The Instigator
KeytarHero
Pro (for)
Losing
7 Points
The Contender
Cliff.Stamp
Con (against)
Winning
14 Points

Abortion is generally immoral

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 4 votes the winner is...
Cliff.Stamp
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 6/3/2011 Category: Philosophy
Updated: 5 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 3,980 times Debate No: 16851
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (27)
Votes (4)

 

KeytarHero

Pro

For this debate, I will argue that abortion is generally an immoral act. The first round will be for acceptance, rounds two and three for argumentation, then round four will be for closing thoughts.

I look forward to a lively debate.
Debate Round No. 1
KeytarHero

Pro

I would like to thank the Contender, Cliff, for accepting the debate. As I have just had this same debate, my opening argument will be the same. Once Cliff replies, my rebuttals will be unique to his argument.

-Opening Argument-

I will give my argument in the form of a syllogism:

P1: The unborn are members of humanity from fertilization until natural death.
P2: All humans have an inherent right to life.
P3: It is wrong to kill an innocent human.
C1: Therefore, the unborn have an inherent right to life.
C2: And it is wrong to kill an innocent unborn human.

Premise 1: The unborn are members of humanity from fertilization until natural death.

Biologically, we are humans at every stage of development. It would be incorrect to state that a human fetus grew up to be me. What is more correct is that I was actually once a human fetus (and embryo, and zygote, etc.). We have human parents, and every living thing reproduces after its own kind (dogs have dogs, cats have cats, humans have humans). We also have human DNA. At all stages of development we are human, and therefore deserving of having our most basic right, the right to life, protected.

Common pro-choice counter arguments generally fall into one of four categories: Size, Level of development, Environment, and Degree of dependency. I will briefly address these:

Size -- The unborn are smaller than we are. Men are also generally bigger than women, yet they are not more valuable or deserving of more rights than women are. Size is no qualification for personhood. That's what we call bullying.

Level of development -- The unborn are less developed than we are. Toddlers are also less developed than adults, yet they still have the same right to live adults do.

Environment -- The unborn are not less valuable due to where they reside. I have been to Italy, yet the person I was did not change. I was the same person there as I am here. Simply being in the womb does not make one any less of a human or less deserving of rights.

Degree of dependency -- The unborn are dependent upon the mother to live, but so are toddlers and infants. Simply being dependent does not make one more or less valuable. Everyone is dependent on something. Adults are dependent on their jobs to survive.

Premises 2 and 3: All humans have an inherent right to life and it is wrong to kill an innocent human.

Humans are inherently valuable. Every human has the inherent right to live. "Person" is simply a legal term that allows legal discrimination. Africans were once discriminated against and made as slaves. Women were once discriminated against and viewed as property. Neither African-Americans nor women were allowed to vote at one point in our nation's past. The Jews were discriminated against during the Holocaust. Our world is filled with discrimination (and note, I'm not comparing abortionists or women who get abortions to Nazis, this is merely to illustrate the discrimination that has gone on in the world). The unborn are still discriminated against and killed through the act of abortion. They are innocent because they have no yet committed a crime, and certainly not one deserving of death.

Conclusions 1 and 2: Therefore, the unborn have an inherent right to life, and it is wrong to kill an innocent unborn human.

As members of humanity, the unborn have an inherent right to life and they have not committed any acts of wrong. Simply existing is not a crime, and certainly not punishable by death.

-Conclusion-

I have adequately shown in my arguments why the unborn are valuable and deserving of protection. If the unborn are innocent, then killing them is prima facie wrong. In fact, we treat convicted criminals better than the youngest members of our own species.

I look forward to the Contender's rebuttal, and wish him the best of luck in this debate.
Cliff.Stamp

Con

The morality of abortion has been a topic of contention on DDO for some time and recently there has been a revived interest, sparked in no small part by the recent addition of two pro-life advocates, Trent Horn[1]and Josh Brahm[2] who have had excellent debates with both Freeman[3] and Grape[4]. It may be ambitious but let us see if KeytarHero and I can provide a debate with a similar level of information, interest and general quality as those four individuals have certainly provided.

