The Instigator
Brik
Pro (for)
Losing
6 Points
The Contender
Danielle
Con (against)
Winning
55 Points

19. It is morally permissable to kill one innocent person to save the lives of many innocent people.

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 7/6/2008 Category: Society
Updated: 8 years ago Status: Voting Period
Viewed: 10,020 times Debate No: 4609
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (17)
Votes (15)

 

Brik

Pro

Congratulations, TheLwerd, on making it this far in the tournament undefeated. Thank you, judges, for your analysis, and spectators, if there are any, for your interest. Now, without further ado, let's boogie:

***

"I am for those means which will give the greatest good to the greatest number."

Because I agree with these words of 16th American President Abraham Lincoln, I espouse it and the PRO side of the resoltuion, which states:

IT IS MORALLY PERMISSABLE TO KILL ONE INNOCENT PERSON TO SAVE THE LIVES OF MANY INNOCENT PEOPLE.

Before I begin, I offer the following DEFINITIONS to clarify the round:

MORALLY: from a moral point of view
MORAL: of, pertaining to, or concerned with the principles or rules of right conduct or the distinction between right and wrong; ethical
PERMISSABLE: that can be permitted; allowable
INNOCENT: free from legal or specific wrong; guiltless
MANY: constituting or forming a large number

All defined by http://www.dictionary.reference.com....

Move with me now to the RESOLUTION ANALYSIS, an explanation and evaluation of the topic:

1. The modifier "innocent" applies to both the "one...person" and the "many...people." Because no quantifying term like "more" or "less" accompanies the term "innocent," we must assume that both the person and the people are equally innocent, not one more than the other.

2. "Innocent" is a relatively vague term. If we believe it to mean "sinless," the resolution has no practical meaning, because, aside from a small number of biblical (or other religious) characters, no one qualifies for the topical analysis. As the PRO, I offer you what I feel is a fair interpretation of the word "innocent" in this resolution: "innocent" means "not having committed any crime or action which warrants punishment by death."

3. The resolution involves the killing of one person to save the lives of more than one person. It must be assumed (to achieve fairness in the round) that the lives saved could not be saved in any other manner than killing the one person (otherwise the PRO would be forced to uphold an indefensible position.

4. The resolution asks us to weigh the results of an action (on the PRO) versus an inaction (on the CON). At the very least, the PRO must justify the death of the one innocent person, and at the very least, the CON must justify the death of the many innocent people.

Phew, that was a doozy! With these standards for debate set, we can now move on to CONTENTIONS, the meat and potatoes of the case. My position will be split up into two points:

CONTENTION 1: ACTION VERSUS INACTION

A. ACTION

Let's say that Raymond is upturning Thomas's ocean kayak, thus causing him to drown. The drowning is an example of ACTION, because the result would not be happening without Raymond influencing the situation in the way he is. It is very easy to blame Raymond for Thomas's death, because we SEE Raymond drowning him.

B. INACTION

Now suppose that instead Thomas is drowning without Raymond's help. His daughter, Jocelyne, is on the shore. Jocelyn is able to save Thomas from drowning. If she were to stay on the shore and not save Thomas, she would be committing INACTION, because the result (Thomas drowning) occurs due to the LACK of influence of Jocelyne. It is more difficult to fault Jocelyne for Thomas's death than it was for Raymond, because she wasn't visibly contributing to the drowning. However, Jocelyne's INACTION is equally blameworthy with Raymond's ACTION, because they are equally responsible for Thomas's drowning.

This equality will be very important in the next contention…

CONTENTION 2: THE PROOF IS IN THE PUDDIN'

I will bring up two examples that will demonstrate the validity of the PRO argument. These two scenarios are not my original creations; they come from the book PHILOSOPHY IN PRACTICE by R. Eric Barnes:

A. The Town Sheriff

"Imagine that there is a town which has been the victim of a series of grizzly murders apparently by the same person. The townspeople are hysterical with fear, and someone has been accused by a number of influential townsfolk. The sheriff knows that the killer has left town and has died, but she cannot convince anyone that this is the case. Everyone is convinced that the accused person is guilty, and there will certainly be riots if the accused is not hanged. The riots in this town invariably result in several deaths of people who are totally innocent of rioting or anything else. The only way to avoid the riots is for the sheriff to hang the innocent accused person. What should the sheriff do?"

