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The Contender
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A Zombie plague is more likely to be the result of a fungus than any other Pathogen

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 3/25/2016 Category: Science
Updated: 6 months ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 287 times Debate No: 88781
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (6)
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A more realistic scientific debate centered around a near impossibility.
Explanation: I will be debating that, if a Zombie Apocalypse were to happen, it would be the result of a fungus.
A fungus is a type of pathogen when talking about diseases, my opponent will only need to prove either why a fungus couldn't be the cause of form of zombie apocalypse or why a different form of pathogen would be a better explanation.
Evidence matters as well as explanations.

First round is for acceptance
everything goes so long as we attack and defend points.
Opponent cannot use an alternative explanation as to why a fungus would create a type of "zombie"

if definitions be required or questions need to be asked, feel free to do so in the comments.


In essence, the term 'Zombie', is not a natural phenomenon. We can look to either definition, the first being your traditional Un-dead 1.) the supernatural power that according to voodoo belief may enter into and reanimate a dead body... or 2.) the philosophical definition used to describe 'Imaginary creatures designed to illuminate problems about consciousness and its relation to the physical world. ' Both coming respectively from Merriam Webster and The Stanford encyclopedia of Philosophy. With these terms in mind, the term described by the pro is the former, in regards to a pathogen creating an animate being containing the Nature of Death. With these things in mind it is important to see that fungus would not indeed be the root cause because it would be of human cause. This is because no Natural force is strong enough to resurrect any being and Humanity has acted more on changing Nature than any other Natural thing, especially in it's projects to augment or change Human Nature. We see this any and everywhere. Something as simple as the effect on Earth's Carbon cycle ( proves that we can cause a change in Nature that is beyond the cycle, even between life and death. And besides this, the concept of a Zombie in itself, being a human concept, has already become a near bi-product of human experimentation in the field of Science in trying to alter the human body. (

Main Observation: It is a fallacy to reduce the probable cause of such a pandemic to Fungi. The Burden of Proof should fall to Affirmative to prove that the spores would have any adaptive purpose to generate such a thing.
Debate Round No. 1


I commend and thank my opponent for accepting this debate and presenting a challenge well worth the time.

It is apparent my opponent seeks to show how a fungus would not be the result of a "Zombie" apocalypse and is trying to show that if any form of "Zombie" apocalypse were to arise, it would be the result of human interference.
I would like to remind the voters that I need only prove why a fungus is a most likely cause to the Zombie plague, and would like to point out that I am not saying that the apocalypse will surely happen because of this, but that the possibility would be in favor of my side more so than my opponent's.

Now then, my opponent has pointed out that the Zombies I would be using are that of the undead, or the state of being reanimated from the dead. However, in the comments when I gave my definition of what kind of zombie would result from a fungus was that the host would not truly be dead, therefore, the term "Zombie" is being used in the relative sense rather than the literal, especially since I do not believe that the dead can rise to roam the Earth.

The fungus I am choosing to represent my side is that of Ophiocordyceps Unilateralis. Or, for those who still do not know what that is, the very real world fungus that creates the famed "zombie" ants. Now, I am sure my opponent will do their research on the fungus and come back to show that there is no evidence showing that it can infect mammals, let alone mutate to do so. And I am agreeing now with that. Nature does not simply do such thing without interference. The fungus, which I will be calling OCU, obviously spreads through spores, those spores attach themselves to a host... a living ant, and then penetrates the exoskeleton and takes "control" of the ant. The ant acts erratically and climbs onto a leaf, clamping onto the stem and dying, OCU then sprouts a stalk from the back of the ant's neck and begin releasing spores when it senses other ants nearby. This real world fungus already creates a form of zombie where the host doe not die once infected. In the unexplained event where it mutates or evolves and begins reproducing through mammals is when humanity is threatened. Keep in mind though that the concept of Zombie Apocalypse is already a topic of fiction and nigh impossible, but it's the possibilities and what ifs that are the topic of conversation. In the event of that impossible thing coming true, OCU would be the best way for it to start, to spread.

