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Round 3. Justin Oldham v Tuning Spork: Planet of the WHATS? revisited

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posted on Sep, 2 2007 @ 08:43 PM
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The topic for this debate is "Non homo Sapien civilizations rivaling our own preceeded mankind on Earth".

Tuning Spork will be arguing the pro position and will open the debate.
Justin Oldham will argue the con position.

Each debater will have one opening statement each. This will be followed by 3 alternating replies each. There will then be one closing statement each and no rebuttal.


A post may not be any longer than 5,500 characters, using the ATS character counter.
Closing posts may not be any longer than 3,500 characters.

This character limit includes all board code, links, etc.
Extra characters will be deleted from the end of your post.

Please notice that the character counter counts backwards. If for some reason your character counter won't let you post a full 5,500 characters in one post, make a second post to finish your 5,500, and then u2u me and let me know.


Editing is strictly forbidden. This means any editing, for any reason. Any edited posts will be completely deleted. This prevents cheating. If you make an honest mistake which needs fixing, you must U2U me. I will do a limited amount of editing for good cause. Please use spell check before you post.


Opening and closing statements must not contain any images, and must have no more than 3 references. Excluding both the opening and closing statements, only two images and no more than 5 references can be included for each post.


Responses should be made within 24 hours, if people are late with their replies, they run the risk of forfeiting their reply and possibly the debate. Limited grace periods may be allowed if I am notified in advance.


Judging will be done by a panel of anonymous judges. After each debate is completed it will be locked and the judges will begin making their decision. One of the debate forum moderators will then make a final post announcing the winner.




posted on Sep, 4 2007 @ 05:24 PM
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Welcome, one and all, to Round 3 of the first ATS debates of 2007. My thanks, once again, go out to all who have made and continue to make this possible.

The resolution for this round is: "Non homo Sapien civilizations rivaling our own preceeded mankind on Earth". I will be arguing for the resolution.

Opening statement:

For nearly 3.5 billion years life has been evolving on Earth. Beginning with the "Cambrian Explosion" and the Paleozoic Era, about 550 million years ago, creatures have been changing their biology and shifting through ever changing environments with amazing adaptability. If there was a place that was, seemingly, only of minimal fertility, some creature would come along and call it home.

We see, not only in the world around us but in the fossil record, that major adaptations are independently repeated throughout the animal kingdom. Flight, for example, has evolved independently in at least for instances: insects, pterosaurs, birds and bats. Armor plating has evolved in various fish, dinosaurs and even mammals such as the armadillo. Echolocation has evolved in bats, dolphins and whales, and at two species of birds: cave swiflets and oilbirds.

What's interesting about the fossil record as it stands, is that we don't seem to have yet conclusively discovered a long extinct species that we believe could have had the brain power that we would deem neccessary to result in a human-like civilization. But let's look at what we know about brain power.

We know, by studying our own pre-history, that brain size can grow at a fantastic rate once it gets going. Our own species' history, we currently believe, goes back about 250,000 years. It was only about 10,000 years ago, however, that our ancestors began the Neolithic Revolution which was, among other things, the beginning of settlements, agriculture and the domestication of animals. Since that time small villages have taken root and great empires have arisen and fallen.

The day to day lives of the people of 1800 A.D. lived very much as the people of 1700 A.D. lived. And there was very little change between 1600 and 1700. While the nineteenth century Industrial Revolution had begun to change our daily lives, the real growth took place in the twentieth century. And that growth has been, itself, increasing geometrically. I have witness amazing changes in day to day living in the past 30 years.

Since the arrival of large land animals and, especially, the arrival of mammals some 250 million years ago, creatures have been evolving and changing with all the vigor that we see in the more extensive recent fossil record. While we can study more and more ancient creatures in ever larger and larger time frames, we can study more recent evolutionary developments in much greater detail.

So, what of our ability to study the previous rise of civilizations, millions of years ago, populated by beings who have lived and died in the geological eye blink of, say, 50,000 years? We've seen how quickly a species can evolve into an intelligent species. And we've also seen how quickly that species can go from hunting and gathering to a rudimentary civilzation and, consuently, to a technological society where one generation can be born into the world of the horse and buggy and live to see a ga station on every corner, nuclear power plants and the International Space Station.

