 

You have agreed that Gender Dysphoria is a thing - (A condition where one's biological sex and gender identity are incongruent - causing distress). However, you seem unwilling to make room in your vocabulary to ease their suffering. If name-changes and reclassifications don't sit well with you, what would you suggest instead? How can we, as a society, ease the pain of these disparaged individuals without infringing on your personal beliefs?

Let's switch to something less divisive for a moment.

Did you know that you can get laser eye surgery to change your eye color from brown to blue? Eye color is a "vital statistic" - you need all new photo ID afterward. So let me ask you, if I changed my eye color to blue, would you insist on calling my eyes brown? After all, that's the color biology intended right? 

-
[2]http://mentalfloss.com/article/61876/11-words-meanings-have-changed-drastically-over-time
[3]https://public.oed.com/updates/


Return To Top | Posted:
2019-03-20 16:39:08
| Speak Round
Phos HalasPhos Halas (PRO)
Thank you again to my opponent for his response. Let's get to it:


My opponent asks

***""So let me ask you, if I changed my eye color to blue, would you insist on calling my eyes brown? After all, that's the color biology intended right? ***""


If your eye color literally changed to blue, I would have no problem calling your eyes blue. If your eyes were brown however, I am not going to go around and call them blue. Same thing with gender. I am not going to call a man a woman.  That's falsehood


***"".  However, you seem unwilling to make room in your vocabulary to ease their suffering. *** "

That's not the way to treat those who are suffering from this disorder. We don't pretend biology doesn't exist to appease those who are suffering, who are a very small percent of the human population. I will call an individual by their chosen name, regardless of gender. However I will not pretend that a man who identifies as a woman does not have every cell in his body coded with male genes.



My opponent states;

***".Legally I could change my name to zzzxxxyyy. Is this also an affront on language? I'm within my legal rights to do so am I not?***

No that's not an affront on anything. Your name is not rooted in a physical reality like gender is.



***Here are some other words that got redefined over time: [2]

    "Girl" once meant a young child of either sex.
    "Naughty" used to mean poor people. Because they 'Had Naught'

    "Egregious" used to mean something outrageously good - it now means the opposite.""


My issue is not with the fact that words can change meaning. My issue is when people create non existing categories for words that already have set meanings. If I broadened the definition of the word cat to include human beings, that's false because cats are cats and human are humans. Likewise, if we create new categories like pangender or gender fluid, we create things that aren't real. There's not a biological correspondent for these categories.



Return To Top | Posted:
2019-03-20 19:14:41
| Speak Round
tombos21@gmail.comtombos21@gmail.com (CON)
Well first off, credit to my opponent. This guy is obviously well practiced. 

--------
I asked my opponent: "if I changed my eye color to blue, would you insist on calling my eyes brown? After all, that's the color biology intended right?"

They stated:

1. "If your eye color literally changed to blue, I would have no problem calling your eyes blue. If your eyes were brown however, I am not going to go around and call them blue. Same thing with gender. I am not going to call a man a woman. That's falsehood"

2. "I will not pretend that a man who identifies as a woman does not have every cell in his body coded with male genes."

So my opponent believes that I can go get surgery to change my eye color. He said he will accept the new eye color despite the fact that every cell in my body is coded with brown-eyed genes.  I put it to the judges if we changed "Eye surgery" to"Gender reassignment surgery" , shouldn't the logic be the same? 

  • In both cases, you're getting surgery to change our bodies
  • In both cases, you need all new photo ID
  • In both cases, you are renaming parts of our body despite the fact that genes still encode for a brown-eyed male.

Why is my opponent okay with one but not the other?

My opponent also implied that they don't think surgery can change gender (page 1), so there is literally nothing a trans person could do to appease him.

--------

My opponent freely admits that trans people are suffering, and he believes in Gender Dysphoria, however, he is unwilling to make room in his vocabulary because:

"That's not the way to treat those who are suffering from this disorder. We don't pretend biology doesn't exist to appease those who are suffering, who are a very small percent of the human population."

First point - This is exactly how modern psychiatrists treat this disorder. According to the APA: "Treatment options for gender dysphoria include counseling, cross-sex hormones, puberty suppression, and gender reassignment surgery." [4] It even includes a helpful table so that friends and family can learn all the gender/queer terms. 

Secondly - Letting small minority groups suffer, just because they are a small minority group - is generally frowned upon. Some people might mistake it for prejudice.

