Round 2: schrodingers dog v TruthWithin: Genetic Predisposition For Violence

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posted on Sep, 2 2008 @ 10:49 PM
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The topic for this debate is ”Deviant Behaviour Is Completely Genetic In Cause”.

schrodingers dog will be arguing the pro position and will open the debate.
TruthWithin 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.

There is a 10,000 character limit per post.

Any character count in excess of 10,000 will be deleted prior to the judging process.

Editing is strictly forbidden. For reasons of time, mod edits should not be expected except in critical situations.

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. Each individual post may contain up to 10 sentences of external source material, totaled from all external sources.

Links to multiple pages within a single domain count as 1 reference but there is a maximum of 3 individual links per reference, then further links from that domain count as a new reference. Excess quotes and excess links will be removed before judging.

The Socratic Debate Rule is in effect. Each debater may ask up to 5 questions in each post, except for in closing statements- no questions are permitted in closing statements. These questions should be clearly labeled as "Question 1, Question 2, etc.

When asked a question, a debater must give a straight forward answer in his next post. Explanations and qualifications to an answer are acceptable, but must be preceded by a direct answer.

This Is The Time Limit Policy:

Each debate must post within 24 hours of the timestamp on the last post. If your opponent is late, you may post immediately without waiting for an announcement of turn forfeiture. If you are late, you may post late, unless your opponent has already posted.

Each debater is entitled to one extension of 24 hours. The request should be posted in this thread and is automatically granted- the 24 hour extension begins at the expiration of the previous deadline, not at the time of the extension request.

In the unlikely event that tardiness results in simultaneous posting by both debaters, the late post will be deleted unless it appears in its proper order in the thread.

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.

[edit on 4-9-2008 by MemoryShock]




posted on Sep, 4 2008 @ 07:50 PM
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GUNSINWAR will forgo this debate due to incomplete participation.

Schrodingers dog will substitute and has 24 hours from the time stamp of this post to put up his Opening Argument.



posted on Sep, 5 2008 @ 05:19 PM
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First allow me acknowledge my friend and temporary adversary TruthWithin.

Also I'd like to thank MemoryShock for offering me this exciting opportunity to engage in what can only be described as "competitive thought". A noble and virtuous way to pursue knowledge to be sure.

The topic for this debate is: ”Deviant Behavior Is Completely Genetic In Cause”.

I will be arguing the pro position and I will open the debate.

I appreciate the tedious nature of definitions, they are however necessary in order to frame the discussion with the precision it requires. This topic requires an extra degree of semantic clarity.

The reason for this is that the key words in this debate are deviant and behavior.
And deviant is used as both a noun and an adjective.
For the purpose of this debate, I have chosen the following sources to establish definitions:


American Heritage Dictionary
de·vi·ant
adj. Differing from a norm or from the accepted standards of a society.
n. One that differs from a norm, especially a person whose behavior and attitudes differ from accepted social standards.
dictionary


AND



be·hav·ior – noun
1. manner of behaving or acting.
2. Psychology, Animal Behavior.
a. observable activity in a human or animal.
b. the aggregate of responses to internal and external stimuli.
c. a stereotyped, species-specific activity, as a courtship dance or startle reflex.
3. Often, behaviors. a behavior pattern.
4. the action or reaction of any material under given circumstances: the behavior of tin under heat.
dictionary



I hope the above are satisfactory definitions upon which to move forward.
So as not to get too bogged down with further distracting quotations, I think we can safely apply the words "Completely, Genetic/Gene, Cause/Causality" within their generally accepted definitions.

The foundation of my argument is simple:

"Deviant Behavior" exhibited by a "Deviant" individual has in fact little if nothing to do with his or her "Genes".

What happened? Did I just throw the debate?

not at all

For The Record:

I am not conceding the point that there is no direct evidence to support a direct causal link between an individual's "specific" gene to a "specific" deviant behavior. I may or may not choose to introduce such evidence at a later time. However it is not relevant to my argument at this stage.

The Argument:

The complete causal link lies in the genes of the body of the observer or observers and not the body of the individual exhibiting the behavior.
The fact that in some but not all cases the individual manifesting "deviant behavior" may in fact ALSO hold a causal gene is incidental, and neither central nor required in my argument.

I shall include all scientific evidence required to support the above premise in my second post. The reason for not including it at the present time is for the sake of clarity and relative brevity. The fundamental evidence is constant, however, I am sure my opponent will have several questions for me. I will allow those to be my guide as to what is required.

It is also for obvious strategic reasons.

So what am I really saying here?

First let's do away with the "if a tree falls in a forest ..." issue. In order to be able to debate this issue we can safely assume that when we use the term "behavior" it is with the context of observational science. Thus establishing the standard "subject" to "observer" dynamic which I will use from this point on. It is important to note this because it introduces by definition "subjectivity" to the discussion.

NOTE "Subjectivity" is established by definition when two human subjects relate to each other. I will not use it as a ruse in my argument. I dare say, I will eventually succeed in removing it from the entire argument all together.

Any and all human behavior has a source and for the sake of this discussion a target. The aforementioned subject and observer. As the behavior from the subject is enacted and observed by the observer two "messages" if you will are exchanged. The "intended" message of the subject and "perceived" message by the observer. In ordinary every day life these messages are perceived through the senses and interpreted by the brain. We go plotting around life communicating back and forth in this simple way. We are in fact built and have evolved this way. Adding the affect of culture and nurture and language, we become naturally familiar over time with the breadth of messages that are in each other's ordinary behavioral range and in our social interactions.

So we can establish without much fanfare, with the dictionary as our guide, that any perceived behavior "differing from a norm or from the accepted standards of a society" is by definition "deviant".

This "deviance" can only be enacted by one individual "subject" and perceived or even misperceived by another individual "observer".

This is where the subjectivity becomes moot because:

By definition, a deviant is "One that differs from a norm, especially a person whose behavior and attitudes differ from accepted social standards."
Thus the ability to attribute this label belongs ONLY to those within the the "norm" of society, or in this case the "observer".

