Nuclear Energy Debate

In a debate, there are two sides: The Pro side (for), and The Con side (against). Each side uses arguments and counter arguments to try to “win the debate.” Goal for this class: to identify the arguments and counter arguments in a debate about nuclear energy.

For example:

Pro

“I am in favor of increasing the speed limits in Japan. We can drive faster and still be safe.”

Con

“I am against increasing the speed limits in Japan. There are too many accidents now!

The Pro side: The people who like the idea are in favor of the idea. The people who like the idea are for the idea.

The Con side: The people who don’t like the idea are opposed to the idea. The people who don’t like the idea are against the idea.

Example Debate

ProCon
The Kochi University school cafeteria should sell beer to students who are 20 years old and over. Students would be happier if they drank beer.
(argument)
Well, students might be happier, but they would be sleepier in class. Their grades would go down.
(counter argument)
Selling beer at university is not such a good idea. Drunk students would cause trouble for the university and cost more money for cleaning. (argument)
Selling beer would actually make more money for the university because beer is expensive. The school would be rich.
(counter argument)
Beer is not a healthy drink. The university should try to help students be healthier by serving good food and drink in the cafeteria.
(argument)
Beer is not as healthy as green tea, I agree. But students who are adults should be able to decide for themselves what to eat and drink.
(counter argument)

Which side won?

We evaluate arguments based on their relative strength and weakness. Some arguments are stronger points than others. In a real debate, the winner is the one with the stronger arguments. In the debate above, you might decide the Con side has the stronger argument, even if you believe that the university should sell beer.

The important question is: Which side made the strongest arguments? Not Which side do you agree with?

Please watch the following TED debate about Nuclear Energy. Take notes about each side’s arguments and counter arguments.

  • What were the Pro Arguments?
  • What were the Con Arguments?
  • What were the Pro Counter Arguments?
  • What were the Con Counter Arguments?
  • Which side had the stronger arguments? (Not which side do you agree with!)

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