The Instigator
Corycogley77479
Con (against)
Winning
33 Points
The Contender
The_Devils_Advocate
Pro (for)
Losing
26 Points

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

Do you like this debate?NoYes+8
Add this debate to Google Add this debate to Delicious Add this debate to FaceBook Add this debate to Digg  
Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 10 votes the winner is...
Corycogley77479
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 9/15/2008 Category: Society
Updated: 8 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 6,860 times Debate No: 5412
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (7)
Votes (10)

 

Corycogley77479

Con

In affirming the resolution, the affirmative and the judge will rationalize the death of an individual or individuals in the name of the "greater good." With the idea that death protects us and is morally permissible for our survival, government leaders or other leaders, will be able to use this resolution as a smoke screen to justify any of their actions that lead to death.

Value: Morality

Criterion: Keeping power over our own lives so that we do not have to be at the will of a higher institution.

Observation 1: Kill – to deprive of life; to put to death
Thus, the action in the resolution ends the life of an individual because the agent of action rationalizes that it is necessary

Observation 2: Morally permissible – allowed due to standards of right behavior
Thus, the agent of action in the resolution must involve a higher power, such as a government, because the word permissible is defined as allowed. The word allowed implies a higher power condoning it. Furthermore, I as the Neg cannot argue that a vigilante – as cool as Batman is – being the agent of action is not morally permissible because any vigilante action is inherently not permissible. The resolution would be moot if the agent of action was inherently not allowed because it removes any ground the affirmative can have for debate and would be abusive. We must then assume that the agent of action is performed by a higher power.

Observation 3: The resolution states "to save the lives" – It does not say what the lives are being saved from. Their lives could be in immediate danger of extinction but they could also need saving from an "energy crisis", "A radical revolutionary", or "an economic crisis" that a death would be able to save. The affirmative does not even have to claim this rationalization to be voted down; governments will choose to use this resolution in this way because humans need to rationalize their actions. They can end the lives of those they hate because they can choose what they are saving their subjects from.

Observation 4: I only try to use examples to prove my point, not impose hierarchy

Contention 1: Mass Death

The government can choose any individual that "needs to die." This can be based off race, class, religion, or any factor that makes the individual undesirable to the higher power(s). It is very unlikely the president or Pope would be the one sacrificed to save other lives. This mindset quickly spills over to ever area of life: EXAMPLE – the government decides a poor person is a burden to the society so his death will prevent us from starving and being given a disease and having our money stolen by him. There is no escape from the target – a man cannot change his race, can't magically get rich, or change any other factor governments can use to discriminate. The worst part is the majority doesn't have to win – the institution in power will win. Take for example if 40 people are in the higher institution and they want to save their lives. They kill a "crazy poor man" to save their own lives. This, according to the resolution, would be morally permissible. They then repeated this action 4 hundred thousand times – or whatever number they choose. They would be using this resolution to justify their actions: they did nothing wrong. They only "kill[ed] one innocent person to save the lives of more innocent people."
The_Devils_Advocate

Pro

To my esteemed opponent. I thank you for this wonderful topic, and hope that by debating, we might better understand why the greater good should outweigh individual good.

Value: You give the value of morality. In a debate such as this, I view that as a legitimate value. But you do fail to define what morality is. And if that is going to be our value, then we might as well tell the judges what they are looking for. According to the American Heritage Dictionary, morality is defined as "The quality of being in accord with standards of right or good conduct." This is most definitely not an abusive definition in any way. It will fit the need of both our intentions.

Now for the criterion. What most people don't understand when either doing an LD style debate or judging an LD style debate, is what value and criterion are. So for those of you who are confused, allow me to clarify. A criterion is what a judge should vote on in the round. Whoever provides for the most amount of whatever the criterion may be (If you need an example, I just finished a round called "In a democratic society, felons should retain the right to vote.) The value is used to access that criterion. In the round that I specified, my value was equality, and my criterion was democracy. This means that I had to provide the most amount of democracy by providing equality. The same goes here. My opponent says that whoever provides for the most [Individual Liberty] by way of morality should win this round. I disagree with my opponents criterion. The reason I disagree is because this slants the debate towards his/her side. My opponent is arguing for the individual, and I am arguing for the greater good. So by limiting it to the individual, it makes my standpoint extremely disadvantaged. So I offer the counter criterion of greater good. The reason you should accept my criterion over his, is because the resolution talks about how the individual should be valued over the "mob." This should mean that he/she is arguing that by saving one person, more good is caused then by saving multiple. I am arguing that saving multiple people is better than saving one. So the criterion of greater good is beneficial for both, and doesn't create a disadvantage for either sid of the debate.

