The Instigator
gahbage
Pro (for)
Losing
11 Points
The Contender
LR4N6FTW4EVA
Con (against)
Winning
30 Points

Killing someone is morally equivalent to letting them die.

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 8/30/2008 Category: Society
Updated: 8 years ago Status: Voting Period
Viewed: 2,753 times Debate No: 5203
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (15)
Votes (7)

 

gahbage

Pro

Verily.

Scenarios:

a) Bob is babysitting his little cousin, who he doesn't particularly care for. While the child is leaning out the back window, looking for his toy that fell, the child starts to lose balance. Bob pushes him out the window, causing him to fall on his head and die. [Action]

b) Bob is babysitting his little cousin, who he doesn't particularly care for. While the child is leaning out the back window, looking for his toy that fell, the child starts to lose balance. Bob watches, presuming (correctly) that he will fall on his head and die. [Inaction]

Guidelines:

1) Please argue based upon the provided scenario, so semantics and misinterpretations can be avoided.

2) Bob does NOT know beforehand that the child will die. However, he knows that if the child loses balance, the child will fall out the window. He knows that if the child falls out the window, the result will be death. He also knows that it is entirely possible to save the child.

Contention:

In each scenario, Bob has three options: prevent the child from losing balance (saving the child), push the child out the window (killing the child), or let the child fall out the window (letting the child die). We know that in the case of morals, "the ends justify the means", so your decisions are justified by the outcome. It is obvious that saving the child and killing him are moral opposites, since one results in a life preserved, while the other results in a life taken. However, letting the child die also results in a life taken. The difference is that one is active, while one is passive. But the nature of the decision does not matter when pertaining to morals; it is the outcome that matters. Since killing the child and letting the child die both lead to the same result, they are morally equivalent. Here is my contention in syllogistic form:

1. [Morally, ]"the ends justify the means", or "the outcome justifies the decision".
2. Killing someone has the same outcome as knowing you can save someone, but letting them die anyway.
3. Since killing someone and letting them die have the same outcome, they are morally equivalent.
LR4N6FTW4EVA

Con

I actually agree, but I'll just argue against you.

My case: Imagine these situations.

A) Your friend Billy and you are driving down I-95 (Yeah East Coast!), and a tractor trailer rams your car. The car goes flying off the road, and into the median. Billy has a punctured lung, a hole in his neck, a fractured skull, and has lost his arm. He will die within a few minutes, but at this moment he is screaming in intense pain. You are basically okay. You have a shard of glass in your hand that you can use to kill him quickly and end the suffering for Billy. As my opponent agreed, the ends justify the means. The ends of killing Billy would be saving him from a few minutes of intense physical and emotional pain, so it is the moral action. You must kill Billy, as letting him die would be making him suffer needlessly.

B) Your dear old Grandma is within days of dying of cancer. In this hypothetical situation, euthanasia is legal. She declines to be euthanized, and asks to be allowed to die naturally. Euthanizing her would result in the same end, her death, but it would be violating her right to live a few more days to say good bye. If killing her and letting her die were equivalent, then this would not be an issue. Unfortunately, in this case, it is immoral to kill her, while it is moral to let her die.

C) Stephen has a genetic disorder that will painlessly kill him at age 20. It will not affect him in any other way. It would be immoral to kill him because you deprive him of twenty happy years of life before his painless death. Obviously killing and letting die are not equivalent.

"Scenarios:

a) Bob is babysitting his little cousin, who he doesn't particularly care for. While the child is leaning out the back window, looking for his toy that fell, the child starts to lose balance. Bob pushes him out the window, causing him to fall on his head and die. [Action]

b) Bob is babysitting his little cousin, who he doesn't particularly care for. While the child is leaning out the back window, looking for his toy that fell, the child starts to lose balance. Bob watches, presuming (correctly) that he will fall on his head and die. [Inaction]

Guidelines:

1) Please argue based upon the provided scenario, so semantics and misinterpretations can be avoided.

2) Bob does NOT know beforehand that the child will die. However, he knows that if the child loses balance, the child will fall out the window. He knows that if the child falls out the window, the result will be death. He also knows that it is entirely possible to save the child.

