You are on page 1of 16

Trinity Debate 2009-2010 File Name Tournament 1

Contention One is Impacts

Extinction is inevitable in the short term absent space colonization New York Times 7 (John Tierney, A Survival Imperative for Space Colonization July 17, In 1993, J. Richard Gott III computed with scientific certainty that humanity would survive at least 5,100 more years. At the time, I took that as reason to relax, but Dr. Gott has now convinced me I was wrong. He has issued a wake-up call: To ensure our long-term survival, we need to get a colony up and running on Mars within 46 years. If youre not awakened yet, I understand. Its only prudent to be skeptical of people who make scientific forecasts about the end of humanity. Dr. Gott, a professor of astrophysics at Princeton, got plenty of grief after he made his original prediction in 1993. But in the ensuing 14 years, his prophetic credentials have strengthened, and not merely because humanity is still around. Dr. Gott has used his technique to successfully forecast the longevity of Broadway plays, newspapers, dogs and, most recently, the

tenure in office of hundreds of political leaders around the world. He bases predictions on just one bit of data, how long something has lasted already; and on one assumption, that there is nothing special about the particular moment that youre observing this phenomenon. This assumption is called the Copernican Principle, after the astronomer who
assumed he wasnt seeing the universe from a special spot in the center. Suppose you want to forecast the political longevity of the leader of a foreign country, and you know nothing about her country except that she has just finished her 39th week in power. What are the odds that shell leave office in her 40th week? According to the Copernican Principle, theres nothing special about this week, so theres only a 1-in-40 chance, or 2.5 percent, that shes now in the final week of her tenure. Its equally unlikely that shes still at the very beginning of her tenure. If she were just completing the first 2.5 percent of her time in power, that would mean her remaining time would be 39 times as long as the period shes already served 1,521 more weeks (a little more than 29 years). So you can now confidently forecast that she will stay in power at least one more week but not as long as 1,521 weeks. The odds of your being wrong are 2.5 percent on the short end and 2.5 percent on the long end a total of just 5 percent, which means that your forecast has an expected accuracy of 95 percent, the scientific standard for statistical significance. And you can apply this Copernican formula to lots of other phenomena by assuming theyre neither in the first 2.5 percent nor the final 2.5 percent of their life spans. Now, that range is so broad it may not seem terribly useful to you, and Dr. Gott readily concedes that his Copernican formula often is not the ideal method. The best the formula could do regarding Bill Clinton, who had been president for 127 days when the 1993 paper in Nature was published, was predict he would serve at least three more days but not more than 13.6 more years. You could have gotten a narrower range by using other information, like actuarial data from previous presidencies, or factoring in the unlikelihood that the Constitution would be changed so he could serve more than two terms. But the beauty of the Copernican formula is that it allows you to make predictions when you dont have any other information, which is how Dr. Gott managed to predict the tenure of virtually every other nations leader that day in 1993 a total of 313 leaders.

If none of those still in power stays in office beyond age 100, Dr. Gotts accuracy rate will turn out to be almost exactly 95 percent . Some philosophers and experts in probability theory have argued that Dr. Gott is making unwarranted
deductions from past life spans, and that it is wrong to assume there is nothing special about the moment weve chosen to make a forecast. ( for details of the debate.) But last year two philosophers, Bradley Monton and Brian Kierland, analyzed the criticisms and concluded in an article in the Philosophical Quarterly that Dr. Gott had indeed come up with a useful tool for difficult situations like trying to forecast doomsday without data from other planets. The Copernican formula predicts, based solely on our 200,000-year track record, that the human race is likely to survive at least 5,100 more years but not longer than 7.8 million roughly the same prediction youd make based on the longevity of past mammals on Earth, Dr. Gott says.

Trinity Debate 2009-2010 File Name Tournament 2 This is because of overpopulation CBD 9, Center for Biological Diversity (Overpopulation and Extinction, 2009 is the last date cited under the article,

Were in the midst of the Earths sixth mass extinction crisis. Harvard biologist E. O. Wilson estimates that 30,000 species per year (or three species per hour) are being driven to extinction . Compare this to the natural background
rate of one extinction per million species per year, and you can see why scientists refer to it as a crisis unparalleled in human history. The current mass extinction differs from all others in being driven by a single species rather than a planetary or galactic physical process. When the human race Homo sapiens sapiens migrated out of Africa to the Middle East 90,000 years ago, to Europe and Australia 40,000 years ago, to North America 12,500 years ago, and to the Caribbean 8,000 years ago, waves of extinction soon followed. The colonizationfollowed-by-extinction pattern can be seen as recently as 2,000 years ago, when humans colonized Madagascar and quickly drove elephant birds, hippos, and large lemurs extinct. [3]. The first wave of extinctions targeted large vertebrates hunted by hunter-gatherers. The second, larger wave began 10,000 years ago as the discovery of agriculture caused a population boom and a need to plow wildlife habitats, divert streams, and maintain large herds of domestic cattle. The third and largest wave began in 1800 with the harnessing of fossil fuels. With enormous, cheap energy at its disposal, the human population grew rapidly from 1 billon in 1800 to 2 billion in 1930, 4 billion in 1975, and 6.8 billion today. If the current course is not altered, well reach 8 billion by 2020 and 9 to 15 billion (likely the former) by 2050. No population of a large vertebrate animal in the history of the planet has grown that much, that fast, or with such devastating consequences to its fellow earthlings. Humans impact has been so profound that scientists have proposed that the Holocene era be declared over and the current epoch (beginning in about 1900) be called

the Anthropocene: the age when the global environmental effects of increased human population and economic development dominate planetary physical, chemical, and biological conditions [4]. Humans annually absorb 42 percent of the Earths terrestrial net primary productivity, 30 percent of its marine net primary productivity, and 50 percent of its fresh water [5]. Forty percent of the planets land is devoted to human food production , up from 7
percent in 1700 [5]. Fifty percent of the planets land mass has been transformed for human use [5]. More atmospheric nitrogen is now fixed by humans that all other natural processes combined [5] "[A]ll of these seemingly disparate phenomena trace to a single cause: the growing scale of the human enterprise. The rates, scales, kinds, and combinations of changes occurring now are fundamentally different from those at any other time in history. . . . We live on a human-dominated planet and the momentum of human population growth, together with the imperative for further economic development in most of the world, ensures that our dominance will increase." Predicting local extinction rates is complex due to differences in biological diversity, species distribution, climate, vegetation, habitat threats, invasive species, consumption patterns, and enacted conservation measures. One constant, however, is human population pressure. A study of 114 nations found that human population density predicted with 88-percent accuracy the number of endangered birds and mammals as identified by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature [1]. Current population growth trends indicate that the number of threatened species will increase by 7 percent over the next 20 years and 14 percent by 2050. And thats without the addition of global warming impacts. "The density of people is a key factor in species threats," said Jeffrey McKee, one of the studys authors. If other species follow the same pattern as the mammals and birds . . . we are facing a serious threat to global biodiversity associated with our growing human population." [2]. So where does wildlife stand today in relation to 6.8 billion people? Worldwide, 12 percent of mammals, 12 percent of birds, 31 percent of reptiles, 30 percent of amphibians, and 37 percent of fish are threatened with extinction [6]. Not enough plants and invertebrates have been assessed to determine their global threat level, but it is severe. Extinction is the most serious, utterly irreversible effect of human overpopulation. But unfortunately, many analyses of what a sustainable human population level would look like presume that the goal is simply to keep the human race at a level where it has enough food and clean water to survive. Our notion of sustainability and ecological footprint indeed, our notion of world worth living in presumes that humans will allow for, and themselves enjoy, enough room and resources for all species to live.