Many surmise that the reason we may have never received signals from intelligent beings on distant planets is that technological species may not last very long. Somewhat pessimistically, I admit, I tend to hold that view. To my mind it is not a question that non homo Sapiens species rivaling our own have preceeded mankind. The question is: what happened to them?.



posted on Sep, 4 2007 @ 08:47 PM
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Opening Statement:

Ladies and gentlemen, the prposition for this debate is clear and to the point. Non homo Sapien civilizations rivaling our own have not preceeded mankind on Earth. During the course of three expository statements, I'm going to show you why this is true and veryfiable beyond any reasonable doubt. The evidentiary record speaks for itself. There is no trick of logic or leap of faith necessary to understand what I'm about to show you.

My opponent's argument relies on the assertion that technologically-driven civilizations rise and fall too quickly to leave a mark on the fossil record. In his own words, he is "pessimistic" about the existence of such short-lived species. He wonders naively about their fate. What happened to them? The answer is self-evident. They never existed. I submit to you that my opponent's philospohical observation amounts to an absolute concession.

As demonstrated in a previous debate, some conspiracy theorists are known to believe in a "pre-history" that suggests--without proof--that Man was not the first speciies to dominate planet Earth. As proven in a previous debate, the cult of alien visitation is often used to explain the rise of Man by these same conspiracy buffs, who point to the appearance of radical technologies as circumstantial proof of their theories. The simple fact of the matter is that Homo Sapiens are descended from a long line of tool users. No other species has shown itself to be capable of manipulating its environtment to the extent of being able to leave behind a paleontological and anthropological record.

It's not enough to know that the proven record demonstrates a total lack of pre-hominid civilizations. Over the course of three follow-up statements, I'll show you how civiilization, as a concept, is its own test for the existence of sapient sentient domimance. My opponnent has only one line of reasoning open to him, which is predicated on "what might have been." The proposition we're here to argue does not take issue with the existence of 'creatures' that "might" have once walked the earth. Nor does it take issue with the existence of lower life forms that populated once existed in large numbers.

We are here, specifically, to demonstrate that no other species on Earth has risen to the heights of Man. The factual record makes no room for guesswork in this case. Humanity has left its mark on this planet as no other species can.



posted on Sep, 5 2007 @ 06:56 PM
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Since I made most of my case in my opening statement, this will be a very brief installment.

As we use our most powerful modern telescopes to peer out into the furthest reaches of our universe, we can see millions of distant galaxies. This image, for example, is known as the Hubble Deep Field:



Every one of the objects in that image is a galaxy.

We state, assuredly and without fear that we are engaging in self-delusion, that each of those galaxies contains billions of stars. Why in the world would we assert such a thing when we cannot make out the individual stars that allegedly make up these galaxies?

The answer is: Because we know that the nearer galaxies, which we can see in much greater detail, without exception contain billions of stars. We are dealing with the probablity of the stars' existence. Keen observation of them is unneccessary.

Orbiting those stars (probably the vast majority of them) are planets. We can't see them, but it's a safe bet that they're there. The very few "extra-solar" planets that we have found evidence for, are evidenced by their effect on their star's position in the sky. An observed "wobble" of that star is indicative of a large planet in orbit around it.

Some of those planets will be able to support life and, on those planets, life is likely to exist. We can assert that probability simply by noting that our own planet has supported life almost from the moment that it was able to; about 3.5 billion years ago.

The case for, or against, non homo Sapiens civilization(s) preceeding mankind cannot be made by observation alone. In fact, it may be impossible to make either case using observation whatsoever. The tools at our disposal are statistical, not tactile. Contrary to my opponent's view, we must approach their civilizations in terms of probabilities, not a currently perceived lack of extant remains.

Now, if I were to continue on, I would probably only repeat my opening statement. And I am much more eager to read my opponent's statements so that we can really begin to move this discussion forward.



posted on Sep, 6 2007 @ 01:34 AM
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First Statement:

Ladies and gentlemen, my opponent's many consessions leave no room for doubt. The Earth's sedimentary and fossil record leave no room for doubt. No other indiginous life form has achieved the dominance of Man.

My collague seeks to distract you with a bit of hopeful philosophy about life among the stars. That's not what we're here to discuss. The focus of this debate is the sapient life here on Earth. Specifically, the undisputed existence of Homo Sapiens, and their unchallenged dominion. No amount of wishful thinking can can conjure up what has never been, but my colleague would like you to think otherwise.


Originally posted by Tuning Spork
The case for, or against, non homo Sapiens civilization(s) preceeding mankind cannot be made by observation alone. In fact, it may be impossible to make either case using observation whatsoever. The tools at our disposal are statistical, not tactile. Contrary to my opponent's view, we must approach their civilizations in terms of probabilities, not a currently perceived lack of extant remains.


