The Instigator
Con (against)
7 Points
The Contender
Pro (for)
0 Points

A just society ought to presume consent for organ procurement from the deceased.

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Voting Style: Open with Elo Restrictions Point System: Select Winner
Started: 11/7/2014 Category: Philosophy
Updated: 1 year ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 658 times Debate No: 64730
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (9)
Votes (1)




Resolved: A just society ought to presume consent for organ procurement from the deceased.

This is a (now) former LD topic. The debate will be done in such a manner. If you do not know what LD is or are not familiar with the ins and outs of LD debate, I HIGHLY RECCOMMEND YOU DO NOT ACCEPT THIS DEBATE. YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED.

Round structure will be as follows:

Round One: Affirmative Presents their case, yes THIS ROUND IS NOT JUST FOR ACCEPTANCE. PRESENT YOUR CASE.
Round Two: Neg case + rebuttals, Aff rebuttals.
Round Three: Neg rebuttals, Aff Rebuttals

And, in honor of halloween (a week late, oops), my case shall be HALLOWEEN THEMED! which means it'll probably suck but screw it SO PREPARE TO BE BOMBARDED WITH TRUTH FOOLS!

Good luck to my opponent!


I would like to thank my opponent for hosting this debate.

Just society: A just society would be a society based on the rule of law. This society would be based on the recognition, practice, and enforcement of laws. Therefore is something is legal, it is just.

Just[1]:"2b. legally correct"
Society[2]: "3b. a community, nation, or broad grouping of people having common traditions, institutions, and collective activities and interests"


Presumed consent: Presumed consent would be the expectation that something would be approved of.

Presumed[3]:"to expect or assume especially with confidence"
Consent[4]:"to give assent or approval"


Organ procurement: Organ procurement would be when an organ is removed from a person.

Organ[5]:"2a. a differentiated structure (as a heart, kidney, leaf, or stem) consisting of cells and tissues and performing some specific function in an organism"
Procure[6]: "1a. obtain by particular care and effort"


(A) It is of the utmost importance for us to understand why this debate is even notable. There aren't enough organ donors currently available. According to the New York Donor Network over a 120,000 people are waiting for organ transplants[7]. Every 10 minutes another person is added to this long list. Organ Procurement may help in narrowing down this wait list.



(B) How a presume consent program would function
The organ procurement in this debate related to the deceased is a voluntary agreement between those in the program who died and those who control the program(I.e, the state) in theory. In practice, orgran procurement would apply to most individuals in society since it would be a default program that all people would be entered in when their born[8]. Someone could opt out of the program if they wish.


(1) Presume Consent Would be Optional
If someone wants to opt out of organ procurement,they can easily do it anytime before their deaths. A minor flaw would be if someone unexpectedly was shot, hit by a car, or any other unexpected death that a person can't prepare for.

(2)Extend More Lives
Organ Procurement would allow more people to live due to organ transplants.

(3) Organ Procurement has been Successful
Organ procurement programs in countries that have such default programs have been studied and proven far more successful than countries without such programs. For example, a regressive analysis was conducted at Harvard which compared countries that had organ procurement programs and those without such programs. Specifically, their study, inquired about cadaveric donors[8].

Countries with organ procurement on average had 17 million donors. While countries without organ procurement programs had 3 million donors. Clearly this indicates the success of organ procurement. In a practical sense, it is far better to have an organ procurement program for the deceased than not to have one.

(1A)The Dead Have No Need For Their Organs
I would ask my opponent does he agree, "the dead have no need for their organs?"
This is merely a query.This is a practical question irrelevant to the resolution since it relates to legality.

Debate Round No. 1


I value morality. Moral uncertainty should lead us to default towards preserving humanity as a meta-constraint on all ethical theories. Bostrom:

“there is a great option value in preserving … our ability to recognize value and to steer the future accordingly. Ensuring that there will be a future version of humanity … is … the best way … to increase the probability that the future will contain a lot of value. …”

And, epistemology comes first because it deals with how we come to know. This means my fw functions as a meta constraint to the NC framework because it means that even under their framework we’d have to take into account existential risks.

Consequentialism - Moral considerations must be based in physical facts about our mental states because the universe is causally closed. Papineau:

the conservation of energy does imply that if mental or vital forces arose spontaneously, then there would be nothing to ensure that they never led to energy increases. Detailed physiological research, especially into nerve cells, gave no indication of any physical effects that cannot be explained in terms of basic physical forces that also occur outside living bodies. … since the only laws governing behaviour are those connecting behaviour with physical antecedents, mental events can only be causes of behaviour if they are identical with those physical antecedents.”

