The Instigator
socialpinko
Pro (for)
Losing
17 Points
The Contender
awatkins69
Con (against)
Winning
29 Points

Abortion

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 3/14/2011 Category: Health
Updated: 5 years ago Status: Voting Period
Viewed: 1,012 times Debate No: 15354
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (3)
Votes (9)

 

socialpinko

Pro

I will argue that abortion is not wrong morally or from a health perspective. Con will argue against abortion from either or both perspectives.

Definitions:

Abortion: the removal of an embryo or fetus from the uterus in order to end a pregnancy.
http://dictionary.reference.com...

I will reserve the first round for acceptance and definitions. And please no arguments from emotion.
awatkins69

Con

Thanks for the debate. That sounds like a fair definition of an abortion. Is this a fair definition of person?

Person=df individual substance of a rational nature.

And how about murder?

Murder=df intentional killing of an innocent human being.

If I understand right you want the first round to simply be about definitions. Let me know if this is okay.
Debate Round No. 1
socialpinko

Pro

I accept your definitions of person but would like to extend your definition of murder to "df intentional killing of a LIVING innocent human being."

I will argue that one is not yet living until they are born.

Alive: brought forth by birth.
http://dictionary.reference.com...

In the womb a fetus or embryo is not yet functioning on it's own. It is still relying on the mother to breathe and to receive nourishment. Birth is the miracle of life. It is when a fetus turns into a baby.
awatkins69

Con

I am glad we accept the same definition of person.

I will first argue that your understanding of being alive is wholly inadequate. A couple of points are in order then. First off, your link is to a definition of the word "born" not the word "alive". However, this is a quibble because I'm not worried about nominal definitions. I'm worried about what we fundamentally understand alive things to be. If I'm understanding correctly you understand the class of "alive" things to be co-extensive with the class of "born" things. But there are so many counter-examples to this. Cells which reproduce by splitting from other cells don't fit into the class of "born" things. Yet they are certainly alive. Trees aren't "born" and yet they are certainly alive. And besides, it seems utterly implausible to suppose that a fetus is a non-living hunk of matter. It exhibits the functions and characteristics of other living things.

I'm not sure what the dependence of the fetus on the mother's womb is supposed to show. It's an interesting fact, but I don't understand what you're trying to infer from it. In charity, I'm assuming that you mean because the fetus is dependent upon its mother that it doesn't have any rights. But how does that follow? A born baby is dependent upon its mother for food, nourishment, and upbringing as well. Hopefully you can explain in more detail the point you're getting at.
Debate Round No. 2
socialpinko

Pro

"I'm worried about what we fundamentally understand alive things to be. If I'm understanding correctly you understand the class of "alive" things to be co-extensive with the class of "born" things. But there are so many counter-examples to this. Cells which reproduce by splitting from other cells don't fit into the class of "born" things. Yet they are certainly alive. Trees aren't "born" and yet they are certainly alive."

We are not having a debate about cells or trees. The definition is not supposed to apply to those things as we are talking about human abortion. I am not saying that a cell is not alive until it is born, I am saying that a human fetus is not alive until it is born.

As to the fetus relying on the mother for breathing, I meant to post this link:
http://www.biology-online.org...
It says that to be alive isbeing in a state in which the organs perform their functions. Not to say that an alcoholic who's liver shuts down is not alive but that one cannot be alive until the organs are fully formed. And the fetus is relying on it's mother to breathe until it is born so you can follow my line of reasoning from there.

"I'm assuming that you mean because the fetus is dependent upon its mother that it doesn't have any rights."

This is not my point. My point is that a human is not alive until it is born, therefore a termination of a pregnancy is not murder or killing in that you cannot kill something that is not yet alive.

To voters, my opponent never gave a definition of what it means to be alive and could not properly refute my line of reasoning.
Vote Pro
awatkins69

Con

"We are not having a debate about cells or trees. The definition is not supposed to apply to those things as we are talking about human abortion. I am not saying that a cell is not alive until it is born, I am saying that a human fetus is not alive until it is born."

You're saying that there is no general definition of "alive"? I'm sorry but this doesn't make much sense to me. If we divided all things into categories we could divide our ontological categories into "non-living" and "living" things. Biologists study the whole latter category. Humans, including fetuses, are simply a sub-category of living things. We don't mean completely and entirely different things by "alive" when we say that a cell is alive or a human is alive. Indeed, the whole reason we can put them under the same category of organisms is the fact that they share the attribute of "alive" in common.

"...one cannot be alive until the organs are fully formed."

Do *all* of the organs have to be fully formed? What about pre-pubescent children? Some of their organs are not fully formed and functioning. Are they not alive?

