Instigator / Pro
Points: 4

Resolved: Witchcraft is pseudoscience and superstition, not compatible with the scientific method.

Finished

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After 1 vote the winner is ...
Death23
Debate details
Publication date
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Category
Science
Time for argument
Three days
Voting system
Open voting
Voting period
Two weeks
Point system
Four points
Rating mode
Rated
Characters per argument
12,000
Contender / Con
Points: 5
Description
Proposed: Witchcraft is pseudoscience and superstition, not compatible with the scientific method. The search for truth compels man to investigate by a number of methods, only one of which is a search for evidence by the scientific method, which should apply critical questioning with skepticism, careful observation, and repeated experimentation. [1] Any other method of a search for truth is pseudoscience at best, and at worst, disorganized, superstitious chaos. Witchcraft touches both extremes.
Definitions:
Scientific method: [attributed to Carl Sagan] a search for evidence of truth by critical questioning with skepticism, careful observation, and repeated experimentation.
Witchcraft: [OED] The exercise of supernatural power supposed to be possessed by persons in league with the devil or evil spirits. Magic arts.
Supernatural: [OED] Belonging to a realm or system that transcends nature, as that of divine, magical, or ghostly beings, occult, paranormal.
Pseudoscience: [OED] A spurious or pretended science; a branch of knowledge or a system of beliefs mistakenly regarded as based on scientific method or having the status of scientific truth.
Superstition: [OED] A widely held but irrational belief in supernatural influences, especially as leading to good or bad luck or a practice based on such a belief.
Debate protocol:
Rounds 1, 2, 3: Argument, rebuttal, defense
Round 4: No new argument, rebuttal, defense, conclusion
All argument, defense, rebuttal, and sourcing will be listed within the context of the debate argument rounds only, except sourcing may also be listed within comments within the debate file to conserve maximum space for argumentation, but only during the argumentation phase. No other external reference may be made within the context of the debate argument rounds.
No waived rounds. No more than one round may be forfeited, or forfeiture of entire debate will result. Concession in any round is a debate loss.
All argument rounds will contain arguments, rebuttals, and defenses, plus 4th round conclusion. No declaration of victory will be made but in the 4th round.
Arguments, rebuttals, defenses, or conclusions may not address voters directly for voting suggestions beyond statement of validity for arguments, et al, made in all rounds.
[1] Sagan, Carl, Druyan, Ann, The Demon-Haunted World: Science as a Candle in the Dark, Penguin Random House, 1995
Round 1
Published:
I thank Death23 for accepting this debate. 
 
I Argument: A brief sketch of history: witchcraft and the scientific method
 
I.a Witchcraft has been practiced since the dawn of human civilization. That’s a broad statement, likely not demonstrable, but we do know that witchcraft has been around at least since humans have tried to engage a cure, if not a prevention for illnesses and natural disasters.[1]
 
I.a.1 See the definitions offered in Description for witchcraft, supernatural, pseudoscience, and superstition. I refer to witchcraft by the terms pseudoscience,and superstition.  Though it may be argued that witchcraft is inferior to the concept of pseudoscience, it must be observed that its practice includes the use of spells, “good,” and “bad,” which are intended to have influence over the natural world to some desired end and which influence would not occur without the incantation of these spells. That activity meets the definition of pseudoscience, “a pretended science,” by the use of formulae of combinations of materials as the agents of change by performing magic arts and the attempt to employ supernatural entities and forces to engage change.[2]Legitimate science makes use of formulae for the same purpose of affecting the natural world, but uses empirically developed methods, such as, as will be seen, an accurate, repeatable approach, vs. an imprecise, lackadaisical approach. The same argument applies to superstition vs. the empiric method.
 
I.b For just about as long, or at least ever since humanity developed a protocol for the scientific method, we have tried to demonstrate a distinction between the methods of witchcraft, and those of the empiric method,[3]which I align with the definition given in the Description of the scientific method.  I declare the terms empiricand scientificto be synonymous.
 
I.c An apology for witchcraft: There was a time in the distant past when witchcraft was seen in a more positive light. “What’s interesting about [witches] is that they are so clearly understood to be positive figures in their society. No king could be without their counsel, no army could recover from a defeat without their ritual activity, no baby could be born without their presence.”[4]  
 
I.c.1 On the other hand, from antiquity, we have clear condemnation for the practice of witchcraft: “10There shall not be found among you any one that maketh his son or his daughter to pass through the fire, or that useth divination, or an observer of times, or an enchanter, or a witch, 11Or a charmer, or a consulter with familiar spirits, or a wizard, or a necromancer.12For all that do these things are an abomination unto the Lord: and because of these abominations the Lord thy God doth drive them out from before thee.”[5]
 
I.d Witchcraft, depending on perspective, and caution, either remains in that positive light, or is seen as the work of darkness, or, at best, as Carl Sagan suggested in his 1995 work, The Demon-Haunted World: Science as a Candle in the Dark  referenced above, incompatible with the scientific method.
 
I.d.1 The scientific method is defined [in Description] as: a search for evidence of truth by critical questioning with skepticism, careful observation, and repeated experimentation.Let’s explore these sequentially:
 
I.d.1.A Critical questioning with skepticism:  Is witchcraft science of superstition? One may respond, emotionally: “My Aunt Sally once told me that she was abducted by aliens and sexually abused!”  Isn’t that evidence sufficient for even the skeptic? Well, no. First, it’s anecdotal. That’s not an automatic indictment, but it is questionable evidence. Carl Sagan replied to such anecdotes that there could be more reliable evidence for Aunt Sally’s panicked state than that she had congress with an alien being from Planet Timbuktucus.[6]For example, there has yet to exist documented evidence that of all these Aunt Sally claims, at least for females of humanity, there has never been a live birth of a human/timbuktucan. Nor even of a stillborn h/t. A miscarriage? No.  “After all, there's never been any good evidence that the abductions are taking place. No one ever seems to bring along a cellphone to take photos or to pocket an artifact from the saucers.”[7]  Carl Sagan explains that with skeptical, critical questioning, the evidence for more rational explanation comes to light. For example, there is a famous case regarding a six-inch humanoid ‘alien’ skeleton, ‘alien’ due to the extended skull, found in a Chili desert in 2003. However, DNA evidence demonstrated that the skeleton was 100% Homo sapienswithout a single gene of alien origin. A critically premature birth, which occurred within the latter 30 years of the 20thcentury.[8]The above examples do not describe witchcraft, one may argue. No, not specifically, however, the definition of witchcraft offered in Description renders it party to “pseudoscience and superstition,” which does include, to date, all alleged evidence of alien invasion.
 
I.d.1.B Careful observation:  Although Sagan does not detail an explanation of modifying “careful” as applied to observation, I will offer one: Merely by observation, a critical aspect of the scientific method, and one which most sober, methodical people would suggest is an uninvolved, undisruptive activity, the fact is, the mere act of observation can disrupt the behavior of that which is being observed. Thus, the typical practice, for example, of creating a “blind” for observation of nature without disturbing that nature, or, so it is thought. However, does the mere creation of a blind negate the probability that the object of observation is aware that the blind is a new addition to their environment, the which may, or may not cause disturbance of their natural behavior? Thus, “careful” is meant to imply that every precaution is taken to assure that the environmental impact of observation is kept to a minimum effect.
 
I.d.1.B.1 Quantum theory suggests, yes, observation affects reality. “One of the most bizarre premises of quantum theory, which has long fascinated philosophers and physicists alike, states that by the very act of watching, the observer affects the observed reality.”[9]
 
I.d.1.C Repeated experimentation:  Does science demonstrate itself as truth by the results of singular questioning, observation, and experimentation? No. Just addressing the third method, experimentation, it is virtually impossible, with a single experiment, to duplicate every single variable involved in an experiment with a single trial. For example, even with many trials, the classic experiment of understanding the effects of a tsunami on the shoreline of a population of people is conducted using a rectangular, flat-sided, flat-bottomed tank, with a miniature shoreline at one end and a mechanical paddle at the other. Repeated experiments demonstrate relative destruction of the shoreline by a “tsunami” driven by the paddle. The problem with this repeated experiment is that we have never seen an ocean contained in a tank with flat sides and bottom, nor a paddle driving the water to the shoreline. This is a problem not even limited to a single experiment, and the experiments ds not even attempt to duplicate the variables, even the movement of water. It’s an informative experiment, but hardly one that applies to the demands of science in search of truth.
 
