Instigator / Con
9
1553
rating
24
debates
56.25%
won
Topic

Women and children first

Status
Finished

All stages have been completed. The voting points distribution and the result are presented below.

Arguments points
3
3
Sources points
2
4
Spelling and grammar points
2
2
Conduct points
2
2

With 2 votes and 2 points ahead, the winner is ...

fauxlaw
Parameters
More details
Publication date
Last update date
Category
Philosophy
Time for argument
Two weeks
Voting system
Open voting
Voting period
One month
Point system
Four points
Rating mode
Rated
Characters per argument
7,500
Required rating
1535
Contender / Pro
11
1692
rating
76
debates
69.74%
won
Description
~ 260 / 5,000

The Titanic is sinking. There are not enough lifeboats for everybody. This debate is about the policy of prioritizing women and children for life boat seats during the sinking of the Titanic. Death23 is CON. Death23 is arguing AGAINST women and children first.

Round 1
Con
This is from the wikipedia:



The phrase was popularised by its usage on the RMSTitanic.[12] The Second Officer suggested to Captain Smith, "Hadn't webetter get the women and children into the boats, sir?", to which thecaptain responded: "put the women and children in and loweraway".[13] The First and Second officers (William McMaster Murdoch andCharles Lightoller) interpreted the evacuation order differently; Murdoch tookit to mean women and children first, while Lightoller took it to mean women andchildren only. Second Officer Lightoller lowered lifeboats with empty seats ifthere were no women and children waiting to board, while First Officer Murdochallowed a limited number of men to board if all the nearby women and childrenhad embarked.[14] As a consequence, 74% of the women and 52% of the children onboard were saved, but only 20% of the men.[15] Some officers on the Titanicmisinterpreted the order from Captain Smith, and tried to prevent men fromboarding the lifeboats.[16][17] It was intended that women and children wouldboard first, with any remaining free spaces for men. Because not all women andchildren were saved on the Titanic, the few men who survived, like White Starofficial J. Bruce Ismay, were initially branded as cowards.[18]
 
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Women_and_children_first#20th_century

I will go with this purported set of facts.
 
In any event, the policy is unjustifiable andunfair. Many passengers died simply because they were male. They were ticketedpassengers just like everybody else. There is no reason the company should bedevaluing them on that basis.
Pro
Resolved: Women and children first [re: RMS Titanic tragedy]
 
I Argument: misunderstanding Captain Smith of the RMS Titanic
 
I.a On the ill-fated RMS Titanic,  Captain Smith’s First and Second Officers took separate interpretations of the Captain’s orders. On suggestion by the Second Officer, “Hadn’t we better get the women and children into the boats, sir,”   the Captain replied by the following order:  “Put the women and children in and lower away.”[1]
 
I.a.1 The critical interrupt in the suggestion and subsequent order is the separate understanding between the Second Officer’s suggestion, the Captain’s subsequent order, and the critical including of the word “first” in the Second Officer’s suggestion, implying that there should be a classification of women/children, and then men, and, finally, the First Officer’s interpretation of the Captain’s order, which did not contain an ordered sequence of all passengers, but mentioning only women and children.
 
I.a.1.A The Second Officer’s suggestion of “women and children first” may have implied that men were to follow in order of sequence of loading passengers.
 
I.a.2 Because the Officers reacted differently in carrying out the order, the Second Officer first boarded women and children, and perceiving he had met that order, began allowing men aboard lifeboats, while the First Officer apparently allowed only women and children to board lifeboats.
 
I.b Known facts of the RMS Titanic passenger and crew compliment, and the number of lifeboats and total seats on all lifeboats, combined:
 
1.    Total crew compliment:                  885[2] unknown specifically by male/female
2.    Total passenger compliment:   1,317[3]   of which: women:   447[4]
                                                                                                               men:         869[5]
                                                                                                               children:  107[6]
 
note: There is no accounting in the source for the numbers of [3] not being the sum of [4]+[5]+[6].
 
3.    The total number of seats available on all lifeboats combined: 1,178[7]
 
I.c Therefore, it is shown that there were more total lifeboat seats available than there were the total number of women and children, combined [554] by more than double. Therefore, the panic that ensued by the Officers’ separate understanding of the Captain’s orders could have been avoided by a simple cross-check between the Officers before collecting passengers for boarding the lifeboats. 
 
