The Instigator
RNG_REKT
Con (against)
Winning
2 Points
The Contender
RichardDawkinsIsBae
Pro (for)
Losing
0 Points

Is the US prepared for biological terrorism?

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 2 votes the winner is...
RNG_REKT
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 1/8/2016 Category: Science
Updated: 1 year ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 541 times Debate No: 84722
Debate Rounds (5)
Comments (6)
Votes (2)

 

RNG_REKT

Con

Pro is traditionally supposed to go first; I can live with the fact that I get one less speech.
Go ahead in the very first speech, I don't care. Try to make it a really informational speech. I want a very competent opponent, and I don't want any forfeiture. Failure to follow both of my expectations means that I win. The judges will decide whether or not both of us are competent enough debaters. Thank you.
RichardDawkinsIsBae

Pro

Hello since this is the first opening to this discussion I really don't know exactly what you think. So forgive me if what I'm saying seems ignorant in some way. I'm presuming that you are very front about the fact that America is not ready for biological terrorism. There is however, some things to consider before suggesting such a thing. First, contrary to belief ISIS (I'm assuming you would use this terrorist group as an example for said attack) is actually a group much like other terrorist organizations, founded by fear not shear power. Second, expenditure obviously you need money which may or not be an issue but I think it should be pointed out anyway. Third, there is the skill to do so. anyway, the skill to do so. For something such as a chemical agent to be fired in or onto the U.S. Would require extreme skill and know how. For example, what chemical agents can I mix in a solution that will spread A. fear B. death C. Destruction. Not to mention the smuggling of said agents into the U.S perhaps through an underground market of some sort. So after this person (or persons) finds the answers to these issues. The last conundrum they must face, is how do we deliver this. You cant just attach some bombs to a chemical to make it cause wide spread death. Which is really where the problem lies. I do not believe terrorists know of, or have the resources to produce such a large quantity of product and sneak it into the U.S. It would require such ignorance from Home Land Security that you could defend the country better with apes. Which is severely unlikely considering that at this very moment due to recent events around the globe our security is all the government thinks about just about (area that handles defence that is). I digress, ill let you bring up the next argument now. Thank you.
Debate Round No. 1
RNG_REKT

Con

I'd like to thank my opponent for accepting this challenge and posting an informational speech. Could you make it a little bit longer the next time? Thanks.

First of all, I didn't really get what you meant as your first contention. You stated: "contrary to belief, ISIS is actually a group much like other terrorist organizations, founded by fear, not sheer power." I don't get how this is an argument, and what it has to do with biological terrorism. Forgive my ignorance, my opponent, but I fail to see how this could be a point. Could you possibly post your answer in your next speech? Thank you. Secondly, I am sure that ISIS has the money to do such a thing. In fact, if you search it up, ISIS is actually the richest terrorist group and has many, many sponsors and ways to earn cash. That addresses your second point. Thanks for bringing it up, though. It shows how ISIS easily has enough cash to make the bombs or other things to spread biological terrorism. However, does ISIS have the intelligence or ability to create such bombs? Yes, actually. Granted, it would be somewhat difficult to create, like you said earlier, but it's not impossible. In fact, ISIS has a number of intelligent scientists who actually put their time for this cause and fell strongly about it. That way, it can spread fear, death, and destruction, just like you said. Also, you don't need to bring the bomb into America, you can easily make it there with enough supplies. Granted, it could be difficult to find such chemicals, but it is something that ISIS is willing to go to such lengths. You can also spread biological terrorism with something other than bombs, such as spreading a disease in a water supply, or poisoning food. That would spread death and terror just as easily as a bomb.