Contention:

In each scenario, Bob has three options: prevent the child from losing balance (saving the child), push the child out the window (killing the child), or let the child fall out the window (letting the child die). We know that in the case of morals, "the ends justify the means", so your decisions are justified by the outcome. It is obvious that saving the child and killing him are moral opposites, since one results in a life preserved, while the other results in a life taken. However, letting the child die also results in a life taken. The difference is that one is active, while one is passive. But the nature of the decision does not matter when pertaining to morals; it is the outcome that matters. Since killing the child and letting the child die both lead to the same result, they are morally equivalent. Here is my contention in syllogistic form:"

I object to the guideline limiting the resolution to this one scenario. I in fact agree that in that scenario they are the same. However, privately he and I have agreed to not limit it to this scenario.

In this situation the ends are the same, but in the three situations above, the ends are different. The actions are therefore not equivalent. I win.
Debate Round No. 1
gahbage

Pro

I confirm that I have agreed to not limiting the topic to one scenario. However, my opponent provides scenarios that obviously do not follow Guideline 2:

"Bob does NOT know beforehand that the child will die. However, he knows that if the child loses balance, the child will fall out the window. He knows that if the child falls out the window, the result will be death. He also knows that it is entirely possible to save the child."

And also blatantly ignores the first line of my contention:

"In each scenario, Bob has three options: prevent the child from losing balance (saving the child), push the child out the window (killing the child), or let the child fall out the window (letting the child die). We know that in the case of morals, "the ends justify the means", so your decisions are justified by the outcome."

Since all of the scenarios are the same situation in different context, I will only address Scenario A.

A) "Your friend Billy and you are driving down I-95 (Yeah East Coast!), and a tractor trailer rams your car. The car goes flying off the road, and into the median. Billy has a punctured lung, a hole in his neck, a fractured skull, and has lost his arm. He will die within a few minutes, but at this moment he is screaming in intense pain. You are basically okay. You have a shard of glass in your hand that you can use to kill him quickly and end the suffering for Billy. As my opponent agreed, the ends justify the means. The ends of killing Billy would be saving him from a few minutes of intense physical and emotional pain, so it is the moral action. You must kill Billy, as letting him die would be making him suffer needlessly."

Let's compare this to the Bob scenario. In Bob's scenario, he could have saved the child from falling out of the window by helping him keep his balance. Now take a look at the three options Bob had, and their consequences:

Help the child (life saved)
Push the child (life taken)
Let the child fall (allow a life to be taken)

So if Bob did not save the child, then due to his action OR his inaction, a life would be lost. Remember, Bob KNEW that the child would die if he lost his balance while looking out the window. Also remember that the end justify the means. Regardless if Bob takes the life or lets it be taken, he KNOWS that the consequence will be a life lost. In Billy's situation, there's not much you can do about a punctured lung, a hole in his neck, a fractured skull and a severed arm - whatever you do, you cannot save Billy's life. The same goes for your grandma in Scenario B, who cannot be saved from her cancer, and Stephen in Scenario C, who cannot be saved from his genetic disorder. My opponent left a very important part out of his scenarios: Bob could have saved the child's life. But you cannot save Billy's life. Thus whatever action or inaction you take is obsolete; ANYTHING you do will ultimately end with a life lost. By this reasoning we conclude one thing: Since any action or inaction will result in a life lost, all decisions are morally equivalent.

Now enough about that - on to something else about morals. I will begin with the quote, "Good cannot exist without evil, and vice-versa". We all know that if there is no evil in the world, then nothing can be considered "good"; if there is no good in the world, then nothing can be considered "evil". Now, my opponent provides scenarios that eliminate any possible "good" from happening; you cannot save Billy, Grandma, or Stephen's life. Therefore, with nothing to compare the "evil" to (killing and letting someone die), how would they be evil? Thus, my opponent has taken the morality out of morals, so to speak. By this reasoning we conclude one thing: Since no decision is good or evil, morality cannot be applied to any action or inaction.

So, based on the two scenarios my opponent has provided, we have two conclusions:

1. Since any action or inaction will result in a life lost, all decisions are morally equivalent.
2. Since no decision is good or evil, morality cannot be applied to any action or inaction.

Now let's analyze these conclusions:

1. This conclusion claims that all decisions are morally equivalent. So, by claiming that ALL decisions apply, one can deduce that saving a life and taking a life are morally equivalent. Obviously, they aren't, which make my opponent's logic flawed.

