The Instigator
1stLordofTheVenerability
Pro (for)
Tied
14 Points
The Contender
RoyLatham
Con (against)
Tied
14 Points

Resolved: World Peace and Harmony will never be reality.

Do you like this debate?NoYes+0
Add this debate to Google Add this debate to Delicious Add this debate to FaceBook Add this debate to Digg  
Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 6 votes the winner is...
It's a Tie!
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 11/10/2010 Category: Society
Updated: 6 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 5,387 times Debate No: 13609
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (23)
Votes (6)

 

1stLordofTheVenerability

Pro

Greetings to my opponent and good luck,

The resolution is that the World will not ever realize total peace and indubitably not harmony until the "Great Millennium" described in the Bible. My opponent will assume the burden of the proof, since currently the world does not realize world peace.

1. The Bible prophesies very clearly that World Peace will not become reality until the second "Return of Jesus".

2. Every major power has fought eachother throughout history, and the past hundred years have been no exception. Currently, major powers are too concerned of nuclear war and economical failure.

3. Two Great World Wars have consumed portions of the world. Current events, trends and even population theories predict that a Third World War is unavoidable. Economies will crumble without the benefit of wartime.

4. Nations' leaders are avaricious and wish only to benefit their own nation. Creating lasting world peace will be impossible in this political background. Also, developing nations tend not to align themselves with competing countries.

5. The one uniting organization lacks the power and ability to orchestrate world peace. It has failed until now, and will continue to flounder about while compiling debt.

Thanks for accepting and may we have an enjoyable debate.
RoyLatham

Con

This is a very interesting topic because it embraces several aspects of logical analysis that we don't ordinarily encounter in debates. Also, as Yogi Berra pointed out, "It's tough to make predictions, especially about the future."

We all know that predictions cannot be made with certainty, and it would be ridiculous to expect either side of this debate to argue that their prediction would come true with certainty. I interpret the resolution as meaning "It is more probable that world peace and harmony will never be reality than that it will."

We must also define "peace and harmony." Pro's arguments 2 through 5 all refer to war. That leads to my taking "peace and harmony" to mean "free of wars and organized armed conflict." It does not mean that there will be no disputes among peoples or no violent crime or no kids yelling at each other on playgrounds.

1. Let's suppose that peace and harmony are achieved 500 years from now. What will Christians say about the Biblical prophesy that it could not be achieved? They might say: (a) "it might seem that we have peace and harmony, but actually we don't, because war will come again as the Bible says;" (b) "the peace and harmony of which the Bible speaks is an inner peace of the spirit that is not yet achieved;" or (c) "Jesus has in fact returned, but it is as a spirit that permeates the world rather than as a physical manifestation." The prophesy will never be deemed to have failed, only what was prophesied will be variously interpreted to match the circumstances that prevail.

There is list of sixteen failed Biblical prophesies posted at http://faithskeptic.50megs.com.... For example, with reference to the list, the Old Testament says that the end of the world was near and that a high priest alive at the time would see it happen. It appears to some of use that the world did not end. However, I have no doubt that Believers have an explanation. If so, Biblical prophesies are useless because one cannot tell before the fact what they really mean. However, if Pro grants that only some prophesies are true, then we are better off relying on the facts at hand rather than on Biblical prophesy.

2. Pro claims, "Every major power has fought each other throughout history, and the past hundred years have been no exception." Pro's claim is false, because only some major powers have fought in the past hundred years, and the reasons why they have not fought are important. If we look back at the past 500 years of European history, for example, nothing seems more reliable than wars, particularly among Great Britain, France, Germany, and Spain in various combinations. Thus if we rely upon the historical pattern, we would predict that a war among these traditional competing powers is now due. But in fact, the possibility is remote. It's not impossible, but there is no sign of any pending conflict. If Pro's "past predicts the future" theory is true, there should be.

What has changed is that all of those European powers are now mature stable democracies. In the Far East, traditionally wars have been fought among Japan, Korea, and China. Now there is no realistic threat of war among Japan, Taiwan, and South Korea. Those are the democratic countries. The threat of war lies with North Korea and China, the authoritarian regimes. Democratic countries will go to war if attacked, threatened, or confronted by an authoritarian regime, but wars between two democratic countries are at most extremely unlikely.