This means util since there are no side-constraints in nature – suffering is a mental state which we have a reason to avoid. Even respect for the rationality of persons mandates consequentialism. Cummiskey:

“If I sacrifice some for the sake of others, … I do not deny the unconditional value of rational beings. Persons may have … unconditional … worth … but persons also have a fundamental equality that dictates that some must sometimes give way for the sake of others … The concept of the end-in-itself thus … dictates that one … sacrifice some to save many.”

Thus, the standard for the round is minimizing suffering.

Hear me, o’ fateful travelers! The time of reckoning is approaching! ‘Tis not a fate of bombs and bullets, but of brains and biomass! This harbinger of doom carries no face, only a name. This agent of destruction works from within us, corrupting us from the inside out. Our prophet and savior, Max Brooks, writes(1):

“Solanum works by traveling through the bloodstream, from the initial point of entry to the brain. Through means not yet fully understood, the virus uses the cells of the frontal lobe for replication … During this period, all bodily functions cease. By stopping the heart, the infected subject is rendered “dead”. The brain, however, remains alive but dormant, while the virus mutates its cells into a completely new organ. … This new organism is a zombie, a member of the living dead.”

Solanum dooms us all. Once infected, there is zero chance of your survival. The prophet continues:

“Once a human is infected, little can be done to save him or her. Because Solanum is a virus and not a bacteria, antibiotics have no effect. Immunization, the only way to combat a virus, is equally useless, as even the most minute dosage will lead to a full-blown infection. Genetic research is under way. … This and other, more radical treatments are still in the earliest stages, with no foreseeable success in the near future. Battlefield experiences have led to the immediate severing of the infected limb … but such treatments are dubious at best, with less than a 10 percent success rate. … the infected human was doomed from the moment the virus entered his or her system. …”

And, Solanum dooms more than the human race. This pestilence will erase all life on Earth. The prophet clarifies:

“Solanum is fatal to all living creatures, regardless of size, species, or ecosystem. … Studies have shown that Solanum infecting a non-human brain will die within hours of the death of its host …”

And, Solanum is the germaphobe’s worst nightmare since it preys on their 99.99% germ killing safety net. Reject the movie-hyped mode of transfer and look at the real cause. The prophet furthers:

“Solanum is 100 percent communicable and 100 percent fatal. Fortunately for the human race, the virus is neither waterborne nor airborne. … Infection can occur only through direct fluidic contact. A zombie bite, although by far the most recognizable means of transference, is by no means the only one. … even one organism is enough to begin the cycle.”

The only way to prevent this is to stop all organ donation and to focus our efforts on finding a way to stop the Solanum virus. There’s four implications to this case.

First, it negates since it gives us a reason not to want presumed consent. If we want to stop the potential spread of the Solanum virus, we need to stop all possible forms of transfer. If we don’t want organ donation, we certainly don’t want to presume that people want to donate organs.

Second, it functions a priori to the aff. The only way that we can realize potential benefits to presumed consent is if we’re alive to see them. This means that if I’m winning on the negative, you negate before you even evaluate the AC.

Third, it functions as a case turn to the AC. He wants to save lives by implementing presumed consent but that would just lead to our eventual doom.

Fourth, it functions as an internal link turn to the AC. He cares about the quality of life for others while subsequently destroying all life in existence.

And, reject your skepticism. Three reasons why we should be concerned about the zombie threat:

a) It’s happened before. Look to the past to see examples stretching back as far as 3000 b.c. The prophet recalls:

“A British dig in 1892 unearthed a nondescript tomb. … The body was found outside the open crypt … only partially decomposed. Thousands of scratch marks adorned every surface inside of the tomb, … Forensic experts have revealed that the scratches were made over a period of several years! The body … had several bite marks on the right radius. The teeth match those of a human. A full autopsy revealed that the dried, partially decomposed brain not only matched those infected by Solanum … but also contained trace elements of the virus itself. …”

And, it’s not that it just happened millennia ago. The most recent outbreak was in 2002. The prophet continues:

“A zombie … washed ashore on the northeast coast of … [St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands]. Local inhabitants were unsure of what to make of it, … The zombie, … began to pursue its onlookers. … Two members of the St. Thomas police arrived and ordered the “suspect” to halt. When no reply came, they fired a warning shot. The zombie did not respond. One of the officers fired two rounds into its chest, producing no effect. Before another volley could be delivered, a six-year-old boy, … ran up to the zombie and began to poke at it with a stick. The walking dead … grabbed the child and tried to raise it to its mouth. The two officers … attempted to wrestle the child from the zombie’s grip. At that moment, Jeremiah Dewitt, a recent immigrant … stepped out of the crowd, grabbed one of the officer’s sidearms and fired a round through the zombie’s head. Amazingly, no human was infected by the ghoul. … In one of the strangest twists of outbreak cover-ups … this case has taken on celebrity status. … toursists can buy “St. Thomas Zombie” photographs, T-shirts, sculptures, clocks, watches, and even children’s picture books at many of the shops in downtown Charlotte Amalie …”

b) Increasing awareness is the only way to prepare. Conventional methods of fighting zombies will fail. The prophet explains:

“The dead walk among us. Zombies … are the greatest threat to humanity … They are a plague, and the human race their host. … Conventional warfare is useless against these creatures, as is conventional thought. The science of ending life, … cannot protect us from an enemy that has no “life” to end. Does this mean the living dead are invincible? No. … Ignorance is the undead’s strongest ally, knowledge their deadliest enemy. …”

And, the ability to think is our only advantage against the dead. Rejecting the possibility of zombies denies our only hope of survival. The prophet brings hope:

“It has been proven, time and again, that our greatest advantage over the undead is our ability to think. The mental capacity of the average zombie ranks somewhere beneath that of an insect. On no occasion have they shown any ability to reason or employ logic. … Even picking up a rock to use as a weapon is beyond their grasp. … Imagine a computer programmed to execute one function. This function cannot be paused, modified, or erased. No new data can be stored. No new commands can be installed. This computer will perform that one function, over and over, until its power source eventually shuts down. This is the zombie brain. …”

c) Only pre-emptive solutions have a chance. We need to act before an outbreak or else we could be doomed. Waiting out the problem won’t work. The prophet concludes the NC:

“Almost all the microbe species involved in normal human decomposition have repeatedly rejected flesh infected by the virus, effectively embalming the zombie. … natural conditions such as moisture and temperature play an important role as well. Undead that prowl the bayous of Louisiana are unlikely to last as long as those in the cold, dry Gobi desert. Extreme situations, such as deep freezing or immersion in preservative fluid, could, hypothetically, allow an undead specimen to exist indefinitely. These techniques have been known to allow zombies to function for decades, if not centuries. …”


(1) -
Brooks, Max. "The Zombie Survival Guide: Complete Protection From the Living Dead." (n.d.): n. pag. Web.



"Consequentialism - Moral considerations must be based in physical facts about our mental states because the universe is causally closed."

This is clearly a philosophical claim and not a scientific claim because there would be neuroscientist that would suggest it or agree with it. Morality has nothing to do with anything physical because all sensations are exclusively controlled by the central nervous system[1]. Therefore the identifying with certain morals is only determined internally based on how the central nervous system reacts. Most sensations whether it be pain or joy have no physical evidence to determine the health or lack of health of an individual. A good example would be how depression can increase the likelihood of death. Yet in many cases, when someone is suffering from depression there is no physical deterioration of the human anatomy at the time of death[2]. Depression and/or anger can also increase the chances of a stroke or heart attack yet it would be difficult to point to those as the leading factors since this may only be correlation not causation.

To state that "moral considerations must be based in physical facts" is rather unfounded because there is no physical evidence in many cases to indicate a fact. This is why clinical psychology is considered a joke by many. This is also why the DRM is considered a joke by many too. From practitioner to practitioner they will arrive at different results for the same patient because there are no physical facts. So they can only assumptions can be offered based on the practitioner's perception of the patient which can often lead to misdiagnosis. Therefore moral considerations can't be considered facts because they are incapable of being determined to be facts.


"The only way to prevent this is to stop all organ donation and to focus our efforts on finding a way to stop the Solanum virus."

