The Instigator
Pro (for)
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The Contender
Con (against)
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Medical Research does more harm than good

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 9/18/2013 Category: Health
Updated: 3 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 1,333 times Debate No: 37888
Debate Rounds (3)
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Medical research does more harm than good. That's the topic. This type of research requires things like animal testing and human trials, too. This damages our animal and human economy because doing such hideous things is terrible to the environment. It's mean.


Hello everyone. This is my first debate, and what a wonderful and spirited topic this is.

That being said, I'd like to start on the topic itself.
"Medical Research", while feeling like a term so natural to us in this day, is an incredibly broad term that spans many fields and specialities. To simply say that "medical research" does harm is similar to saying "all religion is harmful" - simply too broad of a topic to narrow down. Surely, medical research done using computer simulations is not harmful in any way.

The Instigator has listed two area of medical research, namely human and animal, and so the proposed model becomes clear enough, I'll assume those are the two we are talking about primarily.

Starting with animal research, we see the proposition are essentially bringing on a moral case about the defence of animals. That medical research is harmful to the animals, and the harming of animals for our human gain is "mean", to quote the Instigator.

Firstly, if we look at it from a purely scientific point of view, namely a Darwinistic point of view, we as humans are doing nothing wrong. We, being at the top of the food chain, use the animals from the bottom of the food chain to our advantage, such as for food, resources, and in this case, for our own benefit. Other animals have been known to use the properties of other animals for their own health benefits, and from a Darwinistic point of view we are doing just that.

Of course, we're not simply animals - we're human beings. And although the pro doesn't seem to have stated it, he seems to be implying that animals have some sort of a right not to be harmed. Which, is completely false. Despite what our instincts might tell you, animals don't actually have rights at all. If we look at the construction of a right, say, the right of free speech, we see that is is made up of 2 parts. There is the right, which is the ability to express our own opinions, but the 2nd part is a responsibility - that we monitor our speech so that our freedom of speech doesn't interfere with other people's rights as well. Animals have no such way of doing this. We may decide to stop harming them, but animals have no way of negotiating such a deal, and will continue to harm us. Thus, animals cannot be said to have any sort of "rights".

How does this all factor in to the debate? Essentially, I've told you that realistically, we are not doing anything wrong by performing medical research, and that these "hideous" and "mean" things are in fact logically sound.
But the debate isn't about whether or not medical research is sound or not, it's whether or not is outweighs the costs!

What I have to say to this is that without animal testing and other forms of medical research, we could possibly not be living today. The advancements in medical research have allowed civilization to live longer, work harder, and learn more about the world we live in. Both the Instigator and I may have very well not be born into the world, as medical research has vastly lowered the infant mortality rate which has allowed the world population to grow as it has. I doubt the Instigator has never been ill before, and the cures and treatments that were given to his aid were all possible by the medical research. Clearly, these benefits outweigh the small price of the small number of laboratory rats and mice that may receive a few injections!

Human research is even more weighing towards the con side. Firstly, human research isn't even used very much today, and where it may or may not be used are countries with poor living conditions and people with poverty who are desperate for the money. In this case, it is due to the poverty and the living standards of the country and not due to the interests of medical research itself.
The main incidents of human experimentation that happen are in times of war, or in times of a plague or other serious outbreaks of desperations. In these cases (which have been very few, mind you), it is an entirely different situation altogether. In these situation, the absence of medical research on humans would result in the wipeout of a large chunk of the human population, which would be even more fatal to this "human economy" that you talk about. Surely, the highly specialized and well treated testing of humans is far worth the benefit of saving millions of lives?

All in all, even though this is a ridiculously broad topic, I have managed to tell you why both animal testing and human testing is not wrong at all, and even if it was, how the benefits hugely out weigh the costs in every way.
Debate Round No. 1


Hello again,

I would like to start this by talking about the food chain, as highlighted by the negative team. The term "food chain" is known these days as a form of superiority of some species, namely humans, over other species. This is incorrect as if you find a definition of "food chain", you will get the following:
"A series of organisms each dependent on the next as a source of food."
At this point I would like to point out the term "food". It refers to species higher up on the food chain using the species lower down the food chain as a food source. If you look at the definition of "animal testing" you get the following:
"Animal testing is the use of non-human animals in experiments..."
Now I would like to point out the lack of the word food in this description. The point the con made is completely irrelevant because of this reason.

Secondly, I would like to point out that humans are just another type of animal. We might be smarter...yes, but this does not make us any more important for this reason. That is like saying Albert Einstein was probably the smartest person on the planet, so he can use the rest of the world for his benefit, or in this case, testing. So humans should be on par with all other animals in this respect.

Thirdly, the con made the point that "Clearly, these benefits outweigh the small price of the small number of laboratory rats and mice that may receive a few injections!". Would you call 50-100 million animals "a few"? and also the fact that "a few injections" goes way past that. The animals literally get dissected alive. I wouldn't exactly call this "a few injections".

For my fourth and final point, I would like to point out an example of human experimentation, the Nazi Human Experimentation of WW2. Some of the tests are listed below:
Finding a way to have only twins (killing 800/1000 "participants")
Phosgene gas (a type of poison gas)
Limb transplants
Drinking only seawater
Using poison to torture people
Artificial insemination

I, personally, would call this wrong, and if you find anything not wrong this, then please, be my guest.

