The Instigator
LR4N6FTW4EVA
Pro (for)
Losing
9 Points
The Contender
Bravo453
Con (against)
Winning
12 Points

It is illogical to choose birth as the milestone for attaining rights.

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 5/22/2008 Category: Health
Updated: 9 years ago Status: Voting Period
Viewed: 1,408 times Debate No: 4143
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (14)
Votes (8)

 

LR4N6FTW4EVA

Pro

Okay, CON, you have first move.

I'll set parameters.

illogical: violating the rules of logic

birth: when one exits the womb

milestone: point

rights: basic privileges guaranteed to all persons

This is primarily referring to humans, but this goes for any other person, however you want to define that.
Bravo453

Con

I would like to begin this hopefully fascinating debate by thanking my opponent for developing the topic "It is illogical to choose birth as a milestone for attaining rights."

At the consent of my opponent, I would like to further define birth as the birth of a human being so we have absolutely no confusion in this debate.

To me, it is the resolution that is illogical. For everything in this world, there is a beginning and an end. And by everything I mean physical objects that we, as the human race, knew and/or know exists/existed, specifically the life of a human (I ask we keep religious ideas out of this debate, please). Why is it so illogical to assume that the term "born" should not be political, in a sense that a birthed human being obtains rights at the very instant he or she is brought forth into the world? There has to be a point at which that human was conceived, yes, but not until the fetus is born should it be officially deemed a free human being, living and operating on his or her own senses and organs, not to mention instincts as well.

My point is to prove that there must be an exact moment, for the sake of political reason, in which the fetus is brought into the world, thus becoming a human, being bestowed with all the rights and privileges granted to him or her in the United States of America.

I await my opponent's response.
Debate Round No. 1
LR4N6FTW4EVA

Pro

Okay, his case than my case.

His case: He says that birth is when one becomes a human, so that's when we must attain rights. This is oversimplifying a major issue. It leaves many questions like "Why do only humans get rights?" and "What makes a newborn infant different mentally to most mammals and birds?"

One argument against this is my case, so I'll save that, but I'll give some other arguments.

Alright, first, this statement limits rights to humans. It says that there is some magic quality about humans that only gives them rights. I defined rights as "privileges guaranteed to all persons" I realize now I neglected to define persons. A person is a being that is self-aware, and of at least basic intelligence. I feel this is a superior definition, as defining person simply as a human limits rights to only us. This is bad, as on the off-chance there is intelligent life forms out there that contact us, they wouldn't have rights. Also, the average gorilla has an IQ in the 70s or 80s; smarter than some mentally impaired humans. Chimpanzees and bonobos are even more intelligent than gorillas. Bottlenose dolphins are also considered very intelligent, there is evidence that they have a language that they use to communicate complex commands. All these beings are not worthy of rights under this definition. These beings are smarter than some humans, and certainly more intelligent than infants. Obivously then, humans cannot be the only persons, and they cannot be the only ones worthy of rights.

Also, under my definition, most infants aren't even persons, they aren't self-aware. If you want I can provide scientific evidence showing this. Obviously then, birth cannot be the right place to give rights, as they aren't even persons yet.

My Case:
Alright, I will argue that the best time to give rights is at conception. I know, they certainly aren't persons then, but at conception there is a 67% that they will survive long enough to be considered humans if their growth is not inhibited by us (through an abortion or fetal abuse). This means they have as philosopher Don Marquis puts it, a "future like ours." This means as he put it "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." These beings have rights, so it is only logical to give rights to beings that will become those beings, as causing them to not become that future person denies that future person of its rights. I guess technically the fetus does not have rights, but it is treated as if it does, as the individual it will most likely become does have rights.
Bravo453

Con

I would like to thank my opponent for the speedy response.