Now for definitions. I agree with all of them. But I do have a disagreement on observation 2. Morals are not derived from the government. This means that the agent of action does not have to involve a higher power. I can have my own morals that are dissimilar from my governments. So it doesn't involve a higher power at all, rather, an individual sense of morality. My opponent says that a vigilante for the agent of action would not be permissible, but doesn't say why it is this way. I say that the resolution doesn't specify a higher institution, therefore the agent of action could be a vigilante, or a higher power. Either one would still fall under the resolution.

"To save the lives" implies that we are saving them from death. An energy crisis doesn't threaten people's lives. The same logic would apply to my opponent's definition of kill since that uses the word life. It involves death, so does the resolution. You can't hold myself to a different standard then my opponent. It is unfair. So we are arguing about saving their physical lives from death.

My opponent's contention one is all focused towards this higher power doing the action. While I agree this would be bad, the resolution doesn't specify higher power, therefore my opponent's argument is moot.

Now for my own arguments. The life of one person cannot be measured by money or worth. Killing one person although reprehensible is still going to be better than letting multiple people die. In the movie spiderman, he is given the choice to save mary jane, or a tram full of people. He ends up saving both, but this is the dillemma we are staring down today. While the life of one person is important, the lives of multiple people are that much more important. No one wants to kill the one person as that is morally reprehensible. But by letting that one live, multiple people are going to die. Both are morally reprehensible. There comes a time when we must choose between the lesser of two evils (John McCain and Barrack Obama). When this decision comes whatever is going to cause the least amount of evil and the most amount of good should win. By saving multiple people, you allow for those people to live, for their families to have joy, etc...This only affects one person and one person's family on the other side. The most good is caused by choosing to kill one person to save the lives of multiple people. While they both are morally reprehensible, killing multiple people is worse than killing one. The genocide in Darfur is worse than Jeffrey Dommer's killing spree. The least amount of people killed, the better.

Thank you for this debate, and I wish you luck in future rounds
Debate Round No. 1
Corycogley77479

Con

The moral decision of the judge is to vote con because it prevents massive death (the greatest good) and gives people control over their own lives.

Value: Morality. I would like to thank my opponent for defining morality; it is most greatly appreciated! I'll repeat his definition to show I agree because actions speak louder then words. [American Heritage Dictionary] morality is defined as "The quality of being in accord with standards of right or good conduct."

(Value) Criterions: are how you access your value. My criterion upholds morality because it allows individuals "[to be] in accord with standards of right or good conduct," because they are not forced to be part of massive genocides and evil acts to ensure self preservation. My opponent argues people can choose their own morality, but this is only possible if they have power over their own lives – basically without my Criterion his argument becomes mute. My criterion is arguing for individuals – not a singular one that dies – but all that will loose freedom and their lives because of the rationalizations of the affirmative/resolution.

I access his criterion of the greatest good better, anyways – my case has already taken his case into account and shows how more people can be affected because of the belief that death can save us. My case proves his criterion where as his only uses logic to say the topic is bias towards the affirmative with this criterion.

Observation 1: Extended the agent of action has the direct power to end an individual's life. This power to kill is immoral as my opponent states in his case. Thus, morality is not what the agent of action's actions are based on, they are based on the internal beliefs of the individual or leader which do not have to be moral. The act in the resolution is not required to be moral – only con can uphold morality.

Observation 2: Extend permissibly means that a higher power allows the action to be done. Morals are derived from society as a whole. A higher power, not exclusively limited to the government, allows those actions that society accepts and punishes the actions that people believe are wrong. For example – I may believe that it is right to use my fingers when eating my food, my mother (the higher power at the table) does not agree. Only a higher power can determine what is allowed and what is not; an individual cannot.