I asked my opponent what we can do to help these people, without infringing on his personal liberties (changing the definition of words), however, he didn't have any suggestions.

--------

Lastly, my opponent clarified their position on vocabulary: 

"My issue is not with the fact that words can change meaning. My issue is when people create non existing categories for words that already have set meanings. If I broadened the definition of the word cat to include human beings, that's false because cats are cats and human are humans."

I've already demonstrated that words get changed and their definitions get hijacked all the time. Language is constantly evolving. Between that and the 1100 new words getting added each year, I don't think this is a real issue.

"Likewise, if we create new categories like pangender or gender fluid, we create things that aren't real. There's not a biological correspondent for these categories."

Humans have words for abstract concepts that are not rooted directly with physical reality. Here are 6 abstract concepts off the top of my head that do not have physical representations in reality:

  • Idea
  • The complex number i
  • Wanderlust
  • Time
  • Imagination
  • God
Should we scrap those words too or just the ones you don't like?
--------

Look man, I get it. These ideas challenge long-held social and religious beliefs, and from the looks of your profile, I'm guessing those beliefs run deep. But those beliefs do not give you the right to disparage minority groups.

I urge you, Phos Halas, to stop hiding your inner bias behind thin veils like vocabulary arguments. Confront your prejudice head-on. Ask yourself if these feelings are coming from a place of hatred or from a place of logic. 

Thank you, Phos Halas, for this intellectually challenging debate.

p.s. I'm a straight white guy - so... no real horse in this race. It was fun though :)


[4]https://www.psychiatry.org/patients-families/gender-dysphoria/what-is-gender-dysphoria

Return To Top | Posted:
2019-03-21 00:40:32
| Speak Round


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dpowell3543dpowell3543
I've got one more comment to make. It didn't occur to me until after I'd already submitted my vote and read znlockie's. One thing you both could have touched up on are those people who have eyes that change color naturally over time or randomly. Same goes for hair color. There are people like myself who start life with one hair color, then by the time I reach adulthood, I had a completely different hair color. And no, I have never once dyed my hair. I bring these up, because yes, they are a genetic fact, but they can be altered outside of natural means. Such as surgery, dye or special contact lenses or even wigs.
Posted 2019-03-22 19:17:23
nzlockienzlockie
See now I feel bad! Tombos@gmail. Com, I apologize for insinuating you weren't going to actually debate. I assumed because of your name that you were another bot like the many we've been having lately. Great start thi ther debate guys, keep it up!
PS: also good to see you're not waiting a month to post like the rules allow!
Posted 2019-03-21 05:10:34
tombos21@gmail.comtombos21@gmail.com
Hey thanks man! Sorry about stealing your spot, I didn't check the comments before accepting :P
Posted 2019-03-20 16:04:31
nzlockienzlockie
See now I feel bad! Tombos@gmail. Com, I apologize for insinuating you weren't going to actually debate. I assumed because of your name that you were another bot like the many we've been having lately. Great start thi ther debate guys, keep it up!
PS: also good to see you're not waiting a month to post like the rules allow!
Posted 2019-03-20 15:03:35
Phos HalasPhos Halas
Lol!
Posted 2019-03-20 01:52:27
nzlockienzlockie
(Probably after this guy forfeits)
Posted 2019-03-20 01:10:47
nzlockienzlockie
Oops! Looks like I was too late! Ah well, maybe next time.
Posted 2019-03-20 01:10:21
Phos HalasPhos Halas
I say let's do it. I'm on the road right now for a funeral so I will be a bit delayed in my response, but if you want to go ahead and join the debate and we can discuss it further...
Posted 2019-03-19 16:34:07
Phos HalasPhos Halas
nzlockie, I would like to hear more on that, how do you think gender can be changed and in what regard?
Posted 2019-03-19 10:16:06
nzlockienzlockie
Oh, and if you DO accept those terms, could you please mention that in your first round, as that’s not really the resolution. I just picked it up from your rules.
Posted 2019-03-19 09:15:19
nzlockienzlockie
I’ll argue that gender can be changed, if that’s acceptable?
In the spirit of the debate, I don’t want to distract from the biological truth of two genders, but I’ll definitely argue that male can become female and vice versa.
Posted 2019-03-19 09:13:22
The judging period on this debate is over

Previous Judgments

2019-03-21 18:14:12
shadyelmansyJudge: shadyelmansy
Win awarded to: Phos Halas
2019-03-21 20:41:58
nzlockieJudge: nzlockie    TOP JUDGE
Win awarded to: tombos21@gmail.com
Reasoning:
Phew - great debate guys and this was close. REAL Close.