I.d Further, it is clear that the Second Officers’ initial suggestion would have sufficed for boarding all women and children passengers [554], leaving ample room for 624 of the 869 male adult passengers. Yes, there were insufficient lifeboats on board to save all passengers and crew, but that is a factor outside of this Resolution and debate. And, yes, the confusion over the Captain’s orders did result in more lives lost by lowering insufficiently filled lifeboats, but that is really outside the resolution and debate parameters as well. The point is, and my BoP is that a policy of women and children first could have been assured leaving 53% of lifeboat seats available for men on board. 
 
I.d.1 53% is a greater percentage than is the worldwide typical percentage of men to women [men = 50.4%, women 49.6%] in the population.[8]
 
I.e Therefore, Con’s Resolution that there should not have been a policy of women and children first is not demonstrated because there was ample room to accommodate all women and children and still accommodate over 50.4% of the men on board at an agreeable percentage, 53% of them, chivalry notwithstanding.
 
II. Rebuttal: “The policy is unjustified and unfair”
 
II.a Pro’s R1 argument regarding the Second Officer’s suggestion, the Captain’s order, and the separate interpretations of that order by the First and Second Officers, as I have cited them above, arg. I.a.1 – I.a.2, is not as detailed as my description, although our source material is essentially the same. Pro does not offer argument regarding the significance of the Second Officer’s mention of “women and children first,”  thus implying that his suggestion included men to also be loaded onboard lifeboats, and not ignored.
 
II.b Whether the Captain’s subsequent order was meant to imply, because it was not vocalized, that men should follow in a sequence once women and children were boarded in lifeboats is a matter for conjecture now. We cannot just assume the Captain’s order truncated the Second officer’s suggestion, demonstrating a callous, but apparently chivalrous attitude. Assumption is easy, but it is not a documented fact.
 
II.c Nor does Pro entertain the numbers analysis I have offered in arg. I.b through I.e, that the calculation of the shipboard population of the RMS Titanic  happened to accommodate a comparison to a coincident worldwide population of men and women [children being of both sexes, anyway]. I cannot make the assumption, either, that the Captain, or the Second Officer, made this calculation of world population comparison by sexes; I will admit they probably did not. It is, however, a consistent calculation; there were sufficient seats onboard all lifeboats, combined, to accommodate that calculation, if not accommodating all persons onboard the ill-fated vessel. Therefore, one can conclude Pro’s R1 claim is incorrect.
  
II.d Pro further ignored the dilemma faced by the crew, specifically the Captain and Officers, that the RMS Titanic  simply was not equipped to accommodate all persons on board the vessel, as a matter of design and manufacture.
 
II.e Therefore, Pro’s Resolution fails.
 
I conclude for R1, and pass R2 to Con.
 
 
 


Round 2
Con
Re: Misunderstanding Captain Smith

This point is not relevant because this debate isn't about defending Captain Smith. "This debate is about the policy of prioritizing women and children for life boat seats during the sinking of the Titanic." (see debate description) That such policy existed isn't disputed, as Pro admits that both the first and second officers of Titanic prioritized women and children for life boat seats. Pro's contention that the policy may have been implemented independently of Captain Smith or based on a misinterpretation of his orders does not support Pro's position. Even if that were true, it would be an argument against Pro because it would tend to show that the policy of prioritizing women and children for life boat seats did not have the support of Captain Smith. Again, the existence of the policy isn't disputed. It is not my burden to demonstrate that the policy of prioritizing women and children was Captain Smith's intention. The debate description makes no mention of Captain Smith. Additionally, Captain Smith was on the ship while the lifeboats were being loaded up. He likely had some knowledge of what was going on with the lifeboats. That he did not interfere with the policy of prioritizing women and children for lifeboat seats while it was happening, while he was there, on his ship which he commanded, amounts to an accpetance and ratification of the policy notwithstanding the fact that his original orders may have been misconstrued.

Re: Numerical count argument

"there were insufficient lifeboats on board to save all passengers and crew, but that is a factor outside of this Resolution and debate."

?

The debate description states that "[t]here are not enough lifeboats for everybody." The factor is clearly within the scope of this debate.

Pro seems to be arguing that a lot of the loss of life was caused by factors other than the policy of prioritizing women and children for life boat seats, and that if the life boats had been filled to capacity, then it wouldn't have been as bad as it was, or unfair as it was.

Pro is wrong. Pro supposes that saving 100% of the women and 100% of the children, while allowing 47% of the men to die is "agreeable". It's not agreeable because it's unjustifiable and disgustingly unfair to devalue and dispose of those lives at a grossly disproportionate rate simply because they are men.

