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Binghamton Speech & Debate

Proposition: Sakasai Sora (Shorin Global) vs. Opposition: Will Villano (Binghamton University)

Judge: Caleb Maier (Unaffiliated)

Resolution: THBT: An overriding ethical obligation to protect and preserve extraterrestrial microbial life and ecosystems should be incorporated into international law.

  • Sakasai Sora
    Sakasai Sora

    Will Villano
    Will Villano
    Click to begin

    Speech Details

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    Posted at April 11, 2016 09:37:17AM EST by Sakasai Sora



    None available for this speech.

    Posted at April 13, 2016 02:45:21AM EST by Will Villano



    1.Kelsey Davenport, the Director for Nonproliferation Policy for the Arms Control Association.

    Citation: Davenport, Kelsey. "Chronology of U.S.-North Korean Nuclear and Missile Diplomacy." Arms Control Association, Mar. 2016. Web. 13 Apr. 2016.

    2. Paul Kerr, Research Analyst at the Arms Control Association, an organization dedicated to promoting public understanding and support for effective arms control policies.

    Citation: Kerr, Paul. “North Korea Nuclear Talks in Limbo”. Arms Control Today 35.2 (2005): 31–32.

    3. Jon Wolfsthal, Special Advisor to Vice President Joseph R. Biden for nuclear security and nonproliferation and as a director for nonproliferation on the National Security Council.

    Citation: Wolfsthal, Jon B. “U.S. Awaits North Korean Actions After Progress in Nuclear Talks”. Arms Control Today 23.7 (1993): 21–21.

    4. Kevin Robillard, reporter and editorial assistant for Politico.

    Citation: Robillard, Kevin. "10 Treaties The U.S. Hasn't Ratified." Politico. 24 July 2012.

    5. NASA Hubble article:

    6. Private space program:
    Berger, Eric. "With a Historic Landing, SpaceX Launches New Age of Spaceflight." Arstechnica. 21 Dec. 2015.

    7. Foust, Jeff. "House Budget Cuts NASA Earth Science By More Than $250 Million -" Space News. 19 May 2015.

    Posted at April 13, 2016 09:37:54AM EST by Sakasai Sora



    None available for this speech.

    Posted at April 15, 2016 12:32:51AM EST by Will Villano



    Bosselman, Fred. “The Influence of Ecological Science on American Law: An Introduction.” Chicago-Kent Law Review 69.4 (1994): 847-73.
    Fred Bosselman was a professor at the Chicago-Kent College of Law.

    Marshall, Alan. "Ethics and the Extraterrestrial Environment." Journal of Applied Philosophy 10.2 (1993): 227-36. John Wiley & Sons.
    Alan Marshall is a professor at Massey University.

    Williamson, Mark. "Space Ethics and Protection of the Space Environment." Space Policy 19 (2003): 47-52. Science Direct.
    Mark Williamson is a Space Technology Consultant, physicist, engineer, and editorial director of Earth Space Review magazine.

    Race, Margaret. "The Need For Operating Guidelines to the Discovery of Non-Intelligent Extraterrestrial Life." Advances in Space Research 30.6 (2002): 1583-591. SETI Institute.
    Margaret Race is a senior research scientist for the SETI (Search For Extraterrestrial Intelligence) Institute.

    Posted at April 15, 2016 07:58:02AM EST by Sakasai Sora



    None available for this speech.


    This match has been completed. Show the Decision.

    Submitted at April 17, 2016 07:34:02PM EST by Caleb Maier

    Category Sakasai Sora Will Villano
    Use of evidence: 1.5 3
    Delivery skill: 3.5 3.8
    Coherence of arguments: 3.5 3.5
    Responsiveness to opponent: 2.5 3
    Identification of key points: 3 3.5
    Comments: Great job. I recommend more analysis on WHY there is an ethical obligation to have equality beyond the text of the treaty. You might also say that equality promotes peace, which is more important than space exploration right now. Great job. Watch the details. Make sure to terminalize all of your impacts. When talking about equality, it is not enough to say that something is good for the economy--since that doesn't necessarily mean good for particular people, or particular countries. I think you were expecting one kind of ethical obligation--microbes are important--and may have not responded as effectively as you might have by the "equality is important" argument.

    Small aside: Will, I'm a little concerned about your use of powerpoints to relay your arguments. It wasn't a problem here, but in the future maybe just have a picture or something while you speak? I'm of course not taking any points away--just something to think about.

    The decision is for the Opposition: Will Villano

    Reason for Decision:

    Thank you for the excellent debate. Both Prop and Opp performed very well. I'm going a little out of order on the RFD, but my own notes were ordered as spoken (that is, according to the flow).

    The main points of the Prop were good--I liked the obligation to share resources with all countries regardless of technological development. I also buy that only a minority of humans or countries will profit from resources gathering in space, and that that could cause contamination. I agree that preventing contamination of space would indeed limit such inequality in gathering profits.

    It is true that Prop does not provide any ethical obligation for the protection of microbial life exactly, so I buy Opp's argument there. However, it seems that Prop includes this microbial life basically as part of the space resources.

    Most of Opp's arguments that space exploration could not occur with such a strict law are uncontested, so I buy that there would be no space exploration in the foreseeable future under Prop's plan.

    I buy that there is nothing bad about privatization except as it applies to the Prop's central argument that it is does not benefit every country, which I will consider.

    Opp's last speech introduces space farming--but their earlier speeches mentioned mining, research, and the quest for extraterrestrial life, which I will allow.

    So it comes to this central point. Is it better to have no space travel, or space travel that irreversibly distributes resources unfairly to only some countries? On this point, I will that Opp would have been more responsive, but I also wish that Prop would have fleshed out this argument more. Why is inequality a bad thing? I think there are lots of answers to this question, but I didn't see any of them in this debate. Moreover, the treaty language was uncited, so I can't weigh it greatly. Please add your citations to the website so I can read them next time.

    I buy that some laws are better than none in general, and also buy that it would be likely that this law wouldn't work for all countries. Because all countries wouldn't follow it, it seems that the law would LIKELY not protect equality. However, I still buy that there is a chance.

    Now, why should we follow this obligation of fairness? I see no good reason, and find it to be unlikely to work. Opp promises research and mining, but Opp didn't give much more than "economy benefits" to say why that is good. If Opp had mentioned farming earlier, that would have benefited their case. Additionally, I don't have much on why research is a good thing. If prop has to justify why life is important, surely Opp should justify why research and mining is imporant.

    The telescope question was indeed ignored, but I have no idea how to weigh that.

    The inability to find new life was not well impacted, except in that the thought of new life should keep me up at night. However, it was also noted that Prop needs to justify why extraterrestrial life should be protected, so I have a hard time buying from Opp that this is a voter.

    Opp does mention that humans have an obligation to proliferate, which would certainly be benefited from space mining and research.

    I think there is perhaps an implicit assumption in Prop's argument that resources are important--which is why irreversability is bad. It is possible that that is not the case--perhaps equality promotes peace or something--but that was not said. Because I don't have analysis on why equality is so important with regard to getting resources from space, I'll judge that some resources are better than no resources.

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