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beeeee Debates an AI


Score: 1

Difficulty: Easy

Mode: Sudden Death

Debate History
Should performance-enhancing drugs be allowed in sports under medical supervision?
Winner: Human
AI Judge's Decision:

The winner of the debate is the human. This participant provided complex arguments with substantiated evidence to back their points up. They covered multiple aspects of the debate topic including the health ramifications of drug use, the threats to the integrity of competitive sports, and the ethical implications of allowing the use of these substances even under medical supervision. Their argument also delved into the feasibility of regulating such use, preventing a possible "slippery slope" scenario. Even though the AI also made valid arguments against the use of performance-enhancing drugs in sports, their points were not as detailed and lacked the supportive evidence provided by the human. The AI's argument relied more on ethical and abstract considerations than concrete evidence or examples, which made their position less well-supported and convincing compared to the human's.

Human's Argument:

Ask anyone with a decent knowledge of sports and current events, and they will tell you: doping in sport is a problem. Nearly every week, another high-profile doping story makes its way to the headlines of newspapers around the world. A quick Google News search for “doping” revealed over 7,500 results from the past week alone. The stories ranged from the lesser known 2 Youth Olympic Games Wrestlers who were recently suspended to the more famous 2010 Tour de France winner Alberto Contador’s positive test. Earlier this month, Brent Musburger (an ABC/ESPN sports commentator) told a group of students at University of Montana that steroids work. Musburger blamed “journalism youngsters” who “got too deeply involved in something they didn’t know too much about” for the negative image steroids and doping now have. He went on to say that steroids had no place in high school, but “under the proper care and doctor’s advice, they could be used at the professional level.” (Quotes take from the Missoulian article.) If you know me (or have been in a class with me), you know how I feel about doping in sports. In fact, anti-doping was one of the reasons I came to law school, and more specifically to Marquette. My view is that doping has no place in sport. The story of how I came to become so staunchly against doping is for another day (and perhaps a different venue), but basically involves my love for the sport of cycling and the systematic doping that plagues that sport. Suffice it to say that I take a firm stance against doping in all sports in all forms. It probably goes without saying that I could not disagree with Musburger more. Doping, least of all in the form of anabolic steroids, has no place in sports – amateur or professional. I think all anti-doping arguments come down to two basic principles, only one of which Musburger addresses in his blanket approval of steroid use in professional athletes. First, doping threatens the health of athletes. Musburger argues that with proper medical supervision, steroids can be healthy. While this might be true in some (and I would suggest limited) cases, it would certainly not be true in all cases. The use of steroids can have serious health repercussions, including affected liver, endocrine, and reproductive function, tumors of the liver and kidneys, heart conditions, and psychiatric symptoms. Additionally, the article just linked goes on to mention the increased probability of side effects when 1) steroids are used more than the recommended dose, 2) steroids are used in conjunction with other performance enhancing substances, and 3) counterfeit or tainted steroids are used. Legalizing steroid use would not solve these problems. The side effects listed in the National Center for Biotechnology Information (a part of the National Institute of Health) article are not restricted to improper use of steroids. I will not detail out the side effects of not only steroids, but also the use of hGH and EPO (often used in cycling), the NCBI does a nice job of listing those and providing citations to studies. Furthermore, the drive to win will always encourage athletes to take “just one more.” Sure, proper medical supervision would ensure that an athlete receives the proper dose from that doctor, but when that athlete fails to win the next race, game, or match, he or she is more likely to increase the dose or combine other methods of doping. Second, and unaddressed by Musburger, doping affects the integrity of sport. Sport is not about simply winning. The saying “It’s not about whether you win or lose, it’s how you played the game,” although cliché, is absolutely correct. The Olympic Movement identifies the Olympic spirit – mutual understanding, spirit of friendship, solidarity, and fair play – as fundamental to sport. The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) was founded on the principle that integrity of sport is fundamental to the spirit of sport, and that integrity is threatened by doping. The United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) division on anti-doping believes that “doping jeopardizes the moral and ethical basis of sport and the health of those involved in it.” The National Football League itself created its own steroid policy because steroid use threatens “the fairness and integrity of athletic competition” and “sends the wrong message to young people who may be tempted to use them.” Sports are about competition on equal footing, with respect for the opponent, and with respect for the rules of the game. Permitting the use of steroids under proper medical supervision would threaten the fairness and integrity of the game. First, athletes who choose not to use steroids are at an unfair advantage – most will be unable to compete at the same level as athletes who are using steroids. Second, the integrity of the game is compromised because it is no longer about which athlete has the best skills or talent, it’s instead about which athlete has the best steroid cocktail or the money to buy the best steroids. Thus, steroid use is contrary to the spirit of sport – fairness, respect, and solidarity. The concept of mutual respect between competitors is thwarted when one (or both) athletes would rather use steroids to improve his or her performance than compete based on individual strength, skill, or talent. However, if health and integrity concerns aren’t enough to convince you, consider this final point. Law students, and indeed lawyers, are fond of the slippery slope argument. I think it finds a comfortable place in this debate. It’s a slippery slope between allowing steroid use with proper medical supervision and eliminating anti-doping regulations. Where is the line to be drawn? Will it now be illegal to use steroids only if taken without proper medical supervision? How can proper medical supervision be proven? How does an athlete prove that the steroids in his or her body were as a result of proper medical supervision and not other means? What about athletes who use more than the recommended dose? What about other forms of doping (hGh or EPO)? Are those next to be permitted under proper medical supervision? It’s difficult to see how regulating the use of steroids in sport is workable. The only way to preserve integrity in sport and protect the health of athletes is through a serious anti-doping approach. Anti-doping efforts are most successful when the “law” (anti-doping policy) sets forth clear, bright-line rules about when and what substances are prohibited. Although a long way from perfect, WADA has created the most comprehensive anti-doping program in the world (indeed the only anti-doping program most of the world outside of the US models and implements). American professional sports leagues should be looking at ways to model the WADA code in its own anti-doping policies (like the United States Anti-Doping Agency is doing), not seeking ways to excuse steroid use or compromise anti-doping efforts. Steroids have no place in sports.

