The Instigator
KeytarHero
Pro (for)
Winning
9 Points
The Contender
Illegalcombatant
Con (against)
Losing
3 Points

Abortion is Generally Immoral.

Do you like this debate?NoYes+0
Add this debate to Google Add this debate to Delicious Add this debate to FaceBook Add this debate to Digg  
Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 3 votes the winner is...
KeytarHero
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 2/19/2012 Category: Philosophy
Updated: 4 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 1,341 times Debate No: 21248
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (9)
Votes (3)

 

KeytarHero

Pro

As the instigator I will assume burden of proof in this debate.

I will be arguing that abortion is generally immoral. I believe that abortion is morally justified if the mother's life is in immediate jeopardy (e.g. in an ectopic pregnancy), but otherwise immoral.

First round will be for acceptance only.
Second round for opening arguments.
Third round for rebuttal.
Fourth round for rebuttal and closing statements; no new arguments.
Illegalcombatant

Con

I won't present any argument for round 1 but I would like to make an observation. Pro is arguing that abortion is generally immoral, but notice that even if this was the case that this doesn't justify that abortion should be illegal. I bring this up cause in my experience the more zealous anti abortion advocates are not just seeking to have people believe that abortion is immoral, what they really want is abortion to be criminalized, that a woman should not have a right, an option, a CHOICE in regard to abortion (with maybe a few exceptions).

With that said over to you Pro.
Debate Round No. 1
KeytarHero

Pro

I would like to thank Illegal Combatant for accepting my challenge, and I hope to present a challenging case for him to argue against.

I would like to start by responding to his comments about legalization. This debate is on the morality surrounding abortion, not whether or not it should remain illegal (which is a topic for another debate). "Choice" is simply a euphemism used by the pro-choice side to mean "abortion." The fact is that pro-lifers are not "anti-choice." I, personally, believe that women should have all sorts of choices, such as the choice of whom to marry, where to go to school, what religion to follow, etc. However, some choices are wrong. If abortion is immoral and on par with murder, then women should not be allowed to legally make the choice of having an abortion (nor should men be legally able to make that choice), just as no one should have the choice to murder, rape, etc.

With that out of the way, I will present my argument that abortion is generally immoral, then I will support my premises.

P1: From fertilization, the preborn are biological members of humanity.
P2: It is prima facie immoral to kill an innocent human being.
P3: Abortion takes the life of an innocent human being.
C: Therefore, abortion is generally immoral.

P1: From fertilization, the preborn are biological members of humanity.

Embryologists, who are the experts in the field, consistently agree that life begins at fertilization. For example, from the most-used textbook on embryology, the authors note: "Although life is a continuous process, fertilization (which, incidentally, is not a 'moment') is a critical landmark because, under ordinary circumstances, a new genetically distinct human organism is formed when the chromosomes of the male and female pronuclei blend in the oocyte." [1]

On top of that, the more sophisticated pro-choice philosophers, like Judith Jarvis Thompson (who came up with the famous analogy of the violinist), and Peter Singer, accept the full humanity of the preborn. Peter Singer has noted, “It is possible to give ‘human being’ a precise meaning. We can use it as equivalent to ‘member of the species Homo sapiens’. Whether a being is a member of a given species is something that can be determined scientifically, by an examination of the nature of the chromosomes in the cells of living organisms. In this sense there is no doubt that from the first moments of its existence an embryo conceived from human sperm and eggs is a human being.” [2]

It's simply common sense. We know the preborn are alive because they grow. Non-living and dead things don't grow. They also exhibit other signs of life, including (but not limited to): cell division, respiration, and response to stimuli. The preborn have human DNA, and they are the product of human parents. Creatures reproduce after their own kind; dogs have dogs, cats have cats, and humans have humans. At no point in human development is a member of humanity a "non-human."

P2: It is prima facie immoral to kill an innocent human being.

The preborn are innocent; in other words, they have committed no wrong. Certainly no crime worthy of being put to death. In fact, in the vast majority of cases they are there because of a consensual act between two people who, through that act, created a needy child and now bear a responsibility to care for that needy child.

All humans have a right to life. The right to life is a categorical property. You either have it or you don't. It is not a property that comes in degrees. One human does not have a greater right to life than another.

P3: Abortion takes the life of an innocent human being.

Every abortion ends the life of a living human, one that has not done anything deserving of being killed.

C: Therefore, abortion is generally immoral.

Any action that takes the life of an innocent living human is immoral. I leave the exception open for women whose life is in immediate jeopardy because it is no longer a case of abortion but of triage. Two patients are in mortal danger and only one can be saved. The one with the greater chance of survival is the one that doctors will save, which is the mother.

I look forward to Con's reply.

