Debate:Should foreign students be barred from science and technology courses?

From RationalWiki
Jump to: navigation, search
Debate.png This is a Debate page.
Feel free to add your own spin on the story. Please keep it civil!
Information icon.svg This debate was created by LobPo.

Should US universities prohibit foreign students from taking programs on science and technology? Most foreign students return to their home countries after completion of their programs and enrich the technological advancement of their home countries including military technology. UK universities have already banned foreign students from taking such course [1]. Should US do the same? Exception might be applied in the fields such as geology, palentology, marine biology, evolutionary biology etc. the knowledge of which does not influence technological advancement. Interesting, China has the largest nubers of students studying in the US and Chinese espionage activities are well-known. --LobPo (talk) 07:53, 3 April 2015 (UTC)


I will address two points separately:

Should universities etc. ban foreign students from taking such courses?[edit]

Save for the service academies, which are a special case anyhow, of course, a university's business is not to defend the nation, but rather to further human knowledge. This mission is better served by accepting students regardless of national origins: selecting from a broader pool of applicants is rarely a bad thing, and seeking talented, intellectually gifted younguns is no exception to that rule. PacWalker 08:12, 3 April 2015 (UTC)

Should state/nat'l governments?[edit]

Again, no: the minimal impediment to foreign military development is not worth shutting foreign students out of the sciences, especially since some number of international students (esp. grad students) wind up staying. Foreign intelligence collectors are possessed of NUMEROUS other of means of gathering information (not least among them the "OOPS! look what crashed" method), which are often more effective. PacWalker 08:12, 3 April 2015 (UTC)

Also, college courses aren't exactly treated like state secrets anyhow: even if you prevented any given group from taking them, that's several steps short of keeping students/professors/the dreaded instructors/TAs from discussing them. PacWalker 08:19, 3 April 2015 (UTC)

Other issues[edit]

  • Your list of exceptions does not include physics or chemistry, which are "traditional" general ed sciences, and so often a flat-out requirement for graduation.
  • You list some biology, but no chemistry. I trust the issue there is apparent.
  • The obvious race-baiting is not appreciated. Also, that any major (or really even middle) power engages in spying is well-known.
  • The exceptions don't influence technological advancement? Beg pardon?
  • Read your source again. It does not address anything close to all science classes.
PacWalker 08:12, 3 April 2015 (UTC)
  • I mean a student learning evolutionary biology is not going to directly impact national economy as opposed to a student learning biotechnology. --LobPo (talk) 09:04, 3 April 2015 (UTC)
  • It is pure science vs applied science. --LobPo (talk) 09:09, 3 April 2015 (UTC)
And those two aren't related at all, are they? PacWalker 09:41, 3 April 2015 (UTC)

The UK[edit]

No, UK universities haven't "banned foreign students" from studying science & technology courses. If they did, it would be a massive blow to their student intake. The UK government has put an approval scheme in place as part of the visa process for non-EU students within certain subject areas where there may be international security issues, and applicants' clearance to study these courses is occasionally (though very rarely) denied by the visa authorities. You should try reading articles beyond the headline. WėąṣėḷőįďWeaselly.jpgMethinks it is a Weasel 08:29, 3 April 2015 (UTC)

The misinterpretation of the cited article furthers my suspicion that LobPo is a troll. Either that, or completely incompetent.--ZooGuard (talk) 16:08, 3 April 2015 (UTC)
Hanlon's Razor? ScepticWombat (talk) 10:01, 4 April 2015 (UTC)
As corollary to Occam's, the whole equal explanatory power bit is important. PacWalker 10:05, 4 April 2015 (UTC)

Soviet students in the US and vice verse[edit]

Did US universities accept Soviet students in all programs during the cold was and vice verse? --LobPo (talk) 09:23, 3 April 2015 (UTC)

Appeal to tradition PacWalker 09:42, 3 April 2015 (UTC)
I am saying there must be practical reason for doing this. --LobPo (talk) 09:48, 3 April 2015 (UTC)
(not ec) Please do present whatever that reason was, not make the oh-so-helpful "it was done in the past" argument. PacWalker 09:50, 3 April 2015 (UTC)
(ec) Also... are you aware of how travel defection (it was definitely a one-way affair in virtually all cases) to the West was viewed/handled within the Eastern Bloc for most of its history? PacWalker 09:50, 3 April 2015 (UTC)
I am not talking about restricting imigration, I am talking about restricting foreigners from enrolling in US universities. --LobPo (talk) 10:57, 3 April 2015 (UTC)
I'm going to leave my previous point right where it is. Take two. PacWalker 11:07, 3 April 2015 (UTC)
The main reason for the lack of Soviet students in US universities lies on the Soviet side of the equation. The average citizens of the Eastern Bloc were severely restricted from travel in the West, though it was not entirely impossible, and there were people whose jobs required it (for example, a pair of Soviet journalists did a road trip through the US in the 1970s to write a book about it; the Soviet merchant marine operated around the whole world). Nevertheless, the thought of random students traveling and studying in a free corrupt, capitalist country would give the average apparatchick severe dispepsia. Things changed a bit in the late 1980s, under perestoika and glasnost. For example, this document mentions "56 Soviet undergraduate exchange students studying in the U.S. during the academic year 1988-1989". And you are either a troll, or a fascist idiot.--ZooGuard (talk) 16:06, 3 April 2015 (UTC)


Seriously?--Miekal 12:53, 3 April 2015 (UTC)

FUCK no[edit]

The no section above isn't strong enough, this is a racist, xenophobic, and economically idiotic proposal, that helps no one in any way. If we pretend that having this argument for the sake of argument is somehow worthwhile, it's still straight-up wrong. ikanreed You probably didn't deserve that 14:16, 3 April 2015 (UTC)

Part of the reason, Lobpo, that so many foreign students leave the US after getting college education, is that we prevent them from staying here. Given that something like 50% of our scientists/engineers/coders are foreign, it's a better action on our part to just reform immigration and let people stay. Herr FuzzyKatzenPotato (talk/stalk) 14:52, 3 April 2015 (UTC)
Agree with immigration reform. But is it because of immigration difficulties that foreign students go back to their home countries? --LobPo (talk) 15:34, 3 April 2015 (UTC)
"Part of the reason..." (emphasis added) – Our Fuzzy Feline Tuber Overlord, 3 April 2015
I feel as though He, in His infinite fuzziness, may have already revealed to us that truth. PacWalker 15:39, 3 April 2015 (UTC)
Another part, probably a very small one, of the reason for "foreign" students leaving after gaining a degree, is that there were/are countries who subsidize study abroad (at universities in Western industrialized nations) on the condition that the student returns home with their newly gained knowledge (and social contacts.) Nothing nefarious, only a desire to benefit their own economy. MaillardFillmore (talk) 16:28, 3 April 2015 (UTC)
^ to both comments. Some students come, subsidized; some students come, escaping poverty; some students come, seeking better education; few can stay. A tragedy, for our economy at the very least. Sir ℱ℧ℤℤϒℂᗩℑᑭƠℑᗩℑƠ (talk/stalk) 16:37, 3 April 2015 (UTC)


American students add little to most countries and these foreigners certainly be banned.--Bob"I think you'll find it's more complicated than that." 15:14, 3 April 2015 (UTC)

You probably haven't but...[edit]

Have you considered that the knowledge taught at American universities is also rather readily available at various non-American universities as well as through various non-university sources (like even *gasp* the internet?!?)? (talk) 03:38, 4 April 2015 (UTC)

Probably, LobPo hasn't - that would certainly fit a pretty systematic pattern of him/her not thinking ideas through before starting a debate on them. ScepticWombat (talk) 10:05, 4 April 2015 (UTC)