Judges' Debate Three

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Judges' Debate Three

Postby PavlovianModel146 » Sat Feb 21, 2009 12:22 am

Firstly a scenario:

The Government of the United States of America has been provided with conclusive proof that the Earth will be destroyed in one week. (The reason why the Earth will be destroyed is irrelevant and that topic should not be breached.) The destruction of the Earth is an absolute fact and it cannot be changed. There is absolutely no way to prevent or delay the destruction of the Earth.

The question posed to the participants of this Debate is, should the public be notified of the impending catastrophe?

ILO says the public should not be made aware.

ILP says that the public should be made aware.

ILO posts first: Deadline of Monday February 23rd, 2009 6:30p.m.EST
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Re: Judges' Debate Three

Postby PavlovianModel146 » Sat Feb 28, 2009 12:28 am

Kawaki's Introduction is as follows:

Crisis can bring out the best in people but it can also bring out the worst.

We at ILO say that the public should not be made aware of the Earth's impending destruction.
The particular reasons are as follows:

(a) The potential for harm
(b) The benefit of being in the dark


Stress can have a powerful effect on the body and an even more powerful effect on the mind. Some are capable of overcoming these effects others are not so capable. Those incapable of dealing with the stress can become unstable and unpredictable; often, their behavior will influence others. Without warning, this behavior spreads like wildfire.

Wildfire is one of many descriptions that could be used to describe the effects of mass hysteria. The two most critical similarities are (1) rapid spread and (2) destructiveness.

It doesn't take much for mass hysteria to pass the tipping point. In one example, three young girls started having a fit of laughter; suddenly many other students started having fits. Suddenly, it was as if some disease or toxin was in the air, while several hundreds were affected. The affects on each individual lasted as long as a few hours while the spread of this 'epidemic' lasted six months and crossed multiple villages. This example, known as "The Tanganyika Laughter Epidemic of 1962" demonstrates the ease of how hysteria can spread.1

In 2001, New Delhi India, two residents plummetted to their deaths on hearing that some Monkey Man attacker was nearby. The Monkey Man fear spread through New Delhi rapidly and incited panic and fear. In fact, the New Delhi police was so innundated with calls (including hoaxes) that the police was short on vehicles. The reports of a monkey man attacker led to a mob assaulting a 4-foot tall mystic that was thought to resemble the monkey man.2

So far, it could be said that only third-world nations are susceptible to mass hysteria but that is far from the truth.

In London, 1955, there was an incident at the Royal Free Hospital where patients succumb to some 'unidentified' virus (no bacteria or virus was ever identified). Instead, mass hysteria is credited with being the root cause. The interesting thing is that "no one expected to see such behavior in developed countries, least of all among sophisticated personnel in a great medical center."3

In China, 2003, SARS hysteria struck Guangzhou provence. Pets were slaughtered by mobs of Chinese fearful that the animals carried the disease. Pets are unable to carry the disease but that didn't stop the killings.4

A bank run can be another example of mass hysteria. In one particular bank run scenario, a rumor begins that a bank may be going bankrupt; in turn, this causes the bank's customers to rush towards the bank in an attempt to withdraw their deposits. Since all banks only hold a percentage of total deposits within their vaults, eventually the money runs out. This in turn sparks further worry, more panic, more hysteria and turns a rumor into a fact and results in further damage. Often, once the damage is done, it cannot be undone. Of course, bank runs are sometimes based on 'good' information; i.e., the bank is actually in danger of bankruptcy. However, as recently as 2008, WaMu Bank and Wachovia were affected by bank runs that sped up their failures.

I think it is clear that all countries are susceptible to mass hysteria.

How much more hysteria would such a massive event as the Earth's destruction provoke in the people? It is of course, unknown but considering that a radio show inspired panic and hysteria from the public5, how much worse could it be when President Obama addresses the nation informing the world will end within one week?

A money rumor can close a bank. Shouting fire in a theatre might cause people to trample each other to death. Imagine the rumors that spread once it is made public about the end of the world. I can already imagine internet conspiracy theorists spreading stories about lizard men come to destroy the human race or about the governments lies to enslave the population, etc. Will this inspire fear and hysteria? Without fail.

Thus far we've only discussed the harmful affects of innocent (if even, in some cases, naïve) people. How about those that actually intend to harm the people? Afterall, with only one week left, what possible punishment could deter these people from serial murder, savagery, rape, and riots.

