Devil's Advocate

  • Thread starter FZ+
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  • #1
FZ+
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Hmm... Inspired by a thread in HW help...
The idea of this thread is a creative exercise at arguing the unarguable. The way it works is kinda like my Ask a stupid question... thread, but in a serious fashion.

Someone poses an argument that at first glance seems utterly unarguable.
Someone argues in support of this argument, even if he does not support it himself, and leaves another argument for the next poster.

Each argument can be as long as you wish, but with one requirement. Humor can be used, but not in mocking or sarcasm. You must try to argue each case as sincerely as you can, even if it appears absurd. Will anyone manage it?

Ok, I'll start: Killing is not wrong.

Anyone wanna argue this?
 

Answers and Replies

  • #2
LURCH
Science Advisor
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This is a great idea ! Do I understand you correctly; you want people to argue in favor of a position they do not genuinely support, but without setting up a "straw man" argument? This could prove quite difficult... should be good exercise.
 
  • #3
Njorl
Science Advisor
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The entirety of nature is killing. All animal life devours its nutrition from either plants or other animals. We humans have simply abstracted that idea a step further. We compete in ways that hide the cruelty. We earn more money, allowing us to buy nice homes and good food and to provide for our families. This hides the brutal truth. Every calorie we consume is one a starving child is denied. Every square foot of roof over our head is shelter denied to the homeless. Our salaries and stock portfolios are tally sheets of other peoples' deaths.

So, is all success evil? No. It is the natural drive of any being to thrive, and ensure their offspring thrives. It is clear that since success can not be evil, and success is killing, killing is not evil. The delusion is not in the bank statement which hides death, it is that civilized man does not kill to survive. Of course we do. It is time that we not just be civilized, but that we also se aside our hypocracy. It is better that we just come out and be honest about it and be proud of our capacity to kill our rivals.

Good hunting,
Njorl

PS - I'm going to go brush my teeth now.
 
  • #4
FZ+
1,599
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LURCH: Yep

Erm.... Njorl, you forgot to put in an argument yourself.

I'll just do one then.
Why democracy is not a good form of government....

Democracy, invented by the greeks is a form of government considered most advanced by the majority of the western world. But this belief in the power of democracy is not correct.
Democracy is based on the idea of majority rule - it has a generally utilitarian philosophy where the happiness and contentment of the whole decides which decisions are made. However, this has many problems.
1st, democracy naturally leads to an inherently very unstable government. This is evidenced by incidents such as the creation of the Nazi regime etc. Any government sufficiently opportunistic and successful at pandering to the will of the people can hence cause anarchy, and thus jeopardise the well being of the majority of society.
2nd, democracy depends not on the actual effectiveness of government, but strictly on the will of the people. A candidate that is popular would be voted in favour of one that is actually hard working and good at his job. It is more effective to start off with a strong government and gather public support, than rely on public support to choose a strong government. In many ways, ignorance is bliss.
3rd, democracy is inefficient. Needless bureacracy and the need for consensus usually results in watered down and delayed decision making. This effect is greater for larger nations. It is no surprise that history is filled with great figures, not great committees.
Finally, the inherent failure of democracy is that it is simply unnatural. In the animal world, decisions are taken by the most effective and powerful leader, as chosen by natural selection. The existence of a leader based heirarchy itself is founded on the idea of a singular figure, not with the agreement of many. In terms of evolution and survival, it is simply not practical. This factor is not untrue in modern society, with new threats to society from sources such as terrorism etc. In these cases, freedom and representation should be sacrificed for the stability of society. Despite Romantic notions of freedom over all, what is important for the happiness of the whole is not individual freedom but a continued, uncluttered and stable surroundings from an appropiate government.

Next, will someone do:
Scientific progress is NOT a good thing...
 
  • #5
Njorl
Science Advisor
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I find it interesting that we both resorted to an argument based on what is natural to support something we disagree with. That leads to a good topic if someone wants to take a shot.

Nature is inherently evil.

Njorl
 
  • #6
Dissident Dan
237
2
Originally posted by FZ+
Next, will someone do:
Scientific progress is NOT a good thing...

Science brings knowledge, and knowledge is power. Power yields itself to abuse. Selfishness exists in all people, and there is an uneven distribution of selfishness among people. The most selfish of us will search out the power that scientific progress brings to benefit oneself to the detriment of others.
Even in those who are not among the most selfish, selfish ambitions exist--ambitions whose collective destructivity are limited only by circumstance, and such circumstantial barriers are broken down by scientific progress.

Current examples include environmental destruction and the exploitation of laborers in sweatshops.

The founding fathers of the United States realized the problem of power consolidation and established checks and balances. Scientific progress is a consolidation of power.
 
