The Instigator
I-am-a-panda
Pro (for)
Winning
42 Points
The Contender
symphonyofdissent
Con (against)
Losing
37 Points

Genetically modified soldiers should be developed and deployed.

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 11/12/2008 Category: Technology
Updated: 8 years ago Status: Voting Period
Viewed: 5,076 times Debate No: 5953
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (5)
Votes (13)

 

I-am-a-panda

Pro

Genetically modified: Enhanced in some way, either by utilising bacteria, computer chips or enhancing cells on the human, not the equipment.

To adopt con you must: 1. Believe that an enhanced 'super' soldier should never be used in combat.
2. Be able to come up with 2 points why they shouldn't,and be able to rebut 2 of my points.

During this debate I will refer to genetically modified soldiers a super soldiers.

To start I will give my points:
1. It will make war easier:
How many soldiers are needlessly killed because they couldn't see the enemy, get from A - B fast enough or couldn't take any more bullets. A super soldier would be able to do all of these faster and better. Needless to say, if you're average soldier can get from X-Y in 2 hours, and a super soldier could make it there in 1 hour before the enemy has time to prepare more, the who has a better chance of succeeding? Often rebels can beat a soldier because they're both human, but a super soldier could react faster, hit him quicker and defeat him because they aren't on equal footing

2. It will save lives: Thousands of lives would be saved monthly by not deploying your brother's, sister's, cousins, son's, daughters to a dangerous battlefield and risk losing them. If a super soldier is out there, there will be less hassle if one dies, as they have no family to tell, and are expendable. I'm not saying get rid off a regular human soldier. We need a human armies as well, but we need a super soldier to take care of dangers normal troops couldn't deal with without huge casualties.

3. We need super soldiers: As time progress's, so does war. We need to be able to deploy troops with the confidence that grieving families won't come into the equation. Battlefields are increasingly hostile, as missiles from miles away can attack squads before they see it coming. Fortified positions can rip through bullet proof armour and attack aircraft show no mercy. Super soldiers can not only withstand more punishment, but succeed at higher rates.

My opponent's may argue that we cannot fund it at the moment and I agree, but when we have our post-recession boom, it will surely be fund able then
symphonyofdissent

Con

As per my opponent's wishes, issues of funding and practicality will not be used in this round. They tend to ruin debates.

1)Escalation and brinkmanship

When societies tend to develop new technology, its enemies seek to adapt and to go further in the development of such technology. The nuclear arms race is the most obvious example of this, but this is apparent throughout human history. Thus, the whole idea underlying essentially the whole pro argument is completely bunk.

Nuclear weapons, bunker buster technology and the whole slew of 21st century military technology have not made war easier. In contrast it has lead to the development of more deadly guerilla tactics, the hiding of enemy forces in civilian populations to mitigate technological advantages the increased death toll associated with overall warfare. War has become more brutal and deadly precisely because of the advance in technology and not despite of it.

Moreover, with in the realm of enhancements of individuals comes a whole slew of problems for a western technologically advanced nation. Terrorist or insurgent forces rely much more on human ability to infiltrate and destroy than do traditional military. Thus, the development of such technology should it fall into the hands of enemies will actually hurt us more on the broad scale of things. The benefits we gain will be counteracted in two ways. Our rivals such as Russia and China will use their resources and lack of scruples to push further and further in this technology draining our resources.

2)Morality

My opponent will probably look at this heading and say, " morality is irrelevant to warfare." Yet, this is clearly not the case in the case of our military. We have quite a few standards in regard to how our soldiers can be conditioned or used. We do not allow mind-altering drugs or steroids to be used to turn them into more brutal or more effective killing machines. We do not allow anything near the degree of dehumanization the pro plan suggests. My opponent's plan is immoral on many grounds

