The Instigator
Harlan
Con (against)
Losing
0 Points
The Contender
LR4N6FTW4EVA
Pro (for)
Winning
7 Points

Intentionally taking a life is morally equivalent to allowing a life to be lost.

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 9/16/2008 Category: Miscellaneous
Updated: 8 years ago Status: Voting Period
Viewed: 995 times Debate No: 5372
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (8)
Votes (1)

 

Harlan

Con

Hello,

The main difference between making someone die and letting them die is not the outcome, but the attitude and nature of the action or non-action.

To make someone die is to want them to die. This is to have desires and self-purposes that drive you. You are either crazed with rage, or dangerously driven by a malicious will. To make someone die means inevitably that you care about the outcome, and are willfully trying to take control over the outcome; taking action towards a goal.

However allowing an event to happen does not necessarily mean these things. You are indifferent to the outcome. This does not display hate or malice, but acceptance and lack of regret for what will happen. If you are without goal; without desire; without emotion about what happens; if you simply do not care, than you cannot have sinned.

Sin stems from Human desires and the terrible purposes of Humans. Though if one has detached himself from this Human desire and is simply apathetic and accepting of all events, then he is wholly incapable of sin of any sort, just as all things inhuman are incapable of sin.

-Harlan
LR4N6FTW4EVA

Pro

Scenario: Drowning child-Version 1
Person X is babysitting his 6 year old brother. X's father is an extremely rich widower, who although X is older has put the younger child as his heir. X drowns the child while he is bathing, and calls it an accident.

Version 2
Person X is babysitting his 6 year old brother. X's father is an extremely rich widower, who although X is older has put the younger child as his heir. X sees his brother have a seizure in the bathtub. He decides not to act, and his brother dies.

I contend that because the result was the same, and X could have prevented the result, X is just as wrong in version 2 as he is in version 1. In short, X's actions/inactions led to the same result, ergo the actions are morally equivalent. X made a conscious choice, and his choice lead to these bad consequences. X only let his brother die because of his "malicious will"

"The main difference between making someone die and letting them die is not the outcome, but the attitude and nature of the action or non-action."

Killing and letting die are both conscious choices that result in someone's death. The attitude is the same.

"To make someone die is to want them to die. This is to have desires and self-purposes that drive you. You are either crazed with rage, or dangerously driven by a malicious will. To make someone die means inevitably that you care about the outcome, and are willfully trying to take control over the outcome; taking action towards a goal."

The same is with letting die. X cared about the outcome. He wanted to kill his brother, he was simply giving great luck and his brother was put in a life threatening situation.

"However allowing an event to happen does not necessarily mean these things. You are indifferent to the outcome. This does not display hate or malice, but acceptance and lack of regret for what will happen. If you are without goal; without desire; without emotion about what happens; if you simply do not care, than you cannot have sinned."

Being apathetic can occur just as easily with killing. For example person Q loves to shoot his Uzi off in malls. The bullets that fly out kill tons of people, but he doesn't care. He is simply having a fun day at the mall, shooting off his Uzi.

"Sin stems from Human desires and the terrible purposes of Humans. Though if one has detached himself from this Human desire and is simply apathetic and accepting of all events, then he is wholly incapable of sin of any sort, just as all things inhuman are incapable of sin."

So under this logic, the killer I described is also equivalent. So basically, if you intend death, you are wrong, if you just don't care, you aren't wrong. They're still morally equivalent actions.
Debate Round No. 1
Harlan

Con

I would like to start off with reminding that the topic of this debate states that they are morally "equivalent", therefore making my opponent on the side that there is absolutely no difference morally between the two options. Not only that they are both wrong, but that there is no variation.

Death is not wrong but murder is.

The scenario you have chosen is a unique one which plays in your favor. Most of your argument hangs fragilely on the idea that the older brother wanted the six year old to die. This, however, would not necessarily be the case.

You yourself concede that "if you just don't care, you aren't wrong". Therefore you have admitted that a scenario in which the inaction resulted from apathy, it would not be morally equivalent to intending death which you say is wrong.

I have now come to realize that maybe my header was slightly vague. It is too late to change it now, though, so we must run with the topic line we have. What was negligently not specified on my part, however, must not be assumed in the debate. Therefore it is an unreasonable assumption that the person allowing death had the desire for death to come, and that point of my opponent's must be ignored.

