Optional De-Extinction Debate Assignment

Optional De-Extinction Debate Assignment


De-extinction brings up many ethical questions on what it could mean for future conservation efforts. Is it ethical for human kind to resurrect extinct animals? This assignment will help you explore these questions further.


M.R. O’Connor addresses a few key points in her interview that will help to answer the questions below.  Also read the introduction to the Resurrection Science book, the articles below, and appropriate chapters.  Pick one of the questions below and pick which side of the debate you will defend.  Follow the debate guidelines below.

Additional resources:

 Debate Format:

  1. The main argument is given in an introductory statement with two specific points stated without going into too much detail. For example: “Genetically modified organisms born in a laboratory will share the same essence of the previous living organism because of A and B.” Both sides will present this while the other side takes notes on the specific points.
  2. The rebuttal: the opposing teams will refute the specific points by going into more detail and using researched information.
  3. The closing statement is made by repeating the main idea and stating the specific reasons.

Debate Topics:

  1. Do you think a genetically modified organism born in a laboratory will share the same essence of the previous living organism?
  2. Should we let natural processes of extinction take its course and instead focus our effort on preventing future extinctions rather than resurrecting extinct animals?
  3. Should the conservation of a species ever be put above the needs of humans?
  4. Do you agree it is important to save endangered species unless it conflicts with economic interests?
  5. All organisms have intrinsic value or telos that is their own and independent of its usefulness to humans.
  6. Conservation is a costly “high class problem.”
  7. Captive breeding is detrimental to organisms with few successful attempts to return them to their natural habitat and therefore should not be done.



Did you find this resource helpful?

Esheet Details