"The Great Debate" as written by and John/portnoy Petrucci....
What if someone said
Promise lies ahead
Hopes are high in certain scientific circles
Life won't have to end
You could walk again

What if someone said
Problems lie ahead
They've uncovered something highly controversial
The right to life is strong
Can't you see it's wrong

Human kind has reached a turning point
Poised for conflict at ground zero
Ready for a war
Do we look to our unearthly guide
Or to white coat heroes
Searching for a cure

Turn to the light
Don't be frightened of the shadows it creates
Turn to the light
Turning away would be a terrible mistake

Anarchistic moral vision
Industries of death
Facing violent opposition
Unmolested breaths

Ethic inquisitions breed
Antagonistic views
Right wing sound bite premonitions
In a labyrinth of rules

Are you justified
Are you justified
Are you justified
Justified in taking
Life to save life
Life to save life
Taking life to save life

This embryonic clay
Wrapped in fierce debate
Would be thrown away
Or otherwise discarded

Some of us believe
It may hold the key
To treatment of disease
And secrets highly guarded

Are you justified
Are you justified
Are you justified
Justified in taking
Life to save life
Life to save life
Life to save life

Human kind has reached a turning point
Poised for conflict at ground zero
Ready for a war
Do we look to our unearthly guide
Or to white coat heroes
Searching for the cure

Turn to the light
Don't be frightened of the shadows it creates
Turn to the light
Turning away would be a terrible mistake

We're reaching
But have we gone too far

Harvesting existence
Only to destroy
Carelessly together
We are sliding

Someone else's future
Four days frozen still
Someone else's fate
We are deciding

Miracle potential
Sanctity of life
Faced against each other
We're divided

Should we push the boundaries
Or should we condemn
Moral guilt and science
Have collided

Turn to the light
We defy our own mortality these days
Turn to the light
Pay attention to the questions we have raised


Lyrics submitted by Idan

"The Great Debate" as written by John Petrucci John Myung

Lyrics © Warner/Chappell Music, Inc.

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The Great Debate song meanings
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27 Comments

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  • +1
    General CommentI always got the impression that the song was very slightly FOR it, although they were trying to remain impartial. I just found the final "clip" to be moving and well placed.

    But they do an excellent job of showing both sides- I wouldn't be surprised if Petrucci were against it but other members of the band were for it.
    hangar18on April 13, 2005   Link
  • +1
    General CommentThis song has no stance, but raises questions for yourself, and your stance.

    Also, I agree with london67.
    Tepesson June 04, 2007   Link
  • +1
    General CommentI think the song is supposed to be observing the situation, stating finally that we must simply "turn towards the light." When it comes to things like this there is a somewhat obvious moral tendency to not do whatever is in question, in this case stem cell experimentation, simply because it involves unnatural actions and killing of things. I think it is for that reason that the last line is pro stem cell research, because they had to end with one or the other and it figures to leave with a line that leaves the most ambiguity.

    I think that ambiguity is the most important part of this song, with the intro flooding the listener with fluttering keyboard riffs and voice clips, sort of clearing your mind of any existing bias towards the topic. That's just my opinion on the intro anyway. The song is probably not meant to take any side, as it presents clips of both sides of the argument, though if anything I would bet on the band members being against stem cell research just because they wrote a song about it, it's just the norm really.

    I think the song isn't as much about side-taking as it is about taking the right/moral path. The actual lyrics put emphasis on simply doing the right thing, and they question if stem cell research is justified while also suggesting the potential positive outcomes. To me it sort of represents any major moral dilemma where what's right and wrong is ultimately a matter of opinion, simply because both sides have massive amounts of justification and opinions on them are so divided.
    AVA_Plus44_182on August 07, 2008   Link
  • 0
    General CommentRather obviously, this song discusses the ongoing debate of current stem cell research/cloning, etc. and whether it's right or wrong (the song doesn't present the band's opinion, only different views of some individuals).
    Jester24on June 09, 2002   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI doesn't state the bands opinion on which side is correct, but the "Turn to the light" part bothers me. I think that someone might take this part to back up whatever they believe and say that that stanza justifies it when that could be said of the other side as well.
    Paradoxon June 12, 2002   Link
  • 0
    General Commenti dunno...but i think john P. is against it..thats why he might of wrote a song on it or something
    getupkids1018on July 10, 2002   Link
  • 0
    General Commenti think the band does present it's opinion but in a very subtle way. What convinces me are the following lines:

    "we're reaching / but have we gone too far" - maybe they were for it at first, but now it has gone too far?

    "someone else's fate / we are deciding" - i think the band is trying to say it's their fate and we shouldn't have the power to decide that.

    "Anarchistic moral vision
    Industries of death
    Facing violent opposition
    Unmolested breaths

    Ethic inquisitions breed
    Antagonistic views
    Right wing sound bite premonitions
    In a labyrinth of rules "
    AzWeThinkIamon June 14, 2004   Link
  • 0
    General CommentActually I had gotten the impression that the band was pro-stem cell research, though they didn't flaunt that around. But this line makes me think that:
    "Turn to the light
    Turning away would be a terrible mistake"

    They try to just present both sides of the argument, which is well done, but that line makes me think that they are more pro-stem cell research.
    llowellon October 21, 2004   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI also heard that Petrucci was against it.
    Thunderbolton December 16, 2004   Link
  • 0
    General CommentThen again, this song tends to convey the opposite opinion, not only because of what llowell said, but because the final "clip" is pro-stem cell research.
    Thunderbolton March 21, 2005   Link

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