As said in my argument, I intend to provide evidence that the source of the "observer's" ability to establish "deviance" is "completely" outside his control.
Furthermore I will also show that this source is indeed GENETIC, and in the process establish that:

”Deviant Behavior Is Completely Genetic In Cause”.



posted on Sep, 6 2008 @ 03:38 PM
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Ladies and Gentlemen, Judges and, of course, my esteemed opponent schrodingers dog, thank you for participating in this most excellent debate tournament. Were it not for the hard work and tremendous patience of MemoryShock, this tournament would not even be possible.

Let's make this second round a round to remember!

TruthWithin's Opening Statement



"Deviant Behavior Is Completely Genetic In Cause".

In this debate I will be arguing the con position of the statement, "Deviant Behavior Is Completely Genetic In Cause". This means that the burden of proof lies squarely on my opponent's shoulders to prove, conclusively, that deviant behavior is completely genetic in cause - not partially, not somewhat - COMPLETELY.

This debate, while it's focus lives in the realm of "deviant behavior", asks the age old question of whether humans are a product of their environment or if they are naturally predisposed to certain behaviors as a result of their blood, ancestry and/or genetics. Psychologists, biologists and sociologists have intensely studied this subject and have hundreds of years of research, lab tests and field studies, all of which make very compelling cases for their respective arguments. However, everyone can not be right, or more specifically, COMPLETLEY certain that genetics are the exclusive cause of human behavioral traits.

My argument regarding this topic is very simple; human beings are compelled to behave deviantly primarily because of the environment in which they are raised and the company they keep, however there are a few cases that suggest genetics do play a role in their deviant behavior, although genetics certainly are not the COMPLETE .

Throughout the course of exploring this fascinating topic we will define what deviant behavior is and the multifaceted sociological structures that lead to deviant behavior. Most importantly, we will illustrate that deviant behavior is not completely genetic in cause, but that there are a multitude of causes outside of genetics that compel deviance.

Deviant Behavior

My opponent has provided exclusive, isolated definitions of the terms "deviant" and "behavior, suggesting that when the terms are used together there is not a more accepted, or studied definition. The fact is that "deviant behavior" is one of the most studied behaviors because there is a constant quest to find out why there are serial killers, murderers, domestic abusers, bullies, those generally inclined to violence, those generally inclined to write hateful speech, to destroy property, break wind in public, pick their noses or negatively effect those around them.

This definition more broadly explores the term.


Deviant behavior is behavior that is a recognized violation of social norms. Formal and informal social controls attempt to prevent or minimize deviance. One such control is through the medicalization of deviance. It is not the act itself, but the reactions to the act, that make something deviant.

Crime, the violation of formally enacted law, is formal deviance while an informal social violation such as picking one's nose is an example of informal deviance. It also means not doing what the majority does or alternatively doing what the majority does not do. For instance, behaviors caused by cultural difference can be seen as deviance. It does not necessarily mean criminal behavior.

Source 1

Thus, there are two category's of deviance; formal and informal. This may or may not have great impact on this debate unless the conversation asks us to explore if deviance must be categorized as "criminal" acts, or social behavior that does not fall within the law, but it is important to recognize the scope of the term and not limit it to the very confined, textbook definitions of the individual words themselves. The sum is indeed greater than all of its parts...

My opponent thus far has suggested that the complete, cuasal gene is found in the observer of the deviant behavior, not in the body of the person behaving deviantly. I, indeed, look forward to where that argument will lead us!


I open the floor to my opponent.



posted on Sep, 6 2008 @ 10:40 PM
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”Deviant Behavior Is Completely Genetic In Cause”.

I am arguing the pro position and this is my 1st reply.

______________________________________________


My esteemed opponent wishes to apply a broader definition of the term:
Deviant Behavior

He has put forth and I am happy to accept the following:


This definition more broadly explores the term.

Deviant behavior is behavior that is a recognized violation of social norms. Formal and informal social controls attempt to prevent or minimize deviance. One such control is through the medicalization of deviance. It is not the act itself, but the reactions to the act, that make something deviant.

Crime, the violation of formally enacted law, is formal deviance while an informal social violation such as picking one's nose is an example of informal deviance. It also means not doing what the majority does or alternatively doing what the majority does not do. For instance, behaviors caused by cultural difference can be seen as deviance. It does not necessarily mean criminal behavior.
source


I am grateful to him for insisting in this regard. For what he fails to realize, is that in doing so, he has made my task of of winning this debate a great deal easier.

For two reasons:

1. My premise is based on the principle that only the "observer" can assign the label of "deviant behavior" onto a "subject." The broader the definition of "deviant behavior", the more frequent and commonplace it becomes. Further establishing its observation and interpretation by the "observer" as "a natural" and "inherent" trait of his nature. And though neither natural or inherent equates to "genetic", this broader definition of the topic at hand, has brought me significantly closer to reaching my burden of proof, COMPLETELY.

2. Bringing the concepts of "crime" and "nose picking" into the debate to illustrate the point that there are degrees of deviant behavior must have seemed a perfectly reasonable, or at the very least colorful, thing to do. Alas, once more for my opponent, by introducing this idea of "formal" vs. "informal" deviant behavior, he has but sealed the fate of this debate in my favor.

Why?

Because by acknowledging these behavioral distinctions in others and assigning thresholds for what is or isn't deviant behavior, he just assumed the role of the "observer." And all that there is for me to do to win this debate is to prove that he has done so as a result "genetic" predisposition. The fact alone that my opponent did this subconsciously and without his own explicit consent, within the very course of this very debate, indicates his and indeed all of our natural predisposition to act as "observers".

And what are genes but physical triggers to predisposition.

Genes and DNA are of course physical in nature. That is to say they are simply "things". They as of themselves do not observe or interpret anything external, including social behavior, deviant or otherwise. They have no values, morals, they surely do not recognize laws or customs and know not if their host is gambling legally in Vegas or illegally in New York City.

As mentioned before, these are uniquely and inherently human traits.