OK with a very broad resolution, you guys ended up forcing this debate around ONE central issue - does the word "GENDER" refer to objective Biology or subjective psychology. There were a few fringe arguments, but these would never win the debate unless you could convince me of this central truth.

PRO asserted that Gender has traditionally referred to Biology, and CON didn't dispute that, although he convinced me that words DO change their meanings over time. CON therefore had to show me that TODAY, that word is used MOST OF THE TIME to refer to the new definition. I accepted CON's submissions from the APA and PRO didn't dispute it so that definition does stand. I couldn't accept the claim that "most dictionaries" also support that definition, because the grammar of that sentance was not clear and there were no sources to back it up. However, again, there was no contest from CON on that one, so overall, the claim that Gender has changed it's use in normal parlance has to stand. This was a big blow to PRO's case.

There were also attempts to convince me of the science. PRO's examples of other similar cases, such as Age, Ethnicity and Species were excellent and convincing. I want to refer back to these in the feedback.
CON's strongest point was the Brown eye one - the biggest problem here was that the majority of your constructive case for this was made in the final round where PRO had no chance to contest it!
Unfortunately, the way debates go, I can't score those points. It's a shame because it was a new argument to me, and I was quite excited to see how it developed.

So the way I saw this debate was, the winner needed to convince me of the definition of "Gender".
From a biological, scientific and commonsense perspective, PRO won this. Unfortunately for them, from a pure dictionary definition perspective, CON won it.

Feedback:
A very narrow win to CON, and from my perspective, this is an underdog win.
I definitely have some feedback, I hope you find it constructive.

BOTH PARTIES:
You guys clearly have some skill at this. For this reason, I think you need to elevate your narratives to the second tier. Currently you are typing your arguments out exactly as they enter your head. This means you start with a quote from your opponent, (and sometimes even a quote from yourself!) and then make your counter argument.
This makes sense in your head, but by the time we get to the final round, it gets really hard to follow your case. It reads quite stilted.
This is definitely a style thing, and sure, some people make it work for them. I think it's an effective way of listing off and then BRIEFLY rebutting a bunch of inconsequential points, but it should always be followed by a bunch of constructive which is at least two thirds of the total.
This takes more skill to do, but it reads much better and I think you guys are capable of doing that.

PRO: For me, you lost this because you didn't contest or even address the sourced evidence that CON provided. A five second google proved to me that CON's assertion that most dictionaries support the APA's definition was, at best flawed, and at worst completely false.
To be clear, you didn't even need to defeat him on that point, you just had to cast enough doubt that it would add weight to your other points, pints which for me, you won convincingly.

Also, just to reiterate the same point I seem to make every time on every debate - DEFINE THE RESOLUTION!
Had you taken the time to do this, you would preempted CON's definition argument without even trying!

Finally, you start your first round by listing off several arguments that CON's position makes. I would be very wary about doing this. Again, this is a "rule" that can get broken in certain circumstances, but generally it's bad practice and sets you up in a losing position. I can explain this in more detail if you like.

Other than that this was a good job. I had you winning this debate in every category except the one that mattered!

CON: Two main issues here. Firstly, as stated above, don't wait til the last round to unleash your best constructive. The last round can't be replied to, so you generally only use it to sum up your case - especially if you are CON. You can definitely try to sneak in the odd little tidbit masquerading as rebuttal, but that's not what happened here. It was too much and too obvious.

Secondly, you saw my praise to PRO for their listing of similar relevant examples - I'll give you the same praise for your listing of similar words that have changed definitions - "GIRL" was especially relevant and a powerful point for you. However, some of your other ones were weak as. Equating changing your name to changing your gender? That was weak and actually made me go back and question some of the others examples you gave. (which held up)
I think you want to be careful about exposing such a weakness at that later stage of the debate.
The irony is that changing you eye colour was an AWESOME example and much more relevant. You totally should have left that one in and taken the other one out. Also in regards to the eye colour one, you should have made the point that the Genetic sequence would disagree with the physical reality in the second round. That would have had WAY more punch and given PRO a much harder job. Introducing that point in the final round makes it look like there is an obvious rebuttal to it.

