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Round 4: schrodingers dog vs americandingbat - "Science's True Potential"

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posted on Feb, 15 2010 @ 09:04 AM
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The topic for this debate is "Throughout history, Science has proven that it has the potential to do more evil than good.”

"schrodingers dog" will be arguing the "Pro" position and begin the debate.
"americandingbat" will be arguing 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. Video and audio files are NOT allowed.

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. Be cognizant of what you quote as excess sentences will be removed prior to judging.

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.

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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.

If a participant misses 2 posts in a debate, it will be then declared a forfeiture. In the event where the debate continues, once a debate forum staff member is able to respond, the debate will be closed and awarded to the winning participant.

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.

In the Tournament, winners will be awarded 2 points for each debate they win.

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posted on Feb, 16 2010 @ 03:43 PM
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My earnest apology for having to claim my 24hr extension at this early stage of the debate which the combination of RL considerations and penchant for procrastination has necessitated. Fear not, ducks are being acquired and organized in rows, and we will begin our game on the morrow!



posted on Feb, 17 2010 @ 04:22 PM
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Greetings chissler, fellow readers, and judges who have chosen to join us in what I hope will be a stimulating and informative debate. One that gives americandingbat and myself the opportunity to engage in some intellectually adversarial business left unfinished nearly a year ago.


 


The topic for this debate is "Throughout history, Science has proven that it has the potential to do more evil than good” and I will be arguing the "Pro" position.

Alternatively, we could always define it as the perennial "Yes with 'But' - No with an 'If'" (or vice versa) discourse as the nature of the topic truly falls within such descriptive categorization.


I will begin this fascinating topic by excluding, by definition, some of the concepts associated but not directly relevant to this debate, so as to hopefully narrow what could be a potentially painfully broad topic. My opponent is of course at liberty to resist this 'narrowing' should it serve her strategic purpose, though I suspect she is as eager as myself to speak to the topic pragmatically and specifically rather than in overly abstract philosophical terms.

Of course americandingbat's strategy is hers to choose … for my part, I will begin the deconstruction process by outlining and defining some of the above mentioned elements for the sake of discarding them.

This topic, as will become evident as the debate unfolds, is ridden with metaphorical "two sides of the same coin" undercurrents. One such example is the Primitivism vs. Scientism opposing duality …

Scientism:


The term scientism is used to describe the view that natural science has authority over all other interpretations of life, such as philosophical, religious, mythical, spiritual, or humanistic explanations, and over other fields of inquiry, such as the social sciences.


Primitivism:


Primitivism is, in short, the opinion that life was better or more moral during the early stages of mankind or among primitive peoples (or children) and has deteriorated with the growth of civilization. It is a response to the perennial question of whether the development of complex civilizations and technologies has benefited or harmed mankind.


Of course Rousseau and Dryden championed primitivism with their interpretation on The Noble Savage, romanticizing man's virtuous natural state before the advent of civilization (and by extenuation technology/science) and the application of social contracts.


The term "noble savage" expresses the concept of the natural man, unencumbered by either civilization or divine revelation.


As I mentioned above, the purpose of defining the above is to simply discard the following notions: It is neither my position in this debate, nor do I intend to argue from some abstract primitivistic foundation. Furthermore, it is not my intent to embrace Rousseau and his notions of the Noble savage.

Rousseau was an idiot! There, I said it!

Conversely, and pointing to the aforementioned other side of the same coin, I will not be accusing my opponent of "scientism" for I do not for a moment believe that she will be putting forth such silliness before us.


Right … with such inadequate "isms" out of the way, it is time to define what it is that we are in fact discussing within the context of this debate.

Let us revisit the topic description: "Throughout history, Science has proven that it has the potential to do more evil than good.”

At the risk of totally disarming my opponents pending barrage of all the neat things science has brought upon humanity, I will help her out by conceding the following at the outset:

HEADS (the good):

The evolution of the human species has been directly and causally aligned with it's scientific and technological understanding and discovery. Be it the first tools, the wheel, starting fire, manipulating metals, the written word, the printed word, the digital word, medicine, mastering flight, the internal combustion engine, information technology, communication, entertainment, better understanding of the nature of the universe and of subatomic particles. All of these technological and scientific breakthroughs and many more have extended the human species' life expectancy, improved quality of life, given us a glimpse into the heavens above and within, and as already stated are the defining reasons for the life most of us enjoy today.