"Being apathetic can occur just as easily with killing. For example person Q loves to shoot his Uzi off in malls. The bullets that fly out kill tons of people, but he doesn't care. He is simply having a fun day at the mall, shooting off his Uzi."

Involuntary manslaughter is outside the range of this debate, making this point moot. If you notice the topic of this debate is:

"Intentionally taking a life is morally equivalent to allowing a life to be lost."

The term "intentionally taking a life" does not include having no purpose in mind for where the bullets from your gun will land. Also you clearly state in your scenario: "he doesn't care." This is therefore the exact same scenario as complete apathy, and therefore does not prove your side of the argument.

"So basically, if you intend death, you are wrong, if you just don't care, you aren't wrong. They're still morally equivalent actions."

You contradict yourself by first stating that one scenario is wrong, while the other is not wrong, and then directly afterwards that they are equivalent. "Wrong" and "not wrong" are not equivalent, therefore only reinforcing my argument.

My opponent has inadvertently conceded my point of view, and has thoroughly contradicted his official stance in the debate. Vote CON.

-Harlan
LR4N6FTW4EVA

Pro

"You yourself concede that 'if you just don't care, you aren't wrong'. Therefore you have admitted that a scenario in which the inaction resulted from apathy, it would not be morally equivalent to intending death which you say is wrong."

But killing can be from apathy. If I don't care what happens to people, if I have no respect for their life, my apathetic killing of that person is equivalent. Basically, what I'm saying is that since I don't care, I can make the conscious choice to kill or the conscious choice to let die simply because I don't care. If I do care then my action or inaction is wrong. So basically, if one cares killing and letting die are both wrong, and if one doesn't care, neither are wrong.

"Involuntary manslaughter is outside the range of this debate, making this point moot."

No, it's voluntary, he just doesn't care that they die when he kills them. His intentions aren't bad, he's simply having fun killing people. The other person who lets a child drown in a pond also doesn't care. He just doesn't feel like saving the kid.

"The term 'intentionally taking a life' does not include having no purpose in mind for where the bullets from your gun will land. Also you clearly state in your scenario: 'he doesn't care.' This is therefore the exact same scenario as complete apathy, and therefore does not prove your side of the argument."
He made a conscious choice to kill those people, it is intentional, it is just apathetic.

"You contradict yourself by first stating that one scenario is wrong, while the other is not wrong, and then directly afterwards that they are equivalent. 'Wrong' and 'not wrong' are not equivalent, therefore only reinforcing my argument."

You misunderstood. What I meant was that an action done because you want someone dead is wrong, so killing and letting die because you want a person dead are both wrong and equivalent, and an action that is apathetic can't be wrong, so killing and letting die out of apathy are not wrong, so they are equivalent. What I am saying is that if killing and letting die are done under the same motive, they are equivalent.

For example, if I shoot someone because they are wearing a stupid shirt, I am immorally killing them. If I let them drown in a pond because I don't like they shirt, I am just as immoral. However, if I run someone over with my car, intentionally, simply because I don't care enough to swerve out of the way, I am not wrong, and if I let a child drown in a pond because I don't care enough to get my clothes wet to save him, I am also not wrong.

Vote PRO.
Debate Round No. 2
Harlan

Con

"But killing can be from apathy. If I don't care what happens to people, if I have no respect for their life, my apathetic killing of that person is equivalent. Basically, what I'm saying is that since I don't care, I can make the conscious choice to kill or the conscious choice to let die simply because I don't care. If I do care then my action or inaction is wrong. So basically, if one cares killing and letting die are both wrong, and if one doesn't care, neither are wrong."

Here is the fallacy of this idea: Any voluntary/intentional killing is a decision which must be made. If you intentionally kill someone then you have a goal/intention. You DO care because you are attempting to take control over the flow of events. If you truly did not care, you would not take any action, because there would be no motive. You may not care about the ethical implications, but you still have some degree of intention over what happens, since you are acting on a set goal. An inaction, however, implies no goal, and therefore is truly free from morals.

"No, it's voluntary, he just doesn't care that they die when he kills them. His intentions aren't bad, he's simply having fun killing people. The other person who lets a child drown in a pond also doesn't care. He just doesn't feel like saving the kid."

