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A few upcoming science debates

Microsuck
Posts: 1,562
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5/4/2012 6:34:31 AM
Posted: 4 years ago
Hey all, I'm beginning to get away from religious oriented debates and have decided to start science debates. I need some ideas with the resolutions though as I'm not quite sure what to write as the resolution. Here is what I've been thinking of:

1. Evolution vs. Creationism
2. The Big Bang Theory
3. Global warming

Note: please suggest ideas for the debates as well.
Wall of Fail

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ConservativePolitico
Posts: 8,210
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5/9/2012 9:56:30 PM
Posted: 4 years ago
At 5/4/2012 6:34:31 AM, Microsuck wrote:
Hey all, I'm beginning to get away from religious oriented debates and have decided to start science debates. I need some ideas with the resolutions though as I'm not quite sure what to write as the resolution. Here is what I've been thinking of:

1. Evolution vs. Creationism
2. The Big Bang Theory
3. Global warming

Note: please suggest ideas for the debates as well.

The Big Bang Theory might be an interesting debate...

Maybe if I do a little more research.
RoyLatham
Posts: 4,488
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5/10/2012 11:39:20 AM
Posted: 4 years ago
The problem with Big Bang or related debates on the origins of the universe is that you will inevitably end up debating arguments from incredulity. Relious people claim that it is impossible to imagine any alternative to God creating the universe, and that's that. It's not a science debate, it's about the validity of arguments from incredulity.

Global warming is a good topic, but I suggest trying to narrow the topic. "There was no significant global warming in the past decade." or "A little global warming would be a good thing." or "The Global Warming Hockey Stick is bad science." narrowing the topic will also help you prepare, because you only have to read up on the narrow subject.

Other popular topics are evolution, homeopathy, health benefits of vegetarianism, animal testing of drugs, value of the Large Hadron Collider, stem cell research, building a moon base, and nuclear power. Always try to frame the debate as a question of fact, if possible. Look up scientific references and cite them.

Look up past DDO debates to get an idea of how they go. I've debated most of these topics.
Thaumaturgy
Posts: 166
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5/10/2012 1:49:04 PM
Posted: 4 years ago
At 5/10/2012 11:39:20 AM, RoyLatham wrote:
The problem with Big Bang or related debates on the origins of the universe is that you will inevitably end up debating arguments from incredulity. Relious people claim that it is impossible to imagine any alternative to God creating the universe, and that's that. It's not a science debate, it's about the validity of arguments from incredulity.

Global warming is a good topic, but I suggest trying to narrow the topic. "There was no significant global warming in the past decade." or "A little global warming would be a good thing." or "The Global Warming Hockey Stick is bad science." narrowing the topic will also help you prepare, because you only have to read up on the narrow subject.

Other popular topics are evolution, homeopathy, health benefits of vegetarianism, animal testing of drugs, value of the Large Hadron Collider, stem cell research, building a moon base, and nuclear power. Always try to frame the debate as a question of fact, if possible. Look up scientific references and cite them.

Look up past DDO debates to get an idea of how they go. I've debated most of these topics.

I would gladly take you up on "the Hockey Stick is bad science".
RoyLatham
Posts: 4,488
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5/10/2012 5:42:27 PM
Posted: 4 years ago
At 5/10/2012 1:49:04 PM, Thaumaturgy wrote:

I would gladly take you up on "the Hockey Stick is bad science".

Okay, we can do that. Almost no one cares at this point, but it would justify my reading all those books.
SuburbiaSurvivor
Posts: 872
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5/11/2012 12:28:29 AM
Posted: 4 years ago
At 5/4/2012 6:34:31 AM, Microsuck wrote:
Hey all, I'm beginning to get away from religious oriented debates and have decided to start science debates. I need some ideas with the resolutions though as I'm not quite sure what to write as the resolution. Here is what I've been thinking of:

1. Evolution vs. Creationism
2. The Big Bang Theory
3. Global warming

Note: please suggest ideas for the debates as well.

Abiogenesis!
"I'm going to tell you something that you're never going to forget, SuburbiaSurvivor. Women... Are just human beings"
cbrhawk1
Posts: 588
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5/11/2012 1:07:34 AM
Posted: 4 years ago
Abiogenesis!

Not good What you'll end up with is a debate from religious people from the religion of science defending their dogma with pseudoscience and unverified theories.

I don't think that's a very good idea :).
"All science is 'wrong.'" ~ drafterman
RoyLatham
Posts: 4,488
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5/11/2012 10:04:57 AM
Posted: 4 years ago
At 5/11/2012 1:07:34 AM, cbrhawk1 wrote:
Abiogenesis!

Not good What you'll end up with is a debate from religious people from the religion of science defending their dogma with pseudoscience and unverified theories.

I don't think that's a very good idea :).

In order to have a debate about science, you have to be willing to accept the scientific method of forming a provable hypothesis and testing it. If you cannot do that, then the whole subject won't be suitable for debate.
Thaumaturgy
Posts: 166
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5/11/2012 10:26:05 AM
Posted: 4 years ago
At 5/11/2012 1:07:34 AM, cbrhawk1 wrote:
Abiogenesis!

Not good What you'll end up with is a debate from religious people from the religion of science defending their dogma with pseudoscience and unverified theories.

I don't think that's a very good idea :).

Abiogenesis actually has some reasonable hypotheses predicated on reasonably standard chemistry.

While neither side has a "silver bullet" example of life-from-non-life or life-from-ex-nihilo-creation, it would hardly be "dogmatic" for scientists to provide a straightforward set of evidence that abiogenesis is more likely than ex nihilo creation of life.