Now to start let us examine the resolution and OP in a bit more detail to clarify the contentions and burden of proof so as to allow proper argument flowing. From KetarHero :

For this debate, I will argue that abortion is generally an immoral act.

This clearly establishes that he has accepted responsibility of burden of proof and thus we can expect full justification for all claims. As an side there is also no need to define terms such as abortion and immoral as these are not in need of clarification from the standard dictionary meanings.

Now I could take a stance commonly advocated and presented well by Tim[5] and Cody[6] who would be likely to deny the resolution with a claim that there is no such thing as morality and then proceed to develop an argument for moral nihilism and deny the existence of all moral facts. However it is clear that KeytarHero did not have that in mind when he proposed this resolution, and while a valid defense, it is likely more interesting and hopefully enjoyable to instead proceed to ask instead the fundamental question in response to any claim of morality and that is “according to what”.

My rebuttal in this debate will thus consider of removing any justification that KetarHero has for the moral framework that he provides and to show that it is either not being presented, applied consistently or is inherently impractical. For example one could justify the claim of immorality similar to Harris by simply making it a definitional truth [7] but this can be trivially refuted by simply noting this is not an objective truth and it can just as easily be a definitional falsehood.

To move into the debate main I would open by accepting that the argument from KetarHero is valid meaning that the conclusions (C1 and C2) do follow from the premises (P1, P2 and P3), however I would contend that the argument is not sound because as of yet there is not sufficient justification to accept any of the premises. I will also make a small pause to note that KetarHero takes a page from the debating handbook of William Lane Craig [8] where he outlines a rebuttal to his own arguments at times and then posits defeaters. However this tactic isn’t going to work here, he will be held accountable to fully justify his position not simply defeat rebuttals that he creates for himself.

With all of that out of the way let us look at the justification argued for the three premises starting with P1:

J1.1) […] every living thing reproduces after its own kind
J1.2) We also have human DNA.

Now to refute J1.1 is as simple to note that if you accept that as truth you deny biological evolution. Now as to the truth of biological evolution, that is of course a debate in itself, but it is sufficient here to note that J1.1 simply denies this theory, which is extremely well supported [9] and thus in order for J1.1 to be accepted then quite an argument would have to be made to refute the theory of evolution, this is simply not a practical justification for this debate.

In regards to J1.2 that is also fairly trivial to refute as simply consider that I could extra DNA from a cell and put that compound by itself in an appropriate solution. Is that solution a member of humanity? That seems obviously false as it is nothing more than a single chemical compound floating in solution and that could even be artificially created in a lab, see for example the RNA-hypothesis [10]. There is obviously quite a step from being a self-replicating compound to even getting to a proto-cell let alone an organism and further still a person, thus DNA alone cannot be a claim even to life let alone a member of humanity.

This is also an example of affirming the consequent [11] because while all members of humanity would have human DNA, simply because something has human DNA would not make it a member of humanity.

In regards to P2 and P3, there is no justification for P2 aside from

J2.1) Humans are inherently valuable.

Again here KeytarHero is attempting to force a rebuttal which he can then attack. This is a common debating tactic and as noted is the preferred method of William Lane Craig, noted Christian Apologist. However while common it is not valid as arguments without justification do not need to be refuted as there is nothing to refute. This is a clear example of an attempt to shift the burden of proof.

Note if it was as trivial to affirm to assert right to life by noting human life is inherently valuable then would be no debates on the nature of morality either ontological or epistemological as we could proceed from this foundational claim. This argument can just as easily be countered by asserting that all humans have an absolute claim to ownership of their bodies which results in a dead lock between the two claims to rights.

However there is no need to even present or develop this argument as a counter because the as noted justification does not support the premise. Even if it were accepted that humans are inherently valuable it does not follow that right to life therefore follows absolutely because this assumes that nothing at all has value as it is only in that case can the argument be made so absolutely.

