The Instigator
CiRrO
Pro (for)
Winning
18 Points
The Contender
jmlandf
Con (against)
Losing
17 Points

R: It is morally permissible to kill one innocent person to save the lives of more innocent people.

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 8/20/2008 Category: Religion
Updated: 8 years ago Status: Voting Period
Viewed: 7,454 times Debate No: 5086
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (27)
Votes (9)

 

CiRrO

Pro

I affirm: It is morally permissible to kill one innocent person to save the lives of more innocent people.

[Definitons]

Morally permissible: Conforming to right behavior. Sub-sector of morality that is circumstancial as opposed to moral normativity.

-Permissible: allowable

Kill: Take away the life of.

Save: To prevent death.

More: Larger quantitative amount.

Innocent: Pure in the sense of no crimes, either legal or moral.

[Analysis]

According to the resolution, it is asking if killing an innocent to save the lives of more innocent people is morally permissible not morally normative. The difference is that a morally permissible action changes to each circumstance while a morally normative action is in a sense an imperative. Therefore, in the implied senario, is it morally permissible to kill an innocent to save more innocents.

[Values]

Value: Moral Permissibility

The affirmative values moral permissibility because it is the clearest value implied by the reoslution. It is utmost in either an affirmation or negation.

Value Criterion: Consequentialism

The value of moral permissiblity is upheld by the criterion of consequentialism. Since moral permissibility is circumstancial, then when faced with a moral dillema, the outcome of an action must be evaluated foremost. In the implied senario there will be deaths. However the number of deaths is what will matter. The consequence of the affirmative's action is the saving of more lives, which is clearly a good consequence.

[Contentions]

Contention I: The affirmative side results in better consequences

A) Protection of Life

The affirmative clearly maximizes the protection of life. By acting, more people are saved, as oppsoed to inaction which will result in more deaths. Life is a fundemental criterion in upholding moral permissiblity. It is very much allowable of an action that saves more people.

B) Protection of Rights

The affirmative maximizes right protection. In deciding a morally permissible action, right vioaltion must be taken into account. On both the affirmative and negative side, rights will be violated. Since all rights spring from the right to life, then death vioaltes all possible rights. The affirmative protects more people thus maximizing more protection of rights.

Contention II: Siuational Ethics

According to siuational ethics, when faced with a moral decision, 2 things must be taken into account. 1) THe action itself and 2) the consequences. However, according to situationa ethics, when faced with a moral dillema in which an action will be immoral normative, then the consequences mnake it morally permissible. From contention I, the consequences are better, thus making killing the innocent a morally permissible action.

For these reasons I affirm.

Thank you ladies and gentlemen.
jmlandf

Con

I Deny/Negate: that it is or would be morally permissible to kill one innocent person to save the lives of more innocent people.

Denial of Consequentialism
Consequentialism fails to appropriately take into account the people affected by a particular action. The individual being sacrificed for the benefit of several could quantitatively be worth more than the others combined. The individual being sacraficed may be at present worth more and/or in the future be worth more. Both the future worth the individual may have and the actual worth the individual has is with-out measure and difficult, if not impossible, to obtain, thus no one can conclude the individual being sacrificed is actually worth more or less than the individuals being saved. Example: Sacrifice a young Medical Doctor in an effort to save 2 elderly patients in need of organ transplant.
If we assumed all of the individuals worth is equal and future worth will be equal we still have to deal with the unknown future events. Example: Kill the one to save the several but moments later an unforseen event occurs that kills the several that would not have killed the one. To accept said action as morally permissible one must know the future of events, an obvious impossibility.
Consequence denies itself. The benefit of the saved individual is their life which is a consequence of the other individuals death. If Consequentialism determines morallity by consequence then the saved individuals benefit of life was obtained by the taking of another individuals innocent life, thus the action of saving life had a consequence of innocent death; concluding this action is NOT morally permissible.

Impossibility by Definition of Innocent/Innocence
For the several innocent to know that one innocent life was taken, not given, for their benefit would negate their innocence. For the innocent not to give his life, to the point it had to be taken, for the benefit of others may negate his innocence as well. Innocence defines itself as purity with out moral crime, thus both cannot be innocent. It would be a moral crime for an individual to knowingly benefit from the death of another innocent, by definition provided by Affirmer.

Example: Several innocent people need different organs, where as one individual could give them all a different one of his/her own to save the several. Shall we justify taking his/her life for the benefit of the others? If the several innocent people had knowingly taken the life for their own benefit they would no longer be innocent for their selfish rational.
Debate Round No. 1
CiRrO

Pro

[Rebuttal]

"Denial of Consequentialism"

My Response: This can be broken down into 2 main part.

1. Saving people can lead to bad consequences.

- This is an inherently flawed attack because the idea of consequentialism in the realm of moral dilemmas is that between the 2 choices, what has the better outcome. Obviously saving more people is the moral of the 2 actions. By inaction, death would occur, which is inherently immoral.

