These controversial topics are ideal to propose both in the classroom and in conversations between friends.
What is a debate and what is its function?
The debates are discussions between two or more people on the same subject, in which each party exposes and argues their ideas and opinions to defend their point of view. These discussions allow us to approach the same topic of debate from different points of view and help us to broaden our vision of reality, thanks to the exchange of different ideas and opinions.
They are a very interesting educational resource to use in educational centers, since they serve to work on aspects such as mental flexibility, critical thinking and putting oneself in the place of the other. They also allow working on reasoning skills, critical listening, verbal expression and dialectic.
The subjects of debate are usually controversial issues on which there may be very different opinions, often opposed, which end up generating controversial and long discussions. Here’s a selection of 25 discussion topics, which you can use to start interesting and controversial conversations.
25 current and controversial research topics
This list of topics to discuss is made up of different topics from different areas, which can be approached from different points of view and allow the exchange of reasoning.
They are ideal topics to start a discussion both in the classroom and in meetings with friends, favoring the knowledge of other points of view.
1. Social networks
One of the most popular topics of debate in recent times is the great impact that social networks have had on our society. For many it is a technological breakthrough without which they could no longer live; for others it has become a form of slavery of the human being.
Some of the most controversial opinions that can be discussed are the advantages or disadvantages of social networks, whether they have affected the way we relate to wrong or help us to be informed or rather uninformed.
Another topic of interesting debate is the right to privacy and privacy, which can also arise as a result of the conversation on social networks. Without going any further, the latest scandals about the sale of private user information by Facebook have generated a controversy in the media that can lead to many discussions.
Some interesting questions to raise in a debate are: To what extent are we willing to dispense with our privacy? What are the implications of publishing our life on social networks? What consequences can the exposure of our private information have?
3. Freedom of expression
Another issue of current debate is related to freedom of expression and censorship. Some ways of thinking or thinking contrary to the established power are censored in many countries, with more or less repression, and expressing certain ideas on the Internet or joking about certain topics is pursued and punishable as a crime.
It also generates controversy to what extent you can joke about certain issues of sensitivity, such as terrorist attacks, diseases, religions or figures considered authoritative.
Where are the limits of freedom of expression? Can any type of opinion be expressed? Should opinions written on social networks be punished? Where are the limits of humor?
4. Equality of rights
The equality of rights of many groups historically discriminated against is another issue that generates controversy. Equal rights in the LGBT community is an example of the diversity of opinions that can be confronted in a debate, specifically on issues such as same-sex marriage or their right to adoption.
Every day a little more progress is made in tolerance and non-discrimination because of each person’s sexual orientation, but there is still a long way to go when the debate is still valid.
The struggle for women’s rights is another hotly debated issue at present, as new questions and new ways of understanding what feminism is are emerging every day that seek to break with the established imaginary to achieve true equality.
This diversity of opinions has generated controversy around what we understand by feminism or machismo, what attitudes are considered to be chauvinistic, to what extent full equality can be achieved or to what extent can we get rid of the beliefs so ingrained in our society that they violate the image of the woman.
6. Gender violence
Gender-based violence is another topic to be discussed that can be addressed from different points of view, from discussing what attitudes are considered gender-based violence to discussing how to avoid society.
7. Legality of abortion
Another of the most controversial and topical debate topics is the one that revolves around the legality of abortion. The different ethical aspects that arouse controversy are mainly the consideration of the fetus as a human being, the right of the mother to choose her own body and the consequences it has for the person.
8. Surrogate motherhood
Surrogacy or motherhood is another topic of recent interest that has generated much debate. Better known as a rental belly, this practice is one in which a woman becomes pregnant with a baby that at birth will be adopted by another person or partner.
This issue generates controversy because many consider it a commodification of pregnancy. Subrogation can put at risk the health of many mothers, especially those of the poorest sectors of the population, who could see in this practice a way to get rich.
It also has other ethical implications, such as the bond that is formed between mother and child while it is gestating and that can be a problem after childbirth for both.
Euthanasia is the name that receives assisted suicide, another classic topic of debate. The right to a dignified death in certain irreversible circumstances, as is the case of some degenerative diseases or that cause suffering, is a right for which many people struggle and still generates a lot of controversy.
Does the patient’s suffering justify assisted suicide? In which cases can this option be considered? Who decides if the patient cannot express his will? These are some issues that can be discussed.