"'Why do only humans get rights?'(1) and 'What makes a newborn infant different mentally to most mammals and birds?'(2)"

-1)Animals do have laws that protect them, which I consider to be rights in a fashion that they allow for some protection for their own well-being. I never stated anywhere that only humans receive rights. I did state, however, that we were to discuss humans, not animals, so there would be no confusion. Humans have far more complex and detailed rights that allow for society and government to function in this country. But this is not what we are trying to resolve, whether as to why humans have rights and mammals and birds do not. We are resolving that the rights given to a human are ascertained through birth, which I firmly believe. This allows for no grey areas to appear. The instant a child is born, in any fashion (I am aware there are other procedures as to how to deliver a child not through the normal route), they receive the rights granted to them through the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence

-2)The difference between a newborn is that he or she will develop into something far superior to what a mammal or bird will ever aspire to. That newborn may develop a cure to a cancer, bettering the health of our society overall. I do not see many mammals or birds with white coats on in laboratories trying to better their own specific race.

As we read on further into my opponent's speech, he states the following: "I realize now I neglected to define persons. A person is a being that is self-aware, and of at least basic intelligence(1). I feel this is a superior definition, as defining person simply as a human(2) limits rights to only us."

My opponents logic is flawed.

-1)In no dictionary, judge, will you find this particular definition of the word "person". Why? Because my opponent made it up on the spot, claiming that he feels it is a superior definition. If we followed what he does, than I could state that Superior now means incorrect. Things like this do not work.

-2)The Definition of person: 1: human, individual —sometimes used in combination especially by those who prefer to avoid man in compounds applicable to both sexes (SOURCE: http://www.merriam-webster.com...). As you can see, my opponent is incorrect with his definition, nullifying some of the points he has made.

After those two points, my opponent seems to ramble on about how impaired humans are not smarter than chimpanzees, and that bottle-nose dolphins have their own language. He also states how humans are not the only persons. As I have just clearly showed you above, humans are the ONLY persons. He is using the word in the wrong context and trying to link it something to rebut with.

"Also, under my definition, most infants aren't even persons, they aren't self-aware. If you want I can provide scientific evidence showing this. Obviously then, birth cannot be the right place to give rights, as they aren't even persons yet."

Basically, my opponent is saying that infants/newborns are not persons. Would that be safe to say that my opponent has little respect for human life? He feels that a person cannot receive rights because those humans are not self-aware. When should we, then, hand rights over to these humans? At an age of reason? No. That is a whole other debate. A fetus becomes a human at the instant of birth, and at that instant he or she is granted rights in the United States from the Constitution.

My opponent then states his case on the matter. He says that rights should be granted at moment of contraception. This is where we disagree on things that are directly relevant to this debate. I feel that a human is a human at the exact moment of birth, not at conception. There must be time allotted in order for the fetus to develop. How would giving a human rights at the moment he or she is born be a denial of rights? My opponent seems to think we should treat the fetus as though it has rights, even though it is still under the direct influence of developing through its mothers care. I feel strongly that a fetus is a fetus until birth, therefore must receive rights at birth. If we waited later until the infant was older, or "self-aware", that would be a major denial of rights. For the sake of making the process of obtaining rights sensible and clear, a fetus is not a human until birth, where he or she attains the rights granted to all US Citizens by law.

I await my opponents response.
Debate Round No. 2
LR4N6FTW4EVA

Pro

I would first like to address the definition of person. In philosophy, personhood is not limited to human beings; it looks at qualities that most humans have that make the vast majority of humans, persons. If he wants a recorded definition, I'll give Mary Ann Warren's. In her paper on abortion she defines person as a being that has
1. Consciousness and the capacity to feel pain
2. Open-ended reasoning ability
3. Self-motivated activity
4. The capacity to communicate in an open-ended way
5. Self-awareness
(This comes from an anthology I have, I googled her name and I found this site:http://instruct.westvalley.edu...
which has this defintion in it if you need verification.)
This is used because simply being genetically human is not sufficient to be considered mentally or morally a person. If it was, then "not guilty by insanity" would not be a viable plea. It is neither objective nor logical to distribute personhood based on genetic code.

Now, to address his points.