Finally to end, P3 has no justification; it is simply asserted as a foundational truth and can be dismissed just as easily. There are of course many arguments which can be presented to refute this assertion, but again the onus is on KeytarHero to develop a justification for this premise. he can not simply state it as a truth have demand it be refuted or otherwise it has to be accepted as default. Though it is often argued otherwise, the fact remains that “[…] you cannot prove me wrong does not mean I am right” [12]. Again KetarHero clearly has the burden of proof and has to justify any and all claims. It is not my responsibly to provide a rebuttal to his assertions or else they are assumed to be conceded.

In closing, the few justifications that KeytarHero has presented have been fully refuted and demands have been made to provide full support for the other premises which have at best very scant argumentative support.

[1] http://www.debate.org...

[2] http://www.debate.org...

[3] http://www.debate.org...

[4] http://www.debate.org...

[5] http://www.debate.org...

[6] http://www.debate.org...

[7] http://www.samharris.org...

[8] http://www.reasonablefaith.org...

[9] http://jerrycoyne.uchicago.edu...

[10] Gesteland, R.F., Cech, T.R., Atkins, J.F., 2006, The RNA World: the nature of modern RNA suggests a prebiotic RNA, Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Press, United States of America

[11] http://www.fallacyfiles.org...

[12] http://www.internetlogic.org...
Debate Round No. 2
KeytarHero

Pro

Cliff and I are in agreement about the definitions of the terms "abortion" and "immoral." No semantic games here. I also do accept burden of proof. Since abortion-on-demand is currently legal, I bear the burden of proof as to why it should be illegal.

More specifically, my debate is that we are full human beings from conception to natural birth, and as such at all stages of development we should be protected. There is no reason why a human being inside the womb should not be considered a person, since the human inside the womb is the same human that comes out of the womb.

Cliff is right, that I did not have a debate on morality itself in mind, since that could take up a whole other debate on its own. As he has posed the question "according to what," I would say according to basic human intuition. Not only are there laws protecting innocent people, but no person, who does not suffer from a neurological disorder, would believe that killing an innocent person without just cause is right. Most of the reasons given for abortion would never be acceptable reason to kill someone outside the womb. Therefore, since the human inside the womb is the same human that comes out of it, those reasons should not be acceptable to kill someone inside the womb.

I agree with Cliff that I fully intend to justify abortion being immoral. I brought up those possible objections because in my many dealings with pro-choicers, those are common objections I have faced. I see that those whom I will debate on this site are more educated on the issue than the common pro-choicer who really hasn't given it much thought.

I do, indeed, reject Evolution as a valid answer for where humanity comes from, but let's assume for the sake of this argument that macro-Evolution has happened. Human evolution can take hundreds of thousands of years, meaning that we still have a very, very long time until the next stage in human evolution. Humans are reproducing after each other now and have been for a long time. So even if you accept Evolution, there is no reason to believe that a child you're aborting would be the "next stage in human evolution," and therefore it should be acceptable to kill because it's really not human. On top of that, from what I understand of evolution, the change from species to species is very gradual, so even if the unborn did carry a change that was about to start the change in species, it would still be human because the change wouldn't affect its humanity.

DNA are the building blocks of life. [1] While DNA, alone, may not be accurate representation of what a human is, they're a good place to start. Humans generally have two pairs of 23 chromosomes, unless they have a disease like Down's Syndrome, in which case they would have an extra chromosome. So obviously chromosomes, alone, are also not enough. Humans are unique on Earth (and possibly in the universe) in that we also have the ability to become better than we are, develop new and better technologies, reason amongst ourselves, question our place in the universe, etc. And while, of course, the unborn cannot do this (and neither can newborns or toddlers), humans are rational moral agents with the natural inherent capacity to perform functions like reasoning and comprehending.

Substance View

Pro-life apologists Francis Beckwith and Patrick Lee advance this view that when humans come into existence, they are intrinsically valuable by their very being. Personhood is not an attribute one gains by becoming more developed, it is an attribute all humans get by their very nature of existing. There are not degrees of personhood; either you are a person or you're not. Blacks, women, and Jews have all been discriminated against in the past and not considered persons; this easily allowed their basic human rights to be trampled on. The same is happening to the unborn.