Evaluating the resolution based on internal morality is a terrible idea:
1) The word "permissible" prevents this interpretation
2) Evaluating the resolution under the value of morality is impossible if the judge must determine if the resolution is moral to an individual.
A) The judge could vote on their own opinions – making debate pointless
B) The pro would always win because they have found an individual that believes it is morally permissible
C) Both sides would win the debate because two different individuals could believe that each side is moral
3) There are an infinite number of moral frameworks under this interpretation because anyone can view something as moral for themselves for whatever reason they choose.

Extend that my interpretation is key to pro ground (remember, I'm con) Vigilante - any person who takes the law into his or her own hands. They are not allowed by the law because they use their own interpretation to define what it right.

Observation 3: Extend the resolution does not specify what the individual's lives are being saved from. His interpretation is abusive because it forces a death vs. more death debate which will end with the affirmative winning. An energy crisis does threaten people's lives through military conflict (death), unconvinced (ask the people in Houston right now), political chaos… His logic is flawed!!

Extend the agent of action will use this as a loop hole - my opponent conceded this point – As long as I win there is the possibility for the resolution to be interpreted under my interpretation, a higher power will be able to use this to rationalize their actions, meaning my contention of mass death will happen.

Contention One: My opponent agrees
Extend the agent of action targets a person that has to die based on some qualifications.
Extend this creates a mindset within our society that death is ok as long as we can justify it
Extend the majority does not have to win - more people can die then are saved because of the affirmative's rationalization.

My opponent's case:
C/A Observations 1 & 3
Spiderman chooses to save Mary Jane OVER the people in the cable car – either this proves that a vigilante is an immoral actor or – it proves that people choose their own self preservation over the number of lives saved. Also, he does find a solution that makes NO death occurs – death wasn't, and never is, certain.
His logic only proves his interpretation is abusive because the negative must defend the greater of two evils. My case, however, proves that the greater evil is to make death acceptable.
The_Devils_Advocate

Pro

To my esteemed opponent. I thank you for this wonderful debate. It has been challenging, and extremely fun. I wish you luck in your last speech, and will now begin.

You are first in correct with your analysis on criterion. Value is how you access your criterion. A criterion is a standard that has been set. You set the standard that your value must access. The criterion is the weighing mechanism, or how the judges should vote. My first argument here, is that you contradict yourself. You say that you allow individuals to to be in accord with standards of right or good conduct. But as you have said both in your first speech, and also in this one, you say that it isn't the individual that is an agent of action. Rather, it is a higher power. So you don't allow for an individual to be in accord with standards of right and good conduct. You allow for a higher power to be in accord with standards of right or good conduct. You also defined higher power as a government. A government, isn't only one person. So you are not meeting your own definition of how you should win. This automatically means you should lose. My second argument, is that your criterion isn't the best in this round. The reason judges should vote on my criterion, is because it doesn't slant the debate towards one person's side. I clearly told you how my criterion allows for both sides to be equal.

My oponent doesn't access my criterion. I don't only use logic to prove mine. You are advocating one person not dying, while more die. You are claiming that you are solving for mass death, but you are advocating the saving of one person. If there is mass death according to you, then there would be even more death without it. Each situation of one person dying would be to save the lives of many more. This means that if many people die according to my argumentation, even more would have been saved if that multitude didn't die. This means that no matter what the situation, I am always solving for the greatest good.

As soon as I win the argument about a vigilante being able to take the life, which I clearly am, then you have to take into account that individual's sense of morality. Each individual has their own sense, not everyone submits to the standard of society. This means that you can't claim access to the value. I on the other hand can. If each individual has their own sense of morality, then it is moral for that individual to claim the life of one person to save the lives of more people. Thus I have completely affirmed the resolution.

Permissably doesn't automatically mean it is from a higher power. As an adult, I have the ability to allow myself to do certain actions. My mother doesn't tell me not to eat with my fingers. I am my authority even if it means I am breaking the law. It is still permissable for me, because I have ultimate control over my actions. This means that I can evalutate the resolution based on internal morality. Each individual has their own sense of morality, therefore an individual sense of morality is what is guiding the vigilante making the choice.