B. The Country Doctor

"Imagine a doctor in a very remote town who has six patients in his care one day. Five of these people are about to die (within a few hours), and one of them is perfectly healthy. The only way that the doctor can save any of these sick patients is to take organs from the healthy patient and perform a transplant. In fact, the doctor can save all five sick patients by using organs from the one healthy patient, who would unfortunately die because of the missing organs. Furthermore, if the doctor does perform the transplants, he is positive that no one will ever find out that it has been done. What should the doctor do?"

C. Analysis of These Two Scenarios

It may be tempting to sympathize more with the falsely accused or the healthy patient, but rationally we must afford the same courtesy to the non-rioters and the sick patients. INACTION by the Sheriff or the Doctor consigns to death the many people killed in the riots and the five critical patients, respectively, saving one person in each case.

ACTION, however, saves "several" and "five" people in the two cases, at the expense of one. The total amount of harm done (lives lost) in each case is smaller when the ACTION (killing the accused/patient) is taken instead of INACTION (not killing the accused/patient).

Regardless of the "probability" of these scenarios, the point of the argument is that such situations are not completely impossible - and thus it is beneficial to have a moral decision at the ready.

CONCLUSION

Abraham Lincoln knew what he was talking about. When we consider that ACTION and INACTION are both conscious choices and are equally praiseworthy/blameworthy if their outcomes are the same, it is easy to see the decision as two ACTIONS: one which leads to the death of one, and one which leads to the death of many. It is a folly not to choose the former ACTION; thus, I support the PRO side of the resolution.
Danielle

Con

Thank you, Brik, for the well wishes, and I too would like to welcome my opponent, the judges and other readers to this debate. For now I will agree with the proposed definitions as provided by Pro; however, I will dispute any interpretations as they arise.

R.A: REBUTTAL

It is impossible for two or more people to be equally innocent. I understand Pro's point that the topic does not specify any person(s) to be more or less innocent than another; however, the definition of innocent as being "not having committed any crime or action which warrants punishment by death" is faulty, at best. For instance, here in the States we may not deem adultery a crime to warrant punishment by death. In Saudi Arabia, citizens raised in a culture very different from ours would acknowledge the act of adultery as being worthy of a death sentence (to say the least).

In this debate it is important to establish what is and isn't moral, and this morality must cross global borders in order to effectively represent the resolution. The problem is that people have opposing views regarding morality, and thus it is important as Con to not only illustrate but hi-lite those differences, in order to further evaluate how the resolution cannot be true.

Think of it this way: let's assume that your mother is a good person and a great citizen. I can tell you that I am also a good person and a great citizen. But whose life would you rather sacrifice to save 5 others - my life or your mothers? Chances are that you would rather see me go. This proves that even if several people are all seemingly "equally" good, it is not always clear whose life should be the one sacrificed and whose should be saved; it would all depend on the person being asked.

Pro has already established that no person is free of sin. Even if we were to compare the faults and flaws of several individuals, the likelihood of people agreeing upon another's exact value is impossible. This is indeed relative to the debate at hand. Consider the idea of George Bush's life being sacrificed to save the lives of 5 average, good American citizens. Some people might be happy that GWB was gone. Some would agree with the choice based on practicality (1 death verses 5), while others would disagree with the decision based on the fact that GWB is the President of the United States, and his death would have world-wide repercussions in addition to familial disdain.

My point? Pro's assertion of the topic at hand means that this logic applies to EVERY "innocent" person, whether it's George Bush, Mother Theresa or your mom. By affirming the resolution, Pro is saying that hands down 1 death is better than 5, and he attempts to justify that logic by saying that all people involved would be "equally" innocent. However I have already established how all people involved cannot possibly be deemed equally innocent, and therefore his logic is flawed.

CONTENTIONS: REBUTTAL

1. I disagree regarding Pro's example that Ray and Jocelyn are equally to blame for Tom's death. In example A, it was because of Ray's direct action that Tom died. In example B, Jocelyn's inaction may have RESULTED in Tom's death, but her inaction did not CAUSE the circumstance that led to his demise. Thus, it was Ray's direct action that was ‘worse' in comparison to J's inaction. Values in our own judicial system support this notion.

