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Lincoln-Douglas Debate on Euthanasia

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 10/2/2013 Category: Health
Updated: 4 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 3,382 times Debate No: 38388
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (26)
Votes (1)




So, this round will function as close to a standard Lincoln-Douglas debate round as I can make it. To ensure that you're familiar with LD rules, please post a comment or message me before accepting. Thanks!

Because this is going to be a traditional LD debate, plans, counterplans, "kritiks," off-topic cases, presumption arguments, theories, and tautologies are prohibited. There is no need for solvency. Debaters will be expected to offer a value and criterion structure, and to defend it. For more rules, see the following PDF:

The Rounds will be structured as follows:

Round One: Affirmative Case (10,000 character max)
Round Two: Negative Case and 1st Rebuttal (10,000 character max)
Round Two: Affirmative 1st Rebuttal (5,000 character max.)
Round Three: Negative 2nd Rebuttal (10,000 character max)
Round Three: Affirmative 2nd Rebuttal (5,000 character max)

There will be no cross-ex. By strictly adhering to character limits, we ensure that both Aff (Pro) and Neg (Con) have 20,000 characters with which to make their case. Neg may not make new arguments in rebuttal to the AC in his 2NR; however, he can make new points in defense of the NC in his 2NR. Aff cannot make new points in the 2AR unless directly responding to new Neg points made in defense of the NC. You will have 3 days to post arguments. Voting will last one month. By accepting, you agrees to all rules and stipulate that you are familiar with LD as set out by the NCFL and NFL; if Pro wishes to change any rules, Pro can post a comment or message me.

Topic: Voluntary active euthanasia ought not be permitted within a just society.

To Our Judges: Please cast your votes based on the rules and traditions of LD; for example, please use the winning criterion to evaluate the round. If you are unaware of how LD works, please refrain from voting or feel free to read up on it and then cast your vote. I sincerely thank you in advance!

I look forward to a great LD debate! Over to my opponent.


I affirm the Resolution: Voluntary active euthanasia ought not be permitted within a just society


Voluntary Euthanasia: The intentional taking of someone’s life, with permission, when that person is not expected to recover from a serious injury or disease.

Just: based on or behaving according to what is morally right and fair.

With these terms clarified, I now present my case.

My Value will be Morality. We should always do what is moral in order to maintain a society we will be proud of.

My Value Criterion will be Deontology, or that we should do whatever has the most moral “means” and not the most moral “ends”. Deontology states that the ends do not justify the means, so even if Euthanasia will give us a good outcome, we should still avoid it, as it is immoral to take one’s life. Deontology is the only way to achieve Morality because if we as a society are taking immoral actions, then we cannot be seen as a moral society.

Contention 1: Euthanasia violates our Natural Instincts.

As a human being, even with a higher mental capacity than other animals, we still show very animalistic instincts in times of danger. The flight or fight instinct is an example of this. So why would we choose to end our own lives when there was still a chance to come out on top? The only logical answer is that the stress of death clouds our sense of reason and confuses the victims. Patients may be tempted to choose euthanasia from altruistic motives, even though morally or otherwise opposed, so as not to be a "burden" or from a feeling of guilt for using scarce medical and economic resources. If the victim was fairly wealthy, greedy family members wanting inheritance may help “convince” the victim that euthanasia was a better option. Also, in order to make sure the person was fully in support of euthanasia, they would have to be told the full extent of their pain up front, rather than gradually in sections to make it all more tolerable. This knowledge could make someone panic and pick an option that they would never get to take back. Only by tricking our survival instincts could we voluntarily choose to have our life’s taken.

Contention 2: It is against Self Interest to choose the “easy out” option.

I am sure you have heard this common phrase, “When one door closes, another one opens.” This phrase says that every decision leads to one or more other options, and that one choice can create a whole new path for your life. This is not true, however, if that choice is to end your life. If you choose euthanasia, no other door will open when that one closes because your life will be over. If you refrain from it, there is always the possibility that your disease may have a cure found before you naturally die, or the chance you were falsely diagnosed, and your true sickness is actually not fatal/permanent. These options cannot occur for you if you are dead. This is why we must always try to live as long as possible in hopes that other, less fatal options arise.

Contention 3: Death by euthanasia hurts more than just the victim.

Just as suicide hurts the close family members of the victim, euthanasia does as well. The family or loved ones of a patient choosing euthanasia may find it morally repugnant (as with suicide) and suffer much more grief than if it were a natural death. Most of the objections concern the harmful effects of legalizing euthanasia on those who are opposed to euthanasia. Grisez and Boyle argued, "From the point of view of sound jurisprudence, the self-interest of the opponents of euthanasia can no more be excluded from consideration than the self-interest of its proponents." They stated that legalizing voluntary euthanasia would serve no public interest but only the personal, private interest of those demanding legalization. (Germain Grisez and Joseph M. Boyle, Jr., authors of Life and Death with Liberty and Justice). If the victim’s family members find the idea of euthanasia immoral, then it will hurt them more to see their love choose it over dying a natural death. We must also think of the possibility of a doctor who does not believe euthanasia is moral, yet is forced to perform it upon his patients. The suffering he goes through needs also be realized.

