The Instigator
tejretics
Con (against)
Winning
21 Points
The Contender
famousdebater
Pro (for)
Losing
0 Points

Adolescents ought to have the right to make autonomous medical choices

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 3 votes the winner is...
tejretics
Voting Style: Judge Point System: Select Winner
Started: 2/6/2016 Category: Philosophy
Updated: 9 months ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 1,537 times Debate No: 86169
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (49)
Votes (3)

 

tejretics

Con

This debate is for the Winter Tournament.

Pro should present his or her arguments in Round 1 and leave the last round blank (except to post "no round as agreed"). No new arguments in the final round of argumentation.

Selected judges: Raisor, whiteflame, YYW, thett3, FT, bsh1, F-16

The debate will use the "opt-in" voting standards, outlined here. [http://www.debate.org...]

"Adolescence" = "the teenage years between 13 and 19 and the transitional stage from childhood to adulthood"

"Ought" = "used to indicate moral obligation"

"Right" = "a moral or legal entitlement to have or do something"

"Autonomous" = "having the freedom to act independently"

"Medical choices" = "the act of deciding between two possibilities regarding one's medical status/condition, e.g. choosing to give permission for a surgery on oneself"
famousdebater

Pro

Introduction


Before I start with the case I’d like to formally thank Tejretics for instigating and agreeing to debate me on such an interesting topic. This has never been a topic that I’ve ever given much consideration and I’ve never actually had an opinion on before this debate topic was decided for the tournament. After some research I soon found my position on the issue which was as Pro which was good considering that I’d been given the position as Pro for the debate. I’ve been really busy with a load of work so I apologize for the delay in posting this round.


Libertarian Framework


The libertarian view on this issue is clear. The libertarian advocates the rights of the individual and the right for that individual to receive minimum restriction from the government and the state [1]. By preventing the adolescent from being allowed to make this decision the state is denying that adolescent their freedom of speech and their freedom of making a choice [2] and you are imposing restriction upon that person which is an evident violation of libertarianism [1].


Why do we ought to prioritize human rights and limit government restriction? Because all countries that have ever prioritized the countries needs before the country's rights has ended up in poverty and many have ended up on the list of the worst countries to visit or to live in, in the world [3][4]!


The decision is evident, accept the libertarian framework which keeps the economy stable and enforces human rights or buy alternatives that don’t enforce the right to choice of adolescents and consequently give in to poverty. If you buy the libertarian framework, then you buy libertarianism, if you buy libertarianism then you ought to vote Pro based on this premise alone since under my libertarian framework adolescents ought to have the right to make autonomous medical decisions.


Societies Acceptance


Many major societies around the world accept adolescent’s rights to make autonomous medical decisions. In the US it is allowed in most cases [5], and they are considering changing it to all medical decisions at some point because this has been the demand of the public [6].


In the UK the system is slightly different. 18+ are allowed to completely make autonomous medical decisions for themselves (remember the definition is from 13 - 19), from 16 - 18 you are allowed to make the decision for themselves however the court has the right to overrule you if they think that it isn’t in your best interest. And from younger than 16 the doctor has to decide whether the child is mature enough to make the decision and if they are deemed mature enough then they are put into the above bracket [7]. This system has received criticism, however, and that criticism states that it is too strict [8].


In Judaism they believe that 13 year olds and onwards are considered to be adults and therefore must take on adult responsibilities [9]. Responsibilities include the responsibility of making autonomous medical decisions, therefore under the religion of Judaism, they would also support the notion that adolescents ought to have the right to make autonomous medical decisions.


In the religion of Islam, they believe that the age of become an adult is around 12 - 15 years of age. Muslims would therefore most likely accept the resolution and affirm based on the fact that on average (from this data) we can conclude that the average age that a Muslim becomes an adults is 13.5 and therefore they should be allowed to make autonomous medical decisions because they have responsibility under the religion's teachings at (on average) slightly above the age of proposition [10].


You affirm if you believe that society's best interest should be considered and you negate if you believe that we should be allowed to completely ignore what the majority of the public say and what people want.


Harms Inflicted Upon Society


“It is neither developmentally appropriate nor practical to force a teenager to accept prolonged and invasive oncologic treatment against his or her will. As a teenager confronts further loss of control of major life decisions, noncompliance and potentially combative behaviors may occur. The anger is often directed at parents and the health care team who feel compelled to “take over” decision making in the best interest of the adolescent patient. Every effort to help a family resolve these internalized conflicts is a valuable part of the treatment plan.” [11]


Controlling teens has been said by many as “impossible”. But what my opponent proposes is something that would force teens to be controlled. There is a good, scientific reason as to why teenagers try so persistently not to be controlled. It’s because without the control that they seek, they lose their sense of adulthood and the sense that they are gaining a sense of authority and respect [12], without it they often suffer from depression and various other mental illnesses in regards to their emotion. This is the result of denying individuals of this right. If this happens to whole countries then generations of teenagers could go into depression because they lose their sense of adulthood and authority which can stay with them for their entire lives[11][12][13]!


