The Instigator
zmikecuber
Pro (for)
Winning
12 Points
The Contender
Zarroette
Con (against)
Losing
5 Points

Abortion is generally immoral

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 6 votes the winner is...
zmikecuber
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 3/11/2014 Category: Philosophy
Updated: 2 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 5,826 times Debate No: 48701
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (113)
Votes (6)

 

zmikecuber

Pro

Resolved: Abortion is generally immoral.

Four rounds. Shared BoP. No new arguments in R4. R1 for acceptance.

I shall argue that abortion is immoral in most cases. This means excluding extraordinary cases such as rape, incest, to save the life of the mother, etc. So I shall be arguing that in cases where the individual gave consent and partook in sex, resulting in a pregnancy, abortion is immoral. My opponent shall argue that abortion is morally acceptable in these cases.

Definitions:
Abortion: "a medical procedure used to end a pregnancy and cause the death of the fetus" (1)

I don't want this debate to be about "Is there any objective morality?" So for the sake of it, we shall assume that things such as rape, murder, mutilation of children, etc. are prima facie immoral, regardless of whether or not they're "objectively" immoral.

Good luck to Zarroette! :)

(1)http://www.merriam-webster.com...
Zarroette

Con

Argue strongly, zmikecuber.
Debate Round No. 1
zmikecuber

Pro

Thanks to Zarroette for accepting this debate challenge! I look forward to a fun debate against an intelligent opponent. Let's get to it.

Introduction
As you will recall, the burden is shared. This means that it will simply do no good for my opponent to merely refute my arguments. She must tear down each of my arguments, and present arguments as to why abortion is generally a moral action. Thus, the voters should weigh the arguments provided by both sides.


When does life begin?
There isn't much controversy that a new life begins at conception (4). Even Peter Singer, who justifies infanticide, admits, "there is no doubt that from the first moments of its existence an embryo conceived from human sperm and eggs is a human being." (5)

To quote an embryology text book,


"Although life is a continuous process, fertilization is a critical landmark because, under ordinary circumstances, a new, genetically distinct human organism is thereby formed.... The combination of 23 chromosomes present in each pronucleus results in 46 chromosomes in the zygote. Thus the diploid number is restored and the embryonic genome is formed. The embryo now exists as a genetic unity." (6)

But does this mean abortion is immoral? Maybe. Maybe not.


I. The Future Like Ours (FLO) argument
My main argument shall be Don Marquis' FLO argument (1).


To begin with, we know the statement "Murder is immoral" is true. However, why is this so?

Let's sketch out a syllogism to demonstrate why "murder is immoral" is true. Then maybe we can fill in the missing premises.

P1: ???
P2: ???
C: Murder is immoral.

Now, quite clearly, what makes an act immoral is the unique and highest evil inflicted upon the victim(s) by that action. Thus, genocide is immoral because it involves the widespread killing of people of a certain group, rape is immoral because of the lack of consent present, etc. So what is the unique evil inflicted in murder?

Is it pain? Obviously not, since one can murder someone without inflicting pain. Is it that it harms the families of the individual? No, because they might not have a family.

The main reason why murder is immoral is because it completely and certainly deprives the individual of its life, and its meaningful future. Marquis notes, "the loss of a future to them that they would otherwise have experienced is what makes their premature death a very bad thing for them." (1)

Rather than just removing the individual from existence for a moment, murder deprives the individual of its continued being. So when someone murders someone, they are unjustly snatching 50+ years from them! We're literally grabbing all the future moments they might share with their families, all their pursuits, etc. This makes sense when we see that murder is often punished with life-imprisonments.

So we can fill in our second premise of the syllogism, and we get:

P1: ???
P2: Murder absolutely deprives a being of its meaningful future (FLO).
C: Murder is immoral.

Now, in order to make this a valid BARBARA syllogism, we need to add the major premise (2). Thus, we get:

P1: Any action which absolutely deprives a being of its meaningful future (FLO) is immoral.
P2: Murder absolutely deprives a being of its meaningful future (FLO).
C: Murder is immoral.

However, this has serious consequences for abortion.

P1: Any action which absolutely deprives a being of its meaningful future (FLO) is immoral.
P2: Abortion absolutely deprives a being of its meaningful future (FLO).
C: Abortion is immoral.

A few advantages of the FLO argument
I'd like to list a few advantages of this view as well.

1. This shows why destroying something without a meaningful future like ours isn't necessarily immoral.
2. It would also be immoral to kill "hobbits" or "aliens" because they have meaningful futures.
3. It does not rest upon the premise that the fetus is a person in the univocal sense that we are.
4. It explains why it is immoral to kill someone who is unconscious.

Thus, abortion is immoral, to the same degree that murder is.

II. "It's my body though!" A rebuttal of bodily rights arguments.
I'd now like to turn to a common objection; that of bodily rights.


It is often argued that the rights a person has to their own body trumps an individual being's rights to its life. So even if the fetus will grow up to have a meaningful future just like ours, the woman has the right to her own body, and can discard the fetus. However, this is easily debunked.

Why assume that the right to my body trumps another individual's right to life? Bodily rights, and right to choices can only be made firm if the individual's right to life and their future existence is made firm. Thus, bodily rights are parasitic upon the right to life! If we are going to question an organism's right to a meaningful future, we will undermine the very foundation upon which the rights to our bodies and choices are based upon.

Let me make an analogy. In order to secure my "Right to text" I first have to secure my "Right to have a cell phone." Thus, my "Right to text" is based upon my "Right to have a cell phone." Likewise, the rights to our bodies and the rights to our choices are based upon our rights to a continued existence, as our nearly all rights.

I'd also like to present the responsibility objection (3).

W means woman
RA means voluntary intercourse
F means fetus

P1: If W participates in RA with the knowledge that F might result, then W has a special obligation to render aid if F does result.
P2: W participates in RA knowing that F will, or might, result.
P3: F does result.
C: Therefore, W has a special obligation to support F.

To illustrate this argument further, consider an example. If I am standing on a dock, and I accidentally bump a person into the water, I have a special obligation to save them if they are in danger of drowning. Through my action, I have put them in a position of risk, and I have a special obligation to deliver them from danger if I can. This is obvious.

Obviously a woman can easily deliver this human organism with a FLO from risk.

But it gets even better.

If I have a special obligation towards someone though my voluntary action, then it's even worse for me to go out of my way to destroy that being. In the case of abortion, the woman is the one who is deciding to destroy this new being with a valuable future. Rather than merely allowing the victim to die, she is one of the direct causes in the victim's death.

(This could also be used to show that the man has an obligation towards the fetus as well. So you men don't get off the hook that easy, and are equally responsible.)

So, the idea of "bodily rights" is absurd, and easily dealt with.

III. The reverse violinist argument.

Judith Jarvis Thomson has made the famous violinist argument (7) in support of abortion. But I'd like to cause some irony, and show how this is easily reversible.

One day, you wake up in a bathtub. You're strapped down. Completely helpless. There's cords going from your body to a person in the other bathtub. It's a famous violinist.

