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Adolescents ought to have the right to make autonomous medical choices.

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Voting Style: Open with Elo Restrictions Point System: Select Winner
Started: 9/19/2015 Category: Philosophy
Updated: 2 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 1,418 times Debate No: 79835
Debate Rounds (4)
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Since there seems to be interest in doing this topic in a non-ld fashion, I'll make one to be more inclusive.

The debate should be impossible to accept. Comment if you're interested and I'll pick someone in a few days when I'm not as busy with school work.

Resolved: Adolescents ought to have the right to make autonomous medical choices.

Definitions can be provided within the debate and can be contested throughout the debate.
Sources may be posted in the comments section if needed.

Round Structure will look like this:

Round One: Aff accepts and posts case
Round Two: Neg Case + Rebuttals, Aff rebuttals
Round Three: Rebuttals
Round Four: Neg Rebuttals, Aff waives

72 hour rounds. 10k characters. Minimum 2k elo to vote.


I thank my opponent for the debate challenge as it has been almost 7 months in the making for a rematch between the two of us.

Contention 1: Ignoring Adolescent Autonomy harms soceity.

One of the key issues we have here is when we force adolescents to do something. When forcing them to take a life-changing procedure one can see that this issue would cause them to rebel and harm others. [1] This is often aimed at parents, doctors, and/or even the medical team. This, as an immidiate affect, could purpose such a harm to the point to where substantially injuries may occur from this act of force against Adolescents. You may ask yourself what is the solution to such a task outside of strapping the child down and forcing him to do something. The answer is simply allowing him to make choices for himself and in order to see if that is a viable situation and value one must first test it with Immanuel Kant's Categorical Imperitives testing. This involeves Universalizability and Reversability. [2]

Universalizability is how would it affect society if it was applied to everyone. We can see that, as I'll show throughout this debate, that on a universal scale that if all Adolescents have Autonomy and were able to make their own choices soceity would be better off. Now this doesn't mean that if they want to they can go and kill people as that would be a violation of the Categorical Imperitives and the argument wouldn't be able to stand. Next is Reversability, remember a few years back when you were an Adolescent. We all hated it when we were constantly told what to do, but loved it when we got some freedoms even though they came with responsibilities. As Adolescents we loved it and since we accepted it as Adolescents it can thus be accepted as a Reversable law.

Finially we must observe Kant's Kingdom of Ends. [3] Here Kant argues that no one human must be used as a Means to an end, but only as Ends in the Kingdom of Ends. Thus you cannot use people to do something for you or do something that makes people do something, like remove a kidney if they don't want to, in order to reach a betterment of the whole or for another ends. For example, say the USFG institues a manditory Organ Harvesting program. It would be breaking the Kingdom of Ends by using people to get to an ends. Thus it shouldn't be accepted as it violates the Kingdom of Ends. Adolescent Autonomy keeps the Kingdom of Ends and keeps up with Kant's Categorical Imperitives and would thus have to be maintained as the Societial norms.

Now you are probably still frantically worrying about how do we help the Adolescents get live saving surgery if they do not want it. The answer is very simple and still follows Kant, keeping the Kingdom of Ends, is through conseling. One cannot force another into making a choice as it would violate the Kingdom of Ends, but one must discuss with the other individual, because they are both Rational beings and must be treated as such. When it came to Bone marrow transplant to treat Leukemia, 96% of patients reported better life improvement, 40% no disability, and 33% minimal disability. [1] There was a great deal of lives extended and a great deal of happiness provided to these individuals, because they were able to make their own choices and were shown how it would benefit them. A key part of this decision making is being able to make an informed choice, because if they do not have the information it can still be concidered as a forced choice since they are not awear of everything that is goin on. In order for them to make a rational informed choice they must:
1. Be informed of their choices: harms and benefits, as well as alternatives.
2. Be Voluntary, free from coercion.
3. Be competant. [4]

Contention 2: A Just Government recognizes and Respects Adolescent Autonomy.

Above I have given the Piaget Adolscent model for Cognative thought. This study has been commenced in the 1950's and has lasted for a great deal of time. We can see that starting at age 12, which is even before the adolescent age grouping. That the Adolescents are able to think for themselves and have abstract thoughts that are needed for this type of task. [4] We can thus see that they are mentally able to preform such a decision making task. The UN Rights of Child has convened severla times and has repeatively shown that children should be able to express how they feel and are able to think for themselves. [5] We can see that there is a growing accepting of Adolescent Autonomy, so why shouldn't the US fallow suit with what the rest of the world has acknowledged for the past 30 years?