The potential for harm is on a scale we've never seen and certainly on a scale far above and beyond what the government's resources could muster. In Los Angeles, 1992, the riots practically shut down the city making it difficult and nearly impossible for firefighters, police, ambulances, etc to reach their destinations. And that's small potatoes compared to the potential harm that could be inflicted by a greater, overwhelming force of rioters.

Worse yet: given enough irrational people, rational people will be forced to react just as irrationally. The irrational act of a bank run actually becomes a rational act to preserve one's deposits when the tipping point is crossed. The irrational acts that will occur after the public is made aware will force rational people to act the same.

The potential for harm when its a life and death situation is tremendous.
Would telling the public of impending doom do more good than bad? It is our position that more harm would be done.


In a life and death situation, many people will panic, go into mass hysteria and make a bad situation worse. Would telling the public of the end of the world help some? Yes, of course. But it will hurt many others directly and indirectly. Some people will be affected psychologically and emotionally. Others will be harmed by those who have endured psychological effects or by predatory behavior. It will bring out the worst in some, the best in others but no balance is created; rather, it will make this final week on Earth utter misery for most.

Some say that the unknown may provoke fear in people; more accurately, it is the knowledge of some unknown that causes people to imagine the worst and react or behave accordingly. In a sense, ignorance is bliss. Why not prolong bliss for one week? It's all over. The end has come.

Some will argue that each individual should be given an opportunity to come to terms but it is not about any individual, it is not even about any majority. In this case, it is about the whole. The whole earth will not be able to come to terms, nor agree, nor react calmly and in fact, many, perhaps millions upon millions will behave horrifically.

Keeping everyone in the dark is the best way to ensure that suffering is lessened. It is the responsibility of the U.S. government to protect the people from harm and sometimes that means keeping them in the dark. This strategy is nothing new yet it is the best strategy in this scenario.

Lastly, the U.S. may have a responsibility to its citizens, but it also has a responsibility to the rest of the world. One might be able to make the argument that many of the industrialized nations may have the resources and the mentality to deal with the stress of the end of the world; however, other nations will either not have the resources or not have the mentality (or lack both). Many third world nations will be sent into chaos and those nations could pose a further threat against the United States. You know, Canadians are violent (witness their hockey players) and I'm sure there are a many who will blame the U.S. for the earth's destruction (whether or not it is is not relevant).

This is a responsibility that the U.S. has towards the global community and one must not discount it. Presumably, only the U.S. knows of the Extinction Level Event but their notifying the public is, in essence, notifying the world without the consent of other governments.


The potential for harm is too great.
There is certainty in keeping this information from the public.

The public must not be made aware.

1. http://psychology.suite101.com/article. ... r_epidemic

2. http://archives.cnn.com/2001/WORLD/asia ... monkeyman/

3. http://www.time.com/time/magazine/artic ... 45,00.html

4. http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/w ... 884165.ece

5. http://theater2.nytimes.com/2007/10/17/ ... 7fict.html

ILP has 72 hours to respond. Monday March 2nd, 2009 6:30p.m. EST
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Re: Judges' Debate Three

Postby Carleas » Mon Mar 02, 2009 6:13 pm

Numerous as they are, these appeals to consequences simply do not apply. All of the consequences of revealing the facts are negative only if their long-term consequences are a consideration: mass hysteria is only a bad thing because it slows productivity, it destroys infrastructure, it costs lives. In the circumstances as presented, these aren't considerations. Delaying the destruction of property by one week doesn't save the property; being productive today is for naught, in a week it will be destroyed; and the lives lost are a tragedy, but not one that can be averted. Panic, looting, riots, none of these things matter. In this situation, a consequentialist ethics is misleading, because all actions have the same proximate and ultimate consequence: everything is destroyed.

Rather, this is primarily a question of the proper role of government. This is an enormous question, however, we may limit our investigation, for the time being, to the context of the question, and consider only the role of the Government of the United States of America. When considering only a specific country, it is a basic legal matter to identify the responsibility of the government.

And legally, the government is bound to inform its citizens. The Freedom of Information Act is clear, and it compells the federal government (1) to disclose the information to its citizens (2) (Exceptions for 'national security' do not apply, because, similar to the argument presented above, no action on the part of government in this regard will change the fact that the nation is perilously insecure). This issue is a large part of the basis of legitimacy of the United States' Government. In the Declaration of Independence, it is established that governments "[derive] their powers from the consent of the governed"(3). For us, this demonstrates that the people have a right to know that the world will be destroyed. If we deny that, and maintain that people are tacitly consenting to that which we keep hidden from them, then all manner of corruption and wickedness is justifiable by government. Since the Revolution was a rejection of such wickedness, we can be assured that as an extention of the requirement of consent of the governed, the government is bound to inform the governed, and has been so bound from the birth of this nation.