Humanity has lots of ways of killing itself or going extinct space colonization would solve ALL of them. Falconi, Physicist, 1981 (THE CASE FOR SPACE COLONIZATION,

Genetic Manipulation - A good possibility that peaceful research now taking place will evolve uncontrollable 100% lethal epidemics from man-made organisms . 2. Mass Vaccination - of populations with vaccines that were insufficiently researched and tested, or improperly prepared, either accidentally or deliberately. Mass sterility, death, or genetic destruction, now or later, could result. 3. Ecological "Flip" The establishment of a very different, but stable, environmental equilibrium by man's exceeding an unknown pollution threshold level. a. Atmospheric pollution, affecting earth's thermal balance, from auto, industry, or SST effluents. b. Atmospheric pollution, affecting the ozone layer, from aerosol sprays, SST's, and nitrogen oxides from a limited nuclear war. c. Ocean pollution, from industrial wastes and human sewage. The manner of man's demise, soon, by important authorities. d. Weather (or climate) manipulation, but with no knowledge of short and long term effects, or threshold levels. The effect of reactor effluent Krypton-85.
4. World War III - Third World nuclear capability plus irresponsible, impulsive, actions of incompetents, or a great nuclear holocaust due to large quantities of superweapons: B-52's, B-l's, Minuteman III, Polaris, Trident, etc. , and their Russian counterparts, resulting in man's extinction due to excessive worldwide radiation level or by inducing an ecological flip. 5. Chemical, Bacteriological,

Biological, or Germ Warfare, resulting in uncontrolled epidemics, long term genetic effects, or an ecological

Trinity Debate 2009-2010 File Name Tournament 3

flip, eliminating human life. 6. Nuclear Reactors - The present controversy centers around major accidents, leakage, transport of fuel and waste, sabotage, release of extremely carcinogenic plutonium, waste disposal, theft of fuel or waste by individuals or terrorist groups. 7. Advanced Experimentation - Furious competition in all fields of research, possibly initiating some catastrophe which man had no reasonable possibility of predicting. Modern lasers, particle accelerators, etc., are creating effects unknown in the universe until now. Also, a research breakthrough could tempt a country to undertake world conquest, accidentally ending all human life. 8. Short or Long-Term Genetic Effects - due to: a. Irresponsible mass vaccination or fluoridation. b. Mass ingestion of vast quantities of large numbers of untested food additives. c. Massive irradiation from television sets, medical X-rays, and industry . d. Accidental or deliberate leakage from many nuclear reactors now extant or planned. e. Deterioration, leakage, theft, or sabotage of underground or underwater radioactive waste disposal sites. Above have been listed many different ways in which man can be wiped out. Further study should uncover many, many more. And surely no amount of study will be able to ferret out the vast number of very subtle, and thus very unpredictable ways of ending our fragile human existence. We should marvel at how the aerosol problem was predicted before there was any indication of a problem. Many thanks are due chemists Molina and Rowland, for they just may have given mankind a few more important years on Earth. Examining the above list, both known and unknown, one must be
impressed with its quantity, variety, and subtlety. Hopefully these deleterious effects will only add, and not multiply. We might allay our fears by applying some sort of "Environmental Superposition Theorem" and thus justify addition instead of multiplication, but again, we just don't know. In our ignorance we should

take urgent steps to protect man's future and proceed with the colonization of space immediately .

Extinction happens for crazy reasons too: A. Gamma-ray bursts The Ottawa Citizen 2k /December 30, Apocalypse how: Hollywood and doomsday cults have long envisioned the end of the
world. On the eve of 2001, Corey S. Powell looks at 20 ways Armageddon could really happen., Lexis/ Gamma-ray burst If you could watch the sky with gamma-ray vision, you might think you were being stalked by cosmic paparazzi. Once a day or so, you would see a bright flash briefly outshine everything else, then vanish. These gamma-ray bursts, astrophysicists recently learned, originate in distant galaxies and are unfathomably powerful -as much as 10 quadrillion (a one followed by 16 zeros) times as energetic as the sun. The bursts probably result from

the merging of two collapsed stars. Before the cataclysmal event, such a double star might be almost undetectable, so we'd likely have no advance notice if one is lurking nearby . Once the burst begins, however, there would be no missing its fury. At a distance of 1,000 light-years -- farther than most of the stars you can see on a clear night -- it would appear as bright as our sun. Earth's atmosphere would initially protect us from most of the burst's deadly X-rays and gamma rays, but at a cost. The potent radiation would cook the atmosphere, creating nitrogen oxides that would destroy the ozone layer. Without the ozone layer, ultraviolet rays from the sun would reach the surface at nearly full force, causing skin cancer and, more seriously, killing off the tiny photosynthetic plankton in the ocean that provide oxygen to the atmosphere and bolster the bottom of the food chain. All the gamma-ray bursts
observed so far have been extremely distant, which implies the events are rare.

B. Rogue black holes The Ottawa Citizen 2k /December 30, Apocalypse how: Hollywood and doomsday cults have long envisioned the end of the
world. On the eve of 2001, Corey S. Powell looks at 20 ways Armageddon could really happen., Lexis/ Our galaxy is full of black holes, collapsed stellar corpses just a dozen kilometres wide. How full? Tough question. After all, they're called black holes for a reason. Their gravity is so strong they swallow everything, even the light that might betray their presence. David Bennett of Notre Dame University in Indiana managed to spot two black holes recently by the way they distorted and amplified the light of ordinary, more distant stars. The black hole wouldn't have to come all that close to

Earth to bring ruin; just passing through the solar system would distort all of the planets' orbits. Earth might get drawn into an elliptical path that would cause extreme climate swings, or it might be ejected from the solar system and go hurtling to a frigid fate in deep space.

C. Giant solar flares The Ottawa Citizen 2k /December 30, Apocalypse how: Hollywood and doomsday cults have long envisioned the end of the
world. On the eve of 2001, Corey S. Powell looks at 20 ways Armageddon could really happen., Lexis/ Solar flares -- more properly known as coronal mass ejections -- are enormous magnetic outbursts on the sun that bombard Earth with a torrent of high-speed subatomic particles. Earth's atmosphere and magnetic field negate the

Trinity Debate 2009-2010 File Name Tournament 4

potentially lethal effects of ordinary flares. But while looking through old astronomical records, Bradley Schaefer of Yale University found evidence that some perfectly normal-looking, sunlike stars can brighten briefly by up to a factor of 20. Mr. Schaefer believes these stellar flickers are caused by superflares millions of times more powerful

than their common cousins. Within a few hours, a superflare on the sun could fry Earth and begin disintegrating the ozone layer (see No. 2).

