The Instigator
brian_eggleston
Pro (for)
Winning
9 Points
The Contender
Chrysippus
Con (against)
Losing
7 Points

It's time to make zoologists clear up the monotreme mess they've made

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 3/10/2011 Category: Science
Updated: 6 years ago Status: Voting Period
Viewed: 2,221 times Debate No: 15294
Debate Rounds (2)
Comments (11)
Votes (4)

 

brian_eggleston

Pro

The so-called "duck-billed platypus" (or "duck-mole" as it is sometimes called in its native Australia) has inhabited this planet for at least 166 million years – much longer than any species of bird, living or extinct {1,2}, so it would surely be more appropriate to simply rename this venomous, semi-aquatic, egg-laying, beaver-tailed, otter-footed, shovel-faced, electroreceptive, monotreme mammal "platypus" (since it is the sole living representative of its family Ornithorhynchidae and genus Ornithorhynchus, it cannot be confused with any other species of platypus) and then rename "ducks"; "platypus-billed waterfowl".

The word "duck" could then be exclusively employed in the sense of ‘to quickly lower the head or the body in order to avoid a missile'. {3}

This measure would be very helpful in avoiding injuries caused as the result of the current dual-meaning of the word "duck". For example, dangerous confusion could easily arise if you happened to be walking past a duck pond as some in-bred clod-hopper attempted to bring your attention to a cruise missile travelling at supersonic speed in your direction, precisely at head height.

Therefore, for the avoidance of any confusion in the meaning of the word "duck" and in order to accord the misleadingly-named "duck-billed platypus" the dignity its superior heritage over its avian namesake it deserves, I duly affirm that it's time to make zoologists clear up the monotreme mess they've made and have them officially rename "ducks"; "platypus-billed waterfowl".

Thank you.

{1} http://www.timesonline.co.uk...
{2} http://evolutiondiary.com...
{3} http://english.oxforddictionaries.com...
Chrysippus

Con

The so-called "duck-billed platypus" (or "duck-mole" as it is sometimes called in its native Australia) has inhabited an inhospitable, God-forsaken, barren, and uninviting desert island in the hardest to reach part of this planet for much longer than any species of bird, living or extinct, has any business expecting to live there. It has virtually no impact on human life, other than providing examples of things zoologists ought to have had more imagination naming. It would surely be more appropriate to simply ignore this venomous, semi-aquatic, egg-laying, beaver-tailed, otter-footed, shovel-faced, electroreceptive, monotreme mammal "platypus" (since it is far less harmful than its close cousin, the modern politician), and then give them as wide a berth as possible. It might be wise to go so far as to make all of Australia a wildlife preserve, so as to protect humans from this bloodthirsty chimera.

Some might object to this plan on the grounds that it would make Australia closed to human habitation. I humbly submit that this would merely be legal recognition of that fact. The number of deluded souls who insist on trying to live there and who would have to be displaced is minimal, considering the area; a mere 0.317% of the world's population.[1] A pair of amphibious Greyhound buses would handle the job easily.

So, having closed Australia to humans, and thus removed the last shred of claim platypi have on us, we can avoid the legal repercussions inherent in changing all of our kindergarten reading supplements from "D d Duck" to "P p Platypus-billed waterfowl."

My worthy opponent submits that "duck" is used homonymously for the word, "to avoid a supersonic cruise missile by inclining the head." And he is correct in this. However, I put it to our kindly readers: How often has this scenario occurred to you? Have you or any of your loved ones ever had occasion to say, "I shall now duck to avoid being hit by the Soviet-built Kazakhstani-fired supersonic cruise missile flying at my head whilst I take a bucolic stroll round the old duck pond?"

I contend, with all due respect, that they have not.

The sentence would be cut short, to a mere "I shall-", as in that one second the missile, traveling at mach 4, will have covered 4466 ft, [2] and the duck pond will now be slightly larger. Also empty, but that does not concern us here. The point is, they would not even get the chance to say the word,"Duck." We can safely take out that extra meaning of the word from our dictionaries, and no-one will ever notice.