Humans never stop developing. It starts when they are first conceived and stops when their body dies far into the future. In order to claim that it is okay to kill the unborn but not an adult, you must ask yourself why. Is it because they're less developed? Toddlers are less developed than adults, but they have the same right to life that adults do. The fact that the unborn are more vulnerable means they should be given more protection, not less.

I think it's unreasonable to consider the unborn as anything less than human. After all, if they're not human, then what are they? Do humans have the inherent capacity to change species in the early stages of their development? If the unborn is human, then why are they not persons? Shouldn't all humans be considered persons, even the youngest members of our species? If they should not be considered persons, then you would bear the burden of proof in showing otherwise. If I have value because I'm a human and I'm protected by law from murder and other violations of rights, then why should we not afford these same rights to all humans, including those still developing in the womb?

So far, I have shown that the unborn are full human persons. We know they are alive because they grow, we know they are human because they have human DNA and human parents, and species' reproduce after their own kind. I have also shown that humans, just be virtue of being human, are valuable and should be protected. As much, there is no reason to deny the unborn personhood as they are, indeed, fully human. If the unborn should not be granted personhood, then Cliff must show why.

[1] http://www.dna.gov...;
Cliff.Stamp

Con

To start, lets examine the response to the first rebuttal posed in the above :

"from what I understand of evolution, the change from species to species is very gradual, so even if the unborn did carry a change that was about to start the change in species, it would still be human because the change wouldn't affect its humanity"

While I would still defend the assertion that you can not claim that all offspring are of the same species as the parent, I would concede essentially that whatever right you would attribute to the species of the parent the same right would have to be argued to be for the species of the offspring because even at the divergence point you would have two essentially very close sub-species as KeytarHero correctly notes.

Quite frankly, outside of a small group of evolutionary biologists, and even then among that very select group of people, only the ones specifically interested in the taxonomic rankings of that species are likely to be able to tell the difference when you have divergence in sub-species and even they will argue over where and when the exact point of divergence occurred. Thus there is no rational way that anything meaningful can come out of making decisions based on such a very fine speciation splitting. But note clearly here, all that is being conceded is that for all intents and purposes the species of the parent and offspring can be considered to be the same for any discussion of morality or rights.

Note there are some theories which actually suggest otherwise, and they were popular for a time and they proposed that species nucleation could be dramatic usually through agents such as endogenous retrovirus which are known to change DNA. This theory, or more correctly hypothesis, branched out all the way even into the science fiction community and hard science fiction Greg Bear explored how a sudden endogenous retrovirus speciation event would effect humanity[1]. Curiously enough, the rights of this new species is one of the focal points of the book and it is a valid question though for another debate. But again, the genes and the other methods of trait inheritance, are that close from parent to offspring that outside of very speculative theories it is not useful to make a moral divide based on this argument, especially in regards to a claim to rights.


Here KeytarHero concedes this part of the justification :

"DNA are the building blocks of life. [1] While DNA, alone, may not be accurate representation of what a human is, they're a good place to start."

noting clearly that DNA can not be used to justify that something is in fact a human and since he did not refute the example I gave of the DNA in solution and defend that was in fact human then that objection stands. The only additional note I will make here is that DNA is not what makes us uniquely human. While it was thought for some time that the DNA code was essentially a blueprint to make a person, it is now known that there are lots of inheritable traits which are not coded into DNA. This new field of epigenetics is fascinating and explores how what we are is not simply limited to what is stored in our DNA[2].

Now, here is where this argument gets a bit more complicated and we see the real significance of the above two issues when KeytarHero reveals his defense of P2 :

"Substance View"

Consider the following, the blastocyst is part of the stage of the early embryo and contains as part of it, specifically the trophoblast, which eventually becomes the placenta. Now it is obvious that the placenta is not considered a human, that is just considered to be biological waste. It is in fact ignored outside of a very small minority which use it in rituals, often to the point of consuming it which was made infamous when the media publicised that Yoko Ono (wife of John Lennon) ate the placenta of one of her children. Now is she a cannibal? Are all parents murders who do not raise the placenta? It seems hard to assert those as the placenta is expelled to death by the body during childbirth. But before we can even deal with this minor objection we need to know what exactly does the substance view assert.