Conclusion


To conclude, I have provided strong and reliable evidence proving that adolescents ought to have the right to make autonomous medical decisions due to the fact that to say otherwise would be to violate libertarianism, go against society's will and to force adolescents into depression. Sorry for the brevity of this round, I’ve been very busy. The resolution is affirmed. Vote Pro!



Sources


[1] https://en.wikipedia.org...

[2] https://www.mormon.org.uk...

[3] http://www.voanews.com...

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

[5] http://pediatrics.aappublications.org...

[6] http://www.usnews.com...

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

[8] http://www.law.leeds.ac.uk...

[9] http://www.jewfaq.org...

[10] http://www.questionsonislam.com...

[11] http://journals.lww.com...

[12] http://understandingteenagers.com.au...

[13] http://www.mentalhealth.com...



Debate Round No. 1
tejretics

Con

I thank famousdebater for their arguments.

The first argument I'm going to present in this debate simultaneously refutes Pro's arguments and upholds Con's burden. The argument is that any "ought" claim has no objective base, and, as such, is subject to any individual's interpretation of moral obligation. The resolution states, "Adolescents ought to have the right to make autonomous medical choices." As such, Pro's burden is to demonstrate that there is a moral obligation for adolescents to have the right to make autonomous medical choices. At first glance, Pro seems to have done that -- he has established a framework for normative ethics, and explained how autonomy of medical choice is required by the framework. What he fails to establish is that such a framework is coherent and objective. The term "ought" is defined in Rd. 1 as a moral obligation. Pro doesn't establish that moral obligations even exist. Normative ethics is pointless without discussing metaethics.

In this debate, it's up to Pro to prove that actions can intrinsically be moral or immoral. I'm going to be negating that, i.e. denying the truth of that, with a position called moral nihilism. Pro's arguments haven't clearly established why there is a moral obligation for adolescents to have medical autonomy. Pro hasn't shown why the libertarian framework decides what's "moral" or "immoral," how those two terms are objective, and how a greater harm to society is immoral. The debate isn't a policy debate on adolescents having medical autonomy. It's a debate on the moral obligations. If you vote Pro, you're acknowledging without evidence that morality objectively exists, is intrinsic, and that Pro's framework accurately represents morality.

But to claim that anything is "moral" or "immoral" is incoherent. What does that even mean? If moral obligations exist and are according to Pro's framework, why aren't they followed? On what basis do they exist objectively? There'd be some indication of moral realism in reality. But different species have different instincts, and instincts govern a species' basic traits. Any moral realism presupposes moral facts, and that results in infinite regression. Why is something even moral? What's the basis? How is morality objective?

I'm only able to conceive of one answer to the question: God. But there's no indication that such a being exists to enforce moral laws. If God grounds morality, then morality is contingent upon a mind, therefore is subjective, and there's no reason to think God's will outweighs the will of any other mind. If God doesn't ground morality, then morality isn't objective. Morality requires some ground to state a "moral fact" as true. Many religions believe God provides such a ground, but there's no indication of that, or even God's existence.

If morality exists, nature is probably the only root. That is because naturalism is true within the universe. Every observed phenomena in the universe can be explained naturally, so there's no reason to jump to positions such as dualism and dual-aspect monism. Idealism is probably false because of the apparent distinction between, for instance, dreams and reality. One can taste the tea in a cup only when one physically sips it; its imagination gives little. Under naturalism, if one says moral realism is true, then morality must be homogeneous among species. Unfortunately, it isn't. Thus, moral nihilism entails.

Pro establishes a normative framework of libertarianism, and then proceeds to contradict that by justifying the resolution via utilitarian cost/benefit analysis. It's unfair to me to allow Pro to defend more than one advocacy. Pro needs to defend a consistent advocacy. Furthermore, neither of them is properly justified by Pro as an adequate moral framework. Why do we buy libertarianism? Pro justifies libertarianism itself by utilitarian means: he says, "Why do we ought to prioritize human rights and limit government restriction? Because all countries that have ever prioritized the countries needs before the country's rights has ended up in poverty and many have ended up on the list of the worst countries to visit or to live in, in the world." Pro doesn't justify utilitarianism to justify libertarianism. Pro also fails to justify that minimal restriction is the best moral action. Every justification of Pro's is subjective and arbitrary. Hitler's moral framework allowed for the genocide of multiple races, confiscation of property, et cetera. Such subjective moralism is dangerous. That's Pro's advocacy. Don't allow Pro to create subjective frameworks that could kill people.

The alternative to Pro's harsh framework is mine: acknowledge moral nihilism and stop holding anyone to a moral obligation. Therefore, vote Con. Pro doesn't justify how the majority opinion is the moral one, or the religious one.

Even under Pro's own framework, one can vote Con.

In the House episode "Last Temptation," a teenage girl attempts to become the youngest sailor to circumnavigate the globe. She is diagnosed with a potentially fatal lymphoid sarcoma in her humerus, and they need to amputate her arm, thus making her unable to achieve her dream of sailing but saving her life. She stubbornly refuses to do so and wants to get the amputation after her dream is achieved, which could mean her death. Her parents give consent for the surgery because of the risk of bradycardia, thus saving her life, something she wouldn"t have given consent to if she had the power.

