GM Oxford IV 2020 Open Finals – This house regrets the narrative that there exists no objective truth

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Jacklin Kwan, Oxford IV 2020 Open Finals Member of Government

Here’s the video: https://youtu.be/wJwtOUB-9XE?t=2888

Opening

I think the framing that is symmetric on both sides is that people still need to make decisions based on a singular conception of truth, in order to not do contradictory shit.

They still need to make decisions on policy that are shaped by dominant opinion either on the individual or state scale and you still need to make value judgments that color your interactions with other people. For example, whether or not you believe in a racist worldview or whatever.

Note that dominant truth is still shaped by the powerful, so this is symmetric on both sides of the house, Opening Opposition never proved a counterfactual. But furthermore, I just don’t understand when you recognize there are other opinions, I don’t understand why you accommodate for that multiplicity on the individual and state scale.

The only mechanism they gave us is that you press X to doubt, right, and suddenly that causes you to accommodate for a multiplicity of views, both on an individual level as well as a state level.

I don’t know why people on the counterfactual have the incentive to doubt and whether or not this doubt is actually going to be utilized constructively, such that they can arrive to the correct decision.

Responses

Couple responses before I break the deadlock that occurred in top half. First, they say, “Ah, it’s really hard to de-entrench objective truth, and now on our side, people can now question these entrenched beliefs”.

I just didn’t think they went deep enough. The reason why truth is entrenched is because you have vested interest in a specific worldview. That’s why, sometimes, people have the incentive to like to sell something as objective. Note that people still have vested interest in a specific worldview, they’re symmetric to both sides.

That is why, when you suddenly allow people to believe that no objective truth exists, white people are still really entrenched in their views and they don’t have any incentive to actually doubt them.

For example, people who believe in alternative facts, or like, fake news or whatever, don’t feel any incentive to doubt their world views even if they know other views exist because they have a vested interest within a specific worldview. I’m going to prove to you how we best get those people to reform.

Then they say, “Ah, it’s good that you can question seemingly objective things like science”. Note that at some point, the questioning has to fucking stop. I just don’t understand why this continuous questioning of hypotheses is even good to the extent that you never arrive to an actual conclusion.

So I think that at some point you just needed to concede that the earth revolved around the sun, that there are certain types of objective truth that you should stop debating.

So firstly, I’m going to break the deadlock that happened in top half. Top half was in a quagmire about whether or not objective truth was likely going to be recognized by the bad people, like the fascist or the white supremacist, or whether or not the vacuum was more easily weaponized. I’m going to give you structural reasons why it is the vacuum that’s much more easily recognized by the bad actors they want to talk about.

Note that power structures, first of all, are not homogeneous, and they are not static. The big and powerful people are not just like one homogenous body, it’s not like they’re all grouped up into one.

There are several bodies constantly competing for credibility. This looks like different political parties and factions with different ideologies, this looks like different social groups, this looks like different expert groups, for example, scientists often disagree with government actors, that’s why it’s not just one big homogenous body out to oppress you.

On our side, I’m going to tell you when you have the concept of objective truth you’re more likely to have the good guys winning. This looks like scientists on climate policy, this looks like doctors in Covid. On their side, I think it’s more likely that the socially damaging guys dominate opinion that is both able to influence on an individual level as well as state policies.

So first of all, I want to talk about what types of knowledge are actually being discussed here. Because i think that top half is completely confused. Just because the concept of objective truth exists doesn’t mean that it is applied universally.

So, note that most likely the parts of knowledge that we’re actually going to be making a delta on is things where you can actually arrive to an objective truth. Stuff where there is a material objective reality that is a common denominator with all people. These are likely where it’s going to be the most impactful.

So note that Opening Opposition on their arguments, like “Oh, you can have your own subjective meanings of life and the value of life”, you can still have that on our side of the house, because I doubt that just because the concept of objective truth exists doesn’t mean that literally subjective opinions can no longer exist.

People are likely going to believe that things like politics, aesthetics, as well as individual spiritualism is still more inherently subjective in nature and there are other realms where objective truth trumps all. So these are things that have material basis to them, that we can all materially discern.

So note that this is incredibly impactful because this is what we make policies based on. We make policies based on materiality and we aim to affect that. The problem is, is that right now there is room for the insane to affect what that material reality looks like to question the very material facts and the very value of them. To allow climate denialism in parliament, right.

So why do things get better on our side of the house. Two tiers.

Arg #1 Credibility

The problem right now is that people have equal credibility and there’s no burden of proof on their side. Because note that you don’t discriminate how people arrive to their truth. Because like there is no such thing as objective truth, there is no such thing as a good way of arriving to that truth. And because there’s no burden of truth, there’s no common acceptance about what the standards of truth should be.

I think this is now different on our side of the house because now to the extent that objective truth is likely going to be rooted in what the common denominator is, i.e. what you can materially fucking see, I think the burden is to provide material evidence for your claims.

Not that this also has impacts on things like politics and things like aesthetics that are hugely overwhelming to people. Note that, for example, when a person says, “Ah, Western civilization is objectively the best civilization”, now on our side of the house we actually put a burden of proof onto that right. We should just say, “Where is your fucking material evidence that western civilization is intrinsically better than all other civilizations”. When people make really bad claims, there’s now a burden of proof onto them, and people commonly accept that this is the burden of proof. That you need to put material evidence because that is what is objectively agreed upon all of us, this is the common denominator of our senses.

Note that because of this the primacy of material evidence then allows for those checks and balances that allows the bad fascists to be pushed out.

Arg #2 Individual complacency

Opening Opposition says, “Ah, just like people like don’t seek out other truths to the extent that they believe that they’re already right, that’s why they were emboldened to do things like colonialism”. Look. People on our side of the house don’t immediately assume they have objective truth just because the concept exists, especially if their subjective truth differs from the one held by the mainstream.

So note that if your views differ from, for example, the experts that you now believe are more credible, for example the scientists, the doctors, you’re more likely going to seek those answers out. More likely to read on it, more likely to try to align your opinion with them, to the extent that they are more credible than you.

So because of this you probably get more inherent self-doubt, more inherent skepticism, more ability to constructively actually engage down in the first place on our side of the house, to the extent you have objective metrics about the burdens of proof and the primacy of material evidence.

For all those reasons, CG breaks the deadlock and takes this debate.