The Instigator
funwiththoughts
Pro (for)
Losing
3 Points
The Contender
Mikal
Con (against)
Winning
9 Points

Murder is evil.

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 4 votes the winner is...
Mikal
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 9/1/2013 Category: Miscellaneous
Updated: 3 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 719 times Debate No: 37232
Debate Rounds (5)
Comments (7)
Votes (4)

 

funwiththoughts

Pro

Well, since my last opponent conceded I was wondering if anyone else would like to debate me on this subject.

The topic is whether or not murder is evil. First round is acceptance only.

Rules:

1. No insults or personal attacks
2. No forfeits.

Definitions:
Murder-the unnecessary taking of an innocent human life
Evil-Any action that has more harmful consequences towards a person or group of people than helpful consequences towards that or any other person or group of people.
Debate Round No. 1
funwiththoughts

Pro

My argument is that a life is the most valuable thing a human can have, for without a life, they cannot have anything else. As such, the harm done by taking a life can only be offset by the saving of a life. If this is the motive, then such a thing would be necessary in order to save the other life. Therefore, murder is evil.
Mikal

Con

My adversary is claiming murder is objectivly evil. This is almost an impossible stance to support. We are not debating "Can murder be evil", or "Murder can be evil" , but "Murder is evil". This is an objective stance that murder is always evil.


I will go more in depth if I need to in later rounds, but I think all I need is one contention


Contention 1

Subjectivity with morality and ethical principles.



Murder can be evil depending on the circumstance. The question is can murder be justified. He defines evil as something offering more bad consequences than good.

So let us look at some circumstances where murder can be morally acceptable and not evil.

Example A : Self defense. If someone were to try and rob your house, and you had no choice but to kill them or die, the only option you have is to kill them. In this circumstance it is forcing you to commit murder. While the person robbing you is intending to murder you and this can be considered evil, since he has forced you to commit an act of self defense and murder him, this can be justified.


Example B : Societies. Take a society in Africa that has not been effected by western culture. They still are a tribal community and have never been exposed to the modern era that we know. They can still commit murder in rituals or even in contests of strength. This type of murder is acceptable. My adversary would say it is not, but that is because he is judging them based off his perception of what is good and evil, not what their standard of good and evil is. According to their culture this is an acceptable act and without a way to gauge what is right or wrong, murder would not be evil.

In both of these situations considering the situation and location of where the murder occurred, there is a positive impact that overwhelms the negative impact. Thus qualifying and meeting my adversaries definition of what is not evil.

It is an error and just flat wrong to judge someone elses choices based off of what you think it wrong, because it does not take into consideration all the variables at play. Given the right circumstance and time frame almost everything and anything can be justified.
Debate Round No. 2
funwiththoughts

Pro

Rebuttals:

"Example A : Self defense. If someone were to try and rob your house, and you had no choice but to kill them or die, the only option you have is to kill them. In this circumstance it is forcing you to commit murder. While the person robbing you is intending to murder you and this can be considered evil, since he has forced you to commit an act of self defense and murder him, this can be justified. "

I stated in the opening what the definition of murder is (for the purposes of this debate). It was "the UNNECESSARY taking of an INNOCENT human life". My opponent is talking about the NECESSARY taking of a CRIMINAL human life-almost the direct opposite.

"Example B : Societies. Take a society in Africa that has not been effected by western culture. They still are a tribal community and have never been exposed to the modern era that we know. They can still commit murder in rituals or even in contests of strength. This type of murder is acceptable. My adversary would say it is not, but that is because he is judging them based off his perception of what is good and evil, not what their standard of good and evil is. According to their culture this is an acceptable act and without a way to gauge what is right or wrong, murder would not be evil. "

I had expected something like that to come up. But as you said, I stated the definition of evil that will be used for the purposes of this debate in my opening, which was anything with more severe harmful consequences than positive consequences. My opponent has not explained the positive consequences of this action, instead relying on the old "different things are evil for different people", even though the definition I stated can be quantified, while the negative consequences are obvious (loss of a life).

