The Instigator
rafalaf
Pro (for)
Losing
0 Points
The Contender
Nac
Con (against)
Winning
3 Points

Science is a Threat to Humanity

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 1 vote the winner is...
Nac
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 6/5/2015 Category: Science
Updated: 1 year ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 1,014 times Debate No: 76244
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (0)
Votes (1)

 

rafalaf

Pro

Round1 = Layout
Round2 = Presentation of Views
Round3 = Rebutalls
Round4 = Rebutalls

Rules
- BoP shared
- No profanity

I will be argueing (Pro) that science is a threat to humanity.
Nac

Con

I would like to begin by thanking my opponent for creating this debate. I wish him the best of luck.

Definitions

Science: The observation, identification, description, experimental investigation, and theoretical explanation of phenomena. [1]

Threat: A person or thing likely to cause damage or danger. [2]

Humanity: All people. [3]

Is: third person singular present of be. [4]

Be: exist [5]

Because my opponent did not establish these definitions in his opening statement, I must define these terms to begin this debate.

As Pro has stated, we have a shared BoP. This implies that my opponent must show that science is a threat to humanity, and I must show that it is not. To be clear, I do not have to show that science is necessarily positive, merely that it is not a threat. This is because it was not addressed in the first round of my opponent, so the logical conclusion is that I merely need to prove the negation of the resolution.

Moreover, my opponent must prove that science, in its current form, has a high likelihood of causing damage or danger. This is due to the definition I provided of is. My opponent's burden is to prove that we can prescribe a high probability of causing damage or danger to humanity as it is now, not that it is probable that this state of affairs could occur, as this would abdicate my opponent of the burden provided by the word "is."

I will now end my opening statements. My opponent may now begin.

Sources:
[1] - http://www.thefreedictionary.com...
[2] - Google search "threat" definition: 2.
[3] - http://www.merriam-webster.com...
[4] - Google search "is".
[5] - Google search "be".
Debate Round No. 1
rafalaf

Pro

To start off with, this debate is inarguable. All of the nuclear weapons are both science and a threat to humanity.

Science is the intellectual and practical activity encompassing the systematic study of the structure and behavior of the physical and natural world through observation and experiment
http://www.oxforddictionaries.com...

We study many animals and some might try to consume us.

Fire can be called, to some extent, science, and it is capable of harming us.
Nac

Con

I thank my opponent for his response. As he addressed in the original post, I will need to utilize this round as a strictly constructive case. In accordance with this, I will not address any of his arguments. He has attempted to redefine science, which I take umbrage with as this needed to be addressed in the "Layout" section, but his definition is similar enough for me to use it.

Contention 1: Science does not reach many people.

A recent study displays this quite nicely, in the form of displaying scientific illiteracy. "The survey included more than 2,200 people in the United States and was conducted by the National Science Foundation. Ten questions about physical and biological science were on the quiz, and the average score—6.5 correct—was barely a passing grade." [1].

This trend exhibits an important point: Even if the study of the natural world could, in and of itself, be shown to be damaging, it still would not reach a large quantity of people. And because the definition for humanity is "all people," the study of science cannot be said to affect humanity based on this piece of information.

Contention 2: Science merely displays knowledge for humanity, which is not harmful.

Scientific studies have been utilized to great effect over the lifetime of the universe. It has allowed for us to develop heliocentric theory, understand lightning, and grasp other naturally occurring phenomena. These occurrences in no way began to exist simply because we understood them, and as such, our understanding of these occurrences would reap only benefit. Because increasing understanding is the extent that science attempts to reach, no threat can be derived.

I would like to thank my opponent once again for instigating this debate. It is extremely thought provoking, and has already led to me attempting to grasp the world in a different way.

In accordance with the rules, I have abstained from rebutting his arguments.

I would also like to caution my opponent to rebut my points in full. In standard debate format, silence equals consent, and new arguments can not be brought up in the final round. I apologize if this is out of line.

[1] - http://phys.org...




Debate Round No. 2
rafalaf

Pro

Yes, I see why you say that science did help us but that it helped us doesn't mean it's not harmful. Each science experiment has a chance of being extremely dangerous if the outcome is unknown to humanity.

Also, on the website you posted it is quite visible that many people do not agree in the comments. It does not have a bibliography and the last updates are not mentioned, therefore this website is not to be trusted.
http://phys.org...
Nac

Con

I thank my opponent for continuing this dialogue.

Defense:

Contention 1:
I apologize for not providing a source which displays this with a bibliography. Here is a more substantial source: http://www.washingtonpost.com...;

While I will concede that this issue itself should be rectified, I disagree with his other points. Statistics have shown that this level of scientific illiteracy exists, and studies should be displayed to the opposite effect. We would not assume that starving children don't exist anymore simply because updated figures are not shown. Statistics denoting a trend may fluctuate, but the thrust of the argument is the existence of a trend. Data needs to be used to shown this is false. I will also provide a second source to corroborate my statement here: http://www.washingtonpost.com...

