Monday, September 22, 2008

Argument Wish List

in no particular order.

I am looking for anyone to first state their starting moral, theological, or other axioms, then build some sort of argument that I can engage with justifying any of the following statements:

1. It is 'common sense' that George Bush be tried as a war criminal before an international court.

2. If technology allowed same-sex unions to be spontaneously fruitful, there would still be grounds to forbid them.

3. Sarah Palin is less qualified than Barack Obama to be President of the United States.

Apropos of nothing, this is not, as I feared, an unbearably pretentious blog inaccessible to the common man. Woot!
blog readability test


Jenny said...

even your science blog is high school level apparently...can you find any that aren't?

Dr. Clam said...

Lexifab's blog is apparently aimed at people with a postgraduate degree, and Anotherblog only needs a junior high (yr 7-8) education. So, hmm, I'm not sure what sort of random algorithm it uses... :(

Marco said...

My logical self is telling me 1, 2 and 3 are too hard, but my devil's advocate is shouting in my ear telling me "You can do this!!!"

Dr. Clam said...

I ought to have added, if there is anything I have ever written that seems equally bizarre and irrational to anyone out there reading this, please nominate it and I will spell out a rational argument for you to engage with!

Marco said...

Come to think of it, I am not sure why you reject models that invoke the concept of parallel universes. Sure, it seems rediculous, but it has allowed me to come to terms with wave/particle duality etc. to some extent.

Dave said...

Hmm. Do I *have* a consistent moral/theological framework? I don't know that I do, so I don't know that I can clearly articulate it. Much of it stems from my half-arsed comprehension of and ultimately firm rejection of Queensland-style Anglicanism (stripped of course of any historical context, references to competing theological matrices or any other sharp edges)

1: Nah. I think he should be carefully scrutinised in terms of his administration's casual regard for the Constitution and the powers of the presidency (and the vice-presidency, which is even more suspect)and maybe that stuff about the suspension of the principle of habeas corpus, but I'm neither a US citizen nor a lawyer. If I were, I would probably be much, much angrier (especially if I owned a phone).

2: Er, the premise doesn't work for me. I don't think there are *any* valid arguments against completely non-discriminatory treatment of homosexuals.

3: My most recent objection is that I have yet to see any sign that she is interested in or capable of developing some grasp of unfamiliar issues (which at last count - cheap shot alert - was virtually all of them). I guess we'll know if she breaks her relative media silence for a debate with Biden this week. I don't necessarily criticise her for not being across the length and breadth of nuanced policy - neither is anyone who ever got the job, with the possible exception of Richard frakkin Nixon, and Obama's certainly made his share of blunders - but she's no good if she can't navigate a steep learning curve.

That stuff about the relative reading levels is baffling. I can only assume my blog has it foxed thanks to my gratuitous use of adverbs.

Dr. Clam said...

Re 3, Dave, you surely know that the Holy Grail of the US Right is to find the 'next Ronald Reagan', and feigning folksy ignorance is a big part of that. :) I want to see a gaffe-by-gaffe compare and contrast of Mr Obama with Mrs Palin that in any way can justify her being too inexperienced and him having enough experience.
Re 1, I'm happy if you want to go ahead and mount a defense of your lessser version of the 'prosecute Bush' thesis! I did of course only posit extreme arguments that I could not possibly lose...

And I will write about the many-worlds thing, real soon, Marco! I have realised, just in thinking about starting to write an answer, that I wouldn't have moral and aesthetic objections to a many-worlds universe that obeyed classical physics. My real objections are other, and arise from the fact that a quantum many-worlds model doesn't explain the most important things about how quantum system behave, and can't have the same statistical mechanism 'behind the scenes' that makes classical many-worlds palatable.

Dave said...

Yes, well, much of the US Right also wants to reignite the Cold War or start a limited thermonuclear exchange with whichever Mid-East Islamofascist terror-monkeys are threatening to raise gas prices this week. Oh, and deregulate their economy, which is working out just peachy at the moment.

Anyway, you know perfectly well that you won't get a reasoned and structured argument from me. I couldn't even manage those at uni, when it was worth marks :)

But I will see Obama's stupidity re Palestine and double down with "bomb bomb bomb Iran" and "Russia is right next door to Alaska". At least Obama and McCain eventually realised that what they had said was dumb - Palin keeps repeating her ridiculous assertion because it's all she's got.