Contention 4: We must avoid voluntary euthanasia in order to avoid the “slippery slope it creates”

The slippery slope argument says that one thing will lead to another which will lead to another, like a snowball rolling down a cliff and growing bigger and bigger as it goes down. The euthanasia slippery slope is based on the word “voluntary”. If we enact this system of euthanasia, then we put a high level of power in the hands of our doctors: the power over life itself. Doctors will be able to choose who lives and who does not by simply “persuading” the victim that the better option is to be euthanized over the “suffering” of life. How long will it be before this system and this “persuasion” becomes “convincing” and later “forcing”. We are putting a high level of power in the hands of a human being, one who will naturally go corrupt with it. While not all doctors may end up like this, we cannot let even one do so, as then our whole medical system is corrupt. Not only do we risk "snowballing" the chance of the procedure becoming less voluntary, we also run the risk of it losing its purpose in benefiting the victim. Right now, the way voluntary euthanasia would be set up is to "ease the pain" of the victim's injury/illness. If we implement it, however, we also run the risk of creating a program that benefits the victims less, and begins to benefit the surrounding people. According to Ilene MacDonald, “The problem stems in the country's payment system that rewards doctors based on volume of procedures rather than quality of care, according to the article. Cardiologists get paid less to talk about the risk of the procedure and alternative treatments than they do for implanting the device" ( The more stents he implants, the more he benefits, at the cost of his patients. Can we risk implementing this program and ending up causing more and more doctors to perform euthanasias in order to grow that paycheck, when it comes to benefit the victim less? Why risk the “snowball effect” of euthanasia when we can just allow nature to continue deciding who dies when, rather than allowing the doctors to “persuade” the people, or let the doctors benefit more than the patients themselves?

Contention 5: Deontology tells us euthanasia is immoral

Deontology states that the most moral action is the one with moral intentions. We can all agree it is immoral to kill people. That is an action that we as humans have agreed upon. So why can we see it okay to kill those who are going to die by natural means anyways? The truth of it all is that, even if euthanasia can “ease” the pain the victim suffers, we are still killing people that may end up living and overcoming their sickness had we left them alone. Due to euthanasia using immoral means to justify a “moral” end, we have to realize that it is immoral to end the life of another human being.

Contention 6: In order to be a just society, or a society based on doing what is morally right and fair, we must not allow the use of euthanasia.

As a just society is one that does what is morally right and fair, and Deontology tells us euthanasia is immoral, then we must not permit euthanasia in order to maintain a just society. We cannot let our world come to one where our friends and family are tricked into giving the “okay” to be murdered. That would not allow us to be moral in any circumstance, and this is why we cannot allow voluntary active euthanasia.

For these reasons and more, I strongly urge you all to vote in affirmation of the resolution.

Debate Round No. 1



I define "ought" as expressing moral desirability (Encarta) and "permit" as to make something possible under the law. (Oxford)

I Value Justice, defined by Aristotle as giving each their due. Prefer this value because it is the inherent goal of a just society. In other words, if an action is not just, it would not be permitted in such a community. Ultimately, all of our dues arise from human dignity--we are due pay for work, we are due food and shelter, we are due respect--all because we have worth as human beings, and our time, our emotions, and our lives matter. But, should that life become brutally painful and unbearable, can we say it respects human dignity to keep that life going? That is the issue I will explore in my contentions; but this notwithstanding, for now, suffice it to say that dignity is the root of what we are due.

Thus, I offer the Criterion of Consequentialism, where one's human dignity is the desired consequence. Hugo Badau describes human dignity as entitling one to a "life sufficient for self-respect, relief from needless drudgery, and opportunity for the release of productive energy." [1]

Contention One: Human Dignity is violated by degrading conditions and/or by constant suffering.

Prof. Jeremy Waldron writes, "Law is not brutal in its operation...[people] will not be herded like cattle or broken like horses...the rule against torture functions as an archetype of this very general policy. It's vividly emblematic of our determination to sever the link...between law and the enterprise of breaking a person's will." This comparison is not wildly out of proportion to the case at hand. Pain and degradation are both tools of torture, and patients can feel both, often at excruciatingly high intensities. Therefore, it would seem that if we also hold torture to be a fundamental violation of human dignity, we must also classify the pain of a euthanasia candidate similarly. For the torture victim, it is simple enough to end his pain; but for the patient, it requires more. In both cases though, the pain and humiliation are seen as wrong, and thus, should be halted. Euthanasia is the only way to do this for the patient, but it seems worth it in light of the pain they are undergoing.

Contention Two: Medical ethics/bioethics permit the use of euthanasia.

