Debates: Science

25 Jan 2017

The case: Teaching creationism in US schools

On April 11 2012, Tennessee passed a law that will protect teachers who choose to explore the merits of creationism alongside theories of evolution in public school science classes. Governor Bill Haslam claimed that the legislation would not...

24 Nov 2015

With the dawn of the internet, people are able to communicate with unprecedented degrees of anonymity: the ability to send messages, make statements, or take actions with little or no potential to be personally identified in doing so. Many social media sites, forums, and message boards allow...

24 Nov 2015

This debate is about whether every child should have a mobile phone (Cell phone if you are in the United States). This does not mean that they always have to have it with them, or that they will be forced to always have their phone turned on. It also does not mean that children, or their parents...

2 Sep 2015

In little more than a decade, mobile phones have become widespread in developed countries, changing the way people communicate and interact. Concerns over their use have tended to centre upon the effects of radio emissions upon the brain, but more recently mobile phones have been blamed for...

26 Aug 2015

At least as far back as Ben Johnson's steroid scandal at the 1988 Olympics, the use of performance-enhancing drugs in sports had entered the public psyche. Johnson's world record sprint, his win, and then, the stripping of his gold medal made news around the world. However,...

26 Aug 2015

In this debate "testing" should be defined as all testing on animals including, medical research, cosmetics, toxicology testing, and psychological research involving animal subjects. Most existing bans on animal research, when they have been implemented, have involved some form of disciplinary...

11 Feb 2014

Creationism, often rebranded as Intelligent Design, is the belief that intelligent agency was involved in the creation and development of life on Earth. The view purports to be a science and to be deserving of consideration not only by the scientific community, but also students. For this reason...

23 Jan 2014

Animal research has been used for several centuries as part of efforts to better understand the world around us. More than 100,000,000 animals a year are used in animal testing, most of them put down once they are have been experimented on.[1]

The drugs industry spends a significant...

7 Jan 2014

2011 – 2012 has seen a great proliferation in MOOCs, or massive open online courses, which made university subjects available free of charge to anyone on the internet. MOOCs are generally provided by universities, such as edX by Harvard and MIT, but can also include non-university partners...

3 Jan 2014

A cyber attack is an attack on computer based systems to sabotage them or to spy on others, through such means as viruses, hacking, denial-of-service attacks (i.e. DoS - making the network resource or machine unavailable for its intended users), and others [1][2]. Large scale cyber attacks can...

6 Dec 2013

The right to be forgotten is a right to have one's digital footprint erased from the internet. This                consists of erasing information about oneself and about one's activity from the internet,...

22 Oct 2013

Despite launching as recently as 2004 Facebook has quickly become the biggest social network on the internet. It has more than a billion members of whom half log in daily. It is one of the biggest companies in the world with its market value passing $100 billion in the summer of 2013.(1) Without...

13 Sep 2013

Anonymous posting on the internet is where someone posts something on an online bulletin board, internet forum, blog or comment and is allowed and able to remain anonymous – either because he or she doesn’t have to give up any identifiable information (like a pseudonym or email) or...

6 Sep 2013

3D printing is a revolutionary method of manufacturing. It is an additive process, meaning that it builds layer over layer of material in any shape using a laser, and does not waste as much material as cutting or drilling larger blocks into the desired shape (subtractive manufacturing). Recently...

19 Aug 2013

Efforts to contact extraterrestrials have been ongoing since the end of the 19th century, but it was only in the 1980s that well-funded foundations and government operations with the express purpose of making contact with intelligent alien life began to emerge. In recent decades unmanned probes...

14 Aug 2013

A creative commons license is a kind of copyright license that gives people the right to use, share, and expand upon a creator’s work whether this is an art work, a piece of literature, or a scientific or academic material.[1] It offers a...

14 Aug 2013

Censorship and internet filtering has been increasing over the last few years. While authoritarian regimes feel that they need to censor the internet in order to stifle political dissent and keep certain topics out of the public domain, it should be noted that internet filtering is common across...

14 Aug 2013

I. Introduction

            This debate has a fairly large scope as it concerns itself with children, as defined by the United Nations Convention on the Rights of a Child (UNCRC), that is, “any human being under...

14 Aug 2013

What is ACTA?

The intention behind the creation of ACTA is to allow countries to work together to tackle intellectual property violations which are currently taking place on a large scale across the world. It creates international standards for the enforcement of...

14 Aug 2013

The Internet is growing at a fantastic rate and is a huge resource for mass communication and information distribution. It can be used to spread information anywhere in the world at a minimal cost[1] and, due to the increase of computers or other...

14 Aug 2013

When Google.cn (a China-specific, local google homepage) first launched in 2006, it complied with Chinese censorship regulations, but not wholeheartedly: whenever search results were restricted from a search at google.cn, the user would get a notification that certain results had been censored....

12 Aug 2013

June and July 2013 brought a large number of revelations about the size of surveillance by the National Security Agency, the US intelligence agency that deals with monitoring communications around the world. While it was known that the internet was monitored it was not known to what extent, the...

25 Jul 2013

Intellectual property (IP) is a legal field that refers to creations of the mind such as musical, literary, and artistic works; inventions; and symbols, names, images, and designs used in commerce, including copyrights, trademarks, patents, and related rights. Under intellectual property law,...

25 Jul 2013

Microsoft has held a monopoly on software such as operating systems and office applications for most desktop computers for the last two decades. There have been a variety of rivals from Lotus to Netscape who have tried and failed to unseat the company’s dominance. Since 1989 a new generation of...

25 Jul 2013

File sharing, for the purposes of this debate, is providing access to or getting access to software, video, music or other media files for free that you would normally have to pay for. File sharing outside of the control of the copyright holder has become a major problem for media companies who...

25 Jul 2013

Until the 1990s, copying music was a tedious task: you needed to go out and buy an album. If you wanted to copy it, you needed to buy a cassette and then play the entire album while the cassette was recording it. Two developments changed this: one was the invention of easily copyable audio-file...

16 Jul 2013

In the last decade, the development of Genetically Modified Organisms (GMO) has emerged as a highly controversial topic. This is a difficult topic because a basic grasp on the scientific issues is necessary to take the debate beyond the level of media headlines. Here is a very brief summary of...

28 Jun 2013

There are two relatively new technological methods of achieving the goal of embryonic gender selection, which has for so long been the stuff of science fiction. These are genetic diagnosis, in which embryos created in a test-tube are analysed before being implanted in the womb, and the MicroSort...

6 Jun 2013

Creative commons licenses are a kind of copyright license that gives people the right to use, share, and expand upon artists’ work. They offer users of content significant protection against accusations of copyright infringement and are even believed by advocates to offer artists greater...

4 Jun 2013

The cloning of ‘Dolly’ the sheep in 1997 by Ian Wilmut and his colleagues at the Roslin Institute in Edinburgh generated a spontaneous worldwide reaction. Dr. Richard Seed, an American geneticist, claimed he would be able to clone human beings within a year. A Korean doctor was...