Pro has advanced no argument in support of the merits of the policy of prioritizing women and children for life boat seats during the sinking of the Titanic. Pro has argued only that the policy didn't have the support of the captain and that a substantial loss of life was caused by incompetence or chaos.

Re: Rebuttal

Pro's rebuttal here is focused on my not addressing Pro's opening arguments. Obviously I wouldn't have addressed them when I opened. I didn't see them yet. In any event, they are addressed now.

Pro
Resolved: Women and children first [re: RMS Titanic tragedy]
 
I Argument: Maritime Law
 
I.a At the time of the RMS Titanic disaster, maritime law did not stipulate that all souls onboard a vessel had to be accommodated by lifeboats.[1]  Maritime law was changed following and due to the RMS Titanic  tragedy.
 
I.b However, that change still did not accommodate all persons on board cruise ships by lifeboats. Rather, there was accommodation for approximately 75% of all persons on board by lifeboats, and the balance were to be accommodated by inflatable, or rigid life rafts, or some other accommodation, but maritime law ultimately changed to allow rescue of all persons onboard a vessel at sea.[2]  As a result, Pro’s Resolution, strictly as stated, that “This debate is about the policy of prioritizing women and children for life boat seats during the sinking of the Titanic”  is somewhat of a truism [it was acknowledged fact then, and accepted as fact, now], because the design intent of the RMS Titanic  was that there would not be sufficient lifeboat seats to accommodate all persons onboard, be it right, wrong, or indifferent.
 
I.b.1 The requirement now is, “Regulations require each side of cruise ships have enough lifeboats to accommodate 37.5% of the total number of persons on board (passengers and crew), 75% in total. Inflatable or rigid life rafts must accommodate the remaining 25% of passengers and crew. (SOLAS, Section II, Regulation 21, 1.1)”[3]  
 
I.b.2 “SOLAS” is the International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea, which was “…developed after the sinking of the Titanic in 1914, but was not fully adopted until 1974.”[4]
 
II Rebuttal: “There are not enough lifeboats for everybody”
 
II.a Comparable to Pro’s excerpt from the Description as noted above, arg. I.b, this statement of insufficient accommodating lifeboats, also from Pro’s Description, is also a truism, which begs the response, “Yes; and?” The point Pro makes is that the “policy” of prioritizing all women and children first was an unfair “policy” to apply. My rebuttal is, what is a “policy?” 
 
II.b “Policy,” by Pro’s emphasis on the word, implies that there was an extent policy to be followed. Was that the case?
 
II.b.1 Since Pro has avoided defining this critical word in his Resolution Description, let’s offer an attempt: 
 
According to the OED: Policy n, 4. A principle or course of action adopted or proposed as desirable, advantageous, or expedient; esp. one formally advocated by a government, political party, etc. Also as a mass nounmethod of acting on matters of principle, settled practice. (Now the usual sense.)
 
Note that this is the 4th in a sequence of definitions. The previous 3, by OED designation, are all obsolete senses of the word ‘policy.’
 
II.b.2 Note the term “formally” in the OED definition. That would not align with a word-of-mouth procedure. By this definition, the Second Officer’s suggestion of “…woman and children first”  may or may not qualify as an extant policy as already provided in an RMS Titanic  volume of onboard procedures for the ship’s crew, if one even existed. By the Officer’s suggestion, beginning with “Hadn’t we better get…” might imply that, lacking a formal, documented procedure defined in such a manual, it really might have been just a suggestion. 
 
II.b.3 “Might” may have a predecessory clue. In the April 12, 2012 issue of Scientific American,  the article, “The Extraordinary Story of the White Star Liner Titanic”  includes the following regarding the ship’s designed lifeboat compliment:
 
“The regulations governing the number of lifeboats had not been changed since 1894—18 years earlier—and the Titanic was 460 percent larger than the largest ship in the world at the time the outdated rules were published.”[5]  [bold added for emphasis]
 
The article further indicates that RMS Titanic  “sailed with 16 lifeboats capable of accomodating 1,178 human beings…”[6]  in April, 2012. There is no indication that Titanic’s  lifeboats changed their size from that of previous vessel classes to the new Olympic  class featured by RMS Olympic, Titanic, and Britannic. Therefore, the seat accommodations remained as noted from 1894, when ocean-sailing passenger cruise vessels were so much smaller, and, therefore, would accommodate those earlier ships’ full passenger compliment. That would lead one to believe there was no specific policy documented by White Star Lines stipulating a policy of, or even a need for a policy of “women and children first.” 
 
