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Tags Causality Argumentation Theory Proposition Rhetoric
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Table of Contents
                            Contents
Introduction
Abortion on Demand
Abortion, Parental Notification/Consent
Advertising, Image of Women in
Advertising, Targeting of Children
Affirmative Action
AIDS Drugs for Developing Countries
Alcohol, Banning of
American Culture: Should It Be Feared?
Animal Rights
Arranged Marriages
Arts Subsidies, Abolition of
Assassination of a Dictator
Assisted Suicide
Biodiversity and Endangered Species
Boxing, Abolition of
Campaign Finance Reform
Capital Punishment
Cell Phones, Banning of Use in Cars
Censorship of the Arts
Child Labor
Child Offenders, Stricter Punishment for
Children, Choosing Sex of
China, Fear of
Civil Disobedience
Condoms in Schools
Conscription and National Service
Corporal Punishment: Adults
Corporal Punishment: Children
Corruption, Benefits of
Creationism in Public Schools
Cuba, Dropping of US Sanctions on
Cultural Treasures, Return of
Curfew Laws
Democracy, Imposition of
Developing World Debt, Cancellation of
DNA Database for Criminals
Drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge
Drugs in Sports
Drug Testing in Schools
Economic Development vs. Environment
Economic Sanctions vs. Engagement
Electoral College, Abolition of
Environmentally Linked Aid
Ethical Foreign Policy
Factory Farming, Banning of
Failed States, US Intervention to Prevent Collapse of
Foreign-Born Presidents
Free Speech, Restrictions on
Free Trade and Development
Gay Adoption
Gay Clergy
Gay Marriage
Gays in the Military
Gene Patenting
Genetically Modified Food
Genetic Screening
Globalization and the Poor
Global Warming
God, Existence of
Greenhouse Gases: Trading Quotas
Gun Control
Hate Speech on Campus
Health Care, Universal
Home Schooling
Human Cloning
Human Organs, Sale of
Human Rights: Existence of
Human Rights: Imposition by Force?
Immigration Reform
International Criminal Court
Internet Censorship
Internment Without Trial
Iran’s Right to Possess Nuclear Weapons
Iraq, Immediate Withdrawal from
Islam and Democracy
Israel and the Palestinians, US Policy Toward
Israel’s Security Barrier
Ivory Trading
Just War
Landmines, US Production and Use of
Mandatory Sentencing: Three Strikes
Marijuana, Legalization of
Minority Languages
Minority Schools
Monarchy, Abolition of
Multiculturalism vs. Integration
National Testing
Nuclear vs. Renewable Energy
Nuclear Weapons, Abolition of
Overpopulation and Contraception
Overseas Manufacturing
Pacifism
Parentage, Right to Know
Parental Responsibility
Politicians and Special Interests
Polygamy
Pornography, Banning of
Preventive War
Priestly Celibacy, Abolition of
Privacy vs. Security
Prostitution, Legalization of
Rebuilding After Disasters, Government Role in
Religion: Source of Conflict or Peace?
Religious Belief: Rational or Irrational?
Russia: Strong Leadership vs. Democracy
School Uniforms
School Vouchers
Science: Threat to Society?
Sex Education in Schools
Sex Offenders: Publicly Naming
Single-Sex Schools
Smoking, Further Restrictions on
Space Exploration
Stem Cell Research and Therapeutic Cloning
Sudan: Increased Military Presence in
Torture in Interrogation
Two-Party System
United Nations: A Failure?
Vegetarianism
War Crimes Tribunals
Warrantless Wiretapping
Water Privatization
Water Resources: A Commodity?
Whaling, Lifting the Ban on
Women in Combat
Zero Tolerance Policing
Topical Index
	A
	C
	D
	E
	F
	G
	H
	I
	M
	P
	R
	S
	U
	W
                        
Document Text Contents
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|11�

the last century. When in the atmosphere, CO
2
and

other gases are thought to cause a “greenhouse effect”:
They allow sunlight to pass through, but absorb heat
emitted by the Earth, trapping it and leading to global
warming. Weather records seem to support this theory.
Average temperatures have increased by 0.6°C since the
nineteenth century; the four hottest years since accu-
rate records have been kept have all been in the 1990s.
Unusual weather patterns such as floods and droughts
have also been on the increase, with the uncharacter-
istically strong El Niño events of recent years causing
widespread disruption. The Intergovernmental Panel on
Climate Change (IPCC), an international body set up to
study possible global warming, has concluded that “. . .
the balance of evidence suggests that there is a discern-
ible human influence on global climate.”