"-1)Animals do have laws that protect them, which I consider to be rights in a fashion that they allow for some protection for their own well-being. I never stated anywhere that only humans receive rights. I did state, however, that we were to discuss humans, not animals, so there would be no confusion. Humans have far more complex and detailed rights that allow for society and government to function in this country. But this is not what we are trying to resolve, whether as to why humans have rights and mammals and birds do not. We are resolving that the rights given to a human are ascertained through birth, which I firmly believe. This allows for no grey areas to appear. The instant a child is born, in any fashion (I am aware there are other procedures as to how to deliver a child not through the normal route), they receive the rights granted to them through the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence"

Okay, I was referring to the statement that once fetuses are born, they become humans, giving them rights. This limits all rights to humans, if humans are the only persons. Humans in general are persons, but some are not persons in the mental or moral sense. Humanhood is not personhood, not all humans meet the criteria necessary to be considered humans. It is illogical to say humanhood qualifies for personhood. Obviously another standard is necessary. I feel that that standard would be the Future Like Ours, if any being will have a future where it is a person, it should be treated as a person. That is a) not a grey area, and b) a logical and definitive milestone. I am aware that this would mean that certain individuals that are humans would not have rights this way, but lack of rights does not warrant that we can be cruel to that individual. Dogs don't ave rights, but we protect them because we don't want pain and suffering to fall on them.

"-2)The difference between a newborn is that he or she will develop into something far superior to what a mammal or bird will ever aspire to. That newborn may develop a cure to a cancer, bettering the health of our society overall. I do not see many mammals or birds with white coats on in laboratories trying to better their own specific race."

A fetus will develop into something far superior as well. Just because the newborn doesn't have a little cord attached to it and the fetus does won't change that fact. Both are not persons and both will become persons, my argument is clearly superior. This statement only supports it.

"-1)In no dictionary, judge, will you find this particular definition of the word "person". Why? Because my opponent made it up on the spot, claiming that he feels it is a superior definition. If we followed what he does, than I could state that Superior now means incorrect. Things like this do not work."

I was referring to person in a philosophical sense, not in a common usage sense. Being a person in a moral sense is very different than the Merriam-Webster definition.

"Basically, my opponent is saying that infants/newborns are not persons. Would that be safe to say that my opponent has little respect for human life? He feels that a person cannot receive rights because those humans are not self-aware. When should we, then, hand rights over to these humans? At an age of reason? No. That is a whole other debate. A fetus becomes a human at the instant of birth, and at that instant he or she is granted rights in the United States from the Constitution."

Okay, first, it is not safe to say I have little respect for human life. I said that infants, all though they are not persons, have a FLO, and that justifies giving them basic rights. Also, the Constitution grants rights to "persons" which recently has been challenged as extending to any organism that is a person in the moral sense, like I said before. Anyways the Constitution is a legal document, not necessarily the utmost authority on when to give rights, which are moral concerns.

"My opponent then states his case on the matter. He says that rights should be granted at moment of contraception. This is where we disagree on things that are directly relevant to this debate. I feel that a human is a human at the exact moment of birth, not at conception. There must be time allotted in order for the fetus to develop. How would giving a human rights at the moment he or she is born be a denial of rights? My opponent seems to think we should treat the fetus as though it has rights, even though it is still under the direct influence of developing through its mothers care. I feel strongly that a fetus is a fetus until birth, therefore must receive rights at birth. If we waited later until the infant was older, or "self-aware", that would be a major denial of rights. For the sake of making the process of obtaining rights sensible and clear, a fetus is not a human until birth, where he or she attains the rights granted to all US Citizens by law."

Okay, my opponent's logic is extremely flawed. In a moral sense, there is no real difference between a infant and a very late-term fetus that would warrant denying the fetus rights and giving the newborn rights. The superior standard is the FLO. Personhood is illogical because it could be used to justify infanticide or abortion. Birth, is illogical because it is giving rights to nonpersons who are in a moral sense, indistinguishable from late-term fetuses. It creates a double-standard, denying fetuses rights simply because they have an umbilical cord attaching them to their mother.
Bravo453

Con

My opponent believes that not all humans are persons, in a mental or moral sense, and that humans may not be the only persons. I have something to say towards my opponents beliefs...