It's exactly for such a situation that many jurisdictions don't give adolescents the right to make autonomous medical choices. They aren't mature enough to do so. And such an argument transcends fiction. Brain studies show that adolescents aren't capable enough in decision-making. They act impulsively and emotionally, instead of rationally, and tend to be more aggressive, because their frontal lobes aren't fully developed. They lack the ability to control themselves. [1, 2]

In conclusion, Pro's justifications are arbitrary and result in subjective moralism. Even under Pro's frameworks, turn his arguments because they contradict each other, and vote Con because adolescents are poor decision makers.

[1] http://jmp.oxfordjournals.org...
[2] http://jmp.oxfordjournals.org...
famousdebater

Pro

I've had a load of exams recently, so apologies for the posting this as a last minute thing. I appreciate your patience and understand that it sometimes upsets the flow of the debate.


Observations


OBV 1 - The resolution of this debate is an interesting one that can have the burdens differently set out depending on what Con argues. Since Con does not argue that "adolescents ought to NOT have the right to make autonomous medical decisions", then I assume that he has a smaller burden to fulfil than me because I must prove the resolution to be true but my opponent simply needs to prove my arguments false and to show that they should not have the right to make autonomous medical decisions.


OBV 2 - My opponent argues from the perspective of a moral nihilist. Therefore his burden requires him to prove that actions cannot be intrinsically moral or immoral. I must argue that actions can be intrinsically moral and immoral and must also argue that adolescents ought to have the right to make autonomous medical decisions (as I have shown).


Undefined Terminology


We are going deep into very specific arguments here so some terminology needs to be defined before I can begin with my rebuttals.


Moral: the principles of right and wrong behaviour [1].


Immoral: not conforming to the patterns of conduct usually accepted or established as consistent with principles of personal and social ethics [2].


Moral Nihilism: the view that nothing is intrinsically moral or immoral [3].


Moral Realism: the view that there are moral truths [4].


Right: morally good, justified, or acceptable [5].


Framework


My opponent criticizes the significance and the impact of the libertarian framework because the reasons to buy it haven’t been explained and the morals presented are subjective. The message, I thought, was self explanatory so I will make a reiteration for clarification purposes. Something can be morally correct. I have proven this by showing that my position manages to coincide with what is right. Since libertarians prioritize individuals, this ultimately means that they prioritize the individual's human rights (as I have mentioned), the concision between libertarianism and utilitarianism is no mistake or contradiction. A libertarian believes in helping the individual and if many individuals are at risk then the libertarian should be more inclined to help the group of people rather than the one individual thus proving that libertarianism and utilitarianism are coexist in one society.


Rebuttals


My opponent makes a few pre-emptive rebuttals that I’m just going to mention before I get into the actual rebuttals. I do not believe in God and I do not believe that God created morals - therefore, God is not relevant and does not need to be addressed.


Since the definition of “right” is morally good, justified or acceptable, in order to prove morals to exist I must show that it is good in the sense that it is acceptable and is justified. I have already proven it to be acceptable by showing (in my initial argument) that society generally accepts this and innate principles are considered to act under our common understanding of morals / our universal morality [6].


I have justified this by presenting the libertarian framework. Since it can lead to various mental disorders then we ought to allow them to make autonomous medical decisions due to the fact that if we fail to allow adolescents to make these decisions then the future generation will suffer from mental illnesses (an argument which my opponent dropped) and will consequently mitigate the development of the human race, the world, etc. Ergo, this is justified.


Because I have proven that it is acceptable and it is justified this ultimately means that it is right and is therefore morally good.


We can look at morals from the Buddhist perspective to negate the rest of this contention. Buddhists believe that the 3 causes of suffering are ignorance, hatred and greed - these are known as the 3 poisons. To alleviate suffering you must rid yourself of the 3 poisons. This is a good way to view an action as wrong. Causing suffering comes under the definition of wrong and therefore Buddhist philosophy is a rational viewpoint.


Since people will get mental illnesses due to their lives being taken out of their control - this causes suffering and is considered morally wrong, a priori.


My opponent then makes questions as to why all morals aren’t always followed. There are many reasons why morals aren’t always followed. The being that they were never taught what is right and what is wrong [7], the second is that they may have a mental health problem that prevents them from understanding or acknowledging morality [8]. The list goes on.


Morality can only exist if somebody has the capacity to understand moral truths. This is why animals, people with mental illnesses, plants and inanimate objects cannot and do not (necessarily) have moral understandings and do not necessarily have an understand what is right and what is wrong [9]. They cannot be expected to understand moral truths if they do not have the capacity to understand what morality even is. Showing that some people do not act morally, does not mean that morals do not exist.