  • #7
Dissident Dan
237
2
I forgot to present an argument idea. Either someone can do the one that Njorl presented, or this one:

Teddy bears are ugly and undermine our values as Americans.
 
  • #8
hartmanyell.jpg


Well, I'm ready to argue!
 
  • #9
quantumcarl
770
0
Originally posted by Dissident Dan

Teddy bears are ugly and undermine our values as Americans. [/B]

Teddy bears are ugly. They host 6 million dust mites at any given time of year. They can suffocate their owner in one night of terror and they are supposed to represent a fire fighter (Smokey) when they actually are potent fire hazards to most homes in the US of A and abroad.

The american president who endorsed the idea of teddy bears had no inkling about what he was doing. It is blatently obvious that putting blind trust in a pair of glass eyes will get you into the next world... pronto!

Please explain the virtues of eating glass.
 
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  • #10
The Grimmus
200
0
Glass can help move waste along it is a super fiber. Not only but it eating glass helps bring temprorary relife to the recycling groups by save soem glass for next time. Glass also helps cut your insides bleeding out toxens and inpurities.

thats all i got

ok now i make one right?
Stealing the sickly's canes and oxygen tanks has alwasy been a good idea.

sorry for the spelling.
 
  • #11
Mentat
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Yep, it is definitely a good idea to steal sickly peoples' canes and oxygen tanks. I say this because this is very fun for some people, and doing something that is fun makes you happy. Happy people, in turn, live longer, so while ending someone else's life - much quicker than they may have originally anticipated - you may just be increasing your own life span. And, as njorl (and others) have already pointed out, survival of self should take priority.

The Nazis had the right idea.

(BTW, excellent idea for the thread, FZ+)
 
  • #12
Mentat
3,918
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How long do we wait, FZ+, before just responding to ourselves, and trying a new question?
 
  • #13
Njorl
Science Advisor
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"The Nazis had the right idea."

I have too much fear of success for this one. Some skinhead somewhere might read it and quote me. After he commits his hate-crime, the FBI comes to my door..."We'd like to ask you a few questions. Can you come with us please?"

Njorl
 
  • #14
The Grimmus
200
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Ok i will take this one but if i dont show up later i will be in mexico under the alias of Greg Dicemen. OK the nazi's saw the worlds future crisis of overpopulation and decided to solve it BUT they target only one race instead of randome elderly people...

Women shouldent be able to vote for obvious reasons: enjoy
 
  • #15
Originally posted by The Grimmus
Women shouldent be able to vote for obvious reasons: enjoy

Obviously women are more susceptible to random and dangerous mood swings and irrational thought. Becuase such bouts of insensibility occur regularly and often and can last for quite sometime, it is the only sensible conclusion that women must not be allowed to vote, becuase it is very likely that nearly one quarter of all the voting women would be crazy at the time. Such a great risk is obviously not acceptable and women should be regarded as convicted felons and have their voting rights stripped.

Okay now for the next guy. Argue for or against abortion. Choose the side which you do not support and try to make an argument for it. I think this might be too hard though, so if everyone is too chicken just try "Pres. Bush is a good/bad president" again arguing for the side which you don't support.
 
  • #16
FZ+
1,599
3
Nature is inherently evil

To argue this, we must prove 3 points.
1. Evil exists.
2. Something can have an inherent character.
3. Nature is inherently evil.

1. The assumption of the existence of evil is in itself an axiom. While logically we may formulate arguments for it's non-existence, in reality it is a concept that we apply each day. When we arrest a criminal we say it's evil. We say paedophilia is evil. So clearly the idea of evil does exist. Not just that, but the existence of concepts in common between different peoples indicates that beneath the mundane concept of this is good or evil for me, an objective evil does exist. We may see little evidence of it, but all signs of human existence point towards it.

2. While physics apparently invokes the idea of flexibility in the universe, at it's most innate is the idea of inherent properties. Quarks are inherently charged. Hadrons inherently have mass. Light has an inherent speed that is independent of all it's factors. The existence of these inherencies are indisputable, confirmed by dearths of evidence. Since nature is part of the human perception of the universe, it must resemble the universe. So the inherency that lies in the universe also lies in nature.

3. Throughout human history, we have always had the concept of progress. Technological progress. Evolutionary progress. Progress by the way of the universe is always something that is good. It follows logically that nature, the most old and basic is also the most backward, the most evil. We can see this by it's indifference. What is most evil is not hatred - that implies respect, but indifference, which only humiliates, condemns. Nature must neccessarily be evil.
 
