The Instigator
Nabukadnezar
Pro (for)
Winning
2 Points
The Contender
Wylted
Con (against)
Losing
0 Points

The first ultimate question is "How can we improve the human mind?"

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 2 votes the winner is...
Nabukadnezar
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 7/3/2015 Category: Philosophy
Updated: 1 year ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 987 times Debate No: 77254
Debate Rounds (5)
Comments (13)
Votes (2)

 

Nabukadnezar

Pro

I define "ultimate question" as being the most urgent question humankind could answer in contemporary times.
I advocate that the current ultimate question is "How can we improve the human mind?", simply because solving this puzzle would result in us becoming capable of answering the next ultimate questions faster.

I realize that such questions can be split further into smaller tasks. A pertinent example would be: "How can we acquire knowledge faster?". In order to avoid this "bureaucracy", I propose to keep them all under the same umbrella if they are related.
Wylted

Con

I assume by "mind" my opponent means brain. Pro can correct me, if I'm wrong. I'll also ask pro to remove the accumulation of knowledge from his definition of "improving the human mind", because quite literally any sort of progress argued for can debatably require an "accumulation of knowledge", to achieve. This sort of definition, would essentially define the word improve out of existence, by making it too all encompassing.
Debate Round No. 1
Nabukadnezar

Pro


Please take the word “mind” literary. Definition: “the element of a person that enables them to be aware of the world and their experiences, to think, and to feel; the faculty of consciousness and thought”. I find it obvious that the mind could be improved by, for example, optimizing the brain to remember more things. Still, I am open to the possibility that there could be less obvious methods of improving the mind, maybe even counterintuitive, which would not operate directly on the brain. For example, maybe concentration could be improved drastically by handicapping the peripheral vision. Actual ways of improving the mind is not a subject that I have researched enough and is not part of the original topic.


English is not my main language. If there are any mistakes, please excuse them as long as the message can be inferred. I have spoken with quite a few people from UK about the second paragraph and I found it to be intelligible, therefore I regretfully have to ignore the rest of your argument because you’ve misunderstood me.


I started this debate in order to discover if my rationale in choosing the ultimate question was correct. I therefore want to make it clear from the start: I will not discuss punctuation, the meaning of words, why there has to be an ultimate question in the first place, why the ultimate question isn’t “How do we convince people to try answering ultimate questions?” and so on; anything mostly unrelated and superfluous. I want results, not trolling and useless narrative, simply because I believe that choosing an ultimate question and justifying it with straightforward reasoning is the first big step towards answering it. The Austrian poet and novelist Rainer Maria Rilke had this advice:


“Live your questions now, and perhaps even without knowing it, you will live along some distant day into your answers. […] Believe that with your feelings and your work you are taking part in the greatest; the more strongly you cultivate this belief, the more will reality and the world go forth from it.”


I also want to point out that improving the mind of everybody would not just help in answering the next ultimate questions faster, which is the essential snowball effect. It would also solve many political, social, religious, health, technological and even climate issues. The list of advantages is the truly all-encompassing thing. Civilization has reached so far because of science and technology. Science and technology are predominantly… a product of the mind.


Wylted

Con

Wylted forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 2
Nabukadnezar

Pro


This is my first debate on this website and I don’t know what I’m supposed to do when the con forfeits a round. I guess I’ll just add an extra argument in favor of the original topic in order to strengthen it further.


Another quite important question is “How do we become immortal?”. Some would argue that it is in fact the most important but I disagree, again for a very straightforward reason. The majority of the humans, although we live in an age where access to knowledge is unobstructed, are still unwilling to improve themselves. Most are not even aware of their heuristics and biases in order to counter-balance them. Do we really want such humans to live forever? No. Entrenched opinions, lack of critical thinking, unfounded believes… these do not deserve immortality. Answering and applying the solutions to the actual ultimate question “How do we improve the human mind?” is the only way to go in order to create personalities that deserve immortality. I submit that the second ultimate question is “How do we achieve immortality?”, yet this is irrelevant until the first challenge is completed.


