The Instigator
KingDebater369
Con (against)
Losing
0 Points
The Contender
AlternativeDavid
Pro (for)
Winning
3 Points

It is ok to kill an innocent person in order to save the lives of more innocent people

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 2 votes the winner is...
AlternativeDavid
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 8/21/2014 Category: Society
Updated: 2 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 749 times Debate No: 60772
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (8)
Votes (2)

 

KingDebater369

Con

PREFACE
Really cool LD debate topic from ~6 years ago. I won't be debating this in LD format. It's going to be just like a regular debate on DDO. Good Luck to whomever may accept!

Full Topic
It is morally permissible to kill one innocent person to save the lives of many innocent people.

Format
Round 1 Con: States Rules
Round 1 Pro: Acceptance

Round 2 Con: Presents Arguments
Round 2 Pro: Presents Arguments (No rebuttals yet!)

Round 3 Con: Rebuttals
Round 3 Pro: Rebuttals

Round 4 Con: Rebuttals and Conclusions (No new Arguments)
Round 4 Pro: Rebuttals and Conclusions (No new Arguments)

Rules
No trolling
No forfeiting
Format I have stated must be followed
Faliure to follow any of the rules listed above will result in a loss
================================================
Good Luck to whoever accepts. This is going to be one awesome philosophical debate.
AlternativeDavid

Pro

I accept and look forward to a good debate.
Debate Round No. 1
KingDebater369

Con

I thank AlternativeDavid for accepting this debate. I think it will be very fun, and I find this topic to be very interesting. I have spent much time on preparing my case, and i’m sure this debate won’t disappoint!

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I must reject the proposition that it is morally permissible to kill one innocent person to save the lives of more innocent people.


CONTENTION 1: THE RESOLUTION INDICATES FOUR DISTINCT HUMAN
ENTITIES

The resolution explicitly mentions one innocent person and it mentions a separate innocent group of people. Also understood is a third person who is faced with the choice of killing the one person or the allowing the group of people to die. Finally, a fourth human element is present threatening the innocent group of people.

This threat must be human because if the threat were a natural threat such as an earthquake or tornado, then there could be no certainty that the many could have been saved. Additionally, the killing of a human would not stop a natural disaster. Human sacrifice was long ago abandoned as a means of controlling nature. Thus the only conclusion is that there is a fourth agent that poses the threat to the many and the killing of the many is the responsibility of that fourth agent.

CONTENTION 2: AFFIRMATIVE RESOLUTION OPERATES UNDER A FALSE ASSUMPTION

A. The affirmative wants us to believe that the understood person in the resolution is responsible for both the one and the many. This is false. The understood person is only responsible for the one person he or she kills.

B. Implicit in the resolution is a fourth party that is endangering the R13;many innocent. This is obvious from the fact that the understood person has the power of life and death over the many. If it were a natural disaster that threatened the many, the understood person could not be certain of saving the many.

C. Since it is a separate human agent which poses the threat to the many innocent people, the responsibility for their death or salvation rest with that person who poses the threat. The understood person is only responsible for the life of the one innocent he or she would kill. Therefore, it can not be morally permissible to kill one innocent person because Affirmative can not be certain that this fourth party would actually cease the threat. The understood person could be the victim of a warped mind. Thus the resolution is false.

CONTENTION 3: THE NEGATIVE INTERPRETATION IS THE BETTER INTERPRETATION

A. Negative interpretation accounts for all parties to the actions inherent in the resolution. Affirmative disregards or fails to recognize the existence of the fourth human agent which presents the initial threat to the many innocent people. Negative recognizes this threat.

B. Since Negative recognizes the existence of the fourth threatening human agent, the negative interpretation of the situation is the more logical interpretation. The understood person who affirmative asserts must make a decision is actually only responsible for his or her actions against the one innocent person. The fourth human agent is responsible for the threat to the many innocents.