2. This conclusion claims that all decisions cannot be moral or immoral. My opponent has consequently taken the morality out of a debate about morals. This conclusion does not apply, and is obviously false anyway.

So, voters, you see that my opponent uses flawed logic to show moral inequivalence, by providing scenarios with no "good" options. My opponent has no valid contention going for him; therefore, you vote PRO.
LR4N6FTW4EVA

Con

"However, my opponent provides scenarios that obviously do not follow Guideline 2:

'Bob does NOT know beforehand that the child will die. However, he knows that if the child loses balance, the child will fall out the window. He knows that if the child falls out the window, the result will be death. He also knows that it is entirely possible to save the child.'"

What Bob knows has nothing to do with anything but YOUR scenario. My scenarios do not have this feature. That's why I picked them. You don't always have the luxury of saving a person, and it is in that scenario where killing and letting die are not morally equivalent.

"In each scenario, Bob has three options: prevent the child from losing balance (saving the child), push the child out the window (killing the child), or let the child fall out the window (letting the child die). We know that in the case of morals, 'the ends justify the means', so your decisions are justified by the outcome."

Bob's options in my opponent's scenarios and whether or not the ends justify have nothing to do with whether or not my situations are valid.

"Since all of the scenarios are the same situation in different context, I will only address Scenario A."

They're not the same. A you can kill to stop needless suffering, or you can let Billy die. B you follow Grandma's wishes and not euthanize her, or you can let her follow her wishes and die. C, you can kill Stephen as a baby, or let him live a normal life until he dies.

"Help the child (life saved)
Push the child (life taken)
Let the child fall (allow a life to be taken)

So if Bob did not save the child, then due to his action OR his inaction, a life would be lost. Remember, Bob KNEW that the child would die if he lost his balance while looking out the window. Also remember that the end justify the means. Regardless if Bob takes the life or lets it be taken, he KNOWS that the consequence will be a life lost. In Billy's situation, there's not much you can do about a punctured lung, a hole in his neck, a fractured skull and a severed arm - whatever you do, you cannot save Billy's life. The same goes for your grandma in Scenario B, who cannot be saved from her cancer, and Stephen in Scenario C, who cannot be saved from his genetic disorder. My opponent left a very important part out of his scenarios: Bob could have saved the child's life. But you cannot save Billy's life. Thus whatever action or inaction you take is obsolete; ANYTHING you do will ultimately end with a life lost. By this reasoning we conclude one thing: Since any action or inaction will result in a life lost, all decisions are morally equivalent.

Now enough about that - on to something else about morals. I will begin with the quote, "Good cannot exist without evil, and vice-versa". We all know that if there is no evil in the world, then nothing can be considered "good"; if there is no good in the world, then nothing can be considered "evil". Now, my opponent provides scenarios that eliminate any possible "good" from happening; you cannot save Billy, Grandma, or Stephen's life. Therefore, with nothing to compare the "evil" to (killing and letting someone die), how would they be evil? Thus, my opponent has taken the morality out of morals, so to speak. By this reasoning we conclude one thing: Since no decision is good or evil, morality cannot be applied to any action or inaction."

I agree that Bob is committing two equal actions. That's because they resulted in the same ends. Morality is
"The creed which accepts as the foundation of morals, Utility, or the Greatest Happiness Principle, holds that actions are right in proportion as they tend to promote happiness, wrong as they tend to produce the reverse of happiness. By happiness is intended pleasure, and the absence of pain; by unhappiness, pain, and the privation of pleasure. To give a clear view of the moral standard set up by the theory, much more requires to be said; in particular, what things it includes in the ideas of pain and pleasure; and to what extent this is left an open question. But these supplementary explanations do not affect the theory of life on which this theory of morality is grounded- namely, that pleasure, and freedom from pain, are the only things desirable as ends; and that all desirable things (which are as numerous in the utilitarian as in any other scheme) are desirable either for the pleasure inherent in themselves, or as means to the promotion of pleasure and the prevention of pain." In scenario A, yes Billy dies both ways, but killing leads to more pain and suffering, as he is allowed to scream in agony for a few torturous minutes. In B, although Grandma dies in both situations, you deny her and her family the closure they would have received from those few extra days, thereby causing more pain in scenario B if you kill, and less if you let her die. In C, Stephen dies both ways, but if you kill him, you deny him of 20 happy years, which leads to less happiness. Obviously there is a difference in the ends, even though death is included in all the ends. It's just that in these situations, killing or letting die changes the exact nature of these ends.