We're not speculating about life on other worlds. The proposition we are discussing relates specifically to Earth. The sciences of archeology, paleontolgy, and sociology, combine with planetology to employ a whole host of mathematical and physical tools which have all been used to impirically prove the long history of Homo Sapiens.

Each leap forward in technology allows us to look further back in to our past. Anthropologists and archeologists are still making discoveries that re-define the timeline of Man. Radio-carbon dating and electron scanning have radically re-defined our understand of Humanity's lineage. In our quest to find and understand our past, we have not located any evidence of non-sapien civilizations on Earth.



posted on Sep, 6 2007 @ 02:35 AM
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This may be the shortest debate entry of all time. But, here goes:



Once again: If I were to continue with this debate, without an opponent, I would only end up repeating my opening statement.

My esteemed opponent -- in no uncertain terms -- has promised:

"During the course of three expository statements, I'm going to show you why this is true and veryfiable beyond any reasonable doubt.

We still await your scholarly argumentation.



posted on Sep, 6 2007 @ 03:47 AM
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Second Statement:

Ladies and gentlemen, my colleague wishes to suggest that I have not proven my case. Without any tricks of logic or false hopes, I submit the following as indisputable fact:

1. No evidence whatsoever exists to suggest that non-Homo Sapiens ever developed civilizations on planet Earth.

2. No evidence exists to suggest that any non-hominid has ever posessed the cpaacity to civilize.

3. The fossil record does not suggest that Earth has known anything but Human civilizations.

As a matter of tangible record, Homo Sapiens and their ancestry are accounted for. The entire range of hominid civilizations is accounted for. No pre-human civilizations have been discovered. There is no evidence to suggest that any existing non-human terrestrial species is civilized.

Because there is no impirical challenge, my argument stands as factually correct. Human civilizations have existed, and they still do. Non-human civilizations have not existed on Earth, and they still don't.



posted on Sep, 6 2007 @ 10:28 PM
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Originally posted by Justin Oldham
I submit the following as indisputable fact:

1. No evidence whatsoever exists to suggest that non-Homo Sapiens ever developed civilizations on planet Earth.


Au contraire, my learned friend. The evidence is clear. It is the evidence that an intelligent, civilization building species can arise in the geologic blink of an eye and may vanish just as quickly. This is the evidence that I cite in order to suggest that non-homo Sapiens civilization(s) have preceeded our own.


2. No evidence exists to suggest that any non-hominid has ever posessed the cpaacity to civilize.


Same answer. The ease with which species' may evolve into a civilized species wholey and completely validates the suggestion that it has happened in the past -- perhaps several times.


3. The fossil record does not suggest that Earth has known anything but Human civilizations.


The fossil record can only show us what some or all of the bones and teeth of long extinct species' looked like. It can tell us something about their locomotion and diet, but nothing about their civilization. Even a tiny cranial capacity is not indicative of a creature's intelligence.

Consider the "two-brained" stegosaurus, for example:

www.dinodatabase.com...

"Lately, however, the idea of the second brain as a sort of relay junction box has regained favor. If Stegosaurus had two brains, neither was particularly large or complex."

This shows that large-bodied creatures are capable of developing brains in an area of their bodies other than their skulls. So, it seems that may have already discovered the remains of an intelligent species. We just don't realize it yet.


Non-human civilizations have not existed on Earth, and they still don't.


That is a very bold proclamation to which I, for one, cannot concur. As I've stated repeatedly, the known history of our own species strongly suggests that the rise of a tree- or ground-dwelling creature to a tool-wielding civilized creature is a quick and vigorous one.

The assertion that such a course of selection has happened only once in the long and complex history of life on Earth, frankly, boggles the mind. The expectation that civilizations have risen and fallen in the prehistoric past is, quite clearly, the more rational one.



posted on Sep, 7 2007 @ 03:03 AM
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Third Statement:

Ladies and gentlemen, my colleague's third statement, reads like a wish list. He posits the argument that non-human civilizations have risen and fallen so fast on Earth that they had no time to register on the geologic record.


Originally posted by Tuning Spork
As I've stated repeatedly, the known history of our own species strongly suggests that the rise of a tree- or ground-dwelling creature to a tool-wielding civilized creature is a quick and vigorous one.

The assertion that such a course of selection has happened only once in the long and complex history of life on Earth, frankly, boggles the mind. The expectation that civilizations have risen and fallen in the prehistoric past is, quite clearly, the more rational one.


