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RSS NamelessJoe

Reward Points:16
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10 most recent arguments.
2 points

I like Obama, but he's far from perfect. In all likelihood, he or the Democratic party will screw up in one way or another. Maybe it'll be higher taxes, maybe reluctance to embrace drilling or nuclear power, maybe poorly-implemented universal healthcare or some foreign policy blunder; who knows?

Anyway, odds are that sooner or later they'll drop the ball. As a result, 5-15% or so of liberals will defect to the right, and the Republicans will be waiting in the wings. America has a habit of switching parties every 8-12 years, and there's no reason to believe it's going to stop now.

The Republican party may have been hurt, but the wounds are far from fatal; both parties have recovered from worse in the past. They still have plenty of support, not just in middle-America and the South, but also nationwide; as one-sided as the electoral vote may have been, Obama was only 6% ahead in the popular vote. It's likely the Republicans (and/or Democrats) will go the way of the Federalists some day, but it's not something that's going to happen in the near future.

2 points

Kurt Vonnegut postulated this in his article "Cat's Cradle: Particle Acceleration as a Means to Solidify Dihydrogen Monoxide," where he famously coined the term "ice." Countless scientific research firms have tried, unsuccessfully, to create this so-called "ice."

What seems to be misfortune, however, may actually be incredibly lucky. If this so-called "frozen water" was to come in contact with unfrozen water, it would likely cause a chain reaction, causing the contacted, liquid water to become solid as well. By this process, it is not only possible, but probable, that creation of this incredibly dangerous substance would eventually convert the oceans, and the earth's entire water, supply to ice.

2 points

It's more like this: to protect you from men with guns trying to take your money or your life, you band together with a bunch of like-minded men with guns to protect your money and your life.

Over time, the band of people becomes larger, and specialized; instead of everyone trying to do everything, there's a production group, whose purpose is obvious, a governing group to resolve disputes, and a military/police group, to protect from outside enemies, as well as those who try to subvert the law and cheat the system. (This is a grossly oversimplified explanation of modern civilization, but it should be basically accurate.)

Naturally, the system won't work unless the producers give some of their product/money to the governors and protectors. This, however, (with the exception of kleptocracies and malevolent dictatorships) is far from the exploitation you paint it as, and is generally a mutually beneficial trade. Surplus goods are exchanged for order and security.

It's not a perfect system; wars, malevolent dictatorships, government corruption and poor planning attests to this, but by-and-large it works; there's a reason why every single group of people larger than a few hundred has some kind of system resembling this.

3 points

What leads you to say it's not likely?

The milky way alone has somewhere between 200 and 400 billion stars. It's likely that many of these stars have planets, but it's what the ratio of planets to stars is; to be on the safe side, lets say there's one planet for every hundred stars. That gives us about 3 billion planets.

Life on earth evolved to very specific conditions. Early life forms on earth likely evolved in water, with certain atoms--carbon, hydrogen, oxygen, and nitrogen--present, and with access to mild sunlight, 1 atm of pressure, and countless other conditions. It's likely that life could form in different conditions, and perhaps very different conditions, but to be on the conservative side, let's assume that it can't. Lets say only one in, say, a hundred million planets are earth-like. That gives us 30 hospitable planets in our galaxy.

The likelihood of life forming on a livable planet is a total crap-shoot. It could be all but inevitable, or it could be a one-in-a-trillion. Again, lets be conservative and say that it's incredibly unlikely. That gives us a 0.00000000003 chance of life forming in any one galaxy.

The thing is, though, there are an almost infinite number of galaxies. Saying that there are more galaxies then there are grains of sand in all the world's beaches is a gross understatement. Saying that there are more galaxies than there are atoms in the earth is a bit closer, but not much.

If there's a virtually infinite number of galaxies, the odds of there being life on other planets--even if the odds are terrible for any one planet, or any one galaxy--are incredibly high, to to point where the evolution of life on many, many other planets is all but a statistical certainty. The only exception would be if there was something special about Earth that no (or almost no) other planets shared, but there's no reason to assume this is the case. The more we learn about astronomy, the more we learn how un-special our planet and solar system are. If life arose naturally, extra-terrestrial life isn't just possible, it's all but certain.

Supporting Evidence: Drake Equation for Extraterrestrial Life (
1 point

The power to shoot bratwursts and onion rings from my eyes.

6 points

My vote would have to go to the 360.

Purely in terms of hardware, the PS3 is superior. It's comparable in graphical power to the 360, but is much more reliable, and lacks the 360's noisy fan.

In terms of overall experience and variety of games, however, the 360 comes out ahead. The Xbox has a variety of excellent exclusive and semi-exclusive games. Games like Bioshock, Halo, Mass Effect, Gears of War, Viva Pinata, Forza, and Ninja Gaiden 2 have helped cement the 360's place as the dominant console.

The PS3, on the other hand, lacks any truly great current exclusives, and has few impressive future titles aside from Metal Gear Solid IV, Final Fantasy VIII and Gran Turismo. Many multi-platform developers also put more work into the 360's version than the PS3's; witness the buggy, slowdown-ridden PS3 adaptation of Orange Box, or Grand Theft Auto IV's exclusive downloadable content on the 360.