The substance view argues that claims such as right to life are inherent because humans have an intrinsic claim to value because (1) of the sort of thing that they are and (2) that they are always this sort of thing as long as they exist. Now the substance view is the current dominant view of philosophical anthropology in Christian and is almost always one of the first defenses of pro-life advocates, but does KeytarHero provide warrant for the substance view? No, in fact he never even clearly asserts a full definition and thus his justification can not exist. Note defining what the substance is - is not any means trivial and usually takes at least a multi-part definition, while KeytarHero offers only the barest hint at the definition and leaves many things unanswered

1) what is the exact "sort of thing" that is the substance of a human
2) does this "sort of thing" really exist as a full and total manifestation from conception
3) why can humans simply claim intrinsic value
4) why would an intrinsic claim to value possibly justify a complete claim a fundamental right to life


Now again all KeytarHero does is form a very weak counter argument, refute it and then shift the burden of proof :

"Shouldn't all humans be considered persons, even the youngest members of our species? If they should not be considered persons, then you would bear the burden of proof in showing otherwise."

Again, this can not be used to justify the resolution. KeytarHero has to fully develop and support the substance view. He can not simply ask a question and assume that the answer is obvious unless refuted. This also can not simply be achieved with an appeal to emotion[3] (i.e., blacks and jews have suffered, we realize this now it is time to protect the unborn from their suffering - not this begs the question). Unless of course the entire argument is going to be shifted to the paradigm where morality can be argued to be an inherent trait of the senses and that people are "broken" who do not see the immorality of abortion. This argument can be made, but again it can not be so trivially asserted.

Now I could interject here, as I do not want to make it seem that I can not offer objections either to the substance view (twinning, recombination, and cellular totipotency speak to the early embryo not being a unique sort of thing until a particular stage) or against the assertion that even if something was of value then it can not obviously claim a right to life which naively is ursurps the right of another (what happened to the rights of the mother to not be limited in expression of her life or to not be endangered). I could also raise objection to the claim of unique value of humans.

But, and I want to be very clear here, it is not my responsibility to refute the substance view, to refute the claim that inherent value implies absolute right to life when these have just been stated without justification. The burden of proof is 100% on KeytarHero. I would further argue that it is abusive to start this justification in the forth and final round. Note still, there is no justification at all for P3 which I noted in round two and KeytarHero skipped this in round three and without that the argument collapses.

"If I have value because I'm a human and I'm protected by law from murder and other violations of rights, then why should we not afford these same rights to all humans, including those still developing in the womb?"

Well that is the debate now isn't it.

In short, the burden of proof can not be carried without justification and none has been provided.

[1] http://www.infinityplus.co.uk...

[2] http://www.sciencemag.org...

[3] http://www.nizkor.org...
Debate Round No. 3
KeytarHero

Pro

Again, I would like to thank Cliff for this thought-provoking debate.

"...all that is being conceded is that for all intents and purposes the species of the parent and offspring can be considered to be the same for any discussion of morality or rights."

Considering that is right at the crux of the debate, I would say that's a significant concession. Once we have affirmed that the unborn in question is human, then that should answer the question of whether we can kill it by abortion. It is wrong to kill any human for an unjust reason. As such, any reason to kill that would be unacceptable for a born person should also be unacceptable for an unborn person of the same species (i.e. human). Since we would have no way of knowing whether an unborn human would carry the marker that would kick-start the next step in human evolution, and since we have no reason to expect it will happen anytime soon, we can't say that abortion is acceptable just because the unborn that we're killing may not be human. Even if it were, we should support the next step in human evolution, not risk killing it off and stunting our evolutionary growth.

"This new field of epigenetics is fascinating and explores how what we are is not simply limited to what is stored in our DNA."