 
II Argument: Why witchcraft cannot be compatible with the scientific method; a general overview
 
II.a Review the definition of both terms, scientific method  [specifically as defined by Carl Sagan],and witchcraft,in Description. For brevity, I need not repeat them here. You have just reviewed, as well, a detail description of the elements of the scientific method. I should likewise review the detail of some methods of witchcraft, which I will do in round 2. But, for now, I will offer just one example of incompatibility:
 
II.a.1 Here is a spell found at random; a spell to “banish bad energy.” The spell is taken from The Book of Shadows by Brittany Nightshade.[10]  Great author name for the subject, and I suspect, a pseudonym.
 
“Needed: Two towels, a quiet room, optional: two candles
 
“Twist the towels and make them into a circle in the middle of the room. If you have two candles, light them and put them on any side by the towel and keep it a few inches from the flame.”
 
Further detail is inconsequential to the argument. Questions: What size towel? Can they be different sizes? Towels of what material? Single color, or patterned? What room size? Furnished, and how? Optional candles: What size, color, ingredients, burn time, in a candleholder, or self-standing? If all of these variables [there are more] are inconsequential, why doesn’t the spell stipulate it? When a movie witch casts magic powder into a flame to enhance it by size, color, heat emission, etc, how much powder is “a pinch?” And into what flammable-sourced fire? Wood, charcoal, paper, fabric, or any other flammable material? Do you see the problem of incompatibility of methods; scientific method and witchcraft?
 
II.a.2 By comparison, here is a description [abbreviated, because, otherwise, it would be necessarily exhaustive; too verbose for the limitations of argument word count] of an application of the scientific method by describing what is, and is not a proper statement of hypothesis:
 
“Hypothesis:
 
“Not a hypothesis: ‘It was hypothesized that there is a significant relationship between the temperature of a solvent and the rate at which a solute dissolves.’ 
 
“Hypothesis: ‘It was hypothesized that as the temperature of a solvent increases, the rate at which a solute will dissolve in that solvent increases.’”
 
The actual experiment details these variables in all respects, summarized here merely for the demonstration that a scientific method properly defines the variables that will affect the results of the experiment.
 
II.a.3 I conclude this round by this binary argument, that, one, witchcraft employs none of the elements of the scientific method, and that, two, even the scientific method is flawed if it does not employ all three elements of its definition: a search for evidence of truth by critical questioning with skepticism, careful observation, and repeated experimentation.
 
 






Published:
Resolution: "Witchcraft is pseudoscience and superstition, not compatible with the scientific method."
 
The resolution contains three separate claims regarding witchcraft. Those claims are as follows:
 
1. Witchcraft is pseudoscience.
2. Witchcraft is superstition.
3. Witchcraft is not compatible with the scientific method.
 
In order for the resolution to be true, all three of the foregoing claims must be true. If at least one of the foregoing claims is not true, then the resolution is not true.
 
My positions with respect to claims 1, 2, and 3 are as follows:
 
1. Claim #1 is denied. Witchcraft is NOT pseudoscience.
2. Claim #2 is admitted. Witchcraft is superstition.
3. Claim #3 is admitted. Witchcraft is not compatible with the scientific method.
 
Positive case with respect to my position on claim #1:
 
I must begin by saying that by denying that witchcraft is pseudoscience. In doing so, I do not intend to imply that witchcraft is science. Rather, I simply assert that it is inaccurate to state that witchcraft is pseudoscience. There are a great many things which are not science nor pseudoscience. For example, neither a truck is not pseudoscience. Witchcraft is not pseudoscience in the same way that a truck is not pseudoscience.
 
To evaluate my claim, we may examine the following definitions from the debate description:
 
Witchcraft: [OED] The exercise of supernatural power supposed to be possessed by persons in league with the devil or evil spirits. Magic arts.
 
Pseudoscience: [OED] A spurious or pretended science; a branch of knowledge or a system of beliefs mistakenly regarded as based on scientific method or having the status of scientific truth.
 
Scientific method: [attributed to Carl Sagan] a search for evidence of truth by critical questioning with skepticism, careful observation, and repeated experimentation.
 
Question #1: Is witchcraft "a spurious or pretended science" ?
 
No, it is not. Witchcraft has nothing to do with science and is not held out to be a science. Unlike a pseudoscience such as homeopathy or reflexology, proponents of witchcraft make no attempts to justify its tenets based on anything scientific. Rather, the appeal is to the supernatural or the magical, per the definition of witchcraft provided in the debate description.
 
The word "science" isn't defined in the debate description, but "scientific method" is defined as "a search for evidence of truth by critical questioning with skepticism, careful observation, and repeated experimentation." I have never heard of any witches obtaining their "knowledge" of witchcraft in such a fashion, nor have I ever heard of witches claiming that their beliefs are in any way justified by science.
 
Question #2: Is witchcraft "mistakenly regarded as based on scientific method or having the status of scientific truth."
 
No, it is not. Unlike pseudoscience such as homeopathy or reflexology, there is no evidence that people mistakenly regard witchcraft as based on the scientific method or having the status of scientific truth.
 
For the foregoing reasons, it is inaccurate to state that witchcraft is pseudoscience. Because witchcraft is not pseudoscience, the resolution is not true.


Rebuttal:
 
Because I have admitted that witchcraft is superstition and that witchcraft is incompatible with the scientific method, this debate turns only on Pro's claim that witchcraft is pseudoscience. It is therefore unnecessary to respond to any of Pro's arguments outside of that.
 
Pro supports his claim that witchcraft is pseudoscience by stating the following:
 
[Witchcraft] includes the use of spells, “good,” and “bad,” which are intended to have influence over the natural world to some desired end and which influence would not occur without the incantation of these spells. That activity meets the definition of pseudoscience
 
This is not correct. The use of spells intended to influence the natural world is not an activity that meets the definition of "pseudoscience" as it is defined within this debate.
 
Pseudoscience is defined as follows: "A spurious or pretended science; a branch of knowledge or a system of beliefs mistakenly regarded as based on scientific method or having the status of scientific truth."
 
Spurious is defined as follows: "Not being what it purports to be; false or fake." https://www.lexico.com/en/definition/spurious (Definition from Oxford... believed to be from the same source but not in debate description)
 
Attempting to influence the natural world with spells is not sufficient to be a spurious or pretended science. There must be some representation that it actually is a science, based on the scientific method, and/or having the status of scientific truth. There is no such representation made merely through the use of spells which are intended to have influence over the natural world. No such representation is made through the use of spells.
 
Pro further argues that "the use of formulae of combinations of materials as the agents of change by performing magic arts and the attempt to employ supernatural entities and forces to engage change" is sufficient to cause witchcraft to be "a pretended science"
 
This is not correct, either. There is no pretending to be a science. There must be some representation that it actually is a science for it to be a pseudoscience. There is no such representation made, express or implied. Witches are not pretending to be scientific.
 
Pro cites an article - https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2405844017321795 - In support of the claim. Pro does not quote anything within the article and I don't see how this article is supportive of Pro's position in any way.

Round 2
Published:
I Rebuttal: The cafeteria is open, and pseudoscience is on the menu
 
I.a My opponent declares in r1 his denial that witchcraft is pseudoscience, and denies witchcraft is science. A final declaration: “There are a great many things which are not science nor pseudoscience. For example, neither a truck is not pseudoscience.”  That is a double negative argued. “If you pair a negative word or prefix with a common negative word, you can make the sentence a double negative. When two negatives are used, the sentence actually becomes a positive statement. You're essentially saying the opposite of what you actually mean.”[1]  ‘Neither,’ a negative word, is paired with ‘is not,’ a common negative, rendering the whole of the statement a positive:  ‘Neither’ refers to witchcraft, compared to a truck, but the double-negative implies that witchcraft is a pseudoscience; a positive statement.The cafeteria is open, and pseudoscience is on the menu, according to proper English grammar. The truck is optional; for delivery rather than dine-in.
 
