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Death398x239

Death Is Not Final

May 07, 2014

If consciousness is just the workings of neurons and synapses, how do we explain the phenomenon of near-death experience? By some accounts, about 3% of the U.S. population has had one: an out-of-body experience often characterized by remarkable visions and feelings of peace and joy, all while the physical body is close to death. To skeptics, there are more plausible, natural explanations, like oxygen deprivation. Is the prospect of an existence after death “real” and provable by science, or a construct of wishful thinking about our own mortality?

Obamacare398x239

Obamacare Is Now Beyond Rescue

January 15, 2014

With the disastrous launch of the HealthCare.gov website, critics of the Affordable Care Act, or “Obamacare,” were given more fuel for the fire. Is this political hot potato's inevitability once again at stake? And is the medical community really on board with the law, or resisting (rewriting?) it from the sidelines?

Food FinalCleanWeb

Don't Eat Anything With A Face

December 04, 2013

According to a 2009 poll, around 1% of American adults reported eating no animal products. In 2011 that number rose to 2.5%--more than double, but still dwarfed by the 48% who reported eating meat, fish or poultry at all of their meals. In this country, most of us are blessed with an abundance of food and food choices. So taking into account our health, the environment and ethical concerns, which diet is best? Are we or aren't we meant to be carnivores?

FDADebateRed-debate-details

The FDA'S Caution Is Hazardous To Our Health

May 08, 2013

The Food and Drug Administration, the oldest comprehensive consumer protection agency in the U.S. federal government, is charged with protecting the public health.  Under this mandate, it regulates drugs and medical devices for their safety and effectiveness.  But is it a failing mandate?  It’s long been argued that the FDA’s long and costly approval processes stifle innovation and keep life-changing treatments from the market.  But the question remains: when it comes to public health, is it ever okay to sacrifice safety for speed?

BabiesDebateDetails

Prohibit Genetically Engineered Babies

February 13, 2013

Imagine a world free of genetic diseases, where parents control their offspring’s height, eye color and intelligence.  The science may be closer than you think.  Genes interact in ways that we don’t fully understand and there could be unintended consequences, new diseases that result from our tinkering.  But even if the science could be perfected, is it morally wrong?  Would it lead to eugenics and a stratified society where only the rich enjoy the benefits of genetic enhancement?  Or would the real injustice be depriving our children of every scientifically possible opportunity?

LegalizeDrugsWeb2

Legalize Drugs

November 14, 2012

It was 1971 when President Richard Nixon declared a "war on drugs." $2.5 trillion dollars later, drug use is half of what it was 30 years ago, and thousands of offenders are successfully diverted to treatment instead of jail. And yet, 22 million Americans-9% of the population-still uses illegal drugs, and with the highest incarceration rate in the world, we continue to fill our prisons with drug offenders. Decimated families and communities are left in the wake. Is it time to legalize drugs or is this a war that we're winning?

EndOfLifeWeb2

Ration End-Of-Life Care

October 10, 2012

PRESENTED IN PARTNERSHIP WITH CHICAGO IDEAS WEEKJust because we can extend life, should we? The U.S. is expected to spend $2.8 trillion on health care in 2012. Medicare alone will cost taxpayers $590 billion, with over 25% going toward patients in their last year of life. If health care is a scarce resource, limited by its availability and our ability to pay for it, should government step in to ration care, deciding whose life is worth saving? In other words, how much is an extra month of life worth? 

universal health coverage

Universal Health Coverage Should be the Federal Government's Responsibility

September 16, 2008

Debate description coming soon.

Human organ markets

We Should Legalize the Market for Human Organs

May 13, 2008

Debate description coming soon.

Organic Food

Organic Food Is Marketing Hype

April 13, 2010

Eating organic used to be a fringe commitment. Not anymore. The idea that the adage “you are what you eat” actually has merit – that America’s industrialized food system is making consumers – literally, consumers – obese, diabetic and primed for heart disease – has converted millions of us into pursuers of the American Organic Dream: Eat Organic To Live Longer and Better. But many aren’t buying it. Most consumers, for example. Although sales of organic food increased sixfold over the last decade, organics are still a tiny fraction of the food Americans eat. Perhaps that’s because organic food can cost up to twice as much as conventionally grown? Perhaps it’s because – as critics of the organic food movement argue – there’s just not a lot of solid evidence that going organic makes you any healthier. This side says the race by food makers to slap labels like “farm-grown,” “free-range,” and “all natural” is more about catching a fad than upgrading our food in any meaningful way. Should we all go organic, and pay the extra that it costs, because few things are more important than our health? Or is the organic movement, and the firms cashing in on it, hawking a hoax, or at least grossly overstating the biological benefits to be had when the chicken that we eat is raised with some more legroom?

performance enhancing drugs

We Should Accept Performance-Enhancing Drugs in Competitive Sports

January 15, 2008

Debate description coming soon.

Obamacare

Repeal Obamacare

January 11, 2011

In March 2010 President Obama signed into law the Affordable Care Act, the biggest overhaul of our health care system in decades. According to a November poll from the Kaiser Family Foundation, 40 percent of the public would like Congress to expand the new health reform law or leave it as is, while 49 percent are in favor of repealing all or parts of it. Can the new law reduce the deficit and expand coverage to millions of uninsured Americans, or, as its critics warn, will it actually increase the deficit and fail to control costs that are spiraling out of control?

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Obesity Is The Government's Business

February 06, 2012

With 33% of adults and 17% of children obese, the U.S. is facing an obesity epidemic. A major risk factor for expensive, chronic conditions like heart disease, diabetes, and cancer, it costs our health care system nearly $150 billion a year.