The Instigator
Jhhillman
Con (against)
The Contender
Thoht
Pro (for)

Should Autism be cured?

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 6/1/2018 Category: Miscellaneous
Updated: 3 years ago Status: Debating Period
Viewed: 2,175 times Debate No: 114809
Debate Rounds (5)
Comments (12)
Votes (0)

 

Jhhillman

Con

There are many reasons not to cure Autism. First is the agency of Autistic people. The vast majority of Autistics (including me) are vehemently opposed to a cure for Autism. Our opinions about our own minds should be respected.

Secondly, Autistics have made many valuable contributions to society. Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, Nikola Tesla, Albert Einstein, Isaac Newton, and many others have all been autistic. Autism makes things like advanced math and engineering much easier. Autistics should be accepted in society, not eradicated from it.

Sources:https://www.thecut.com...

http://autismmythbusters.com...

https://www.theengineer.co.uk...
Thoht

Pro

Happy to think with you today.

From what we've said in the comments your position is that no Autism cure should be looked for/found.

You have, unfortunately, only looked at this through the perspective of high-functioning autism.

What would you say to low functioning autistic people? Tough luck? [1]

No my friend. There is one major misconception here. You seem to believe that if a cure were found someone would force you to take it. While this may be true of adults forcing it on their children, one could have doctors be aware enough of it to tell parents that high functioning autistic people may like how they are, and to give children a say in the matter (maybe even when they're older). I'd be terribly interested if you could find a low functioning autistic person who would tell you they prefer to stay how they are. Even were you to find one, I have to reiterate, no one forces this "cure" on you.

With autism shaping who a person is and any potential cure probably changing you into a much different person, I'd agree that the child, or adult, should absolutely have a say in the matter.

If a cure is found, and you are not forced to take it, what is your problem with it?

I submit there is no problem. The only thing you have to fight is peoples' perceptions of high functioning autistic people. It is not necessary to find a "cure" if the person has no problem with how they are. Believe it or not, other high functioning autistic people would like a cure. It is not all about you.

Therefore what you're suggesting only causes others significant pain at near no pain to yourself. All you have to deal with is public outlook on your condition, which can certainly be changed.

Lastly, your link for famous autistic people specifies very clearly that they *MAY* have been autistic. Not that they are. If you find a link saying they certainly were autistic, they have made a posthumous claim that cannot be verified. You have misinterpreted this information. While it is certainly possible they were, since no one can be certain to claim their achievements in support of your position with nothing but a shade of a notion is troubling.

I do not anticipate this debate taking 5 rounds, but if you have further points to make I'm happy to continue.
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[1] - https://www.autismparentingmagazine.com...
Debate Round No. 1
Jhhillman

Con

Your entire argument is based of the premise that "Low functioning" Autistics are in pain and should be cured. This simply isn't true. First off, there are many issues with functioning labels, as they are inaccurate and stigmatizing (https://ollibean.com...). Most Autistics, including me, could easily be labeled as either one depending on how we're doing. When I'm exhausted and overstimulated, I won't be doing much talking or socializing. Second, even people who are often labeled "low-functioning" are quite capable of expressing their desire not to be "cured" (https://ollibean.com...). Functioning labels are a fallacy, and people all over the spectrum deserve agency and acceptance. People labeled "low functioning" have to deal with so much due to their label. (https://tinyurl.com... URL shortened because original URL has profanity)

You say that a cure wouldn't be forced on people, but it would. Even you admit parents would force it on their children. And additionally, Autistics who have been given guardians by courts, or institutionalized, would have the cure forced on them. Of course we should have a say in whether we should be cured, but unfortunately, our society isn't at a point where that could be a reality. Until we are, there should be no cure. The tragedy resulting from one would be to great to take the risk.

You say that there are Autistics who would like a cure. Let's see some links please.

What I am suggesting would avoid significant pain for many people. The vast majority of Autistics don't want to be cured. I have explained that before.

There are many problems with the drive for a cure. The whole idea of a "cure" is to remove a disease. But Autism isn't a disease. Others have explained this far better then I can, so here's a link: https://www.vox.com...
Thoht

Pro

I'd like to apologize for the wait. I felt it necessary to take my time and research this as thoroughly as possible. I've been informed that I made a slight faux pas in starting with arguments immediately rather than letting you have the first word. My apologies for that as well.

1. "Functioning" Labels are inaccurate and stigmatizing.

