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Xaeon's Waterfall RSS

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2 points

Although I don't want to actually get involved in the debate as a whole, I did just have one point that I wanted to make.

"Domesticated cats are just as artificially selected as dogs are. You don't know what you're talking about."

It is actually now thought that "domesticated" cats are the product of natural selection in response to Human agriculture, rather than direct artificial selection for favourable characteristics. So in a way, the evolutionary path to domestication does differ between dogs and cats.

5 points

Firstly we must establish that justice is indeed mutable when concerning law within a democratic political system before we discuss measures of righteousness or solutions for dealing with a lack of such.

The majority of western justice systems include measures to amend the law through either the courts or government (in some cases, both). In fact, nearly every democratic country has measures for law addition or amendment by the government. Whilst democracy itself is purely a system of government rather than a statute for how justice is to be determined or whether it be by the elected government, the political theory behind democracy clearly includes the principle that all citizens are equal before the law. Whilst not implicitly stated, it is implied within the very values of democracy that a democratic government should have the power to amend the justice system to better reflect the principle of all citizens being equal before the law.

So, we assume for the remainder of this argument that the justice system is intimately entangled with the principle of a democratic governance system, and therefore measures of a democracy's "righteousness" can theoretically be performed on the quality of the justice system. This measure, as laid out in the description for this debate, should be discretely measurable.

What is far harder to assert within the context of this debate is whether a measure of the righteousness of a democracy in regards to its justice system is even possible, and if so, whether this should affect the ability to amend the law. Scientific measurability is extremely difficult to perform on something that is firmly routed in concept rather than physicality. How exactly does one measure righteousness, and how does one apply that inexact measurement to something as complex as an entire nation's justice system?

Measures of the ability of a justice system are usually performed on conviction rates, or some other measure of effectiveness of conviction or reduction of criminality. However, the current amount of offenders currently being processed (either in prison or awaiting a trial, etc) within the justice system is simply a measure of the effectiveness of the implementation of the laws in place and the effectiveness of enforcing those laws. This is evidently no measure of how right (morally or otherwise) those laws are, or how right the enforcement of those laws are. How do we even begin to discretely quantify a measure of righteousness, and even if we jump that hurdle, how do we apply it to laws? The simple answer, and the one posited at the beginning of this debate, is that we are unable to effectively measure (in any scientific manner, at least) how righteous a law or the enforcement of said law is.

However, I disagree entirely with the solution suggested. I would even go so far as to say that a lack of any scientific measure of the righteousness of justice would in fact point to a solution that specifies that justice must be mutable.

If we ever found an effective measure of righteousness, then justice would be eternal. We would create our laws, create measures to enforce those laws, set up a fair justice system and then effectively end any discussion of what is and isn't fair and just. This assumes an absolute morality though. This would be the only situation where we could have an immutable justice system, because there would never be a need to modify it.

Morals and society change. What would be classed as both morally and legally acceptable even a hundred years ago may now be deemed wrong and illegal. Is this because society was moulded by changes in justice, or was justice moulded by changes in society? (This is most likely a subject best kept to another debate, as it is extremely wide ranging). I suggest that society is always at the forefront when it comes to either justice or morality.

The morals of society drive and mould justice, and this is heavily reflected in the way that the current democratic systems work. Actual governing is carried out by the people governed or the power to do so is granted by them. Members of society choose to elect leaders who, in turn, reflect the wishes of the people within the law. Society picks it government, and its government amends the laws based on the will of the people. (Again, this is something that can be left to another debate: is democracy really the will of the people, or a charade of such?).

If we stick purely to the theoretical aspects of democratic government, it should hold that justice is entirely mutable, and, in fact, a mutable justice system (one with an effective measurement of its righteousness other than by reflecting the wishes of the people) is one of the indicators of a democratic government.

1 point

"Have you ever talked with a Canadian or a Brit asking them their honest truth about the health care? I have and they hate it."