The AMA permits doctors to withhold treatment from afflicted individuals, allowing them to die. James Rachels posits that there is no real difference between passive and active forms. [2] In both cases, one is knowingly allowing another to die, and by one's actions or omissions, is consciously permitting the patient to die. Hence, if one type is allowed, both ought to be. Additionally, doctors are instructed to act in the interests of the patients, and life is clearly not in every patient's interest.


I agree with Pro's definition of euthanasia, with two caveats. Firstly, "serious" implies grave to the extent that it is either highly degrading and/or so painful as to make life hellish. Secondly, the resolution also specifies "active," meaning that the patient is not allowed to die, but actively has their life terminated.


Morality - Pro fails to define what his value actually is. But even if he did, the definition would likely be insufficient. Morality is a vague concept unto itself, and people each have a different take on what it is. I'm prochoice, someone else is prolife, we both think we're in the moral right, how do we decide between us? There is just no way for us to reach consensus on what morality means. So, how can we determine whether it is achieved if we don't know what it is?

Deontology - I'm going to make three attacks here. (1) Deontology asserts that there are several inviolate moral duties that we have, and that we cannot abridge them for some perceived greater good. These moral duties arise from the categorical imperative, which commands us to obey those moral rules we would wish to make universal. In other words, if we believe everyone should not steal, then there is a duty not to steal. Deontology, thus, does not exclude euthanasia. Here's why: if we believe that everyone, were they to become seriously injured, has a right to euthanasia, then euthanasia can be universalized, and so it is permissible. (2) By denying individuals the right to request and receive euthanasia, you are denying them their autonomy. In that case, you fail to treat people as ends in and of themselves, because you are denying them agency. This is contrary to the basic ideal of deontology, and to the Kantian notion of morality, (3) Utility is the core of morality. David Hume, in his essay "An Enquiry Concerning the Principles of Morals" uses the example of two armies at war to illustrate this point. These two armies are from different cultures, and share no mutual rules of fair conduct in war, Thus, each respective army must suspend their own rules in order to counter the other, and not suffer a bloody defeat. Hume extrapolates, "The rules of equity or justice depend entirely on the particular state or condition in which men are placed, and owe their origin and existence to that of utility, which results to the public from their strict and regular observance."

Contention One: Again, I have three attacks against this.

(1) This has no connection to your criterion. Whether or not animals do it has little if any bearing on if it should or can be universalized, nor does you contention explain what relevance less developed animals have on morality. There are many things animals do--such as killing young, cannibalizing, and beating others--that humans find morally repulsive. Also, you don't provide any warrants within your contention to support the claims you do make.
(2) People can make rational decisions regarding euthanasia--if I know that I would have to live in incredible pain, constantly rely on others to clean up my waste, and be subjected to routine and privacy-destroying medical examinations every week or month, I can logically come to the conclusion that my life would not be worth continuing. You're assuming that distressed people are unable to come to rational conclusions--that's just not true. Even a depressed person can make logical decisions; for example, they know that 2+2=4, that watering the plants will make them grow, and so on. Doctors can also be there to help them through the process. Additionally, by saying that a patient cannot make rational decisions, you're saying that for as long as they live, they're not competent to manage their own lives. This seems incredibly degrading, especially as some euthanasia candidates can live for a few years or more.
(3) Lastly, you're saying that because of a few instances in which people might not be acting of their own accord, the practice as a whole should be abolished. That's not so. You would have to show that in most cases people are unable to act rationally--but when people have time to make decisions and are presented with information they can make best-interest choices.

Contention Two: This is incredibly unlikely--just because something might happen, doesn't mean its probable. Under that rationale, if I were diagnosed with a painful caner five years ago, I should live with the pain. Let's say I died today, I would have suffered needlessly for 5 years of my life. I categorically reject the notion that needless suffering is in any way moral. Miracle cures, medical advances, and alternative treatments have been shown to occur, but at very low rates. Plus, rates have been slowing recently. [3] Finally, you again fail to provide a clear link to your framework.

Contention Three: I don't think the families of the patient are as morally significant as the patient himself. It is the patient whose autonomy is at stake, it is the patient who is enduring the most suffering, and it is the patient who the doctors have a duty towards. No matter how much grief the family endures, it is not enough to outweigh the sheer magnitude of physical pain and emotional tribulations being felt by the patient. It is self-centered and unjustifiably cruel to keep someone alive for your own pleasure and wellbeing.

Contention Four: You ask "how long will it be before" persuading becomes forcing. You ask this ominous-sounding question, but then fail to answer it, or even to give us an idea of this. On top of that, you fail to provide concrete logic as to why a slippery slope will necessarily occur--your only warrant is the very generic, unsupported assumption that people "will naturally go corrupt with it." Institutional checks and review boards have been successfully overseeing doctors for years, preventing them from forcing their patients into surgeries they don't want or to take medications they refuse to take. Why would euthanasia suddenly be the exception to this precedent of good regulation and oversight? You provide literally no justification for your argument. Next, your MacDonald card is U.S.-specific, whereas the topic is not. Furthermore, it is not infeasible that the problems MacDonald cites could be fixed.