We are agreed on this point. In my research for this topic I've discovered no less than 4 different definitions for these terms. It seems odd indeed that no agreement has been made here, but I'll try to stop using them. Would "severe" autism instead of "low functioning" work better for you?

2. No autistic people are in pain.

This is a false statement in many extremes.

2a. Autistic children are more likely to have suicidal thoughts. They are more likely to inflict self-injuries. They will die earlier than non-autistic people. [1, 2, 3] These effects are all likely explained by the inability to express themselves. This causes high levels of stress. It can also be caused because they cannot express that they are in pain. [4] Not only that, but many medical problems appear more frequently in autistic children compared to the general population including gastrointestinal (GI) disorders, seizures, sleep disturbances, attention deficit and hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), anxiety and phobias. Many young children gain a vocabulary, and when symptoms of autism kick in they lose the vocabulary they had previously learned. How do you measure 'suffering' to not include all these things and more?

3. The cure would be "forced" on children.

If research into a cure for Autism proceeds, we may be able to cure it before a child is born. Would this be considered "changing someone's personality" if their personality had never developed? Autism is diagnosed reliably around the age of 2-4 years. [6] Would giving someone a cure around these ages constitute a violation of that person's self-identity? I do not think so. I have no memories of anything prior to around the age of 4. Personally, I would thank my parents for giving me this cure.

4. The cure would be forced on institutionalized individuals or those under guardianship.

Possibly. However one could certainly fight such things in courts. I believe that we would, as a society, not allow this if the individual did not desire it. There are a host of things guardians cannot do to their charges. This should be one. This is not enough of a reason to deny all the autistic people who want a cure the choice to have it, particularly when your view is the worst case scenario pessimistic view. I am not an optimist, who would say that the law will be perfect on this, but you are overplaying your card when you say that they will all be forced. It is not enough of a reason by itself to prevent a cure.

5. Potential Research Possibilities

5a. If research into a cure for Autism continues, we will understand the disorder better. This would likely lead to innovations in teaching techniques for young autistic people, and will help mitigate the problems they face. This would directly reduce their suffering, and likely allow them to lead better lives in the process.

5b. If research into a cure for Autism continues, it could potentially be either 1) reversible or 2) temporary. Consider the case of schizophrenia. On medication, the symptoms can be controlled. One can live a fairly normal life, but if you stop taking medication the effects are completely reversed. If either of these 2 types of potential cures come about, one could make the choice to try the 'cure' and stop or reverse it if one did not like it. Even in your 'forced' scenarios, this would completely negate your point. Being that you cannot prove that there is no way these 2 possibilities could happen, stopping all research into Autism cures seems counterproductive.

6. No autistic wants a cure.

You yourself say 'the vast majority.' not 'literally everyone.' Finding examples of those who want cures is not particularly difficult [6], but I can't help but ask for your poll that shows your statement is true. I cannot find it. With some understanding of the nature of severe autism and the communication challenges involved, how would you even poll them and get their opinion on the topic? You must provide a credible source for this or this assertion cannot hold.

7. Autism should not be cured to allow for Savants.

7a. Not all autistic pople are savants, nor are all savants autistic. [7] To claim that autism should not be cured because of this is to say you have a better understanding of what causes Savant Syndrome than any doctor does. I submit this is not true. To try and give parents hope that their autistic children may someday become Savants if they stay autistic is cruel, and is ignoring statistics. On top of this, not all savants have abilities that are useful enough to provide them a living, enable themselves to live without support, or make them happy.

7b. Personally, I believe that the existence of Savants shows us all how far the human brain can go. We are all in some way mentally disabled individuals in our current states of being. Were a magic pill invented to allow me to be like the human camera autistic [8] or exceptionally skilled in mathematics, visually perceiving numbers [9] I would take it in a heartbeat. I would certainly not disallow the "cure" to my previous mental disability. If you think of it this way, autistic individuals can be seen to have a mental disability, one that stops them from learning effective communication compared to their peers. You are not less "human" than those who have this ability, any more than normal people are less "human" for not having Savant-level abilities. You too, should not seek to stop a cure for a learning disability. ASD is currently not considered a disease, but a disorder. "Cure" may not be the proper term, but with advancements in science it could be.