My opponent’s second argument is about age and choices. My opponent, apparently, believes that children will act irrationally when told to have a body part amputated but an adult will not. The shock and fear of having a significant surgery or amputation is almost always there regardless of whether you are a child or an adult [10]. What is important to note is that it always remains your choice (unless your choice is impossible to receive - ie. you do not say what you want to happen or you are in a coma, for example). What happens, to both adults and children, is that they are informed of the risks, harms and possible side effects. They provide a non-bias view and give them all the possible consequences of the different options that they take - this is called counselling. After explaining the consequences the doctor will tell them the best decision to make (in their opinion) and may or may not attempt to justify this further. If after all of this, the child wants to go through with the more harmful option then the decision should be allowed, so as to not harm the child further (with mental illnesses, stress, etc.). By using force, you violate that child’s human rights and if they are extremely unwilling to undergo the procedure then force could be seen as a means of torture! This violates the hippocratic oath, this is a form of medical torture and this is a form of psychological torture [11][12].


Finally, my opponent attempts to use Hitler’s morality in an attempt to prove that morality is subjective and cannot always be trusted. I do not advocate every single person’s view on morality because the reality is that some people’s views on morality are wrong because they do not coincide with the more specific definitions. Hitler's views on morality were not viewed as acceptable by many since his morals were only truly unveiled in the post voting period of the election for the new Kaiser [13]. After that many people regretted voting for him and many people that voted for initially despised his views on morality [13]. It is believed that Hitler most likely had one of these mental illnesses: hysteria, psychopathy, megalomania or paranoid schizophrenia [14]. All of these problems are associated with an impaired sense of morality. This means that Hitler was most likely incapable of graspoing the concept of morality and as a result Hitler should not be used as an example of poor morality because his ideologies do not coincide with the definition of morality and he wasn’t even aware of morality.


Sources


[1] http://dictionary.reference.com...

[2] http://dictionary.reference.com...

[3] https://en.wikipedia.org...

[4] https://en.wikipedia.org...

[5] http://www.oxforddictionaries.com...

[6] https://en.wikipedia.org...

[7] http://www.enotes.com...

[8] http://www.academia.edu...

[9] http://wrap.warwick.ac.uk...

[10] https://en.wikipedia.org...

[11] https://en.wikipedia.org...

[12] https://en.wikipedia.org...

[13] https://books.google.co.uk...
[14] https://en.wikipedia.org...

Debate Round No. 2
tejretics

Con

== Clarification ==

Pro's first observation is objectively incorrect. Pro says that I must argue that there's a moral obligation for adolescents to not have the right to make autonomous medical choices. That's nonsense. The meaning of "Con" is to argue "against" the resolution. In other words, I must merely *negate* the resolution, which states, "Adolescents ought to have the right to make autonomous medical choices." My sole burden is to argue that their isn't an obligation to grant them that right. Pro says this is unfair because I need only refute Pro's arguments to win -- but that's incorrect. I also need to show that such a right does not exist; in other words, I also need some offense supporting my position. Considering that, there's no way I have a "greater" burden. In fact, this is an LD debate topic for real life formal debate, and it has never been interpreted the way Pro wants it to be interpreted. DDO must seek to emulate real life debate, and, as such, my burden remains based on my interpretation of it.

Under his second observation, Pro says that I need to prove that moral nihilism is true. But that's incorrect -- I'm merely challenging an *assumption* made by Pro. Pro is assuming moral realism, and I need to challenge that assumption. Rejecting that assumption is a default position. With regards to the issue of moral realism, the greater burden is with Pro, because moral realism is a fact claim -- and, when one debates a fact claim, the one who makes the affirmative statement has the burden of proof. Under the "ought" issue, the burdens of persuasion are shared, but when Pro assumes an "is" within their "ought" issue, the burden of proof lies with Pro.

I'd like to further clarify what "morality" is. Morality is about making a distinction between what is "right" and what is "wrong." Right doesn't exactly mean "justified." Instead, it refers to what one is obligated to do, as opposed to what one is obligated to not do. Morality is all about intrinsic obligations, i.e. the obligation to do a certain action which exists objectively and abstractly.

== My case: Nihilism ==

Acceptability isn't morality. Merely because a dictionary says so doesn't mean it is so. There are multiple contradicting definitions from dictionaries as well. "Right" is defined as "morally good, justified, or acceptable." [3] Pro is seeking to prove the "justified" and "acceptable" aspects, but the definition is clear in making a *distinction* between "morally good" and the other two. The definition implies that "morally good" is different from "justified" and "acceptable." Pro is merely using semantics to prove that it's "acceptable" and "justified" to have such an obligation. But that isn't Pro's burden -- Pro must show there's a *moral* obligation, which is beyond merely acceptance of society. Social acceptance deciding morality is a concession of the lack of an objective standard of morality.

