All stages have been completed. The voting points distribution and the result are presented below.
With 3 votes and 15 points ahead, the winner is ...
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This debate will last for 4 rounds, with 3 days to post each round. There will be 10,000 characters available to each debate for each round. Voting will last for 2 weeks. I am taking the Pro position.
Some form of polygamy should be legal.
Polygamy: the practice of having two or more legal spouses simultaneously
Should: expresses desirability, expediency, prudentiality, and/or advisability
1. No forfeits
2. Citations must be provided in the text of the debate
3. No new arguments in the final speeches
4. Observe good sportsmanship and maintain a civil and decorous atmosphere
5. No trolling
6. No "kritiks" of the topic (challenging assumptions in the resolution)
7. For all undefined resolutional terms, individuals should use commonplace understandings that fit within the logical context of the resolution and this debate
8. The BOP is evenly shared
9. Rebuttals of new points raised in an adversary's immediately preceding speech may be permissible at the judges' discretion even in the final round (debaters may debate their appropriateness)
10. Violation of any of these rules, or of any of the description's set-up, merits a loss
R1. Pro's Case; Con's Case
R2. Pro generic Rebuttal; Con generic Rebuttal
R3. Pro generic Rebuttal; Con generic Rebuttal
R4. Pro generic Rebuttal and Summary; Con generic Rebuttal and Summary
- Any would-be spouse must be aware that they are entering a polygamous marriage (and the exact number of spouses and children involved) before the marriage can be conducted
- Any person wishing marry additional spouses must notify any existing spouses of their intention to marry an additional spouse and must also receive the consent of those existing spouses to marry that additional spouse
- All participants in a polygamous marriage must be at least 18 years of age
- Absent other mutually agreed, legislated, or court-ordered arrangements, custody of any child belongs to the biological, married parents within a polygamous family
- Polygamy should not be restricted to any gender- or sex-based restrictions or guidelines (e.g. 1 man with many women)
While polygyny may benefit the men involved, it denies wives to other men, especially young, low-status men, who tend to measure their success by their manhood, that is, by the twin parameters of social status and fertility. With little to lose, these frustrated men are much more likely to turn to crime and violence, including sexual violence and warmongering. It can be no coincidence that polygamy is practiced in all of the 20 most unstable countries on the Fragile States Index.
All this is only aggravated by the brideprice, a payment from the groom to the bride’s family. Brideprice is a frequent feature of polygynous unions and is intended to compensate the bride’s family for the loss of a pair of hands. Divorce typically requires that the brideprice be returned, forcing many women to remain in miserable or abusive marriages. If polygamous unions are common, the resulting shortage of brides inflates the brideprice, raising the age at which young men can afford to marry while incentivizing families to hive off their daughters at the soonest opportunity, even at the cost of interrupting their education. Brideprice if often paid in cows, and, to afford a bride, young men may resort to cattle raids and other forms of crime. Gang leaders and warlords attract new recruits with the promise of a bride or an offer to cover their brideprice.
In suppressing intrasexual competition and reducing the size of the pool of unmarried men, normative monogamy reduces crime rates, including rape, murder, assault, robbery and fraud, as well as decreasing personal abuses. By assuaging the competition for younger brides, normative monogamy decreases (i) the spousal age gap, (ii) fertility, and (iii) gender inequality. By shifting male efforts from seeking wives to paternal investment, normative monogamy increases savings, child investment and economic productivity. By increasing the relatedness within households, normative monogamy reduces intra-household conflict, leading to lower rates of child neglect, abuse, accidental death and homicide. These predictions are tested using converging lines of evidence from across the human sciences.
The correlation between violence and polygamy (strictly, polygyny — being married to more than one wife at the same time — as having more than one husband is much rarer) is not just about violence to women. It is also about violence among men. From Troy to Brigham Young, from Genghis Khan to Islamic State, there has been a tendency for nations that allow polygamous marriage to exhibit more crime and more warfare than those that do not. The cause is increased competition for mates. Polygamy results in more unmarried young men, and these commit most violence.
Even moderate polygamy can produce large imbalances. Imagine that in a village of 50 men and 50 women, two men have four wives, four men have three wives and fourteen have two wives: that leaves 30 men chasing the remaining two women. A recipe for trouble.
