The Instigator
Mikirta
Pro (for)
Losing
7 Points
The Contender
Cody_Franklin
Con (against)
Winning
31 Points

It is morally permissible to kill one innocent person to save the lives of more innocent people.

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 6/29/2009 Category: Society
Updated: 7 years ago Status: Voting Period
Viewed: 5,358 times Debate No: 8822
Debate Rounds (5)
Comments (28)
Votes (6)

 

Mikirta

Pro

No sacrifice short of individual liberty, individual self-respect, and individual enterprise is too great a price to pay for permanent peace."

It is because I agree with the words said by Clark H. Minor that I affirm the resolution: It is morally permissible to kill one innocent person to save the lives of more innocent people.

In my case argument, I will explain why the killing of one innocent person should be permissible in the act to save many other innocent people as well. It is an observance that the resolution does not give an initiative to being able to save the lives of all the people without any imminent danger. It must be assumed that the ultimatum is: kill one or all.

There are 3 different key terms that are essential in understanding the resolution. All of these terms are defined by Oxford's English Dictionary. In knowing these terms you will understand the objective of the resolution that will help you understand why to side with the affirmative.

Morally Permissible -"an action that is allowed and/or considered "right" by the moral code of conduct set by the society in question".
Kill -"to cause the death of…".
Innocence -"not intending to cause offence".

My Core Value is going to be Sacrifice .Sacrifice is defined as "an act of giving up something one values for the sake of something that is of greater importance". Sacrifice is the value in my argument because it is not just a killing of an innocent person but a sacrifice of a human being to save the lives of innocent others.

My Value Criteria is Utilitarianism. Utilitarianism is defined as "the doctrine that the greatest happiness of the greatest number should be the guiding principle of conduct". Utilitarianism fits as a criterion in my argument because the action chosen for a group of people in this circumstance should be chosen by what consequence it would have on the majority rather than the smaller group of people which is the minority.

My first contention is that it is unethical to kill a whole group of innocent people than killing one innocent person out of that whole group. They say there is an infinite value to human life. Well say there were 3 people and out of that 3 people one person has to die, otherwise the whole group dies. If each human life has 33% value, which would mean the ration of worth would be weighed by 99% as killing all three, those 2 human lives are worth 2 X's the 33% value because you are saving 2 people. So in terms of mathematical logic, it seems more appropriate to save 2 innocent people and kill one innocent person, than killing all 3 innocent people. What's killing 1 out of a 100 than killing all 100?

My second contention is that this action is permissible because it benefits the majority of the group. The reason this action of killing is permissible is because of the ideology of my value criteria which is utilitarianism. As I stated before, the basic definition of utilitarianism is the ideal of an action being decided for the majority or a group or society rather than minority. This also ties into my first contention because it raises the question of: ethically, is it permissible to kill an innocent person to save a group of people or to let an entire group of innocent people die. In situational terms it's impossible to avoid the act of killing because if that one innocent doesn't die, then the whole group of innocents ends up dying, so the death of someone is inevitable. It is our moral obligation as humans to save as many innocent people as possible, even if it means having others die.

My third and final contention is that it is unethical to save a number of innocent people less than the amount of people being killed. Seeing how the resolution is not only deciphering whether or not killing an innocent person is morally permissible, but its also deciding if allowing an entire group of innocent people to die is permissible. The justified action should be to save a greater number of people so the impact of death isn't a big as having the whole group murdered.

I believe that the killing of one innocent person to save the lives of many others is permissible because its
unethical to kill a whole group of innocent people than killing one innocent person out of that whole group, this action should be justified because it benefits the majority of the group, and that it is unethical to save a number of innocent people less than the amount of people being killed. After hearing my argument, I believe that knowing the burden of preservation should be the standing point of moral obligation to side with the affirmation. As George Matthew Adams had once said "In this life we get only those things for which we hunt, for which we strive, and for which we are willing to sacrifice".
Cody_Franklin

Con

I negate that Resolved: It is morally permissible to kill one innocent person to save the lives of more innocent people.

I accept all my opponent's definitions, except for morally permissible; I would only ask that we look to an objective standard of morality, as opposed to one society sets up; only with an objective morality is there any accountability, because a society could easily dictate that murder was moral, even though, objectively, it is not.

Before presenting my case, allow me to clarify my own burden; I have but one objective in today's round. I must prove that killing an innocent to save more lives is not morally permissible; despite what my opponent might claim, I do NOT have to prove that killing a majority of people to save one life is morally permissible.

