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Old 2nd December 2013, 05:40 AM   #1
Iamme
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Idea: Fun skeptical topics to debate

I got this idea after reading a post last night of someone mentioned about things being boring around here lately. So i thought about googling my title(after the colon), above. And it might hold some promise. Lucky for me, i get to work during the day, like what i do, and never am bored. But for anyone here that is not as fortunate to escape the house, lets say, you might want to scour suggested google and maybe can find exciting thread starters. Just a thought.
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Old 26th December 2013, 04:31 PM   #2
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OK I'll start:
I'm skeptical whether animals can actually care about people. Maybe as some say dogs have the moves engrained in their makeup.
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Old 30th December 2013, 08:04 AM   #3
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Dogs have been known to save people's lives. Yes, animals care about people.
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Old 3rd January 2014, 01:35 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by Fellow Traveler View Post
OK I'll start:
I'm skeptical whether animals can actually care about people. Maybe as some say dogs have the moves engrained in their makeup.
Isn't having the moves engrained in your makeup the same thing as having caring about people engrained in your makeup?

When I have had pets they have certainly presented every appearance of caring about me. I've had a dog that acted worried when I wasn't around, that would come and find me if she could, that would protect me if she thought I was in danger, that would come and sleep near me (preferably in my bed if I let her)... and so on.

I suppose one can say that the dog merely presented the appearance of caring about me without actually experiencing the emotion of caring - that it behaved that way because of some other cause.

But then, couldn't we just as easily ask that question of people too? If a man's wife acts like she cares about him how can he really know that she actually does care about him, rather than being motivated by some other cause that merely produces the same results? The only difference is that she can actually tell him she cares... but isn't that just another behaviour apparently related to caring? If we can attribute other "apparently caring" behaviours so some other causal factor, can't we attribute her saying she cares to the same thing?

And really, if whatever this other causal factor is produces all the same results that actually caring produces, then isn't that the same thing as caring, by definition?
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Old 5th January 2014, 02:20 AM   #5
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I see what you mean.
I had an aunt in law that i wonder if she had a gun to her head and was made to choose between her dog, and her husband of like 55 years, if she would have chosen her beloved Pekingese.
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Old 27th January 2014, 04:46 PM   #6
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OK I don't know how dogs feel about humans but some behaviorists claim that for the animal its a good way to get fed or petted to act loving. Also, that housecats lay in your lap for the comfort of the warm and soft spot. Have you ever thought you loved some person who didn't return the feeling? In this instance you have to question how even a person can experience love without it being two way. Do you know what I mean?
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Old 27th January 2014, 04:55 PM   #7
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Dogs see humans as other dogs. Dogs really have only two ways of viewing something: another dog or food. If they can't love it, hate it or eat it, it doesn't exist.
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Old 27th February 2014, 09:29 AM   #8
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I read today scientists believe that dogs only appear to be sorry when you yell at them for such as pooping on the floor. Learned behavior I suppose.
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Old 18th December 2014, 05:34 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by Loss Leader View Post
Dogs see humans as other dogs. Dogs really have only two ways of viewing something: another dog or food. If they can't love it, hate it or eat it, it doesn't exist.
Eh? Dogs clearly have the concept of "toy".

Originally Posted by Fellow Traveler View Post
I read today scientists believe that dogs only appear to be sorry when you yell at them for such as pooping on the floor. Learned behavior I suppose.
A dog acting "guilty" is showing submissive behaviour, but I'd be interested to see a study on whether there is more to it than that. Dogs learn that there are things they shouldn't do (the couch is off-limits, for example), do them anyway - often surreptitiously - then act submissive when you notice them. Just how complex is the mental model going on in there?
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Old 26th December 2014, 01:39 AM   #10
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Are farts actually messeges from the other side?
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Old 26th December 2014, 01:45 AM   #11
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Guide dogs dispell any arguement about Universal pack mentality.

If it were totally true the dog would leave the owner to die for being less
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Old 26th December 2014, 04:29 AM   #12
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Originally Posted by cullennz View Post
Guide dogs dispell any arguement about Universal pack mentality.

If it were totally true the dog would leave the owner to die for being less
Or quietly move the furniture.
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Old 28th December 2014, 12:01 AM   #13
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Originally Posted by Fellow Traveler View Post
OK I'll start:
I'm skeptical whether animals can actually care about people. Maybe as some say dogs have the moves engrained in their makeup.
You have no evidence that other humans aren't the same.

