Archive for the ‘ESL Debates’ Category
ESL Debate – Age Discrimination
Should age discrimination be made illegal in the workplace?
Age discrimination occurs when a decision is made on the basis of a person’s age. In the workplace these are most often decisions about recruitment, promotion and dismissal. Although such discrimination could be seen in the reluctance to hire workers who were perceived to be too young and immature for the job, in practice it refers to a bias against older workers. In societies that celebrates youthfulness above almost all else, it can be very difficult for even highly qualified professionals to find new positions after the age of 50. For most older workers there appears little they can do to resist being swept aside in favour of younger replacements. European Union states have recently had to introduce an anti-age discrimination law, which makes it unlawful to discriminate against employees and job seekers because of their age. But around the world the issue remains a controversial one, both in general and in particular over the practice of setting mandatory retirement ages. read more
ESL Debate – Genetically Modified Food
Are there environmental, moral, or health issues associated with genetically modified food?
For the last year genetically modified (GM) food has been in the news almost every day! There are an enormous number of changes that can be made to organisms with genetic modification. These range from the introduction of fish genes into plants to lead to better frost resistance to modifications leading to rice plants producing more vitamin A. One of the most controversial additions is the 'terminator' gene, a stretch of DNA that renders the seeds produced by the plant infertile; this makes the plant unable to reproduce (and is used by seed companies to force farmers to buy new supplies of the seed each year). In the past varieties of crops and their seeds have not been owned by anyone. There is an increasing trend for biotechnology companies to patent GM crop varieties and thus own the exclusive right to produce and sell their seeds. This means that farmers in developing (and developed) countries will become dependent on these multinational seed-producing firms who will be able to charge high prices for patented varieties. read more
ESL Debate – Child Performers
Should young children be allowed to work in the performing arts or professional sports?
Child performers (actors, singers, figure-skaters, gymnasts etc.) often form an exception on the ban on child labour existing in most countries. Provided with on-set or on-pitch tutors they can train or perform for many hours each week on top of their schoolwork. For some this results in Olympic medals or multi-million dollar movies before they reach adulthood. Others are less lucky, gaining little success for their hard work and suffering physical or emotional damage that hampers their later life. There are many high profile cases of child actors, like Drew Barrymore who go off the rails with drink and drugs and equally high profile are the dancers, gymnasts and skaters who struggle with eating disorders. However, successful young football players like Wayne Rooney often attribute their prowess to training from an early age. Some say removing payment or limiting hours would provide a means to limit the pressure on child performers while others argue that only an outright ban can truly protect their rights.
ESL Debate – Compulsory Vaccinations
Should countries make vaccination compulsory?
Vaccines supposedly represent one of the most successful and effective interventions in medicine. By vaccinating people, society has been able to eradicate numerous diseases that caused millions of deaths before. A dramatic example is smallpox, which was responsible for some of the most formidable epidemics of humankind. In 1967 it was the cause of 2 million deaths; a decade later it was totally eradicated from the planet and many claim this was due to the global vaccination program. Many countries have thus made it compulsory for people to be vaccinated against various diseases. However, together with vaccination rose also anti-vaccination movements. Nowadays pharmaceutical companies are getting enormous profits from vaccination and different interest groups promote either the option of free choice or of compulsory vaccination.
ESL Debate – Should Animals be Used in Sports?
Should humans be allowed to use other animals as objects of sport and entertainment?
This topic is about various other uses of animals for sport, pleasure, and entertainment. A wide variety of examples from different cultures around the world might be brought into this debate: 'blood sports' such as fox and stag hunting, and fishing; forms of entertainment using performing animals, such as circuses; and sports in which animals perform for human enjoyment, such as horse racing. Views on these issues are often very culture-specific - e.g. some British people may feel more sympathy with fox hunting - these practices can form part of a national culture. Nonetheless animal rights advocates find these to be the most indefensible ways that humans treat other animals. There are two parts to the proposition case: first, it is wrong in principle to exploit non-human animals in any way; secondly, there are many concrete examples of how animals are made to suffer in the context of sports and entertainment.