C. Since the understood person is responsible only for the one person, killing that one innocent person would be immoral. The deaths of the many innocents and the morality of those deaths are the responsibility of the fourth human agent.

CONCLUSION

The decision in this debate is clear. The responsibility of the actors in the resolution is clear. There can be no certainty that the fourth human agent will allow the many innocent people to live even if the understood person kills the one innocent person. Thus, killing the one innocent person violates the responsibility each person has to every other person – to respect their right to live. The resolution is based on a faulty warrant and so is false.

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Look forward to my opponent's arguments=)

AlternativeDavid

Pro

"The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few, or the one" -Spock (Star Trek II: Wrath of Khan)

I find this quote to be true.

I'll give a hypothetical scenario for this.

A man has trapped you in a room with an unconscious male and a gun with a single bullet. The only way to escape is to shoot the bullet. There is a catch though. There is a building filled with five hundred unsuspecting people that will be blown up if you do not kill this unconscious male. You pick up your gun and make the logical choice. You will be a murderer either way, but at least you know you just saved 500 innocent people from dying.

In fact, as Con has not provided a number anywhere, readers should feel free to change 500 to 500,000,000.

As Con stated, the people are innocent. one innocent person = one innocent person, or 1=1. Con's position states that
1 =/= 1, in fact, it really states that 1>2, which is obviously not true. 1>500 is equally not true. Logically, the more people that can be saved the better. my position is to prove that 1<500.

In summary, as we are assuming that all parties are innocent, and therefore their lives are equal in value, it is logical to save the majority.

I look forward to a response from Con.
Debate Round No. 2
KingDebater369

Con

I'm not sure if my opponent was able to understand the logic I presented in my case, because he probably wouldn't ahve made such arguments if that was the case. This round, I will be rebutting to my opponent's case =)
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Hypothetical Scenario:
My opponent brings up a hypothetical scenario. He states, "...500 unsuspecting people will blow up if you do not kill this unconcious male"

Rebuttal 1: This scenario is a little absurd to me. It doesn't make any logical sense. Following the logic that I stated in my opening case, the problem with this scenario can easily be seen. Let's break down the problems with this resolution, and apply it to the logic that I stated in my first case.

1. The resolution explicitly mentions one innocent person and one innocent group of people. In this case, the innocent person is the man trapped in the room. and the group of people are the 500 unsspecting people.

2. Here is the problem. How exactly do you save 500 people by killing an unconcious man??? I don't get it. How does that make any sense? My opponent just spews out some scenario, but the scenario doesn't actually make any sense.

3. In order for this scenario to actually make sense, we have to add some details. How exactly does killing the unconcious male help save 500 people? Since my opponent doesn't bother to explain, I will just make something up. Let's assume that this male is a "bad" guy who is holding these 500 people hostage and killing him is essential to saving the people. The problem with this is that if the guy is holding people hostage, then he is not innocent in the first place.

4. Again, I don't understand what the heck my opponent is trying to say. If you kill an unconcious male, you can save 500 people??? Is it just me that's not following his logic?? I just don't understand how it logically works out.

Rebuttal 2: My opponent's scenario doesn't flow logically, but I can understand what he's trying to say. Instead of completely disregarding his scenario, I will come up with a scenario that resembles what he's trying to say, but with it actually making sense:


You live in a village that has been taken over by other enemies from other lands. in the middle of this situation, you have a small infant only about 10 months old. one day the soldiers march in the village and start to kill any body they see. as a last attempt you take your child and hide in a nearby building where you discover there are many other people there. you hear the soldiers passing by, and everybody being quite. then you notice your baby start to cry. you put your hand on your baby's mouth but soon realize that he is struggling to breath so what would you do? kill your own baby by suffocating him or let your hand go and letting the soldiers hear which would most likely kill the rest, you and the baby.

I think this is the type of situation that my opponent was trying to give me. Once again, using the logic I stated in my first case, I will show the problems with this scenario.