Consider the example of one being hit by a drunk driver, Jeff. Nancy was at the party with Jeff when she noticed him grab his keys and leave the house. Knowing he was drunk, Nancy could have and should have prevented Jeff from driving under the influence. Instead, Nancy decided to mind her own business and thus failed to save the life of the innocent person who Jeff struck and killed. Although Nancy's conscience may not be entirely clear, the law would hold Jeff more accountable for his action than Nancy for her inaction.

Additionally, we must consider the outside factors and circumstance that inevitably affect people's decisions. In Jocelyn's example, although she was ABLE to save Tom, she may not have known that she was able to do so, due to age/maturity, fear, psychological debilitation, etc. Thus it is not fair to place equal blame on both characters, and again Pro's logic does not stand.

2A. Forgive my jumping around a bit, but I do not deem this example as being pertinent to this debate given the parameters set forth by Pro in the RA. With his 3rd point, Pro suggests that, "It must be assumed that the lives saved could not be saved in any other manner than killing the one person." In this example, there are certainly other options the sheriff could execute in order to spare the life of the innocent citizen (i.e. have said person guarded, removed from town, lie about his death, etc.). For this reason I ask the judges and Pro to please disregard this flawed example. If Pro disagrees and wishes to debate it further, I will touch upon points that reflect government and the justice system, including ideas about democracy and utilitarianism. In other words, I will discuss how the sheriff's corruption could cause a distrust in government, and overall negatively impact the town if it promotes dishonesty in future endeavors.

2B. Again, this example does not reflect moral ideas regarding trust in authority (an ideal that has been upheld in varying cultures for centuries). Sure, utilizing the healthy person's organs to save the lives of five others sounds like a great idea... IF the healthy person gave the doctor permission, and chose to sacrifice their own life. If not, it's MURDER - unjustified murder. Also, if this were always an option, consider the amount of people who would be maimed and killed to ‘replace' or fix those who are sick/wounded. So although I sympathize with the misfortune of the few, it would be absolutely wrong to blatantly steal from one person in order to benefit the five. That's like saying everyone should be stripped against their will of all of their non-necessary possessions, and have them distributed to others who do not have those same luxuries.

Let's remember, though, that this is different than a Republican/Conservative disagreement about the dispersement or amount of tax dollars. This is about someone's/people's lives. So ask yourself this: Would it be moral for you to walk into a hospital one day expecting minor surgery (i.e. removing your tonsils), and wind up dead because some doctor decided that taking all of your organs and donating them to people in need was the right thing to do? I think not.

CON'S CONTENTIONS

1. The resolution asks us to agree that one death is better than five. These deaths affect the people who are still living; those left behind experience pain at the loss of a loved one. Now let us assume that Persons 1 - 4 have a combined total of 30 people who would be absolutely devastated if they were to pass away. Person 5 happens to come from a big family, and as a result, he alone would have a total of 40 people who would be crushed if he were to die. So in this instance, by letting the 4 innocent people die, only 30 people would be seriously affected. By letting 1 innocent person die to spare Persons 1 - 4, 40 people would be inconsolable instead of just 30.

If this were the case - and Pro has already established the validity of hypotheticals in this debate - (we, so to speak) would be ‘better off' letting 4 people die in the place of 1, to spare the feelings and overall mood/negative actions or energy/output of 40 people. Again, this disproves Pro's logic.

2. I'll keep this brief. Consider the fact that people, unfortunately, are a burden to the environment. For every person that lives, the earth/society is depleted of space and resources. Thereby it is possible for me to argue that by reducing the population, we are in fact doing the world a service. I can expand on this point further if need be; think NATURAL SELECTION...
Debate Round No. 1
Brik

Pro

I will tackle my opponent's argument in chunks for clarity. I will give the beginning and ending statements of each chunk in quotations and capital letters before my responses. Please reference my opponent's Round 1 speech in order to understand all argumentation.

"R.A: REBUTTAL…CANNOT BE TRUE."

1. When I wrote that the one and the many are "equally innocent," I only meant that the CON position could not be justified simply by making an argument like "maybe the many innocent people aren't AS innocent." Since such an argument didn't come up in the first CON speech, I don't think it will matter greatly in the judges' decisions.

