Top 120 Debate Topics for Smart Students

Debating needs a topic that meets certain criteria, and they are not limited by the degree of interest you have towards it. A topic should be familiar to your audience, complex enough to create an interesting debate but easy enough for people to follow, and in general, raise public awareness about some burning issue. Looks that selecting a topic will be harder than expected, but with our help you will surely pick one of the best debate topics.

How to choose, how to develop it, how to present, and how to end the debate gracefully – learn this and more from our complete guide to unique and interesting topics. Delivered by MyPapersDone for your convenience and good grades! Read on!

What is Debate & What is a debatable topic?

Students’ debates are a good exercise in public speech and argumentation: it is presenting and defending your point against an opponent who tries to push his/her point forward in contrast to yours. You both (or you as two teams) debate on the same topic, but you take opposing views, and the winner in the debates is the one who better presents the case, leaves the opponent with no arguments or objections and ultimately persuades the judging panel.

Debates need debatable topics: a topic that allows taking at least two opposing positions, namely, for and against something. Capital punishment be abandoned or preserved, free college education be made available to students, American troops be sent abroad to fight in foreign lands or not sent, – these are but few ideas of what a debatable question is.

How do you win a debate?

Debates are debates because they imply two-way exchange – of positions, evidence, arguments, passionate pleas and pathetic interludes, questions, answers and final words. So you and your opponent first present your topics and positions, then exchange arguments and counterarguments, take questions from judges or audience (if this option is included) and then round up everything you both said nicely. You may accept the viewpoint of your opponent – or persuade the opponent to take your side – but basically, it is the third party you need to convince and impress while standing your ground. So how do you begin and move on?

  1.  Be 100% sure about your position and your readiness to defend it no matter what. It is called intellectual courage. So pick a side that appeals to you and plow ahead no matter what. Or, if you were assigned a ‘wrong side’, play a devil’s advocate and do your best in this role.
  2. Basically, you know who you will be debating with, so you realize their strong and weak sides. Consider the concept of ‘impossible people ‘ – people who simply will not listen to you, not to say of taking your arguments seriously. In college debates you will hardly find such a fierce opponent; you will be dealing with fellow students who can think and can lead a civil discussion. But if you realize that your opponent will be that only one impossible person whom you just cannot get along with – appeal to the judge and audience, and pay no attention to attacks or stubbornness of your opponent.
  3. Present your thesis and main points of argumentation. Pay attention to time limits you have so that you fit the most important points within the allocated time. A thesis is your position and claim. Main points are the ones you cannot go without in your debate while you can skip the rest of arguments. They are the strongest, the most impressive and hard to disprove. For example:
    • a thesis: state funding of long-term fundamental research is crucial and cannot be discarded in favor of private investments.
    • Points:
    • Business community cannot objectively determine what research is vital and invests in the cases that promise fast and large returns (like beauty products);
    • Competition for funds turns scientists into PR managers and marketers, while their job is totally different;
    • Letting private entities supervise and direct research leads to drastic consequence when untested and doubtful methods/drugs/tools are directly marketed to people as safe and scientifically viable.
    • Science and money-making have little in common, and pushing science into the market is a wrong paradigm of thinking. Science is about a careful and thorough investigation and testing, and accepting defeat as well. Business is about revenues and cost-cutting no matter what.
    • It can be compared to outsourcing nationally important infrastructure to private entities (results are usually devastating).
  4. Objections and refutation of objections. In debates you are in dialogue with an opponent, and to each your argument there will be an objection. If you know your debate topics thoroughly you have probably seen most objects and ways to counter them (thus making an opponent look wrong again). But even if you do not an answer to a particular objection, you can refute it either by pointing that the evidence is unreliable or incorrect or by showing a fallacy in reasoning or logic- or suspend your judgment a bit. The video explains it in detail

Consider an example:

  1. Elon Musk as an example of successful business and science fusions does not hold ground because Musk received significant state subsidies and loans from private investors for his research. The company is not making money, it spends them at more research instead. It had only two profitable quarters in its financial history.
    1. Musk’s enterprise is not profitable because it shows losses constantly. The costs of research are high, the area of application is very narrow, and so Musk does it because of his love for space, not because it is economically plausible. If a company does not make profits, it is not a business, after all.
  2. Tackle everything step by step. Refute each objection and then give your objections to an opponent’s claims. Go steady and calmly, it makes you look assured and knowing what you say and do. This is already a good way to persuade judges that you are good at debating (no, debates are not about words only).
  3. Keep calm and be civil and polite. Nothing makes a debater look more weak and miserable like hysterics, yelling or hurling insults at an opponent.
  4. Yes, a debate ends when someone accepts the defeat, or the judges bring in their decision. It is OK to accept a defeat gracefully and agree with an opponent, but your task is to make an opponent to agree with you. So step in the ring with confidence and assurance about your position. This attitude is usually very contagious among the audience 🙂

Why is it important to choose a good topic for debate?

Choosing the right topic already provides some hope for winning the debate, so it is important that debate ideas you consider are all familiar to you. You may not want to spend lots of time researching it and may want to do more final writing and rehearsal instead. So remember: controversial topics are more interesting than topics that suggest a ready-made conclusion. Topics with plenty of evidence to use are better than topics with few known arguments. And of course, you’d better defend the view that really resonates with you, but even if not, try your best to find unexpected arguments that you would use if you were really siding with the ‘wrong’ view.

List of Brilliant Controversial Topics 2019

There will always be good, cool and fun topics for debates. However, each year has its highlights and concerns, and they should be reflected in the topics that you choose to debate about. Here is the list of most important, hot and controversial topics 2019 (although not aa very easy one) that you should raise concern about – and make people care.

  1. Plastic problem: the world needs to eliminate plastic packaging completely and opt for more sustainable solutions.
  2. People live longer, but do they live healthier (yes/no)?
  3. Is it better to ask human volunteers to partake in drugs testing than to use animals?
  4. Killing one species as a tool of conservation of others: it is plausible and ethical?
  5. Is migration a real threat to national security and economy? What evidence is saying?
  6. People go childless because of real economic pressure and restrains, and not because of egoism and ‘inability to grow up’.
  7. Economic reality for Baby Boomers and Millennials: which generation has it better?
  8. Gun control, ban and partial restrictions: what approach is most plausible?
  9. Potential reversing of groundbreaking court decisions that set up important legal precedents: is it acceptable?
  10. Imprisonment for petty debauchery that earlier was seen as harmless fun (under condition no one was harmed): can it reduce unwanted behavior?
  11. Increased funding of law enforcement forces vs. increased funds for schools, sports and universities: what is the path to a safer society?
  12. Legal limitation of Presidential power: it is a viable solution against power abuse and misuse?

How to choose the right one topic to debate?

There are basically two points to consider: how your audience will accept and understand the debate topics, and how well you can handle it in the debate. First, try to understand how well your audience knows the topic you want to debate if people can follow it with ease, understand your arguments but not get bored along the way. If your topic meets these benchmarks – go ahead.

Next, consider how much you know about the topic. Below is a good video guide to evaluating your skills in the topic.

In a nutshell, pick a topic that is interesting to you (otherwise you will not be able to fascinate other people with it), the topic that you know well enough or have enough time to research or the topic in which you are an expert. Science areas, crafts, social activism, animal protection and rescue, etc. – anything in which you partake can make interesting topics that will impress your listeners and let you win over the opponent.

List Of 120 Interesting Debate Topics

Now the best part. Find the TOP10 writing topics in a variety of subjects that you can debate confidently. They are the best, the most interesting and thought provoking, which is a key. We have found or developed them based on our experience and the issues in the headlines of national newspapers and in the discussions of scholars. They tackle both philosophical and practical issues, there are controversial topics and more peaceful prompts among them. So look through each section, decide what is the most prospective, research and debate.

But this is not all! Below you will find a bonus of 6 cool and smart debate topics that will expend the selection even more. Do not get lost and choose what’s right.