1. First, there are two groups here. The innocent baby and the innocent village people.

2. Next, their is a thrid person who is faced with the choice of killing the innocent person. In this case, we have the person facing the dillema of killing the baby

3. There is also a 4th group here. And that is the people that are threatening the innocent group of people. In this case, that would be the soldiers.

4. As I stated in my case, there can be no certainty that the fourth human agent will allow the many innocent people to live even if the understood person kills the one innocent person.

5. It cannot be morally permissible to, it can not be morally permissible to kill one innocent person because Affirmative can not be certain that this fourth party would actually cease the threat.

Rebuttal 2: While I have already proven that my opponent's scenario makes no sense, I could make up a situation that could suit my case as well:

For example: Let's say we have 5 people in need of a transplant. One needs a heart, another needs kidney, 2 of them need new lungs, and the last one needs a liver. In this situation, we could ask one person to essentially kill hiimself so that he can give all of his organs away to save these 5 patients. But does that sound moral? If someone walked up to you and said, can you donate all your organs to 5 other people. You'll die, but they'll all live.

Does that sound Morally Permissible?? Would you do that?

Now this leads to another interesting argument that my opponent may make in a future round, which I will address right now, and prove the problems withit to get it out of the way. The argument that mmy opponent would give is: "It is permissible to kill oneself to save many."

My rebuttal to this is simple:The affirmative‘s own resolution says that one who dies must be innocent. If this person is threatening the many with death, then that person can not be innocent. If the person is forced to kill himself, then the responsibility is on the one who forced the death. Either way, in this situation, the justification or permission for the death does not exist.
===============================================================
Good luck to my opponent. I look forward to his arguments








AlternativeDavid

Pro

"This scenario is a little absurd to me. It doesn't make any logical sense."

Rebuttal 1) The entire argument that is presented by Con can be simplified into these two sentences.

In Con's resolution, it was never explicitly stated that a scenario must make sense. It may not be practical, but the scenario can technically happen. Pro argues that there must be a fourth party in the situation.

His explanation that there must be a fourth party is "this threat must be human because if the threat were a natural threat such as an earthquake or tornado, then there could be no certainty that the many could have been saved"

What if the threat is an animal? You and ten people could be running from a pack of wolves. You have two options, trip your friend so the wolves swarm/eat him, or risk the death of everyone when the wolves catch up.

Rebuttal 2) "There can be no certainty that the fourth human agent will allow the many innocent people to live even if the understood person kills the one innocent person."

This voids the resolution. The resolution says nothing about uncertainty. Con's resolution states "It is ok to kill an innocent person in order to save the lives of more innocent people." There is no uncertainty in this moral dilemma. It is either: kill one person and save at least two, or save one person and kill at least two.

Rebuttal 3) Even if there is uncertainty, it is still worth killing the person.

Imagine you are told that you must go out onto the street and kill one person. The repercussion for not complying is that 200,000,000 people will be tortured to death. If there is a possibility that 200,000,000 people could be saved, it is okay to kill that one person.

If you do not kill that person, you are responsible for the death of hundreds of millions. If you do kill the person, it is not your fault that the people died.

Rebuttal 4) The organ donor analogy voids the resolution.

This is not about suicide, this is about murder. On a side note, I sincerely doubt that a person in that hospital would just happen to be a perfect donor for all five people.

Rebuttal 5) "Now this leads to another interesting argument that my opponent may make in a future round, which I will address right now, and prove the problems withit to get it out of the way. The argument that mmy opponent would give is: 'It is permissible to kill oneself to save many.'"

Don't attempt to write my arguments for me, and then strike them down. I will now explain why Con's preemptive strike was a swing and a miss.

"The affirmative's own resolution says that one who dies must be innocent. If this person is threatening the many with death, then that person can not be innocent. If the person is forced to kill himself, then the responsibility is on the one who forced the death. Either way, in this situation, the justification or permission for the death does not exist."

This sentence right here voids the resolution: "If the person is forced to kill himself, then the responsibility is on the one who forced the death."

