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Fusion Power

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 2/25/2014 Category: Technology
Updated: 3 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 1,177 times Debate No: 46741
Debate Rounds (5)
Comments (2)
Votes (1)




Will humanity ascend to limitless potential if we harness the power of fusion or will we simply destroy ourselves?
Rules: Clear and Informative.


If humans ever manage to create a sustained fusion reaction, if we are able to fuse hydrogen into helium we will have unlocked the same energy that powers our sun. This breakthrough would allow humans to access a near limitless amount of power. However, it would also give humans the tool to destroy themselves, and all life on this planet.

If we look at the history of the human race, we have always been looking for weapons that are more lethal; more efficient machines for killing. When humans first became conscious our most fearsome weapon was the club. Often of made from wood - with the occasional stone head- this weapon was made out of necessity. Humans lacked the claws, muscles, teeth, and ferocity of many natural predators, so they came up with tools that would give them an edge. Then came the spear. Then the bow. The sword soon followed. As humans progress into a more advanced species we see their weapons becoming more fearsome, and less focused on hunting and defense. It is now the year of 2014 and we have weapons of mass destruction, automatic machine guns, precision bombs, ballistic missiles, and perhaps the most fearsome invention of all time, the atom bomb. History shows that as humans develop into a more evolved race, our conflict continually become large and are fought with more devastating weapons.

Humans have always wanted more power, weather in the form of military, technology, or government. Giving humans a fusion reactor would be like giving a little kid a hand grenade and hoping he wouldn't pull the pin. The little kid would be interested, and not understanding the consequences, he would pull the pin. Out of his ignorance he would kill himself and any other unlucky toddlers in the room. If we humans created a fusion reactor, we would be interested, we would pull the pin, and we would not understand what was happening until to late. While a fusion reactor would give us near infinite energy, it would also give us a destructive force, one so great that there would be no second chance.
Debate Round No. 1


Your insight in the matter is truly profound thank you for the enlightenment. I understand our downfalls as a species and the bad definitely out weighs the good. Essentially I can't agree that humanity will abuse this power, its inconclusive. The few merits we have held us in check for the most part this far along. We abused nuclear fission in the worse way imaginable, could that not be humankinds equivalent of pin pulling, learning our lesson. I think so. Since Nagasaki and Hiroshima no other bombs have been dropped on a populace since. Nuclear fusion in humanity's hands will prove more beneficial initially after that yes we will develop a new age in weaponry, will we destroy ourselves that depends on so many factors, mainly on whose developing the technology. The forerunners in that field are nations that have nuclear weapons now. (China, US, UK, etc.) One of which is the only country that has used these weapons maliciously, they seem to have bigger problems than petty wars nowadays. Problems like the energy crisis we are faced with, which our children will have to fix, global warming, space exploration, things of that nature which hinder humanity on this rock. If we are to continue destroying ourselves in our ritual suicidal bouts, I think it'll be accidental more than intentional. Unlocking fusion power won't be something held from the public, and generally people are opposed to dying outright the public's influence no matter the nation will keep this in check enough, and that's all we need for the technology to take root initially until it becomes second nature enough to where its controlled not by one, but all.

In conclusion, this is something we need now, and with need we start to build desperation. Desperation out of necessity the only thing holding this back is greed essentially. Commercialism is so strong now its dampening necessity, we can put them on the back burner for someone else to solve later, lets get that money today. When desperation out weighs commercialism, which is more likely to happen than another world war right now, we'll get things like nuclear fusion, nanotechnology, and ending in utopia.


You bring up many interesting points. I agree that humans greatest work will come when driven by desperation, when humans are threatened by extinction and the ties of money are no longer holding us to the past. Saying that great advances in technology will end in a utopia, is an exaggeration at best. We have seen great advances in many areas in the past 300 years, and the lives of humans -at least in developed countries- has become much more cushy. But as old problems are left behind, new ones show up. As advanced technologies such as nanotechnology, artificial intelligence, and nuclear fusion become common, and the energy crisis and other twenty-first century issues into a thing of the past, problems such as robots making their own decisions, nanobots self replicating, and radiation will take their place.

It is true that no other nuclear bombs have been released on the civilian population, after the two dropped on Japan that killed hundreds of thousands. However, I would not say that humans have learned their lesson in area of atomic power. In the cold war the US was worried about a preemptive strike from Soviet Union disabling their capabilities for a reprisal. The program (MAD) Mutually Assured Destruction was launched to provide a nuclear deterrent for Soviet Union. American B-52"s with nuclear bombs in their bomb bays and orders to release hell on the Soviet Union if the US had been bombed. Without this nuclear deterrent it is likely Soviet Union would have dropped the uranium bomb on America, and turned the cold war hot. The fact that millions of civilians were going to die, would not have stopped them.