Persuasive Debate Topics

  1. Smoking should be gradually outlawed altogether.
  2. Some countries already introduce this practice, so it is basically plausible. Is it a solution for tackling high mortality and diseases rates?

  3. Climate change exists.
  4. Current events indicate that climate patterns change drastically, more natural disasters happen. It can be explained only by profound changes in climate that happen rapidly.

  5.  Energy drinks do significant harm to health.
  6. They are popular but they are also sources of sugars, carcinogens and other toxic chemicals marketed as food.

  7. Boys are encouraged to behave dangerously from their childhood.
  8. Boys are socialized in a way that promotes aggression, intolerance and makes them insensitive to feelings of others.

  9. Toys and kids’ supplies should not be marketed by color.
  10. Color of toys is nothing more but a marketing trick of the 1980s but today it profoundly changes the kids pick (and do not pick) toys and other objects.

  11. Only middle and high school students should have homework.
  12. It is proved that only high school students benefit from homework. This finding should be adopted on the legal level.

  13. Paid maternity leave is a must.
  14. Maintaining a steady level of population is a key to the success of any country. Absence of paid maternity leave makes women postpone and skip having children altogether.

  15.  Children’s daycare should be made more affordable, not restricted by lots of additional laws.
  16. Affordable childcare makes parents more productive and improves the lives of both parents and children.

  17. Schools should provide space and resources for students for doing their homework.
  18. Many students lag behind not because they are lazy but because they do not have a place at home to do homework or lack resources (books, internet, printers, etc.) to complete it properly.

  19. Today’s Internet is not ‘objective and unbiased’.

Companies, like Alphabet, Google, Facebook curate content that we see although we do not even realize it, and miss debatable topics we should see and consider.

Science Controversial Topics

  1. Vegetarianism vs. veganism: what is healthier?
  2. Eating only vegetables and eating vegetables+diary (and eggs/fish) each has its advantages and disadvantages.

  3. Should veterinarian students perform training surgical sessions on living animals?
  4. This cruel practice is considered necessary for students to actually learn how to perform necessary procedures. There are advancements in simulation dummies creation that can help replace animals.

  5. Can laboratory-grown meat become the meat of the future?
  6. Some people say that the lab-grown meat is not ‘real’, but if it tastes and feels like meat and provides all necessary proteins than it is a valid replacement for animal meat (even on the legal level).

  7. Alcohol vs. cannabis – which substance is more dangerous for the society?
  8. Both substances provide intoxication effect, but one is legal and another is not. Which one is more dangerous in its effects?

  9. Are GMOs that much harmful for human health?
  10. GMO controversy lasts for a long time but is there any actual facts that support belief in its negative health impact?

  11. Invasive species vs. natural change of flora and fauna of certain areas.
  12. We try to combat invasive species, but actually species tend to replace each other with the course of time. Do we come to decide what species remain?

  13. Should all experiments including human DNA be prohibited?
  14. Alongside doubtful ethical implication, these experiments may have outwardly dangerous and unpredictable effects without any possible benefit. But what about finding a genetic solution to moment incurable diseases?

  15. Is it possible to make all researchers look for private investors and still expect high achievements in science?
  16. Science and business are different areas of human activities and laws that work in one area are not applicable in the other (fundamental science does not bring fast profits, and so on).

  17. Should scientists revive extinguished viruses?
  18. Some experiments are outwardly dangerous and should be undertaken. But how can we find vaccines or treatment if we do not have a sample to work with?

  19. What areas of research should be banned altogether (nuclear or human DNA meddling)? Are there areas where harm from possible side effects will significantly exceed possible benefits?

Debate Topics for Middle School

  1. School funding should not be cut under any circumstances.
  2. Very often schools fall first victims to budget cuts while other less significant areas receive full funding because of lobbying.

  3.  School uniform is not a way to reduce the level of bullying or improve students’ outcomes.
  4. Uniform was believed to discipline, subdue and make students more equal if only in appearances, but it does not work that way anymore.

  5. Detention is an openly useless method of penalization.
  6. Detention deprives kids of their right to learn and on the other hand does not discourage bad behavior. But what other tools of disciplining are available?

