ForumsWEPRTHE GREAT DEBATES! (Rd. 6 Results)

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Moegreche
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Moegreche
3,574 posts
Duke

Some of you may remember The Great Debates thread from years past. Some thought it was fun, and some thought it was just too heavy.

So I thought I'd bring things back, but with a twist! The basic idea is still the same: two users will debate on a topic. The difference is that you won't get to pick the topic or which side you'll be arguing for.

Oh, and I almost forgot - the topics are going to be somewhat ... silly But that doesn't mean your argument has to be silly. In fact, if you can defend your silly point in a serious way, you might just earn yourself a merit! So it's not about winners or losers, it's about whether you can argue for, well, just about anything!

RULES:

- I will provide three possible topics for debate. If you'd like to participate, then you can SIGN-UP HERE in the Art, Music, and Writing forum: click here

- Once 6 people (at least for now) have signed up for the current three topics, the signup thread will close and the debates will begin

- Assignments will be given on this thread (who will be debating for which topic and what side).
**NOTE** You are signing up to play. Which topic you get and what side you'll be arguing for will be decided randomly. So be prepared!

- You will only have 1 post in which to give your argument, so make it count! Keep in mind that your argument should stand on its own. So don't quote your opponent and just shoot down their arguments. But you should also anticipate potential objections and try to respond to them.

- Merit-earners will present well-reasoned and genuine arguments in favour of their position - even in the face of some pretty silly topics. What that means is that, if users on opposite sides each give great arguments, they would both earn merits!

- A loosely enforced time limit (which has yet to be officially established) will be in place. Once that time limit is reached, the next round will begin.

Good luck! And let the return of The Great Debates begin!

  • 224 Replies
trigon123
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trigon123
1,275 posts
Constable

When will we start?

akshobhya
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akshobhya
4,921 posts
Justiciar

Anytime soon..

Moegreche
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Moegreche
3,574 posts
Duke

Please find below your assignments for this round. But please read the following as the rules have changed yet again.

This time, you get as many posts as you want (make sure to '@' your opponent in your posts so they can find them easier). But there's going to be a time limit of 2 weeks - at which point this round will end. So I'm going to call it at midnight AG time (which is Eastern US time) on 29 May.

Note: if you don't make a post within 3 days, you may lose your spot. I'll either bring in an alternate or take over your role for you. This way, the discussion can move along at a decent pace.

So here are your question assignments. Good luck and happy debating!

1) Developed nations should make a shift to only use nuclear power.

@JACKinbigletters - Developed nations should make a shift to only use nuclear power.
@randomblah - Develop nations should *not* make a shift to only use nuclear power.

2) Chairs are more valuable than tables.

@Doombreed - Chairs are more valuable than tables.
@SirLegendary - Tables are more valuable than chairs.

3) Are humans superior to all other organisms?

@Ishtaron - Humans are superior to all other organisms.
@akshobhya - Humans are *not* superior to all other organisms.

4) Should humans put more resources into space exploration?

@trigon123 - Humans should put more resources into space exploration.
@nichodemus - Humans should *not* put more resources into space exploration.

5) Suppose the field of robotics reaches the point that we develop androids - robots that are designed to act and look like humans. Should these androids have rights like humans?

@R2D21999 - These androids should have rights like humans.
@HahiHa - These androids should *not* have rights like humans.

6) It would be better to be a bird than a dog.

@apldeap123 - It wouild be better to be a bird than a dog.
@Zophia - It would be better to be a dog than a bird.

SirLegendary
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SirLegendary
16,318 posts
Marquis

@Doombreed My closest friend, I have been pitted against you.

Why are tables more valuable than chairs? Pssh. I'll tell you why.

We can measure value by how much resources are put into making and selling our two objects.

A table requires more materials to create because it's larger. More materials are expensive. Made by the same material(s), a single table requires more materials and is larger than a single chair made by the same materials.

A table can also be used as a chair, in fact you could seat more people on a table than a chair. A you can put more things on top of a table than a chair.

You can lie down on a regular table, but you can't lie down on a regular chair.

A table is used for a two or more people. A chair is only for a single person.

A table can do everything a chair can.

Everyone knows that the floor is lava. Do you want your kid on a small platform, the chair? or do you want your kid on a large platform, a table? That way they can survive by adding more members to the team helping each other out.