2. Secondary Outcome

- This is an interesting point, however very unrealistic. Say my oppoent was in the given scenario. I highly doubt that my opponent would kill the people off jsut to make sure they don't die afterward. My opponent would, therefore acting immorally by an assumption of bad events. That's like saying let's not kill a terrorist hijacking a plane because those people may die in the near future. Drop this attack.

"Impossibility by Definition of Innocent/Innocence"

My Response: My opponent makes a horrible assumption in this case. My opponent assumes that the innocent people being saved are the ones who killed the individual. This is nowhere implied the resolution. Drop this point because it makes a flaw and an assumption.

[Rebuttal 2]

My opponent has not established a value or value criterion. Therefore, in an ideal LD round, he should lose automatically because he has not put forth a way that the negative values the resolution.

[Extensions]

1. Extend my value for the round. (Haven't been refuted)
2. Extend all 3 of my contentions. (Haven't been refuted)
3. Since my opponent has dropped my 3 contentions, my VC is still held for the round regardless of his first attack. My 3 contentions uphold my VC. Therefore, extend my VC for the remaining rounds.

Thank you ladies and gentlemen
jmlandf

Con

My opponent unfortunately assumes that I think the innocent people being saved are the ones who killed the individual. In one example I elude that the innocent knowingly killing the other innocent would negate his or her own innocence, thus arguing impossibility. This was one example when arguing the impossibility. I simply have established that the individual doing the killing cannot be one of the innocent. I never assume that it could not be someone else, in fact my other arguments assume the opposite, so as to cover all basis.

My opponent has resorted to demands to drop the below "attack". Yet this attack refutes my opponents value and contentions.

Me/Con "If we assumed all of the individuals worth is equal and future worth will be equal we still have to deal with the unknown future events. Example: Kill the one to save the several but moments later an unforeseen event occurs that kills the several that would not have killed the one. To accept said action as morally permissible one must know the future of events, an obvious impossibility."

My opponents only recourse to justify the unknown future events is to offer the below statement statement.
Opponent/Pro: "That's like saying let's not kill a terrorist hijacking a plane because those people may die in the near future. Drop this attack."

This makes no since as the Hijacker is not innocent, as defined by my opponent. In order for my opponent to offer examples or refute the assertation made in my rebuttal one must remain with in the confines of the Debate. A hijacker is not innocent. I doubt my opponent or anyone else can offer an example without flaw.

In summary

1.The person doing the killing cannot be one of the innocent.

2.Determining worth of each individual involved is not possible. The quantity of life is not equivalent to quality, thus making the assumption that "saving more lives is better than saving less lives" a flawed statement. One could argue that the Presidents' life is worth more than 10 average people.

3.It is impossible to know future events, which may negate moral permissibility. Even assuming that not only is the quantity of life to be saved more but also the quality of the individual to be saved more, future events may negate moral permissibility. Lets suppose one average person is killed to save 10 influential leaders, but moments later all 10 influential leaders are killed by another circumstance which would not have affected the one average person. You have ended up with more death, thus making the prior action morally not permissible.
Debate Round No. 2
CiRrO

Pro

"My opponent unfortunately assumes that I think the innocent people being saved are the ones who killed the individual. In one example I elude that the innocent knowingly killing the other innocent would negate his or her own innocence, thus arguing impossibility. This was one example when arguing the impossibility. I simply have established that the individual doing the killing cannot be one of the innocent. I never assume that it could not be someone else, in fact my other arguments assume the opposite, so as to cover all basis."

My Response: So essentially my opponents attack neither affirms or negates. It is a mute point in this round. The only important matter is that the people remain innocent. Drop this point.

"his makes no since as the Hijacker is not innocent, as defined by my opponent. In order for my opponent to offer examples or refute the assertation made in my rebuttal one must remain with in the confines of the Debate. A hijacker is not innocent. I doubt my opponent or anyone else can offer an example without flaw."

My Response: I was only offering an example showing how it is sometimes necessary.

"1. The person doing the killing cannot be one of the innocent."

My Response: This is a mute point.

"2. Determining worth of each individual involved is not possible. The quantity of life is not equivalent to quality, thus making the assumption that "saving more lives is better than saving less lives" a flawed statement. One could argue that the Presidents' life is worth more than 10 average people."

My Response: When determining a morally permissible action in a moral dilemma, the action which saves more people is the permissible action. Letting the group die is acting immorally. Thus, the agent must choose the action which saves the most amount of people. E.g. 2 groups are drowining, 1 with 2 people, another with 50 people. If you had to save one group in its entirety, isn't it better to choose the 50, instead of the 2 or not choosing at all. In a moral dilemma sacrifices must be made.

"3. It is impossible to know future events, which may negate moral permissibility. Even assuming that not only is the quantity of life to be saved more but also the quality of the individual to be saved more, future events may negate moral permissibility. Lets suppose one average person is killed to save 10 influential leaders, but moments later all 10 influential leaders are killed by another circumstance which would not have affected the one average person. You have ended up with more death, thus making the prior action morally not permissible."