It isn't impossible to evaluate the resolution because the judge does have to determine that the resolution is moral to an individual. That is the only way this can be seen. You can't ask the judge to completely eliminate what is true in this world. You can't argue from a hypothetical standpoint. The truth of this world is that people have their own morality, so the judge can interpret the resolution (especially since I've proven this point) to mean an individual's sense of morality.

The judge should still vote on the best argumentation, whether they believe with me or you. The judges vote on the resolution, not outside of it. This means that the judge is bound to stay within the parameters of the debate. In this instance, I am winning.

The reason the affirmative should win this round, is because an individual DOES have an individual sense of morality.

Both sides can't win, and this argument is moot because it involves the realm outside of this debate round. The judge votes on what is in the debate round, not what is outside of it (or at least they should.)

The resolution specifies the lives of people. This means that no matter how it happens, people are going to die. Even if it is by way of energy crisis, their physical lives are at stake. This means that the judge has to vote on people dying.

I have easily shown how my opponent can't meet the burden of his own criterion, or my own. I have shown you how saving more people's lives causes the greater good to be done. All of this proves that I should win this round. My opponent has failed to access his own criterion, and clearly can't claim that he causes the greatest good.

I do thank you for this debate, and I hope that this continues in the way it has been. It has been extremely competitive, and is an awesome debate. Good luck in the next round.
Debate Round No. 2
Corycogley77479

Con

The judge of this round has a moral responsibility to vote against the resolution. Accepting death in our society as necessary has the potential to lead to massacres of humans that will be unstoppable because it has become "morally permissible." My opponent's only arguments are attacks on my interpretation of the resolution, which – even if he wins his internal morality argument (which allows vigilantes) – they do not prevent society (or an individual) from killing as many people as they want in the search for morality and the "greater good".

Value: Morality

Criterion: Keeping power over our own lives so that we do not have to be at the will of a higher institution.

Extend my criterion upholds morality because individuals have the choice to live their lives themselves; they do not have to do something immoral because a higher institution demands it. I do not contradict myself because I, as Con, do not uphold the agent of action because when you vote Con the action is not done.

A higher power is composed –in most cases – of many individual's – just like society. Thus my criterion is preserving the freedom of many people on the individual level – hints the word "our".

Extend (Dropped) without my Criterion his argument of individual morality is impossible because people will be at the will of a higher power. Obviously this means my criterion upholds both sides of the largest issue in the round.

"I don't only use logic to prove mine." Ok, you use examples and logic to prove that your criterion is abusive. He also claims pro is "always solving for the greatest good" which, if we are evaluating the criterions based on division of ground, this criterion bites.

Con provides the greatest good – if you look at my contention more people will die from affirming the resolution, this argument goes conceded in the round.

Observation 1: Extend (Agrees/Dropped) the agent of action has the immoral power to kill. Thus, it is impossible for Pro to uphold morality if the agent of action is inherently immoral.

Observation II: Extend morally permissible – allowed due to standards of right behavior
[Random House Unabridged Dictionary] Standard: Something considered by an authority or by general consent as a basis of comparison. (Just thought to define standards)
Thus a higher power -authority or general consent- is the one that allows the right behavior – which is the definition of morality. Morality is defined by a general consensus between individuals in a society – this is why murder is immoral: a general consensus says so. This debate does get confusing BUT this should make it easy to VOTE ON: a collective morality is better because more individuals believe something to be right vs. only one or two individuals.

The vigilante argument is short circuited once I win my definition; he has to win his interpretation is better before he can gain any offense on this point which he doesn't have. Vigilantes are not allowed because they define right without regard to society. Extend this is key to PRO ground.