"In both of these situations considering the situation and location of where the murder occurred, there is a positive impact that overwhelms the negative impact. Thus qualifying and meeting my adversaries definition of what is not evil. "

The first scenario is not murder. The second scenario does not have positive consequences.

Arguments:

Extend previous argument as it was not contested.
Mikal

Con

Actually they were quite contested

Rebuttal 1

"I stated in the opening what the definition of murder is (for the purposes of this debate). It was "the UNNECESSARY taking of an INNOCENT human life"

Okay so take out the part where I said it was necessary. Say you had the ability to run or to kill the man. If you were to still kill the man at that point, it would still be considered moral. Note it was not necessary but it is justified. He entered your home and invaded your privacy and at that point, under some state laws if you thought he was a threat you have the right to defend yourself. This is not necessary as you are stating because I can chose to run, but if I chose to take his life and feel that I am threatened, the act of murder would still be considered moral.

How does the good outweigh the bad as you chose to word this. Your definition of evil is pretty bad. Because it is essentially saying good effects vs bad effects. Even if you word it as harmful vs not harmful. What is harmful or not harmful or what is good and what is not good is completely dependent on someones elses perception.

Bad: You killed a man and possibly could make his family suffer or anyone related to him

Good: You saved your life. You stopped your family from suffering. You protected your home or anyone in it. You took another murder off the streets.

It is very subjective but quite easy to see how there is more good than bad. Granted this is based off of perspective and we both can nitpick good vs bad but it would not matter. This is based off of perception because when you say more "good" or more "bad", the very wording of that is subjective. What is good to you may not be good to me and vise versa. So you have an impossible stance from the start.


Rebuttal 2

"I had expected something like that to come up. But as you said, I stated the definition of evil that will be used for the purposes of this debate in my opening, which was anything with more severe harmful consequences than positive consequences. My opponent has not explained the positive consequences of this action, instead relying on the old "different things are evil for different people", even though the definition I stated can be quantified, while the negative consequences are obvious (loss of a life)."


I didn't feel or still not feel the need to explain the fall back from these acts because they are irrelevant. Murder is accepted within that society so the harmful vs non harmful effects would have to be examined within the context and perspective of that society not ours. What I may think is wrong, they may not. People fighting to the death could even be revered as heroes as we often see throughout history. There could be 0 negative effects and all positive effects within the context and perspective of that society. It is impossible to say how it would harm them because we are not a member of that society, but due to the fact of it being accepted and the benefits from committing the act, we know that there are less harmful effects and more positive effects. Remember this is considering and taking into account what they consider harmful, not us. We can not judge them based off our perspective.

When people are fighting to the death in an area like that, it would produce entertainment. It would result in someone coming out on top and gaining reverence in the village. The winner could obtain a wife or prizes. He could be promoted to chief. The negatives effects are so entirely minuscule or not even there, because the society accepts murder as normal.

The fatal error you are making is claiming that murder is evil. This is dependent on your worldview only and does not take into consideration different areas or time periods.

Note: When you say murder is evil, you are saying every time someone has committed a murder without necessity all throughout history and the future it was and will be evil. This is an objective stance with murder being objectively wrong. This is impossible to support. If we were just simply referring to what my adversary considered harmful or wrong, he could easily support this. That is not the case however, we have to consider every factor such as why and when a murder took place. This includes the time period, was it accepted, the society, etc. He can not place an objective value on something because he thinks it is wrong. That is applying his worldview to everything across the board, and is quite wrong.

In Closing

His resolution is not possible to uphold. Nor has he presented a case to even try to uphold it.
Debate Round No. 3
funwiththoughts

Pro

"Actually they were quite contested"

They were not contested in any way, shape or form. In fact, they were completely ignored in favor of going on about your own contentions.