One of the greatest oppossitons to my point of view is that of the parents knowing best. I agree to an extent. We can see that studies have shown that Adolescents and parents tend to come to an agreeance on these things when regarding medical decissions. With the Adolescents respecting and many times agreeing with their parents we can see that granting this would not be a varriation from the status quo, but only give more individual freedom to those out there. The same study shown that when asked both parents and adolescents came to an agreeance that the age of which they can begin to make decissions for themselves was around age 14. [6]

The Law also upholds this portion as well. In 1883, the Georgia Supreme Court ruled that "who is neither a lunatic, idiot nor insane and who has arrived at 14 years of age" should be held responsible in cases of tort. [5] Jefferson Brianson was held liable for what he did despite being only 14. With that law we can even see that the law recognizes them as repsonable and thus the resolution stands in my favor.

1. ( “Challenging Case: Adolescence—Decision Making about Medical Care in an Adolescent with a Life-Threatening Illness” Pediatrics Vol. 107.4: p. 980)
2. (
3. (
4. (“Involving Children and Adolescents in Medical Decision Making: Developmental and Clinical Considerations.” Journal of Pediatric Psychology. Vol. 21.4: p. 506-507)
5. (Rhonda Gay [J.D., Ph.D.] “Adolescent Autonomy: Clarifying an Ageless Conundrum” Hastings Law Journal 51 Hastings L.G. 1256. August 2000. )
6. (
Debate Round No. 1


To negate is defined as either to deny the truth of something or to make something invalid from Merriam-Webster. This means that the entire role of the negative is to refute the affirmative's case. This places the burden of proof on the affirmative. Prefer this interpretation for two reasons:

First, the definition comes from a common, publicly available dictionary, making it the most predictable interpretation of the scope of the burdens. And predictability is key to fairness in debate because it's not fair to one side of another side is free to make up a bs interpretation or definition off the fly.

Second, because it comes from a publically available dictionary and it's the first two definitions given it reflects common usage, meaning it's more likely to be the most accurate defintion, which is key to predictability and fairness. And fairness is important because if the debate is skewed in one direction it become impossible to weigh the round.

This means that my sole job is to refute the AC. If I'm winning offense off of the affirmative case or have sufficient defense to refute the affirmative, then I win the round.

The AC makes two basic claims. First, that Kant justifies giving adolescents rights and second, that adolescents are capable of making good decisions.


First is the idea of universizability.

The problem with this is that you can never universalize a medical decision. Every situation is different among every different patient and every different home situation with differing emotional responses and cognitive development. Saying that there's a "one-size-fits-all" answer is just wrong. This takes out the entire possibility of Kant on the affirmative.

Then, on this idea of "Reversability".

First, this makes no sense. Just because I liked something as a kid doesn't mean that the thing I liked is a good thing or a moral thing. That's like saying that because I enjoyed bingeing on heroine and cocaine as a kid that snorting lines and shooting yourself up with lots of illegal drugs is perfectly okay for you which doesn't make any sense.

Second, TURN: Reversability opens the door for infinite amounts of crime and violence and precludes any efforts to stop it. This opens up the door for murders and rapists to say that because they enjoy killing and raping to have it justified for others to do via reversability. This leads to a never-ending cycle of violence and death as more and more people murder and justify more and more people killing.

Then, on the idea of the whole "Kingdom of Ends" argument.

First, this relies on him winning his second contention in the first place. If he's saying that in order to make a rational choice under the Kingdom of ends you have to be competent, if I disprove that adolescents are competent (i.e. disprove his second contention), then his link to the Kingdom of Ends falls.

Second, I meet the Kingdom of Ends. If the end is the health/safety of the adolescent then by not giving them the ability to screw up their own lives we best preserve the end within the adolescent. If we were using the adolescent to receive some other end, like better hospital bottom lines, then I'd be violating. But since I don't do that, then I meet.

Third, if you don't buy that I meet, then it's impossible to determine what's actually the end in the Kingdom of Ends. There's no reason to believe that the end we arrive at isn't just a link to a different impact, or a consequence that brings about a different end altogether. This makes it impossible to determine if we're actually treating people as ends in themselves or using them as means to some unknown end.


The entirety of this offense relies primarily on Piaget's theory of cognitive development. But TURN this against him. The formal operational stage just begins at 12 years old, and isn't fully developed until adulthood. This means that adolescents are still not as capable of making decisions under Piaget's theory as adults are, which means that they're more prone to making bad decisions.

But on the entire concept of decision making as a whole.