Contention Five: In fact, deontology has little to do with intentions. Deontology has everything with examining the nation of the action--is the action itself right or wrong. [4] Moreover, I would make a key distinction--we all agree it is not okay to murder people, but killing in some circumstances is permissible. This is evidenced not just by euthanasia, but also in cases of self-defense or the death penalty.

Contention Six: I have already discussed the ambiguity of "morality;" cross-apply this here.

Thus, I firmly Negate.


1 -
2 -
3 -
4 -


I am going Con case then Pro case
V: Justice - I will not argue that justice is bad, nor that we should not aim to achieve it. Instead I will argue that I achieve a just society greater than my opponent, and the he fails to achieve any justice at all. Specifically he says that dignity is the root of what we are do, while if we justify euthanasia, we lose our natural right to life (Locke), taking away a right given to us by solely being human. This is why euthanasia does not achieve "giving each their due".

VC: Consequentialism - My opponent argue that if we look to the consequences, we are being just. The problem with Consequentialism however is that it is completely impossible to know every outcome of every action, while if we look to my VC of Deon. we can be sure whether the action itself is moral or not. Consequentialism only allows my opponent to guess the consequences and hope they are moral. This is why my VC should be preferred over his. If we use Deon and only perform actions that are moral, then we are a just society, thereby I achieve my opponents V better than he does.

C1 - My opponent argues that our dignity is taken away by allowing suffering, but, just as I stated against his V, what is really taken away through giving euthanasia is the person's RIGHT TO LIFE. We must act to make sure that every person has their natural rights, including the most important right to life. Therefore, if it truly does "violate dignity", then that is a better consequence than violating the RIGHT TO LIFE. Because my opponent favors looking at the consequences, this argument should hold some power since it shows he does not uphold the best consequences and therefore is not acting just.
C2 - According to my opponent, since one form of euthanasia is allowed, it all should be. But, I argue that we should not allow ANY form of euthanasia as it violates the right to life, and therefore is not a just act. If we must reform our medical system to erase forms of euthanasia used right now, then so be it. It will make our society more moral and more just.

Affirmative Case:
V - my opponent argues that since no definition of morality is provided then we can't look to it at all, but as an educated debater, and the voters being educated, one should not have to define what morality is. He also talks about the subjectivity of morality, but as a race we have come to agree on certain things which are moral and which are not, and taking human lives (murder) has been decided to be immoral. Since euthanasia takes away human life and is not used as self defense, we should not allow it and therefore compare it to murder rather than war.
VC - 1. I concede to the categorical imperative argument, but I argue that we do not have a right to euthanasia, therefore it is not allowed. 2. Disregard the autonomy argument, as autonomy is a paradox. Autonomy is not a natural right, but rather a right given by the government. Can the government force us to be autonomous if we choose not to? That, while upholding autonomy, violates autonomy. 3.utility is specific to utilitarianism, which I am not advocating. But as a further argument, there is no utility to euthanasia, as I will prove, because all it accomplishes is violating life.

First I want to say that my opponent tries to argue that my contentions don't link to my V/VC, but this is not necessary. My first 4 contentions describe real world reasons why we should reject euthanasia. My 5th and 6th contentions do link back to frame work and that is all that is necessary.

c1 - 1. my opponent talks about animals but that was not the point of C1. The point was to show that is goes against our natural instincts to survive. 2. in times of extreme stress the brain can become confused and you don't always use the best judgment. If distressed people could make a rational decision, then we would not have drug addiction problems because the stress from the withdrawals wouldn't make us resort back.
2 - It does not show that it is improbable either though. My uncle suffered severe brain damage in an accident and multiple times the doctors told us he would not get better and to just pull the plug there but he did end up getting better. Things do happen and we should let nature run its course.
C3 - again, disregard autonomy as I've explained. Also, my opponent did not understand my argument here. With suicide it is also the victims choice but it still hurts the family that they did not seek help but rather just took the easy way out. We shouldn't aim to cause emotional tribulations in the families of the victim either.
C4 - Just as I stated in MacDonald, money is a powerful tool of persuasion. It has been shown to happen so we should not rule out this possibility.
C5 - intention was the wrong word sorry. As I've already stated euthanasia is not like self-defense or death penalty, therefore it is not moral.
C6 - Con only crossapplied an argument I already addressed. This Contention still stands.
Debate Round No. 2


I thank Pro for what has proved to be an exciting debate. It's always nice for me to get back into LD...The roadmap for this round will be NC, AC, voters, in that order.