A fascinating 2009 paper called The Puzzle of Monogamous Marriage, by the anthropologist Joe Henrich and his colleagues, detailed the historical correlation between polygamy and crime, chillingly explaining it thus: “Faced with high levels of intra-sexual competition and little chance of obtaining even one long-term mate, unmarried, low-status men will heavily discount the future and more readily engage in risky status-elevating and sex-seeking behaviours. This will result in higher rates of murder, theft, rape, social disruption, kidnapping (especially of females), sexual slavery and prostitution.”
In South Sudan, brideprices may be anything from 30 to 300 cows. “For young men, the acquisition of so many cattle through legitimate means is nearly impossible,” write Ms Hudson and Ms Matfess. The alternative is to steal a herd from the tribe next door. In a country awash with arms, such cattle raids are as bloody as they are frequent. “7 killed, 10 others wounded in cattle raid in Eastern Lakes,” reads a typical headline in This Day, a South Sudanese paper. The article describes how “armed youths from neighbouring communities” stole 58 cows, leaving seven people—and 38 cows—shot dead “in tragic crossfire”.
Thousands of South Sudanese are killed in cattle raids every year. “When you have cows, the first thing you must do is get a gun. If you don’t have a gun, people will take your cows,” says Jok, a 30-year-old cattle herder in Wau, a South Sudanese city. He is only carrying a machete, but he says his brothers have guns.
Jok loves cows. “They give you milk, and you can marry with them,” he smiles. He says he will get married this year, though he does not yet have enough cows and, judging by his ragged clothes, he does not have the money to buy them, either. He is vague as to how he will acquire the necessary ruminants.
Liberals sometimes feel that it is narrow-minded to favor traditional marriage. Over time, my reporting on poverty has led me to disagree: Solid marriages have a huge beneficial impact on the lives of the poor (more so than in the lives of the middle class, who have more cushion when things go wrong).
One study of low-income delinquent young men in Boston found that one of the factors that had the greatest impact in turning them away from crime was marrying women they cared about. As Steven Pinker notes in his recent book, “The Better Angels of Our Nature”: “The idea that young men are civilized by women and marriage may seem as corny as Kansas in August, but it has become a commonplace of modern criminology.”
even the birth of a daughter correlates with CEOs being more generous in employee compensation and benefits than the birth of a son. This study was conducted among 10,000 companies in Denmark, so it has to be taken as research among a fairly homogenous population, but there is plenty of evidence in it that gender has a more profound impact of the actions of men than we thought. Mothers and even sisters have a keen correlation to the generosity of men.
Contingent on the country, about 10 to 17 percent of the sampled marriages were polygamous. Women in such relationships were, depending on the country, about 1.3 to 2 times more likely to be at risk for physical violence from their husbands than women in monogamous marriages.The results for polygamy didn't come as surprise, Christobel Asiedu said, because women in polygamous marriages tend to have less power and are more likely to be dependent on their husbands
- Women are not chattel. Con's approach to the debate topic is itself degrading towards women. He treats them a commodities which must be kept in supply for men who simply cannot control themselves. Women are not commodities and should not be regarded as such. We should broadly reject Con's case because of the fundamental way it regards women.
- Criminalizing the innocent. Making polygamous marriages illegal means that individuals who--for cultural, religious or other reasons--engage in polygamous marriages become socially ostracized and placed in unjust legal jeopardy. "[A] key challenge for now comes from the lack of legal protection – such as laws that prevent discrimination – for poly relationships. In the US Army for instance, adultery is even seen as a crime, meaning a person cannot be ‘out’ as poly if they are married."  In other words, these individuals have to live their lives in secret and, if they're caught, could be penalized simply for living their lives.
- Pariahs no more. One of the main reasons polygamous families may not be functioning optimally, according to Con's data (which I dispute below), is that they are treated as social pariahs. The more their relationships are normalized, the more likely they are to be comfortable using various resources available to straight couples and living mainstream-style lives.
- Reducing Adultery. Polygamy would likely reduce adultery. Adultery, as a contributor to crime and divorce, is something which ought to be reduced. "The legalization of polygamy would go a long way towards eliminating a lot of these reasons. In a polygamous society falling in love with another person need not sound the death knell of an otherwise successful marriage. Instead a marriage of two can be expanded to three and even further if necessary." 
- Expense. Women are expensive, which places an upward limit on the number of wives most men could conceivably have. Even a man with a couple of million in the bank would have a tough time attracting more than a small handful of women, because as demand for women increases, so to would the demands of women on their potential suitors. It is thus highly unlikely that polygamy would lead to a severe drought of marriageable women.