Although my opponent argues that there can be no evil if there is no good, my case stands. There is still good in my scenarios. It may not be the ideal good, but it is still maximizing happiness and minimizing unhappiness, as is allowed.

"1. This conclusion claims that all decisions are morally equivalent. So, by claiming that ALL decisions apply, one can deduce that saving a life and taking a life are morally equivalent. Obviously, they aren't, which make my opponent's logic flawed.

2. This conclusion claims that all decisions cannot be moral or immoral. My opponent has consequently taken the morality out of a debate about morals. This conclusion does not apply, and is obviously false anyway."

1. This is never claimed by me. It is not implied. You are wrong. saving a life is not equivalent to killing a person, the ends are different. My scenarios the ends were different too.

2. That is also not implied or stated in my argument. I provided a good action and a bad action. Saving the person's life is not always an option, and when that occurs, you must still maximize happiness and minimize pain. The action that does this is the good one, and the action that doesn't is bad.
Debate Round No. 2
gahbage

Pro

I will separate my rebuttal into different sections for different points.

=Section1======================================================================

"You don't always have the luxury of saving a person, and it is in that scenario where killing and letting die are not morally equivalent."

OK, something my opponent fails to understand: Without the chance to save the victim, the outcome of ANY decision you make will be death. By removing all positive outcomes from the situation, you have made every decision have a negative outcome, and thus be morally equivalent. Similar to how removing the good from the world turns all evil into neutrality. Thus, morals are irrelevant in the current scenario, because the outcome will be the same regardless of what you do. And no, taking Billy's life is not a positive outcome, he just dies faster. So what? The result is still a loss of life. And as you have already acknowledged that the ends justify the means, if the outcomes are the same, then the actions (or inactions) must be morally equivalent. In a situation where there is only one type of outcome, every action is neutral; thus, morally equivalent.

"Bob's options in my opponent's scenarios and whether or not the ends justify have nothing to do with whether or not my situations are valid."

Actually, it does. If you make all the ends the same, then you have effectively taken the morality out of morals. Nothing can be morally equivalent or inequivalent; nothing can be justified or unjustified; nothing can be good or evil. And, literally, if all ends are the same, then all means are the same too. (Morally speaking, of course.)

"They're not the same. A you can kill to stop needless suffering, or you can let Billy die. B you follow Grandma's wishes and not euthanize her, or you can let her follow her wishes and die. C, you can kill Stephen as a baby, or let him live a normal life until he dies."

See my above rebuttals.

=Section2======================================================================

"I agree that Bob is committing two equal actions. That's because they resulted in the same ends . . . "

So you concede? I've already established that same ends = moral equivalence. You just agreed that they have the same ends.

My opponent's quote does nothing to support his case. This is because happiness and pain are SUBJECTIVE. My opponent cannot determine what makes me happy, and I cannot determine what causes him pain, because we might differ in our ideals. Now let's look at morals for a second. What you believe causes happiness and pain determines what your decisions are. Your decisions determine the outcome. However, you cannot use happiness and pain to determine morality. To determine what is morally equivalent, much like to determine anything, you cannot turn to subjective reasoning. You must analyze the outcome, and the fact that the subject is aware of such outcomes (since he/she makes the decision).

Bob KNOWS that the child will fall out of the window if he loses his balance. If Bob pushes the child, Bob knows that he will fall and die. If Bob lets the child fall, Bob knows he will die. Bob made the decision to either take action or inaction, knowing fully well that the outcome will be the same. Thus, these decisions (killing or letting die) are morally equivalent.

"In scenario A, yes Billy dies both ways, but killing leads to more pain and suffering, as he is allowed to scream in agony for a few torturous minutes."

How do you scream in agony with a hole in your throat and a punctured lung? Chances are, with injuries this serious, you won't be alive much longer than it takes someone to stab you with a shard of glass. What's more, you have no way of knowing if he will retaliate to your murder attempt, nor do you know if he wants to tells you a final request through sign language, etc. Since you don't know if you will cause happiness or pain, but you DO know that he will die either way, either one of these actions would be morally equivalent to the other.