Furthermore, Pro doesn't show that "our understanding of morals" are objective. Why should we judge this debate under subjective human standards? The debate doesn't regard whether humans *consider* a moral obligation as described above to exist -- this debate is about whether such a moral obligation *actually exists.* Pro drops that the "libertarian framework" is a normative framework, not a metaethical one, and my argument regards metaethics, which is an assumption within all normative ethics. Pro also drops that the libertarian framework is justified by utilitarian standards that actually contradict it, and that there's no justification for utilitarian standards. Pro then appeals to a third framework of morality, a Buddhist framework which regards suffering as immoral. Once more, this is a normative framework. My argument doesn't concern normative ethics, it concerns metaethics -- whether normative frameworks are actually *objective.* Pro merely says "causing suffering comes under the definition of wrong." This is a bare assertion and is false -- "wrong" is defined as "immoral," and it's up to Pro to prove that causing suffering is immoral. Pro's normative frameworks may show this, but the normative frameworks lack coherence under moral nihilism. Mental illnesses, suffering, etc aren't morally wrong because objective morality doesn't exist.

Pro then responds to the argument that morals aren't always followed. Pro entirely misunderstands the argument. I first argued a dichotomy: either morals are abstract and governed by some supernatural authority, or morals are natural and ingrained into people.

If the former is true, there has to be some transcendent authority to decide what a moral "fact" is, else morality is subjective. God is the sole one who has such power. But there's no indication or evidence for God's existence. What can be asserted without evidence can be dismissed without evidence. The Law of Parsimony, also known as Occam's razor, posits that -- among a set of possible hypotheses -- the hypothesis with least positive assumptions is a priori most likely. In other words, any unnecessary assumptions must be discarded. [4] Take, for instance, a box of crayons that hasn't been opened yet. Person X and Person Y are speculating about the characteristics of the crayons within the box, without seeing those crayons. Person X proposes that there are twelve crayons in the box, while Person Y says there are twelve red crayons in the box. Neither has any evidence, but since Person Y has the additional assumption, it's a priori more likely that there are twelve crayons in the box, than there being twelve crayons that are all red " since there's no proof for either assertion, but the latter has more assumptions. In further justification, take Russell's celestial teapot analogy. Russell argues that people claim God exists without any evidence, and that God is neither demonstrable nor falsifiable. To assume that God exists is like assuming the existence of an undetectable, invisible teapot between Earth and Mars -- such a claim is ridiculous, but is neither provable nor falsifiable. One rejects such a claim regardless, as result of it being an unnecessary, unproven assumption. Everything in the universe can be explained without God, so God is exactly the assumption rejected by Occam's razor.

If the latter is true, what Pro holds to be "moral fact" must be followed by everyone. Pro says they aren't "taught it," but if objective morality is natural and not abstract, then it's ingrained into the species, so people shouldn't need to be "taught" it. It should come naturally by definition. But moral standards vary, and, as such, morality is subjective. Pro says animals, etc don't have "moral understanding," but if natural morality is true, then moral understanding *must* exist naturally. There's no evidence of natural "morality." Pro might provide an example of biological altruism, etc but that isn't morality -- that's just survival instinct. The "state of nature," the one where survival instinct prevails, is one where might would make right and social Darwinism would be true. But even Pro rejects social Darwinism, so their framework contradicts itself and supports my point: morality is incoherent because natural standards don't exist.

God and nature can't act as standards for morality, therefore moral nihilism is true.

== Off-topic arguments ==

This utility-based argument is actually irrelevant due to moral nihilism, and is merely a link turn of Pro's case.

My argument is that the child's maturity is already lower than the adult's, and when confronted with a situation of stress, it becomes *worse* than the adult's. Despite the doctor's explanations, children make immature and impulsive decisions. That's been established in my Rd. 2 argument -- children, with underdeveloped parts of their brain, act impulsively and make wrong decisions. Their parents, in such a situation, can make a much better informed decision. In fact, like Pro says, even adults could act immaturely; but one can't deprive adults of this right because they don't have anybody to make the decision for them. Children have parents who are capable of making the call. Pro then goes on irrelevant arguments about psychological torture, which Pro doesn't establish as "immoral," and so their arguments there are incoherent. Pro tries to use a utility-based framework here, but analyses of pleasure and pain are subjective, because the "degree" of pain and pleasure has no objective measure.

In short, moral nihilism is true, and, as such, an "ought" obligation is incoherent. No such obligation exists about anything, including adolescents having the right to make autonomous medical choices. For those reasons, vote Con.

[3] Google ("define right")
[4] http://plato.stanford.edu...
famousdebater

Pro

== Clarification ==


OBV 1: My opponent misreads what I wrote here. I never said that he must argue that adolescents ought to NOT have the right to make autonomous medical decisions. I said that because he doesn’t argue this, it means that he has a smaller burden.


OBV 2: My opponent misunderstands the second observation too. Since my opponent’s entire rebuttal to my case is in regards to moral nihilism if he fails to hold this to be true then my entire case stands and I win the debate. Therefore, you must prove moral nihilism to be true in order to negate my case.


OBV 3: My opponent notes that right =/= justified. My opponent distorts the definition of right and changes it into what somebody is obliged to do. I disagree, and you ought to buy my definition over my opponent’s. My definition was sourced and was taken from a reliable source whereas my opponent’s combating definition of right is bare assertion. Therefore, my definition stands. My opponent’s one does not.