My opponent must of forgot what he quoted in the paragraph above before he made this statement. " A zombie bite, although by far the most recognizable means of transference, is by no means the only one." How does stopping organ donations stop zombie bites? Zombie biting is a faster process than organ transplanting. Yet my opponent has made the claim that somehow that stopping organ donations would stop Solanum which is a 100 percent communicable and 100 percent fatal. Stopping organ donations would not stop the Solanum virus.

"First, it negates since it gives us a reason not to want presumed consent. If we want to stop the potential spread of the Solanum virus, we need to stop all possible forms of transfer. If we don"t want organ donation, we certainly don"t want to presume that people want to donate organs."

My opponent doesn't realize how presumed consent would function in practice. If someone has a defective kidney at the time of death that defective kidney would not be transplanted to someone else. If someone suffered from lung cancer at the time of death, their lungs would not be transplanted into to someone else either. A virus would not deteriorate the entire human anatomy.
Debate Round No. 2


So my opponent's lack of responses to my case is his downfall in this debate. Let's start on the framework.

Extend Bostrom, which explains how all ethical theories ought to put the preservation of humanity at the forefront. This goes 100% conceded and it provides the epistemic justification for Util because util weighs for what me best in society so that we can keep existing.

Then, extend out my criterion of minimizing suffering. Since my opponent doesn't prove a framework of his own to evaluate the round under, you default to whoever best minimizes suffering. Since I'm the only one solving for extinction via zombies, I have the best link into my framework.

His sole response to util is that it can't be based off of the physical, but that's not even responsive to util. I can concede that the argument he put forward there is true and it not harm util in the slightest. This means my framework of util goes 100% dropped.

With that let's go down to my contentions.

The key thing to note is that virtually all of my contention level arguments were dropped in my opponent's last round. He's conceded:

1. That zombies are a threat to humanity and life everywhere.
2. That outbreaks have occured in the past.
3. That conventional thoughts and government responses won't solve the problem.
4. That we need to do something now to solve the problem, and that waiting won't solve the problem.

The only thing he's contesting is that stopping organ donation would impede the spread of Solanum. So let's go to it right now.

First, I never argued that getting rid of organ donation will stop people from getting bit. Read the Brooks 4 card where it's saying that direct fluidic contact is how the virus spreads, not exclusively bites. So while bites and organ donation aren't the only methods of transmition, they're the methods most relevant to the resolution. We need to stop every method of transmission possible and focus our efforts on finding a way to fight or cure Solanum before we're all doomed to extinction.

Second, it's not that we won't just transplant an organ with Solanum because a) refer back to Brooks 7 when it's talking about conventional responses and modes of thought fail to adequately handle the zombie threat, and b) refer to Brooks 2 where it's explaining how the medical knowledge we have now is insufficient to combat the Solanum threat. No antibiotics will work, immunization fails, we literally have no medical way to fight Solanum. Our only hope is to stop transplantation and focus 100% of our efforts to stopping Solanum.

Third: The govenrment is so bad at stopping disease outbreaks that just "not transplanting infected organs" will fail and will fail hard. Look at the govenrment handling of Ebola. Sickles writes(1):

"Investigators in Texas are trying to track down some 100 people who might have been in recent contact with Duncan, an Ebola patient. ... Federal guidelines ... advised someone in Duncan’s condition ... to be placed in isolation and tested for Ebola. Instead, Duncan was ... sent home. ... connections weren’t made related to travel history and symptoms, and the individuals caring for this individual did not think about the possibility of Ebola, ... Across the United States people don’t take the travel history as seriously as they need to.”"

Since this effectively covers all the responses against the NC, I'll wrap up here. In conclusion:

1. My opponent doesn't effectively respond to my Util argument. All he's responding to is that morality can't be based in the physical world, but that's not specific to Util. I can just concede to him there but still extend out Util since it can operate outside of that requirement.
2. He's conceding the Bostrom analysis which is saying that all ethical theories must be based in the preservation of humanity. Since I'm the only one trying to preserve humanity from extinction via the zombie horde, I'm the only one fulfilling my framework. And since my opponent doesn't provide a framework of his own to evaluate the resolution under, you have to default to mine. This means you're negating the resolution since I'm the only one with offense linking to a framework, and thus to the resolution.
3. He's conceded well over 90% of my contentional offense here, about how zombies are real and are a threat to mankind, how conventional responses are insufficient to deal with them and that we need to act now to stop the Solanum threat.
4. I'm proving that organ transplantation is one of the possible methods of transmission that the virus can use to spread, thus it needs to be stopped.
5. I'm showing how conventional government protections are going to fail with the Sickles evidence.