Thanks for your time and consideration, judges and debater.
RichardDawkinsIsBae

Pro

Yes, ISIS is the most funded, and all in all interesting terrorist group to date. However, Isis's backbone is the fear it spreads. Which is what I was saying earlier. ISIS militants are almost all angry, under appreciated in their society, or criminal. So perhaps ISIS is rich. That is true, but they are in no way qualified to handle such chemicals such as, Chlorine, Phosgene, Tabun, GB-Sarin, and GD-Soman just being examples. They are all intensely toxic. Food poisoning has been done in the past. In 1984 one of the biggest bio terrorist attacks occurred. The terrorist group known as the "Osho" were radicals that went to salad bars and poisoned them with salmonella. They nick named their concoction "Salsa". Nobody died. Seven hundred and fifty one people fell ill and forty five were hospitalized. Like I said, no one died. Which is exactly why we don't see biological terror occur more often. There are faster, more efficient ways of killing people than poisoning them. Our country is too big, and too enhanced technologically to be affected by something like that in rational scale. Not to mention the FDA's standards have most definitely been bumped since 1984. Now it is no secret ISIS wants to find a way to use biological agents against the U.S. But they know just as much as I do and the voters should that it is impractical. Which is why they haven't done it yet. As for water, the east coast especially has loads of water wells sectioned off from the main water lines. Which by the way are relatively well guarded and constantly checked. It is, after all the very thing every species on the planet needs to some extent. So no, there isn't a way that Isis or anyone is going to parade to the water lines with enough product to kill a town. That just simply wont happen. We're not talking crystal light packets of poison here. Pounds and pounds of poison would be necessary. All of which is outlandish and impractical. So there, I've addressed everything. A: Isis is a bunch of criminals who have no real intelligence other than knowing how to scare you, and extort you as well as make money from smuggling oil and such. B: Food poisoning is quite impractical. considering there is no real way to kill enough people without the government noticing and cutting it off immediately. C: water poisoning, which as we've discussed would be even harder than the food to do. Oh, finally let me address D: Your final statement. "You can also spread biological terrorism with something other than bombs, such as spreading a disease in a water supply, or poisoning food. That would spread death and terror just as easily as a bomb." this statement couldn't be more to the contrary. The recent Boston attack should lead myself and the voters to believe that bombs have much more ease and efficiency when it comes to killing people. Chemical agents move slowly and give a crowd more time to react. To recollect themselves. Explosives do not. They go off and it is done. No reaction, instantaneous obliteration. That, invokes fear much more potently. Which is why it is such a common tactic.

Thank you for your time, and consideration from you the debater and you the voter. Looking forward to the next round.
Debate Round No. 2
RNG_REKT

Con

I'd like to thank my opponent for continuing this debate.
First of all, I'd like to address one of your quotes about ISIS: you stated that ISIS, while highly funded (you do agree with me on that so far, right?) is unable to currently handle these poisonous chemicals. First of all, I'd like to say that that is highly untrue. First of all, ISIS is not just a bunch of dumb ninnies who are unable to think for themselves. That is actually not a very correct statement; rather the contrary, in fact. This terrorism organization has recruited scientists and researchers who all have degrees and knowledge in fields like: chemistry, physics, and computer sciences, to name a few. (http://www.dailymail.co.uk...) They certainly have the capabilities (and supplies) to create the biological weapons of mass destruction.
You also mentioned a terrorist group that was known as "OSHO." You stated that they were "radicals that went to salad bars and poisoned them with salmonella." First of all, OSHO definitely made a mistake in making Salmonella one of their biological agents to spread destruction. Even in 1984, there are much better forms of making someone sick or dying from a disease. There's a reason that I haven't heard of OSHO until now; they weren't exactly the greatest terrorist group of all. The "Salsa" that they put in was not dangerous at all; that is why they did not die. (http://www.cdc.gov...) At worst, salmonella will create diarrhea and other detrimental conditions, but the only time that it would kill someone would be with a young child or a really old person. This will be one of the few things that I will actually agree with. But let's assume that this happened today, and ISIS was smarter to use something other than "salmonella." If they put in something highly deadly, and could survive in an environment, it could easily spread. Naturally, most diseases would not be able to survive long enough outside a stable environment to spread the pathogen along. But as I have said, ISIS has very advanced technological capabilities. Diseases can be mutated so that they can be made stronger and can resist variables like cold or heat. Perhaps another reason that more people did not die from the "salsa' is because salmonella cannot spread. If the disease that was placed by ISIS were made to become contagious, it could spread a lot of destruction and death. You stated: "Our country is too big," but that's not true when it comes to how quickly a disease can spread. It can spread from person to person, state to state. And by the time that people have finally discovered that it's a new, deadly disease designed to kill, it might be too late. You mentioned that we are too "enhanced technologically," but the disease could be resistant to drugs and other attempts to destroy it.
I'm also not asking if a biological attack will happen anytime soon. I'm asking if our country is prepared for it. You also forget that biological terrorism doesn't need to be ingested to be effective. It can also be absorbed through the skin, or transmitted by breathing it. For example, a highly infectious pathogen can be transmitted through the air, and anyone who inhales it could become infected. That's a possibility of biological terrorism, and would be a highly effective way to kill people with disease. Also, I believe that you misunderstood the meaning of "biological terrorism." Biological terrorism is to use biological agents to harm or kill others. "Biological agents include bacteria, viruses, fungi, other microorganisms and their associated toxins." (https://www.osha.gov...) This means that you are not using poison to kill (I agree with you on one of your statements, poison is an impractical way to kill), but instead using a virus or bacteria.
Now, I'd like to address your 4 conclusions/rebuttals, and argue against them.
A: "ISIS is a bunch of criminals who have no real intelligence other than knowing how to scare you, and extort you as well as make money from smuggling oil and such." I believe that I've addressed that quite enough in this speech, and you should probably know by now. ISIS is not completely stupid, and there are actual experts and sponsors who help ISIS, and not just a bunch of uneducated crazies who hate the US.
B: "Food poisoning is quite impractical. considering there is no real way to kill enough people without the government noticing and cutting it off immediately." I'd like to address the fact that while food poisoning IS quite a lame way to kill, there are other ways of biological terrorism. You could put a pathogen in the air, or make it absorbed through the skin. Some disease particles can even survive outside the human body for quite some time, sometimes even for hours. (http://www.nhs.uk...) With correct bio engineering, you could potentially make it so that the pathogen could stay a lot longer. The government might not even notice; they might just think that it's a really bad form of the plague or something and they might overlook it. Granted, they will eventually notice it, and the entire US won't be infected, but that's not the point of biological terrorism. ISIS knows that they probably won't kill off everyone, but killing a large amount of people will still create panic and terror. I believe that this statement also addresses your contention/rebuttal C.
D: I'd like to address the fact that biological agents that are able to spread from person to person are much more effective if they are fatal diseases and can spread easily. If you wanted to kill over a thousand people, you might want to send either a lot of bombs from a plane, or use biological terror. Seeing as how the US military would probably shoot down any foreign plane that was designed to bomb things, and would probably destroy both the bomb and the plane, biological terrorism seems like a good way to go. You stated: "Chemical agents move slowly and give a crowd more time to react." What if the chemical agent is in the air? The chemical agent is not going to be some cloud of green gas that everyone runs away from, like in the movies. It's going to be invisible, and will be a disease. So the people who are infected are not going to instantly die and have seizures as they die. They will simply catch the disease, pass it on to many more people, and then die after a couple of days or sooner. That way, the general public won't even suspect what is happening until a lot of people are dead.
Therefore, biological terrorism is something that the US is very unprepared for. I believe that I have made my rebuttal and cases in the last speech and this one. Have a good day, friend.
Thanks for your time and consideration, judges and debater.
RichardDawkinsIsBae