First, TURN: Brain studies show that adolescents are horrible decision makers who act impusively rather than rationally and tend to be more violent and lack the ability to think long-term. Barina and Bishop '13:
Rachelle and Jeffrey P, Saint Louis University, "Maturing the Minor, Marginalizing the Family: On the Social Construction of the Mature Minor," Journal of Medicine and Philosophy, 38: 300– 314, 2013
  • "adolescents, whose frontal lobes are not fully developed, are known to have more impulsivity in making decisions. ... adolescents tend to assess threat–safety scenarios very differently. Lau et al. have attributed these differences to ... lack of maturity in the subcortical and prefrontal regions of the brains of adolescents. Adolescents ... show higher tendencies toward violence and self-destructive behaviors, ... grounded in the immaturity of the prefrontal cortex of adolescent brains. Adults assess outcomes very differently ... For adolescents, the “subcortical systems will win out (accelerator) over control systems (brakes) given their maturity relative to the prefrontal control systems” ..."
Second, TURN: adolescents lack the ability to control themselves and let emotions guide their decisions rather than rationality. Steinberg '13:
Laurence Steinberg (PhD, Department of Psychology, Temple University). “Does Recent Research on Adolescent Brain Development Inform the Mature Minor Doctrine?” Oxford University Press. 2013.
  • "Adolescence is also a time of important changes in how the brain works, as revealed in studies using functional magnetic resonance imaging ... First, over the course of adolescence and into early adulthood, there is a strengthening of activity in brain systems involving self-regulation ... During tasks that require selfcontrol, adults employ a wider network of brain regions than do adolescents, which may make selfcontrol easier, by distributing the work across multiple areas of the brain rather than overtaxing a smaller number of regions. Second, there are important changes during adolescence in the way the brain responds to rewards ... Heightened sensitivity to anticipated rewards motivates adolescents to engage in acts, even risky acts, when the potential for pleasure is high, such as unprotected sex, fast driving, or experimentation with drugs. This hypersensitivity to reward is particularly pronounced when adolescents are with their friends ... A third change in brain function over the course of adolescence involves increases in the simultaneous involvement of multiple brain regions in response to arousing stimuli, like pictures of angry or terrified faces ... Before adulthood, there is less cross-talk between the brain systems that regulate rational decision-making and those that regulate emotional arousal. During adolescence, very strong feelings are less likely to be modulated by the involvement of brain regions involved in impulse control, planning ahead, and comparing the costs and benefits of alternative courses of action. This is one reason that susceptibility to peer pressure declines as adolescents grow into adulthood; as they mature, individuals become better able to put the brakes on an impulse that is aroused by their friends ..."
Third, TURN: MRI scans show that the adolescent brain is still developing and isn't as rational as adult minds are - adolescents lack the same rationality that distinguishes adults from adolescents. Casey et al.:
BJ, Sarah Getz, Sackler Institute @ Cornell, Adriana Galvan, pf of psychology @ UCLA, "The adolescent brain," Developmental Review 28 (2008) 62–77
  • "Several studies have used structural MRI to map the anatomical course of normal brain development ... Although total brain size is approximately 90% of its adult size by age six, the gray and white matter subcomponents of the brain continue to undergo dynamic changes throughout adolescence ... This pattern is consistent with nonhuman primate and human postmortem studies showing that the prefrontal cortex is one of the last brain regions to mature ..."
And, educating them of the medical choices doesn't solve for the lack of competency - their lack of rationality and impulsivity win out in the end. Casey et al. 2:
  • "We have developed a neurobiological model of adolescent development within this framework that builds on rodent models ... and recent imaging studies of adolescence ... This perspective provides a basis for nonlinear shifts in behavior across development, due to earlier maturation of this limbic relative to less mature top-down prefrontal control region ... the model reconciles the contradiction of health statistics of risky behavior during adolescence, with the astute observation by Reyna and Farley (2006) that adolescents are able to reason and understand risks of behaviors in which they engage. According to our model, in emotionally salient situations, the limbic system will win over control systems given its maturity relative to the prefrontal control system. Evidence from behavioral and human imaging studies to support this model are provided in the context of actions in rewarding and emotional contexts ... teenagers may be at greater risk for making suboptimal decisions leading to poorer long-term outcomes ..."


I'm showing how Kant's philosophy is insufficient to affirm adolescents the right to autonomy. Furthermore, I'm showing you how that even if Kant is right, it's reliant on adolescents being rational actors before we can even look to Kant for offense. I'm definitively showing how adolescents are anything but rational actors.


