Time - 14:00
Week - Third
Day - Wednesday
Group Organiser(s) - John Milbourn
Venue - Members' Homes
Vacancies - 7

The purpose of this Group is to stimulate members to think about interesting issues and to have fun debating the arguments with others in a safe environment.

The group is run along the lines of a traditional debating society. Every few months we choose motions for future meetings. One person is nominated to propose each motion and one to oppose it. (If numbers permit, seconders might also be nominated). This allows time for them to research the subject of the motion. A third person is also nominated to preside as 'Speaker' to control the debate. After opening arguments that are subject to strict time limits, the debate is opened to speakers from the 'floor' and at the conclusion of the debate a vote is taken.

The Group intends to offer a stimulating and challenging experience where members may even find themselves marshalling arguments for motions with which they disagree!

On 16th January 2019 we debated the motion The development of genetically modified organisms should be banned.

The Proposer explained that initially he and the Opposer would argue about transgenic crops. He said there were hypotheses about possible harms in the areas of food safety, necessity and accessibility and more significantly environmental impact including inadvertent gene transfer to other crops and plants: although there is no scientific evidence, many countries have banned GM crops for these reasons. More important is the harm done by concentrating the ownership of transgenic seedbanks in the hands of a few global chemical countries which have a profit motive and no environmental conscience. The Opposer dismissed this concern as political and contended that plant modification has been practised by nature since the creation of multi-cellular organisms and by man for thousands of years: genetic manipulation simply speeds up the process and focuses it on the benefit to humankind. Humans have caused more environmental damage by translocation of native species to other countries than will ever be caused by inadvertent gene drift. From the floor, we explored that humans are now dependent on the improved crop yield, especially the newly developing nations, that the profit motive is needed to secure investment in development, that gene manipulation is becoming easier and more accessible to emerging economies, that whatever humans get wrong will eventually be corrected by nature and explored the multiple benefits to humanity brought by genetically modified organisms. The motion was defeated.

Our future programme is:

Wednesday February 20th at 2pm

Cars should be banned from the centre of St Albans

Wednesday March 20th at 2pm

Violent video games should be censored  

Wednesday May 15th at 2pm

Brexit will be good for the UK

Wednesday June 19th at 2pm

Using more referendums would benefit UK democracy

Wednesday July 17th at 2pm

Voting should be compulsory


Please make contact via the link above.