EQ:Should the drinking age in the United States be lowered from 21? (Matt M-TOPIC 2)

Should the drinking age in the United States be lowered from 21?
Many people believe that the current drinking age in the United States should be lowered. They argue that lowering the drinking age would remove the element of taboo that surrounds alcohol, and decrease the amount of teens that drink simply for the thrill of breaking the law. On the opposite end of the spectrum, there are those who believe that lowering the drinking age will cause an increase in violence in teens.
The drinking age in the United States should be lowered to the age of 18.
A study done by an alcohol awareness group called Choose responsibly stated “Legal Age 21 has postponed fatalities – not reduced them – because every claim of an 18, 19, or 20 year-old life “saved” as a result of Legal Age 21 is offset by the number of 21, 22, or 23 year-old lives lost.” Instead of increasing the Legal drinking age, the government should increase awareness of the dangers of drinking. By lowering the legal drinking age in the United States to 18, you allow teens to experiment with alcohol in a controlled environment, where they can be supervised, instead of teens going to uncontrolled and unsupervised places to drink in order to hide it from their parents.



Filed under Controversial Issue #2

EQ- Should euthanasia or physician-assisted suicide be legal? (Kenneth-TOPIC 2)

EQ- Should euthanasia or physician-assisted suicide be legal?
BACKGROUND- Some people believe that physician-assisted suicide, euthanasia, should not be allowed because it is supposed to be a doctor’s job to try and keep their patients alive, and that this would target the poorer population because they cannot afford health care basically allowing insurance companies to save money by ending some people’s lives. Proponents of physician-assisted suicide argue that if the patient is in excruciating pain and is in a terminal illness stage where it is known that they are not going to make it should be allowed to ask for their lives to end, and that this is a right guaranteed by the constitution like marriage or having a baby.
CLAIM- Although it is a doctors job to try and keep their patient alive if there is nothing that they can do to reverse the damage already there a person should be able to ask for their life to be ended because it’s up to us to decide how we want to die, the pain would be unbearable and death would be easier than coping with the pain, and it is a right guaranteed to us by the constitution.
SUPPORT- Many people believe that there is no other way out than die, and that’s certainly the case for many patients with terminal diseases, so if they have the right to be alive why can’t they decide how they want to die. It is true that some people that are mentally ill commit suicide, but physician assisted suicide is different because that patient is going through something that cannot be fixed in most cases where a person who is depressed can be brought back to believing things are alright.
Jack Kevorkian, MD, a retired pathologist also known as ‘Dr. Death’ who has aided over 130 people in ending their lives, stated the following in a 1990 interview with Cornerstone magazine:”I believe there are people who are healthy and mentally competent enough to decide on suicide. People who are not depressed. Everyone has a right for suicide, because a person has a right to determine what will or will not be done to his body. There’s no place for people to turn today who really want to commit suicide. Teenagers, and the elderly especially, have nowhere to turn. But when they come to me, they will obey what I say because they know they’re talking to an honest doctor.”
The 14th Dalai Lama (Tenzin Gyatso, PhD), spiritual leader and Head of State of the Tibetan government in exile, stated the following in a 1985 letter to Asiaweek:”In the event a person is definitely going to die and he is either in great pain or has virtually become a vegetable, and prolonging his existence is only going to cause difficulties and suffering for others, the termination of his life may be permitted according to Mahayana Buddhist ethics.”


Filed under Controversial Issue #2

EQ: Should churches (defined as churches, temples, mosques, synagogues, etc.) remain tax-exempt? (Justin-TOPIC 2)

EQ: Should churches (defined as churches, temples, mosques, synagogues, etc.) remain tax-exempt?

Background: Some argue that the Federal government should not tax religious institutions, such as churches, because this would violate the separation of church and state. However, others claim that a tax exemption is a form of subsidy, and the Federal Government is barred from funding religion and religious institutions. Furthermore, some people start up fraudulent religions, so they may exploit the tax exemption.

Claim: Although one can argue that churches are entitled to tax exemptions, because otherwise the government would be violating the separation of church and state, one can also argue that the federal government loses much of its revenue when fraudulent faiths exploit the IRS tax exemption. Additionally, secular nonprofit organizations, unlike other religious institutions, should be exempt from taxes, because of their work that would otherwise fall under the government. While other religious establishments, like churches and temples, conduct charitable work as well, they primary purpose is to worship and teach, which the government is barred from doing.