For the purpose of this debate I believe that I have sufficiently proven that the ONLY relevant genetic traits are those of the "observer", as ONLY the "observer" is empowered to assign distinctions such as "deviance" onto another "subject's" "behavior". (even in the ironic instances when the subject's behavior also happens to be genetically driven)

I will in my next post provide the scientific evidence to substantiate the last required aspect of my argument. That when we as "observers" assign qualitative concepts and descriptions onto other "subjects" behavior we do it COMPLETELY out of GENETIC predisposition.



posted on Sep, 7 2008 @ 12:37 PM
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I admire my opponent's theory that the deviance of one's behavior can only be determined by the "observer" of said behavior. Unfortunately, my opponent has done nothing to show that this predisposition to place behavioral values on others is "completely" genetic in cause, or even "somewhat" genetic in cause.

We are debating what "causes" behavior. Let's go back to my opponent's opening statement. He defines behavior as:



be·hav·ior – noun
1. manner of behaving or acting.
2. Psychology, Animal Behavior.
a. observable activity in a human or animal.
b. the aggregate of responses to internal and external stimuli.
c. a stereotyped, species-specific activity, as a courtship dance or startle reflex.
3. Often, behaviors. a behavior pattern.
4. the action or reaction of any material under given circumstances: the behavior of tin under heat.


Thus, the actual behavior, deviant or not, is an action or activity of the human, and we are here to determine the CAUSE of that behavior, not the predisposition of one observing that behavior.

For example, let us say that someone witnesses a man kill another man in cold blood. Most would agree that this behavior is "deviant", and yet this "observation" has little or nothing to do with the genetics of the observer. Moreover, the physical act of of the murder was completely isolated from the "observation" of the murder, and the genetics of the observer, if even applicable, had zero effect on the outcome of the behavior of the the person committing the murder.

Let's get a little deeper into this example.

The man committing the murder (we will call him Larry) has had a clean record his entire life. He was well liked among his classmates and peers, he lead a normal life with his wife and two children, he never even had a speeding ticket - any of this sound familiar? One day, Larry finds out that his wife has been having an affair with the milk man. For years, Larry's wife and the milk man have been fooling around on Larry in Larry's own home. Larry, catching them in the act, kicks the man out of his house and ceases to speak to his wife. The rage that Larry feels, manifesting itself as the result of the "given circumstances" surrounding him, causes Larry to to drink heavily for days. On a cold Thursday afternoon, after several shots of Jack Daniels, Larry decides to take matters into his own hands and waits patiently for the milk man to make his way through the neighborhood delivering milk. Seeing the milk man, Larry grabs a hatchet from his tool shed, runs up behind the man and strikes him violently with the hatchet, and as a result, the milk man is murdered. Mrs. Johnson, stepping out to pick up her mail, witnesses this heinous crime and, noticing that Larry did not see her, rushes back into the house and calls the police.

While I grant that this is an extreme case of "deviant behavior", it illustrates the fatal error in my opponent's argument. That fatal error is that Mrs. Johnson's genetic disposition had ZERO impact on the behavior of Larry. Even her perception had little to do with casting Larry's behavior as deviant.

So what caused Larry to do this? Was it the rage and jealousy that he felt towards his wife or the milk man? Was it the alcohol that blurred his otherwise sound judgment? Was there some lingering gene that he inherited from his parents that caused him to do this?

We may never know - but we can say for certain that Larry's behavior was not caused completely through his own, or Mrs. Johnson's, genetic makeup. At best, it is a combination of the environment surrounding Larry, the events that lead him to murder, the alcohol that clouded his judgment and the decision to take another human life.

My opponent, without providing a shred of evidence to support his case, has presented a rather abstract way of looking at this topic. In fact, it would appear that after his second post, my opponent believes that he has all but won this debate. To that, I say, "pshaw!"

My opponent has provided nothing but his own rhetoric and fanciful opinions of the topic at hand, which in the end, speak nothing to behavior or any direct causal link to genetics.

Socratic Question #1 - Please explain how my example of Larry and the milk man fits into your theory.

Socratic Question #2 - How were Mrs. Johnson's genetics involved with the behavior of our good friend Larry?



Rest in peace, milkman. Your delicious milk will be missed....


I open the floor to my opponent...



posted on Sep, 8 2008 @ 11:32 AM
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Do to emotional drainage issues associated with another thread, I will now claim my 24 extension.



posted on Sep, 9 2008 @ 12:20 AM
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”Deviant Behavior Is Completely Genetic In Cause”.

I am arguing the pro position and this is my 2nd reply.

______________________________________________


Now this is becoming interesting. My opponent has decided to revert back to the original definition of the word "behavior" which I provided in my first post. But in his first reply he asked and was granted an expanded definition. I wonder why the change of heart? Nevertheless, I will not accept yet another change, lest we have to have this definition dance at the start of every reply. The standing definitions are as provided by my opponent in his first post.

For the record, as compelling as Larry's story might be, I believe that I have already established that only the "observer" has the ability and right to assign any quality to any "subject's" behavior, and in this case on whether it is deviant in nature.

Now, allow me to address some of the points raised by my opponent questioning this premise.
The reason for my opponent's confusion on this matter, is principally because he himself cannot step out of the shoes of the "observer". When he tells the story of Larry who murders the milkman for sleeping with his wife, he tells it from the perspective of observation. Once again my opponent as well as the rest of us, does this naturally. We observe everything and everyone with all our senses, and we all qualify each and every observation, including whether it is deviant in nature.

Behavior, that is the act of doing anything has no inherent qualities or nature. Behavior is just a sequence of acts that mean absolutely nothing unless someone observing them assigns them value and conceptual qualities.

What my opponent calls "murder" and qualifies as "deviant behavior" in the case of the milkman's murder he does as the observer, but it does not make it so. In nature, lions kill rivals every day to protect their mating rights, yet we do not call that "murder." Nor do the lions call it murder or see it as "deviant behavior."

Why not?

Because only humans are genetically empowered to make these observations and to qualify them!

To answer my opponent's question 1 & 2:

A man killing another man is just that, a kill. A man killing another man in let's say America within the context of my opponents example is called "murder" and is "deviant behavior" only in the eyes of society and his wife as once again "observers."