2. What the CON mentions here is an attempt at advocating Moral Relativism – the idea that what's right for me may not be right, or even be wrong, for you – and vice versa. However, this implies that a certain action (i.e. adultery) would be wrong and OK at the same time, or two different degrees of wrongness simultaneously.

The point that I am trying to make here is that, regardless of the varying interpretations that different people/cultures have on morality, morality DOES exist. Everything is either right, wrong, or neutral – and just because not all of the specific maxims regarding behavior have been (or ever will be) identified does not mean that they do not exist.

3. Moral Absolutism is necessary, and there are some moral constants. In the words of philosopher Zachary Walters, "Relativism assumes that cultures can coincide and exist without any commonalities. The relativist…would say that no morals exist outside specific culture or regions. Unfortunately many morals are static and essential to culture existence, specifically child development. A society wanting not to rear children will soon die out to a loss of numbers."

"THINK OF…BEING ASKED."

4. This is an issue of personal preference and familiarity, and does nothing to advance the CON's position. Regardless of whether I would prefer to kill my opponent rather than my mother, the moral statement I propose on the PRO still stands unless the CON can dispute it on moral grounds.

"PRO HAS…FAMILIAL DISDAIN"

5. Another example that doesn't really advance the CON. Yes, people might disagree about whether we should kill George, but that doesn't change the moral principle, if it is proven. If my opponent believes that euthanasia should be legal and I believe it should be illegal, that has NO BEARING on whether it should actually be legal or illegal.

The only justification that the CON gives for killing Bush in this scenario is that "his death would have world-wide repercussions in addition to familial disdain." I am not sure what she means by "familial disdain," but the world-wide repercussions might not be so bad. In past assassinations, we have sometimes found ourselves with Johnsons (who have bad reps), but we have also found ourselves with Arthur (who massively reformed civil service) or Teddy Roosevelt (who did a bunch of awesome things). At best this point is ambiguous.

"MY POINT...IS FLAWED."

6. Look to the Resolution Analysis point 2 for conclusive proof here: "innocent" means not warranting death as punishment – and, as a general maxim (which is what a resolution is all about), the PRO side ought to be upheld here. The people in question are equally innocent in terms of life or death.

"CONTENTIONS: REBUTTAL…FOR HER INACTION."

7. Here we have exactly what I was talking about. It is easier to blame Raymond than Jocelyne because of the visibility of his ACTION. But, truly, they have committed the same crime. BOTH choices contributed to Thomas's death, and if BOTH had made the opposite choice Thomas would be alive in BOTH cases. Thomas's death is a DIRECT result of the choice that Raymond/Jocelyne makes.

The CON attempts to refute this with a drunk driving example. Yes, the law would blame Jeff more than Nancy, and yes, Jeff deserves some of the blame. But the reason that Nancy would not be held accountable by the law is that the law is UNABLE to determine this conclusively. But the resolution (and, up until now, this entire debate) has been about MORAL maxims, not LEGAL ones, and on that pertinent level the PRO still stands.

"ADDITIONALLY, WE…NOT STAND."

8. Let's not split hairs. The point is not about Jocelyne's own confidence. The point is that if Jocelyne has the ability, knows it, and fails to act on it, she is as guilty as Raymond would have been.

"2A. FORGIVE MY…FUTURE ENDEAVORS."

9. I thought the example was clear enough, but I will call to attention one quote: "there will certainly be riots IF THE ACCUSED IS NOT HANGED." Other options fail (as, in many other instances, they would). And again, if the PRO is obligated to justify the killing of an individual when OTHER OPTIONS are in place, the round would be entirely biased toward the CON.

"2B. AGAIN, THIS…SAME LUXURIES."

10. "Furthermore, if the doctor does perform the transplants, he is positive that no one will ever find out that it has been done." This takes care of the trust in authority argument: the decision, again, is a moral one rather than a legal one.

11. The CON states that it would be absolutely wrong to steal from one person to benefit five. THIS POINT IS VERY IMPORTANT. Not only does this completely destroy her arguments about moral relativism (she is now advocating moral absolutes) but she makes a big mistake here: is it more wrong to steal from the one person to benefit the five, or to allow the five people to die to benefit the one? Remember that INACTION and ACTION are equally blameworthy.