[1] Ronan O'Rahilly and Fabiola Müller, Human Embryology and Teratology, 3rd edition. New York: Wiley-Liss, 2001. p. 8.
[2] Peter Singer, Practical Ethics, 2nd ed. (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1993), 85-86.
Illegalcombatant

Con

I thank Pro for their opening comments and argument.

Comments about abortion debates in general

Before I get stuck into the substance of Pros argument and my counter argument on the immorality of abortion I want to quickly address some comments made by Pro in regards to the wider debate on abortion.

Pro says...""Choice" is simply a euphemism used by the pro-choice side to mean "abortion.""

When the term "pro choice" is used, it is usually said within the CONTEXT of discussing abortion, thus choice just means choice to have an abortion, I don't think this is guilty of committing an euphemism.

But now look at the Pro life term within the CONTEXT of discussing abortion. As I alluded to before what this term REALLY MEANS is the criminalisation of abortion. Thus the more correct term in the CONTEXT of discussing abortion would be something like the criminalization of abortion and/or "anti choice". So if Pro or anyone else is concerned about euphemism's being used in abortion debates I would seriously urge them to look at what Pro life within the context of abortion REALLY MEANS and then judge who is guilty.

Pro says says that pro lifers are not "anti choice", but the term anti choice is used within the context of abortion, so yes pro lifers are anti choice as far as abortion is concerned.

Pro says..."If abortion is immoral and on par with murder, then women should not be allowed to legally make the choice of having an abortion"

Now that's a pretty big IF, and this is why I said that even if Pro can prove abortion is immoral it doesn't entail that abortion should be illegal. There is a HUGE differnce in the claim that abortion is immoral and that abortion is so immoral its on par with murder and thus should be illegal.

Countering Pros Argument

In summary, my main counter argument is that Pro refers to humanity, humans and human beings in ambiguous ways and thus tries to equate the few cells of fertilization with say a fully developed, thinking, feeling, human child. Lets start with Pros first premise...

"P1: From fertilization, the preborn are biological members of humanity."

Notice the key word here, BIOLOGICAL, the cells of fertilization are BIOLOGICALLY human but they are NOT necessarily human persons.

"P2: It is prima facie immoral to kill an innocent human being."

I would point out that the fact that something is prima facie wrong doesn't mean its wrong absolutely. Even Pro has already made an exemption that abortion is not immoral under some circumstances.

But the real key here in this premise is what exactly does Pro mean by "human being" does he mean a human person or just something that contains human dna ? It must be that Pro means a human person, cause if they mean't that a human being is anything that has human dna, then every time you scratch your nose and destroy cells, cells which are human you are commiting genocide.

Point here being is too show the untenability that destroying something that contains human dna is the same as killing a human person.

"P3: Abortion takes the life of an innocent human being."

"Equivocation is classified as both a formal and informal logical fallacy. It is the misleading use of a term with more than one meaning or sense (by glossing over which meaning is intended at a particular time). It generally occurs with polysemic words." [1]

This is where is I think the equivocation in Pros argument becomes more transparent. Here Pro uses human being in a different way than they used it in premise 2. In premise 2 they referred to human being as a human person, in this premise they refer to human being as something that contains human dna but is not necessarily a human person.

To help highlight why Pros argument is not a good one cause of how it equivocates on what exactly they mean when they refer to human beings and humanity through out their argument consider the following counter argument....

P1: It is prima facie immoral to kill an innocent human person
P2: A 3 day embryo is not necessarily a human person
C: Therefore its not prima facie immoral to destroy a 3 day embryo

I don't think I need to defend P1 as if Pro tries to refute it, they merely undermine their own argument.

But what about P2 ? as I argued before its untenable to give human person hood to something just because it has human DNA lest we are all murder every time you scratch your nose. Also in support of P2 consider what Sam Harris says..."A 3-day-old human embryo is a collection of 150 cells called a blastocyst. There are, for the sake of comparison, more than 100,000 cells in the brain of a fly. The embryos that are destroyed in stem-cell research do not have brains, or even neurons. Consequently, there is no reason to believe they can suffer their destruction in any way at all." [2]

How can Pro justify the mere existence of human cells equates to a human person ? as Wikipedia explains..."Personhood is the status of being a person. Defining personhood is a controversial topic in philosophy and law, and is closely tied to legal and political concepts of citizenship, equality, and liberty. According to law, only a natural person or legal personality has rights, protections, privileges, responsibilities, and legal liability. [3]

We can grant Pro that to kill an innocent human PERSON is prima facie morally wrong, but this still doesn't prove that abortion of say a 3 day embryo is morally wrong. As such the claim that abortion (at least in the general sense) is morally wrong is unjustified.