V: Justice - nowhere does Pro argue that his value of Morality should be preferred over Justice. This is crucial, because I do give you a reason to prefer Justice to Morality. I contended that Morality was a vague, ill-defined notion. Pro tried to assert that humanity has established certain joint moral principles; yet, this very debate shows disagreement as to what morality is. I believe euthanasia is moral, Pro does not. This same principle was advanced in my example of prochoice vs. prolife factions. Morality is just too nebulous a concept--and if we can't adequately define it within the round, then we will be unable to determine if we have achieved it. Pro fails to offer a definition for his value in his last speech, further complicating the matter. Thus, I submit that Justice, defined as "giving each their due" as the better value for this round. Additionally, Pro challenges my assertion that human dignity is the root/fundamental due owed to all human beings, claiming that the due of life is more important. This, however, misses my point. Without human dignity, life is worthless. Without human dignity, life would be merely an institution whereby people can be used, abused, and cast aside. Therefore, I contend that human dignity is, indeed, the core due that all agents are owed.

C: Consequentialism - firstly, I'll offer a quick clarification. As I explained my criterion in the NC, I am seeking to maximize human dignity, not good in general. Thus, my criterion is more so "maximizing human dignity." Con argues that if we look to the consequences we aren't being just, but if we're looking to the consequence of human dignity--our chief due--we are ensuring that as many people as possible are given what they're due. That is just. Furthermore, if you cross-apply my Hume card here, you can see that if utility is the core of morality, to be moral we have to look to consequences. Thus, my criterion actually achieves Pro's value better than Pro's criterion does. Finally, based on the evidence, we can make reasonable predictions--there is such a thing as predictive validity.

C1: Pro makes two errors here: (1) he assumes the right to life supersedes the right to human dignity, and (2) he assumes that the consequences of life outweigh those of a loss of dignity under my criterion. I'll address each of these in turn, but first let me point out that Pro never contests the fact that refusing euthanasia is akin to torture, and thus a violation of human dignity. Extend this--the impact here is that I'm showing that the Pro's stance inherently violates human dignity. This only leaves one issue to be settled, is the violation of human dignity that will invariably occur worse then the loss of life? As to Pro's first objection, my value-level analysis addresses this issue. Life is worthless without human dignity. We could be constantly tortured, brutalized, violated, tricked, and maltreated while being kept alive. Life--the quality of being alive--is itself not intrinsically valuable unless it is accompanied by a sense of human dignity, which would preclude such mistreatment as I outlined earlier. Pro's second point regarded my criterion; but, as I clarified, my criterion was looking specifically at maximizing human dignity, not good in general. Thus, violations of human dignity will weigh more heavily under my criterion than will losses of life.

C2: Pro never rebuts the idea that if one form of euthanasia is allowed , then both must be. Extend this. Pro's only objection with this contention is that neither form of euthanasia should be allowed. This violates a patient's right to refuse treatment, including a patient's right to do so on religious or ethical grounds. It is an affront to a patient's autonomy (I will defend autonomy later in this speech.)


V: Morality - I have already addressed why justice ought to be preferred in this round.

C: Deontology - I made three points in response to this. (1) Pro concedes that his criterion does not exclude euthanasia from being permissible, but he does debate the other two concerns I raised. I will now address those points. (2) Pro says to reject autonomy, but to do so would be to violate deontology's premise. Deontology (and dignity) argues that people should be treated as ends, not as means to an end. Pro even states this point in his AC. Kant, the foremost deontologist, also asserts the importance of people as ends in and of themselves. This is important because if we are willing to impinge on people's autonomy, we are treating them as objects whose freedoms can be ignored. Autonomy is not something that can be ignored; it is the ethical instrument that embodies our agency as human beings. If we infringe upon someone's right to choose, including the choice to be euthanized, we are denying that person's agency, and are thus denying that they are "ends" in themselves. Hence, by rejecting people's agency, Pro's undermining his own framework. (3) Pro states, by way of attack on my third point, that "utility is specific to utilitarianism." This misses the point I was making when I argued that "utility is the core of morality." Ultimately, if morality is based upon utility, instead of deontology, than a consequentialist framework better links to morality than a deontological one. This is a prima facie reason to prefer my criterion to Pro's criterion.

Pro refuses to explain how the majority of his contentions link to his V/C structure. Yet, you evaluate arguments through your V/C, so if your arguments have nothing to do with the V/C, then you can't evaluate them. This is a great way to reject the vast majority of Pro's advocacy.