Forced suicide is not the action in question here. If I put a gun to his head and fire, that is completely different than asking him to kill himself. As I stated in my opening argument 1=1, 1<2. It may feel weird to kill somebody for the greater good, but logically, whichever action gives the most people the best chance of survival is the right choice. Remember, "The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few, or the one."

In conclusion, it is ok to kill a person in order to save a larger amount of people.
Debate Round No. 3
KingDebater369

Con

I thank my opponent for his rebuttal. In this round I will defend my own arguments, and try to prove why my arguments still stand despite my opponent's attempt to knock them off.
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Rebuttal 1: My opponent starts off by saying that it wasn't stated in the resolution that things had to be practical. Either way it doesn't matter, because I presented another scenario, and I guess he had no problems with it because he didn't say anything about it.

Rebuttal 2: Then, my opponent brings up another scenario about a pack of wolves. Once again, there can never be 100% certainty that the pack of wolves will actually swarm/eat him. Perhaps if one person is tripped, then 5 wolves will surround him and eat him, but another 5 wolves will go on to chase the group. You can never be 100% certain with Affirmitive's point of view.

Rebuttal 3: My opponent goes on to say that if you are presented with a situation in which you have to kill 1 person, and if you don't kill that person, there is a chance that 200,000,000 people will die. An interesting argument, so I will take some time to explain:

1. First of all it's important to note that Affirmitive has an absolute statement that he must defend. The resolution doesn't say, "it is morally permissible in some instances, or in the case of a particular event." It says It is morally permissible to kill one innocent person if we can save many.

2. My opponent states that even if you are not responsible for the killing of the one person you are responsible for the deaths of millions of people. This doesn't make any sense. It's not the person that's faced with the decision of killing the innocent person that is responsible for their deaths. It is the person/people that are going to torture the millions that are responsible

4. Then my opponent says, "If you do kill the person, it is not your fault the people died." Once again, no matter what situation we are talking about here, it is never the person faced with the decision that has the responsibilty. The responsibility will always fall under the people that are actually torturing those 200 million people.

5. If there is never 100% certainty then you can't affirm the resolution. Remember, resolution is an absolute statement, as I have said earlier. It doesn't say in some cases, or in some instances, it says it is-period. So, if there is not a 100 percent chance, then you can't affirm.

Rebuttal 4: The organ donor analogy

1. My opponent says it's not about suicide. Ok, that's fine. I just thought I would bring the idea up just in case he would use it. But if he doesn't think suicide is in the resolution, then ok. I'll agree that suicide isn't in the resolution as will.

Rebuttal 5. Next, my opponent talks about the fact that forced suicide is not the reslution. Understood. I think we can take my idea of a suicide and throw it out the door. Once again, I only brought it up because I had a feeling that he would bring it up in his case.
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I would find it to be a cheap shot if my opponent rebuts to anything I said in this round, as I will not be able to address his arguments. Overall, a fun debate =)
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AlternativeDavid

Pro

I'd like to thank Con for a good debate. Readers will find my rebuttals below.

Rebuttal 1) The reason I did not respond to the new scenario presented by Con was because it did not matter. I did not feel that it refuted my point, and later on I indirectly responded to the idea behind the scenario when I gave rebuttals 2/3.

Rebuttal 2) As I stated in rebuttal 3, even if there is uncertainty it is worth the lost life because if you don't, the greater amount of deaths are your fault.

Rebuttal 3) Well I guess I'll counter each point that Con makes here.

1) I have no idea where I stated that it is morally permissible in some scenarios. I'm assuming that this is a clarification, and not a jab at my argument

2) In this case, who is responsible does not matter. You are given a choice, if you choose to spare the one, you are at fault for the death of the 200,000,000. I understand that you will not be doing the killing, but it is still an obligation of yours to cause the death of as few people as possible in the given situation. If you do not make the call that results in the fewest deaths, you have done the wrong thing.