Sources

[1] http://en.wikipedia.org...
[2] http://www.samharris.org...
[3] http://en.wikipedia.org...
Debate Round No. 2
KeytarHero

Pro

I would like to thank Con for his thoughtful response to my arguments.

Comments about general abortion debates

The problem with terms like "pro-choice" and "pro-life" are that they do not adequately describe the position of those who hold it, nor are the opponents actually "anti-choice" or "anti-life." Pro-life used within the CONTEXT of abortion is that we respect the life of the preborn, which pro-choicers do not, therefore it can be said within the context that pro-choicers are actually "anti-life." However, this is needlessly inflammatory. Pro-lifers are no more anti-choice than pro-choicers are anti-life.

Again, this debate is not on the legality of abortion, or even a squabble over terms, so readers should regard these comments as an interesting side-discussion, with no bearing on the actual debate itself. The debate is on whether or not abortion is generally immoral. Its legality is a topic for another debate.

Countering Con's Argument

I have not referred to humanity in ambiguous ways. In fact, I was quite specific. The preborn from fertilization are biologically human (as has been shown by the experts, embryologists). They are the products of human parents, have human DNA, and exhibit the signs of life (e.g. respiration, cell division, growth, etc.). I was quite specific in my treatment of why the preborn are members of humanity.

The only difference between a preborn child and a born one is that the preborn are still in the stage of human development before the stage of being a child. But even being a child does not mean you are "fully developed" (this doesn't happen until your late teens or twenties). Toddlers, adolescents, etc. are still developing. Development doesn't stop just because a child leaves the womb.

Premise 1:

Notice that my argument did not hinge on whether or not they should be considered "persons." My argument is that the preborn are human and therefore it is immoral to kill them. If Con wants to argue that they are not persons, then the burden of proof rests on him to show that they are not.

Premise 2:

Con has accused me of equivocating, but I submit that it is actually Con who is guilty of equivocation in this debate. At all times when I refer to the preborn being human, I mean they are members of the species homo sapien. However, Con refers to "human beings" and cells which are "human"; his term "human" is being used in different ways.

If you make the case that if we kill skin cells (or hair, or whatever) then we are committing genocide, you are making the mistake of confusing parts with wholes. Zygotes/embryos/fetuses are full human beings. They are developing from within and have all the parts which make up a whole entity. However, hair, skin cells, etc., are mere parts of a full human body.

If you kill a preborn human, you are killing a living, unique member of humanity.

Premise 3:

To reiterate, it is not I but Con who has equivocated. Whenever I refer to the preborn being human, I always mean a member of humanity. They are a full, unique, living member of our human species. The fact that they have human DNA, and unique DNA from the mother, shows that they are a unique individual.

If anything, my case is that simply being a living member of humanity makes them a "person" with a right to life that should be protected. Con has given no reason to reject this and if he believes that the preborn do not deserve "personhood" status, the burden of proof for that rests on him. However, the word "person" is nothing but a legal term which allows for legal discrimination of anyone not deemed a "person." Blacks were once considered sub-human, only considered 3/5's of a person for voting purposes. My contention is that being a member of humanity makes them inherently valuable, and their right to life should be protect at all stages, including in utero.

I will respond to Con's syllogism.

P1: Why would I dispute this? This premise appears in my own syllogism.

P2: Con has not given sufficient reason to reject the preborn as not deserving of personhood, especially since he has not refuted my case. In fact, Con is making my case for me that personhood is a legal term which allows for legal discrimination of a group of humans (such as when blacks were once discriminated against).

Con keeps mentioning personhood but I don't think I once used the term "person" in my argument. My argument is that by simply being a member of humanity they should be protected, and Con has not given sufficient argument for why this should not be the case. It seems that Con has created a strawman argument in place of my actual argument.
A 3-day embryo may look different, but this does not exclude it from being a unique human individual. While a 3-day embryo may not "look human" yet, it looks exactly as a human should at that point in its development.

To reiterate, my argument is that by being a member of humanity, which we are all the way from fertilization (as I showed in the first round), our right to life should be protected. I said nothing of personhood. ALL members of humanity have a right to life that should be protected. To take away that most basic of human rights is immoral. My contention stands that abortion is generally immoral.
Illegalcombatant

Con

I thank Pro for their reply.

Comments on abortion debate in general

I agree that neither "pro choice" or "pro life" term fully explains the position of either side, after all there only two words and that's alot to ask of two words, But never the less pro choice is more to the point at least on the legality of abortion, you can choose to have an abortion. Pro life on the other hand doesn't tell you the legal position on the surface and its only once you get passed the spiel of "respecting life" you get to the criminalisation of abortion part.