8. What if Autism gets more severe?

From CDC statistics [5], from 2000 to 2014 the diagnoses of Autism of some sort in children has increased from 1 in 150 children to 1 in 59. Judging from this, autism may be a disorder that is spreading. Lets say we stop research now. What if this number continues to increase? 1 in 20, 1 in 10? Would you want to live in a world where most people could not speak to each other? Who would care for this many autistic children?

9. Parental and Economic concerns.

Autistic children, being disabled, need special care. This costs families of those children around $5,000 a year more than a non-autistic child. [5] With many families unable to afford this, many autistic children go without the care they need which compounds the issue. Parents of autistic children lead high stress lives, since they cannot communicate well with their children and teach them what dangers to avoid.

In closing, if you are in agreement with me that severe cases of autism creates suffering for those children - which I have proven - and that there are some people who would desire a cure, which I have also proven and you seem to admit to - or that further research may find acceptable "cures" your position is defeated.
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[1] - https://www.cdc.gov...
[2] - https://www.cambridge.org...
[3] - https://www.healthline.com...
[4] - https://www.autism.com...
[5] - https://www.cdc.gov...
[6] - http://www.cnn.com...
[7] - https://www.wisconsinmedicalsociety.org...
[8] -
[9] -
Debate Round No. 2
Jhhillman

Con

Thank you for taking the time to do the proper reading. And don't worry about the faux pas, I don't care.

"Severe" autism isn't much better. Just explain what you mean, i.e if you mean that someone is nonverbal, say they're nonverbal. No need to use stigmatizing terms.

You list all the bad things about autism. Suicidal thoughts, self-harm, anxiety, ect. But the thing is, those aren't symptoms of autism. They're symptoms of ableism. Being constantly told that you are diseased and wrong, and that the way you want to be is wrong and that everything about you is WRONG tends to depress a person. That's like saying being LGBTQ is bad, because LGBTQ people are at higher risk for all of those things. It's not the actual condition that causes the problems. It;s the hate and stigma around the condition. To quote Julia Bascom, "Being disabled sucks in a million ways and not one of them has anything to do with 'I can't do this thing because I have this impairment.'. Every one of them roughly translates to 'because people are awful.'.". The problem isn't us, it's uninformed and bigoted neurotypicals.

You say that a cure would likely be prenatal, and we would be able to prevent Autistics from existing at all. But the thing is, a prenatal cure would be even worse. "Curing" an Autistic child before they're born is basically saying. "I don't want this child, they're going to be too different. Give me another one instead.". Think about how screwed up that is. Also, whatever possible prenatal cure might not be able to tell the difference between a child with whatever traits you want to extinguish from the population, and the next Bill Gates. And even if it could, eugenics is wrong.

Unfortunately, the courts would be unlikely to defend the rights of institutionalized Autistics. They've already defended their right to give us powerful electric shots if we don't co-operate with them. (https://autistichoya.net...) A recent court case allowed the JRC to keep using powerful electric shocks on it's patients. We have many reasons to be pessimistic here. It is likely that, if a cure was found, it would be forced on many people.

You say we may be able to understand Autism better if we figure out how to cure it. You say we may be able to find better ways to teach Autistics. But pharmaceutical research won't give any insight into teaching. it just doesn't work that way.
You say a cure might be reversible. That's not good enough. There's no reason to cure it in the first place anyway. Any risk of an irreversible cure is too much.

I looked at the source you sent, about the woman who wants to be cured. There are two things to point out. One, she seems to suffering from a serious case of internalized ableism. Two, she says that the main reason she wants to be cured is "It's hard for me to go through the day without flapping, rocking, ect.". It's clear that she's not suffering from Autism. She's suffering from ableism. If flapping and rocking were okay things to do in a public place, she would have no problems. Unfortunately, there has been no polling of Autistics on whether we want a cure. Having our opinions considered by society is just too much to ask. However, I have never met an Autistic who wants to be cured, and anti- cure Autistics outnumber their counterparts twenty to one on the Internet. It's quite clear that the vast majority of Autistics don't even want a cure to be available, as I have stated previously.

I never said anything about Savants in my last argument. I don't know where you got that from. Savants are certainly a reason not to cure Autism, but they are not the only one. Autistics are valuable and should be accepted and supported regardless of their ability in any field.

You say that the rate of Autism is increasing. This isn't true. The rate of autism diagnosis is increasing, because we now know how to diagnose the less obvious cases. Link: https://medium.com...

