The Instigator
Pro (for)
0 Points
The Contender
Con (against)
14 Points

autism is not an epidemic

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Post Voting Period
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Voting Style: Judge Point System: Select Winner
Started: 10/14/2015 Category: Politics
Updated: 1 year ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 366 times Debate No: 80935
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (1)
Votes (2)




The charity organization autism speaks treats autism as an epidemic and while it is true and affects the lives of many I do not believe it is an epidemic as I believe that for autistic people it is a way of thinking and once they see the right people they can live every day life with only the occasional ...... they have the ability to live life like any other person with traits that make them special but autism speaks treats them as puppets controlling them and trying to make them normal by doing this and telling them that they are well weird can seriously affect someone who is autistic and can seriously harm them if people acknowledge that autism is not an epidemic they to can know that life is awesome!!!


Autism spectrum is a neurodevelopment disorder that can affect communication, behavior, social interaction, motor skills, and cognitive focus. Individuals can exhibit some or all of these behaviors defining it as a spectrum condition.
As of 2010 the frequency of autism as risen to 1 in 68 births from 1 in 150 births recorded in 2000.

An epidemic defined (Merriam Webster): 1. affecting or tending to affect a disproportionately large number of individuals within a population, community, or region at the same time.
2. excessively prevalent

The CDC's official definition of an epidemic is: "The occurrence of more cases of disease than expected in a given area or among a specific group of people over a particular period of time." The CDC doesn't have epidemic thresholds for every disease.
But Autism is not considered a disease due to its occurrence is not due to a virus or bacteria. For the sake of this debate the Merriam Webster definition can be applied to prove autism is an epidemic.
Debate Round No. 1


I noticed that you calleed autisim a mental illness WELL OBJUECTION!!!!!! autisim as a whole is not a mental illness it is unproper wiring of the brain . Oh and also i think that you chose incredibly specific parts and the parts you did choose do not apply to autisim autisim is not forever growing it stays in the few familys who have it so autisim is genetic so only members of one side of a family have it proving one flaw wrong causes all the other ones to be shown faulty to


Please carefully review my previous comments. In no manner did I state or imply that autism is a mental illness, because it is not. It is a neurodevelopment disorder that ranges from mild to severe. It is believed to have its origin in brain development; the different regions of the brain have deficiencies in the ability to communicate; neurons (synapses). So yes, it is a difference in brain wiring as you stated.

Scientist have statistical evidence that there is a genetic component to autism along family lines. But the true cause of autism is yet to be uncovered. Besides heredity, environmental factors are seen to have effects on gene function to a degree greater than previously thought. This factor is seen as a contributor to the significant increases of autism over the past few decades. Studies prove that when familiar lines are not factored, autism still occurs. Older parents have a statically higher rate of autistic off spring than younger parents. Women who have taken to antidepressants before or while pregnant also follow the trend. Yet other research indicates spontaneous gene mutations are taking place once egg fertilization occurs, where specific genes are over produced. Gene mutations are also suspected to occur in utero and postnatally (after birth) altered by chemical agents; though specific agents have not been pinpointed.

Rates of autism over time:
1980: 1 to 2 per 10,000 children
1990: 1 in 500
2000: 1 in 150
2004: 1 in 125
2006: 1 in 110
2008: 1 in 88
2010: 1 in 68
Using the uncontested Merriam Webster definition of epidemic, I will conclude that autism is an epidemic due to its excessive prevalence within the population over time. As viral and bacterial diseases spread and grow to a point where its occurrence is atypical, the neurological disorder of autism follows with the same reasoning.
Debate Round No. 2


In you're list you said people with well you forgot to mention that those were the people diagnosed yes the number of people diagnosed has been climbing but as said in this website

the number of people with autisim symptoms have been staying the same proving my theory that autism is not growing
and is in fact genetic the numbers you showed are a result of more people being diagnosed which I'm sure can be summed up to people caring more about autism over time. Since the numbers are staying the same so you're oh so precious Marian Webster definition of an epidemic holds barely any help in proving that autism is an epidemic


I had difficulty understanding your opening statement due to inadequate sentence structure. But I did review the web site provided. I see the point you are trying to make but, this is only one source you are using to reach a conclusion that autism is not epidemic. After in depth investigation the study you cite stating criteria for diagnosis being the primary factor attributing to the increase in autism rates falters against the preponderance of studies to the contrary. In the study you presented, Swedish and Danish groups were examined. This study was conducted using a relatively small population compared to much larger population groups studied on the same topic; thus it has a negligible conclution due to a small sample of study; (Full original study was sourced and read with peer reviews. An investigation conducted beyond summarizing article presented)---