Allow me to further explain the how. In the event that OCU does evolve/mutate, and that alteration leads to its ability to take over mammals, then humanity is truly at stake. The way it would spread would still be through spores, the fungus would still attach itself to a host, a mammalian host. Once attached, it is unnoticeable in the beginning, as the spores travel through the bloodstream and reach the brain, the host would still experience very little. However, as it the fungus begins growing, the brain becomes damaged, this is where that comatose like state comes in from my definition. The spores would need to find a way to reach other mammalian hosts, thus, fungus would be soon growing on the skin of the host, those who come into contact with the fungus and the spores it releases are already doomed. Certain parts of the brain are damaged and higher order thinking would surely be lost, then other parts of the brain would be affected as well. Soon, the main goal of the infected is to survive, but as certain parts of the brain are damaged, certain side affects become a possibility. Aggression, lack of self preservation, loss of higher order thinking, hindered motor control, inability to speak, damaged eyesight, etc. In reality, this would not happen, but in the figurative sense where the very concept is a possibility, OCU would be the most likely result. The people are not dead, they are less apt at being people and the fungus is doing what it can to spread. Compassion among humanity leads to outbreak, we all like to think that we are prepared for such things, but its a time process and a matter of who has come into contact with the spores. A matter of how long before infected people become aggressive, is it before or after they become walking spore carriers?

Human experimentation would lead to a possible outbreak that would be similar to the movie "The Crazies". But a Zombie apocalypse would be more likely to be related to the game "The Last of Us", minus the super mutations of infected that throw balls of spores and the ones that make clicking noises. It would rather instead be more like a widespread creation of the first type of infected encountered in that game. That game also provides more science behind the origin and possibility of a Zombie apocalypse than any movie or other game currently out.

Yet, despite the previous paragraph, in the event of an OCU evolution, in a world where infected people become the bane of society, the fungus of Ophiocordyceps unilateralis are the best example and possible result. Human experimentation is more likely to create a mentally insane infected individual than an individual who is more under the "control" of an invasive organism with a means and goal of reproducing and spreading.

I await my opponent's counter arguments and supporting arguments.



First and foremost, i'd like to address the previously invoked argument on definition of the term Zombie, and i'd like it to be known that I fully accept the definition provided by my opponent. Not only this, but as a courtesy to the debate let it be re-iterated that the Pro should prove that fungus is the most probably cause and the Con should prove parallel to this, that Fungi is not the most likely.

With that, I first refute the point of my opponent and then go on to strengthen my own point.

On that note, proof of what would indeed cause a phenomenon such as that of the given example of Ophiocordyceps Unilateralis, or OCU. I do secede that the Proponent of this resolution offers a compelling example of The so called 'Zombie Ants' and further goes on to digress that Mammals will not be affected by such a thing. The science behind my opponent's argument although very established simply can not and will not occur for there is a fatal flaw in the argument which is this: The basis of the fungi argument is that it will indeed evolve to a point where it will affect humanity. IN order for micro or macro evolution to occur, one must look at basic concept of Natural Selection. Either an event occurs with which the fungi needs to evolve to propel itself into effecting humanity for means of SURVIVAL which can take hundreds of thousands if not millions of years assuming there is a constant stimuli to create such a mechanism.
More likely however is the result of a random mutation occurring in the genes. The likeliness of this event ever occurring however is simply not a number within reasonable science.

Now on to my own counter logic:
Because the law of evolution is the sole vessel in which my opponent resides, and it is simply illogical to reside in a concept as this without looking at the laws that dictate the process, we may look to a more plausible force; Artificial Pathogen.