D. Magnetic field reverse The Ottawa Citizen 2k /December 30, Apocalypse how: Hollywood and doomsday cults have long envisioned the end of the
world. On the eve of 2001, Corey S. Powell looks at 20 ways Armageddon could really happen., Lexis/

Every few hundred thousand years Earth's magnetic field dwindles almost to nothing for perhaps a century, then gradually reappears with the north and south poles flipped. The last such reversal was 780,000 years ago, so we may be overdue. Worse, the strength of our magnetic field has decreased about five per cent in the past century. Why worry, in an age when global positioning systems have made compasses obsolete? Well, the magnetic field deflects particle storms and cosmic rays from the sun, as well as even more energetic subatomic particles from deep space. Without magnetic protection, these particles would strike Earth's atmosphere, eroding the already beleaguered ozone layer (see No. 5). Also, many creatures navigate by magnetic reckoning. A magnetic reversal might cause serious ecological mischief.

The key timeframe is within the next five yearsotherwise space ventures will collapse Cordell 8 PhD planetary and space physics, Weizmann postdoctoral fellow at Caltech, ex-physics professor at the California State
University, , worked with NASA. May 11 08 (Bruce, "Nasa programs and MEPs" Error! Hyperlink reference not valid.

Currently, the most important issue for humanitys future within the next 5 10 years is to resume the large-scale human expansion into space by achieving self-sufficient colonies (e.g. on the Moon) before 2025. This is serious business because such opportunities are not continuously available . Indeed, unless we breakout into space by 2025, the last 200 years of macroeconomic and macrohistorical experience teach that long-term trends in the economy, technology, and society will not be favorable again for human expansion until about 2071. This is especially sobering because attempting to estimate the geopolitical, technological, and/or economic state of the world that far into the future is essentially impossible , and therefore the next Maslow Window (2015 2025) is of inestimable importance .

Trinity Debate 2009-2010 File Name Tournament 5

Trinity Debate 2009-2010 File Name Tournament 6

Contention Two: The United Space of America

Space weaponization is inevitable Quinn 8
[Adam G. Quinn J.D./M.B.A. Candidate 2010, University of Minnesota Law School and Carlson School of Management. Note: The New Age of Space Law: The Outer Space Treaty and the Weaponization of Space Minnesota Journal of International Law. 17 Minn. J. Int'l L. 475. Summer, 2008. Lexis] The United States justified its 2006 Space Policy on grounds that space has become a critical component of its economy n153 and national security. n154 The United Nations Charter recognizes that self-defense is an inherent right of all states. n155 It is undisputed that a critical component of United States self- [*493] defense is dependent on "space force enhancements." n156 The United States has interpreted self-defense as including not only defense of a nation's people, but defense of a nation's property. n157 Under

the 2006 Space Policy, a threat on United States' space assets could justifiably result in the weaponization of space.
n158 It seems improbable that a policy with the stated goals of sustaining an advantage in space and "denying similar capabilities to others" is compatible with the Outer Space Treaty and reserving space for the benefit of all peoples. n159 3. The Outer Space Treaty is on the Cusp of Failing The increasing dependence on space for self-defense has naturally brought the fear of weaponization of space to the forefront of the debate. n160 The modern understanding of "peaceful" is "non-aggressive," as permitted under Article 2(4) of the United Nations Charter. n161 Consequently, space has already been weaponized in so much as it is crucial to the military [*494] operations of all developed nations. n162 As the United States moves forward with its 2006 Space Policy, space will be further weaponized, not only by military satellites, but by destructive weapons, leaving other countries no choice but to follow in step. n163 While no state wants to be the first to openly weaponize space, many are investing in dual-use technology. n164 Dual-use technologies are weapons designed for defensive action, and therefore considered "peaceful," but retain potent offensive capabilities. n165 Because there is no current bar against

The weaponization of space is inevitable because it is in every nation's best interest to weaponize space. This scenario is a classic prisoner's dilemma. n167 No matter what action is taken by other nations, every single nation is enticed by the benefit of being the first to weaponize space. n168 Although non-armament treaties can rectify the situation
dual-use weapons, their placement in orbit will have the effect of weaponizing space. n166 somewhat, n169 they are not a long-term solution because the incentive to defect will always remain. n170 Finally, the 2006 Space Policy

Given the inevitability of the weaponization of space, n172 it behooves every nation to weaponize as soon as possible to "stay ahead of the curve." n173 Even if a nation chooses not to aggressively restrict other nations from
also expressly [*495] prohibits agreeing to arms control restrictions that impair United States objectives. n171 weaponizing space, it would be ensuring it could not be similarly exploited. n174 It is also in the best interests of every nation for a measured introduction of weapons to space by opposing nations at approximately the same time. The alternative would be a sudden discovery that one nation had secretly weaponized space. n175 The former is likely to create an international tension while the later is likely to spark a new Cold War. n176

Countries already perceive US militarization Smith 7

[Jack Smith The militarization of outer space Asia Times. Mar 10, 2007.] The White House is reluctant openly to acknowledge its intention to militarize space, but the USAF in particular has been quite frank. In

of the Space Command, General Joseph W Ashy, was quoted as saying: "We're going to fight from space, and we're going to fight into space. That's why the US has development programs in
1996, the then head directed energy and hit-to-kill mechanisms. We will engage terrestrial targets some day - ships, airplanes, land targets - from space." In

declared are paving the road of 21st-century warfare." In May 2005, the New York Times quoted General Lance Lord, another head of the Space Command, as revealing, "Space superiority is not our birthright, but it is our destiny. Space superiority is our day-to-day mission. Space supremacy is our vision for the future." He did not explain how space superiority is obtained, but there is only one way - dominant military force. The USAF acknowledges that the militarization of space is a prime objective. Air Force Doctrine
2004, Under bluntly, "We Document 2-2.1 on "Counterspace Operations", published in August 2004 (and available online), states: "US Air Force counter-space operations are the ways and means by which the air force achieves and maintains space superiority. Space superiority provides freedom to attack as well as freedom from attack."

Secretary of the Air Force Peter B Teets, discussing America's intentions in space,

Our aff would cement American space power

Trinity Debate 2009-2010 File Name Tournament 7 Dyson 2 Science Historian and Son of Freeman Dyson, who was one of the original three scientists who worked on Project Orion (George,
Project Orion: Deep Space Force, Book excerpt,

Air Force Capt. Donance M. Mixson stepped in to fill the gap.

