The Instigator
Mathgeekjoe
Pro (for)
Winning
4 Points
The Contender
WillYouMarryMe
Con (against)
Losing
0 Points

Even if we could abolish nuclear weapons, we shouldn't.

Do you like this debate?NoYes+1
Add this debate to Google Add this debate to Delicious Add this debate to FaceBook Add this debate to Digg  
Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 1 vote the winner is...
Mathgeekjoe
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 3/17/2015 Category: Politics
Updated: 1 year ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 880 times Debate No: 71893
Debate Rounds (5)
Comments (16)
Votes (1)

 

Mathgeekjoe

Pro

I recommend anyone who is going to take on this debate to first check how my last debate on this topic went.
http://www.debate.org...
WillYouMarryMe

Con

I accept the debate.
Debate Round No. 1
Mathgeekjoe

Pro

The semi/non-lethal uses of nuclear weapons can save lives. There are many uses of nuclear weapons other than vaporizing a city. A nuclear weapon can be used as an Electromagnetic Pulse if detonated high in the atmosphere. When a nuclear weapon is detonated that high in the atmosphere there is no fallout, no soot produce to cause a nuclear winter, and no nitric oxides produce to weaken the ozone. Plus use of a nuclear weapon to produce an EMP produces few casualties, while some would die because of vehicle accidents and lack of electricity, it would over all kill fewer people than conventional weapon would require for the same effect.

Nuclear weapons are the produce the largest explosion of all current weapons making them some of the best options to intercept a large number of ballistic missiles close together. While alternatives are cheaper for taking out single ballistic missiles, nuclear weapons are the best for taking out a volley or another nuke using counter measures. The shear fact that nukes are the best counter for massive amounts of ballistic missiles is a good enough reason to keep them.

Low yield airburst nuclear weapons can be used to take out hardened missile silos. While conventional weapons have some capabilities to take out enemy ballistic missile silos, they don't have as high of probability of success as a single accurate nuclear blast. It is important to note that air bursting nuclear weapons produce little nuclear fallout and little nitric oxide. Also important to note is that low yield nuclear weapons produce less intense flash meaning they are significantly less likely to produce a firestorm and thus would not produce a nuclear winter. On top of that, enemy missile silos aren't filled with much flammable matter as a city thus producing no soot.

Nuclear weapons can also be used to deflect incoming meteors and asteroids. It is important to know that meteors and asteroids can do several times more damage than any nuclear weapon can. Giving up the strongest thing we have against these forces of destruction seems like a bad idea. I much rather have a nuclear weapon and not need it, than need a nuclear weapon and not have it.
WillYouMarryMe

Con

Thanks to Pro for his argument. The resolution basically states that if we are given the opportunity to eliminate every nuclear weapon in existence, we shouldn't take it. I will use this round to present a brief case against that proposition (i.e. show that we *should* take the opportunity), as well as rebut Pro's case.

== Con Case ==

C1) Failure of MAD

Proponents of allowing states to own nuclear weapons believe in the principle of MAD--the theory that since any one country using its weapons offensively would result in a nuclear war that would bring about the destruction of everyone involved, all countries will abstain from using them. However, the principle relies completely on the faulty premise that all governments are rational; it assumes that, by weighing the costs and benefits, all governments will come to the same conclusion to abstain from using their weapons. This is blatantly false. Throughout history we have seen various governments making incredibly stupid decisions, and we have plenty of rogue nations today, such as North Korea, Iran, and Syria, whose ambition and hostility could lead to similarly stupid decisions being made-- such as instigating a nuclear war.

Furthermore, MAD assumes that governments are the only actors involved in the possession of nuclear weapons-- what about terrorist organizations? Not all states safeguard their weapons very well from theft, and some states even discretely support such organizations by providing them with resources; these groups have a good chance at getting a hold of state-owned nuclear weapons, and they are especially dangerous because, unlike state governments, they do not have any civilians that they're responsible for, meaning that they are completely free from the consequences of using nuclear weapons offensively. MAD completely fails to account for these non-governmental actors; there is no incentive for them not to obtain and use nuclear weapons.

In summary, MAD does *not* nullify the threat posed to humanity by the existence of nuclear weapons. It has two gaping holes in it, so we cannot place our faith it, especially given how high the stakes are. If MAD fails, then humanity could very well destroy itself in a nuclear world war, and there is a very real possibility of irrational governments and terrorist organizations obtaining nuclear weapons. Thus, the indescribably massive potential harm of allowing nuclear weapons to exist easily outweighs any benefits that those weapons could possibly provide. If given the opportunity to eliminate all nuclear weapons, we should take it without hesitation, in the interest of humanity's survival.

