The Instigator
hauki20
Pro (for)
Winning
27 Points
The Contender
rangersfootballclub
Con (against)
Losing
8 Points

A nuclear war is survivable

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 6 votes the winner is...
hauki20
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 2/28/2009 Category: Miscellaneous
Updated: 7 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 6,113 times Debate No: 7156
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (8)
Votes (6)

 

hauki20

Pro

The rules and definitions:

The Rules Which Thou Shalt Not Break:

1. No spamming, trolling, flaming, racism, hateful phrases, words, sentences, comments or posts.
2. No personal attacks towards the other debater.
3. No personal attacks towards any spectator, voter, commenter or any other user of www.debate.org

The definitions of words:

A) Nuclear war: In this case an all-out worldwide nuclear war. War which is being fought with nuclear weapons.
B) Nuclear weapon: an explosive device whose destructive potential derives from the release of energy that accompanies the splitting or combining of atomic nuclei.
C) Worldwide: Extending or spread throughout the world.

And now, my case.

An all-out worldwide nuclear war would be the worst catastrophe in history, a tragedy so huge it is difficult to comprehend. Even so, it would be far from the end of human life on earth. The dangers from nuclear weapons have been distorted and exaggerated, for varied reasons. These exaggerations have become demoralizing myths, believed by millions of Americans.

Myth Number 1: Fallout radiation from a nuclear war would poison the air and all parts of the environment. It would kill everyone. (This is the demoralizing message of On the Beach and many similar pseudoscientific books and articles.)

Facts: No. First of all, fallout doesn't "poison" anything. Fallout particles, which are created upon the detonation of a nuclear device, are tiny pieces of material which are radioactive. Yes, exposure to too much radiation will kill you, but the good news is that the radiation from fallout has a rapid half-life. After seven days from the initial blast, the radioactivity fallout gives away is only a very small portion of what it was initially. If the radiation is initially 100R/hr, after two weeks it would be only 1 R/hr because of rapid decay. Those who would have good shelter could come out after a couple of weeks and be perfectly fine. Sure, there may be some amounts of radiation around, but it won't kill you.
"What about water and food?" you may be asking. Well, all you need to do is wash the fallout particles from any food and you will be 100% fine, because the radiation only does harm to living things. To make water safe to drink, you only need to filter the fallout from it.

Myth #2: Myth: Fallout radiation penetrates everything; there is no escaping its deadly effects.

Facts: Nope. The following is a list of how to decrease the amount of radiation by half:

* Steel: 21 cm (0.7 feet)
* Rock: 70-100 cm (2-3 ft)
* Concrete: 66 cm (2.2 ft)
* Earth/Wood: 2.6 m (8.8 ft)
* Soil: 1 m (3.3 ft)
* Ice: 2 m (6.6 ft)
* Snow: 6 m (20-22 ft)

If one would have two meters of concrete between himself and the fallout, the radiation would be decreased from 1 to 1/6. That would mean that if the amount of radiation would be 100 R/hr, the person inside would receive only 16 R/hr! Of course, this paired with the rapid decay of radiation would make it easy to survive.

Myth #3: Myth: A heavy nuclear attack would set practically everything on fire, causing "firestorms" in cities that would exhaust the oxygen in the air. All shelter occupants would be killed by the intense heat.

Facts: On a clear day, thermal pulses (heat radiation that travels at the speed of light) from an air burst can set fire to easily ignitable materials (such as window curtains, upholstery, dry newspaper, and dry grass) over about as large an area as is damaged by the blast. It can cause second-degree skin burns to exposed people who are as far as ten miles from a one-megaton (1 MT) explosion. (See Fig. 1.4.) (A 1-MT nuclear explosion is one that produces the same amount of energy as does one million tons of TNT.) If the weather is very clear and dry, the area of fire danger could be considerably larger. On a cloudy or smoggy day, however, particles in the air would absorb and scatter much of the heat radiation, and the area endangered by heat radiation from the fireball would be less than the area of severe blast damage.

Myth #4: In the worst-hit parts of Hiroshima and Nagasaki where all buildings were demolished, everyone was killed by blast, radiation, or fire.

