The Instigator
kkdub
Pro (for)
Losing
33 Points
The Contender
Danielle
Con (against)
Winning
55 Points

Public health concerns justify compulsory immunizations.

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 16 votes the winner is...
Danielle
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 10/13/2009 Category: Society
Updated: 8 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 14,605 times Debate No: 9680
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (13)
Votes (16)

 

kkdub

Pro

This is the LD topic and I would like to do an LD style debate.

Before I begin I would like to offer the following definitions. According to Merriam Webster's Dictionary justify is to prove or show to be just, right or reasonable. Just is to be in conformity with what is morally upright or good. According to Random House Unabridged Dictionary compulsory is to be required; mandatory. Public health, according to medterms.com, is medicine that is concerned with the health of the community as a whole. Also according to Random House Unabridged Dictionary concern is to relate to; be connected with.

My value is morality. Morality is to be in good or right conduct. The resolution is asking whether compulsory immunizations are justifiable which as stated in the definitions mean are they moral. Thus morality should be the value for this round.

My criterion is utilitarianism. Utilitarianism states that the morality of an action is determined by how it affects utility. So if an action maximizes happiness/utility then it is morale. This achieves morality because with immunizations we are saving more lives thus creating more utility and thus it is morale.

Contention 1)
John Mill's harm principle states that "The only purpose for which power can rightfully be exercised over any member of a civilized community, against his will, is to prevent harm to others." When members of society go unimmunized it is dangerous for society as a whole. They are potential hosts for disease and allow the disease to be spread. When more lives are saved there is more happiness which is utilitarianism and in turn achieves morality.

Contention 2)
Immunizations are affective in eradicating disease. According to the CDC after the small pox immunization was given out it eliminated 100% of the disease, diphtheria by 99.99%, measles by 99.98%, polio by 100%, and tetanus by 98%. Also vaccinations provide direct and indirect protection because if one person slips through the cracks herd immunity protects that person. So immunizations are affective in getting rid of disease. With compulsory immunizations it would allow herd immunity benefiting society.

Contention 3)
Immunizations protect society from the negative impacts on the economy caused by disease. "It has long been recognized that a malarious community is an impoverished community." That is from T.H. Weller, a Novel winner, in his book, "The Economic Burden of Malaria.: Another expert on this is James Klieenstein from Iowa State University, and he talks about how disease causes loss of revenue with its increased death. It also puts a burden on the health care system to treat all of those infected which must in some way be payed, most likely through taxes. With compulsory immunizations all of this can be avoided thus maximizing utility and achieving morality.
Danielle

Con

Pro contends that the criterion of utilitarianism morally upholds the justification of compulsory immunizations. However, there are several problems in the application of that value in this regard. For instance, one must consider the variability of the human experience. In other words, according to utilitarianism saving the most lives would be of utmost priority, morally speaking. However, suppose that 3/4 of the people were completely AWFUL human beings, and the other 1/4were excellent, intelligent and wonderful people. In that case, wouldn't it be most beneficial and even morally preferable to keep the 1/4 of decent people alive, instead of the 3/4 scum? This is where utalitarianism as an argument ultimately fails in this regard.

Second, keeping the previous point in mind, there are a number of other variables in every situation which must also be taken into consideration - not just individual lives. Third, a hasty decision like this is made before knowing any of the potential consequences. In other words, what if demanding this immunization actually had way more negative effects than positive in the future? Or what if getting the immunizations was beneficial in the short-run, but not in the long-run. It would appear then that jeopardizing one's future help to purchase a little temporary safety in the present is not morally or even logically preferable in most cases.

While it's true that people can potentially host the disease and thus promote its spread, I fail to see why this is even an issue. Because mandating an immunization basically means that you've got a cure for this disease, then those who get the disease will just take that immunity and thus be done with it. So, in this way, those who want to take the medicine because it pertains to their well being as they see fit will be able to get the shot, but the government won't be infringing upon any rights of the individual.

Which brings me to my next point: The government's responsibility is to protect the rights of the people. Rights are things that humans are born with which no one or government should ever infringe upon. They are basic, universal and objective. One's power of attorney over their own personhood (body) is a right; it is the property of said person.