  7.  Zero-tolerance policy towards bullying does not work.
  8. Zero policy means that roots or initiators of bullying are not found, and all parties to a conflict (even those who intervened to stop it) are punished. Should every case be investigated profoundly, and are there enough resources to do so?

  9.  Do students need art and drama classes?
  10. Not all students have a talent for arts or drama. Is it beneficial for everyone to take part in them?

  11.  Should school teach students how to grow vegetables and fruits and have an actual plot for practicing?
  12. Sustainability and ability to create own supplies with limited resources is key to the future. Should students learn the basics of it at school?

  13.  Should all students without exception by gender be taught to sew, embroider or knit (crochet)?
  14. Due to increased screen time, students lack basic motoric skills and cannot complete the simplest crafting tasks with their hands. Can we counter this effect by teaching crafts?

  15. Should students have a day off on their birthday?
  16. This is an important and festive day for each student so the best gift can be a permitted absence and having free time on that day.

  17. Has use of technology improved the learning process and outcomes?
  18. Use of computers, tablets and online resources has definitely facilitated assessment and homework assigning and control. But did it improve students’ skills?

  19. Are current types of final evaluations objective and show students’ achievements properly?

Modern world requires a different grading scale than the one taken as a basis for GPA.

Political Topics

  1. Can corruption be rooted out from government and its agencies completely?
  2. Constant stream of political scandals shows that we are far from eliminating corruption in the government. It is possible to weed it out altogether?

  3. Lobbyism and corruption: is there any difference?
  4. What are the differences between the two if they are two separate activities/phenomena?

  5. Should the government own media outlets?
  6. Private media may reflect the biases of the owner and push the agenda they are paid for. But will government-funded media do any better?

  7. State censure vs. self-censure of media: which is more threatening?
  8. State censure means that media are prevented from publishing some information officially but it is then leaked in some other way. Self-censure means that some information is not provided at all (neither officially nor via leaks) and so remains a secret.

  9. Is it plausible to spend millions of state funds on construction of a huge monument instead of investing in medicine or education?
  10. It is possible to understand that state programs go unfunded when a state really lacks funds. But is it possible to understand and approve constriction of costly monuments/memorial projects when other areas of public life need financing?

  11. Declaration of National emergency.
  12. When it happens, what it means and who ultimately gets the most power to use. Examples from history can illustrate the pros and cons of this political tool.

  13. Is democracy the best system of governing a country?
  14. What do the recent developments in elections across Europe show (rise of populism and far right)? Was democracy ever intended for everyone to use, without any eligibility criteria?

  15. Limitation of human rights for a period of time under emergency conditions.
  16. The Patriot Act is one example of how this limitation can be abused. Is it plausible to limit human rights (and commit crimes against the citizens) and justify it by some urgent necessity?

  17. Should the age of candidates running for presidency be limited?
  18. Does the age of a candidate affect his or her mode of thinking, perception of the current problems, apprehension of the needs of time and in general impact critical thinking capacity?

  19.  Is the Wall a true deterrent and barrier for illegal immigration and drugs trafficking?

Trump has played havoc with the country when he pushed for shutdown when denied money for the Wall. Is the Wall project so plausible and useful as to be worthy of all the damage done to people?

College debate topics

  1. Is Master’s degree or a PhD. a key to success in life?
  2. Students pursue Master’s degree in hope of getting better jobs but after graduation discover that their degree does not help them that much.

  3. Is school success the major benchmark of a child’s worth and talents?
  4. The teen years of children are usually evaluated through the lens of school success. It is the only way to appreciate and describe a child’s life and success?

  5. Early education vs/ free play time: what is more beneficial for kids’ development?
  6. Studies show that today young children have a less free play (if any) and do learning/developing activities more. Is it a proper way of development for a young individual if science suggests they need free play as a primary activity?

  7. Is exam cheating acceptable for getting high grades (if a student has a good academic record steadily through the year)?
  8. Assuming that a student was working hard all year round, can it be ethically justified that he or she does a little cheating to endure that no accident spoils the final grade?