To conclude, I would remind those reading this that humans have always fought, as are species continue to evolve are conflicts grow in size and number of casualties. While a fusion reactor would grant humans infinite energy; it would also give us more destructive power than an atomic bomb. Given humans history of destructive power I would not trust us with that power unless we were facing extinction.
Debate Round No. 2


Your views are indeed intriguing, and I agree with parts of your sagacious regard. I understand the whole spectrum of human barbarism and our sporadic emotionality. There are individuals, societies, and even nations that would rather see the world burn than have humanity flourish. Allow me to use theoretical physicist Michio Kaku to aid my debate, he states that now in this day and time, we are at our most vulnerable, this is the right place and time in history that we have the capability to annihilate all of humanity. He also states that this era is an era of transitioning from a primitive civilization (level 0) to a more sophisticated society (level 1). We've seen and documented that transitioning makes mankind quite indeed restless. We destroy cities, commit genocide, have these great wars worldwide, but the question is will we use nuclear fusion to end mankind. Groups of physicist, scientist, mathematicians, all these great minds have coalesced to create projects such as the tokamak, the large hadron collider in Geneva, Switzerland , the National Ignition Facility at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in California, one of which has just reported that it's gotten more energy out than what was put into the experiment. I know that's not fusion, but its a step forward.

We will one day war with nuclear fusion technology that's inevitable, but will we destroy humanity, simply I have to say no. Humanity have produced and are producing more potent and deadly weaponry every single day, but yet we are still a thriving civilization. If we are to destroy ourselves utterly every single human being, I believe the threat is more terrifying than a handful of nuclear fusion warheads exploding, and that's the threat of biological weaponry. These threats will kill every single one of us, and that could be tomorrow or within 30 years from now, our lifetimes. To say fusion power, a truly amazing risk to take, is going to destroy all of us is quite trivial. Don't take my words as insult, I'm just pointing out the fact that fusion weaponry will not end humanity before we reach the stars and truly have human civilization thrive, those odds are scanty at most. You previously mentioned threats of radiation, A.I., and nanotech, I agree these are volatile threats but I believe that even these issues won't be potent enough to annihilate us. Organizations, mainly the United Nations consisting of 193 national states out of 196 in the world, where member states are allied and combined under international laws and pacts are powerful entities, powerful enough to hold the peace long enough to usher in the next stage of mankind. Humanity has found unity in a sense can we control one another, no, but can we sit down and show some sense of diplomacy yes, otherwise its the few against the many, that is now and began in 1945, a few world wars ensured this.

To close, I'd like to restate humanity is truly a boorish creature, generally speaking of course, but we've managed quite well through good and bad to keep it together. Could we push the button tomorrow and kill 7 billion people and end our progression permanently, yes no doubt, but life on any level is uncertain. Saying utopian society in the previous round was an exaggeration, excuse me for that, because that's not who we are. We have to be flawed and broken to make a difference, not in ourselves but our future. Fusion power will not destroy us as a whole, it will set us apart a large bit more from our suicidal savagery, and yes it just might wipe out thousands maybe millions and billions, but not mankind. To end my turn I've placed my references below, feel free and thank you.

Fusion's progression:

Michio Kaku's Humanity destroying itself interview:

Michio Kaku's Fusion power in 20 years interview:


I am continually impressed by your insight and well thought out opinions. I agree that even fusion weapons would not be able to completely eradicate the humans species. I am also reminded that we, as humans, will doubtless do our best to harness the power of fusion, whether or not it is best for our survival.

While I am interested in your point about danger from a biological weapon, or even biological accident, I doubt that would destroy the human species either. Any sort of disease needs a living host to function, if that host was human, it would not kill them off immediately, and maybe not at all. If there ever was some sort of pathogen that had been genetically modified to kill off its host at once, I do not think it would not survive, due to the fact that there would be little time for it to evolve and infect another luckless person. That paired with mass quarantine would be enough to stop this disease from threatening the human race. As you pointed out earlier a war fusion is inevitable, and we can only hope that humans have become a multi planet species by then. Even though a war where thermonuclear hydrogen bombs were being dropped on civilians would probably probably not result in our extinction, it would doubtless push us back in fields such as medicine, science, and technology that are detrimental if we ever wish to leave earth and move up to the next level of intelligent life.