Contention 1: Kant

My opponent attempts to refute Kant's Universalizability by attempting to compare it with Rule Utilitarianism. This is a fallous comparasion as the Universalizability tests the items ability if it was applied to a Universal level would it work. I realize that there are other types of situations that can occur, but if it can be applied on this level then we can see that it would work. This is more of an "On ballance" issue than Con's "one size fits all" line of thought. [1]

Now onto reversalizability. I used the "enjoyment" as an example, which I'll address Con's turn in a mintue, the concept reversability is that of how would you like it if it was applied to you. So sure the enjoyment factor doesn't work here, but let's take something that has been accepted, murder for say. It passes the universalizability in that it would not be okay if everyone started murdering everyone. Then when it comes to reversability, we would be okay if we ourselves are not murdered. To come full circle here in order to truely universalize this resolution we can see how would it work if all Adolescents were given the right to make autonomous medical choices. I have shown in my last Adolescents are rational beings AND they honnor their parents advice, which is key here, allowing them to make rational decission.

Now to address the turn. My opponent brings up that this will cause an increase of crime and violence, but this is a complete bogus argument due to the fact that the any such event would cause a violation in Kant's Kingdom of Ends by having other's violating their duty to others and their rights.

To refute the argument against the Ends we can see that what my opponent is arguing for is an ends. Though, sure, it may help society, but it would still be using humans as a means. I have brought up the issues it causes when we do not allot freedom of choice to the adolescents and this harms soceity. Not to mention that the Adolescents listen to their parents when it comes to making these decessions and they also might need a bit of "prodding" from others to help them lead to the conclusion. This will cause them to make the decission by themselves which will cause both parties here to get what is wanted. My opponent is completely over looking my own evidence and simple logic here on that these Adolescents will listen to their parents and experts. My opponent is confused since he is unable to find an end in things, but yet he contradicts himself when he states it several times. I am defending the end which is that of the individual's freedom. [2] That is the end. My opponent would be harming the Kingdom of Ends by limitting the Individual's freedom. No that does not mean that if people are trying to rape and pillidge and we stop them it violates the Kingdom of Ends. Instead we have to attempt to rationalize with the individual. [3] If they then continue to violate the Kingdom of Ends after you try to rationalize with them then it is pointless and they must be held accountable with the Kingdom of Ends in order to protect it. I have already shown in two pieces of evidence that I have provided that this is already occuring and both of which have been dropped which, in itself, wins the argument in my favor.

Contention 2: On decission making Capability.

It's quite intersting that my opponent should open with an argument in regards to violence, becuase the legal system is quite an intersting place. We can see that in the eyes of the law, a 16 year old mother is able to abort her unborn child or even get a surgery on it, but, yet, is unable to get surgery herself. You also have a 17 year-old who is unable to refuse life saving surgery, but can be tried as an adult in the eyes of the law. [4] We can already see that the law acknowledges this as early as age 14. So in the eyes of the law they have autonomy so why don't they have autonomy in the medical field? When people default to only parents should have the ability to make these decissions then you are already conceding to my side of the debate here. I extend across all other evidence from my previous round as it was untouched.

Finially to hit the hot button issue of the mental state. A study done in 2009, showed that when doing research compared to both the cognative skills and the MacArthur Competence Assessment Tool Test of those aged 24 years of Age that Adolescents were only on average 10-15% bellow the levels of the 24 year old. [5] To further this study we have to see that only 1/2 of those age 24 actually passed the goal for the test. With this argument on the table we can see that we either have to grant Adolscents autonomy OR we have to not grant Autonomy to all since all wouldn't be able to make these decissions since there is constant improvement. Either way this argument flows to my side.

1. (
2. Carnois, Bernard, 1987, The Coherence of Kant's Doctrine of Freedom. D. Booth, tr. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
3. Reath, Andrews, 1994, “Legislating the Moral Law” Nôus 28, No. 3, Dec.
4. (Rhonda Gay [J.D., Ph.D.] “Adolescent Autonomy: Clarifying an Ageless Conundrum” Hastings Law Journal 51 Hastings L.G. 1256. August 2000. )
5. Steinberg, Laurence, Elizabeth Cauffman, Jennifer Woolard, Sandra Graham, and Marie Banich. "Are Adolescents Less Mature than Adults?: Minors' Access to Abortion, the Juvenile Death Penalty, and the Alleged APA "flip-flop."" American Psychologist 64.7 (2009): 583-94. Oct. 2009. Web. 28 Sept. 2015.
Debate Round No. 2


Extend my definition of negate out. All I have to do is refute affirmative arguments to win. Pro doesn't respond to it so prefer this burden set-up.