The value, implied by the resolution, is Morality. Morality is defined as what is right, or what is good; look to this value because, as I said, it is intrinsic to the resolution, and morality is the basis upon which we make all rational and ethical decisions.

The criterion will be The Synderesis. St. Thomas Aquinas, in his Summa Theologica, explains that the morality of an action stems from the intent, methods, and ends of an action. I ask you to weigh the round on this because it is the most rigorous weighing standard in the round; for an action to be considered moral, it must pass the three tiers of Synderesis. If it fails even one of the three tests (intents, methods, effects), then it cannot possibly be moral, even if it passes the other two. The three contentions will discuss the three prongs of The Synderesis.

Contention I - The Intents are immoral.

The objective of a government is to protect ALL citizens; not some of them; John Rawls states in a Theory of Justice, that "Each person possesses an inviolability founded upon justice that even the welfare of society as a whole cannot override." Each person does have an inviolability in society, because they gave up their absolute freedom in return for the government's protection; however, the majority in this case would have the government deny that protection for their own selfish ends; they would have no qualms about sacrificing an individual; truly, there is no morality or safety in a society where random individuals can be killed off for some 'greater good'; I honestly doubt that my opponent would consent to being murdered to safe the lives of 10 people she's never met. I know I wouldn't.

Contention II - The means are immoral.

Murder is immoral. Plain and simple; justifiable in cases of self defense, but always immoral. Just look at the resolution; 'it is morally permissible to kill' should be the big tip-off here; if it's always immoral to kill, then it doesn't matter how many people are murdered; if only that one innocent is killed, it's still immoral, no matter how many lives are saved by doing so.

Contention III - The ends are immoral.

If the government has no qualms about killing one innocent person, then what we end up with is an unsafe society; a society where no man has the protection he was promised; a society where citizens' liberties are violated and restricted more and more, where the basic dignity of humankind is lost; and by saying that it's permissible, we're essentially consenting to murder, and handing our lives to the government on a silver platter; the effect of affirming is that we deem is socially acceptable to slaughter innocent people; and in no way is that moral.

Seeing that my opponent can in no way meet the burdens of the Synderesis, we must negate the resolution.

Now, moving on to the affirmative, I'd like to use her quote at the top to support my stance; "No sacrifice short of individual liberty, individual self-respect, and individual enterprise is too great a price to pay for permanent peace." Keep in mind that, when an individual is being murdered off, he loses all three of these things; there's a point at which sacrifice turns to disposal; the affirmative has crossed that line.

My opponent tries to give us an ultimatum; kill one or kill all; this is a huge either/or fallacy, first of all; she's trying to trap us into affirming or complete annihilation; please, don't let those scare tactics work on you. Second of all, look back to my burden; I don't have to prove that it's morally permissible to kill off the majority; I only have to prove that it isn't permissible to kill an innocent individual.

Her value of sacrifice is first of all, entirely circular; she says sacrifice is her value because we're killing an innocent person, which she says is sacrifice; so her value is sacrifice because we're murdering innocents, when you boil it down logically; second of all, because of the circular logic here, she doesn't give you any reason to value sacrifice in the round; the reason is, because it isn't valuable. Honestly, what does the greater good matter if one is not around to share in it? My life doesn't belong to society, and I'd like to keep it that way.

On Utilitarianism, first of all, Jeremy Bentham points out that the 'greatest good' is measured in happiness; pleasure. Obviously, pleasure is no standard to judge by, especially in matters of morality; we can't allow the 'happiness' of the majority to crush the natural rights of an individual. Second of all, Look back to A Theory of Justice: "The rights secured by justice are not subject to bargaining or the calculus of social interests. Justice does not allow that the sacrifices imposed on a few are outweighed by the larger sum of advantages enjoyed by many." We can look back at the inviolability of the individual, and how it's hypocritical and immoral of the government to disregard its promise to protect the life and rights of EVERY individual; third and finally, I'd rather you look to Synderesis in the round; Utilitarianism is a narrow criterion, looking at only the effects; Synderesis looks to all 3 tiers; if you try to use utilitarianism, just know that the ends ignore the means, not justify them.

