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Thread: Academic Doping

  1. #1
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    Academic Doping

    Recently I stumbled across the concept of "Academic Doping" - that is, the usage of drugs such as Ritalin or Adderall to increase one's performance in schools or test taking.

    The first challenge to the issue on the side of the opposition is the problem of fairness. Do performance enhancing drugs present users with an unfair advantage over their peers, in areas of both regular school performance or competitive school test taking and results? Is it really morally just that there are students who may be denied spots into colleges or universities because of their inability, lack of access, or dislike of drug taking? Furthermore, the potential for the increase of social disparity is easily apparent; as rich people can better afford medication to help them study, they will tend to be more successful than those who cannot afford pills and inequality will grow and persist. Secondly, there is the issue of whether students who use such drugs are really "using their own brains" - in the same way that athletes who dope in competitions aren't really using their own bodies, but rather an artificially enhanced version of their bodies. Moreover, isn't it somewhat fraudulent for students to represent their intelligence to schools and others as being their true intelligence when it is actually their unnaturally stimulated brain and work which comprises their acumen and aptitude? Finally, there's the ethical problem of whether people 'lose' a bit of their humanity when they start doping and synthetically improving their intelligence - intelligence which in itself may be temporary and primarily anchored to the taking of medication. This last objection can be better framed by imaging students who in the future use mechanical implants in their brains to improve their test scores or smarts; it's hard to disagree that in a way, academic doping seems to be the disturbing chipping away of what it means to be truly human.

    Arguments from the side of proponents are compelling as well, however. For starters, in a world where there are pills to help people sleep better, fix medical conditions, decrease depression, prevent memory loss, and improve sexual functioning - why is the refusal and banning of pills to help students study reasonable or acceptable? Especially when one considers that stimulants such as coffee are 'legitimate' aids to learning and staying alert, the rationale behind banning the next step (cognitive performance-enhancing substances) seems questionable. In addition, there are ethical questions as to the denial of such pills to students, as noted by one person:

    Why would reducing study time be a bad thing? Wouldn’t we all love to have that extra productivity or extra hours of sleep rather than stare at the same page in a textbook, chugging coffee, stressing out, and barely keeping our eyes open? Has anyone considered that is might be unethically NOT to make something available that would reduce the time and effects of stressful all-nighters, if it increased productivity? Or unethical NOT to give it to tired doctors, who otherwise would be more prone to medical mistakes?
    From this there extends even more curious problems, such as, if pills can increase productivity as well as focus and intelligence, and thus increase the potential for discoveries or inventions which may lead to a better standard of living for all, is it moral to stunt this possibility by outlawing pills? Finally there is the issue of side-effects and consequences. One might argue that students should have a right to take a pill to increase their chances for success and improve their brain, especially in a world where people increasingly do it. With more and more students now using these drugs to increase their performance, students who have the ban enforced upon them may be being placed at a huge disadvantage which could effectively end their possibilities of getting into a top college or securing a job. Is it really fair to deny certain students access to a level playing field when there are a mass of students out there who are already able to (and do) illegally get and take these cognition enhancing pills? As for the side-effects, supporters of academic pill taking make the argument that it is and should the individual’s choice as to whether to assume the risks, especially when those risks are contrasted with the more imminent, real, and serious possibility of losing out to others - who do use pills - in areas of achievement.

    All in all, this under-debated issue gives rise to numerous, intriguing questions; and while I am instinctively made queasy by the idea of academic doping (I don't even use coffee to help me study) it's nevertheless hard to ignore the mass of clinical benefits which seem to stem from it.
    Last edited by Dela Cruz; May 3rd, 2009 at 07:37 AM.
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    Re: Academic Doping

    I go to a high school where cheating is rampant and I have never heard of anybody going to the lengths of performance enhancing drugs.

    Now this is no public school, its a fairly prestigious private school in Boston, and there is no shortage of extremely wealthy kids, who would have the ability to purchase these types of drugs.

    Morally its wrong, and I'd be mad if I found out one of my classmates did it but there isn't really anything that can be done about it. But thankfully I don't think academic doping will ever get beyond the small minority of kids who are both extremely wealthy and completely obsessed with school.

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    Re: Academic Doping

    The problem I have with doping I can explain with your doctor analogy: If doctors currently (sometimes) work 24 hour shifts, and they can't take "performance enhancing drugs" even though it might actually help them concentrate and in effect make them practice better medicine... what would happen if they suddenly were allowed to take drugs?

    I'm guessing their days would be extended. They would still work out to the bitter limit, only that limit would be pushed farther back, like a 48 hour shift instead of a 24 hour shift. Same thing with students and studying: how many of them (the truly dedicated ones that would take performance enhancing drugs to be academically competitive) would take drugs so they could study less? If anything, I would imagine that type would see the drugs as allowing them to study more, not so it would give them additional downtime, and thereby pushing the benchmark farther up... which is what is happening now.

    Doping is unnatural, and dangerous. I believe it to be unethical, because it offers advantages that are completely unfair for those who don't do it. Just like in professional sports, and for pretty much the exact same reasons.
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    Re: Academic Doping

    I take adderall because I'm attention deficit. It does help with focus tremendously but I don't think non adder's should take it. And the whole idea of academic doping seems lame to me.

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    Re: Academic Doping

    Quote Originally Posted by cdubs
    I go to a high school where cheating is rampant and I have never heard of anybody going to the lengths of performance enhancing drugs.

    Now this is no public school, its a fairly prestigious private school in Boston, and there is no shortage of extremely wealthy kids, who would have the ability to purchase these types of drugs.
    The use of cognition-enhancers is becoming increasingly common, regardless of your anecdotal evidence:

    Adderall sales in the U.S. soared by more than 3,100 percent between 2002 and 2005, according to the Washington Post. Bootlegged at about $3 to $5 per pill, Adderall is both inexpensive and accessible.

    As many as one-in-four college students misused ADHD medications according to a nationwide survey reported in the journal, Addiction. The Partnership for a Drug-Free America found that one-in-ten kids of middle and high school age are using psychiatric drugs such as Adderall or Ritalin without a prescription, reported the Washington Post in an article entitled, "A Dose of Genius; Smart Pills Are on the Rise; But Is Taking Them Wise?" MSNBC reports that parents now visit doctors to demand this drug for their children, in the hope of improving their children's report cards. Although no concrete statistics are available, the frequency of parents blaming ADD for a child's poor performance in school is becoming alarmingly common, according to MSNBC.

    Earlier this year, Nature, one of the world's leading scientific journals, carried out an informal survey of its (mostly scientific) readers. One in five of the 1,400 people who responded said they had taken Ritalin, Provigil or beta blockers (drugs that can have an anti-anxiety effect) for non-medical reasons. They used them to stimulate focus, concentration or memory. Of that one in five, 62% had taken Ritalin and 44% Provigil. Most users had somehow obtained their drugs on prescription or else bought them over the internet.
    http://www.economist.com/science/dis...ry_id=11402761
    http://www.provigilweb.org/p34.htm

    Quote Originally Posted by cdubs
    Morally its wrong, and I'd be mad if I found out one of my classmates did it but there isn't really anything that can be done about it. But thankfully I don't think academic doping will ever get beyond the small minority of kids who are both extremely wealthy and completely obsessed with school.
    At 3-5 dollars per pill, it's not only the "extremely wealthy" who can afford them. Moreover, one needs not be "completely obsessed with school" to want to use them; the advantages provided by using such drugs are compelling enough for even an average student to want to take them: increased focus, increased memory retention, higher grades and test scores, the benefits are plenty numerous.

    Quote Originally Posted by Dr Gonzo
    The problem I have with doping I can explain with your doctor analogy: If doctors currently (sometimes) work 24 hour shifts, and they can't take "performance enhancing drugs" even though it might actually help them concentrate and in effect make them practice better medicine... what would happen if they suddenly were allowed to take drugs?
    I don't understand your reasoning; are you suggesting that because doctors don't have access to such drugs students should not either? If so, whether doctors should use cognition enhancers is debatable in itself, and even if one were to concede that they should not, there is no given reason to extend this denial of access to students.

    Quote Originally Posted by Dr Gonzo
    I'm guessing their days would be extended. They would still work out to the bitter limit, only that limit would be pushed farther back, like a 48 hour shift instead of a 24 hour shift. Same thing with students and studying: how many of them (the truly dedicated ones that would take performance enhancing drugs to be academically competitive) would take drugs so they could study less? If anything, I would imagine that type would see the drugs as allowing them to study more, not so it would give them additional downtime, and thereby pushing the benchmark farther up... which is what is happening now.
    Isn't the raising of standards and general performance a good thing? Furthermore, if students want to study longer and learn more why should it be discouraged or controlled? Should it not be their choice? Finally, cognition enhancers allow students to concentrate better and improve memory; it doesn't cause a 'high' or boost their energy resulting in them going on unhealthy study binges. And even if it did, there are already legal substances out there which students use to stay awake, alert, and energized (Coffee, Red Bull), and there don't seem to be any problems of the type you describe.

    Quote Originally Posted by Dr Gonzo
    Doping is unnatural, and dangerous. I believe it to be unethical, because it offers advantages that are completely unfair for those who don't do it. Just like in professional sports, and for pretty much the exact same reasons.
    But the upsides are also numerous, imagine if such drugs became both legal and widespread. Students would actually be able to remember much of what they learned in school, and while studying they would be focused and attentive. The general intelligence level would be boosted, and discoveries and inventions that better our quality of life would rapidly be discovered. Additionally, as everybody would have access to the cognition enhancers there would be no inequality, unless certain people chose not to take the drugs. Furthermore, if a student wants to take extra measures to improve his or her academic performance and knowledge, it doesn't seems fair to deny that student the chance to do that merely because becoming smarter would be "unfair" to others. After all, if one wants to buy textbooks or academic texts to read and study in their spare time, we wouldn't refuse them that - but when it comes to buying some pill to increase their smarts we say 'no'? Why? Lastly, as noted earlier, it does appear to be unethical to essentially force students to spend long and grueling hours trying to understand and learn a subject when they have the means to get a firmer grasp and their educational material with much less effort. And as far as danger goes, it should be the student's choice whether or not to assume the 'risks' in exchange for access to the very real and valuable benefits.

    It seems silly to suggest that governments should spend billions to barely hold on to teachers who promulgate an inadequate curriculum and school system, and yet should completely ignore the easy and cheap educational and mental benefits of a simple pill.
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  6. #6
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    Re: Academic Doping

    I think the biggest issue with these types of drugs is that they are highly addictive and create a "I can't work without my drugs" mentality.

    Quote Originally Posted by wiki
    Tolerance, extreme psychological dependence, and severe social disability can occur when amphetamines are abused. The manufacturer warns against exceeding the prescribed dosage, injecting the drug, or insufflation of the drug. Prolonged high doses of amphetamines followed by an abrupt cessation can result in extreme fatigue and mental depression. Chronic abuse of amphetamines can result in the manifestation of amphetamine psychosis.[12]
    Moreoever, they are an appetite suppressant. Chornic use could be very determental to someone's physical health, despite their increased focus. Eating is a good thing.

    Chronic and continued use of things like adderral is not a "win-win" solution.

    You want people to learn more? Have better retention of infomration in school?

    Teach them how to study and not cram. Retaining information, learning new material, and learning new skills requires time, repetition, and effort.

    There should be a more concerted effort on the learning process. It is obvious that people can retain vast amount of information and be very productive without using drugs.

    All that being said...

    If there was something without the side effects or dependency then I am all for it. I find that very unlikely but you never know...

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    Re: Academic Doping

    I think our problem as the human race is that we are so quick to blame everything but ourselves for any short comings we have.

    I think the Green Ape said it best when he mentioned that we need to make sure we know how to study and not CRAM. IF you understand how much information can be retained over a long term period from cramming you would understand that it's a terrible method.

    We need discipline. We need to remember how to sit down and study bits and peices of information and look at that information mroe than once in order to retain it. I think the biggest part fo the problem in America is the culture we have created with two parents the work. The parents do not feel they have the time to work with these kids (bad excuse on their part you have to make the time). Thus they veiw school as the schools problem. The school will fix my child and teach tehm everything they need to know.

    Meanwhile, the kid is only held accountable by the school. They start to slip behind. They never took the time to learn how to use what they were taught and now they get further behind. At some point they get so far out of it and are so undisciplined in the art fo studying that they look for short cuts. Enter the use fo drugs.

    Drug use may have certain benefits, but are we as a people going to rely on drugs for everything? We already abuse narcotics, alcohol, caffine, and nicotine....do we really need to ad another thing to be dependant on?

    I don't think so. I think people are capable of doing better but they need the discipline required to function properly. Taking performance enhancing drugs of any kind is really unethical. Can't stay awake....go the **** to bed on time. Can't lose weight? You don't need a pill....you need running shoes fat ass.

    We all want simple solutions nto our problems and sometimes the simple solution isn't a simple thing to do.....but it is the right thing to do.

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    Re: Academic Doping

    I think the biggest issue with these types of drugs is that they are highly addictive and create a "I can't work without my drugs" mentality.
    And yet, we are perfectly fine with prescribing such drugs to those with ADD or ADHD - are you suggesting that we should deny Ritalin and Adderrol to people with those conditions? If the negative effects are reason to ban cognition enhancers, then that logic should extend to everybody.

    Originally Posted by wiki
    Tolerance, extreme psychological dependence, and severe social disability can occur when amphetamines are abused. The manufacturer warns against exceeding the prescribed dosage, injecting the drug, or insufflation of the drug. Prolonged high doses of amphetamines followed by an abrupt cessation can result in extreme fatigue and mental depression. Chronic abuse of amphetamines can result in the manifestation of amphetamine psychosis.[12]
    This refers to drug 'abuse', "exceeding the prescribed dosage", or "Prolonged high doses". But it speaks nothing about using such drugs in moderation nor is the term 'abuse' clearly defined. Excessive consumption of any drug or substance always has negative repercussions, but that's hardly a valid reason for banning them. Besides, pills like Ritalin and Adderrol are considered safe for use and approved by the FDA.

    Moreoever, they are an appetite suppressant. Chornic use could be very determental to someone's physical health, despite their increased focus. Eating is a good thing.
    And that choice should belong to the student. Assuming the drug is reasonably safe, it's not the job of government to legislate the rate of our food consumption. A very large number of drugs have negative side-effects including loss of appetite, shall we start yanking those pharmaceuticals from the shelves?

    Teach them how to study and not cram. Retaining information, learning new material, and learning new skills requires time, repetition, and effort.
    And with cognition enhancers it requires much less of all three, all the while increasing retention and the rate of understanding.

    There should be a more concerted effort on the learning process. It is obvious that people can retain vast amount of information and be very productive without using drugs.
    So what? A depressed person may be able to do his or her job well, does that mean we should restrict their access to drugs which allow them to lead a more happy and productive live? If we have the opportunity to be better and smarter, why not take it?

    If there was something without the side effects or dependency then I am all for it. I find that very unlikely but you never know...
    Again, every drug has side-effects, and a great many cause their users to become dependent upon them. But the banning of those drugs would be unthinkable. Additionally, as noted, only excessive use of Ritalin or Adderrol 'may' be addictive - hardly a compelling argument against a super pill with the potential to confer upon users all the gifts of mental brilliance.
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    Re: Academic Doping

    Quote Originally Posted by Dela
    The first challenge to the issue on the side of the opposition is the problem of fairness. Do performance enhancing drugs present users with an unfair advantage over their peers, in areas of both regular school performance or competitive school test taking and results?
    "Unfair" is a man-made concept without any inherent meaning.

    Performance enhancing drugs do exactly what they say. So yes, it gives students an advantage. An "unfair" advantage? That can mean whatever hell you want it to. But it certainly gives people an advantage.

    Quote Originally Posted by Dela
    Is it really morally just that there are students who may be denied spots into colleges or universities because of their inability, lack of access, or dislike of drug taking?
    Of course it's moral. We all take costs. That's the nature of competing. Some people will stay up all night and it will cost them their evening. Some people won't, and it'll cost them on the test. Some people will stay up all night studying, and it will cost them sleep, but they'll do better on the exam.

    We all take costs to try and beat one another. Some of aren't willing to stay up all night to study; does that mean we should make "staying up all night studying" academically prohibited?

    Of course not, that's just silly.

    Quote Originally Posted by Dela
    Furthermore, the potential for the increase of social disparity is easily apparent; as rich people can better afford medication to help them study, they will tend to be more successful than those who cannot afford pills and inequality will grow and persist.
    This is possibly the stupidest argument on the planet. Okay, so, "concentration drugs are bad because they provide an unfair advantage", so then:


    "Boarding schools are bad because they provide an unfair advantage for the rich."

    "Letters of recommendation are bad because they provide an unfair advantage to the well-connected rich."

    "AP classes are bad because they provide an unfair advantage to rich kids who have a greater access to them."

    "Tutors are bad because they give an unfair advantage to the rich because poor people can't afford them."

    "Kids who go to the same school as their parents are bad because it gives an unfair advantage to that kid because his/her parents letter of recommendation will be given higher consideration."

    "Reading to you children is bad, because many poor parents can't do that and rich/middle-class kid's parents are more prone to do that, and it increases intelligence (statistically) and therefore gives an unfair advantage."


    And guess what? That list keeps on growing. Life's f***ing unfair. Get over it, unless you want to become a Communist hippy who gives all of his possessions away to poor people and spends all his time trying to make sure every human has equal opportunity. Otherwise, you can give up your stupid, asshat notions of "fairness." Because it doesn't exist. Life is inherently unfair.


    Quote Originally Posted by Dela
    Secondly, there is the issue of whether students who use such drugs are really "using their own brains" - in the same way that athletes who dope in competitions aren't really using their own bodies, but rather an artificially enhanced version of their bodies. Moreover, isn't it somewhat fraudulent for students to represent their intelligence to schools and others as being their true intelligence when it is actually their unnaturally stimulated brain and work which comprises their acumen and aptitude?
    And this is why fairness is a stupid, stupid concept.

    Billy Bob was born with an IQ of 95. Johnny was born with an IQ of 130.


    Johnny will go to college, Billy Bob will not. It is unfair that Billy Bob was born stupider. It is unfair that because of this, Billy Bob will not go to college.


    The random sequencing of genetics causing our brains to have higher intelligence is inherently UNFAIR.


    Quote Originally Posted by Dr Gonzo View Post
    The problem I have with doping I can explain with your doctor analogy: If doctors currently (sometimes) work 24 hour shifts, and they can't take "performance enhancing drugs" even though it might actually help them concentrate and in effect make them practice better medicine... what would happen if they suddenly were allowed to take drugs?

    I'm guessing their days would be extended. They would still work out to the bitter limit, only that limit would be pushed farther back, like a 48 hour shift instead of a 24 hour shift.
    The problem here is that doctors quite frankly shouldn't be worked so hard because I want a damn doctor who knows what the hell he's doing, considering I'm paying the hospital an exorbitant amount of money for his services.

    But nevertheless, I would take a doctor on drugs who's been awake for 24 hours way the hell over a doctors who's been awake for 24 hours without any drugs.

    Why? Because it's safer. People who do their jobs better is a good thing.

    Quote Originally Posted by Gonzo
    Same thing with students and studying: how many of them (the truly dedicated ones that would take performance enhancing drugs to be academically competitive) would take drugs so they could study less? If anything, I would imagine that type would see the drugs as allowing them to study more, not so it would give them additional downtime, and thereby pushing the benchmark farther up... which is what is happening now.
    What does it matter if they study less or simply study more. It's a positive situation either way.

    And Gonzo, we need the benchmark raised the hell out of in this country. We are an amazingly ignorant nation, and humans as a species are an amazingly stupid lot of creatures.

    You seriously are going to sit here and argue that providing a way for humans to become smarter is a bad thing?

    Quote Originally Posted by Gonzo
    Doping is unnatural, and dangerous. I believe it to be unethical, because it offers advantages that are completely unfair for those who don't do it. Just like in professional sports, and for pretty much the exact same reasons.
    Again, arguments about what is fair or not is like arguing whether or not it is fair that the earth doesn't have a circular orbit. It's a waste of life.

    Life is unfair. Things are unfair. The possible advantages of this well make up for any disadvantages. And it is not analogous to sports. It doesn't fing matter if some idiot wins a damn medal or scores a touch down. It does matter if someone who is capable of doing work can go to college and learn the information they need to learn for their future. It matters to the academic community, it matters to society, and it matters to the workforce.







    But at the end of it all, this is a simple case study for why the whole concept of academic doping is, quite frankly, perfectly acceptable. Allow me to introduce you to:



    D.r Paul Erdos. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paul_Erd%C5%91s)


    Paul Erdos was born in 1913 and died in 1996. Paul Erdos was an academic mathematician (and probably one of the most amusing human beings I've ever heard of).

    He was a prolific mathematician. Page-wise, he wrote more on mathematics than any other human being in all of history. Paul Erdos contributed to mathematics on a level that has not been seen since Leonard Euler or Friedrich Gauss. He wrote on topics of topology, number theory, combinatorics, graph theory, and much more.


    But Dr. Erdos liked drugs. Amphetamines to be exact. He used them to keep himself awake and alert (and constantly spitting out mathematical theorems and papers).


    This is a very clear cut case of "academic doping". He used drugs so he could write more, do more, think more, and be more. Just like students. It was unfair that he used drugs to become a famous mathematician when other mathematicians didn't use drugs and didn't become famous.


    But who gives a sodding sh*t? The man got things done. The man helped improve human understanding, and the math that he discovered will inevitably one day be used in theoretical physics, computer programming, science research, or maybe even engineering projects. He bettered humanity by using drugs.

    Do you know what the benefits are of his using drugs? A lot more human understanding.


    Do you know what the cost to humanity (and himself) was for using drugs? Nothing.



    So I'll ask again? Who the hell cares if people are "academically doping". Some people drink coffee in the morning to keep themselves alert at their jobs; is that "job doping"? Could they naturally have done their job that well if they hadn't had coffee, as opposed to the people in their office who don't drink coffee for personal reasons? I think that is an unfair advantage and therefore I think that coffee should be banned from work places. Oh wait, no, no I don't; that idea is just stupid.



    At the end of the day, people, humanity exists to better itself. This is one simple way that we better ourselves; either you decry all forms of "unfairness" or you decry none of them. You don't get to pick and choose which ones you find arbitrarily and randomly "too unfair".
    Last edited by GoldPhoenix; May 5th, 2009 at 11:47 AM.

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    Re: Academic Doping

    Quote Originally Posted by GoldPhoenix View Post
    This is one simple way that we better ourselves; either you decry all forms of "unfairness" or you decry none of them. You don't get to pick and choose which ones you find arbitrarily and randomly "too unfair".
    But... you did the same thing in your post. You said athletic doping had no corollary to academic doping on the grounds that athletics gives nothing to humanity. You justified one type of artificial enhancement based on your own arbitrary and random criteria (human advancement), while completely dismissing the other. So, I ask you: Do you think athletic doping is "unfair"?

    Quote Originally Posted by Dela Cruz
    I don't understand your reasoning; are you suggesting that because doctors don't have access to such drugs students should not either? If so, whether doctors should use cognition enhancers is debatable in itself, and even if one were to concede that they should not, there is no given reason to extend this denial of access to students.
    I was saying that if doctors were allowed to use drugs to up their energy and/or cognitive abilities, they wouldn't have a more productive, better medicine 24 hour day- they'd have a strung out, barely there 48 hour day in place of the current strung out, barely there 24 hour day. The bar doesn't move to provide better results for humanity - the bar only moves to increase humanity's workload. For the student example, I don't believe academic doping will lead to "better" academic standards, only academic standards that would be impossible to meet without said drugs (meaning higher work-load, not necessarily better learning).

    For GP and Dela both, I want to say it's my personal opinion that our current crappy academic standards aren't a result of lack of drugs or personal motivation or drive. The standards themselves have been lowered in the interest of "fairness." There are far too many people in college right now that probably shouldn't be there. I have always tested in the top of my peer groups for my entire life; I have always been the "smart kid" in class, the one people would ask to explain things to them that they didn't understand. I have never taken any drugs to get ahead academically. I never did homework, true, but I always knew all the material presented. I've always tested well. I've always understood. And all without any kind of enhancers. The reason why I didn't go to college in the traditional sense was because there were so many sub-par students with wealthy parents that have driven the cost of tuition to ungodly levels, all so their kids can "take part in the American Dream." Poor kids like me, however, face a life of debt if we want to attend "good" schools (or, are willing to do obscene amounts of busywork that don't show our academic prowess so much as our "good employee instincts" to obtain scholarships).

    There are people in this world who don't need to dope to get ahead. Those are the people who should be in college. If you have to dope to stay "competitive," then you are cheating. Period. Same as with athletes - there are some who are good at physical things, and those that aren't. Should steroids be allowed to those that don't naturally possess the physical capabilities to perform physical tasks? No, and it has almost nothing to do with the inherent dangers either, which I believe Dela said should be the individual's choice anyway. But let's say "yes, steroids should be allowed for those that aren't as naturally good at sports." Then what is stopping the "naturals" from taking them as well, thereby marginalizing the less-than-naturals again?

    Moving the bar is moving the bar, regardless if it's for sports or school. There are ALWAYS consequences. I wonder what kind of medical care Dr. Erdos needed in his advanced years, if he was a habitual user of amphetamines. Did he require an inordinate amount of medical resources to keep him going? Further, if he died of a heart attack at the age off 83, after having taken amphetamines for more than 20 years... that begs the question how much longer would he have lived without them? What mathematical genius did he deprive the world of by dying at 83 instead of 90? Or 100? How long would he have lived? Before amphetamines he still produced a lot of work (being fueled by caffeine, which is legal and safe in moderate doses), but after he started his habit in 1971, he needed the drugs. During his month long bet with a friend if he could kick the habit or not, he claimed it set his work back an entire month. No where does it say how much more he got done with it, only that without it he was worthless. Seems more like a stumbling block, to me.
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    Re: Academic Doping

    Quote Originally Posted by Dr Gonzo View Post
    For the student example, I don't believe academic doping will lead to "better" academic standards, only academic standards that would be impossible to meet without said drugs (meaning higher work-load, not necessarily better learning).
    And I think this is crucial. Well put.

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    Re: Academic Doping

    Quote Originally Posted by Dr Gonzo View Post
    But... you did the same thing in your post. You said athletic doping had no corollary to academic doping on the grounds that athletics gives nothing to humanity. You justified one type of artificial enhancement based on your own arbitrary and random criteria (human advancement), while completely dismissing the other.
    It's neither random nor arbitrary. We're evolutionarily hardwired to care about what effects humanity as a whole, because we're hardwired to care about humanity's survival.

    What two people do in a game has absolutely no lasting effect on human survival.


    Quote Originally Posted by Gonzo
    So, I ask you: Do you think athletic doping is "unfair"?
    Honestly, I couldn't care one way or the other.

    Some people are born weak, some strong. Again, "fairness" is a concept which exists exclusively in our interpretation of the universe, and is arbitrary.

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    Re: Academic Doping

    Quote Originally Posted by GoldPhoenix
    "Unfair" is a man-made concept without any inherent meaning.
    'Unfair" means unequal, inequality, immorality, and injustice - all the things which we as humans strive to avoid. The fact that unfairness is a man-made concept doesn't rob it of worth.

    Quote Originally Posted by GoldPhoenix
    Of course it's moral. We all take costs. That's the nature of competing. Some people will stay up all night and it will cost them their evening. Some people won't, and it'll cost them on the test. Some people will stay up all night studying, and it will cost them sleep, but they'll do better on the exam.

    We all take costs to try and beat one another. Some of aren't willing to stay up all night to study; does that mean we should make "staying up all night studying" academically prohibited?

    Of course not, that's just silly.
    The difference between working long hours to learn and popping pills to increase one's intelligence is that the first method is a valid means of attaining knowledge. Studying hard involves a good work ethic, determination and drive, and natural intelligence and understanding. Whereas taking drugs is unnatural, lazy, and arguably inhuman. The difference between the two is that one involves 'legitimate' means of learning while the other is tantamount to cheating.

    Quote Originally Posted by GoldPhoenix
    This is possibly the stupidest argument on the planet. Okay, so, "concentration drugs are bad because they provide an unfair advantage", so then:


    "Boarding schools are bad because they provide an unfair advantage for the rich."

    "Letters of recommendation are bad because they provide an unfair advantage to the well-connected rich."

    "AP classes are bad because they provide an unfair advantage to rich kids who have a greater access to them."

    "Tutors are bad because they give an unfair advantage to the rich because poor people can't afford them."

    "Kids who go to the same school as their parents are bad because it gives an unfair advantage to that kid because his/her parents letter of recommendation will be given higher consideration."

    "Reading to you children is bad, because many poor parents can't do that and rich/middle-class kid's parents are more prone to do that, and it increases intelligence (statistically) and therefore gives an unfair advantage."
    Again, see above. As the normal way of learning involves real skill, motive, and hard work - it is not inherently as "unfair" as merely taking 'cognition enhancers' and suddenly being brilliant. All the methods you mention, boarding schools, AP classes, etc - they are all legitimate learning aids because they require the actual investment of one’s energy and investment in order to gain understanding and knowledge.

    Quote Originally Posted by GoldPhoenix
    And guess what? That list keeps on growing. Life's f***ing unfair. Get over it, unless you want to become a Communist hippy who gives all of his possessions away to poor people and spends all his time trying to make sure every human has equal opportunity. Otherwise, you can give up your stupid, asshat notions of "fairness." Because it doesn't exist. Life is inherently unfair.
    That life is inherently unfair doesn't necessitate the perpetuation of unfairness. Life may also be cruel and harsh, but I think you'd agree that humanity ought to take steps to rectify such problems and allow us to live in a good world with justice and equality.

    Finally, there is the fundamental problem of a ’loss of humanity’ if the abuse of pills, drugs, and artificially enhanced everythings become prevalent. To quote the bioethicist Leon Kass and one article:

    "We must live, or try to live, as true men and women, accepting our finite limits, cultivating our given gifts, and performing in ways that are humanly excellent. To do otherwise is to achieve our most desired results at the ultimate cost: getting what we seek or think we seek by no longer being ourselves." That is, we cheat ourselves out of ownership of our own success and damage our sense of self.
    http://www.bioethics.gov/reports/bey.../chapter3.html

    Quote Originally Posted by GoldPhoenix
    At the end of the day, people, humanity exists to better itself.
    Yes, but what's the point of 'bettering' humanity if in the end what it means to be human is lost? A life of pills which essentially place us on autopilot and rob us of the execution of our actions is hardly a pleasant life to have. Living in an experience fundamentally comprised both of good things and the bad - I don't think any of us wants to live the life of a blissfully ignorant sheep.
    "Those people who think they know everything are a great annoyance to those of us who do"
    -Isaac Asimov

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    Re: Academic Doping

    Quote Originally Posted by Dela Cruz View Post
    The use of cognition-enhancers is becoming increasingly common, regardless of your anecdotal evidence:
    The Partnership for a Drug-Free America found that one-in-ten kids of middle and high school age are using psychiatric drugs such as Adderall or Ritalin without a prescription
    I am a high school student right now, and 2 years ago I was a middle school student. I hate to have no official statistics from reputable sources but in the last 5 years I have spent in both middle school and high school I have never once heard, witnessed, or even heard rumors of a single person selling or using these drugs.

    I'm not saying that it hasn't happened and I just haven't seen it, but if the 1 in 10 statistic were true I have to believe I would have gotten at least some inkling.

    Perhaps the other high school students or recent graduates can contribute their experiences? Or am I the only person that thinks this "The Partnership for a Drug-Free America found that one-in-ten kids of middle and high school age are using psychiatric drugs such as Adderall or Ritalin without a prescription" is inaccurate?

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    Re: Academic Doping

    Quote Originally Posted by GoldPhoenix View Post
    It's neither random nor arbitrary. We're evolutionarily hardwired to care about what effects humanity as a whole, because we're hardwired to care about humanity's survival.

    What two people do in a game has absolutely no lasting effect on human survival.




    Honestly, I couldn't care one way or the other.

    Some people are born weak, some strong. Again, "fairness" is a concept which exists exclusively in our interpretation of the universe, and is arbitrary.
    We are evolutionarily hardwired to be physically competitive as well. Who gets to procreate more often - the sickly, 100 lb nerd boy, the 300 lb lazy boy, or the 200 lb athlete?

    What were you addressing specifically when you said:
    This is one simple way that we better ourselves; either you decry all forms of "unfairness" or you decry none of them. You don't get to pick and choose which ones you find arbitrarily and randomly "too unfair".
    Who is considering what "arbitrarily and randomly too unfair"?

    Also, do you have a response to the rest of my post? Or did you just want to try to marginalize jocks so more?
    The Signature Religion is the one true religion. I know this is true, because it says so right here in this signature.

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    Re: Academic Doping

    Quote Originally Posted by cdubs
    I am a high school student right now, and 2 years ago I was a middle school student. I hate to have no official statistics from reputable sources but in the last 5 years I have spent in both middle school and high school I have never once heard, witnessed, or even heard rumors of a single person selling or using these drugs.

    Perhaps the other high school students or recent graduates can contribute their experiences? Or am I the only person that thinks this "The Partnership for a Drug-Free America found that one-in-ten kids of middle and high school age are using psychiatric drugs such as Adderall or Ritalin without a prescription" is inaccurate?
    There are other studies which point to similar rates of cognition-enhancement usage, see:

    Yet one survey estimated that almost 7% of students in US universities have used prescription stimulants in this way, and that on some campuses, up to 25% of students had used them in the past year.

    Approximately 3% (57 students) of our sample of 2250 undergraduate college students had used methylphenidate in the past year without a doctor's prescription. This is consistent with the limited prevalence data published in the literature regarding illicit use of methylphenidate among adolescents. For instance, the Monitoring the Future study, which tracked illicit methylphenidate use in nationally representative samples of 12th grade students, found that illicit use has increased dramatically over the past 5 years, with a current annual prevalence of approximately 3%.[12] Similarly, an Indiana survey revealed that approximately 4% of 12th grade students in that state had used nonprescribed methylphenidate in the past year.[17] The Monitoring the Future and Indiana sample populations both consisted of 12th grade students, not college populations; in fact, limited data have been published on illicit methylphenidate use among college students. One single-institution study found that more than 16% of the students surveyed (283 students) at a 4-year public liberal arts college had tried methylphenidate for nonmedical purposes.[18] Because there are significant differences in drug-using behaviors among different colleges and universities,[4] the extent of illicit methylphenidate use among college students nationwide remains unknown, although it appears to be a growing problem on some campuses.

    According to the report released by The Chronicle Review, six million American schoolchildren - about 15 percent - took methylphenidate (Ritalin) alone in 2003.
    http://npp.neuroscience.wisc.edu/PDF...TheHealthy.pdf
    http://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/455746_4
    http://media.www.ucbvu.com/media/sto...-3441141.shtml

    With those surveys taken into account, it appears that the use of 'smart pills' ranges from about 3 - 25 % amongst college or public school students.
    "Those people who think they know everything are a great annoyance to those of us who do"
    -Isaac Asimov

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    Re: Academic Doping

    Quote Originally Posted by Dela Cruz View Post
    Similarly, an Indiana survey revealed that approximately 4% of 12th grade students in that state had used nonprescribed methylphenidate in the past year.
    that seems much more reasonable then the 1 in 10 hs and ms students fact.

    And i do not at all doubt lots of college students abuse these meds.

 

 

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