Great debate guys, and tombos, you should change your handle so you don't look so much like a bot!
3 users rated this judgement as constructive
7 comments on this judgement
Phos HalasPhos Halas
I'm going to have to strongly disagree with your judgment on this one. CON didn't once address my first argument about genetics, only that "dictionaries say it so it's true". My analogies of age and species were enough to show that modern leftist definition see irrelevant. I don't believe con provided enough evidence to poke a hole in that. Oh well. It was a fun debate
Posted 2019-03-21 20:54:17
nzlockienzlockie
Even though PRO hasn't asked me to, I'm going to explain why starting a round by listing the opposition's arguments is setting yourself up in a losing position.

1. You are making statements in YOUR round that do NOT support your point. For some judges this will confuse them. They will think that these are statements that YOU agree with! This is especially bad in the first round.
In soccer we're taught to never pass the ball across your own goal - this is the same thing. As much as possible, try to avoid stating your opponents points for them.

2. When you list a bunch of points, and then explain why they are all rubbish, the ONLY options an opponent has is to prove you wrong, or to ignore all of those points and make a different one. Either way, you come off looking ignorant.
Because they move second, they have the advantage.

Look at it this way:
Person 1: "Their position is wrong."
Person 2: "No it isn't!"

Person 2: "This position is true."
Person 1: "No it isn't!"

You see, in both cases, the person who goes second sounds more powerful and has the best chance of making the first person sound ignorant. If they can succeed in that, then it puts the judges automatically on their side.

3. Consider the BEST case scenario. You list all of your opponents points and effectively rebut them. In the first round.
You just established yourself as the Bully. You may still get the win, but most judges will be rooting for you to be brought down, as you look arrogant.

The most effective way to make someone look weak is to let them make a weak argument that they THINK is a strong one. That means letting them make their point, THEN crushing it.
If you're being REALLY tricky you can even set them up by deliberately encouraging them to make a point you know you can beat. This is one of the reasons ProLife people always try to get the ProChoicers to define when a baby becomes a Human.
Posted 2019-03-21 21:02:13
nzlockienzlockie
Phos, I've just gone back and reread it. I think my judgement stands.
Your argument about the biological is completely irrelevant if the dictionary definition of "Gender" does not refer to the biology.
That was my point.

In the first round you said that "Gender" is not a social construct - you specifically said that it's "self - evident".
Well unfortunately for you, CON disagreed with that and proved that firstly, language is definitely a social construct, and secondly, gave evidence that industry agrees that the definition has now shifted - in much the same way that the definition of "Girl" has shifted.
Personally I think you should have contested that claim and that evidence. You could have done it. Like I said, you wouldn't even have had to convince me you were right, only put enough doubt on it, that your Biological evidence would carry more weight.

What you've succeeded in is convincing me that there are only two Sexes. CON convinced me that Sex and Gender are not the same thing. Since the debate is about Gender, CON wins.
Posted 2019-03-21 21:08:30
Phos HalasPhos Halas
Nzlockie, my opponent followed the exact same debate structure as I did, starting off with quotes from the previous rounds. Neither one of us had an issue with that, yet my opponent got a full four points and you didn't deduct even one. Andultimately, the debate should be judged by the contents, not by the fact that it's following a specific or unorthodox structure.
Posted 2019-03-22 17:50:11
tombos21@gmail.comtombos21@gmail.com
Hi nzlockie, thank you for your excellent feedback.I do regret making my strongest arguments in R3, but I wanted to first get Phos Halas to agree with my points before making the argument. In hindsite, I see that it's bad form to state your case in the last round where they cannot defend against it. Thank you for your constructive criticism.
Posted 2019-03-23 01:16:35
nzlockienzlockie
Phos, i'm not sure that you read my reason for the win. The win had nothing to do with the structure of your arguments, you'll note that I directed that feedback at BOTH of you, because, as you said, you both did it. You don't lose points for that, it had nothing to do with why I thought you lost.
Also, on Edeb8, you can't split points, so I don't know what you mean about not giving you a point. I award the win, and ther die decides how many points that's worth based on much feedback and reasoning I give.
Posted 2019-03-24 08:55:06
JohannesJohannes
nz is 100% right
Posted 2019-03-27 01:41:42
2019-03-22 19:05:52
dpowell3543Judge: dpowell3543    TOP JUDGE
Win awarded to: Phos Halas
Reasoning:
I'm voting for Pro because they simply provided better, more factual arguments with more, better and better sources. I would have voted for Con, because their arguments were equally good, but the end of their last round threw it off. They broke their professional attitude and started using ad hominem.