He explains to you, saying "Oh, well, you see, I enjoy taking X drug, because it makes me feel good. But sometimes the machine I step into malfunctions and I pass out, and wake up with myself hooked up to you. If I cut these cords, you're going to die. Anyways, I am under no obligation to keep you alive, since you're infringing upon my bodily rights. So I'm going to cut these cords, and you will die. If the public found out about you, it would ruin my career, and I just can't have that."

Is this fair? Of course not. You can't drag someone onto a plane, and then throw them out because they're trespassing. The violinist voluntarily did an action, and he knew it might result in your being in this helpless state. He has a special obligation to keep you alive, even if it means being hooked up to you for a couple of months. We should be responsible agents.

Conclusion
In conclusion, we've seen good arguments to believe abortion is immoral. It destroys a new human organism, which has a valuable future like ours. Consequently it's comparable to murder. Furthermore, the couple who have voluntarily partook in intercourse, with the knowledge that a fetus might result, have a special obligation towards this individual being. Destroying it is clearly contradicting this.


I'd also like to make another important point. Since we have been given arguments that abortion is seriously immoral, and would be essentially murder, we need them to be strongly refuted and we need strong arguments to think otherwise. When possible human life is in play, we need to tread carefully, and be certain.

Also make note that I haven't used the word "person" once in reference to the fetus! This is because it's not essential to the arguments. If by "person" you mean a conscious human being, then the fetus is not a person. But if by "person" one means a human organism with a right to life and its valuable future, then the fetus is obviously a person. But this is semantics, and really isn't necessary to my argument. Even if the fetus isn't "a person" strictly speaking, I have still shown that abortion is immoral.

I know this is a controversial topic, and if I have come off as strong, please do not count it against me. ;-)

Over to my opponent!

(1)http://faculty.polytechnic.org...
(2)http://upload.wikimedia.org...
(3)http://www.vmi.edu...
(4)http://www.westchesterinstitute.net...

(5)Peter Singer, quoted in Kaczor, 2011, P7.
(6)O'Rahilly, Ronan and Muller, Fabiola. Human Embryology & Teratology. 2nd edition. New York: Wiley-Liss, 1996, pp. 8, 29.
(7)http://spot.colorado.edu...
Zarroette

Con

I thank zmikecuber for his strong opening arguments. I will eventually attempt to address them, but first I must set-up my own argument, since the burden of proof is shared.

On the surface, my arguments will seem terrifying, because of the implications. Please, consider my arguments carefully; try to avoid reacting viscerally.



A1: Sentient life involves more discomfort than comfort

Comfort/Discomfort (and suffering) definitions:

In this debate, when using these terms, I will not necessarily mean the literal version of either words. An example of the literal kind of ‘discomfort’ would be to sit on something sharp, or to have someone shout in your ear. The kind of discomfort I will argue pertains to a lacking, a deprivation, if you will. It’s a tension, a feeling of not having.

Simply put, suffering is a more extreme form of discomfort, such as pain felt after slicing your arm off, or the pain felt in losing a loved one.

Discomfort is bad

In a world where there is only discomfort and comfort (i.e. no context), no rational, sentient animal would choose discomfort over comfort. This is clearly evident, as all sentient creatures strive for things, so as to eliminate discomfort. It is only with context that discomfort could ever be considered preferable, such as a deal that if you were to be uncomfortable now, you would be comfortable for twice the amount of time afterwards. Therefore, it has been determined not by me, but by every sentient creature that this is an inter-subjective truth.

Life is a negative-sum game

Life is essentially a ‘negative-sum game’, in which there are states of comfort that all fall below the ‘0’, rather than anything that is truly positive. In other words, positives and negatives experienced are not opposites, rather, states of overall discomfort.

Anything that is positive is, overall, a result of overcoming a negative; the discomfort always comes first (you fall below the zero first). To feel healthy, your body cannot be burdened with ailment. You cannot feel relief from scratching if you had no itch to begin with. To feel happy, you must have no lingering, serious discomforts. It is not sufficient a counter-argument to say that for every negative there is an equal positive always met, because discomfort requires only the existence of a sentient psychology; whereas, elimination of discomfort is not necessarily assured. For example, you cannot be sure that you will be hired for a certain job, yet you can far more easily wish that you could.

Certain actions can produce more positive than negative, but only within themselves. For example, going to the fridge to eat whilst starving, would be an enormously positive trade (the discomfort of having to go the fridge and select food to eat etc., versus the elimination of starvation). However, given context, it would be apparent that you were unable to satisfy discomforts to begin with, hence the starving state that you found yourself in. Overall, the sum can never reach a true positive, as you have, in reality, only experienced great relief by suffering greatly beforehand.

Permanent state of discomfort

Through our perception, our mind gives us tasks. Production of these tasks is like the ‘building of broken chairs’, in that there exists no problem in reality outside of our perception. For example, a woman’s nails need not be coloured or manicured; it is only through a combination of a sexual drive and vanity does this ‘broken chair’ seem to need fixing. In other words, if you were without the filter of sentient psychology, you would be able to see that these ‘problems’, in reality, do not exist. Furthermore, the illusion that these broken chairs need to be fixed, need not exist. Does it really achieve anything to say ‘thank you’ after someone has done something nice for you, other than satisfy ego and other products of sentient psychology? Is there some greater purpose for this psychology that ordains its existence? Why must the psychology exist if it is designed to produce these broken chairs that need not exist in reality, yet only serve as motivation to eliminate discomfort, the discomfort that the psychology creates itself?

It will never be enough to acquire one million dollars, as you could have ten million dollars, and for all the brilliance of earning such a large amount, as soon as the psychology becomes accustomed to it, more will be required. If you are able to resist the natural urge for more, then it will be another field of desire that will strike your attention, such as the growing of a simple garden, or the gathering of family. Either way, your sentient psychology will always want more of, or ‘one more time’ of anything. And such, it is apparent that a permanent state of discomfort rules whenever a sentient psychology exists, and that any comforts are loaned for but a mere instance or two, then the fabric of comfort is picked-at until morsels of the fabric remain. A discomfort is temporary, fine, but the production of discomforts is permanent.

So far, death in inevitable

There has yet to be a sentient being that has survived death, or even one that has the chance to live forever. All your hard work, all your study, all the improvements you make to yourself, will be erased soon enough, in the eternal abyss. As such, why go to such incredible efforts, in order to better something that won’t last? Why bother with this temporary existence?

Of course, my argument here could be rendered moot, if my opponent proves that there is some sort of after-life, but the burden of proof is on him/her.

Surprise investment analogy (unable to consent to birth)

If you go investing (procreating) with another person’s life savings (state of being), without his/her consent, that is immoral. You do not own the person’s life savings, so you should not have the final word in how it is used. Even if the likelihood of you being able to increase the savings via using the savings is high (the child will likely have good health/a good life etc.), it would still be immoral to risk it without permission, much as it is immoral to sign contracts for people without their permissions.

Even if you were brilliant in determining investment opportunities, you are still risking the money as you do not have 100% control over outcome of the investment. Sure, I think it would be incredibly fantastic to come home to a 50% increase in my life’s savings, yet I would think that I was violated in not being told that someone was essentially gambling with my money. But what if I came home to a 50% decrease and an apology that amounted to ‘well, that’s just life’? I would feel absolutely mortified and violated, wouldn’t you?