Facts: In Nagasaki, some people survived uninjured who were far inside tunnel shelters built for conventional air raids and located as close as one-third mile from ground zero (the point directly below the explosion). This was true even though these long, large shelters lacked blast doors and were deep inside the zone within which all buildings were destroyed. (People far inside long, large, open shelters are better protected than are those inside small, open shelters.)

Myth #5: Myth: Because some modern H-bombs are over 1000 times as powerful as the A-bomb that destroyed most of Hiroshima, these H-bombs are 1000 times as deadly and destructive.

Facts: A nuclear weapon 1000 times as powerful as the one that blasted Hiroshima, if exploded under comparable conditions, produces equally serious blast damage to wood-frame houses over an area up to about 130 times as large, not 1000 times as large.

Myth #6: Myth: A Russian nuclear attack on the United States would completely destroy all American cities.

Facts: As long as Soviet leaders are rational they will continue to give first priority to knocking out our weapons and other military assets that can damage Russia and kill Russians. To explode enough nuclear weapons of any size to completely destroy American cities would be an irrational waste of warheads. The Soviets can make much better use of most of the warheads that would be required to completely destroy American cities; the majority of those warheads probably already are targeted to knock out our retaliatory missiles by being surface burst or near-surface burst on their hardened silos, located far from most cities and densely populated areas.

Myth #7: Myth: So much food and water will be poisoned by fallout that people will starve and die even in fallout areas where there is enough food and water.

Facts: If the falloutparticles do not become mixed with the parts of food that are eaten, no harm is done. Food and water in dust-tight containers are not contaminated by fallout radiation. Peeling fruits and vegetables removes essentially all fallout, as does removing the uppermost several inches of stored grain onto which fallout particles have fallen. Water from many sources -- such as deep wells and covered reservoirs, tanks, and containers -- would not be contaminated. Even water containing dissolved radioactive elements and compounds can be made safe for drinking by simply filtering it through earth.

Myth #8: Myth: Overkill would result if all the U.S. and U.S.S.R, nuclear weapons were used meaning not only that the two superpowers have more than enough weapons to kill all of each other's people, but also that they have enough weapons to exterminate the human race.

Book Page: 17

Facts: Statements that the U.S. and the Soviet Union have the power to kill the world's population several times over are based on misleading calculations. One such calculation is to multiply the deaths produced per kiloton exploded over Hiroshima or Nagasaki by an estimate of the number of kilotons in either side's arsenal. (A kiloton explosion is one that produces the same amount of energy as does 1000 tons of TNT.) The unstated assumption is that somehow the world's population could be gathered into circular crowds, each a few miles in diameter with a population density equal to downtown Hiroshima or Nagasaki, and then a small (Hiroshima-sized) weapon would be exploded over the center of each crowd. Other misleading calculations are based on exaggerations of the dangers from long-lasting radiation and other harmful effects of a nuclear war.

My case: If a person has a good shelter with a high enough RPF (radiation protection factor), he can easily survive until the radiation level has decreased enough.
rangersfootballclub

Con

i would like to thank my opponent on posting a very full debate , covering just about all aspects of nuclear war.

however i have to disagree with him on several statements , yes i agree a nuclear attack is survivable , however a nuclear war is not , sure you might survive even months after its all done , think about it you come out your shelter , the place is gone , nobody to look after you no means of growing food or drinking the water as whe you claim radiation disappears it doesn't , radiation has been proved to lie in the earth for years on end . Infact in cherlnoble , radiation still lies in the ground. That's why it has never been inhabited after that.

You also claim , the Russians , presuming they are the ones who launched these bombs have better targets than cities. Think about it on many different levels , they are not aware of every secret America military base , and if they were would use other methods and bombs of destroying them , it would actually be a waste attempting to destroy these with atom bombs , as a large majority will be underground presumably , as the American government will have prepared for nuclear war. My sister once worked in a secret base , or not so secret underground one in England . Her job along with 100 other workers was to launch nuclear attacks against the enemy once the country had been destroyed , her base was pretty much indestructible unless you got inside it and blew it up. The Russian government would much rather destroy whole cities with the bombs they have , rather than waste them on small bases.