Allow me to introduce a better example of how this is manifested across the world.
Let's imagine an ordinary eighteen year old girl. Let's call her Maria.
Now let's imagine that Maria was born and raised under three different scenarios:

Life 1: She is born and raised in Thailand, under relative poverty, and is now a prostitute in Bangkok. The law in Thailand is clear, if you register with the state and take monthly std tests, it is legal to work as a prostitute. Not only that but the profession does not even carry much stigma. It is definitely considered neither illegal nor deviant. It is simply within the norm of their society. source

Life 2: She is born and raised in the US under the same circumstances. But as prostitution is illegal, she spends her time in and out of jail. She is considered by society as low level criminal and some people might label her deviant.

Life 3: She is born in Saudi Arabia. You can see where this is going. Let's assume that a sequence of events leads her to one night take money from a man for sex and the man rats her out. Imagine the way that society would judge and punish her. Their custom is to to jail victims of gang rapes. source

So what do we have. The girl (subject) is the same in all three cases, that is to say that her genes are are the same no matter which country she happened to born into. The only difference between the three lives are the societies which is to say the "observers" in which she was born. And in each case, the individually and collectively assign criminality and deviance onto her, the only constant "subject" in all three lives.

I consider this part of of my argument complete.

_____________________________________________________________________________



Originally posted by TruthWithin
I admire my opponent's theory that the deviance of one's behavior can only be determined by the "observer" of said behavior. Unfortunately, my opponent has done nothing to show that this predisposition to place behavioral values on others is "completely" genetic in cause, or even "somewhat" genetic in cause.


This observation is actually correct. Though I have indicated in my earlier posts that I would provide this evidence after having firmly established my premise that the only genetic evidence required is the "observer's"

Having done so, I once again await my opponent's response to this post. I am by no means being evasive in this regard. It is just that I have one required reply left and will dedicate it to all things scientific.

Also I did not anticipate proving my premise with such ease and brevity.



posted on Sep, 9 2008 @ 11:14 PM
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From my opponent's opening statement...



I shall include all scientific evidence required to support the above premise in my second post.


From my opponent's first reply...



I will in my next post provide the scientific evidence to substantiate the last required aspect of my argument.


From my opponent's second reply...



Having done so, I once again await my opponent's response to this post. I am by no means being evasive in this regard. It is just that I have one required reply left and will dedicate it to all things scientific.


As we stand, there has been ZERO scientific evidence.

I do find it rather convenient that my opponent has waited until the tail end of the debate to put forth the scientific "proof" of this abstract argument, particularly seeing that we are debating whether "GENETICS" are the complete cause.



Also I did not anticipate proving my premise with such ease and brevity.


Ease and brevity? Is that why my opponent has made us wait so long for this "scientific" information, even though we have been promised this info from the start?

I have yet to accept my opponent's premise, although I do agree that it would make for a very interesting thread somewhere else on ATS, just not here. Why?

I might remind my opponent that it is his burden to prove that Deviant Behavior is "Completely Genetic In Cause".

Let's get this debate back on track...



Now this is becoming interesting. My opponent has decided to revert back to the original definition of the word "behavior" which I provided in my first post. But in his first reply he asked and was granted an expanded definition.


Quite the contrary. I never changed the definition - I added that it was important to understand that Deviant Behavior can fall into two major categories; formal and informal. I agree with your definitions of "deviant" and " behavior".

I was reminding my opponent that behavior, deviant or otherwise is a human action that is an "aggregate of responses to internal and external stimuli", at least according to my opponent's definition.

This is important to understand because my opponent, while creatively diverting the true subject of this debate, has failed to understand this debate already assumes that the behavior is deviant.

Please let me repeat that: this debate already assumes that the behavior in question is already deviant.

The observation does not CAUSE the behavior, nor does it even place value judgments 100% of the time.

We are not here to debate the self proclaimed "subjectivity" of deviance. We are here to debate whether or not "Deviant Behavior is Completely Genetic In Cause".

This oversight in the premise of this debate is critical and the error can be found in my opponent's own example regarding the Thailand prostitutes.

schrodingers dog attempts to illustrate that deviant behavior in one country might not be deviant in another...



Life 1: She is born and raised in Thailand, under relative poverty, and is now a prostitute in Bangkok. The law in Thailand is clear, if you register with the state and take monthly std tests, it is legal to work as a prostitute. Not only that but the profession does not even carry much stigma. It is definitely considered neither illegal nor deviant. It is simply within the norm of their society.

Life 2: She is born and raised in the US under the same circumstances. But as prostitution is illegal, she spends her time in and out of jail. She is considered by society as low level criminal and some people might label her deviant.

Life 3: She is born in Saudi Arabia. You can see where this is going. Let's assume that a sequence of events leads her to one night take money from a man for sex and the man rats her out. Imagine the way that society would judge and punish her. Their custom is to to jail victims of gang rapes.


Does this prove that prostitution isn't considered deviant in Thailand? Hardly...

From my opponent's own source...


Consequently, visiting a prostitute or paid mistress is considered a not uncommon, though not necessarily acceptable behavior for men, and many Thai women believe the existence of such prostitution actively reduces the incidence of rape.
My emphasis...

This shows that, although prostitution may be legal in Thailand, it is still deviant if only because at the very least the behavior "Differing from a norm or from the accepted standards of a society." Again, this is from my opponent's own definition.

This fits my definition as well in terms of falling into the category of informal deviance, meaning that while it does not break the law, it is still considered deviant behavior - even within the standards to Thai society.

My opponent then argues:



Because only humans are genetically empowered to make these observations and to qualify them!


I believe this to truly be a misinformed statement. Animals qualify the behavior of other animals all the time. Think about it. Take the killer whale, for example. The killer whale is constantly look for deviance in behavior that would indicate the animal is old, very young, sick or wounded because it makes for an easier kill. Thousands of other species are constantly observing the stimuli and behavior of their surroundings and making judgments. In fact, their survival depends on it.

The difference to what my opponent says..



What my opponent calls "murder" and qualifies as "deviant behavior" in the case of the milkman's murder he does as the observer, but it does not make it so. In nature, lions kill rivals every day to protect their mating rights, yet we do not call that "murder." Nor do the lions call it murder or see it as "deviant behavior."


This, again, takes me back to my point that my opponent's argument is completely superfluous to what we a truly debating. The human species does not differ from lions in the sense that we subjectively place behavior judgments on our own species, but that humans are civilized to the point where murder IS considered a deviant behavior and it is not critical to our survival.