As a Brit, I can tell you that this is certainly not the case. The NHS is one of the most cherished British institutions in place. Attempting to insinuate that the NHS is a broken and/or unvalued system to try to push your political bias is at best untruthful and at worst insulting to the millions of people (including members of my family and Stephen Hawkings) who owe their lives to it.

I absolutely love the NHS, and most other Brits do too. Don't use the "Brits hate the NHS" argument, because it doesn't hold water.

1 point

"By the way if you want the truth Obama is the biggest fraud out there he won't even open up is file so that we Americans can read is college thesis, gee I wonder what he must be hiding"

The following extract taken from this source:

A spokesman said that no student technically could have written a thesis in 1983, since the university didn’t even have a thesis requirement for undergraduates then.

"At the time Barack Obama was a student, the political science department had no mechanism by which undergraduate political science majors in Columbia College could receive recognition for writing an independent thesis,” said university spokesman Robert Hornsby. “The department's procedures for students to write theses were created in the 1990s."

Seriously, how hard is it to spend one minute (that is literally how long it took me to find this source) searching Google before you post irrelevant and unsubstantiated claims?

1 point

"That may be possible, but, it isn't intentional."

Well, in a way it is. The very ideology of capitalism surely accepts that there will be winners and losers. The big losers will die intentionally due to capitalism. It might not be a capitlist taking the final shot, but they both built and loaded the gun.

One example I can think of specifically is during the recent food prices increase. Developed countries pressured the developing world to abolish subsidies in the interest of trade liberalization, whilst these rich capitalist countries largely kept subsidies in place for their own farmers. Because of this, third world countries began to depend on food imports from developed countries. Subsequently, United States government subsidies which pushed production toward biofuel rather than food have meant that there is a food shortage for countries that depended on the imported food (a situation that capitalist countries pushed forward with intentionally). This is deliberate, with obviously known consequences. In this example, capitalism caused MANY deaths.

Capitalism causes untold deaths in this way. Don't think that just because people aren't being directly killed by capitalists deosn't mean that they're deaths are not a direct result of capitalism itself.

"Communism hangs political prisoners and burns them at the stakes."

Communism does nothing of the sorts. Nowhere in the ideology of communism does it mention killing political prisoners. Leaders who happened to be in charge of communist countries did those things.

"So technically, Communism kills more."

No it doesn't. Communist leaders killed. And I'd be very willing to drum home the point that capitalist ideology has resulted in more deaths than communist ideology.

"Capitalism is against executing political prisoners."

What, and communism isn't?

"An end which requires unjustified means is no justifiable end."

"In fact, the death of someone can be blamed on many things."

Not according to you. When it happens under a communist leader, you directly atrribute it to communism. When it happens under a capitalist ideology though, suddenly the blame gets attributed to many differing factors. Do you not see the hypocrisy in this? Either, as you say, deaths that occur under an ideology have many varied factors, or the deaths are directly due to that ideology. You can't pick and choose depending on your favoured ideology.

1 point

What about all of the people in Africa and third world countries who die at the hands of Capitalism? When a single person in America or another western country succeeds in a Capitalist society, many other people in Africa, Asia, etc, suffer. 36 million die each year because they can't afford food. If you have to go without because you can't afford something, that is a direct effect of Capitalism.

That's how Capitalism works; one person's gain is another person's loss. Every single ideology will have its winners and losers. I'm not bashing Capitalism, as I totally understand that the most productive societies need a good mixture of many ideologies; Capitalism, Soclaism, etc.

Just, don't be so naive as to think that Capitalism doesn't cause millions and millions of deaths.

2 points

When I eventually die, that's it. I'll be dead. My soul won't transcend to some higher plane, and I certainly won't have a use for my body. Infact, all my body is destined to do from the point of my death onwards is rot.

As I have absolutely no use for my body after death, I see absolutely no reason why I should not donate ALL of my organs to help others. There are no limits; everything that can be used should be used. The delusion of a requirement for any part of your body after death is extremely selfish and costs many lives that could otherwise be saved.