In you latest argument you suggested that while nanotechnology proves a threat, but it could not destroy us as a race. I beg to differ. In a future where nanobots are so small they can rearrange object on an atomic level and reproduce artificially, we could potentially be holding a lit bomb in our hands. In the worst case scenario nanobots would have a bug in their program, or a glitch. One that instructed them to continue replicating until they ran out of material to do it. Within the space of a few hour Earth could be reduced to nothing more than billions of trillions of quintillions of nanobots. On the other hand, nanotechnology would make space travel and manufacturing infinitely easier. Fusion technology offers the same dilemma. As humans we will doubtless do our best to invent these technologies, but what is the chance that they will turn on us. Either by their own hand, or ours.
Debate Round No. 3


This is possibly the most refined academic discussion, I've ever had the pleasure of partaking in. To business, I comprehend your refutation of biological warfare. Unfortunately with my latest argument I have to withdraw my argument on biological warfare being humanity's downfall. Due to the fact that the Geneva Convention, International Law of Armed Conflict, and other systems, have forbidden any nation from procedurally using these weapons indiscriminately. Not to say this isn't a pending threat just a more unlikely one. The system of checks and balances regarding this greatly reduce the risk alone. In previous human history the viruses and diseases which have plagued humanity thus far, have only left a bleep of damage on the world's population as a whole.

To address the threat of nanotechnology, this is indeed a serious future implication of death, perhaps in a century or less we will use nanotechnology to replicate materials to more desirable useful things. This technology will not be humanity's destruction at least in the realm of my own understanding or this debate. When our society is based on this technology our want and needs will be utterly sated in one go. Self-replicating nanotech, which will by then according to Moore's law, will be completely under mankind's control based on our technological prowess alone. In this future in which I refer, let's say 2100 as a standpoint, nanotechnology will be very much apart of our basic households then. The control of this technology will not come from us alone it'll come from our technology as any other application we have even today, everything is trending towards becoming digital. All things we may have then I can't begin to imagine, but it's not foolhardy to say that quantum computation , or a lesser technology to this, artificial intelligence will continually keep nanotechnology under our control. We understand threats now in 2014, we've seen movies like the Terminator, iRobot, and let's not forget Battlestar Galactica which is a TV show, that portray these pending threats of technology turning on humanity. If we can invent such grand designs, I think it's safe to say that they will be completely controlled by mankind through elaborate systems of failsafes. We are just that intelligent, we can program A.I.s, we can keep quantum computers within the bounds of mankind's best interest, and we will be able to destroy them if need be.

To end this part of our debate I'm keeping this point short, your closing argument is well anticipated. We can perceive the threats coming towards us, but there's no doubt in seeing today's world as it is, we are in some kind of trouble. With that said I've also taking the time out to talk and discuss with my rational peers, and see where we are in the world by using this invention called the internet, that's possible in this world now. With that notion said we will succeed our past.


I must agree with you that this may have been one of the most enlightening arguments I have ever had the good fortune to find my self in. I feel our argument has somewhat strayed from the track which it first stared on, and I apologize in advance for not moving back towards that track immediately.

I have been very impressed by the research and logical thinking you have put into the majority of your arguments. However, I quote, " artificial intelligence will continually keep nanotechnology under our control." I mean no disrespect, but does that not seam like a paradox. It is my understanding that the basic definition of artificial intelligence is an artificial agent (computer) that can "think" and make decisions by itself. By saying that nanotechnology is kept under our control by AI is contradictory, because something that can think for itself may decide that it no longers likes being under the control of those that are infinitely less bright (humans).

Moving back towards the realm of nuclear fusion, I review your links in the previous point and was fascinated to learn how much effort we have been putting into a technology that could allow us to step into the next level of advanced societies or fall out of the silicon age. I'm excited to hear your closing argument, and appreciate the research you have put into this.
Debate Round No. 4


For the sake of our debate/discussion in my closing and final round I'll elaborate and refocus on the issue at hand. I apologize I find myself profoundly misdirecting my stand points.

To address the issue of an artificial intelligence governing over nanotech, I digress, my personal research has found that nanotech will not need any mind or computer governing over it, your right paradox.

Back to the realm of nuclear fusion power and its application throughout humanity's future, let's look at today's world, our technology and resources can't alone handle the full sustainability of our civilization. Fossil fuel reserves are declining rapidly, we are consuming more and more each year, oil is expected to run out between 2025 and 2070, that's not much time if you account for the years we've used these materials. We are very much on track with Hubbert's Peak. It'll take us as a whole to be curve our appetite for power and energy, I believe with unlimited power we can do this, learn the appropriate way of dealing with our worldwide crisis. Nuclear fusion power will prevent disasters such as Chernobyl and the Fukushima power plant, due to the fact that it leaves behind low level radiation and in most cases zero radiation. Our president and his administration have proposed and have been approached by a legion of emission researchers to push for nuclear power, though these sites are traditional nuclear plants, these steps are paving a way to unlimited clean nuclear fusion power. The world is quite ready for this breakthrough it's just figuring it out. We are truly on the verge of this discovery, the research centers I mentioned in previous rounds, are facing the major challenges now such magnetic confinement of the plasma produced in the process another challenge in funding. The United States spent up to $290-610 billion since 2010 on energy, of that we spend around $510 million a year on nuclear fusion research and development, with those numbers it has put a strain on fruition. Challenges indeed for us, but that's not the point, the point is this research will be complete before the end of our lifetimes, well within the next few decades. With that amount of power and the problems of today solved tomorrow, mankind will change for the better. As new issues and challenges arise we have the power to back us, development of terraforming and interstellar space travel being in the state of idle they are in, will progress exponentially due to the fact we don't have to focus on fuel anymore we will have harnessed the power of stars. Our whole planet will change, evolve if you will, the universe will be open to mankind.

