Author Topic: Episode #693  (Read 4555 times)

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Offline Belgarath

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Re: Episode #693
« Reply #15 on: October 23, 2018, 05:25:14 PM »
Debate Club
Debate #1 Genetic Engineering of humans - full speed ahead, or put on the brakes?
Debate #2 Is college for everyone, and is it worth it?
Debate #3 Book vs Movie
Q&A
Q&A SGU answers live questions
Skeptical Quote of the Week
Skeptical Quote of the Week 'In all debates let truth be thy aim, not victory or an unjust interest.' - William Penn


ETA:  I've merged the threads and created them into the podcast episode since this is discussing that particular episode.

« Last Edit: October 23, 2018, 05:28:10 PM by Belgarath »
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Offline bachfiend

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Re: Episode #693
« Reply #16 on: October 23, 2018, 07:25:17 PM »
If i had a choice between having no books or having no motion pictures, I’d go for having no motion pictures any day.  I would read hundreds of books every year, and I’d be lucky to see a dozen motion pictures in a year (or not so lucky - the last one I saw was ‘First Man,’ which I thought was a waste of time.  The book on Apollo 8 was much, much better and engrossing).
Gebt ihr ihr ihr Buch zurück?

Offline arthwollipot

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Re: Episode #693
« Reply #17 on: October 23, 2018, 07:40:33 PM »
The only books I could think of while listening to this particular debate were The Saga of the Exiles by Julian May. There are some books that are just impossible to convert to a visual medium. In this particular series, many characters are telepathic, and a lot of the crucial action takes place in their minds. It is very well described in words, but would be utterly impossible to replicate using visuals.

Of course, until recently I also felt that The Lord of the Rings was impossible to do as a film as well. But LoTR doesn't have the kind of mindscapes that Exiles does.
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Offline elert

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Re: Episode #693
« Reply #18 on: October 23, 2018, 09:22:03 PM »
I listened to this episode for 10 minutes and then fast forwarded in the hope that I would find something interesting. Sorry, but "yawn". This debate episode and the episodes where George Hrab asks "what if" or "would you rather" style questions are not what I need from the SGU. This is the first episode I have ever passed on because it strayed too far from what I consider the ideal SGU podcast.

What do I like then? Well I will tell you that I am *not* a skeptic. NOT! If someone tells me they saw ghosts or extraterrestrial aliens, I call bullshit without further debate. When I hear acupuncture or homeopathy or chiropractic "works for me" I say I don't give a crap, you're wrong. When someone denies evolution or anthropogenic global warming, I pretty much ignore every word that comes out of their mouth. What makes me appreciate the SGU is that they take the time to understand what specifically is wrong about non-scientific proclamations — wrong from an evidentiary standpoint, wrong when it comes to logic, wrong because you are being scammed, wrong for whatever reason. When the 5 rogues get together and focus on this message (or the 6 rogues when Perry and Rebecca were on together) I feel like I have grown. This is what makes me hit refresh repeatedly in my podcast app on a Saturday morning. This is what I look forward to in an SGU podcast.

I expect the some of you reading this will have different opinions and I am OK with that. This is just my opinion.

Offline daniel1948

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Re: Episode #693
« Reply #19 on: October 24, 2018, 11:13:25 AM »
I am *not* a skeptic. NOT! If someone tells me they saw ghosts or extraterrestrial aliens, I call bullshit without further debate. When I hear acupuncture or homeopathy or chiropractic "works for me" I say I don't give a crap, you're wrong. When someone denies evolution or anthropogenic global warming, I pretty much ignore every word that comes out of their mouth. What makes me appreciate the SGU is that they take the time to understand what specifically is wrong about non-scientific proclamations — wrong from an evidentiary standpoint, wrong when it comes to logic, wrong because you are being scammed, wrong for whatever reason. When the 5 rogues get together and focus on this message (or the 6 rogues when Perry and Rebecca were on together) I feel like I have grown.


Same here! I like to say that if your mind is too open your brains will fall out. (I don't remember where I heard that.)

I also don't care for George Hrab's schtick.

I found the debate on this episode frustrating, for the reasons mentioned in my post above. Often in a debate the worse position is taken by the more skilled debater. Debates seldom resolve any issue other than who's the better debater. But I still listened because even when the SGU is not at its best it's interesting.
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Offline JohnM

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Re: Episode #693
« Reply #20 on: October 24, 2018, 04:35:36 PM »

On the first topic, it was a bit of an eye-opener for me that Steve would support full speed ahead. It's also a good indication of how different the debate is compared to the UK. Someone who recently argued for this position pretty much got ostracized from his public sector job.