On Kant:

Extend my response to universizability that there's no universal response to any kind of medical condition. Each disease within each patient in each location is different, and there's no one-size-fits-all solution to it because treatment that might work for one person might not work for another person. His response to this is that it works as long as it's an "on balance" situation, but that's literally not advocating for universizability at that point. In order to advocate for universizability, he must will his action upon all other rational actors. It must apply in every situation. Because there's no such thing in the medical realm, he can never achieve this framework.

Then, extend the turn I read to reversability that reversability opens the door for perpetual violations of worth and endless cycles of violence and death as each crime validates further crimes. His explanation of reversability makes no sense. Even if you buy that we would enjoy not being murdered, we would also enjoy being the one to murder. For each murderer and serial killer out there, every kill they make justifies further killing and further violence with no way to actually escape this cyclical violence. Reject reversability for this reason.

He also says that the turn doesn't work because murder violates the Kingdom of Ends, but a) there's nowhere in his case that says that in order to be a reversable action it needs to uphold the Kingdom of Ends, and b) logically, this doesn't make sense since I can still reverse actions that use others as a means to an end. I use my teachers as a means to the end of education, and I can certainly say that others ought to take this course of action.

Then, extend my first response to the Kingdom of Ends. It relies on his second contention being true to gain any kind of offense, meaning that if I'm winning that adolescents aren't rational and competent then they can't be a part of the Kingdom of Ends. He makes no response to this.

And, extend my third response that it's impossible to determine if an end is actually an end or rather a means to a different end entirely. This means that it's impossible to actually fulfill the Kingdom of Ends because we'll never be sure if we're actually using something as an end or a means to some unknown end. His response to this is insufficient. He simply says that he's arguing for the end of individual freedom, but provides no warrant for why this is the end of all things. He gives us no reason to believe that this isn't just some means to an entirely different end. This means that under his framework we could still be using adolescents as a means to some other end.

But, if you don't buy that, extend my second response that negating better meets the Kingdom of Ends than affirming does. We should be valuing the end of the health of the adolescent, and by preventing them from being able to screw up their own lives via making bad decisions, we best protect their health. Prefer this end as it's a prerequisite to his end. What does it matter if we have the freedom to do whatever we want if we all die as a result? The health of the adolescent comes first, and because I'm winning the competence debate, I'm best meeting this end. This means that if you buy his framework, you negate instead of affirming.

On Decision Making Capability:

Extend my turn to Piaget's theory of development that the formal operations stage only begins at 12 and continues developing well into adulthood. This means that adolescents lack the same development and are more prone to making mistakes. This means that putting this autonomy in their hands is making it more likely that they'll make mistakes and harm themselves. Pro makes no response to this argument. Hold it against him.

My opponent's response to the plethora of evidence I raised against his second contention is two-fold. His first response is to compare it to adolescents being treated as adults for crimes and such and asks why this doesn't mean that adolescents can make the same decisions as adults medically. But a) this is the is/ought fallacy - just because they are able to be tried as adults under the status quo doesn't mean they ought to be tried as adults, and b) it's literally comparing apples with oranges. A decision to steal something or to kill someone isn't anywhere near the same thing as a decision to have a sex change or to get some other surgery.

His second response is about a study showing that adolescents scored 10-15% lower than adults even though most of both groups failed to meet the "goals" of the test.

First, This is literally just showing us that adolescents make on average worse decisions than adults do. There's no reason this evidence does anything but negate.

Second, Even if this study does affirm, you're preferring my studies because a) of sheer amount. He has one study that shows that adolescents are only a little bit below adults cognatively while I have three studies showing that adolescents are massively below par and won't ever be above par until adulthood, b) on timeframe. All my evidence comes from around the same time as his study or were published after his study, making them more recent and more likely to be true, and c) on specificity. My cards give detailed reasons why cognitively adolescents are worse than adults are and go into the emotional maturity and stress factors that apply in adolescent decision making. His source only says that there's not a big difference and leaves it at that.

And, the thing about these two responses he made is neither of them are actually responsive to the studies I posted.

So, extend the first turn to adolescent decision making in Barina and Bishop that shows that adolescents make horrible decision and are more likely to act impulsively and violently than rationally.

And, extend the second turn coming from Steinberg that shows lack the ability to control their emotions in decision making and act rashly rather than rationally.

Then, extend the third turn in Casey et al. I make saying that MRI scans confirm that the adolescent's brain isn't as developed as adults are and this lack of development is key to the lack of rationality.