Moral Nihilism


My opponent attacks my interpretation of the definitions by saying that acceptability isn’t morality. I know that acceptability isn’t morality, I never claimed that it was. I made the claim that acceptability is one of the contributing factors in determining what is right and wrong. My opponent says that there are contradicting definitions from dictionaries but fails to provide examples. I agree that some dictionaries may have different definitions but I disagree that there are any ‘reliable’ dictionaries that are ‘contradictory’ to my definition. Since what is morally good is debatable I analyzed what is primarily makes up the word ‘right’. Right is made up of 4 words (per my definition in the previous round), “morally good, justified and acceptable”. Since what is defined as morally good is subjective and my opponent would clearly disagree (due to his moral nihilistics position that he has taken in this debate). Justified has subjectivism included but in this scenario it is objectively based since I have provided arguments which show that there are reasons as to why this would be detrimental to society. As a result (even if some people may believe the position is wrong), the case is still justified. I have also shown that it is acceptable.


My opponent complains that my obligation isn’t to prove that it is acceptable or justified but what they fail to understand is that they still haven’t sufficiently combated the definition of right. It is comparable to a chain reaction. Justified and acceptable are what makes something right (per the definition), right and wrong are what makes up morality, morally good things make up moral obligation (to do good things) [1]. Since I have proven that right equates to justified and acceptable that ultimately means that the chain reaction is set off and I have proven moral obligation. The k fails due to this. Of course social acceptance alone mitigates the objectivity of it but Con fails to understand that it is also about justification and that requires proof and evidence (in this scenario) and as a result the decision is generally considered objective.


I don’t need to show that it is objectively moral. I need to show that it’s moral and I have shown that it coincides with the definition of ‘right’. As the chain reaction shows, my arguments are justified and acceptable and are therefore right and there is a moral obligation.


My opponent is dismissing normative ethics as irrelevant when they really aren’t. There is no reason to drop or dismiss the libertarian framework because it is based on normative ethics. Normative ethics focuses on what is moral and what is immoral. I have shown this and by doing so I demonstrate moral obligation which fulfills my burden [2]. My opponent states that it does not stand because his argument regards metaethics but he fails to acknowledge that my argument regards normative ethics. If mine regards normative ethics then dismissal of my case is not warranted just because my opponent’s argument conflicts in the sense that it’s metaethical. If normativity fulfills my burden, then I can use normativity.


My opponent lies and says that I dropped the libertarian framework in regards to utilitarianism. I made a response to this which my opponent drops.


The Buddhist framework shows that things can be objectively moral and more importantly immoral. The Buddhist framework is metaethical in the sense that it says that things are moral if they don’t cause suffering and things are immoral if they do. The libertarian framework was normative and supported my case. The Buddhist framework is metaethical and negates yours. The two frameworks coincide since the libertarian framework shows that restriction is wrong and causes suffering. The Buddhist framework says that suffering is wrong. Therefore my normative and metaethical frameworks work together. Causing suffering is immoral. The definition of suffering is:


“the state of undergoing pain, distress, or hardship.” [3]


Since subjecting people to mental illness when you clearly have the option to do otherwise causes psychological pain [4]. This means that suffering is being caused. Wrong and immoral are synonyms [5]. Causing suffering is clearly wrong and immoral and is justified as such by Kantian deontology. It states:


"Act in such a way that you treat humanity, whether in your own person or in the person of any other, never merely as a means to an end, but always at the same time as an end." [6]


It means that humans are rational beings and deserve to be treated and respected because we have the capacity to do so. This also justifies why it is different when referencing to animals because animals are not rational therefore animals are not treated as well as humans are. Under Buddhism and under Kantian deontology objective morals have been proven. I’m extending Buddhism because it was dropped and dismissed after my opponent falsely referred to it as normative rather than metaethical.


My opponent continues to attempt to refute God’s existence which is entirely irrelevant because, like I’ve said, I’m an atheist. I don’t believe in the existence of God and I have no intention of turning this debate into a debate on the subject on God’s existence (which is what my opponent appears to be doing).


Of my opponent’s options the latter is true. I have already said that they are followed by everybody excluding some members of society that are unable to do so.


The mentally ill and the uneducated / badly educated. Cannot be expected to be moral. The mentally ill are sometimes unable to even have the brain capacity to understand the concept of morality, let alone what is moral and what is not [7]. The uneducated, if not taught the difference between right and wrong can often have a false sense of morality or have a distorted sense due to their lack of knowledge. Therefore, objective morality does exist (at least to some extent it does) however those incapable or uneducated on the subject should not be expected to understand it. There are also many other exceptions of people that do not follow morality for various other reasons however the list is long and the character limit is finite.


