The Instigator
Ragnar_Rahl
Con (against)
Tied
0 Points
The Contender
LR4N6FTW4EVA
Pro (for)
Tied
0 Points

It is morally permissible...

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It's a Tie!
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 10/6/2008 Category: Miscellaneous
Updated: 8 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 3,825 times Debate No: 5662
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (22)
Votes (0)

 

Ragnar_Rahl

Con

The resolution is: "It is morally permissible to use this site to non-satirically advocate that the killing of innocents is both acceptable and unacceptable in the same context."

The following is agreed to by every debater on this site:

" Will not use the Service in any way to provide material support or resources (or to conceal or disguise the source, location, nature, or ownership of material support or resources) to any organization designated by the U.S. government as a foreign terrorist organization under section 219 of the Immigration and Nationality Act, 8 U.S.C. P 1189."

It is immoral to violate one's word, given by accepting the terms of service, that one will not do this. I submit that if you perform as the resolution suggests as permissible, you are stating that there is no law of non-contradiction. If you convince someone there is no law of non-contradiction, it is much harder for them to tell anything about the source, location, nature, or ownership of material support or resources to terrorist organizations so designated by the government, since they will be unable to use logical deduction, which depends on the law of non-contradiction (thus, you are acting to "conceal" such). If the law of non-contradiction loses it's power in someone's mind because of your actions, the terrorists win, and you have violated your given word to debate.org, making you a filthy liar :)
LR4N6FTW4EVA

Pro

I affirm. The moral principle of double-effect is what justifies this. Imagine this:
I am a doctor. My patient with terminal cancer comes up to me and says "I am in a ton of pain, could you euthanize me?"
There are at least three solutions to this scenario. One, is to inject him with 440000 cc's of morphine, which will kill him. Another is to not kill him. The third is to relieve his pain by injecting him with 440000 cc's of morphine. Under the principle of double effect, the first is wrong, because I intended to kill him, which is immoral. The second is right, because I had no bad intentions. The third is also right, because my intention to relieve him of his pain was good. The context of the first and third scenarios are the same, and they both kill innocents. The action is also acceptable and unacceptable. I win.

"It is immoral to violate one's word, given by accepting the terms of service, that one will not do this. I submit that if you perform as the resolution suggests as permissible, you are stating that there is no law of non-contradiction."

False. See Principle of Double-Effect.

"If the law of non-contradiction loses it's power in someone's mind because of your actions, the terrorists win, and you have violated your given word to debate.org, making you a filthy liar :)"

Law of non-contradiction is not violated. I win.
Debate Round No. 1
Ragnar_Rahl

Con

"
There are at least three solutions to this scenario. One, is to inject him with 440000 cc's of morphine, which will kill him. Another is to not kill him. The third is to relieve his pain by injecting him with 440000 cc's of morphine. Under the principle of double effect, the first is wrong, because I intended to kill him, which is immoral. The second is right, because I had no bad intentions. The third is also right, because my intention to relieve him of his pain was good. The context of the first and third scenarios are the same, and they both kill innocents. The action is also acceptable and unacceptable. I win."
A proof that your internal ethics contains contradictions is not a proof that reality contains a contradiction. It's just a proof you need to think harder. For one thing, if he doesn't value his life, who are you to do so? It's his life.

The principle of double effect has never been proven, it was created by random assertion and declared dogma by people who believe women can have babies without the intervention of sperm. It is the kind of thing they would believe, that the only relevant factor is your intentions, all touchy-feely. Guess what. If I shoot you in the head, intending to relieve you of the fly on it, you are still dead, and unlike the patient, without your consent. Being robbed of life is a problem- a wrong. A huge wrong, compared to which the fly is insignificant. It is therefore an unmitigated wrong. Since morality is the pursuit of value (the ultimate value of course being one's own life), and destroying something one values (my status as a nonkiller of innocents, i.e., someone who innocents would be wise to respect the rights of in order to convince me to continue that status) in favor of something one values less (a bit of quick-vanishing gratitutude over ridding you of a fly), such a situation is immoral- not in accordance with the pursuit of life. Since such a situation results from double effect, double effect is immoral. Reality, against the ravings of the Church- take your pick.