Hed have been the first man on board, says his partner, Col. Don Prickett. Mixson and Pricket saw Orion as a way to sustain the type of creative fast-moving effort that the proliferation of peacetime bureaucracy was bringing to an end. Mixson and Pricket were fed up with the Air Force system and Orion was a way to put a burr under the Air Force saddle blanket, explains Orions lead experimentalist, Brian Dunne. Mixson shuttled back and forth between Albuquerque, Washington, D.C., and La Jolla, Calif., intermediating between the physicists who saw Orion as a way to visit Mars and the generals who saw Orion as a way to counter the Soviets on Earth. Military implications of the Orion Vehicle appeared in July of 1959 and was, according to a declassified Air Force summary, largely the work of Mixson, aided by Dr. Taylor, Dr. Dyson, Dr. D.J. Peery, Maj. Lew Allen, Capt. Jasper Welch, and First Lt. William Whittaker. The study examined the possibilities of establishing military aerospace forces with Orion ships and these were conceived as: 1) a low altititude force (2-hour, 1,000-mile orbits), 2) a moderate altitude force (24-hour orbits), and 3) a deep space force (the Moon and beyond). The

report recommended that the Air Force formally establish a requirement for the Orion vehicle in order to prevent the disastrous consequences of an enemy first. Gen. Thomas S. Power, who had succeeded Gen. Curtis LeMay as SACs commander in chief, initiated Air Force QORs (Qualitative Operational Requirements) for a Strategic Aerospace Vehicle, a Strategic Earth Orbital Base, and a Strategic Space Command Post with Orion in mind. Prickett flew out to General Atomic with Mixson for a briefing with the general. It was a wide-open discussion on potential, and what we were going to do with it when we got it, says Prickett. And Power of course didnt have any problem knowing what to do with it.

Ineffective space control encourages adversaries to attack first Lambeth 3

[Benjamin S.Lambeth. Mastering The Ultimate High Ground RAND Project Air Force. 2003. 152-153] These facts have invariably made all calls for space force application initiatives and, by association, for even more relatively benign space control measures, both provocative and polarizing. So

long as such a disinclination to grapple with the nations rock-bottom security needs in space persists and the nation continues to adhere to an ambivalent military space strategy, space will remain only a supporting enabler of terrestrial operations. Worse yet, as long as steps toward acquiring effective defensive and offensive space control capabilities continue to be held in check by political irresolution and popular indifference, the nation will run an increasing risk of being caught by surprise someday as a result of its space vulnerabilities being exploited by a hostile partywhether or not in a notional space Pearl Harbor. Space warfare makes nuclear war inevitable Mitchell, et al 1
(Dr. Gordon Mitchell, Associate Professor of Communication and Director of Debate at the University of Pittsburgh. Kevin J. Ayotte and David Cram Helwich are Teaching Fellows in the Department of Communications at the University of Pittsburgh. ISIS Briefing on Ballistic Missile Defence, Missile Defence: Trans-Atlantic Diplomacy at a Crossroads, No. 6 July,

The interlocking nature of offense and defense in military space technology stems from the inherent 'dual capability' of spaceborne weapon components . As Marc Vidricaire, Delegation of Canada to the UN Conference on
Disarmament, explains: 'If you want to intercept something in space, you could use the same capability to target something on land'. 35 To the extent that ballistic missile interceptors based in space can knock out enemy missiles in mid-flight, such interceptors can also be used as orbiting 'Death Stars', capable of sending munitions hurtling through the Earth's atmosphere. The

dizzying speed of space warfare would introduce intense 'use or lose' pressure into strategic calculations, with the spectre of split-second attacks creating incentives to rig orbiting Death Stars with automated 'hair trigger' devices. In theory, this automation would enhance survivability of vulnerable space weapon platforms . However, by taking the decision to commit violence out of human hands and endowing computers with authority to make war, military planners could sow insidious seeds of accidental conflict.
Yale sociologist Charles Perrow has analyzed 'complexly interactive, tightly coupled' industrial systems such as space weapons, which have many sophisticated components that all depend on each other's flawless performance. According to Perrow, this interlocking complexity makes it impossible to foresee all the different ways such systems could fail. As Perrow explains, '[t]he odd term "normal accident" is meant to signal that, given the system characteristics, multiple and unexpected interactions of failures are inevitable'.36

Deployment of space weapons with pre-delegated authority to fire death rays or unleash killer projectiles would likely make war itself inevitable, given the susceptibility of such systems to

'normal accidents'. It is chilling to contemplate the possible effects of a space war. According to retired Lt. Col. Robert M.
Bowman, 'even

a tiny projectile reentering from space strikes the earth with such high velocity that it can do

Trinity Debate 2009-2010 File Name Tournament 8

enormous damage even more than would be done by a nuclear weapon of the same size!'. 37 In the same Star
Wars technology touted as a quintessential tool of peace, defence analyst David Langford sees one of the most destabilizing offensive

imagines dead cities of microwave-grilled people'.38 Given this unique potential for destruction, it is not hard to imagine that any nation subjected to space weapon attack would retaliate with maximum force, including use of nuclear, biological, and/or chemical weapons. An accidental war sparked by a computer glitch in space could plunge the world into the most destructive military conflict ever seen.
weapons ever conceived: 'One

Space primacy is prevents challengers Dolman 5, Professor of Comparative Military Studies at the US Air Forces School of Advanced Air and Space Studies, Everett C., U.S.
Military Transformation and Weapons in Space, 9-14-05, %20Military%20Transform%20&%20Space.pdf) Indeed, it is concern for the unanticipated arrival of technology X that initially motivates my own preference for a policy advocating immediate deployment of space weapons. So long as America is the state most likely to acquire a breakthrough technology in this area, my concern is limited to the problem of letting technology take us where it will. But what if an enemy of democratic liberalism should suddenly acquire the means to place quickly and cheaply multiple weapons into orbit? The advantages gained from controlling the high ground of space would accrue to it as surely as to any liberal state, and the concomitant loss of military power from the denial of space to our already-dependent military force could cause the immediate demise of the extant international system. The longer the US dithers on its responsibilities, the more likely a potential opponent could seize low-earth orbit before America could respond. And America would respond finally. But would another state? If