"In B, although Grandma dies in both situations, you deny her and her family the closure they would have received from those few extra days, thereby causing more pain in scenario B if you kill, and less if you let her die."

How do you know if she wants to let her family watch her die? Again, since you don't know if you will cause happiness or pain, but you DO know that she will die either way, either one of these actions would be morally equivalent to the other.

"In C, Stephen dies both ways, but if you kill him, you deny him of 20 happy years, which leads to less happiness. Obviously there is a difference in the ends, even though death is included in all the ends. It's just that in these situations, killing or letting die changes the exact nature of these ends."

How do you know that Stephen will live a happy 20 years? Yet again, since you don't know if you will cause happiness or pain, but you DO know that he will die either way, either one of these actions would be morally equivalent to the other.

=Section3======================================================================

"This is never claimed by me. It is not implied."

You may not have meant to imply it, but you did. By making all the ends the same, you have made everything morally equivalent. Remember, same ends = moral equivalence.

"Saving the person's life is not always an option, and when that occurs, you must still maximize happiness and minimize pain."

Too bad it will all provide the same outcome: -1 life. Oops, looks like you made everything morally equivalent again.

=Summary======================================================================

Section 1:

1. "The ends justify the means" has been accepted as true.
2. In my scenario, the ends are the same, so the means must be the same.
3. In my opponent's scenarios, the ends are the same for ANY DECISION, installing neutrality.

Section 2:

1. My opponent acknowledged that "they resulted in the same ends". Therefore, he has CONCEDED.
2. My opponent attempts to base moral equivalence off of happiness and pain, two subjective ideas. I have shown why it must be based off a determined factor: the outcome, and what the subject's decisions were.
3. My opponent's scenarios provide no positive outcome, so they must be disregarded (see Section 1, Point 3). Also, no matte what happens, the outcome will be the same, making killing and letting die morally equivalent.

Section 3:

1. My opponent's scenarios lead to illogical conclusions.

So, voters, it looks like a clear PRO vote.
LR4N6FTW4EVA

Con

"OK, something my opponent fails to understand: Without the chance to save the victim, the outcome of ANY decision you make will be death. By removing all positive outcomes from the situation, you have made every decision have a negative outcome, and thus be morally equivalent. Similar to how removing the good from the world turns all evil into neutrality. Thus, morals are irrelevant in the current scenario, because the outcome will be the same regardless of what you do. And no, taking Billy's life is not a positive outcome, he just dies faster. So what? The result is still a loss of life. And as you have already acknowledged that the ends justify the means, if the outcomes are the same, then the actions (or inactions) must be morally equivalent. In a situation where there is only one type of outcome, every action is neutral; thus, morally equivalent."

What my opponent fails to understand is that under this logic, all negative outcomes would be equivalent. I think it can be agreed that death is negative. So under this logic, one dead is just as bad as 6 billion dead. This is absolutely absurd. A situation in which there is more negative outcomes is not equal to one with less. All of my scenarios have outcomes that are negative, but depending on whether you kill the person or let them die, they are more or less negative.

"Actually, it does. If you make all the ends the same, then you have effectively taken the morality out of morals. Nothing can be morally equivalent or inequivalent (sic); nothing can be justified or unjustified; nothing can be good or evil. And, literally, if all ends are the same, then all means are the same too. (Morally speaking, of course.)"

The ends aren't the same! Just being negative does not mean they are equivalent. My opponent and I are both humans, but we are not the same! The ends are different, and they are more negative or less negative depending on one's actions. The ends are not equivalent, so the means are not equivalent.

"See my above rebuttals."

Your above rebuttals don't address this. Yeah, they are negative, but they are less negative or more negative than the alternative.

"So you concede? I've already established that same ends = moral equivalence. You just agreed that they have the same ends."

I concede that in one situation they are equivalent, as the ends were the same. I contend however that in many situations the ends are not the same.