"LET'S REMEMBER…DISPROVES PRO'S LOGIC."

12. These two points can be grouped together: my opponent is weighing the issue based on who would feel bad about it – both the individual being killed, and the "big family" he/she must come from. The good feelings they would have when he/she survived, however, would be countermanded by the crushing GUILT they would have, knowing that many people sacrificed their lives unwillingly for that person's live. This would nullify any happiness they would have, and may even drive the person in question to depression or suicide.

But also, the "big family" point does not work in favor of the CON, because it is not guaranteed to rest on the CON side – it might rest on the PRO side. And, as I have stated above, just because the bereaved family or the person FEELS it is morally wrong, that does not MAKE the action morally wrong.

"2. I'LL KEEP…NATURAL SELECTION"

13. And now we enter the world of Malthusian philosophy. Thomas R. Malthus believed (like the CON does) that it would be a folly to do anything to help a person or group of people survive (like food aid to Africa or medical procedures) because it would increase the population at the time when Earth runs out of food – so that perhaps ten million people would suffer instead of five million suffering had we not saved lives. This point, however, justifies every population control from euthanasia and abortion to nuclear war, because they would all reduce the total amount of sufferers in Malthus's view. If the CON wants to uphold nuclear war as a moral maxim, by all means, go for it.

In summary: the CON's arguments in favor of moral relativism are refuted not only directly, but indirectly when she herself speaks of moral maxims in terms of absolutes. Many of the "negative" aspects of killing 1 for 5 are based entirely on feelings, which do not necessarily correspond to morals and ought to be disregarded. Inaction and action are equally praiseworthy/blameworthy, because they both involve a choice that will save or slay the person involved. And the CON's point of family devastation is outweighed by the crushing guilt they would feel.
Danielle

Con

1 - 4. Whether moral relativism (the notion that moral or ethical propositions do not reflect objective and/or universal moral truths, but instead make claims relative to social, cultural, historical or personal circumstances -- Wiki) exists is not debatable, though moral subjectivism vs. moral absolutism is. Rather what is pertinent to this debate is the fact that due to an individual's own beliefs, their perception of what is more important or more valuable is unique to the individual.

Say Person 1's life could be sacrificed in order to save the lives of Persons 2 - 5. One hundred people are given details about these five individual's lives, and are asked to judge whether or not it should be done. This can have one of two results:

A - The majority of the people believe that Person 1's life should NOT be sacrificed to save the other 4.

B - The majority of the people believe that Person 1's life SHOULD be sacrificed.

In instance A, Pro's logic thus far would not stand. Why? Because the majority of people surveyed did not believe in sacrificing an innocent person's life. Shouldn't OUR (society's) values and morals be the basis for this debate? On the contrary, instance B proposes that most people DO believe in sacrificing one life for the life of the other 4. In that case, even if it were only the minority fighting for the life of the 1 innocent person, we must remember that morality is not exclusive to the majority -- just because only a minority of the people believe in something does not make it immoral.

This example proves that moral relativism not only exists, but is important to keep in mind during this debate. Why? It demonstrates our incapacity as human beings to truly decipher 'the meaning of life' so to speak, and judge who does and does not deserve to live. Such a stance is advocated by people who are against the death penalty. The way they see it, no human being has the right to end the life of another. Those FOR the death penalty disagree, but keep in mind that they are opting to end the life of criminals convicted of heinous crimes. In this debate, we are discussing innocent people.

My point? Because nobody will agree on whose lives should be taken and whose should be spared, the only moral thing we CAN do is choose to not take the life of an innocent person. Religious people would leave the fate of the other 4 in God's hands (let God's will be done); non-religious people would note the tragedy (of innocent people dying), however, believe in Social Darwinism (survival of the fittest)... or at the very least, just accept that human tragedy is an inevitable part of life. Purposefully taking the life of an innocent person is NOT an inevitable part of life.