Originally Posted by Loss Leader View Post
Dogs see humans as other dogs.
And humans see pet dogs as other humans - so ?
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Old 28th December 2014, 04:08 AM   #14
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Originally Posted by stevea View Post
You have no evidence that other humans aren't the same.



And humans see pet dogs as other humans - so ?
You seem to have missed out the debate part of this thread.
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Old 1st January 2015, 02:09 AM   #15
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Originally Posted by Loss Leader View Post
Dogs see humans as other dogs. Dogs really have only two ways of viewing something: another dog or food. If they can't love it, hate it or eat it, it doesn't exist.
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Old 1st January 2015, 03:11 AM   #16
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Originally Posted by Fellow Traveler View Post
OK I'll start:
I'm skeptical whether animals can actually care about people. Maybe as some say dogs have the moves engrained in their makeup.
I'm skeptical about whether humans can actually care about people. They certainly behave as if they did far less than dogs do.
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Old 1st January 2015, 04:25 AM   #17
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For non pack members perhaps, but not for a fellow clique member.
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Old 22nd January 2015, 01:00 PM   #18
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I clicked - because of a recent career goal: I want to teach children how to argue effectively. Might as well, eh? So I was interested in topics. However, the dog question is actually quite compelling. If my dog starts peeing in the house, I reprimand her and put her Outside. Her takeaway: The human does not want to see me peeing in the house. Short of setting up surveillance and posting myself outside - or using the tether technique - I can't really teach her the moral nuances.

She loves me because she owns me and covets me. I am a part of her Empire. But, she definitely knows the difference between dog and "kitty." She has two different barks for dogs and cats. And a third, much abbreviated, for pigeons. And a fourth, a whiny yip commanding her subjects to submit to her authority and pet her.

Her behavior is caring, clearly. Does she understand abstract human values such as "love"? Not really; she is acting out of territorial instincts. Dogs have emotions, I believe: Shame, exuberance, contentment, etc. But they don't have "moods" - in the eternal present, each new instant triggers the emotions of that instant.

Meanwhile if anyone has some good topics for kids to argue about, please share. I am talking about the range from preteen to almost adult. The dog example is great but I'd like to have other options.

Last edited by Minoosh; 22nd January 2015 at 01:02 PM.
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Old 16th August 2016, 11:07 PM   #19
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Topical.

Lots of athletes have lucky pieces of clothing or lucky rituals. Choose a popular athlete for your country with a ritual. Then discuss - can knickers make you jump further, or is it just psychology getting into a positive frame of mind. This can get you into placebo effects, selective memory, how strong an impact on memory coincidences can be.
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Old 21st September 2016, 01:40 AM   #20
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Originally Posted by Minoosh View Post
Her behavior is caring, clearly. Does she understand abstract human values such as "love"? Not really; she is acting out of territorial instincts. Dogs have emotions, I believe: Shame, exuberance, contentment, etc. But they don't have "moods" - in the eternal present, each new instant triggers the emotions of that instant.
I think we generally underestimate the degree to which our own emotional experiences, moods, reactions to situations, etc. are all very similar to what you describe of your dog. What makes you think they don't experience "moods" in the same way that we do? (Or, perhaps more accurately, that we don't experience moods in the same way that they, and other mammals, do?)

I suspect that that the human experience of life isn't nearly as different from that of other animals, particularly mammals, as most of us think.
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Old 20th November 2016, 03:07 AM   #21
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Originally Posted by Minoosh View Post
I clicked - because of a recent career goal: I want to teach children how to argue effectively. Might as well, eh? So I was interested in topics.
Here's a suggestion for a topic, "Fringe theories that contradict science claim that they are legitimate because some scientific theories have overturned the then prevalent scientific consensus. Is this a legitimate argument?'

I don't know what age group you're looking at, but I think this could potentially be an interesting topic and draw in a lot of powerful skeptical tools such as understanding the difference between personal conviction and objective evidence, arguments from authority (whether, and when, they are or are not valid), how today's consensus was arrived at, how that differed in the past, etc, etc.
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Old 20th November 2016, 03:24 AM   #22
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Have a few kids toss a coin ten times, take the highest number of heads and the lowest number of heads then have the group discuss the proposition that this shows that A is better at tossing a coin than B.
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