You say that Autistic children need special care, which is expensive. You are correct. That's why we need SINGLE-PAYER HEALTH CARE. Again, the problem isn't us, it's society.

You say that parenting Autistic children is hard. It is. Parents of Autistic children need support, and that support currently isn't going to them because all the money donated to help Autistic people is going to cure research. If we stopped cure research, we would be able to use that money for something actually useful. Also, just because somebody might be hard to parent is no reason to prevent them from existing.

In conclusion, it's clear that Autism is not what is making Autistic people suffer. It's ableism. Get rid of ableism, and that fixes all our problems. No "cure" is acceptable.
Thoht

Pro

There are a lot of fraudulent arguments here. I'll try to address them all.

1. Labels like low function/high function would be fine if doctors agreed on the definitions. The reason I cite that they are not that useful is all the definitions I see out there. "Severe" on the other hand is not stigmatizing. It simply notes that one's condition is extreme. If Doctors have agreed on a "spectrum" then there is absolutely a severe and a mild. Your argument would be that severe is "not that bad" or "just different." However, your refusal to acknowledge that severe autism exists and its symptoms are real and terrifying doesn't mean it does not exist. That is not a legitimate argument.

2. Ableism causes extreme needs to rock back and forth? Ableism causes frustration due to not being able to verbalize your needs? You can't tell your parents when you're hungry. When you're in pain. Your position that Autism doesn't have any verifiable bad symptoms outside of social stigma is patently false. Anyone would consider someone who has full control over their actions and who can socialize when they need things or are in pain to be a healthier person than those who cannot. That you don't is just denial. You are trivializing the negative aspects of severe autism. You're trivializing the suffering of those who cannot speak for themselves. SOME of the stress may be attributed to "ableism" as you say, but the vast majority of parents do not abuse their children by reminding them constantly that something is wrong with them. I can defend the positive aspects of socializing. There's a reason we're different from cave men. We can communicate the knowledge that humans have accumulated and passed down for generations leading progression into the future. You are pretending that nonverbal autistics do not exist. You're pretending their suffering is entirely caused by those who can socialize well. This is false. They have trouble relating to their parents. They have trouble finding a spouse. Poor motor control. Sense overload. [1] Social problems plague everyone, but severe autism is crushingly frustrating. To blame this all on "ableists" and exactly none of it on autism itself is asinine. If ableism disappeared overnight, you would still be left with many problems.

3. LGBTQ+ are not disabled in any way. Religion is nearly entirely the cause for their problems. The "T" of LGBTQ+ do have a legitimate issue similar to autistic people. Their "cure" is to try to transition, in general. Denying autistic people who wish for a cure, particularly those who have no voice of their own, is like denying that transgenders have a need to change their body to reflect what they feel inside. It is denying them their cure. It is cruelty in the extreme. Your own example works against you.

4. Curing Autism before the child's brain and consciousness develop is the same as curing schizophrenia, bipolar, et cetera to me. Of course we would. We would cure blindness, deafness, et cetera if we could. We would cure chromosomal conditions or any number of terrifying deadly or crippling diseases and disorders if we could. Again, your refusal to acknowledge the negatives of autism, particularly severe autism as negatives does not make them go away.

5. Bill Gates and Steve Jobs were not autistic. The reason I can make this claim is that they were never diagnosed autistic by a doctor, and if they were it was never made public. I have spent several hours researching this and have found nothing. Being that you have not sourced anything other than an article that said they "MAY" be autistic/have been autistic no one can say your claim is legitimate. In fact, Bill Gates has great social standing and has developed relationships in so many ways that it would be incredible if he were autistic. You have made a false, unverifiable claim in all of your posts every time you drop their names.

6. You claim research in a cure would not lead to greater understanding of the disorder and lead to new insights. Another unverifiable claim, and one that makes no sense in any way. Research into any topic innately leads to understanding of the topic. That's the whole point of research. To claim it would not lead to anything positive with certainty is absurd.

7. You say that because a cure is not CERTAIN to be reversible, that no cure should exist? You've then admitted that a cure that was reversible would be acceptable. "It is not worth the risk." To you. Not to the severe autistic people who cannot vocalize their desires.