So I'm showing you that adolescents lack the competence and rationality to be making these decisions for themselves. This has three impacts on the debate at hand.

First, it independently negates because if adolescents aren't capable of making their own decisions rationally, there's no reason to give them the right to screw up their lives.

Second, it functions as a turn to the Kantian Kingdom of Ends because if adolescents aren't rational and capable of making their own decisions medically, then they can't actually be a part of the Kingdom of Ends in the resolution. This means we can't look to his framework.

Third, it means that, even if you still buy that adolescents are a part of the Kingdom of Ends, that negating is the best path of realizing the end of the adolescents' wellbeing. This means that if you buy his framework, you negate instead of affirm.

And, extend out Casey et al. 2 which shows us that educating them of their choices and of information available to them isn't enough to make them capable. This means that there's no way to solve back for the problems of the affirmative. And this card was dropped in the last round as well. Hold this concession against him.


I'm winning on the framework showing you why affirming can't fulfill Kant's deontological framework in any of the three parts and that negating offers us the best path of fulfilling them.

I'm winning that adolescents aren't rational actors and aren't capable of making their own medical choices, meaning that they shouldn't have the right to and meaning they can't be a part of Kant's Kingdom of Ends.


I do agree with my opponent's negate out definition, but by the end of my round I will have shown you that not only has my opponent dropped several of my own argument, but I have won key arguments here.

Contention 1: Kant.

Universalizeability is defined as the person's reasons for acting must be reasons that everyone could act on at least in principle. [1] When applied to this debate and even reality we can see that adolescents make these choices for reasons that others do. My opponent may come in and say that no sane person would refuse life-saving treatment, but then you also have the euthanasia treatement for people who are dying a slow and painful death. If these people are able to do such a thing then the adolescents are actually able to refuse life saving procedures themselves. Thus if a general individual has the right to life then how does the adolescent does not and we have to realize that under this umbrella we have to see that since people have the right to life, so do the adolescents and they are able to make that chocie. [2]

My opponent's response to reversability makes no logical sense. He argues that each murder that they do justifies their own actions making it impossible for safety. This is incorrect as I have argued last round as no rational being would chosen themselves to be murdered by another human being. Thus we cannot offically see that this argument by Con makes any sense and must be flown to my side of the debate. Even if you do not buy that argument we can also see taht when we apply Kant's Kingdom of Ends we can see that there should be no murder and violence as I have shown in the last round and that doing so would be breaking the Categorical Imperitives and would thus still be inccorect. Thus I have upheld this argument and have negated the first part of my opponent's argument against the Kingdom of Ends.

My opponent is confused at to what leads to an ends in what way. We can immidiately see that the debate is resolving around the adolescents and we can see that the law has recognized them as capable to making many decisions and even holding them accountable in the eyes of the law, which my opponent has DROPPED, we can see that for this is a great reson as to see that they are able to make decissions. We can see that they should not be used as a means as my opponent has shown that they are being stripped of their freedom in order to achieve the end of a "healthier society" which my opponent's justification for this end is about just as fallous as people who argue against vaccinations. Arguing that everything can be a means or an end would cause a chaotic situation in soceity of which causes a stalled progress. That's why Kant argued for the isolation of incidences. [1] Thus this argument is also flown to my side.

Contention 2: On decission making capability.

Pro attempts to attack the Piaget's study, but it is incorrect due to it showing that they are fully ready to make said decission at this point. Sure they aren't at the level as adults, but we can see that they've reach the capable level at this point which my opponent has dropped not to mention I have shown that they already make medical decissions in the status quo making my opponent's argument de facto and thus it is void.

My opponent dropped an argument that I had brought up in my last round showing that despite adolescents not being able to make some medical descission, but they were able to make certain key decissions ranging from abortions to life saving surgeries on their children despite being an adolescent. [3] We need to hold my opponent accountable for dropping this argument as it holds a great deal of weight in this debate showing that adolescents can and are able to make these decissions.

My opponent also drops my UN Adolescents argument showing that society has advanced to the point to where even doctors are recogonzing children as early as 12 to make these medical decisions.

My opponent tries to disregard my study because the small percentage difference, but yet he has conceded that there are several other factors that he has ignored like that of the average adult is still under half or that children in the status quo get these decission. Not to mention that doctors state that these children are able to make these types of decissions at such a young age of that of 12. Which is before they become an adolescent. [4] Thus if they are able to do so at such a young age they are able to make these decissions. Not to mention that my opponent has dropped my argument showing that they reach the age of able cognative at age 14, as shown by the study, my opponent is misconceived as he thinks that just because there is a higher level you can obtain that they are not capable. This thought process is false since they are able and capable at that level, but can go further. Let's use height and a theme park for an example. Say you want to ride a rollar coaster. You have to be 5'0" to ride. You just need to be that heighth to ride, but you can be taller. So even though an adolescent may be 5'0" and an adult is 5'9" does not make the adolescent any less able to get onto the ride just because he is shorter than the adult. Thus this argument is extended to my side of this debate.

