Debate Motions I Would Have Liked to Set

Over the last years I spent a lot of time doing competitive debating. As part of that hobby, I also served as Chief Adjudicator (CA) at a lot of tournaments. CAs, among other things, set the motions that the teams will debate throughout the tournament. For years I therefore kept track of things that would make an interesting topic for a debate. I will (probably) not be a CA again in the near future. I’m therefore releasing my list of debate motions I never had the chance to set in the hope that they may be useful to others.

Most of the motions maybe aren’t “quite there yet”. Just having a broad idea is usually not enough – refining the wording of a motion takes quite a lot of effort. For many of these motions I just didn’t have the time to do that. But I’m releasing them here so others may put in that effort and make use of these ideas. These motions usually start with “This House”. This is rooted in the parliamentary tradition of competitive debating and can usually be just translated with “should we”, “do we think” or something along those lines. Here is the list:

  • There are kits that can be bought that allow you to control the movements of cockroaches via brain stimulation. This house would ban these kits from being sold to the public
  • Assuming that autonomous driving is a reality, this house would mandate the producer of the safest cars to publish their algorithms. Alternatively: This house would grant the producer of the safest cars monopoly rights
  • Assuming there were definitive evidence that men and women were, on average, happier in traditional gender roles. This house would destroy the evidence.
  • Currently, scientific studies are only approved if they are expected to be beneficial to the individual participant. This House would allow scientific studies that are beneficial to society even if they may on average be harmful to the individual participant. (Think e.g. about infecting voluntary participants with Covid)
  • This house would introduce a quota for white collar crime
  • This house would abolish the publication of p-values
  • This house would revoke the citizenship of tax exiles
  • This house would mandate medical students to work several years as a doctor
  • This house would publish all research anonimously
  • Assuming the state knew what would make individual people happy. This house believes that the state should force these things upon individuals
  • This house believe the state should actively aim to make its citizens happy
  • This house would weigh individual votes according to demographics and similar characteristics to obtain an exact representation of society. (i.e. you would increase or decrease the weight of a vote from a certain demographic until it is proportional to the share of that demographic in overall society)
  • This house welcomes the arrival of deepfakes
  • This house would prioritize job security over making it easy to hire and fire people
  • This house believes that supporting the North Korean economy does more harm than good
  • This house supports accelerationism
  • This house believes that it is in Israel’s interest to surrender control of East Jerusalem
  • This house would allow the testing of medications on children
  • This house would students pay for their university education
  • This house prefers politicians to be responsive to public opinion rather than follow a principle-based agenda
  • This house believes that the United States should not have killed Osama bin Laden
  • This house supports the emphasis of individual responsibility for global problems like pollution, global warming or factory farming
  • This house would allow individuals to sell legal claims
  • Assuming a Chinese attack on Taiwan, this house as the United States would intervene
  • This house believes the West should ban the import of products treated with glyphosate (‘Roundup’)
  • It is 1988. This house believes the US should release King Tone
  • This house would make it illegal for job applicants to disclose which university they graduated from
  • This house would prioritize replicating existing research over making new discoveries
  • Over the last decades, the average age of researchers funded by the NIC has increased significantly. This house supports that the NIH funds older scientists

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