"My opponent's quote does nothing to support his case. This is because happiness and pain are SUBJECTIVE. My opponent cannot determine what makes me happy, and I cannot determine what causes him pain, because we might differ in our ideals. Now let's look at morals for a second. What you believe causes happiness and pain determines what your decisions are. Your decisions determine the outcome. However, you cannot use happiness and pain to determine morality. To determine what is morally equivalent, much like to determine anything, you cannot turn to subjective reasoning. You must analyze the outcome, and the fact that the subject is aware of such outcomes (since he/she makes the decision)."

Happiness is caused by endorphins and dopamine, which are genetically wired to emit these chemicals under certain stimuli. These include not dying. Pain is defined by the International Association for the Study of Pain (IASP) as "an unpleasant sensory and emotional experience associated with actual or potential tissue damage, or described in terms of such damage." Cancer, punctured lungs, amputated arms, and holey necks cause tissue damage. They definitely cause pain. Pain and happiness are quantifiable neurological phenomenon that can be included in moral calculi.

"How do you know if she wants to let her family watch her die? Again, since you don't know if you will cause happiness or pain, but you DO know that she will die either way, either one of these actions would be morally equivalent to the other."

I know she wants to let her family watch her die because SHE SAID SO! I know it will cause happiness because it is something that has been studied and has been shown to be true. Death causes pain to loved ones. If you get a goodbye, however, it causes less pain. Killing leads to more pain than letting die. Obviously they are not equivalent.

"How do you know that Stephen will live a happy 20 years? Yet again, since you don't know if you will cause happiness or pain, but you DO know that he will die either way, either one of these actions would be morally equivalent to the other."

The vast majority of people in developed nations are happy to be alive. It is not definite, but very likely that Stephen's going to live a happy life. Killing Stephen would prevent him from happiness.

"How do you scream in agony with a hole in your throat and a punctured lung? Chances are, with injuries this serious, you won't be alive much longer than it takes someone to stab you with a shard of glass. What's more, you have no way of knowing if he will retaliate to your murder attempt, nor do you know if he wants to tells you a final request through sign language, etc. Since you don't know if you will cause happiness or pain, but you DO know that he will die either way, either one of these actions would be morally equivalent to the other."

Forgot that one. For the purposes of the scenario, he lives a few more minutes that he will spend in agony. He cannot retaliate, as he is missing some limbs, and last requests are probably not the first thing on his mind. Killing him saves him from the agony of those last few minutes.

"You may not have meant to imply it, but you did. By making all the ends the same, you have made everything morally equivalent. Remember, same ends = moral equivalence."

THE ENDS ARE NOT THE SAME!!! There is pain, suffering, rights violations and other negative impacts that are not included in one scenario, but are in the other.

"Too bad it will all provide the same outcome: -1 life. Oops, looks like you made everything morally equivalent again."

It's a different outcome, -1 life, -3 happiness, etc. Oops looks like you made everything not morally equivalent again.

"1. "The ends justify the means" has been accepted as true.
2. In my scenario, the ends are the same, so the means must be the same.
3. In my opponent's scenarios, the ends are the same for ANY DECISION, installing neutrality."

I agree with 1 and 2. 3 however is a lie. They are different ends, as I have shown COUNTLESS times.

"1. My opponent acknowledged that "they resulted in the same ends". Therefore, he has CONCEDED.
2. My opponent attempts to base moral equivalence off of happiness and pain, two subjective ideas. I have shown why it must be based off a determined factor: the outcome, and what the subject's decisions were.
3. My opponent's scenarios provide no positive outcome, so they must be disregarded (see Section 1, Point 3). Also, no matte (sic) what happens, the outcome will be the same, making killing and letting die morally equivalent."

1. I conceded that in one scenario they were equivalent, but by no means in all.
2. I showed that pain and happiness were not subjective, but that they are biological functions.
3. THE OUTCOME IS NOT THE SAME!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

"1. My opponent's scenarios lead to illogical conclusions."

Uhh... no. You just misconstrued and misinterpreted my argument. Your stupidity has nothing to do with my argument's validity.

So voters, the vote goes to CON without a doubt.
Debate Round No. 3
15 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by LR4N6FTW4EVA 8 years ago
LR4N6FTW4EVA
I'm not even going to waste my time replying to gahbage's comment. It takes two to have a rational conversation.
Posted by LR4N6FTW4EVA 8 years ago
LR4N6FTW4EVA
Yeah, I wonder why...
http://www.debate.org...
Posted by alvinthegreat 8 years ago
alvinthegreat
This sounds really familiar....
Posted by Sweatingjojo 8 years ago
Sweatingjojo
Gahbage is fail.
Posted by gahbage 8 years ago
gahbage
"You are killing someONE, but by doing so you cause the death of 6 million others."