The United States' Government is founded on the consent of the governed. That consent requires that the government honor the right to know of the citizens, and this principle has been enacted into clear legislation. The legislation, like the principle behind it, make it undeniable that the government must divulge information to its citizens if it is reasonable that they would want to know. It is therefore the responsibility of the United States' Government to inform its citizens of the impending doom for the planet, and they should do so as quickly as reasonsably possible.

(1) The FOIA only compells the federal government, and the question does not make clear that the federal government knows. However, I think it is safe to say that if a state learned of the impending destruction of earth, the federal government would find out.
(2) http://www.usdoj.gov/oip/foia_updates/V ... /page2.htm
(3) http://www.ushistory.org/Declaration/document/index.htm
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Re: Judges' Debate Three

Postby PavlovianModel146 » Tue Mar 10, 2009 11:09 pm

W.C. Posted:

'When others asked the truth of me, I was convinced it was not the truth they wanted, but an illusion they could bear to live with.'
Anaïs Nin, Diary Entries (1933)

Many a thank you, pav, for bringing this event, these inter-forum debates into fruition; thank you Carleas, Tab, Xunzian, Smears and my fellow ILO'ans to this point for your contributions - I say with honesty that I look forward to rest of this debate, the third ILP vs ILO debate of many. Shh!

Now then! The Earth is to be destroyed in one week. The Government of the USA are provided conclusive proof of this, and so we come to the point of our debate; should the public be notified of the impending catastrophe?

Kawaki, my compatriot, opens the debate by explaining the potential for harm; the consequences of notifying the public and the communal benefit of leaving the public in the dark for their final moments on this good Earth.

The eminent Carleas would have you believe that ethics are void, as 'all actions have the same proximate and ultimate consequence'. We all die, with or without an Earth destroying catastrophe - we all share this ultimate consequence; though obviously not as proximate for some as it is for many another. In any case, I was not aware ethics should be belittled or abandoned for this... natural order.

We then have Carleas going on to state that, as 'numerous as they are, these appeals to consequences simply do not apply.' He continues from this point, and explains what he would have you believe to be the proper role of government under the constitution, under law. Carleas leaves the reader not only believing the Government should notify it's citizens, but that it is it's responsibility; it's duty to do so. It seems, well... if consequences do not apply, if ethics should be voided; why then should the US Government follow law and constitution? Robotics? The argument almost seems to be as much for telling the public as it is for not.

Perhaps I'm getting soft in my sometimes matured mental age. Being 23 for me has been like being in the mid fourties for Old Clichéd Average Joe, with the exception of having a young able body at my disposal - It's fucking great. Anyhow, I'm far less dismissive of ideas as I was not so long ago. I can't tell you with certainty that anything does not apply to the 'should' of whether the US or any Government should notify the public of impending destruction. What I can tell you is that there are a great deal more considerations than law and constitution to take into account - such as the basis for those laws, the ethics and philosophy behind the constitution; what it was founded upon.

Ethics, as belittled as Carleas implies it to be, remains an ingrained cornerstone [valued or otherwise] of any decision concerning any and all things. Not to repeat the examples that my team mate and good friend, Kawaki, has already provided, I believe the ethics of telling the public of an impending doom is clear enough; more catastrophes are likely to arise and in the ensuing finger pointing; in the wild accusations and rebuttals, the Earth could potentially be destroyed before the catastrophe in point had any real chance.

Why put us through such heartache? Why put many great nations, towns; many great places people call home, places full of life, of people, through such barbarity?

At first thought, perhaps we would all likely prefer that we know if our world was ending, we're the same wherever you find us; but there's a reason we can't see the future. If it so happens that concrete evidence of an Earth-Destroying-Catastrophe should fall into the hands of the US Government, for the afore stated reasons and more, I don't believe they or anyone else for that matter, should inform us. Why should we have such a calamitous disclosure thrust upon us in our final moments?

We might, instead, turn our thoughts to another line of thinking; how to ease humanities final moments. Why not cook up some excuse to get us all some of that time off work, get us all a million dollars each for fucks sake; give us time to spend our last moments with the ones we love - give us those last moments to splurge, enjoy, to live and learn; to focus a little more on ourselves if we can, on life and happiness; to do whatever we choose and perhaps with a bit of government aid, if need be, are able to.