"Okay so take out the part where I said it was necessary. Say you had the ability to run or to kill the man. If you were to still kill the man at that point, it would still be considered moral. Note it was not necessary but it is justified. He entered your home and invaded your privacy and at that point, under some state laws if you thought he was a threat you have the right to defend yourself. This is not necessary as you are stating because I can chose to run, but if I chose to take his life and feel that I am threatened, the act of murder would still be considered moral. "

Even so, the man is a criminal, and therefore it is not the taking of an INNOCENT human life.

"Your definition of evil is pretty bad."

Too bad. My challenge, my rules, including definitions.

"What is harmful or not harmful or what is good and what is not good is completely dependent on someones elses perception."

I already explained why the taking of a life is a harmful consequence that can only be outweighed by the saving of a life, which would make it necessary and therefore not murder.

"I didn't feel or still not feel the need to explain the fall back from these acts because they are irrelevant."

No, they are not. You claimed that "the good outweighs the bad", thereby making it not evil, but you did not explain the good, and I have explained the bad (someone died). As such, this was an unbacked assertion-a major debating sin.

"There could be 0 negative effects and all positive effects within the context and perspective of that society. It is impossible to say how it would harm them because we are not a member of that society, but due to the fact of it being accepted and the benefits from committing the act, we know that there are less harmful effects and more positive effects. Remember this is considering and taking into account what they consider harmful, not us. We can not judge them based off our perspective. "

I am fairly certain the person who died was harmed by it. Permanently, definitely, irrevocably harmed, in a way which makes it impossible for him to ever benefit from something again. On the other hand, the benefits my opponent states are temporary, and still allow the benefitting person to suffer. Therefore, by any objective standard, the good outweighs the bad.

"When people are fighting to the death in an area like that, it would produce entertainment. It would result in someone coming out on top and gaining reverence in the village. The winner could obtain a wife or prizes. He could be promoted to chief. The negatives effects are so entirely minuscule or not even there, because the society accepts murder as normal. "

I have already explained how the negative effects of murder can only be outweighed by the saving of a life (which would make it necessary). My opponent has completely ignored this. This contention in fact shows the philosophy which is at the heart of much of his arguments: the rejection of any reality (in this case, the reality that someone died) which does not fit into his (or someone else's) pre-existing worldview. Furthermore, my opponent has specified that they are fighting TO THE DEATH, and therefore the killer would be acting out of necessity to save his own life. As a result, neither of his examples even qualify as murder.

"This is an objective stance with murder being objectively wrong. This is impossible to support."

No it is not. Look at my definitions.

"His resolution is not possible to uphold. Nor has he presented a case to even try to uphold it."

Nonsense. I have presented a case. It was, and I quote:

"My argument is that a life is the most valuable thing a human can have, for without a life, they cannot have anything else. As such, the harm done by taking a life can only be offset by the saving of a life. If this is the motive, then such a thing would be necessary in order to save the other life. Therefore, murder is evil."

Just because you completely ignored this doesn't mean I didn't say it. As my opponent has not responded to it, I extend the above argument.
Mikal

Con

Rebuttal 1


"Even so, the man is a criminal, and therefore it is not the taking of an INNOCENT human life."

Whether or not he is innocent is irrelevant. You claim that murder must be necessary. I have shown how someone can take his life without needing to, and it still be considered fair.

Your original stance was this

Because the man is forcing someone to take his life, it is not murder. Anyone reading this can clearly see that. You claimed it as an act of self defense. I have shown, how someone can "chose" to murder the man, when it is not necessary and it still be moral. This obliterates your stance on this.

you completely straw-manned that and avoided your original statement, which was this

"I stated in the opening what the definition of murder is (for the purposes of this debate). It was "the UNNECESSARY taking of an INNOCENT human life". My opponent is talking about the NECESSARY taking of a CRIMINAL human life-almost the direct opposite."

In this situation the man is innocent , this is because you claim that is has to be a necessity to kill him for him not be innocent. Therefore since he as just in the persons house, he was not forcing the person to commit murder. With your statements and R1 stance you are saying that if murder is committed without necessity it is objectively wrong. I have shown this not to be the case, because it was not a necessity to take his life. Yet it is still considered morally acceptable or not evil.