100,000 people currently require donated organs in order to live in the US alone. [source]

Organ donation upon death should be mandatory. If you're not already, sign up to be an organ donor! You'll then have the oppotunity to save a life even after yours has ended.

1 point

Tried that. Infact, that was the functionality I was attempting to test. It didn't work.

1 point

That was unfortunately my fault. I was playing about with the spam settings, and simply assumed that I would be able to report the debate as spam and then remove it from the community.

That didn't happen, and now it appears as though there is no way to delete a debate from a community. I've already contacted Loudicris about it.

1 point

Right next to the debate title at the top is a little yellow star. If you click the star then you can put the debate into other communities. I've just added it to my community to test out the functionality.

2 points

The "third way" wasn't a middle ground between socialism and capitalism. It was meant to be a different way to communism and capitalism.

A lot of European countries have both capitalist and socialist policies, and would be considered the middle ground; understanding and taking guidance from both principles. Integrating a mixture of socialist and capitalist policy isn't fascism in any way, shape or form.

4 points

"Microsoft has employed some shady business tactics to get where they are today, but as a result of Microsoft's power, everybody has access to (somewhat) easy to use computers."

As an open source developer, I thought you of all people would understand just how much innovation has been stifled by Microsoft's monopoly.

2 points

"The middle ground between socialism and capitalism is becoming popular again. Hasn't been popular since the Rise of Adolf Hitler. I guess History will eventually kick in and people will gain some sense."

Part socialist/capitalist systems have been popular all over Europe for ages now, and extremely successful. Anyone would think that you're obsessed with Hitler, you way you go on about him.

By the way, Godwin's law:

"Godwin's Law (also known as Godwin's Rule of Nazi Analogies)[1] is an informal adage created by Mike Godwin in 1990. The adage states: "As a Usenet discussion grows longer, the probability of a comparison involving Nazis or Hitler approaches 1."[2][3]

Godwin's Law is often cited in online discussions as a deterrent against the use of arguments in the widespread reductio ad Hitlerum form.

The rule does not make any statement about whether any particular reference or comparison to Adolf Hitler or the Nazis might be appropriate, but only asserts that the likelihood of such a reference or comparison arising increases in direct proportion to the length of the discussion. It is precisely because such a comparison or reference may sometimes be appropriate, Godwin has argued,[4] that overuse of Nazi and Hitler comparisons should be avoided, because it robs the valid comparisons of their impact. Although in one of its early forms Godwin's Law referred specifically to Usenet newsgroup discussions,[5] the law is now applied to any threaded online discussion: electronic mailing lists, message boards, chat rooms, and more recently blog comment threads and wiki talk pages."

Also, just noticed this on the Wiki entry:

"On October 20, 2008, Rachel Maddow, on The Rachel Maddow Show, proposed a corollary to Godwin's law that as the time a liberal candidate is believed to be winning an election or argument increases, the probability that they will be labeled communist or socialist approaches one.[19]"

1 point

That's not really accurate, no. Your body doesn't fight against the production of a male featus. Around the 7 to 12 weeks period, the male featus is exposed to testosterone, which aids in the development of male features and typical male brain development. If this testosterone exposure is in any way hindered, it will cause the male baby to be more feminine.

I can't claim to know any reasons why younger siblings are more likely to be gay, unfortunately.

1 point

I can't talk in depth as I'm at work, but suffice to say that is an extremely simple interpretation of evolution.

Check out genetic drift.

My argument is slightly different. I was actually trying to say that there isn't a "gay gene." My intepretation of it is that there is a gene that controls hormone balance during pregnancy, which can sometimes become faulty and cause homosexuality. It is the fault of an evolved gene, but not a gene exclusively causing homosexuality. Hope that clears it up.

2 points

"If there's a gene that randomly causes homosexuality in 10% of it's carriers, and it turns out that homosexuality is a benefit to the population as a whole, then evolution applies."

I believe the "what's good for the group" model of evolution has been firmly discredited, and is a common misunderstanding of evolutionary behaviour.

