The Instigator
Pro (for)
0 Points
The Contender
Con (against)
4 Points

Ethics of Terraforming

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 9/8/2010 Category: Society
Updated: 7 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 2,832 times Debate No: 13106
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (2)
Votes (1)




Resolution: It is ethical to terraform planets that do not already harbour life.

ethical-pertaining to or dealing with morals or the principles of morality; pertaining to right and wrong in conduct.

terraform-to alter the environment of (a celestial body) in order to make capable of supporting terrestrial life forms.

I welcome Con to explain in the first round exactly why terraforming is not ethical, and round 2 will be used for arguments on both sides. Round 3 will be used for counter arguments and round 4 will be for conclusion.

I thank Con in advance, and I am looking forward to a great debate.


It is my contention that the simple act of terraforming a lifeless celestial body is an action that at best has no moral implications, and at worst is an immoral action.

Contention 1:
At best the act of terraforming is without moral implication because it affects no life and is comparable to me taking a lifeless rock out of my driveway and smashing it with a hammer.

Contention :
At worst, the simple act of terraforming a planet is unethical, or of negative moral implication, because the process unnecessarily risks human life.

I look forward to my opponent's affirmations.
Debate Round No. 1


I was hoping for a longer explanation on why exactly it isn't ethical, not just that it risks human lives ( which isn't necessarily true if robots and machines did all the work), but I'll take what I can get and I thank Con for his response.

Con states that there may be no moral implications to terraforming, however, I refute this, due to the fact that terraforming may one day save the human species (and maybe other terrestrial life forms) when the earth finally is destroyed in one of the many scenarios of its destruction. Obviously, it is ethical to save lives that would otherwise be lost, when we are able to, and we can use terraforming to indeed save the innocent.

As for the lives that could possibly be lost during terraforming, they would be equivalent to construction workers losing their lives, or window washers, or any other worker. We don't say it is unethical to paint a bridge because the painters are at risk of falling and dieing? Obviously not.

Con has not negated my resolution so far. I look forward to your response.


I thank my opponent for his response and drop contention 2. I don't need it to negate the resolution.


/// I refute this, due to the fact that terraforming may one day save the human species (and maybe other terrestrial life forms) when the earth finally is destroyed in one of the many scenarios of its destruction. ///

In this scenario it is not the terraforming that is the moral action. It is the saving of human life using terraforming as the vehicle.

I will again use the example of me breaking a rock. If I break a rock there is no moral implication to my action. If I break a rock that is blocking a cave where a Boy Scout Troop is trapped them it is not the breaking of the rock that is the moral action, it is the saving of life that is the moral action.

This is because my opponent is advocating an aspect of absolute morality by stating that terraforming is a moral/ethical action. Therefore he has to show that in all circumstances it is of positive moral implications to terraform.

This is true of the terraforming because it is not necessary to terraform only in times of need. The resolution does not state any qualifiers, only that the simple act of terraforming is ethical. It is not.

The resolution is negated, I await my opponent's response.
Debate Round No. 2


Brendan21 forfeited this round.


Extend my rebuttals.
Debate Round No. 3


Brendan21 forfeited this round.


...Extend my arguments.
Debate Round No. 4
2 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 2 records.
Posted by Puck 7 years ago
Poorly defined ethical hypotheticals are not conducive to good debating.
Posted by SuperRobotWars 7 years ago
This is gonna be good . . .
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by Korashk 7 years ago
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Total points awarded:04