3. Pro claims that, "Current events, trends and even population theories predict that a Third World War is unavoidable. Economies will crumble without the benefit of wartime." Current events have no bearing on "never." Trends are what count.

a. One trend is towards democracy. Very little of the world was under democratic governance a hundred years ago, and it is really only since WWII that the trend to democracy has been strong. Since 1975 the percentage of free countries in the world has risen from 27 to 46 percent, and unfree countries have declined from 41 to 24 percent. The remaining counties are partially free. http://en.wikipedia.org... Progress is greater than the data suggests; China, with its large population, is moving towards being partially free from being unfree.

b. Another trend is increasing prosperity. "In the modern age, we take for granted that the US will grow at 3.5% a year, and that the world economy grows at 4% to 4.5% a year. However, these are numbers that were unheard of in the 19th century, during which World GDP grew under 2% a year. Prior to the 19th century, annual World GDP growth was so little that changes from one generation to the next were virtually zero." http://futurist.typepad.com... Yes, there is a recession now, but it is actually not significant in the long term trend. "Global growth is projected to rebound in 2010 to 3.0 percent after falling sharply to just 0.5 percent in 2009 ..." The Great Depression did nothing to the trend. [ibid]

The upward trend in prosperity is driven by advances in technology and the growth of free markets. The pace of technology is accelerating due to its proven benefits, and the expansion of free markets to the advance of democracy and to it's economic benefits. China, for example, is expanding its free markets because of the economic benefit.

Prosperity means not only that individuals and nations are less likely to fight over resources, it means that people have a lot more to lose in wars. Modern china has much worth preserving and prospects of an improving lifestyle. they are less likely to risk that in a global adventure.

c. Another positive trend is increased global communication. The traditional way to war is for an authoritarian ruler to tell his people that the country is only kept safe by the ruler. That is the method of Kim in North Korea. That only works if there are no significant free sources of information. North Korea can keep its isolation, but China has an increasing struggle to suppress information flow. The trend is towards increased technology.

d. Population trends do not support Pro's claim. Prosperity is clearly outpacing population, and the rate of population growth is slowing. "United Nations projections (medium fertility scenario) indicate that world population will nearly stabilize at just above 10 billion persons after 2200." http://www.un.org...

e. Scientist Steven Pinker reports on the sharply downward trends in violence. "... a picture is taking shape. The decline of violence is a fractal phenomenon, visible at the scale of millennia, centuries, decades, and years. It applies over several orders of magnitude of violence, from genocide to war to rioting to homicide to the treatment of children and animals. And it appears to be a worldwide trend, though not a homogeneous one." We probably don't appreciate the reduction in violence because news reports bring us incidents of violence every day, but there is much less violence now than in any time in the past. We see the violence of the 9/11 attacks in which 3000 died, but we did not witness 30,000 soldiers die in the first hour of the Battle of the Sonne in World War I, and 1.1 million soldiers ultimately died in that single battle.

Pinker provides four possible explanation for this trend, all tied to the advance of society. [ibid] For one, all the news reports may be helping us realize life is not cheap.

4. Nations certainly want to benefit their people, but the mechanism for doing that is clearly through trade not war.

5. If Pro is referring to the UN, it is irrelevant. The trends that the UN does not control are bringing peace.

The world went through the Dark Ages and emerged to continue the climb towards peace. All the important trends are now positive. It's not certain, but chances are good.
Debate Round No. 1
1stLordofTheVenerability

Pro

Thanks for joining this debate, Roy. You have a difficult but more favourable contention, and thus far have provided an interesting argument.

I will start my briefly rebutting my opponent's assertions. Then, I shall elucidate further regarding my own points.

"Free of wars and organized armed conflict" is a satisfactory definition of "World Peace". I would also like to further this definition to proclaim that nations will not preside in tranquility with their neighbouring nations. Armed soldiers, border conflicts, terrorist concerns, stringent national security, national defense etc. will all remain absolutely essential.

Obviously people will dispute, crime will exist and violence will not cease. However, I believe that organized crime would fit within the resolution of this debate, since it plagues stability and directly influences many conflicts currently beleaguering nations.

1. My opponent raises a valid point regarding the interpretation of prophesies. Various people interpret the Bible due to their beliefs or knowledge. If peace appears to have been obtained, then people would truly question the prophesies and provide various excuses. However, Micah 4 is very clear, "Verse 1: In the last days... 3. He will judge between many peoples and will settle disputes for strong nations far and wide. They will beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks. Nation will not take up sword against nation, nor will they train for war anymore." [New International Version]. This doesn't seem open to interpretation, and does imply that war will continue until the specified time of the "Great Millennium". After this time, people's weapons will be discarded or modified, as peace will have been achieved.

Of course, the authenticity of the Bible does come into question, and I don't wish to spend much time on this issue, but will rather also move onto other points as my opponent did. I did find the exemplar that my opponent utilized, [Matthew 26] 63. "The high priest said to him, "I charge you under oath by the living God: Tell us if you are the Messiah, the Son of God."
64 "You have said so," Jesus replied. "But I say to all of you: From now on you will see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of the Mighty One and coming on the clouds of heaven."[e]
65 Then the high priest tore his clothes and said, "He has spoken blasphemy! Why do we need any more witnesses?"