As such, at the risk of bringing into existence terrible suffering, abortion seems like the only merciful option.

Serious catastrophe

What is all the comfort, overall in the world, worth in terms of the discomfort? What is the serious discomfort of a Holocaust worth it terms of comfort? One million enjoyable birthday parties, perhaps? What about WWII, could that be worth the relief of passing one billion mathematics tests? These events have happened as a result of human existence, but are they excusable? Clearly, these are terrible things that happen, and to perpetuate human existence is to perpetuate the chance of another catastrophe.

If you knew that a Jew was to be held captive, before being gassed in a humiliating way, in exchange for you finding the ‘love of your life’, would you honestly look that Jew in the eye and say, ‘sorry, buddy, but I value satiating my biology over your brutal suffering’? No? Yes? Where do you draw the line? What if you were only able to meet the love of your life for only a week?

What about Chinese people being born in to what is essentially slavery: working for next to nothing. Are all those seriously lacking lives worth sacrificing for your lifestyle? Is 1 hour worth of sweetshop labour worth your shirt? Is the shirt producing so much comfort that the discomfort of said labour is a positive trade?

I urge you, as a reader, to think about the ridiculous amount of serious tragedy throughout human history: stone-age suffering (i.e. barbaric living standards, average age was 20 years), slavery, the Crusades, wars in general, the Holocaust, the Chernobyl meltdown, bloody revolutions, the rise and fall of Communism etc. None of these are positive overall, how can they be justified? What is so greatly positive that it can override these atrocities?

Destructive Psychology as demonstrated through the Heroin Addict

Perhaps this analogy might make my arguments easier to understand. When you see a heroin addict shooting-up, what exactly do you see? Do you see someone ‘enjoying life’? I put it to you that this is all humans are: just biology on an adventure to find different ways to please itself. The heroin addict is out of his/her mind, possessed by the demon that is the drug. The heroin addict’s purpose has no dignity and no purpose (outside of shooting up). Sure, in those moments after shooting-up, life is incredible/wonderful/sensational etc.; outside of those moments, it can range from a lacking to severe craving, and neither of those are desirable. Similarly, humans are possessed by a defunct psychology, which desires for this ‘heroin,’ and only temporary satisfaction can be met in the event of embracing the ‘drug’ – we’re all chasing chemical releases, nothing of real value.

Conclusion (thus far)

Since sentient life has a greater chance to involve more discomfort than comfort, it would be immoral to bring anyone into existence. The risk of serious, debilitating suffering is something that seems ludicrous to gamble with, especially when it’s in comparison to fairly trivial comforts.

Furthermore, consent cannot be given, thus it’s immoral, in this sense, to bring people into this world.

I’ll elaborate on what is meant by ‘real value’ in the next round, as well as respond directly to my opponent’s arguments.

Debate Round No. 2
zmikecuber

Pro

Introduction
An intriguing argument presented by my opponent. I'll reiterate what she stated and request that voters not let their emotional repulsion (if they have any) to affect their voting decisions.

Recall that I argued that it is best to err with caution when there is a good possibility of life present. So my opponent needs to present a tremendous amount of evidence to meet her burden. Unfortunately, this is not the case, as I shall show. Her arguments are weak at best, and fail to give strong support that abortion is a morally permissible action.

Relevancy to abortion
My opponent has argued that it is immoral to bring a person into the world. But it's not clear how this applies to abortion. Even if it is immoral to bring a child into the world, how does this make abortion moral? It may be immoral to bring an agent into the world, but as is the case with abortion, there already is an agent in the world. There is a human organism, with a future like ours. And, as I've argued above, it is immoral to kill such a being.


The closest she gets is when she states, "As such, at the risk of bringing into existence terrible suffering, abortion seems like the only merciful option."

But this is an argument from ignorance (1). Simply because my opponent has not presented evidence for other alternatives, or there doesn't seem to be any, it doesn't follow that abortion is the only alternative. Furthermore, even if abortion is the only alternative, this doesn't mean it's moral.


Furthermore, my opponent's argument would mean that any continuation of the human species is immoral. This is highly counter-intuitive, so if I can show that her argument is unsound, or that there are better alternatives with less counter-intuitive results, then it is debunked.

A summary of my opponent's argument
I've read and reread the argument, and I think I have done it justice in my summary:

P1: It is immoral to inflict something bad upon someone else without their consent.
P2: Procreation inflicts something bad (life) upon someone else without their consent.
C: Procreation is immoral.
I agree with P1 but not P2.

Fallacy of composition
My opponent also commits the fallacy of composition. She claims, "Life is essentially a ‘negative-sum game’, in which there are states of comfort that all fall below the ‘0’, rather than anything that is truly positive." She also argues that we experience persistent states of discomfort, and that death is inevitable. Unfortunately, this proves absolutely nothing in regards to whether "life" is "good" or "bad." Even if every instant of our lives were filled with anguish, this doesn't mean that the life as a whole is "bad." This is the fallacy of composition (2). What is true of all the parts, or even most of the parts, is not necessarily true of the whole. So even if a person were to go through life in constant misery, this wouldn't mean that their life as a whole is a bad thing!

This is detrimental to my opponent's case. It literally debunks her entire argument. Procreation doesn't inflict suffering upon people. It bestows life upon them. Suffering is parasitic upon life. Thus, the two are not the same, since something can't be parasitic upon itself.

Discomfort is bad?
I will admit that generally discomfort is bad, but it really depends upon the circumstances. Discomfort for no reason whatsoever may be bad, but not all discomfort has no reason at all.
I may think discomfort is bad when I stub my toe, but the discomfort of working to provide for my family is not.
Discomfort can also be a means towards strengthening us. Suffering can have good effects.

Feeling discomfort before comfort
My opponent argues that in order to feel any comfort, I must first feel discomfort. This is absurd.
I feel happiness all the time. When I am driving to work, thinking about my girlfriend (ya hear that, Lizabeth?), and how life is so good. I am realizing what my life could be like, but then seeing what it is like. I don't have to go through the discomfort of having my arm chopped off to realize that having my arm is a good thing. We experience happiness in relation to how things could be. Not to how they have actually been in the past.

The Surprise investment
My opponent commits a fallacy of false analogy (8). What is wrong in my opponent's analogy is that the agent is clearly able to make the investment choice herself. In the case of procreation, this isn't the same.
Is it immoral to make decisions about where your comatose relative will live? No, because she can't make them for herself. If she could, then this might be immoral.
So my opponent is paralleling two completely different situations, and it just doesn't work.

Question begging epithets
The whole catastrophe section of my opponent's argument is question begging epithets (9). She is asking questions with a pre-conceived biased that is unfounded. The tone in every single one of these questions is, "How could you possibly say yes to this?" Thus, they're all loaded questions.
Why so serious?
My opponent is simply giving a pessimistic view of life. I can just do the opposite, and debunk her argument entirely by taking an optimistic view.

Life is so good. I am so lucky to be living here, and have a roof over my head, food on the table, and family and friends. Things could be alot worse. I am so lucky to have been given this one chance to live this life, and make the world a better place. Everything is so wonderful.