Finally, my opponent makes a terribly misguided remark about platypi and deserving dignity. I assume that he has in fact seen a platypus, as he did post a video of one singing just now. I leave this grave lie to his conscience.

C.

1. http://www.wolframalpha.com...
2. http://www.wolframalpha.com...
Debate Round No. 1
brian_eggleston

Pro

With many thanks to Chrysippus for accepting this challenge, I should like to congratulate him on his splendid proposal to de-populate Australia and turn the whole caboodle into one giant wildlife park.

Hang on a second, though: where will all the Aussies go? Australia is a former penal colony and the Australians are the direct descendants of convicts that were transported there from Britain for stealing bread, poaching pheasants, trespassing on the estates of the landed gentry and other heinous crimes: Britain doesn't want them back; our prisons are packed to the rafters already.

And what about the Aborigines? The European settlers have only been in Australia for a couple of hundred years or so, but the Aborigines have inhabited Australia for at least 60,000 years: they are as much a part of the landscape as kangaroos, koalas and kookaburras; but perhaps my opponent considers these ‘savages' to be part of the native Australian wildlife and will allow them to remain? Maybe he would be good enough to clarify this point?

Now, moving on to the plurality of the word "duck", my opponent seemed dissatisfied with the necessity of removing the ambiguity of the term in my slack-jawed yokel / village pond / ballistic missile scenario so I shall provide another.

You at a table in a Chinese restaurant with some friends waiting patiently for your orders to be taken. The waiter is at a nearby table dealing with a rather irascible looking gentleman and you overhear their conversation.

The customer says to the waiter "This chicken is rubbery" and the waiter replies "Ah! Thank you velly much!" then comes over to your table to take your orders.

Your friends reply in turn "pork"; "beef" and "chicken" when you spot the (now furious) diner from the other table approach the waiter from behind wielding a chair and you realise that he is about to swing it at the waiter's head so you shout "duck" – but instead of taking avoiding action the waiter just says "Peking duck, or crispy aromatic duck, sir?" just before he gets bludgeoned to the floor by the aforementioned item of restaurant furniture.

Now, that would never have happened if the dishes on the menu were ‘Peking platypus-billed waterfowl' and ‘crispy aromatic platypus-billed waterfowl' would it?

And this inappropriate naming of animals is not confined to platypus-billed waterfowl, by the way. For example, the so-called ‘bat-eared fox' would be more correctly named the ‘fox-bodied bat' and the prairie dog isn't a dog at all, it's a rodent, but that's for another debate.

In the meantime, I will confine myself to the issue of the platypus-billed waterfowl misnomer and reassert that it's time to make zoologists clear up the monotreme mess they've made.

Thank you.
Chrysippus

Con

It is always a pleasure matching wits with my worthy opponent Brian Eggleston; but as I only have 2,897 characters left and an infinite amount of information to impart, I beg his indulgence for dispensing with further friendlinesses. I'm sure he understands.

All the Ozlings, Aborigine or European, are included in my deportation plan. Modern science has permitted the Aborigines human status for at least twelve years now, after all; one must move with the times. At this rate, even lawyers and publicity agents may be accorded human status someday.

I understand that shipping these ex-cons and their descendants to another country is necessary but impolitic; many countries would consider the sudden arrival of a few thousand Aussies an act of war on Britain's part. I therefore humbly suggest you pick a country that is unlikely to react in a military manner; France comes to mind.

Considering the example of the chair, I find myself compelled to point out that this sort of thing would not happen to my opponent if he attended more reputable establishments. This, however, is related to the age-old question: If a tree falls on a mime in a forest, and there is no one around to hear, does he make any noise? The connection is tenebrous, though; a word which here means "too complicated and unlikely to be explicable in the remaining 1637 characters."

Some voters will object to my answering my opponent case-by-case like this; there's always another scenario, they'll say. What about x?

Blast x, I say; figure it out yourself. I'm busy.