The Xbox 360 also has a vastly superior online system, which supports voice chat in all games and lets you easily contact and chat with friends who're playing something else, be it single-player or multi-player. The PS3 lacks a true online infrastructure, and forces developers to do it all on their own, making the online quality vary greatly from game to game.

0 points

Vanilla is a bit dull on it's own, but the strength of the flavor is that is complements everything. Pie, berries, fudge and cake are just a few foods that go brilliantly with vanilla ice cream, and are often overpowered by chocolate.

Vanilla has other advantages as well. It rivals sherbet as a way to "cleanse the palate, and is very refreshing in small doses." Plus, vanilla tends to be quite a bit less fattening then chocolate ice cream.

3 points

The bible is an incredibly complex, multi-thousand-page work, by dozens of authors, with hundreds of stories, with vague and often complex (and often contradictory) themes and messages.

The Christian Right takes this work and boils it into a simple manifesto that mainly says two things: abortion is bad, and gays are bad. The Bible's record on both, however, are extremely shaky. The bible never references or condemns abortion. There are a few passages that could be taken as saying that fetuses as saying that fetuses are or aren't people, but it's a bit like reading tea leaves. (see link for more detail.)

Homosexuality is on similarly shaky ground: one part of the old Testament lists it as a sin, but a sin on par with eating shellfish. Leviticus says that abhorrent, and punishable by death, but it says the same about heterosexual fornication. Many would claim that Sodom and Gomorrah is primarily about homosexuality, but this is very debatable.

And then there's the whole problem with taking the Bible, especially the Old Testament, as the end-all-be-all place to go for morality. The Old Testament has passages that can be taken as being pro-genocide and pro-slavery, every bit as much as other passages can be taken as anti-abortion and anti-homosexuality. It describes a God who murders infants, slaughters people by the thousands, and encourages his people to destroy the civilizations of nonbelievers, killing or enslaving the men and having their way with the enemy's women. The New Testament's God preaches forgiveness and loving one's enemy, but willingly sends the unrepentant to a place where they'll be tortured for all of eternity.

In one passage in Leviticus, it's stated in very clear language that death by stoning is an appropriate punishment for disobedient children. Another passage states that the punishment for working on the sabbath is death. Should good Christians try to follow, and enforce, these rules?

What I'm trying to say, gunman, is that you should broaden your horizons a bit. You seem like a smart enough guy, and you ought to know better than basing all of your beliefs and ethics on someone's peculiar interpretation of an old book.

Supporting Evidence: The Bible and Abortion (
1 point

As much as I hate to say it, I think I'd rather live in a dictatorship then a large-scale anarchy. Modern business and government thrives on well-organized, efficient hierarchy, which an anarchy, by definition, would lack.

Military and criminal justice systems by their nature infringe on individual rights and betray the principles of anarchy. Unfortunately, these measures are necessary for the preservation of order.

Without an effective law enforcement system to punish violence and theft, a nation would go into a brief state of every-man-for himself state of (sorry) anarchy; looting, murder and rape would be rampant. A perfect example is Iraq, in the days after the invasion. Before long, people would start to band together in small militias or tribes, likely lead by violent strongmen. Afghanistan after the Soviet Invasion is a near-perfect example.

Before long, someone will try to fill the power-vacuum. The different groups will inevitably want power, and they'll be more than ready to fight for it. You end up with a sort of feudalism; the various groups fight a bloody, all-out war; maybe for months, maybe for years, maybe for decades.

Ultimately, one group will become the victor, and they'll claim power and set up a government. This government will inevitably be militaristic and authoritarian. Inevitably it will be attacked by the other groups or their remnants, and inevitably the government will result to torture and murder to stop them. At some point the government may succeed in stopping them, but will continue to use these methods, doing everything in its power to keep its power.

So you end up with a dictatorship, except you got the bonus of a few years or decades of fear, poverty and bloody tribal warfare. So what's better, the relative anarchy of war, or the oppression but relative safety of a strong-arm Dictatorship? Ask a random Iraqi citizen what they prefer, life under the oppressive Dictatorship of Saddam, or life under the chaos of sectarian fighting. Three times out of four, they'll tell you the former. Freedom is great, but it doesn't mean very much when you worry about getting shot or kidnapped or bombed every time you leave your home.

2 points

It's true that you couldn't outrun an elephant one-dimensionally, but that doesn't necessarily mean you can't get away from it.

With four tons of mass to carry around, elephants aren't going to be maneuverable at high speeds. As snatch pointed out, you could run at a 90 degree angle or zigzag, and the elephant would likely be unable to catch you.

Also, you could use geological obstacles to your advantage; an elephant may be able to knock down a tree, but it's not going to be able to knock down a mountain, and the creatures aren't exactly natural rock climbers. A dense forest could provide similar cover. Granted, these a rare in the African savanna, but the question didn't specify the location of the attack.

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