- Tradition. In many cultures (particularly in the West), polygamy is not viewed favorably. Cultural pressures to remain in monogamous relationships are likely to discourage high rates of polygamy, and are thus likely, to ensure a reasonable supply of marriageable women for the general population of men. In fact, "there are only an estimated 500,000 poly relationships in the US, which is a tiny minority." 
- Polygamy itself. Polygamy is the ability of individuals to take multiple spouses. I can envision a situation where a man has multiple wives, but those same wives also have multiple husbands. This inter-spousal sharing, so to speak, prevents any one man from monopolizing a large group of women, and could potentially prevent a shortage of wives.
- Polyandry. I am not just calling for the legalizing of polygamy (1 man with many women), but also polyandry (1 woman with many men). These practices have the potential to balance each other out to some extent, ensuring a viable supply of marriageable women.
- Gender Imbalance. In countries or regions with more women than men, in fact it makes quite a lot of sense to endorse polygamy, because otherwise a disproportionately large number of women will be unmarried. Why only focus on making sure men get married as Con does? It's fundamentally misogynistic to prioritize men having spouses over women having spouses. And, as I noted in my case, in countries or areas where men are the primary breadwinners (a reality of life), it is important for the wellbeing of those women that they are able to get married. 
- Dependent Premise. This argument depends entirely on the premise that polygamy creates a shortage of marriageable women. Insofar as that premise is flawed, so too is this entire argument.
- Correlation =/= Causation. It may be the case that polygamous societies have high rates of crime for reasons unrelated with polygamy. Consider that many of these countries are in areas where resources are already scarce and where terrorism and war have historically been high for political, religious, and ethnic reasons. Even if a definitive link to polygamy were shown, it would be nearly impossible to assess the exact impact on violence would be, making this argument difficult to weigh.
- Brideprice. Outlawing brideprices, as should be done, would immediately reduce the incentive to engage in violent raids and crimes like those described in Con's Sudan example.
- Dependent Premise. This argument's impact depends entirely on the premise that polygamy creates a shortage of marriageable women. Insofar as that premise is flawed, so too is this entire argument.
- Non-unique. Participants can be civilized in polygamous marriages as well; nothing Con has said precludes polygamous marriages from having a civilizing impact on the parties to it.
- Correlation =/= Causation. Con's source takes its data from "Ghana, Kenya, Malawi, and Zimbabwe." These countries are already likely to have high rates of domestic violence given the latter two's poverty, the latter three's political instability, and all four's comparatively weak government control of rural regions. More than that, data from just four countries (and which came from only 10-17% of the sample) cannot be generalized out to polygamy everywhere.
- Potential Solvency. Women in Tanzania are able to use a cultural practice involving marriage between straight women to escape domestic violence. "This means she can keep the family home which is jointly owned with the younger woman, despite a tribal law which dictates that only males can normally inherit property...It is believed marriage between women is helping to reduce the risks of domestic abuse, child marriage and female genital mutilation (FGM) within the tribe which has more than 700,000 members." [7, 17, 18] The idea of straight marriage between women as a means of pooling resources and protecting each other from harm has the potential to significantly reduce domestic violence in some cultural contexts.
- Relationship Satisfaction. One would imagine that if domestic abuse were rife within polygamous or polyamorous relationships, that relationship satisfaction in these relationships would be low. In fact, that's not the case. "[I]ndividuals in poly relationships are better at communicating and that jealousy is often lower. In new research...she even discovered that overall relationship satisfaction can be higher in poly relationships, though another earlier 2015 reviewfound that satisfaction was similar among monogamous and 'consensual non-monogamous' relationships." 
- Brideprice and Divorce. Much of the reason why wives may be more unable to leave polygamous relationships (as opposed to monogamous relationships) can be attributable to a lack of legal divorce options in relevant jurisdictions or the brideprice. By ensuring that divorce is legal (which I support) and by ensuring that the brideprice is illegal, this problem can be solved altogether.
I’m sure my opponent argued pluralism as some sort of pre-emptive strike on what I would argue. I’m not sure what he expected my arguments to be, but I don’t want to spend too much time on this. Pluralism as I understand it, is just the common sense notion that no group has a monopoly on the truth or how best to live. I agree for the most part. I think he also agrees that sometimes we have to create laws that do ban certain cultural or religious practices, if they are deemed harmful.
The Quran advocates for stoning homosexuals to death.