Her first contention tries to put a percentage, a VALUE, on human life; first of all, don't let her do that; there's no value on the life of an innocent; it's got an unlimited, inviolable intrinsic worth that we as a society cannot violate. Second of all, you can really drop this contention, because again, I don't have to prove that killing a whole group of innocent people is morally permissible; her flawed logic here is "Either A or B; not A, therefore B." She assumes we have to kill one or the other, but that's in no way the case; even if we did murder the majority, I'm not saying that's morally permissible; as I said before, no murder is morally permissible, whether it's of one or one million; all I have to prove, once again, is that murdering an individual to save more lives is immoral; that is my ONLY burden. I don't have to promote the murder of the majority.

On the second contention, her argument here is basically just a restatement of utilitarian ideology. Just cross apply the responses I made on her criterion, and I really want to pull through the idea that we can't let the majority determine morality; the government has an obligation to try and protect every person, not just most people; and please, don't let her convince you otherwise.

Finally, her third contention. Remember that the core issue is whether or not murdering an innocent individual is morally permissible. Every life has moral worth, and it is not morally permissible in any sense to allow society to murder a single person, and rob them of their moral worth, to selfishly protect the majority (because again, killing is ALWAYS morally wrong). She tries to tell you what would be JUSTIFIED; but keep in mind, we're looking to what is morally permissible, not what is justifiable. She even admits that there will be some impact caused by the death of the individual; and that impact, my friends, is the immorality of murdering an innoce
Debate Round No. 1
Mikirta

Pro

I though we could use this as a questioning period, so i guess i will go first :)

-You define your value of morality as "what is right or good",yet who exactly decides that? Pertaining to each individual person, morality is not exactly consistent, so whose morality gets to be right and whose wrong?
-Morality is also based upon on rational and ethical decisions, as you say, yet what is the basis of rational and ethical thinking? Does rational and ethical decisions not stem from personal conviction?
-You use The Synderesis as your criterion, right? How does one determine if all tiers are met by said action to be determined moral or immoral?
-Where does it imply in the resolution that the governemnt is allowing the killing of said innocent person?
-Define murder for me please.
-Does this resolution imply that a person is being murder (against their will) or killed (causing death of said person)?
-In a democracy, the people (all of them) have a say in the government, right? Yet, laws are placed by majority consent, so does that make a democracy an immoral system of government?
-Is that act of killing in war illegal?
-How many people are implied to being killed in the resolution?
-Can you please expand on the ideal of "the dignity of mankind".
-Do you idealize that sacrifice and murder are the same thing?

Ok....so you can just post up your questions now and i will answer yours, so that way you can answer mine. Apparently, the affirmamtion always has to make the next arguement first. Enjoy :)
Cody_Franklin

Con

1. We're not looking at individual morality; because that's hardly morality at all; that's selfish desire, which is exactly why we have to look to an objective system; someone either is, or is not acting morally. There is no relativism.

2. If, as you say, they stem from personal convictions, then those are moral convictions; morality is, again, objective; a person either does act morally, or does not; a person's convictions, no matter how strong, can be immoral; for example, someone can have the conviction that hurting or murdering someone is acceptable because he/she is a 'bad person'; however, the taking of life is objectively immoral, obviously, because every life has value; convictions can be immoral; if they are, acting from those convictions is in no way ethical.

3. I think it's quite clear whether something meets one of the three tiers; for example, saving someone's life would be protecting dignity; therefore, that would be a moral action; the intention is to save a life; the method I'm not sure of, say, pushing someone out from in front of a car; the effect, a human life is preserved. But, the converse, taking a life, for whatever reason, would be immoral; because obviously, murder is objectively immoral; you can try and argue otherwise, though.

4. I assumed the government would be doing the killing, since it's supposed to act the way its people tell it to; if you want to argue a mob of innocents trying to take the life of another innocent, please, go right ahead.

5. I'm hoping that we're talking about the verb form, which is defined to be killing another human being in an inhumane or barbarous way.

6. First of all, the resolution does not say "In a democratic society..." so, if you argue solely on democracy, then you're not fulfilling the affirmative burden of universality. Second of all, I believe democracy to be an immoral form of government, personally; like Thoreau pointed out, the only reason we sanction majority rule is because the majority is more powerful, and it would get what it wanted anyway; third and most importantly, if you want to argue that individual life can be nullified by a vote, or that individual life belongs to the majority, once again, go right ahead.

7. First of all, it's irrelevant whether killing in war is legal or illegal; this is a moral issue. And, second of all, the road to hell is paved with good intentions; even if a war is for a noble cause, no one associated with a war, whether on the front lines or not, is innocent in that respect.

