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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!
- 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
So Moe, basically you have to anticipate every possible counterattacks in this debate with only one argument?
Well if you did somehow manage to do that, you would certainly earn yourself a merit! What I'm really looking for, though, are arguments that address some of the stronger objections against the main points. Maybe you miss some. Maybe you miss some major ones. But the point is that you're thinking about things in the right ways. It doesn't have to be a flawless argument (I don't think there is such a thing) - just one that shows thought and engagement with the topic.
And note: there's isn't going to be a winner or loser declared in these debates. Maybe I should just change it to The Great Arguments or something like that. It just doesn't have the same sort of ring to it
It's quiet here............. where is everybody?
We're all refining our arguments. I assume, but we all know what happens when you assume...
I am working on mine anyway.
Ah, I have gotten a late start. But I'll be posting soon now that finals are over~
Mine should (hopefully) be posted before weekend ends
I'm going to go ahead and post a deadline of Saturday at midnight (GMT). This is for two reasons: 1) there are other people who are waiting to participate, and 2) I'm beginning to suspect this project may just be a non-starter.
Just to give you a heads up, I have my topic almost ready, just needs a few minor fixings, but I have a full day ahead (work until 2:30 am tomorrow), so would it be ok if I were to post it as soon as I got off work? I'll be letting rip have a "sneak peak" at my argument that way I do not have any sort of advantage by him posting first.
I'll be opening Round 2 soon, but I'll leave Round 1 open for a bit longer. It's just that there are people waiting (I hope!). I have a few things to do and need to get the questions together, but Round 2 should be coming soon.
In the meantime, you Round 1 people please go ahead and get your arguments posted at your earliest convenience.
I had a really nice thing typed up but I accidentally exited out and lost it so I'm just gonna be really brief. It'll leave a lot of holes in my argument, but seeing as how no one has posted....
1) The Tooth Fairy isn't as important as Santa. Many kids remember when they were told he wasn't real, and I think that this can lead to mistrusting your parents. How many people remember when they found out the Tooth Fairy wasn't real?
2) The idea of Santa promotes getting gifts, not giving. When you have a fat man in a red suit bringing you presents every year, you don't really think about making or giving presents to your loved ones as a child. Sure, humans are selfish by nature, but I think that telling children Santa will bring you gifts on Christmas just boosts the already selfish human nature.
3) I understand Santa will only give you gifts if you've been "good", or so I've been told, so that can be seen as a good lesson to learn. If you're good, you get rewards. Well how many children have ever ever ever NOT gotten something on Christmas? Even if you were really bad and didn't deserve anything, I'm sure you didn't wake up to coal in your stocking. The idea of being good = reward is evident in the legend of Santa, but it is not actually used in the practice. Kids will get presents either way.
4) Children will eventually lose all of their baby teeth. Therefore, by the time they reach an age where they have all of their adult teeth, they already are starting to understand the world and reality, etc etc. So learning that the Tooth Fairy isn't real, won't have as much of a negative impact on a child's mind vs if they find out Santa isn't real.
This is all I really have that I remember from what I wrote, but I'll do better next time around. I hope you guys start posting soon!
An exploding car with no one around to hear it does *not* make a sound.
A simple variant of the age old question of "If a tree falls in a forest and there is nobody around, does it make a sound?" A philosophical question, indeed. Before we can delve into the affirmation of what I am going to be arguing for, we must analyze connotations of the words and what the sentence entails. Now, what is the definition of sound? Now after googling the definition of sound, I've come upon 3 sources. According to dictionary.reference.com, meriam webster, and the free dictionary, two definitions of sound are prevalent; The stimulated sensation of vibration perceived by the sense of hearing, and the mechanical vibrations traveling through the air themselves.
So 'sound' is either the vibration become perceived, or the vibration themselves. However, is it wrong to say it can be both? All three websites accept both definitions and one definition does not hold more validity than the other. Both are authentic definitions of 'sound'. So, is it really incorrect to justify that there is an absence of sound if nobody is around to perceive that sound? Of course not. According to one definition of sound, it's entirely reasonable to argue that there is no sound when the car explodes, due to the circumstances. However, that's just a matter of semantics, which is simply a prelude to the main points of my argument.