"Pre born" is a deceptive term

In the last round I wondered why Pro constantly used the term "pre born", I thought it was their own way of speaking, but now after the last round it has become more apparent why Pro uses the term "pre born". For starters the term pre born assumes that say the cells of human fertilization or a 3 day embryo will continue to becoming fetus, to be born and then a child. But this of course is factually false. If Pro can reference a human fertilization as "pre born" cause it MIGHT continue a development into a human child does that mean I can call it a "pre death trap" since it MIGHT develop in a way to cause the death of the woman ?

The point here being, its false to call a human fertilization a "pre born" since this presupposes a birth or child just like its wrong to call it a "pre death trap" cause this presupposes its going to kill the woman.

Pro equates a few human cells of fertilization to a human child

Pro says..."The only difference between a preborn child and a born one is that the preborn are still in the stage of human development before the stage of being a child"

WHOA, WHOA, WHOA !!! its this kind of "reasoning" that gives support for people to claim things like "ABORTION KILLS CHILDREN" [1] & "Billions Killed By Abortion: When Will We Stop Killing Our Children" [2]

Lets be quite clear here, Pro is equating the few cells of say human fertilization or a 3 day human embryo with a HUMAN CHILD !!!

Few human cells = pre born child = child, this is the logic that Pro is working off, and its bad. Cause assuming we all agree that killing a child is immoral or at least "prima facie" immoral, then since a few human cells is the equivalent to a human child, well if you destroy those few human cells you are morally equivalent to a person that MURDERS CHILDREN!!!

Consider the following example that we are in a gun factory, and we are looking at various materials in the product of guns like metal & wood. I say to you pointing to the metal and wood, that's a gun. Of course you don't agree with me and point out there is no gun there, but I say, oh but you see, that it is a gun, the wood and metal is just a stage within the development of the gun and thus there is no difference between to two.

Now consider the same example, but this time I get you to hold the metal & wood, at which point I kill you. In court I use self defense as a justification, I make my case to the judge, the metal & wood you held is the same as holding a gun, there is no difference between the two, they are just in different stages of gun development and thus I killed in the act of self defense. I'll bet the judge isn't going to buy any of that, and maybe if you really thought that way you might get off based on insanity.

The point here being its wrong to equate metal & wood as a gun, just as its wrong to equate a few human cells at human fetilization with a human child.

Personhood is not part of Pros argument

You will recall as part of my last round argument I had the premise...P1: It is prima facie immoral to kill an innocent human PERSON, Pro responds..."Why would I dispute this? This premise appears in my own syllogism."

Oh no it doesn't, I went to some length in the last round to make the distinction between something being human biologically speaking, and something being a human PERSON and the two are not the same, and considering Pro later on claims personhood is not part of their argument I can only wonder why Pro would think that my premise is the same as theirs. But I think this point may be mute now as Pro informs us...."Notice that my argument did not hinge on whether or not they should be considered "persons." My argument is that the preborn are human and therefore it is immoral to kill them."

There is a very important point here, personhood has nothing to do with how Pro presents something as "human", so on what basis does Pro say something is human ? well as Pro says in their first premise...""P1: From fertilization, the preborn are biological members of humanity."

As I argued before, its untenable to give something the "right to life" just because its BIOLOGICALLY human, as this would mean, sperm, cells on your nose etc have a right to life as they are biologically human. Pro says..."At all times when I refer to the preborn being human, I mean they are members of the species homo sapien." So how does Pro determine if something is a member of homo sapien species ? Pro bases its on the DNA, as Pros own source says..."Whether a being is a member of a given species is something that can be determined scientifically, by an examination of the nature of the chromosomes in the cells of living organisms. In this sense there is no doubt that from the first moments of its existence an embryo conceived from human sperm and eggs is a human being" [3]

Pro grants that personhood is not part of their argument as to what gets a right to life. But this backfires, because Pro can't use personhood in order to give a right to life to a human child, and when I say a human child, I mean a literal human child, none of this "pre born child" non sense.

All Pro can appeal to is that the human child is bioloigcaly human, but as I have argued to give right to life based soley on whether something has human DNA sure it includes a human child, but it also includes the cells on your nose and sperm. Consider the following argument...

1) If something contrains human DNA then its human and has a right to life
2) Human sperm contrains human dna
C) Therefore human sperm has a right to life

Or

1) If something contrains human DNA then its human and has a right to life
2) The cells on your nose have human dna
C) Therefore the cells on your nose have a right to life

By Reductio ad absurdum we can see that the first premise leads to absurdities, and thus to give "right to life" soley on the basis of something having human DNA should be rejected.

Pro says..."If you make the case that if we kill skin cells (or hair, or whatever) then we are committing genocide, you are making the mistake of confusing parts with wholes. Zygotes/embryos/fetuses are full human beings."