There … I have saved my opponent and all of us the tedious and repetitive process of endlessly listing scientific breakthrough after scientific breakthrough to convince us as to all the wonderful things science has delivered onto us. The point is conceded, let us move on …

TAILS (the evil):

Of course all the wonderful stuff that scientific and technological evolution has provided is mitigated by other well known horrific applications of said science and technology. Be it the ever improved ways with which we can exterminate each other with ever improving armament and military technology, not the least of which is the prospect of nuclear annihilation. Add to that genetically modified crops, intrusion of liberties and privacy by the State, a looming technological singularity and artificial intelligence, and god help us if nanotech 'grey goo' ever comes after us and the innocent children.


I joke of course, but the simple fact remains that americandingbat and I could go down every single scientific and technological advancement in the history of civilization and overall find an almost equal of "good/evil" in an endless "Yes with 'But' - No with an 'If'" circular argument ending in an inevitable "push" in terms of our debate positions …

So, I hear you ask, if we discard the primitivism/scientism coin, and we also discard the quantifying good/evil coin, how on earth are we to resolve this debate?

Thankfully for my side of the debate the debate Gods have termed the debate title in a way which gives my opponent's position no chance of being defensible, and by extension has all but assured that this debate must be resolved in my favor …

If the debate title were: "Throughout history, Science has proven that it has done more evil than good” and my opponent were to argue the "con" position, she by virtue of the now overly visible coin duality, would have had a fifty fifty chance of prevailing.

But that is not the debate title … the debate title is: "Throughout history, Science has proven that it has the POTENTIAL to do more evil than good”

And in the word potential lie the seeds of my opponent's argumentative demise.

For we can talk endlessly in circles about how good and how bad specific science and technology has been for mankind, and as I said before it will always end with a push … BUT … from the moment in time which our civilization acquired the scientific and technological means to annihilate itself, it reached its maximum potential for, as the debate title describes, "evil."

That's it really, end of story, end of the debate … you don't have to go home but you can't argue here!

*what? we have to? alright but … fine …*


Humor aside, because the debate topic is potentiality and not a simple historical retrospective enumerating the good vs. the bad, and because there isn't any technology which can equate with good and benefit to mankind the present an and existing "evil" potential of total mutual destruction, there is only one possible outcome to this debate: "Throughout history, Science has proven that it has the potential to do more evil than good”

The coin is still there, two sides still define it, it's just that one of the sides is massively overweighed by the other.

I thank my opponent for her patience for the tardiness of this opening post, and I leave the floor to her eagerly anticipating her retort … potentially speaking.

Oh, I almost forgot ...

Socratic Question 1:

Could you please point to any current science or technology that has the potential to provide a measurably greater "good" to mankind than the converse "evil/harmful" potential of total nuclear annihilation?

Socratic Question 2:

What are the measurable benefits of science and all it's potential "good" if we're all dead?



posted on Feb, 18 2010 @ 08:45 PM
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I will take my 24-hour extension.



posted on Feb, 19 2010 @ 06:46 PM
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My thanks to chissler for running this tournament, and to our judges and readers. I am looking forward to finally confronting my friend schrodingers dog in debate.

 


We have been assigned the topic, "Throughout history, Science has proven that it has the potential to do more evil than good,” and I will be arguing the con side.

Let me begin by addressing my opponent’s Socratic Questions before moving on to frame my argument.


Socratic Question 1:

Could you please point to any current science or technology that has the potential to provide a measurably greater "good" to mankind than the converse "evil/harmful" potential of total nuclear annihilation?

Socratic Question 2:

What are the measurable benefits of science and all it's potential "good" if we're all dead?


Answer 1:

I cannot point to any single current technology that could effect a measurably greater single “good” than total nuclear annihilation would be “bad”. I can however imagine a potential scenario in which scientific advances allowing humanity to survive off Earth would save the human race from being wiped out by a disaster that renders the planet unliveable – and if these things can be measured at all, I would say that saving the human race from extinction would be as “good” as destroying it would be “bad”.

