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The Contender
Con (against)
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Do technology's negativities overpower it's positive effects?

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 7/31/2013 Category: Technology
Updated: 5 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 3,914 times Debate No: 36202
Debate Rounds (3)
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Firstly, I wish my opponent good luck. I, as pro am going to argue about the negative effects of technology on us. Note that I have no strong views on either side, and I also ask potential voters to vote based upon who argued better and not on their personal viewpoint. Thanks :)

In this round, I am going to provide two points about the negativities of technology -
1)I am going to start off with the effect of technology on our health. Almost all of us, myself included, use various technological devices everyday - computers, tablets, cell phones, laptops - the list goes on and on.

We find that it makes life easier for us - without these devices, it would take much more time to do many things.

However, many of us overlook a HUGE problem it creates - it affects your health.

Whenever this topic comes up, we ignore it, telling ourselves that nothing happens, and that it just a few crazy scientists worrying themselves about nothing. When we do this, all we are doing is acting like ostriches - sticking our heads in the sand until the problem passes by. (It's actually a myth, but I"m just using it as a proverb)

Studies by various renowned scientists, not to mention prestigious organizations, such as the UNEP (United Nations Environment Programme) and the W.H.O (World Health Organization) show that technology DOES, in fact, affect us negatively.

The World Health Organization (W.H.O.) states very clearly that there are serious health risks from current exposure levels to electronic fields coming from Wi-Fi, laptops, mobile phones and iPads. Exposure to them increases the risk of cancer, brain tumors, autism, diabetes, chronic fatigue, hay fever and depression.

Spending six to eight hours a day in front of a computer can cause us to become "hunched and immobile", says Chiropractors Association of Australia (CAA) spokesman Dr Patrick Sim. This can cause shoulder, arm, hand and neck problems, and issues with balance and coordination.

We may kid ourselves by saying that it won't really affect us much. On the contrary -
"The more hunched you are after the age of 60, the more your risk of death increases because the heart and lungs are compressed, reducing oxygen and blood flow.", says Dr. Patrick Sim. Do you really want to die at 60?

Dr Sim says the answer is simple: move more. How can we do this when we are almost always sitting down with a phone, tablet or laptop?

In May 2011, the WHO's International Agency for Research on Cancer did a review of existing research on the effects of exposure to such electromagnetic fields. The group found that in the case of glioma, the evidence was significant enough to warrant classifying radiofrequency electromagnetic fields as "possibly carcinogenic to humans," a WHO category known as 2B, and to warrant further study of a possible link between wireless use and cancer risk, the group said."

As if ALL this wasn"t enough, technology plays a part in obesity - a big problem in today's world too -

"A lack of physical activity certainly contributes to the obesity epidemic," said Joseph Regan, a bariatric surgeon at Columbia St. Mary's in Milwaukee, adding that other factors influencing obesity rates include technology, urban lifestyle and availability of inexpensive high-calorie food.

About 73 million people, or one-third of U.S. adults, are obese, according to the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention. This number will definitely increase as the years go by, as each generation will us technology more than the last one.

2) My second point is - environment. The technology that we use every single day affects our environment - Almost everyone has heard of this, but few actually care, fewer want to do something about it, and almost nobody actually TRIES to change it. Why do we not care? Because it does not affect our daily life of getting up in the morning, going to work (or school, whatever), coming back and sleeping.

However, if, we want humans, as a species, to have a place to live, we need to do something. The rapidly deteriorating environment and the rapidly increasing world population will soon create a situation where there are too many people, and too less land for them to stay, or even STAND in.

If we want to continue living on Earth, we HAVE to stop harming the environment on such a large scale...

E-waste is not always disposed of properly, causing deadly chemicals to leach into the ground. Plants that manufacture the electronics are emitting toxic fumes into the air. Also there is little to no regulations on the disposal of personal E-waste.