Starting small for now

Doombreed
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Doombreed
6,809 posts
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Real small apparently @SirLegendary. I started making the argument before you, and I had only made half of it until you were done. Looks like I am bringing in the big guns!
So here it is:

I firmly believe that chairs are more valuable than tables
Value

First let’s look at the definition of value. As found here, there are many ways to use the word. But I think we can agree that the definition 3 is the one most perfectly describing the use of the term in this topic. Value in our case is the worth, utility, importance of the items in question.
With that set, we can now objectively compare the two items:
Chairs and tables come in all shapes and sizes. But I believe we can agree that what they are different in, is the purpose they serve.

-Chairs are made to serve as comfortable, practical sitting “devices”
-Tables are made for people to lay items on.

So how can they be compared? By comparing the purposes they serve.
Glorious Resting

That’s what a chair can provide you. Alleviation in times of tiredness. Small and lightweight, not difficult to move around, chairs can easily be the only thing you’ll look for when in such a situation (Well, other than a bed but that’s off topic XD). Tables on the other hand are not suited at all for this purpose. Higher above the ground, flat and with a hard surface, tables will punish you for laying onto them like another item. Yes you can sit on a table but you can’t rest on it. You can’t really enjoy the comfort it provides because there is none. And that is when talking about tables you CAN sit on. But a small plastic or glass table almost guarantees that you will either be facing the ground soon, or that it will break (or both)
I can almost hear you saying that it is natural, as tables are not made for this purpose. But my point is not to compare them in the same purpose but to compare the purposes themselves. So, isn’t it more directly necessary to have a chair in availability, given the relief it provides during physical fatigue? Isn’t the chair as such more useful, because of the purpose it serves?

Deciding to fire 1 artillery shot (i.e. heavy argument ) at a time. I will now move to replying to your post:


We can measure value by how much resources are put into making and selling our two objects.

You are using the second (#2) definition of the word “value” from the link I’ve provided. While doable, it is also a bit problematic as you will see below

A table requires more materials to create because it's larger. More materials are expensive. Made by the same material(s), a single table requires more materials and is larger than a single chair made by the same materials.

Which is exactly why it gets more expensive. I assume that’s where you are getting at. But not all tables are larger than chairs. Many tables (like small coffee tables one may have in his living room is not even larger than a medium sized chair, let alone more expensive.

A table can also be used as a chair, in fact you could seat more people on a table than a chair. A you can put more things on top of a table than a chair.

I replied on the first part in my argument above. As for sitting more people on a table, you seem to assume all tables are durable long 4 legged items with a large enough surface to lie down i.e. all tables look like this: http://www.woodtouchfurniture.co.uk/assets/images/furniture/tables/1107_table.jpg .

According to your own guide found here that would be overgeneralization! (Great work Legend! )
Most definitely, not all tables are like that. Check my argument above. Small glass or plastic tables for 2 or 1 person like this: http://www.solutions-4.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2012/07/Unique-Circular-Glass-Meeting-Table.jpg ( often found in cafeterias and the like) can’t even accommodate one person properly let alone more.

You can lie down on a regular table, but you can't lie down on a regular chair.

Again, check the reply above. Additionally, tables are made to lay items on. When would you keep a large table, like one you can lie down on, so empty? In order to lie down on the table (again, if it is such a table) you would have to keep I clear of items i.e. make it useless only to use it on something else, something that beds serve much better. Such a table loses its value

A table is used for a two or more people. A chair is only for a single person.

A table is not always for two or more people. There are also tables for one person. There are also small, low coffee tables that can’t even handle enough weight.
Also, here is the other problem with this: Suppose we are only talking about large tables like the 4 legged wooden table shown above. Such tables cannot be compared with just one chair. Such tables usually need 4, 6 or even 8 chairs arranged around it to serve more than their original purpose (laying items) like: dining, discussing, board games etc. And 4 or more chairs definitely rock the table in material worth, sitting purposes, laying purposes and possibly(READ: in some cases) even exploitable surface!

A table can do everything a chair can.

Answered above. I am not going to list all the fallacies here because my argument still has to end some day . Though I do suspect there is some “Begging the Question here”

Everyone knows that the floor is lava. Do you want your kid on a small platform, the chair? or do you want your kid on a large platform, a table? That way they can survive by helping each other out.

Here you’ve signed your death sentence friend! Let’s see:
-Overgeneralization
-Non Sequitur
-Red Herring
(Possibly):
-False Analogy
-Half Truth
Do I need to list more?

HahiHa
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HahiHa
7,757 posts
Grand Duke

@R2D21999

5) Suppose the field of robotics reaches the point that we develop androids - robots that are designed to act and look like humans. Should these androids have rights like humans?

