Team:Marburg/Human Practice:Debate


Debate with the “Brüder Grimm Debattierclub” of Marburg Next Previous

On the 4th of June the iGEM team Marburg organized a public debate on synthetic biology at the Philipps University. Members of the local student debate club held the debate and chose to discuss whether the synthetic biology should receive more support. We decided to invite students from outside the field of natural sciences because they can adopt an objective and open-minded view discussing advantages and disadvantages.

Prior to the actual debate the six speakers were separated into two groups: The government defending the topic and presenting positive aspects resulting from the support of synthetic biology and the opposition trying to refute their arguments and emphasize the danger thereof. The whole group had a set-up time of 15 minutes. Then the speakers presented their talks one after the other alternating between government and opposition. Within seven minutes they tried to convince the audience of their own point of view. While the government stated that the prospects of technological progress prevailed, the opposition argued about the danger of manipulating organisms like the synthetic biology does. At the end of the talks the audience had to decide which side they favoured. The decision was really difficult because both teams had pointed out reasonable aspects. Finally the audience named the government as the winner of the debate which can partially be attributed to the brilliant performance of the last speaker in their group.

Ultimately we all agreed that it is important to support synthetic biology and to take the benefit of the biotechnological advances. However we should keep in mind that every intervention in the natural system can have far-reaching consequences not only for the ecosystem but also for the society. That is the reason why it is important to elucidate people on current research as well as on future projects to take away their objections to upcoming science.