  • #17
Mentat
3,918
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Originally posted by climbhi
Obviously women are more susceptible to random and dangerous mood swings and irrational thought. Becuase such bouts of insensibility occur regularly and often and can last for quite sometime, it is the only sensible conclusion that women must not be allowed to vote, becuase it is very likely that nearly one quarter of all the voting women would be crazy at the time. Such a great risk is obviously not acceptable and women should be regarded as convicted felons and have their voting rights stripped.

Okay now for the next guy. Argue for or against abortion. Choose the side which you do not support and try to make an argument for it. I think this might be too hard though, so if everyone is too chicken just try "Pres. Bush is a good/bad president" again arguing for the side which you don't support.

Well, since I disagree with abortions, I'll have to argue for them, right? Alright:

What exactly is the point of saving one life to ruin 2 (and possibly more)? A person who has an abortion doesn't want that child. If they just keep the child, their lives could be ruined entirely, and the life of the child that they "saved" can be ruined as a side-effect. People need to realize that to never have a conscious thought is better than living a full life of pain. This world is not the kind of place where you can raise happy children - so even if you think you want a baby, consider the fact that you are most likely to just create another loser/addict/killer/rapist/thief/etc...

Now for mine, hmm... Government should be able to use torture as punishment for even the smallest of crimes (this one may prove to be too difficult (even though I am coming up with a few fairly good answers, right now), if so I'll post a different one.
 
  • #18
The Grimmus
200
0
Have you ever visted a country where such ideas are in place?
They are graffety free and except for some anti goverment crimes it is basically crime free. THis will send a message to our gangs our robbers and our J-walkers obay the law if you want to keep your other thumb

It is acceptable to kill a wonderful man if you stand to gain millions
 
  • #19
arcnets
508
0
Originally posted by The Grimmus
It is acceptable to kill a wonderful man if you stand to gain millions [/B]

Yes. If Jimi Hendrix was still alive, he'd be ~60 yo now, and probably
1) still playing the blues, but only in small pubs
2) doing a stadium gig once a year
3) the boss of a record company
4) in drug/psycho therapy
5) a Zen-buddhist or something
6) father of 3 nice children and 9 grandchildren, living on a ranch
7) starring in 'The Hendrixes' on MTV
but surely: not a legend.
See: It's better someone killed him by an overdose in 1970.

Reading books is bad for your health.
 
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  • #20
The Grimmus
200
0
it makes you fat and lazy becuase you dont get out much
the paper could be printed on a hazardus substance like say aids. Book mites
and some peopel hide food in books so it also contributes to overweight

popen caps is only right if it is in whitey
 
  • #21
Whitey is the root of all evil. His ancestors' racism caused the plight on the black man, and now even though its been about 150 years since the black man has been declared "free" by the crackers, that racism is still prevelent in today's society. They still tryin ta keep a brotha down. So eliminating this evil is the only way to truely free the african-american race.

A woman is a [tramp] if she sleeps with lots of guys, but its ok for men to sleep around. Hmmm... I kinda wanna argue this myself, but I'll let someone else do it.
 
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  • #22
Originally posted by arcnets
Reading books is bad for your health.

Books give people ideas. People are too stupid to handle ideas.

Besides, state-of-the-art health-prolonging technologies are available to anyone who can afford their extremely high prices. So, if you are concerned with your health, you should spend your time trying to gain money rather than ideas.

Most rich people, who can afford this premium health care, have never opened a book in their entire life. Some examples include: NSync, the Victoria's Secret supermodels, Anna Nicole Smith, the Osbourne kids, and George W. Bush.

Next Topic: It is NEVER acceptable to assume the Born-Oppenheimer approximation when calculating atomic structure.

eNtRopY
 
  • #23
Mentat
3,918
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Originally posted by mouseman
Whitey is the root of all evil. His ancestors' racism caused the plight on the black man, and now even though its been about 150 years since the black man has been declared "free" by the crackers, that racism is still prevelent in today's society. They still tryin ta keep a brotha down. So eliminating this evil is the only way to truely free the african-american race.

A woman is a [tramp] if she sleeps with lots of guys, but its ok for men to sleep around. Hmmm... I kinda wanna argue this myself, but I'll let someone else do it.

Basic biology, people. A woman can only get pregnant ~once every 9 months. So, if she has sex with a lot of guys, all she accomplishes is a perversion of human morality. However, a man can get lots of woman pregnant at once (by living a morally depraved life-style), and thus can ensure species survival. Conclusion: it is Evolutionarily advantagous for men to sleep with lots of women (and evolutionarily advantagous = natural), but it is not "natural" (by previous definition) for a woman to sleep with lots of different guys.

Next Topic: A particle actually does have a definable position, at any given point in time.
 
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  • #24
chosenone
183
1
A particles position is always know to the particle,it exists in real space in real time,if you where to observe a particle in motion the uncertainty principle always applies.and when you done watching it,where ever you saw the particle would'nt matter,it would to itself instantly appear where it would have been before you tries to observe it and goon its mary way!
 