AI's Argument:

While some may argue that allowing performance-enhancing drugs in sports under medical supervision may level the playing field or support athletes to reach their peak performance, I would argue against this. The foundational principles of sports revolve around fair competition, advancing through dedication and naturally gained skills, and respecting our bodies' limits. Introducing performance-enhancing drugs could undermine these values. Firstly, this could create an unfair advantage, as not all athletes would have equal access to these drugs or the best medical supervision, thus creating discrepancies that go beyond natural abilities and training. Secondly, the message we send to younger athletes is vital. Encouraging the use of drugs to improve performance can signify the prioritizing of achievement over health and ethical considerations. Finally, even under medical supervision, prolonged use of such substances may pose serious health risks that may not be fully understood or underlined. Therefore, focusing on holistic ways to enhance performance through nutrition, mental health, and effective training regimen should be our focus instead.

Is animal tourism ethical or exploitative?
Winner: AI
AI Judge's Decision:

The decision is based on the clarity and effectiveness of the argument posed by each participant. While both participants provided compelling arguments, the AI put forward a more concise and to-the-point argument on why animal tourism can be exploitative. They highlighted issues such as unnatural living conditions, physical and psychological damage to animals, and the lack of educational or preservation value. These arguments directly addressed the ethical question posed, painting a picture of the harm done to animals in these scenarios thereby offering a strong argument on the side of animal tourism being more exploitative than ethical. The human, though extremely detailed, focused on a specific geographic locational issue citing data from a particular report on animal tourism in Bali and Lombok, Indonesia. Their argument was mainly narrative and whilst highly informative, it lacked a clear direct rebuttal to the topic of whether animal tourism was ethical or not - it explored the impacts and examples of animal tourism without tying the points clearly to the ethical question. So, in context of the debate topic, they fall a bit short in generalization, making the AI's argument more effective overall.