"if a man comes upon a man, then they are both adulterers," "If a woman comes upon a woman, they are both Adulteresses," "When a man mounts another man, the throne of God shakes," and "Kill the one that is doing it and also kill the one that it is being done to." https://www.thereligionofpeace.com/pages/quran/homosexuality.aspxSo does the bible and Torah
“‘If a man has sexual relations with a man as one does with a woman, both of them have done what is detestable. They are to be put to death; their blood will be on their own heads.”https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Leviticus+20%3A13&version=NIV
We have all the major Abrahamic religions advocating for stoning homosexuals to death. If my opponent wants to argue that we should allow that sort of pluralism than fine, but I suspect even he would put limits on how much we respect the beliefs of others when it comes to creating laws.
I fear I have spent too much time here, stating the obvious, that it is a balance, weighing the right to practice your religious beliefs with individual rights, what is good for society, and banning some practices that are harmful to individuals and society.
III. Religious Freedom
Religious freedom is important, but just like we ban stoning homosexuals, and ban or should ban all forms of slavery, we need to balance the harms and the benefits.
Pro says: “polygamy has been debated as an issue of religious freedom, with various fundamentalist groups believing that it is a religious requirement that they enter into polygamous relationships”
I don’t know about some people on this site, but I always look into citations. The citation my opponent used to support the conclusion that some groups see polygamy as required is an off shoot of Mormonism called the FLDS church led by Warren Jeffs. I’m a sensitive guy. Overly so, and I am crying while writing and researching this. There is no easy way to put this. This group advocates for polygamy, claiming it is required for their religion as a pretext to molest child brides as young as 9 years old. Here is a description of a video excerpt shown at Warren Jeff’s trial.
“The sound quality was poor, but the packed courtroom hung on every word. Jeffs' voice drifted down from ceiling speakers like curling smoke. The FLDS "prophet" both threatened and reassured the girl, mumbling prayers that enjoined her to joyfully perform God's will. In the courtroom, hands involuntarily flew up to cover mouths as it became clear that the girl had been restrained on a sort of temple altar bed, while several of Jeffs' adult "wives" stood by to assist him in case the child panicked. Five minutes into the recording, Jeffs' droning prayers were accompanied by the sound of rustling clothing. Then came a rhythmic heavy breathing that no adult could misunderstand; it went on and on. At one point, Jeffs, panting, asked the girl if she "liked it." She answered in a small, squeaky voice: "I'm OK, sir." “ https://www.hcn.org/issues/44.10/flds-continues-abusive-polygamist-practices-in-utah-and-arizona
When you say we should respect a groups religious practices, using a group who molests little girls, is perhaps not the best example. Granted his plan says nobody under 18, but 18 year old girls are naive and can be just as easily coerced into joining these abusive relationships, I think it is worth noting what happens to the young boys in these societies that really promote polygamy. The FLDS church my opponent used as an example of those who should have religious freedom in that regard shows yet another example of why these social practices are harmful to society.
This is a type of society that requires that females outnumber men, so what happens to excess boys that are no longer needed. They are expelled from the community, sometimes as young as 13, and often are desperate and fall prey to child molestors. They are typically uneducated and have no experience in the real world, so turn to drugs, alcohol and crime and many also become homeless. http://flds101.blogspot.com/2008/05/flds-life-101-lost-boys.html
If this is his lone example of a group that requires polygamy of it’s members than we can forget the religious freedom argument. He uses examples of groups that permit polygamy, but only of one who requires it, and it is a poor example at that. I really want to show that it is hard to find examples of large religions that require polygamy, so let’s continue.
“In some African faith systems, the more wives, and thus children, a man has, the "greater the chances that the family will enjoy immortality.”
So what, In my round I showed why polygamy harmed probably many of the same African Faith systems he is referring to. I think the key words here are “greater chances”, so we have a system where the likelihood of immortality increases, but they can still become immortal without polygamy, so we aren’t really stopping them from having eternal life by banning the practice, plus I need to know more about these specific faith systems from my opponent to know why the believe that. This could just be a poor english interpretation of what their more complicated belief system is.
“Islam also allows for polygamous marriages under certain conditions, and some Muslims believe it to be their religious duty to have multiple spouses.”
Once again, I want to show the source my opponent is using, and it is worth it to actually read through the sources we both use on this debate so you can get a full picture of this. https://www.newstatesman.com/lifestyle/religion/2013/04/what-kind-woman-willing-share-her-husband
“The Quran instructs Muslim men to “marry women of your choice two or three or four””
“but warns that “if you fear that you shall not be able to deal justly [with them] then only one or [your concubines]. That is more fitting so that you do not deviate from the right course.” The Prophet Muhammad said, “Whosoever has two wives and he inclines towards one to the exclusion of the other, he will come on the Day of Judgement with his body dropping or bending down.”