As you can see, I am simply reversing my opponent's argument.
But I think that both of these options are false. I would take the option that we should look at the world with hope. Yes, there's suffering in the world. Yes, everyone dies. However, we can also look at the good, and strive towards this. Little kind acts of love are what make life worth living. It's the small acts of love that completely refute all the horrible atrocities in the world.
I'm not going to paint the world out to be a beautiful flower garden, since this would be fallacious for the same reasons as my opponent's hell-hole world is. But I am going to argue that we should strive, with hope, towards making the world a better place.

Life is not "bad"
This seems intuitively true to begin with. We all love life, even if it sucks sometimes. I'll give a few arguments as to why life is not bad per se, and is in fact good.
To quote John Stuart Mill,
"The only proof capable of being given that an object is visible, is that people actually see it. The only proof that a sound is audible, is that people hear it: and so of the other sources of our experience. In like manner, I apprehend, the sole evidence it is possible to produce that anything is desirable, is that people do actually desire it" (3)
My argument...
P1: If life were a bad thing in itself, then people wouldn't desire it.
P2: But they do desire it.
C: Life is not a bad thing in itself, and is in fact a good thing.
There are 7,000,000,000 people on earth (4). Only 1,000,000 of those people commit suicide (5) annually. This means that only 0.14% of people kill themselves! Clearly, if life were such a horrible and un-desirous thing, we would have more than 0.14% of people killing themselves.
Furthermore, the majority of suicide victims (90%) were suffering from a mental illness, as well as a substance abuse problem (6).
Even those who attempted to kill themselves, and survived, claim they had a change of heart. Kevin Hines jumped from the Golden Gate bridge, and survived. As soon as he went over the edge, he thought to himself, "What the hell did I just do? I don’t want to die." (7)

In addition to this, the majority of suicide victims don't really want to end their life, they want to end their suffering in life. Once again, suffering and life are not the same thing.

So it seems pretty obvious that everyone desires life, and that it is a good thing in itself.

My opponent's argument
Recall that my opponent's argument is summarized:
P1: It is immoral to inflict something bad upon someone else without their consent.
P2: Procreation inflicts something bad (life) upon someone else without their consent.
C: Procreation is immoral.

This has been completely debunked. Particularly the second premise. It leads to absurd conclusions, and for this reason alone we would be justified in dismissing it. Since it leads to such insane conclusions, it needs a tremendous amount of proof. This has not been given.
Life is a gift
If we view life as something good, we see that life is a gift. The receiver of this gift can dispense it at any time. And if it were a bad thing, they would probably do so. But ironically, most don't. Instead, they cling to it.
Conclusion
My opponent simply has not met her burden. She has argued that it is immoral to procreate, but she has not shown that abortion is moral. At best, my opponent has shown that nobody should have sex, and the human race should die off. But even her arguments for this are extremely weak. They rest upon the fallacy of composition, and many other fallacious forms of reasoning. I have debunked her arguments, and offered arguments to think that life is a good thing, far surpassing my burden.

And we've not seen a rebuttal to my arguments yet. I assume this is forthcoming, but as of now, they stand untouched and unrefuted.
So while we've been given good reasons to think abortion is immoral, we've not been given the tremendous amount of proof we needed to show that abortion is moral.

==Sources==
Zarroette

Con

I thank zmikecuber for his calm response to my somewhat distressing arguments.

I will firstly address his counter-arguments, which will lay a good context for the countering of his original arguments.


Relevancy to abortion

“My opponent has argued that it is immoral to bring a person into the world. But it's not clear how this applies to abortion.”


There are two options when it comes to abortion:

1) Aborting

2) Not aborting

If we do not abort, then we continue to bring sentient life into this world.


“It may be immoral to bring an agent into the world, but as is the case with abortion, there already is an agent in the world. There is a human organism, with a future like ours.”

The agent does not have the same capacity as a fully-functioning human. In particular, a foetus, prior to ~20 weeks, does not have a welfare state (i.e. a capacity to suffer and experience death):

“At 20 weeks, the foetal brain has the full complement of brain cells present in adulthood, ready and waiting to receive pain signals from the body…” - Dr. Paul Ranalli, neurologist, University of Toronto [1]

“…while eletroencephalography suggests the capacity for functional pain perception in … probably does not exist before 29 or 30 weeks.” [2]

“…it was apparent that connections from the periphery to the cortex are not intact before 24 weeks of gestation and, as most neuroscientists believe that the cortex is necessary for pain perception, it can be concluded that the fetus cannot experience pain in any sense prior to this gestation.” [3]

So, the agent, prior to this, is most certainly not like ours. Abortion, if not the only other alternative (my opponent hasn’t suggested any others), correctly deals with the problem of bringing a potential welfare state into existence.

A summary of my opponent's argument

My opponent’s summary is accurate.


Fallacy of composition
“Even if every instant of our lives were filled with anguish, this doesn't mean that the life as a whole is "bad."”


*Hypothetically, seeing as:

1) Discomfort is bad

2) Anguish (suffering) is a more extreme form of discomfort

3) *Every instant of our lives is filled with suffering

4) These lives are horrendously bad, due to the constant suffering

Suffering is bad. Unless you can nullify, then it follows that all our lives are bad.


“Procreation doesn't inflict suffering upon people.”

Not directly, yes, but it gives us a deprivation mechanism, by which we are granted the ability to suffer. It is of no doubt that procreation almost certainly leads to suffering (but definitely discomfort), as:

1) Procreation leads to life

2) Life involves the production of perpetual discomforts

3) Some discomforts are bad enough to be considered suffering


Discomfort is bad?

“I will admit that generally discomfort is bad, but it really depends upon the circumstances.”

My opponent tries to see discomfort, through context, in order to determine whether it is bad or not. The context element my opponent is arguing, is exceedingly detrimental to revealing the true nature of discomfort. Again, we have to first establish the true nature of discomfort, and I have done that:


1) In the absence of context, if given the choice between discomfort and comfort, all sentient humans would choose comfort

2) Therefore, discomfort is (inter-subjectively) bad


Feeling discomfort before comfort

“I feel happiness all the time. When I am driving to work, thinking about my girlfriend, and how life is so good…”


I’m not sure my opponent quite understands the meanings I have used. I’m not referring to literal discomfort, necessarily (i.e. stubbing your toe). You can only feel happy in driving to work, if you had the desire of not driving to work (discomfort), beforehand:


1) I enjoy driving to work

2) I am not driving to work, at the moment (and I am in discomfort)

3) Therefore, I am going to drive to work

4) I am now driving to work (and I am now in comfort, relative to this individual scenario)


“We experience happiness in relation to how things could be. Not to how they have actually been in the past.”

Yes, so you could be driving the car, but you’re not, therefore you’re in discomfort (albeit, probably mild discomfort). Once you are driving the car, you’re then happy, and not worrying about the discomfort in the past.

There is no pleasure to be had in scratching, if there was no itch beforehand.


The Surprise investment

“What is wrong in my opponent's analogy is that the agent is clearly able to make the investment choice herself. In the case of procreation, this isn't the same.”

So, because the foetus is not able to make the decision his/herself, it makes it okay to continue birth? I’ll address this under the next quotation…


“Is it immoral to make decisions about where your comatose relative will live? No, because she can't make them for herself. If she could, then this might be immoral.”