Support: Some religious institutions are strictly made for instruction and worship and not charitable work, therefore these churches should be taxed. “Tax exemptions to secular nonprofits like hospitals and homeless shelters are justified because such organizations do work that would otherwise fall to government. Churches, however, while they may undertake charitable work, exist primarily for religious worship and instruction, which the US government is constitutionally prevented from performing.” Also, the government loses revenue from exempting churches from paying taxes, “Exempting churches from taxation costs the government billions of dollars in lost revenue, which it cannot afford, especially in tough economic times.” Furthermore, some “churches” exploit the tax exemptions, “The tax code makes no distinction between authentic religions and fraudulent startup “faiths,” which benefit at taxpayers’ expense.”


Filed under Controversial Issue #2

EQ: Do violent video games contribute to violence in youth? (Morgan-TOPIC 2)

EQ: Do violent video games contribute to violence in youth?

Background: Many children, ranging from ages 12-17, in the U.S., play video games. In 2008, the percentage for this age group that played video games was 97% of the U.S. children. These numbers created a stable gaming industry with a $11.7 billion revenue. With all the money that these video games are producing, they are selling many different games, many include violence. Also in 2008, it was shown that 10 video games out of the top-20 best-selling in the U.S. contained violence. This opens up the debate on whether or not violent video games increase violence in today’s youth. Those who oppose violent video games for youth stress that these video games are “desensitizing” the children playing and that it teaches them that violence is the answer to their conflicts. On the other side, some believe that there is no linkage between video games and social violence. They also believe because of this that the logic from those who oppose violent video games is “deeply flawed.” To counteract what the opposing side states, they think that video games that portray violence are a way for children to release their anger through the game rather than physically. The production and sale of video games is starting to rise at an astonishing rate and with every new game the graphics become more realistic and thus, “the debate over whether or not children should be exposed to violent video games continues.”

Claim: I believe that violent videos games do contribute to violence in today’s youth. Allowing children that are under the intended game rating are more likely to get confused between the gaming world and the real world. The misunderstanding of these two concepts has the children mimicking what they see or do in video games, in real life. Just as there are age restrictions to see movies, there should be age restrictions, that are enforced, for video games.

Support: Studies from 2009 have shown “that it takes up to four minutes for the level of aggressive thoughts and feelings in children to return to normal after playing violent video games.” Therefore: “Video games that show the most blood generate more aggressive thoughts. When blood is present in video games, there is a measurable increase in arousal and hostility.” It was also found in a 2000 FBI report that video games were on a list of contributors/behaviors contributing to school shootings. “Over three thousand peer-reviewed studies, produced over a period of 30 years documenting the effects of screen violence (including violent video games), have now been published… These data suggest very strongly that participating in the playing of violent video games by children and youth increase aggressive thought and behavior; increase antisocial behavior and delinquency; engender poor school performance; desensitize the game player to violence.” (Leland Yee, PhD. June 22, 2009.) In these violent video games it is often that the player repeats the same violent acts over and over again. With this repeated exposure to the violence it, “leads to general increases in aggressiveness over time.” (Craig Anserson, PhD. 2009.)


Filed under Controversial Issue #2

EQ: Is the cost of constructing asteroid mining facilities worth the cost? (Ben-TOPIC 2)

EQ: Is the cost of constructing asteroid mining facilities worth the cost?
Background: Humanity is running out of resources on Earth. As more countries around the world develop industrially and others further their use of manufactured materials, the strain on the limited supply we have on Earth will eventually reach its breaking point. The asteroid belt in our solar system, just on the outskirts of mars, contains asteroids that have with in them, more resources then have been used in the entire history of man; many, many times more. If these resources could be mined, then Earth would have an influx of billions of tons of metals such as gold, titanium, copper, iron, and platinum and we would receive water. The cost, however, of beginning operations is extremely high, and only groups of billionaires have even begun the process.
Claim: Asteroid mining will allow billions of tons of metals and water to be brought to Earth. Everything will become more available and less expensive. The world will prosper and be allowed to grow and develop to new heights without fear of a potential resource crunch. The cost of invest and capital will be far outweighed by the return after the resources are sold. Any human life casualties will be worth it if these resources save and improved the lives of billions.
Support: Planetary Resources is a company whose sole objective is to begin mining operations on asteroids. They are back by a collection of billionaires. Their investments add up to include billions. If this was a waste of money, I don’t think these people would spend that kind of money. These billionaires include, “Google moguls Larry Page and Eric Schmidt. Filmmaker and adventurer James Cameron is one of a number of high-profile Planetary Resources advisers.” These men are not idiots, they are out to make money, and hopefully help the world with it. Earth has a finite number of resources that we can use before it is all gone. If we stop all use and consumption of these resources, the world would cease to exist as we know it. If we allow the world to continue to grow and develop, like it is going to, then we will run out of material to use, unless we find more. We have found it, in space. We either take our time and do things right now, when we have time, or rush and potentially lose everything when we have to find more resources.