"We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness." (SOURCE:http://www.ushistory.org...)

A quote from the Declaration of Independence states that men are created equal, and that they receive certain rights. It is unjust to deny a human these rights at birth because they do not classify as a person, which is a way of interrupting what my opponents believes. I feel strongly that fetus is not a human until the act of the birth occurs.

My opponent feels that because a fetus has a "Future Like Ours", we deny it rights when wait until birth. One question: What difference does it make if wait until birth? There is none, but in my opinion it is more logical to give a human rights the moment they are born and living on their own accord, not in sync with the mother.

I would like you to answer the following in your own conscience, weighing the pros and cons. Then examine where you stand in conjunction with the resolution.

Does a fetus NEED rights? If so, when would they be exercised?
Does the mother who is bearing the fetus have basic human rights over the fetus?

Is a fetus entitled to rights? When does the fetus attain these rights?

Does a human NEED rights?

And now I would like to point something out from the source my opponent used to define a person.

If you read the whole part that he used, it is not stating what a person is at all, but what a human is. If you read further after the numbered points, it states..."The point is, however, that a being lacking all five couldn't possibly be human, and having (1) alone ---->(like a fetus)<---- is not sufficient."
The document also goes on to state that, "A more highly-developed fetus is 'not significantly more personlike than is a very small embryo,' so we should not think late-term abortion (at 7, 8, or even 9 months) is more evil than very early abortion. '...In the relevant respects, a fetus, even a fully developed one, is considerably less personlike than is the average mature mammal.'"
Debate Round No. 3
LR4N6FTW4EVA

Pro

"A quote from the Declaration of Independence states that men are created equal, and that they receive certain rights. It is unjust to deny a human these rights at birth because they do not classify as a person, which is a way of interrupting what my opponents believes. I feel strongly that fetus is not a human until the act of the birth occurs."

Okay, first, just because the Second Continental Congress holds that all men are created equal does not mean they're right. This can't prove your case. Anyways, when are men created? At conception. Or if we take men to mean person, when they meet those qualifications, which is not at birth.

"Does a fetus NEED rights? If so, when would they be exercised?
Does the mother who is bearing the fetus have basic human rights over the fetus?

Is a fetus entitled to rights? When does the fetus attain these rights?

Does a human NEED rights?'

A fetus needs one right, that is, the right to live. Also, fetuses are entitled to life, as otherwise, they could not have FLOs. At birth however ask yourself this question:
Do infants need rights, if so, when would they be exercised?
The answer, I would think would be that they need the right to live, same as a fetus. Other rights clearly must come later. For example, I'm 14, so I don't have the right to vote, drive, or drink. These are rights that neither fetuses or infants need.

"If you read the whole part that he used, it is not stating what a person is at all, but what a human is. If you read further after the numbered points, it states..."The point is, however, that a being lacking all five couldn't possibly be human, and having (1) alone ---->(like a fetus)<---- is not sufficient."
The document also goes on to state that, "A more highly-developed fetus is 'not significantly more personlike than is a very small embryo,' so we should not think late-term abortion (at 7, 8, or even 9 months) is more evil than very early abortion. '...In the relevant respects, a fetus, even a fully developed one, is considerably less personlike than is the average mature mammal.'"

Well, babies don't meet all the criteria either, so this could be used to justify infanticide, as could all of the other arguments in that document. Either way, birth is still an irrational point to give rights at. Take it how you will.
Bravo453

Con

My opponent begins with a truly startling statement to me.

"Okay, first, just because the Second Continental Congress holds that all men are created equal does not mean they're right."

So when I interrupt this statement, I see the following in the mind of opponent: the Constitution and Declaration of Independence MUST be useless mumbo-jumbo written down hundreds of years ago that was wrong.

