The Instigator
BennyW
Pro (for)
Losing
7 Points
The Contender
Cliff.Stamp
Con (against)
Winning
12 Points

It is better to be paranoid than ignorant

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 3 votes the winner is...
Cliff.Stamp
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 4/27/2011 Category: Philosophy
Updated: 5 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 2,778 times Debate No: 16184
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (15)
Votes (3)

 

BennyW

Pro

I will argue that it is better to be paranoid than ignorant. First I would like to clarify exactly what I mean. When I say paranoid I do not mean paranoid to the level of violence. i would also like to say that I agree with the idea that ignorance is bliss, but it is only temporary and actually more detrimental in the end.

I will argue that someone who is paranoid is more preprepared than someone who is ignorant. That even if what they are afraid of never happens, however, if something bad does happen the ignorant man will be unprepared and so it will be the paranoid who survive.
Thank you and I look forward to the debate.
Cliff.Stamp

Con

Resolution : It is better to be paranoid than ignorant

Definitions
-----------

Paranoid :

1) exhibiting undue suspicion, fear of persecution, etc [1]

To be clear, paranoia is not a whimsical condition that one can sit back and observe and simply comment "oh, you so crazy".

Paranoia is one step away from a complete psychotic break such as schizophrenia[2]. It is psychotic behavior, it is a medical disease[3].

It is a break from reality where one perceives dangers which are not actually present and shelters themselves from the world in expectation from these imagined consequences.

Ignorant :

1) lack of knowledge of the thing specified [4]

Pro's argument to support the resolution is simply :

"if something bad does happen the ignorant man will be unprepared and so it will be the paranoid who survive"

Note the assumption "does happen", but again paranoia is not about being prepared for what could happen, it about having extreme and irrational fears, it is about unwarranted beliefs of persecution - it is not about considered what could happen, it is about retreating to an irrational fantasy. What is the disadvantage of not knowing about something which does not exist or could not happen?

Simply consider the following :

Bob's constantly imagines that people are out to get him so he closes himself off from all relationships. He will not use a cell phone as the men in black monitor all frequencies. He has to wear tinfoil underwear because the aliens are always sending out "semen waves" to destroy the ability of humans to procreate. He will only eat tomatoes because all non-red non-vegetables non-round foods cause cancer. He will not use the letter "e" because the Illuminati added "e" to English as by saying "e" it puts the mind into a state which can be easily subject to "brain control". Bob also only walks forward on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, because by walking in reverse four days of the week he can stop the "aging rays" that Bigfoot emits. And finally, Bob will only speak in lyrics from "Friday" because that song is actually a magic chant which drives the Thetans from the body.

Frank world consists of his friends, his family and his associates at work and the real and objectives challenges they actually face on a day to day basis. He is rational, he is secure, he seeks out relationships and challenges so he can grow and mature as a person.

In general, which individual is actually better prepared for the real world and the challenges so faced?

[1] http://www.thefreedictionary.com...

[2] http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov...

[3] http://my.clevelandclinic.org...

[4] http://www.merriam-webster.com...
Debate Round No. 1
BennyW

Pro

I thank my opponent for responding
While my opponent addressed the extreme effects of paranoia, he neglected to address the extreme effects of ignorance, implying that there is nothing of which to be ignorant.

Take a real life case. In the mountains in Idaho in 1992 there lived a family who was paranoid and thought the government was after them. It turns out they were right. The case is called the Ruby Ridge incident. The FBI trespassed on their property withoutproper warrant and murdered the guy's son and wife, and while the wife was holding their baby none the less. They had been stockpiling firearms. If they hadn't been doing that it may not have caught the government's attention, but as American citizens it was their right. [1]

I will take my opponent's analogy and for the sake of argument take it at face value.
"Bob's constantly imagines that people are out to get him so he closes himself off from all relationships"
This may not be the ideal life but perhaps he prefers to be alone, not everyone is an extrovert.

"He will not use a cell phone as the men in black monitor all frequencies." Actually this fear would be justified. The FBI uses the built in microphone in cell phones to spy on people as well as monitoring phone calls and tracing people's locations. [2] [3]

"He has to wear tinfoil underwear because the aliens are always sending out "semen waves" to destroy the ability of humans to procreate." Sure a bit uncomfortable but again a personal choice as are most of your other examples.