I think it is very obvious that the "Faith Skeptic" is rather adept at distorting Biblical verses. My opponent has utilized this person's erroneous assertion to base a fallacious argument. I think the reader can determine that the verses do not reference the end of the world, but rather Jesus' proclamation that He is to die shortly thereafter and sit at the Right hand of the "Mighty One."

2. One hundred years ago it was 1911. Since then, the World has been consumed by two World Wars and the Cold War. Every world power involved itself in the first two conflicts, and the superpowers engaged in squabbling throughout the "Cold War." My opponent's statement is thence fallacious. "History Repeats itself" is an age old adage that applies in this situation. World War I commenced due to a variety of factors, including military build-up and International aggression. Currently, China is building its technological and militaristic power, and the United States is scrambling to retain status as, "The most powerful nation in the world." Those who subscribe for Popular Mechanics magazines may recently have read, "China's Secret War Plan," which reveals in detail the sophisticated weaponry available and the intent to invade Taiwan. Lagging behind these two new superpowers are an assemblage of nations preparing to make an account of themselves in the next conflict. Another aspect triggering World War I is that of military alliances. NATO is an alliance of some of the most powerful nations on earth; to counter NATO, South America, Africa and Asia have each discussed various military agreements - Russia and China have even negotiated to align themselves in the face of "American aggression". [1: http://www.en.rian.ru...] Democratic nations may be more stable, but governments still sanction war. Many Democratic African nations have aligned themselves against others in the past few decades. Russia declared war on Georgia in 2008 (War on South Ossessia).

3. Regarding my former point about population, two theorists in particular believe that over-population will result in continuous and devastating conflict. Malthus concludes, "Population must grow in a geometrical sequence, whereas agricultural growth and only increase numerically. This creates an unsustainable situation and will result in "Misery" - famine, disease and warfare." [3] Another theorist, Catton, has taught that the Earth's "Carrying capacity" has been exceeded by its population for many years, which will trigger drought and "disaster." If this theory has validity, then 2200 is far too long to wait for the population to stabilize. Right now, India, Brazil, Mexico and many African nations have extraordinary birth rates, and the only natural balance is the nation's mortality rate.

3b. Prosperity for whom? As of 2010, there are fourty nations with an annual Gross National Income per capita of under $900.00. That's a mere $2.46 daily. [4] Over a hundred nations (including Brazil, Mexico and Rwanda) have inadequate medical or sanitary facilities, and millions starve to death. Zimbabwe possesses one of the richest diamond mine concentrations in the world, yet most citizens are impoverished. Warlords and officials conflict over the natural resources.

e. "In the last decade, organized crime groups have expanded their dimension and activities worldwide and are
currently a global threat posing a concrete danger to the international community." [5] As long as religious dissent, terrorism, avaricious leaders and organized crime continue, there will be military conflict. One might not forget that if a warlord assumed control of a nation, what is to stop the aggressor from assaulting others? Due to limitation of space, I shall have to elucidate further in my next post.

Many nations, religious factions, ethnic factions or diabolical leaders intend to conflict for an undetermined amount of years, "Major Victory for Muslims is expected around 2022." [2:]http ://discoveringislam.org/history_repeats_itself.htm.] If the calculations described by this source are accurate, these people are even contemplating a Third World War by 2014.

Thanks.

3. http://scdsb.elearningontario.ca...

4. http://www.nationsonline.org...

5. http://www.uncjin.org...

http://www.barrybrumfield.com...
RoyLatham

Con

We agree adequately on the definitions. With organized crime, I think it depends on the magnitude of the problem as to whether it is contrary to "world peace and harmony." I'll will address the issue in due course.

1. I claim that Biblical prophesies are useless, because no matter what happens, believers will never admit the prophesies are wrong. We know that the meaning of the Bible is unclear. We know that Christians openly disagree on what the Bible says. Is the ideal for Christians set by Jesus, an ascetic preacher who wandered without family and died a martyr, or is it the family values model now embraced? That was argued for four centuries, and is still not completely settled. Is the Genesis account of Creation to be taken literally? Christians do not agree. Does the Bible advocate slavery? Once Christians agreed it did, now they agree it does not.

Pro argues that if peace and harmony came to prevail, Christians would admit the Bible was wrong. There is no history of Christians ever admitting the Bible was wrong, so there is no reason to believe they would start. They only degree on what the Bible means. If we had peace and harmony, there are numerous escapes: it's only temporary; the Bible meant "inner peace;" Christ returned in spirit. Pro sustains my contention by claiming that all the apparent errors found by skeptics are wrong.

There have been innumerable religious prophesies of doom. There were fifteen coming due in the year 2006 alone, most from Christians who believed the Bible was clear on the subject. http://www.religioustolerance.org... There were 42 predictions of the end of the world in 2000, the millennium year. The preponderance were Christian. http://www.religioustolerance.org... There is no reason to believe that any other prophesies concerning the end of the world are more clear or more accurate than the ones that have failed.