Technology also physically disrupts our rapidly decreasing area of natural environment - for example, the construction of different projects in forests and the installation of pipelines that inhibit the migration of animals.

UNEP (United Nations Environment Programme) is also becoming increasingly concerned about the adverse effects of technology on our environment.

I now offer the stage to my would be opponent, and wish him/her the best of luck.

Sources -


Thanks, Pro. Best of luck to you as well. Challenging the progression of technology is certainly no easy task, so I admire your moxie.

I have no prosaic introduction. I think technology is an amazing force for good. From the democratization of literacy to curing the world's illnesses, technology is to thank for so much of our advancement as a species and for the world as a whole. So much in fact that any negative byproducts of technology would themselves be negated when one simply looks at the benefits brought to us throughout the ages. I will now address pro's points and I hope to introduce a few of my own.

1. The effect of technology on our health. A point: Pro affirms that technological devices are not only useful, but they make life easier for us through time efficiencies. He then posits, rather generally, that "it affects your health".

His contentions:
-The WHO states clearly that exposure to electronic fields generated by devices increases risk of cancer, brain tumors, autism, diabetes, chronic fatigue, hay fever, and depression.
-Spending six to eight hours per day in front of a computer can cause us to become hunched and immobile
-A lack of physical activity contributes to the obesity epidemic

Rebuttal: Con is not being entirely forthright with the way he cited the WHO study. In fact, the WHO's study found, "for most cancers, the available evidence was inadequate to make any conclusions about risk (1)." And in the case of Glioma, a study by the University of California San Francisco Epidemiology department found, "data cannot provide strong support against, but clearly do not support an association between, adult glioma and residential power frequency electromagnetic field exposures (2)." Evidence is clearly inconclusive as to any correlative or causative factors linking electromagnetic fields and human disease and we can't attribute uncertainty to a "negative effect of technology".

Pro attempted to use the opinions of a single chiropractor about being hunched as the basis for an entire point. I'll defer to the judgement of our audience to determine validity and strength of argument there.

The point about obesity is well taken, but the National Institute of Health lists a multitude of potential causes including but not limited to: genetics, lifestyle, access to recreation, emotional factors, age, pregnancy, lack of sleep, etc. (3). I don't think we will find this debate all too productive if we continue to speculate on what may or may not be causing certain conditions to exist in certain people. Causation versus correlation is a convoluted maze.

2. Technology affects our environment
-I'm afraid the only half-cited source beyond a pro's personal narrative on the evils perpetrated by technology on the natural environment was a vote of "increasing concern" by the United Nations. This does not demonstrate an overwhelming negative effect made possible by technology. In fact, quite the opposite.

My points (abridged):
Technology has given us the following:
-Modern medicine including antiseptic surgery, eradication of smallpox, widespread eradication of malaria, current eradication-in-progress of polio (4), non-invasive surgery, ambulances and helicopters to transport those in dire need of immediate critical care, hospitals with electricity, the defibrillator, fMRI, and. just. so. much. more.
-The printing press and the Internet! Some of the greatest wonders our world has ever known. Because of technology, literacy rates have increased worldwide and democratization of education is constantly on the rise (5).
-The ability to feed 7 BILLION people. This is one of the most miraculous feats of modern technology. Because of what has been passed down since Gregor Mendel's time, farmers have been able to grow tougher crops with higher yields. Norman Borlaug has single-handedly ensured the full stomachs of over one billion people worldwide by evangelizing the wonders of crop genetics (6).

I'll stop there for now because I think that's enough for pro to try to overcome in the next round. I will make one subjective point that will undoubtedly come up in later rounds. If technology has produced any negative effects, it not only has found the best ways to solve them, but has gone ten steps further in making sure the positive outweighs the negative. I most vehemently affirm my position that technology's supposed negative effects DO NOT overpower the good that comes of it.

Debate Round No. 1


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KMKelleher forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 2


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KMKelleher forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 3
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