If he is completely unconcerned with the issue of whether his bullets will kill, then it is not voluntary. The man in your hypothetical is not voluntarily killing people, because that is not his goal, his goal is only to have fun randomly shooting his gun, and he is completely unconcerned with the matter of the people dying. He is not trying to kill people, but he is also not trying to not kill people, making it involuntary.

Consider this scenario:

Someone is given a simple remote with a big red button. When pressed they will receive one hundred dollars. There is a chance (we do not know how big a chance) that a random person somewhere MIGHT be killed as a result of the button being pressed. The person does not care whether or not someone dies, this is completely irrelevant to him. He presses the button a few times, but not out of any goal involved in homicide; nay, only the simple goal of getting money. The possible murder is therefore involuntary because he did not have the goal to kill someone. This is a simpler version of your mall scenario.

"He made a conscious choice to kill those people, it is intentional, it is just apathetic."

First of all, you have now changed your scenario from it's original form. You originally stated "The bullets that fly out kill tons of people, but he doesn't care." That doesn't seem like a "conscious choice" to me, it sounds more like a side effect of another action he was taking. In your original scenario he did not make the purposeful decision, he merely killed people without thinking about it or caring, which means that you don't have a goal. However, a "conscious choice" does imply a goal very much.

And secondly, in your above quote, you contradict yourself with the terms "intentional" and "apathetic".

Here is the definition of "apathetic", courtesy dictionary.com:

"1. having or showing little or no emotion: apathetic behavior.
2. not interested or concerned; indifferent or unresponsive: an apathetic audience."

Now here's the definition of "intentional":

"1. done with intention or on purpose; intended: an intentional insult.
2. of or pertaining to intention or purpose."

One word means having purpose, and the other means being indifferent. You, however, have used them both in the same sentence to describe the same thing. This is a contradiction.

"You misunderstood. What I meant was that an action done because you want someone dead is wrong, so killing and letting die because you want a person dead are both wrong and equivalent, and an action that is apathetic can't be wrong, so killing and letting die out of apathy are not wrong, so they are equivalent. What I am saying is that if killing and letting die are done under the same motive, they are equivalent."

I repeat that the scope of this debate is only concerned with intentional killings, and a killing done without goal or purpose, involuntarily, or as a trivial side effect of something else, is not within that range.

"For example, if I shoot someone because they are wearing a stupid shirt, I am immorally killing them. If I let them drown in a pond because I don't like they shirt, I am just as immoral. However, if I run someone over with my car, intentionally, simply because I don't care enough to swerve out of the way, I am not wrong, and if I let a child drown in a pond because I don't care enough to get my clothes wet to save him, I am also not wrong."

The scenario of the car above actually fits better with the "letting a life be lost" category, since it was not an action but an inaction that killed. It was your lack of action/ your negligence to swerve.

And even if this were a murder, than it certainly wouldn't be "intentional", it would be simply a mere side effect of you're not swerving.

If it were intentional, you would think:

"I think I'd fancy killing this lad, I suppose I'll run him down with my lorry. Pip pip."

If it were apathetic, you would think:

"I don't really feel like swerving, so I wont"
LR4N6FTW4EVA

Pro

"Here is the fallacy of this idea: Any voluntary/intentional killing is a decision which must be made. If you intentionally kill someone then you have a goal/intention. You DO care because you are attempting to take control over the flow of events. If you truly did not care, you would not take any action, because there would be no motive. You may not care about the ethical implications, but you still have some degree of intention over what happens, since you are acting on a set goal. An inaction, however, implies no goal, and therefore is truly free from morals."

Letting die is a decision as well. But you don't care, because although you are aware that your actions, shooting off Uzis in malls will kill, you don't care. You are focused on the shooting part, not the killing part. Your goal is not to kill, you just know that you will kill by fulfilling your benign goal.

"If he is completely unconcerned with the issue of whether his bullets will kill, then it is not voluntary. The man in your hypothetical is not voluntarily killing people, because that is not his goal, his goal is only to have fun randomly shooting his gun, and he is completely unconcerned with the matter of the people dying. He is not trying to kill people, but he is also not trying to not kill people, making it involuntary."