2. My point was that the trend to democracy really only began in earnest a hundred years ago. Pro argues that because there were two World Wars in the beginning of the 20th century, that is a good reason to believe future world wars are inevitable. It is not a good argument, partly because of the trends away from authoritarian regimes, and the trend toward less violence and greater universal prosperity. However, the fact that the Cold War ended peacefully is a very strong reason to believe that World Wars are not a continuing trend. During the time of the Cold War, many argued that world conflict was the inevitable result. It didn't happen. To understand why it didn't happen, one must turn to the reasons. The Soviets, both the authoritarian leaders and the people, realized that there was more to lose than to be gained by large scale conflict.

The Warsaw Pact was formed in opposition to NATO. That did not make another world war inevitable. Now that authoritarian nations are discussing another pact, that also does not make world war inevitable. this time around there are many more nations on the side of peace and democracy. The former Warsaw Pact nations are now on the NATO side. China is arming up to try to increase it's influence in the world, and no doubt if the US signals it is willing to give up protecting Taiwan, the Chinese may be inspired to invade. They are not going to invade the US, their biggest market. Similarly, Kim in North Korea might be crazy enough to think he can get away with trying to take it militarily. Neither scenario is impossible. However, even if such events happened, it would not reverse the long term contrary trends.

Pro seems to grant that democratic nations are more stable. I am not claiming that democracy has won or that peace and harmony have now been realized. I am claiming that the trends measured over centuries are in the direction of peace and harmony. Pro points to the Russian invasion of the Ukraine. Russia is still not a free nation, and they did invade a free nation. Pro claims that democratic nations in Africa have been at war, but e provided no evidence of that, and don't know of any. It's not impossible for democratic nations to war against each other, but it is at most rare and contrary to the long term trends.

3a, Malthus and Catton claimed that humans would outgrow the capacity of the earth to support them. (Pro gave a bad link to Catton.) I gave reasons why they were wrong: the population of the earth is now forecast to stabilize and not to grow without bounds as supposed, and technology has amply demonstrated its ability to keep ahead of population growth. Earth-is-doomed theory has said that technology would fall behind, but it has not. We are getting further ahead, with the general welfare rising rather falling.

There are two central issues: resources (like minerals and cropland) and energy. We only need about 50% more minerals and food until the population stabilizes and a combination or exploration, recycling, and new technology applied to agriculture and aquaculture make that readily achievable. Fossil fuels are running out, but in the long run there is no practical limit to harnessing solar energy in space, and we now have good alternative energy sources like nuclear and renewables.

Pro pointed to the vanishing band of earth-is-doomed types, but made no argument for their case.

3b. Pro argues that it is still true that not everyone is well-off. That is true, but it does not dispute my claim that even the poorest people are as whole much better off than they were fifty or a hundred years ago, and much better off than centuries ago. "Famine: A Short History" is most authoritative study of famine to date. The progressive newspaper "The Guardian" summarized, "This is why Cormac � Gr�da's latest book is so surprising. He is an optimist. According to him, famines are becoming less common. Even better: they will probably decline in frequency even further. Is it time to declare famine history? � Gr�da says 'yes'. This is a thesis not to be lightly dismissed. � Gr�da is a distinguished economic historian." http://www.amazon.com...

"... between the spring of 1959 and the end of 1961 some 30 million Chinese starved to death and about the same number of births were lost or postponed." http://www.bmj.com... Epic catastrophic famines occurred in Russia and India, taking tens of millions of people. Pro is comparing famine to "making less than $900 a year." That does not compare.

3c. Pro does not dispute the trend of increased global communication, nor that the trend supports peace an harmony.

3d. Pro does not dispute that the word population is likely to stabilize, and that this supports prospects of peace and harmony.

3e. Pro does not dispute the overall claim that violence is is down on a scale of both centuries and decades. He claims that organized crime is one factor contrary to overall trend. A rise in organized crime is characteristic of the end of authoritarian rule, notably in Russian and in some South American countries such as Colombia. Mexico is fighting organized crime to assert democracy. It is a symptom of transition to democracy.

Some radical Muslims may plan a world war. They may succeed in provoking some major conflicts, but it is unlikely that they could succeed in provoking the democracies into a world war, or that even the powerful non-democratic regimes in Russia or China. who have much to lose, would side with the terrorists. Rich Saudi backers of terrorist also have too much to lose.

4., 5. Pro does not dispute my contentions.

Pro's case fails because he fails to consider the long term trends of democracy, technology, prosperity, and non-violence. He claims the world has not changed, but it has. Peace and harmony are the likely consequence of the inevitable trends.
Debate Round No. 2
1stLordofTheVenerability

Pro

I can concede that it depends on the magnitude, but I also contend that all organized crime will eventually create conflict or friction.