Individual Morality Bad:
1) Look at my definition of permissible and standard; his interpretation is not allowed
2) Ok – so if you believe the resolution is moral, you win the round? (I don't think so!) What if I (or someone else) believe the resolution is immoral – should you loose the round?
a) Right, the judge should vote on the best argumentation, But you NEVER define whose morality we should evaluate the round on, at the point where it can be anyone's, extend, the judge can vote on their own sense of morality.
b) There isn't a fair division of ground – if only one person has to support pro then how many people have to believe it is immoral? Extend Pro will always win
c) If only one person had to believe it was moral, then one person could believe each side. Extend both sides should win the debate. And the judge can vote "tie"…

Observation III: Extend the resolution does not specify what the individual's lives are being saved from.
Extend (Dropped) Spiderman example, he found a way to have everyone live – death isn't certain!
Extend (Dropped) one death vs. more death is abusive for the Con to defend
Extend (Dropped) I don't have to win my interpretation – only that it is a possible interpretation
Voting Con is the only way to avoid the immoral action of killing an individual.

Contention One:
Extend the agent of action chooses a person that must die based on some qualifications
Extend this creates a mindset within our society that death is ok if we can justify it
Extend the majority does not have to win – more people can die then are saved because the agent of action will protect its self

He concedes his entire case: thus, he has no offense in the round and no way to access his criterion/value. Thus, you have no reason to vote pro, only against me. This is a shame because he is a very good opponent and has made good points. I thank you for taking time to debate!
The_Devils_Advocate

Pro

To my esteemed opponent. I thank you for this debate, and am somewhat sad that it is ending. For this last round, I will let my argumentation stand as is, but will give the voters reasons to accept my argumentation and analysis, and ultimately vote for me.

My first reason to accept the pro side of this argument is because of my opponent's failure to show how his value gives him access to his criterion. In his last speech, he argues how his criterion upholds his value, but this isn't the purpose of a criterion. Look back to my first speech where I show exactly what a value and criterion are intended to do. My opponent doesn't realize that his criterion is what should be voted upon, not the value. The value is what is given in order to uphold the criterion. so as soon as he gets this backward, he loses. He hasn't upheld his criterion through he value. He seems to have mixed up what they are.

Now let's look to the opposite side, mine. I have upheld my criterion of greater good by proving how one person dying will be saving more people's lives. One person dying is never going to be worse than multiple people dying, even if it's only two people. So by advocating the fact that I am saving more people's lives, I have reached my criterion. The reason I gain access to this through morality, is by showing the presence of individual morality in society. As soon as people realize that each individual has their own sense of morality, we find that it is moral for someone to kill one person to save multiple lives. The resolution never specifies that it has to be broader than an individual aspect, therefore I am advocating under the resolution. This means that I have upheld my burden, and should win this round.

My opponent makes the argument that I didn't argue my standpoints. But by arguing his, I reiterate my own. Not only that, but I have shown each round how I access my criterion through my value. This means that even if I dropped my contentions, which I didn't, then I win because of how I have proven the resolution true. My opponent hasn't done this, and therefore deserves to lose this round.

