The Instigator
Pro (for)
0 Points
The Contender
Con (against)
4 Points

People should always be honest with others regardless of what the outcome

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Post Voting Period
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after 1 vote the winner is...
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 3/10/2014 Category: Society
Updated: 2 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 502 times Debate No: 48784
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (2)
Votes (1)




First round is acceptance. If you need clarification ask in the comments.


I accept, and may the odds be ever in your favor!
Debate Round No. 1


I'd like to thank my opponent for taking on this debate. I hope I can have some fun with this one haha

I'd first like to start my argument with a story. Once upon a time there was a silly little high school student who had a silly little crush on a girl who just so happened to be an upperclassman. This boy was introduced to her through a good friend who he had always assumed he could trust. At first, the boy and girl were friends and realized just how much they had in common, and obviously the boy was very happy. A few weeks later the boy decides maybe there could be something greater out of this, and he proceeds to go on his very first date with this girl. Of course, the boy has an amazing time. New Year's Eve comes around a day later and the boy is invited by her to attend a little party. The boy says no on account of him watching his brothers and grandparents that night while his parents are out. As uncanny as it seems, the boy starts to get the feeling that this girl has a boyfriend, so he asks the friend that introduced him. No reply. He asks the girl. No reply. A week later his friend finally comes to grips and tells the boy the truth. She'd had a boyfriend since the start of Summer. Unsurprisingly, the boy was devastated. I understand that many people feel that real love can't be felt by teenagers or young people but it can. There's absolutely no doubt in mind. So, as you probably would've guessed, that boy was me. I struggled with this realization for weeks, communicating with her and still trying to push forward. The worst part about it all though was that nobody felt like they could be honest. That was the part that really hit home. I feel as a person I would've been able to transition through this so much easier if I had at least had one person who felt like they could tell me the truth. While this personal story is only part of the reason I felt as though this debate should exist, it still concludes that point that honesty will always triumph and the truth will always have its day. I understand the general consensus is that sometimes the truth has a cost, but living in honesty is always better than living in a lie. Sometimes honesty can hurt, but this pain is what makes people reform for the better and change their lives. Lies and acts of false flattery do not accomplish this. In fact, they make the world a darker and more desolate place. Other examples of when lies dominated over honesty and brought pain and corruption include the tobacco industry denying the health risks of smoking, the Watergate scandal, Chernobyl, and the pedophile priests in the Catholic church. You could even pull from fictional tales in pop culture such as the plot of 'The Dark Knight Rises' and the novel '1984.' Lies and trickery will never make this world be a better place, and if you say that they do, then you yourself are lying.


Thank you for coming to tonight's debate. I hope you have a comfortable place to sit while we regale you with arguments, counter arguments, stories, parables, analogies, etc. May you be both edified and amused! Most of all, may you vote!

My opponent's entire argument takes the form of an argument from analogy except that in an unexpected twist, it turns out that the analogy he argues from is something that supposedly actually happened.

But the analogy breaks down for a couple of reasons. First, because he begins the analogy by saying this boy (who we later find out is actually Pro) had what he called a "silly crush." Well anybody who has had a crush, then been crushed emotionally because of it, knows good and well that there is nothing silly about crushes. Crushes are very serious things.

Second, Pro admits that teenagers really can experience real love in spite of the fact that some people deny it. Well, if that is the case, then it undermines Pro's original statement that his crush was "silly." So Pro's whole argument is mired in contradiction.

Of course, I am just joking. Nothing I've said so far really undermine's Pro's case. But let's get serious...

Now, let me just go ahead and say that I completely sympathize with Pro. Being lied to in the context of relationships just sucks. Many girls pretend as if they're lying is justified by the fact that they are trying to protect the poor boy from having his feelings hurt. Since their motives appear to be altruistic, they console themselves with their pretended selflessness.