5 & 6. Pro writes, "If my opponent believes that euthanasia should be legal and I believe it should be illegal, that has NO BEARING on whether it should actually be legal or illegal." But wait... I'm confused. Aren't our moral values the reason why we have laws in the first place? And aren't those same values and beliefs the basis for the laws that we enact? Of course there are discrepancies, but for the most part, this is what constitutes a democracy. Unless Pro believes in heteronomy under fellow man...?

Anyway. Proposing the concept of sacrificing GWB for a group of innocent American citizens was another example in which my point was to prove that choosing who should live and who should die could get a little tricky. Because hypothetical scenarios have been deemed a-ok for this debate, let us move past GWB and onto another example to prove this same point. Imagine that there is one man, Joe, a father of two with a wife and another baby on the way. Joe is a man of great morals and accomplishment. He donates half of his income to charity, he volunteers 20 hours a week while still being a great parent, and by age 30 has already opened up his sucessful business. He is beloved and adored within his community, and everyone believes in him and his future.

Now let us assume that innocent Joe's life could be sacrificed to save the lives of 4 other innocent people. These 4 other people are all in their 90s, have no children, mentally ill, HIV positive, handicapped and homeless. What do you think? Should Joe's life be sacrificed in order to save theirs? If you agree with Pro and his position regarding the resolution/morality, your answer would have to be yes. Like I said - the resolution is universal, and must be applied to EVERY innocent individual and in every scenario in order to warrant a Pro vote. In the past 2 rounds, Pro has acknowledged that the definition of innocent (as provided by his point 6) is, "not warranting death as punishment... the people in question are equally innocent in terms of life or death." My example stands, because I agree that all 5 people are equally innocent in terms of life and death, even though they do lead very different lives.

7 & 8. Again Pro attempts to place equal blame for Tom's death on both Ray and Jocelyn. His logic is, "if BOTH had made the opposite choice, Thomas would be alive in BOTH cases." This logic is again flawed. Simply because two different actions have the same result does NOT mean that both actions are morally equivocal. For instance, say that I have $100 sitting on my table. Ray decides to steal my $100 without my permission. The result is that I no longer have $100 on my table. In another instance, I have $100 on my table, and offer to give the money to Jocelyn. Jocelyn accepts my offer, and again the result is that I no longer have $100 on my table.

In both situations, two different actions led to the same result, but both actions are not morally equal. In the first case, the choice was stealing/theft. In the second, the choice was accepting what was dealt. Similarly, by voting Pro the choice would be murder. The Con vote would be accepting what was dealt (so to speak) in choosing to not purposefully end someone's life.

In Jeff and Nancy's situation, again these two individuals are not equally to blame. If Nancy had not attended that party, Jeff would have still driven home drunk and killed someone on the way. The result would have been the same without any of Nancy's involvement, making Jeff's direct action more blameworthy than Nancy's inaction.

9. Pro believes he should not be obligated to justify the killing of an individual if other options are in place; however, the resolution makes no distinction about this discrepancy. Further, it can be argued that there is ALWAYS an other option (even if the other option is even less moral or more destructive).

10. Pro believes the resulting lack of trust in authority argument cannot be made in objection to the doctor because "no one will ever find out that it has been done." Wrong. The doctor himself knows what he has done, which I will discuss further in a moment...

11. Pro mistakenly suggests that I have opposed moral relativism by stating that one should not steal from 1 in order to provide for 5. He brings up the dichotomy of, "is it more wrong to steal from the one person to benefit the five, or to allow the five people to die to benefit the one? Remember that INACTION and ACTION are equally blameworthy." This is FALSE because I have already explained how action is more blameworthy than inaction, therefore the action of stealing would be worse than voluntary inaction.

12. Pro's logic here is flawed, and I feel is a concession of this point and possibly the entire debate. He notes that the family's joy of the surviving innocent person (whose life was not sacrificed to save 4 others) would be superceded by the guilt of knowing that 4 other people had died. But wouldn't that same guilt be applied to the doctor who took an innocent person's life? And if that person HAD been sacrificed, the family members of the surviving 4 would in turn feel guilty for the 40 people who are suffering... so guilt cannot be a factor.
Debate Round No. 2
Brik

Pro

Brik forfeited this round.
Danielle

Con

Pro was unable to post his R3 argument in time; my arguments must therefore be extended, and the points that remain disproven from the Pro belong to me. In this final round, I will summarize/elaborate on some of my main arguments, and reaffirm why you should vote Con.