Next Pro points out that immunizations are effective in eradicating diseases. I don't doubt it; that's the point of them. However, not all cures are beneficial to people. For instance, penicillin is one of the most common healing facilities in all of medicine. However, I know a handful of people who are allergic to this aid, and as such, if they were given penicillin in an emergency situation, they would actually be in greater danger because they would have a bad reaction to the drug. So, my point here in this regard is that it may not be beneficial for all people to take a certain immunization. Some may have a bad reaction with detrimental effects to it.

Pro concludes his round by saying that the economy suffers when the people suffer, and as such, we should protect that sphere as well by mandating these immunizations. First let me begin by stating that I don't think the government should be regulating the economy, so this is a moot point. I am a capitalist. Second, the reality is that when some people die, others benefit (i.e. people who gain inheritance, or insurance companies, for instance). Similarly, when people are down on their luck economically, others are prospering off of the hard times of others. So, while some people may suffer financially, some - maybe even more, on balance - might benefit. As such, I advocate in favor of a free market.

Seeing as how I touched upon all of Pro's contentions thus far, as well as offered some of my own, I'll end this round here for now and send it back to Pro. I'd like to wish him good luck in this debate as well :)
Debate Round No. 1
kkdub

Pro

Thank you for debating, I would also like to wish you luck.
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My opponent starts off in saying that utilitarianism is faulted in that if 3/4 of everyone were awful and 1/4 were wonderful, utilitarianism says we should save the biggest number of people possible. She says that morally we should keep the 1/4 alive instead of the 3/4. But this would mean that it were morally acceptable to allow death. But whether or not allowing death is moral is simply an opinion with no proof one way or another. In addition to that when looking at the world today I think we can agree that 1/4 of the world's population is not awful therefore it would be moral to save the most amount of lives.

My opponents second point is that there are many variables and that this is a hasty decision because we don't know the long term affects. However, no evidence or examples are given as to what these negative effects or variables may be. Immunizations have been around for over 40 years and the effects they have had is that they have eliminated disease and saved lives which is completely moral.

The next thing that is said is that my opponent does not see why the fact that when people refuse to be immunized they can be hosts allowing the disease to be spread. She says that because we have an immunization we have a cure so if someone is infected they can be cured no problem. This is wrong for three reasons. One is this is assuming that they will instantly detect the disease and get treatment. If for whatever reason they do not get treatment soon enough then they can die. The second reason is, as my opponent says later on in her own point, people are allergic to certain reasons. Even with immunizations there are very small amounts of people who are allergic to them. So if they get infected they can not receive immunizations and may die. The third reason is that for babies to receive all of their immunizations this takes almost a year, in that time they can be infected, and because their immune system is weak they have an even greater chance of dying. So going back to John Mill's harm principle people only have the right to govern themselves when it doesn't affect other people. When people refuse to get immunizations they are unfairly affecting others and putting them at risk. This is why when we have compulsory immunization we would reach herd immunity saving all of these people

Next my opponent mentions how the government's job is to protect the rights of the people. She also says that humans are born with certain universal, inalienable rights that no government should ever take away and that the right over your own body is one of them. While there are certain universal rights, such as life, that is not one of them. I would like to bring up social contract here. Social contract states that when someone joins society they give up certain rights to the government so that the government can protect other more important rights. My opponent is right in that the government's job is to protect the rights of the people and as I mentioned one of those is life. By requiring immunizations the government is saving the most lives of their people thus they are doing their duty.

The next point mentioned is that some people are allergic to certain medicines. I have already addressed this above and talked about how this is a reason why we need immunizations. I would also like to say here that these people would not be required to take the immunizations because when looking back in history at compulsory immunizations. When around the world they were eradicating small pox and other diseases, in the UK, US and other countries those who were allergic were not required to receive the immunizations.

The last point touched on is the negative impacts disease has on the economy. Here my opponent says she does not agree with the government running the economy. However, these compulsory immunizations could be occurring in any society such as socialist, communist, etc. Therefore regardless of what government we prefer we have to debate as if it is taking place in any society. Also even in the US where we are supposed to be a capitalist society the government still meddles in the economy. Second she says that when people die others benefit. But the number of people benefiting is much smaller than the number of people who are hurt by it so the overall economy is hurt. In addition when you weigh this morally as this debate should be done it is far more moral to save lives than it is to allow people to gain financially.
Danielle

Con

Pro begins by stating, "But whether or not allowing death is moral is simply an opinion with no proof one way or another." Well golly! That's an interesting argument coming from someone who's trying to argue that immunizations should be mandatory in order to save lives! I think it's fair to say that Pro pretty much forfeited his entire point - if not the entire debate - with that statement alone, and that my argument against his presented use of utilitarianism in that example failed.

Pro continues, "My opponents second point is that there are many variables and that this is a hasty decision because we don't know the long term affects. However, no evidence or examples are given as to what these negative effects or variables may be." That's not true. In the last round, I clearly stated that one negative future result would be people having negative reactions to these immunizations. An allergy is one example, but another example would be these immunizations showing to actually cause cancer or pose other health risks in the future, such as the one cited in this example:

The federal officials and industry representatives had assembled to discuss a disturbing new study that raised alarming questions about the safety of a host of common childhood vaccines administered to infants and young children.According to a CDC epidemiologist named Tom Verstraeten, who had analyzed the agency's massive database containing the medical records of 100,000 children, a mercury-based preservative in the vaccines -- thimerosal -- appeared to be responsible for a dramatic increase in autism and a host of other neurological disorders among children. Verstraeten told those assembled at Simpsonwood, citing the staggering number of earlier studies that indicate a link between thimerosal and speech delays, attention-deficit disorder, hyperactivity and autism. Since 1991, when the CDC and the FDA had recommended that three additional vaccines laced with the preservative be given to extremely young infants -- in one case, within hours of birth -- the estimated number of cases of autism had increased fifteenfold [1].

So as you can see, while immunizations can be extremely beneficial in protecting health, they can also sometimes be responsible for causing a lot of problems. As such, it should be up to the individual's discretion whether or not they want to put something in their body; it should be taken at their own risk. Moreover, Pro writes, "Immunizations have been around for over 40 years and the effects they have had is that they have eliminated disease and saved lives which is completely moral." However, if we are to agree with Pro's previous statement that "allowing death is simply a matter of moral opinion," then this point of his would also be irrelevant, and actually an argument in my favor.

Moving on, Pro writes that my argument about just getting an immunization once you realize you've contracted the disease is faulty. He said, "One is this is assuming that they will instantly detect the disease and get treatment. If for whatever reason they do not get treatment soon enough then they can die." My response to that is simple -- Every person is responsible for his or her own health! If they know that there is an immunization out there and they choose not to get it, then they are obviously willing to risk their own life and do not want the immunization in their body. So, this point is a moot one for the Pro.

He says, "The second reason is, as my opponent says later on in her own point, people are allergic to certain reasons. Even with immunizations there are very small amounts of people who are allergic to them. So if they get infected they can not receive immunizations and may die." Once again Pro argues against himself here. He tried to claim that once people get infected, they can't get immunizations... but actually did nothing to make let alone defend that argument. Instead, he argued that immunizations could be harmful, which was my point exactly :)

Next Pro raises the point, "For babies to receive all of their immunizations this takes almost a year, in that time they can be infected, and because their immune system is weak they have an even greater chance of dying." I fail to see how this is even relevant. If a baby gets infected before they get immunized... so? How is that an argument in favor of the resolution that they should be mandatory?

Pro continues, "So going back to John Mill's harm principle people only have the right to govern themselves when it doesn't affect other people." Again, the problem here is that we don't know which option will turn out to be the more harmful, so this principle does not apply.

Further, even though the immunization might help the majority, you should take into consideration that the vaccination has a probability chance of backfiring on the individual like Pro and I have been discussing. The largest right a law abiding individual has is the right to life, and a mandatory immunization by the government risks taking that most precious right away by the government's hand. It is under the individual's discretion, and the individual's discretion only, that any substance whatsoever be placed into their body. Removing such a right shakes the foundation that all other rights are based off of; the right to your own life.

Finally, Pro concludes that my argument about the government not interfering in the economy is irrelevant, because a mass disease would be detrimental to any economy. Maybe so, but in a capitalistic society, that is the chance that you risk. I'm not arguing that such a disease wouldn't be harmful to any economy, but that it's not the job of the government to interfere. People should be responsible for their own person and their own property (wealth). Further, Pro ignored my point that while some people suffer economically in a crisis, others prosper. For instance, the government being involved in a war right now is certainly benefiting Cheney's company Haliburton (which profits by making weapons) and the politicians who give people jobs in communities in the factories making those weapons. So ya see, while some lose, others prosper. That is the social Darwin way of things and the government should not interfere in this regard, as rights of the people are not being violated (except for forcing them to take drugs i.e. immunization) against their will.