If you want to play semantics on what innocent is go ahead. You can justify anyone is not innocent while I can justify they are innocent.


Rebuttal 2

He says this in response to me saying he worded the definition of evil horribly.

"Too bad. My challenge, my rules, including definitions."

It can be your definition, but your hurting yourself. It is actually helping me because it is so limited.


Rebuttal 3

"I already explained why the taking of a life is a harmful consequence that can only be outweighed by the saving of a life, which would make it necessary and therefore not murder."

You completely either do not understand, or just chose not to answer the point I made. Murder can be committed and be acceptable without saving another life. I have explained how and why.

Your definition of evil is harmful vs non harmful. This is directly stated in your R1 stance. I have shown abundantly how someone can commit murder, and it have a positive impact based on culture and location

Chosing not to address a point I made will not make the point go away. Therefore extend argument.


Rebuttal 4

"I am fairly certain the person who died was harmed by it. Permanently, definitely, irrevocably harmed, in a way which makes it impossible for him to ever benefit from something again. On the other hand, the benefits my opponent states are temporary, and still allow the benefitting person to suffer. Therefore, by any objective standard, the good outweighs the bad."

This is reference to my society question that I brought up. Again he is failing to realize or just not accepting the point I am making. He is judging harmful by his definition of harmful, not what is in fact harmful to the society in question

While the person dying may be a negative effect. The repercussions of the death, could outweigh the negative effect of him dying. From his death money could be earned, the person whom killed him could gain a wife, or even the tribe could gain a new chief.

Depending on whom you ask the negative effect of the death may outweigh the good that I just stated. That is irrelevant, because we are looking at the overall good it can bring to the society in question. If they see it as a positive effect. The murder has occurred without necessity and brought more good than bad, or more non harmful effects than harmful effects. Thus making my adversaries stance wrong.



In Closing

I am not quite sure if my adversary is not grasping the arguments that I am making or just choosing to derail facts. Either way murder can be committed without necessity and not be evil

His resolution is not upheld.
Debate Round No. 4
funwiththoughts

Pro

"Whether or not he is innocent is irrelevant. You claim that murder must be necessary. I have shown how someone can take his life without needing to, and it still be considered fair. "

Assuming you mean I claimed that murder must be unnecessary, I also said that the person had to be innocent. This is not the case in your example, and therefore is wrong.

"In this situation the man is innocent , this is because you claim that is has to be a necessity to kill him for him not be innocent."

I claimed no such thing. This is a flat-out lie. I claimed murder must be unnecessary, and that the person must be innocent, but I never connected the two.

"It can be your definition, but your hurting yourself. It is actually helping me because it is so limited. "

Then why are you complaining about it?

"You completely either do not understand, or just chose not to answer the point I made. Murder can be committed and be acceptable without saving another life. I have explained how and why.

Your definition of evil is harmful vs non harmful. This is directly stated in your R1 stance. I have shown abundantly how someone can commit murder, and it have a positive impact based on culture and location"

I have also explained how and why these positive consequences objectively do not outweigh the loss of the life. Not that this matters, because neither of your examples is murder, and you have had to ignore arguments and flat-out lie to make them fit the definition laid out.

"You completely either do not understand, or just chose not to answer the point I made. Murder can be committed and be acceptable without saving another life."

Neither of your examples is murder, because neither is the UNNECESSARY taking of an INNOCENT human life.

"This is reference to my society question that I brought up. Again he is failing to realize or just not accepting the point I am making. He is judging harmful by his definition of harmful, not what is in fact harmful to the society in question"

Why judge by the society? Why not judge by the individual? Certainly the individual would say his death harmed him, and besides as I already said if they are in fact "fighting to the death", then one must die for the other to live, and therefore it is necessary and not murder. I already said this, but my opponent completely ignored it. Since my opponent has not shown an example of murder, neither of his scenarios can be considered justified murders.
Mikal

Con

Since this is going no where, let us look review some points. I am going to summarize them all into one contention because my adversary is insistent with his stance and keeps failing to address some of the issues I present. I will offer them all in one contention


Contention

The subjectivity brought about by a murder can not make it evil.