This analogy isn’t quite appropriate here. You see:

Consent, in regards to child-birth, pertains to production of the deprivation mechanism, in which discomfort can be produced. The consent, in regards to the comatose patient, is somewhat irrelevant, as the patient:

1) Will not have his/her deprivation mechanism erased, regardless of the relocation

2) The decision itself would probably be better than no decision, seeing as there is already a deprivation mechanism

So, the decision made for the foetus is morally wrong, because there is a deprivation state created, without consent, whilst the relocation isn’t all that serious.

Question begging epithets (Serious Catastrophe)

These aren’t loaded questions. There’s no question that these things happened/ are happening, and that these things produce an enormous amount of suffering. I was merely trying to establish how all this misery could be justified.

I’ll try again: how could a Holocaust be equalled, in terms of positive affect? How about WWII? How much excruciating suffering must there be until you say that it’s too much?



Why so serious?

“My opponent is simply giving a pessimistic view of life. I can just do the opposite, and debunk her argument entirely by taking an optimistic view.”


No, you can’t. I repeat:

“It is not sufficient a counter-argument to say that for every negative there is an equal positive always met, because discomfort requires only the existence of a sentient psychology; whereas, elimination of discomfort is not necessarily assured. For example, you cannot be sure that you will be hired for a certain job, yet you can far more easily wish that you could.”

Discomfort is perpetual, comfort isn’t necessarily.



Life is not "bad"

“P1: If life were a bad thing in itself, then people wouldn't desire it.”

Counter Counter-argument: Relativity scheme

There is no objective determinant in which humans decide value, rather valuing comes through comparison. For example, a soft arm-chair has, in reality, no real value. It has value, when viewed through human perception, because it serves the purpose of something to rest upon. It is more valuable than a pile of sticks or simply the ground, in this regard, as the chair will likely be far more comfortable than either. However, if a person has never sat on a chair in her life, and has only sat on sticks, won’t then sticks be considered to be the most comfortable for the person? Won’t then the sticks be the measure for what is most comfortable?

Similarly, when a human comes to valuing her life, it is not done via an objective table of values; rather it is done by comparison: ‘it could be worse’, ‘one in the hand is better than two in the bush’ etc. If a person has lived in the bush her entire life, would she consider the ground to be comfortable? Probably, don’t you think? Why? She doesn’t know of any better, and the other things to sit on are, comparatively, not as comfortable as the ground.

Since individual human value is not necessarily grounded in reality, rather it can be, at best, somewhat accurate in reflecting comparative value, would it then be silly to say that all human judgements are based in reality? Quite clearly, the best a human could do is decide what is better, rather than what is best. So, if we (not as individuals) understand ALL the possibilities of what can be done with a life (in terms of satisfying discomforts), then it should be apparent that not all judgements are based upon reality; just because someone has determined his/her life as valuable, this doesn’t mean that the value judgements that comprise this decision were done in accordance to any real value.


Rebuttals to round 2

Hopefully, with the context of my round 3 rebuttals, my points will be clear, so I won’t have to elaborate.



When does life begin?

This really isn’t a relevant argument, as life, in itself, has no value. That’s why you don’t fret when you accidentally squash a bug, or when millions of sperm die in sexual intercourse(!!!). Neither has a welfare state, wherein discomfort/suffering could occur.



The Future Like Ours (FLO) argument

As I argued at the top of this round, a foetus only develops a capacity to suffer at around 20 weeks of pregnancy. Killing things that have no welfare state, does no real harm, to the thing killed. So, murder isn’t necessarily immoral, so long as the foetus has no welfare state.



"It's my body though!" A rebuttal of bodily rights arguments.

Someone could bump feminism off a dock, and I’ll happily watch it drown.


The reverse violinist argument.

Still, there’s no consent to conception/birth, life (in general) is basically about more discomfort than comfort and nothing of real value is lost/harmed, if the foetus is aborted before 20 weeks.



References

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

[2] Lee SJ, Ralston HJP, Drey EA, Partridge, JC, Rosen, MA. A Systematic Multidisciplinary Review of the Evidence. Journal of the American Medical Association. 294:8 (2005) 947-954.

[3] Fetal Awareness: Review of Research and Recommendations for Practice. Report of a Working Party. Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. March 2010.

Debate Round No. 3
zmikecuber

Pro

Great debate so far. It’s the last round, so I’m going to try to tie things together as well as I can. I’ll rebut my opponent’s arguments, and then rebolster my own. I’m glad she’s agreed to my summary of her argument, since that makes things a lot clearer.

My opponent’s argument and abortion
My opponent has argued that procreation is immoral. As you will recall, I showed that this isn’t explicitly relevant to the morality of abortion. She has provided an argument in which she attempts to tie the two together, but I don’t think it works.

She’s said that there are two options; aborting and not aborting. I agree, since this is true by the law of excluded middle (1). However, let’s say that my opponent’s argument does succeed, and that not aborting is far more immoral than aborting. This rests upon the hidden premise that when faced with two immoral actions, that the less immoral one is the moral choice. But this is absurd. If we had to choose between killing an old lady, and killing several toddlers, would this mean that the “less immoral” option is suddenly “moral”?

I see no reason to accept this.

A summary of the anti-natal argument
Recall, my opponent’s argument is as follows:

P1: It is immoral to inflict something bad upon someone without their consent.
P2: Procreation inflicts something bad (life) upon someone without their consent.
C: Procreation is immoral.

Now what I’ve disputed is that life is bad. My opponent must show that life is bad in order for this argument to succeed.

The fallacy of composition

This rebuttal here alone is enough to completely debunk P2 of my opponent’s argument. She argues:

“1) Discomfort is bad

2) Anguish (suffering) is a more extreme form of discomfort

3) *Every instant of our lives is filled with suffering

4) These lives are horrendously bad, due to the constant suffering Suffering is bad.

Unless you can nullify, then it follows that all our lives are bad.”

Now of course I disagree with 3 (I’ll get to that later) but let’s just say that 1-3 is true.


4 simply does not follow. Once again, just because every instant of our lives is “bad” this doesn’t mean that “life” is “bad”. This is an example of the fallacy of composition (2). If I have a bundle of sticks, and I can break each one individually, can I break the entire bundle all together? Probably not. Likewise, even if our lives are filled with agony every second this doesn’t show that our life as a whole is bad, or that “life” in general is a bad thing. It simply does not follow.

As stated above, this completely debunks any arguments my opponent has given for the second premise in her argument.

My opponent agrees that procreation doesn’t directly cause suffering, and instead causes life. She thinks that life always causes suffering, (I disagree) but let’s just say that it does. Once again, it still doesn’t follow. If something causes something bad, does that mean that it is bad in itself? This is similar to Godel’s ontological proof, when he argues that if some property X is a prerequisite for a good property Y, then this property X is good (3). I’m not convinced.

X causes Y
Y is bad
So X is bad?

What reasons to we have to believe this? It seems very possible for something good to cause something bad.

Discomfort
I’ll concede, for the sake of debate, that discomfort is “bad.”

Discomfort before comfort
My opponent makes the fallacy of denying the antecedent (4). She states:

“1) I enjoy driving to work 2) I am not driving to work, at the moment (and I am in discomfort)”

But this is fallacious. If I am driving to work, I am happy. I am not driving to work. Therefore, I am not happy? This has the form: If p then q. Not p. So not q.