Source:
[1] http://www.rollingstone.com...
Debate Round No. 2
kkdub

Pro

Con starts off saying how my quote has caused me to forfeit my point. While that probably was not the best way to say that, what I mean is that Con says that it is morally acceptable to allow 3/4 of all people to die if they are "awful." What I am saying is that life is a universal right and so it is her opinion that it would be moral and I think most people would agree that life is a universal right therefore allowing 3/4 of all people to die would be immoral. Also Con failed to reply to the fact that 3/4 of the world's population is not awful and therefore utilitarianism is still the best way to view morality.

Next my opponent brings up again about the negative effects vaccinations can cause such as cancer and autism.

"If measles vaccine or any other vaccine causes autism, it would have to be a very rare occurrence, because millions of children have received vaccines without ill health effects.

There are no proven data to suggest that measles vaccine will increase the risk of developing autism or any other behavioral disorder [28]. The known benefits vastly exceed any unknown risks. The CDC continues to recommend two doses of MMR vaccine for all children who do not have a known medical contraindication; the first dose is recommended at 12-15 months of age and the second dose is recommended at either 4-6 years of age or at 11-12 years of age [30,31].

To assure the safety of vaccines, the CDC, the FDA, the National Institutes of Health (NIH), and other federal agencies routinely examine any new evidence that would suggest possible problems with the safety of vaccines. Currently, CDC is conducting a study in the metropolitan Atlanta area to further evaluate any possible association between MMR vaccination and autism.

Immunization against measles has led to a dramatic decrease in the incidence of measles, which is sometimes fatal. I believe that the manner in which CNN covered this issue was extremely irresponsible and will result in the death of children whose parents are scared out of having their children receive it." http://www.quackwatch.com... (I do realize the title of the website makes it sound like it is not legit, but if you go down to the bottom of the page there are sources for all of their information.)

This shows that truly immunizations are not responsible for autism, as for cancer no proof was provided to show whether or not it does. However, here is an article to show how it doesn't: http://www.i-sis.org.uk...

Next Con talks about how I say that the effects of immunizations over the past 40 years have been the saving of lives. Con does not directly refute this therefore it still stands. Con does say that because of my quote from the 2nd round this argues against myself. But I have already explained my and even if the morality of allowing someone to die was simply an opinion for those who are judging the round I think we can agree that it is immoral.

The next argument basically over whether or not, when people refuse to get immunized, greater harm is done to themself or the rest of society. I have already provided two articles showing how immunizations do not cause cancer or autism. But we still have these people who can be allergic to the vaccinations.

Con says "If they know that there is an immunization out there and they choose not to get it, then they are obviously willing to risk their own life and do not want the immunization in their body." However people who are allergic can not get the immunizations that is why we need compulsory immunizations in society. Because when you meet a certain threshold such as 65% of all people being immunized you reach herd immunity. I have mentioned herd immunity before and it is that when a certain percentage of the people become immunized it keeps disease from spreading. However, according to Louisiana State University, when people who go unimmunized group together it eliminates herd immunity and allows the disease to spread. And the people who refuse to go unimmunized do generally clump together because of religous affiliations. So when they do this it eliminates herd immunity which leaves those who can not be immunized, because of allergies, unprotected.

Next con states "even though the immunization might help the majority, you should take into consideration that the vaccination has a probability chance of backfiring on the individual." This chance has no real scientific evidence, it is all speculation and guesses. The evidence we do have is that when immunizations are given out it eradicates disease saving thousands even millions of lives.

Con says that the most important right and individual has is the right to life. Therefore when you are a member of society it is the governments job to protect that right. That is why the government must require immunizations to save the most amount of people.