Answer 2:

We are not all dead. But even our deaths would not erase the good already done by science. I do not believe that the past becomes meaningless just by virtue of its passing, nor that human effort is worthless if it becomes lost.

 


Like schrodingers dog, I hope to avoid having this debate degenerate into a listing of the benefits and drawbacks of technological advances through history in some sort of attempt to quantify good vs evil effects and calculate a winner that way.

Yet I note that in his very first Socratic Question he asked me to do more or less that very thing: come up with a single “good” that was “measurably greater” than the “evil” of nuclear annihilation. I did my best to answer his question directly and to participate in the exercise of comparitive and quantitative morality implied, but I do hope we don’t have to continue too far down that path. Not because I think that my assigned position in this debate would not eventually prevail – particularly in a world of potentialities I think that for every problem that technology raises a matching technological solution can be posited. But I think such an exercise would avoid the more interesting angles of the topic.


The evolution of the human species has been directly and causally aligned with it's scientific and technological understanding and discovery.


On this schrodingers dog and I are in complete agreement. From the very beginning of humanity’s development, science – the search for knowledge about and understanding of the universe – has been a fundamental part of that development.

And this is why the debate topic as stated is false: unless we are willing to insist with the Primitivists that human development has been a long slide into evil we must recognize that science is at the base of what it is to be human – that any potential harmful application of scientific knowledge cannot negate its role in who we are.

It is my contention in this debate that while we can point to both “good” and “evil” technological developments – to the extent that as my opponent suggested, if the topic demanded such listing exercises of us the outcome would be a tossup – the most important contribution to the human spirit and the human race of science has been science itself.

To seek to know our selves and our world is an integral part of being human. Throughout history science has been one of the principle ways in which this drive is expressed and realized. This good cannot be outweighed by any single potential development, total nuclear annihilation included.



posted on Feb, 20 2010 @ 04:25 PM
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Socratic Questions



To the first socratic question:

Could you please point to any current science or technology that has the potential to provide a measurably greater "good" to mankind than the converse "evil/harmful" potential of total nuclear annihilation?

americandingbat responded:


I cannot point to any single current technology that could effect a measurably greater single “good” than total nuclear annihilation would be “bad”.
(emphasis mine)

Given that the debate topic is: "Throughout history, Science has proven that it has the potential to do more evil than good,” and that it is my opponents position to demonstrate that it hasn't, I consider this following statement to be a de facto concession of the debate. I shall henceforth include the above statement at the end of every one of my posts for emphasis.


To the second socratic question:

What are the measurable benefits of science and all it's potential "good" if we're all dead?

americandingbat responded:


We are not all dead. But even our deaths would not erase the good already done by science. I do not believe that the past becomes meaningless just by virtue of its passing, nor that human effort is worthless if it becomes lost.


Agreed, but hardly relevant to the crux of the debate topic as the emphasis is on potentiality. As I conceded in my opening post, no doubt man's natural curiosity, exploration, and discovery through science and technology have defined humanity's history and has provided the extraordinary … however, as has now been conceded, none of the existing and potential benefits (good) can surpass the existing and potential harm (evil).


Rebuttal



To my opponent's statement:


Yet I note that in his very first Socratic Question he asked me to do more or less that very thing: come up with a single “good” that was “measurably greater” than the “evil” of nuclear annihilation. I did my best to answer his question directly and to participate in the exercise of comparitive and quantitative morality implied, but I do hope we don’t have to continue too far down that path. Not because I think that my assigned position in this debate would not eventually prevail – particularly in a world of potentialities I think that for every problem that technology raises a matching technological solution can be posited. But I think such an exercise would avoid the more interesting angles of the topic.


Heh, my question was not an effort to engage in a list of "good vs evil" enumeration, rather the opposite … by asking thee to point to a singular "good" scientific discovery to outweigh the potential of total nuclear annihilation (which was not provided), we have in fact avoided the tedious above mentioned listing. As such, my question was consistent with our mutual ambition to avoid said tediousness.