Wylted

Con

Learning and technological advancement are causing all kinds of problems to the environment, animals and people. I believe the advice of hippocrittes, is still relevant today as it was when he was alive."First do no harm"

The ultimate question, and the most pressing question should be "How can we stop doing harm? The answer to the question is to actually stop trying to improve things. To go back on improvement and be one with nature.

Damages to the environment.

A. The industrial/technological system is the main factor behind global warming. We know that global warming is man made and a result of the industrial-technological revolution is because of the amount of low isotope carbon-14 found in the atmosphere. Something that mainly comes from burning fossil fuels.

http://ossfoundation.us......

B. More then 14,000 people die from drinking polluted water every day [1]. Nearly half a billion people do not have access to safe drinking water [2]. I've only mentioned the human element so far. This pollution is also causing extremely harmful affects on underwater ecosystems as well. The sources of this harmful phenomenon is mostly human caused and as a result of the industrial-technological system. If you look at the sources of water pollution in the cited article you will come to the same conclusion [3].

[1] http://environment.about.com......
[2] http://www.nytimes.com......
[3] http://en.m.wikipedia.org......

C. Air pollution

The industrial technological system has harmed the quality of the air we breathe. Smog is something caused by pollutants from internal combustion engines of cars as well as industrial fumes from factories. [1] The health affects of smog are harmful to everyone but especially children, the elderly, those with bronchitis, emphysema, and asthma [2].

[1]http://en.m.wikipedia.org......
[2] http://web.archive.org......

2. Harm of the industrial-technological society on Animals.

A. Factory farming has reduced animals to mere cogs in the machine. Animals are out in cages that are extremely crowded . They live their whole lives barely able to move. [1] They are on many occasions force fed in a way that causes extreme damage and pain [2]. They are debeaked [3]. This is just a short list of the abuse these animals take to feed the industrial-technological system.

[1] http://www.washingtonpost.com......
[2] http://m.humanesociety.org......
[3] http://www.mercyforanimals.org......

B. I've already shown how underwater ecosystems are being destroyed by the industrial-technological system. Now let's move on to other ecosystems. Over 50% of plant and animal species live in the rainforest[1]. The majority of the deforestation occurring in these areas can be directly contributed to the industrial-technological system [2].

[1] http://www.nature.org......
[2] http://unfccc.int......

3. Harmful affects to humans

A. It's not just animals who are reduced to mere cogs in the industrial-technological society. Humans have almost lost all autonomy. We have been reduced to wage slave [1]. Are movement is extremely controlled. We must walk on the side walk follow green lights, stop at red ones.

[1] http://www.whywork.org......

B. People do not have control over how they are governed. Mysterious people in far away lands decide if they have a right to get married, smoke a cigarette or do a drug. Experts design cities and humans have lost control over their environment. Computers make lots of decisions humans can't comprehend either such as how a new sewer systems get put in place. Some of it may seem petty but it's just a few examples of millions of how humans have lost most of their autonomy.

C. Humans in third world countries are being severely harmed as a result of the industrial-technological system. The newly industrial societies use people almost as slave labor and the intense pollution obviously has a significant environmental affect.[1]

http://m.wisegeek.org......

4. Psychological affects on humans.

A. Humans have a great need for the feeling of autonomy [1]. People have fought and died for their right to have autonomy. Often when people are suffering depression they claim to feel like they have no control over the direction of their life. Autonomy is an innate human desire that isn't going away despite the fact the more the industrial-technological beast grows the more us humans lose our autonomy.

[1] http://m.psychologytoday.com......

Here is working links. The ones above do not work and I had no time to fix them. http://www.debate.org...

Let's stop progress people!!