The resolution says " He is intentionally doing an action that he knows will take a life. So effectively he is "intentionally taking a life"

"Someone is given a simple remote with a big red button. When pressed they will receive one hundred dollars. There is a chance (we do not know how big a chance) that a random person somewhere MIGHT be killed as a result of the button being pressed. The person does not care whether or not someone dies, this is completely irrelevant to him. He presses the button a few times, but not out of any goal involved in homicide; nay, only the simple goal of getting money. The possible murder is therefore involuntary because he did not have the goal to kill someone. This is a simpler version of your mall scenario."

Not really. He is still choosing to do an action that will almost certainly kill. Under your logic, if I shoot someone with a pistol simply because they might not get killed, I am not morally culpable for their death. And again they are intentionally taking a life.

"First of all, you have now changed your scenario from it's original form. You originally stated "The bullets that fly out kill tons of people, but he doesn't care." That doesn't seem like a "conscious choice" to me, it sounds more like a side effect of another action he was taking. In your original scenario he did not make the purposeful decision, he merely killed people without thinking about it or caring, which means that you don't have a goal. However, a "conscious choice" does imply a goal very much."

If he knew that his actions would take a life, it is intentionally taking a life if he carries out those actions. As he does not care about life, he being apathetic.

"'1. having or showing little or no emotion: apathetic behavior.
2. not interested or concerned; indifferent or unresponsive: an apathetic audience.'

Now here's the definition of 'intentional':

'1. done with intention or on purpose; intended: an intentional insult.
2. of or pertaining to intention or purpose.'"

That is not a contradiction. For example, I swerve my car into my next door neighbor on purpose, so that action was intentional. I was not concerned that she was killed. I was indifferent to her death.

"I repeat that the scope of this debate is only concerned with intentional killings, and a killing done without goal or purpose, involuntarily, or as a trivial side effect of something else, is not within that range."

I am choosing to kill. That is intentional. Even if my goal does not involve killing, it is my intention to kill in order to reach that goal. It is my intention not to save a life in order to reach my goal. It's the same construction.

"The scenario of the car above actually fits better with the "letting a life be lost" category, since it was not an action but an inaction that killed. It was your lack of action/ your negligence to swerve."

No, I chose to run them over, I intentionally allowed myself to take their life.

"And even if this were a murder, than it certainly wouldn't be "intentional", it would be simply a mere side effect of you're not swerving."

Murder is defined as intentional killing.

"If it were intentional, you would think:

'I think I'd fancy killing this lad, I suppose I'll run him down with my lorry. Pip pip.'

If it were apathetic, you would think:

'I don't really feel like swerving, so I wont'"

If it were apathetic I would think "Damn, that stupid Richardson boy is playing chess in the middle of I-95 again, I don't really feel like swerving, so I guess I'll have to kill him, oh well."

I intentional took a course of action that killed the Richardson boy. I took it simply because I didn't care if he died, and it was much easier for me to do.
Debate Round No. 3
Harlan

Con

Harlan forfeited this round.
LR4N6FTW4EVA

Pro

My opponent forfeited. Extend all my arguments across and vote for me.
Debate Round No. 4
8 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 8 records.
Posted by Harlan 8 years ago
Harlan
Sorry I didn't post, Iv got alot of homework. Come the weekend Ill have time to debate. Its too bad, I really liked this debate, but now iv forfieted a round.
Posted by Rezzealaux 8 years ago
Rezzealaux
b/c brittwaller owned you.
Posted by LR4N6FTW4EVA 8 years ago
LR4N6FTW4EVA
Why am I still pagan.
Posted by Rezzealaux 8 years ago
Rezzealaux
I shall make the list longer next time ._.;
Posted by LR4N6FTW4EVA 8 years ago
LR4N6FTW4EVA
Oh, I'm PRO, oh well, I like my PRO argument for this too.
Posted by LR4N6FTW4EVA 8 years ago
LR4N6FTW4EVA
And I'm not CirRo, R_R, or Puck.
Posted by LR4N6FTW4EVA 8 years ago
LR4N6FTW4EVA
I'll get to this later.
Posted by Rezzealaux 8 years ago
Rezzealaux
inb4 Cirro, R_R, or Puck.
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by Ineffablesquirrel 8 years ago
Ineffablesquirrel
HarlanLR4N6FTW4EVATied
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