Furthermore, I'm am moved for my opponent's desire to engage in an "interesting" debate, and I empathize with her wish that the debate topic were framed differently, for as we have already discovered there is no valid argument to refute my position. I am sure our esteemed moderator and judges will be thrilled to hear my opponent's declaration that

… the debate topic as stated is false.
I for my part will do my best to keep stuff "interesting" though I favor staying on topic to achieve such lofty expectations.

With that in mind, I will finish my rebuttal by addressing this last observation:


.. the most important contribution to the human spirit and the human race of science has been science itself.


What a beautifully worded sentiment, and an accurate one at that … never mind that I already conceded this point, and that it is peripheral to the topic at best, but sure why not?


It has been said that "the hook goes in deeper if one struggles" … perhaps not only an apt reminder of the pitfalls of technology but likely sound metaphorical advice for the debating and stuff.



1st Post



As we continue deeper into this debate, I would like to reiterate that my position is neither one of a primitivist or a technophobe. As I have already noted, I will not at any juncture suggest that man's pursuit of scientific discovery hasn't provided immense benefit to humanity and conversely, on many occasions, tremendous harm. In fact, again as I stated in my opening post, one cannot fathom humanity sans science or even attempt to separate one from the other. As my opponent so eloquently expressed, scientific exploration defines much of what it is to be human and more often than not, is born of noble and virtuous intent.

Thus this isn't really a debate about choices … it isn't my position to do away with science for that would be counterintuitive to human nature and a rather silly proposition. Heck, even if it were a matter of choice and we could turn off the "science gene" in us should one exist, I still would not argue for such a course of action.

I am comfortable expressing this because it simply isn't the topic of the debate. My opponent and I may well agree on our personal opinion that the risk of potential harm of existing science/technology may be worth the potential benefits, but that doesn't negate the fact that the existing potential harm quantifiably outweighs the existing potential benefit. As stated, the fact that many including americandingbat and myself may feel at comfort with this 'gamble' is a personal opinion and stance, and in no way negates the conceded 'gamble.'

If the above disarms my opponent's last bastion of argumentative refuge, I assure your it is intentional.

For fundamentally, after all is said and done, that's all it really is ... a gamble! We plod along enjoying all the existing benefits of science and technology and hope that no one will unleash nuclear/biological/etc technology scorching the earth and all its inhabitants. We hope that we and our wonderful technology will not deplete the earth of all its resources, heat it or cool it beyond habitability. We hope that when in the future we are faced with problems brought upon ourselves via our use of science and technology we will be able address them with yet undiscovered new and improved technologies, essentially feeding a cycle upon new science and technology must be available just to mitigate the causal consequences of existing ones. And yes, it is a calculated 'gamble' to a certain extent, but still one that is mindful of the inescapable fact that the potential harm outweighs any existing benefit.


In closing this first post, and mindful of the fact that americandingbat and myself have mutually agreed to forgo a point by point historical renumeration and merit based discussion of every single scientific breakthrough/discovery, as per the debate topic, it is still my task to point to any and all said breakthroughs/discoveries whose potential harm (evil) there are NO commensurate potential benefits (good). I shall make it the point of my next post to outline the above … but for now , risking divulging the big secret of an example of all that we create that has the potential to destroy us, I will leave a foreshadowing visual hint:



I will leave it here for now. The topic of the debate and my respective position is: "Throughout history, Science has proven that it has the potential to do more evil than good,” my opponent has stated 'I cannot point to any single current technology that could effect a measurably greater single “good” than total nuclear annihilation would be “bad.”'

Motions will be gone through, rhetoric exchanged, but there is no getting around the above statement for it is a fundamental and outright concession of this debate!



posted on Feb, 21 2010 @ 04:43 PM
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In fact, again as I stated in my opening post, one cannot fathom humanity sans science or even attempt to separate one from the other. As my opponent so eloquently expressed, scientific exploration defines much of what it is to be human and more often than not, is born of noble and virtuous intent.


Indeed we seem to agree on this. And this, though my opponent would misdirect us into a squabble over single technologies, is the crux of this debate.