== Pro Case ==

R1) War

Pro puts forth several war scenarios in which nuclear weapons could be used, both for offense and defense. However, none of these scenarios *require* the use of a nuclear weapon. For example, regarding the scenario about EMPs and satellites, there is a whole branch of weapons technology specifically devoted to combating satellites [1]. And regarding ballistic missiles, Pro openly admits that there are effective ways to stop them aside from nuclear weapons use. The biggest problem with Pro's points here is that just because using a nuclear weapon seems to be the most cost-effective way of accomplishing something doesn't mean that we should use them; when it is feasible to use regular weapons instead, we should always prefer that, because using a nuclear weapon, even for the purposes of defense, immediately makes the other side paranoid and increases the likelihood that the conflict will escalate into nuclear warfare. It is akin to pulling out a gun during a heated argument-- even if it's just as an empty threat, it makes it more likely that the other person will pull out his gun as well and that the confrontation will end in someone getting shot. This argument fails to demonstrate that the existence of nuclear weapons provides any sort of unique benefits that come even close to counter-balancing the threat of nuclear warfare.

R2) Asteroids

First of all, Pro has not even attempted to demonstrate that there is any significant probability of a large asteroid crashing into Earth; the last time that happened was over *65 million* years ago. Even if we grant that an asteroid would cause more damage than a nuclear war, I have demonstrated that a nuclear war is actually a realistic possibility, whereas Pro has done nothing of the sort for an asteroid collision. In other words, nuclear war is a far, far more relevant threat than an asteroid collision, and thus we should obviously prioritize taking counter-measures against nuclear war-- such as eliminating nuclear weapons.

Anyways, nuclear weapons are not necessary the best way to handle an asteroid anyways. Scientific American notes that "it is important not only to deflect a asteroid from a collision course with Earth (primary deflection) but also to avoid knocking the object into a potential return orbit that would cause it to come back a few years later (secondary deflection). Nuclear explosions are not controllable in this way. But a nonnuclear kinetic impact"that is, simply smashing a spacecraft into an NEO"can provide the primary deflection for the vast majority of objects, and a precise secondary deflection, if necessary, could be performed by an accompanying gravity-tractor spacecraft."

-

In conclusion, I have shown that the existence of nuclear weapons has the potential to cause enormous harm to humanity, and that the possibility of that happening is actually rather significant. Meanwhile, all of the benefits Pro points out can be more effectively accomplished without using nuclear weapons, and some of them are contingent on incredibly unlikely circumstances. The resolution is resoundingly negated.

-

[1] http://en.wikipedia.org...
[2] http://www.scientificamerican.com...
Debate Round No. 2
Mathgeekjoe

Pro

I do not disagree with my opponent that rogue nations would not have MAD apply to them. This is why I do not support Iran getting a nuclear energy program. Unfortunately rogue nations and parties are not a good enough reasons to abolish nuclear weapons. This is because of two reason. One, we have missile defense programs adequate for rogue nations any nuclear weapons they launch are going to be shot down. Two, even if a rogue nation shot a nuclear weapon, this would not start a nuclear war since rogue nations wouldn't have ballistic missile silos. Effectively, if we were hit by a nuclear weapon from North Korea, we wouldn't hit them with a nuclear weapon, we would merely conventional bomb the daylights out of them. The only situations when we would actually use a nuclear weapon against another country, would be against China and Russia since these nations have several ballistic missile silos and a strong military force.

Now my opponent seems confused, I do not believe that I have used the word satellites in any of my arguments. When I was talking about EMPs, I was referring to ground electronics which are a vital part of any military. On the point of ballistic missiles, it seems I am going to need to clarify my reasoning. Now con believes that my reasoning for using nuclear weapons to take out ballistic missiles is to be cost effective. Nuclear weapons are not cost effective for intercepting ballistic missiles, they are actually quite expensive due to the nuclear material, but the reason why I recommend use of them as a defense measure is because they are the most likely to succeed at taking out several ballistic missiles or a ballistic missile with counter measures. If some nation shoots a large volley of ballistic missiles or one with counter measures, it is preferable that you take out all of the ballistic missiles. Unfortunately, conventional interceptors of ballistic missiles can be overwhelmed by multiple ballistic missiles or by counter measures. Would you rather keep nuclear weapons or get hit by a ballistic missile? Con has made the claim throughout his rebuttal that any of the uses I proposed for nuclear weapons would cause the other side to be paranoid. I feel that my opponent fails to understand that nuclear weapons are not used lightly. If there was a situation where the US needed to hit the enemy with a nuclear EMP or intercept a volley of ballistic missiles, we are already past the point of pulling out the nuclear gun.

