Instigator / Pro
Points: 9

Should Autism be cured?

Finished

The voting period has ended

After 6 votes the winner is ...
Smithereens
Debate details
Publication date
Last update
Category
Health
Time for argument
Three days
Voting system
Open voting
Voting period
One month
Point system
Four points
Rating mode
Rated
Characters per argument
30,000
Contender / Con
Points: 42
Description
Should Autism be cured? I, as an Autistic person, say no. Pro starts.
Round 1
Published:
There are many reasons not to cure Autism. First is the agency of Autistic people. The vast majority of Autistics (including me) are vehemently opposed to a cure for Autism. Note that this extends to more severely affected people as well. Our opinions about our own minds should be respected. Secondly, Autistics have made many valuable contributions to society. Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, Nikola Tesla, Albert Einstein, Isaac Newton, and many others have all been autistic. Autism makes things like advanced math and engineering much easier. Autistics should be accepted in society, not eradicated from it.
Sources:

Published:
To preface
we all assume that a hypothetical cure to autism is available, and we are arguing as to whether or not it should be used. I will both rebut and present my own case given the unstructured format of this debate. I won't define terms unless necessary as Pro has every right to argue for whatever situation was in his mind when he opened this debate challenge.

Pro's case against curing Autism:
  1. Most autistic people don't want to be cured 
  2. Autists make significant contributions that they couldn't make without autism.
In response to (1)
Pro seems to believe that curing autism involves the administration of a mandatory "cure" to autists, curing their autism. This isn't necessary to do in order to cure autism, as we know that autism is genetic (Hallmayer et al. 2011) and can be addressed in the unborn. Genetic diseases get harder to treat as an organism ages, and conversely easier to treat in younger individuals (Knoepfler, 2015). That's the rationale behind designer babies, and if any genetic cure were to be discovered, this is where it would first target. If there existed technology such that adults with autism can be cured, then such technology would easily and safely cure the unborn. 

Even if we grant that only adults with autism can be cured, we as a society are still morally obliged to make an autism cure mandatory. Autism inherently reduces the mean quality of life for a significant random sample of autistic individuals (Bertelli & Brown, 2006). As autism is propagated very easily through reproduction, it is immoral to expect that each next generation ought to suffer the quality of life reduction due to the free choice of the current generation to not cure autism. The psychopathology of autism is well understood, and our current scientific understanding of it is that it is an undesirable mental dysfunction (Brereton, Tonge & Einfeld, 2006). 

In refutation to (1), I have demonstrated that:
  • Autistic individuals don't need to 'surrender' their autism in order for autism to be cured.
  • Even if they did have to surrender their autism because a cure could only work on adults, they would be morally obliged to be cured and thus ought to be cured.
In response to (2)
Pro believes that autism has enabled individuals to make contributions they couldn't otherwise make, and thus autism shouldn't be cured. Aside from his contrived list of non autistic individuals, this is false for two main reasons.

The first reason is that autists generally have lower intelligence than normal individuals, with a high degree of variance (Kuehn, 2007). Epidemiology studies identify mental retardation as comorbid with autism (Bryson & Smith, 1998). While high functioning autists exist, the majority of people with autism live with substantial cognitive impairments. Pro argues that the contributions of the high functioning autists justifies the denial of a cure to those who are low functioning. This suggestion is ethically debased and does not speak to the well-being of most people with autism.

The second reason is that autism does nothing to assist scientific discoveries. Individuals are more capable of making scientific discoveries without autism, as having autism reduces an individual's employability (Burgess & Gutstein, 2007). If autism were cured, more autistic people would be working and thus there would be more scientists in the world. The status quo offers nothing of value.

In refutation to (2), I have demonstrated that:
  • It is unethical to deny a cure to a majority of autists suffering severe cognitive impairments for the sake of a few who benefit.
  • The suggestion that autism produces scientific advancements that wouldn't happen without autism is outright false.
The negative case:
  1. A cure for autism is necessary to improve outcomes for autists
My case quite simply is that autists have it rough, and a cure for autism would significantly improve quality of life. Most parents upon finding out that their unborn child has a high risk of autism will elect to terminate the pregnancy (Mansfield, Hopfer & Marteau, 1999). This choice is the morally superior choice as life for most people with autism is pretty miserable. Autists with the highest quality of life tended to be completely dependent on primary caregivers according to a longitudinal study by Billstedt, Gillberg and Gillberg (2011). A meta-analysis by Van Heijst and Geurts (2005) analysed studies of the quality of life in autists to conclude that overall quality of life was significantly lower than normal. 

It is not just to withhold a cure from individuals suffering a mental disability for any reason. I forward that any available cure be made accessible to the public as soon as practicably possible.



References:
               Bertelli, M., & Brown, I. (2006). Quality of life for people with intellectual disabilities. Current Opinion in Psychiatry, 19(5), 508–513.

               Billstedt, E., Gillberg, I. C., & Gillberg, C. (2011). Aspects of quality of life in adults diagnosed with autism in childhood: A population-based study. Autism, 15(1), 7-20.

               Brereton, A. V., Tonge, B. J., & Einfeld, S. L. (2006). Psychopathology in children and adolescents with autism compared to young people with intellectual disability. Journal of autism and developmental disorders, 36(7), 863-870.

               Bryson, S. E., & Smith, I. M. (1998). Epidemiology of autism: Prevalence, associated characteristics, and implications for research and service delivery. Mental Retardation and Developmental Disabilities Research Reviews, 4(2), 97-103.