If my opponent wishes to use lions as an example though, this might interest you. It would appear that even lions find fighting within the pride is considered deviant!


If fighting occurs it is normally between male coalitions competing for a pride or between prides competing for prime territory areas. Males that are outcast from their birth pride or males overthrown from a pride will usually end up leaving a nomadic lifestyle with no fixed territory. This is a very precarious situation for them to be in and often leads to their demise.
Source 1

I think we all can agree that murder is a deviant behavior among humans because it truly is behavior that is "Differing from a norm or from the accepted standards of a society." (my opponents definition). Whether a formal or informal deviance (my continuation of the definition) it is still deviant.

I stand by my argument that deviant behavior is caused primarily by the "aggregate of responses to internal and external stimuli." (My opponent's definition...again.) That is to say that this behavior is a melting pot of our own genetic predisposition and the reactions to external stimuli, like the way we were raised, the friends we had in school, the neighborhood we grew up in etc...

The key word in this debate is really "genetics" and, aside from generally using the term here and there, my opponent has done absolutely nothing to show that deviant behavior is even vaguely genetic in cause, let alone "completely", which was his task to prove.

Back to Larry...





For the record, as compelling as Larry's story might be, I believe that I have already established that only the "observer" has the ability and right to assign any quality to any "subject's" behavior, and in this case on whether it is deviant in nature.


Yes. And we all observe, in this society we live in, that murder is deviant - both formally and informally because it does not occur often in our society and therefore the act of murder is, "Differing from a norm or from the accepted standards of a society." Murder is not deviant because someone says it is so, it is deviant because it does not occur naturally in society and therefore falls into my opponent's own definition of "deviance".



I open the floor to my opponent...



posted on Sep, 10 2008 @ 11:14 PM
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”Deviant Behavior Is Completely Genetic In Cause”.

I am arguing the pro position and this is my 3rd reply.

______________________________________________


My opponent's lack of acceptance of the premise I believe to have already established is to be expected. I dare say that I fear that sometime in the near future he might accuse me of being deviant myself for presenting this argument in my own way and pace.

So allow me to now disrobe my opponent's argument by addressing his protestations.

First:

schrodingers dog

Now this is becoming interesting. My opponent has decided to revert back to the original definition of the word "behavior" which I provided in my first post. But in his first reply he asked and was granted an expanded definition.


TruthWithin

Quite the contrary. I never changed the definition - I added that it was important to understand that Deviant Behavior can fall into two major categories; formal and informal. I agree with your definitions of "deviant" and " behavior".


My response: My opponent says: "I added that it was important to understand that Deviant Behavior can fall into two major categories; formal and informal." Ironically enough, that is the very definition of an expanded definition. Ah, logic and syntax, the cornerstones of a healthy and honest debate.


Second:

TruthWithin

Please let me repeat that: this debate already assumes that the behavior in question is already deviant.


DOES IT? WHERE DOES IS SAY THAT?

Here ladies and gentlemen we have it.

First of all: "debates" don't assume, debaters do!

The debate title however says:

”Deviant Behaviour Is Completely Genetic In Cause”

Any and all assumptions expressed to date on this title and the whole debate, have indeed only been of your own making.
The title is just that, a title. Assume and interpret at your own peril.

My own interpretation is by now clear and established. And was born out of assumption free analysis.


Third:

When I read this particular argument, I must say, I almost fell of my posturepedic.

In the example I provided, I illustrate that when one girl (genetically) is born into three different cultures who assign "deviant behavior" differently. The genetic makeup of the girl is constant, the "observers" are the variable who may or may not choose to assign deviance or any other label depending on their culture and communal concepts.

This is what my opponent took exception to with my argument:

TruthWithin

Consequently, visiting a prostitute or paid mistress is considered a not uncommon, though not necessarily acceptable behavior for men, and many Thai women believe the existence of such prostitution actively reduces the incidence of rape.


From the entire example I provided, all my opponent could hang his hat on is the word necessarily in just one of three situations. Dear friends, for the sake of sportsmanship I am happy to concede this massive flaw in my theory. I will "assume" that the rest of my example is as apt as apt can be to illustrate my now established premise.


Fouth:


TruthWithin

My opponent then argues:


Because only humans are genetically empowered to make these observations and to qualify them!


I believe this to truly be a misinformed statement. Animals qualify the behavior of other animals all the time. Think about it. Take the killer whale, for example. The killer whale is constantly look for deviance in behavior that would indicate the animal is old, very young, sick or wounded because it makes for an easier kill. Thousands of other species are constantly observing the stimuli and behavior of their surroundings and making judgments. In fact, their survival depends on it.


So if I understand you correctly what you are saying is the following: You are correcting me by saying that BOTH animals and humans exhibit the same inherently natural behavior through their own observation. I had not thought about that, it seems almost, oh what is the word Im looking for:

COMPLETELY GENETIC IN NATURE.

Intellectual entrapment, I hope it's not against the T&C.


The Science / Kind of

My opponent has accused me of being evasive in backing up my position with scientific evidence. This was not required in order for me to establish the premise of my position. It is however necessary to establish that the reason the "observer" assigns labels such as deviant to the "subject" he/she does so as a result of their inherent human nature. Indeed, as my helpful opponent went out of his way to point out, most of the animals feel the same way.

This is a very important if not scientific point. Every human is endowed and exercises this judgement thousands of time during the course of the day. As I said in my first post, behavior is a sequence of thousands of mutually observed acts, and we assign each one, however briefly a quality, including deviance.

[B]Geneticaly: Consider this, the probability of a behavior exhibited by almost every human ever born, since the start of our existence, every day, everywhere, billions of times a day, and even by most animals, not being Genetic by nature. Interacting and observing each other and our environment is in fact the single most documented behavior in the history of man.

You know, I was going to do the whole science thing, I still might in my closing statement, but it is so boring.
Plus I enjoy making my opponent wait.




[edit on 10-9-2008 by MemoryShock]



posted on Sep, 11 2008 @ 12:26 PM
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My opponent's lack of acceptance of the premise I believe to have already established is to be expected.


I haven't accepted my opponent's premise because, even through his third reply, I have seen absolutely nothing that proves the premise, save for piles of rhetoric.