Organized crime that operates today includes trafficking of illicit substances, trafficking of valuable gems, trafficking of children and young women, trafficking of weapons, organ trafficking, animal trafficking, theft, espionage, contract assassination, blackmailing, prostitution, fraudulence in various forms, political corruption, counterfeiting and much more. Every activity that an organized society such as the Costra Nostra engaged in will result negatively for lawful human society. Organizations that provide weapons and substances bolster war, rebellion, internal strife and militaristic operations. Terrorist and militant organization are directly equipped due to illicit activity - without them, how would any group be supplied with enough equipment to rebel? How would an organization obtain land mines, AK-47s, rocket launchers, grenade launchers etc.? How do corrupt politicians remain in office?

I think that the audience will recognize that as long as greed exists, so will those rapacious individuals, syndicates, businesses and politicians who wish to further their profits - by resorting to unscrupulous means. "Organized crime has taken on an increasingly translational nature, and with more open borders and the expansion of the Internet, criminals
endanger the United States not only from within the borders, but beyond." [1] "...organized crime is not just
increasing, but expanding..." (Pg. 23) One can safely assume that organized crime will continue for as long as structured society exists.

Terrorism is also increasing in both number of groups and in hazardous activity. [2/3] Many of the South American terrorist groups' agendas including establishing Marxist, Communist or totalitarian regimes. [4] If any number of them succeeded in the next hundred years, then my opponent's trends regarding the trends in Democracy would be refuted. In the 1950s, there were only a few terrorist organizations, but as of 2010, hundreds of organizations with members ranging from 100 to over an estimated 40,000 [4. Aum Supreme Truth, Japan ] have been noted by the CIA. As a further note, the Aum wishes to conquer Japan and then the world.

1. My opponent must concede that the source he utilized with the "Fifteen failed" prophesies are not failed but rather fallacies by an unknown individual with scant knowledge of the Bible. He then reinstates his former argument, which I have already refuted in Round 2. As to his new site, "Religious intolerance," which, I might add, is indubitably biased, refers to a series of non related incidences by eager individuals who aren't necessarily even knowledgeable but rather spend their available time conjuring correlations - such as those who correlate events in Lord of the Rings to the Bible. One must resort to incredulous explanations and theories to attempt to explain such things. Many believed by aligning a series of numbers and manipulating them as such that Hitler was the Anti-Christ - disregarding the facts that he wasn't born in Bethlehem, had never been pierced without breaking a bone etc. The Bible never predicts when the end times are to be, and it would be a folly to try while attempting to establish "authority" on the matter. "Perhaps, say some Christian scholars and leaders, but nobody can know, and those who pretend aren't reading the Bible closely enough.

"There's been a tendency, and it's not new to our century, by some Christians - and thankfully, it's a minority - who have tried to make detailed speculation and to calculate the end in spite of the fact that the Bible says that no one knows the day or the hour," said Dr. Vern Sheridan Poythress, a New Testament professor at Westminster Theological Seminary in Philadelphia. "The people I'm talking about know these verses, but it doesn't stop them from doing what the verses say not to do." [5]

2. I comprehend that Democratic trends have been increasing and can not refute - any devotee of history realizes this trend. In 1952, approximately 50% of the world was Democratic while 35% was Communist, 5% One Party and the rest of various forms of totalitarian governance. In 1982, approximately 35% of the world was ruled by multiparty Democracies, 35% by Communism, 20% by military juntas, 5% by One Party States and the other 5% by various other forms of governance. In 2010, over 63% of the world's populace is governed by Democracy. However, my opponent contends that Democracy brings stability and peace. [7] The world is at its highest point in history with percentage of populace ruled by Democracy - do we realize any semblance of peace? Nations still war. The United States alone is involved in over 27 active conflicts. Nations are less inclined to war, certainly, but they could never abolish it.

My opponent utilized a red herring and led the reader to believe that I was correlating the beginning of the 20th Century with the beginning of the 22nd. Not so. I was Very adeptly demonstrating that the circumstances igniting WWI are very similar to circumstances now. Alliances, arms race, tender International politics, International aggression, antagonists, even colonial territory that may spark a larger conflict. Almost every aspect to trigger a conflict is present - organized criminals or terrorist organizations could even provide the spark, as in WWI (would there not be anything worse than the President's children being abducted by a supposed Chinese Communist?).

" Pro points to the Russian invasion of the Ukraine. Russia is still not a free nation"

As a note, I referred to the War of South Ossessia. Ukraine is separated from Georgia and Ossessia by the Black Sea. My opponent seems not to comprehend the details of that conflict. Russia is, indeed, a Federal Republic; thought it may be corrupt, it is certainly a democratic nation, insofar as one utilizes the term, "Democracy." My opponent requests that I name a few conflicts in which Democratic nations have invaded another recently, "War in Somalia." The nation of Ethiopia, ruled by a Parliamentary Republic, invaded Somalia. Cote D'Ivoire proclaims to be a semi-Presidential Republic, and has clashed with France in recent years. Eritrea and Djibouti conflict regularly about their undetermined border. In fact, though it is unarmed, even Canada and Denmark (two unlikely nations) dispute the territorial control of a rock named, "Hans Island." Canada has even utilized its Navy to intimidate the Danish from sending their own warships.