  9. How the concept of family evolved over time: is the nuclear family the only one possible?
  10. Family was never a steady concept. It evolved from communal children raising to polygamy/polyandry to the nuclear family and single parenting. Can one particular stage be called an ‘absolute norm’?

  11. Elephant parenting vs. tiger mom parenting.
  12. Is it better to let kids develop gradually in their own pace or to overburden them with drills and activities for the sake of potential future success?

  13. Mathematics is the unique foundation of all other subjects and fields.
  14. Liberal arts often use mathematics as the opposite of their subjects. But mathematics underlies many logic operations and statistical research methods that help move liberal arts and humanities forward.

  15. Should the basics of coding be taught at all schools?
  16. People need to understand how programs work and a hat is behind the apps they use. Besides learning to code early can make more kids want to take up this career. But is everyone capable of understanding algorithms?

  17.  Affordable Care Act: should it be repealed?
  18. Why accessible healthcare for everyone (not for selected few) is considered ‘socialist’ and harmful?

  19. What is more important in the domestic life of the country: the presidential position or Congress?

Current events show that President can play a crucial role in the life of the country, although it seems that domestic affairs belong more to states’ powers. Earlier it was believed that the Congress as a final judge can debate questions and have the final say in such complex situations. Is it so today?

Debate Topics on Sport

  1. Dictionaries define hunting as a kind of sports. But is it?
  2. What do we understand as a sport today? Fairness, equal chances, honorable behavior etc. – it is applicable to hunting?

  3. Is it OK to have separate men and women chess tournaments?
  4. Physical capabilities of men and women are basically different (men are stronger or are encouraged to develop strength along the way). But are male and female brains that different? Why do all students pass the same math, language and science exams without regard to gender, but intelligent sports still keeps the division?

  5. Colin Copernic’s kneeling during the anthem: can sports be void of politics?
  6. The controversy was sparked by Copernic’s actions that try to focus attention on racial matters and injustice. He used sports for that. Is it OK or is a sport just for fun?

  7. Is sports a way to divert tensions in the society and to let people vent off their emotions that otherwise may turn into streets?
  8. It is often mentioned today that sports have become a profitable entertainment that keeps millions of people hooked. Watching sports events has replaced other meaningful activities and diverted people from other important matters, including attention to economy and politics. Is it so?

  9. Top sportsmen should not be paid such huge salaries because they do nothing particularly useful.
  10. Sport as entertainment does not contain educational and moralizing elements of other kinds of entertainment like movies or books. So why are, say, football players paid so much?

  11. Sport is usually used as a tool to promote fierce competition among people. Should it remain this way?
  12. Sport is a good way to release stress, get positive emotions and find a community of like-minded people. Why not start promoting these features of sport instead of encouraging people go against each other using all, sometimes illegal and unethical, means?

  13. Should doping be permitted to all sportsmen under condition that they all take the same amounts of the same substance?
  14. Recent scandals indicate that sportsmen want to win no matter what, and so use enhancers. Why not let them all take the same substance and see who has true advantages beyond chemical boost?

  15. Should all sport schools and coaching become subsidized by states/federal government and so become free to all underage kids?
  16. Countries that reduce crime and consumption of alcohol among kids do not do that solely through curfew. They provide all kinds of leisure activities, sports and classes for free to all – and it works.

  17. Should we invent some new kind of sports with the involvement of the technology (aside from computer games tournaments)?
  18. Life goes on and brings new entertainments and physical activities. Should we introduce some new sports that feature technology like VR or remote controls and develop them intensely?

  19. Should violent sports like MMA or cage fighting be prohibited or seriously limited in scope and rules?

Some sports look more like mortal combat and not like harmless pastime with pleasure. Should they be prohibited for promoting violence and aggression, as well as for posing an immediate danger to participants?

Topics on Technologies

  1. Is ‘friendship’ in social media a real one?
  2. We routinely mark our connections on Facebook as friends, but do these communications establish a friendship?

  3. Is it ever possible to protect our data completely when submitting them online to some company?
  4. Companies claim that they protect our data securely but scandals about data leaks and sales become more frequent. Are there ways to store data safely, after all?

