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

Resolved: A just society ought to presume consent for organ procurement from the deceased.

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Post Voting Period
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after 1 vote the winner is...
It's a Tie!
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 9/16/2014 Category: Health
Updated: 3 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 8,128 times Debate No: 61827
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (8)
Votes (1)




R1: Acceptance, Aff's constructive
R2: Neg's Constructive + Rebuttal, Aff's rebuttal
R3:Neg's rebuttal, Aff's rebuttal + voting issues,
R4: Neg's brief rebuttal + voting issues, NO AFF ARGUMENT IN THIS ROUND, simply say, "My part of this round was agreed to be left blank without any arguments."



Well, I wanted to go Con on this because there's a whole load of fun arguments there, but I guess going Pro is closer to what I actually believe, so...

My arguments, then, are as follows:

1. Why the heck not?

What is a dead person going to do with their organs? Seriously now. And we can get into a big stupid argument about "what is just" and so on, but when it comes down to it, there are perfectly good organs lying around, people suffering for the lack of good organs, and, well ... "just" is eliminating pointless suffering. And we can make that the debate, if you like--that society ought consider "just" as such--but, given that this is actually a serious debate, pertaining to actual, serious matters, I think that would be a bit silly, no?

2. "Just" should imply "Not Retarded"

Indeed, we can turn this into a religious debate, too. My opponent might worry that should he be Assumed as the Virgin Mary was (The Assumption of the Virgin Mary--"Assumed"? I don't know), that he might be left walking around heaven with his guts hanging out, or something stupid like that. But this, in all honesty, is retarded (and maybe I mean "retarded" in the sense of like, you know, how religion hindered science or whatever--no losing a conduct point here please :,). Or maybe my opponent is something of a Tarzan and wants to leave his organs to the animals after he dies, for consumption. Well, in that case, I think this is okay, and that we should invite animals into the fold of society, and, well... why can't the organ procurement refer to animals eating the organs? I'm sorry, all decency and sense is pointing towards organ donation being only decent and sensible thing here. The alleviation of suffering trumps unfounded religious views in a "just" society--I will argue this.

3. Uh... Egyptians... No, not Egyptians... Uhm... Children might die!


4. A "Just Society" should concern itself with the overall well-being of its people

I know this is the first one again, but seriously... where are you going with this if not making some religious, or ridiculously individualist, argument? And it's going to be a non-starter. If we are to suppose a "Just Society", then that society must be fair, good, etc.--the existence of "justness" is affirmed by the resolution in itself; the argument comes to that of which it is composed. And then there is pretty much zero merit to dead people keeping their organs in terms of good, unless you want to go down the road of fairness and crazy individualism and a person's right to deprive all but his own family so his family might do better, or something super-f*cking-crazy like that... Ayn Rand was insane. She was. And anyone who believes they will need their organs after they have died, is also insane.

5. Something dumb about government following the last point...

Go away. The resolution is affirmed.
Debate Round No. 1


Thank you for accepting this challenge.
Before I get started, I would like to define some terms that I think are important to this debate.First, presume consent as defined by The Canadian Liver Foundation means that a person is presumed to have consented to organ donation in the case of their accidental death. Second, organ procurement, is defined by UK HealthCare, as “the removal or retrieval of organs and tissues for transplantation”. I will be interchangably using the terms "presumed consent system" and the "opt-out system" as well as their abbreviations throughout this debate as they are the same thing.
Value/Value Criterion:
The value for this debate, or what the debaters should base their arguments on so that the resolution is upheld. The value that both of us will most likely be debating for is justice since the resolution asks debaters to define what a just society would look like. Where we the debaters will differ is how we are aiming to prove that our side upholds this value. The Pro side has shown that s/he is using societal welfare (doing the most amount of good for the most amount of people) to try to prove that his/her contentions uphold the value of justice. Whoever proves that their value criterion, (the term that I previously described that should uphold the value) is more important to this debate will prove that their contentions are more important to a just society and therefore wins the debate.
Now, my value criterion for this debate is individual rights. According to, an individual right is “the liberty of an individual to exercise freely those rights generally accepted as being outside of governmental control”. Individual rights are the most important components to justice because the purpose of justice is to ensure that everyone has these basic liberties. If it is proved that presumed organ procurement does not allow people to have their individual rights, we must conclude that a just society would not adhere to such a policy.
Before going further and onto my contentions, I would like to make an observation. If presumed consent for organ procurement was to be put into place, it would take the form of an opt-out program where people are automatically donors then can choose to not be a donor. This means the aff defends an opt-out program, because the majority of experts on this topic say that is the only feasible way to carry out presumed consent.
Contention 1:
Opt-out program is not the solution to the need for organs.
While many believe that because of presumed consent, the amount of organs ready for transplanting into needy patients will skyrocket, many researchers have found that this is not the case. After studying data[1] which compared the DPM (donors per million population) of countries with presumed consent and express consent (the opt-in system, like the one that the U.S. has adopted) researchers as John Hopkins theorized that just because the opt out system was in place, didn't mean that the organ donation rates skyrocketed like many said that they would.