Filed under Controversial Issue #2

EQ: Is the D.A.R.E. program good for American kids? (Anthony-TOPIC 2)

EQ: Is the D.A.R.E. program good for American kids?
Background: People believe that the D.A.R.E. program actually helps to prevent kids from using drugs, while others believe that the program actually sparks kids interest in drug use. A study done in 2008 shows that by the end of 8th grade year around 28% of US students has used drugs, and by the end of high school around 47% of US students. A study the following year claims that students who take the class are 2.5% less likely to use drugs. The D.A.R.E. program is funded by both private and federal sources and uses $1-1.3 million dollars a year. In 2009 30 studies were done saying that the program does not prevent drug use in students and it is actually almost impossible to distinguish between students who did and didn’t.
Claim: I believe that the D.A.R.E program doesn’t actually do any good in preventing drug use in students. I believe that the program is a waste in money that could potentially go to something better to actually help students. Often times I think that the program has a good message and intention but that the way they try to get the message across often times is ignored for various reasons.
Support: D.A.R.E. is a class that is usually given once a week, a few hours that day, and for around ten weeks. In these ten weeks the same things are constantly being said about drug use and its potential health problems and other problems, but the message is so repetitive that students tend to just block out what is said because they are tired of hearing it. Having a police officer teach the program I feel also creates a drawback to the effectiveness of the program. A police officer doesn’t have almost any experience working in a teaching environment so they don’t know what to expect or how to effectively get their teachings across; also most kids and teens don’t respect the police and won’t have a good connection with them because of their line of work (arresting people, charging people, etc.). With that said I believe the program just wastes money because if the program isn’t really working to help prevent drug use in people then why should we continue to spend the money in having the program instead of using it towards something better for schools or communities.


Filed under Controversial Issue #2

EQ: Is the Death Penalty immoral? (Christian-TOPIC 2)

EQ: Is the Death Penalty immoral?
Background: The Death Penalty, often referred to as capital punishment, or death by sentence, has been quite a controversial issue in recent decades. The Death Penalty in itself has been a common practice since even before the United States was officially known as a nation. Between the years of 1977 and 2009, 1188 people have fallen victim to the Death Penalty, and over these years the morality of the punishment has been questioned. Those who support it often argue that eliminating criminals completely ensures that society is safe from that of future crime enacted by that of the individual as well as the fact that it costs by far a lot less than that of lifetime imprisonment. Those who oppose it, however, argue further that the Death Penalty does nothing to deter crime and only allows the government more power to take that of the lives of its citizens, where those of specific color or a specific economic class are targeted for crimes that they have not done, and that lifetime imprisonment would be a much cheaper option, in both a moral and monetary sense.
Claim: Although continued practice of the Death Penalty is seen as an immoral act of false justice, where the government and its people seemingly take the lives of citizens who may or may not be correctly deemed as criminals, it allows society to be free of the fears of unlawful practice, ridding society of the essential causes of societal disruption and chaos, thus making the Death Penalty an action of moral cause.
Support: “Immanuel Kant said it best. He said a society that is not willing to demand a life of somebody who has taken somebody else’s life is simply immoral. So the question really… when the system works and when you manage to identify somebody who has done such heinous evil, do we as a society have a right to take his life? I think the answer’s plainly yes. And I would go with Kant and I would say it is immoral for us not to.” (Alex Kozinski, JD) “The death penalty honors human dignity by treating the defendant as a free moral actor able to control his own destiny for good or for ill; it does not treat him as an animal with no moral sense, and thus subject even to butchery to satiate human gluttony. Moreover, capital punishment celebrates the dignity of the humans whose lives were ended by the defendant’s predation.” (“Individual rights and Responsability – The Death Penalty, but Sparingly,” By Bruce Fein, JD)


Filed under Controversial Issue #2