  5. Is the era of Internet anarchy (as it is called) over?
  6. The Internet has become a place of freedom and unlimited communication and circulation of news. It is said that this freedom comes to an end because it borders on lawlessness.

  7. Do we become over-reliant on technology even in the smallest tasks?
  8. We have come to rely on technology for remembering things, running homes, keeping us in touch. What are we going to do if these systems suddenly crash one day? Should we stick to technology-free solutions where possible?

  9. Is it plausible to set colonies on Mars or on the Moon if we cannot cope with problems we have created on the hearth?
  10. The projects of colonization and exploration of planets cost a lot. Are these projects that much important to invest into while there are lots of unsolved programs on the earth and they only aggravate?

  11. Are self-driving cars a key to safer roads?
  12. Self-driving cars are hailed as safe and more careful on the road then human drivers. But the resent car crashes indicate the different situation.

  13. Face recognition function of smartphones and privacy: can they coexist?
  14. Face recognition function in the phones does not ask permission of people it recognizes. Is it a direct breach of privacy?

  15. Spying phones like Huawei: do our phones know too much about us?
  16. Are all phones that dangerous because they all can collect information secretly, or is it just a case of large spying operation or a technical flaw?

  17. Tech detox: can we limit our use of technology and still keep up with the fast flow of life (and debate topics that are oven-hot with people)?
  18. Living in the modern community means that we need to keep up with everything that happens, and we learn about it mostly from gadgets. Can we use technology less and still be informed about what happens?

  19. Is iPhone too overpriced?

With all the range of phones on the market the iPhone price looks all the more inflated and unreasonable, more like a premium for the brand name.

Environmental debate topics

  1. Plastic problem: the world needs to eliminate plastic packaging and opt for more sustainable solutions.
  2. Plastic pollution levels are too high to stay indifferent or do nothing about it right away. Can we skip plastic for good?

  3. Decluttering and Konmari approach: is it reasonable to dump everything that does not ‘bring joy’?
  4. Ideas of decluttering are good, but do we throw things away only to clear space for new stuff? What about overflowing landfills and op shops refusing to take donations because of overstocking?

  5. Problems of fast fashion: use of resources and overflowing landfills.
  6. Who benefits and is it possible to continue producing new clothes at these high rates without aggravating pollution problem?

  7. Search for oil in sanctuaries and wildlife reserves.
  8. Can any economic necessity justify the destruction of reserves?

  9. Can fossil fuels be made cleaner in use?
  10. It looks like we will not be able to stop using fossil fuels anytime soon. Can we make their use cleaner or at least more efficient?

  11. Should we reverse the rule of ‘non-meddling’ into the life of wild animals if they are in open distress?
  12. People destroyed animal’s habitats and food sources, but individuals and explorers are prohibited to help animals they find in drastic conditions. Does this make sense?

  13. Should all developers be made to plant a certain number of trees on their property premises (including city centers)?
  14. Cities suffer from overheating and high CO2 levels but developers build more stores and parking spots. Should they dedicate a certain amount of land to trees patches or alleys?

  15. Can return to historical building materials and city planning reduce consequences of global warming?
  16. People knew long ago how to keep the sun away and use the natural properties of materials for cooling or heating effect. Should we reintroduce older practices that are eco-friendlier and human-friendly, although maybe more expensive?

  17.  Should hunting be banned altogether?
  18. People do not need hunting for food, and have plenty of sports to enjoy. Why is hunting still considered acceptable?

  19. Will humanity destroy all wildlife in the imaginable future?

With recent data about the extinction of total 60% of certain species in the last decades, can we predict that wildlife will disappear in the near 100 years with the same rates of extinction preserved?

Funny Debate Topics

  1. Who are smarter: owners of cats or dogs?
  2. It is said that pets define how smart and company-loving their owners are. So who will win the title of the smartest?

  3. What kind of cheese is the moon made of: hard or soft?
  4. It is often said that the moon is made of cheese but no one specifies its kind. Thus, using available data and tools, try to solve this scientific mystery.