How does Pro determine whether something is a FULL HUMAN BEING ? Does a 3 day embryo think ? no, does it feel ? no, does it have any "will" ? no, does it have a human heart, lungs, brain ? no. I think Pro should tell us what is the necessary condition/s something has to have in order to be a FULL HUMAN BEING and thus have a right to life, and not just Pro assertions of what is and what isn't a full human being.

As such my counter argument can be formulated as such...

1) It is prima facie immoral to kill a FULL HUMAN BEING
2) A 3 day human embryo is not necessarily a full human being
C) Therefore destroying a 3 day human embryo is not necessarily prima facie immoral

Or if Pro wants to stick to the cells at human feterlization

1) It is prima facie immoral to kill a FULL HUMAN BEING
2) The cells present at human feterlization are not necessarily a full human being
C) Therefore destroying the cells present at human fertilization is not necessarily prima facie immoral

I look forward to Pros reply.

Sources

[1] http://abortionkillschildren.org...
[2] http://www.christiannewswire.com...
[3] Peter Singer, Practical Ethics, 2nd ed. (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1993), 85-86.

Debate Round No. 3
KeytarHero

Pro

Comments on general abortion debate

Based on Con's opening statements, I'm not convinced he knows what the pro-life position actually teaches. Some pro-lifers don't want abortion illegal, but are personally pro-life. Some want all abortions banned, some want to keep it legal only in the "hard cases" (e.g. rape and incest). Being pro-life says nothing about what you believe the legality should be. Being pro-life means that you believe that preborn children are inherently valuable and should be protected. I personally believe that abortions should be illegal except in cases where the mother's life is in jeopardy. But again, this debate is not on whether it should be legal or not.

"Pre-born" is perfectly acceptable

I am not being deceptive when I use the term "preborn." I actually prefer it over "unborn." The prefix "un" means "not," and so it brings to mind something that is not something and will remain that way. However, the prefix "pre" means "before," so an "unborn" child is really a human who has not been born but will be born (unless miscarriage or abortion occurs). They are on the way to becoming developed enough to be born. There is nothing misleading about the term.

Calling pregnancy a "death trap" would be simply wrong. In fact, it's safer to carry a pregnancy to term than it is to drive a car. A woman has a 1 in 6,000 chance of dying in a car accident, and a 13 in 100,000 chance of dying in a pregnancy-related death (and this number could also include those dying from botched abortions). She has a less than 1% chance of dying during her pregnancy. [1] [2]

Again, using the term "preborn" is perfectly reasonable.

Fertilization equated to human child

A child is simply a "young human." There is precedent to calling preborn children a "child." When a woman is pregnant she is said to be "with child."

I may have misspoken. I meant that the only fundamental difference between a preborn child and a born one is the path of development. They are both human, and they are both the same human. Every two-year old child was once a three-day old embryo, just as Con and I once were. It makes biological sense to say we were one an embryo. It makes no sense to say we were once a sperm, because it's just not true. Fertilization is when a new, unique living human emerges.

The other differences (such as size, its level of development, its environment (or location), and its degree of dependence are arbitrary. The only position that makes sense is the pro-life position, that valuable human life begins at fertilization. Every life begins with fertilization, but people exist of all different sizes, shapes, development, etc. Using any of these as criteria opens the door to discriminate others who are smaller than us, less developed than us, in a different location than we are (say, a third-world country), or less dependent than we are (for example, someone who can drive would be more valuable as a human than one who can't). All of these may hold instrumental value, but every human has intrinsic value. For example, Shaquille O'Neal may be more instrumentally valuable as a basketball player than Gary Coleman, but both Shaq and Coleman have equal intrinsic value as human beings, and it would be equally wrong to kill either one.

So yes, morally killing a preborn child is equivalent to killing someone outside the womb. Con seems to be stuck on the "three-day old embryo," but the reality is that the earliest surgical abortions take place at four to six weeks in to the pregnancy. [3] Con mentioned embryos killed for their stem cells, but this is irrelevant to the debate, which is about abortions. By that time they are far more developed than just a few cells and are already pretty far in their development. In fact, the heart has even started beating. [4]

Con's analogy of the gun fails pretty swiftly. First, when he has theoretically killed you, it is either not with the metal and wood, or he has beat you with it. A gun would propel a bullet to kill you. He has not killed you with a gun, only with the materials necessary to create a gun. An embryo develops not like a gun or a car, but more like a Polaroid photograph. It isn't "constructed" in the womb, it develops itself from within.

Consider this scenario: I am with my friend in the woods and I catch a glimpse of a rare bird, say the Western Ground Parrot. I brought my trust Polaroid along with me, as well as a friend who wanted to come along. I take my camera and take a picture of the bird, just before it flies off. Wanting to sell my picture, I take the Polaroid out and wait for it to develop. It is still just a smudge of grey, but my friend takes it from me and rips it up. Fuming, I yell, "you just destroyed my picture of the Western Ground Parrot! I may never get another chance at catching it." My friend replies, "it wasn't a Western Ground Parrot, just a grey smudge."