I agree that a human is not simply what you find in his DNA. This is why I said it's a good place to start, and how DNA, alone, is not enough to consider us human. Humans have the inherent capacity to reason and comprehend the universe around us. We are unique on this planet in that respect, and quite possibly the universe. Humans are rational moral agents with this inherent capacity, and even if the unborn (or even newborns or toddlers) have not fully developed to this point yet, they have it within them and, given the chance to grow and develop as every human does, they will develop to that point (barring any sort of catastrophic accident).

"Substance View"

I have no idea if Yoko Ono should be considered a cannibal for consuming the placenta. Are you a cannibal if you only eat part of a human, or do you have to kill them and consume most of them? Besides which, I think the placenta technically belongs to the woman, does it not? Is she a cannibal by consuming part of her own body?

Here is where we must be careful. We must not confuse parts with wholes. The placenta is only part of the human body; it is not a human. The zygote/embryo/fetus has unique DNA from the mother, and is therefore a separate entity. However, the placenta is part of the body, not a separate, unique developing human. We can get our hair cut or cut our nails, etc., because what is being removed are parts of our bodies, not whole, separate entities. It is the same with the placenta.

From the very point of conception, we exist as a new and unique entity. We are different from the mere part of the human body because we are growing and developing along the normal developmental path that every human develops along. This change and development occurs from within. There is no fundamental change in a human at the point of birth; the only change that really occurs is a change in location. Humans do not possess the intrinsic ability to change from one species to another. We exist as the same species from fertilization through birth and beyond. As humans, every member of our species has value just by virtue of being human. As a Christian, I believe that every human has value because we are made in God's image, and God gives us value. But even from a secular perspective, seeing as though humans are such a unique species, every member within that species has value because we all have the intrinsic abilities to reason and comprehend the universe. Even in the case of something disastrous that takes this ability away, a person still has value simply by virtue of belonging to our species.

-Closing Statement-

I believe I have successfully shown why abortion is generally immoral. To recap, we are human from fertilization (we contain new and unique DNA from the mother in which we grow and develop, and we were conceived by human parents), not to mention the human inside the womb is the same human that comes out of the womb. We are alive because we grow and develop from within, developing along a path that every human develops along. Every human is intrinsically valuable because humans are rational moral agents with the inherent capacity to reason and comprehend the universe around us. Every member of our species is valuable by virtue of belonging to our species. It is also wrong to kill an innocent human and since the unborn are valuable, living humans, any reasons that would be unacceptable to kill a child outside the womb must also be unacceptable to kill a child inside the womb.

Again, I thank Cliff Stamp for this very thought-provoking debate, and for taking the time to debate this topic for me. I look forward to reading his final round.
Cliff.Stamp

Con

In closing I would reaffirm that my argument has been a rebuttal to the assertion not an attempt to affirm the negation. I would thus argue for a vote for Con on e grounds that the burden of proof has not been fully carried by KeytarHero.

I will begin with a response to some comments and then summarize.

I would say that's a significant concession. Once we have affirmed that the unborn in question is human, then that should answer the question of whether we can kill it by abortion.

The argument is not that trivial. The contention for abortion cannot be so easily resolved by the biological species affirmation. The argument is more critical as to the question is the fetus a person, does it belong to humanity? There is much more to being a person than just being a member of the species. This argument from KeytarHero can be defeated trivially by the following thought experiment:


    • Consider a fetus which has a severe developmental defect and only has an autonomic nervous system develop. This thing is still clearly a member of the homo sapiens species, but it is not conscious, it cannot think, it cannot feel, it cannot desire, expect or want. This then while belonging to the human species is it a person?



“ It is wrong to kill any human for an unjust reason.