Carpe diem, seize the day and all that, as far as possible; as far as people can be motivated to. It seems far more preferable to rampant rioting, violent murders, rapes, outright chaos, heightened anxiety, fear, and all that follows for the sake of disclosure to me. Ask yourself honestly, why not food, drink and merriment for all in its stead?

ILP has 72 hours Friday March 13th 6:00EST to respond.
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Re: Judges' Debate Three

Postby Mr Reasonable » Wed Mar 18, 2009 1:17 am

So far I think that everyone has made some pretty good points. The question seems pretty simple.

Should we tell everyone that they're about to die?

We've talked about consequences, and some possible scenarios as to what might happen in the last few days if people were to know.

I suppose while we're all speculating about what people would do if they knew the world was coming to an end, I should say that some arguments from speculations that things will be painful and negative would be no more valid than ones from speculations that things would be peaceful and good were everyone to know that the world was about to end.

So think about this guys...

If everyone on Earth knew that they had only one week left to live, imagine all the unfinished business that could be taken care of.

Every single christian in the world could schedule a last minute prayer or confession and be assured that they could get into heaven. I mean think about that. That's a shit load of good for a pretty large number of people. And you know what? More people might come out of the closet from other cultures and admit that they believe in Jesus too. Then even more people could be saved.

Also what about this...
All the starving people in the world get to hop on cruise ships and just eat themselves sick for a solid week. Imagine that. In one week, if humanity were to act rational, we could probably feed everyone on Earth so they all die with fat bellies.

Here's another example of why it would be so great if we told everyone the world was about to end...
All the drugs in the world would have to get done. Think about how much cocaine there probably is in the world right now, and think about how much heroin and pot. Now imagine all the hardcore junkies of the world having to die slow deaths just to keep from dying a fast one because they can't get the dope they need. Think of the freedom and happiness that those people could feel again, for just one last moment. Some of them might even accept Jesus as thier personal savior, and if they ask for forgiveness then they can get into heaven too.

How about this...
Getting a girl pregnant wouldn't matter, and even if she had AIDS, you're dying in a week anyway.
What else can I say here? Really? Imagine the joy, happiness and love, and the relief of so much frustration in the world that could be brought on by this one simple act. Imagine.

What else is there to say? I mean, positive things can happen if you tell people that they've only got a week. Think about how much everyone bitches nowadays about hating day-to-day life and working in factories and being an oppressed protetariat.

Judges, if you vote to keep people in the dark, that's one more week that Chinese kids are going to be working in sweatshop for a bowl of rice a day. Change the world, save the children, love Jesus, and vote for ILP.
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Re: Judges' Debate Three

Postby PavlovianModel146 » Thu Mar 26, 2009 5:53 am

PavlovianModel146 Posted:

First and foremost, I would like to thank PavlovianModel146 because without his diligent and exhaustive efforts this entire Debate would have been impossible.

I would also like to thank the judges, Phaedrus and KrisWest, as well as my teammates at ILO and our opposition at ILP for a well-fought first Debate.

I seek to fill Gamer's shoes as the fourth member of Team ILO and I can only hope to perform to half of the level that could otherwise be expected from the legendary Gamer. I would like to wish Gamer a speedy recovery and dedicate this post to him.

Judges, Teammates, Opposition, and Spectators Alike:

First a summary of what has happened:

Kawaki: The basis of Kawaki's post is essentially giving us examples of the great amount of harm that can be cause as a result of informing the public of the impending demise of the Earth as well as humanity. Kawaki provided examples of same. Kawaki states that ignorance is bliss, and does a superb job of going into our responsibility to all of humanity to leave them in the dark and let them live in bliss for another week.

I intend to both reiterate and expand upon Kawaki's premise.

Carleas: Carleas followed Kawaki's post with an excellent introduction/counter where he makes it apparent that long-term negative results of informing the public are not relevant because there is no long-term. In addition, Carleas points out the fundamental duty of the government, legally, which is to inform the public.

I intend to make Carleas abreast of some negative short-term effects which make not informing the public the superior course of action.

W.C.: My teammate, W.C., points out that it is not appropriate to throw ethics completely out the window simply because we know the end is coming. W.C. also believes that people, by and large, will live happier lives not knowing of their imminent demise.

I intend to touch on a few of W.C.'s points, although, my post is designed to expand more upon Kawaki's premise as W.C.'s post is largely a counter to the majority of Carleas' points. A counter that I feel was already successfully made.