In reality, I would be justified in being upset that he ripped up my picture because even though it wasn't fully developed, it was still a valuable picture. This is how a preborn human develops. He develops from within, not constructed.

Personhood

I admit, I actually glanced over Con's use of "person" in his syllogism. Being a person is not necessary for my argument, as my argument (which Con still has not successfully refuted) is that simply being a member of humanity makes one intrinsically valuable. Con has not offered any compelling reasons why some members of humanity are valuable and should be protected while others are not and should not be.

I have shown how Con equivocated by referring to parts of a human body as "human." Preborn humans are developing themselves from within. Even though our individuals parts have human DNA, they are parts whereas I am a whole. If you pluck off my hair, I will stick exist. But kill me, and you have killed a human being. Even so, the preborn are developing humans which are full, complete humans.

If Con's argument is that a three-day old embryo is not a person because it is only a few cells, then it seems his argument rests on the fact that is not less developed. Our level of development does not determine our value as humans. It is just as wrong to kill a toddler as it is to kill an adult because they are both human. Just as it is equally wrong to kill a preborn human.

Con continues to equivocate in his treatment of the word "human." Sperm, cells on our nose, etc., are not human as we are. They are parts of human bodies, but they are not valuable humans. Con continues to confuse parts with wholes.

I am confused by Con's statement that my argument backfires because I can't use personhood to give a right to life to a born human child. This seems silly to me as I am not trying to. I am saying that all human life is equally valuable, born children and preborn. They are all deserving of protection.

Con also believes that until a preborn child has developed certain things (e.g. the ability to think or feel), it is not valuable. But preborn humans have an inherent capacity to fulfill these functions they have simply not developed them yet. Con is still arguing that less developed humans are less valuable.

I am running low on characters, so I will briefly close.

I have shown that all humans have an inherent right to life based on the fact that they are human. Any point we can ascribe to a human other than fertilization is arbitrary and therefore unreliable for determining when a human should suddenly be protected. Con has not sufficiently shown that some humans should not be protected while others should. Please vote Pro.

[1] http://adventure.howstuffworks.com...;
[2] http://www.msnbc.msn.com...;
[3] http://www.americanwomensservices.com...;
[4] http://www.sfuhl.org...;
Illegalcombatant

Con

I thank Pro for their reply.

Pro sources

Pro source [4] doesn't show up.
Pro source [3], Its unclear what exactly information is being sourced here, Pro didn't copy anything from this page, so why is the link throw in here ?

Spelling correction

In the last round in my Reductio ad absurdum argument I said "constrain" where it should say "contain" Hopefully this was obvious but if not I am going to come back to that argument anyway, and who knows I might actually spell it correctly this time.

Shifting the burden of Proof

"Shifting the burden of proof is a kind of logical fallacy in argumentation whereby the person who would ordinarily have the burden of proof in an argument attempts to switch that burden to the other person, e.g.:
If you don't think that the Invisible Pink Unicorn exists, then prove it!" [1]

Pro says such things like..."Con has not sufficiently shown that some humans should not be protected while others should." & "Con has not offered any compelling reasons why some members of humanity are valuable and should be protected while others are not and should not be."

Lets get something clear here, If I can show that Pro does not have a good argument to support the resolution then that's enough to negate the resolution. As such I don't have to prove that a child is valuable, or that a fetus isn't a person or that the world is not flat.

"Pre born" is a deceptive term

Pro responds that fertilized cells that develop into children is more likely than the cells turning into a cause of death for the women, this is granted and does nothing to refute my point, cause my point was a LOGICAL point, not what is more likely to occur point (probability).

Here is the problem, its not that pre born is deceptive in of its self, its how its being used in Pros argument. It becomes deceptive when you use the term "pre born" or "pre born child" to make something like a few human cells at fertilization into a human child. Are the few cells at say fertilization are human child ? no. Are the approximate 150 cells of a blastocyst a child ? no.

Pro says..."Con mentioned embryos killed for their stem cells, but this is irrelevant to the debate, which is about abortions. No its not, Pros argument about what is a human being and thus has a right to life starts at fertilization. The point here is what a 3 day embryo is and what it isn't. In this case it is not a child.

Few human cells = pre born child = child

You will recall my argument about how we should not equate the potentiality of something as the same as what it is or isn't. And that was the LOGICAL point here.

Pro butchers my analogy here , in my analogy its the person who is being killed who is holding the metal & wood. It doesn't matter how he got killed cause the killer is using the "Potentiality" argument to claim that wood & metal is the same as a gun.