This is almost a definitional argument as unjust and wrong are synonyms in this context. But here is the critical point here, KeytarHero has, in his defense of the rights of the unborn, completely ignored the rights of the mother and again this is critical to establishing the burden of proof for rights are meaningless when considered in isolation. Simply consider the following thought experiment:


    • Right now KeytarHero is likely spending resources for his own personal benefit, however at the same time 1 out of 5 children in Africa is starving [1] while Indonesia has over 60% of the total number of wasting children in the world[2]. The total numbers are staggering, each year 15 million children die due to lack of food[3] and then of course there are all the other issues such as the high rates of child mortality due to malaria and HIV/AIDS in Africa[4]. Now the question to be raised here is why is KeytarHero not obligated to allocate his resources to save them, especially when things like a mosquito net costs less than a dollar? If he can refute this with “they are my resources I can do what I want with them – even if my choices cause another person to die” (these children are persons by any definition) then how can it be so trivially argued that a mother can not claim a right to their own person resources, i.e., their body?


Now this example is not mean to be definitive and in fact it raises a whole host of questions the most dominant one being did the mother give up the right to her body upon sexual intercourseThis is not trivial by any means to defend, especially if you consider rape when it seems obvious that she did not consent and the entire act of conception is an act of violence and a violation of her rights (under the exact view KeytarHero develops).

But my point here again is not to affirm abortion but simply to note that KeytarHero can not be considered to carry the burden of proof in this argument as he has trivialized the issues, has ignored critical contentions and as noted on repeated occasions not provided full (or even any) justification for his assertions.

Besides which, I think the placenta technically belongs to the woman, does it not? Is she a cannibal by consuming part of her own body?”

This is a strong defeater for KeytarHero’s argument as he here fails to understand that as noted in the above the placenta develops from the trophoblast which is part of the blastocyst, one of the early stages of the embryo. It is not a part of the mother, it develops from the embryo itself. If the fetus is fully a whole member from conception and is a person then surely it is cannibalism to eat part of it and surely part of it cannot be so trivially discarded as biological waste.

The point here is until this separation is made in the development of the embryo between what is going to be the placenta and what is going to be the fetus then they are still intermixed (they start as one cell obviously) and thus that thing can not be consider to be a person simply as part of what it is at that stage is trivially discarded and even eaten.

From the very point of conception, we exist as a new and unique entity.”

Again KeytarHero fails to develop the substance view and just states it as fact, as noted there are trivial defeaters for this assertion when it is so simply stated such as twinning, recombination, and cellular totipotency. For example how can you possibly say that from the point of conception the embryo is a new and unique entity until it has passed the stage where any of those three are possible because they permit the embryo to develop into multiple “sorts of things” under the substance view (i.e. a triplet is not considered “one sort of thing” under the substance view).

KeytarHero drops this entire contention and just glosses right over it and does not fully define the substance of the substance view or defend the argument at all.

Every human is intrinsically valuable because humans are rational moral agents with the inherent capacity to reason and comprehend the universe around us.”

Here KeytarHero has finally stated his justification for the inherent value of humans but again is this defended? How would Cody respond to his as he is a nihilist and would reject the concept of morality[5]. It is also an odd statement to make as it defeats his own arguments as a fetus has no capacity to reason and comprehend the universe around us as its brain is not developed at conception obviously.

It is also wrong to kill an innocent human and since the unborn are valuable, living humans, any reasons that would be unacceptable to kill a child outside the womb must also be unacceptable to kill a child inside the womb.”

This assertion is defeated trivially if you consider the previous quote about rational agents and that even born children do not even have an awareness of self, this takes time to start and the ontogenesis is effected by a multitude of factors[6].

In closing I would note that KeytarHero has not fully justified any of his three premises.

P1) This was argued finally from the substance view which as noted was not even fully defined let alone defended.

P2) This was defended in the last round by claiming humans are rational and moral agents, but as noted there are schools of philosophy which reject such concepts and it is obvious that a fetus has neither capacity.

P3) This was never defended just asserted and as noted completely ignores all rights or effects of the mother and just assumes they do not exist or have no influence.

[1] http://www.worldexpochildrensfund.com...

[2] http://www.worldexpochildrensfund.com...


[3] http://cozay.com...

[4] http://library.thinkquest.org...

[5] http://www.iep.utm.edu...

