Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Debate winner - how to scientifically determine the outcome

Tonight, we will have the third (and final) debate between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump. The inevitable question after each debate is, "Who won the debate?". Around 15 minutes after the conclusion of the debate, CNN will have a reporter present the "results" with words along the lines of, "This is an unscientific poll. We asked 15 undecided voters on their opinion. They are, however, leaning Democrats. So, you should not give too much credence to these results." Why bother providing us the results of the poll, in that case!

On the days following the debate, each candidate addresses rallies claiming that they "won by a landslide".

So, I decided to explore definitive ways to answer this question and determine the winner by applying scientific methodologies. This way we would not need to "speculate" or take a random person's opinion to determine the outcome.

I came across an example from Indian history of a debate between two famous philosophers, Adi Shankara and Mandan Mishra. They had opposing points of view with Shankara believing in the Advaita philosophy while Mishra was a proponent of the Mimamsa philosophy. In order to determine who won the debate, they both wore flower garlands on their bare chests. The person whose garland withers first is the loser.

While the external appearance can be "coached" and "controlled", it is not possible to control the human body's reaction to lies being told or anger or perspiration or genuine response to, "I am stumped". That is why the loser's garland withers first.

We heard the pundits refer to the number of times Donald Trump "twitched" or drank from his glass of water as an indication of his "unpreparedness" or inability to cope with the situation. While I shudder to imagine a bare chested Donald Trump, it is possible to use modern day technology to get the equivalent of a "withered garland". This way, we can have the debate moderator announce at the end of the debate, "Ladies and Gentlemen. I thank you for attending this evening's debate. Our scientific methodology indicates that the clear winner of the debate is ".

No comments: