The Instigator
aburk903
Pro (for)
Losing
0 Points
The Contender
Mike_10-4
Con (against)
Winning
14 Points

Progress Supersedes Human Preservation

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 2 votes the winner is...
Mike_10-4
Voting Style: Open Point System: Select Winner
Started: 7/2/2014 Category: Philosophy
Updated: 2 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 704 times Debate No: 58483
Debate Rounds (5)
Comments (1)
Votes (2)

 

aburk903

Pro

This is a theoretical debate. The voting style only allows for a winner to be selected as I wanted this debate to remain philosophical and rely solely on the participant's reasoning abilities and ideals, rather than sources or simply grammatical correctness. I advocate that should a system become available that allows for progress at the cost of human emotion/free will (perhaps a computer resembling that in the movie Transcendence) that it would be desirable over preserving the species as it is at the price of progress. That being clarified as my position and intent, the first round is for acceptance only. Any further questions regarding my position on this debate prior to acceptance will be addressed in the comments. Thank you, and I look forward to an interesting debate!
Mike_10-4

Con

I accept. I think this debate will be both fun and a learning experience for me (Con). As for Pro, I hope in a shared experience.
Debate Round No. 1
aburk903

Pro

Thanks for accepting, Mike. I am sure that an enjoyable and educational experience will be mutual.

In this debate, I will be defending the ideal that progress supersedes the preservation of human life. This mentality entails the full concept of the survival of the fittest, but to a conclusion that we often fail to make. Indeed, it is often a difficult and seemingly self-deprecating conclusion. The conclusion is this: that in the name of progress, human life ought not to be preserved as intrinsically valuable or "sacred". We are sentient beings and as such have a certain degree of choice in the matter. That choice sets us apart from the animals, but is also the choice that allows us to progress.

I.Human Life Is Not Intrinsically Valuable

This premise bears the most import to this debate. Until we have reached this conclusion, the later premise and conclusion bear no real impact. Human life feels valuable to us, as it is what we understand from experience. We cannot (in a real way) perceive a universe free of human life. However, if we dis-value our personal bias towards human life, we see that it is not intrinsically valuable. In fact, it more closely resembles a destructive force in its more recent "advancements". It is interesting to notice that humans behave quite a bit like cancer cells.

https://www.youtube.com...

The ultimate fact is that human life is not of ultimate consequence. If true progress could be made at the price of human life, then it would still be justified.

II.The Concept of Choice vs. Adequate Programming

What separates human beings from computers/animals? Typically, most advocates of human life point to emotion and choice.

A.Emotion As A Weakness, Not A Strength

Emotion is not rational. Emotion is based upon subjective feelings, rather than rational thought which considers concepts and ideals outside of the self. Although we often attempt to preserve and defend our emotions, this too is coming from an emotional argument- not a rational one. Emotion is not worth dis-valuing progress. Should the two conflict, then progress should be esteemed as the worthy choice.

B.Dysfunctional Complexity vs. Functional Simplicity

Now we examine the concept of human "free will". For the sake of argumentation I will contrast it against a system like a computers seemingly simplistic programming. As humans, we often feel a sense of worth over something like a computer because "we can make choices, the computer cannot". To an extent, this is correct. We can make choices based on factors which a functioning program would not consider. One of such factors is emotion (addressed in point A). Yet, we see humans constantly making flawed or undesirable choices, while a functioning program fulfills its duty and does nothing more. If humans were able to compartmentalize and function in such a way, the progress we could make would be exponentially greater than what the common man achieves now. This being said, I end this section with an open question to my opponent: Is progress worth forsaking/dis-valuing in order to preserve our ability to be incorrect?

Necessary Conclusion: Progress ultimately supersedes the preservation of human life.
Mike_10-4

Con

Out of the gate my Friend Pro stated, “I will be defending the ideal that progress supersedes the preservation of human life. This mentality entails the full concept of the survival of the fittest,...”

During this celebrated weekend of our independence, allow me to entertain the idea that Herbert Spencer got it wrong with his popular phrase of “survival of the fittest” on his take of Charles Darwin's work, but Thomas Jefferson got it right 80 some years before Darwin came on the stage.

That is, Jefferson's claim that all humans have Unalienable Rights of “Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness.” Unbeknownst to Jefferson, and many today, he stated the basic primitives found in all living-systems.

Those primitives on the living-system level follows: once alive (“Life”), has the freedom (“Liberty”), in the pursuit of survival; otherwise, there is no life. Survival is a form of positive-feedback for all life. For humans, survival is a prerequisite for “Happiness.”

Those basic life primitives are like a bio-program having a natural tendency during the struggle of survival to support, prolong, and improve Life. At the same time, there is an inherent drive to increase freedom (“Liberty”), with an ongoing effort to reduce and optimize the energy expended during the pursuit of an objective, with the desire to explore new levels of positive-feedback, for us humans, Happiness, fulfillment, pleasure, etc; hence, evolution.

Just think of the historical possibilities: If Darwin embraced “survival of the happiest,” when Social Darwinism became popular at the beginning of last century. Perhaps, the world today would be a happier place.

But I digress, during the natural selection process species come and go. Throughout evolution, nature is not cruel or kind, just indifferent relative to a specie's balance within the Laws of Nature. One example, is Pro's reference to some youtube video on “The Wit & Wisdom of Cancer.” https://www.youtube.com...

During the video, my focus was at the beginning and the end, where the end showing the name “Gaia” on the armband of the dying patient. “Gaia,” aka mother nature, aka the Laws of Nature, the Laws us humans desire to have a cerebral relationship with. At the beginning of that video, observe all that human “Progress” in medical technology not to “Supersede Humans,” but to embrace “Human Preservation” in prolonging, improving, and clearly demonstrating how “Intrinsically Valuable” human life is.

Through life's bio-program of Unalienable Rights, humanity injected order into the natural selection process putting human evolution on an “exponentially greater” achievement, relative to the random nature of natural selection in other species. Such order is a manifestation from morality adding depth to humanity's bio-program of “Life, Liberty, and the moral pursuit of Happiness,” resulting on an elevated path of progress from that desired emotion of Happiness. This progress embraces human preservation by the fruits of technology, food production, and medicine, the stables of human existence throughout the world today. A compelling example when our Unalienable Rights are free to morally operate within the awesome machinery of Nature.

In closing, I'll try to answer Pro's question, “Is progress worth forsaking/dis-valuing in order to preserve our ability to be incorrect?”

It is not progress that forsakes or devalues as much as the illusion in dogmatic worth, from both political and the dark ages, appears to be “our ability to be incorrect” that supersedes human preservation, from the bloodshed, suffering and tyranny found throughout the ages, and in the world today.

Necessary Conclusion: Progress ultimately improves the standard of living through technology, food production and medicine by placing human life on the road to utopia, where politics and dogma are simply potholes on said road often superseding human preservation.
Debate Round No. 2
aburk903

Pro

An Appeal To A Change In Focus:

My opponent's arguments are logical to a certain extent. The fatal flaw is that he states technology and progress are things that ultimately support human life (and, to be fair, currently they do). However, by accepting this debate my opponent has also accepted to debate my stated premise: in the event that the preservation of human life and progress conflict, what receives precedence? My opponent suggests that this is not the case because it is not currently the case and continues on to present the values of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. This dangerously resembles a straw man, as it does in fact place intrinsic value on human life but does not address the main contention of the theoretical conflict between human interest and ultimate progress (the evolved machine). I cannot further contend my opponent's arguments for this reason, and so I offer an appeal to my opponent that this debate be reconsidered under the stipulations that I have explained. To continue in the same line of reason is more than permissible, but a causal link between these "natural rights" of man and the conflict with progress must be shown.
Mike_10-4

Con

I'm not sure why Pro needs “A Change In Focus.”

In Round 1 Pro made it clear “This is a theoretical debate.” Pro went on to say, “I [Pro] advocate that should a system become available that allows for progress at the cost of human emotion/free will (perhaps a computer resembling that in the movie Transcendence) that it would be desirable over preserving the species as it is at the price of progress.”

In Round 2, it seems Pro will base his burden of proof on “the full concept of the survival of the fittest...”

In Round 3, Pro's premise, “...in the event that the preservation of human life and progress conflict, what receives precedence?”

Con simply “theoretically” demonstrates the human transcendence of the natural selection process via life's primitives. Such transcendence uses those primitives to reprogram natural selection by morality and the human emotion of “Happiness,” defines the engine for human progress desirable in preserving the species on the road to utopia. Such human transcendence elevates the natural selection process beyond Herbert Spencer's simplified analogy of “survival of the fittest.”

Pro is incorrect about, “progress at the cost of human emotion/free-will.” It is human emotion and free-will through life's primitives of “Life, Liberty (free-will), and the pursuit of positive-feedback” (the human emotion of “Happiness”) are the key to human progress preserving the species. Preserving the species in technology, food production, and medicine; hence, human evolution.

Con's position on the natural selection process, modified by the human transcendence, via Jefferson's life primitives, is the engine to human evolution. This path of evolution includes technology, and within technology, a field called cybernetics.

Pro see cybernetics being a threat to humanity, where Con's position being cybernetics is a tool to improve the human condition. There may come a time in human progess where the human cerebral relationship, through nanotechnology and genetic engineering, may merge with cybernetics, creating a new step in human evolution. Perhaps, adding thousands of years and mental capacity to the human existence where “Progress” enhances “Human Preservation.”

My recommendation is not “A Change In Focus,” but, Pro needs to focus on his burden of proof, where “Progress Supersedes Human Preservation.”
Debate Round No. 3
aburk903

Pro

The issue which I was attempting to address in my previous round was that the debate clearly requires that in this theoretical dilemma, there is objective progress that is only attainable by dis-valuing human life in the favor of that progress. When my opponent claims that humans have natural rights that is all well and good, but it is because he couples that premise with the premise that all progress benefits humanity that the argument becomes invalid. This is an argument that cannot be countered within the framework of this debate, as it fails to accept the main criterion that both parties must believe as prerequisites before even considering such a topic as this. Should there be objective progress outside of humanity, the human right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness does not carry an impact on its own- because to favor these "rights" is (by the situation) counter-progressive. The burden of proof lies on Con to show that accepting a forfeiture of progress in the interest of preserving the human race is justifiable. To say that humans have rights does not show that these rights are more valuable than progress. Which takes me back to my original question- what about human life is so intrinsically valuable that it warrants a rejecting of progress?
Mike_10-4

Con

At the beginning of Round 4 Pro stated, “... the debate clearly requires that in this theoretical dilemma, there is objective progress that is only attainable by disvaluing human life in the favor of that progress.”

That “theoretical dilemma” has already happened in some social systems that claim similar objectives relative to Pro. That is, in Pro's “theoretical dilemma, there is objective progress that is only attainable by disvaluing human life in the favor of that progress.” For example, yesterday those systems were the USSR, the Third Reich, systems that thought little about preserving human life for the progress of the collective or for the progress of global domination. The result, humanity fought back because it went against their Unalienable Rights.

At the close of Round 4 Pro stated the following:

“The burden of proof lies on Con to show that accepting a forfeiture of progress in the interest of preserving the human race is justifiable. To say that humans have rights does not show that these rights are more valuable than progress. Which takes me back to my original question- what about human life is so intrinsically valuable that it warrants a rejecting of progress?”

Without those Unalienable Rights (the Right to “Life...”) then there is death. Therefore, these Rights are more valuable than progress.

Human life is intrinsically valuable! Why would humanity value any progress over the “preservation” of humanity? Progress adds value, wealth, improve standard of living, etc. If “Progress Supersedes Human Preservation,” then it is not progress relative to humanity, that statement is oxymoronic.

Within the bio-program of “Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of positive-feedback.” Progress embraces life's bio-program (Unalienable Rights), where anything that “Supersedes Human Preservation” diminishes those Rights.

Wars were fought, over freedom, preserving those Unalienable Rights.

Humans often reject progress when it violates their comfort zone; yet that progress does not “supersede” them.

Even if Con could divorce himself from the human race, cannot come up with a reasonable scenario justifying progress over preserving the human species. I guess that is the human part of me. On the other hand, there are many who halt or change the direction of human progress, to preserve lower forms of species, for example, the spotted owl, etc.
http://www.defenders.org...

It would seem, the tendency for intelligent life, or intelligent, self-aware, sentient, cybernetics would have it the other way around--Preservation of Species Supersedes Progress.

Just the thought of “Progress Supersedes Human Preservation” is a dark destructive phrase onto itself. My question to Pro, what type of “Progress,” relative to what reference point, for it to be deemed as progress at the expense of human preservation?

I should remind Pro, the burden of proof is not on Con. Again, Pro's burden of proof has yet to materialize. That is, demonstrate any “theoretical” system where Progress Supersedes Human Preservation, is a requirement for its evolution. If such requirement, implies humans are a threat to that system, I would be on the side of the humans Progress Supersedes that “theoretical” system's Preservation in an all-out science fiction war to preserve us humans. Is this the direction where Pro wants to take the debate?
Debate Round No. 4
aburk903

Pro

aburk903 forfeited this round.
Mike_10-4

Con

Thank you for an interesting debate on a subject I never considered.
Debate Round No. 5
1 comment has been posted on this debate.
Posted by dairygirl4u2c 2 years ago
dairygirl4u2c
would take the debate if it was clear what you mean by preservig the species 'as it is'

the overall gist would seem to indicate progress over survial at all. i would be willing to take that debate.

if it's progress at the expense of just staying as we are without the possibility of extinction, then i wouldn't take the debate. i would probably support it.

i dont want it to devolve into trying to figure out what is being argued, and not even getting into real substance.
2 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 2 records.
Vote Placed by 9spaceking 2 years ago
9spaceking
aburk903Mike_10-4
Who won the debate:-Vote Checkmark
Reasons for voting decision: pro didn't really openly state what BoP he had to fulfill, and at the end he couldn't fulfill his intangible unfathomable BOP.
Vote Placed by bladerunner060 2 years ago
bladerunner060
aburk903Mike_10-4
Who won the debate:-Vote Checkmark
Reasons for voting decision: Between the forfeit from Pro in the end, there, and Pro's failure to adequately define what "progress" is, in order to contrast it against human preservation, arguments by necessity go to Con. As always, happy to clarify this RFD.