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The Sciences

The Best Arguments for Things I Don't Believe

Cosmic VarianceBy Sean CarrollAugust 24, 2007 12:40 AM


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Have you ever heard someone arguing in favor of a position with which you disagree, but their arguments are so bad that you can't help but think "Man, I could do a better job arguing for their side than they are, and I don't even agree with them!" I thought it might be interesting to do exactly that -- consider some interesting issues, and come up with my own versions of what the people who I think are wrong should be saying. The rules would be: (1) The claims would be somewhat judgmental, rather than straightforwardly empirical. I'm not going to waste my time arguing that the universe is not expanding, or anything like that. (2) I have to stick to making individual statements that I really do believe, even if I don't think they are sufficient to support the ultimate conclusion. I reserve the right to come up with more rules as I think of them. Here are some possible claims to be considered:

  1. God exists.

  2. The Iraq war was a good idea.

  3. Women scientists shouldn't complain about discrimination.

  4. Research on string theory is a waste of time.

  5. Talking about the multiverse is intrinsically non-scientific.

  6. We shouldn't worry about global climate change.

Any other suggestions? I'm sure there are lots of things I don't believe, but could come up with better arguments for than I usually hear. It'll be like being on the debate team again.

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