               Burgess, A. F., & Gutstein, S. E. (2007). Quality of life for people with autism: Raising the standard for evaluating successful outcomes. Child and Adolescent Mental Health, 12(2), 80-86.

               Hallmayer, J., Cleveland, S., Torres, A., Phillips, J., Cohen, B., Torigoe, T., Miller, J., Fedele, A., Collins, J., Smith, K., Lotspeich, L., Croen, L.A., Ozonoff, S., Lajonchere, C., Grether, J.K., Risch, N. (2011) Genetic heritability and shared environmental factors among twin pairs with autism. Arch Gen Psychiatry, 68(11), 1095-102.

               Knoepfler, P. (2015) GMO Sapiens:The Life-Changing Science of Designer Babies, pp 105-136. World Scientific. doi: 10.1142/9542 

               Kuehn, B. M. (2007). CDC: autism spectrum disorders common. Jama, 297(9), 940-940.

               Mansfield, C., Hopfer, S., & Marteau, T. M. (1999). Termination rates after prenatal diagnosis of Down syndrome, spina bifida, anencephaly, and Turner and Klinefelter syndromes: a systematic literature review. Prenatal Diagnosis: Published in Affiliation With the International Society for Prenatal Diagnosis, 19(9), 808-812.

              Van Heijst, B. F., & Geurts, H. M. (2015). Quality of life in autism across the lifespan: A meta-analysis. Autism, 19(2), 158-167.
Round 2
Forfeited
Published:
Extend.
Round 3
Published:
I'M SORRY I RAN OUT OF TIME

Published:
Extend. 
Round 4
Forfeited
Published:
Extend.
Round 5
Forfeited
Published:
Heil Smithis.
Added:
--> @Our_Boat_is_Right
Seems legit. I don't want federal funds going towards it though.
#26
Added:
why not just make a cure and if autistic people don't want it they don't have to get it? COMMON SENSE
#25
Added:
Some autistic contribute to society, some live off of welfare.
#24
Added:
This eerily reminds me of Buck v Bell.
#23
Added:
--> @DieserDeutscheTyp
My institution gives me access to science journals online, it's very convenient.
Contender
#22
Added:
I bet Con is some college student, sitting in the library picking out rare books and encyclopedias as his sources for the debate. XD
#21
Added:
This debate had promise. I hope you guys debate it again later.
#20
Added:
The topic of this debate is an interesting one. I would like to see a less one-sided rendition.
#19
Added:
--> @Jhhillman
If you post anything into the debate so we can propel it into the vote phase that would be appreciated.
Contender
#18
Added:
Yeah debate arguments aren't cached on this site so if you lose it all your work is gone. I understand how you feel. Pity, but thanks for the debate thus far.
Contender
#17
Added:
I am extremely sorry. I am not going to have the necessary time to publish an argument. I am sorry to disappoint you all. (it's also kind of sad cause this is the second debate ever on this site) Sometime later, I will repost this topic. This is completely my fault. BTW if anyone's interested in the kind of logic behind my opinion, I recommend the bloggers Lydia Brown (at Autistic Hoya) and Amy Sequenzia (at Ollibean), and the books Loud Hands and Neurotribes.
Instigator
#16
Added:
AGH I spend a lot of time on an argument but them\n it didn't post for some reason and now it's gone. I'm sorry, this is probably going to take a bit longer. I'll try to have it up before the round expires though. Sorry.
Instigator
#15
Added:
--> @Wylted
You can score high on autistic traits without being autistic.
Contender
#14
Added:
Is it possible to be semi-autistic, because I’m not full on autistic and I would never go full autistic, but I feel partially autistic.
#13
Added:
Interesting opening rounds. If I may suggest as someone who plans in voting on this. If the Instigator could structure his arguments more formally, and go into specific detail as to the claimed benefits of autism via psychological, genetic, and neurological studies.
Thank you and I hope my request is taken into consideration, even though the Instigator need not heed it.
#12
#6
Criterion Pro Tie Con Points
Better arguments 3 points
Better sources 2 points
Better spelling and grammar 1 point
Better conduct 1 point
Reason:
Conceded args, con wins
#5
Criterion Pro Tie Con Points
Better arguments 3 points
Better sources 2 points
Better spelling and grammar 1 point
Better conduct 1 point
Reason:
The only time Jhhillman made an argument it was poorly conceived with no sources.
#4
Criterion Pro Tie Con Points
Better arguments 3 points
Better sources 2 points
Better spelling and grammar 1 point
Better conduct 1 point
Reason:
Even without the forfeit, Con provided a clear cut case as why curing Autism not only should not be prevented, but also why it should be mandatory. Con effectively rebutted Pro's argument as to the contribution of autism to scientific advancements.
Con used numerous, authoritative sources, whereas Pro provided none.
Due to forfeiture, conduct goes to Con.
#3
Criterion Pro Tie Con Points
Better arguments 3 points
Better sources 2 points
Better spelling and grammar 1 point
Better conduct 1 point
Reason:
Pro forfeited
#2
Criterion Pro Tie Con Points
Better arguments 3 points
Better sources 2 points
Better spelling and grammar 1 point
Better conduct 1 point
Reason:
Pro forfeited
#1
Criterion Pro Tie Con Points
Better arguments 3 points
Better sources 2 points
Better spelling and grammar 1 point
Better conduct 1 point
Reason:
I am sick to my fucking stomach at the fact that someone can say what Con said and win a debate.
FF by Pro, you are a shame to our kind to have let Con win saying what they said.