America were to weaponize space today, it is unlikely that any other state or group of states would find it rational to counter in kind. The entry cost to provide the infrastructure necessary is too high; hundreds of billions of dollars, at minimum. The years of investment it would take to achieve a minimal counter-force capabilityessentially from scratchwould provide more than ample time for the US to entrench itself in space, and readilycounter preliminary effortsto displace it. The tremendous effort in time and resources would be worse than wasted. Most states, if not all, would opt not to
counter US deployments in kind. They might oppose US interests with asymmetric balancing, depending on how aggressively America uses its new power, but the likelihood of a hemorrhaging arms race in space should the US deploy weapons thereat least for the next few yearsis extremely remote. This rationality does not dispute the fact that US deployment of weapons in outer space would represent the addition of a potent new military capacity, one that would assist in extending the current period of American hegemony well into the future. This would clearly be threatening, and America must expect severe condemnation and increased competition in peripheral areas. But such an outcome is less threatening than any other state doing so. Placement of weapons in space by the United States would be perceived correctly as an attempt at continuing American hegemony. Although there is obvious opposition to the current

international balance of power, the status quo, there is also a sense that it

is at least tolerable to the majority of states. A continuation of it is thus minimally acceptable, even to states working towards its demise. So long as the US does not employ
its power arbitrarily, the situation would be bearable initially and grudgingly accepted over time. On the other hand, an attempt by any other state to dominate space would be part of an effort to break the land-sea-air dominance of the United States in preparation for a new international order, with the weaponizing state at the top. The action would be a challenge to the status quo, not a perpetuation of it. Such an event would be disconcerting to nations that accept the current international order (including the venerable institutions of trade, finance, and law that operate within it) and intolerable to the US. As leader of the current system, the US could do no less than engage in a perhaps ruinous space arms race, save graciously decide to step aside. There is another, perhaps far more compelling reason that space weaponization will in time be less threatening to the international system than without it. One of the more cacophonous refrains against weapons procurement of any kind is that the money needed to purchase them is better spent elsewhere. It is a simple clich but a powerful one. Space weapons in particular will be very, very expensive. Are there not a thousand uses that are more beneficial for the money? But funding for weapons does not come directly from education, or housing, or transportation budgets. It comes from military budgets. And so the question should not be directed at particular weapons, but at all weapons. Immediately we see that the impact on the budget of significant increases in space weapons will be decreases in funding for combat aircraft, the surface battle fleet, and ground forces. This creates a dilemma for both pro and anti-space weaponization camps. Space advocates must sell their ideas to fellow pro-weapons groups by making the case that the advantages they provide outweigh the capabilities foregone. This is a mighty task. The tens (likely hundreds) of billions of dollars needed to develop, test, and deploy a minimal space weapons system with the capacity to engage a few targets around the world could displace a half a dozen or more aircraft carrier battle groups, entire aircraft procurement programs (such as the F-22), and several heavy armored divisions. This is a tough sell for supporters of a strong military. It is an even more difficult dilemma for those who oppose weapons in general, and space weapons in particular. Ramifications for the most critical current function of the army, navy, and marines are profoundpacification, occupation, and control of foreign territory. With the downsizing of traditional weapons to accommodate heightened space expenditures, the ability of the US to do all three will wane significantly. At a time when many are calling for increased capability to pacify and police foreign lands, in light of the noend-in-sight occupation of Iraq and Afghanistan, space weapons proponents must advocate reduction of these capabilities in favor of a system that will have no direct potential to do so Hence, the argument that the unilateral deployment of space weapons

will precipitate a disastrous arms race is misplaced. To be sure, space

considered is not global. But

weapons are offensive by their very nature. They deter violence by the omnipresent threat of precise, measured, and unstoppable retaliation. They offer no advantage if the target set
they also offer no advantage in the mission of territorial occupation. As

Trinity Debate 2009-2010 File Name Tournament 9

such, they are far less threatening to the international environment than any combination of weapons employed in their stead. A state employing offensive deterrence through space-

weapons can punish a transgressor state, but is in a poor position to challenge its sovereignty. The transgressor state is less likely to succumb to the security dilemma if it perceives its national survival is not at risk.
Moreover, the tremendous expense of space weapons inhibits their indiscriminate use. Over time, the world of sovereign states will recognize that the US does not threaten self-determination internally, though it challenges any attempts to intervene militarily in the politics of others, and has severely restricted its own capacity to do so. America will maintain the capacity to influence decisions and events beyond its borders, with military force if necessary. The operational deployment of space weapons would increase that capacity by providing for nearly instantaneous force projection worldwide. This force would be precise, unstoppable, and deadly. At the same time, the US must forego some of its ability to intervene directly in other states because its capacity to do so will have been diminished in the budgetary tradeoffs required. Transformation of the American military assures that the intentions of current and future leaders will have but a minor role to play in international affairs. The limited requirement for collateral damage, need for precision to allay the low volume of fire, and tremendous cost of space weapons will guarantee they are used only for high value, time sensitive targets. Whether or not the United States

sovereignty at risk, fear of a spacedominant American military will subside. The US will maintain its position of hegemony
desires to be a good neighbor is not necessary to an opposing states calculation of survival. Without

as well as its security, and the world will not be threatened by the specter of a future American empire. Seizing the initiative and securing low-Earth orbit now, while the US is unchallenged in space, would do much to stabilize the international system and prevent an arms race is space. From low-Earth orbit (LEO), the enhanced ability to deny any attempt by another nation to place

military assets in space, or to readily engage and destroy terrestrial ASAT capacity, makes the possibility of large scale space war and or military space races less likely, not more. Why would a state expend the
effort to compete in space with a superpower that has the extraordinary advantage of holding securely the highest ground at the top of the gravity well? So long as the controlling state demonstrates a capacity and a will to use force to defend its position, in effect expending a small amount of violence as needed to prevent a greater conflagration in the future, the likelihood of a future war in space is remote. Moreover, if the US were willing to deploy and use a military space force that maintained effective control of space, and did so in a way that was perceived as tough, non-arbitrary, and efficient, such an action would serve to discourage competing states from fielding opposing systems. Should the US use its advantage to police the heavens (assuming the entire cost on its own), and allow unhindered peaceful use of space by any and all nations for economic and scientific development, over time its control of LEO could be viewed as a global asset and a public good.Much in the manner that the British maintained control of the high seas, enforcing international norms of innocent passage and property rights

,the US could prepare outer space for a long-overdue burst of economic expansion.

US Space domination is key to a global missile defense which solves the launch of every weapon of mass destruction. IFPA 9, Institute for Foreign Policy Analysis (A Space and Security, A Net Assessment, January,

The proliferation of ballistic missiles and weapons of mass destruction (WMD) and their possession by growing numbers of adversaries, ranging from traditional strategic competitors to terrorist organizations, pose a serious and
growing threat to the United States, its civilian population and deployed military forces, and friends and allies. This threat encompasses: States such as North Korea and Iran which are working hard to acquire (or already possess) WMD
and the means to deliver them; Strategic competitors, Russia

and China, which are extending the sophistication of their strategic arsenals in terms of warhead accuracy, countermeasures, and delivery systems; Terrorist groups, which are making concerted efforts to obtain WMD that would enable them to conduct chemical, biological, radiological, or nuclear attacks; and Threats are increasing at a pace that may not give the United States the luxury of lengthy timelines to develop and deploy a missile defense against them. A global layered defense capability is necessary to counter these threats. Near-term options exist for developing viable space-based defenses within the next decade resulting in a comprehensive, global layered missile defense system. This option would complement the
system currently being deployed but afford superior coverage at less cost than expanding the number of GMD sites beyond those already planned in the United States and in Europe. Layered

defenses provide multiple opportunities to destroy attacking missiles in all three phases of flight from any direction regardless of their geographic starting point. Furthermore, a layered defense makes the countermeasures available to the offensive systems much less effective

Trinity Debate 2009-2010 File Name Tournament 10

than would be the case if interdiction was only possible in one (or two) phase(s) of the missiles flight. Boost

phase intercepts, phase

most efficiently conducted by components deployed in space, are particularly desirable because a missile
is most vulnerable during this segment since it is relatively slow moving, presents a readily identifiable target (bright rocket plume), and has not released any of its warheads or countermeasures which would complicate interception in subsequent phases. Boost

interception has the added advantage that the missiles payload may, depending on how early interdiction occurs, fall back on the attacking nation. This situation could deter the launching state if it is confronted with the likelihood of serious damage to its own territory. In addition, depending on the
number of assets deployed, a space-based boost-phase defense could always be on station on a world-wide basis, unfettered by sovereignty issues of overflight and operations on another nations territory.