Pro

Perhaps, with time and planning and the perfect conditions, anything could happen. However, as I'm curious to understand just how you expect said perfect conditions to occur. Pathogens require many, many different factors. Those differing from weather conditions, to climate, to urbanization, air pressure so on and so forth. As for biochemists mutating viruses and reproducing them. Viruses are very, very finnicy and often mutate on their own, http://www.historyofvaccines.org.... You also have to ensure that your virus is either A: deadly enough, or B: stealthy enough to be unseen. Viruses are very bad at this. Bacteria on the other hand is resilient, and can be unseen for a while. Perfect for any climate, and can be severely deadly. However, not as contagious. So in short you either sacrifice a contagious, deadly virus, yet easier than bacteria to cure and much more noticeable due to its unpredictability. Or B: the bacterial, resilient and equally deadly bacteria, stealthier, however, less contagious. But what if they combined multiple viruses to make a "super virus" and weaponised it? Unfortunately for terrorists, mother nature will not in fact make this virus for quite some time, and technology and science does not yet know of a way to do so. http://genetics.thetech.org.... However, Viruses are in fact relatively easy to make, as opposed to bacteria which takes tens of thousands of DNA sequences, viruses take less than twenty thousand, common colds even less. So yes, pathogens are a probability, but you make this supposition that they can cake walk the process. Which isn't true at all. Bio chemistry is a very complicated system and to refine a virus for deadly use takes time. Also the article about said biochemists fails to describe exactly what a "weapon of mass destruction" really is. What, persay would they be using that is a internationally banned weapon that they might use. Not to mention that very article only strengthens my point. They have no evidence of their claims, only assumption from rumor. Otherwise known as ISIS ensuing fear yet again. There also is a lack of evidence that these Physicists and Biochemists are remotely qualified to handle much less create pathogens. Only that they have Physicists and Biochemists. Molecular biochemists? Cell biologists? No hard facts that even remotely sustain your argument. Just statements with no foundation. Which is in fact just what ISIS wants. Ever since the crusades and the Ismaili assassins they have used fear tactics to stop entire army's from messing with them. As a history lesson and an example I will explain this. A Sunnis leader, came to their village and was completely stopped dead in his tracks at his camp during the siege because of a note, someone snack into his hut and placed the note basically saying "We have you whenever we want." The fear tactic worked and made him believe they were stronger than they were. Fear tactics have been in use since the medieval age. Yet we still fall for the same tricks. But I digress. Perhaps this is irrelevant to you.

I still stand by the fact that ISIS is simply over estimated. They are masters of educing fear.http://www.theatlantic.com...