I.b Since Con declared witchcraft to be superstition, and that it is not compatible with the scientific method, these two points of the resolution are settled. Therefore, it is agreed: we debate only the matter of witchcraft being pseudoscience. The resolution, my r1, and 1.a, above, declare it so. Con, by double-negative, appears to agrees.
 
I.c I will note, for the record, that Con’s entire r1 argument/rebuttal is claimed without a single supporting source. Scholarship is lacking. Come to think of it, Con’s only original source in the entire round is a definition,a definition with which I agree, and is not, therefore, a Con argument support. 
 
II. Rebuttal: Witchcraft; a spurious science
 
II.a Con defines spurious,  and I’ll agree to his definition since his source [lexico.com] declares that the word’s etymology is from the late 16th century “in the sense ‘born out of wedlock.’”[2]  
 
II.b My I.a and I.b, above, and my entire r1, claim witchcraft is a pseudoscience, of “born out of wedlock,” or of illegitimate origin. It is a practice which attempts to be legitimate science: an effort that does not  “… make use of formulae for the… purpose of affecting the natural world” by “empirically developed methods.” By contrast, witchcraft is a collection of methods using formulae for the “purpose of affecting the natural world”  but by spurious, superstitious methods. Therefore, contrary to Con’s claim, witchcraft is correctly, as stated in my r1, I.a.1, “the use of spells, ‘good,’ and ‘bad,’ which are intended to have influence over the natural world to some desired end and which influence would not occur without the incantation of these spells. That activity meets the definition of pseudoscience.”  My argument below, III.c, sources this claim.
 
III Rebuttal: The recipe requires eye of newt. I use tongue of frog, instead
 
III.a Con concludes r1 with the claim that I cited an article from sciencedirect.com [see r1, source [2]], but that I did not quote from the article. I did not. I used the article by reference in order to fully document words I composed, but based upon the commentary in the article. There is no requirement that a source be quoted word-for-word, but it is appropriate to give the source its due when a concept is drawn from a source, even when worded as I choose. That Con does not see the connection is not a debatable point, and I will not clarify other than to say that witchcraft is a pseudoscience because it attempts to influence the natural world, and those inhabiting it, such as college students, to believe that magic can try to imitate science. The title of the article is: “Magical beliefs and discriminating science from pseudoscience in undergraduate professional students.”[3]  The article proceeds to explain that witchcraft, a pseudoscience, as opposed to science, as the article title suggests, is a ruse that can influence student beliefs.
 
III.b As it happens, Con is guilty of the alleged infraction that is his accusation: He cites my citation of a source, but that I did not quote from it. Con did not quote my commentary referring to the unquoted source, either.
 
III.c Con argues against my sourced claim, several sources, in fact: my r1, sources [2], [3], [6], [7], and [10] that witchcraft uses the pseudoscience appearance of the scientific method by use of spells to influence the natural world. He claims, “There must be some representation that it is actually a science, based on the scientific method…”  [pseudoscience must represent that it is science?]. Then he declares that in witchcraft, “there is no pretending to be a science.”  [So, there is no pretense to pseudoscience?] Both are declarative statements, but neither is supported by any scholarly source, and, therefore, neither can stand on its own as evidence against the debate resolution. I may respect Con’s opinions, but I would not depend on them; nor should anyone else.
 
IV Argument: Methods of witchcraft dance in the night 
 
IV.a Let’s consider arguments against witchcraft having any employable means that would attempt to equate its practice with the scientific method, but by counterfeit means. Are there attempted equivalents to critical questioning with skepticism, careful observation, and repeated experimentation?
 
IV.b Before launching into such a question, one must ask if there is even a purpose to witchcraft as noble as with the scientific method in its search for truth. Contrast the historic image of a witch; the archetype character is a woman, often an old hag, inhabiting an ancient cottage, perhaps with an embedded entrance to a cave, deep in a dark forest. She bears supernatural powers using potions and spells. Compare her with a modern image, featured in film such as by the very attractive actor, Catherine Bell, as Good Witch,a television series on Hallmark Channel.[4]
 
IV.b.1 In fairytales, a witch is at the root of problems besetting young, innocent maidens with every manner of curse, and requiring rescue from such by heroes on gallant horseback, invariably of nobility and in need of a wife. Someday, maybe the witch, herself, will be portrayed as needing such rescue…  None of this is modern pol-speak. 

IV.b.2 Enter, stage left [sinister, you know], the modern version, featuring Catherine Bell as Cassie Nightingale,  a charming, friendly witch, helpful in a pinch, but needing a pinch. In my R1, I.c, no noble cause was ever without such a witch’s involvement, and, typically, we do not even see such agents of change derived from potions to effect magic spells by incantation. Bell’s character inhabits the imposing, but innocuous city residence called “Grey House.” No cave for a backyard.
 
IV.b.3 The modern version is difficult to distinguish, merely by sight, from ordinary people. Cassie Nightingale has a cheery, nearly constantly inhabited kitchen in which not a single jar of newts’ eyes is evident, and only with brief, very infrequent spells out of a creaky-old book are cast. Her magic potions seem to be limited to exotic blends of various teas, but even her husband is partial to coffee. Otherwise, Cassie would rather bake scones than manage a cauldron of who-knows-what, but her scone recipe is a very-carefully held family secret. Is her recipe consistent with the questions, observations, and experimentations of the scientific method?
 
IV.c However, Cassie Nightingale,   a fiction, is still an aberrant image compared to the apparent modern practitioner of magic spells, such as Brittany Nightshade, who was introduce in my r1, II.a.1. While she, too, is very attractive, and likely has just as bright a kitchen, if perhaps not frequented as by virtually every character in Bell’s TV series, she, Nightshade, not only uses a book of spells such as exemplified in r1, II.a.1, she literally wrote the book.
 
IV.c.1 The book, however, as referenced in r1, II.a.1, contains spell after spell of ingredients and methods[5] hardly comparable with the detailed accuracy of an empiric experiment of clearly defined variables to test the direct relationships of natural world elements. For example, in the Preface of Nightshade’s book, she offers a variable that would not fly in the presentation of science: “If a ritual in this book calls for a certain god or goddess and you don’t feel a connection with that deity, you are free to change it to anything that helps you conduct your ritual more effectively.”[6]
 
IV.d “Magic spells,”writes Nightshade, “are done to achieve an outcome, such as to heal from heartbreak…” In research, I discovered not just Ms. Nightshade, but wikiHow Staff, who composed a convenient “How to Write a Spell,”[7]  just the primer I was hoping to uncover as an argument. In this primer, there are seven methods described, but I will make use of just a couple for my purpose of demonstration:
 
IV.d.1 “State your intention”  [this is the attempted equivalent, I contend, to stating a hypothesis in the scientific method.] “To increase the success in my life and those who I love.”  I suppose such an intent is fine for New Year’s resolutions, but it hardly meets the demand for accuracy that is : “It was hypothesized that as the temperature of a solvent increases, the rate at which a solute will dissolve in that solvent increases.”[8]
 
IV.d.2 What defines “increase?” What defines “success?” Who does the experimenter love? These ideas are all open-ended questions not answered by the spell.
 
IV.d.3 “Time your spell”  [this is the attempted equivalent of an experiment’s procedure in the scientific method.] However, the instruction given refers to moon phases, “which have a profound influence upon us.”[9]  But, do we consult the time in hours, minutes, seconds when contemplating the moon, or is this just a romantic notion for “those who I love?”  We are told that new moon [when there is no visible moon to observe] and full moon [to the untrained eye, it may appear so over three consecutive nights, but is not “full” but on one] are the most powerful phases. For the greatest power, or influence, wouldn’t having knowledge, and using that knowledge of exact timing be critical to the “success” of the spell? Apparently not. That is pseudoscience: a pretended accuracy to affect the natural world that is not accurate, at all.
 