(1) - Sickles, Yahoo Jason. "Mishandling of U.S. Ebola Patient Prompts CDC Alert to Hospitals." Yahoo! News. Yahoo!, 02 Oct. 2014. Web. 01 Nov. 2014.


DarthVitiosus forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 3
9 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 9 records.
Posted by DarthVitiosus 1 year ago
It was only two days left , you weren't supposed to vote! Oh well.
Posted by whiteflame 1 year ago
RFD (Pt. 1):

Well, this was disappointing. Pro presents an incredibly threadbare case, mostly focused on establishing obvious definitions, and presenting only the most basic of arguments in support of the resolution with little in the way of impact analysis and very little case structure. Considering his side in this debate, spending the time to explain why organ donation is absolutely essential and why the lack of available organs is a huge problem in society is pretty much the bare minimum I was expecting, and I don't think I got that. Considering the character limit was so high, Pro had ample space to add more, so the lapse here is on him.

Con presents a strange but effective case. He gives me a much more solid framework, a central value and means to achieve it, explains why that framework must outweigh Pro's, and then launches into a case about Solanum, a fictional virus, claiming that this is the end of the world and any increased transmission of it is dooming humanity as a whole.

...I'm lost on why Pro doesn't give the obvious responses to this. Despite Con's two examples of zombiism, Pro never actually shows evidence of a transmissible infectious organism that causes it. Literally, not a word. He claims it's a virus based on a fictional work, but provides no proof from that writing that said virus actually exists. So automatically, that's good fodder for attack " even if zombies exist, there's no reason to believe that those zombies can transmit virus. The 2002 attack, at the very least, demonstrates that if the virus does exist, there's uncertainty on how transmission occurs, which is another unwarranted assertion from Con. All of this stuff about how it's by fluids or bites comes without any support whatsoever.

If you didn't want to go there, you could have just pointed out that Con presents all of one example from 2002 of zombiism, and that that example is now very much dead and not moving any longer.
Posted by whiteflame 1 year ago
(Pt. 2)

I'd say that Con probably needed to present evidence of present day zombiism, that these zombies are presenting so few symptoms on death that hospitals will happily take their organs, and that there will be no screening process by which organs are removed from the pool. That's a lot of assumptions being made in his case.

Generally, I felt like Pro was letting Con get away with murder here. The entire framework of his case is basically that, if it's possibly world ending, then it's the most important thing. But that seems absurd, especially when the level of likelihood is so low that it borders on the impossible. Societies don't and shouldn't make decisions based on some science fiction, highly unlikely scenario based only loosely in reality. The idea that all we should ever focus on is the biggest possible harm would paralyze society as a whole, since there are so many actions we take for the betterment society (pretty much everything in scientific research, for example) that could, at a very low level of probability, result in apocalyptic outcomes.

Pro's rebuttal just appears to almost completely give up on these issues. The closest Pro comes to addressing the probabilistic concern is by mentioning that organ donation is probably not the most common route of transmission. However, this is really just mitigation, and without the arguments regarding the importance of probability or any other attack on Con's framework, I'm forced to accept that, not only is his framework preferable, but that he's the only one reaching any impacts under it. Even if I don't like his arguments, I'm given no reason whatsoever to prefer the much more likely instances in which lives are saved under Pro's case. The forfeit in the final round really just seals it, leaving the debate decidedly slanted in favor of Con. Hence, that's where I vote.
Posted by Zaradi 1 year ago
Posted by DarthVitiosus 1 year ago
LESSON OF THE DAY: Post half a day before the arguments are due. My connection went out for twenty minutes. Lesson learned.
Posted by Zaradi 1 year ago
uhmmm..... :3 ?
Posted by DarthVitiosus 1 year ago
That makes me real angry.
Posted by Zaradi 1 year ago
As a note, since there will be cards in this case I still use/give to the kids I coach to be used in this case, those cards won't have the citation (just so people who randomly click on this link aren't rewarded with free cards. cut your own damm cards >.>).

If you want the citation for it, I can provide it to you in a PM. Or you can just trust that I'm not BSing the card without a citation.
Posted by SPENCERJOYAGE14 1 year ago

Professional to the max.
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by whiteflame 1 year ago
Who won the debate:Vote Checkmark-
Reasons for voting decision: Given in comments.