"He has to wear tinfoil underwear because the aliens are always sending out "semen waves" to destroy the ability of humans to procreate." This could be annoying to others but they would just simply avoid him.

"Frank world consists of his friends, his family and his associates at work and the real and objectives challenges they actually face on a day to day basis. He is rational, he is secure, he seeks out relationships and challenges so he can grow and mature as a person." However, he is clueless of actual dangers around him and so is careless and risks the life of himself and his family if something bad were to happen because he didn't take the proper precautions.

"In general, which individual is actually better prepared for the real world and the challenges so faced?" The paranoid man will be more prepared for any possible outcome while the ignorant man will be happy for the time being but be unprepared for disaster.

I hope to hear the rebuttal and further debate.

1 http://www.stormfront.org...
2 http://michael.cervieri.com...
3 http://blogs.abcnews.com...
Cliff.Stamp

Con

"Take a real life case. In the mountains in Idaho in 1992 there lived a family who was paranoid and thought the government was after them. It turns out they were right."

First, let us return to the definition of paranoia in the above, which is very specific to

"It is a break from reality where one perceives dangers which are not actually present and shelters themselves from the world in expectation from these imagined consequences."

Note clearly "not actually present". It is not paranoia to prepare for actual dangers or threats, it is only paranoia if such threats do not exist. As Pro has claimed "It turns out they were right." then in his own words, this is not an example of paranoia and it could be ignored - however does not reflect reality.

1) Weaver was charged with selling illegal weapons (two sawed off shot guns). He would not show up for court because due to his paranoia of the government and courts he imagined far more worse consequences and so instead of going to court and defending himself on any number of merits (entrapment for example) - he decided to ignore the law and barricade himself in his cabin, knowingly putting himself and his family in a situation where they now would face forced capture.

2) When he does not go to court the US Marshals go to apprehend him, they tried to negotiate for him to come out peacefully. He refuses again because of his paranoia, and he makes it clear that he will respond to any attempt to take him in with force. Again, his paranoia escalates the situation.

3) The US Marshals rather than have a forced entry at the cabin attempted to take Weaver outside in an ambush. This lead to a gun fight with both Marshals and members of the Weaver family killed.

4) There was a 12 day stand off at the cabin when the FBI were called in after the shooting of the Marshall.

If Weaver was not paranoid and simply co-operated with the law at any stage then he would have had to deal with the consequences of a charge of selling two sawed off shot guns (and then later refusing court orders, etc.) . It was because of his complete inability to see the reality of the situation and instead live in a deluded fantasy that he would not consent to the law until he had no choice and his cabin was surrounded by FBI and it finally became obvious to him that he had no choice but to surrender.

Now when he did surrender what happened, were any of his insane views justified, no, of course they were not - and if the man was actually sane then he would have reflected on all the death and conflict and realized this it was his paranoid delusions which caused the incident and had he just went to court for the charge of selling the two sawed off shotguns (which he never denied doing) none of what followed would have happened.

Simply consider the following, would society actually be a better place to live if people reacted to charges such as Weaver faced with the manner in which he did - of course it would not.

"The paranoid man will be more prepared for any possible outcome while the ignorant man will be happy for the time being but be unprepared for disaster."

Pro has offered no evidence for such aside from one case where a paranoid man and his delusions caused the death of member of his family and US Marshall's. A normal man, ignorant of any of the delusions would have simply faced the charges in a court of law.

How did being paranoid help Weaver - he wasted his time, effort and life being prepared for something which did not exist and it caused him to react to perceived threats, see dangers which do not exist and react in extreme ways escalating conflicts.

Again, paranoia is not something funny or amusing, nor does it help people be prepared, it is a medical condition whereby one has a break from reality and imagines non-existent threats are present and thus reacts to even minor situations in extreme ways due to false perceptions of threats.
Debate Round No. 2
BennyW

Pro

I thank my opponent for responding

First, let me present you with a poem by Martin Neomoller, one variation of the translation of the poem goes like this:
First they came for the communists,
and I didn't speak out because I wasn't a communist.

Then they came for the trade unionists,
and I didn't speak out because I wasn't a trade unionist.

Then they came for the Jews,
and I didn't speak out because I wasn't a Jew.