The obvious starting point is that all of the chemical building blocks in life can be found in non-living settings or synthesized in wholly non-living systems. There isn't any element in a living being that cannot be found in non-living materials.

Chemistry is driven by relatively simple rules of combination (and by "simple" I mean that they can be explained in gross terms relatively simply, not that they are "simple" per se).

This eliminates the "religious dogma" aspect to the science side of the debate. However there is no such "starting point" for ex nihilo creationism other than an intense wish that life be in no way related to non-life.
cbrhawk1
Posts: 588
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5/11/2012 1:20:09 PM
Posted: 4 years ago
Abiogenesis actually has some reasonable hypotheses predicated on reasonably standard chemistry.

So standard that they can't create anything remotely similar to a living cell. They have enough trouble chaining together more than several amino acids.

If it were "standard chemistry" this sort of ebate would be done in the wake of artificially generated life.

While neither side has a "silver bullet" example of life-from-non-life or life-from-ex-nihilo-creation, it would hardly be "dogmatic" for scientists to provide a straightforward set of evidence that abiogenesis is more likely than ex nihilo creation of life.

You can't base it on probability considering the probability of God is either 100% or 0%, not neither or both.I'm not talking about God vs Science. I'm talking about the theory that life formed in a puddle of sludge when experiments don't show any indication that, even given absolutely perfect conditions were they try to combine the amino acids, it doesn't work well, and certainly doesn't come up with proteins of 400 or more amino acids

The obvious starting point is that all of the chemical building blocks in life can be found in non-living settings or synthesized in wholly non-living systems. There isn't any element in a living being that cannot be found in non-living materials.

Considering proteins only exist within living things, and those proteins break down over just a few years (at most), then it's safe to say that most compounds that form living tissue don't exist in nonliving matter like rocks, soil, and sand.

Chemistry is driven by relatively simple rules of combination (and by "simple" I mean that they can be explained in gross terms relatively simply, not that they are "simple" per se).

Again, if this were simple even relatve to science, this would be a solved problem. The fact that, given smulated exact conditions, we can't get much further than individual amino acids, then I find a problem with the current model.

This eliminates the "religious dogma" aspect to the science side of the debate. However there is no such "starting point" for ex nihilo creationism other than an intense wish that life be in no way related to non-life.

It is a dogma when people swear by this stuff and all it science. Acceptance of these untested hypotheses is not science.
"All science is 'wrong.'" ~ drafterman
Thaumaturgy
Posts: 166
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5/11/2012 3:21:23 PM
Posted: 4 years ago
So standard that they can't create anything remotely similar to a living cell. They have enough trouble chaining together more than several amino acids.

I guess I don't understand your point. We know how a lipid bilayer is built so we know how cell walls work. We know all about peptide bonds and make use of that all the time. Organic synthesis is really quite advanced. So I'd say we are lot closer to abiogenesis than anyone is to "ex nihilo creation".


If it were "standard chemistry" this sort of ebate would be done in the wake of artificially generated life.


Again argument from incredulity is hardly convincing. There is nothing really "miraculous" to any of the chemistry we see in biochemistry. Can you show me a miraculous reaction that takes place in a biological system?

I'm not talking about God vs Science. I'm talking about the theory that life formed in a puddle of sludge when experiments don't show any indication that, even given absolutely perfect conditions were they try to combine the amino acids, it doesn't work well, and certainly doesn't come up with proteins of 400 or more amino acids

So if I may be so bold: what is your theory of the origin of life?

Considering proteins only exist within living things, and those proteins break down over just a few years (at most), then it's safe to say that most compounds that form living tissue don't exist in nonliving matter like rocks, soil, and sand.

This is an arbitrary differentiation. Let's take a "micelle", a simple single-layer precursor to a cell wall. I can make a ton of these things in my kitchen sink tonight. I'll just put a certain amount of dishwashing soap in a sinkful of water. et viola. I have micelles (if I'm above a certain concentration).

The only thing unique here is that living things deal in organic compounds (not exclusively, our bodies also make various inorganic products as well, like the CaPO4 in our bones etc.)

So again I come back to the question: where do you think life came from originally?

Here's what I see as a chemist:

Life: made up of a bunch of chemical elements which occur in non-living and living things, uses the fact that carbon atoms make a great variety of structures (due to the size and charge of the C atom), utilizes standard chemical reactions (for instance; peptide bonding (dehydration reaction of an amine and carboxylic acid group) which can be done even without living things around, say using the SPPS (Solid Phase Peptide Synthesis technique of R. B. Merrifield (1963). "Solid Phase Peptide Synthesis. I. The Synthesis of a Tetrapeptide". J. Am. Chem. Soc. 85 (14): 2149–2154.) --or countless other reactions of biochemical importance, this is just one.

I don't see anything that just screams: LIFE CANNOT HAVE COME FROM NON-LIFE. In fact I see the opposite. Perhaps we haven't stumbled upon the specific set of reactions yet, but what are the alternatives?

Again, if this were simple even relatve to science, this would be a solved problem.

You seemed to miss my point: I said the rules behind the chemical syntheses are relatively simple in that they are comprehensible. I hope I did not give you the impression that the chemistry is simple. It's like saying the card game Bridge is simple because it uses a deck of cards but that doesn't mean the game overall is as simple as checkers or some such. There are explicable rules based on the same kinds of rules that govern the chemistry of the non-living world.

It is a dogma when people swear by this stuff and all it science. Acceptance of these untested hypotheses is not science.

Oh I love it when people claim what is and isn't science. Just because the hypothesis isn't completely perfect it is a reasonable place to start. Again, I must ask where do YOU think life came from? What is your best alternative explanation?