The CDC and several multinational studies using large population groups across demographic lines conclude that incidence of autism, especially in the US, has grown substantially. In the US the climb is attributed to environmental factors. There also have been comparisons made between countries on rates of autism in GMO free zones verses GMO prevalent areas. Glyphosate (Round Up) and other pesticides have been shown to be indicators contributing to increased rates of autism. There are also higher rates of occurrence of gastrointestinal abnormalities in children with autism residing in agricultural regions compared to those in non-agriculture zones. Pounds per acre of pesticide used, compared to lower use areas have been evaluated. Gastrointestinal issues are prevalent in children with autism as well as other physiological abnormalities in addition to differences in brain development. In addition, build ups of pollutants that have remained in the environment after discontinuance have been factored. PCBs and mercury, once used in florescent lighting, as well as other no longer produced toxic products linger in soil and water for many years, even decades after production has ceased. These elements are proven neurotoxins affecting the brain and nervous system development. Taking the data provided on industrialized farming areas against non-industrialized native farming zones, and consideration given on other contaminant data in studies done in various regions; the consensus is the occurrence of autism has risen significantly since 1990. Even with the differences of opinion on rates over time; the conclusion remains. In comparing various large population groups under different environmental influences, autism it is excessively prevalent in the population than it was 25 years ago.---

In your response to your comment on "you're oh so precious Marian Webster definition of an epidemic". You had opportunity to rebuke the use of the definition of epidemic as defined by my chosen source. In failing to do so at the appropriate time in this debate you have forfeited the use of any other definition source. And it is MERRIAM Webster, please check your spelling. Using this uncontested definition, autism is at a rate far above what would be naturally occurring within in a population, therefore and epidemic.
Debate Round No. 3


closing arguement. Despite my opponents insults to my person i find he has not rebutted the fact that autisim is not growing .I beieve autisim is not an epidemic and should be treated with care not by pupeting an autistic


My comments on your writing were not on an affront on your intelligence nor on your premise of debate. Just that at times it was difficult to ascertain the point you were attempting to make.

In conclusion, I feel that insufficient evidence on your part has been submitted to enforce your position that autism is not an epidemic. Only a single source has been referenced.

On the statement made that those with autism are made out to be puppets, this is hardly the case. Depending on where individuals are on the spectrum, they are taught skills designed to meet their specific needs that will enable them to learn and function in society. Educators are not trying to make them normal, but work within the sphere of the individual"s abilities not inabilities. This approach has been a significant move forward from their treatment 40 years ago, where such individuals were institutionalized, shuttered from the public and family life. Personally possessing a Master in Education and have worked with children with autism, I have found they do enjoy life. But maintain that rates have increased significantly and its occurrence is beyond genetic familiar lines. Whichever set of data you may choose be it 1 in 150 or 1 in 68, the frequency of occurrence if it was the flu or other viral outbreak by comparison would be categorize as epidemic.
Debate Round No. 4
1 comment has been posted on this debate.
Posted by SilentMouse 1 year ago
Pro....are you a troll?
2 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 2 records.
Vote Placed by Skepticalone 1 year ago
Who won the debate:-Vote Checkmark
Reasons for voting decision: This was a one sided debate. Con outlined the increasing frequency of autism and established how it could be viewed as an epidemic. Pro argued that it was not a matter of an increase in the frequency, but an increase in diagnosis due to changing diagnostic criteria. While, I am sympathetic to Pro's view in this regard, Con pointed out it was a single study of a small sample. Con continued to throw water on Pro's fire it by linking autism/other abnormalities to increased GMOs, pollutants, pesticides, and environmental factors. Pro did not attempt to refute. Points to Con. *Constructive criticism* Much like Con, I had difficulty with some of Pro's argumentation due to lack of punctuation and overall sentence structure, and I would have much appreciated Con providing claims/evidence with a link to which source it came from.
Vote Placed by whiteflame 1 year ago
Who won the debate:-Vote Checkmark
Reasons for voting decision: This is pretty straightforward. Pro never really addressed Con's central argument about what an epidemic is and how autism meets that definition. His single study was insufficient, and Con proved that that was the case. Con spent more time analyzing the data to show me what the trend looks like, examining potential causes (some of which are hotly contested, particularly the GMO aspect), and explaining how that makes for an epidemic. Pro's lack of response to that, and continued assertions to the contrary, leave him vulnerable to the argument throughout the debate. Despite his regular attempts to straw man Con's arguments, Con was never clearly insulting, nor was he painting autism in a clearly unfavorable light that went above and beyond what was reasonable. Had this been a 7-point debate, I also would have awarded S&G to Con because Pro's arguments were often difficult to read and understand.