Brian J. Boyarsky, a John Hopkins researcher who conducted the interviews states: "It does not appear that by simply having presumed consent legislation on the books that donation rates will rise."
Dorry L. Segev, an associate professor of surgery at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine comments: "Opt-out is not the magic bullet; it will not be the magic answer we have been looking for. With opt-out the perception becomes, 'We will take your organs unless you take the time to fill out a form.'”
Almost all countries, excluding countries such as Austria, go to the deceased person’s family for a final decision on whether or not they would still like to have their relative's organs donated, which can often lead to them opting out and therefore autonomy (the act of governmening choices that should be made by onself) is not ensured. This obviously infringes on the citizen’s individual rights, and couldn’t be accepted by a just society.
Contention 2:
Mandatory Choice is a better solution to the need for organs.
By requiring people to acknowledge whether or not they would like to donate their organs after death, many more participants would enroll. This can be shown by the data which polled americans asking if they would approve to have their organs donated.

According to, in the United States, 85 percent of Americans say they approve of organ donation, but only 28 percent give their consent to be donors by signing a donor card.This shows that if people were required to make the choice, the amount of donations would spike up immensely.
The system of mandatory choice is the best of both the opt in and opt out systems, as they allow for people to make their own choices, so that a relative doesn’t have to make the final decision for the deceased person. This ensures autonomy, and gives each person their OWN individual rights.
Contention 3:
Presuming actions infringes on people’s individual rights.
It is just to ask someone before presuming things about them, especially if the action that will be occurring could affect their individual rights or wishes, a great reason as to why many procedures are hardly ever presumed. How can presumed consent be allowed if it contradicts already established moral truths? By assuming that ‘so and so’ would like to have their organs donated because they haven’t opted out of the system, the government would undoubtedly be infringing on the rights of citizens, and we can’t believe that a just society would blatantly harm our individual rights, another reason why the resolution should be negated.

s://; alt="" width="605px;" height="352px;" /> NowensteinPhD Candidate,Department of Sociology,European University Institute, Italy


Well, I got off to a bad start here, but my position isn't unsalvageable. In fact, I argued it somewhat without complete awareness of what the resolution actually entailed, so... Hey, emotional charge... Anyhow, we're going to have to go back to what a "just" society is, then.

Now, my opponent's referencing sociological investigations is interesting (something I hadn't expected in my predictions :,), but it's not absolutely solid either, even if I were to think to concede that their findings are correct (and I am doing no such thing, but rather layering my arguments); that perhaps allowing people a straight choice rather than a premade choice + an opt-out might accrue a greater number of donations. The thing is, this is more so a manipulated society than a "just" society. Indeed, psychological reactance, which is the phenomenon by which my opponent's sources suppose organ donations would possibly be decreased, and the same phenomenon by which children turn to alchohol and drug abuse in their immature and reactionary years, has very little to do with justness, but rather childishness. Is this, then, what we are to call a "just" society; one in which people will donate their organs only if they have been given full say over whether they will or not, even to the point that they might not? But my opponent brings up mandatory choice here, and that's well and good, but does not skirt the underlying unjustness of our hypothetical society's people, and what else is a society but its people? Should we say that a society amounts to its laws alone? Well, in that case, what of my opponent's individual rights; what of one's right to be unjust? No, to pawn off "justness" upon the law does not a just society make, but rather an individualist and selfish society--individualist and selfish people.

On individual rights, then, with which my opponent has contested mandatory or perhaps even presumed consent organ procurement (although individual rights even taken to the ridiculous lengths that we are discussing are not violated by this latter arrangement)... well, indeed, a just society should only presume consent of donation rather than force donation, because uh... maybe my opponent is a Tarzan-like fellow, or perhaps there is a religious conviction there too strong to be reneged upon and it would be unjust to psychologically torture a person in order to possibly afford the chance that another's life might be saved. And yes, this does seem somewhat a different stance to that which I was taking in my opening round, but uh... In my defense, I read "presume" to mean something along the lines of "predicate" and so that entire opening round might be considered argument against my opponent's argument from individual rights (sans that stuff about the religious people--but again, I was making moralistic argument rather than argument with regard to something which might be immediately applied.).

