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DJs are not musicians.

Agree. Unless a DJ knows how to play an analog instrument like piano or drums, it's not fair to call them a musician.

Disagree. It doesn't matter how the sounds are made. It's about how they're combined into a melody that's unique and moving.

Yeah but so much work is removed from the human when making music electronically. For example a guitarist has to pay close attention to timing, volume, hand movements, and more at the same time. With a computer, a person just selects different sounds and plugs them into a timeline. Way less work required.

Yeah but the amount of work shouldn't be that big of a factor. One could argue that it takes less work to play a bongo versus a trumpet but the bongo player is considered a musician.

Fine but if someone is up on stage singing or playing the violin, you can't argue they're not producing music at that moment. A DJ in theory could just hit play and many might not know the difference.

Fine but what about backup singers and looping machines that are often used by performers? Isn't that the same thing.

Ok it's a similar use of technology but it isn't the primary source of music. In the case of a DJ, the majority of the music is generated electronically.

Ok but you could argue that technology is just getting us to the same point, but faster. If music is mostly about composition, then we don't need to worry about how the sounds are made.

Sure but there is an unspoken amount of value we place on an artist who can do something that most cannot. Mastering an instrument is out of reach for most people. But being a good DJ is very attainable for anyone with a decent understanding of computers.

Sure that also means the bar is way higher. A mediocre singer might still be called a musician where as a mediocre DJ would not. The best DJs are MUCH better than the hordes of dabblers, and they are indeed musicians.

But as software improves and more people can create electronic music without much composition skills, it's going to get much harder to tell who the true artists are.

But that goes for any kind of music. Most of pop music is electronically polished vocals that turn talentless hacks into megastars. 

 

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Society will be better off if cigarettes are illegal.

Agree. They cut people's lives short for no reason.

Disagree. They make people feel good. And there are plenty of legal things that people use or consume that make them feel good. Booze and junk food to name just two.

Yeah but in moderation those two things aren't going to cause permanent damage.

Yeah same goes for smoking.

Fine but cigarettes have addictive chemicals in them that make moderation very difficult.

Fine but sugar and fat can be just as addictive.

Ok but look at the cost of cigarettes on society. If or when a person develops lung issues due to smoking, they become a burden on our medical system.

Ok but everyone eventually becomes a burden on the medical system. Eventually, the vast majority of people will develop cancer or heart disease. And that's going to cause a lot either way.

Sure but if that person lives a healthier smoke-free life they'll have spent more time paying into the medical insurance pool and thus they're more putting in more than they're taking out.

Sure you could look at it that way, but to look at it from a purely mathematical standpoint, the longer a person lives, the more their healthcare will cost. Not to be cold, but if smokers live shorter lives, they take less out of the healthcare system.

But think about all the great things a smoker could achieve in life if they had a few extra healthy years on Earth. What if a person died prematurely from smoking and they were on their way to inventing something incredible?

But what if that person outputs more work into the world because the nicotine keeps all their routines running faster than the average non-smoker?

 

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People go a little overboard with bacon.

Agree. It's tasty. It's great, but people talk about bacon like it's a religion. That's weird.

Disagree. There's a reason people lose their shit over bacon. Because it's one of the most delicious foods on the planet.

Yeah it's very good, but when you break it down it's just a combination of salt, butter, and fat. All those things are great and can be combined with lots of other foods besides bacon.

Yeah and people do that all the time but it's not the same. Bacon has so much versatility. It can be crispy, it can be soft, it can be shaped and chopped.

Fine Bubba, but what about something like cheese? It's just as versatile and yet doesn't get as much love.

Fine but people do really love cheese. And cheese is probably a close second to bacon.

Ok but isn't bacon a little lazy? It seems like so many restaurants just wrap stuff in bacon to make it taste good. I want to eat at a place where they can make brussel sprouts taste good with slathering them in pig fat.

Ok but why? You make it sound like it's a bad thing to add a delicious ingredient to something that is slightly delicious. People want tasty food at restaurants and adding bacon makes things more tasty.

Sure it does, but variety is an important part of life. Do we really want to just make everything taste like bacon? Because it seems like people are putting bacon in literally everything. Ice cream, donuts, and the list goes on.

Sure but isn't that exactly what you're saying you want? People are being experimental with bacon to make it different? Instead of just serving up bacon strips next to eggs, talented chefs are finding new formats and keeping things fresh.