"Pro pointed to the vanishing band of earth-is-doomed types"

I do not endorse their case, as demonstrated. I merely utilized that link to point out that a major Islamic conflict will likely be planned by radical forces by 2012. The link offers enough proof that the Quaran seems to endorse such action.

3b. Also, I did not compare famine to a poor standard of living - I indicated impoverished nations and people who live on less than $2.00 a day and depend on three shrimp daily to stave off hunger (Mission: Brazil).

My opponent also does not explain that global communications create an easier avenue for destruction. China is experimenting with internet jamming and warfare.

And I am out of characters. I have effectively refuted Con and exemplified that war is inevitable.

Thanks for perusing this debate. It has been interesting.

1. http://www.fas.org...

2. http://theindependentforum.blogspot.com...

3. http://www.dni.gov...

4. http://www.cdi.org...

5. http://www.sullivan-county.com...

6. http://en.wikipedia.org...(2006-2009)

7. http://users.erols.com...

8. http://www.livingtruth.ca...
RoyLatham

Con

Everyone who follows the news learns of terrorist attacks, wars, famines, and violent crimes. It's easy to suppose that these are worst times ever, or at last that civilization is incurably tainted. It takes some study to understand that the world is far better off than ever before, and that the positive forces are winning. A single battle in World War I cost 1.2 million lives. A great famine in China fifty years ago cost at least 30 million lives. Those horrors are vanishing due to the trends in technology, communications, and democracy. The future of human civilization depends upon identifying and tracking long term trends. On the timescale at issue --"never"-- the Dark Ages were a bump in the road.

Malthus predicted ultimate famine by observing that in his day the population was increasing geometrically while food production increased at best linearly and was limited by the amount of land available. Malthus was wrong because he did not see factors that would cause populations to stabilize and technologies that resulted in food production staying ahead of population. Malthusians as recently as fifty years ago predicted that population would outrun technology. It seemed like the end was near. It wasn't.

In this debate, I think that we have reached some agreement on certain long term trends affecting civilization: prosperity is increasing; technology and global communications are advancing; democracy and freedom are spreading; and the prevalence of violence is decreasing. Pro points to very recent trends of increased terrorism and increased organized crime. Those are serious problems, but Pro has not provided reasons why they will grow to doom civilization. Someone who lived at the time of Black Plague in Europe, which killed half the population, might have concluded with must greater evidence that the whole of civilization was doomed. Terrorism and organized crime are not remotely comparable to the Plague in severity, and it is a great mistake to think they will ultimately upset all the positive trends of peace, prosperity and democracy.

1. Pro has the burden to prove both that (1) his interpretation of Biblical prophesy is the correct interpretation, and (2) Biblical prophesy is true.

If peace and harmony were realized before the return of Jesus Christians would say that the peace and harmony were temporary, that it was spiritual peace the Bible was referring to, or that Jesus had in fact returned only in spirit rather than a way that is manifest. Pro rebutted that the Bible was clear and could not be mistaken, so Christians would acknowledge the error in the Bible, not suppose the Bible had a different meaning. The issue is then whether the Bible is clear and Christians agree on it's meaning. If in general there is no agreement on the meaning, then the prophesy would not prevent peace and harmony being achieved according to the definition adopted for this debate.

I claim:

a. Christians do not consistently agree on important issues covered by the Bible, like whether whether the Bible permits slavery or whether the ideal Christian should be a martyr or a mainstay of society. Therefore the Bible is characteristically subject to interpretation. Pro did not respond to this category of argument.

b. Other predictions in the Bible were falsified. Pro said that whoever pointed out the apparent contradictions was wrong. Thus while the Bible is clear to certain Christians, it is not clear to others, who mistake the interpretation.

c. Christians relied upon the Bible for predictions of doom that did not come true. Pro responded that those Christians had wrongly interpreted the Bible, thinking it was clear when it wasn't.

Throughout the debate, Pro provided no evidence that Biblical prophesies are generally true. If there was such evidence, the prophesies would be scientific fact, not matters of faith. Pro's contention is unproven.

2. Pro admits the trend towards democracy. Pro asks if we have any semblance of peace. In fact we do. I provided good evidence that violence is trending downwards, and has been doing so on time scales of decades, centuries, and millenia. We have not arrives at peace and harmony but the trend is evident.