8. Even were it not reversible, you say 20 to 1 autistics do not want a cure. You admittedly have no proof of this. You have been saying the "vast majority" this entire time with no data to support your claims outside of anecdotes. Anecdotal evidence is extremely poor evidence for many reasons, on top of that, lets say we accept your claim. Nearly 5% of individuals who have the capability of posting on the internet want a cure. Autism should then be researched to seek a cure for those people. If 1 in 59 are diagnosed with autism today, and 1 in 21 autistic people want a cure, then roughly .001% of people in the world want a cure for autism. This is roughly 7 MILLION people that want a cure. There are plenty of disorders and diseases that effect far fewer people that we are curing. You haven't met any of 7 million people according to your sham statistics that want the cure. This leaves out all the people nonverbal enough that they cannot use the internet adequately. They can't say they want a cure because their social abilities are that SEVERE (possibly why polling is not done). Your position is excessively disrespectful to their suffering. You then go on to take the autistic person's opinion I linked and say she is a victim of ableists when she says the wants full control over her body, and to not have to submit to impulses. Society did not cause those impulses. She did not claim it was socially uncomfortable for her to do so. She wants bodily autonomy. This is a desirable trait for the vast majority of humans. No on should stigmatize anyone for having impulses they cannot control that don't hurt anyone. That doesn't make it any less a terrible aspect of autism.

9. I did not say autism was spreading. I pointed out the information COULD show that that was the case, but the question itself was a hypothetical. Do you think there would be no issues in a world where autism became increasingly widespread throughout the population? Would you then think autism should be cured? What ratio is acceptable to you? We have to acknowledge the possibility that because it exists, it could spread. If there is only one questionable study to show that the widening of the spectrum is the cause of the increased diagnoses numbers, we have to be prepared to cure it if it needs to be cured. This would certainly be a reason to attempt to cure autism. Particularly for those on the most severe end, or the ones that want to be cured.

10. Parents of autistic children would love to have access to a cure that would change their child not at all but allow him to have a normal social life. You acknowledge that autistic children need help. WHY do they need help? It is because they need to socialize what they need. It is because socializing is important. This is why autism must be cured.

In conclusion, I find it abhorrent that those who experience the few upsides of autism would attempt to stop a cure from existing by denying the existence of those experiencing the worst aspects of autism. Ironically these people cannot speak for themselves. So I will.

Autism should be cured because socialization is important. Because bodily autonomy is important. Because there are real people out there suffering as we speak trying to tell their parents they are in pain and that they love them. But they cannot find the words. Denying these people a desired cure is shameful.

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[1] - https://en.wikipedia.org...(writ
Debate Round No. 3
Jhhillman

Con

Sorry for the late response.
The problem with the label "Severe" is that it's often inaccurate. Thinking of Autism as a spectrum isn't completely accurate. Where would you put someone who's nonverbal, but has no hypersensitivities? Where would you put someone who has a great command of language but can't go into a public place without melting down unless they have headphones? All these people exist. Are they "Severe"? The definition of "severe" falls apart just as quickly as "Low-functioning".

"Ableism causes extreme needs to rock back and forth?" No, of course not. But what's wrong with rocking back and forth? Oh right, it looks "weird". And therefore it can't be tolerated, and the person who wants to harmlessly rock back and forth should just suffer in silence. This is what I mean when I say that ableism causes all the problems for Autistics. You also say that Autistics can't express our needs. But we can. It just sometimes requires mediums other than speech. People can say that they are hungry by sign language, or typing, or symbol boards. I'm not trivializing the suffering of those who can't speak for themselves. They can speak (or otherwise communicate) for themselves, and I am repeating what they say.

Socialization is good, but what you don't see is that Autistics can socialize, just not in the same way as Neurotypicals. You say that severe autism is crushingly frustrating in social terms. Please explain how you, as a non-Autistic person, know this.

My example about LGBTQ+ still stands. Being LGBTQ+ is simply a different way of being, no better or worse than the default. Same goes for Autism. The difference between Autistics and trans* people is that trans* people want to transition because they think it's right for them, while most Autistics don't want a cure, and those that do are trying to adapt to society's unrealistic expectations.

On the "cure would lead to new innovations' argument: Your point here doesn't hold up. Current cure research is focused on pharmaceutical solutions. Teaching children is not remotely related to pharmaceuticals. You did not answer this point.

"Not to the severe autistic people who cannot vocalize their desires." Actually, Autistics from all over the spectrum can and are communicating their desires. Look at the links I sent you. Links to articles written by actual Autistics.