Even if we accept the idea that a species can civilize quickly, relative to the planetological record, the fact is that evidence of tool use would be left behind in the sedimentary and fossil records.

I've held off on referencing tool use 'til now. The proposition for this debate is straight-foward and to the point. "Non homo Sapien civilizations rivaling our own preceeded mankind on Earth" In order for a prior civilixation to rival our own, it would...at the very least...be required to have developed tools that were on par with out own, which could be found in the fossil record.

It's not enough to suggest that advanced foraging skills represent tool use. The proven fact is that no prior species has created the tools necessary to "build."

My colleague suggests that the circumstances which have resulted in the existence of Man have happened or occurred more than once. Even if this were true, the archeological record makes it clear that said species did not survive long enough to acquire tool use. Under those conditions, my colleague's theory about a quick rise and fall might hold water.

Let's be clear about one last thing. This is not an easy subject to kick around. Thare are many different directions from which to come at this. What we know and what we don't know are two seperate and distinct things. Even so, they are absolute. No evidence is just what it sounds like. No evidence. Humans are unrivaled in their civilizations on planet Earth. If there was any proof to the contrary, my opponent would have showed it to you by now.



posted on Sep, 7 2007 @ 06:39 PM
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Closing statement

Let's look, once again, at the resolution that my opponent and I are debating: "Non homo Sapien civilizations rivaling our own preceeded mankind on Earth".

Some might suggest that we could argue the fact or fallacy of Sumerian legends of the extra-terrestrial Anunnaki as example of a pre-human Earthly civilization. However, according to the texts, the Annunkaki alledgedly co-existed with mankind and helped in our final evolution, and did not preceed mankind.

en.wikipedia.org...


Others might point to pre-homo Sapiens hominids as another example. (The Neanderthals don't qualify since they were homo Sapiens; homo Sapiens Neanderthalensis.) For a time, however, homo Erectus and homo Sapiens were "rivals" for a common habitat. But, while homo Erectus did probably know how to harness fire, they were never capable of building anything resembling a civilization.

www.msnbc.msn.com...

So, what we are left with is the probability of civilizations arising from long ago, long extinct species indigenous to Earth. As I've shown throughout this debate, we must examine probabilities, not artifacts, in order to determine the truth of their pre-historic existence with evidence that is statistical, not tactile.

As with the stars that make up distant galaxies and the unseen planets that orbit those stars, ancient civilizations can be infered by the sheer likelihood that evolutionary steps have been, and are, repeated time and time again in many evolutionary lines.

As far as we know, with the archeologists' tools, we have not discovered proof of their technology yet. But, with the tool of rational thought at our disposal, "non homo Sapiens civilizations have preceeded mankind on Earth" is an assertion so likely to be true as to be axiomatic.

Thank you.



posted on Sep, 7 2007 @ 07:11 PM
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Closing Statement:

Ladies and gentlemen, what you've just witnessed the argument of an unfair proposition. I've done nothing more than show you the multiple proofs of Homo Sapien existence, while my opponent has waxed philosophical about what might be on other worlds.

As demonstrated, you can't argue in favor of something that has never been. Artifact hunters and searchers of all sorts have been scouring the planetary record for more than a thousand years, and still they do not proclaim the foundation of a non-Homo Sapien civiliation. This is not my opinion. This is the cold hard brutal fact upon which this entire discussion has turned.

I'd like to thank my colleague for his honest effort. He's had the same internet tools at his disposal that I've used to fulfill my promise of absolute proofs. We don't know what we're going to find on other words, but we do know what we haven't found here on Earth.

Thanks for your time and have a good day.



posted on Sep, 8 2007 @ 05:50 PM
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It's in the judges hands now.



posted on Sep, 13 2007 @ 12:21 AM
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The judges have spoken, and Justin Oldham is victorious.


Justin Oldham wins his debate.

The guy is a force to be reckoned with, and whomever faces him in the finals is in tough
(i think the auto-sensors may have removed a word that followed tough)


Without question. The hardest one to pick yet! I have truly admired Justin Oldham's posts throughout this debate tournament as much as Tuning Spork's attempts to defend the seemingly indefensible.



Tuning Spork was given a really tough position. There's no denying he was working against a significant disadvantage there. He was on the right track to overcome that, but he didn't drive it home with the depth of mathematical analysis and citations of anomalies that the official history can't account for that would have been necessary to turn Justin's position from sane to closed-minded. I have to say Justin wins it



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