II.c To date, my inquiry has failed to turn up a White Star Line policy manual from 1912 that would confirm whether a “women and children first” was a documented passenger rescue directive. The lack cannot allow the opinion that there was an official policy. Therefore, “policy,” by definition, may be the wrong term to use in Pro’s Resolution, and any valid subsequent argument.
 
III Rebuttal: Women and children first: unmerited policy, or class discrimination?
 
III.a Pro’s BoP is that a “women and children first” policy should be considered unmerited policy [assuming there was a standing policy and not a snap decision], can be called into question not just because of Rebuttal II, above, but also because even though there were sufficient lifeboat seats onboard to accommodate over twice the women and children passenger compliment onboard Titanic [447 + 107 = 554], 93 women and 53 children lost their lives [total 146], or 26% of all women and children onboard.[7] The fact is, first through third classes onboard lost increasingly higher numbers of both women and children by descent [lower and lower decks] in classes of passengers. Not even women and children in all classes were treated in identical fashion, contrary to Pro’s argument. Fairness, Pro argues? Not even to women and children, then, by the numbers. Let alone men.
 
III.b Pro’s Resolution fails.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 


Round 3
Con
Re: Maritime Law

Maritime law is not very relevant. Perhaps it would be if prioritizing women and children for lifeboat seats was illegal, or something.

Re: Definition of policy

Whether or not "women and children first" constitutes a policy is not relevant to the truth value of the resolution. The debate title is "Women and children first". The debate description states that I am arguing against it. We may call "Women and children first" a rule, guideline, code, or whatever you want to call it. It doesn't matter what you call it as it's obvious what's being referred to.

Re: Numerical arguments

That there were unfair disparities in survival rates among the passenger classes is admitted. Again, this fact is not relevant to the merits of "women and children first". I'm not exactly sure what the cause of the disparities were. Perhaps first and second class passengers were simply closer to the lifeboats. I do not know, but it isn't relevant anyway.

Pro's arguments so far haven't been good. The arguments have largely been that it's unclear that the policy was entirely the creation of Captain Smith, semantic arguments and the argument that it wouldn't have been as bad if other contributing factors weren't at play. Pro has yet to advance any argument in favor of the merits of "women and children first". Pro has not put forth any arguments about reproductive potential, the meaning of sacrifice, the dishonor of disposing of the helpless, the lack of opportunity timewise for the formation of ideal policy, nor the greater value in number of years of life saved by sparing the young as opposed to the old. I do not endorse any argument along those lines; I merely point them out to illustrate lines of arguments that Pro could have but thus far failed to advance.
Pro
Resolved: Women and children first 
 
I need to correct a misidentification in my R2, III.a regarding “Pro’s BoP…” That should have read “Con’s BoP…”
 
I Rebuttal: Relevance: maritime law
 
I.a Con’s R3 argues, “Maritime law is not very relevant. Perhaps it would be for if prioritizing for women and children… was illegal…”  Curious position to take considering Con’s entire BoP is just that: opposing apparent prioritizing of women and children as policy. Con argued in R1, “…the policy is unjustifiable and unfair…”  Con opened the door claiming the policy was prioritizing. That, dear readers, is Resolution creep, and that is a failed argument.
 
II Rebuttal: definition of policy
 
II.a Con failed to note ‘policy’ as a critical term in his Resolution or define it in Description. In R3, Con states, “Whether or not ‘women and children first’ constitutes a policy is not relevant to the truth value of the resolution.”  Remember Con’s Description: 
 
“This debate is about the policyof prioritizing women and children for life boat seats during the sinking of the Titanic.”
 
II.a.1 Is ‘policy’ relevant to the truth value, and not relevant to the truth value of the Resolution? Simultaneously? We have already been to Con’s “…the policy is unjustifiable and unfair…”   If Con truly wants it both ways, I conclude we are back to Resolution creep, and that is a failed argument.
 
III Rebuttal: numerical arguments
 
III.a Con’s R3 argues, “…there were unfair disparities in the survival rates among the passenger classes…”  but further argues, “…this fact is not relevant to the merits of ‘women and children first.’”  Con is confused on the merits of his own arguments, to wit, relevance of maritime law, and definition of policy.
 
