Our first highlighted event for the upcoming Science Uncovered 2011 is Science Fight Club, where pairs of scientists will duke it out for your votes. Erica McAlister, Curator of Diptera at the Museum, and Richie Abel, Imperial College London, will be facing off against each other in the first round and you can read about the topic of that bout in Erica's blog post.
However, we want your help in deciding what else could be debated on the night. We have a few suggestions below, but let us know your favourite or suggest your own topic to help provoke intense debate on the night:
Once you've posted your topic or placed your vote, visit this thread to let us know your own views.
P.S. If you want to get involved but haven't yet registered to use NaturePlus, you can get started here.
Natural History Museum
Looks cool! Not sure I can be in London for it but would love to be there if I am...
One thing I'd love to know is whether or not researchers ever worry if they are collecting (and, therefore, possibly killing) one of the last ever representatives of a species and thus potentially wiping it out? Particularly when they are in e.g. the Amazon rainforest and it is a bug or animal that was previously unknown to us.
From the seven you've suggested, numbers 3 and 6 would get my vote, but a few other suggestions for debate:
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Is peer review broken?
E.g. see recent pieces about acadmeic publishers at guardian.co.uk and the one by David Colcohoun (sp?)
I vote for "Is it ever justifiable for us to wipe out a species?" as well
As someone who is pushing on a bit, the last one in the museum's list piques my interest:
- Should we be trying to live longer?
I wouldn't mind giving it a go!
Another Guardian article made me think of this question:
Would it be more successful to use economics to make people change the way they behave rather than environmentalism?
Well of course 6 is a completely redundant question - there's nothing more important than insects! ;)
I would love to hear 7 being debated. Population is one of the great taboos of the environmental movement.
Another interesting would be has climate change highjacked the sustainability agenda to the detriment of biodiversity?
At the opposite end of the spectrum, it seems that many with right-wing views are perfectly happy to let starving Africans die (for example Melanie Phillips of the Daily Mail) given their strong reluctance for us to spend any aid on them.
Perhaps that is another way of framing the question. Should we be trying to save the poor and dispossessed, rather than should we be trying to live longer. We could easily push up the average age of the global population if we just provided basic sanitation to the two-thirds or so of the world that lack it. Would that count as an answet to the trying to live longer question?
No. 6 "Which is more important to conserve: mammals or insects?" is like the panda debate - always seems to bring out some passionate views.
Just one day left to go until Science Uncovered 2011 so a big thank you everyone for your input and votes.
Everyone attending the event will also get the chance to vote on the topic of the debate and the first round starts at 18.30 in the Earth Galleries Deli Cafe (PDF, green no. 8 to the right of the map).
We hope to see you there!
I am really excited about tonight. I hope we debate whether animals should be kept in captivity and whether the museum should continue to collect material.
Are you ready Erica?