The reason this verse is important is put into perspective by a holy man and expert on Muslim practices.
“In other words, “It is mission impossible,” according to Mufti Barkatulla, a senior imam and sharia council judge in Leyton. He firmly believes that there is no place for polygamy in modern Britain. “There are a number of cases we have come across and there is hardly a case where a man can balance all the duties required in a polygamous situation . . . In today’s industrial society, it is impossible to observe the conditions laid down by the scriptures.” Polygamy, he points out, predates Islam and was permitted in Islam in the context of war to offer protection to war orphans and widows. Many of the Prophet’s 11 wives were widows”
My opponent quoted a stat that 83% of societies around the world allow polygamy. A read the article cited and it said the same thing, no citation though. Just a sex journalist stating the statistic is there, but after scouring the internet for a few more hours I think I got close to the original source. https://www.journals.uchicago.edu/doi/10.1086/203674
A 1998 study by Douglas White professor and anthropologist. The stat is of how many societies existent and no longer existent have been polygamous, which is quite different than estimating current societies. But why did we go from 85% of societies being polygamous to now 25% if divided by countries (58 out of 200 as mentioned by bsh1).
An anthropological study looking at the reasons why polygamous and monogamous societies flourish or suffer has discovered the conclusion in a 2012 anthropological study. The study says:
“In suppressing intrasexual competition and reducing the size of the pool of unmarried men, normative monogamy reduces crime rates, including rape, murder, assault, robbery and fraud, as well as decreasing personal abuses. By assuaging the competition for younger brides, normative monogamy decreases (i) the spousal age gap, (ii) fertility, and (iii) gender inequality. By shifting male efforts from seeking wives to paternal investment, normative monogamy increases savings, child investment and economic productivity. By increasing the relatedness within households, normative monogamy reduces intra-household conflict, leading to lower rates of child neglect, abuse, accidental death and homicide. These predictions are tested using converging lines of evidence from across the human sciences.”
VI- Situational Benefits
“a new study of polygyny in Tanzania finds that the practice of sharing a husband may, in some circumstances, lead to greater health and wealth for women and their children”
I think we can agree that when rich men are the only ones getting married than women not forced to marry broke men will have better access to quality healthcare, resources and food, but my studies show that it is worse for society over all especially economically which is probably the biggest reason women would seek polygamy, because of bad economies that cause them to be desperate enough to seek security nay survival over being with their true love
- Pluralism precludes Con's case. Con's case is entirely predicated on a consequentialist paradigm, which is in inherent contradiction to pluralism. Respect for basic freedoms often comes into conflict with pursuit of beneficial outcomes. In fact, almost all of Con's response to my case come from this consequentialist mindset, reflecting Con's totalized value perspective. To the extent that Con's case is an expression of a totalizing value or a totalizing value mindset, it must be rejected out of hand.
- Pluralism means no values are inherently better than any others. Human welfare is just one good out of many and cannot inherently outweigh the other goods expressed within my case. It is a balancing act, as Con admits, and so human welfare, as a value, is not more weighty or valuable than any other value which we must balance within a pluralistic framework.
- The freedom of any religious group should not be curtailed because of the gross misconduct of some of its members.
- The group in question is not inherently problematic, because for 32 years, at least, it lived a crime-free existence, with the sole exception that it was polygamous.
- In my world, Jeffs and his accomplices would have still faced legal repercussions for their misconduct; child abuse would be legal in neither of our worlds.
- By making polygamy legal, we can reduce the appeal that fringe faiths like this have for people interested in the polygamous lifestyle. If polygamy is legal, people interested in it would not need to seek out seclusion from the world within these fringe groups. Thus, legalizing polygamy would likely reduce the potential for this kind of abuse.
- Con suggests that 18 year olds are open to manipulation, but this is true in his world too. If they are manipulable, they are manipulable in a monogamous or polygamous society.
- It is important to note that Con has not drawn any definitive link between polygamy and child predation. If the FLDS had been a monogamous cult, the misconduct may have been just as likely. Indeed, many monogamous cults have engaged in such abuse. 
- Polygamy prevents innocent people from being unjustly made criminals
- Polygamy reduces adultery
- Polygamy has the potential to reduce domestic violence through the legalization of polygamous marriages among women
- Polygamous relationships have higher relationship satisfaction measurements
4. Observe good sportsmanship and maintain a civil and decorous atmosphere
10. Violation of any of these rules, or of any of the description's set-up, merits a loss