C1: Firstly, Pro drops the argument that I make that simply because an animal does something, does not mean that humans ought to do it. Male lions eat their rival's young as an instinctual behavior. I don't think any sane ethicist would argue this practice be observed in humanity. Pro makes a big deal about our "natural instincts," but he has yet to show what bearing, if any, natural instinct have on this debate. Ought equals moral desirability, but yet, instinctual does not equal moral. Secondly, many addicts overcome their addictions, but I would posit that the example of an addict is ill-suited to this scenario. An addict feels compelled to do something, yet a patient is not under any such compulsion. Pain can be alleviated enough to allow them to think clearly. A better analogy would be a person suffering from terminal lung cancer. If you ask a cancer patient to find the pattern in the following: 1,3,5,7... they will be able to do it. It does not impede their ability to think rationally. Furthermore, people are afraid in many cases--I am afraid when I take a hard exam, I am afraid when I rock climb, I am afraid when I am about to have surgery. But, in all of these cases, I am still responsible for my actions. I am responsible for getting an A, for finding the best way up the wall, for giving my consent to the procedure. This demonstrates that fear/distress alone is not sufficient grounds for deeming people irrational or denying them their agency. Pro also never addressed the argument I made that "by saying that a patient cannot make decisions, you're saying that for as long as they live, they're not competent to manage their own lives. This seems incredibly degrading, especially as some euthanasia candidates can live for a few years." Extend this point. Finally, Pro never rebuts my third argument--that he is relying on a few specific examples which don't speak for euthanasia as a whole. Extend this too.

C2: Pro never responds to the evidence I offered showing how rare miracle cures are, and how unlikely it is that medical advancements will occur in time to save one's life. Extend this. Instead, Pro offers a personal example. This is an extraordinary occurrence, but, as I noted earlier, a few specific examples cannot invalidate euthanasia as a practice. It's cherry-picking.

C3: I defended autonomy already. Next, Pro says that I am missing his point, which is that we shouldn't cause families pain. However, Pro is conversely missing my point: that the pain a family undergoes is not as important as the pain the patient is feeling. It is the patient's human dignity that is at stake, it is the patient's autonomy that is in jeopardy, it is the patient who the doctors must treat. Therefore, the patient's suffering is more morally significant than the suffering of the family, and so we should weigh it more heavily under the framework. Pro drops this point entirely--extend it.

C4: Pro makes an especially egregious drop here--I stated that "Institutional checks and review boards have been successfully overseeing doctors for years, preventing them from forcing their patients into surgeries they don't want or to take medications they refuse to take. Why would euthanasia suddenly be the exception to this precedent of good regulation and oversight?" Pro's only come back is that, because abuse might happen, we shouldn't negate. This is ludicrous--abuse occurs in every human endeavor. We just can't stop moving forward because something "might" happen, especially when the very real benefits outweigh the very unlikely harms.

C5: Pro never gives us a better word to interpret his contention.

C6: Cross-apply "morality as vague" argument here.


1 - Prefer Justice as it is more clearly defined
2 - Prefer Human Dignity Consequentialism as utility is the root of morality
3 - It is against human dignity to let people live in hellish pain (NC C1)
4 - There would be checks against abuse in the NEG world (AC C4)
5 - NEG better respects autonomy, which is integral to human dignity b/c it treats people as ends

To maximize our just due of human dignity, we must NEGATE.


As the last speaker in this debate I hope to win over as many votes as possible. I will attempt this by outlining why I think you must vote for the Affirmative (Pro) today. My road map will be Neg-Aff-Voters. Thank you for a great debate Con!

V: Looking at my opponents Value of Justice, it is the stronger, more defined value today. This does not mean he has won however, as he still must uphold it, which I will argue he does not. His second argument is that the "due" due to the people is dignity, and autonomy (which I will cover later), but again I stress that we ought to insure every person is given their right to life (a natural right) over dignity. The dignity my opponent speaks of is that by not allowing euthanasia, we are violating autonomy. However, he does not address my argument about Autonomy being a paradox (Pro VC), therefore you must extend this argument. This is detrimental to my case as it means, since Con agrees it is an unachievable paradox, there is no way he can uphold HIS OWN value of justice because he is unable to give the people their "due".
VC: My opponent argues that we can predict the consequences but again I stress that if we can't be 100% sure the outcome is moral, then we should not do an immoral action (euthanasia).
C1: I will stress, as I did in the V analysis, that we must strive to achieve the natural right to life over any so called dignity my opponent speaks of. I will also stress that, since autonomy (the chief due) is unachievable and a paradox, then the only thing we can try to achieve is Life, and that is why Pro must be valued over neg.
C2: My opponent here argues that it violates the right to refuse treatment but passive euthanasia from the doctor's doing is not the same as people actively saying they don't want treatment, which is their call. Obviously religious/cultural reasons would have exceptions made.