Off Topic Arguments


The anatomy of the brain and the underdevelopment of it is irrelevant as I have said due to the fact that children and adults are both capable of making equally bad decisions and they do make bad decisions. Using a “fake” scenario to show a child’s immaturity does little to prove your point. My opponent says that it is different for adults because they have nobody to act on their behalf. This is false. Often in times where adults and children are incapable of making the decision the doctor makes the decision. This provides a perfectly acceptable alternative to adults making the decision. So, I ask my opponent again, what makes this any different to when an adult makes the decision? Adults can and do react equally as bad as children do. The underdevelopment of the brain is irrelevant because this doesn’t prevent irrational thinking. My opponent asserts that it becomes worse than the adults decision. This is false. Children are proven to be equal to (if not more) rational than adults [8]. The purpose of the frontal lobe is to help with voluntary movement and to house the motor cortex. It also relates to predicting future consequences [9]. This is probably what my opponent refers to when he says that they are less rational than adults. Whilst it is true that the the frontal lobe does mitigate adolescents ability to predict future consequences, the system (as I have clearly said), includes counselling and clear information given to the child about what the possible consequences are. As a result, the frontal lobe development is irrelevant because they don’t need to foresee the consequences, the consequences are already given to them.


Psychological torture and the tortures that I mentioned are immoral because, as already stated, they cause suffering and suffering is considered to be immoral.


Sources


[1] https://en.wikipedia.org...

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

[3] https://www.google.co.uk...

[4] https://en.wikipedia.org...

[5] https://www.google.co.uk...

[6] https://www.reddit.com...

[7] https://en.wikipedia.org...

[8] http://www.sciencedaily.com...

[9] https://en.wikipedia.org...
Debate Round No. 3
tejretics

Con

I disagree with OV2 in that I don't have to "prove moral nihilism to be true." The default position is moral nihilism, as outlined in Rd. 2. Extend the default position argument.

Pro's only point of contention to my kritik is the definition of "right" and "wrong." Pro says I haven't adequately addressed it, but it seems like Pro has skipped a large block of text. Let me C/P the same argument from Rd. 3. "Right" is defined as "morally good, justified, or acceptable." [3] Pro is seeking to prove the "justified" and "acceptable" aspects, but the definition is clear in making a *distinction* between "morally good" and the other two. The definition implies that "morally good" is different from "justified" and "acceptable." Pro is merely using semantics to prove that it's "acceptable" and "justified" to have such an obligation. But that isn't Pro's burden -- Pro must show there's a *moral* obligation, which is beyond merely acceptance of society. Social acceptance deciding morality is a concession of the lack of an objective standard of morality. The dictionary distinguishes "morally good" from being justified or acceptable, which implies that they aren't the same thing.

I understand that normative ethics is relevant. Pro misunderstands my argument. Normative ethics, though, isn't coherent without establishing a coherent metaethic first. If morality doesn't exist, normative frameworks cannot hold despite their justifications. There is no normative "ought" without objective morality. If morality is subjective, it doesn't exist as fact, so much as opinion.

Pro concedes that God doesn't exist, which means Pro believes in naturalistic morality.

I'm not saying the mentally ill *should* have an understanding of morality -- I'm saying the fact that they don't implies that morality isn't intrinsic or naturalistic. If there's nominalistic morality, uniform morality should be seen across species and individuals. The mere fact that people hold different opinions on what is "moral" implies that there's no morality intrinsic to our genes. Pro drops this point. Pro also drops that nature doesn't provide an authority for what is moral and what isn't.

Pro defends a Buddhist framework, but does not justify it. There's no reason to think the Buddhist framework is true. Under the Buddhist framework, there's no *proof that morality is objective.* The Buddhist framework says suffering is wrong. But Pro does not prove that this is the case. There's no proof that causing suffering is immoral. Pro tries to justify this with Kantian deontology without showing why Kantian deontology is true.

Pro misunderstands the debate: I'm arguing that morality doesn't exist, all normative ethical positions are false, there's no justification for moral realism. Pro doesn't show moral realism is true. Everything Pro says is an appeal to authority -- so what if Buddhist ethics holds that moral realism is true? Pro doesn't prove that Buddhist ethics or Kantian ethics is *correct.* Let me quote my Rd. 3 once more:

Pro doesn't show that "our understanding of morals" are objective. Why should we judge this debate under subjective human standards? The debate doesn't regard whether humans *consider* a moral obligation as described above to exist -- this debate is about whether such a moral obligation *actually exists.* Pro drops that the "libertarian framework" is a normative framework, not a metaethical one, and my argument regards metaethics, which is an assumption within all normative ethics. Pro also drops that the libertarian framework is justified by utilitarian standards that actually contradict it, and that there's no justification for utilitarian standards. Pro then appeals to a third framework of morality, a Buddhist framework which regards suffering as immoral. Once more, this is a normative framework. My argument doesn't concern normative ethics, it concerns metaethics -- whether normative frameworks are actually *objective.* Pro merely says "causing suffering comes under the definition of wrong." This is a bare assertion and is false -- "wrong" is defined as "immoral," and it's up to Pro to prove that causing suffering is immoral. Pro's normative frameworks may show this, but the normative frameworks lack coherence under moral nihilism. Mental illnesses, suffering, etc aren't morally wrong because objective morality doesn't exist.