"And the fetus is relying on it's mother to breathe until it is born so you can follow my line of reasoning from there."

To be honest, I *can't* follow your line of reasoning from there. You're saying that whatever is dependent on something external to itself is not alive? People who are in comas often depend on external support so that their organs will work. You still don't show me what you're trying to get at.

As for how I understand a thing to be alive, I understand it in the following way. An entity is alive just in case it exhibits intrinsic teleological/goal-oriented functional behavior. For example, fetuses take in nourishment so that they can grow and develop. But my case by no means depends on this. We can take almost any other plausible understanding of being "alive" and fetuses would still count.

Conclusion:
Your whole argument rests upon an incredible assumption, namely, that fetuses are non-living things.
Unless you think that fetuses are non-living entities, that cells and humans are not living in the same sense at all, and pre-pubescent children are not alive, Vote CON.
Debate Round No. 3
3 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 3 records.
Posted by Contradiction 5 years ago
Contradiction
"I will argue that one is not yet living until they are born."

You're freaking kidding me?
Posted by awatkins69 5 years ago
awatkins69
I provided a counter-example to that definition.

You actually provide multiple definitions of being alive throughout this whole debate, making it somewhat confusing. First you say (1) a thing is alive just in case it is born. Then you say (2) only a *human* is alive just in case it is born. Then you say (3) a thing is alive just in case its organs are fully functioning, but quickly provide your own counter-example by mentioning alcoholics. Then you say (4) a thing is alive just in case its organs are fully formed.

The problem is that all of these definitions seem highly implausible for different reasons. Best.
Posted by socialpinko 5 years ago
socialpinko
"To be honest, I *can't* follow your line of reasoning from there. You're saying that whatever is dependent on something external to itself is not alive? People who are in comas often depend on external support so that their organs will work. You still don't show me what you're trying to get at."

Did you not read this?

"http://www.biology-online.org......
It says that to be alive isbeing in a state in which the organs perform their functions. Not to say that an alcoholic who's liver shuts down is not alive but that one cannot be alive until the organs are fully formed. And the fetus is relying on it's mother to breathe until it is born so you can follow my line of reasoning from there."
9 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 9 records.
Vote Placed by Dimmitri.C 5 years ago
Dimmitri.C
socialpinkoawatkins69Tied
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Reasons for voting decision: To assume abortion as moral because the organisms life is materially lesser-developed leads to absurd conclusion, whereby, handicapped children, toddlers, are capable of being aborted morally.
Vote Placed by ExNihilo 5 years ago
ExNihilo
socialpinkoawatkins69Tied
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Reasons for voting decision: Fetus being dependent does not mean it does not have rights...successfully refuted. Superficial arguments
Vote Placed by BruteApologia 5 years ago
BruteApologia
socialpinkoawatkins69Tied
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Reasons for voting decision: It's unfortunate that 1 1/2 of the rounds were on definitions. It didn't get to the point of whether the fetus is alive in a "conscious" sense. Nonetheless, I think CON had the most convincing arguments as it showed the self-refuting nature of the claim that alive is just being born (definitions matter, folks). I'm "vote bombing" because of an unjustified "counter vote bomb that had no reasons to back them up. That's just unfair.
Vote Placed by anarcholibertyman 5 years ago
anarcholibertyman
socialpinkoawatkins69Tied
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Reasons for voting decision: countering weirdjohn's votebomb
Vote Placed by bradshaw93 5 years ago
bradshaw93
socialpinkoawatkins69Tied
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Reasons for voting decision: pro had a source to show that a fetus was not alive
Vote Placed by Lexicaholic 5 years ago
Lexicaholic
socialpinkoawatkins69Tied
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Reasons for voting decision: In the future, please debate definitions in the comment section rather than the debate proper. I chose to read this as a debate about whether a fetus was alive or not, because that is what was debated. Fetuses are alive because they possess all the characteristics we expect from life at a minimum. Con had better grammar and he didn't try to play the definition switch game so I gave that to Con. Pro used more sources, which is more reliable in a sense than none, so Pro gets sources. End RFD.
Vote Placed by Cliff.Stamp 5 years ago
Cliff.Stamp
socialpinkoawatkins69Tied
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Reasons for voting decision: `You're saying that whatever is dependent on something external to itself is not alive? People who are in comas often depend on external support so that their organs will work. - true, Pro needed more clarity.
Vote Placed by Puck 5 years ago
Puck
socialpinkoawatkins69Tied
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Reasons for voting decision: Bit of a shambles this one. No case made by either side.
Vote Placed by boredinclass 5 years ago
boredinclass
socialpinkoawatkins69Tied
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Reasons for voting decision: He actually had a source that being alive means independence