Offline daniel1948

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Re: Episode #693
« Reply #21 on: October 24, 2018, 05:55:00 PM »

On the first topic, it was a bit of an eye-opener for me that Steve would support full speed ahead. It's also a good indication of how different the debate is compared to the UK. Someone who recently argued for this position pretty much got ostracized from his public sector job.

Do we know that this was Steve's actual position? Or did he just draw that side of the debate? There are debates where people argue their beliefs, and there are debates where you're told (or you are randomly assigned) which side you must argue.

My guess would be that none of the rogues would argue against some limits, so they randomly chose sides.
Daniel
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Offline mabell_yah

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Re: Episode #693
« Reply #22 on: October 25, 2018, 04:27:52 AM »
If you're arguing that there should be no limits on human engineering, you may have a limited imagination. What about assassin/soldier engineering? Everyone cool with deadly poison fingernails? Then there are germ line effects. Blindness, misshapen or missing limbs, short life span - we all cool with doing that to an innocent child? I didn't think so.

Seems almost silly to say that every human being should go to college. There are plenty of people who don't thrive in a classroom environment, some of which can't even be bothered to finish high school.

I would advise a young person who didn't want to get a career-oriented degree to skip college. If they saved and invested their money at the same rate they would have payed off their student loans, they'd probably build up a nice retirement nest egg. Maybe skim some of that off for travel, or travel through volunteer work. Take some community college courses, especially in logic and skepticism. You could do a lot worse.

Not to restart the advertising argument, but I was surprised that Steve missed a perfect segue way from the college debate to The Great Courses ad. C'mon Steve. It was staring you in the face.

Offline brilligtove

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Re: Episode #693
« Reply #23 on: October 25, 2018, 10:13:55 AM »
If you're arguing that there should be no limits on human engineering, you may have a limited imagination. What about assassin/soldier engineering? Everyone cool with deadly poison fingernails? Then there are germ line effects. Blindness, misshapen or missing limbs, short life span - we all cool with doing that to an innocent child? I didn't think so.

I think there should be no limits on what aspects of human nature we explore and learn to control. The limits should be placed on how we explore. I would describe that goal as "Limit harm caused in the pursuit of knowledge." This may compliment or oppose related goals. For example, the three that come to mind are:
  • A: Increase the knowledge base.
  • B: Maximize the benefits of what we know.
  • C: Minimize the harm caused in the pursuit of knowledge.
You might think of A in terms of basic research. B covers turning basic research into practical applications (through applied sciences, engineering, etc.). C would put limits on both A and B in the form of ethics boards, standards of research practice, safety protocols, and so on.

With these goals in mind, specific, measurable objectives are then associated with each goal. Any single objective may promote, support, inhibit, or prevent any goal (or have no relation to it). An objective that describes conforming to ethical standards in medical research (preventing intentional twin studies, for example, or limiting experimental interventions to consenting terminal patients with no other option) would promote C, inhibit B, and support A.

On the subject of the innocent child, there may be a naturalistic fallacy buried in that argument. Birth defects 'naturally' happen at predictable rates for many reasons. As a direct consequence of our species-wide desires to reengineer our species, we have medical interventions that can correct some of these in uterero. We're on the cusp of having interventions that can prevent problems before fertilization (cusp because there are some basic interventions already, like sorting sperm). Being disabled is a different way of being human from the norm (from personal experience as well as much reading on the subject). Adversity can bring a lot of insight and personal growth, but I argue that life if filled with adversity anyways, and preventing disabilities is no slight on those who are disabled. It is harm reduction. As an example, the drastic reduction of infant mortality has eliminated the personal growth opportunities associated with half your children dying before age 5. Does that make people with the medical interventions to achieve this less whole than our ancestors, or people who don't have those interventions available?

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Offline JohnM

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Re: Episode #693
« Reply #24 on: October 25, 2018, 01:27:57 PM »

On the first topic, it was a bit of an eye-opener for me that Steve would support full speed ahead. It's also a good indication of how different the debate is compared to the UK. Someone who recently argued for this position pretty much got ostracized from his public sector job.

Do we know that this was Steve's actual position? Or did he just draw that side of the debate? There are debates where people argue their beliefs, and there are debates where you're told (or you are randomly assigned) which side you must argue.

My guess would be that none of the rogues would argue against some limits, so they randomly chose sides.

Perhaps they were just playing devil's advocate but I didn't hear anyone call that at the time?

Offline daniel1948

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Re: Episode #693
« Reply #25 on: October 25, 2018, 04:06:00 PM »

On the first topic, it was a bit of an eye-opener for me that Steve would support full speed ahead. It's also a good indication of how different the debate is compared to the UK. Someone who recently argued for this position pretty much got ostracized from his public sector job.