But the problem with bacon is that it just makes everything taste like bacon.

But I'm still unclear why this is bad.

 

The Devil's Advocate blog is an experimental format that poses a question, then has two opposing voices share their thought process as they defend why they agree or disagree. Learn more about the Devil's Advocate card game here. Sign-up below to get on the pre-order list.

Make military service mandatory for at least 2 years.

Agree. It's an incredible learning experience and the most significant way someone can serve their country.

Disagree. There are countless ways to serve our country besides being part of the war machine.

Yeah but forget about the battle element. Going through basic training and serving a year or two is a fantastic way to transition a person from being a child to an adult. Serving in the military teaches responsibility and teamwork.

Yeah it typically does, but we don't need to force people into this specific route of gaining such skills. There are plenty of other options like volunteering for non-profits, joining international aid efforts, or even starting a small business.

Fine but all those things are still possible even after a couple years of military service.

Fine but we as a country spend a great deal of money on recruiting people to join the military. If it were a requirement we wouldn't need to "bribe" folks into joining anymore.

Ok but the cost savings there is likely negligible compared to the overall defense budget or paying for all those people while they're serving. Making service mandatory would also improve the overall quality of troops because you'd have a larger variety of backgrounds.

Ok or it would make the overall quality worse because instead of self-selecting candidates who are actively interested in serving you'd have a huge portion of individuals who feel bitter while being forced to serve.

Sure that might be a small portion of citizens, but look at Israel. Their service is mandatory and military time is seen as a connective tissue that unifies the entire population.

Sure but let's not forget there also could be actual wars that people get sent to. This isn't just a team building exercise. If there's a conflict going on during one's service, they could be sent into a extremely dangerous situation.

But shouldn't citizens have to take that small risk in the name of living in one of the best countries on Earth? It isn't fair to push the responsibility of defense on a small group of volunteers.

But what about when a person gets sent to a war that later is found to be futile or based on incorrect information like Iraq?

 

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NASCAR is not a sport.

Agree. It's a skill and it requires talent, but a NASCAR driver is really more of an entertainer than an athlete. Like a singer or pro wrestler.

Disagree. Driving at high speeds for prolonged periods of time put a lot of strain on the human body and mind.

Yeah but so does competitive video gaming or poker. But people don't consider those things sports either.

Yeah but if you calculated the number of calories lost doing those things versus racing, NASCAR drivers would blow other "non-sports" out of the water.

Fine racing takes a lot of effort, but NASCAR specifically focuses on driving in a big circle. At least with Le Mans and Formula 1 drivers have to take a variety of turns. 

Fine but it's all about nuance. There's lots of tiny strategic moves a NASCAR driver has to make to take the lead. Timing, aerodynamics, and attention are all needed to beat the competition. And that takes athleticism.

Ok but here's the thing, if you take a basketball player, or runner, or swimmer out of their element they're still going to be able to perform way above average at most athletic endeavors compared to the average person. Not sure a NASCAR driver would have that same capability.

Ok but you could say the same thing about golfers.

Sure and it's fair to say they're not athletes either. Golf is just a hobby and some people are really good at that hobby.

Sure but that's not really for you to determine. It's for the fans and the participants to decide. If you don't care about NASCAR that's ok, but the people who do care are the ones who get to label it.

But not really. There are facts and there are opinions. And if we're saying that NASCAR is in fact a sport (which it isn't) then everyone has input. Because facts are things that all people have to accept.

But facts change over time because of shifts in understanding and culture. The Earth was once considered flat, as a fact. Now it's not. NASCAR may not have been a sport in 1965. In 2015, it is.

 

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It's ok for humans to send trash out into outer space.

Agree. Assuming it was cost-effective to shoot all our trash right at the sun, we should. It would prevent us from dumping all that nastiness in our backyards.

Disagree. Even if it were possible and cost effective, that's so wrong. We have the right to trash our own planet, but throwing garbage into outer space is where the line is drawn.

Yeah but we know there's no other life in our particular galaxy. So really it's all ours and we should do with it what we want. Considering Earth is the only (current) hospitable place it's actually MORE responsible to send our trash out to space that's being wasted.

Yeah but what if an alien life form comes down for a visit and then doesn't see us because of the huge block of space garbage flying around?

Fine let's pretend that's a thing. Any life forms capable of space travel is also going to have the ability to weave around some orbiting trash.