Thank you very much for this debate, and wish you luck in future debates. It was both fun and educational. Vote for me.
Debate Round No. 3
7 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 7 records.
Posted by sh0tym5 8 years ago
sh0tym5
Someone challenge me. I will be affirmative.
Posted by jasonxxx102 8 years ago
jasonxxx102
I really enjoyed this debate it also helped me out alot with my speech thanks so much.
Posted by Rezzealaux 8 years ago
Rezzealaux
Woo yay an actual structured good LD debate :D
Posted by solo 8 years ago
solo
It is morally permissible in an immoral society to kill one innocent person to save the lives of more innocent people? Good debate on both sides. I appreciated it.
Posted by beem0r 8 years ago
beem0r
It is morally permissible to kill 9000 people to save the lives of OVER NINE THOUSANNDDDD people.
Posted by Corycogley77479 8 years ago
Corycogley77479
No - My case is just explaining why affirming the resolution is bad. I'm Con or Neg - against
Posted by uj0320 8 years ago
uj0320
wait, are you on pro side?
10 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Vote Placed by Sherlock_HolmesXXI 8 years ago
Sherlock_HolmesXXI
Corycogley77479The_Devils_AdvocateTied
Agreed with before the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Agreed with after the debate:Vote Checkmark--0 points
Who had better conduct:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Had better spelling and grammar:-Vote Checkmark-1 point
Made more convincing arguments:Vote Checkmark--3 points
Used the most reliable sources:Vote Checkmark--2 points
Total points awarded:51 
Vote Placed by Corycogley77479 8 years ago
Corycogley77479
Corycogley77479The_Devils_AdvocateTied
Agreed with before the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Agreed with after the debate:Vote Checkmark--0 points
Who had better conduct:Vote Checkmark--1 point
Had better spelling and grammar:Vote Checkmark--1 point
Made more convincing arguments:Vote Checkmark--3 points
Used the most reliable sources:Vote Checkmark--2 points
Total points awarded:70 
Vote Placed by astrosfan 8 years ago
astrosfan
Corycogley77479The_Devils_AdvocateTied
Agreed with before the debate:Vote Checkmark--0 points
Agreed with after the debate:Vote Checkmark--0 points
Who had better conduct:Vote Checkmark--1 point
Had better spelling and grammar:Vote Checkmark--1 point
Made more convincing arguments:Vote Checkmark--3 points
Used the most reliable sources:Vote Checkmark--2 points
Total points awarded:70 
Vote Placed by Sunzli 8 years ago
Sunzli
Corycogley77479The_Devils_AdvocateTied
Agreed with before the debate:-Vote Checkmark-0 points
Agreed with after the debate:-Vote Checkmark-0 points
Who had better conduct:-Vote Checkmark-1 point
Had better spelling and grammar:-Vote Checkmark-1 point
Made more convincing arguments:-Vote Checkmark-3 points
Used the most reliable sources:--Vote Checkmark2 points
Total points awarded:05 
Vote Placed by Rezzealaux 8 years ago
Rezzealaux
Corycogley77479The_Devils_AdvocateTied
Agreed with before the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Agreed with after the debate:-Vote Checkmark-0 points
Who had better conduct:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Had better spelling and grammar:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Made more convincing arguments:-Vote Checkmark-3 points
Used the most reliable sources:--Vote Checkmark2 points
Total points awarded:03 
Vote Placed by solo 8 years ago
solo
Corycogley77479The_Devils_AdvocateTied
Agreed with before the debate:-Vote Checkmark-0 points
Agreed with after the debate:-Vote Checkmark-0 points
Who had better conduct:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Had better spelling and grammar:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Made more convincing arguments:-Vote Checkmark-3 points
Used the most reliable sources:--Vote Checkmark2 points
Total points awarded:03 
Vote Placed by Zerosmelt 8 years ago
Zerosmelt
Corycogley77479The_Devils_AdvocateTied
Agreed with before the debate:Vote Checkmark--0 points
Agreed with after the debate:Vote Checkmark--0 points
Who had better conduct:-Vote Checkmark-1 point
Had better spelling and grammar:-Vote Checkmark-1 point
Made more convincing arguments:-Vote Checkmark-3 points
Used the most reliable sources:-Vote Checkmark-2 points
Total points awarded:07 
Vote Placed by LandonWalsh 8 years ago
LandonWalsh
Corycogley77479The_Devils_AdvocateTied
Agreed with before the debate:Vote Checkmark--0 points
Agreed with after the debate:Vote Checkmark--0 points
Who had better conduct:Vote Checkmark--1 point
Had better spelling and grammar:Vote Checkmark--1 point
Made more convincing arguments:Vote Checkmark--3 points
Used the most reliable sources:Vote Checkmark--2 points
Total points awarded:70 
Vote Placed by SportsGuru 8 years ago
SportsGuru
Corycogley77479The_Devils_AdvocateTied
Agreed with before the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Agreed with after the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Who had better conduct:Vote Checkmark--1 point
Had better spelling and grammar:Vote Checkmark--1 point
Made more convincing arguments:Vote Checkmark--3 points
Used the most reliable sources:Vote Checkmark--2 points
Total points awarded:70 
Vote Placed by The_Devils_Advocate 8 years ago
The_Devils_Advocate
Corycogley77479The_Devils_AdvocateTied
Agreed with before the debate:-Vote Checkmark-0 points
Agreed with after the debate:-Vote Checkmark-0 points
Who had better conduct:-Vote Checkmark-1 point
Had better spelling and grammar:-Vote Checkmark-1 point
Made more convincing arguments:-Vote Checkmark-3 points
Used the most reliable sources:-Vote Checkmark-2 points
Total points awarded:07