I think schrodingers dog's premise can be summed up by a statement in his first post:



1. My premise is based on the principle that only the "observer" can assign the label of "deviant behavior" onto a "subject." The broader the definition of "deviant behavior", the more frequent and commonplace it becomes. Further establishing its observation and interpretation by the "observer" as "a natural" and "inherent" trait of his nature. And though neither natural or inherent equates to "genetic", this broader definition of the topic at hand, has brought me significantly closer to reaching my burden of proof, COMPLETELY.


So, to clarify, my opponent suggests that only the "observer" can define the behavior of the "subject". So if we assume this to be true (and I still don't buy this premise), then my opponent must prove that the "observer's" genetics are responsible for the judgment of deviant. He has done NOTHING to illustrate this.

It almost seems that my opponent has a fundamental misunderstanding of the term "genetic".

Earlier, my opponent, in bold letters, made the distinction:



What my opponent calls "murder" and qualifies as "deviant behavior" in the case of the milkman's murder he does as the observer, but it does not make it so. In nature, lions kill rivals every day to protect their mating rights, yet we do not call that "murder." Nor do the lions call it murder or see it as "deviant behavior."

Why not?

Because only humans are genetically empowered to make these observations and to qualify them!


My opponent suggests that only humans are "genetically" empowered to make observations of behavior, and animals are not. He then contradicts himself by saying:



So if I understand you correctly what you are saying is the following: You are correcting me by saying that BOTH animals and humans exhibit the same inherently natural behavior through their own observation. I had not thought about that, it seems almost, oh what is the word Im looking for:

COMPLETELY GENETIC IN NATURE.


Wrong, wrong, wrong.

The term "genetic" does not mean the ability to distinguish behavioral characteristics.

My opponent, just one post earlier, said that, "[sic] Only humans are genetically empowered to make these observations and to qualify them! , suggesting that only humans benefit from being able to make behavioral observations.

Socratic Question #1 - Does the ability to make behavioral observations completely depend on genetics?

Socratic Question #2 - Do you have a single shred of evidence to support that one's ability to make observations is "completely genetic in nature"?

I argue that, in order for one to make behavioral observations, one must rely on their gathered perception of society and reality.

Allow me to clarify.

If I make the judgment that someone's behavior is "deviant", is that because my genetics inform me to do so, or is it a culmination of my experiences in life that have informed me that said "behavior" is "deviant"?

How could I call prostitution "deviant" without have some frame of reference in which to do so. To suggest that this "frame of reference" is completely genetic in cause would preposterous. The frame of reference must be mostly societal and environmental, not genetic.

This is the reason my opponent's premise holds no water.

Let's go back to my opponent's argument with prostitute:




Allow me to introduce a better example of how this is manifested across the world.
Let's imagine an ordinary eighteen year old girl. Let's call her Maria.
Now let's imagine that Maria was born and raised under three different scenarios:

Life 1: She is born and raised in Thailand, under relative poverty, and is now a prostitute in Bangkok. The law in Thailand is clear, if you register with the state and take monthly std tests, it is legal to work as a prostitute. Not only that but the profession does not even carry much stigma. It is definitely considered neither illegal nor deviant. It is simply within the norm of their society. source

Life 2: She is born and raised in the US under the same circumstances. But as prostitution is illegal, she spends her time in and out of jail. She is considered by society as low level criminal and some people might label her deviant.

Life 3: She is born in Saudi Arabia. You can see where this is going. Let's assume that a sequence of events leads her to one night take money from a man for sex and the man rats her out. Imagine the way that society would judge and punish her. Their custom is to to jail victims of gang rapes. source

So what do we have. The girl (subject) is the same in all three cases, that is to say that her genes are are the same no matter which country she happened to born into. The only difference between the three lives are the societies which is to say the "observers" in which she was born. And in each case, the individually and collectively assign criminality and deviance onto her, the only constant "subject" in all three lives.


Let's focus on the last portion that I have highlighted. In the Thailand case, my opponent argues that because it is not legal, it means that prostitution is not considered "deviant" in Thailand. In the US, it is considered deviant by some and in Saudi Arabia prostitution is a crime punishable by death.

So how does this serve my opponent's argument? It doesn't, and here is why:

I have proved that all three of my opponent's examples find prostitution to be deviant behavior. That's three unique societies in the world all agreeing that this behavior is deviant, or "Differing from a norm or from the accepted standards of a society." Thailand allows prostitution because it accounts for nearly 4% of the countries GDP, not because they think it is deviant behavior. Is my opponent suggesting that governmental greed is completely caused by genetics? I think it is money, and EXTERNAL stimuli that has nothing to do with the human genome.

A person's or society's genetics do not inform behavioral observations because this would be impossible. If we take the US as an example, prostitution is largely considered "deviant" because we are raised with that perception of it. We see prostitutes arrested on television, we are told stories of STD's and HIV, we are told that civilized societies do not engage in such behavior and we are bombarded with numerous other forms of external stimuli that inform our behavioral observations, with few or even any of these stimuli being "genetic" in nature.

Therefore, according to my opponent's own argument, genetics have virtually no role in behavioral observation.

My opponent has said:



Genes and DNA are of course physical in nature. That is to say they are simply "things". They as of themselves do not observe or interpret anything external, including social behavior, deviant or otherwise. They have no values, morals, they surely do not recognize laws or customs and know not if their host is gambling legally in Vegas or illegally in New York City.


Socratic Question #3 - If what you say is true, "They (Genes and DNA) as of themselves do not observe or interpret anything external, including social behavior, deviant or otherwise", then how can genes or DNA be completely responsible for the "observer's" interpretation of behavior?

Again, I think what my opponent is trying to say is that, because humans or animals have the ability to observe behavior therefore it must must be genetic in nature.

This concept is blatantly false. My opponent did not define "genetics' from the onset of this debate, and I can see why. Allow me...

Source 1


Genetic - ge·net·ic (j-ntk)

1. a. Of or relating to genetics or genes.
b. Affecting or determined by genes: genetic diseases.

2. Of, relating to, or influenced by the origin or development of something.

3. Occurring among members of a family usually by heredity; "an inherited disease"; "familial traits"; "genetically transmitted features"


Socratic Question #4 - Based on this definition, how would "genetics" completely cause "deviant behavior", or in your premise, the behavioral observations of deviance?



