The Instigator
uberhaxor
Pro (for)
Losing
0 Points
The Contender
Merrit
Con (against)
Winning
8 Points

Is proliferation of biological weapons , or nuclear weapons worse for the United States?

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 2 votes the winner is...
Merrit
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 8/3/2013 Category: Society
Updated: 3 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 2,900 times Debate No: 36317
Debate Rounds (5)
Comments (1)
Votes (2)

 

uberhaxor

Pro

This resolution is pretty straight forward. I am arguing that biological weapons spreading is a larger threat than nuclear weapons spreading.

Round 1 is accepting the challenge only - although laying out the framework wouldn't be harmful.
Merrit

Con

I accept.
Debate Round No. 1
uberhaxor

Pro

This debate is a matter of probability & destructiveness. Those are two factors when you weigh this round

DESTRUCTIVENESS

Probably the biggest advantage is the fact that biological weapons are extremely efficient. It is hypothesized that one gram of purified botulinum toxin could kill 10 million people. This is approximately 3 million times more deadly than Sarin, a popular nerve agent. Yet another advantage is that gram for deadly gram, biological weapons are the cheapest of the lot. To "affect 1 square kilometer, it would cost about $2000 using conventional weapons, $800 using nuclear weapons, $600 using chemical weapons and a grand sum of $1 using biological weapons. Furthermore, One US Army study suggested that a Biological Weapons attack would decrease the effectiveness of military units by 90% (Think quest).
PROBABILITY : General
According to Dr.Vahid Majidi (Newsmax) the probability that the U.S will be hit with a WMD is 100%. Such an attack could be launched by foreign terrorists, lone wolves who are terrorists, or even by criminal elements, Majidi says. It would most likely employ chemical, biological, or radiological weapons rather than a nuclear device. CNN argues that Biological terror attacks are close to inevitable this year. The Blue Ribbon panel's chairman ( it's a panel regarding biological attack defenses) stated ""The consequences of a biological attack are almost beyond comprehension. It would be 9/11 times 10 or a hundred in terms of the number of people who would be killed." He cites a flu virus in 1918 and comments "Today it is still in the laboratory, but if it should get out and into the hands of scientists who knew how to use it for a violent purpose, we could have multiple times the 40 million people who were killed 100 years ago."
PROBABILITY: TERRORISM ARGUMENT
A nuclear strike will never be launched. Nuclear deterrence throughout the cold war corroborated this. Mutually assured destruction prevents rational actors (countries) from launching nukes. The most likely party to launch a nuke would be terrorists. Clearly, terrorists have little access to nukes ; however biological weapons there is a completely different story. A biological strike is not only more powerful , but it is also more likely.
Merrit

Con


I would like to thank Pro for this debate.


I will be arguing that nuclear weapons serve a larger threat to the United States than biological weapons.


Biological weapons aren’t a large threat.


In contrast tonuclear weapons, which can be delivered by bomb or missile, there is no specific way to deliver a biological weapon. My opponent has specified the biological toxin of botulinum, but has not specified how it would be delivered. Therefore, I assume he means it is delivered by contaminating the United States food, as botulinum is spread through eating contaminated food [1: http://tinyurl.com...].


It is hypothesized that one gram of purified botulinum toxin could kill 10 million people.”


First off, botulinum is not contagious; it is spread through eating contaminated food [1]. Second off all, it is rare [1]. Given that it is not contagious, and that it is spread through eating contaminated food, it cannot possibly kill 10 million people unless 10 million people eat the contaminated food. Third of all, it is hypothesized that it will kill 1 million [2: http://tinyurl.com...].


Botulinum is not a serious threat to the United States for countless reasons. Botulinum is rare, so it would be fairly difficult for an enemy to acquire it. Not only is it difficult to acquire, it is extremely difficult it into the United States food supply. Terrorists can’t bring it into the United States, so they would have to come to the United States, and somehow obtain it there in order to poison America’s home food supply. It would also be difficult for them to poison imported food, as they don’t have access to America’s imported food. It takes one gram of botulinum to kill one million people. If terrorists had one gram, it would be impossible to spread it evenly throughout the food supply. Even if they manage to poison a foreign food supply that’s going to be shipped to the US, imported food is inspected, so it would be difficult to get it into the United States [3: http://tinyurl.com...]. If the poisoned food somehow made it into the United States, and someone ate it, it would be reported, and the poisoned food would be discovered, and revoked from shelves far before one million people are killed.


“To affect 1 square kilometer, it would cost about $2000 using conventional weapons, $800 using nuclear weapons, $600 using chemical weapons and a grand sum of $1 using biological weapons.”


Everything is about the cost… right? No. When governments are at war, especially a war involving WMDs, cost doesn’t matter. The only thing that matters is protecting your country, while killing the others. What about terrorists? Well, if terrorists got a hold of a WMD, it is very likely they did not make it or pay for it. It is more likely a government gave it to them.


“Furthermore, One US Army study suggested that a Biological Weapons attack would decrease the effectiveness of military units by 90%”


Pro has not provided how or why the military units would be decreased by 90%. I find this highly unlikely, but I would ask that Pro expand on the subject.