So, the chair. Not to worry, MWO; the waiter is in no appreciable danger. In this question, as in so many others involving finance or the way women think, the answer is provided to us by theoretical mathematics.

You see, time is a human construct, a sequential ordering of an infinite series of states of the universe; "freeze-frames" if you will. Every action takes place along a "vector," a mathematical line connecting an infinite number of infinitesimal points. This means for every action there are an infinite number of universal states in which the action has not yet been completed, and only one in which the chair meets the top of the obstruse waiter's head. The chair will literally take forever to reach the waiter, during which time the waiter can easily dodge, and may even have time to bring out your food. The latter has a rather low probability though, 15.3%, so don't get your hopes up too much.

Even if the chair defies Zeno's paradox and insists on clunking the server, you can enjoy your meal in the assurance that the waiter has had it coming to him for an infinite number of universal states of being.

This neatly removes the problem, not just of warning waiters, but literally of every instance in which you might be tempted to use the word "duck" to mean anything but "a bread-eating perfesterous waterfowl."

Thank you.

C.
Debate Round No. 2
11 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by Puck 6 years ago
Puck
I've never heard it being called a duck mole ...
Posted by bloodsnhall 6 years ago
bloodsnhall
LOl that was great.
Posted by Thaddeus 6 years ago
Thaddeus
This is hard... They both presented such compelling arguments
Posted by Chrysippus 6 years ago
Chrysippus
I believe I deserve a little credit for invoking Zeno's Paradox in a debate about platypi. I will now applaud myself, briefly.
*clap*

Thank you.

Thanks, Brian, for such a mental debate. T'was great fun. :) ‘crispy aromatic platypus-billed waterfowl' takes the cake IMHO; it has a pleasantly bewildering resonance to it.
Posted by Chrysippus 6 years ago
Chrysippus
That's a fun song.
Posted by Chrysippus 6 years ago
Chrysippus
It's called talent.
Posted by Zealous1 6 years ago
Zealous1
"Just read his other debates, you'll see."

How does he even win that many debates with such funky ideas?
Posted by Chrysippus 6 years ago
Chrysippus
I didn't want to let this one get away; too good to pass up. I'll post something suitable tonight.

No, Zealous1, brian never makes jokes. Just read his other debates, you'll see.
Posted by Ore_Ele 6 years ago
Ore_Ele
Brian always has the best debates, lol.
Posted by brian_eggleston 6 years ago
brian_eggleston
What? Me make a joke? Never!
4 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 4 records.
Vote Placed by Udel 1 year ago
Udel
brian_egglestonChrysippusTied
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Total points awarded:30 
Reasons for voting decision: Pro says the term duck billed platypus is confusing because it closely resembles the name of another animal and phrase. Con says it doesnt matter because nobody cares about Australia. Con says because nobody he knows confuses the term, it's ok. And he says platipi dont deserve dignity. Pro says that Australia is after all important, and shows another instance where the term could be confusing. Con goes on to say that time is a human construct, and presents some argument about the Aborigines in Australia, but he does not contest Pro's point that Australia is important or more importantly the "duck" term could be confusing. So really he does not respond to Pro's main argument and Pro wins.
Vote Placed by socialpinko 6 years ago
socialpinko
brian_egglestonChrysippusTied
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Total points awarded:05 
Reasons for voting decision: Chrys' bit about infinite series of time and the like adequately showed that anyone would have more than enough time to 'duck'.
Vote Placed by Cliff.Stamp 6 years ago
Cliff.Stamp
brian_egglestonChrysippusTied
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Total points awarded:32 
Reasons for voting decision: Excellent offering by the good doctor, however it is not easy to beat Brian at his game (3 to 2).
Vote Placed by Nails 6 years ago
Nails
brian_egglestonChrysippusTied
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Reasons for voting decision: I see no objection raised in CON's last rebuttal to using the term "platypus-billed waterfowl" whereas the possibility of avoiding an ICBM or irrate diner (though CON may prove both are rather small) provide at least some justification for avoiding "duck".