Fine but that doesn't leave a very good first impression of us as a species. They'll think we're a-holes who like to litter in space.

Ok but aliens aside we need to worry about us and our survival. Piling trash on the moon, or mars, or into floating clusters means all those nasty chemicals are away from our groundwater.

Ok but there's also the possibility of some the trash coming back down to Earth and hitting people at a super high speed.

Sure but only if it's a giant piece of trash. Most of that stuff would burn up in the atmosphere.

Sure maybe that's true, but even if all that's true, won't sending trash into space just reinforce our wasteful ways? Instead of recycling and reusing things we'll just keep making crap, buying stuff, and sending it away.

But people don't feel the effects of the trash we are accumulating here anyways. Whether it's under a huge hill, or sent off into space, people are still going to be wasteful here as long as it's cheap to buy new versus re-use. 

But people actually are feeling the effects. Those huge piles of plastic bottles floating in the ocean are going to get worse and worse. Real change is probably going to happen now that we are running out of room on our planet.

 

The Devil's Advocate blog is an experimental format that poses a question, then has two opposing voices share their thought process as they defend why they agree or disagree. Learn more about the Devil's Advocate card game here. Sign-up below to get on the pre-order list.

Cell phones at the table are now a way of life; deal with it.

Agree. There are some cultural changes that people are never going to overcome. This is one of them. Just let it happen and move on.

Disagree. If everyone just starts letting it happen, it WILL happen. Having a meal with someone is one of the last sacred places to have a meaningful human connection. Having a phone disrupt that is a real shame.

Yeah meals are a great place to share a connection, but that's not being destroyed by five or ten percent of the total time being dedicated to checking a phone.

Yeah but five or ten turns into twenty, thirty, etc. And kids especially don't have a good sense for balancing screen time with the rest of the meal.

Fine but phones can also create more conversation, not just take away from it. Think about all the opportunities to share pictures and news from mutual friends and family.

Fine but that can also act as a crutch that prevents people from learning how to actually have conversations without prompts from their digital devices.

Ok even if that is true, there are a lot of things that are way worse that you could do at a dinner table. Think about all the people who actually take calls at the table. Swiping a few things quietly while others around you are talking is pretty innocuous. 

Ok but one person turns into two, three, etc. When one person at the table starts looking at their phone it sets off a chain reaction because it signals that the behavior is acceptable.

Sure but why not just look at the positive elements of this situation since it's 100% not going to change. Cell phones at the table are here to stay.

Sure the majority of people might settle for this, but it doesn't mean the minority shouldn't vocalize their opinion on the matter. If you're with someone having a meal and you don't like having phones out you should express that. And you shouldn't be made to feel like the bad guy.

But actually you should. Because it's not your right to tell someone how to spend their time during a meal. There are lots of ways to experience dining.

But if we keep going down this path, eating a meal will shift from being a conversation and just turn into a sad independent experience that doesn't require other humans.

 

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Stealing Wi-Fi is wrong.

Agree. It's a utility someone pays for like water or electricity. Using it without permission is stealing.

Disagree. It's 2015. At this point if someone has Wi-Fi beaming from their home sans password they simply don't care if anyone else uses it.

Yeah that's possibly a small minority of people, but there are still plenty of older generations that don't know how to set up a password. And by using their signal you're taking away from a product they pay for.

Yeah but the people who don't know how to lock up their Wi-Fi are probably not the ones who need much bandwidth anyways. They're checking email and using Facebook, not uploading videos to Dropbox or something.

Fine but that's not your call.

Fine technically you're right, but it's kind of a victimless crime. Is it technically illegal...maybe. Is it morally wrong, no. 

Ok so it's illegal but it's not wrong?

Ok isn't going over the speed limit illegal too? Yes, but the vast majority of people wouldn't say it's wrong. Certain things are just acceptable in society. Using an open Wi-Fi network is one of them.

Sure but you might not say that if someone was using your network. What if someone used your network without permission and then transferred illegal files on your Wi-Fi?

Sure that would suck but I also wouldn't be stupid enough to leave my Wi-Fi unlocked. That's like leaving your front door open.

But doors have been around for thousands of years, wireless routers haven't. You shouldn't take advantage of something that is still relatively new to some people.

But seriously this is no worse than throwing out a piece of trash in a dumpster that belongs to someone else. As long as you're not inhibiting the owner from appropriate usage, it's not a big deal.

 

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