On the argument about whether most Autistics want a cure: As an actual member of the Autistic community (unlike you) I know firsthand how vehemently we are opposed to a cure. You say that 5% of Autistics do want a cure. I think you misunderstand what we mean when we say we don't want a cure. It's not "Meh, I don't really need this." It's "OH MY GOD if there's a cure it will be a disaster, for the love of god please don't do this!". Remember, you admitted that a cure would be forced on people who are minors or institutionalized. That is too much of a price to pay. And also, that's more than 5% of the Autistic population.

You keep saying that "severe" Autistics can't vocalize their desire to be cured. But they are communicating their desire to not be cured. Remember Amy Sequenzia, whose writing I linked? She would be labeled "Severe", and yet she has repeatedly and clearly expressed a desire not to be cured. Also, if "Severe" Autistics can't express any desires, than how do you know they want to be cured? Remember, your way of being is not necessarily superior just because it's the majority option.

"No on should stigmatize anyone for having impulses they cannot control that don't hurt anyone. That doesn't make it any less a terrible aspect of autism." How is it bad? Neurotypicals have involuntary body movements all the time. Look at laughing, or smiling, or crying. All of those are involuntary movements, just like the ones you say are so horrible. Autistics just have different ones.

On your "Autism might be spreading" argument: The data clearly show that Autism is not spreading. That has been confirmed. We don't need to bring that debunked assertion into consideration of this debate, even as a hypothetical. It belongs with the "Vaccines cause Autism" argument: In the trash can.

"Parents of autistic children would love to have access to a cure that would change their child not at all but allow him to have a normal social life." Unfortunately, you can't do both. That's just not how it works. Given that the children have expressed a desire not to be changed, let's listen to them and leave them the way they are. Autistic children do need help. By that I mean support and acceptance, not a wonder pill that will turn them into a different, more socially acceptable person.

"Autism should be cured because socialization is important. Because bodily autonomy is important. Because there are real people out there suffering as we speak trying to tell their parents they are in pain and that they love them. But they cannot find the words. Denying these people a desired cure is shameful."

Good lord, there are so many things wrong with this paragraph. I'll go over it sentence by sentence.

"Autism should be cured because socialization is important." Yeah, it is. And Autistics can socialize. Just not in the exact same way the NTs can. Doesn't make it any worse.

"Because bodily autonomy is important." Right. Bodily autonomy is important. A good example of this is that people shouldn't be forcibly undergo a medical procedure that they don't want. Such as a cure for Autism, which will be forced upon millions of people if it is found. That is a breach of bodily autonomy.

"Because there are real people out there suffering as we speak trying to tell their parents they are in pain and that they love them" You know what these people are actually saying? They're saying (or otherwise communicating) that they're fine the way they are, are not in any pain from the way their brain is structured, and would love to be left the way they are: Autistic.

"Denying these people a desired cure is shameful." The cure is not desired. Forcing people to undergo a medical procedure that will turn them into a different person against their will is shameful.
Thoht

Pro

1. "Severe" label.

A good way to demonstrate autism would perhaps then be a radar chart. [1] Severe could be a label where the average of the traits are above a certain number. This would be as fair as I can think to make it. The fact that the labels aren't hugely accurate doesn't mean there is no need for a label.

2. Rocking back and forth.

There's nothing innately wrong with the action itself. The fact is you have no control over it. I can, for the large part, control my laughter, smiling, hiccups, and crying. Most people can to some extent. The only times when we cannot are when we don't want to or when we're in extreme situations (death of a family member). Even in those cases we want to cry. If we genuinely don't want to it is possible to control for most people. I, not being autistic, would not know if the same level of control is possible for those who feel the compulsion to rock back and forth. Again, it is not innately wrong. The lack of control when one genuinely wishes to control it is the problem.

3. Communication

Hunger is not the only thing one needs to express. There is pain, love, want to play x, want to see x, et cetera. Unless you have previously taken hundreds of hours to learn symbols or ways to express yourself then you're in trouble. And then what happens when the people you've agreed on symbols with die tragically? This is all just more reasons we share a language. "I can do x too with hundreds of extra hours of 1 on 1 time" is inherently worse than "I can do it with little effort." Sign language is also a language just like english. Do you have a link showing autistic people learn sign language at the same rate as nt people or faster than they learn English? You can't simply post links showing autistic people writing articles on the internet. There are autistic people out there that simply cannot do this. If you're reading legit sentences paragraphs and pages of researched information and saying "Hey look every autistic person doesn't want a cure" (while simultaneously writing off all the autistic people that do want a cure and write about it) You are not seeing the autistic people that want a cure who cannot. The people who cannot write or speak because their grasp of English is so terrible are not going to write about it on the internet. These are the people most likely to want a cure in the first place.