Trinity Debate 2009-2010 File Name Tournament 11

The United States federal government should utilize nuclear based propulsion systems to develop space colonies. Or something like that. Basically we are going to do Project Orion. I dont know what the final plan text will look like because its too early in the year and I havent researched topicality, so were just not going to debate T. A-spec, knock yourself out.

Trinity Debate 2009-2010 File Name Tournament 12

Contention Three is Solvency

Thermonuclear weapons should be utilized for nuclear propulsion Matloff 7, Physics professor at the New York City College of Technology and consultant for NASAs Marshall Space Flight Center
(Gregory, Living off the land in Space, pg 69-70 In that article, Dyson first presented the Orion concept and then asked the reader to consider a massive spacecraft that would be constructed in orbit. Dimensions of such an interstellar Orion would be in the kilometer range (Figure 6.1). Using basic principles and unclassified nuclear data, he demonstrated that the USA and the USSR thermonuclear arsenal s could be utilized to

expand humanity, not destroy it. Using Orions propelled by thermonuclear detonations, thousands of human migrants could depart for the nearest stars. Without divulging classified information that would undoubtedly result in a long jail sentence, Dyson could not pin down the performance of his huge ships, but he was able to demonstrate that the crossing to Alpha Centauri (the nearest star system at about 40 trillion kilometers or 4.3 light-years from ours) would take 130-1,300 years. What a wonderful thing to do with all the worlds H-bombs ! Although the economics of constructing the huge
ship and transporting it and its fuel charges into orbit is daunting, Dyson projected that the world might be up to this task in the twentysecond century. This was a heady moment for interstellar enthusiasts. But analysts under-appreciated the political difficulty of convincing powerful governments to productively dispose of their dangerous toys. Also, some realized that the mental health of a straships crew would not be favored by a one-megaton nuclear blast igniting less than a kilometer away every few seconds, no matter how effective the shielding!

Solves interstellar travel within 40 years because it only requires existing technology New scientist 9 (Michael Marshall, December, Engage the x drive: Ten ways to traverse deep space,
Nuclear pulse propulsion was studied seriously by the US government's military technology agency DARPA, under the code name Project Orion. The aim was to come up with a design for rapid interplanetary travel. The design DARPA came up with was
huge even by today's standards, and was built to be a giant shock absorber, with heavy radiation shielding to protect the passengers. It seemed workable, but there were concerns about fallout if it was launched in the atmosphere as planned. The project was eventually dropped in the 1960s when the first nuclear test bans came into force. Despite these worries, the Orion design remains one that

could be built using existing technology, and some researchers are still coming up with new approaches to nuclear pulse propulsion. Theoretically, a nuclear-bomb-powered ship could reach up to 10 per cent of the speed of light, allowing a journey to the nearest star in about 40 years.

No counterplan will solve space Ragheb 9, Associate Professor of Nuclear, Plasma, and Radiological Engineering (Magdi, Nuclear Pulse and Plasma Space
Propulsion, %20and%20Plasma%20Space%20Propulsion.pdf)

This technology is immediately available for space missions. There is no guarantee that other technologies such as fusion propulsion, matter antimatter and beamed-energy sails that are under study will be available during the first half of the twenty-first century. Fusion must await the demonstration of a system possessing sufficient energy gains for commercial and space applications . Matter/antimatter has low propulsion efficiency and a prohibitive cost of the possible production and storage methods . Beamed energy would require tremendous
investments in ground and space based infrastructure. The need for high power densities for space missions favors nuclear energy sources.

Solid core nuclear thermal, gas core, and electrical nuclear propulsion systems have problems with the constraint of the need of containment of a heated gas, which restricts its specific impulse values. External pulse systems possess higher temperature limits and lower inert masses and circumvent that limitation.

Only nuclear pulse propulsion can solve for the infrastructure to colonize space Smith 3, the founder of NuclearSpace (Wayne, The Case for Orion, Space Daily, Why worry about bold new tasks when life in the west is relatively comfortable and so many problems exist down here which need solving? What Orion can do is put unimaginably massive payloads into space at low cost. Unparalleled access

to space means we can lift the industrial infrastructure necessary to start using natural space resources for the first time. We could then mine asteroids and build fleets of Orions off Earth where environmental impact studies
would be of no concern. The last frontier is after all an endless ocean of positive particulate radiation. Like the Starship Enterprise we would never in all likelyhood try to land Orions on Earth. They would act as interplanetary ferries. We would still need to develop a reusable launch vehicle but it would only need enough fuel to reach orbit. Our newly aquired mining, construction and fuel

processing industries in space would ensure that abundant fuel stops in the form of space stations would exist for return journeys. One Orion launch might be all thats necessary to kick off a new age

Trinity Debate 2009-2010 File Name Tournament 13

of spaceexploration. Perhaps one of the best arguments for allowing nuclear power to increase our foothold in space is provided by Daniel Durda, a senior research scientist at the Southwest Research Institute in Boulder, Colorado. "The worst scenario I can think of is a multi-kilometer-diameter, long-period comet discovered several months out on an impact trajectory as it is entering the innersolar system, " he said. "There is absolutely nothing we could do about it at this point in time. Nothing." You have only to look at the pockmarked moon to realise we can and do occasionally get hit by large bodies. Survival should be a strong motivator for us even if our exploratory urge has
diminished. There was a time once when we were all about exploration, conquest and colonization. We can now be defined as a civilization that focuses on internal problems that will or can never be completely solved.