To answer this question, it is best to look for precedents. You might deem it problematic because there is no such precedent that concerns artificial intelligence. There is however the case of primates; the Nonhuman Rights Project has been fighting for the court to recognize animals as legal persons and not legal things, with mixed results so far. This exemplifies the difficulties we have in even granting rights to animals so close as our own cousins, the chimpanzees. So far animals count merely as things in the legal sense.
.
What does that reveal in regard to androids? If they were to be given rights, they would need to be proven to be persons and not things.
.
However, there is in my opinion no reason to qualify an android as a legal person. As Article 1 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights stipulates, "[All humans] are endowed with reason and conscience [...]." Androids would most definitely be capable of reasoning, but they have no consciences. Their apparent humanity is external, but not intrinsic. They are machines built (for whatever reason) to look and act like humans. However they do not feel, and have no conscience, like a human being. Hence human rights cannot apply to them.
.
Even in the unlikely case that androids be given certain rights in the future, I believe they will be granted separate rights specific to artificial intelligence, nonetheless excluding them from 'human' rights. But this latter point is merely semantics.
randomblah
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randomblah
246 posts
King

@JACKinbigletters

Nuclear power, while good in theory, suffers from many problems that are rightly recognized by developed nations around the world.

1. Nuclear power plants are unacceptably unsafe. There are currently 357 nuclear power plants in operation. Over the past 30-40 years, at least 3 very major disasters have occurred(think ***ushima, Chernobyl, Three miles). That's about a disaster every 10 years. If you think that this is not much, then consider that nuclear power plants only comprise 7% of the world's power. If the entire developed world were to use nuclear power(e.g. 10x the reactors), then we would have a disaster every single year. That's pretty scary.

2. Nuclear power isn't exactly renewable, or environmentally friendly. Uranium doesn't exactly grow on trees - big ugly mines have to be made, and the earth only has so much uranium. But the bigger problem is the cleanup afterwards. Even when working properly, plenty of undesirable radioactive waste is produced; where is all that waste going to go? Plus, even the reactor itself is forever tainted, and every power plant becomes its own mini-wasteland.

3. Nuclear power offers few benefits above sources such as solar power. Unlike nuclear power, solar power is clean, truly renewable, and can scale to any quantity of power. Heck, renewables already comprise 15% of the world's power. There's little reason to switch to a riskier, dirtier form of power.

Is nuclear power worthless? Probably not, in places with very low land(Japan) or in space. But there's certainly no reason for every developed country to go nuclear. It brings far too much risk for little benefit, and governments around the world have correctly realized this.

trigon123
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trigon123
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Constable

@nichodemus... You should know that "Humans should put more resources into space exploration" because:

- We won't use money for war,
- We can find new materials in space,
- We can find another planet (another "Earth&quot,
- We can find cures for disease,
- We can find "aliens", (If they are evil, we don't have to contact them)
- We can learn something about space/life/Galaxy

Do you want to say something?

R2D21999
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R2D21999
18,314 posts
Templar

@HahiHa

While it's true that the idea of giving animals human rights is quite absurd, there's a big difference between animals and androids. Androids are created by humans, like babies.

And while on the topic of babies, I'd like to point out that children don't learn about emotions in a snap. Perhaps that's why we were giving spankings when we did something bad, or praised when we did something good. It was through experience. Of course you could argue that some parents no longer or never spank their kids, but young kids do watch things like Dora the Explorer, Curious George, etc. which gives children examples of good and bad things and how to even deal with them.

Robots could also gain experience, either by someone programming in some cause and effects or they could have a robot study the social actions of children. (The paragraph talking about a robot studying children should be at the second to last paragraph.)

akshobhya
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akshobhya
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Justiciar

Sorry to interrupt. Should I post first or the other person who is debating against me? Based on new rules can the posts which I post as debates be broken up into parts?

Moegreche
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Moegreche
3,574 posts
Duke

@akshobhya - there's no set order for who goes first. And since there's also no limit to how many posts you can make, you can break it down into parts. Though you should try to keep your argument together if you can.

SirLegendary
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SirLegendary
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Marquis

@Doombreed Whoo, I was just getting warmed up! You really pulled the big guns and it's only day 1.

First of, you can't measure comfort, so you can't use that as argument to measure value. So as far as lying down on tables go, YOU CAN DO IT.

I replied on the first part in my argument above. As for sitting more people on a table, you seem to assume all tables are durable long 4 legged items with a large enough surface to lie down i.e. all tables look like this

You assume I was thinking about that, but in fact, you can really sit on all tables, unless you made one out of paper, then you'd also have to think about a chair made from paper. You can also lie down on a circular glass table depicted in of your arguments. We're not talking about comfort, we're talking about utility.