Do we know that this was Steve's actual position? Or did he just draw that side of the debate? There are debates where people argue their beliefs, and there are debates where you're told (or you are randomly assigned) which side you must argue.

My guess would be that none of the rogues would argue against some limits, so they randomly chose sides.

Perhaps they were just playing devil's advocate but I didn't hear anyone call that at the time?

They stated at the start that there was some degree of arbitrariness regarding who argued which side of each proposition.
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Offline arthwollipot

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Re: Episode #693
« Reply #26 on: October 25, 2018, 06:39:35 PM »
Seems almost silly to say that every human being should go to college. There are plenty of people who don't thrive in a classroom environment, some of which can't even be bothered to finish high school.

My biggest issue was that Steve was arguing that there are experiences that only being at a university can teach you. But he failed to justify why those experiences were necessary. He just assumed that they were.
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Offline 2397

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Re: Episode #693
« Reply #27 on: October 26, 2018, 02:09:44 AM »
Could also say that everyone should work at a shit job, be homeless, lose all their friends, get beat up, etc., for the valuable experiences.

Which I could agree with to some extent, like having politicians live on minimum wage for a while to try to make them realize what's going on in the society they're running (not cutting their wage short, but having them live as if they had minimum wage).

Given what I know about the US college system, I think it's pointless to have a discussion about shoving everyone into it without first agreeing that it has to be free. Building up debts is going to make it a punishment for all those who don't get the best results (as in a well-paid career for life, not the grades and degrees by themselves).
« Last Edit: October 26, 2018, 03:14:43 AM by 2397 »

Online Tassie Dave

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Re: Episode #693
« Reply #28 on: October 26, 2018, 02:49:02 AM »
Seems almost silly to say that every human being should go to college. There are plenty of people who don't thrive in a classroom environment, some of which can't even be bothered to finish high school.

My biggest issue was that Steve was arguing that there are experiences that only being at a university can teach you. But he failed to justify why those experiences were necessary. He just assumed that they were.

and not every career choice requires university. Tradespeople do most of their training on the job while they are getting paid (usually a pittance on an apprenticeship).
Most jobs in the mining industry (my profession) don't require any degree at all.

Not everyone wants to go to uni, can afford it or are smart enough to go. The school of hard knocks can be just as rewarding for some people.

Offline 2397

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Re: Episode #693
« Reply #29 on: October 26, 2018, 06:54:25 AM »
Should there be limits to modifying human beings?

Depends on what you mean by limits. There should be limits in science, and in particular in medicine/for living subjects, to prevent causing more harm than good. Or to prevent abusing some humans to benefit others. Pretty much all that Steve's arguing in favor of could still happen inside a system with limits. The podcast notes title "Genetic Engineering of humans - full speed ahead, or put on the brakes?" is a better question, because it's more vague and doesn't put the entire spectrum of limits up against the single point of no limits.

I disagree with Jay that circumcision is one of the decisions that have to be made by parents (if that's what he meant, he didn't say that as a single statement). No one should be making the decision to have someone else circumcised, outside of there being medical reasons for it. And at that point it's not really something that should be up to the parents anyway. They have a duty to provide care for their children, they shouldn't be able to actively prevent them getting the care they need.

But given that it's acceptable for parents to modify their children's genitalia for their own purposes, even with the risks for infection, death or chronic pain, there's a lot of nonsense that you couldn't argue against parents manipulating fetus DNA over.

Is college for everyone and is it worth it?

Jay asks if the question means should college be available for everyone for free, so apparently that's the impression he had when he picked this as something to debate in favor of. Cara clarifies that the question is about whether the experience of college is worthwhile for everyone, and then goes on to say something to the effect of is college the only way to get the experiences you get there.

Which seems like a whole other topic to me. I agree with other comments here that what matters is whether you need what you learn in college, rather than whether you can get it somewhere else.

And then with more clarification, the question is should everyone go through the current US college system? Which is a definite no because of the costs.

If the answer was yes to the question of whether college is a worthwhile experience for everyone, then either you have to fix the massive wealth disparity that exists in the US, or you have to make it affordable for everyone by making it free or as close to free as possible. I think it's impossible to fix wealth disparity without doing something about the costs of college. It'll probably become worse the more people go through college and end up with debts they can't pay.

Poor people also have a reduced ability to influence elections, so having more people in college might not sway politics towards reducing the costs.

Steve dismisses the idea that college has to work for everyone to be worth it for everyone. Of course it has to work for everyone, if each individual has to pay for it by themselves. If instead the point is that it's worth it for society for everyone to go through college, because of the statistical outcome and more people benefiting than not, then society should pay for it via public budgets.