Smears: Smears' post is very well-founded and stresses two major issues. The first of which is that it will give people that are Christians the ability to go out in prayer, maybe repent their sins. The second point that Smears makes is that it will give the people of the world the opportunity to either finish business or party it up.

I intend to argue directly against Smears' post while furthering what Kawaki has said.

As Kawaki said, ignorance is bliss.

I would like to point out that denial is also bliss.

It has occurred to me throughout the course of this Debate that nobody has pointed out the most obvious aspect of this scenario.

Nothing has changed.

The one thing that we have now is a timeframe, we know that humanity as well as the Earth will only exist for seven more days. Consequently, every individual human that inhabits the Earth will exist (at most) for seven more days. In short, we are aware that we are each going to die, but that changes nothing. Even if the Earth were not going to be destroyed within the next week, every individual human on this planet is going to die anyway.

My opponent's have seemed to post under the impression that the majority of the individual's inhabiting this Earth were not already aware they are going to die.

Smears points out that this seven-day forewarning would give individuals the opportunity to get right with God, in fact, it may give some the opportunity to convert to Christianity and get saved. I presume the reason for salvation is so that after all of these people die they can live peacefully in Heaven, though Smears did not explicitly state this.

The cheap and dirty argument here is to simply point out that not Smears, nor any other team member of ILP can prove God's existence and if God does not exist, this last moment of prayer or epiphany would accomplish exactly nothing.

However, in a Debate such as this, it is better to take the high road and view your opponent's argument in the most favorable light, so let us argue from the standpoint that the Christian God and Jesus exist as generally accepted.

If that is true, then Smears does have a point that it will give all individuals that are currently Christians the opportunity to have a last moment of prayer before the end of the world. However, since we must accept God as all-knowing, then God will be aware if all of the Christians are repenting of their sins ONLY because they know that they are about to die and will take action accordingly. Additionally, if people decide to turn in their Pascal's Wager card at the last minute and have a timely, "Epiphany," I would suggest that God might not look upon that favorably either.

Smears goes on to give us some excellent scenarios of all of the good that can be done if people are given the knowledge that we have only one week to survive. Smears speaks of the poor getting on cruise ships so that they can eat themselves sick for a solid week. I am very interested in figuring out when there is only a week left to live, who is going to volunteer to go down into the engine room of a cruise ship and shovel that coal into the burner to keep the ship going. I am equally interested in who is going to volunteer to take time away from family and friends to navigate the ship, to captain the ship, to clean up messes and cook this food so people can live in luxury.

Smears speaks of all of humanity acting in the most rational way so all of the poor of the Earth can be fed and die with big fat happy bellies, if only people will, "Act rationally," and pull together for that one week.

That won't happen.

First of all, if humanity acted as rationally as possible in every single circumstance, there would be nobody going hungry right now as we have enough wealth and goods that we could feed every single person on Earth. There is some Debate as to whether or not enough food exists at any given point in time to even feed all of the Earth at any given time, but using the United States as an example, surely we have enough resources to feed all of our own, but we do not feed all of our own countrymen.

Consider this, the United States is the leading exporter of soybeans, maize (corn), wheat and prepared food. In 2004, we exported 21,287,338,000 dollars worth of just the aforementioned goods, yet our own people in this country go hungry.(1)

In some of our own households, while there are homeless and destitute living nearby, some of us throw away what is left on our plates if we are done eating and no longer hungry. Restaurants throw away unfinished dishes while a homeless war veteran lay doubled-over in pain on a frost-covered street from hunger pains.

That's the human idea of behaving rationally.

Besides, how will this food be distributed to the poor? I imagine that most people if they know the world is going to end in a week are not going to go to the grocery store and stock shelves. I strongly doubt that the guys at the distribution centers are going to go into work so that the trucks can deliver this food all over various countries. I doubt that all of the high school kids working at McDonald's (a job many probably hate) are going to go into work and flip burgers for people, especially knowing that they are about to die and will be unable to use their checks for anything anyway.

Certainly, a few people will try to help others, but by and large, all distribution of goods will simply cease. As a result, more people will starve than there would have been if the masses were not aware of their impending death.

Smears mentions all of the world's drugs that would have to be done, but again, there is the matter of distribution. People that know they are going to die are simply not going to take the precious few moments of their lives that they have left and take drugs to everyone for a profit (assuming it is a sale) that they can't really use for anything anyway because nobody is working anywhere! Naturally the people that already have drugs will be able to use what they have, but even many of these people will run out of drugs (and since nobody is distributing drugs because they deem there to be no point) as a result, you have less people doing less drugs than what there otherwise would have been!