  • #25
Mentat
3,918
3
Originally posted by chosenone
A particles position is always know to the particle,it exists in real space in real time,if you where to observe a particle in motion the uncertainty principle always applies.and when you done watching it,where ever you saw the particle would'nt matter,it would to itself instantly appear where it would have been before you tries to observe it and goon its mary way!

Fair enough, if you're going to refer to the particle as "knowing" something.

What's your next topic?
 
  • #26
The Grimmus
200
0
since the thread hasent been moving i will poke it with a stick and see if it is dead.

MIke Tyson had a good message when he siad i'll eat your kids
 
  • #27
Children are highly nutritious, due to their active lifestyle and large consumption of protiens and carbohydrates. They are both tender and lean. They also make a great snack. I believe the motivation behind Mr. Tyson's statement was that he wished to benefit from the wholesome goodness of kids in order to get an edge over his opponent. So I feel we should all follow suit and have a baby for breakfast.

P.S. - It would also help our out-of-control population growth to eat a couple kids every week.

Here's my topic:
Smoking is good for your health and others around you.
 
  • #28
Smoking will slowly kill you. This frees up resources that your offspring can use, thus improving their survival and, by heredity, the survival of your own genes. The slowness, however, allows you time to pass on your knowledge and ideologies and prevents too much psychologic stress, which could cause infertility. Without you to encumber them, your offspring are free to disperse and distribute your genes; they will also avoid inbreeding, which would be very unhealthy for your genes.



New Topic:

No one should live past forty years of age.



----------------------------------------------------------------
I am the Devil's Advocate.
 
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  • #29
Alternatively, you could try defending this one:

Role-playing games can be useful for teaching science.
 
  • #30
Originally posted by Ben-CS


New Topic:

No one should live past forty years of age.


knowing we will one day not too far off be disposed of naturally or otherwise will motivate us to actually get off our arses and do something productive. how easy is it to sit around for 80 years saying 'oh i'll do it tomorrow', if we actually had a deadline there might be more mozart's, jeff buckley's, rimbaud's and maiakovski's in the world, all of whom did all they had to do within 30 years! not to mention the drain on the economy, geez! humanity will thus benifit culturally and economically from such an initiative.

ummmm; marriages should all be arranged by your parents?
 
  • #31
Mentat
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Originally posted by steppenwolf
knowing we will one day not too far off be disposed of naturally or otherwise will motivate us to actually get off our arses and do something productive. how easy is it to sit around for 80 years saying 'oh i'll do it tomorrow', if we actually had a deadline there might be more mozart's, jeff buckley's, rimbaud's and maiakovski's in the world, all of whom did all they had to do within 30 years! not to mention the drain on the economy, geez! humanity will thus benifit culturally and economically from such an initiative.

ummmm; marriages should all be arranged by your parents?

It's long been accepted that parents know what's best for their children. However, even if this is not true, a person left to their own choice of a mate is so much more likely to make a mistake (since falling in love impares judgement) then his/her parents (who are not at all affected by whether their child is in love or not, but are just thinking of how compatible their child is with the propective mate).

(To get Ben-CS's question some recognition) Role-playing games can be useful for teaching science.
 
  • #32
selfAdjoint
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(To get Ben-CS's question some recognition) Role-playing games can be useful for teaching science.

Clearly most people are bored out of their skulls with dull facts and awful math problems. Their minds turn off and they don't learn any science at all. But pretending you're a photon or an RNA plasmid is FUN. People learn much better from fun, and they might even retain something past the next exam.


Quantum Field theory does not exist.
 
  • #33
Originally posted by selfAdjoint
Clearly most people are bored out of their skulls with dull facts and awful math problems. Their minds turn off and they don't learn any science at all. But pretending you're a photon or an RNA plasmid is FUN. People learn much better from fun, and they might even retain something past the next exam.

well i just HAVE to disagree there, and you sounded so sarcastic

what could possibly be more traumatising for two prepubescant kids then being forced to stand out the front of a class of giggling kiddies and hold hands to close a circuit with the teacher inevitabely cracking all those terrible jokes about the electricity between little tommy and susan, OH THE SHAME!!! that sort of thing turns kids of science for life! ugh this is bringing back too many bad memories, excuse me while i go cry in a corner!

but anyway, back to selfadjoint's topic:
Quantum Field theory does not exist.
 
  • #34
The Grimmus
200
0
That is impossable if it was i would understand it...duh
 
  • #35
Mentat
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Originally posted by The Grimmus
That is impossable if it was i would understand it...duh

This is your answer?

Well, OK, what's your new question?
 

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