  5. Are baby carrots found in the cabbage patch or in the carrot patch?
  6. If babies are usually found in the cabbage patch, are baby carrots found there, or are they found by adult carrots right next to them?

  7. Birthday vs. Christmas.
  8. What is the coolest holiday and why?

  9. If tomato is a berry, then should we start calling ketchup “a tomato jam”?
  10. We take many things carelessly and then chaos ensues. Now it is time to fix the scientific mistake and start calling the food by its accurate name.

  11. School should take one day a week only.
  12. Instead of reducing a number of years spent at school, it is better to reduce the number of days students spend in school per week. It will definitely improve their morale and increase love for learning.

  13. Sneakers vs. slip-ons.
  14. Both kinds of footwear are comfortable and look cool, but which one is the king and why?

  15. “Mother” should become a recognized profession.
  16. Since moms usually perform jobs of a half a dozen workers, why aren’t they considered professionally employed (even without a salary)? This recognition would definitely make people rethink their ideas about mothering and house chores.

  17. Should we make skirts an acceptable part of boy’s school uniform, as one school in Australia did? If kilt is acceptable for men in Scotland, why not allow kids to try it as permissible clothing at school? It may also help them rethink gender concepts of clothing and stop seeing humiliation in donning things that girls usually wear.
  18. PC vs. Xbox games.

No comments. Just let the verbal battle begin.


  1. Should all Christian religions merge into one?
  2.  Christians worship the Lord in a similar manner, so why set barriers between confessions?

  3. Should kids learn (in overview mode) basics of all religions in schools as a part of inclusivity and openness to beliefs of others?
  4. Is knowing the beliefs and core values of other people key to understanding and valuing them better, or is it one more point that will underscore differences and instigate xenophobia?

  5. Should we read the Bible as a literal account of events?
  6. Often the Bible is taken directly as a historical source that narrates about actual events in their natural order. But many scholarly findings prove this not to be true. Should allegorical reading of the Bible be adopted instead?

  7. Should the celibacy principle for clergy be lifted?
  8. It was introduced many centuries ago under specific circumstances and for reasons that may not be considered plausible today. Besides, it related to certain strata of the clergy, not to everyone. This restriction resulted in many serious abuses, violence over children, scandals and controversies that were tackled, but not resolved even today.

  9. Religion in the 21th century: should some norms be adjusted to meet the new realities and changes in secular life?
  10. Religious norms for daily life are adopted at ecclesiastic conventions, and so can be changed to meet new reality. It is high time to bring in new portions of changes?

  11. Can we completely rule out extremism in religion?
  12. Religion and extremism often go hand in hand, and so the image of religion is marred by this negative issue. But religion differs in its impact on humans from laws or reasoning principles. So can extremism be eliminated completely?

  13. Believers are more humane and socially responsible than non-believers.
  14. Religion serves as moral guidance when a society is at sea or critically reevaluates premises of its existence. Is it thus true that believers are inherently better humans than non-believers?

  15. If a religion promotes inequality among people (gender, ethnic, race, income), is it possible to change religious postulates?
  16. Religious norms reflect the realities of life long gone. Persistence in maintaining these realities in modern conditions can make people turn away from the church. Is it plausible to change them to keep up with the time?

  17. Should private schools set up by religious communities be prohibited because they deny children’s right to choose the religion and impose it on them daily instead?
  18. Many cases of abuse are found in schools run by closed religious communities. But at the same time, religious schools are the only option for communities that lack public schools.

  19. It is ethical to take away children from religious communities that deny them their basic rights (proper education, dignity, freedom of beliefs, oppress girls and women, people of color, etc.)? Some extreme sects live in closed and tightly knit communities where norms of 18th or 19th century are maintained. Rights of children, women and other vulnerable groups are denied. Should children, as minors that cannot make the decision for themselves and cannot leave, be removed from such communities by law?

Historical debate topics

  1. When we try to draw lessons from history, what approach should we take – historicism or presentism?
  2. Historicism teaches us about how people thought – and how we progressed from that moment. Presentism obscures the realities of the past by imposing the modern views without regard to conditions people lived in. Yet it better fits our days and helps make valuable conclusions for the future. What approach is more valid?