Also, here is the other problem with this: Suppose we are only talking about large tables like the 4 legged wooden table shown above. Such tables cannot be compared with just one chair. Such tables usually need 4, 6 or even 8 chairs arranged around it to serve more than their original purpose (laying items) like: dining, discussing, board games etc. And 4 or more chairs definitely rock the table in material worth, sitting purposes, laying purposes and possibly(READ: in some cases) even exploitable surface!

Even if we compared one big table to 8 chairs, the table that could hold 8 chairs still has more surface area than the 8 chairs in total. That's if the problem wasn't asking "The chair (singular) is more valuable than the table."

You do also know I was joking with my last argument right?
*facepalm*

That's it for now

Doombreed
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Doombreed
6,809 posts
Justiciar

@SirLegendary I had to. I couldn't know when you would be posting so I had to make a real argument

First of, you can't measure comfort, so you can't use that as argument to measure value. So as far as lying down on tables go, YOU CAN DO IT.

Well, you can't measure comfort as a physical size, but you can understand what is more comfortable. Tables have most of the times flat hard surfaces and nothing to lay back on.

On the contrary here is a regular chair:
http://www.ikea.com/PIAimages/0105948_PE253720_S5.JPG
softer, and with a curved back. Obviously better to sit in this one than a table. And yes, though there are not so comfortable chairs as well, all chairs have a large back for you to rest better. It is absurd to say that tables can provide the same amount of comfort or more simply because "we can't measure" it.

As for the "YOU CAN DO IT" part, no, no you can't. You just haven't realized what's the size of the glass table depicted in the previous post. It is simply not large enough to accomodate you. Your head, your upper torso and your legs will be hanging from it, which is both unhealthy (your back is twisted) and unstable in some cases. Just look at this table:
http://www.danneventhire.com.au/images/products/1405/round%20table%20new.jpg
Can you lie on this one perhaps?:
http://cor.mt.gov/mce/Images/Images/Tables/2621_A1.gif
How about this one?:
http://welcome.com.au/shop/images/Tables.JPG

And loads of others as well..

You assume I was thinking about that, but in fact, you can really sit on all tables, unless you made one out of paper, then you'd also have to think about a chair made from paper. You can also lie down on a circular glass table depicted in of your arguments. We're not talking about comfort, we're talking about utility.

No, no you can't. If the table depicted is too large (or we have something like this):
http://cdn.deringhall.com/images/27/lightbox/steven-gambrel-nyman-table-furniture-dining-room-tables-industrial-modern.jpg?1308236554

You just are not tall enough to sit on the center. Tables like this are supported only in the center. Sitting on the edge will give both you and the table a quick trip to the ground.

And here is the other thing:
http://cdnimg.webstaurantstore.com/uploads/seo_category/2015/1/furniture-tables.jpg

If you realize how small these tables are (which are the ones often seen in cafeterias) you will understand that even if you sit on these, you will have almost no freedom of moves whatsoever, due to the instability. Shifting your bw center even slightly means that it is no longer directly on the table's central leg. Meaning that you will most likely fall with any further move.

Even if we compared one big table to 8 chairs, the table that could hold 8 chairs still has more surface area than the 8 chairs in total. That's if the problem wasn't asking "The chair (singular) is more valuable than the table."

Be that as it may, without chairs, the table can only serve one purpose: laying items on. You cannot do anything else. You cannot dine on it without chairs, you cannot play a board game, you cannot sit around it, relax and disccuss, nothing.

You do also know I was joking with my last argument right?
*facepalm*

I do, which is why I didn't add "Lie" in the list of fallacies I didn't reply to this for this reason!

Time for the small arms fire:

The Rocking Chair

This piece of awesomeness is believed to have been invented by Benjamin Franklin in the 18th Century
It was designed to be one of the most ergonomic and comfortable chairs ever made. And has succeeded.

According to the wikipedia article found here, "Rocking chairs are also comfortable because, when a user sits in one without rocking, the chair automatically rocks backward until the sitter's center of gravity is met, thus granting an ergonomic benefit with the occupant kept at an un-stressed position and angle."

HahiHa
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HahiHa
7,757 posts
Grand Duke

@R2D21999

Indeed, the field of robotic learning is researching means to make it possible for robots to gain experience; I remember watching something on TV where they presented a prototype, so this is already underway. And not only could they potentially gain experience on mundane things, but also on morals similar to humans. However, you mixed things up.

Your example of how babies are supposedly similar to androids doesn't hold up. Babies do need to learn about morals by experience, although their innate empathy gives them a headstart compared to robots. Emotions, however, are not acquired by experience; babies already are capable of emotions, this is intrinsic to a human being. A robot needs to learn about emotions first, and can only reproduce them, not experience them.