As far as having the right to your own body, yes this is true until you begin to affect those around you. Once again this goes back to the harm principle which I have already talked about ealier in this round. (3 paragraphs earlier)

Finally con again talks about how in a capitalistic society the government should not be meddling in the economy. This is true but con did not respond to what I said about how we can not assume this resolution is in a capitialistic society. It could be in a socialistic state, where it is the government's job to run the economy. Con also says that I did not respond to her argument about while some suffer others prosper. But that is not true I said "But the number of people benefiting is much smaller than the number of people who are hurt by it so the overall economy is hurt." So once again weighing this morally is it more moral to keep soceity as a whole from suffering rather than allowing a select few to benefit from others loss. Because also once again we can't assume the society has capitalism.
Danielle

Con

1. Pro opens by stating because he believes that universal life is a right -- as do I -- that allowing 3/4 of of the awful people to die would be immoral. Again, I'll remind you that Pro stated very specifically that since we don't know enough about life and death, that death has nothing to do with morality. Nevertheless, you'll see that Pro's own continuously cited value of Utilitarianism actually supports my argument. Utilitarianism is the idea that the moral worth of an action is determined solely by its contribution to overall utility: that is, its contribution to happiness or pleasure as summed among all people. If there was a society where 3/4 of the people were awful, harmful, dangerous, unmerciful, etc. then I posit the option that would have the most overall utility (happiness, pleasure, etc.) would be my proposed option of letting the 1/4 live. Thus Pro has failed to successfully apply his value in this debate; this point goes to me.

2. Pro counters my supposition that certain vaccines can be harmful by saying that it's rare. Well, I agree that in most cases it's probably rare; however, because it's rare doesn't mean that it doesn't happen. Those that it does happen to or can happen to have rights that must be protected. Pro is saying that because it's rare, his value of utility applies, but the reality is that we don't know whether or not every vaccine or immunization will rarely be harmful, this his value fails. Moreover, my interpretation of the value (keeping the select good few alive) also supports my point.

3. Next Pro writes, "When you are a member of society it is the governments job to protect that right (life)." I disagree. I think it is the government's job to protect your right to do with your own person - property - as you please, so long as it does not directly infringe upon another's right. So, while people choosing not to get the vaccine may increase the chances of those who are unvaccinated, I'd say that it's the responsibility of the people to make sure they seek the vaccine if they want it, and if they can't get it because of an allergy, then they are responsible for taking other precautions for themselves. You can't infringe upon the rights of a majority for the very extreme few who might be allergic, as Pro himself pointed out.

4. You'll notice that I said, "Even though the immunization might help the majority, you should take into consideration that the vaccination has a probability chance of backfiring on the individual." Pro responded, "This chance has no real scientific evidence, it is all speculation and guesses." Actually, I provided a cited source in the previous round - evidence- noting that yes, sometimes immunizations may hurt an individual. Pro's point is negated.

5. Finally, Pro continues to say that I have not touched upon the fact that his point about the government and economy cannot be limited to a capitalistic society. True, but this resolution is universal, meaning it would have to be applicable in all societies - including capitalistic ones. Because this point and resolution fails in a capitalistic society, then it fails universally.
Debate Round No. 3
13 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by alansson 7 years ago
alansson
Con (neg), your debate isn't in an LD format whatsoever.

Would be better if you specifically stated each contention, and your core value and value criterion, and made them entirely clear.

Also, I haven't read through fully, but your example about 3/4 people being scum and 1/4 good seems risky. Who's to judge if a person is 'scum'? Doesn't every person deserve the same rights, regardless of your opinion of them?
Posted by bgruber93 7 years ago
bgruber93
Both of you have really good cases but there are many flaws on both!!
Posted by NItEMArE129 8 years ago
NItEMArE129
that argument about autism is moot, because the standards for diagnosing autism have expanded. so u'd have to prove that its relevant to the same standards for autism
Posted by Danielle 8 years ago
Danielle
Lol. Just, lol.
Posted by Danielle 8 years ago
Danielle
Who cares? I don't like LD.
Posted by rulshok 8 years ago
rulshok
Lwerd pretty much didn't even go LD style :D
Posted by wonderwoman 8 years ago
wonderwoman
Basically like Lwerd said saying that life didn't matter basically cost him the debate in my eyes
Posted by oceanix 8 years ago
oceanix
J.Kenyon, there's not an issue with debating against what you believe.
Posted by pcmbrown 8 years ago
pcmbrown
There's no solid v/vc link...
Posted by RoyLatham 8 years ago
RoyLatham
It is false that having a vaccine to prevent a disease implies there is a cure. There is no cure for either the ordinary flu or the H1N1, but there are vaccines. The same is true of polio and other diseases.
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