But think logically also , what the hell are you going to do after these blasts ? you come out your shelter you have ran out of food , nobody is around , the country destroyed , government collapsed , economny literally blown up. Nobodies coming to your aid , as it is to risky and they don't expect much survivors. Where do you get food ? how do you leave the area with no means of transport and are unable to even travel by foot ? Nuclear wars are survivable , its the aftermath that is not . However the aftermath can still be considered part of the war , as normally its the aftermath that kills most the people.
Debate Round No. 1
hauki20

Pro

Thank you for accepting my debate and good luck :)

[quote]however I have to disagree with him on several statements , yes I agree a nuclear attack is survivable , however a nuclear war is not , sure you might survive even months after its all done , think about it you come out your shelter , the place is gone , nobody to look after you no means of growing food or drinking the water as whe you claim radiation disappears it doesn't , radiation has been proved to lie in the earth for years on end[/quote]

Yes, radiation never disappears. But, however, here is the good part. The radiation from fallout had a rapid half-life. At the first hour, should you be totally without protection, the radiation will kill you in less then 30 minutes. After two weeks, the radiation is only about 1/100 of what it was at the very first second. If one was to leave his/her shelter after a month, the amount of radiation would be so small it wouldn't be a threat. Now, let me explain what happens after receiving a certain amount of radiation from fallout.

REM = Roentgen Equivalent Man, 1 REM is about 1 R.

Less than 5 REM: No visible syndromes.

5-50 REM: Temporarily decreased red blood cell count.

50-150 REM: Decreased production of immunity cells; susceptible to infections; nausea, headache, and vomiting may be common. This amount of radiation is usually survivable without any medical treatment.

150-300 REM: 35% percent of exposed die within 30 days. Nausea, vomiting, and loss of hair all over the body.

300-400 REM: Severe radiation poisoning, 50% fatality after 30 days (LD 50/30). Other symptoms are similar to the 2–3 Sv dose, with uncontrollable bleeding in the mouth, under the skin and in the kidneys (50% probability at 4 Sv) after the latent phase.

400-600 REM: Acute radiation poisoning, 60% fatality after 30 days (LD 60/30). Fatality increases from 60% at 4.5 Sv to 90% at 6 Sv (unless there is intense medical care). Symptoms start half an hour to two hours after irradiation and last for up to 2 days. After that, there is a 7 to 14 day latent phase, after which generally the same symptoms appear as with 3-4 Sv irradiation, with increased intensity. Female sterility is common at this point. Convalescence takes several months to a year. The primary causes of death (in general 2 to 12 weeks after irradiation) are infections and internal bleeding.

600-1000 REM: Acute radiation poisoning, near 100% fatality after 14 days (LD 100/14). Survival depends on intense medical care. Bone marrow is nearly or completely destroyed, so a bone marrow transplant is required. Gastric and intestinal tissue are severely damaged. Symptoms start 15 to 30 minutes after irradiation and last for up to 2 days. Subsequently, there is a 5 to 10 day latent phase, after which the person dies of infection or internal bleeding. Recovery would take several years and probably would never be complete. Devair Alves Ferreira received a dose of approximately 7.0 Sv (700 REM) during the Goi´┐Żnia accident and survived, partially due to his fractionated exposure.

1200-2000 REM: Death is 100% at this stage; symptoms appear immediately. The gastrointestinal system is completely destroyed. There will be uncontrollable bleeding from the mouth, under the skin and the kidneys. Fatigue and general illness takes its toll. Symptoms are the same as before with increased intensity. Recovery is not possible.

More than 2000 REM: You're a walking dead. Sorry.

So, let's take a scenario. A nuclear bomb is detonated in city X. Person Y is in a shelter so good that is reduces radiation to very small amounts. After a month he has received 20 REM. Outside, the radiation is still continuing to decay. He wants to play it safe and remains in safety for a week. When he goes outside, the radiation has reduced to less than 0.1 R/hr (meaning he is exposed to 0.1 R an hour.)
When he goes outside, the radiation is still decaying. At the present rate, he can stay outside totally unprotected for about 1000 hours [41 days] before he gets mild radiation sickness (100 REM). However, the radiation is still decaying, so the real amount is much larger. After a year the amount of radiation is so small it poses no threat even to a baby.