Computer models predict that continued global warm-
ing could have catastrophic effects. Changes in temper-
ature could devastate wildlife when local vegetation dies
off. Patterns of disease could change. Already isolated
cases of malaria have been reported far north of tradi-
tional danger zones as warmer weather allows the mos-
quitoes that carry the disease to spread. Most important,
a portion of the polar ice caps might melt and lead to a
rise in sea level, which has already increased by between
10 and 25 cm in the last 100 years. Giant cracks have
been found in the Larsen ice shelf in Antarctica, which
suggest that it is breaking apart; a section 48 miles wide
and 22 miles long drifted free and melted as early as
1994. If, as experts believe, temperatures rise a further
3°C over the next century, low-lying areas and even
entire countries, such as Bangladesh, could disappear
under the waves.

Technology has now reached the point where we can
continue to increase standards of living without burning
fossil fuels. Renewable sources of energy, such as wind
or solar power, are ripe for development, but have yet
to see the levels of investment needed to make them
truly effective. More efficient use of energy is also vital.
Encouraging the development of electric cars or promot-
ing better insulation of houses could make a substantial
difference in CO

2
levels in the long run.

Global warming is a worldwide catastrophe waiting to
happen. The emission of greenhouse gases affects every-
one. It is, therefore, vital that the entire world respond

global warming, how do you account for this? Accurate
records simply do not cover a long enough period to be
useful. The Earth’s average temperature varies naturally
through time, and we have few good explanations of the
Ice Ages. Indeed, there was a “mini–Ice Age” around 400
years ago, during which the River Thames in England
repeatedly froze over in winter. This was followed by an
intense but natural period of “global warming.” We do
not have enough information to say that current trends
are not simply a natural variation.

Again, our computer models for predicting climate
change are far from reliable. Weather is a hugely com-
plex system that we are only beginning to understand.
It is affected by many factors, including solar activity,
volcanic eruptions, ocean currents, and other cycles that
we are gradually discovering. Very slight changes in the
computer model result in immense differences in predic-
tions. Some scientists, for example, have suggested that
global warming could actually cause a drop in sea level as
rainfall patterns and ocean currents shift. Indeed, refine-
ments in the models used by the IPCC have caused it
to modify its predictions. In 1990, the IPCC estimated
that by 2100 the average temperature would rise by 3°C
and the sea would rise by about 65cm; in 1995, it revised
its estimates to 2°C and 50 cm. The more research that
takes place, the less catastrophic global warming seems
to be. The media always report the predictions of doom
most widely.

Of course greater energy efficiency is important. How-
ever, most alternative fuels are simply not effective. They
can also cause their own problems. Nuclear power cre-
ates unacceptable radioactive waste; hydroelectric power
projects, such as the Three Gorges Dam in China, lead
to the flooding of vast areas and the destruction of the
local environment; solar and wind power often require
the covering of large areas of natural beauty with solar
panels or turbines. Environmentalists often paint an ide-
alistic view of renewable energy that is far from the less
romantic reality.

The evidence for global warming is not strong enough
to merit this kind of response. The changes over the past
century may certainly have been purely natural. Environ-

PROS CONS

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120|The Debatabase Book

Sample Motions:
This House believes that the Kyoto Protocol didn’t go far enough.
This House calls for urgent action on global warming.
This House fears a global greenhouse.
This House believes that global warming demands global action.

Web Links:
• Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. <http://www.ipcc.ch> Offers reports assessing scientific, technical, and socioeco-

nomic information related to human-induced climate change.

• Kyoto Protocol. <http://www.cnn.com/SPECIALS/1997/global.warming/stories/treaty/> Full text of the Kyoto Protocol.

• National Center for Policy Analysis. <http://www.ncpa.org/bothside/gw.html> Site presenting arguments on both sides of the
debate.

• World Meteorological Organization. <http://www.wmo.ch> UN organization provides information on meteorological issues as
well as a statement on the status of the global climate.

Further Reading:
Flannery, Tim. The Weather Makers: How Man Is Changing the Climate and What It Means for Life on Earth. Atlantic Monthly Press,
2006.

Gore, Al. An Inconvenient Truth. Rodale, 2006.

Klobert, Elizabeth. Field Notes from a Catastrophe. Bloomsbury USA, 2006.