So then, from what we can obviously interrupt from what my opponents states, is that we actually DO NOT have ANY rights because the Founding Fathers of the United States of America were wrong with what they wrote.

This is simply not true. ALL MEN are created, in a sense that if you are black, you are no less or greater than a white. If you are asian, you are no less or greater than a hispanic. If you are mentally challenged, you are no less or greater than the person with the highest IQ. We are all created equal because each one of us are entitled to Life, entitled to Liberty, and entitled to the Pursuit of Happiness on this Earth. Not one person should be denied these basic rights.

But today the debate is about what constitutes when a human receives rights. I feel strongly that a fetus is what a human will be if born. This means that a fetus is not a human in a sense that a fetus would receive rights over the mother. Any human, who is born into this world, has the right to Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness over that of a fetus.

You can feel that a fetus is a human, I respect your opinion. However we must look at the resolution and decide when it is logical for a person to attain rights. It is truly logical to say that a fetus attains rights at the moment of birth, when they are born into the world and can live making their own decisions, think with their own conscience, and not be influenced by other forces.

My view of this is that a human being will always have rights over a fetus, and I ask that you bear with me and see where I am coming from.

If you have read every portion of this debate, I thank you for taking the time to consider both sides before voting for who you believe has the better case.
Debate Round No. 4
14 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by LR4N6FTW4EVA 9 years ago
LR4N6FTW4EVA
Rights come from being a person, it would be ridiculous to give a goat rights. The only differences between babies and goats are physical, and the fact the babies have a FLO. Since fetuses have FLOs as well, there is no real difference between a fetus and a baby.

RFDs as well please.
Posted by tangerineman91 9 years ago
tangerineman91
"Simply being genetically human is not sufficient to be considered mentally or morally a person. If it was, then "not guilty by insanity" would not be a viable plea." -Pro, Round 3

Not guilty by reason of insanity is a legal concept that has no bearing on a person's rights. In those two statements, what is being said is: "A verdict by a jury of not guilty by reason of insanity is a judgement whether a human is mentally or morally a person." Quite the contrary.

There are many legal situations in which a person was inflicted with a temporary mental disorder. In a first-degree murder case, the accused (among other things) have to premeditate his actions. That means that the accused must have sufficient time to weigh the consequences of his actions, and still commit the act. A person with a temporary mental disorder may still not be able to weigh the consequences of his actions, and yet kill someone, and be completely sane after the manifestation of his temporary mental disorder.

I only use that as an example that the use of the legal concept of not guilty by reason of mental insanity was way, way, way out of context and completely inappropriate.
Posted by Ragnar_Rahl 9 years ago
Ragnar_Rahl
Perhaps someone in his household typed something for him?
Posted by LR4N6FTW4EVA 9 years ago
LR4N6FTW4EVA
What are you talking about?
Posted by ghegeman 9 years ago
ghegeman
Wow, I leave my computer for 20 minutes and (name withheld) goes and makes me look like an idiot by misinterpreting the resolution.
Posted by LR4N6FTW4EVA 9 years ago
LR4N6FTW4EVA
You know, babies at birth are slimy, so that supports my argument. Though if we kill all slimy things, then we will never come to be, all people are slimy in the owmb and at birth.
Posted by Ragnar_Rahl 9 years ago
Ragnar_Rahl
Or, better yet, anytime someone has pesky little rights and you don't like them, sprinkle some slime on them and problem solved, you can do whatever you want! :D
Posted by Ragnar_Rahl 9 years ago
Ragnar_Rahl
You do realize you are gooey on the inside right? By your premise, you have no rights :D
Posted by multislack 9 years ago
multislack
1. I'm open to adding to the list of gooey things that lack any rights.

2. Hookers have the right to remain silent, be it through a large cucumber or police suggestion.
Posted by Ragnar_Rahl 9 years ago
Ragnar_Rahl
Um, multislack... That would mean fishermen, obstetricians, and anyone else with a dirty job would lose all rights.

Although of the things on your list of examples, only hookers have rights :D
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