In regards to his statement concerning disagreement, they too must have data to back this up. Data which is collected in a valid manner should not be disputed without good reason, which needs to be displayed here as well. If there are disagreements with the data, please display the counterargument so it may be evaluated.

Contention 2: My opponent has displayed no example of a scientific experiment harming anyone. At this level, it is a bare assertion. This leaves us only with "it is possible that science may cause harm," which does not fulfill the "likely" requirement the word threat implies.

Attack

Contention 1:
My opponent discusses fire and animals, stating that these phenomena are dangerous to humans. However, as I have stated in my second contention, the study of this does not, in any way, increase the danger of these phenomena. My opponent must display that this is not the case, that the scientific study of said phenomena have increased harm. If he does not, then my point, that scientific study, by its very nature, can not increase risk, stands.

Contention 2: My opponent discusses the creation of nuclear weapons, and states that this creation implies that science is a threat to humanity.

This leads me to a few objections:

a. http://www.nuclearfiles.org... display of the amount of nuclear weapon tests that have occurred. As you can see, the amount is growing less and less extensive as time passes. If, as my opponent says, nuclear weapons pose a threat to all people in the present, this number should be much higher. But that claim contradicts the evidence we can see.

b. Nuclear weapons, though it may be a product of scientific study, is not, in and of itself, science. Science, according to my opponent's definition, refers to the study of the natural world through observation and experiment. Nuclear weapons were invented (definition: create or design (something that has not existed before); be the originator of)[1], but this does not mean that they are science. It is a product that was aided by science, but was not, in and of itself, science. To provide an analogy, eugenics is an idea that can be derived from evolution, as the genes of humanity least desired are removed from the gene pool. However, does this make evolution dangerous in and of itself? No, it merely means that the results of evolution have been shown to be a threat. The same would be said of philosophy's part in creating nihilism. If nihilism is shown to be a negative, that does not make philosophy, in and of itself, a threat.

I thank my opponent, again, for instigating this debate. I feel as if it teaches me ideas at every step of the way.

[1] = Google Search - Invent definition
Debate Round No. 3
rafalaf

Pro

As my opponent has stated "fire and animals, stating that these phenomena are dangerous to humans. However, as I have stated in my second contention, the study of this does not, in any way, increase the danger of these phenomena." Yes now we know the results of some experiments that can be made with these. Though what my opponent has not seen is that when we were testing these for the first time we did not know what the outcomes may be. Therefore every science, at first, can be a threat for humanity.

Also nuclear weapons had to be tested. Although the scientists should have known about what type of outcome they would recieve, the actual result was undecided until after Trinity (first nuclear bomb test). The outcomes could have either been horrendous, whipping out half the world, or maybe it didn't work at all.

About Trinity...
http://en.wikipedia.org...

Hope I convinced you. Vote Pro. ;D
Nac

Con

I thank my opponent for maintaining his defense throughout this debate.

Consented Points - As I established in the second round, silence equals consent in these debates. My opponent has not touched my points, save for qualifying his statement with "at first." As such, my contentions and rebuttals have all been assented to, excluding those with the qualifier of being early in the study of natural phenomena. As such, the resolution has been narrowed at this juncture. I will still attempt to rebut these points, but I feel it needs to be noted that my opponent appears to be shifting the goal posts from the whole of science to its pioneers.

Attack

My opponent's final case consists of a single core point, which he has categorized his original points into.

Contention: The uncertainty of outcomes.

My opponent notes that experiments in science has completely uncertain outcomes. I do assent to this point, but it in no way fulfills his burden. The definition of threat is qualified with the term "likely," which a complete uncertainty does not imply. If we can gather no certainty, we can gather no probability, so this point falls through.

My opponent has also not provided us a case where experimentation has resulted in catastrophe. Because probability is calculated by odds of an event occurring, examples are necessary. My opponent lists none (excluding the Trinity article, which states no relevant information), which implies it is highly improbable for experimentation, let alone science, to hurt anyone.

Furthermore, as my opponent assented to my rebuttals, he agrees that a product of science does not display the harm of science, so this point seems to hold little relevance.

Conclusion:

My opponent has assented to my claims, and I have refuted his claims. I have displayed how science can not affect all people and how it cannot, by its very nature, increase risk. Because of this, I strongly urge a Con vote.

This debate was thoroughly enlightening, and I must thank my opponent for proposing this case. His case was a difficult one to combat, and I hope he feels as if this debate was as fruitful as I do.
Debate Round No. 4
No comments have been posted on this debate.
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by Skepticalone 1 year ago
Skepticalone
rafalafNacTied
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Total points awarded:03 
Reasons for voting decision: IMO, Pro's strongest argument was in regards to nuclear weapons, but Con easily refuted it by pointing out nuclear weapons may be a products of science but are not 'science'. Pro did not adequately address Con's arguments. Arguments to Con.