To show you that Pro hasn't adequately responded to this logic objection I will use their own analogy provided in the last round. Pro takes a picture of a parrot with a Polaroid, so here is the question, that grey smudge is it a picture of the parrot or a grey smudge ? the answer is of course a grey smudge, and it isn't a picture of the parrot UNTIL it becomes the picture of the parrot. Does the fact that it has "potential" to develop into the picture of the parrot change the FACT that its not a picture of a parrot ? no. Like wise a few cells at human fertilization is not a child UNTIL it becomes a child.

As such even if we grant the right to life to a child, it doesn't follow with logical necessity that therefore something that has the POTENTIAL to become a child has that same right. Once again this is why Pro uses the term "pre born child" to try and make something that isn't a child into a child so Pro can argue a moral equivalence that what rights you give to a child you also have to give to say the few cells at human fertilization.

Its untenable to give the right to life to something just because contains human DNA

Remember according to Pro if something has human dna then its a "human being" and all human beings have a right to life.

1) If something contains human DNA then its a human being and has a right to life
2) Human sperm contains human dna
C) Therefore human sperm has a right to life

Pro seeks a way out of this absurdity by making a distinction between a "FULL HUMAN BEING" and thus implying something having human dna that is not a full human being. So I ask the modest question, how are you determining which things are "full human beings" and thus have a right to life and which things are not "full human beings" and thus don't get a right to life ?

Pro says..."Con continues to equivocate in his treatment of the word "human." Sperm, cells on our nose, etc., are not human as we are. They are parts of human bodies, but they are not valuable humans. Con continues to confuse parts with wholes."

First point, isn't it interesting that Pro implies a significance difference between things that have human DNA such as a sperm, and say adult humans the "valuable humans" as Pro puts it and that they "are not human as we are". That's the point I have been making all along in regard to say the cells at fertilization and say a real human child, they are different...significantly different.

Second point, this distinction between whole and part human doesn't help Pros case. Take for example a blastocyst, yes you can argue it is a "whole" but you can also argue its a part, as its part of the woman. And according to Pros argument partly human doesn't get the right to life, only full human beings do. You can also say that the sperm is a part, but by its self the sperm is a "whole". (Remeber according to Pro the fact that something has human dna means its a "human being") and thus the sperm by its self is a full human being.

Pro just arbitrarily asserts what is a full human being and what isn't, but this is the same problem that Pros protests against where he says..."Any point we can ascribe to a human other than fertilization is arbitrary and therefore unreliable for determining when a human should suddenly be protected"

Trouble is if Pro is free to arbitrarily assert what is a full human being and what isn't, so am I, and so are you, and so is the next person. One person like Pro arbitrarily asserts the fetus is a full human being, but a human sperm isn't. Another person arbitrarily asserts a child is a full human being but a fetus isn't and the next person asserts that an adult is a full human being but a child isn't etc.

Point here being, Pro merely arbitrarily asserts out of the things that contain human dna which is a full human being and thus arbitrarily determines what has a right to life and what does not, and by Pro own standards this kind of reasoning should be rejected.

In conclusion

I don't think Pro was able to refute my main objections to their argument which were....

1) The false equivalence of child and non child created by Pro by using deceptive terms like "pre born child" & using the potentiality of something in order to turn it into something it is not.

2) The absurdity that results when "human beings" (As defined by Pro as anything which has human DNA), and human beings have a right to life results in the conclusion that human sperm and cells on your nose have a right to life.

3) The arbitrary assertions by Pro as to what is a "full human being" & what isn't to get out the previous mentioned absurdity.

I submit that I have shown that Pros argument is not a good one and does not justify the claim that "abortion is generally immoral". As such I ask that the vote go to the Con.

I thank Pro for the debate.

Sources

[1] http://wiki.ironchariots.org...;
Debate Round No. 4
9 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 9 records.
Posted by KeytarHero 4 years ago
KeytarHero
You're welcome. I figure that the person instigating the debate should accept the burden of proof.

For example, if you believe in God and I don't, if I walk up to you and say "There is no God, so prove it to me," that's not your job. I'm making the argument, I need to prove it.

Conversely if you don't believe in God and I do, if I walk up to you and say, "There is a God," the burden of proof is still on me to prove it.
Posted by Iamthejuan 4 years ago
Iamthejuan
Did you say "As the instigator I will assume burden of proof in this debate" ?

I salute you my friend. I wish more people understood that you can not instigate a debate and then simply place the burden of proof on the other party. It is evenly shared, or if anything, weighs heavier on the instigator (depending on the topic presented and where the conversation goes). Thank you for setting a proper example.
Posted by Illegalcombatant 4 years ago
Illegalcombatant
But sometimes you see the white rabbit go down the hole and you just can't help chasing after it.
Posted by Illegalcombatant 4 years ago
Illegalcombatant
But sometimes you see the white rabbit go down the hole and you just can't help chasing after it.
Posted by KeytarHero 4 years ago
KeytarHero
Hmm. I think in the future I'll try and keep my arguments more succinct.