III.b My R2 argument, III.a, spells out that, by the numbers, more numbers of men perished than women and children, but there were more adult male passengers onboard than women and children, combined. Was it unfair that ticketed passengers allowed more men than women and children? There were fewer passengers than the capacity of the Titanic, so White Star Lines cannot be accused of age and gender discrimination. That is a failed argument.
 
IV Rebuttal: “Pro’s arguments so far haven’t been good”
 
IV.a The last desperate Con claim of Resolution creep. Pro's detailed arguments, summarized:
 
1.    There was no maritime law [a “formal policy,” by definition] presenting legal precedent of “women and children first.”
2.    There was no defined “formal policy” of “women and children first.”
3.    There was no policy bias of men vs. women and children; there were simply more men than women and children onboard.
 
IV.b It is not that there has been a concentrated effort to demonstrate that, according to Con’s R3 conclusion, “…the arguments have largely been that it's unclear that the policy was entirely the creation of Captain Smith.”  Rather, the simple argument, stated in R1, I.a.2, that “…the Officers reacted differently in carrying out the order.”
 
IV.c It is not that Con’s R3 conclusion is, “…semantic arguments and the argument that it wouldn't have been as bad if other contributing factors weren't at play.”  It wasn’t even, as Con suggested, that “…the policy was unjustified and unfair.”  
 
IV.c.1 Rather, the simple arguments, stated in my R1, II.d, were that“…the RMS Titanic  simply was not equipped to accommodate all persons on board the vessel, as a matter of design and manufacture,”  and, in my R2, I.a, that “…maritime law did not stipulate that all souls onboard a vessel had to be accommodated by lifeboats,”  and, finally, thatmy R2, II.b.3, that  “the regulations governing the number of lifeboats had not been changed since 1894—18 years earlier—and the Titanic was 460 percent larger than the largest ship in the world at the time the outdated rules were published.”  
 
IV.d It is not that Con argued, “Pro has yet to advance any argument in favor of the merits of ‘women and children first.’”  Merit? As if merit equates to a necessary policy? Con’s Description and arguments are that there must have been a policy of women and children first, and that the policy is unfair. 
 
IV.d.1 To quote Con’s Description again, “This debate is about the policy of prioritizing women and children for life boat seats during the sinking of the Titanic.”  
 
IV.d.2 And, again, Con’s R1, “the policy is unjustifiable and unfair.”  
 
IV.d.3 Still, again, Con’s R2, “Pro has argued only that the policy didn't have the support of the captain and that a substantial loss of life was caused by incompetence or chaos.”  [I did not argue that, by the way. I argued that two Officers took two different interpretations of the Captain's order. Better to quote an opponent's argument than to re-interpret it in one's own words. The two Officers did that to the peril of the Titanic.]
 
IV.d.4 Finally, Con’s R3, “Whether or not ‘women and children first’ constitutes a policy is not relevant to the truth value of the resolution.”
 
IV.d.5 “Policy, policy, policy, policy.”  Con’s broken record has simply been refuted, not as he expected, that I would argue in favor of a policy.  Let me remind Con of his R3 argument, immediately following the quote in IV.d.4, above: “The debate title is "Women and children first."  I agree, that is the Resolution, in a nutshell. Am I the only one that notices the Resolution is lacking the word “policy?” 
 
IV.d.6 Thus my unerring, constant argument throughout: there was no policy for Pro to support. Note that I defined policy, which Con avoided in the Description and in three argument rounds to do himself, even though Con made the word significant in all his rounds of argument. By definition, a policy did not exist. What was it, then? As both Con and Pro cited, the source called it a “suggestion.”
 
VI. Conclusion
 
VI.a If the semantics are not clear enough, let’s review Con’s Description, again. Con states, “Death23 is CON. Death23 is arguing AGAINST women and children first.”  
 
VI.b Often, when the Initiator defines a participant’s BoP, the opposing party’s BoP is also defined, but a Pro BoP is missing from Con’s Description. I take by that exclusion that Pro’s BoP is for Pro to define. I have: I do not argue FOR women and children, first, last, or ever. There was no policy, and Con’s Resolution does not speak to a policy, at all. Therefore, according to Con’s own subsequent arguments of policy as a repeating bell, policy fails the Resolution. It, is, simply, as I’ve stated, Resolution creep. That is a failed argument.
 
I am grateful for your read of these debate arguments. Please vote for Pro.