NASA would build it if they had the nukes Bernstein 2, Professor Emeritus at the Stevens Institute of Technology (Jeremy, Project Orion: The True Story of the Atomic
Spaceship, Book Review, American Journal of Physics) Is there a future for the Orion? This depends on what you feel about manned space travel. If you are an enthusiast, something like the Orion is probably the only way to go. You can see this from what is called the specific impulse, which is a measure of the time it takes a particular quantity of fuel to generate a specific amount of thrust. More exactly it is defined to be the exhaust velocity of the propellant divided by the gravitational acceleration. You want to tune this to the needs

of the mission, so that mass and energy are economized. This can be done on the Orion by adjusting the yield of the bombs and the mass of the propellant . As we know, you can get unmanned vehicles to Mars with a chemical rocketbut not people. This seems finally to have dawned on NASA, and George reports that they are once again looking into Orion-type vehicles that might be assembled in spaceperhaps in collaboration with the Russians. It would be a fine way of disposing of unwanted nuclear material. George assumed that they would have
collected our old GA reports to study. But apparently not. George found himself in the odd position of sending NASA 1759 pages of copied reports, by two-day UPS. There is something touching about this: UPS and Orion, the human condition.

Trinity Debate 2009-2010 File Name Tournament 14 NASA leadership is key to space exploration and modelling Loureiro 10 Retired Uraguayan Army Major (Luis A., The Free World is Losing NASAs Space Leadership, Since I live abroad you may think it not appropriate for me to comment on these programs. Nevertheless, NASA is much more than an American tradition and patrimonial treasure; it is the world's hope for better space exploration and understanding.

As a consequence of the international financial crisis many countries around the world have decided to drastically reduce their budgets, cutting spending in a myriad of programs from small private activities to large public projects. In the United States, to the astonishment of the world, NASA's budget has been "redirected" to simple LEO applications and some inexpensive research programs . Can this be true? This is the agency that has contributed most to America's prestige with its innovative and extraordinary achievements in space, from the time of early
explorations of the universe to today's highly advanced technological achievements. Is prestige important? Not only is prestige important, it is part of the American tradition, part of American life and by extension, America's preeminence lights the free world and provides hope and support that other nations, too, can shine and succeed. The budget is important for any administration. Traditionally, most countries around the world wait for a signal from America - the scientific and technological leader - and rely upon America to protect their freedoms. Until now, countries pursuing space programs have not competed against America or against each other, but they will now have to continue alone or somehow partner with other countries. Without NASA's leadership, who will guide the world in peaceful space applications? Without NASA there is a void of experienced leaders well grounded in science. Indeed, we are approaching a

new era in which space will be exploited by private, political, economic and military interests - not only in LEO, but also in deep space exploration. Will countries continue along the moral high ground of benefiting all mankind with the
fruits of exploration and innovation or will space become a battleground for national greed and gain?

Independently, our aff solves asteroids Dyson 5, Science Historian and Son of Freeman Dyson, who was one of the original three scientists who worked on Project Orion
(George, The Grandest Rocket Ever., February, Volume. 26, Issue 2, Academic Search Complete) Some Orion enthusiasts hope to bring the project back to life. But the window of opportunity that opened between the launch of Sputnik in October 1957 and the establishment of NASA in July 1958 has permanently closed. Could a new window open up? Perhaps. If and when nuclear explosives are less threatening to us on the ground, there might be reasons to establish an Orion-based Deep Space Force --a small fleet of unmanned vehicles, stationed in high orbit under international control, on standby to deflect meteors or other objects that threaten Earth.

Thats bad Asteroids cause extinction by 2036 The Columbus Dispatch 7 / Astronomical odds; Scientists warn that world needs to keep an eye on asteroids, February
27, Mike Lafferty/

About twice a year, an asteroid smashes into Earth's atmosphere with the force of a Hiroshima-size atomic blast. And those are small ones, scientists say; the space rocks vaporize before they can do any harm. When the big one hits, we won't be as fortunate. Researchers at the recent American Association for the Advancement of Science meeting warned that it is inevitable that an asteroid large enough to crack the atmosphere will hit the planet. When it does, it has the potential to be just as awful as the 6-mile-diameter rock that wiped out most life on the planet 65 million years ago. "There is a danger of an asteroid killing the Earth," said David Morrison, an astrobiologist at NASA's Ames Research Center in California. As for warning, we might have a few weeks. Or none at all. A rogue asteroid could easily blindside us by coming around the sun and approaching Earth with the sun behind it, obscuring views. "You wouldn't know it until the sky lit up and the impact shook the Earth," Morrison said. Although the chances of any single asteroid striking the globe are fairly remote, there are thousands of potential planet-killers lurking in the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter. Erosion and geologic forces have softened or eliminated most signs of impacts on Earth over the past 4.6 billion years, but you need only look to the moon to see how violent space can be. The pockmarked lunar surface provides a clear picture of how asteroids have rearranged terrain since the solar system formed. And so does the
Barringer Meteor Crater, an impact site that spans nearly a mile in northern Arizona, and a crater site in Ohio's Adams County that is 5 miles in diameter. Asteroid tracking was largely the role of amateur astronomers until a few years ago, when governments started to get involved. NASA, for example, is about 70 percent of the way through an effort to identify all near-Earth asteroids larger than about one-third of a mile in diameter. So far, 840 potentially dangerous asteroids have been named and charted. Comets also are a concern, but there are so many more asteroids that they get the most attention. The closeness of a "close encounter" is relative. There were close encounters on Feb. 1 and Feb. 7, although both asteroids passed about 1 million miles from Earth, according to Other months are busier. In April 2004, five asteroids, each larger than 328 feet in diameter, passed relatively close to Earth. So we can track them. What if one is coming right at us? Scientists now say we have the technology to slightly alter the path of a planet-killer. The 2004 discovery of Apophis, a 1,200-foot-diameter asteroid

Trinity Debate 2009-2010 File Name Tournament 15

that appeared headed for a collision with Earth in 2036, moved Morrison and other scientists to call for tracking smaller objects and initiating a plan to nudge stray asteroids into safe orbits. "This is not about science.
This is about public safety," said former astronaut Russell Schweickart, who wants the United Nations to take the asteroid threat seriously. Three years ago, scientists said there was a 2.7 percent chance that Apophis will hit Earth. Now, astronomers say the asteroid probably will clear Earth with 20,000 miles to spare. Right now, they estimate the risk of collision is about 1 in 45,000. In 2029, Apophis will

pass through an astronomical keyhole, a precise spot in space where gravitational forces could put it on a collision course. "What Apophis would do is destroy (an area the size of) England or northern California," Morrison said. Jay Melosh, a geophysicist at the University of Arizona's Lunar and Planetary Laboratory, said that if Apophis struck Earth, it would produce a 40-megaton blast, almost eight times larger than the most powerful nuclear bomb ever detonated. The explosion would create a crater more than 2 miles wide and obliterate buildings and bridges in a
4-mile radius. Melosh said everything around it would be buried beneath 20 inches of debris. In 1908, an asteroid exploded in the air over remote Siberia. The 10-megaton explosion obliterated herds of reindeer, leveled trees over a 400-square-mile area and, reportedly, knocked a man down 60 miles away. No matter where it strikes, if it does, Apophis is large enough to toss enough dust into

the air to cool the planet, causing climate changes severe enough to disrupt worldwide agriculture and threaten civilization, Melosh said. And if it hit the ocean, it would set off a tsunami and send enough chlorine and bromine from vaporized seawater to destroy the ozone layer, he said. That is why NASA researchers and others are working to identify potential killer asteroids early, said Edward Lu, of the Johnson Space Center. "It is possible to save the Earth from something like Apophis," he said. Blowing the asteroid up, like in the movie Armageddon, wouldn't work. That would produce even more out-of-control rocks, Lu said.