My opponent claims that his studies hold more water because he has more, however, this thought process is flawed. Why you may ask? It's a simple quality vs. quantity argument. Just because he has more doesn't mean a thing, but we should accept whichever study holds more water and right now mine does do hold more water and thus mine should be preferred. We can also see that not only has he dropped several key arguments which support my evidence, but by this shere fact it negates my opponent's by the contradiction that occurs with the evidence. Thus we can see that this contention shall be flown to my side of the debate.

With that I thank you and please vote Pro!

1. (
2. (
3. (Rhonda Gay [J.D., Ph.D.] “Adolescent Autonomy: Clarifying an Ageless Conundrum” Hastings Law Journal 51 Hastings L.G. 1256. August 2000. )
Debate Round No. 3


So, since this is the last round I'm going to refrain from making a whole lot of new arguments. Pro's just not doing enough work to answer back for the framework issues and isn't doing anywhere near enough work on the substance level to garner any kind of offense.

And, he concedes to my burden set-up, so this means that because he's not winning sufficient offense coming from his case, he loses the round.

On Kant:

Extend my turn to Universizability. Nothing is universizable medically. There's no medical decision that we can will upon all rational actors to take because no two situations are the same medically, meaning that different options exist to meet different needs in different situations. There's no one universizable answer to a medical problem, thus trying to advocate for Kant in this debate fails because he'll never be able to meet the requirement of universizability.

His responses to this are insufficient to answer back for this. His attempt to appeal to an "on balance" side of things misunderstands the way universizability works in the first place, and the tangent he makes about euthenasia and an adolescent's right to life doesn't respond in any way to my argument against universizability. Insofar as the turn stands then he can't fulfill his framework which means that he can't actually affirm the resolution.

Extend the turn I make to reversability in that it opens the door for perpetual violations of worth and an endless cycle of violence as each crime commited justifies further crimes from other people. We ought to reject his framework for this reason. He says that it doesn't work because I wouldn't will being myself getting killed onto other people, but doesn't respond that people would will killing others onto other people. We can see this because murderers and serial killers exist. This means that with each kill we justify further killings under the concept of Reversability. And it wouldn't matter killing doesn't mean the Kingdom of Ends if I'm giving you a reason to reject the concept of reversability since they're, according to Pro, two entirely serapate things.

Then, extend the first response I give to the Kingdom of Ends that says that it relies on his second contention being true in order for it to be true. If competence is a requirement to enter the Kingdom of Ends, then if I'm showing you that adolescents aren't competent then his framework is a priori false. He never responds to this anywhere in the debate. Don't let him make a last minute response to this.

Then, extend the third response I make that says that it's impossible to actually determine if an end I'm advocating for is actually the end or just a means to a different end. The mere fact that we're having a disagreement over what end is really the actual end we should be striving to achieve in this case (his advocacy of freedom and my advocacy of health and life) lends credence to the uncertainty of ends. This means that we're never actually sure if we're meeting his framework and we're never actually sure if we've met the Kingdom of Ends or not. There's no response to this, don't let him make a last minute response.

But even if we can understand what's actually an end, extend the second response I make that says that the negative best meets the Kingdom of Ends by protecting the lives of the adolescents. My end comes first because having freedom doesn't really give us anything if we're dead. If I'm best protecting the adolescent by preventing them from making mistakes that harm themselves, then I'm best meeting the Kingdom of Ends. This means that if you buy his framework for whatever reason, I best meet it which means that you still negate.

On Decision-Making Ability:

Extend my turn to Piaget's theory of development. According to Piaget adolescents only begin developing their decision-making abilities at this age, and that development only concludes later in adulthood. This means that adolescents lack the same development that adults have, thus are more prone to making mistakes and endangering themselves. His response is just flat out false and a misunderstanding of what Piaget actually advocates for. The progression of one stage to another indicates that, much like passing Calculus 1 means that you're ready to take Calculus 2, finishing one stage means that you're ready to learn about the next stage of development, not that you're fully capable of performing the next stage[1]. This is critical in the round. This means that Piaget's theory of cognitive development actually negates the round. This means that you're presuming negative on the comptetence debate because now not only does my evidence support my side of the debate, but his evidence supports my side of the debate as well, meaning I have a broader platform of support with far more consensus that my position is correct.