"
Law of non-contradiction is not violated."
This is a lie. You stated above that a thing was true, when it was also untrue. You therefore violate the law of non-contradiction, by definition. That's what the law of non-contradiction means- that a thing cannot be true and untrue.
LR4N6FTW4EVA

Pro

"A proof that your internal ethics contains contradictions is not a proof that reality contains a contradiction. It's just a proof you need to think harder. For one thing, if he doesn't value his life, who are you to do so? It's his life."

My argument is that it's not a contradiction. My point is that the resolution, as written is possible. Also, your argument that I ought to kill him is flawed. Even if it is his life, I have no right to play God and take his life. He can kill himself, but I sure as hell can't. Unless of course, I don't intend to.

"The principle of double effect has never been proven, it was created by random assertion and declared dogma by people who believe women can have babies without the intervention of sperm. It is the kind of thing they would believe, that the only relevant factor is your intentions, all touchy-feely. Guess what. If I shoot you in the head, intending to relieve you of the fly on it, you are still dead, and unlike the patient, without your consent. Being robbed of life is a problem- a wrong. A huge wrong, compared to which the fly is insignificant. It is therefore an unmitigated wrong."

Immanuel Kant proves that morality must come from the intentions. He said "the moral worth of an action does not lie in the effect expected from it, nor in any principle of action which requires to borrow its motive from this expected effect. For all these effects- agreeableness of one's condition and even the promotion of the happiness of others- could have been also brought about by other causes, so that for this there would have been no need of the will of a rational being; whereas it is in this alone that the supreme and unconditional good can be found." The intention is all important. The fly example just shows that the guy is retarded. The principle of double effect requires you to try to avoid the bad consequence, but if it is unavoidable, that's where double effect comes in.

"Since morality is the pursuit of value (the ultimate value of course being one's own life), and destroying something one values (my status as a nonkiller of innocents, i.e., someone who innocents would be wise to respect the rights of in order to convince me to continue that status) in favor of something one values less (a bit of quick-vanishing gratitutude over ridding you of a fly), such a situation is immoral- not in accordance with the pursuit of life. Since such a situation results from double effect, double effect is immoral. Reality, against the ravings of the Church- take your pick."

I pretty much addressed this. The person shooting you is either violating double effect, or is retarded, and cannot be held responsible. Either way, double effect still stands.

"This is a lie. You stated above that a thing was true, when it was also untrue. You therefore violate the law of non-contradiction, by definition. That's what the law of non-contradiction means- that a thing cannot be true and untrue."

The law of non-contradiction is "...contradictory statements cannot both at the same time be true, e.g. the two propositions A is B and A is not B are mutually exclusive. A may be B at one time, and not at another; A may be partly B and partly not B at the same time; but it is impossible to predicate of the same thing, at the same time, and in the same sense, the absence and the presence of the same quality."
-Wikipedia
I am saying that A is B, and C is D. To define these variables:
A-intentionally killing the patient
B-wrong
C- Injecting the patient with a lethal amount of morphine in order to relieve his pain.
D- right
No contradiction, and A and C are both killing an innocent.
I win.
Debate Round No. 2
Ragnar_Rahl

Con

"
My argument is that it's not a contradiction."
A and not A, argued to be both true, in the same context. Fits the definition of contradiction last I checked.

"My point is that the resolution, as written is possible."]
And my point is that it's not because the doctrine is invalid.

"Also, your argument that I ought to kill him is flawed. Even if it is his life, I have no right to play God and take his life. He can kill himself, but I sure as hell can't."
There is no God to play. Therefore no flaw. Further, if he has the right to kill himself, he implicitly is the only word in whether he dies- his word is therefore valid in granting you that right.

"
Immanuel Kant proves that morality must come from the intentions. He said "the moral worth of an action does not lie in the effect expected from it, nor in any principle of action which requires to borrow its motive from this expected effect. For all these effects- agreeableness of one's condition and even the promotion of the happiness of others- could have been also brought about by other causes, so that for this there would have been no need of the will of a rational being; whereas it is in this alone that the supreme and unconditional good can be found.""
False proof. Human life is a volitional process- no human has ever lived out a modern lifespan without the will of a rational being seeking to make it so. This is therefore something that cannot come from other causes. Further, even if it could, it would be less likely to, therefore you still need the will. Intentions are fluff, they can indicate threats, but they cannot otherwise matter in reality when not achieved.

"The principle of double effect requires you to try to avoid the bad consequence, but if it is unavoidable, that's where double effect comes in.
"
This contradicts your example. The death is not unavoidable.