In short, all of these grand illusions of harmoniousness and continuity among all people of the Earth is nothing more than a dream and a perfect-world scenario. If it really was a feasible way to live, and if we (as humans) were really capable of completely pulling together and watching out for one another, then it would already be so.

According to Carleas:

"...Mass hysteria is only a bad thing because it slows productivity, it destroys infrastructure, it costs lives. In the circumstances as presented, these aren't considerations."

Carleas points out that any long-term consequences that would be derived from notifying the public do not warrant consideration because there is really no such thing as the long-term anymore, and I will concede that point to Carleas to an extent. Obviously, if everyone walking out on their jobs causes undue suffering in the way of stravation due to lack of food distribution (as indicated above) I would certainly consider that a consequence. One must also keep in mind that very few people will remain working for the utilities so there will be nobody to keep the heat/electricity/gas/water/air-conditioning/internet/cable or phone systems operational.

I do not want to dwell on this fact too much, but I would like to point out that without the Internet or phones people will not have the opportunity to say good-bye to loved ones that may be far away, which is the same as if the public were not notified at all. In addition, without the comforts mentioned above, despite the fact that people will live like it is the end, the comfort of living is dramatically decreased while suffering is increased and people that otherwise would not suffer do.

Carleas states above that mass hysteria cost lives is not a consideration and that is greatly disappointing to me. The loss of someone's life is not a long-term consequence of the mass hysteria that will take place, it is a short-term consequence. What three year-old little girl or little boy should see their father or mother be killed and possibly raped by people who have decided to throw civility out the window because it is the end. What father or mother deserve to lose their child to blood-thirsty murderers, or to see their children raped?

The fact of the matter remains that people will die that week that otherwise would have lived. People will go crazy when they realize that there is no more hope for humanity and many will be murdered, tortured and raped. There will be no more people working to guard the prisons and the inmates will inevitably escape and plague the streets with violence and hatred simply because they can.

Carleas states that the cost of lives is not a consideration, and I must disagree. Every moment, every second, Mr. Carleas, that the father or mother or daughter or brother or sister or son would have had with family that was lost because of the inevitable mass hysteria warrants consideration, and I think that everyone should know that.

On the other hand, there is one long-term consequence that does not warrant consideration and that is the government of the United States of America failing to inform its citizens of the impending tragedy. What difference does it make if the U.S. government fails to inform the citizens?

1.) Informing the public does not change the fact that everybody dies.

2.) If the public were to (for some reason) find out and revolt against the government it would make no difference because if the government were to tell the people, the collapse of societal structure is inevitable anyway. That, and everyone still dies when time expires.

3.) The Declaration of Independence guarantees us certain unalienable rights and among those rights are, "Life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness," it is the opinion of Team ILO that the most important duty of the Government is to protect these rights and to protect its citizens. I would think that looking out for the ultimate welfare and livlihood (what short livlihood is left) of the citizens, a concept that represents the very foundation of this country would easily take precedence over the relatively new Freedom of Information Act.

Ignorance is bliss.

The one constant that has kept humanity ever moving forward and all of the individuals of both this country and this planet progressing and co-existing to whatever possible extent we can is hope. Hope for our futures, hope for our children, hope for our friends and our families, hope that we can better ourselves.

Hope that we will live to see the next day, the next week, the next year.

If you tell all of the people of this planet that we will become extinct in exactly one week, the hope for the future is ripped from each and every human being walking this planet.

When you kill that hope, you have killed all of humanity exactly one week before its time.

Is living it up, doing the drugs, having sex with the women, and in general, partying hard until the last minute of the Earth's existence the more romantic option?


But then, romance has ever been cowled in blood.

(1) http://www.fao.org/es/ess/toptrade/trad ... ryear=2004

Good luck in both the remainder of this and the rest Debate. Please respond at your earliest convenience. As it relates to time, I suggest we opearte from here on out by gentlemen's agreement to post as soon as we reasonably can.
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Re: Judges' Debate Three

Postby Tab » Thu Mar 26, 2009 11:01 pm


Ps: Pav - stop stealing my lines. :o :D
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Re: Judges' Debate Three

Postby Tab » Fri Apr 03, 2009 11:07 pm

Last edited by Tab on Tue Apr 07, 2009 10:46 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Judges' Debate Three

Postby PavlovianModel146 » Fri Apr 03, 2009 11:30 pm

Gobbo posts the following verbatim:

Ok. Sorry it took me so long. I couldn't find the thread. Why is this called 'Judges Debate' anyways?