Then they came for me
and there was no one left to speak out for me.

Ignorance can be tied to apathy and the above poem shows the problem with this. Neomoller experienced firsthand what his ignorance had cost everyone around him. He sat idly by while the Nazis here making any excuse to take people away, by the time he started paying attention it was too late.

In regards to the Weavers, if they had abided by the law, they wouldn't have gotten as much trouble initially. However, they would have had everything stripped away gradually. How it ended up just proves that Randy Weaver was correct about the corruption of the government, if he had simply complied he may never have known and so they would be allowed to take other people's freedom until it is too late. If the government had been as benign as an ignorant person would imagine they would not have reacted as they did even if the Weavers were being uncooperative.
To deny that government corruption exists is to be ignorant. One example of such is the phone monitoring story I referenced previously. Most people go about their daily lives without a care in the world. Whenever bad things happen they just ignore it because it doesn't affect them.

When freedoms are taken away it is a gradual process so people so often pay o attention. However, when a major event such as Ruby Ridge occurs it opens people's eyes.
Most of the people in China are ignorant of what their government does, and unfortunately it is made even harder do to mass censorship.

While my opponent keeps bringing up that paranoia is a fear of everything, I would like to remind him that ignorance is not caring or knowing about actual dangers.
A big issue is that perfectly rational people can be labeled paranoid by others who are ignorant. While someone could be perfectly justified in their beliefs, society can paint them as paranoid.
If it weren't for paranoid people we would never know about the Japanese internment camps, the mafia, MK Ultra and many other things once considered conspiracy theories. [1][2]

I thank my opponent for debating me and look forward to his closing statements.

1 http://conspiraciesthatweretrue.blogspot.com...
2 http://www.sixwise.com...
Cliff.Stamp

Con

In closing I will respond to a few comments and then repeat and affirm the opening position.

"Ignorance can be tied to apathy and the above poem shows the problem with this."

Ignorance is in no way tied to apathy.

We live in a time where even the most ignorant of us has an education and general wealth of knowledge that had we lived even a short time ago we would have out shined intellectual giants. Just consider now that even high school students now learn advanced mathematics which allow them to solve problems that stumped recent genius polymaths such as Issac Newton.

It is a simple fact of modern life, and will be only more so in years to come, that we have to choose more and more the things which we set aside and are ignorant of and those areas we focus on and excel, again it is just a consequence of the vast amount of knowledge that we have discovered as a species.

Thus ignorance is just a choice, it is a rational, reason and informed choice. Just as a modern lawyer will focus and excel in one area, and you don't ask a local civil residential construction lawyer to defend you in an international criminal trial - everyone has to choose what they will learn and what they will abandon, or otherwise live in a state where they are infantile about almost everything - hardly productive.

"In regards to the Weavers, if they had abided by the law, they wouldn't have gotten as much trouble initially. However, they would have had everything stripped away gradually."

A wonderful assertion, but is there any proof?

As a counter example, had I been pulled over by the cops and arrested for selling two sawed off shot guns then I would have not resisted and simply followed procedure. Once released I would have called a few friends of mine, one of which is a senior associate in an international law firm, another is very well experience in gun laws as an owner and international sport shooter (over 30 years of shooting) and another who has a substantial share in a local newspaper.

With this only partial list of close associates I would have prepared for and defeated any trumped up charges (minimized the consequences of any real ones) and through other extended friends been able to handle any consequences to my career/family while under taking this defense. And I have this rich circle of friends because unlike Weaver who retreated from society because of a paranoid fear of a coming apocalypse I embrace it and have a stable and functional social network.

"How it ended up just proves that Randy Weaver was correct about the corruption of the government."

Again, just an assertion without proof.

What actually happened when he did actually comply and use due process? He was able to take those individuals who acted unjustly, who are not the "whole government" (which was not out to get him), to task and demand compensation for being treated unfairly. That is what a rational person would have done right from the beginning, but Weaver was not rational, he was an insane paranoid delusional man who endangered himself, his family and law enforcement.

"While my opponent keeps bringing up that paranoia is a fear of everything, I would like to remind him that ignorance is not caring or knowing about actual dangers."

Ignorance has nothing to do with not caring, note the definition noted in the OP.