"
I pretty much addressed this. The person shooting you is either violating double effect, or is retarded, and cannot be held responsible."
How's he violating double effect? I already addressed your bit of intellectual dishonesty with "unavoidable," therefore, on what grounds can one death that is not the goal of the action\be irrelevant to the morality of the action, and the other relevant?

And yes, retarded people can be held responsible, for the immoral action of messing with forces they know they don't understand, regardless of the consequences. Reduced intelligence is not the same as no intelligence.

"I am saying that A is B, and C is D. To define these variables:
A-intentionally killing the patient
B-wrong
C- Injecting the patient with a lethal amount of morphine in order to relieve his pain.
D- right
No contradiction, and A and C are both killing an innocent.
I win."
First, wrong in this context, because you already conceded that A IS C. They are the same action, just different emphasis. So yes, that is indeed a contradiction. (I'll be adding an extra column in this proof, since it has a provisional assumption, it needs an assumption dependence column)

1 1. A>B (A)
2 2. C>D (A)
3 3. C>A (A, your repeated statement)
4 4. B>~D (A, right and wrong are opposites)
5 5. C (Provisional A)
2,5 6. D (2,5 >O)
3,5 7. A (3,5 >O)
1, 3,5 8. B (1,7 >O)
1,3,4,5 9. ~D (4,8 >O)
1,2,3,4,5 10. D&~D (6,9 &I)contradiction
1,2,3,4 11 C>(D&~D, >I), again contradiction

Second, you are ignoring the resolution, since you haven't proven that the action IN THE RESOLUTION falls under double effect.

Third, of course, if you know you are going to get result X from action Y, and you take action Y, result X is intended- acted towards- anyway.
LR4N6FTW4EVA

Pro

This debate boils down to this syllogism:
"1 1. A>B (A)
2 2. C>D (A)
3 3. C>A (A, your repeated statement)
4 4. B>~D (A, right and wrong are opposites)
5 5. C (Provisional A)
2,5 6. D (2,5 >O)
3,5 7. A (3,5 >O)
1, 3,5 8. B (1,7 >O)
1,3,4,5 9. ~D (4,8 >O)
1,2,3,4,5 10. D&~D (6,9 &I)contradiction
1,2,3,4 11 C>(D&~D), (5,10 >I), again contradiction"

This is further focused on to his third premise that C>A.

In this, there is a sub-debate on whether or not intentions determine morality.

There is also the debate of whether the action in the resolution is an example of the principle of double effect.

Finally, there is the debate over whether or not X, the known result of action Y is necessarily intended when one does action Y.

I will address all points of this debate in my closing argument, and then I will show you the flow of events so far, and the reasons why you must vote Pro.

The first issue is his syllogism. I agree that it is valid. If we accept all the premises as true, we do in fact get D&X~D, a contradiction. But I contend that his third premise "3 3. C>A (A, your repeated statement)" is incorrect. This is the sub-debate I mentioned.
The argument he uses to show C>A stems from this quote of mine: "...A and C are both killing an innocent."
Now he took this mean I was conceding that C>A, which leads to a contradiction in my logic. By no means am I doing so. A and C are distinguished by their intentions. A has a bad intention, therefore it is immoral. C has a good intention, therefore it is moral. That is the subtle distinction in between the two that let's C>D and A>B.
This brings us to the sub-sub-debate of whether intentions determine morality. He says this "False proof. Human life is a volitional process- no human has ever lived out a modern lifespan without the will of a rational being seeking to make it so. This is therefore something that cannot come from other causes. Further, even if it could, it would be less likely to, therefore you still need the will. Intentions are fluff, they can indicate threats, but they cannot otherwise matter in reality when not achieved."
Basically, everything in a human life comes from the will of a rational being. I would like to point out the flaw in that over-generalization. The will of a rational being is what they want to happen. When I go to Snowy Mountain, I want to ski, and have fun. That's my will or intention. If I get buried by an avalanche, that's not my will or intention. Morality based on consequences would necessarily have to hold me morally accountable for inevitable, accidental occurrences. That's irrational. Under this logic, the prospect of being moral is virtually impossible. I can try too, but I will be inevitably undermined by accidental happenings. Intentions can be controlled, thus they must determine morality.
Inside of this sub-sub-debate there is another aspect of clash. He claims that in my example killing is right in both circumstances, saying "There is no God to play. Therefore no flaw. Further, if he has the right to kill himself, he implicitly is the only word in whether he dies- his word is therefore valid in granting you that right."
What I meant by playing God, was trying to take control of things out of our control. Doctor's are supposed to ease people's pain, not kill them. It is the patient's life, he can do what he wants with it. I can't. It's not my life. I can give him the means to kill himself, but I cannot actively kill him. That's the distinction.