“‘Today it is still in the laboratory, but if it should get out and into the hands of scientists who knew how to use it for a violent purpose, we could have multiple times the 40 million people who were killed 100 years ago.’”


Again, it is highly unlikely terrorist groups would gain hold of this. However, even if they did gain hold of the virus, they would likely not use it in fear of backfire. Influenza is very contagious and would spread much further than the United States, perhaps even to the terrorist’s homeland. Even if they released it, we do have a flu vaccine, which would render the virus ineffective.


Nuclear war is more likely.


“A nuclear strike will never be launched. Nuclear deterrence throughout the cold war corroborated this. Mutually assured destruction prevents rational actors (countries) from launching nukes.”


Pro claims that rational countries would never launch nukes at each other, yet he has claimed that they would engage in biological warfare. However, this claim does not hold water. If Pro claims that biological warfare is more deadly than nuclear, why would a rational country engage in biological warfare over nuclear if biological is more deadly? This argument does not make sense, so it is rendered invalid.


Rational countries (developed countries) will engage in nuclear warfare if the situation calls for it. As of now, there is no situation that would prompt developed counties to such drastic means as nuclear warfare. However, there are some impending situations that could prompt developed countries to nuclear warfare.


Under developed countries like North Korea, Iran, and Burma either have or are in the process of creating nuclear weapons. It is extremely dangerous for these countries to obtain nuclear weapons. This is because they have no need for them, and we do not know what they may use them for. North Korea hates South Korea and America, and has threatened nuclear war with both countries. Iran, hates Israel, and may use nuclear weapons against them when time permits. If either of these countries were to use a nuclear weapon against either the US, South Korea, Israel, etcetera, nuclear war would likely result. This is because once a nuclear bomb is detonated, everyone will back who they agree with. Tension between every country would increase, and they begin forming tighter and tighter alliances. This sounds much like both of the world wars, and would likely turn into WWIII. Clearly, it is irrational to say that a nuclear strike would never happen.


“The most likely party to launch a nuke would be terrorists. Clearly, terrorists have little access to nukes ; however biological weapons there is a completely different story.


As I have previously shown, countries would launch nuclear weapons if the situation calls for it. Terrorists would also be a valid option for launching a nuclear weapon. Terrorists do not have access to nukes; however, they could gain access. A country could supply them with a nuke. This is because when the nuke is detonated, everyone will blame the terrorists, and the country that supplied it would float by unnoticed.


Pro claims that they would have more access to biological weapons. However, there are some limitations. Terrorists would not gain a biological missile unless a country gave it to them like they would with a nuclear missile. Furthermore, terrorists would not use contagious viruses as it would spread across the world, and kill their people as well.


Nuclear weapons are more deadly.


Nuclear weapons are more destructive than biological warfare. Nuclear weapons can have a destructive radius of approximately 50 miles [4:http://tinyurl.com...]. Even a five megaton nuclear weapon has as much explosive power as all the explosives used in WWII combined [5: http://tinyurl.com...]. One Trident submarine contains enough nuclear weapons to kill 40 million people [5]. The United Kingdom’s nuclear arsenal alone could destroy over 80% of all the world’s capitals [5]. A nuclear weapon when detonated will kill humans, animals, vegetation, and destroy all the buildings around [5]. After an area is bombed, the radioactive elements will remain for hundreds of years.


Conclusion:


Nuclear warfare is more likely, more deadly, and more effective. The only biological weapons that are more dangerous than nuclear weapons are biological missiles containing masses of extremely contagious bacteria and viruses. However, this is exceedingly unlikely because it would backfire on whoever fired it. It would spread around the whole world instead of just its target. Botulinum isn’t a large threat as it would be near impossible to successfully contaminate masses of America’s food supply.


I wish Pro luck.


Debate Round No. 2
uberhaxor

Pro

uberhaxor forfeited this round.
Merrit

Con

I extend my arguments.
Debate Round No. 3
uberhaxor

Pro

uberhaxor forfeited this round.
Merrit

Con

I extend my arguments again.
Debate Round No. 4
uberhaxor

Pro

uberhaxor forfeited this round.
Merrit

Con

I extend my arguments again. All of my arguments and negations stand. Vote Con.
Debate Round No. 5
1 comment has been posted on this debate.
Posted by LevelWithMe 3 years ago
LevelWithMe
If no one else accepts the debate within the time frame, I will accept the challenge under the pretext of skepticism(with no opinion one way or another). You will have to convince me that the spread of biological weapons is a greater threat to the United States than the spread of nuclear weapons, while I criticize the validity of your sources/facts or point out any flaws in your reasoning when making conclusions based on those facts.

I would only do this because your arguments deserve a fair shot. I have no strong opinions or feelings on the subject one way or another.
2 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 2 records.
Vote Placed by RoyLatham 3 years ago
RoyLatham
uberhaxorMerritTied
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Total points awarded:04 
Reasons for voting decision: Pro forfeit left con's arguments unanswered. Con correctly argued that distribution of biological weapons is their limiting factor and that the nuclear threat is from terrorists. Terrorists leave some deniability to the originating state as a defense against retaliation.
Vote Placed by Ragnar 3 years ago
Ragnar
uberhaxorMerritTied
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Total points awarded:04 
Reasons for voting decision: FF. People seem scared of Merrit.