This is the very difference between an android and a human being: an android is a mock, a simulation, based on intricate algorithms that copy human behaviour. Androids can potentially become extremely human-like, but they will never be human.

Lastly, I never said it was ridiculous to give rights to animals. On the contrary, I believe animals, at least primates, are entitled to rights due to their capacity to genuinely feel and communicate emotions and pain, as well as potentially carrying moral values.

nichodemus
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Viceroy

@trigon123

You raise interesting and pertinent points! However I tend to think that they do not directly argue in favour of why humanity should put more of its scant resources into space exploration.

Space exploration research is rightfully celebrated as a boon for mankind in the past half a century, especially since the opening moves of the Cold War sparked the great space race between the world's two superpowers. After all, space research should be credited as an effective driver for basic science technology, inadvertently discovering or further developing new technologies that ultimately led to benefits to non-space related sectors. Freeze-dried food, MRI, improved solar cells, memory foam, the list rolls off the tongue of any space advocate. Space exploration has also infinitely broadened mankind's horizon and knowledge, offering a unique, breathtaking and ever changing spiritual and metaphysical perspective on our place in the cosmic realms. Our species' future is undoubtedly amongst the glittering stars and fearfully dark unknown - sooner rather than later, mankind's growth would leave the Earth a desiccated husk shorn of her beauty and vitality. Yet I disagree that we should put more resources into space exploration currently.

If one cannot walk, one should not attempt to run. And if one cannot yet run, one should not attempt to fly. Any budget increase on space exploration should be kept in the freezer for now, humanity has enough on its plate tackling basic problems of a much less cosmic nature. Humanity as a whole has taken huge strides in sustaining the twin ideals of sufficiency and equality. The world's nations have registered many valiant attempts towards progress as a species. Take for example mass vaccination programs, due to which numerous diseases such as smallpox and polio no longer blight our earth. Or the fact that China has hefted more than half a billion people above the poverty line in the last thirty years. However, we still have a far longer path to travel as a species, we are still beset by the most basic of civilisation's problems. Famine, thirst, disease, illiteracy, war, these evils still bedevil and torment countless millions. Yet 1 in 4 people are still malnourished in Sub-Saharan Africa and soup kitchens still dot the cities of affluent First World nations. Wars have statistically been on the increase since the dawn of the Industrial Revolution in the late 1800s. If we cannot peacefully and effectively negotiate a solution for our current woes, what right do we have to reach for the stars and let our people starve? As President Eisenhower quipped:

"Every rocket fired signifies, in the final sense, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed."

I previously mentioned that space exploration has been a catalyst for spin-off technologies which will also benefit civilians. However, the same can be said of defense research, of which we owe the advent of jet fuel, modern aircraft engines, nuclear energy, computers, yet the opinion on military spending is divisive across the aisle. Humanity should step up its funding of science and education, but that need not entail an increase in the space budget. Whilst space advocates will bemoan the relatively tiny space budget (~0.5%), by contrast the NSF, the US government agency that supports fundamental research and education in all the non-medical fields of science and engineering which funds a fifth of all research conducted at American colleges, receives only half of that. Surely then, the space exploration budget should not be the one marked for an increase?

Furthermore, one does not necessarily need to look towards the field of space exploration to achieve some of the aims mentioned in your points. We can definitely achieve breakthroughs in the healthcare field, develop our understanding of material science in finding newer alloys/materials, and develop environmental systems to better care for our Earth through research in non-space projects. I feel that they're points that do not directly support why we should pump more into space exploration.

I also feel that two points you raise, whilst definitely essential in the long run, are not feasible in the short scheme of things. Asteroid mining and the human settlement of another planet, whilst definitely desirable outcomes, are currently pipe dreams that should be outside the realm of pragmatic thought. Asteroid mining's costs have ranged from a wildly optimistic 2.5 billion dollars by private companies, to over a 100 billion dollars by government agencies. By all estimates though, such a goal is still a far off dream, and we have more pressing problems to handle.

The popular and ever quirky American futurist and theoretical physicist once said that it was essential and inevitable that "Mankind become a two planet civilisation", or face extinction. Based on cold logic and mathematics, this grim future is an eventuality, though it is, again, a far off. Our population's disregard for the planet might be chilling, but there are far more effective solutions that we can already undertake as excellent short term measures. Solar energy, clean water filtration techniques, a greater usage of biodegradable materials, these are game-changing technologies that mankind already possesses which can be used, before it starts the painfully expensive effort of finding a new home and thinking of colonizing it. (Let alone do so). After all, wouldn't that ironically just be wasteful?

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