Do you know a problem posed by an ancient philosopher? A man wants to get to the other side of the street. On the first day, he walks half the distance, so he's halfway. On the second day, he walks half of the REMAINING distance. On the third day, he walks half of the remaining distance and so on. When does the man get to the other side of the street? Never. Radiation is the same.

[quote]You also claim , the Russians , presuming they are the ones who launched these bombs have better targets than cities. Think about it on many different levels , they are not aware of every secret America military base , and if they were would use other methods and bombs of destroying them , it would actually be a waste attempting to destroy these with atom bombs , as a large majority will be underground presumably , as the American government will have prepared for nuclear war. My sister once worked in a secret base , or not so secret underground one in England . Her job along with 100 other workers was to launch nuclear attacks against the enemy once the country had been destroyed , her base was pretty much indestructible unless you got inside it and blew it up. The Russian government would much rather destroy whole cities with the bombs they have , rather than waste them on small bases.[/quote]

If Russia would launch nukes on USA, their first targets would be military bases. They don't care about killing civilians, they care about paralyzing American military. There's no logic in using *very* expensive nukes to kill civilians. Their target is the army.

[quote]But think logically also , what the hell are you going to do after these blasts ? you come out your shelter you have ran out of food , nobody is around , the country destroyed , government collapsed , economy literally blown up. Nobodies coming to your aid , as it is to risky and they don't expect much survivors. Where do you get food ? how do you leave the area with no means of transport and are unable to even travel by foot ? Nuclear wars are survivable , its the aftermath that is not . However the aftermath can still be considered part of the war , as normally its the aftermath that kills most the people.[/quote]

Let me break this up.

[quote]But think logically also , what the hell are you going to do after these blasts ? you come out your shelter you have ran out of food...[/quote]

Yes, indeed. But here are the good news.

1. After a nuclear war, you can grow new foods. You can grow corn, wheat or anything like that. Apples, oranges, carrots, potatoes, rise... the list goes on. So, you can grow foods. The problem is with acquiring meat. This problem could be solved by:

A) Bringing two chickens, one male, one female, to the shelter will solve the problem.
B) Finding an animal not affected by radiation.

[quote]...nobody is around...[/quote]

There would be survivors. Most people would survive the blasts, most survivors would die of radiation. There would be survivors.

[quote]...[1]the country destroyed , [2]government collapsed , [3]economny literally blown up...[/quote]

1) Men survive. I'm sure the survivors, hopefully including me [:)], would start rebuilding the cities and society. It would take a while, but in the end I'm sure it would be possible.
2) Goverment will be rebuilt sooner or later. We don't really need that, we can survive without leaders.
3) Money could/would be replaced with bartering etc.

[quote]Nobodies coming to your aid , as it is to risky and they don't expect much survivors.[/quote]

There will be survivors, and the survivors will unite. Human nature is to survive, no matter what. Wouldn't it be great to look at every human forget their prejudice and hatred towards others?
rangersfootballclub

Con

I would like to thank my opponent for answering my questions

however I feel that his statements are slightly over-exaggerated , remember this is a war not just a single attack ,

The stats about radiation you presented , are questionable . There have been mothers giving birth all the way in Sweden , to mutated baby's , who were concevied after Chernobyl , may I remind you that , these mothers were thousands of miles away from the town of Chernobyl itself and may I remind you these babies where conceived years after the blast ? http://www.llrc.org...

Why do you think the town of Chernobyl has never again been built on ? because they cant , because its to dangerous , no matter how much radiation is on this ground it is . Radiation , I believe does not disappear significantly for decades and may remain for 100's of years.

Now back to the food problem , say I have a family of 4 . Do you think 2 chickens will be enough ? what do you expect the chickens to eat as well. There will be very few animals alive from a blast , but never mind the blast were in a city not a small town with farms. Crops may grow but will most likely be contaminated and would also take a long time for everybody to grow crops , they would be long dead before a month.

Now away from food , you say the Russian targets are American military bases , ok but like I said you don't think the usa have thought of nukes attacking there secret bases ? They are most likely underground or well protected against a nuclear attack. The only way to destroy these bases is through sabotage , or the worlds biggest ever yet to be seen bomb , they do care if they kill civilians because the more they kill the harder it is for America to rebuild . Also think about new York , or other big cities do you think America could ever rebuild those After an attack ?