I have no knowledge of the vast conspiracies of the type which dominated Weaver. I do not sit and consider all the people who could be out to get me, or conspiracies of any type. However, by the fact that I am sane, that I am rational, and that my lack of paranoia has allowed me to create a rich and strong social network of friends, colleagues and associates - I am in a far better position if an actual danger does surface than an insane paranoid like Weaver.

In closing being paranoid is a type of insanity, it is a break from reality where one devotes a substantial part of ones life to preparing for imaginary dangers. This becomes such a consuming part of the life of such people that like Weaver they exclude themselves from society and if even a minor stress comes into their lives they imagine apocalyptic threats and as they have no one to turn to they retreat further and lash out even at the people who are trying to help them, such as the people trying to mediate a peaceful solution with Weaver. This is in no way helpful, it creates dangers where they do not exist.
Debate Round No. 3
15 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by Cliff.Stamp 5 years ago
Cliff.Stamp
There are many methods of estimation such as historical.
Posted by BennyW 5 years ago
BennyW
I know this is a late response, anyway, how can probability be determined if it has not yet been tested?
Posted by Cliff.Stamp 5 years ago
Cliff.Stamp
`it is better to be paranoid` (7-point vote bomb)

I can definitely see a visit from Jason Bourne in your future.
Posted by Cliff.Stamp 5 years ago
Cliff.Stamp
Probability of actualization is the standard in risk analysis.
Posted by BennyW 5 years ago
BennyW
I think what I mentioned is justified fear, but what is the line between justified and non-justified fear?
Posted by Cliff.Stamp 5 years ago
Cliff.Stamp
Yes, then argue that this protection is not justified and can be classifed as paranoia - that would take some doing though, especially for minors who are a real target of pedophiles on the internet.
Posted by BennyW 5 years ago
BennyW
I just thought of something it would have been good for me to bring up in the debate but didn't think of it. Why do you not put all your personal information online? I think too many people put too much information online but could that be seen as mild paranoia? If you think of it as a spectrum with paranoia on one and ignorance on the other.
Posted by Cliff.Stamp 5 years ago
Cliff.Stamp
Same thing, not nearly as severe, he did not have visions but would be overcome with extreme positions on trivial matters.

He once walked away from a very critical industrial project because he noted refuse along the side of the road on the way to work. He became convinced that he could not continue without dealing with this and thus spent days on it.

I discussed these things with him later and he can not even recall why he had to do it, the best he could come up was vague comments like he just felt he had to do it, there was no way he could live without it, like a crushing pressure that something would happen if he did not do it.

In more advanced cases they will invent elaborate and detailed justifications, and yes, even entire people who do not exist. As far as I know, there is no cure.
Posted by BennyW 5 years ago
BennyW
That kind of reminds me of A Beautiful mind.
Posted by Cliff.Stamp 5 years ago
Cliff.Stamp
I lived with a paranoid schizophrenic when I was in my mid twenties. He was a brilliant chemist, well respected, excellent career - and then he started having extreme delusions. Within months he was a shut in, rarely left a small two bedroom house, could not hold down a job and was surviving on disability. He was on medication to control the worst of it but it left him in a state of apathy. I was teaching first year physics at the time, just after graduating and on occasion would discuss issues the students would have and of course his knowledge at the time, especially practical as he had worked in the private sector was immense. It was a sad thing to watch.
3 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 3 records.
Vote Placed by Freeman 5 years ago
Freeman
BennyWCliff.StampTied
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Total points awarded:07 
Reasons for voting decision: Counter to Brenavia's non-vote
Vote Placed by Brenavia 5 years ago
Brenavia
BennyWCliff.StampTied
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Reasons for voting decision: it is better to be paranoid
Vote Placed by XimenBao 5 years ago
XimenBao
BennyWCliff.StampTied
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Total points awarded:05 
Reasons for voting decision: Pro would have had a much better debate if he had actually debated the proposition instead of "government = evil" and avoided so much argument by assertion. As the debate occurred, it didn't seem like Pro had a solid handle on what paranoia was and seemed to treat it like distrust of government rather than a mental illness, which made Con's job too easy. Minus 1000 sourcepoints for using stormfront as a legitimate source of information; reprinted article or not, I can't trust its fidelity.