Firstly, let me address the concept of a gene. What constitues a gene is very subjective, so it is better for us to talk of "units of evolution" so we don't confuse ourselves with thinking about genes as a single entity that controls a single operation. Now, in order for homosexuality to be genetic rather than a simple hormone disbalance, we would have to show that there is a significant grouping of genes into a single homosexual unit of evolution, and that this unit of evolution strives to save itself through purely altruistic methods.

Now, the general idea of "what is good for the group" seems at first to be a possible intepretation of evolution in a larger scale. However, the correct interpretation is what is good for the unit of evolution. Altruistic behaviour appears to be of no benefit to an individual, but obviously the trait to do something altruistic would find it very hard to saturate a gene pool; therefore there is absolutely no benefit in saving another over you. If, however, we think purely at the level of the unit of evolution, then we see that apparently unhelpful behaviours (such as an animal informing other animals of an approaching predetor, whilst also making itself more visible to said predator) can saturate a gene pool if the gene is geared up for saving itself.

This means realistically that there are two ways for a unit to saturate the gene pool for a certain unit space; it benefits the individual carrying it, or it causes the individual to benefit other individuals who are most likely carrying the same unit of evolution. As homosexuality lends to a lack of saving "itself" (as it wont be passed on), it can only realistically become an evolved trait if it causes altruistic behavior that causes other carriers to be more likely to survive.

I know about evolution and I understand all these concepts. The point I'm making is that homosexuality doesn't appear to lend itself to any altruistic behaviour that would benefit people carrying the homosexual unit of evolution. Infact, recognition of other homosexual people in order to better select those to benefit would mean that the other person is also homosexual and therefore less likely to pass on their gene.

The main point being made is thus: Altruistic behaviour by a unit of evolution that hunders itself towards units of evolution that also actually hinder their own reproductive potential would be extremely unlikely to saturate the gene pool.

3 points

"Homosexuality is genetic, and therefore evolved."

Without looking into this in more detail, my knowledge of evolution is telling me that this isn't right. Homosexuality in humans is generally exclusive. How does exclusive homosexuality become an inherited trait subject to evolution if it is not passed on to a new generation? It may have evolved to a point (as non-exclusive homosexuality is visible in nature), but would have been instantly wiped out as soon as human intellect and emotion took over leading to exclusive homosexuality. I believe homosexuality is a hormonal inbalance, but certainly can't see it as an evolved trait.

"How can something be going against nature if it can be found so prevalently in nature?"

Homosexuality in nature is not exclusive, so would provide no detremental effect to a species if homosexuality was practised only when no "straight" sex is possible. In this instance an evolved homosexual trait may exist, though I'm far more comfortable with the idea of hormonal inbalances as with humans.

I may be wrong though. As I say, this just seemed wrong on my current knowledge of evolution. I'll have to seek out some evidence either way before commiting to the "hormonal inbalance" view of homosexuality over an evolved trait.

2 points

I'm yet to see any comedy from Joe.

4 points

"And yet you do nothing except reinforce my point that atheists as a whole believe themselves to be superior to religious people."

It's not what atheists believe. It's a little something called fact. Every study into education, intelligence and religions shows that there is a indirectly proportional link between intelligence and education, and religious beliefs. I'm sorry if facts annoy you.

"Why it is that you feel the need to try and belittle someone else's beliefs I'll never understand."

It's nothing to do with that. It's everything to do with religion's invasion in our lives. The widespread AIDs epidemic in Africa due to the church condemning contraception, the slow take-up in life saving research into stem cells, terrorism, etc, etc. It's not about your right to have your little fantasy; it's about how and when it starts to effect my life.

"I think that atheists are arrogant because they don't bother to acknowledge they may in fact be wrong and as a whole demand that everyone believe exactly as they do."

Absolutely not. I feel that you should have every right to believe what you want to believe, and we're both lucky enough to live in countries where that is so (well, less so in the US). The problem I have is when people forget to leave their religious beliefs at home in matters such as politics, education, healthcare, etc. If you're going to be meddling in things such as this, please bring facts to the table, not beliefs with no evidence. THAT's my problem.