Now, let's bring up an interesting theory. What if, reality isn't 'real'? What if, the exploding car did not make a sound, or even, did not exist? This brings forth the idea of solipsism, which is, to summarize, the idea that only a person's own mind is sure to exist, and that everything perceived by the external senses (i.e. taste, touch, hearing, smell, sight) is unsure to exist and might not exist outside of the mind. If there is a car that explodes and nobody is around, how are you sure it existed? Oh, you see the wreckage and perhaps the ground is littered with debris and marks from a seeming explosion; that is, if you assume that without observation, your reality followed the correct sequence of order to arrive at the outcome, being that 'A: The Car Exploded' automatically leads to -> 'B: The area around the car shows common signs of explosions' and more importantly, is implied to have made a sound because of it.
But how are you so sure these events happened in order? If you believe in the laws of physics and reality itself, having trust that everything outside of your mind is independent of it, including the laws of science and the people that have discovered the laws of science, are in fact, real, then sure. But solipsism challenges that. If you were not there to observe it, to perceive the sound, much less have another entity perceive the sound and give you some falsely credible assurance that the car indeed did make a sound, how do you KNOW it makes a sound? It's an assumption that the car made a sound, and an assumption that the car exploded. This falls under the biggest assumption of all; That everything you perceive of the external world is real, and not constructs of your mind. Jokingly, perhaps you are hooked up to a machine like the ones in the Matrix? Perhaps your reality is simply constructed to 'make sense', but outside of what you observe, it is pure chaos? You can't prove the car has made a sound if you do not believe that your perception of the world is false; It would be like trying to prove logic with logic, you just can't. Most people operate on the assumption that their logic and reason are trustworthy and infallible, and that it coincides with the assumption that what they perceive is real. But that's not the case if you throw solipsism in there.
Woah boy this is kind of long. I'll keep the last paragraphs short and concise. Well I've been arguing for my case using philosophical thoughts, ambiguity, and assumptions. Well I'm going to put a bit of science in there, I suppose. Now, according to quantum physics, in theory, matter that is not observed does not 'exist'. Yep, I said it. According to wave-particle duality, after some tests on photons, it was discovered that they could either be waves or particles according to what is used to observe them. However, it is never both. It is impossible to perceive something as both a particle and a wave, it is always one or the other. Furthermore, when not observed, matter does not exist at a single point of space and time. So that brings to question, what is sound when not observed? From this point on, it's all speculation, I admit, but it's credible speculation. We all know that vibrations are sort of like waves, and that is what sound is. Waves traveling through the air. Waves and vibrations are not exactly the same, but it's close enough for the point I'll be arguing from.
To reiterate, if sound is not observed, what happens? Can it even be perceived? Can it even be called sound? According to wave particle duality, it can't even exist as sound unless something perceives it. Perhaps it's a wave, perhaps it's a particle. But it is definitely not sound if it is obscure. The existence of sound is surely not like a coin, where it is 50/50 for the coin to land on heads or tails. However, the existence of sound is under question when there is nothing to observe it. Is it a wave or is it a particle? Furthermore, perhaps it doesn't exist when it's not observed, bringing a bit of pseudo-solipsism.
And besides, all things considered, you never said the location of the car in the parking lot. How do you know the parking lot is not in space, a vacuum, where sound can't travel at all? A bit of food for thought. ;-)
P.S. It would seem fishy if I just edited my post for my argument so I'll just add another post underneath. Was busy the past few days and completely forgot about this thread, so I apologize I wasn't on time. But I'm really surprised most of the other participants haven't posted as well.
The argument that butterflies are more valuable due to their coloring's is not as strong an example as you would think, Example here. There is also the luna moth, the tropical swallowtail moth, here's another swallowtail, the great tiger moth and the leopard moth. These are just a few examples of how beautiful moths can be.
Quick look here is that a humming bird collecting nectar? Nope another moth, doing it's job in pollinating the surrounding environment, which in turn results in more plants, more plants leads to more herbivores, which leads to more carnivores, like us. The don't just help with pollinating wild flowers, they are also crucial to food crops to grow. Meaning without moths it would be more difficult for crops to grow, making them highly valuable.