Furthermore, I'm am moved for my opponent's desire to engage in an "interesting" debate, and I empathize with her wish that the debate topic were framed differently,


Strange, but I don’t recall saying I wish the topic were framed differently – I recall saying that I’d like to address the more interesting aspects of the topic we were given. While I appreciate my opponent’s need to reframe the debate in terms of a comparison of good vs bad individual technologies, I would thank him not to misrepresent my words.

I cannot imagine that the debate moderator will be upset that in arguing the con side of a debate I have said that the statement in the debate topic is false – that is the how a debate works. We are given a statement (in this case, “Throughout history, Science has proven that it has the potential to do more evil than good.” The debater representing the “pro” side then argues that it is true, and the debater representing the “con” side argues it is false.

To try to paint my description of the topic as false as in some way an attack on the framers of the topic is the most basic sort of misdirection by schrodingers dog. To interpret it as an attempt to avoid the topic is absurd.

As for his contention that my agreement that no single, current technology has a potential for good greater than nuclear annihilation is bad is a concession of the debate – again, absurd.

My opponent claims that in singling out one technology that can be considered ultimately “bad” and challenging me to match it with one single “good” he is avoiding a listing exercise. I am asking that instead of narrowing our view to pick out one issue to represent our side, we look at the full potential that science has demonstrated throughout history, just as the debate topic states.

If anyone has conceded this debate, it is schrodingers dog in acknowledging that “scientific exploration defines much of what it is to be human.”

This, I am arguing, is the positive potential of science that no single “evil” technology can outweigh. Unless he should choose to argue that a humanity without science would be less “evil” than humanity as it is, or perhaps that while throughout history the potential for growth through scientific exploration has brought us to where we are, but that potential is no longer there, he has lost.

We seem to be in agreement that the human drive to explore and understand reality that lies behind scientific enterprise is a good thing, that scientific exploration is intrinsically beneficial to both the individual and society.

If pursuit of science is a bet, as he would have it, then we continually make that bet because of what we are – seekers of knowledge. To cut ourselves off from that key part of our being by refusing the bet would be a much greater “evil” than any “evil” that has yet been done by technology.

Yes, even nuclear annihilation is not a greater potential risk than the potential good of continued humanity – and as schrodingers dog has agreed, that naturally includes continued scientific curiosity and exploration.



posted on Feb, 22 2010 @ 04:51 PM
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Rebuttal:



Allow me to address a couple of my opponent's statements, such as they are, for other than her understandable protestations on the framing of the debate topic, and agreeing with what I have already conceded, there is very little to date in her posts in the way of argumentative or for that matter factual substance or evidence.

To my statement:

"In fact, again as I stated in my opening post, one cannot fathom humanity sans science or even attempt to separate one from the other. As my opponent so eloquently expressed, scientific exploration defines much of what it is to be human and more often than not, is born of noble and virtuous intent."

I will group my opponent's responses below as they pretty much repeat the same thing:


Indeed we seem to agree on this. And this, though my opponent would misdirect us into a squabble over single technologies, is the crux of this debate.

cont …

To try to paint my description of the topic as false as in some way an attack on the framers of the topic is the most basic sort of misdirection by schrodingers dog. To interpret it as an attempt to avoid the topic is absurd.

As for his contention that my agreement that no single, current technology has a potential for good greater than nuclear annihilation is bad is a concession of the debate – again, absurd.


I have now pointed out almost ad nauseam that the topic of the debate and my respective position is: "Throughout history, Science has proven that it has the POTENTIAL to do more evil than good.” … "absurd" as my opponent may find this to be, it still, unfortunately for her, is what it is. So this '"misdirective squabble" as my opponent qualifies my argument is in fact the crux of it, whether she chooses to resist it or not.

The fact is, when asked, my opponent admitted to not being able to provide a single, I repeat A SINGLE scientific discovery in the HISTORY of humanity who's potential "good" can outweigh the potential harm of nuclear annihilation. I didn't ask for a list, and I didn't enumerate a list as accused by my opponent … just simply asked of a singular shred of evidence to substantiate and defend her debate position. Her answer was: I cannot point to any single current technology that could effect a measurably greater single “good” than total nuclear annihilation would be “bad”.