But in reality, the reason they lie is to protect themselves from the awkwardness of confrontation. If they were truly being altruistic, they would tell the truth. Lying to a guy about why you're not interested in him, or why you don't want to go out with him, or whether he's number one in your life, just ads insult to injury. It doesn't help him. It makes him feel worse. It comes across as condescending. Nine times out of ten, it is perfectly obvious when a guy is being lied to. And even when it's not obvious, it usually becomes obvious later on. And even in the cases where it never becomes obvious, it leaves the poor chap at a disadvantage. He lacks the advantage of truth to guide his future decisions in life. He lacks the advantage of honest experience which, in ideal cases, contributes to maturation.

So I fully agree with Pro that in cases like these, honesty is the best policy. However, that is not enough to establish the resolve. The resolve is not that people should usually be honest with most people in most circumstances. Rather, the resolve is that people should ALWAYS be honest with others no matter WHAT the circumstances are.

Given the resolve, all it takes to refute it is to come up with a set of circumstances under which a person should NOT be honest. All it takes is one example to refute the resolve. And it seems to me that it should be easy to do. After all, there is such a thing as a moral dilemma. A moral dilemma is a situation in which two moral imperatives both come into play, but they cannot both be adhered to. So if there is a scenario in which the moral imperative to tell the truth comes up again another moral imperatives, and that other moral imperative wins out, then that is a situation in which the right thing to do is to lie.

Here is the scenario: You are living in Nazi Germany, and there is a family of Jews living with you, including a mother, a father, and two young children. They have been your friends for many years. The Nazis are going door to door asking if anybody is hiding any Jews. Since there are so many houses and so little time, they are just taking people's word for it and moving on. They come to your door and ask, "Are there any Jews in your home?"

If you tell the truth--that there are, in fact, Jews in your home--then they will be taken out in the street and shot in the head. However, if you lie and say that there are no Jews in your home, the Nazis will be on their way with no harm done.

In a case like this, there are two moral imperatives that come into play:

1. You should tell the truth.

2. You should be loyal to your friends and not betray them to their deaths.

Both of these moral imperatives at least have prima facie force. However, in this case, it is impossible to obey both of them. The only way to solve a moral dilemma is to choose the greater of two goods (or the lesser of two evils). The greater good in this case is to save innocent life. The lesser evil is to lie. Therefore, you should not tell the truth in this situation. You should not be honest. And since it is because of the outcome that you should not be honest, the resolve for this debate has been refuted. The outcome of being dishonest is saving the innocent lives of your friends. The outcome of being honest is the murder of your friends.

I think this argument from analogy completely destroys Pro's point of view. I hope that my argument is so compelling that my opponent will just go ahead and concede. After all, if he is persuaded that I am right, but he digs in his heals and pretends to believe I am wrong, well that would be dishonest. So I encourage Pro to only continue debating with me if he honestly thinks that it's better to betray the Jews to their slaughter than it is to tell a lie to the Nazis.

Besides that, a concession would be considered good conduct. So even though Pro will have lost this debate, he will still have gotten some points out of it. It is in his best interest, therefore, to concede. He shouldn't forfeit by not responding at all, though, because he could lose conduct points in that case. Forfeiting by letting the clock run out is never a good idea.

And now I turn it back over to Pro.
Debate Round No. 2


I'd just like to start by saying I appreciate my opponent has a sense of humor. It seems as though there are too many people in the world today who take things much too seriously. However, I do believe in the resolution so I will continue to debate my opponent. Now one of the most striking things I noticed about my opponent's rebuttal was that he only provided one piece of evidence and it wasn't even reliable since it was a hypothetical situation. While what the Nazis did actually did happen, it can't be considered empirical evidence since there is no proof this situation occurred. Furthermore, my opponent seems to relate the Nazis to that of a neighbor who comes by your house asking for a cup of sugar. The Nazis were never so empathetic that they would kindly ask if any Jews happened to be in your home. In a rushed situation they would either evacuate all citizens outside and form groups to storm the houses or they would simply leave the area alone. Therefore my opponent provides a hypothetical situation that isn't even historically accurate. Next, girls lying to protect themselves from the awkwardness of confrontation is exactly one of the points of why this debate was started. If girls (or boys) couldn't have confrontation or interaction with either because they didn't want to be honest then neither I, you, or my opponent would be involved in this debate today. So I believe that's something my opponent should keep in mind. I do also thank my opponent for being able to sympathize and relate to me. I appreciate it. However, we may actually have a more involved debate if my opponent can provide real-world examples of moral dilemmas so that I could evaluate them and prove that the truth is always the best way. When examples of truth always being the best option even show up in pop culture like I provided examples of, then it should be obvious that the truth will always have its day and that day will be the best day.