Pro says that international antagonisms are still going on. What is different from the times of World War I is that thanks to technology people have much more to lose by war, and thanks to the communications and democracy people are aware of what they have to lose. For example, the authoritarian leaders of China have discovered that even a little bit of capitalism brings tremendous prosperity. They are transforming Shanghai and Beijing into great cites. They have a lot to lose, and just about everyone in China knows it. This mitigates strongly against wars. It isn't a guarantee; they might miscalculate and think they could seize Taiwan by force. Nonetheless the positive trends will continue because they cannot turn back the clock on technology or communications.

Pro play with the world "democracy." Yes, Russia has elections, and so do Cuba and Iraq. I reference the list of "free" and "unfree" nations, which made it clear I was not equating elections with democracy. The reference lists Russia as "unfree." They are moving in the right direction. My point was not that countries with elections avoid war, it is that mature free democracies avoid wars.

Pro's examples in Africa are similarly flawed. He cites Ethiopia's one-party "democracy" http://www.guardian.co.uk... warring against Somalia, which is ruled by undemocratic militant Islam, insofar as it is ruled at all. http://www.strategypage.com... The Cote D'Ivoire is semi-democratic and trouble with a civil war. http://en.wikipedia.org...

Canada and Denmark are in a dispute, but no one imagines that either will go to war over it. Peace and harmony does not mean that disputes end, only that they are peacefully resolved.

Terrorism and organized crime will ultimately be overcome by communications and technology. Both require a population willing to hide their operations, and people who live in mature stable democracies are not willing to hide terrorists or criminals. If the terrorists or criminals take control of a government, they are then targets for the vastly superior forces of democratic governments.

Terrorists depend upon concealing bombs for attacks. Right now, the technology is not fully able to cope with it, but the betting in the long run has to be against the terrorists. Recently, a cancel patient with an embedded radioactive isotope set of an alarm on a tunnel into New York City. The system is being upgraded to distinguish medical uses. http://homelandsecuritynewswire.com... Subways have sensors that detect poison gas. http://www.avirsensors.com... New sensors "smell" explosives. http://www.compukiss.com... Despite having only rather primitive technology in place for defense, terrorist attacks on Western nations have been thwarted since 9/11.

To prevail in this debate, Pro must show that the trends established over many centuries towards advancing technology, advancing freedom, and reduced violence will stop or be reversed. Unless the trends are reversed, prosperity and freedom will result in world peace and harmony. Pro is saying that we have not yet arrived are peace and harmony, which is true, but he did not argue against the dominant trends. That terrorism and organized crime are in short upwards trends does not argue that they will continue. Neither approaches the scope or severity of the international conflicts of the past.

Something unexpected may arise to stop the advance of prosperity and freedom in the world, but it is more likely to continue than not. Peace and harmony are probably inevitable.
Debate Round No. 3
23 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by dinokiller 6 years ago
dinokiller
Ah, so it seems the world is evolving xD.
Posted by RoyLatham 6 years ago
RoyLatham
dinokiller, What you are saying is akin to "I'll believe in snow when I see it falling." The future cannot be predicted by simply looking at the present and supposing nothing is changing or ever will change. Even looking at time span of decades is inadequate. Check out some of the stuff I referenced from Pinker, and also the World Future Society. There are earth-is-doomed advocates, but they really are a minority these days. I can tell you that the future is a whole lot brighter now than it was 40 or 50 years ago, when mass starvation and nuclear war were the concerns of the times.

I happened to see on C-SPAN this week someone claiming that a poll in Saudi Arabia showed 70% of the citizenry favored equal rights for women, contrary to the extremist elite that now determines policy. How did that happen? Certainly there have been no women's rights demonstrations in the public square. I think it is a product of ubiquitous communications. Ideas are getting around, and there is no stopping them.

I accept that we may have major setbacks ahead. As I said, on the scale of "never" the Dark Ages were a setback, not a reversal of trends.
Posted by dinokiller 6 years ago
dinokiller
Roy, you know whats happening around the world right? Nazi parties, Anti-islam parties and conflicts in other nations like Korea.
I shall believe in World Peace if there was a moment where no conflicts are made.
Posted by IFoundWaldo 6 years ago
IFoundWaldo
Peace can never exist because you cannot trust others, and there will always be bad in the world. It's human nature. Love and hate are closely related, love and hate both cause wars and battles. A vision of peace is a silly fantasy in fairy-tale land.
Posted by bluesteel 6 years ago
bluesteel
RFD:

Although I don't personally believe in Democratic Peace Theory, Roy does a good job of defending it here. He clearly wins that the trend is away from conflict.

I don't really see how the Bible and overpopulation are even relevant to the debate.