And, on the "I dropped adolescents can make key medical decisions argument":

My opponent is being intentionally deceptive with his sources. Compare the tag lines that he uses for the same piece of evidence from the last round ("You also have a 17 year-old who is unable to refuse life saving surgery, but can be tried as an adult in the eyes of the law.") to what he's claiming it says this round ("My opponent dropped an argument that I had brought up in my last round showing that despite adolescents not being able to make some medical descission, but they were able to make certain key decissions ranging from abortions to life saving surgeries on their children despite being an adolescent."). Those are two entirely separate claims. Don't punish me for my opponent obscuring what his sources are talking about, especially if he only provides the citation and not a link to the actual text of the source.

And the UN argument is literally an argument from authority - his argument is that because the UN has recognized it, we should to because it's the UN yo. I'm really not that upset I dropped this.

And, extend my response to the study he cited that his own statistics support my side of the debate. His own study says that adolescents make rational medical decisions less often than adults do. Because adolescents are worse at these decisions, we ought to not allow them to make the decisions to protect their health. What number the adults are at is irrelevant in the sense that whatever number it is is above the number for adolescents, meaning that adults are still better. His argument is that the divide isn't that big, whereas my argument is that a divide exists in the first place, and that's the important factor to realize. This is where his rollercoaster analogy fails - we have to think about what's in the best interest of the adolescent and what best protects them from harm. If they make worse decisions, this means that they're more likely to cause harm to themselves than they are to make a good decision, meaning there's no good reason to give them the right to screw up their life.

This is the game-over mistake in the round because this means that there's literally not a single piece of evidence my opponent uses that doesn't support my position more than it supports his. Which means I'm just staight-up winning the competence debate.

Moreover, you can still extend the three studies I cited that shows that behaviorally, cognitively, and emotionally adolescents aren't capable of making these decisions. His response for why his study should be preferred doesn't make any kind of sense. There's no quality versus quantity distinction - that's like saying the one study that shows that vaccines cause aids is just as valid as the hundreds of studies that says that they don't and that saying that there's a litany of evidence against the claims is just a "quality versus quantity" issue. It doesn't actually respond to the reason why more evidence in favor of a position means it's more likely to be true, nor does it make any kind of sense realistically.

Moreover, even if you want to look at it from a quality perspective, my studies are of higher quality because he drops the other two reasons I give to prefer my studies. My studies are more recent than his studies are, meaning that they're more indicative of what's actually going on today rather than what might've been going on in the past, and that my sources go into specifics as to why adolescents can't make these decisions, while his source only asserts that they can without providing any kind of internal justification for why they can. This means that not only do I have more evidence that supports my position, but I have better evidence that supports my position than he does.

And, extend the argument I make that says that educating them isn't enough to actually solve back for why they can't make these decisions. It goes dropped throughout the entirety of the debate. This is critical because it means that there's literally no way for the affirmative to fix the problem - the lack of ability to make these decisions rationally is inherent to the affirmative position. This means the only side looking out for the welfare of the adolescent is the negative.


I'm winning on all three parts of the framework debate showing you why either a) his framework fails entirely, or b) negating best fulfills it rather than affirming.

I'm winning on substance by showing you that adolescents most definitely cannot make these decisions anywhere near as much as adults can, meaning that we shouldn't allow adolescents to be making these decisions. And since this level of the debate is necessary for him to actually win his framework, because I'm winning here it provides a third reason to not buy his framework.

[1] -;


No Round as agreed upon.
Debate Round No. 4
10 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by donald.keller 2 years ago
Will vote tonight.
Posted by lannan13 2 years ago
Working on the debate now.
Posted by Romanii 2 years ago
you should have run this argument in our debate too :(

so much easier to rebut...
Posted by Zaradi 2 years ago
I mean, that's usually just how I debate...
Posted by lannan13 2 years ago
I thought we weren't cutting cards for this?
Posted by lannan13 2 years ago
Sorry, it'll have to be tomorrow since something came up.
Posted by lannan13 2 years ago
Will accept tomorrow.
Posted by Romanii 2 years ago
ok yeah screw it I barely even know half a thing about LD, much less "a thing or two"

I'll apply for this one instead :D
Posted by Lee001 2 years ago
I'd accept, but we should discuss rules.
Posted by lannan13 2 years ago
I accept.
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by Death23 2 years ago
Who won the debate:--
Reasons for voting decision: 3