For example

If Queen Elizabeth is an American citizen, then she is a human being.
Queen Elizabeth is not an American citizen.
So Queen Elizabeth is not a human being.

This also debunks her refutation to my counter-argument of comfort being in relation to knowledge of discomfort. I’ll reiterate that.

When we are happy, or comfortable, we typically say: “Hey, look how things could be, and how they are.

My opponent must show that the only way we can feel comfort is by saying “Look how things were and how they now are.”

Otherwise, we cannot say that we must be in the state of discomfort before feeling comfort, which is what she’s saying.

Surprise investment
I’ll just go over this quickly. If something is a good thing for someone, and they are unable at the moment to choose for themselves, there isn’t necessarily anything immoral with choosing it for them. Life, as I argue, is a good thing. So to bestow it upon someone is a gift.


The serious catastrophe
My opponent misunderstands. She wants us to compare the suffering with the pleasure. I’m saying that we should compare the suffering in the world with the love and the good that is done. People self-sacrifice in small ways and in big ways every day. In my view, this overrides suffering in the world. The good, however small, always outweighs the bad. I am stating my opinion, and this refutes my opponent’s stating her opinion.

Life is a good thing
Well my opponent has failed to show that life is a “bad” thing. I’ve argued, well past my burden, that life is a “good” thing. Let me counter my opponent’s rebuttals to this.

Con argues that value is relative in comparison. However, I don’t accept this. While things which are useful may be “valuable” in comparison, this doesn’t mean that everything is valuable in a comparison way. My opponent is mistaken between something which is valuable as a means, and something which is valuable as an end. Yes, for things which are valuable as means, we can say “This is better than that, because it achieves its end better.” But I am arguing that life is valuable in itself. I’m not arguing that life is a means towards something, but rather that life is an ontological good per se.

I’ll reiterate my argument, and tweak it a bit.

P1 If life were bad in itself then people wouldn’t value it.
P2 People do value life.
C Life is not bad in itself.

I’ve also made a mistake in my math. It’s not 0.14% of people who commit suicide. It’s 0.014%. If “life” were, in itself, a bad thing, then we’d see more than 0.014% of people committing suicide. If life were as bad as my opponent wants us to believe, people wouldn’t care twice about whether or not they have their life.

But it’s simply not the case. Life is considered to be the most fundamental and valuable thing, for its own sake.

The numbers do not lie.

The beginning of life
This wasn’t meant to be a prolife argument. This was merely meant to show the scientific fact that a new human organism begins at conception (5).

I. The FLO argument
My opponent simply misunderstands the argument entirely. Whether or not the fetus can feel pain and experience death is completely irrelevant to the FLO argument. I will admit that everything my opponent has said about the biological structure of the fetus is true. But this doesn’t touch the argument at all.

She argues:

“Killing things that have no welfare state, does no real harm, to the thing killed.”

But I’ve shown that it does. It deprives that thing of the valuable future it has.

The FLO argument argues that it is immoral to destroy a being with a valuable future like ours. As I’ve argued, this is what makes murder immoral. My opponent hasn’t addressed this, and has dropped it. So it seems there isn’t controversy there. What makes murder wrong is that it snatches away the being’s future. See R1.

But abortion obviously does this! A fetus will develop into a human being, and obviously does have a future like ours. The fetus will develop into a person just like you or I, and will have experiences, pursuits, interests, family, friends, etc. I’ve argued that it’s wrong to steal this away from a being, as shown by murder. Thus, it is immoral to destroy a fetus, since it has a future like ours.

P1: Any action which absolutely deprives a being of its meaningful future (FLO) is immoral
P2: Abortion absolutely deprives a being of its meaningful future (FLO).
C: Abortion is immoral.

I’ve defended each and every one of these premises. A new organism exists at conception which has a future like ours (5), and it is immoral to deprive a being of its future.

My opponent simply has not shown that one of the premises are false. All she’s done is commit a bare assertion fallacy (6), and has simply stated “a foetus, prior to ~20 weeks, does not have a welfare state (i.e. a capacity to suffer and experience death).” This doesn’t refute the argument at all.


So I’ve argued that it’s immoral to destroy a being with a meaningful future like ours. My opponent has just asserted that it’s moral to destroy a being which cannot experience pain or death. In other words, she’s merely “refuted” my arguments by asserting that they are wrong.

II. Bodily rights arguments
I’m not sure what my opponent means here. It seems that she agrees that if a person causes another person to be in a state of danger, then that person has a special obligation towards them.

III. The reverse violinist argument
I’ve already refuted my opponent’s responses here.

Conclusion
Remember, the burden of proof is shared. Weigh both Zarroette’s and my arguments when you vote. Vote for whose arguments were stronger than the others.

I believe that I’ve rebutted my opponent’s arguments at every single turn. I’ve shown that life isn’t bad, and is in fact good. I’ve also shown that my opponent’s arguments don’t explicitly defend abortion. My opponent has simply misunderstood the FLO argument, and has seemingly dropped all the rest. So we’ve not seen the tremendous amount of proof required to show abortion is moral. Remember, when there is a good chance human life is involved, we ought to tread carefully.

Remember that new arguments aren’t allowed in this round.

Please vote Pro!

==Sources==
(1)
http://tinyurl.com...
(2) http://tinyurl.com...
(3) http://tinyurl.com...
(4) http://tinyurl.com...
(5) http://tinyurl.com...
(6) http://tinyurl.com...

Zarroette

Con

Fatal weaknesses in my opponent’s arguments versus my winnings arguments

Flaw 1: (Basis of the FLO argument) My opponent continues to assert that murder is bad,without qualifying this.Being ‘prima facie’ bad, does not mean that it is bad in reality. Remember that I brought up that millions of sperm are killed in sexual intercourse? This is human life too, isn’t it? What about bugs? Or are they not considered valuable life? There isn’t a logical argument, from my opponent, that gives us a reason to say this – he merely asserts it. This bare assertion prevents the FLO from FLOwing.


Logically sound argument: I have argued that murder, in itself, isn’t inherently bad. Rather, it is the welfare state, the capacity for discomfort/suffering, which creates value. My argument sets up the premise, that all sentient creatures agree upon: discomfort/suffering is bad. My opponent conceded that discomfort is bad:

“I’ll concede, for the sake of debate, that discomfort is “bad.””

Hence, it follows that:

1) Discomfort is bad

2) Therefore, causing discomfort is bad

3) Killing can cause discomfort (welfare state required)

4) Therefore, killing, in some cases, is immoral

THAT’S a reason killing things, sometimes, is immoral.



Flaw 2: (from my serious catastrophe argument) My opponent argues that I’m trying to compare suffering to pleasure, rather than any other type of good. This is compete nonsense, and he again, dodges my questions. I have asked him how these realities can be justified. All he says is that, “we should judge lives by the good and love that is done”, without ever addressing my questions. He even argues that, “people self-sacrifice in small ways and in big ways every day”, implying that people battling through discomfort, is a good thing. He finishes with: “I am stating my opinion,” basically admitting that he hasn’t got a counter-argument.