I will also offer rebuttals briefly as well.


"I claimed no such thing. This is a flat-out lie. I claimed murder must be unnecessary, and that the person must be innocent, but I never connected the two."

When the word innocent comes up , this is the stance you are forced to take. To say murder is evil when there is no necessity for it, and then to say murder is the act of taking an innocent human life. You are bringing that question in. It almost echos that innocence in itself is someone who whom is not forcing the act of murder.

However you perceive innocent, it is not associated with only your definition of the word.

I accepted the definitions of what you put down for murder and evil. What you perceive as innocence and harmful however is not objective. Other people perceive things differently, thus it is impossible to make an objective stance like that

You claim that it is not objective, but that is just flat wrong. When you say something is evil. That is an objective stance, you even then go as far as to try and gauge how we can define evil. If you wanted to say "Murder can be evil", I would concur but that is not the topic of this debate. You are saying it is evil if it not a necessity to commit the act. I have shown why that is flawed.

I'm going to tie in some of his final statements as they all link together.

"I have also explained how and why these positive consequences objectively do not outweigh the loss of the life. Not that this matters, because neither of your examples is murder, and you have had to ignore arguments and flat-out lie to make them fit the definition laid out."

"Neither of your examples is murder, because neither is the UNNECESSARY taking of an INNOCENT human life."

"Why judge by the society? Why not judge by the individual? Certainly the individual would say his death harmed him, and besides as I already said if they are in fact "fighting to the death", then one must die for the other to live, and therefore it is necessary and not murder. I already said this, but my opponent completely ignored it. Since my opponent has not shown an example of murder, neither of his scenarios can be considered justified murders."


First both of these examples are murder, and also both victims are innocent in some regards. Depending on how you perceive the word innocent. How my adversary perceives it is not objectively correct. There are multiple meanings this word can take on, and it is entirely relevant to the situation at hand. He is trying to derail the point that I am making by applying the word innocent in any way he sees fit. Seeing as how this is subjective, he can not objectively be right. So whom is innocent is not just dependent on his perception but also the perception of others and the people in the scenario. That is why I did not accept nor would not accept this debate if he was able to define innocence, he could justify anything and everything if I did. Same thing goes for what is harmful.

He then claims that the positive effects do not outweigh the loss of a life. Again I disagree, because he is putting a life on a pedestal. A life should be cherished by our standards, but not to everyone in general. People whom are in that society may have a different perspective, thus the positive consequences would be greater than the value of a life.

He then says this

"I already said if they are in fact "fighting to the death", then one must die for the other to live, and therefore it is necessary and not murder"

That is not necessary at all. They are not being forced into the fight, they are willingly committing the act. They are accepting the scenario at hand. This is not necessity but an open choice to take a life. Even if someone just walked up to someone in that society and killed the person because he wanted their wife, if this was acceptable by their standards, it can be justified. Also the positive effects that would occur, could outweigh the negative in the right time and situation. The guy could be abusive or harmful. Thus someone taking his life and committing the act of murder would help the wife escape. It is not a necessity to commit this act, but the good effects can outweigh the bad. There are thousands of different scenarios that are applicable.


Key Point

He is taking his worldview and perspective and applying it objectively. This is wrong, and can not be done.

Note : He states that the loss of a life, will always outweigh any good that comes of a murder if it was unnecessary This is only by his perspective. This is also a false statement to make and is just wrong because it does not take into consideration any other factors.




In Closing.

My adversary has tried and fail to present why murder is objectively evil. I have shown how this is a subjective act based off the time frame, and culture.

What my adversary considers harmful and wrong, or whom is innocent or not innocent is not an objective fact and is completely dependent on the situation and time in which it happens

Therefor it is no possible for him to uphold his resolution, and which I may that he has already failed to do so.