Fusion will help humanity conquer the world, and someday our children will conquer the stars. Mankind as bad as we can be cannot and will not abuse this type of power to the point of our suicide, the applications will solve so many problems, and the blow back or challenges relating to nuclear fusion technology are slim. Allow me to go back to the discovery of nuclear fission, we dropped two bombs, we've had 33 reported nuclear incidents since 1952, one of which was recorded as the worst in history at an INES level 7, Chernobyl in 1986. The nuclear power plant world total as of 2012 was 437 sites operational with 68 sites in construction, nuclear power is growing and growing. The cost of emission reduction is staggering already, though its only a fraction of America's spending, it is driving the race for this technology. It's inevitable for humankind to solely use this power one day and in our truest nature it only gets better, better is nuclear fusion power.

References used:


I would like to thank you for such a powerful debate and the numerous education points. It is true that fossil fuels are finite, and will run out eventually. If we could create a sustained fusion reaction, the energy crisis would be a thing of the past. However, fusion would also gives humans extreme destructive power. It is my belief that we should look towards an energy option that doesn't have the potential to push humankind back into the stone age.

Energies derived from geothermal, wind, water, and the sun will show mass improvement in efficiency in the near future. All these types of energies are renewable; they are not dependant on the fossil fuels that are doomed to run out in the near future. While green energies such as these would not produce the same power as a fusion reactor, they would push humans to keep innovating and inventing. If a fusion reactor was ever created humans would not have the same drive to invent and expand because we would have near infinite energy and comforts, and when our needs our satisfied we will not feel the urge to move on, we will not feel the need to explore other planets because life on this one offers everything a man could want.

Additionally, fusion reactors would be quite dangerous to mankind. Fusion would be hundreds of times more powerful than fission, and look what we have done with fission. When it was discovered that splitting uranium would release unheard of power, it was not long until we turned it into a bomb, it was not long until we dropped two of those bombs (hiroshima and nagasaki) on a civilian population killing hundreds of thousands. Even though we have not dropped another atomic bomb on the civilian population, we have had numerous accidents. In Japan toxic levels of radiation are still being emitted from the nuclear core of Fukushima, and radioactive dust and debris has spread around the plant for miles. The area that was affected by the meltdown will never be the same; families that were put out of their homes because of radiation are still not allowed to come back for an extended period of time. Fukushima will live on as a reminder of the devastating power of fission, even when it is being harnessed and controlled by humans. Fusion is hundreds of times more powerful than fission, even if it is never used as a weapon, an accident involving fusion could have dire consequences.

History doesn"t show that we as humans have become more peaceful as we evolve. Our conflicts have become bigger and more bloody. Should we trust ourselves with a weapon that uses the same technology as our sun? An object so powerful that we can feel its heat from ninety-two million miles away. That is the question that you must ask yourself: Should humans be allowed to have the power that could devastate our cities, our nation?

I leave you to ponder.

Debate Round No. 5
2 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 2 records.
Posted by Maximus_Wamson_IV 3 years ago
I agree with you beetle, and I see you that you understand that humanity is losing our instinctual need to kill one another we are prospering together, we are becoming stronger and more reliable and with each technological we come closer to a state of absolution. Wars were fought, will be fought, and nations forged and with that we've combined on a global scale. The internet alone has single-handedly combined humanity on a international scale. Here we are on this website with people all over debating views, sharing ideas, spreading philosophy that's remarkable. These tools are at anyone's disposal with a phone or computer. This is an amazing time to be alive and to have a voice it's just what are we saying what are we doing. On the cusp of greatness and it'll be glorious to see the process of making mankind better. Thank you for your input.
Posted by beetle1944 3 years ago
Everyday we live we become a more potent killing machine as a whole. If there was ever a war it would have "rules" to abide by. The countries that obey these rules would be eradicated by those that don't. Every time our nation "America" has come out triumphantly(except Vietnam that was a stalemate). Any time we have a war our productivity rises the economy does better. Our nation was built out of the ashes of a terrible war... every war since then we become stronger and "our eyes are opened to the problems of our decade". The atomic bomb was a means to end the war quickly. Our scientists who designed the A-bomb told Washington D.C. not to use it but they did anyway.
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by Demonsthenes 3 years ago
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Total points awarded:05 
Reasons for voting decision: The con had a more convincing argument. His points were more organized and better supported. He also stayed on topic more which lead to a stronger overall argument. However, both arguments were very good.