IV.e These examples demonstrate that witchcraft is pseudoscience because, while having the appearance of the accuracy of the scientific method for the purpose of influence on the natural world, it is really a counterfeit, a shade, a type without a definition, a pseudoscience without the benefit of being clothed in science, stripped bare to expose the fraudulent body of knowledge that is witchcraft.
 
IV.f I asked a question in IV.a, the answer to which will be discussed in r3. I close my r2 and declare the frog’s tongue silenced until then. The magic wand to Con.
 



Published:
Re: Misc. matters
 
Pro has not disputed that showing that witchcraft is not pseudoscience is sufficient to show that the resolution is false.
 
Argument: Witchcraft is not pseudoscience because witchcraft is not a spurious or pretended science.
 
Witchcraft does not imitate science. Witchcraft does not borrow from the credibility of the sciences in any way. It is not a fake science. It is not a pretended science. This is why witchcraft is not pseudoscience.
 
Consider other spurious or pretended items. Counterfeit products or counterfeit money, for example. Members of the public may mistake the counterfeit items for genuine items and this mistake will be to the advantage of the holders of the counterfeit products.
 
Consider the phenomenon of mimicry. Stinging insects such as bees and wasps develop a striped yellow and black warning pattern which predators recognize and will be less likely to attack the insects. Some species of non-stinging insects, through natural selection, will develop that same striped yellow and black warning pattern, taking advantage of the avoidant response to such a pattern among predators.
 
Within the marketplace of ideas there exists competition and a natural selection of ideas. As the public has become more educated the sciences have developed a certain credibility. Pseudoscience like reflexology or chiropractic take advantage of the credibility of the sciences by pretending to be scientific.
 
It is this what witchcraft does not do. Witchcraft is not pretending to be a science. It is not a fake or spurious science. Witchcraft does not take advantage of the credibility the public has placed in the sciences. This is why witchcraft is not pseudoscience.
 
Re: I.a
 
This was a drafting error. I neglected to remove "neither" from that specific sentence. There's nothing more to it than that.
 
Re: I.b
 
Pro's claim that I agree with him is based entirely in a drafting error that goes against the grain of everything else written.
 
Re: I.c
 
The debate description was often cited, and I did provide a sourced definition. Sources usually aren't necessary and, in my view, if they aren't essential should be avoided as they may cause one to get bogged down in unnecessary source evaluation rather than staying on topic.
 
Re: II.a
 
"Born out of wedlock" is not the definition I provided. This is related to the etymology and is not very relevant.
 
Re: II.b
 
There is no dispute that witchcraft is spurious. The dispute is whether or not witchcraft is a spurious or pretended science. Again, attempting to affect the natural world by spurious methods doesn't amount to pseudoscience.
 
Re: III.a
 
Pro has not quoted anything within the article to support his position. Pro has quoted the title, but this does not support Pro's position. I generally deny the existence of any text within the source which supports Pro's position. I challenge as unsubstantiated any of Pro's assertions to the contrary.
 
Re: III.b
 
Hypocrisy is not relevant to the truth of the resolution.
 
Re: III.c
 
The necessity of the misrepresentation is rooted in our working definition of witchcraft as a "spurious or pretended science."
 
The factual matter of whether or not proponents of witchcraft are pretending to be scientists is a matter for which Pro has the burden of proof. Are witches pretending to be scientific? It is impossible to disprove. It is not falsifiable. This is something which Pro must show us is true, not that I must show is false.
 
Re: IV.
 
Pro presents an interest story but it is just that, a story. It has no basis in reality. Further, Pro's asserted connections between the actions of the fabled witch and the sciences is speculative and weak:
 
“State your intention”  [this is the attempted equivalent, I contend, to stating a hypothesis in the scientific method.]
 
“Time your spell”  [this is the attempted equivalent of an experiment’s procedure in the scientific method.]
 
Even if this tale is somehow accepted as supportive of Pro's position it would be a hasty generalization to characterize the rest of the witches as this one. The fact that a single witch within a fairytale appears slightly more scientific does not show much and goes against the grain of our working definition for witchcraft within this debate. Pro is grasping at straws here.

Pro is trying very hard here. If there existed convincing evidence, Pro would have found it and presented it. That evidence isn't here because that evidence doesn't exist.

Round 3
Published:
I Rebuttal: “Drafting errors” and other pretensions of formulae
 
I.a After Con argued that his r1 was “a drafting error,”  Con has apparently repeated the mistake by still another drafting error in r2, but first, let’s take Con’s allegation of his drafting error at face value. The resulting sentence is: “… a truck is not pseudoscience.” I could demand a source for the statement, but either with or without “neither,” the statement is simple in its absurdity, and, to coin Con’s preferred idiom: “it’s a weak argument.”
 
I.a.1 The second drafting error: [from my original definition in Description [by  the OED], and from Con r1] “Pseudoscience is defined as follows: ‘A spurious or pretended science; a branch of knowledge or a system of beliefs mistakenly regarded as based on scientific method or having the status of scientific truth.’"  
 
I.a.2 Compare with Con’s r2: “There is no dispute that witchcraft is spurious. The dispute is whether or not witchcraft is a spurious or pretended science.” There’s the second “drafting error.” The first sentence declares “no dispute… witchcraft is spurious.”  The immediate next sentence, disputes the first sentence in that very word: “disputes.” Either witchcraft is spurious, or there’s a dispute that it is spurious, or pretended science [note that by definition, “spurious” and “pretended science” are designating the same condition; they are synonymous]. 
 
I.b Con cannot win his argument by repeated drafting errors.  One must judge a debate on what is written, not on what was intended. The road to hell is paved with good intentions. 
 
I.c Therefore, as Con appears to contradict his own argument, and even if we excuse repeated drafting errors, as Con alleges from one perspective, the debate does turn on whether or not witchcraft is a spurious, pretend science, or not. In addition to the rebuttal above, I will explain how witchcraft is a pseudoscience, a.k.a., pretended science. I’ve actually said this before, but bears repeating: Witchcraft attempts to influence the natural world, as claimed in my r1, I.a. And, contrary to Con’s claim in the r2 conclusion that, “Pro is trying very hard here. If there existed convincing evidence, Pro would have found it and presented it. That evidence isn't here because that evidence doesn't exist,”  I presented the first evidence in my r1, I.a, source [1], which article stipulated the attempt of witchcraft “to engage a cure, if not a prevention for illness and natural disasters.”  Pro appears to ignore sources cited as if not necessary to cite them. More on that later.
 
I.c.1 Con also ignores my second cited source of r1, an article stipulating the evidence that, “Magical beliefs and discriminating science from pseudoscience in undergraduate professional students.”[1]  [from my r1, I.a.1, which Con claimed I did not quote in my r1, but rebutted, and quoted in my r2, III.a]. Pro claims the title of the article just quoted earlier in the paragraph “does not support my position.”  On the contrary. The title speaks to “magical beliefs,”a construct of witchcraft, and “discriminating science from pseudoscience,”that is, discriminating the scientific method from a spurious or pretend science, since students are demonstrated to believe “magical beliefs” as reported in media, thus exposing the issue of students’ inability to distinguish pseudoscience from science. 
 
I.d The article effectively demonstrates there is not a discrimination to students, and that “magical beliefs,” a construct of witchcraft, is pseudoscience. One must, of course, read the article to gain that understanding, but isn’t that what debate judgment requires? The point is, I am not, as Con alleges, merely “trying very hard.”The evidence does exist, contrary to Con’s claim, and I’ve presented the evidence to support my argument. I suggest Con do the same. So far, personal opinion is claimed to be sufficient over there in Con’s realm.
 
I.e Further, Con boldly declares in r2, “I generally deny the existence of any text within the source which supports Pro's position. I challenge as unsubstantiated any of Pro's assertions to the contrary.”  I suppose that must mean, and I caution readers to take note of this challenge, that when I have cited, as I do below, I.f, the DebateArt Voting Policy, Con considers this quote as denied to exist, because it agrees with my argument. Caveat emptor.Now, I understand Con’s disagreement with my arguments; he would disagree, “generally,” if I argued, with evidence, that Con has conducted some good debates! Drafting error #3?
 