Feedback:
Phos Halas: A few tips for you if you ever do this debate again.
1. All the "therapists" and "doctors" claiming that gender is a social construct don't even practice those fields. Most have either a gender studies degree or no degree at all.
2. Technically, the concept of gender doesn't even actually exist. It was made up in the late 1900's in order to push identity politics.
3. If one looks at the definition of gender in a dictionary it says: "the state of being male or female"
4. Most actual therapists claim that people suffering from gender dysphoria avoid getting the sex change operation because more often than not, it leads to increased depression and suicide rates among the transgender community.
I'm trying to provide you with more talking points to help better rebut any counter arguments made against yours. Also, try to keep it open. Provide more points than just the few.

tombos21@gmail.com: Stay professional. Accusing someone of being prejudiced and hateful because they put scientific fact over the emotions of others isn't okay. Ad hominem is a logical fallacy, no one enjoys seeing those or being on the end of them. Especially when they trying to have a civil debate. Otherwise, good job.
4 users rated this judgement as constructive
1 comment on this judgement
tombos21@gmail.comtombos21@gmail.com
Thank you for your constructive criticism. Truth be told I'm used to arguing on debate.org, you guys have a much higher standard for professionalism here, and I will endeavor to respect that from now on.
Posted 2019-03-23 01:18:20
2019-03-23 03:05:59
adminJudge: admin    TOP JUDGE
Win awarded to: Phos Halas
Reasoning:
Alright folks, this was a close one but probably not for the right reasons.

The MAIN PROBLEM with this debate was that both sides stopped arguing the topic half-way through. This was a debate about whether there were only 2 genders. Pro made this super clear at the start. It was NOT a debate about whether it was ok to call a transgender person by their original gender. That too would be interesting, but it is not the topic. If we assume pro is right, then what is the problem with a man switching to being a woman? She would still be gender-binary (ie one of only two genders). If pro is wrong, then there is still no problem. In debating we call this either a strawman or a red herring - a big topic that dominates the debate but is ultimately super irrelevant. So I completely ignored a great deal of what was said because it seemed to relate mostly to this transgender issue, and not to the actual topic. Both sides were super guilty of falling into this trap. I interpreted this motion in the sense of how many genders there should be, given this was clearly pro's intention in beginning this debate, even though it wasn't followed through as much as it should have been.

So pro starts off by saying chromosomes have only 2 expressions except for certain mistakes that don't count because of no reason whatsoever (this would probably have been a wise time to limit the debate to human beings, but whatever). Con argues that words have meanings that can change, and have changed (insert appeal to authority here), because of no reason whatsoever (well, to be fair, he calls the old words "primitive," but what does that really mean?).

These principles were then (correctly, by both debaters) backed up by some social harms. Unfortunately these were also super vague in both cases. From pro we heard of some dishonesty ("but ... I thought you said you were non-binary, not a human male!?" said no one ever) and the need to keep the spirit of Latin alive ("Latina Mortua Est"). Very vague about why these are actually bad - the closest we got were some analogies to drinking etc, but I honestly can't think of any similar laws targeting non-binary individuals who pro doesn't think exist in the first place (meaning any such laws would be self-defeating in pro's model). Pro also stated there is a need for caution when not grounding words in reality. This is potentially a very good nuanced point but pro needed to explain why there is such a need for it to stand.

From con, the argument was even more vague. His main point seemed to be the personal grief and insult people might feel if somebody mistakenly assumed their biological gender matched whatever title / name they wanted somebody else to call them. However, con never actually stated (as far as I can tell) what this prejudice would look like, or why this would be so insulting. Con got so wrapped up in this transgender thing that it seemed like he was trying to convince pro it's ok to call a man a woman, not why it's important to refer to some human beings as neither man nor woman.

So coming back to the principles. I was convinced there should be a way to refer to genetic expressions. Con never really disputed this (sadly). I was not convinced there is any harm in lying about gender either. I agreed the definition had changed, was not convinced there was any reason I should care about this. Putting that together I felt - against my personal belief, I should add - that pro had overall constructed a stronger narrative of what we should do about the word, in spite of recent changes. This was narrow because pro really hadn't done a lot to convince me of this narrative, but it was clearly more consistent than con's.

Feedback:
Ok, so ... ASIDE from the fact both sides totally switched topics and I can't believe nobody else has noticed this...