I also want to point out that an advance in intelligence that causes an intelligence explosion could literally destroy mankind. According to one article; seeding super intelligence can cause control problems;

"occupies the bulk of the book and is treated with the most technical jargon. The stakes, as he describes them, are the survival of the human race, and he argues that we should weigh the ethical and practical implications of superintelligence at least as carefully as we consider, say, the implications of thermonuclear warfare. And we have only one chance to influence its development before the superintelligence takes over. He imagines a scenario in which superintelligence has converted the entire explorable universe into a computing machine, solely to run simulations of people and torture them forever. Bostrom, who does not think small, estimates the number affected at 10 billion trillion trillion trillion trillion human souls but concedes, darkly, that "the true number is probably larger." http://www.psmag.com...

We can see that not only are improve to harmful to the well being of very living creature on the planet, but could quite literally kill us all. We need to roll back the capabilities of the human mind, destroy progress and our external brains (computers).
Debate Round No. 3
Nabukadnezar

Pro

I'm sorry but I've only read your first two paragraphs because I was hoping for a serious debate and you've disappointed me greatly. I'll repost this debate as soon as it is over and hope for a better Con.

Regarding the first paragraph... Hippocrates actually said "Practise two things in your dealings with disease: either help or do not harm the patient". Your taking what he said out of context and I believe that the only purpose is to impress with a quote. It's an appeal to tradition, from irrelevant authority, taken out of context. It rarely gets worse than that.

Regarding the second paragraph... Your argument seems to be that you have a better Ultimate Question, yet you follow it with what you perceive to be the answer. If that is indeed the answer, then it doesn't qualify as an Ultimate Question because we would already have the answer to it.
Wylted

Con

Wylted forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 4
Nabukadnezar

Pro


Since the Con is either forfeiting or not addressing my arguments, there is no point in continuing. I believe I have won this debate but I will repost it in order to find a better Con. Let me know in the comments if you'd like to be the next one.


Wylted

Con

My arguments haven't been addressed either, and in the last round my opponent basically forfeited the debate. His conduct has been extremely rude, my round forfeits should be ignored, just vote on strength of arguments. Note my arguments contained rebuttals within them, while my opponent gave me no actual rebuttals.
Debate Round No. 5
13 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by Nabukadnezar 1 year ago
Nabukadnezar
You "like transhumanist thought" and you believe that we should "go back on improvement and be one with nature".
What about you take some time off from the internet, from debating, from speaking altogether and just think about what your current set of ideas is?
I see this problem with many people, they're anxious to express their ideas but they're not willing to listen or think. This is not an attack on your person, it is an advice. I hope you'll be able to abandon your pride for a minute and understand that.
Posted by Wylted 1 year ago
Wylted
I like transhumanist type thought, and debating or discussing different aspects of it, but you've disrespected me to a great extent, so I regret taking this, despite my interest in transhumanisn and the easy win.
Posted by Nabukadnezar 1 year ago
Nabukadnezar
Why did you take part in it if you considered it to be stupid? Is your time irrelevant?
Posted by Wylted 1 year ago
Wylted
Also this debate is forced to be stupid, because that resolution is retarded
Posted by Wylted 1 year ago
Wylted
Bullshitt. You know you can't defeat my argument and are being an idiot. That argument is serious. Way to be a coward, though
Posted by Nabukadnezar 1 year ago
Nabukadnezar
This is what you understood from this debate? You would love to improve your debate statistics with one more win, wouldn't you? It's not happening here.

This website should be about serious debates, not about personal statistics. You shouldn't have chosen to be the CON if you weren't ready for it. You have wasted my time.
Posted by Wylted 1 year ago
Wylted
That basically counts as a forfeit
Posted by Wylted 1 year ago
Wylted
That basically counts as a forfeit
Posted by Wylted 1 year ago
Wylted
The best strategy is to add to your argument, so you did the right thing.
Posted by Wylted 1 year ago
Wylted
Sorry for forfeiting that round.
2 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 2 records.
Vote Placed by Death23 1 year ago
Death23
NabukadnezarWyltedTied
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Total points awarded:10 
Reasons for voting decision: ff
Vote Placed by TinyBudha 1 year ago
TinyBudha
NabukadnezarWyltedTied
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Total points awarded:10 
Reasons for voting decision: forfeit merits conduct