[B]Geneticaly: Consider this, the probability of a behavior exhibited by almost every human ever born, since the start of our existence, every day, everywhere, billions of times a day, and even by most animals, not being Genetic by nature. Interacting and observing each other and our environment is in fact the single most documented behavior in the history of man.


So what does that have to do with this debate? Further, what does this statement (the only argument thus far to even come close to explaining how genetics play a role) do to suggest that genetics are "completely" the cause for this behavior or behavioral observation?

It's great that my opponent has shown that we observe one another, but that is all he has shown. There is not causal link defined genetically. That was the task of this debate.



You know, I was going to do the whole science thing, I still might in my closing statement, but it is so boring. Plus I enjoy making my opponent wait.


Ah, yes, having to introduce "boring" science that might substantiate some of these arguments by my opponent. What a burden!


I open the floor to my opponent...



posted on Sep, 12 2008 @ 11:41 AM
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”Deviant Behavior Is Completely Genetic In Cause”.

I am arguing the pro position and this is my last reply and Closing Statement.

_______________________________________________________________________



It took a few posts for my opponent to see this, but I suppose late is better than never.

TruthWithin

So, to clarify, my opponent suggests that only the "observer" can define the behavior of the "subject". So if we assume this to be true (and I still don't buy this premise), then my opponent must prove that the "observer's" genetics are responsible for the judgment of deviant. He has done NOTHING to illustrate this.


I will respond to this by answering your first question as it is the same.


Socratic Question #1 - Does the ability to make behavioral observations completely depend on genetics?


YES

"Observing"/"behaving"/"interpreting" is what every human does on a continual and permanent basis. From the moment a child takes their first breath, some would argue even earlier, to their last breath. They are the most fundamental attributes to human existence. As I have already indicated, that this is inherently genetic in nature is a virtual statistic certainty. In fact I will remove the qualifier "virtual." It is a statistical certainty. Every one who's ever been born does this, it IS being human.

Genes and DNA are the building blocks of life, they are triggers to every human's make up. Genes trigger different a plethora of behaviors and physical make up. Does it not stand to reason that they would be responsible for the most common and fundamental shared behavior of all?

I would also like to point out the following. Genes and genetics, are being studied every day. Scientists will readily concede that we are still at the embryonic level of our understanding of the subject. I point this out not to lower the expected burden of evidence I need to provide for this debate. I point this out because my opponent and indeed many people misunderstand the ways and reasons scientists approach gene research. Genetic research is driven to understand and isolate genetic variations from the norm. What I mean is, geneticists start with the premise that human makeup including behavior, is entirely rooted on the DNA in their genes. Then they try, mostly for medical reasons, to isolate the specific genes that vary from a typical genome.

In many ways, they are also the "observer". They look at the genome and interpret which genes are responsible for what, the genes themselves are the "subjects".

For example, they recently discovered the Schizophrenia Gene. The importance and value of this discovery is not just that it isolated the gene for this horrible mental condition. It is important because it is a genetic variation from the standard genome sequence. Thus once more emphasizing that, what is not isolated as a genetic variation is by definition a genetic norm within the human genome. Thus if my opponent is looking for me to provide an actual gene to substantiate my position, he will not get one from me. For if one existed, it would be more likely to point, like in the case of schizophrenia to an an atypical condition



What perfect symmetry for my argument and this debate.



Socratic Question #2 - Do you have a single shred of evidence to support that one's ability to make observations is "completely genetic in nature"?


Yes. "Observations" are but the interpretation of one's brain to what it receives as electrical input from our senses. Our senses are activated by and through different body parts. The human physical body's structure is indeed built and is activated by the DNA in our genes. These are well established and accepted scientific principles which do not require a wikipedia "cut & paste" to be established. At the physical level, no one would ever argue against these facts. On the "behavioral" level, see answer to question 1.



Socratic Question #3 - If what you say is true, "They (Genes and DNA) as of themselves do not observe or interpret anything external, including social behavior, deviant or otherwise", then how can genes or DNA be completely responsible for the "observer's" interpretation of behavior?


That is a very strange question indeed.
Does the engine of a car need to know the driver's destination? No it does not.
Yes the DNA in our genes is not a conscious being, it is as I have pointed out before a physical thing. The "observer" in this example, makes these observations with the tools he is given. We have DNA, the driver has an engine.



TruthWithin

Genetic - ge·net·ic (j-ntk)

1. a. Of or relating to genetics or genes.
b. Affecting or determined by genes: genetic diseases.

2. Of, relating to, or influenced by the origin or development of something.

3. Occurring among members of a family usually by heredity; "an inherited disease"; "familial traits"; "genetically transmitted features"



Socratic Question #4 - Based on this definition, how would "genetics" completely cause "deviant behavior", or in your premise, the behavioral observations of deviance?


Well this is the argument I have been laid out before you throughout the entire debate. Obviously as I said before, my opponent is by definition not likely to accept it. I believe that throughout the process of the argument, I have repeatedly reenforced and established this premise to the point of risking being redundant.

However I will give one last example:

You, as you have inadvertently been doing throughout this debate, observe the following:

A child stealing an orange from a grocer. Your first reaction is that the child is a thief and a deviant. Then you see the child and his family are on the brink of starvation. The act of the child, or "behavior" is the same. Your interpretation of that "behavior" and whether it is "deviant" hopefully will change.


Either way, it is always only the observer who makes that determination, hence only his genetic predisposition is in question.


______________________________________________________



I'd like to once again thank my opponent TruthWithin for a vigorous and stimulating debate.
Thank you to MemoryShock for hosting and indulging us to inquire on this fascinating subject.

I can only hope that my intellectual behavior has impressed the observers!




posted on Sep, 12 2008 @ 12:52 PM
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Well, folks, we come to the end of what has been another exciting round in the debate forum. I can't even begin to express how much I love these debates and how much I appreciate all of the hard work and dedication from the judges, the readers and, of course, MemoryShock for getting all of this coordinated. Most of all, a special thanks to my opponent, schrodingers dog, for all of his work in this debate and for being such a formidable opponent!


