Re: Court of Epistemology (was memetic toolkit)

Lee Daniel Crocker (
Mon, 23 Dec 1996 12:39:41 -0800 (PST)

LC>> Such an exercise might make an interesting document. Pick a small
LC>> number of propositions; find pro and con advocates; let the advocates
LC>> draft opening arguments, look at and criticize each others, redraft
LC>> them, refine the proposition as necessary, question each other and
LC>> the others' evidence, re-examine the answers and follow up, take
LC>> questions from a panel of observers chosen adversarially, and let
LC>> all of this happen at the level of "discovery" ... <snip>

LC>> Any resources I can lend to such an effort (my Web site, my
LC>> services as advocate or organizer) are hereby offered.

LB> Ok. I propose a science court debate about the proposition
LB> "There were gas chambers at Auschwitz and Birkenau."
LB> The prosecution says there were, the defense says the prosecution's
LB> arguments prove nothing. I will argue for the defense.

That's two different propositions. I, and any rational thinker, will
concede the latter. Debating the former might be more interesting,
except that (1) it bears little relationship to anything extropian,
and (2) it's been done to death already.

The utter lack of valid reasoning on the part of even the most eloquent
revisionists is very easy to spot if one is reasonably well-armed in the
art of bullshit detection. The fact that they have swayed so many is a
good data point on the importance of proper epistemology, and the
persuasive power of one-sided rhetoric. Any time this question has been
put forth in an open adversarial process, revisionists were trounced
soundly, as one would expect. Since this has been done, I would rather
do something new and more interesting, but if, say, you and Mr. Shermer
would like to submit yourselves to the process I describe, I will be
happy to detail it for you.