And also please don't say "You're not autistic you could never know facts about autism." I have watched documentaries, spoken with autistic people, and have several close friends on the spectrum, including 2 who would be classified as severe by anyone's standards. I've linked two sources in this debate I don't need to personally be autistic to have experiences with them. Unless you think literally every single one of those people are lying to me. In which case, that's your opinion versus my friends, relatives, and every experience I've ever had. It's an easy calculus for me.

4. "Most don't want a cure"

I don't understand why you insist on making a claim you have no evidence for. Your own personal experiences on the net mean nothing when millions of people are involved. Either way, as long as some autistic people want cures then we as a society should absolutely respond by making a cure if at all possible. How are society's expectations unrealistic if a cure existed? It would not be. People perhaps don't understand autism better because socialization is such a critically important factor in our daily lives. It's hard to communicate with people for whom it is hard to communicate. You can call it a social expectation if you wish, but there are plenty of autistic people who are not stupid, as you claim them to be, and who wish a cure because there is something they perceive as wrong with them.

5. Autistic people are just like trans people.

Yes. Trans people that want a cure will go for a cure when one is available. As will autistic people who are suffering to the same extent. Your solution to autism would be the same as telling them that society expects them to look like the gender they feel inside so they should just accept what they look like as normal. It is not how anything works.

6. Autism Cure Research will never lead to improvements for autistic people.

Here's a site that shows autism research paid for through various years. [2] Treatments and research into the specific causes of autism work towards treatments for specific conditions (could be thought of as partial cures). Knowledge of these specifics can lead to better understanding and eventually lead to an overall cure for specific autistic people who suffer from specific aspects of the spectrum. Treatments could simply alleviate the most severe aspects of autism. Imagine if there were no severe autistics. To say research into a cure would literally only be research that would directly lead to a cure is misleading. It has to be understanding of hundreds of specific and different underlying issues that lead to specific aspects of the spectrum. Tens or hundreds of different causes. You can't just throw money at someone and say "give me a cure." There is no throwing money at a pharma company and saying "hey go for it." To make the claim you're making requires a lot more proof than just your word. When we set off to land on the moon research was done for that goal, but the far reaching implications of the technology that were developed were vastly different from that simple goal. Same with the invention of the Internet.

7. Aversion for cure

Your aversion for a cure is not a reason for it not to be cured for those who want the cure. You personally will not be forced. Minors around the age of 2-4 aren't likely to be as attached to their reality as you are. Their being forced will have negligible impacts on their persons at worst. You're dramatically overplaying the forced cure issue. Within a few generations no autistic people would even have to exist for this to be an issue at all. It is extremely unlikely that anyone will force this cure on anyone who does not want it unless they can't verbalize or show that they don't want it. In that case, the severity would be so bad that sure, we'll take the risk because we can't possibly know if they want it or not. You want autism to exist, that is not reason to fail to make a cure for those who don't want it to exist. You have no statistics to back up your position, or if you do you have given none. Show us an example of cures being forced on those who do not want them for other conditions that were cured. This would be excellent evidence on your side. On top of that, it would not prove that the risk is too high. It would simply prove there is a negative. The percentage of that negative compared to the percentage of those who were glad for the cure would need to be compared. Also, you'd have to retest their opinion on it years after, not immediately after. You currently think you'd hate the cure, but if you were cured would you? You cannot say. Just so we're aware, 5% of the population was your made up statistic. I was very clear about that in my previous post. You have no statistics, and thus we have the problem. That you try to fog the issue should be clear to our judges.

8. One "severe" autistic that says she does not want a cure does not prove all of them don't want a cure. Your leap of logic is too far. (again I've linked several who do) Learning English and being able to communicate without extreme difficulty is patently better. It is not necessary to do a poll to make this claim. People who disagree are simply in denial.