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10. Death penalty
Although it does not apply in all countries, the death penalty is a subject of easy debate. The opinions are diverse. Some believe that it is a fair way to punish certain crimes, while others see it as an “eye for an eye” that does not serve as a deterrent. It’s fair? Is it ethical? And if it applies to someone innocent?
The same debate can be extrapolated to the relevance of life imprisonment, as well as to other debates about the possibility or not of the rehabilitation of prisoners.
11. Legalization of weapons
Another popular debate is the legality of weapons in some countries. Every year the same controversy is repeated, following a shootout happened in countries like the United States. Should firearms be legalized and regulated in our country? Who should have access to these weapons?
12. Illegal immigration
Illegal immigration is another issue that generates controversial opinions. Some of the issues that can be discussed are the regulations that should exist in this regard, the treatment that illegal immigrants receive or what it is that leads these people to emigrate so desperately to other countries.
Thanks to globalization we can more easily enjoy what other cultures offer us, we can communicate more easily and better understand what is happening in the world. But at what price? Different cultures are increasingly mimicking a single global model of society, affecting many peoples and ethnic groups who see their customs and identities degraded. What benefits and disadvantages does it have?
14. Climate change
Climate change is real and it is affecting us, but many people still doubt its existence. What consequences can it have? What measures can we take? It can be debated about its effects, about who has responsibility and about the ways of life that are affecting the planet, such as the abusive use of plastic or the use of water.
15. Computer hacking
Illegal downloads of content on the Internet are a widespread and standardized crime in our society, but they are still a violation of copyright. It can be debated on why the use of watching movies or online series has spread so much, on the consequences that this has on the culture and on what measures could be taken to avoid it.
16. Legalization of drugs
The use of psychoactive substances or drugs is already a subject of debate in itself, due to the effects it has for the health of the person who consumes as well as the serious addictions they produce. However, there is often talk of a possible legalization of certain types of drugs to control and regularize their use. What effects would it have on our society? What advantages or disadvantages could it have?
17. Artificial intelligence
The advance of technology allows us to begin to have the first creations of artificial intelligence, from the simplest ones, such as Siri or Google Assistant, to those robotic creations with a human aspect that are starting to think for themselves.
How far will we be able to get? What problems can these advances entail? What implications would it have on jobs that can be robotized?
18. Animal abuse
This is a very broad topic of debate, from which several issues to be discussed can be drawn. One of them may be the legislation that exists on the subject and the punishments that should be imposed on those who mistreat an animal.
Another more burning one is the prohibition or maintenance of festivities and traditions such as bullfighting. You can also discuss about the experimentation with animals or the treatment they receive in certain food industries.
19. Transgenic foods
The alteration of food by genetic techniques is widespread in the food industry. GM foods make it possible to create more resistant and durable plants, but it also has serious effects on the environment and can pose a health risk.
20. Childhood obesity
Obesity is a health problem that is affecting more and more people, to the point where it can be considered an epidemic in more developed countries. Poor nutrition and a sedentary lifestyle are the main causes of this problem, which reaches worrying figures in childhood. What responsibility do parents have? Should processed foods or junk food be prohibited?
The activity of prostitution and its illegality is another topic of controversial debate in recent years. What ethical problems do sex marketing present? What responsibilities do customers have? What benefits would its legality have?
Religions are one of the themes of millenarian debate, but the impositions or customs that derive from them are issues that can raise controversy on a daily basis, due to the different cultures with which we live.
Some issues that may arouse debate are the use of Islamic veils or burka in some areas, the compulsory nature of the study of religion in some schools or the separation of Church and State.
23. Stigmatization of mental disorder
There have always been all kinds of prejudices against people who suffer from some type of mental disorder, this being one of the most stigmatized groups. Culturally it is a topic that has been treated very little, so there is still a lot of ignorance about it.
This topic allows debating what is meant by mental disorder, what prejudices exist, how it is seen in society and how it is represented in different media.
24. Video games
Video games have always been the subject of debate, either because of the violent content of some of them or because of the addictions they could generate. The debate continues, but more and more emphasis is placed on its educational aspect and the possibilities it can have in that area. Some of the issues to discuss may be whether they actually encourage violence, what their use in the home should be, or what benefits they may have.
Is there love? What do we mean by love? What is romantic love, what types of love exist or what types of romantic relationships exist today are some of the topics of debate that can be used to discuss this term so widespread but at the same time misunderstood.