Before moving on to the next point of debate, I need to address some of my opponent's statements regarding an example of the double effect.
"This contradicts your example. The death is not unavoidable."
The death is unavoidable in order for me to attain the good effect. The bad effect must be the only, or best way to achieve the good effect. In my opponent's example, the best way would be to swat the fly, or to tell him to shake it off.
"How's he violating double effect? I already addressed your bit of intellectual dishonesty with 'unavoidable,' therefore, on what grounds can one death that is not the goal of the action\be irrelevant to the morality of the action, and the other relevant?"
I addressed the "unavoidable" point, but the second I have not. The answer to my opponent's question is simple. In one, there is a better way to do it. In the other there is not. That makes all the difference.

Now, on his next point...The resolution itself does not fall under double effect. What does however is the example I provided. This is an example of the resolution "It is morally permissible to use this site to non-satirically advocate that the killing of innocents is both acceptable and unacceptable in the same context."
The context is the same, the action is killing an innocent. The difference is the intention. This fits the resolution.

Finally, on his last point, result X is not intended. An obvious example of this follows: If I am a soldier, working for a fascist leader, and an "enemy spy" is captured. (The "spy" is merely an innocent young girl that happened to be overheard complaining about the Great Leader). I am ordered to torture, rape, and murder this young girl. If I don't someone else, without the conscience I have will do even worse, and I will die as well. My intent is to prevent this even worse occurrence by being as merciful as possible in my atrocities. My action is only justified because I did not will or intend her to suffer pain, I willed/intended her and I to be spared from as much pain as possible. I knew the pain would occur, but I didn't want it to.

Moving on to the flow...
Points in this debate:
Instigator: uses this argument (condensed into syllogistic format to support argument--
1. Killing and not killing in the same context contradict.-refuted by double effect
2. Advocating both is violating the law of non-contradiction.-refuted because I took out premise one
3. This leads to one breaking their word.-refuted because I took out premise one and two
4. That's immoral.-refuted because out all the premises
Contender attacks:
1. Principle of double effect shows that killing and not kill can be both acceptable actions. (Euthanasia example)-refuted by points that DE is ridiculous, and that intentions do not determine morality
2. No, because I have shown they don't contradict.-refuted, restored premise one
3. They don't break the law, so the law still stands, and thus, I do not break my word.-refuted, restored premises one and two
4. I didn't break my word, therefore it is not immoral.-refuted, restored premises
Instigator rebuttals:
1. a) The Principle of Double Effect is ridiculous-refuted, showed argument to be based off flawed interpretation of DE
b) Morality is not determined by our intentions.-Refuted, showed intentions do determine morality
2. They do contradict, so the law is violated.-refuted, took out premise one
3. The law is violated, so you do break your word.-refuted because I took out premise one and two
4. You do break your word, so you are immoral.-refuted because out all the premises
Contender Rebuttal:
1. a) argument was based of misinterpretation. There were better solutions- refuted, argued that it was not a misinterpretation
b) Immanuel Kant card showed intentions do determine morality-refuted, showed that human life is volitional
2-4. Same as before...
Instigator Rebuttal:
1. a) It is not a misinterpretation, in my example the death is not unavoidable.-refuted, showed that he misinterpreted my statement
b) Human life **is** controlled by the will of a rational being-refuted, showed that there are consequences out of our control.
2-4. Same as before...
Contender Rebuttals.
1. a) The intended good effect requires that I do this
b) Things are often out of our control, but we can control our intentions
2-4. Same as before...
The voter must make his/her decision based on the validity of my refutations. Vote Pro
Debate Round No. 3
22 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by Ragnar_Rahl 8 years ago
Ragnar_Rahl
"
Finally, on his last point, result X is not intended. An obvious example of this follows: If I am a soldier, working for a fascist leader, and an "enemy spy" is captured. (The "spy" is merely an innocent young girl that happened to be overheard complaining about the Great Leader). I am ordered to torture, rape, and murder this young girl. If I don't someone else, without the conscience I have will do even worse, and I will die as well. My intent is to prevent this even worse occurrence by being as merciful as possible in my atrocities. My action is only justified because I did not will or intend her to suffer pain, I willed/intended her and I to be spared from as much pain as possible. I knew the pain would occur, but I didn't want it to."

