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Binghamton Speech & Debate

Proposition: Tyler Keech (Binghamton University) vs. Opposition: Ahmad Amireh (Liberty High School)

Judge: Chase Hutchinson (Wood River High School)

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

  • Tyler Keech
    Tyler Keech

    Ahmad Amireh
    Ahmad Amireh
    Click to begin

    Speech Details

    Click on the other tabs to watch watch that speech.

    Posted at April 25, 2016 02:41:52PM EST by Tyler Keech



    "Ethics and the Extraterrestrial Environment"
    Alan Marshall, Department of Development Studies, Massey University
    Journal of Applied Philosophy
    Vol.10, No.2 (1993),pp.227-236,JSTOR

    "Outer Space Treaty." Wikipedia. N.d. Wikipedia. Web. <>.

    Posted at April 27, 2016 12:30:28AM EST by Ahmad Amireh




    “overriding.” Merriam-Webster. Merriam-Webster. Web. 17 Apr. 2016.


    Weinberg, Brian, and Yinghui Liu. Design and Modeling of the NU Smart Space Drilling System (SSDS).

    Dietrich-Egensteiner, Will. "Is an Obsession With Safety Stifling Space Exploration?" Popular Mechanics. N.p., 18 Dec. 2013. Web. 26 Apr. 2016. <>.

    Simberg, Rand. Safe Is Not an Option: Overcoming the Futile Obsession with Getting Everyone Back Alive That Is Killing Our Expansion into Space. Jackson (Wyoming): Interglobal Media LLC, 2014. Print.


    Wolfrum, Rùˆdiger. Developments of International Law in Treaty Making. Berlin: Springer, 2005. Google Books. Web. 17 Apr. 2016.
    Simic, Ivan. "Failures of International Law and The Security Council's Tyranny." NewsBlaze News. 23 Sept. 2008. Web. 17 Apr. 2016.


    Grossman, Karl. "8. Planned Weapons in Space Violate International Treaty - Top 25 of 2000." Project Censored. N.p., 30 Apr. 2010. Web. 26 Apr. 2016. <>.

    Posted at April 27, 2016 09:45:13PM EST by Tyler Keech



    None available for this speech.

    Posted at April 29, 2016 01:02:44AM EST by Ahmad Amireh



    None available for this speech.

    Posted at April 29, 2016 09:00:00PM EST by Tyler Keech



    Alan Marshall, Department of Development Studies, Massey University, Private Bag, Palmerston North, New Zealand
    Journal of Applied Philosophy
    Vol. 10, No. 2 (1993), pp. 227-236, JSTOR

    Cockell, Charles. "How the Search for Aliens Can Help Sustain Life on Earth." CNN. Cable News Network, 02 Oct. 2012. Web. 10 Apr. 2016.


    This match has been completed. Show the Decision.

    Submitted at May 1, 2016 06:29:14PM EST by Chase Hutchinson

    Category Tyler Keech Ahmad Amireh
    Use of evidence: 3 4.5
    Delivery skill: 4 5
    Coherence of arguments: 2 5
    Responsiveness to opponent: 1.5 5.2
    Identification of key points: 3.2 5.5
    Comments: I think your first speech spends a lot of time on background which I don't really see discussed more in the future speeches you give. I am unsure what you then get from these points you make, except to open yourself up to your opponent's arguments that previous UN laws fail and further amendments would just be ignored as well. I think you could shorten this portion of your speech to just say that you would amend this portion of international law and then get into why this would solve more than anything else.

    Your opponent really hammers you with the arguments that the law wouldn't solve and you never really respond to this or any of their case really at all. I think you should point out how your opponent contradicts themselves when they say first, the plan doesn't stop exploitation and then second, saying that space exploration is built on exploitation which you take away from by decreasing their profits/ability to colonize. If you cut away their profits and therefore they can't continue to exploit, don't you stop exploitation? I never hear you really complicate the arguments they give in this regard but I think if you had I would have considered it a pretty devastating contradiction that the opposition would have a hard time getting out of.

    I really am confused why you don't attack this humans only duty is to ourselves argument. That seems like a potentially really bad idea that has led to us doing a lot of bad things to other living creatures. You almost get there once or twice, but then you undercut yourself by seemingly only wanting to keep microbes alive so that we can learn from them by using them to stop things like cancer. I then am forced to evaluate the round from the perspective of who can best let us use microbes to benefit humanity, which I think based on their "risk aversion" argument (which also goes unaddressed) that you at the very least might prevent us from using microbial life in some instances. This becomes especially true in your last speech when you put in a new argument that floats the idea that there be portions of planets that are designated as being non-colonize zones for scientific/ethical reasons. This seems to undercut the argument about how we need to use them however we can you made earlier. I think the "we need to keep them alive so we can use them" isn't persuasive enough because I think the opp does that by pointing out how NASA already does disinfect things already which rids you of any unique offense in this regard.

    I think a better potential strategy would be to point how much money is spent on space exploration which could be better spent elsewhere. If you cut the profits of this space exploration, and you show me why that is good, then I think this is a more even debate. I think that there is a lot of potential in the arguments you make but you really need to respond to the specific arguments made by your opponent while also building upon your case by providing more clear, offensive reasons for me to vote for you.

    Feel free to message me with any more questions you may have.
    You really need to be careful about the argument you make about how human's only ethical obligation is to themselves. This seems like a really risky position that could justify a lot of bad things and although your opponent doesn't respond to this, you should think about either a. how to respond to potential negative impacts to this or b. whether this is the best way to phrase this argument. I think saying that the only ethical obligation people have is to preserve life would be a better articulation of this and stop you from getting hit with anthro arguments.

    Other than that, your extensions and articulations are good throughout the debate. You do a good job answering their specific arguments as well. I could have really used some impact calc (having these microbes could save this many lives and the prop prevents us from doing that etc.) to give me a more clear place to vote for you.

    Feel free to message me with any more questions you may have.

    The decision is for the Opposition: Ahmad Amireh

    Reason for Decision:

    I think the Opposition is able to solve 100 percent of the benefits of the Proposition without any real articulated harms to their line of argumentation. This stems from how the Opposition frames the round by showing how an overriding ethical obligation creates a potential risk of "risk aversion" that would prevent research of microbes in space (which both debaters agree is seemingly good) which could prevent society from solving things like cancer (while sounding farfetched, this is the only impact I have in the round). Further, the Proposition concedes too many points about how the Opposition would properly disinfect things anyways and how that would actually allow them to use all the potentially untapped future knowledge to be gained from microbes. Therefore, I see there being no benefit to the Proposition when it only creates the potential "risk aversion" that the Opposition would limit future life-saving research which they are able to avoid to capture all the benefits explained to me in the debate.

    1 Comment

    Thank you Tyler for an awesome round. You are an amazing debater and I wish you good luck with the rest of the tournament. To my judge, thank you for the insightful comments. If I am lucky enough to advance to finals, I will definitely use your advice not only in this tournament, but in all of my future debates. - Ahmad Amireh on May 1, 2016 at 07:24PM EST

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