I agree its human nature to survive and god , I have seen things that are unbelievable , with my eyes and on to .
But sure humans will try to survive , out of every 1million people in the city attacked by the blast , you would be lucky if 10,000 survive past a month and even if 5000 could make it a year , then after that they will continue to die away without help.
Debate Round No. 2
hauki20

Pro

Thank you ;)

[quote]Why do you think the town of Chernobyl has never again been built on ? because they cant , because its to dangerous , no matter how much radiation is on this ground it is . Radiation , I believe does not disappear significantly for decades and may remain for 100's of years.[/quote]

Yes. You remeber the problem about the man crossing the street? A man wants to get to the other side of the street. On the first day, he walks half the distance, so he's halfway. On the second day, he walks half of the REMAINING distance. On the third day, he walks half of the remaining distance and so on. When does the man get to the other side of the street? Never. It's the same with radiation. It may decrease to be veeeeery small, but there will always be some. After a year the amount of radiation would be about 0,000000000...01 REM. If you remain in a good shelter for a month or two you shouldn't be afraid of radiation.

[quote]The stats about radiation you presented , are questionable . There have been mothers giving birth all the way in Sweden , to mutated baby's , who were concevied after Chernobyl , may I remind you that , these mothers were thousands of miles away from the town of Chernobyl itself and may I remind you these babies where conceived years after the blast ?[/quote]

Actually, I was born and lived for most of my youth in Finland. My parents told me about how Chernobyl affected Finland, a neighbouring country to Sweden and Russia. They were advised not to eat berries or swim in lakes. They had to watch what they were eating, but as you see, they didn't die and I'm not malformed. Actually, I'm very healthy and normal young man. With the right precautions taken, you can and will survive fallout. Just like my parents did.

[quote]I agree its human nature to survive and god , I have seen things that are unbelievable , with my eyes and on to .
But sure humans will try to survive , out of every 1million people in the city attacked by the blast , you would be lucky if 10,000 survive past a month and even if 5000 could make it a year , then after that they will continue to die away without help.[/quote]

No. When the radiation is reduced enough, men would rebuild their lives. They would build a house of some kind and start planting and harvesting corn, wheat, apples etc. Anything that can be grown. After they've gotten used to their Medieval life, they would likely start to look for survivors, and when a large group of survivors is joined, they can build a town, and so on.

[quote]Now back to the food problem , say I have a family of 4 . Do you think 2 chickens will be enough ? what do you expect the chickens to eat as well. There will be very few animals alive from a blast , but never mind the blast were in a city not a small town with farms. Crops may grow but will most likely be contaminated and would also take a long time for everybody to grow crops , they would be long dead before a month.[/quote]

Reproduction? Also, I'm quite sure they can keep themselves alive by looking around the wastes for canned foods and so on. Think about the first settlers in America. They could survive with little or nothing, why couldn't we?

[quote]Now away from food , you say the Russian targets are American military bases , ok but like I said you don't think the usa have thought of nukes attacking there secret bases ? They are most likely underground or well protected against a nuclear attack. The only way to destroy these bases is through sabotage , or the worlds biggest ever yet to be seen bomb , they do care if they kill civilians because the more they kill the harder it is for America to rebuild . Also think about new York , or other big cities do you think America could ever rebuild those After an attack ?[/quote]

No. Not a single country will ever totally recover. Our civilization will be pushed back a thousand years. However, every country will recover to some degree. For Finland it would be significantly easier than America, because we most likely won't get directly nuked. America, however, will rebuild. It will take time, but it will happen. It might take ten, twenty, a hundred, or even a thousand years for America to rebuild almost completely.
rangersfootballclub

Con

well i shall be hoesnt , i sort of want to jsut get to the voting stage , i feel as if i had made my points well and clear and there is not much i can add to them without repeating myself.
Debate Round No. 3
hauki20

Pro

Okay. Let me summarize my points.