V: Already addressed, Neg Value is stronger but achieved better through my case than his, as he could never give the person their "due" of autonomy.
VC: His 2nd argument is already addressed through his failure to refute the "autonomy is a paradox" arg, therefore it should be disregarded. 3rd he argues that he better upholds my V, but even if this is true I still better uphold his V of justice, which my opponent and I have conceded to being the best V in this round, therefore you should look to who better upholds that Value.
C1: My opponent tries to make a huge deal out of the "we aren't animals" argument but that was never my intention. Whether or not you believe in evolution, we can observe natural instincts in humans that would try to protect us from dying. Our brain is hard wired to avoid death as shown in "miraculous" events where starving men would be attracted to food that nourished them the most, thus keeping them alive longer. That was the point of that argument, which he never fully addressed.
C2: I concede to miracles are rare, and the personal example only shows one instance, but even if they are rare we should hope to achieve them. Look at the 2 possible outcomes for a seriously injured patient: 1) the treatments don't work and he dies just as doctors said, or 2) miraculously the patient is cured, unlike what doctors warned. Even if it's rare, there is a chance for the second one, but euthanasia would take away that second option.
C3: This is a big argument for my opponent, saying that the patients autonomy is more valuable than the suffering of family. But again I will stress that he conceded to the paradox argument, and therefore, since he can't save the paradoxical autonomy, we must save the suffering and grieving of the family members.

1. Because my opponent argues that we must achieve the chief due of respecting patient's autonomy, but fails to defend autonomy when I declare it a paradox, his strongest arguments fall. My opponent cannot achieve his Value because he cannot give the "chief due", while I achieve it because I give the patient life, a natural right.
2. My opponent also loses all arguments saying that we must protect the dignity (autonomy) because of the failed refute to my autonomy argument. Therefore we must put life above dignity.
3. My opponent argues he achieves my value better, but since he cannot achieve his value (the one conceded to being stronger) while I can, I must win the debate based on framework alone. If he argues that my value is insuperior, yet can't achieve his superior value, I must win this round.
4. By allowing euthanasia, my opponent goes against natural instincts of the human to survive, and prevents any chance of miracle cures of happening, therefore you must vote Pro in order to protect these things.

For these reasons and more, I strongly urge a vote for Pro today.

(Thank you bsh1 for a great intro into DDO and for an awesome round that perfectly represents the LD rounds we both enjoy. I am down to discuss memories about awesome LD rounds you've had/opponents who said crazy things anytime. This debate is much better than most of the stuff I hit in my own league, unfortunately, so thank you for a great experience.)
Debate Round No. 3
26 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by oppai_lover666 4 years ago
@thett3 Thank you for voting on our round. It isn't the most popular one and I'm guessing that it is due to the need for people educated in LD to vote on it. Very good RFD, it was a very good read to see what I did wrong and right and will hopefully allow me to improve. Yes, the character limit kills the Pro lol but that's fine, the 1AR and 2AR are the hardest speeches in LD so the character count accurately represents that.
Posted by bsh1 4 years ago
@thett3 - thanks for voting. I hope you enjoyed the debate, and congrats on 500 votes!
Posted by thett3 4 years ago
Con finishes off Pros framework. He did a good job of linking together his emphasis on autonomy/dignity and the holes in Pros advocacy--namely that without dignity life has no meaning. Con clarifies his FW and gives me a way to weigh the round under consequentalism! So I'll for sure be weighing the round under Cons framework as he controlled framework throughout the debate. Whoever maximizes dignity wins the round.

At this point I'm leaning very heavily in favor of Con as the character limit caused Pro to drop most of Cons rebuttals to his arguments.

Con once again links together his framework and the maximization of dignity found in his first contention. I don't really feel the need to go over Cons extensions/rebuilding of his attacks on Pro's case as they and my previous analysis basically speak for themselves.

I dont see any arguments on the Pro side in the final round about the maximization of dignity, which is what I've determined the round should be weighed under so I vote Con.

This was a good debate and I enjoyed reading it and hope to see more from both of these people in the future.
Posted by thett3 4 years ago
Con makes a good attack on the slippery slope argument as Pro's warrant was pretty lacking. I think Con makes a mistake by not really the MacDonald card. It's true it's US specific which makes it hard to weigh, but I think it shows that for the US at least legalizing Euthanasia would create an extremely perverse incentive for doctors. But ultimately he's right that the resolution is far more general, this isn't a policy debate after all.

Con brings up examples of what he claims are justifiable killings, but the warrant is as lacking as Pro's on why killing is always wrong. Hopefully this doesnt become the major issue because I dont know how to weigh it.

Back to Pro:

Pro argues that Euthanasia causes us to lose our rights which is unjust. Hopefully Con makes the obvious response that rights can be waived voluntarily. Pro makes a good argument that we can never truly know the consequences of our actions.

Pro argues that we shouldnt value a violation of the right to dignity of the right to life, but the problem with this argument is that a right isnt violated if it's given up voluntarily. Pro is right that C2 fails to really engage his case.

Pro doesn't really engage Cons attacks on his framework, especially the second attack where I have absolutely no idea what he's trying to argue. So unless something radically changes Con has won on framework but is making nearly all of his arguments under Pros framework so I don't really know how to weigh the round. Hopefully R3 will bring clarity.