Um... what?

"You don't really KNOW anything. You can't even know you exist. It's been calculated that in fact the odds of the world we know existing is infinitesimally small, think 1 in 10 billion."

Way to avoid the question. Let me rephrase it; can you determine if someone else will live happily or not? If you can't, then why should you decide what will happen to them?

"Not if you're in insurmountable pain. If I am ripping out your fingernails with pliers, I don't think you are in the mood to talk about anything."

I didn't know losing fingers can kill you.

"the happiness doesn't only affect the late person, but others in many situations."

It shouldn't really, since you cannot determine if someone else will be happy. And if the suffering person is the only one affected, what is the difference to them if they will die in a very short time anyway? Honestly, I'd rather endure the suffering and live for last requests, etc.

And just because I feel like it, I'd like to point out that your "Scenario D" is flawed too: In one outcome, you have a billion dollars, but you kill your Dred Scott patient (-1 life due to murder, +billion that saves Africans). In the other, your Dred Scott patient dies along with the starving children in Africa (-1 life due to natural causes, -X because 1 billion was not sent). But why didn't the patient who could not lie send the billion dollars to the children himself, instead of forcing you to commit a murder for virtually nothing? Thus it is this man's fault that the children died, not yours.

Now here's the important part: If this patient murdered all those children, the outcome would have been no different than if he had refused to give a billion to them (letting them die). So, they are morally equivalent!
Posted by LR4N6FTW4EVA 8 years ago
LR4N6FTW4EVA
Okay my dear mentally challenged friend, I'll explain to you the error of your "reasoning".
"What?! The resolution refers to someONE! In either case, there would be one death, so my opponent agrees to my stance."
You are killing someONE, but by doing so you cause the death of 6 million others. Different cases have different outcomes. If you truly believe the outcome is what matters, killing and letting die can be different. The circumstances of a person's action will affect the outcome. My situations illustrated that.

"But you don't KNOW that. How are you going to DEFINE what is right and wrong when you don't KNOW what will happen?"

You don't really KNOW anything. You can't even know you exist. It's been calculated that in fact the odds of the world we know existing is infinitesimally small, think 1 in 10 billion.

"They'd be the first thing on my mind if I was going to die."

Not if you're in insurmountable pain. If I am ripping out your fingernails with pliers, I don't think you are in the mood to talk about anything.

"-3 happiness means nothing when you have 0 lives."

It actually does. the happiness doesn't only affect the late person, but others in many situations. Even in situations where the deceased is the only one to suffer, their lack of happiness is not good. If someone is to die, we want to make them as happy as possible beforehand. This means sometimes killing them and getting it over with fast. Suffering is always bad.
Posted by gahbage 8 years ago
gahbage
"He cannot retaliate, as he is missing some limbs, and last requests are probably not the first thing on his mind."

They'd be the first thing on my mind if I was going to die.

"It's a different outcome, -1 life, -3 happiness, etc. Oops looks like you made everything not morally equivalent again."

-3 happiness means nothing when you have 0 lives.
Posted by gahbage 8 years ago
gahbage
"What my opponent fails to understand is that under this logic, all negative outcomes would be equivalent. I think it can be agreed that death is negative. So under this logic, one dead is just as bad as 6 billion dead."

What?! The resolution refers to someONE! In either case, there would be one death, so my opponent agrees to my stance...

"The vast majority of people in developed nations are happy to be alive. It is not definite, but very likely that Stephen's going to live a happy life. Killing Stephen would prevent him from happiness."

But you don't KNOW that. How are you going to DEFINE what is right and wrong when you don't KNOW what will happen?
Posted by Sweatingjojo 8 years ago
Sweatingjojo
Barack Obama steals from Oxfam!
Posted by LR4N6FTW4EVA 8 years ago
LR4N6FTW4EVA
No, you wouldn't. The thing is, charities don't actually spend their money saving people. Barack Obama steals all their money first. How else would he get so many "donations"?
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