Alright, insofar as I can tell, Tab didn't present an argument, he just said 'No, we should do it my way' and cited a couple examples. So this should be easy.

Social Contract: The opposition is content, and lives with the ostensible knowledge that government lies to its citizens every single day, and yet they seem to have a problem with telling the truth for the end of the world? Why not? If you can live with a lie then I'm sure you can die with one.

Temporal Avatar: I have no idea what he's talking about with this, but again, if people are content, as most, if not all of us are, to live slave labor lives predicated on a giant lie of a society, then does the government owe it to the people to fulfill some gimminy cricket temporal....thing? No, they don't. Should they? No, they shouldn't.

Relief: Telling people that every single thing on our planet is about to die is about the opposite of relief. This point is... well it's pretty easy to make. Tab's stance that knowledge of the most final of deaths is somehow a relief would require more than just asserting it. My/our position is the logical default, and Tab hasn't appeared to back this claim up beyond simply saying it in words.

Glory in knowing: Here Tab's logic really breaks down, as the same people whom he thinks cannot handle being told to party, are somehow going to be able to "glorious" with knowledge of their imminent death. This seems unintuitive.

Closing: Tab appears to be chasing after some notion of glory, but what he doesn't realize is that the same human flaws he's using as a reason not to tell people the truth are going to be the same human flaws with prevent glory should they be told the truth. The truth, manifested in today's world, would spark an instant wave of nihilism which would see our last galactic blink as a putrid violence filled expulsion of a diseased animal. If we are after glory, as Tab seems to be after, then we must orchestrate it.

I agree, we should aspire for glory. But our species' entire history is based on lies and deception. If we want glory we gotta orchestrate it ourselves.

ILP, whenever you've got a minute. :wink:
"Love is the gravity of the Soul" - Abstract -/-/1988 - 3/11/2013 R.I.P

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Re: Judges' Debate Three

Postby Xunzian » Mon Apr 13, 2009 9:45 pm

Deepest apologies for the delay. Life has been rather hectic and because of that, I forgot to look in the Debates section. I am truly, truly sorry.

It is interesting, looking back through history, at which ideas have survived and become popular and which ideas fade away into obscurity. In the religion forum, I often talk about how powerful and appealing an idea 'the afterlife' is and religions which incorporate a fully-fleshed out idea of an afterlife tend to beat the crap out of religions which do not in terms of conversion and long-term survival. But the afterlife isn't singular in this regard, indeed, the notion of an afterlife is almost always coupled with some form of millennialism. Look for the trend and it becomes obvious, Christian millennialism has re-asserted itself time and time again within its sphere of influence. The Buddhism millennialism that lead to the Hongwu Emperor and the Ming Dynasty. Pure Land Buddhism and its influence on Japanese history. Zoroastrianism and its thousand-year cycles. 2012 and Time-Wave Zero. Many different forms, but given their prevalence it seems fairly obvious that there is a part of the human psyche that revels in this idea, that yearns for it.

Tab fleshed out why this is. Human beings are creatures of habit. That is, given a sufficient number of times being exposed to a particular set of stimuli, we cease to respond differently to said stimuli. Since this process is not rational or conscious, it also means that we don't really have a choice in the matter. So, what do people do? They are responsible, they save up for tomorrow, they delay some transient joy in the now for the promise of some greater joy in the future. But it is always today, we are trapped in the now. So if we habituate ourselves to delay gratification (as all of us do on some level) until some later date, that later date never arrives. Zeno's paradox has some troubles from a logical perspective, but in terms of our temporal existence it is a fine metaphor and we are locked in. Millennialism frees us from this trap, it breaks the cycle of habit we've forced ourselves into and makes us truly live in the now, not the now with some promise of a tomorrow. That is liberation of the highest degree.

