In my opinion, the motion of the novice final of the Delft Open 2020 is one of the most interesting of the tournament. In this article, I will briefly outline an important characterization, after which I will present an argument for both sides of the debate. Have you come up with other arguments? Then leave them in the comments!
THW rather be an individual of average appearance and extreme intelligence, than of extreme beauty and average intelligence.Novice final – Delft Open 2020
To start with the characterization: because it is not explicitly asked to take the position of a certain person (as in an actor motion), the arguments must be broad enough such that they can apply to almost every person. It is, therefore, important to explain what a general person would like to achieve in life. I think that differs, of course. Some care more about prestige and materialism, while others place more value on family and friends. In this debate, it is useful to choose the middle ground: the average person cares very much about their family and friends but also wants to earn good money to maintain a good lifestyle. If both sides of the debate accept that, the debate will be the fairest and you will not focus on a niche group.
The proposition must prove that extreme intelligence is more important than extreme beauty. I will highlight one argument, that having extreme intelligence gives you more options to organize your life in the way you want. At the moment that you’re extremely intelligent, it opens more doors to an average person (ceteris paribus – if everything else stays the same) than possessing extreme beauty. It is true that beauty will open other doors but the doors that are now opened are more versatile. This person will go on to follow higher education and will not be hindered by their intelligence: they can choose the course of study (and therefore also their career direction) that they are most passionate about. As such, that part of their life is well-organized. You can also explain how this trickles down to social life but I leave that to the reader.
The opposition argues that extreme beauty offers more or better opportunities than extreme intelligence. One argument that goes with this firstly acknowledges that the person in question is still of average intelligence. This allows them to still receive an excellent education but the crux is mainly in social life and mental health at a young age. The opponents can make the logical link between extreme intelligence and the feeling of loneliness. First, it can be done by explaining that children who are extremely intelligent are much more likely to be bullied. There are several mechanisms for this and I challenge the reader to explain these convincingly. The second reason is independent of whether the child is being bullied or not, namely the feeling that your immediate environment does not understand you. Nobody can do anything about that but it is frustrating for a child to understand many things better and/or faster than others. The effect of this can be a feeling of loneliness. If the opposition elaborates on and combines these two reasons well enough, they can explain why this can backfire on a child. Even if it is not a certainty, it is not a risk you would want to take.
Mike is an alumnus of the Tilburg Debating Society Cicero and has served as the secretary of the Nederlandse Debatbond (2019-2021). He was vice-chair of Cicero (2015-2016) and in that function oversaw the newly set-up international branch. He also organized the Dutch Debating Winter School, a debating training week that attracted participants of over 20 nationalities.