I hope i have got across to you how this is a completely wrong thing to do and how medical research does more harm than good.


Hello once again,

The pro has made some interesting counter arguments and I'd like to address them first before proceeding with any more constructive ideas.

The first refutations that the pro made was to the idea of the food chain, and essentially his stance was that we don't use animals for food, thus the point is irrelevant. Of course this is true, but the pro is taking the argument a bit to literally. The "food chain" was used as a way of showing the power and supremacy of humans beings, who are indeed, at the top of the food chain. This allows them to use their power for their personal gain, most obviously being food. But they can also use the weaknesses of other animals for other advantages as well. For example, certain types of monkeys have been known to rub the poison of poison dart frogs on their skin, because it keeps away small insects. We can think of humans in the same way. We use other animals to help easier our lives, and medical testing is one of them.

On the topic of food, even though the pro called it a "completely irrelevant" argument, it's interesting to note that we consume much more animals than we medically test them. If medical testing is so wrong, why isn't eating them wrong as well? Lobsters and crayfish are ripped, boiled alive, and ripped completely open in order to consume them, yet it's wrong when they receive an injection for the greater health of humans? I think clarification will be necessary.

His second refutation dealt with the moral worth of humans vs. animals. I don't know about you, but if you given the choice to save 100 humans or to save 100 laboratory mice, I doubt you would choose the latter. We may not have complete understanding over the potential of animals and their complexities, so I agree we should give them some moral considerations. But what we have the understand is that animals cannot do a fractions of the complex work we do. Animals do not have a great of a sense of moral awareness, thought about their existences, and so on so forth. We see that animals lead fairly simple lives where their actions are most often determined by their hunger, the presence of their prey, and the protection of their offspring. Given that humans are able to accomplish so much more, it's a given that animals, although possessing some moral value, should be given truncated access to rights. The Pro hasn't responded to my argument about how you cannot give animals rights, and as long as it stands, whatever we do to them we are not breaking any moral code whatsoever.

His third refutation was based on a remark I made about the benefits. Although extremely passionate, the pro has stumbled on a couple of things. First of all, in today's modern era, animals testing is avoided as much as possible in favour of computer simulation that can actually sometimes portray the situations in a much clear context. Second of all, all the animals that are used in animals testing are laboratory breed animals, and thus do not have any impact whatsoever on the environment. They were never part of the environment, will never be part of an environment anyways because their domestication prevents them from survival in the wild. Think of them as artificially created biological material that is simply created to test the affects of certain drugs on cells. And although the pro portrays it as some man animals slaughter, the simple truth is that nowadays companies don't want to have to invest in animals testing. It's not cheap, and it takes multiple trials to get an answer. They would much rather use simulations to get the same results, and at the benefit of a much faster speed.

His fourth and final refutation was essentially a list of examples where human experimentations was used. Notice he used the Nazi party and WW2 for his example. First of all, the Nazi's did far more horrendous things than the human experimentation listed, so in context these are some of the milder crimes they committed. Using the Nazis as your source of horrid acts isn't really very credible, as I'm sure you know their long history of other horrendous acts as well. Even if this wasn't the Nazis, this was in a time of war, where governments were pound millions and millions of dollars and using desperate attempts in efforts to win the war. In times like this, the rights and freedoms of the human being can be compromised. However, this would never happen in our modern age, where strict regulation for both humans and animals are in place to prevent the ruthless murder of innocent sentient beings. The experimentations of the Nazis were considered afterwards to be a war crime - because that's exactly what they are, crimes. Not medical research, but crimes against humanity that violate the very basic principles of our existence.

Alright, so I've gotten through the refutations, let me do some constructive.
The pro still has not decided to present a proper model or be concise in the bill he has proposed, so it's still very difficult for me to present a clear argument. Nevertheless, the point I want to focus on this round is actually a question. If this resolution were to pass in the form a bill, what consequences would it have?

If medical testing were to be banned because of the (rather unconvincing) reasons that the pro has mentioned, countless people would die and suffer needlessly. Vaccines, household non-prescription medication and nutritional supplements would all be sold without the confirmation of safety. We live in a dangerous world with dangerous forms of disease lurking around places. By not allowing medical research to continue any further, we are giving up the ability to innovate. The next plague that breaks out would be the end of humanity, as we would not be able to create a cure for it. Surely, this is far more harmful than anything that could ever happen to these laboratory grown, small animals that provide so much for us.

All in all, the pro has made a very passionate case, but that is where it ends. He has failed to specifically factor in the benefits, and more importantly, he has failed to tell us outright why the benefits of medical research really do not outweigh the costs.
Debate Round No. 2


9J11Debating forfeited this round.


Hello all,

Well I suppose this is it. I'm not sure why the pro would forfeit, but he never really had a convincing case in the first place, and the terms of the resolution were very unclear to start with. I have laid my points above, and they have remain unrefuted for the most. Sure, medical testing MIGHT be cruel sometimes, but it never should be, it never intends to be, and the benefits that are produced far outweigh these small pains. Vote for con.
Debate Round No. 3
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