Lovelock, James. The Revenge of Gaia: Earth’s Climate Crisis and the Fate of Humanity. Basic Books, 2006.



now. The targets set by the Kyoto Protocol will barely
scratch the surface of the problem. The developed world
agreed to only minimal reductions in carbon dioxide
emissions, and no agreement was reached involving the
developing world, which is producing a greater percent-
age of greenhouse gas emissions every year. Gases like
CO

2
remain in the atmosphere for centuries. If we wait

until we can see the results of global warming, it may be
too late. The damage will have been done. We must act
now, and we must act globally. Developed countries must
do all they can to reduce their use of fossil fuels. They
must assist developing nations to do the same, by shar-
ing technology or perhaps through “emissions trading,”
allowing poorer countries to sell their quota of pollution
in return for hard cash. International pressure must be
exerted against those countries that do not cooperate,
even if this slows economic growth. The poorest regions
of the world would suffer most from more droughts and
floods and rising sea levels. However difficult it may be
in the short term, such actions now may save millions of
lives in the future.

mentalists in the developed world can afford the luxury
of demanding government action because reducing pol-
lution will have a minimal impact on their technology-
based economies. Those in the developing world are not
so lucky. Industrialization is a key part of building suc-
cessful economies and bringing prosperity to the world’s
poorest people; heavy industry is often the only area in
which developing nations can compete. Global action
on greenhouse gas emissions would sustain the inequali-
ties of the status quo. The developing world would have
to depend on multinational corporations to provide the
technology needed to keep pollution levels low, or else
they would have to stop expanding their economies.
Having apparently caused the problem through the
industrialization that made them powerful, developed
countries would be pulling the ladder up behind them,
depriving other countries of the chance to grow. This is
simply unacceptable. In the modern world, one of our
first priorities must be to help the poorest people achieve
the prosperity they need to support themselves. The cur-
rent evidence for global warming does not begin to merit
endangering this goal.

PROS CONS

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|23�Topical index

Foreign-Born Presidents
Immigration Reform

Islam and Democracy
Just War

Monarchy, Abolition of
Pacifism

Politicians and Special Interests
Preventive War

Two-Party System

RELIGION AND MORALITY
Abortion on Demand

Abortion, Parental Notification/Consent
Assisted Suicide

Gay Clergy
Gay Marriage

God, Existence of
Human Cloning

Human Organs, Sale of
Islam and Democracy

Just War
Pornography, Banning of

Priestly Celibacy, Abolition of
Religion: Source of Conflict or Peace?

Religious Belief: Rational or Irrational?
Sex Education in Schools

Stem Cell Research and Therapeutic Cloning
Vegetarianism

RIGHTS AND LIBERTIES
Abortion on Demand

Abortion, Parental Notification/Consent
Animal Rights

Censorship of the Arts
Drug Testing in Schools

Free Speech, Restrictions on
Hate Speech on Campus

Human Rights: Existence of
Human Rights: Imposition by Force?

Internet Censorship
Internment Without Trial

Multiculturalism vs. Integration
Parentage, Right to Know
Pornography, Banning of

Privacy vs. Security
Warrantless Wiretapping

SCIENCE, TECHNOLOGY AND SOCIETY
Gene Patenting

Genetic Screening
Human Cloning

Nuclear vs. Renewable Energy
Space Exploration

Stem Cell Research and Therapeutic Cloning

SOCIAL ISSUES
Abortion on Demand

Abortion, Parental Notification/Consent
Affirmative Action

Alcohol, Banning of
Arranged Marriages

102
138
149
156
166
178
183
187
218

23
25
45

107
109
121
131
133
149
156
186
189
195
197
205
213
222

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25
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55
90

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125
134
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143
168
180
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225

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172
211
213

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25
30
34
39

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2�0|The Debatabase Book

Assisted Suicide
Capital Punishment

Cell Phones, Banning of Use in Cars
Gay Adoption
Gay Marriage
Gun Control

Immigration Reform
Marijuana: Legalization of

Overseas Manufacturing
Parentage, Right to Know

Parental Responsibility
Pornography, Banning of

Prostitution, Legalization of
Rebuilding After Disasters, Government Role in

Smoking, Further Restrictions on

SPORTS
Boxing, Abolition of

Drug in Sports

UNITED NATIONS
International Criminal Court

United Nations: A Failure?
War Crimes Tribunals

UNITED STATES IN THE WORLD
American Culture: Should It Be Feared?

Cuba, Dropping of US Sanctions on
Democracy, Imposition of
Internment Without Trial

Iraq, Immediate Withdrawal from
Israel and the Palestinians, US Policy Toward

Israel’s Security Barrier
Just War

Landmines, US Production and Use of
Nuclear Weapons, Abolition of

Overseas Manufacturing
Preventive War

Torture in Interrogation
War Crimes Tribunals

WOMEN
Abortion on Demand

Abortion, Parental Notification/Consent
Advertising, Image of Women in

Women in Combat

45
52
53

106
109
124
138
162
177
180
181
186
192
194
209

49
88

139
220
224

36
74
80

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156
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187
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224

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