I appreciate Roy's refutations as to what constitutes a democracy.
______

Pro - I recommend you read up on the international relations theory of Realism. It would have given you more offense in this debate.
Posted by RoyLatham 6 years ago
RoyLatham
dinokiller, So you think there have been no changes in Europe over the past eighty years that diminish the chances of another Hitler rising to power? I think another Hitler is extremely unlikely, in part because there is a free press exposing what people are doing and what they are doing it. To make the case for a new Hitler, I think the case must be made that advances in a free press can be unwound. I think that means that advances in communications technology can be unwound. I don't see it.
Posted by dinokiller 6 years ago
dinokiller
I doubt there will be a time where World Peace exists...
Hitler rises in power and declares war, destroying almost whole europe. Hitler is now dead but, who knows when the time comes where another Hitler rises and destroys whole europe again.
Posted by Freeman 6 years ago
Freeman
RFD:

I was absolutely convinced by Con's arguments.

Con was successfully able to demonstrate that trends in history indicate the likely end of major armed conflicts. And I appreciate that he brought up the work of Steven Pinker in the debate. Though I am no expert of Pinker's work on this issue, I am somewhat familiar with his work on this topic in particular. Violence and armed conflict have been drastically reduced over the past hundred years, thousand years etc. His work demonstrates this conclusively.

Pro's views on these matters are far too limited. He's not taking in the big picture. Society, at this point in history more than at any other time, is more peaceful, stable and prosperous. And these trends have been going on for the entirety of human history, even when you include all the World wars and failed states in Earth's history, including those of the modern era. As such, he was not able to demonstrate why we should think these trends are likely to be reversed. Con's sources were both larger in scope and more pertinent to the main issue of the debate. For these reasons, I gave him sources. Yes, there are still wars and military juntas running roughshod over the lives of many people. However, if you look at this in proportion to past conflicts in terms of population, all the trends are positive. If the second world war had happened 20,000 years ago, something like 10 times the number of people would have died. In fact, it has been estimated back then 4 in 10 men died a violent death. Though Con didn't mention this specifically, he was able to make this point effectively with other facts. In all, it is more likely than not that there will be world peace.
Posted by blackhawk1331 6 years ago
blackhawk1331
Ok. I just wanted to point this out.
Posted by 1stLordofTheVenerability 6 years ago
1stLordofTheVenerability
Good point, Blackhawk. I'm certain that both Roy and I realize this, which is why I indicated new aggressors - such as China, North Korea (which has been blatantly threatening nuclear conflict), Egypt and even the wildcard Israel.
6 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 6 records.
Vote Placed by bluesteel 6 years ago
bluesteel
1stLordofTheVenerabilityRoyLathamTied
Agreed with before the debate:Vote Checkmark--0 points
Agreed with after the debate:Vote Checkmark--0 points
Who had better conduct:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Had better spelling and grammar:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Made more convincing arguments:-Vote Checkmark-3 points
Used the most reliable sources:-Vote Checkmark-2 points
Total points awarded:05 
Vote Placed by Elmakai 6 years ago
Elmakai
1stLordofTheVenerabilityRoyLathamTied
Agreed with before the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Agreed with after the debate:-Vote Checkmark-0 points
Who had better conduct:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Had better spelling and grammar:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Made more convincing arguments:-Vote Checkmark-3 points
Used the most reliable sources:--Vote Checkmark2 points
Total points awarded:03 
Vote Placed by Deku 6 years ago
Deku
1stLordofTheVenerabilityRoyLathamTied
Agreed with before the debate:Vote Checkmark--0 points
Agreed with after the debate:Vote Checkmark--0 points
Who had better conduct:-Vote Checkmark-1 point
Had better spelling and grammar:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Made more convincing arguments:Vote Checkmark--3 points
Used the most reliable sources:--Vote Checkmark2 points
Total points awarded:31 
Vote Placed by Freeman 6 years ago
Freeman
1stLordofTheVenerabilityRoyLathamTied
Agreed with before the debate:-Vote Checkmark-0 points
Agreed with after the debate:-Vote Checkmark-0 points
Who had better conduct:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Had better spelling and grammar:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Made more convincing arguments:-Vote Checkmark-3 points
Used the most reliable sources:-Vote Checkmark-2 points
Total points awarded:05 
Vote Placed by Shtookah 6 years ago
Shtookah
1stLordofTheVenerabilityRoyLathamTied
Agreed with before the debate:Vote Checkmark--0 points
Agreed with after the debate:Vote Checkmark--0 points
Who had better conduct:Vote Checkmark--1 point
Had better spelling and grammar:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Made more convincing arguments:Vote Checkmark--3 points
Used the most reliable sources:Vote Checkmark--2 points
Total points awarded:60 
Vote Placed by thisoneguy 6 years ago
thisoneguy
1stLordofTheVenerabilityRoyLathamTied
Agreed with before the debate:Vote Checkmark--0 points
Agreed with after the debate:Vote Checkmark--0 points
Who had better conduct:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Had better spelling and grammar:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Made more convincing arguments:Vote Checkmark--3 points
Used the most reliable sources:Vote Checkmark--2 points
Total points awarded:50