I.f I will note, for the record, as referenced earlier in my I.c, that, relative to the necessity to offer scholastic sourcing in support of an argument, to date, in two rounds, Con has offered one single definition as a source in his r1, and absolutely zero sources for his several arguments in r2. Con even proposes, contrary to the DART Voting Policy regarding sourcing, [for brevity here, please refer to DA Information Center/Voting Policy/A-2 Source Points] Con states, [r2, Re: I.c], “Sources usually aren't necessary and, in my view, if they aren't essential should be avoided as they may cause one to get bogged down in unnecessary source evaluation rather than staying on topic.” “[Getting] bogged down” is a necessity of voting. It is our lot in life, those of us who consistently engage it.
 
II Rebuttal: Out of Wedlock
 
II.a Con claims in his r2 that the etymology of “spurious, ‘in the sense of born out of wedlock,’” is not part of his definition. Again, we find Con in disagreement with himself, or at least with his one cited source; the definition of “spurious.” Definition does, contrary to his claim, include etymology, as I quoted the full definition Con provided in my r2, II.a[2]  Etymology plays a vital role in the definition of words, whether or not Con accepts this.
 
II.a.1 To quote Merriam-Webster Help, on the relevance of etymology, “The etymology traces a vocabulary entry as far back as possible in English [as to Old English], tells from what language and in what form it came into English, and… traces the pre-English source as far back as possible if the source is an Indo-European language.”[3]
 
III Rebuttal/Argument: Pretending to be scientists
 
III.a Con argues that witches do not pretend to practice science; a non-sourced claim that is supposed to prove his BoP. I will combine this rebuttal with his following comments in his r2 that fiction, by the same argument, also non-sourced, cannot represent reality. Let us, first, dispel the Con suggestion that his reference to “State your intention,”and “Time your spell,”are somehow connected with my reference to the fictional tale of Cassie Nightingalein TV’s Good Witch, a fiction; a fiction with a considerable dose of reality that employs virtually all the variant themes of fiction writing which are able to suspend disbelief; a fiction necessity to make it believable as if reality. I forgive Con's ignorance of how fiction successfully works. I am a professional at it; Con is not.  This is Con’s fallacious connection. As I clearly noted by review of the separate sources cited, Good Witch,and How to Write a Spell,are not connected. I will, therefore, for this rebuttal, ignore Con’s reference to Good Witch. The source of relevance is my r2, IV.d [7], “How to Write a Spell.”  And, it is my allegation, referring back to the ScienceDirect article [this round, source [1], that the Spell document makes use of a similar sequence of tasks as is used by the scientific method, to wit, “State your intention,”  and “Time your spell,”  with the intent, just as with applying the scientific method, to influence the natural world by statement of hypothesis, and definition of a sequence of instructions. As stated in my r1, that method is, 1. Critical questioning with skepticism, 2. Careful observation, and 3. Repeated experimentation. The composition of magic spells, and their practice by witchcraft, employ these same process steps, albeit by corrupt spuriosity: to wit: “…[1] use these spells, or craft your own rituals. …[2] from my experience when you personalize a spell it only makes it stronger… [3] Only through meditation and practice will your powers grow…”[4] Those statements mirror the scientific method's 1-2-3. Therefore, witchcraft pretends to be science, and witches, scientists.
 
IV Argument: Some levity
 
IV.a As this is my last opportunity for argument, I will close by entertaining some levity: First, I will demonstrate one spurious version of the scientific method, or not, as the eye of the newt may spoil the broth, Monty Python and the Holy Grail,[5]and following, a verse of my composition in honor of this debate.
 
IV.a.1 In Monty Python,we encounter a knight/executioner on a platform approached by a mob with an alleged witch in tow. The mob wants her execution. “How do you know she’s a witch?” the knight asks.
“She looks like one,” the mob leader says. She is brought forward. 
The knight looks at her, declaring, “You are dressed like one.”
“This isn’t my nose. It’s a fake one. They dressed my like this,” counters the ‘witch.’
The executioner is skeptical.
“Well,” says the mob leader, “we did the nose… and the hat. But she’s a witch.”
“Did you dress her up like this?”
“No, no, no, [the crowd chimes in]… yes, a bit. She has a wart,” the mob leader alleges.
“What makes you think she’s a witch?” 
“Well, she turned me into a newt,” claims another in the crown, obviously still a man. “I got better,” he claims at the Executioner’s skepticism.
“Burn her anyway,” yells another.
“Why do witches burn?” the knight challenges.
Confusion silences the crowd.
“Because… they’re made of wood?” the newt suggests.
“Good,” the knight says…. And so on. 
 
Just who is the witch, one may inquire. And whose methods are being employed? And now, for some alleged literary entertainment:
 
IV. b The Stripper
 
“I am Science!” she declared, dancing liquid on the stage,
“My dress is formulae through and through, and transparent head to toe.” 
But we weren’t watching science bared; we took exception on a different page.
We wanted less and less as she, undone, bared more and more.
 
Was that hypothesis she tossed? What does it say; what is its law?
“I’m influential,” she declared; the letters clear, refined, undone.
Oh, swoon! I am a fool! Can scarcely see what witches saw,
Beside the cauldron, under the hat, behind the curtain now withdrawn.
 
Stripped bare, the stripper danced her liquid dance; danced on
While we, undone, condoned the gestures of a conscience.
We’re captured, one and all, tied tight as knots in her abandon.
“Don’t you know me, sirs, completely bared? I am a Pseudoscience!” 
 
©7/2020 by fauxlaw
 









[4] Nightshade, Brittany, The Book of Shadows,CreateSpace Publishing, 2016, pgs 6, 7


[5] Gilliam, Terry, & Jones, Terry, Monty Python and the Holy Grail, Python [Monty] Pictures, 1975





Published:
Re: I.a
 
I have already explained the drafting error. Further discussion is irrelevant.
 
Re: I.a.1
 
Copying and pasting the definition from the debate description is not a drafting error. 
 
Re: I.a.2
 
Not sure what Pro is talking about here. For witchcraft to be "a spurious or pretended science", witchcraft must be a spurious science or a pretended science. The definition does not mean that witchcraft need only be spurious. I encourage you to simply read the definition and take notice of its true meaning as may reasonably be inferred, notwithstanding Pro's arguments to the contrary.
 
Re: I.b
 
I have already explained the drafting error. Further discussion is irrelevant.
 
 
Re: I.c
 
Pro continues to claim that influencing the natural world is sufficient to show that witchcraft is pseudoscience. Pro has not connected this to our working definition for pseudoscience which makes no mention of influencing the natural world. When I dig a hole I am influencing the natural world. But is hole-digging pseudoscience? No, it isn't. Why not? Because there is no representation that what's being done is scientific.
 
Re: I.c.1
 
Pro has failed to quote any text within the article that is supportive of his position. I continue to deny that there exists any text within the article that is supportive of Pro's position. Pro has had ample opportunity to present any such text, and has not done so.
 
Re: I.d
 
Pro has failed to quote any text within the article that is supportive of his position. I continue to deny that there exists any text within the article that is supportive of Pro's position. Pro has had ample opportunity to present any such text, and has not done so.
 
Re: I.e
 
Pro has failed to quote any text within the article that is supportive of his position. I continue to deny that there exists any text within the article that is supportive of Pro's position. Pro has had ample opportunity to present any such text, and has not done so.
 
Re: I.f
 
Sources are largely useful for resolving factual or definitional disputes. The facts are largely not in dispute. The definitions are in the debate description. The scope of this debate is rather narrow. Is witchcraft pseudoscience? Witchcraft is defined within, as is pseudoscience. I don't see what sourcing beyond the working definitions is really necessary.
 
