THE CONTEST ENDED MARCH 18 2011. IF THERE IS ENOUGH DEMAND TO REINSTATE IT IN THE FUTURE, I WILL PROBABLY DO SO.
I (the author of No Such Thing As An Opinion) will pay $1,000 to the first person who can OUTSMART me, as described below! The money will be paid through Paypal or by cheque. However, I reserve the right to limit the method of payment to Paypal only, so be prepared to open a Paypal account if needed. I also reserve the right to send payment by cheque instead.
Why should you consider it a challenge to be able to outsmart me? Well, I'm clever! I ranked 74th in the "world" one month (among an estimated 1,250,000+ test takers) on a measure of intelligence. Also, I earned verifiable stock day trading profits of more than 301% during only three months in 2009! Based on extrapolation of the 74th place results, I've estimated my IQ to be between 166 and 171 (only one person in 168,919 has a 166+ IQ, and only one person in 844,594 has a 171+ IQ).
I author a second site, also titled No Such Thing As An Opinion. It is located here. That site is almost a mirror image of the site you are now on: it contains the same articles, and many of the same reader comments, that the current site does. The contest is also running at the second site. Posts you make on the current site are likely to be posted to the second site (if so, your name would be replaced by an anonymous identifier, such as Reader X). Similarly, posts I make on the current site in response to your posts are also likely to be posted to the second site (in this case, when I refer to your comment I will refer to the anonymous identifier, such as Reader X).
The winner of the contest will be the first person from either of the two sites to outsmart me.
In order to outsmart me, you must outwit me, outduel me, as follows:
1) Method of communication & eligible arguments
a) To be considered for the award, you must post the successful argument in the comment section of one of the 22 eligible articles listed below. The argument can be in reply to either my article OR a comment that I made myself (regardless of whether my comment was a reply to your comment or another reader's comment).
b) Not all of my articles are eligible for inclusion in the contest. Regarding the eligible articles, you must outsmart me regarding something I wrote in the article itself OR something i wrote in the comment section on or after the start date of the contest, January 19 2011. Comments I wrote prior to the start of the contest are not eligible for scrutiny (although those earlier comments are still very strong, because it was prior to the contest, I may not have been as diligent when making my claims!)
As I mentioned, if you are able to find a flaw in something I wrote to another reader, your expose of that is eligible for the $1,000. The flaw doesn't have to be made in a comment I wrote to you directly.
The following 24 articles (and their comments dated January 19 2011 and later) are eligible for scrutiny:
Why don't all intelligent people vote the same way?
Geniuses flunk stats. Who would have thunk it?
Perhaps blacks should be paid slavery reparations
100 years of experience? BIG DEAL
Generalization is "generally" ok!
IQ tests are flawed! But NOT due to bias.
Black-friendly money lending policies actually HARMED them! Who would have thunk it?
Racial hyphenation is condescending!
Liberalism is "progressive"?!
To abort or not to abort? Costs and benefits of abortion
Boxing vs. UFC misconceptions
USA's wealth: Shrinking 37 years straight?
Typical liberal "logic"
Reader Request: Climate change logic. Part One.
Reader Request: Climate change logic. Part Two.
Obama's surprising anti-terror campaign
Should everyone be allowed to vote?
Should gay couples be allowed to adopt? Should heterosexual couples be allowed to adopt?
Evolution's Impact: Origin of Accents
Reader Request: Why Did Voters Change Their Preferences from 2006 to 2010? PART ONE: 2006 Elections
Reader Request: Why Did Voters Change Their Preferences from 2006 to 2010? PART TWO: 2008 Elections. The Disturbing Election of Barry Soetoro (Barack Obama) PARTS 1 TO 6 COMPLETE In this article, I haven't proven that Obama ordered the Archivist to censor the cited documents, but I didn't actually make that claim, and I didn't feel it was necessary to pursue proof. I simply referenced a source that made that claim, but I can't vouch for the strength of the claim. I was simply trying to show that it was reasonable to assume he had ordered the Archivist to do that, since he changed the law his very first day in office and since many articles have reported that he's used the law to censor the long list of documents cited. Regardless, most importantly, the documents haven't been released for whatever reason, so it's clear censorship has occurred somehow, so I decided to leave the reference in without pursuing stronger evidence. So, the reward won't be provided for challenging me on this issue, because I am agreeing beforehand that this particular point of mine could be stronger, yet I wanted to leave the reference in for interested readers to research further.
Theft From The Middle Class. Will Social Security Theft Be Next?
"Weight classes" for the arm length of UFC fighters?
2) Ways to outsmart me (specific examples provided later in the rules)
Here are some ways to outsmart me. You aren't necessarily limited to the following methods of outsmarting me:
a) One way to outsmart me is to box me into a corner logically, using a series of arguments, to the point that I am unable to defend my argument any further.
b) Another way to outsmart me is to find a single error in my logic.
For example, if I claim that all wealthy people are smart people, and you point the existence of that false statement, you've outsmarted me.
c) Another way to outsmart me is to find a single error in the accuracy of a verifiable claim that I make.
For example, if I claim that Obama's father was a doctor, and you catch the error, I'm outsmarted. He was an economist. In a case like that, you would need to verify your claim and find a link to a credible supporting source.
In regard to some other examples, you would not need a link to verify your claim. Some claims are simply common sense, logically. An example of this would be if I said that World War Two didn't occur. It's common knowledge and undisputed that it did occur. However, if I dispute the accuracy of a claim that you make, I reserve the right to request that you find a supporting link from a credible source.