Just as Zeno's Paradox is a reductio ad absurdum so too are the arguments levied against Tab both as predicted by Pav and actualized by Gobbo. Is there a difference between dying tomorrow and dying eventually? Logically speaking, there really oughtn't be, especially since the time of death in the latter case is an unknown and may well be tomorrow or even right now. But it is. When an eighteen year old is drafted to war, they react with fear and terror precisely because of the difference in the proximity of death. When a man is held hostage and gunpoint and is sobbing, begging to be let go they do so because of the difference in the proximity of death. Not to channel Bentham, but I think that we do need some sort of a moral calculus to consider this situation. What is the difference, in terms of moral weight, between dying in a week and dying in a day? Is it more or less than dying in a week and dying after an average life-span is fulfilled? Or are those two statements equivalent? I'm inclined to say the difference between a week and a day is substantially less than the difference between a week and many years. On the face of it, that makes good sense because of the sheer quantity involved. Six days is a smaller unit of time than forty-years. Without resorting to absurdity, I am unaware of any reason why this shouldn't be.

Furthermore, we need to examine what our death means and compare that with what the death of humanity means. Many of the arguments in this thread seem to depend on a liberal conception of an unencumbered self. But I think Sandel and other communitarians have clearly demonstrated that an unencumbered self is a fantasy, a model that is occasionally used in philosophical conceptions but entirely out of step with the actual human experience. We are a member of a particular family, belong to certain communities, have a particular ethnicity, live in a certain location, and so on. All of these form a critical part of what makes us not just ourselves but human! Given that view of things, the delayed gratification view that has been discussed here need to be applied to those relationships as well. A while ago, an aged Frenchman walked up to an attractive friend of mine and shouted, "Hey, my little brussel-sprout, shake my hand!" while dropping his pants and revealing an erection. We laughed, the situation was absurd. Afterwards, she wondered how much of the strange actions which we associate with old age are due to senility and how many are due to precisely the sort of freedom we are talking about here. That old man will be dead soon, so what consequences apply to him and why ought he be dutiful? Why not just run around dropping your pants in public? But the encumbered self provides the answer to this question, that urge to be free is moderated by the knowledge that one's actions could bring shame and censure upon elements of your encumbered self. Senility provides an effective excuse for a relaxation of many of the standards held by those elements but not all of them. So we aren't just delaying gratification for our tomorrow, but for tomorrows which we will never experience but will be influenced by our actions.

None of that applies to the current situation. There is no future to any of the encumbered elements of ourselves either. The bonds are broken, rendered senseless by the oncoming destruction. Which is precisely why millennial movements tend to be associated with great social changes. The old encumbered elements are rendered moot by the coming end of the world and so people can act in accordance with their own conscious and desires as opposed to the conscious and desires society creates for them. The Japanese have the twin concepts of "tatemae" and "honne" or "reality as you are expected to believe it is" and "reality as you personally believe it is". In Japanese culture, neither of these are given preference, they are both equally valid representations of reality. Whether or not we want to admit it, that doesn't just apply to Japan. Rituals vary from culture-to-culture but certain elements are universal. When your Grandmother gives you a crappy sweater, you'll tell her that you love it. And in doing so, you've guaranteed that you'll receive another crappy sweater next year. But if the world is about to end, honne is all that is left. That is the liberation we are talking about!

So, the question is ultimately about courage. Courage on behalf of the people of the world and of the government. Do the people have the necessary courage to face the unbearable lightness of unadulterated honne and do the governments of the world have the courage to allow people to experience it? Since this debate deals with oughts, the latter consideration is moot and we are left with the former. Which brings us right back to where we started: Millennialism. People have created this situation in their mind, fabricated it whole cloth, and reveled in it many times throughout history. So of course they have the courage, the gall.

The question is also about who we are. Given the end of the world, we become unencumbered self because continuity, a vital component of an encumbered self, no longer holds. Honne is closer to the liberal conception of the self, and given its rudderless nature and the flights of fancy to which we are all accustomed, a pure-Honne conception of the self is what Hume thought the self was. New second, new Hume. New fancy, new self. Nothing holding anyone back. People say "what about the trauma of a child forced to see their parents murdered?" Well, in the current world many people are already exposed to that. But the traumatic nature of the event is there because of the encumbered relationship between parents and children. While a pure-Honne self would be sad for a moment, they are drinking booze and having a blood orgy themselves. No disconnect, no shame, no reason. Things can't be judged as 'good' or 'bad' from such a limited perspective, everything becomes a matter of taste and tasting. I, and the people at ILP, think it would be best to let people indulge their tastes. Besides, given the moral calculus, it doesn't matter anyway.

So the question is: do we go out with a bang or a whimper? I think humanity deserves a big, proud bang. An exclamation point at the end of a very good run. Are you secretly jealous of that aged Frenchman I mentioned earlier? Do you wish you could be that free, even if only for a moment? Why not allow us to indulge that wish?
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