And of course we are also dealing in the real world, which I am painfully aware that I pointed out to my opponent in my opening round. As such,--and getting back to my opponent's sociologists, and to further explore this notion of manipulated justness--is not the society which accrues the most organ donations, however they may come, the most just society? I contest that it is not, but, again, that outside of moral rightness of intent, that it is but a manipulated society. Indeed, if manipulation to a positive effect were to make rightness, then there is much in the way of tyranny that might bandwagon its way into being. Would it be just, for example, if Obama and McCain were both but puppets and that last election a lie; even if the puppeteer was best for society? Individual rights, anyone? No, it would simply be a farce. And yes, the election hypothetical is not exactly equal to the mandatory choice hypothetical, but the manipulation to "justness" remains constant across both--it's the same thing. Again: individual rights, anyone? Should you deny yourself your right to be stupid and reactionary in the name of greater organ donation, you also commend the good puppeteer on his manipulations. And so this whole thing of justness in greater organ donation, no matter how the greater donation is achieved, falls to silliness, and presumed consent rises above it as a thing of true societal justness: a natural goodness and readiness to help one's fellow man.

If the above motion should fail, however, my opponent has not provided any substantial evidence that presumed consent actually does lower the rates of organ donation. In Spain, presumed consent has been a part of their societal structure for 10 years and Spain is host to the highest donation rate (of course it has not been acted on, and people consent to donation as in the US, but nor has it been catalyst to this psychological reactance my opponent's sociologists speak of). Further, the main bulk of the argument otherwise, from what I can gather (see "conclusion" here:, seems to be in that there will be some opposition to the introduction of presumed consent, some knee-jerk silliness, but the conclusion here clearly that, "A hard system of presumed consent would almost certainly lead to an increase in rates of donation," and though the article I linked to is actually against presumed consent, please note also that all of the arguments contrary are incredibly wishy-washy feely arguments and based on very little at all. In fact, they tie in with my opponent's foundational argument of "individual rights," my opponent having read himself, I assume, that a hard system of presumed consent would more than likely lead to an increase in organ donation. Moreover, there is no talk of "justness" in that article, the invoking of which allows us to question here the sentiments mentioned within, the rightness of them, and again we come back to manipulated justness and how ridiculous a thing that actually is.
Debate Round No. 2


My opponent stated that I am arguing that the OOS will decrease donation rates, however this is not the case. Nowhere in my case did I say anything about donation rates DECREASING with presumed consent legislation.

They also state that by allowing people to have their own choice, my proposed society is a manipulated society. I do not see how this is so, since people have more freedom to decide their own fate. A manipulated society would be one like the Pro is proposing at s/he seems to think that forcing people to donate their organs is the way to go. Allowing a choice? or Forcing someone to give you their organs? It is easy to discern which is the more manipulative of the two (if you didn't guess at first, it's the society which forces you to donate).

My opponent also hinted to the statement that a just society wouldn't give people the right to choose to donate("one in which people will donate their organs only if they have been given full say over whether they will or not"[paragraph two of Pro's Round 2 case]). This is the whole reason that organ donation is called organ DONATION, because people CHOOSE to have their organs donated, in the opt-in system and the mandatory choice system. The opt out system, although, takes away some part of the goodness of the donation since many people who don't know the laws will be exploited. A just society would undoubtedly let its people make this choice, and almost all other choices that could potentially affect their lives or property, because the Freedom of Choice is perhaps THE most important freedom that a government must protect.

The society that my opponent has promoted in these past few arguments is a tyranny! Regardless of the fact that people of society may choose not to donate based upon their own beliefs or because of their selfishness, they MUST have the right to choose for themselves.

My opponent again stated that mandatory choice was manipulating justice, however this is untrue because of the reasons I stated above. In this same paragraph, s/he stated that his hypothetical between the election and mandatory choice both showed that justice was being manipulated, this isn't true. This argument doesn't really make any sense as the government wouldn't be manipulating them in any way. They aren't forcing them to make one decision, they are simply giving them the right to express their opinion.

S/he states again that the point of bringing up my evidence was so that I could prove that presumed organ procurement lowers donation rates however this is not the case. Maybe reading the article fully through or possibly even reading the title of the article will clear this up for my opponent. Also s/he states that, "presumed consent rises above it as a thing of true societal justness: a natural goodness and readiness to help one's fellow man." This is an opinion and has no evidence, or arguments really, to support this claim. This debate must be regarding which society is more just (OOS or MCS) is based partially, possibly mainly, upon donation rates or my opponent's arguments which state that PC is good because donation rates rise have all fallen. But this can't be the case since a just society would value raised donation rates and only in my system are rates raised while individual rights are also being secured.