[6] http://psycnet.apa.org...
Debate Round No. 4
27 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by KeytarHero 5 years ago
KeytarHero
No problem.
Posted by Cliff.Stamp 5 years ago
Cliff.Stamp
Ok, I have to fully source it. I will put it up shortly.
Posted by KeytarHero 5 years ago
KeytarHero
Sure, I can do that.
Posted by Cliff.Stamp 5 years ago
Cliff.Stamp
I will instigate and assume the burden of proof to balance against this debate. Do you want to defend the substance view supporting right to life for a fetus as I can have the resolution negate that?
Posted by KeytarHero 5 years ago
KeytarHero
Yes, it has been interesting. Yes, we could re-run it and switch burden of proof. Would you like to instigate the debate?
Posted by Cliff.Stamp 5 years ago
Cliff.Stamp
This was an interesting exchange. If you want KeytarHero we can re-run it and I will assume the burden of proof to show abortion is not immoral.
Posted by seraine 5 years ago
seraine
@KeytarHero How do you feel it fails?
Posted by Cliff.Stamp 5 years ago
Cliff.Stamp
"But why should a child be killed for the heinous actions of his/her father? If a child is a living human, then I don't see the circumstances of his/her conception being an acceptable reason for killing him/her."

One of the arguments is to protect the mother, not punish the child.
Posted by KeytarHero 5 years ago
KeytarHero
Seraine,

I think that rape is a completely horrible act, and I believe that rapists should be punished much worse than they are. But why should a child be killed for the heinous actions of his/her father? If a child is a living human, then I don't see the circumstances of his/her conception being an acceptable reason for killing him/her.

I think that abortion is justified when the mother's life is immediately in danger, and the child is not yet viable. It's better to lose one life than two. In life-threatening cases, the unborn must be treated as a patient, just like the mother. For instance, ectopic pregnancies would be a justified reason for abortion. It's a standard triage situation. You save the person with the greatest chance of survival. However, if something catastrophic happens when the child is viable, then a c-section can, and should, be done to save both mother and child.

As far as your analogy, it pretty much works. For instance, if lack of self-awareness or the ability to feel pain is what makes it okay to abort an unborn child, then it would also be okay to kill someone in a coma, even one they have a chance of coming out of. The problem is that no reason to kill an unborn child would be acceptable because they're not acceptable to kill someone outside the womb. So most pro-choicers have started conceding that the unborn is a living human being, but now their argument is that no human being, unborn or not, has the right to live off someone else's body as life support against their will. This is a more sophisticated argument and probably the best pro-choice argument out there, but I still feel it fails in several ways.
Posted by Cliff.Stamp 5 years ago
Cliff.Stamp
"A child in the womb would basically be the same as me under anesthesia(no thoughts, self awareness, potential to be self aware). Does that mean it would be right to kill me?"

For that that support the right for abortion under the argument that as the fetus is not a member of humanity because it can not essentially recognize that it is so, then yes a similar argument is made. However while you are under anesthesia you are similar to sleeping which is different than deep coma / conscious brain death.
4 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 4 records.
Vote Placed by Adam_The_Analyst 5 years ago
Adam_The_Analyst
KeytarHeroCliff.StampTied
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Total points awarded:70 
Reasons for voting decision: yokooooooooooo
Vote Placed by GMDebater 5 years ago
GMDebater
KeytarHeroCliff.StampTied
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Total points awarded:05 
Reasons for voting decision: p3 was never defended. if a p cant be proven, the c cant either.
Vote Placed by JoshBrahm 5 years ago
JoshBrahm
KeytarHeroCliff.StampTied
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Total points awarded:03 
Reasons for voting decision: This was generally a good debate. I think both sides made mistakes, but Pro made more. He could have fleshed out the substance view more fully, and explained why twinning, recombination and cellular totipotency is not a problem for the substance view of persons.
Vote Placed by Jillianl 5 years ago
Jillianl
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Reasons for voting decision: Con's skill at identifying pro's unjustified statements make them the winner. It is not enough to simply state generally accepted statements and expect them to be unrefutable. Many times society has made generally believed statements that are not actually true or justifiable.