This is simply evasion. Everything you act towards is part of your intent, you cannot pretend that you did not intentionally rape, torture, and murder that girl. It may have been justified by the fact it would have happened anyway, but you intended it, as an action toward the end of avoiding "worse," whatever that may be (frankly it's doubtful that there could be anything worse than having such things done to you and knowing that you aren't even able to get whatever consolation might come from condemning the perpetrator. Righteous rage helps one to feel somewhat less pain... nuance does not.)
Posted by Ragnar_Rahl 8 years ago
Ragnar_Rahl
"When I go to Snowy Mountain, I want to ski, and have fun. That's my will or intention. If I get buried by an avalanche, that's not my will or intention. Morality based on consequences would necessarily have to hold me morally accountable for inevitable, accidental occurrences."
Skiing is not inevitable.

"
Basically, everything in a human life comes from the will of a rational being. I would like to point out the flaw in that over-generalization."
Misinterpretation. Long, modern lives come from the will of rational beings. Short, apelike lives do not of course. :D

"
What I meant by playing God, was trying to take control of things out of our control."
If that is wrong, than so is every human action. Every human action involves controlling something which was at some point out of your control.

"Doctor's are supposed to ease people's pain, not kill them. "
Suppositions are not ethical proofs.

"It is the patient's life, he can do what he wants with it. I can't. It's not my life."
Presently, this computer is mine. If I hand it to you, and say "keep it, it's yours," that means it's yours, because the ability to change ownership of a thing is a consequence of ownership of it.

"The death is unavoidable in order for me to attain the good effect."
Oh, you can't give him a nonlethal dose of morphine?

"The bad effect must be the only, or best way to achieve the good effect."
Which contradicts your idea that intention is the only source of morality, since such discussions of whether something is the best way to a given intent are not derivable from the intent themselves.

""It is morally permissible to use this site to non-satirically advocate that the killing of innocents is both acceptable and unacceptable in the same context."
The context is the same, the action is killing an innocent. The difference is the intention. This fits the resolution.
"
Intention, mind, is a part of the context of any action.
Posted by Ragnar_Rahl 8 years ago
Ragnar_Rahl
Last step should read:
1,2,3,4 11 C>(D&~D), (5,10 >I), again contradiction
Posted by Ragnar_Rahl 8 years ago
Ragnar_Rahl
The only time I've ever heard of double effect before this is when I was randomly surfing wikipedia.

It was nifty for an English essay once, where, when I was analyzing one of MLK's speeches, I wrote how one of the things he said (that would only follow from that doctrine) was probably an intentional reachout to Catholic audiences to get them on his side. My English teacher was impressed, since he'd never heard of this doctrine.

Which I needed I suppose, since he was getting sick and tired of reading snarky bits of Objectivism snuck into every essay.
Posted by Kleptin 8 years ago
Kleptin
I like L's response :D I actually *just* learned Aquinas' "double effect" last year in Medical Ethics using the exact same example (except there was no specification as to how many ccs of Morphine were used >.>)

Yay for applying course knowledge.
Posted by Ragnar_Rahl 8 years ago
Ragnar_Rahl
Don't say no one. I do.
Posted by s0m31john 8 years ago
s0m31john
No one reads TOS or EULAs, not even congress (bailout, patriot act)
Posted by Ragnar_Rahl 8 years ago
Ragnar_Rahl
Nevertheless, they agreed to abide by it whether they read it or not.
Posted by Kierkegaard 8 years ago
Kierkegaard
Regardless, that would still require the initiative to read (or skim over, in the cases of font sizes, mix of sections, and relative length) it in the first place.

If someone doesn't care about the terms of agreement (the majority of interneters), there's no difference between the two.

Although I must admit, there would be...a *small* difference. But nothing that substantial, and certainly not enough to merit the assumption that everybody's going to read it.
Posted by Ragnar_Rahl 8 years ago
Ragnar_Rahl
er, processor.
No votes have been placed for this debate.