Finally s/he states again that I said somewhere that organ donation rates will decrease however this is not the case. The argument I provided obviously doesn't include anything of the likes. The whole reason that I haven't, "provided any substantial evidence that presumed consent actually does lower the rates of organ donation," is because I haven't actually made this argument. Ignorant to their own argument that said that a just society would not necessarily be determined by increased organ donation rates, my opponent stated that Spain has the highest donors per million population because of presumed consent. However, this is not the case. As you can see in the data, the top five and the bottom six have presumed consent legislation. What does this mean? It means that there is not correlation in this argument, because if it were true that PC increased organ donation rates, these bottom six spots wouldn't be host to PC run countries.

My opponent has not really refuted any of my points with valid refutations so this should be taken into account when evaluating the winner of this round. He did kind of state that the opt out system is better than my mandatory system, but none of his arguments proved this to be incorrect. The opt out system is not the magic bullet to solving the organ crisis!

My second contention is still valid because the only thing that my opponent said in regards to this argument was that it "manipulated justice". A just society (or really any society) would make their choices based upon what they think is best for their area, whether it be liberty, or happiness, they are still making the laws with this mindset, in essence "manipulating" society. This is showing that my opponent is proposing a society where law makers don't make any new laws, right?

For my third contention s/he gave us the convoluted hypothetical situation with the election that did not at all pertain to how mandatory choice takes away individual rights or to this debate, really. So, this can't be accepted as a valid argument.

Overall, the Pro has argued a whole different argument in this round and hasn't backed up any of their contentions, which I all refuted, so I am assuming that they haven fallen as well since they chose to bring up a different argument entirely in this round.

Again, I strongly negate the resolution.


Well, my opponent has misunderstood pretty much the entirety of my argument and so hasn't managed to actually provide a rebuttal. This is unfortunate, but I'll hammer it out further in this round and perhaps he might make some hand at it in the next (though I don't think he will; the argument is pretty solid).


Reactance is the phenomenon by which the sociologists my opponent references suppose that presumed consent actually reduces organ donaiton. Now, this would be fine, and my opponent's arguments would have merit in this ... were it not for the resolution dealing in the justness of a society specifically, which is removed from simply saving lives, the individual's notions of what his rights are, etc., but instead subsumes them all and calls us to weigh them all moralistically. A society of people whose aim it was to save lives, then, might say that, yes, mandatory choice perhaps has some benefits over presumed consent, because presumed consent might elicit reactance. Or a society of people whose main interest was ensuring autonomy might say that madatory choice was best, because uh... because maybe they might forget or something and they have really bad OCD (really, presumed consent does not encroach upon autonomy). But we are dealing solely in what is just; not what is best for this, or for that--these are still up for grabs. And so we come back to my observations of this sort of scheming, which is to prevent reactance,--to control the individual as you might control an animal--in the consideration of are such manipulations actually just? My argument is that they are not--at least not of a society; perhaps of a single man. A just society, then, I argue, should need no such steering, but do right in itself. And so we come to the morality of organ donation: is organ donation not virtuous? Hardly anyone could argue that it isn't. And so a society that is just ought consist of people who will simply donate their organs, no rigmarole about it. And no, that is not the resolution, but the wording of the resolution anthropomorphises society and so I think this is a more than fair interpretation of the resolution. Simply put, being good or just should presuppose organ donation.

Now, we might come to trifling matters besides ... such as: a just society needs not for presumed consent, but might consist of people who will all opt for organ donation through mandatory choice ... but this is, as I have said, trifling. And again, being good or just should presuppose organ donation, and so why the rigmarole? And granted, in presupposing good people to a good or just society, there is little in the way of argument for presumed consent over madatory choice, besides in that madatory choice would then be trifling/superfluous, but even this should do as sufficient argument--sense should not say of a thing that it is not heavier than the next thing because it it not much heavier; indeed, it is still heavier: why should a just society concern itself with such triviality when there are more pressing matters at hand? Really, this is an easy one, presumed consent being obviously morally superior. Autonomy does not come into it, unless to be unjust, and that autonomy should be considered part and parcel in the justness of its society as a whole. Indeed, how can it not?

I'll let my opponent finish this off. Perhaps a society is something other than its people, perhaps some god or some such (blasphemy! false gods!), but I think otherwise. Interesting debate,
williamfoote. Was fun.