I feel my opponent has another misconception. This one is caused by the common myth that a nuclear war would kill of humanity. Fortunately, even if all of the nuclear weapons in the world were launch with the purpose of killing all humans, it would fail. In addition, a nuclear war isn't going to focus on killing humans. In a nuclear war, the nations would focus on military targets, most of the nuclear weapons would target hard targets such as missile silos. In addition, when nuclear weapons are used for war, a larger blast radius is preferred, thus in a nuclear war most nuclear weapons used would be air burst.

My opponent seems to not be aware the benefits nuclear weapons provide in NEO deflections. My opponent seems to think that nuclear explosions are not needed at all. While I would agree that if you knew a mount everest sized asteroid was going to hit earth 15 years in advance, gravitational tractors would be the best choice, but that doesn't mean we will always get a 15 year head start. For sanity's sake we had a meteor in 2013 that we didn't even see until it was on car dashboard cams, and that russian meteor had a force 20-30 times stronger than the nuclear weapon dropped on hiroshima. If we can fail to see a meteor until it hits, then surely there are going to be situations where we fail to see it decades in advance. Nasa simulations conducted by Bong Wie, showed that proper use of a nuclear device would destroy a "...1,000-foot-wide asteroid with about 30 days warning would result in less than 0.1 percent of the fragments actually striking Earth.". (1,2)

In conclusion my opponent has failed to show that existence of nuclear weapons provide more harm than good. Meanwhile his attempts to discredit the benefits of nuclear weapons has also been shown to be a fluke. He claims that the benefits can be more effectively accomplished without using nuclear weapons, but I have shown otherwise.

-
1. http://www.cbsnews.com...
2.http://www.space.com...
WillYouMarryMe

Con

WillYouMarryMe forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 3
Mathgeekjoe

Pro

My opponent was unable to post their most recent argument due to homework. All voters please excuse the con's forfeit of round 3. Do not let it have an impact on your votes.
WillYouMarryMe

Con

I concede the debate. You win.
Debate Round No. 4
Mathgeekjoe

Pro

"The following exception(s) occurred:
Your argument cannot be in ALL CAPITAL LETTERS. Please keep your argument clean and easy to read."

Apparently ... is considered all capital letters.
WillYouMarryMe

Con

WillYouMarryMe forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 5
16 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by Mathgeekjoe 1 year ago
Mathgeekjoe
@TheMarquis

I am currently in a debate with TBR on this topic. Once that debate is done, I will try debating you.
Posted by TheMarquis 1 year ago
TheMarquis
If you'd like, I'll have this debate with you. I'm not the type to forfeit anything and I am always near the internet. School isn't a concern for me and I know better than to let things go bad while I'm at work..
Posted by Mathgeekjoe 1 year ago
Mathgeekjoe
Is there a reason you conceded? Too much homework/other issues or did you lack any good arguments? Sorry if there if there was some personal issue that prevented you from continuing the debate.
Posted by WillYouMarryMe 1 year ago
WillYouMarryMe
thank you for understanding

I promise I won't forfeit this time around.
Posted by Mathgeekjoe 1 year ago
Mathgeekjoe
its ok. It just means I am going to need to do this debate again.
Posted by WillYouMarryMe 1 year ago
WillYouMarryMe
yup just got home from school.... 40 minutes too late....

sorry about that.
Posted by Mathgeekjoe 1 year ago
Mathgeekjoe
I just wanted to remind you that time was running down. In my last debate my opponent forgot to post one of their arguments.
Posted by WillYouMarryMe 1 year ago
WillYouMarryMe
yeah... about that....

I just finished my homework now, and it's 1:3Oam..... I'm not capable of writing a coherent argument right now, and I have to go to school tomorrow. Unfortunately, I am left little choice but to forfeit this round :/

Sorry, dude. I'll definitely post next round, though. And we still have two rounds left to argue.
Posted by Mathgeekjoe 1 year ago
Mathgeekjoe
Con, you only have 19 hours left to provide a round 3 argument.
Posted by WillYouMarryMe 1 year ago
WillYouMarryMe
lol that would be pretty annoying if you talked about thermobaric weapons...
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by Objectivity 1 year ago
Objectivity
MathgeekjoeWillYouMarryMeTied
Agreed with before the debate:Vote Checkmark--0 points
Agreed with after the debate:Vote Checkmark--0 points
Who had better conduct:Vote Checkmark--1 point
Had better spelling and grammar:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Made more convincing arguments:Vote Checkmark--3 points
Used the most reliable sources:--Vote Checkmark2 points
Total points awarded:40 
Reasons for voting decision: Con FF