So what if Buddhist ethics and Kantian ethics says something? How are we to know what they say is true? Pro doesn't justify the metaethical claims of the Buddhist ethical framework. Pro has frameworks without justify them. The libertarian framework is defended under the assertion "suffering is immoral." But Pro doesn't prove that suffering is immoral. Pro's sole evidence are two cards: Buddhist ethics and Kantian deontology. But why should we believe what they say? Pro doesn't give a reason.

I've shown that God doesn't exist, and that if ethics were natural, there would be uniform ethics among all species and individuals since ethics would be ingrained into us. Pro keeps talking about normative frameworks and metaethical claims, without actually proving any of them as true.

Vote Con on the kritik, which Pro fails to refute.
famousdebater

Pro

No round as agreed.
Debate Round No. 4
49 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by famousdebater 9 months ago
famousdebater
Congrats tej and thanks for the vote Bsh. I agree with your analysis and agree that tej won this debate. Congrats again dude.
Posted by tejretics 9 months ago
tejretics
Thanks for the votes and for the congrats
Posted by whiteflame 9 months ago
whiteflame
Ah, didn't realize. Congrats, dude.
Posted by bsh1 9 months ago
bsh1
This is Tej's 100th win, is it not?
Posted by bsh1 9 months ago
bsh1
Thanks, whiteflame.
Posted by Blade-of-Truth 9 months ago
Blade-of-Truth
*******************************************************************
>Reported vote: Whiteflame// Mod action: NOT Removed<

3 points to Con (Arguments). Reasons for voting decision: RFD in comments

[*Reason for non-removal*] The voter clearly explains the basis for the decision and addresses the major contentions of each side, focusing on those points that continue to be referenced throughout the debate. Given that that analysis covers all of the major issues presented in the debate, even if one of them isn't directly and specifically referenced, the vote is sufficient.
************************************************************************
Posted by whiteflame 9 months ago
whiteflame
I feel like you at least addressed all of the major points, even if you didn't evaluate them all independently. That's really all you have to do in order to meet the standards, at least insofar as I see them. You don't need to go to the degree that I did of explaining why each point didn't factor independently, you just have to explain why each point did or did not factor into the outcome, which you apparently have done. And as you pointed out, even that process need not be absolutely exhaustive, particularly if a point drops out of the debate or is otherwise minimized by both debaters.
Posted by bsh1 9 months ago
bsh1
@whiteflame, Pls review my vote now if you can. If I need to fix anything, I'd like to do it before time expires.
Posted by bsh1 9 months ago
bsh1
RFD

Part 3 - Addendum

And, before anyone reports my vote for not addressing all the major arguments, let me point out something. The guide I wrote reads: "An RFD should explain what the major arguments of the debate were and why they were the major arguments. An RFD should address all major arguments." There was only one major argument in this debate, and that was MN. This was the only major argument because it preempts all other arguments and impacts in the round. If Pro had won MN, then I would've had to assess other args, but the instant Pro loses MN (which he does) is the instant he loses the debate, and all other impacts Pro may have had become meaningless.

Also, Pro called morally good subjective in R3 (more evidence for lack of objectivity). So, while Pro makes some definitional arguments (note that mg, jus, and acc are connected by an "and" not an "or"), he concedes to subjectivity in two of those 3 elements, completely defeating himself. And, Con is totally right about the third element when he says: "social acceptance deciding morality is a concession of the lack of an objective standard of morality." Much of Pro's definitional analysis was scattered or incoherent.

Ultimately, there is no reason given to buy moral realism. The result is clear.

/endrfd
Posted by whiteflame 9 months ago
whiteflame
Blade-of-Truth does vote reports when either of the following is true:

1) The vote reported is mine, or
2) The vote reported is on my debate

Otherwise, I handle all vote reports.
3 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 3 records.
Vote Placed by bsh1 9 months ago
bsh1
tejreticsfamousdebater
Who won the debate:Vote Checkmark-
Reasons for voting decision: See Comments, Parts 1-3. Good debate. Vote goes Con. And, just a short note on BOP, that it is Pro's job to prove the "ought" in the resolution--this requires Pro to ground morality somehow. Con does an excellent job of explaining why this is the case here: "With regards to the issue of moral realism, the greater burden is with Pro, because moral realism is a fact claim -- and, when one debates a fact claim, the one who makes the affirmative statement has the burden of proof." Offering substantive questioning of this assumption in Pro's case (basically pointing out a bare assertion fallacy and saying "vote Con because Pro has no warrant") is therefore fine. Even Pro says: "I never said that he must argue that adolescents ought to NOT have the right to make autonomous medical decisions. I said that because he doesn?t argue this, it means that he has a smaller burden."
Vote Placed by Raisor 9 months ago
Raisor
tejreticsfamousdebater
Who won the debate:Vote Checkmark-
Reasons for voting decision: RFD in comments
Vote Placed by whiteflame 9 months ago
whiteflame
tejreticsfamousdebater
Who won the debate:Vote Checkmark-
Reasons for voting decision: Given, more extensively, in comments.