The Instigator
LR4N6FTW4EVA
Con (against)
Losing
4 Points
The Contender
surfride
Pro (for)
Winning
6 Points

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 8/14/2008 Category: Politics
Updated: 8 years ago Status: Voting Period
Viewed: 1,258 times Debate No: 5017
Debate Rounds (5)
Comments (11)
Votes (4)

 

LR4N6FTW4EVA

Con

Okay, so my challenger presents me with three topics that (s)he and I disagree on, as seen by our profiles. Preferably it should be something I'm against, and my opponent is for. I will pick from the three, and then my opponent will begin his first post.
surfride

Pro

Thanks for the debate. How about minimum wage, estate tax, or abortion? look forward to a lively debate.
Debate Round No. 1
LR4N6FTW4EVA

Con

Abortion sounds fun, let's do it.

Your move, have fun.

100 character limits are really dumb. 100
surfride

Pro

surfride forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 2
LR4N6FTW4EVA

Con

Okay then, I'll go.

My basic argument is that although fetuses are by no means alive, and are by no means persons in the philosophical sense, they must be kept unmolested throughout the pregnancy in almost all cases (I concede there are some exceptions no doubt). My argument is very similar to that of philosopher Don Marquis. He says "The claim that the primary wrong-making feature of a killing is the loss to the victim of the value of its future has obvious consequences for the ethics of abortion.

The future of a standard foetus includes a set of experiences, projects, activities, and such which are identical with the futures of adult human beings and are identical with the futures of young children.

Since the reason that is sufficient to explain why it is wrong to kill human beings after the time of birth is a reason that also applies to foetuses, it follows that abortion is prima facie morally wrong."

The argument boils down to a few points:
*death is a bad thing because it deprives people of all the experiences, activities, enjoyments, projects that would make up their future personal life

*a premature death is a bad thing because it causes the loss of future experiences etc.

*abortion is not the same thing as premature death but abortion deprives the foetus of future experiences in the same way as a premature death deprives a human being of future experiences

*therefore abortion is a bad thing for the foetus in the same way as premature death is for human beings

*therefore abortion is as wrong as killing people (causing their premature death)

These points are from a BBC summary of Marquis' argument.

I would like to amend this to say that it is only 2/3 as bad, as there is a 1/3 chance that the fetus would miscarry.

Again, there are some exceptions to the rule, but in general, abortion is wrong.

As a note, the two arguments I am making do contradict, but they go separately from each other.

Since I am bored, I will run a Kantian argument as well. Although I disagree with this argument personally, that has no bearing on its truth. The argument is that abortion does not follow the Categorical Imperative, that is that "Act only according to that maxim whereby you can at the same time will that it should become a universal law." So, if abortion was universalized, humans would go extinct, which is by most accounts, bad. The justification for the CI is that moral laws have to be objective, because if they have exceptions, they are reduced to meaninglessness.
surfride

Pro

First of all, sorry about the forfeited round, my internet was unexpectedly out for a few days.

Okay, here goes for the debate.
First of all, I will state that if loss of future experiences is the only reason that killing is wrong, then is, for example, causing blindness almost as bad as killing someone? (I use blindness because most human experiences are based on sight)For another, it is mistaken to say that to kill someone is to rob them of future experiences, because once dead, a person is dead. They can no longer experience anything, and so are in no way deprived. In fact, if one is a believer in heaven, one could argue that the victim was in fact aided by their demise.
Second, I believe that it is mistaken to say that a fetus was robbed of possible experiences, because a fetus is unable to appreciate the possibility of any future experiences, and is also incapable of drawing upon the past to tell about these future possibilities.

To address the Kantian argument, yes, if universalized, abortion would cause the human race to go extinct, but that is not relevant, because the entire human race does not seek to have a simultaneous abortion. Second, you say that the extinction of the human race would be bad "By most accounts." I think you mean "by most HUMAN accounts." I think we'd all agree that just about 100% of wild animals, barring perhaps seagulls, squirrels, and pigeons, would see the extermination of the human race as a great thing.

Finally, I think that the rights of the mother have a say here too. Most abortion debates tend to focus almost exclusively on the rights of the fetus, and I believe that it's not jsut about that. A mother can make a far better decision about her ability or desire to care for a child than the fetus can, and if she feels that it is in her best interest to terminate, she should be allowed. As a measure of value to society, the mother is worth far more because she is already able to reproduce, and as a measure of humanity, she is also far more progressed because she is self concious, is capable of logic, etc. Therefore, she should be allowed to make a decision, as that capability is in the best interests of society.
Debate Round No. 3
LR4N6FTW4EVA

Con

Okay, well then time to refute.

"First of all, sorry about the forfeited round, my internet was unexpectedly out for a few days."

No problem, happens to everyone. There's plenty of rounds in this debate.

"First of all, I will state that if loss of future experiences is the only reason that killing is wrong, then is, for example, causing blindness almost as bad as killing someone? (I use blindness because most human experiences are based on sight)"

While obviously blinding someone is wrong, as it does deprive them of some experiences, I mean experiences like making friends, learning new things, enjoying life.