--

TAKING INNOCENT LIVES

Moral Relativism: Even if I agree that fundamental, universal morals exist, I also believe that particular circumstances in one's individual life/upbringing/culture/experiences would generate a particular feeling that not everyone would agree upon. Pro maintains that regardless of how people FEEL, there is one absolute moral right way/answer. Whether or not I agree with that is irrelevant; the point is that we are all human, and therefore none of us has the authority or the capacity of any kind to say 'this is right and this is wrong' with absolute certainty. If so, what would be the purpose of debate...?

This brings me to my example of Joe and the innocent homeless folk. I have established that Joe and the homeless people in this particular example are as 'equally innocent' as possible in terms of their behavior and life choices. However different circumstances in each of their lives might cause us to value them in different ways. For instance, monetary value is one thing -- Joe is wealthy, healthy and has a seemingly bright future ahead of him, including upbringing his three children and continuing to be a good husband/son/brother/etc. Joe also has important ties to the community, whereas the homeless people live isolated lives in desolate solitude with no money, jobs, family, etc. So if a situation were to arise in which a doctor could choose to save beloved Joe or five homeless people in their 90s with no kids and AIDS and mental illnesses, well...? There might be some discrepancy as to who the doctor should save.

We must remember that by affirming the resolution, we are saying that EVERYONE is of complete and utter equal value regardless of any circumstances in their lives, including the company they keep, family, friends, community service, etc. Acknowledging that certain (even one or two) circumstances have an impact on one's perceived value would encourage a vote for the Con here. And even if you don't agree with Con, keep in mind that this point should still go to me, as Pro completely dodged this argument by choosing instead to discuss moral relativism and taking my George W. Bush example out of context.

My GWB scenario attempted to illustrate that one's wealth, health, power, etc. have an impact on how we as people value them (inherently). Pro argued this point by simply stating that the U.S. has survived other presidential assassinations in the past, though how America would fare the death of its President really has no relevance to this debate. What does have relevance is the fact that in SOME situations - however few and far between - it would be more beneficial to society (and morally the right thing to do) to not sacrifice one life for the sake of some others (afterall, Pro himself said that all Con had to do was justify the death of more than one innocent person in order to win this debate). Anyway, either way you look at it, debate-wise this point goes to the Con, as it was not refuted.

ACTION vs. INACTION

Pro did not refute any of my R2 arguments which successfully argued his R2 rebuttal. Through my examples, I have proven how direct action is more blameworthy than inaction. Additionally, I have pointed out how in a situation like Ray & Jocelyn's, even if Jocelyn wasn't present, Ray's actions would have resulted in Tom's death. However without Ray's action, Jocelyn would have never been at fault. Therefore this point of action having a greater value than inaction stands, and this point must also go to the Con.

TWO SCENARIOS

The Sheriff ~ What Pro suggests is giving one person ultimate power. He has repeatedly maintained that this is a moral issue and not a legal one -- this decision is up to the sheriff and him alone without anyone ever finding out. Pro has also asserted very sternly that moral absolutes absolutely exist (pun intended). In other words, there are definite right and wrongs. Fine. In that case, we must ask ourselves: Is it moral to LIE? No. Is it moral to KILL? No. Is it moral to kill UNJUSTLY? Certainly not. So what about this example makes killing someone the moral thing to do? Nobody can foresee that there would DEFINITELY be riots if the accused wasn't "sacrificed," nor should his life not matter or be ended simply because a bunch of rowdy and vengeful citizens are making threats. If that were the case - and if this were allowed/accepted - think of all of the people who would be "sacrificed" in our own society.

The Doctor ~ What Pro is advocating in his example of a doctor sacrificing one life to save many isn't organ donation. It's MURDER. The topic doesn't say that it is morally permissible for one life to be sacrificed for the sake of others, but rather that it is morally permissible to KILL someone to save the lives of others. So again, to agree with the Pro here means that this logic has to apply to everyone in every situation. Imagine if you were in the position of the healthy person who it was decided would be sacrificed to save several others, but without your consent. Would that be okay? I highly doubt you'd think so.