A)Destroys the notion of human agency
i.When individuals are augmented and controlled by bacteria, computer chips or other artificial means, much of what essentially makes them human vanishes or diminishes. Their actions may no longer be under their control but may be artificially influenced or produced by an invasive part of their self.
ii.As a government we should not allow individuals to choose this course of action because the risk associated with this is uninternalizable. We cannot rationally conceive the consequences of altering the way our mind if controlled or functions because we are limited by our present mindset of perception.
iii.A government that offers soldiers a choice to lose their very humanity loses the ability to claim to be working for the interest of its troops. This corrodes the morality of a system, as individuals believe their very human morality is up for sale in pursuit of ends.
iv.Religious opposition- Individuals of religious faith will likely view any system of implementation of chips and or microbes into human brains and therefore will associate the military as unjust an agent of the anti-christ. When dealing with religious zealots, this will significantly increase the hatred and violence of enemy combatants against our men.
v.There is a thin line between enhancing our troops with bacteria or live microbes and using those as agents of bacterial warfare. Our morality as a fighting force is undermined by this lack of distinction.

B)These are your brother's, sister's, cousin's and son's or at least someone else's
i.My opponent somehow wants to suggest that these super solider's would others and that their fighting or loss would not impact us in anyway. These are still per my opponents definition human beings that must be taken from the population somehow. Currently we have an all volunteer army and so the individuals put in these roles would be those coming from your family or someone elses. This abrogation of responsibility for the solider's lives and their families shows that the pro side is not really looking out for morality or the lives of soldiers.
Debate Round No. 1
I-am-a-panda

Pro

I would like to thank symphonyofdissent for accepting my debate.

Firstly, I will make it clear what I mean by 'Genetically modified soldiers' as I have made it unclear.
When I say this, I don't mean simply injecting humans with a syrum to enhance performance like steroids. I mean actually making a super human, and cloning it. My opponent may claim it is preposterous that a Human can be cloned to the point of an army, however, 13 children were cloned by 1 doctor( http://www.clonaid.com...) . She is now in a court case, but it makes it feasible that an army of clones could be made with a combination of mass production machinery and groups of scientists.
This takes away my opponents 2nd argument, as humans will not be directly involved and their lives will not be destroyed by a syrum.

Now, I will rebut my opponents first point.
My opponent claims that should this technology fall into rebel or terrorist hands, it will have sever consequences. However, as I have stated above, they would have to be build massive cloning labs to produce such a 'weapon'.
Yes, this technology would be dangerous in the hands of Russia and China, but so are nuclear weapons. Do China and Russia have the technology? Yes. Have they used it? No. The reason deadly technologies are rarely used is because the owners know the implications of them.

My opponent says that 'War has become more brutal and deadly precisely because of the advance in technology and not despite of it.'. However, he has not given an alternative. If my opponent believes that war has become deadly because of technology, he needs to give an alternative to my idea. You see, the technology we have been given is external equipment. They provide help to the soldier, provided they don't jam, crash, etc. If a super soldier was developed, war would be easier because you are not developing the software, you're replacing the hardware. You can add as much software and external hard drives to a computer as you want, but it still has a limit.(Note: This is a metaphor)
symphonyofdissent

Con

The pro has really failed to adequately deal with my moral or philosophical arguments and I can only assume this stems from his inability to do so. Either way, most of my arguments clearly were not responded to and still stand.

I could argue that the definition of Genetically Modified Soldier in the first pro argument did not at all suggest that the soldiers would be created as super soldiers. Indeed, the phrase modified implies some form of alteration rather than progression. However, I think that in that light side Pro has revealed his disregard for humanity to a degree that should not be supported. Even if these are not direct brothers or sisters of Americans, they are still human beings being created and developed deprived of basic agency or choice and built only for the purpose of fighting and dying. This is an utterly cruel endeavor that is a blight in the eyes of our aspersions to human decency and humanity. We lose all legitimacy in our pursuit of rights or democracy when we are utilizing super soldiers utterly deprived of any humanity and created for the purpose of killing.