I've started using less rounds in my debate because if the debate goes on for too long, even I will start to lose interest in a debate I'm participating in. There were some rabbit trails in this debate that we could have avoided going down. I'll try to keep that in mind in the future.
Posted by Zaradi 4 years ago
Zaradi
Okay, I end up going Con in one area in particular. I think, from what I understood of things, that what the debate ends up coming down to is what we are considering to be a person. According to the aff's syllogism, a baby would have to be a member of human society in order to be linked into the immorality of killing. So that's going to exclude, from how I see the debate working out, everything except for the DNA and what is a human debates from relevancy. So from here it's easy for me to negate for two reasons:
1. While babies are always biologically human, as they have human DNA, this doesn't necessarily make them a human being. I'm inclined to believe the arguments as for the whole scratching your nose is killing human cells which is immoral argument the con made because a. I never really thought you fully responded to what it implied and b. under your syllogism it would just be true, and thus lead to a whole bunch of absurdities. So here I can pull the trigger con. But even if it doesn't work here,
2. If whatever has human DNA automatically qualifies it as a human being, as per the syllogism given by the pro in round one, then it would make everyday accepted tasks like getting my hair cut and trimming my nails immoral, which leads into a whole different line of absurdities. This, again, I feel was never sufficiently responded to, which is the second place I pull the trigger con.

Two other comments, since I'm running out of characters.
1. This is for the con, specifically to your 3rd or 4th round (I can't remember specifically). When emphasizing points, one exclamation point suffices.
2. Both sides could've used clarity when it came to voters. I was forced to intervene as a judge on a much larger scale than I like to. I'll give you guys a tip: judges are like all humans. We're inherently lazy. If you make things easy for us, we'll probably buy your arguments more often. Make things clear and easy for us to vote off of, and you'll win more arguments.
Posted by Illegalcombatant 4 years ago
Illegalcombatant
Seems my link isn't working for my last round source so I will try here.

http://wiki.ironchariots.org...
Posted by KeytarHero 4 years ago
KeytarHero
You know what? I did misspeak (figuratively speaking). For some reason, I glossed over the word "person" in your syllogism in the last round, thinking it was the same as mine. I'll address this in my next argument.
Posted by KeytarHero 4 years ago
KeytarHero
Yeah, I'm not going to make a case that it should be illegal, just that it's immoral. I do believe it should be illegal but I think that's a topic for another debate.
3 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 3 records.
Vote Placed by SuburbiaSurvivor 4 years ago
SuburbiaSurvivor
KeytarHeroIllegalcombatantTied
Agreed with before the debate:Vote Checkmark--0 points
Agreed with after the debate:Vote Checkmark--0 points
Who had better conduct:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Had better spelling and grammar:Vote Checkmark--1 point
Made more convincing arguments:Vote Checkmark--3 points
Used the most reliable sources:--Vote Checkmark2 points
Total points awarded:40 
Reasons for voting decision: Con's argument was largely incohesive and emotionally charged. In the end his only argument seemed to be that an embryo is not morally equivalent to a born human being because it is only a few cells. He then confused parts with a whole essentially claiming "if we give rights to the unborn then we should give rights to a semen".
Vote Placed by Zaradi 4 years ago
Zaradi
KeytarHeroIllegalcombatantTied
Agreed with before the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Agreed with after the debate:-Vote Checkmark-0 points
Who had better conduct:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Had better spelling and grammar:Vote Checkmark--1 point
Made more convincing arguments:-Vote Checkmark-3 points
Used the most reliable sources:--Vote Checkmark2 points
Total points awarded:13 
Reasons for voting decision: RFD in comments. Feel free to PM me with questions if you are confused or would like clarification.
Vote Placed by Maikuru 4 years ago
Maikuru
KeytarHeroIllegalcombatantTied
Agreed with before the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Agreed with after the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Who had better conduct:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Had better spelling and grammar:Vote Checkmark--1 point
Made more convincing arguments:Vote Checkmark--3 points
Used the most reliable sources:--Vote Checkmark2 points
Total points awarded:40 
Reasons for voting decision: I became frustrated at how much of this debate was on irrelevant topics, which hurt both sides. Con went into some detail concerning the differences between developed and undeveloped life, but this analysis was shallow and did not explain why the distinction should matter when it comes to abortion. Examples used were weak and so much space was wasted on non-resolution issues that Con was left with no developed counter to Pro's claims. Also, Con's grammar was worse throughout.