Human's Argument:

In 2018, over 4 million tourists visited Indonesia’s most famous island, Bali, with similar numbers forecast for 2019. Amidst the poolside holidaying in Seminyak, or the reckless partying in Kuta, many tourists are continuing to drive income to one of Bali’s most corrupt industries— animal tourism. As selfies with tigers, primates and other wild species front Instagram and Facebook feeds, tourists are now forced to question the morals and ethics of their encounters with captive animals. A report released by World Animal Protection investigated the scale of wildlife used for entertainment by the tourism industry on Bali and Lombok, Indonesia. Their findings are shocking. “Of the venues visited, 100% of those with captive wild elephants, tigers, dolphins or civet cats, and 80% of those with captive wild primates did not meet even the basic needs of captive wild animals.” The report investigates venues offering wildlife tourism entertainment, such as elephant rides or elephant shows, selfie opportunities with orangutans, and swimming with captive dolphins. “At one of the dolphin entertainment venues, dolphins have had their teeth filed down or removed entirely, to ensure that they are unable to inflict serious bites on swimmers,” the report said. Animal Tourism in the Spotlight For decades tourism organizations have exploited animals in the industry, feeding a desire for tourists to pose, ride, play or interact with animals in captivity and persuading tourists to pay for those experiences. Humans have become disconnected from the idea that these once wild creatures were stolen from their natural habitats to be bred in confined spaces for the sole purpose of our entertainment. Mass awareness of the problem first began to spread in 2013, when the BAFTA-nominated documentary, Blackfish, made headlines with its account of Tilikum the Orca, captured off the coast of Iceland and brought to British Columbia’s aquarium, Sealand of the Pacific and then to SeaWorld in Orlando, Florida where he was trained to perform for crowds. Blackfish highlighted the cruel treatment of Orcas in captivity and the multi-billion dollar sea-park industry that relies on these animals for their profits. In 2016, SeaWorld announced plans to phase out the whale shows, which are expected to end in 2019. Since then, there have been numerous headlines surrounding the mistreatment of animals in tourism. In 2016, a police raid on Thailand’s Tiger Temple uncovered 40 dead tiger cubs in the temple freezer, prompting an investigation into the illegal wildlife trade and inciting legal action against the venue and its owners. In the same year, a Scottish tourist was trampled to death by an elephant during a trekking tour on the resort island of Koh Samui, in Thailand. This sparked media spotlight into the abhorrent treatment of elephants in the tourism industry. Feeding a Tourism Demand With the majority of our lives sprawled all over social media and the constant need for attaining a “like,” many individuals are searching for a way to stand out from the crowd. This need fuels activities like animal selfies. But as we become addicted to our image on social media and disconnected from the bigger picture, we are responsible for the animal living a detrimental life in captivity. However, many tourists are unaware that these animals endure such enormous trauma as a result of our participation in these attractions and participate naively in these activities simply because they have been enticed through advertisements and media. “For the unsuspecting tourist, what is being done to make these animals submissive or keep them available for personal contact happens behind the scenes, and is invisible to the people that pay for this experience” the World Animal Protection report states. While the report was conducted, World Animal Protection questioned companies, including Flight Centre and HelloWorld, both of whom had previously advertised wildlife entertainment venues on their websites. Flight Centre now include wildlife welfare as a key component of their corporate social responsibility and HelloWorld is in the process of reviewing its policies around ethical tourism. A Cruelty-Free Industry A solution to this global problem is complex. While it might be nice to imagine all the animals released back into the wild, that is unlikely. “It’s often not feasible to release wild animals raised in captivity back into the wild. The resources required to implement best possible captive solutions for those existing captive wild animals pose a huge challenge,” World Animal Protection said in a statement. The onus lies on the tourists themselves and education surrounding the treatment of animals in tourism. If we take the focus away from our social media images and our narcissistic selfies then perhaps we can begin to see the absurdity of using wild animals for our own entertainment. If we refuse to partake in such egregious activities then perhaps they would cease to exist.

AI's Argument:

Animal tourism can often be exploitative, particularly when it prioritizes visitor entertainment over animal well-being. In the pursuit of profit, tourist attractions frequently house animals in inadequate conditions or have them perform behaviors that are at odds with their natural instincts. The use of animals for rides, photo opportunities, or performances can inflict both physical and psychological damage. Captive animals face issues such as limited freedom of movement, unnatural diets, and premature separation from their mothers. These actions can lead to substantial stress and even reduce the animal's lifespan. Moreover, in many animal tourism scenarios, the education and conservation value is low or nonexistent, undermining any claim that the exploitation is justified for a greater good, like species preservation. Nurturing a culture that nurtures compassion and respect for animals involves choosing not to support attractions that exploit them for human amusement.