As debaters you've got 2 jobs. First, your arguments need to be true. Second, they need to be important. To show importance, you've got two tools. First, narratives. This means telling stories about why you think things are particularly good or bad for individuals concerned. Second, comparatives. This means explaining why your points are more salient or important than your opponent's points. Remember it's not your opponent who you're trying to convince - it's judges. Both sides were guilty of this, but I do echo the anti-ad-hominum sentiments of the other judges, and I picked this up in my scoring.

To show truth, judges need to not be confused. This is where having brief, clear structure helps. Headings for key points are a useful tool. Random bold text is a distraction. Judges need to see depth of analysis. You know how in my judgment I have a lot of loose threads? This means there was a chance there to extend your analysis and go deeper than your opponent. More detailed explanation = better argument. Keep asking yourselves why something is true like a 3-year-old.

Pro - your best argument was around why confusion may occur if meanings are reassigned. Your interpretation of those meanings (ie, you refusing to lie about what you believe gender means) doesn't do much to explain why you believe this. Considering this from a medical perspective for example, it's easy to see a concrete harm that could occur if a doctor cannot determine somebody's gender because they are non-binary, and for whatever reason, they are unable to ask or check. However I imagine this kind of thing is a relatively uncommon occurrence anyway. A somewhat better line would be to use an "even if" standpoint that goes something like, con has not shown why gender should be something distinct from biological sex, but even if it is, so-called non-binary still fall within a spectrum of masculinity and femininity - absolute gender constructs which have not changed. Other constructs my opponent may assign genders to are not genders, but may be used by individuals to identify their alignment to these gender identities. If you're able to question con's evidence further this would also have helped your case, but I understand why this is tough on a cellphone. I felt you actually kept on topic more than con did, and it would have basically been an instant win for you if you had simply pointed out con was arguing a completely different topic for most of the debate. Instead I think as debaters we get so hung up on rebutting our opponents that it's easy to miss when the debate shifts focus.

Con - stop leaving your points for later in the debate. Bring out your strongest arguments first. Make sure you understand the actual topic. Have a structure for judges that actually helps us score your points instead of addressing your opponent in person. It actually started in the very first round when you asked them a question. Pro's opinion doesn't matter - the judges' opinions do. Dictionaries don't win debates; in all cases, logic and reasoning over-rides the opinion of dictionary editors. Your main job was to show not why gender was not biological sex, but why gender could be non-binary. Pro admitted as much in his first statement! Then you changed the terms from gender to gender identity, which actually muddles your own case. Stronger would be to argue that gender is innate, not necessarily carried by chromosomes, has not always in historical societies been connected with sex, and most importantly, is not male or female for everyone. It's the same as sexuality - not everyone sits between gay and straight - people can be attracted to just about anything. Same with gender. Your best point was your brown eyes analogy. It could have been extended by explaining why gender matters more than eye color, and probably, why physical traits cannot be innately assumed to exist on any certain spectrum (ie there are some conditions where blue/green/brown are not the only possible colors).

There's a lot to work on ... sorry about that! So here's what you did well!
:) I like that both sides put a lot of clear effort into researching this topic
:) I like that both sides were responsive to each others arguments
:) I like that both sides used clear English and were very readable
:) I like that both sides had a principle and stuck to it for most of the debate
:) I like that both sides had original points and clear evidence of critical thinking

Hope that helps!
2 users rated this judgement as constructive
1 comment on this judgement
nzlockienzlockie
:) I liked that you started all the good points with a smiley!
Posted 2019-03-24 09:04:06
2019-03-27 01:36:49
JohannesJudge: Johannes
Win awarded to: tombos21@gmail.com
Reasoning:
If I'm being honest I think PRO had more good points that CON, but unfortunately the premise for their main argument(that gender is not societal) is factually wrong. Gender, by definition, refers to what is masculine or what is feminine. We, as a society, over time have come up with characteristics that fit into the definitions of masculinity or femininity; for example, masculinity usually coincides with strength, etc. while femininity often includes beauty, etc.. One way we can observe this truth is through things like clothing. Women wear dresses, men wear shorts; there are no inherent reasons for this other than that is what we, as a society, have decided to match up with what we perceive masculinity and femininity to be. Sex is binary - male or female and is simply determined by your chromosomes. PRO had some solid points and CON had some decent rebuttals but because PRO's main premise was so incorrect I think I have to give it to CON.
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That there exist two genders, male and female is a basic fact of biology. Anyone claiming gender:

Exists on a spectrum

Is fluid or

Can be changed by any means

Must provide valid scientific evidence to support or justify that position.