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Discussion – For and Against

Read the dialogue between Jim, Kate and Laura.
Jim:I see the Russians are planning to go to Mars now. It makes me sick to think of all the money spent on space research. How can they throw money away like that when millions of people on Earth are hungry? Kate:I don’t think it’s thrown away. You can’t stop scientific progress. People naturally want to find out about other planets, and what we find out may be very useful to the human race in the future. Jim:But that doesn’t do us much good now, does it? All that effort and expense to land two people on the Moon, and we found that that no one lives there, and we couldn’t, either. We know that already. Kate:Yes, but when I saw the film, I thought it was thrilling. It caught people’s imagination. And that’s why there have been so many technological advances in other areas. I’ve read that the investment has been repaid nine times. All the computers, even things like digital watches, have developed much faster because of space research. Jim:Well, they don’t feed hungry people or improve social services, either, do they? What do you think, Laura? Laura:I think you are both right in a way, though personally I’m more on Kate’s side. The main argument in favor is that because it’s spectacular, it encourages research everywhere. Some things they have found out help cure people in hospital, for instance, so it does have a practical value now, not just in the future. But of course if you think that raising the standard of living of poor people in the world is the most urgent problem we need to solve, any expense on research that doesn’t affect that directly must seem wasteful. Now read Laura’s written version of this discussion. Note (a) the way it is organized in paragraphs, (b) the order in which the discussion is presented, (c) the use of phrases that connect the argument.

Space research is still a controversial issue. For some people, it is an exciting proof of man’s adventurous...
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