Re: II.a
 
The definition I provided was the first entry in the dictionary. Pro looked at the same dictionary entry and then went down to the etymology of the word, and then began to use the old meaning of the word for some reason, perhaps somewhat metaphorically. That definition isn't supported by that source, isn't contemporary, and isn't relevant.
 
Re: II.a.1
 
See response above.
 
Re: III.a
 
Pro alleges that I have the burden to show that witches do not pretend to practice science. Again, Pro is alleging that I have BoP to prove that something did not happen. It is impossible to do that because no evidence is generated when something does not happen. Therefore the BoP is on Pro to prove that something did happen.
 
Consider a landlord and tenant. The tenant has not paid his rent. The landlord sues the tenant. In court, the landlord alleges that the tenant did not pay. The tenant then says to the court: "The landlord has not proven that I did not pay." OK voters. You're the court. You decide.
 
As to Con's latter statements in III.a, I direct voters to our working definitions of witchcraft and pseudoscience:
 
Witchcraft: [OED] The exercise of supernatural power supposed to be possessed by persons in league with the devil or evil spirits. Magic arts.
 
Pseudoscience: [OED] A spurious or pretended science; a branch of knowledge or a system of beliefs mistakenly regarded as based on scientific method or having the status of scientific truth.
 
There is no overlap between these two definitions. Witchcraft, as it's defined here, does not fall within the scope of pseudoscience, as it's defined here. Pro is merely providing a single example from fiction of a witch who is acting in a somewhat scientific manner. This isn't sufficient.
 
Re: IV.a
 
This is off-topic.
 
Re: IV.a.1
 
This is off-topic.
 
Re: IV. b The Stripper
 
This is off-topic.

Round 4
Published:
I Rebuttal: “Drafting errors” and other pretensions of formulae, cont’d
 
I.a Con seems content to believe that if he disagrees with my arguments/rebuttals, he may merely claim “drafting error,” and he need make no other rebuttal. Sorry, but I will.
 
I.b Con’s defense of his incomplete definition of “spurious” from his own source: “Copying and pasting the definition from the debate description is not a drafting error.”  I disagree, and it is also an error of omission. Note that Con did not rebut my r2, II.a covering the essential nature of etymology, which he dismissed as “not very relevant.” Given Con’s dismissal of sourcing, one should not be surprised by this attitude, but the attitude is also a weak argument.
 
I.c If Con is unsure about my r3, I.a.2 rebuttal, it his lack of consistency. I repeat: First Con sentence in his r2: “There is no dispute that witchcraft is spurious.”  Is there any confusion here that Con agrees by this statement that witchcraft is spurious? No. Second Con sentence in his r2: “The dispute is whether or not witchcraft is a spurious or pretended science.” Is there any confusion here that his second statement contradicts his first? No.  The confusion is clearly in Con’s camp.
 
I.d Con compounds his error by concluding, again, that witchcraft is not a pseudoscience, but offers absolutely no scholastic source to support his opinion, and has stated that he needs no source, and further believes that my sources [r1, [1], [9]], are invalid if they agree with my argument. Not just a weak, but also an absurd and source-lacking argument. 
 
I.e Con claims in his r3 that my focus on the etymology of spurious, to which he refers as “[a]definition  [that]isn’t supported by that source, isn’t contemporary, and isn’t relevant.”  I will remind readers that the etymology of a word is not a definition; it is relevant sourcing of the word from its original use; in this case, from the 16thcentury. Con cannot relegate etymology to “not relevant,” as I quoted from a Merriam-Webster explanation in my r3, II.a.1 [3].
 
II Rebuttal: A truck is a dug hole
 
II.a Con is fond of defining things by what they are not.  He claimed in r1, that a truck neither is not a pseudoscience, and in his r2 that saying such was a drafting error, but the error stands regardless of explanation. So, we are to be convinced by then claiming in Con’s r3 that hole-digging is not pseudoscience. I suggest that if digging a hole is an instruction in a magic spell, then, yes, it is, then, witchcraft, just as is a truck if it is party to a magic spell. But, are we concerned with what witchcraft is not, or that merely making the claim without a supporting reference is supposed to be convincing that the argument is valid? I am not convinced, as I have just demonstrated the potential use of either implement in witchcraft. Or, are we to be regaled with another excuse in Con’s r4, that, yet again, a drafting error has been committed, and that neither is not a dug hole a pseudoscience?
 
III Rebuttal: A title is not text, and must be quoted as a source, or not.
 
III.a Con repeats a claim that I have not quoted a source [ScienceDirect]. For brevity, review my r2, III.a, and r3, III.a rebuttals that a source need not be quoted to make reference from them in an argument. Nevertheless, I did quote the title of the ScienceDirect article, which stated succinctly the core of my argument that witchcraft, or “magical beliefs,” are pseudoscience, and that college students cannot easily discern them from science, thus supporting my argument that witchcraft is pseudoscience. Since Con dismisses the reference, observe: A 2012 study suggested pseudoscientific rationales can influence acceptance of reported paranormal phenomena. Using a paranormal belief survey and controlled experiment this work explores the paranormal beliefs and test the effects of three versions of a supernatural news story on undergraduate professional students. One version of the story presented a simple news article, another the same with a pseudoscientific rationale, and another gave a discrediting scientific critique. Results confirmed that many students do hold magical beliefs but discriminated between scientific and pseudoscientific narratives. However, pre-existing paranormal beliefs were associated with an increased likelihood of students finding paranormal reports scientific, believable and credible.”[1]
 
IV Defense: What do Monty Python, a magical stripper, and Con’s courtroom have in common?
 
IV.a Con presents a landlord/tenant courtroom dispute in his r3 conclusion. What this has to do with witchcraft is already answered in my r3 by a Monty Python drama, and a poem whose agent is a pseudoscience stripper. You were advised that they were entertaining levity. Con alleges courtrooms are, as well. What any of this has to do with witchcraft, and the nexus of all three fictitious conditions, is the simple proposal presented by this debate: Witchcraft is pseudoscience and superstition.[2]Witchcraft makes the effort to affect the natural world by means that attempt to duplicate the scientific method, as demonstrated by the history of early practice to engage a cure, if not a prevention for illnesses and natural disasters,”[3]
 
IV.b “What’s interesting about [witches] is that they are so clearly understood to be positive figures in their society. No king could be without their counsel, no army could recover from a defeat without their ritual activity, no baby could be born without their presence.”[4]  As benign as the foregoing history lesson is, as presented evidence in my r1, I.c, there is little doubt that the article from which this, and the previous quote offered in IV.a above derive, indicate a practice of the magic arts that featured a counterfeit of the practice of skeptical questioning, careful observation, and repeated experimentation which is the scientific method. A counterfeit of that method to achieve a similar purpose of “…[engaging]a cure, if not a prevention for illness and natural disasters,”  resulting in a practice that “No king could be without their counsel, no army could recover from a defeat without their ritual activity, no baby could be born without their presence.”
 
IV.c I have offered sources demonstrating that witchcraft practices, by counterfeit, the scientific method, to wit,wikiHow Staff’s How to Write a Spell  and Brittany Nightshade’s The Book of Shadows.  Observe a segment of my r3, quoted verbatim, as a review:
 
IV.c.1 The source of relevance is my r2, IV.d [7], “How to Write a Spell.”  And, it is my allegation, referring back to the ScienceDirect article [my r3, source [1], that the Spell document makes use of a similar sequence of tasks as is used by the scientific method, to wit, “State your intention,”  and “Time your spell,”  with the intent, just as with applying the scientific method, to influence the natural world by statement of hypothesis, and definition of a sequence of instructions. As stated in my r1, that method is, 1. Critical questioning with skepticism, 2. Careful observation, and 3. Repeated experimentation. The composition of magic spells, and their practice by witchcraft, employ these same process steps, albeit by corrupt spuriosity, in Nightshade’s Book of Shadows: to wit: “…[1] use these spells, or craft your own rituals. …[2] from my experience when you personalize a spell it only makes it stronger… [3] Only through meditation and practice will your powers grow…”[5] 
 
IV.d Con offers my Description definitions of witchcraft and pseudoscience. Do they lack a nexus, or have I presented the evidence of sources, r1, I.a [1] and r1, I.a.1 [2], as well as those cited above in IV.c.1, as in earlier rounds?
 