"For another, it is mistaken to say that to kill someone is to rob them of future experiences, because once dead, a person is dead. They can no longer experience anything, and so are in no way deprived."

Two flaws with this argument. First, take this hypothetical: If I came up to and said, hey, surfride, can I kill you? It will be painless and quick, and hey, you won't even know what you're missing, because you'll be dead. Your family has decided that they're fine with it, so how 'bout it? You would most likely say "No way! I have a full life ahead of me, and I don't want to lose that." The experience is still of value even if you don't know what you're missing. The right of your future self to have a life is denied. It's the same with abortion. Even though the fetus has no rights, and is not conscious of what it's missing, and will never know, you are depriving future Johnny of his life. Future Johnny has rights to a life of value, but if fetus Johnny dies before he fulfills that future, Future Johnny is out of luck. Second, it's not only fetus Johnny and Future Johnny that we are worrying about. If the mother does not want the baby, instead of aborting it, she can give it up for adoption, and be rewarded with a small financial sum (ever seen Juno?). If you just abort the fetus, the potential adoptive family is denied of Johnny, an angel child that will cause them great happiness and joy. And what about the friends that Johnny would have, Billy, Tommy, and Sue, there potential best friend for life who opens their sushi bar with them, never comes. And what about Jane, whose dream man fits perfectly with Johnny's description, and she lives right next door to Johnny's potential parents, Jane would've married Johnny, and they would have had lots of babies, named Phil, Jethro, Sally, and Samantha. By aborting fetus Johnny, you have changed the lives of all these hypothetical people. Of course, fetus Johnny may have had the bad luck to be impregnated by rape into the belly of Darfur JoAnn, but that's an exception to the general rule that abortion is not right.

"In fact, if one is a believer in heaven, one could argue that the victim was in fact aided by their demise."

So Hitler is a hero, as he sent millions to heaven? Yeah... I think not.

"Second, I believe that it is mistaken to say that a fetus was robbed of possible experiences, because a fetus is unable to appreciate the possibility of any future experiences, and is also incapable of drawing upon the past to tell about these future possibilities."

But the fetus would be able to if we did not act. The fetus would have a future, and future Johnny is deprived of his awesome life as a happily married co-owner of a sushi bar. Phil, Jethro, Sally, and Samantha are deprived of their conception.

"To address the Kantian argument, yes, if universalized, abortion would cause the human race to go extinct, but that is not relevant, because the entire human race does not seek to have a simultaneous abortion."

You just missed the whole point of Kantian ethics. The whole point of it is that any action must be able to be made a universal law, and if abortion became a universal law, if people followed it, life would not work.

"Second, you say that the extinction of the human race would be bad "By most accounts." I think you mean "by most HUMAN accounts." I think we'd all agree that just about 100% of wild animals, barring perhaps seagulls, squirrels, and pigeons, would see the extermination of the human race as a great thing."

Who cares about animals? They're nothing more than automatons. (Now I know PETA is after me). Really though, what they want is not important.

"Finally, I think that the rights of the mother have a say here too. Most abortion debates tend to focus almost exclusively on the rights of the fetus, and I believe that it's not jsut about that. A mother can make a far better decision about her ability or desire to care for a child than the fetus can, and if she feels that it is in her best interest to terminate, she should be allowed. As a measure of value to society, the mother is worth far more because she is already able to reproduce, and as a measure of humanity, she is also far more progressed because she is self conscious, is capable of logic, etc. Therefore, she should be allowed to make a decision, as that capability is in the best interests of society."

If the mother does not want to care for her child, then I am sure, there are plenty of adoptive parents that would LOVE to have fetus Johnny as their new baby. I again remind you of Juno. Of course, if the mother lives in a warzone, then abortion may be a good idea, but, again, generally, a mother that just accidentally gets pregnant can spend nine months of her life with a baby in her tummy. She doesn't have to have anything to do with it afterwards, she can just poop it out and be done. While a burden, it is irrelevant compared to the future life of value of the fetus.
surfride

Pro

surfride forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 4
LR4N6FTW4EVA

Con

Uhh... extend my arguments across as they have gone unrefuted. I am disappointed that my opponent forfeited, this has been an interesting debate.
surfride

Pro

Okay, again, sorry about the forfeit. It's been really crappy, and it turns out i need to get a new computer. So, i'm posting on a friend's here.

Okay, to address the future experience argument, yes, i in fact would probably use my future to justify my survival. however, if i was unaware that i had the possibility of future experiences, or unaware that someone was going to terminate my existence, I would not care, because i would either not know that i was going to be terminated, and therefore would not be able to argue effectively, or be unaware that i had future experiences, and so i would also not have a very effective argument. As for your assumption about changing the lives of people, you do know that it is possible for a fetus to grow up and have a bad life? You say "JoAnn Darfur" as being the only bad luck, but what about the three billion people who live on less than $2 a day? What if the child is born there? Or, as someone said in comments, what if the child is born poor in a first world country? www.globalissues.org/article/26/poverty-facts-and-stats
Another thing is that you seem to assume that a child will always positively affect the lives of those around it. What about the single motherr who can't afford day care and has no steady source of income? How do you know that changing the lives of hypothetical people won't make their lives worse?