Debate Round No. 3


My opponent stated that I misunderstood the entirety of their argument, but I refuted it in several spots so they would have needed to shown how I misunderstood it for this claim to be a valid one.
Again, both my argument and my evidence do not claim that PC reduces organ donation. I do not argue that just because people are against this loss of rights, that they will do the opposite of what they are told (reactance). This cannot be used in this debate because the legislation that we would be proposing would not be a law that is breakable. Unlike a law that may state "no exceeding the speed limit of 55 mph on this road", a law that would state that "your organs are to be presumed to be able to be procured in the case of your accidental death unless you state otherwise" is not really able to be broken in any way, so the theory of reactance doesn't really pertain to our case at all.
My opponent has proposed that a just society would donate their organs with no fighting against it. I agree with this statement, but the way that this will be achieved is not clearly stated. The pro states that this just society would all donate their organs out of the goodness of their hearts and that presumed consent allows this somehow. This really is not the case because by presuming consent the mindset becomes 'we will take your organs unless you have the time to fill out a form' which is taking away the goodness of the donation itself. And really, there is more trifling in the OOS as you have to fill out the form to opt out, while in the MCS you simply have to answer a yes or no question. Under the MCS legislation, the path to organ donation would be quicker and smoother than with any other system.
It was stated that in this just society that Pro is proposing that everyone would just donate because there are only good people in a just society. However there are always going to be conflicting views, whether it be in a just or unjust society. A person may see organ donation as a superb action while another may see it differently. This doesn't mean that one is right and one is wrong. The fact that people will have different opinions is inevitable and a just society would make laws that protect our rights to express our differences.
Finally, my opponent states that presumed consent is better because morally it is superior. The only way that this would be true would be if it was proved that donation rates increase with PC. However, my opponent stated, "A society of people whose aim it was to save lives, then, might say that, yes, mandatory choice perhaps has some benefits over presumed consent." This contradicts my opponent's claim that it is morally superior because if we were to do what was morally right we would protect rights and save lives. My opponent has agreed that the MCS does save more lives with this statement and therefore s/he has no other arguments that state why presumed consent is actually morally superior, other than the argument that says that autonomy is ensured, when it isn't because individual rights to properties are taken with OOS. To clear this up here is an analogy: I you were to buy some cookies and they were yours and only yours, no body should be able to take them without your consent, right? They can't presume that you would give them to you if you were in another room because they would be taken what is yours to give. So, if your mother was to take your cookies(individual rights), but said that you could get them back if you filled out a form, it doesn't change the fact that she took your cookies. However, if she asked for your cookies then you have the option to say yes, I would like to sacrifice a cookie to help another, or no, I don't want to sacrifice a cookie. Likewise, if the government were to assume that you want to give them your organs, they would be infringing on rights, but if they were to give you the choice they would not be taking your rights. Because of the fact that the MCS both ensures actual autonomy and will likely have higher donation rates than the OOS, we must conclude that my opponent's argument stating that OOS is morally superior has fallen.
In conclusion, the mandatory choice system will achieve a just society better than a presumed consent system will because of the fact that no individual rights are infringed and that donation rates will rise with it. Presumed consent doesn't ensure autonomy as I have proved above with my cookie analogy and it doesn't promise higher donation rates equal or higher to that of the MCS.
Thank you AnDoctuir for an honestly stupendous debate. This was really enjoyable for me and I hope it was for you as well! Please vote honestly and fairly all you potential voters and until next time, DFTBA (don't forget to be awesome). :D


AnDoctuir forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 4
8 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 8 records.
Posted by AnDoctuir 3 years ago
I just won the sh*t out of this debate. Good game.
Posted by AnDoctuir 3 years ago
clearly states that*
Pft, character limits... Interesting debate, though, william!
Posted by williamfoote 3 years ago
No youve been arguing correctly
Posted by AnDoctuir 3 years ago
lmao I was arguing the wrong side of this
Posted by williamfoote 3 years ago
wow the source was supposed to show the picture of my data...:(
Posted by AnDoctuir 3 years ago
No, I don't think I am. Just wrapping it all up nice and early, is all :D
Posted by UchihaMadara 3 years ago
pssst... pro, i think you're arguing the wrong side of the resolution....
Posted by Jonbonbon 3 years ago
My predictions.

Conduct - con
Everything else - pro
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by 9spaceking 3 years ago
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Total points awarded:00 
Reasons for voting decision: I'll vote on this later. Remind me if I do not.