I now hand the debate back over to Con


Oh, it's on!

Pro attacked my refutation in a couple of ways.

First, he pointed out that I only provided one piece of evidence. He is correct. However, one counter-example to the resolution is all that is necessary to refute the resolution. The resolution is all-encompassing. It says that people should ALWAYS be honest with others REGARDLESS of what the outcome is. If there is just one situation in which a person should not be honest with others, then it is false to say that people should always be honest with others regardless of the situation.

Second, he claimed that my scenario is not historically accurate. I'm not sure whether the scenario is historically accurate in all its details, but that's irrelevant. The resolution makes a moral claim. Moral claims are always hypothetical. "If you are in such and such situation, then you should do this and such." Whether such and such situation has ever occurred is not relevant to whether the moral claim is true. So if there is a hypothetical situation in which you ought to lie, then it is false to say that people should always be honest with others regardless of the outcome.

Moral imperatives would be useless if they could only apply to situations that have actually happened. The reason is because new situations arise in which morality must play a part. For example, it didn't used to be the case that we could destroy whole cities with one bomb. Now we can. That raises the question of whether we should. It doesn't need to be the case that somebody has ever been in a situation in which dropping the bomb was an issue before there are moral imperatives that apply to such situations.

How could one answer questions like, "What should I do in such and such situation?" if the answer to such a question depends on such and such situation actually having happened in the past? What if there's a possibility that the situation could happen in the future? Don't we need to answer the moral question before it happens or even in case it happens?

Morality MUST be able to apply to future hypothetical situations because otherwise there is no answer to questions like, "What should I do in such and such situation?" Morality is always forward looking. It dictates what you ought to do. The incumbency of morality comes before the act. Morality tells you ahead of time what you should do. It doesn't simply condemn you or acquit you after the fact.

So it's irrelevant whether my nazi scenario actually happened in the past. We can still ask the question, "What should I do if I'm hiding innocent people from murderers, and the murderers ask me if I'm hiding the people?" The answer is that you should lie to the murderers. So it is false to say that people should always be honest with others regardless of what the outcome is.

But my scenario is not entirely non-historical. There were, in fact, people who hid Jews in their homes during the Holocaust. Ann Frank's family comes immediately to mind. The nazis did, in fact, ask their hosts if they were hiding any Jews, and their hosts did, in fact, lie about it as they should have. Of course the Franks were eventually discovered, but the scenario I gave was realistic. There were people hiding Jews, and they did sometimes find themselves in situations where they had to choose between lying or risking discovery.

I should point out that Pro has the burden of proof in this debate. He must prove the resolution is true. So far, he hasn't done that. He has listed a few circumstances under which people ought to tell the truth, but he has not substantiated the claim that people should ALWAYS tell the truth regardless of the outcome. I doesn't follow that just because girls ought to be honest with guys about their lack of interest that therefore all people should be honest in every situation. Pro needs more substantiation to carry his burden of proof.
Debate Round No. 3


tennistanner forfeited this round.


Oh no you di'int!!!!!
Debate Round No. 4
2 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 2 records.
Posted by tennistanner 2 years ago
I guess on a very basic scale yes haha
Posted by Jabuticaba 2 years ago
So basically and example is if someone asked if they were fat, and then you agreed with them with all honesty?
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by Seeginomikata 2 years ago
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Total points awarded:04 
Reasons for voting decision: Pro forfeit. I felt that pro could have easily won if he simply attacked con's point of morality. However, this did not happen, thus I must award the debate to con.