Contention 4: Our Epistemology

Answering the warrants of our argument is a prerequisite to winning some science is misused, but that doesnt mean were lying Sokal 97 (Alan D., professor of physics at New York University, author, What the Social Text Affair does and does not Prove, A
House Built on Sand: Exposing Postmodernist Myths about Science, edited by Noretta Koertge, p. 10-11) 3. There is nothing wrong with research informed by a political commitment as long as that commitment does not blind the researcher to inconvenient facts. Thus, there is a long and honorable tradition of sociopolitical critique of science, 5 including antiracist critiques of anthropological pseudoscience and eugenics6 and feminist critiques of psychology and parts of medicine an biology.7 These critiques typically follow a standard pattern: First, one shows, using conventional scientific arguments, why the research in question is flawed according to the ordinary canons of good science. Thenand only thenone attempts to explain how the researchers' social prejudices (which may well have been unconscious) led them to violate these canons . Of course, each such critique has to stand or fall on its own merits; having good political intentions doesn't guarantee that one's analysis will constitute good science, good sociology, or good history . But this general two-step approach is, I think, sound; and empirical studies of this kind, if conducted with due intellectual rigor, could shed useful light on the social conditions under which good science (defined normatively as the search for truths or at least approximately truths about the world) is fostered or hindered.8

Reality exists and failure to recognize that undermines their agenda Sokal, 1996 (Alan, professor of physics at New York University, A Physicist Experiments with
cultural Studies, June 5,
Why did I do it? While my method was satirical, my motivation is utterly serious. What

concerns me is the proliferation, not just of nonsense and sloppy thinking per se, but of a particular kind of nonsense and sloppy thinking: one that denies the existence of objective realities, or (when challenged) admits their existence but downplays their practical relevance. At its best, a journal like Social Textraises important questions that no scientist should ignore -- questions, for example, about how corporate and government funding influence scientific work. Unfortunately, epistemic relativism does little to further the discussion of these matters. In short, my concern over the spread of subjectivist thinking is both intellectual and political. Intellectually, the problem with such doctrines is that they are false (when not simply meaningless). There is a real world; its properties are not merely social constructions; facts and evidence domatter. What sane person would contend otherwise? And yet, much contemporary academic theorizing consists precisely of attempts to blur these obvious truths -- the utter absurdity of it all being concealed through obscure and pretentious language. Social Text's acceptance of my article

Trinity Debate 2009-2010 File Name Tournament 16

exemplifies the intellectual arrogance of Theory -- meaning postmodernist literary theory -- carried to its logical extreme. No wonder they didn't bother to consult a physicist. If all is discourse and ``text,'' then knowledge of the real world is superfluous; even physics becomes just another branch of Cultural Studies. If, moreover, all is rhetoric and ``language games,''

then internal logical consistency is superfluous too: a patina of theoretical sophistication serves equally well. Incomprehensibility becomes a virtue; allusions, metaphors and puns substitute for evidence and logic. My own article is, if anything, an extremely modest example of this well-established genre. Politically, I'm angered because most (though not all) of this silliness is emanating from the self-proclaimed Left. We're witnessing here a profound historical volte-face. For most of the past two centuries, the Left has been identified with science and against obscurantism; we have believed
that rational thought and the fearless analysis of objective reality (both natural and social) are incisive tools for combating the mystifications promoted by the powerful -- not to mention being desirable human ends in their own right. The recent turn of

many ``progressive'' or ``leftist'' academic humanists and social scientists toward one or another form of epistemic relativism betrays this worthy heritage and undermines the already fragile prospects for progressive social critique. Theorizing about ``the social construction of reality'' won't help us find an effective treatment for AIDS or devise strategies for preventing global warming. Nor can we combat false ideas in history, sociology, economics and politics if we reject the notions of truth and falsity. The results of my little experiment demonstrate, at the very least, that some fashionable sectors of the American academic Left have been getting intellectually lazy. The editors of Social Textliked my article because they liked its conclusion: that ``the content and methodology of postmodern science provide powerful
intellectual support for the progressive political project.'' They apparently felt no need to analyze the quality of the evidence, the cogency of the arguments, or even the relevance of the arguments to the purported conclusion.

Our impacts arent constructed until they prove it. Yudkowsky 6 Eliezer Yudkowsky, Research Fellow at the Singularity Institute for Artificial Intelligence that has published multiple peerreviewed papers on risk assessment. Cognitive biases potentially affecting judgment of global risks Forthcoming in Global Catastrophic Risks, eds. Nick Bostrom and Milan Cirkovic. August 31, 2006. Every true idea which discomforts you will seem to match the pattern of at least one psychological error. Robert Pirsig said: The worlds biggest fool can say the sun is shining, but that doesnt make it dark out. If you believe someone

is guilty of a psychological error, then demonstrate your competence by first demolishing their consequential factual errors. If there are no factual errors, then what matters the psychology? The temptation of psychology is that, knowing a little psychology, we can meddle in arguments where we have no technical expertise instead sagely analyzing the psychology of the disputants . If someone wrote a novel about an asteroid strike destroying modern civilization, then someone might criticize that novel as extreme, dystopian, apocalyptic; symptomatic of the authors naive inability to deal with a complex technological society. We should recognize this as a literary criticism, not a scientific one; it is about good or bad novels, not good or bad hypotheses. To quantify the annual probability of an asteroid strike in real life, one must study astronomy and the historical record: no amount of literary criticism can put a number on it. Garreau (2005) seems to hold that a
scenario of a mind slowly increasing in capability, is more mature and sophisticated than a scenario of extremely rapid intelligence increase. But thats a technical question, not a matter of taste; no amount of psychologizing can tell you the exact slope of that curve. Its harder to abuse heuristics and biases than psychoanalysis. Accusing someone of conjunction fallacy leads naturally into

listing the specific details that you think are burdensome and drive down the joint probability. Even so, do not lose track of the real- world facts of primary interest; do not let the argument become about psychology .
Despite all dangers and temptations, it is better to know about psychological biases than to not know. Otherwise we will walk directly into the whirling helicopter blades of life. But be very careful not to have too much fun accusing others of biases. That

is the road that leads to becoming a sophisticated arguer someone who, faced with any discomforting argument, finds at once a bias in it. The one whom you must watch above all is yourself. Jerry Cleaver said: What does you in is
not failure to apply some high-level, intricate, complicated technique. Its overlooking the basics. Not keeping your eye on the ball. Analyses should finally center on testable real-world assertions. Do not take your eye off the ball.

You might also like