At this juncture I will cease this tedious circular argument from my end, my position as framed by the debate title is clear … if my opponent chooses to argue context further and make it the center point of her argument, she can do it at her own leisure and without further reciprocity from me. Inevitably, such obvious deflective efforts shall be evaluated by our esteemed judges and I for one hope for her sake and the sake of our audience that she is not hinging her whole argument on this peripheral element.


Finally:


If anyone has conceded this debate, it is schrodingers dog in acknowledging that “scientific exploration defines much of what it is to be human.”


Oooooookayz…


Let us revisit a little tidbit from my opening statement in which I said: "At the risk of totally disarming my opponents pending barrage of all the neat things science has brought upon humanity, I will help her out by conceding the following at the outset." In my second post, again addressing this peripheral issue, I added: "If the above disarms my opponent's last bastion of argumentative refuge, I assure your it is intentional."

I haz predicted the futures!!!

And should the debate topic ever be: what defines humanity makes it by definition 'good,' and that all that humans do by nature is by definition virtuous and negates the potential overriding harm, it will a lovely argument to put forth, but it isn't the topic, so it isn't. And even if it were the topic the argument would be found wanting, for neither good intent nor inability to change negate the conceded potential outweighing devastation and harm. For more on this mostly off topical aspect of the conversation, I direct you to the Law of Unintended Consequences

In the meantime, as expressed above and foreshadowed in my previous post, I will continue with putting forth evidence substantiating my debate position.


2nd Post:



No need to bore everyone with references to nuclear weapons of mass destruction and their documented POTENTIAL to obliterate all humanity many times over, nor to rehash the tenuous aforementioned 'gamble' that is the MAD "Mutual Assured Destruction" doctrine … the latter all but reveals the discover and hope for the best attitude that we humans so embrace.

But, let us at least see if we can figure out why we have one of these and why it is useful:


en.wikipedia.org...


The Doomsday Clock conveys how close humanity is to catastrophic destruction--the figurative midnight--and monitors the means humankind could use to obliterate itself. First and foremost, these include nuclear weapons, but they also encompass climate-changing technologies and new developments in the life sciences that could inflict irrevocable harm.


Doomsday Clock Timeline and source of above quote.

And for those who may think that nuclear catastrophe is no longer relevant:


“I believe we are moving inexorably to a nuclear catastrophe and nobody seems to be paying attention,” Perry said. “It is a real and imminent danger, and one acknowledged by the Bush administration. But the administration has not yet connected the dots between the danger they see and the actions they must take to deal with that danger.


Scientists warn nuclear catastrophe is 'an imminent danger'

The potential devastation of nuclear war is nothing more than engineered human extinction!!!

So I ask once more rhetorically, what scientific discovery or technological breakthrough throughout history has ever had a greater potential for good than the above has for harm (evil)? The answer is, as conceded by my opponent, NONE!

As our friends at wikipedia so simply stated:


Nuclear war is considered to bear existential risk for civilization on Earth. en.wikipedia.org...



Now … though one overriding example is all that is required for me to make my case, the discoveries in nuclear physics are by no means the only scientific coins weighed heavily on the side of potential harm. Again, it is of little interest to weigh every single discovery when their respective potential good/harm although significant, may not be absolute in their end potential. As such, and as to not be accused to be making my case on one scientific discovery and technology only, I will use my next to last post to provide further examples and evidence of engineered technology/science bearing human extinction potentiality ... and in the process demonstrate beyond doubt that "Throughout history, Science has proven that it has the potential to do more evil than good.”



posted on Feb, 24 2010 @ 12:28 PM
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My profound regrets, but I am going to have to concede this round to schrodingers dog. If he is interested, I'd like to perhaps continue the debate after the tournament as a challenge match. Unfortunately there are a few things going on right now that are making it impossible for me to focus on this.

Best of luck to SDog in the finals!



posted on Feb, 24 2010 @ 12:43 PM
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It is with regret that I accept americandingbat's concession. She is a formidable opponent whom I look forward to debating again in the near future.

As we were more than half way into this debate, and because due to external considerations beyond her control she was unable to bring her A game to the table, I would find it unfair to her to ask to reengage into this topic at a later date. The right and fair thing to do when a date is mutually agreed on, would be to start fresh with a new topic which we can both sink our teeth in.