V Conclusion: Resolved: Witchcraft is pseudoscience 
 
V.a I conclude by the challenge to voters to observe repetitive source-lacking allegations over three rounds, to date, by Con, and sourced facts of skeptical questioning, careful observation, and repeated experimentation, and their superstitious use in witchcraft in my foregoing three rounds.
 
V.b Relative to sourcing, let me remind that Con’s attitude is revealing and spurious: from my r3, I.e:
Con boldly declares in r2, “I generally deny the existence of any text within the source which supports Pro's position. I challenge as unsubstantiated any of Pro's assertions to the contrary.”  I suppose that must mean, and I caution readers to take note of this challenge, that when I have cited, as I do below, I.f, the DebateArt Voting Policy, Con considers this quote as denied to exist, because it agrees with my argument. Caveat emptor.
 
V.c I conclude that, contrary to Con’s allegations that I have not sourced material, have not stayed on topic, and that generally my sources are invalid because they agree with my arguments, that, without allowing my arguments to stand on their own recognizance as has Con, I have offered topical, scholastic sources for my arguments, the purpose of which is to support my arguments.
 
V.d I therefore conclude that my Burden of Proof is met: Resolved: Witchcraft is pseudoscience, meeting the definitions of these words in the debate Description. I ask for your vote.
 
Thank you.
 
 
 
 

Published:
Re: I.a
 
I have already explained the drafting error. Further discussion is irrelevant.
 
Re: I.b
 
The was the definition of spurious I provided:
 
Spurious is defined as follows: "Not being what it purports to be; false or fake." https://www.lexico.com/en/definition/spurious (Definition from Oxford... believed to be from the same source but not in debate description)
 
This was the first entry within the dictionary. There is nothing wrong with it.
 
Pro asserts that copying/pasting a definition from the debate description is a drafting error and also an error of omission. Pro provides no support for this contention.
 
Pro contends that I did not address etymology. I did simply by stating the obvious: It's not relevant. Why not? Because our working definitions for witchcraft and pseudoscience in no way implicate usage of the etymology of the words that compose those definitions.
 
Re: I.c
 
For witchcraft to be "a spurious or pretended science", witchcraft must be a spurious science or a pretended science. It is not sufficient what witchcraft be spurious.
 
Re: I.d
 
Whether or not witchcraft is pseudoscience is a matter of working definitions. The definitions from the debate description have been accepted by Pro and myself. I need not go far beyond them, which is why I have not.
 
Re: I.e
 
See final paragraph in "Re: I.b"
 
Re: II.a
 
The example of hole-digging was used to address Pro's contention that merely attempting influencing the natural world is sufficient satisfy the "science" portion of our working definition for pseudoscience. Pro makes no mention of pseudoscience in this rebuttal. Pro continues to discuss the drafting error and sources argument, which I have already addressed.
 
Re: III.a
 
Pro has failed to quote any text within the article that is supportive of his position. I continue to deny that there exists any text within the article that is supportive of Pro's position. Pro has had ample opportunity to present any such text, and has not done so.
 
Re: IV.a
 
Pro avoids any discussion of BoP, which was what I was talking about.
 
Pro states that "Witchcraft is pseudoscience" and again cites https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2405844017321795 as a source. See "Re: III.a" above.
 
Pro puts quotation marks around "engage a cure, if not a prevention for illnesses and natural disasters" and follows those quotation marks with "[3]". By doing so, Pro represents that the quoted text exists within the source. The quoted text does not exist within the source. This is a misrepresentation. Pro is merely quoting his opening round 1 argument.
 
Re: IV.b
 
Pro claims that his source article - https://allthatsinteresting.com/history-of-witches - shows the existence of "a counterfeit of the practice of skeptical questioning, careful observation, and repeated experimentation which is the scientific method." As Pro has actually quoted text form within the article, I will entertain the claim.
 
Pro quotes the following from the article:
 
No king could be without their counsel, no army could recover from a defeat without their ritual activity, no baby could be born without their presence.
 
This is the only quote from the article which Pro offers in support of his contention. This quote does not support Pro's contention because it does not say anything which could be "a counterfeit practice of skeptical questioning, careful observation, [nor] repeated experimentation."
 
Lets look at what the paragraphs leading up to that quote:
 
In the earliest centuries of human civilization, witches were the women who served the goddesses and therefore were revered throughout their communities.
 
In the Middle East, ancient civilizations not only worshiped powerful female deities, but it was often women who practiced the holiest of rituals. Trained in the sacred arts, these priestesses became known as wise women, and may have been some of the earliest manifestations of what we now recognize as the witch.
 
These wise women made house calls, delivered babies, dealt with infertility, and cured impotence.
 
This sounds like faith-healing, and that would be somewhat consistent with our working definition for witchcraft ("The exercise of supernatural power supposed to be possessed by persons in league with the devil or evil spirits. Magic arts.")
 
Faith-healing is not pseudoscience. Granted, faith-healing is bologna, but there is no representation that faith-healing is scientific.
 
Recall the examples of counterfeit money and mimicry I provided earlier that Pro dropped. Counterfeit money imitates real money. Certain species of insects will imitate bees and hornets. For something to be pseudoscience, it must imitate science. (recall our working definition for pseudoscience - "a spurious or pretended science") Witchcraft does not imitate science. Ergo, witchcraft is not pseudoscience.
 
Re: IV.c
 
No quoted text here = No evidence here = No response necessary.
 
Re: IV.c.1
 
The source of relevance is my r2, IV.d [7], “How to Write a Spell.”  And, it is my allegation, referring back to the ScienceDirect article [my r3, source [1], that the Spell document makes use of a similar sequence of tasks as is used by the scientific method, to wit, “State your intention,”  and “Time your spell,”  with the intent, just as with applying the scientific method, to influence the natural world by statement of hypothesis, and definition of a sequence of instructions. As stated in my r1, that method is, 1. Critical questioning with skepticism, 2. Careful observation, and 3. Repeated experimentation. The composition of magic spells, and their practice by witchcraft, employ these same process steps, albeit by corrupt spuriosity, in Nightshade’s Book of Shadows: to wit: “…[1] use these spells, or craft your own rituals. …[2] from my experience when you personalize a spell it only makes it stronger… [3] Only through meditation and practice will your powers grow…”[5]
 
Pro is blathering here. The science direct article doesn't contain the quoted text. Applying the scientific method (see definition in debate description) does not evince an intent to "influence the natural world by statement of hypothesis." A hypothesis is a proposed explanation for an observation; It's not a means of influencing anything - https://www.lexico.com/en/definition/hypothesis . Pro got 1, 2, and 3 correct as those are consistent with our working definition.
 
Pro's example should be rejected as it is a fictional rather than actual example. Even if we accept Pro's example, it fails to conform to the scientific method because there is no evidence of any hypothesis nor critical questioning. Even if we accept Pro's contention that it the example does conform to the scientific method, Pro would merely have demonstrated that a fictional witch is acting scientifically. Even if we accept that, this is but a single example and it would be hasty generalization to conclude that all or most practitioners of witchcraft act scientifically. Even if we accept that they mostly do conduct themselves in a scientific manner, that still doesn't amount to pseudoscience because pseudoscience is a spurious or fake science rather than activity which conforms to the scientific method.
 
Re: IV.d
 
See above.
 
Re: V.a
 
Pro is merely repeating himself. These issues have been addressed.
 
Re: V.b
 
Source issues already addressed. Waste of time to keep talking about the same thing over and over.
 
Re: V.c
 
This is Pro straw-manning and making conclusory statements.
 
Re: V.d
 
This is conclusory.
 
Re: Victory conditions / Misc matters
 
In my opening argument, I argued that it was sufficient for me to show that witchcraft is not pseudoscience in order to show that the resolution was false. Pro dropped this. I brought this to Pro's attention a second time when I stated that "Pro has not disputed that showing that witchcraft is not pseudoscience is sufficient to show that the resolution is false." Pro dropped this, again.
 
