The Instigator
Undebatably_Superior
Pro (for)
Tied
7 Points
The Contender
lhsdebate
Con (against)
Tied
7 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: 10/4/2008 Category: Politics
Updated: 8 years ago Status: Voting Period
Viewed: 790 times Debate No: 5644
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (2)
Votes (2)

 

Undebatably_Superior

Pro

This resolution is undeniably correct in saying that "It is morally permissible to kill one innocent person to save the lives of many innocent people."

Before I begin, I offer the following definitions:

Moral: of, pertaining to, or concerned with the principles or rules of right conduct or the distinction between right and wrong; ethical
Morally: from a moral point of view
Permissible: that can be permitted; allowable
Innocent: free from legal or specific wrong; guiltless

All defined by the Merriam-Webster Dictionary.

Contention 1 - Respect for autonomy means we respect consent.
An established moral principle which the law usually sanctions is that "No wrong is done to one who consents." This allows a doctor to put someone through a painful surgery, or a tattooist to give someone a tattoo without it being a criminal act - so long as the other party reasonably agrees. Respecting other people means allowing them to decide for themselves what harms to risk or suffer in return for what they prize. For those who share this ideal of voluntariness, rooted in both Kantian moral philosophy and the English utilitarian tradition of which Mill is representative, a person's consent to be killed for his own good or for the benefit of others will render it morally permissible to kill them.

Contention 2 - The right not to be killed is not absolute.
Even if one does not consent to being killed, there are many ways that taking their life may be morally permissible. Ordinary human beings have a powerful moral claim against their fellows not to be killed and, under certain circumstances, to be saved from death or serious harm. The scope of that right is not, of course, unrestricted. For example, it arguably does not protect innocent people who threaten others or who would be killed by the removal of what threatens others, should those in danger, or third parties who wish to assist them, use necessary lethal force to eliminate the threat. That right not to be killed is also alienable. Unjustified aggression may forfeit its protection. An example: (hate to use the cliche Hitler.. but it gets the point across) One would argue that Hitler had no respect for human life and therefore, nobody should respect his human life. Our judicial system supports this claim by holding a death penalty in certain states or the national law of self defense. However, this resolution is not talking about something that extreme. It talks about killing an innocent. One may be innocent by not actually doing anything wrong or killing a man, but our judicial system also supports the thought that threatening another is almost as bad. So, if a man as good as the pope threatened to kill another, his lack of respect for another's life would show others to lose respect for his.

Contention 3 - Examples don't lie...
In the event of 9/11 happening again, would you honestly refuse to let the government shoot down a plane? Everyone on the plane is already certain to die. You can either kill 60 innocent people and save 2000 and a building and prevent all the repercussions that followed, or you can defend the 60 citizen's lives and watch the event happen as you refuse to do anything.

Thank you for taking the time to read this argument. I will be looking forward to this debate.
lhsdebate

Con

Thank you Undebatably_Superior for posting this debate and allowing me the opportunity to debate you, so with that I get started.

I agree with all your definitions and accept them.

1st rebuttal: First off in the topic it doesn't say you get the consent of the person you are about to kill. So this point is irrelevant.

2nd rebuttal: Second the innocent person isn't threatening to kill anyone he is just an innocent bystander.

3rd rebuttal: You can't shoot the plane down when there is a chance for the people to still live. There is a chance they could take back control or you could send people into the plane to stop it.

Now for my point

You can never justify killing. Killing is killing. Killing a harmless innocent person is wrong and will always be wrong. No matter what the circumstances are.

Again thank you for this debate and allowing me to debate you.
Debate Round No. 1
Undebatably_Superior

Pro

"1st rebuttal: First off in the topic it doesn't say you get the consent of the person you are about to kill. So this point is irrelevant."
It doesn't say that you don't get the consent either. And this is not irrelevant, it is an example of when it would be undeniably morally permissible to kill one innocent person to save the lives of more innocent people. I obviously would not state a contention that had nothing to do with the resolution. I'll assume Con could not think of anything truly wrong about it and just took the easy way out by trying to prove it untopical. Nice try.

"2nd rebuttal: Second the innocent person isn't threatening to kill anyone he is just an innocent bystander."
Again, I am giving an example of when it would be undeniably morally permissible to kill one innocent person to save the lives of more innocent people. If a man threatens another but does not act, he may still be morally innocent. However, by threatening another's life, he has forfeited his own right to not be killed. Therefore, it is possible to be innocent and forfeit you're right to live.

"3rd rebuttal: You can't shoot the plane down when there is a chance for the people to still live. There is a chance they could take back control or you could send people into the plane to stop it."
If the people were completely unaware? If they had no idea the plane was headed for a building, how can they know to stop it? Just off a gut hunch? And I would love an example of when the government boarded a plane traveling 300 M/H and was being piloted by a terrorist. The plane isn't gonna hold still while the enemy throws grapples at the plane.

"You can never justify killing. Killing is killing. Killing a harmless innocent person is wrong and will always be wrong. No matter what the circumstances are."
Wrong. Even if you feel my first contention is irrelevant to the resolution, it still would prove that killing an innocent would not be wrong so long as the innocent consents.
lhsdebate

Con

1st.) If the resolution doesn't state something as important as this it shouldn't and couldn't be used as a point. No were does it say that the innocent person consents to being killed to save the lives of the others. So yes this point is completely irrelevant and can't nor should ever be used in a debate under this topic.

2nd.) Again we have a completely irrelevant point that should not be considered because no where in the resolution does it say that the innocent person has threatened anyone and this argument should not be considered.

3rd.) If you are on a plane and unaware it has been hijacked you are either completely stupid or high. But even if the terrorist found a way to hijack it unknowingly how would the government know it is headed for a building to blow it up

Ok so this makes no sense because your first point is completely irrelevant so it can't even be taken into consideration in this debate so come up with at least 1 relevant point next round or forfeit.
Debate Round No. 2
Undebatably_Superior

Pro

Undebatably_Superior forfeited this round.
lhsdebate

Con

So I see you took my advice and forfeited. Thank you for the debate and this will probably help us both. thanks for the debate and vote for me.
Debate Round No. 3
2 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 2 records.
Posted by Undebatably_Superior 8 years ago
Undebatably_Superior
sorry for forfeiting... I've been gone a lot and didn't get the chance to reply... prolly best that I didn't give a rebuttle tho...
Posted by lhsdebate 8 years ago
lhsdebate
i dont see how anyone would vote for my oponent when he last and even forfeited
2 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 2 records.
Vote Placed by quarterexchange 5 years ago
quarterexchange
Undebatably_SuperiorlhsdebateTied
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Total points awarded:07 
Reasons for voting decision: counter vote bomb
Vote Placed by Undebatably_Superior 8 years ago
Undebatably_Superior
Undebatably_SuperiorlhsdebateTied
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Total points awarded:70