The Instigator
Undebatably_Superior
Pro (for)
Losing
10 Points
The Contender
Random_Man
Con (against)
Winning
11 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: 854 times Debate No: 5645
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (2)
Votes (3)

 

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.
Random_Man

Con

First off I would like to thank Undebatably_Superior for challenging me to this debate and second I must apologize in advance for a short and rushed first round due to the fact that my computer crashed and I am forced to type this debate during class but I assure you I will make up for this in round 2. Now that that's over to the issues.

Now I will dissect your points.

"Respect for autonomy means we respect consent."

But only to a certain degree the two basic functions for humans and for any living thing are two conserve your own life and reproduce when you separate all the crap in life that's all we do. For someone to stray from that and consent to being killed is the same as trying to commit suicide and people who attempt to commit suicide are judged by society as incapable to make there own choices because it is so irregular to want to die. So with that we can say that it is still wrong to kill someone with their consent. You've also said ""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." But how can any of these decisions be compared to that of the decision of life and death? And can you really reasonably agree to killing yourself.

"The right not to be killed is not absolute… 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."

I don't really understand this point its worded weird but what I think you said is the rule that the right not to be killed isn't absolute and it doesn't protect the innocent from those who threaten them. And sometimes the person who's lives are always in dangers only option is to kill the people who threaten them. If that's what you're saying you're wrong I have yet to find a situation you couldn't solve without violence and blood shed. The first thing we resort to when a conflict arises is violence so how do we know there isn't a second non violent option if we always take the first?

As for your question if I know that there is absolutely no way that anyone on that plane will survive then their already dead and of course I would give the order but that is not the case. If I actually have enough forewarning to be able to dispatch a team to shoot the plane down I probably have enough time to contact the building in question and tell them to run. And after I do that I can still shoot the plane down with out killing the passengers to save the building and in case you didn't know there are ways to take a plane out without killing the people on board.

Killing will always be wrong especially when there is another way (which there always is)

If you have any morality killing is never the answer. But it you don't of course you would resort to such a barbaric means to solve your problems.

And now its Undebatably_Superior's turn
Debate Round No. 1
Undebatably_Superior

Pro

"For someone to stray from that and consent to being killed is the same as trying to commit suicide and people who attempt to commit suicide are judged by society as incapable to make there own choices because it is so irregular to want to die. So with that we can say that it is still wrong to kill someone with their consent."
Wrong. If a man is in a severe amount of pain and they wish to have their suffering ended, is that irregular for them to wish to die? Maybe they wish to die so their insurance can set their loved ones up with a large check. It is not a wish to commit suicide. I even stated in my contention "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." Focus specifically on "for the benefit of others". If a man consents to their death, it is undeniably morally permissible to end their life.

"I don't really understand this point its worded weird but what I think you said is the rule that the right not to be killed isn't absolute and it doesn't protect the innocent from those who threaten them. And sometimes the person who's lives are always in dangers only option is to kill the people who threaten them. If that's what you're saying you're wrong I have yet to find a situation you couldn't solve without violence and blood shed. The first thing we resort to when a conflict arises is violence so how do we know there isn't a second non violent option if we always take the first?"
I apologize for "wording it weirdly". But I'm afraid Con's completely missed the point. I'm saying that every man claims to have the right "not to be killed". However, if a man threatens or kills another, they forfeit that right "not to be killed". So if the pope threatens another yet does not act on it, he is still morally innocent. But, the fact that the pope threatened another man's life shows he has no respect for the man's right "not to be killed". Therefore, the man he threatened should respect the pope's right "not to be killed" and has the right to end the pope's life without violating morality.

"As for your question if I know that there is absolutely no way that anyone on that plane will survive then their already dead and of course I would give the order but that is not the case. If I actually have enough forewarning to be able to dispatch a team to shoot the plane down I probably have enough time to contact the building in question and tell them to run. And after I do that I can still shoot the plane down with out killing the passengers to save the building and in case you didn't know there are ways to take a plane out without killing the people on board."
So if the hostages on the plane were completely unaware that the plane was going to crash and the plane was about to hit the building, you would agree then that it is morally permissible to kill one innocent person to save the lives of more innocent people? I could be wrong but it sounds like that's exactly what you're saying. Or you're even saying that if you had enough forewarning, you would shoot down the plane regardless of whether or not the plane will hit. And in the case of 9/11, our government did contact all the residents of the twin towers and told them to evacuate. The problem was that there was not enough time. And I'd like to hear your explanation of how you could shoot a plane down (causing it to crash) without killing the passengers. I've never heard of such an incident but I may just be ignorant. So please enlighten me with an example or way to shoot down a plane without killing anyone on board, and I may be convinced.

Con's turn :]
Random_Man

Con

Random_Man forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 2
Undebatably_Superior

Pro

Undebatably_Superior forfeited this round.
Random_Man

Con

Random_Man forfeited this round.
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
it's fine. I'm forfeiting the third round so it will be even
Posted by Random_Man 8 years ago
Random_Man
Please forgive me for forfeiting the second round I will respond in the final round if you will allow it. My computers messed up and its hard to get online but again I'm sorry.
3 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 3 records.
Vote Placed by quarterexchange 5 years ago
quarterexchange
Undebatably_SuperiorRandom_ManTied
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Reasons for voting decision: counter vote bomb
Vote Placed by onewayortheother 8 years ago
onewayortheother
Undebatably_SuperiorRandom_ManTied
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Vote Placed by Undebatably_Superior 8 years ago
Undebatably_Superior
Undebatably_SuperiorRandom_ManTied
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Total points awarded:70