Being the very first of its kind, and tantalizing by nature, the debate was eagerly looked forward to. Sciences and humanities would lock horns. Between them, one had to be crowned victorious.
The motion and style of debate
‘In a Third World country Sciences should be prioritised over Humanities in building a solid future.‘ This was the motion. The Australia-Asia Debate style was used.
The proposers would come up with three speakers, as would the opposers. In succession, a proposing speaker gives a speech, then follows an opposing speaker. Each speaker had 6 minutes to speak their mind. Points of information – questions – would only be raised between the second and sixth minute. In the first minute, the speaker is laying down their argument: they should have it undisturbed. At the last minute, they are concluding: no questions allowed.
After the six speakers have spoken, one from each of the two camps would summarise the arguments of their camp.
There were judges to determine the winners, three of them. One was a scientist, one a philosopher-lawyer and a third seasoned toastmaster.
In a manner so described, the debate ensued.
A summary of the arguments
The proposers’ main idea may be summarised as follows. A Third World country has many material needs: food, shelter, clothing, hospitals etc. Only sciences can increase the availability of these. Humanities cannot give you food, neither will they give you shelter, nor clothing, nor good health. Therefore, in the Third World countries, the sciences should take the helm.
The opposers’ main idea was this. The solidity of Western Civilisation, sculpted in the Middle Ages, was achieved not when sciences were at the helm, but when humanities were at their Golden Age. The brutal weaponry in use in the World Wars is also a testimony of how science may lead to destruction if not well guided by humanities. For a solid future, Third World countries should first steep themselves in the humanities that their sciences may be well directed.
Humanities won the debate.