My opponents other responses are just as weak. The fact is that nuclear weapons are also an expensive endeavor, and yet we live in constant fear of the detonation of a dirty bomb or smuggled technology. Moreover, when we are dealing with the genetic alteration of human beings we probably can not fathom what our enemies can do. What kinds of human aberrations can be created? More importantly, with genetic modifications we should be equally afraid of the results of variations of technology in less skilled hands. Once we let the secret out of the bag that such modifications are possible and result in more efficient killing machines, everyone will try their hands at this leading to a new era of horrible experimentation and modification of human beings. Moreover, if our enemies can not afford full scale creation they will try the type of individual modification that I alluded to in the first round.

This cycle of degrading the value of a human being will escalate because every nation will try to keep up. Con suggests that the development of nukes in Russia or China has had no world consequences just because they have not used them, and yet it is obvious that the existence of these technologies in rival hands in and of itself changes our dynamics in the world and erodes American power. It is the threat of these forces that limits our hand, curtails our actions and makes us need to try to one up our rivals. It is deadly cycle here where we will create beings further divorced from their humanity in order to compete and one up our rivals. This is a cycle that we should stop before it starts
Debate Round No. 2
I-am-a-panda

Pro

I would like to thank symphonyofdissent for debating this with me.

Firstly, Con argues I have a disregard for human life. However, soldiers that are sent into war are emotionally connected to other humans. When a soldier dies, his friends and family suffer. When a soldier that is bred for war dies, there is no emotional connection. Only the battalion loses out statistically. Before WW1, commanders saw it fit that soldiers stand up to the enemy and fire. Not taking cover, standing in the open, truly risking their lives. Trench warfare came around it WW1 and war changed. We are currently living in somewhat out dated tactics. Soldiers have little cover against air strikes and helicopter attacks. An all out war would simply ensure more and more of our brothers,sister, etc. die. If we developed a super soldier, we are saving human lives by not risking them.

Con also argues that 'nuclear weapons are also an expensive endeavour, and yet we live in constant fear of the detonation of a dirty bomb or smuggled technology'. But this isn't an object. Were talking about chemicals and other materials which require huge amount of knowledge and practice to use correctly. Were talking about hardware that would use a lot of electricity and space. One of the reasons terrorists got there hands on vast amounts of nuclear material was because of Chernobyl, where a lot of nuclear material was available. There could be no equivalent to Chernobyl because this technology has only one applicable use of creating a soldier, not producing electricity, bombs and x-rays, to name a few. My opponent argues 'if our enemies can not afford full scale creation they will try the type of individual modification'. Firstly, explain to me how a fully grown human could become a super soldier made from a few modified cells? Secondly, they would only be able to do a handful at a time, thus making it minimally applicable

Lastly, my opponent states 'It is deadly cycle here where we will create beings further divorced from their humanity in order to compete and one up our rivals.' However, this as a contradiction. He says 'they are still human beings being created and developed '. Thus, the more we separate a super soldier from humanity, this can only be a benefit to those who worry about the fact they are human.
symphonyofdissent

Con

My opponents responses are almost completely not really responses to the substance of my arguments. I think it is clear that I have won this round on every possible level.

To go to the last point my opponent made and connected it to the first, he tries to imply that I have contradicted myself by saying that individuals are beign dehumanized. However, this is a pretty silly argument as what I am saying is that we are treating these clearly human entities as somewhat less than human. We are creating beings as means to our societal end of fighting more efficient warfare and denying them the basic human choices of agency and actions. We are in a sense depriving these "super soldiers" of what is most integral to being a human being: The ability to live a life with purpose and meaning.

In the status quo, we have families who suffer when soldiers die, but at the very least those soldiers have made the choice to become soldiers. They were not genetically modified and forced down the path of combat from a young age. They maintain their faculties of resoning and judgement. They are able to make moral choices. All of these things would clearly not be the case when we deploy super soldiers. I made innumerable morality arguments that were completely ignored by my opponent throughout, and those still stand completely at this point.

All of these violations of our basic societal morals and norms could be justified by a reduction in the loss of lives were it not for the fact that it is unlikely that in the long run any lives will be saved. Once this technology becomes mainstream we will be dealing with super soldier against super soldier again escalating the loss of life and turning more and more global citizens into means to a perverted end. We are dealing with an escalation not only of technology but of a disregard for humanity. Moreover, it is silly to say this technology has only one use. If we can engineer human beings to be something from birth than this has countless dangerous uses. We will enter into a war with those countires around us who can afford this technology to see who can create the greatest super humans and will lose sight of those basic essentials of humanity that I talked about above and in my main arguments throughout the round.