- Radiation from fallout decays fast, after two weeks the amount of radiation is only 1/100 of what it was initially.
- It is very easy to build a shelter that would "filter" most of the radiation. If there is a plate 1 meter thick between you and the radiation, you only receive 1/5 of the radiation you would uncovered. Two meters = 1/10 and so on.
- After radiation has decreased to a level where it's safe to go outside, it is possible to grown rice, corn, wheat, fruits, carrots, potatoes and so on. The problem of food supply solved.
- An unsurvivable nuclear winter will not follow a nuclear war. This is a myth, here are the facts:

Unsurvivable "nuclear winter" is a discredited theory that, since its conception in 1982, has been used to frighten additional millions into believing that trying to survive a nuclear war is a waste of effort and resources, and that only by ridding the world of almost all nuclear weapons do we have a chance of surviving.

Non-propagandizing scientists recently have calculated that the climatic and other environmental effects of even an all-out nuclear war would be much less severe than the catastrophic effects repeatedly publicized by popular astronomer Carl Sagan and his fellow activist scientists, and by all the involved Soviet scientists. Conclusions reached from these recent, realistic calculations are summarized in an article, "Nuclear Winter Reappraised", featured in the 1986 summer issue of Foreign Affairs, the prestigious quarterly of the Council on Foreign Relations. The authors, Starley L. Thompson and Stephen H. Schneider, are atmospheric scientists with the National Center for Atmospheric Research. They showed " that on scientific grounds the global apocalyptic conclusions of the initial nuclear winter hypothesis can now be relegated to a vanishing low level of probability."

- Even if every single nuke would be launched, it would be impossible to kill every human being (by explosions).

That's the most important thing. Remember, should a nuclear war arise, survive it. Okay?
rangersfootballclub

Con

i will also finish off by making my points clear .

Radation is a great danger , and does not decrease significantly like you said , any place that is the vicitim of a nuclear attack , will not be able to built on without great risks , for decades.

Survivors will starve , there would be very little food left, no aid because the country has been knocked back to the start of time , and any animals capable of producing food , will not produce enough till crops grow as , crops take to long and will not grow under these conditions , the main one being radation and the fact most survivors will be in a city were nothing grows anyway.

The attackers , will realise that the only way to destroy secret miltary bases are by inside sabotage. These bases will have beenbuilt to be protect from these attacks , you cannot denyit as i have seen one in england my sister worked in , it was pretty much impossible to destroy, unless you do it from inside , therefore they would use nuclear bombs to attack the citys and destroythe country as much as possible and killing as many as they can so there would be no future war.
Debate Round No. 4
8 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 8 records.
Posted by wjmelements 7 years ago
wjmelements
...grammar fail....
Posted by Glitchy 7 years ago
Glitchy
Heh, the Vault-Tec Boy avatar in favor of Nuclear War survival... :)
Posted by Russiannovember 7 years ago
Russiannovember
Very good argument, I personally like the pro sides arguments, they were well worded and accurate to my knowledge. You swayed my opinion to your side. Congrats
Posted by Yuanti 7 years ago
Yuanti
2 meters thick of concrete? thats a badass bunker we'd need to make bro..

Anyway, I enjoyed the topic - thanks for posting something a little off-beat Fallout boy :)
Posted by KRFournier 7 years ago
KRFournier
Conduct - Tie - Both sides were cordial.

Spelling and Grammar - Pro - On balance, Pro wrote clearer with fewer grammatical mistakes.

Convincing Arguments - Pro - Pro really backed his claim with lots of hard evidence. His knowledge on this subject is astounding to say the least. Con offered some philosophical objections, citing a distinction between nuclear blasts alone and nuclear war as a whole. However, the debate was about the possibility of survival, and on that point, Con was only able to offer conjecture. Pro, on the other hand, showed quite empirically that survival was not only possible, but quite likely.

Reliable Sources - Tie - It is clear that Pro had more hard facts, but he forgot to cite them. Con offered a source of his own. Had Pro cited his sources, I would have given this vote to him.
Posted by Epicism 7 years ago
Epicism
Yup... I'm officialy affraid of 1200+ RPM lol I'd rather have 2000+...

Pardon me for not enjoying instant symtoms of internal bleeding (everywhere) bone marrow being crushed as well as tissues etc...

Good debate it'll take me a bit to look over the points.
Posted by hauki20 7 years ago
hauki20
Did I?

If I did, I apologize.
Posted by zach12 7 years ago
zach12
you insulted me twice in your debate with me sir
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