I feel like the character limit is really killing Pro here, as his defense of his own case is just too small to really overcome most of Cons attacks. On C5 for example, Pro doesn't stick to his guns and argue that all killing is immoral, but rather that Euthanasia isn't like defense or the death penalty w/o explaining how. Pro also gives me no reason to disregard autonomy other than the confusing argument he made in defense of his framework
Posted by thett3 4 years ago
500th vote, live feed RFD.

Disclosure: I was asked by bsh to view this debate. I support Euthanasia not strongly, and I'll do my very best to keep any bias out of my vote by voting using the blank slate paradigm. I'll probably make critiques of each debaters arguments along the way, but these are just my own observations and only responses made in round will factor into my decision.

Pro's case is pretty good so far, we'll see how Con responds. One thing I take issue with is that he's arguing for deontology yet some of his contentions (C3 in particular) seem to be more utilitarian in nature. Pros C5 desperately needs a warrant, there's no real link explaining why killing is always, inherently immoral.

Con offers a consequentialist criterion. This is awesome, hopefully this debate will explore deontology v. util as it's a debate I'd like to see. I don't know why Con didn't choose to argue for euthanasia from a more utilitarian perspective, like the cost of dying but his contentions are decent. I like the comparison of Euthanasia to torture. C2 seems more defensive but the last line at least is good, that doctors should do what's in the best interest of the patient.

Con goes for a framework take out, with 3 pretty solid attacks, especially 2. I was hoping to see a turn on the deontology framework using autonomy. I think Cons valuation of util over deontology would be way more compelling if Con was making more utilitarian arguments. Con goes for a 3 pronged attack on C1. I think the best argument is 2, showing how perhaps Euthanasia can be rational after all. Con argues against Pro's consideration of the impact of euthanasia on others by arguing in favor of the patients autonomy? This seems to go against the criterion of util when engaging Pro's most utilitarian argument. We'll see if Pro catches this, right now I think Con is on top in framework because he was far more clear but if pro calls him out he might lose the edge
Posted by oppai_lover666 4 years ago
Come on people, we need at least one person to vote to decide who won the round!
Posted by oppai_lover666 4 years ago
That's the thing! There is no LD handbook! Well, there probably is but it doesn't say you have to have a certain number of contentions. We're fairly traditional but super evidence based. No K's, CP, DA, or other off case arguments though. So we're only progressive in the need for evidence, and people think you need evidence for EVERYTHING. Like, "The resolution states The United States, but my opponent gives no definition so how can we know what the US is??" And I know, the no speaker points is so stupid :( Especially because I am a fairly good debater, at least I think so, but speaking is my weakpoint, stuff like eye contact and confidence. Now I don't even get to see how I did or what I need to work on...

But I definitely think calling for evidence is necessary however. At the first Novice tournament this year the Aff got up and said "Contention 2, all neg arguments are proved factually wrong." and went on to read evidence on it and I was like uhhhh I need to see that card and all it said was "31 countries have compulsory voting and it's done good things for most of them". (If you don't know the current LD topic is about compulsory voting). And it's stuff like that that Novices (and even some Varsity members...) do where calling for evidence is required, rather than "protesting" to your coach and delaying the whole tournament while they "investigate".
Posted by bsh1 4 years ago
I compete in the Baltimore subsidiary of the Catholic Forensic League. We have 6, 3 round tournaments before States and Nats. How can you take out speaker points--that' so weird...

My league is fairly traditional, so no calling for evidence either. We only power rank our last regular season tournament of the year based on the prior 5 tournaments. What LD handbook do you have--3 contentions. I normally never had more than one!

Our judges are the oddest mix of lay, progressive, and experienced traditional I've seen, even though our administration is super traditional.
Posted by oppai_lover666 4 years ago
" It is the patient's human dignity that is at stake, it is the patient's autonomy that is in jeopardy" I was going off of that line from the 2NR. I interpreted that as being autonomy = dignity. But I guess it's just up to the voters :p

Anyways I debate in the Kern Regional Forensics League (Southern-Central California). Our league just got a new VP though and she doesn't know anything about debate... We took out speaker points and made our 3 4-round league tournaments into 1 big 12-round tournament so if you miss one date, you're suddenly 0-4 for the whole tournament. And they are powermatched from round 3 on, so every consecutive tournament after the first is powermatched all four rounds. And it's "illegal" as a judge to call for evidence after the round :( The whole thing is pretty stupid. And the other schools don't care about debate they just want to win and they try to convince our judges (all lay judges) of made up rules or stuff like "my opponent didn't define ought so he should lose" or "The LD handbook says you have to have 3 contentions so disregard my opponents 4th and 5th contentions." So we try to go to as many invitationals as possible!
Posted by bsh1 4 years ago
Good debate.

I'm not sure that autonomy = human dignity, so I wouldn't buy that disproving one disproves the other, but it seems like a very close round.

Where did you debate?
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by thett3 4 years ago
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Total points awarded:30 
Reasons for voting decision: 500th vote! RFD in comments