After all I've read from you it feels like I'm simply debating someone in denial. You probably come from the "neurodiversity" movement which is riddled with this. The facts are you are writing off everyone who wants a cure, underplaying the negatives of autism and the forced issue.
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[1] - https://en.wikipedia.org...
[2] - https://www.autism.com...
Debate Round No. 4
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Debate Round No. 5
12 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by Jhhillman 3 years ago
Jhhillman
I'm sorry, I'm too busy to debate right now or in the forseeable future. It was nice debating with you though!
Posted by Thoht 3 years ago
Thoht
So that is a no?
Posted by Thoht 3 years ago
Thoht
I don't mind reposting the argument so we can finish it and copy+pasting the previous four rounds.
Posted by Jhhillman 3 years ago
Jhhillman
I'm sorry, I've been busy with finals and wasn't able to post an argument in time.
Posted by Thoht 3 years ago
Thoht
We are not debating on if a "cure" is or is not possible though Holden. Merely if it should be if it could be.

But yes, I agree with you otherwise.
Posted by Holden_C 3 years ago
Holden_C
Firstly we need to think of autism spectrum disorder as just that, a spectrum. Whilst it is a reasonable assertion to make that the world has hugely benefitted from those with autism (or autistic traits) it would be completely unreasonable to ignore the fact there are a large number of people who have autism for whom life is a deeply unpleasant experience. Society as a whole is not geared in such a way that people with autism have their talents encouraged.

A 'cure' also gives the impression that autism is a disease and the evidence is patchy on the causes of autism and the neuro-developmental stages by which autism takes shape. Autism is an extremely individual experience and it is difficult to make such a statement. Can you 'cure' brain structure and neuro-development? That is the question.
Posted by Thoht 3 years ago
Thoht
Ochtendster,

That is part of my points, and largely the reason when I say "cure" it is in quotes.

As science advances, it is possible we will be able to change our literal genetic makeup as well as the structure of our brains. If this is true, we will be able to change ourselves in any way we prefer.

My point is that if an autistic person does not like specific things about themselves that puts them on the "autistic spectrum," they should have the option to change it if and/or when the science becomes possible.

My opponent is arguing that no cure should be looked for, attempted, or desired.

This is largely, in my view, up to the individual autistic people.

I am no neuroscientist or psychologist. I don't pretend to know exactly how or why it would work. I do know that there are symptoms of autism that are nearly universally bad, and while some autistic people would prefer to stay "themselves" despite any downsides, you cannot tell me that some would like the option if it were possible.

We are created from a genetic code. Barring the possibility that life was created by a God and no human could possibly change what has been written, we could eventually have the power to change everything as we'd like.

As I argue, nothing says you HAVE to change if you don't want to. I am arguing that you have the option if you wish it, if and when the "cure(s)" become available, and that any research into this should not be stopped.
Posted by Ochtendster 3 years ago
Ochtendster
As an autist myself, I think you two both don't really understand what autism is when you say "cure." Autism is a neuro-biological disorder that isn't "cureable" like a disease since it's not a simple virus, but many different conditions in the body that make up autism. Certain parts of the brain are over or underdeveloped, hormones get handled different in an autist's body and brain, processing speed of an autistic brain can wildly differ between autists and normal people, EQ is usually a couple points lower than the common EQ, they're usually not flexible and create rigid routines they can't break out of, etcetera etcetera. These aren't just physical symptoms you can cure with a vaccine or pill, these are also psychological symptoms. Children with autism develop way differently than children without it, and it's not just because of themselves, but also because of the enviroment they develop in. Were they raised in a calm enviroment with strict rules or structures, or a busy enviroment where there is no structure for them to build upon? When you say cure, what exactly do you want to cure about an autist? Do you want "cure" their rigidness and make them more flexible? Do you want to remove the routines an autist forms to create predictability in their day? Removing these things from an autistic person brings consequences with it, depending on when you plan on curing it. Do you want to cure an 18 year old autist who has formed their own habits and routines? What'll happen to this person once he loses his autism? Will he be the same person as before, or become an entirely different, unrecognizable human being in terms of behavior? Will you remove someone's personality by "curing" their autism? What exactly is this "cure" supposed to change, and how would it impact someone whose life has revolved around predictability, rigorous routines, habits, a select few interests and the way they process their surroundings? If you take all these things away, what will happen?
Posted by Joshfour 3 years ago
Joshfour
I have autism, so I'm not really sure which is the right answer, but I think maybe that autism SHOULD be cured.
Posted by Rightreform 3 years ago
Rightreform
Great topic for a debate. Are you including low functioning autism as well? I wish you the best of luck.
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