Debate Round No. 5
7 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 7 records.
Posted by funwiththoughts 3 years ago
funwiththoughts
I realize that I was not on my best here in terms of arguments, but I would at least have expected to get everyone's "who do you agree with" votes....
Posted by funwiththoughts 3 years ago
funwiththoughts
DeFool, I did not say that taking a life can be offset by saving a life. I said that taking a life can ONLY be offset by saving a life.
Posted by DeFool 3 years ago
DeFool
Much of the game of formal debate centers around the goal of requiring a concluding premise from a series of supporting premises. For example, 1+1=2, is a valid argument, that is also "true." 1+1=Oranges are tasty is non sequitur. It may be the case that the conclusion is true, and that "oranges are tasty," but this finding is not forced by the supporting statements.

This was the case here. Even if we take into account the strange definition of "evil" (an act that is more harmful than not), we cannot find that unnecessarily taking a life is more harmful than not based on the argument presented.

To award the "Arguments" score nevertheless would require that we substitute our opinions for the strength of the argument. I found that the conclusion was axiomatic, and very likely "true," but that the argument that was intended to support it was nonsensical.
Posted by DeFool 3 years ago
DeFool
In R1, murder is misidentified as "the unnecessary taking of a human life." This definition requires that we understand that the debate will not be discussing actual murder, but the unnecessary taking of human lives. This definition makes war casualties, unnecessary accidents and deadly animal attacks forms of "murder." I had to ensure that this definition was in mind as I read over the contest.

PRO"s entire argument: (life is the most valuable thing a human can have, for without a life, they cannot have anything else. As such, the harm done by taking a life can only be offset by the saving of a life. If this is the motive, then such a thing would be necessary in order to save the other life. Therefore, murder is evil. )

This statement breaks down easily into:
p1: Life is a prerequisite for everything else
p2: Taking a life can be offset by saving a life, examples exist where killing is necessary to save lives
p3: Therefore, murder is evil

Or: therefore, the unnecessary taking of a human life is an act that entails harmful consequences towards a person or group that outweighs the benefits of that act.
Posted by TheEnigma 3 years ago
TheEnigma
At the time I posted it was not.
Posted by funwiththoughts 3 years ago
funwiththoughts
@TheEnigma: a little late.
Posted by TheEnigma 3 years ago
TheEnigma
I will accept this debate, if you reword it to be is murder always evil. I believe it may is not under certain circumstances.
4 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 4 records.
Vote Placed by TUF 3 years ago
TUF
funwiththoughtsMikalTied
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Total points awarded:30 
Reasons for voting decision: I am sorry to say, that I think that Pro was right in saying that Con had mis-construed the definition of murder. I am all for moral subjectivity, but I don't really think it was applied in the right way, according to Pro's definition. Also on the whole "use of the word innocent" I think that pro was right in his use of innocence, specifically because of the example A. I think it would have been more logical to associate "innocent" with, "not having taken any action against" another person. In this sense, Example A was completely irrelevant. If this debate was worded "Killing" is evil, I think Mikal would have hands down won this debate. The word murder, though, actually supports the ideal of moral objectivity, though I can still see ways Con could have worked subjectivity into this debate. Conduct, sources, and S/G are all a tie.
Vote Placed by DeFool 3 years ago
DeFool
funwiththoughtsMikalTied
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Total points awarded:03 
Reasons for voting decision: PRO presents a non sequitur argument that did not require rebuttal. I will explain further in the comments section.
Vote Placed by Shadowguynick 3 years ago
Shadowguynick
funwiththoughtsMikalTied
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Total points awarded:03 
Reasons for voting decision: Pro essentially refused to actually refute anything toward the end. Based on the fact that the issue on subjectivity could not be refuted I would give arguments to con. Equal everywhere else.
Vote Placed by Nataliella 3 years ago
Nataliella
funwiththoughtsMikalTied
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Total points awarded:03 
Reasons for voting decision: Con had more clear arguments. S&G were equally good, as were conduct, and neither used sources.