Re: Counterfeits and mimicry
 
I provided the examples of counterfeit money and mimicry to illustrate why witchcraft does not amount to pseudoscience. Pro dropped this.
 
Re: General conclusion
 
Witchcraft is not pseudoscience because witchcraft does not imitate science (i.e. it is not a spurious or fake science). Pro cannot escape that, no matter how colorful he writes. Perhaps Pro could have argued that 2 out of the 3 sub-claims within the resolution were true, and he was thus mostly correct, but Pro did not do so. Pro, in fact, dropped my multiple assertions to the contrary and made no argument along those lines. Pro's arguments are more about drafting errors and sourcing rather than substance. To the extent that they are not, they have been refuted. Pro is a colorful and imaginative writer, but that does not make him correct.



Added:
This debate now has a follow up debate:
https://www.debateart.com/debates/2221/resolved-referenced-sources-are-necessary-in-a-debate
#63
Added:
NOTICE: 2 days remain for voting.
I might get around to this, but I can't promise as I have to try to recover from a terrible weekend, and knock out some important job application activities.
#62
Added:
--> @armoredcat
Lol don't debate with him unless you can have lower rounds and character limits. If he's losing he'll just keep blathering nonsense so that voting on it will be too much work.
Contender
#61
Added:
Anyone going to vote on this?
#60
Added:
--> @fauxlaw
A brain without a thought but not a thought without a brain. In so much as the thought brain relationship is currently exclusive. (Seemingly)
And I agree, opinions is opinions,
And scholastically supported argument, is a bunch of onions + pi.
And logic seemingly is, whilst simultaneously, seemingly is not.
#59
Added:
--> @zedvictor4
I will note, for the record, that a claim of logic is not a scholastically-supported argument. Opinion is not necessarily logical. Opinion is a can of beans without an opener. Or, more to the point, a thought without a brain which is, fortunately, not generally contagious.
Instigator
#58
Added:
--> @fauxlaw
I sense that you are riled by the logic of my comments.....Very ethanesque.
Enjoy your debate.
#57
Added:
--> @zedvictor4
and the debate is not enjoined in these comments, but in arguments, and you're not in it, so, ma gavte la nata [or, in the vernacular you understand: put a cork in it.]
Instigator
#56
Added:
--> @fauxlaw
A druid in a henge is as dumb or not as the case may be and a druid's belief system is as dumb or not as religion or witchcraft is....And a book is a book, and there are undoubtedly witchcraft books as there are religion books, though none of these books will stand up to scientific scrutiny....Only biased opinion.....As is the nature of debate.
Fortunately my troubles are currently, few and far between.
#55
Added:
--> @zedvictor4
"Gods are the obvious and unavoidable consequence of this proposal..." Nope. The scientific, or empirical method, to the uninitiated in the trial of faith, cannot, by the means of empiricism alone, demonstrate God. And witchcraft, the dominant subject of the debate, does not go there, either, even though witchcraft is a pseudoscience that attempts to attract the behavior of super-natural beings in the effort to have them be agents of change to the natural world. However, to God, as recognized by adherents to the Torah, the Holy Bible, and the Qu'ran, witchcraft is an abomination. [Deuteronomy 18: 10-12, and the Qu'ran, 7:102-124] The gods of witchcraft are fleeting, and will accept any attempt to flatter any one of them by spells, even to the extent of swapping one god for another in any given spell [Nightshade, Brittany, The Book of Shadows, Preface, pg. 10]. Therefore, your claim of inevitability of gods being an unavoidable consequence to this debate is an empty cauldron, as useless to empiricism, and faith, as it is to newt's eyes. Just as stated to you in post #41. Do you have any scholarly references for your claim? I don't buy your opinion. Go find a druid in some henge to tell your troubles.
Instigator
#54
Added:
--> @fauxlaw, @Death23
Gods are the obvious and unavoidable consequence of the proposal.....Belief in a super-nature beyond scientific scrutiny....It's the best strategy in this debate....Unless you are prepared to denounce the super-nature of gods, then you cannot denounce the super-nature of witchcraft, because you are inadvertently proposing that scientific method is unnecessary.
#53
Added:
--> @Intelligence_06
That issue is a more fundamental one regarding exactly what the burdens of debaters are. I don't think Pro disagrees with me on that point based on what he has said here. So, the issue will likely be avoided by mutual agreement between Pro and Con, or he may drop it altogether. If not, then we can get in to it.
Contender
#52
Added:
--> @christopher_best
So far, Fauxlaw's arguments are more compelling in my eyes.
#51
Added:
--> @Intelligence_06, @Death23
I meant I'd delete the votes in favor of Death on this debate, obviously I was just kidding anyways.
#50
Added:
--> @christopher_best
Duh, it is not like he can vote on his own debate lol
#49
#1
Criterion Pro Tie Con Points
Better arguments 3 points
Better sources 2 points
Better spelling and grammar 1 point
Better conduct 1 point
Reason:
First off, this debate left me literally dizzy from going in pointless circles so much.
Not doing point numbering due to the Gish Gallop like nature of this debate; instead I’m just taking highlights from each round.
R1:
I can basically assume pro meets his BoP on 2 out of 3 claims, as Con opens with a statement to immediately limit his attack the affirmative pseudoscience claim. To which we have the OED definition “A spurious or pretended science; a branch of knowledge or a system of beliefs mistakenly regarded as based on scientific method or having the status of scientific truth.”
R2:
Pro nitpicks grammar, seeming to miss the point (it’s a bad stance to lead with). Complains of the lack of sources. Then asks that readers re-read some of his claims which touched on pseudoscience. He does better here pointing out that he had sources which referred to it as pseudoscience within the scientific community.
Pro goes on to talk at length about Catherine Bell and a TV show.
Con on the other hand reaffirms his stance and adds a good detail of contrasting it to counterfeit money. He does a strong conclusion using pro’s 19 sources against him in that if there was good evidence, surely pro would have found it?
R3:
A ton of nitpicking before getting back on topic… Ah, a positive review for Catherine Bell’s TV show; it sounds like they pretend to be scientists on TV? Ok, a good note of Monty Python demonstrating the scientific method against witches (for this type of thing, I seriously suggest a link to the video). And ending with an original poem written by pro.
Con basically repeats that pro has BoP to show that witchcraft rises to the level of a pseudoscience, and that he cannot prove the negative (his definitions actually imply this, with “magical arts” instead of “magical sciences,” suggesting that he indeed could prove that it falls below the threshold).
R4:
Pro clarifies why he believes it is a prescience, in that hundreds of years ago people attempted to use it in a similar manner (even without similar results) to things we would use various sciences for today.
Con explains why faith healing does not claim to do the rigorous study and questioning of itself as seen with science. He reminds us “pseudoscience is a spurious or fake science rather than activity which conforms to the scientific method,” which has been implicit throughout his earlier arguments. And of course concludes with pointing back to his R1, and finally complimenting pro’s quality of writing.
---
Arguments:
Con leveraged BoP against one of the claims. Pro came closer to conceding that witchcraft is compatible with the scientific method, than showing it is a pseudoscience (he repeatedly insisted it attempts to duplicate the scientific method). Con on the other hand stuck to his points that it logically is not a pseudoscience, even if a TV witch uses it as a science to change the world.
Sources:
I agree with con that sources are not absolutely necessary. That said, pro still put the work into his research, and gets credit for that (even if so much focus on that TV show tempted me to wholly ignore sources). I will also note that con easily could have sources witches acting very non-scientific, which would have greatly sped this up.
Let’s see, to cite one: Pro was very creative in using the absence of alien DNA to suggest that witchcraft is indeed superstition, a point not merely dropped, but outright conceded by con.
Conduct:
Leaving this tied. I will note there is a certain degree of irony with pro telling us how to vote, rather than letting things like the imbalance of sources speak for themselves.
S&G:
Also tied. There’s no benefit in obsessing over every typo, when people were still fully understandable without any major distractions from that.