Also, in regards to acknowledging being wrong, you're incorrect to assume that. I work on the evidence at hand, and certain logical principles. There's no evidence and no logic to show me the existance of a god. When/if that evidence or logic ever pops up, I'd be perfectly willing to accept it.

"It's one thing to voice your beliefs and try to convince someone, it's an entirely different thing to tell someone that they are wrong when one cannot provide any proof to support the claim."

Well, that's debatable. If you're, say, a christian, you believe that I am going to go to hell. You truly and absolutely believe that because I haven't accepted Jesus, or any of the other silly things we have to do to get into heaven. You might not voice that opinion, but you truly believe it. And you have less proof to go on then me saying that there is no god.

Everything we've learnt about the universe and science in the past few centuries has been in complete contradiction to the abrahamic religions. You may be able to change and modify your beliefs to make them compatible with science, but you're only stripping away the divinity. Why not call a spade a spade? This is a debating website. I think the religious are wrong and I'll say so; deal with it.

"Personally I think that the universe has far to many coincidences to have been created by accident, I also think that God put in place a system of rules for the universe to follow and that investigating those rules is one of the most enduring and worthwhile uses of one's life."

Well, those are your beliefs and you have every right to hold them. Just remember that what you personally believe and fact are two different things. There are no "coincidences" that happened by "accident". This is where my point about education and IQ comes into it. Evolution, for example, isn't an accident or a coincidence. It's factual, logical, backed by tons of evidence, and contradicts the bible.

"Science and religion study too different things, science is the study of the universe, religion is the attempt to understand God and God's will."

Not really. Science overlaps religion on so many levels, and every single time it does so it seems to be a contradiction to or against the view of religion. I'll put my faith in science, thank you very much.

"Both could coexist, many of the earliest scientists had the same world view as I have described, and the Church supported them."

I really hope you don't truly believe what you just said there? The church hounded, imprisoned and killed people who had differing views.

"However people choose to ignore what to me seems to be fairly simple and straightforward."

It's not simple and straightfoward. Science shows time and time again that religion is wrong. They can't coexist.

Anyway, I think you got a bit worked up over nothing. You stated that atheists are arrogant because they believe they are better, and I just added some fact to show that believing that isn't arrogance; it's simply the truth.

9 points

"Rather I believe because I find that it makes sense with me."

To be honest, you could really have stopped at that rather telling statement. It's rather funny that you then go on to argue that you find atheists arrogant because they state that religion is something people use to explain things they don't understand. Isn't that really exactly what you just admitted to doing?

"I find it comforting and many arrogant atheists have stated that religion is something that "common," "ignorant" people used to explain things they did not understand."

I assume you're aware that in nearly every study made on the subject, the religious have a lower average IQ than atheists?

8 points

I disagree. Atheism is the disbelief in god; actually coming out and saying "god does not exist."

He seemed to be quite clearly saying that he has not given up the possibility that something supernatural is involved, but just hopes it's not the abrahamic god.

Saying "there is no god" and "I'm not really sure" are not the same thing. I'm an atheist because I know there is no god.

4 points

The fatal flaw here is that he is attempting to disprove eternity using properties of the universe; time, matter, etc. He's assuming that a pre-universe would have the same properties as the universe itself. Even time is a property of the universe. Outside the bounds of the universe, we simply don't know.

The main argument here though, is that the guy simply misunderstands what matter, time and space are. Matter is simply a manifestation of energy. The first law of thermodynamics states that energy can not be created, only transfered. So, did God create energy? If he did, then we are violating the laws of physics, and therefore we can not use the laws of physics (as asserted in this video) to prove the existance of God. Or, can we say that God is energy? In that case, energy is infinite (as God is inifnite) and once again this argument falls down.

Hurray for science and logic.

11 points

It seems to me that whatever science is it you're delving into, you obviously haven't understood it correctly.

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