Logically sound argument: I have asked my opponent to justify these horrendous events. Since he cannot, he concedes that these are horrendous events, and I argue that PLENTY of discomfort comes from these (in reality, an over-bearing amount). I say that there really isn’t much that can account for these atrocious events, events such as: the Holocaust, Chernobyl meltdown, WWI and WWII (including any war to come in the future), every other war, the Crusades, Ancient living ways (barbaric, primitive), 9/11, any bloody conquerings (Alexander the Great, Muhammad and his Muslims recapturing Mecca) etc.

I don’t mean to appeal to emotion, but obviously, these events create an unbridled amount of suffering, and since my opponent failed to give a response, he concedes that events cannot be justified.



Flaw 3: My opponent argues that a life filled with suffering is good, because otherwise, it would be a composition fallacy argument. To put it concisely, my opponent’s counter-response is an argument from final consequence. He basically argues that:

1) The opportunity to life is good

2) Suffering is only one component of life, therefore life itself isn’t bad

Have a think about this. For example, if you were a muddy, filthy ditch, writhing and screaming in pain, for the rest of your life, would you consider that no bad? My opponent says that life is just fine. This is nonsense; it cannot be believed by a thinking person.

Blithely saying that all lives are good, without proving as to why, is illogical.


Logically sound argument: I argued that:

1) Suffering is bad (my opponent concedes this)

2) These lives are filled with suffering, and, at best, VERY LITTLE COMFORT (good), because of the suffering involved. Again, comfort is the result of removing a negative (which I argued elsewhere)

3) That these lives are bad, because of all the suffering involved

The discomfort/comfort mechanism encompasses everything (suffering/discomfort is one part, the other is comfort). Therefore, I have given a reason that these lives are bad.



Flaw 4: (Life is a good thing) If life were so bad, people wouldn’t value it. My opponent then goes on to make the argument that because people aren’t killing themselves, that life must be good. Not only does this appeal to popularity, but it assumes people are capable of valuing their lives objectively. To value things objectively, someone must have knowledge of all the possibilities, in regards to what a life can produce.


Logically sound response:

I’ve shown that humans value things on a relative basis, rather than an objective one. For example, if someone is living in poor conditions, and has only known them in his/her entire life, then the value judgements are clearly going to be affected by this. There would be no way to know of the finer things a life could achieve, or even the worse things, because the person hasn’t ever known these things. So then, this person’s value of his/her life is not based on reality, rather, only on what known to him/her.



Other weaknesses in my opponent’s arguments/ General addressing

My opponent’s argument and abortion
“This rests upon the hidden premise that when faced with two immoral actions, that the less immoral one is the moral choice.”

No, I’ve proven abortion to be moral, in a lot of circumstances (i.e. generally), which is enough to win me the debate.

“My opponent agrees that procreation doesn’t directly cause suffering, and instead causes life. She thinks that life always causes suffering, (I disagree) but let’s just say that it does.”

He conceded, for this section, as a hypothetical, that every moment of these lives involve suffering. I NEVER used this concession, outside of this section.

“What reasons to we have to believe this? It seems very possible for something good to cause something bad.”

You haven’t affirmed why it is good in the first place; you are begging the question. I, on the other hand, have shown why life is bad, if the case is continual suffering.

Discomfort before comfort

If I am driving to work, I am happy. I am not driving to work. Therefore, I am not happy? This has the form: If p then q. Not p. So not q.”

My opponent fails to remember that this is under the dichotomy of discomfort and comfort – there are only two options. My opponent then begins to go through examples, wherein there are more than two options. My opponent’s analogies fail, in this regard.

The ‘p’ and ‘q’ line of reasoning works when there are only two options, which is the case with my argument.


Surprise investment


“If something is a good thing for someone, and they are unable at the moment to choose for themselves, there isn’t necessarily anything immoral with choosing it for them. Life, as I argue, is a good thing. So to bestow it upon someone is a gift.”

My opponent has begged the question, arguing that because life is a good thing, my analogy is flawed. This debate involves whether life is a good thing, and then making a moral judgement, based on the answer. My opponent has no right to assume that the opportunity to life is a good thing, without first arguing as to why.


Life is a good thing

“While things which are useful may be “valuable” in comparison, this doesn’t mean that everything is valuable in a comparison way.”

How else do humans determine value? Do we magically have in our minds what is to be considered valuable? No? Do we intuitively understand, without ever looking at the object, that a rifle is quite efficient at killing people? No? Then how do we determine this? Oh, that’s right, by comparing it to other objects, and seeing that the rifle is a very efficient means to an ends. THAT is how humans determine value, not through some magical objective way, like my opponent hints at.


“But I am arguing that life is valuable in itself.”

No, you assume this to be true, then you made the FLO argument. You haven’t proven that it is valuable.



The beginning of life


Scientific fact, relative to your arbitrary delineations? Is sperm not life? The link doesn’t even work.


I. The FLO argument

“But I’ve shown that it does. It deprives that thing of the valuable future it has.”

You haven’t proven the future life to be valuable. This whole argument begs the question, because it assumes that life will be valuable, for no reason.

“The FLO argument argues that it is immoral to destroy a being with a valuable future like ours.”

Again, you assume that life is valuable, therefore the future is valuable.


“A fetus will develop into a human being, and obviously does have a future like ours.”

Yeah, and I’ve argued that the future, most likely, will be bad, due to our defunct psychology. We’re doing these foetuses a favour by aborting them before they’re able to experience suffering -- that’s my argument.

II. Bodily rights arguments
The foetus and woman are clearly separate entities, and that merely being conjoined does not excuse the woman of duty of care towards the foetus. That’s what my opponent essentially argues here, and I agree with it (after the welfare state is created).

III. The reverse violinist argument
Again, there’s no consent to conception/birth; life (in general) is basically about more discomfort than comfort and nothing of real value is lost/harmed, if the foetus is aborted before 20 weeks.


Concluding comments

Life isn’t, by itself, automatically good, In fact, when we look at (everyone’s) life, overall, through a somewhat objective lens, we can see that it is more good than bad. I have determined this through a logical process, accounting for the real values, so as to be moral. Discomfort and suffering, as my opponent conceded, are bad. It is insanity to assume that the opportunity to life is always inherently good, when horrendous suffering has occurred. No one wants to suffer; no one wants to live in discomfort. Why put someone through it? Why bring someone into this world, if you know all of this?

I thank zmikecuber for this debate; I hope it’s been productive, for you.

I thank you too, for reading whatever you’ve read. Please, don’t be irked by the ghastly nature of my arguments. Have a good think about what I said, before voting :)

Debate Round No. 4
113 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by ClassicRobert 2 years ago
ClassicRobert
Just started reading this one- Zaroette, those are some... unique arguments.
Posted by Sswdwm 2 years ago
Sswdwm
Part 2:

The section I was more anticipating, was the part regarding the stages of brain development, although this was only weakly argued from both sides. Pro"s assertion that they do not have the same welfare capacity of a born child was mildly supported and connected, and not the bare assertion Pro claims it to be. It would have done some good to spend more time here although the character limit was pressed through the debate.
Posted by Sswdwm 2 years ago
Sswdwm
Part 1:
Before/After Position:

I have very mixed feelings after this debate. I took some things home from both sides although I still mind myself very much in disagreement with both.