Thanks to the opponent, and the voters for taking the time to read and compose these arguments.
Debate Round No. 3
RNG_REKT

Con

I'd like to thank my opponent for continuing this debate with me.

First of all, you mentioned that "viruses are very, very, finicky and often mutate on their own." That actually somewhat contradicts your statement, seeing as how viruses often mutate to spread faster. That way, if the virus mutates, it could be more effective against America. Also, biological agents don't have to be in the air for long to spread; they only have to be infectious and have the ability to survive a few hours to pass itself on to people. Bacteria, however, are perfect for biological terror, except for the fact that it's not as contagious as a virus. However, either one would be very good for biological terrorism.
You also mentioned the fact that this disease would eventually be noticed by the government. Let's assume that this disease was noticed in its very first day in the US (which is impossible, and I will explain why later). The government would take a while to find a cure, and also have to try and get the cure to everyone. By the time that these things were accomplished, the disease would just pass on to more and more people. Therefore, it would spread much quicker than it could be contained. However, it's highly unlikely that the government would notice it within the first week. "Americans consider themselves to be quite healthy: nearly two in three (66 percent) reported their health as being either 'excellent' or 'very good.'" In the past few years, the rate that adults go to see the doctors are dropping rapidly. Most adults won't go to the doctor if they catch something that they believe to be the common cold. They'll probably just take it and go on with their life. Even if they did go to the doctor, they would still have passed it on to someone else by that time.
Actually, if you look on that article, it does explain why it thinks like this, and even states:
"ISIS army of scientists set to wage chemical and biological war on West: Experts warn weapons of mass destruction 'have been carried undetected' into European Union
ISIS already has smuggled chemical and biological weapons into the EU
The terror organisation has also recruited chemists and physicists
Western governments warned to alert the public about potential attacks"
That is, as you said, not concrete evidence, but there is more: "ISIS has recruited experts with chemistry, physics and computer science degrees to wage war with weapons of mass destruction against the West, a shocking European Parliament report has claimed." If the European Parliament is not a reliable source, then I don't know what is.
I'd also like to state that we are going off topic a lot more than intended. The original question was: "Is the US prepared for biological terrorism?" This means that we are asking if the US was prepared biological terrorism, whether or not ISIS or any other terrorist group had the capability to do so. While ISIS really does have the capability to create such biological weapons of terrorism, and I've proved my case there, it doesn't really apply to the question.
Either you answer to the question, or don't answer at all. You can decide.
Thank you for your time and consideration, judges and debater.
RichardDawkinsIsBae

Pro

RichardDawkinsIsBae forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 4
RNG_REKT

Con

Seeing as how my opponent has forfeited, or run out of time, I believe that I win this round.
Thanks for you time and consideration, judges.
RichardDawkinsIsBae

Pro

RichardDawkinsIsBae forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 5
6 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 6 records.
Posted by RichardDawkinsIsBae 1 year ago
RichardDawkinsIsBae
My apologies to the contender the laptop Ive been using to discuss this debate has been out of order due to technical difficulties. I was un able to partake in any thing relative to the internet. Obviously I lose this debate due to technological incompetence. Again my apoligies.
Posted by whiteflame 1 year ago
whiteflame
A forfeit deserves a point. It does not deserve 7. That's not a strict voting policy, that's pretty basic.
Posted by RNG_REKT 1 year ago
RNG_REKT
Still why do you need to have such strict voting policies? Surely an argument that's dropped is probably really good, and should be awarded a point!
Posted by whiteflame 1 year ago
whiteflame
If thett3 hadn't closed his own account, I'm sure he would. But he did, well before I removed this vote.
Posted by RNG_REKT 1 year ago
RNG_REKT
That's just plain stupid. If an argument is dropped completely (i.e: forfeiture), then that must mean that it's good or strong argument. Even if I didn't deserve all those other points, at least just give me one!
Posted by whiteflame 1 year ago
whiteflame
*******************************************************************
>Reported vote: thett3// Mod action: Removed<

7 point to Con. Reasons for voting decision: forfeit

[*Reason for removal*] As both sides presented arguments and this was not a full forfeit debate, the voter has to do more to justify S&G, arguments and sources than just cite the forfeits.
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2 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 2 records.
Vote Placed by spacetime 1 year ago
spacetime
RNG_REKTRichardDawkinsIsBaeTied
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Total points awarded:10 
Reasons for voting decision: As a devoted and loyal servant I award this point to the side that did not forfeit under the advisement and out of the benevolence of Thett the mighty, lord of pirates, Vice President of Debate.org
Vote Placed by SeventhProfessor 1 year ago
SeventhProfessor
RNG_REKTRichardDawkinsIsBaeTied
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Total points awarded:10 
Reasons for voting decision: Pro forfeited two rounds, conduct to con