I don't need to prove that fully grown humans can be made super soldiers, we are dealing in a world where super soldier technology exists and is developable obviously we have a greater understanding of how to modify humans than in the status quo. Moreover, just as dirty bombs use a reduced cost and need version of nuclear technology, we could imagine the creation of hybrid engineered soldiers. A whole slew of disgusting and immoral tests on subjects and the overall suffering of manking caused by the development of these technologies. We could no longer hold any moral warfare standards as there is no guarantee our opponents with this technology would, and there would be a degeneration into human experimentation and exploitation. None of these fundamental arguments are responded to.
Debate Round No. 3
5 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 5 records.
Posted by RoyLatham 8 years ago
RoyLatham
Just as a point of interest, while there are no genetically modified soldiers now, I have been told by people in the military that special forces types are dosed with stimulants and appetite suppressants so they can go through 24 hour missions non-stop. You may have noticed that some top athletes now wear tight-fitting stretch suits. That increases strength by a few percent, and the military has taken notice. Technology abounds.
Posted by PoeJoe 8 years ago
PoeJoe
Conduct - CON - PRO failed to define the term "modified soldiers" in his opening argument.

English - TIE - Minor mistakes on hoth sides; nothing significant.

Argument - CON - Two main reasons. First, PRO avoided CON's morality argument, therefore conceding that point. Second, CON did not have to provide an alternative to the resolution, because the resolution is not bi-conditional. He simply had to provide reason as to why genetically modified soldiers should not be developed and deployed.

Sources - PRO - PRO was the only one to provide a source.
Posted by Mangani 8 years ago
Mangani
"What happens to these created humans when they are no longer useful in the military? Hmmm."
-Pro disregards the possibility of peace. These soldiers wouldn't be human, so I guess he would propose they be displayed in a zoo until another war breaks out...
Posted by Mangani 8 years ago
Mangani
Before/After debate: Con
I believe this to be fascist, and I believe it would be destructive to the little morality left in war. As a former soldier, this notion is sickening.

Conduct: Tie
Both were equally courteous and/or discourteous.

Spelling and Grammar: Tie
Both had minor ignorable mistakes. No major issues stood out.

Arguments: Con
Pro did not support his position very well. He suggested cloning specifically for war which is basically creating a slave farm. Con's arguments on morality and others were a lot stronger than Pro's insistence that super soldiers would be expendable. His argument ignores the fact that million dollar equipment is not expendable, and absent any moral argument, the lives lost would cost much more money. Con pointed out that technology does not advance war, rather it allows for strengthened primitive tactics like guerrilla warfare. Pro claimed "we are living with outdated tactics", but as an ex-Intelligence and Electronic Warfare Systems Engineer I assure you we have the most advanced military and receive the most advanced training. Pro made claims that are unsubstantiated, and provided no source- like terrorists getting nuclear materials from Chernobyl. Pro suggests removing super soldiers from humanity. In doing so you also strip the soldiers of being bound to human morality, duty, loyalty, honor, respect, integrity, and selfless service. Who will protect us from these super soldiers when they decide we do not offer them the respect and value they learn to feel they deserve? Who will protect civilians in the field from these immoral monsters? Who will stop them when they turn on the Army that developed them? Who would lead them and control them? Us or their peers?

3 points Con, 2 points Pro for using a source.
Posted by KRFournier 8 years ago
KRFournier
Conduct: Con - Pro didn't clarify his resolution and tried to do so in the second round.
Grammar: Tie.
Argument: Con - Con's position was more convincing, and most of his arguments were dismissed by Pro as thought there were inconsequential.
Sources: Tie.

No one brought up the issue of super soldiers in peace time. What happens to these created humans when they are no longer useful in the military? Hmmm.
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