3) Examples of me outsmarting readers
A reader wrote:
"As an example - suppose I set up a new single policy political creed, which advocates slavery for 49% of the population, with the other 51% to benefit. My new creed could be proven to be better at an overall level, since it benefits the majority."
"Actually, a creed WOULDN'T be proven to be better simply because it benefits the 51% majority of the population. It might benefit the 51% majority in a SMALL way, but cost the 49% minority in a LARGE way, and therefore the costs of slavery would greatly outweigh the costs."
If I had made the first point, and you had made the second, you would've outsmarted me!
A reader wrote:
"If you were to use a complete profiled fraction you would see that 497/500 sheep are white.. but if you made that into a small fraction and rounded it... You could easily make it into 50/50... "
"You are applying two different sets of criteria to the same figures. You are choosing to round not to round 497/500 up to 500/500 in the first case, and then choosing to round 49.7/50 up to 50/50. But might someone do that? Sure, but that doesn't validate an argument that uses two sets of criteria."
If I had made the first point, and you had made the second, you would've outsmarted me!
A reader wrote:
"By the way, by your insisting in a binary world, and inability to recognize shades of gray in life situations..."
"If there were really shades of gray, as you suggest, then some aspects of life wouldn't be definable at all. Everything in life is definable, because language can define anything."
If I made the first point, and you made the second, you would've outsmarted me!
"When you think about it, all revenue is simply a transfer of money. You can't earn money without taking it from someone. So can an economy REALLY grow larger?"
A reader responded:
"Yes if I mine gold out of my back yard."
"...did you REALLY get that gold for free? After all, you did pay money for the land, didn't you?"
If I had made the second point, and you had made the third, you would've outsmarted me!
4) List of things that don't count as outsmarting me
a) Finding a spelling error of mine.
b) Finding a grammatical error of mine.
c) Finding text where I admit that I don't know that answer (or getting me to admit it during reader comment discussions). I don't know everything. Admitting it is not being outsmarted or outduelled. If anything, such honesty promotes further discussion. However, if I was to claim I was certain of the answer and was then forced to admit I was wrong or that I actually didn't know the answer, it would count as outsmarting me!
d) Choosing to define words in ways that benefit you. An example is the word "wealth". If I describe benefits of wealth and go on to discuss money, you cannot outsmart me by saying that my definition of "wealth" was incomplete since it didn't include other, sometimes used, definitions of wealth, such as happiness etc. However, if I actually claimed that wealth only includes monetary wealth, you may have an avenue of attack.
If I define a word as most people commonly would, and not as a minority of people would, then I am not being outsmarted. Remember, the idea of a debate is to be able to debate!
5) Format of your post
a) In order for the comment you write to be eligible, you must submit your comment by clicking the "Name/URL" drop down button, and the "Name" line MUST include your email address, at a minimum. If you wish to include your name, you can include it, whether it's a real name or just an identifying name...but make sure to write your email address.
The reason I need an email address is simple: If and when a winner outsmarts me, there may be many people that contact me claiming to be the winner. The real winner will need to email me from the email address that was written on the winning comment, in order to be verified.
b) The body of your post can be written in any format/style you wish, but the clearest format to use is to number each separate point that you make. That way, it's easier for the respondent to respond to the separate points.
6) Contest judging
I am the judge of the contest, and will determine whether or not I've been outsmarted or not.
That said, I've made the rules fairly clear. It should be fairly clear as to whether or not I've been outsmarted. I don't anticipate room for much subjectivity or bias to affect my decisions.
I had considered allowing an audience to vote on whether or not I've been outsmarted, but that method concerns me, for two reasons: 1) It is subject to manipulation if someone votes multiple times and 2) I don't trust that enough people have strong enough logical skills to render a fair judgment As an example, look at the results of this vote. Argument one made multiple specific points in support of its argument, and argument two made non specific points in support of its argument. Yet 58% of voters voted that argument two was the most convincing of the two! One reader even commented: "VERY VERY Scary that anyone would Vote on Post #2 - shows how illiterate most of our country is."
That said, if someone can come up with a fair method for a third party to judge this contest, I'll consider it.
7) Lists not all encompassing
The list above titled "ways to outsmart me" is not necessarily all encompassing. If you are able to outsmart me in another manner, I reserve the right to allow that method to be eligible to win the reward. However, the items that are currently provided in the list are considered valid, and won't be revoked. If you can outsmart me as defined above, you will earn the $1,000.
The list above titled "list of things that don't count as outsmarting me" is not necessarily all encompassing. I reserve the right to make additions to the list, to account for reasonable ideas I haven't yet thought of. However, the items that are currently provided in the list are considered valid, and won't be revoked.
8) Concerns about potential fraud
Some people may be concerned that if I'm outsmarted I might delete the successful comment. That would do me no good in the event that the winner had already saved the comment by pressing the "PrintScreen" button as proof. If I was to delete a winning comment, or to not pay $1,000 to the winner, the credibility of my website would be shot.
If you are concerned that I might delete a successful comment, I recommend you press the PrintScreen button (which saves an image of what's showing on your screen), open word processor software (such as Microsoft Word) and press CTRL-V to paste the image into the word processor.
9) Contest length
The contest runs from January 18 2011 to at least March 18 2011. Prior to March 18, 2011, if I decide to extend the contest, I will update the terms in this section of the Contest Rules. The contest originally ended February 18 2011, it has been extended to March 18 2011. The contest has now ended March 18 2011. If there is enough demand to reinstate it in the future, I will probably do so.