3) Con has skipped this number for some odd reason. Perhaps he's not a fan of prime numbers.

4) See #2

5) I concede that Con is in fact a fan of prime numbers. I'm not the one that brought uncertainty into this scenario. I was explaining why uncertainty doesn't matter in the given scenario.

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It's not a cheap shot because the rules state that I may rebut in this round. If I were to not rebut, that would void rule #3 and I would lose the debate. Nice try Con.
Debate Round No. 4
8 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 8 records.
Posted by AlternativeDavid 2 years ago
AlternativeDavid
I switched computers and the issue didn't happen on the second one. Argument has been posted.
Posted by AlternativeDavid 2 years ago
AlternativeDavid
Something went wrong and I can't access my argument. I may have to forfeit a round. Hopefully not.
Posted by KingDebater369 2 years ago
KingDebater369
@GojanTorresque Did you read the part of my case that says, "This threat must be human because if the threat were a natural threat such as an earthquake or tornado, then there could be no certainty that the many could have been saved. Additionally, the killing of a human would not stop a natural disaster. Human sacrifice was long ago abandoned as a means of controlling nature." I stated in my case that nature cannot be involved, because in the case of a natural disaster, there can be no certainty with the amount of people saved.
Posted by KingDebater369 2 years ago
KingDebater369
I just posted the rebuttal =) @AlternativeDavid I guess the 4th human agent is going to be a heavily debated topic then. Well, it should be fun =)
Posted by AlternativeDavid 2 years ago
AlternativeDavid
I was going to mention that in my rebuttal period. The idea of a fourth party was never mentioned in the resolution, so it's almost changing the debate to allow it.
Posted by GojanTorresque 2 years ago
GojanTorresque
I think the assertion that a fourth human "villian" must be involved is a pretty big leap of logic.
Say you have the means to save a group from a disaster, by say...unlocking a burning building and letting them out, but in order to do so you have to...climb up onto a ledge. The innocent you may or may not kill is grasping your legs to avoid falling to his death. You know you have a limited time to save the others, and he is slowing you down too much and you can not climb up in time with him hanging there.

Unlikely scenario, but it still demonstrates that the idea of there being a fourth party is unneeded.
Posted by KingDebater369 2 years ago
KingDebater369
Just a note that in contention 2, point B it says "R13" randomly in the paragraph. That is an error. Just wanted to make it clear.
Posted by Aerogant 2 years ago
Aerogant
The way I see it, people got themselves into the position themselves. This world encouraged that position's possibility. I will not have blood on my hands because people get themselves into avoidable disasters. If I was one person or many, I would not want to be saved - if they can save me, then that's fine; I'm not going to pretend the of my life justifies me blaming people for not saving me over another person.
2 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 2 records.
Vote Placed by bladerunner060 2 years ago
bladerunner060
KingDebater369AlternativeDavidTied
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Reasons for voting decision: The resolution is what beats Con here--it wasn't that it's BETTER to kill 1 to save the many, it was that it's "ok". And "ok" is a relatively low bar to get over. Pro showed that it was, at the very least, ok to do so. Most of Con's arguments were about the burden of responsibility--that is, whose "fault" the situation and its outcome is. While interesting, it doesn't touch the motion. The motion is whether or not it's okay--and as Pro notes, "the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few". Con's hypothetical regarding organs was actually compelling, but it wasn't really drawn specifically to the motion, so I don't see it as having direct relevance here--here Con specifically gave a human element as causing the deaths of the many. Arguments to Pro. As always, happy to clarify this RFD.
Vote Placed by Kreakin 2 years ago
Kreakin
KingDebater369AlternativeDavidTied
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Reasons for voting decision: It appears that in certain circumstances both could be considered correct. It really seems to need a single specific scenario to focus on. The fourth actor confused the situation and I think it may not have been needed. In light of all the given arguments Ican only give a draw at present. A good and interesting debate with plenty of ground left to explore.