About Hitler: not what i meant. However, if you believe in heaven, do you not believe that those murdered are now better off?

Essentially, all these future arguments are based 100% off the assumption that the fetus would lead a great life. This is a flawed assumption. I mean, i could easily concoct a scenario where fetus Nelly grows up in a ghetto and is a crack whore, and so aborting her will help her. For every hypothetical scenario you create, I can make one, because these scenarios are not based on fact.

Okay, to address the Kantian argument, by the universal logic, the death penalty is wrong. You believe in the death penalty; are you by Kantian ethics wrong? I find Kant's arguments to be mostly irrelevant. There are all kinds of actions which if universalized would destroy humanity, but yet we do them anyway. Using Kantian ethics is trying to apply impractical rules to a practical world.

"Who cares about animals? They're nothing more than automatons. (Now I know PETA is after me). Really though, what they want is not important."
Why is what animals want any less important than what people say a fetus wants? I mean, at least an animal that is no longer a fetus has actual mental capacity. Also, the extinction of humans would restore the planet to its natural balance, which is good.

"If the mother does not want to care for her child, then I am sure, there are plenty of adoptive parents that would LOVE to have fetus Johnny as their new baby. I again remind you of Juno. Of course, if the mother lives in a warzone, then abortion may be a good idea, but, again, generally, a mother that just accidentally gets pregnant can spend nine months of her life with a baby in her tummy. She doesn't have to have anything to do with it afterwards, she can just poop it out and be done. While a burden, it is irrelevant compared to the future life of value of the fetus."
Perhaps there would be adoptive parents, perhaps not. In New York, for example, 33% of foster care children were waiting to be adopted, in Illinois and Texas, 47%. http://www.adoptioninstitute.org...
So little Johhny might be on the waiting list for a while. (Old numbers i know, but they were the most comprehensive data i could find.) BTW, Juno was a MOVIE. Either way, while you have said that mothers should have their baby and adopt it, you have not proven why. My contention is that the fetus's current value to society is actually a negative, because it places a person out of the labor pool and that person also requires additional care from others. Their future value to society is undeterminable, and could either be negative or positive (gangster or cop). Therefore, it is in the best interests of society to allow a woman to reenter the productive part of society should she have the desire, rather than force her to remain a resource drain on society while gambling on an unpredictable outcome.
Debate Round No. 5
11 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by Sweatingjojo 8 years ago
Sweatingjojo
Actually, he just got kicked out a few hours ago.

I had the (honor?) to participate in one of the final debates with him.
Posted by LR4N6FTW4EVA 8 years ago
LR4N6FTW4EVA
Okay... so? It really doesn't matter because we can't kick him out. Although, he is very deserving of that proposition.
Posted by PoeJoe 8 years ago
PoeJoe
http://www.debate.org...

Read my comment (first one).
Posted by s0m31john 8 years ago
s0m31john
I sort of like the idea of not putting the proposition in the debate title. It deters those that just read the title and vote on opinion.
Posted by gahbage 8 years ago
gahbage
"Abortion sounds fun, let's do it."

Prepare to be taken out of context!
Posted by LR4N6FTW4EVA 8 years ago
LR4N6FTW4EVA
Ron Paul is a terrible argument. As for the ghetto kid, he will grow up to be like 50 Cent. Just kidding. The kid could just be put up for adoption, to a family not in the ghetto. In Darfur however, this is not viable, as nobody is that stupid, to go to Darfur (except maybe Angelina Jolie).
Posted by Sweatingjojo 8 years ago
Sweatingjojo
I think that's a terrible argument.

Aren't children born in certain ghettos also devoid of a positive future, and are bound to end up into a life of crime? Why shouldn't they be aborted too?
Posted by LR4N6FTW4EVA 8 years ago
LR4N6FTW4EVA
Who's gonna go to Darfur? I was referring to a child born in a war zone, where they don't have a real future.
Posted by Sweatingjojo 8 years ago
Sweatingjojo
Darfur JoAnn.

Con, the arguments that you use against abortion would seem to leave no exemption for rape.

I'd like to see how you rationalize the allowance of abortion in instances of rape. Couldn't the child just be adopted from there?

People shouldn't be denied the right to abort their fetus if they feel it would be best. I believe that sensible measures should be taken to reduce the amount of abortions, because abortions are obviously an undesirable part of modern humanity.
For example, when shown a sonogram of the fetus, over 90% of the women planning to abort did not. Now while obviously there are significant issues with a law that mandates the use of a sonogram pre-abortion, it is one solution that is non restrictive, but encourages not abortion.

Just my 2 cents I suppose.
Posted by LR4N6FTW4EVA 8 years ago
LR4N6FTW4EVA
Now, I did, I don't know what you were talking about.
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Vote Placed by Sweatingjojo 8 years ago
Sweatingjojo
LR4N6FTW4EVAsurfrideTied
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Vote Placed by Therightside 8 years ago
Therightside
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Vote Placed by gahbage 8 years ago
gahbage
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Vote Placed by surfride 8 years ago
surfride
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