8. I can see you're going to try and argue the paradigm of 'kill one, or kill all', but again, I only have to prove that killing the one is not morally permissible; on the assumption that you do try to argue that I'm promoting the death of the majority, just know that I don't have to prove that this is permissible; in fact, neither situation is morally permissible; through Synderesis, both scenarios would be immoral for whoever was doing the killing.

9. Dignity; also known as moral worth; the inherent value given to human life. Simple as that.

10. Within the context that you are trying to put sacrifice, it's absolutely the same as murder; killing someone for the benefit of another is most certainly murder, objective of whatever 'benefits' might come out of it; like I said in refutation, what's the point of a 'greater good' if the individual that's 'sacrificed' is not around to share in it?

I myself have but three questions.

1. Can you put some kind of physical value on a human life? Can a life be measured in value in units of currency, or time, or anything like that? Yes or no is all I need.

2. Does an individual's life belong to the government or to the majority? Again, yes or no is all I need.

3. As far as utilitarianism is concerned, when we discuss the greatest good for the greatest number, how do we measure the quality, extent, intensity, duration, etc. of this so-called happiness? And, furthermore, when we talk about the greatest good for the greatest number, both Bentham and Mill discuss the greatest good possible for the greatest number; so they say that we should achieve the greatest good possible, but simply try to find the biggest number upon which that good would be distributed; so, with this note from two utilitarian philosophers in mind, is is acceptable under your criterion to distribute the greatest good possible on a smaller number of people, knowing that the good you were distributing was the GREATEST good possible?
Debate Round No. 2
Mikirta

Pro

Mikirta forfeited this round.
Cody_Franklin

Con

I have been informed that my opponent is out of town for a while, and is essentially unable to debate; in the interest of fairness, I would ask that you disregard my opponent's involuntary forfeiture and allow her to post her answers to my questions and her rebuttal in the next round, without being penalized for it. Until then, just flow through the negative arguments to round 4, where they will be ready and waiting for my opponent's return.
Debate Round No. 3
Mikirta

Pro

Mikirta forfeited this round.
Cody_Franklin

Con

Okay, well, I'm assuming my opponent will forfeit the next round as well; therefore, I suppose you'll just have to default CON then, and hopefully she and I will be able to debate this topic, full-length, in the future.
Debate Round No. 4
Mikirta

Pro

Mikirta forfeited this round.
Cody_Franklin

Con

Extend all arguments, and default CON.
Debate Round No. 5
28 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by Mikirta 7 years ago
Mikirta
awwww HaHaHa :(
Posted by MTGandP 7 years ago
MTGandP
Defaulted to CON due to forfeits.
Posted by Mikirta 7 years ago
Mikirta
do you want me to make another debate with the same topic?...
Posted by Cody_Franklin 7 years ago
Cody_Franklin
You should if you forfeited two rounds :)
Posted by Mikirta 7 years ago
Mikirta
it was a matter of self-pity HaHa
i shouldnt lose by 0 :P
Posted by Cody_Franklin 7 years ago
Cody_Franklin
You deserve to lose, yet gave yourself 7 points anyway... Haha. :)
Posted by Mikirta 7 years ago
Mikirta
AW! I thought I would make it before the last round :(

I think I deserve to lose :/
Posted by Cody_Franklin 7 years ago
Cody_Franklin
It's quite alright :) I've got you covered.
Posted by Mikirta 7 years ago
Mikirta
sorry i am out of town for a few days so i cant upload my rebuttle :(
Posted by Cody_Franklin 7 years ago
Cody_Franklin
That's very cool! I always love LD enthusiasts. If you ever want an LD debate, just message me; I can't get enough of it! That, and after I graduate next year, my high school LD days are officially over. :(
6 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 6 records.
Vote Placed by Cliff.Stamp 5 years ago
Cliff.Stamp
MikirtaCody_FranklinTied
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Reasons for voting decision: Curious to see if Con had debated morality, this isn't evidence of such, a few questions and forfeit.
Vote Placed by mongeese 7 years ago
mongeese
MikirtaCody_FranklinTied
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Vote Placed by MTGandP 7 years ago
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MikirtaCody_FranklinTied
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Vote Placed by Cody_Franklin 7 years ago
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Vote Placed by Mikirta 7 years ago
Mikirta
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Vote Placed by Volkov 7 years ago
Volkov
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