Conduct to Con, as Pro seemed to attempt to stack the cards before any arguments had been made with the statement "This means that it will simply do no good for my opponent to merely refute my arguments. She must tear down each of my arguments, and present arguments as to why abortion is generally a moral action.". The resolution alone sets the BoP on Pro"s side, although it is explicitly shared in the outline, and this statement attempted to stack the BoP onto Con"s side after acceptance has been made.

S&G was even although I wish there was a point for "Presentation", as Pro presented his arguments in a much more reader-friendly manner, and I definitely would like to know how he goes about publishing in DDO.

As for arguments, it is too close to call. This reminds me of theistic debates when suddenly a presuppositionalist jumps in and starts attacking the basis of sanity itself to make their point. However in this case Con makes far fewer unjustified assumptions in her arguments. Pro rightly points out that Con"s suggestion that life not being intrinsically "bad" is a fallacy of composition, but his own case for life being intrinsically "good" was one big appeal to intuition/emotion. This line of reasoning worked remarkable well for con as it undercut essentially all of Pro"s opening arguments by challenging the presuppositions made in their premises.

Both sides made a couple of non-arguments, or howlers, such as most of Con"s "Serious catastrophe section", and Pro"s attempt at demonstrating an argument ad ignorantum, when there are literally only two choices. I think pro might have been driving at something else, but if he was I didn"t catch it, and probably needed to articulate it some more.

Continued.
Posted by zmikecuber 2 years ago
zmikecuber
Also, all I had to do was show that "Murder is immoral" is true by virtue of it depriving a being of a FLO. If that's the case, then the other premise follows *necessarily*. It's just basic logic. The question is really whether or not I sufficiently defended that what makes murder immoral is depriving it of a FLO. So if P2 is the reason why C is true, then P1 *must* be true.
Posted by zmikecuber 2 years ago
zmikecuber
Oh... well I thought that if we assumed "Murder is immoral" is true, I could argue for why murder is immoral, and then show that this property extends to abortion as well...

Anyways, thanks for your vote
Posted by lit.wakefield 2 years ago
lit.wakefield
@zmikecuber I never said you didn't. If you are referring to the assumption that murder is immoral, yes I know that was an assumption for the debate, but you never explained why (For this debate, murder will be assumed to be immoral for the reason that..) or defined it in a way that would allow you to say that abortion is also immoral based on those assumed characteristics. Maybe my rfd was not so clearly worded.
Posted by zmikecuber 2 years ago
zmikecuber
@lit.wakefield

We assumed that there was morality for the debate.
Posted by lit.wakefield 2 years ago
lit.wakefield
Conduct to Con because Pro claimed that the burden of proof was shared and then claimed in R2 that Con would have to argue not just that abortion is not generally immoral but that it is in fact generally moral (which was not at all specified in R1). Being morally acceptable is different from being a moral ("should do") action.

I found neither argument to be particularly strong, but overall found Con's argument to be more convincing.

Pro's arguments were based entirely on undefended assertions and assumptions and were often unclear and unqualified. Not only did pro never define "meaningful future," but he never really defended P1 or P2 for the FLO argument. The reverse violinist argument is, like the rest of the argument, predicated on the assumption that depriving something of a "meaningful future" is what makes killing immoral (an unwarranted assertion and an unqualified objective claim) and not any other factor such as consciousness. Con rightly pointed out that much of Pro's argument consisted of assertions (like that murder is immoral) with no explanation.

On the other hand, Con's arguments were at some points bizarrely worded but overall structured in a way that is more reflective morality in general. Though both terms were vague, I find whether something has a "welfare state" to be a much more plausible explanation for general moral conceptions than whether it has a "meaningful future." I felt that more of Pro's rebuttals were inadequate. For example, Pro assumed that a low suicide rate is the result of a desire to live (which is only one possible explanation; another would be fear of death).

"THAT is how humans determine value, not through some magical objective way, like my opponent hints at." Con rightly points out that Pro never defended the claim that life is valuable in itself, but simply assumed the premises of his syllogism to be true. Overall, what arguments Con did provide for discomfort making abortion moral were more convincing.
Posted by Wylted 2 years ago
Wylted
RFD part 2:

Cons Case:

Antinatalist argument- just like pro's case con's case rested on one main argument and some minor side arguments. Con basically stated that life involves more discomfort than comfort. Discomfort being bad and comfort being good. Con argued that if life is more painful than not, than life is bad and it would be morally acceptable to have an abortion.

It's really hard to argue against such an unusual position and I could tell pro was struggling there. Pro failed to show that con's premise of life being more comfort than discomfort was false. Pro did argue a fallacy of composition took place. It isn't necessarily fallacious to argue that whole can be derived from the parts. Example: each piece of the pie is chocolate so it is a chocolate pie. It may very well be that Con committed that logical fallacy, however not enough evidence was given to support that conclusion. When all is said and done, I feel like con's argument stands in refuted.

Conclusion- With the Antinatalist argument standing as well as the flo argument, I had to decide which carried more weight. Is it worse to allow a child to suffer or to deprive it of existing. When rereading the debate several times with this question in mind, pro statement about life being a gift stood out. The human can always choose to end his life at some point, and therefore minimize the harm of having to suffer through it. If pro makes an error in judgement by having the kid, the harm can be minimized, but if con makes an error in destroying the fetus, than that mistake is irreversible.

Good luck to both of you in future debates.
Posted by zmikecuber 2 years ago
zmikecuber
@Zarroette

Btw, with the fallacy of composition, I wasn't using that to show that life is good, just to respond to your arguments that it is bad.
6 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 6 records.
Vote Placed by Sswdwm 2 years ago
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Reasons for voting decision: RFD in comments.
Vote Placed by lit.wakefield 2 years ago
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Reasons for voting decision: RFD in comments.
Vote Placed by TheOncomingStorm 2 years ago
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Reasons for voting decision: Conduct was even. S&G was even. When it came to arguments I think pro adequately held up his BoP and showed how con did not. Sources were even too.
Vote Placed by Wylted 2 years ago
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Reasons for voting decision: RFD in comments.
Vote Placed by NiqashMotawadi3 2 years ago
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Reasons for voting decision: I'm too biased for zmikecuber because I like him, and I'm biased against his resolution because I have my mind set about it, so I won't vote, but just say that it was close and both debaters did a great job.
Vote Placed by whiteflame 2 years ago
whiteflame
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Reasons for voting decision: As I stated in my RFD, this was a tight debate. My actual decision comes down to two basic questions: is life an immoral thing to force upon a child, and is abortion and immoral thing to force upon a child? These are both central questions to the debate. Con does a solid job of proving the former, and while I agree with Pro that a meaningful life can result from the act of bringing a child to term and giving birth, Con is doing the better job in explaining why that life is more harmed than benefited by the act, and it's therefore immoral to do so. However, Con allowed Pro to set the latter burden on her of proving that abortion itself is a moral act. The death of the child is, as a result of these arguments, morally preferable to its survival and life outside the womb. However, that doesn't make the act moral. It simply makes it the lesser of two evils, as even Con admits to the possible discomforts that accompany death. Hence, I vote Pro, as both life and death are immoral.