TruthWithin's Closing Statement



Now that my eyes have corrected themselves for reading all of the italics, lets get to the real crux of this debate.


My opponent has taken the subjective stance to this topic by arguing that behavior is deviant only because we, as a society or individually, say it is deviant based on our observations of said "behavior". He further argues that because we use our brains to filter these observations, and that our brains are built of genetic material and DNA, then therefore deviant behavior MUST be completely genetic in cause.

I do not deny, nor have I at any point during this debate, that the term "deviant' is subjective. That is fine.

But whether we are discussing the physical act of the behavior itself, or whether we are discussing the observation of the behavior my opponent has failed to address human experience.

We are a product of our genes AND of our surroundings.



Throughout this entire debate, my opponent has failed to address the fundamental element of this debate - NATURE vs. NURTURE.

Yes. Our brain makes these observations. But it is also our brain that holds memories and experiences, all of which were external and separated from our brains and our genetic code. Real, tangible feelings.

If we see what we would consider to be "deviant" behavior, we see it through the filter of the EXTERNAL stimuli and experiences that inform us as to whether or not it is deviant. Our brains do not inherently contain the proper information to make value judgments from observations, it is the experiences that we have growing up.

Who here on ATS learned the hard way not to touch the glowing red part of a stovetop at an early age?

I personally have a 3rd degree burn to prove that experience, but I have never made that mistake again.

Is it because my brain inherently knew not to touch it? Obviously not, because I did it any way. It was the EXTERNAL EXPERIENCE that informed my future observations that when the stove is glowing, don't touch it!

The same idea is applied here - and I will close by applying it to my opponent's last example (sans italics
) .



A child stealing an orange from a grocer. Your first reaction is that the child is a thief and a deviant. Then you see the child and his family are on the brink of starvation. The act of the child, or "behavior" is the same. Your interpretation of that "behavior" and whether it is "deviant" hopefully will change.


Let's look at this through the perspective of the kid AND of the observer.

THE KID: In this case, the kid is not genetically predisposed to thievery, or at least that is what my opponent implies in this statement. His family is hungry and, he has learned through his life experience that there is food at the store and if he can take that food without being detected then he can take it back to his starving family. No genetic motivation here folks, just a kid stealing from the store to feed his family.

THE OBSERVER: The observer sees the kid steal and makes an initial observation; THIEF! But how does he know what a thief is? Did his genetics inherently know it is wrong to steal? No. His EXPERIENCE told him that. His EXPERIENCE further told him that, upon realizing the gravity of the situation, to show some empathy towards the child and understand it was a crime to feed his family.

Right or wrong, in either scenario, the act of stealing is "deviant" because it is not a social norm. Is there any place in the world where stealing is allowed or not considered deviant?

The point is that this particular behavior, either through the eyes of the observer or subject, was purely environmental in nature and was not informed or motivated in any significant way by genetics.

Therefore, this deviant behavior or ANY deviant behavior is "NOT completely genetic in cause".


Thanks again to all who have read this!



posted on Sep, 18 2008 @ 09:40 PM
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Congratulations to both, though only one can pass the day...schrodingers dog will advance to Round Three.



Regarding the debate between schrodingers dog v TruthWithin.

I would say Schrodingers dog won the debate.

First, I have to say that schrodingers dog had, by far, the more difficult side of the argument. The nature vs nurture debate has raged for quite a while, and current science bears out a "combination of the two" conclusion.

S. took the debate in an unexpected direction by shifting the burden from the one labeled "deviant" to the "labeler." It really was a brilliant strategic move. The only criticism of the first two posts of S. are that the digressions almost overwhelmed the statement.

Truth Within actually harmed him/herself in two major ways in their first two posts. One, by posting a definition that not only agreed with S.'s definition completely, but actually went above and beyond S.'s initial definition.

From TruthWithin's definition,


It is not the act itself, but the reactions to the act, that make something deviant.


In this act, he/she has agreed to S.'s switch of the subject of the genetic inquiry from "labeled" to "labeler." The attempt in their second post to switch the focus back onto the "labeled" comes too little. Too late.

His other "error" is that rather than begin building a case for himself, (as S. is taking a step by step approach, gaining agreement on each point before stating the whole argument) he is merely "killing time" diddling around with his own definition and trying to insist upon a particular read of the debate subject. He/she does not even bring in outside support (definitions, further sources) to support this U-turn in definition. We are asked to take his/her word alone for it.

As a reader, it appeared to me that either sincerely, or strategically, T. was intent on misunderstanding the heart of S.'s argument, first by providing a definition that supported it, and then by refusing to build a case against it. T. brushed up against this case, "nature vs nurture" twice, but never actually presented it. Instead, the bulk of the debate was spent either complaining about or inadvertently supporting S.'s argument.

S. did wait til the very end to provide the direct link between genetics and the capacity to observe in humans, (and thanks to T., all animals) but the information was provided, and T. did nothing in his closing to directly refute it.

Although S.'s argument is counter intuitive, this is a debate. And the skill of the debater is the subject of the judgment here, not the topic itself. S. handled his/her end of the argument with skill, strategy, and consistence. He/she also took what was the more difficult side, and worked it creatively and provided sound reasoning for it.

T. did nothing whatsoever to avail him/herself of the wealth of evidence that could have supported a nature vs nurture defense, was inconsistent, and appealed to the crowd more than provided a case to it.





A great topic and a very entertaining debate.

SD made a gutsy move in his opening post, and I feel it paid dividends as it served to throw his opponent off the obvious track.

As a tactic, it was good, because it took the debate away from the direction that one would expect, and SD stuck to it throughout the debate, unsettling his opponent to the extent that he lost track of his own position at times, and concentrated on fighting a battle, rather than the war.
SD stuck to his point and argued it nicely, throwing in a bit of rhetoric for good measure, and taking control from the start, never to truly relinquish it.

TW seemed dumbstruck by his opponents opening, and never really recovered, although he did manage to make some telling points. However, by the time he did this, the rhythm of the debate and the direction were set, and he was never able to counter his opponent effectively enough to negate him.

I also feel that his milkman analogy played into SD's hands alittle and actually reinforced his point.

I make schrodingers dog the winner by a head.





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