My Response: According to consequentialism, the outcome is the one that can be seen. you cannot be moral if you let a group of 50 die. You would be acting morally by saving them. Thus, it is morally permissible. Future events are mute, when deciding between the morality of the action or the near future of saving them or letting them die.

[Voting Issues]

1. My opponent has agreed with all my extensions (all my contentions) and he has agreed with not having a value structure. For this reason alone, it should be an automatic affirmation.
jmlandf

Con

Thank you for allowing me to debate you Cirro, I don't believe I mentioned that.

I apologize for not being as familiar as you with LD, so in that regard you have the benefit. I will say just because I did not specifically label my arguments does not mean I haven't infact disputed or negated yours.

Further, just because you continue to push the point that more lives lost is more immoral than less lives lost does not repudiate my claim that it is impossible to determine worth simply by quantity. LD debate also requires a judge, you have made yourself the judge. I would have no objection with you as judge, except you seem to side with your side rather than mine, imagine that.

I will close with this

1. My opponent has yet to explain how one would determine worth of an individual. Quantity of individuals does not equate to worth of said individuals. Using the logic my opponent has set forth the most Influential World Leader or One Young Doctor is worth LESS than 2 elderly individuals in need of organ transplant. Using such logic you must ask yourself daily shall I kill the young doctor to harvest his organs to save my two dieing grandparents? My opponent says it would not be immoral for you to do so because the number dieing is less than the number you would be saving.

My opponent states "there will be deaths, It is the NUMBER of deaths that will matter"

2.It is ok to make regular moral decisions with-out knowing the future, however when you choose to make an immoral decision such as killing an innocent individual you can only justify the action if you KNOW the future. My opponent says it will save 2 lives....but does he really KNOW that at the time of the action?...No he does not. The debate ask is it morally permissible to kill one innocent to save more innocent lives. The question does not imply it is an absolute that you will save more lives but rather an ATTEMPT to save lives and there in lies the answer to the question. With-out knowing with absolute certainty the future of all things one can not make a morally permissible decision to end a innocent persons life. In every example and situation one could present based on reality there will NEVER be an absolute knowledge of future events to guarantee lives will be saved.

There is always a chance the innocent life was taken in vain. Thus negating moral permissibility.
Debate Round No. 3
27 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by sh0tym5 8 years ago
sh0tym5
Someone challenge me. I will be affirmative.
Posted by Ashiya223 8 years ago
Ashiya223
I really enjoyed reading this debate. I'm brand new to LD, I had done Policy but due to my fencing schedule, I couldn't make it to practice so I decided to switch so I wouldn't just leave my partner all the time. I like reading these so I can learn more about LD, I'm trying to write my first case right now! . . . and my brain hurts! XP
Posted by minerva 8 years ago
minerva
Well then good for you :) Seriously good for you. The only way to learn is to put your self out there.
Posted by jmlandf 8 years ago
jmlandf
It was my first debate on here.
Posted by minerva 8 years ago
minerva
Cirro I can't wait to see you on the neg side of this. I am having all of my LD'er's take a look at this disscusion becuse I feel like it was really well handled and you are exellent.

Jmlandf-you did as well as you could with what you had...did you know what you where getting into when you took on Cirro?

Allaround excelent ya'll
Posted by LR4N6FTW4EVA 8 years ago
LR4N6FTW4EVA
"Well LD debates are purposely generalized because they are designed for high school kids. They don't want them getting into abortion or gay rights issues as not to cause a stir."

This question is probably the most controversial question of ethics in a few hundred years. The death penalty topic was a controversial issue, and so was the military force one. The NCFL topic sucked inappropriate things though.
Posted by ronnyyip 8 years ago
ronnyyip
in response to bullslapper, the debate is not to generalized. Sure there might be different morals depending on who the actor is, but clearly in the resolution there isn't an actor.
Posted by Ragnar_Rahl 8 years ago
Ragnar_Rahl
"
If you were driving a car and you were going down hill and the breaks went out and you had to chose between hitting a group of people os swerving and hitting one person. I would say yes."

Why? If you are going down a hill that you are supposed to go down (on the road,) the "group" is in the trafficked part of the road. They accepted a higher risk than the one person you have to swerve to hit, presumably on the sidewalk or in the center, between lanes. Either way you are rewarding people for making dumber decisions than the people you are punishing.
Posted by Kite 8 years ago
Kite
well in the terms of law enforcement, in sitututions like this when they say "for the greater good" and take down the bad as well as the hostage he's holding that would show how the law takes it huh?
Posted by jmlandf 8 years ago
jmlandf
Well LD debates are purposely generalized because they are designed for high school kids. They don't want them getting into abortion or gay rights issues as not to cause a stir. I don't particularly like the format of LD because it takes the passion out of the debate. If anyone doesn't know.... LD debates stand for Lincoln-Douglas debates. Modeled after the original debates with Abraham Lincoln and Douglas. They focus on philosophical and logical arguments rather than fact based. Again they are modeled this way so as not to cause concern among parents of the children participating in these debates.
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Vote Placed by jdwooch 8 years ago
jdwooch
CiRrOjmlandfTied
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minerva
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jmlandf
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