NATURAL SELECTION

In response to what I wrote about natural selection (or even God's will, depending on how you look at it), Pro writes, "This point, however, justifies every population control from euthanasia and abortion to nuclear war, because they would all reduce the total amount of sufferers in Malthus's view. If the CON wants to uphold nuclear war as a moral maxim, by all means, go for it." This is completely untrue. I'm not saying that the U.S. should nuke a small country. What I'm saying is that I do not think it would be moral for some law official to decide on his own that my innocent life should be sacrificed in order to keep the peace. Nor do I think a doctor has the moral obligation to kill me because some unfortunate patients need my organs. How does this view justify nuclear war? And what does Malthus have to do with anything? This debate isn't about fancy psychology or statistics. We're discussing morality.

I do believe in taking many steps to aid the sick and dying, but taking an innocent life in the process is not an option. To expand on an earlier point, what Pro suggests is essentially messing with fate. Last time I checked, people of faith should not be for taking innocent lives, suicide (even if the killing of one's self was voluntary, which the resolution does not suggest), etc. Should not God's will be done? We can only do so much; I don't think God would suggest killing an innocent human being of our own accord to satisfy our own wants and needs.

To the non-religious, I'm sure the Social Darwinism theory at least somewhat applies. Again, this is not about sacrificing a few tax dollars to benefit the impoverished. Pro's stance okays taking an innocent person's LIFE, even if those who are dying have absolutely no connection to the person being sacrificed. If you buy this logic, it would mean that as humans we all have 100% moral obligation to each other to the point that we should risk our lives for strangers on the street. If you agree - fine. Good! But shouldn't that be your prerogative? Who has the right to take your life?

GUILT

Anyway you look at it, someone's going to feel guilty about something. Therefore the only thing we can take into account is right and wrong. If someone with lung cancer could survive with my lung, that's fine. But I don't believe that I should be killed because of it, and I don't think my family feels guilty about not wanting me killed because of that either...

That said, I'm outta characters. I would like to sincerely thank my opponent for debating and judges for judging. Take care! -- L.
Debate Round No. 3
17 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by yarnedia 8 years ago
yarnedia
Great debate. I voted Con, well done.
Posted by Danielle 8 years ago
Danielle
DG42,

Why even bother mentioning your vote that 'doesn't matter' if you're not at least going to provide an RFD?
Posted by Darth_Grievous_42 8 years ago
Darth_Grievous_42
Not that it matters at this juncture, but my Judge vote goes to Pro.
Posted by birdpiercefan3334 8 years ago
birdpiercefan3334
I am sorry it took so long, guys. My relative just recently got into a bit of a pickle, and I'm visiting him in the hospital. I think I might go meet him again, so here:

Good job guys, You two were great, an absolute fun time for me to judge. Brik, church before online debate. Good job keeping reality in check there.

Congratualations goes to the CON, theLwerd
Posted by DrAlexander 8 years ago
DrAlexander
Like I said earlier, great job.

I voted CON.
Posted by DrAlexander 8 years ago
DrAlexander
Good job to the both of you.

I will be a judge for this debate.

I will post my decision and RFD asap.
Posted by Danielle 8 years ago
Danielle
I'm really surprised that Pro didn't bring up war in this debate -- that would have been a really good argument for his position! However I think I have a few things up my sleeve that could have successfully argued that as well; either way I think I could have won this debate :P

Brik is definitely one of my favorite tournament opponents thus far. I enjoyed this topic very much despite my initial hesitation. I only hope that the judges vote based solely on what my opponent presented, and not their own thoughts or what they have said to argue with me had they been the ones debating. I know that's always a hard thing to do while judging *shrugs*

Anyway thanks again, Brik, and to those who stopped by to read while we were debating. I don't mind feedback, so by all means...
Posted by Danielle 8 years ago
Danielle
For good? I wouldn't go that far lol. He said it'd just be a few days.
Posted by Logical-Master 8 years ago
Logical-Master
"Online:Within 1 Day"

Yeah, he is definitely gone for good. :(
Posted by Danielle 8 years ago
Danielle
Ok, I posted it tonight just in case Brik is still around in the morning.
15 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Vote Placed by Vi_Veri 7 years ago
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Vote Placed by birdpiercefan3334 8 years ago
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