Humanity has done a great job in the past creating not only other pathogens in a short time, but has done work creating artificial diseases and pathogens. In essence the comparison between Nature and Artificial Modernization is this: Man has more impact in Nature than Nature does. Hence; Not only on a logical scale would it suffice to say that man is much more likely to begin an event such as this, but because we [Humans] have already dabbled in the 'art' of biology and augmenting or changing our environment and selves, we are not only more likely, but almost inevitably going to create an event such as the described resolution. We see this in recent history as Mexican Scientists openly expressed durability with so called 'Zombie Cells' out living base normality.

In conclusion, for this round I have attacked the concept of Natural Progression as opposed to man and urge a Negative ballot to the voters as I feel it procures the more logical form of argumentation on this specific Subject.

Sources for this Round:
Debate Round No. 2


I must admit, my opponent creates a compelling argument.

However, I cannot agree that a man made, or artificial, pathogen. While yes, I am inclined to agree that man's progress in bioscience and biological development in both the medical and war sectors is impressive, and there have been numerous accounts of pathogens that have been developed by scientists. Yet, I do not believe that nor agree that man could create an artificial pathogen capable of sending the infected hosts into a zombie like state.

For one, my opponent does support that humanity has a bigger impact on nature than nature does, yet, that is where OCU reacts. Humanity has threatened and still is threatening numerous ecosystems on a global scale, as a result, species die or are forced to adapt in what way they can. Due to OCU being a fungi and having a very quick reproduction rate, in time, humanities impact on nature and its ecosystem will do one of two things to it. Forced evolution as a means of survival, or die out. The only reason I feel that a forced evolution would be the result is because the human effects on the environment OCU inhabits would be on the more widespread ants. The ants OCU uses as hosts would see a shortage in colonies or a migration to other locations with the suitable conditions for the nest. As a result, other insects, arachnids, and other wildlife would be more abundant due to such a predator moving. OCU would then begin releasing spore in the presence of other arthropods, which, when successfully introduced into a new host, would have an affect the fungi. In this process, the chain would begin moving to mammals, which includes humans. That is why I believe a forced evolution would occur.

Now, to counter my opponent's argument. My opponent believes an artificial pathogen would better result in the Zombie apocalypse, or at least make a threat of it, more so than OCU. However, my opponent never states what kind of artificial pathogen would be the result. This leads to that exact statement being questioned, what kind of artificial pathogen would be created by man? And why would it have a Zombie like effect on infected humans? The second question is relevant only because, all the pathogens developed by man have been created as a means of killing or bringing great pain. Anthrax for example, is a natural bacteria that has been modified by man and weaponized. Yet, this bacteria kills the animals and people who have it, quickly or slowly, it matters not. Dengue fever, a virus, was found naturally and modified by man, death does not come from this and recovery occurs in about a week. The list goes on, but all pathogens created by man are either to kill, maim, or incapacitate. While yes, it is impressive how far many scientists have come in the genetics and biologic fields, yet, there is no way that man could create a pathogen, be it a parasite, virus, bacteria, etc, that is capable of bringing man down to a state of pure aggression and lack of higher order thought. Governments wouldn't allow it, the people wouldn't allow it, and due to knowledge of such a thing being possessed by numerous officials... all variables would be controlled and mistakes or errors would result in termination. OCU, being in nature and evolving without surveillance, would have more time and freedom to become the cause of the apocalypse.

I have attacked my opponent's arguments and would like to commend him on the challenge thus far. I look forward to his supporting arguments and counter arguments.


I have read, accept, and understand the arguments by my opponent and I will now clarify the main points of the round, and impact the statements here beginning first with the defense of my own case, and then the rebuttal to my opponent.