There is also a huge variety of moths in comparison to butterflies. In Ireland there are >25 species of butterfly, however there are >1000 species of moth. This huge range of moths makes them valuable in a monetary sense to collectors and biologists, who hire people to go and find them species of moths they don't have already. Also this wide range of moths make them vastly important to the theory of evolution as they have been used by both Darwin and Wallace to complete their studies and theories on evolution.
Also Ireland is a small country in comparison to the rest of the world, sticking to the ratio of 25:1000 per 84,431 square kilometers, in 148,429,000 square kilometers(the amount of land in the world-ish.) that would result in, 43,949.79332 butterflies:1,757,997.733 moths in 148,429,000 square kilometers (This is obviously an estimation and it is to be taken with a pinch of salt.). This huge variation means that the moths must have filled lots of niches within their ecosystem, making them a valuable asset to any ecosystem, be it the tropics, the plains, the mountains, etc. Without moths these niches would fall empty and the ecosystems wouldn't work efficiently or even at all. Causing huge destructive ripples throughout the entire world.
Moths are also a food source for a huge variety of other animals, including other insects, spiders, frogs, toads, lizards, shrews, hedgehogs, bats and birds. Without moths our ecosystem would fall apart, and I don't mean a specific region, I mean then entire worlds ecosystem. Without moths energy transfer throughout the food chain wouldn't flow smoothly, resulting in larger and larger ripples as it hits every new layer of the chain, eventually causing huge damage to the ecosystem.
Also to say that all moths eat clothing is a myth, of the 2500 species of moths that live in Britain, only 2-5 actually eat clothing. Clothes moths only eat fabrics derived from animal sources, such as wool, not synthetics or cotton. This is because they did this already as a source of food, eating from sheep and goats and the such. Moths are often wrongly blamed for damage caused by the more common carpet beetle larvae (which look like small furry caterpillars).
The fact that moths can hear noises of predators because they have ears, that they use their wings to heat them instead of the sun (like butterflies do.) and that the majority of moths build their nests underground (unlike butterflies whom stay in cocoons in the trees in the open, where they can be easily eaten.) means that they have a better chance of survival then their cousins the butterflies. This higher rate of survival means that moths can contribute to the environment, to which they have adapted to better. for a longer amount of time then butterflies ever could.
I would like to have done more but other projects took precedence.
So before we go on to the next round, I thought I would give some feedback. I'm really pleased with everyone's arguments and you all deserve merits. But a big part of this (for me, at least) is that it's a learning process. We can all learn from each other and get better at writing and argumentation!
You have some incredibly clear and very concise points. Your approach to the topic is novel and inspired. Plus, the points you make are extremely compelling. But a big part of presenting an argument is... well... presentation! Some people might look past your amazing point because they're pretty much in list form.
I love the argument you have. You look at the question from a lot of different angles and work to engage the with the topic in lots of different ways. If I had one word to describe your argument, it would be 'thorough'. And thoroughness is one of the best features an argument can have!
One thing to think about - there's no need to change your writing style. Putting in big words just makes it harder for your reader to follow you. Finding your voice when writing is really, really difficult. But you're obviously super smart, so let your arguments - rather than some big words - speak for your intelligence.
You have an incredible mix of thoroughness and tightness - two of the most important features an argument can have. You have done an amazing job of looking at different ways moths can be valuable and have argued incredibly well for all of these views. I was honestly on the other side of the fence, thinking that butterflies are more valuable. But you have completely convinced me that I was wrong.
One thing to work on, though, is how you structure your argument. You're looking at several different kinds of value, so it would help your reader if you structured your argument around this. So, for example: "First, I'll look at the ecological value of moths. Then I'll look at the value it has for our understanding of evolution." And so on. That way, your arguments are clear to your reader and a bit easier to follow.
A wonderful job, everyone! You'll be getting your prizes on your profiles. And stay tuned for Round 2!
EDIT: I've just realised that there's a new quest associated with this. So in addition to a merit, you guys have also completed a new quest. Nice work!
So do we have to re-signup for round two or are we automatically in?
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