In this vain i will post the post pertaining to this debate for posterity's record ....

 


3rd Post



Establishing causality:

THE CAUSES OF RAPID POPULATION GROWTH


During the Industrial Revolution, a period of history in Europe and North America where there were great advances in science and technology, the success in reducing death rates was attributable to several factors: (1) in-creases in food production and distribution, (2) improvement in public health (water and sanitation), and (3) medical technology (vaccines and antibiotics), along with gains in education and standards of living within many developing nations.

cont …

Gradually, over a period of time, these discoveries and inventions spread throughout the world, lowering death rates and improving the quality of life for most people.


Of course improved quality of life is the "good" side of this coin, yet once more the unintended consequence has led to:


source: en.wikipedia.org...

The causality link is clear, as humanity's scientific and technological breakthroughs improved longevity, access to food/water resources, and quality of life, we inevitably started to reproduce at an exponentially expanding rate. One who's sustenance is rapidly becoming all but unattainable.

I will not address issues of anthropogenic climate change and overpopulation as both those topics merit their own debate, but even if one is skeptical as to the validity of both concepts there is little or no doubt, and stands to reason, that the more folks there are on earth the more pressure we humans put on our environment and resources.

And that ultimately, as evidenced above, is the causal trigger which precipitates conflict:

Scarcity:


Scarcity is the fundamental economic problem of having seemingly unlimited human needs and wants, in a world of limited resources. It states that society has insufficient productive resources to fulfill all human wants and needs.


The causal link between scarcity and conflict is well established and does not merit further citation at this juncture, especially as we are limited in our quantity of external citations within every post … nevertheless, should my opponent require concrete evidence of this i am happy to provide it within my final post upon request.

As we know, wars are fought over diminishing resources all the time, be they fossil fuels or other scarce natural resources,including the looming conflicts over water.

By now the causal equation is clear:

Scientific/Technological discovery > Improved longevity/quality of life > Exponential population growth > Increased scarcity/Pressure on finite resources > Conflict > and, to complete the argumentative cycle as per the topic of this debate, with increased conflict comes the ever increasing possibility of being on the "evil" side of the nuclear/engineered extinction weighted coin.

This isn't some abstract theory, these events are unfolding before our eyes with major conflicts looming with Iran and North Korea precisely along the above outlined causal path!

And how do humans approach the above casual challenge?

INGENUITY THEORY


some societies are locked in a race between a rising requirement for ingenuity and their capacity to provide it.

[snip]

Most of these arguments boil down to a simple and bold assertion: human beings are smart enough— when given the right incentives—to solve any problem they might face.


Concluding:


The path we are following, as individual societies and as a species, is unsustainable. Our social, economic, and technological systems are now incomprehensibly and often unmanageably complex, they operate at unprecedented velocities, and they produce sudden, sharp, and often harmful surprises over ever-shorter intervals of time. Our rising consumption of energy and fresh water is unsustainable, and we are putting enormous strain on the planet’s natural environment, including its climate system. In coming decades, these deep stresses could converge and combine in ways that cause violent breakdown of states and a collapse of global economic and political institutions.


So there you have it, through our pursuit of scientific and technological breakthroughs not only accelerate the likelihood of our own demise through conflict, but seek to avoid said consequences by inventing our way out of them … thus creating and feeding a never ending cycle who's success is predicated on us keeping pace with our own creations, a race or aforementioned 'gamble' which we are obviously loosing!


In closing this post, I must again reiterate my agreement with my esteemed opponent that it is the nature of the human species to pursue scientific discovery, and that in more cases than not, and although history is strewn with examples of "evil" motivation, the intent driving this inherent disposition is virtuous at its core. Yet, unintended consequences and all the end result, and more importantly the POTENTIAL result, has proven to have achieved precisely the opposite. Thus once more, it is abundantly clear that "Throughout history, Science has proven that it has the potential to do more evil than good.”

 


My thanks to chissler for providing us with an interesting debate topic, my regards and best wishes to americandingbat and, as expressed above, I look forward to a future argumentative battle between the two of us.


Cheers!



posted on Feb, 25 2010 @ 06:40 AM
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schrodingers dog moves to the finals.





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