  3.  Could both Koreas potentially unite into a single state again?
  4. It was on the state before the war tore it apart. Are there possibilities that the state will be unified again? Should it?

  5. Should the Middle Ages be reevaluated after removing the historical inaccuracies brought into life in the 19th century?
  6. Today it becomes clear that many negative ideas about the Middle Ages and even Renaissance were invented in the 19th century and were inspired by religious hostility between Catholics and Protestants. Should we completely overhaul books and material to present that period in a better light?

  7. Who was the first to discover America – Vikings or Columbus?
  8. It is known that Vikings landed on the American shores ages before Columbus. So why is he celebrated that much?

  9. Is Thanksgiving a real holiday for Native Americans?
  10. Taking into account the controversial nature of this holiday in relation to people who lived here before settlers arrived, should it be celebrated with less pathos and reduced to dress-up and pie-making holiday?

  11. Should history classes teach less name-and-date facts and more cause-and-effect connections and implications in history?
  12. History is usually taught through memorization of dates and facts, but it is connections between events and their causes that matter. Should we replace memorizing with learning to establish these connections?

  13. The year without a summer: was it only one?
  14. Usually, 1817 is described as the year without summer because of huge volcano eruptions. It seriously impacted the future development of humanity. But was it only one or were there other similar catastrophic experiences across human history?

  15. Gandhi and his actual life vs. public image.
  16. Is Gandhi’s public image and his personal behavior alike? Did he practice what he preached?

  17. Martin Luther King vs. Nelson Mandela – whose approach was better?
  18. Both leaders did a lot for the cause of human rights, desegregation and repelling racist practices. But their approach differed radially. Who did it better?

  19. Who was the greatest American president so far?

There were many outstanding presidents in American history. But was Lincoln the greatest one? Who could be his rivals in greatness?

Business debate topics

  1. Is it ethical to employ workers in countries where their rights are suppressed and they are forced to work for meager money?
  2. Outsourcing cuts costs for production and reduces the price for goods – but it does so at cost of exploited laborers abroad. Should we continue to consume goods produced by underpaid and oppressed people?

  3. Should we scale down on global production and increase prices for products and their service life instead?
  4. People are rapidly depleting Earth’s resources, pollute the environment and destroy animal habitats for the sake of boosting production. Do we need this rate of production or can we scale back on consumption and but things less often, but pay for them a bit more to keep the economy going?

  5. Demanding back the right for things repairing instead of throwing them away: yes or no?
  6. Many thongs today are openly made not to last. When they break down they do to landfill without repairing, which is almost completely disabled. People push back for manufacturers to make goods reparable again. Is it a good initiative?

  7. Financial services market should be more regulated.
  8. One of the good topics to debate is financial bubbles, shady operations and unjustifiable risks taken by huge banks that led to the crisis of 2008 (and will lead probably to more of them). Should their operations or their scale be controlled tightly to protect people and economy form such stress?

  9. Gold standard in monetary system – should we return to it?
  10. Was it viable and should we get back to it?

  11. Open floor vs. cubicle office system.
  12. Many spears are broken in this debate, yet again: more and more findings prove that open space planning reduces productivity and even harms the health of employees.

  13. Minimal wages should be raised.
  14. Costs of living and prices of all goods have almost quadrupled since the date of last minimal wage raise. How can it be and who is to blame? Or is it a normal condition of the economy?

  15. Companies should be legally prohibited to explore applicants’ social media pages.
  16. Social media belongs to the private spheres of human life and should not impact people’s career. It is the same as if a company would monitor family profile (mother and father) or food preferences and judged an applicant according to this information as well.

  17. Work from home vs. work in office (under condition that work can be done from home equally efficiently).
  18. Flexible schedules and working from home improves productivity and disposition of workers towards the company. Why not implement it on a larger scale?

  19. MBA – key to business success or a hoax?

Today MBA is accessible to anyone with enough money. But does a certificate guarantees managerial talent and getting a cool job?


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