If I travelled foward through time and killed myself would I be committing suicide or murder?
Debate Rounds (5)
Pro will argue from the stance of the prosecution, that it was murder.
Con will take the stance that is wasn't murder, but was an act of suicide.
I'm new to this site and this will be my first debate. I'm not concerned with whether I'm Pro or Con, just thought it would be a fun debate.
It appears I have to pick a stance to submit; I'll go pro, but if somebody would rather be on the prosecution we can just say pro is now the defence team, and con prosecution.
To start out with, here is the Merriam-Webster Dictionary's definition of a suicide:
"the act of killing yourself because you do not want to continue living"
The defendant has, therefore, committed suicide, not murder.
The Merriam-Webster Dictionary's definition of a murder is:
"the crime of deliberately killing a person"
While the defendant did deliberately kill a person, he killed himself, albeit in the future. This means that the defendant has met the qualifications of a suicide over the qualifications of a murder. The problem with classifying it as a murder is that the defendant has killed himself. Even though he is still alive in the present, he will be seen killing himself in the future. Even though it will be the present version of him killing the future version of him, he has technically killed himself, no matter how paradoxical the situation ends up being.
Identical twins when conceived come from a single embryo, which eventually splits, we consider them to be two separate persons. They are shaped as individuals by the external environment, by their individual life experiences, it is nature and nature together which define them. The prosecution argues that the future version of the defendant has had a significant amount of time to experience enough life changing experiences, that he should be considered an individual person separate from the accused.
Let me offer this analogy, that I have stolen from the movie 6th day: imagine that everytime one of us died we uploaded all of our consciousness into a clone, and from our perspective now in the present we had died and been reborn one hundred times. Imagine your latest body was terminally ill and a new body was being prepared. Having been through the process many times you no longer feared death. However once the naked clone has had your consciousness replicated, has all your memories felt exactly how you felt five minutes ago, hoping nothing goes wrong with the process, suddenly bolts up looks you in the eyes and says give me your clothes idiot. At that point would you still consider that the clone was you, or would you realise that the moment your consciousness was split down to separate paths via time, you had become two separate individuals, one knowing he is about to die and another who believes he is immortal and this is just the one hundred and one time he has been reborn?
The point is that the future defendant should be just called the victim, and considered a unique individual with different life experiences, beliefs and goals, a victim we believe wished to live.
The defence cannot counter that the accused and defence share the same body for they do not share the same matter. They are built from different atoms. They are different organisms.
The defence does make an interesting point regarding whether in a year if all of the atoms had been replaced in my body I could not be convicted for a crime I committed a year previously, this I believe is not the case because here we have continuity via time.
I am going to bring up the paradox of Thesuses ship, in this paradox Thesuses has a boat which through the course of its use, has all of its components replaced, let's say the mast is replaced, the next the wheel etc until the whole ship has been replaced. The paradox questions at what point the ship ceases to become the ship, or if at all and still remains the same ship, even after all components are changed. We can use this paradox as an analogy for human beings, who undergo the same process. The wall of China is said to have stood for 2121yrs, however it has undergone countless rebuilds of sections throughout the years, there is no one area that has stood for even a fraction of that time, however in this case there has been continuity throughout time, where as a whole it has remained standing. If we were to completely knock it down, and leave it for 20yrs before rebuilding it, could it be claimed at that point, it had stood for 2141yrs? Another example is if I took a deck board from Thesuses ship and built a new boat to fit that board, would that new boat now be considered Thesuses ship? The answer is no to both questions, it is the continuity throughout time which makes the claim the wall of China has stood 2121yrs valid, and this continuity of time which make the ship presented in the original paradox indeed the same ship, even after all parts have been replaced, as it is also the case with humans. THERE HAS BEEN NO CONTINUITY THROUGHOUT TIME BETWEEN THE ACCUSED AND VICTIM, and therefore are different organisms.
My opponent has claimed I cannot take the argument smaller than atoms, which I will take this statement to included the subatomic, so I will take my argument beyond matter and bring in electro-magnetic waves, in particular brain waves.
Current scientific theory believes that human consciousness can be reduced down to gamma waves, electro-magnetic waves which oscillate between neurons around the 40htz range. Within these waves are our memories, hopes, dreams, beliefs, loves, and fears, they are our consciousness. Neurons will die and others be regrown but the brain waves will remain, but they change and evolve as they are influenced by the external environment, those influences enter the brain via alpha waves, and evolve the nature of the gamma waves through natural time. If the brain is starved on oxygen for long enough and enough neurons die, gamma waves stop and the organism is dead. The accused and victim did not share the same consciousness, consciousness is determined by the oscillating grey matter, the atoms which carry the gamma signal, and both have been determined to have both different atom in their brains, different cells and had been exposed to significantly different alpha waves (external influences). If my opponent claims that it is the gamma signal that is important not the matter then he will have to back track on his earlier rejection of the analogy about the clone waking up and demanding the clothes of his predecessor, for that clone was more close on a cellular level and on a conscious level (had closer gamma waves) with his predecessor than the had victim with the accused.
As my opponent said in his opening statement that no matter how paradoxical the situation ends up all that matters is whether the individuals are the same organism and one has killed the other. I believe I have conclusively proved both these are in fact to separate individuals.
I'd also like to state that the jury should make their decision based on the present and disregard whether eventually the accused will in the future and become the victim, with the discovery of this new time travelling technology, this would open the door to a legal nightmare where individuals could be convicted for future crimes, and also we are uncertain to whether in the future this is inevitable, or the accused future murder be avoided, we can only judge crimes for past and present acts.
To summat the victim is on a cellular level no different to that of a twin, and should be considered either a clone or identical brother.
On an atomic level both are made up of completely different matter.
They have two separate consciousnesses.
The accused survival does not depend on his victim.
We the prosecution believe we have proved that the two men are individual organisms, by the defence's own definitions, and that again by their own definition this is a case of MURDER not suicide.
I'd like to personally thank my opponent. This debate was more than I could have hoped for, and could have easily just been a response of"no because doc brown said so!". So thanks again and I look forward to his closing statement.
I would like the jury to consider the moral implications of placing the same person in different categories just because of time continuity.
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