To begin, It is brought to awareness that I did not impact which exact pathogen would result in an event like that of a Zombie apocalypse. This is because the resolution simply states that Fungi is the more likely cause of the event. My counter example has so many possible outcomes that could result with the same effect as what my opponent offers. It is an assumption first off that every pathogen developed by man is created to kill or harm, but besides that, the definition of Zombie here that is offered by my opponent is simply a state of Neurosis with the clear and concise signs of a sort of mind control effect. With that in mind, i'd like to point out that Human science is no stranger to the concept of mind control. This being true, should also lead to the conclusion that a pathogen is possibly the fastest moving way to advance something onto mass populations. So, if possible (and with the thought in mind that my opponent conceded that Man works much faster than nature) why should not man develop something like this that is more effective, quick, and weapon worthy than that of simply allowing the evolution of Fungus for hundreds of thousands to millions of years.

This concept again of macro evolution leads me to into the rebuttal of my opponent's case.

My opponent never touches upon the fact that Macro evolution, even with a constant stimuli may take millions of years, well beyond there is even any guarantee that mankind will still exist. With this however is another flaw... The fact that this OCU fungus that is offered as the sole example of fungus affects ants. Ants whom 1) We have no proof have any higher thinking, and hence with this logic, humans could over a few small generations brainwash ants themselves. 2) Don't even reside within the same family as humans [Mammals] which can NOT go ignored. It is infinitely complex and nearly impossible that a fungus would develop an affinity to brainwashing and 'zombifying' so to speak, Human kind simply because of our effect on the environment. This is almost to offer that Fungi are sentient beings with a truculent grudge to wipe out human beings in self defense. And even if that point is not accepted, to switch from the simplistic Neurotransmitters of these arthropods to tackle the highly developed and ever more complex Neocortex of humans should not go ignored either. This point that is offered by my opponent should be taken with careful consideration and i'd point that there is simply no logical link within my opponent's argument here that would suggest any of these things could be true, assuming there is a miracle evolution that ratifies fungus for warfare against the human race. Although the points offered by my opponent are truly fascinating.

With this, I urge a pro vote, and await my opponent's final clarifying speech.

Debate Round No. 3


I would like to commend my opponent for a very exciting debate. Unfortunately, I bear no true access to the site besides my phone, and I simply cannot bear committing arguments on it.

I have enjoyed debating with you Theocritus, it truly has been a pleasure.


Theocritus forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 4
6 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 6 records.
Posted by EmperorDao 6 months ago
If you can find a way to incorporate nanobots as being a more realistic way for the zombie apocalypse to occur, and you can give scientific evidence and explain how they work and where'd they originate and defend them against how a fungus would create the Z apocalypse, then yes. Nanobots can count. Be sure to identify how it is a pathogen and so on.
Posted by Rami 6 months ago
Do nanobots count?
Posted by Rami 6 months ago
World War Z had it that it was spread by liquid contact, so organ transplants spread the disease.
Posted by zookdook1 6 months ago
I'm not going to launch into a full debate, but here's my thoughts on the matter: It's more likely to be a saliva-born virus. Since this is about the zombie apocalypse, it's a ssuming that the zombies cause the apocalypse (Obviously). Therefore something must have happened to grant these zombies a better chance of survival than normal.

For example:
1 zombie is created. Result: Gunned down before it can spread.

However, if the disease is a virus, it is more likely to succeed for this reason:
10,000 zombies are created. Unable to be gunned down faster than it can spread.

Because viruses mutate faster. It would have previously infected a large number of individuals, likely with flu-like symptoms, then mutated to turn them into zombies.

How else would a single, slow, shambling, rotting creature manage to defeat the entire-world's military?
Posted by EmperorDao 6 months ago
Sure thing :)

Zombie: infected individual whose higher order thinking and self preservation has been significantly diminished. They did not die and resurrect, rather, they are infected and wake up after a brief comatose state and are extremely aggressive to any noninfected individuals.
They bite and scratch as a means of attacking people, cannibalism is not a factor.
Posted by Stonehe4rt 6 months ago
Could you define the Zombie? As in, did this person physically die then resurrect as a Zombie or did they just get bitten then change? Its important as to whether what I have in mind would work or not.
No votes have been placed for this debate.