Gosh, don't I sound grumpy? I'm not. I am interested in the parallel universes thing though.

Dr. Clam said...

The devil is in the detail- you'll have to cite me chapter and verse before I see and raise. :)

A credible threat of the use of force is an essential part of any diplomatic approach to Iran.

And, while unfortunately it does appear that Palin has never been to Vladivostok, I would like to see- which means I ought to look up- what involvement she has had with cross-border cooperation and confrontation along a very long maritime border, which would count as foreign policy experience in my book.
Governors of states on the US/Mexico border certainly have lots of day-to-day border issues to contend with and coordinate lots of activities with Governors of adjoining Mexican states. Another reason Bill Richardson would have been a good VP pick for Obama. His *practical* foreign policy experience would trump Biden's sterling record of being intimately involved on the wrong side of every foreign policy debate of the last thirty-odd years. :P

Marco said...

1. I think it could be common sense to "Make an example" even if he cannot be found guilty. No-one is above the law - not even the leader of the free world. There would be no surer way to scuttle the whole war crime tribunals thing than by actually doing it.

2. Are you kidding! There is always grounds to forbid same sex unions. All the more if they are going to breed more of themselves

Dave said...

If you're citing what appears appears to be deranged bluster as "the credible threat of force" then I suspect the forign policy debate is a no-starter.

Palin's credibility on the Russia-Alaska border might improve if she has anything of substance to say about the many-ways tussle up there to control oil rights in the Arctic being freed up as the ice shelf melts, but as the Governor doesn't actually command the Coast Guard or air force deployments, it'll have to be a mroe carefully-worded statement than she's managed to date.

I don't know that much about Richardson. Should I naively suppose that as a self-identified Hispanic, he might have brought a dangerous level of non-Causcasianness to the Obama ticket? Such a cynical decision isn't exactly unprecedented (and I certainly wouldn't content that Obama is above making calculated and even hypocritical moves in order to get elected - he *is* still a politician).

Hrm, actually, was Richardson the one that was the Clinton disciple? A gambit to assert some dominance over Bill in the Democratic pecking order might also have come into it. There could also be personality factors, for that matter.At this point I have achieve pure speculative weightlessness and am now drifting stratosphere-wards. :)

Marco - no, I'm not kidding. Are you?

Dave said...

No, scratch that though about the Clinton disciplism - I forgot which way round it happened. Richardson endorsed Obama after he dropped out of the noms early, which in theory should have endeared him to Obama against the Clintons, who would never ever ever hold a grudge no sirree.

But yes, his foreign policy experience appears impeccable (and would have been a good club to wield against the "bomb first and think later" McCain foreign strategy).

Dr. Clam said...

Of course Marco's kidding. So was McCain. It was just a funny, like when I stuck my bike flag through Ev's spokes.

He has said in non-Beach-Boys mode that the only thing worse than bombing Iran is letting Iran get the bomb, which is a credible policy position.

You know, I never thought of Bill Richardson's maybe piling on too much non-Caucasianness... I still think the electoral maths would add up.

Dr. Clam said...

Or, like my dreadful Opposition Environment Spokesman joke. Sometimes you think of these funny things and you can't help yourself.

Marco said...

My last comment was my devils advocate trying to come out.

Marco said...

I really think it is impossible to outline in print *any* plausible theology/philosophy that has grounds to forbid (fruitful) same-sex unions without sounding completely bigoted. Even talking theoretically, things you can joke about in a pub in Townsville could get you arrested in the cafes of Canberra! Or voted off Big Brother (former Townsville resident Kate)

Dr. Clam said...

Okay, why not try this- a plausible argument for why same-sex unions are okay, but polygamy/polyandry is not. Or you could always get your friend 'Anonymous Bigot' to put forward your logical and self-consistent devil's advocate argument on your behalf.

Bethany J Fellows said...

apparently mine is genius
Which means its rediculously inaccessible & I shall try and dumb its concepts down

Dr. Clam said...

That is good to hear, Bethany! I had been thinking that possibly the widget was broke, and was just returning 'high school' for everything run on blogger.