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Resolved: The Possession and Use of Nuclear Weapons is Immoral

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 9/23/2015 Category: Politics
Updated: 1 year ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 763 times Debate No: 80008
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (4)
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Hello Esteemed Debate Colleagues,Today I present you with a debate that is of much importance to our world today. Nuclear weapons have have been and still are (And will most likely will continue to be) a source of controversy. Despite this, I, along with my opponent, wish to shed some light on this topic.Rules: I am not a big rule person so I do not expect you to perform any ridiculous actions. However, I do expect three things: First of all you must treat me, as I will you, with the utmost respect; Secondly you must provide sources for any evidence presented, if no sufficient links or references are provided I urge the voters to disregard the evidence; Last of all no Ad Hominem. Also no Kritiks.Structure of the Round:Round 1: Introductions, acceptance statements, thanks, etc... Round 2: Primary arguments Round 3: Refutations of opponents arguments Round 4: Maintenance of original arguments and refutation of opponents arguments A Note to the Voter: Thank you if you are about to vote or if you are planning to vote, your input is greatly appreciated. I urge you to disregard any unsupported evidence. I also hope you will judge not on your personal view(s) but on how well the debaters impacted you.


I accept gl hf etc. Just a few things.
We have to value morality because of the wording of the resolution, but I will give a value criterion for you to judge the debate on later. Also keep in mind it's nuclear weapons, not nuclear reactors, so ignore any of those arguments. I look forward to a fruitful debate.
Debate Round No. 1


My opponent has given consent to the rules and regulations and it appears that he/she means for me to proceed with my arguments. On that incentive, let us begin...

Atal Bihari Vajpayee, an former Indian Prime Minister, once stated that: "Our nuclear weapons are meant purely as a deterrent against nuclear adventure by an adversary." It is with this quote that I stand in opposition to the resolution, that the possession and use of nuclear weapons is immoral.


As the negative, or con/against, in this round, it is my duty to disprove the resolution. I must show you, the voter/judge, that I have upheld my negation of the resolution as well. It is my opponent's onus, then, to prove that the use and the possession of nuclear weapons are both immoral.


Possession: "the condition of having or owning something" [1]

Nuclear Weapon(s): "an explosive device whose destruction potential derives form the release of energy that accompanies the splitting or combining of atomic nuclei." [2]

Immoral: "Contrary to established moral principles." [3]

Throughout human history, the greatest nations on earth have valued national security above all other things. Having a safe country or state enables the citizens to work and play in peace. The United States should put national security foremost, so the our denizens can live without fear of attack from enemies. It is not immoral to value the lives of citizens by protecting them. Nuclear weapons promote my value in this round, national security, further explained in my first contention.

Contention 1: Nuclear Weapons Promote National Security

Nuclear weapons came about as a result of a need for national security. In the fall of 1939, the Einstein-Szilard letter warned US president Franklin D. Roosevelt that Nazi Germany was designing a nuclear weapon with evil intent. In response, FDR formed a committee that would eventually develop the first atomic bomb. The Manhattan Project made it possible to protect the United States from the current world powers, Russia and Germany.

I think we can agree that national security is not an immoral goal. In fact, national security should be our top goal. Therefore, to protect our national security we should use the most efficient methods, in this case, nuclear weapons.

Contention 2: Thus Far, Use of Nuclear Weapons Has Not Resulted in Immorality

The only use of nuclear weapons in wartime were the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, near the end of the Second World War. Though these bombings were tragedies, they actually saved lives. If the US had been forced to continue its invasion of the Japanese home islands, nearly ever major city with military influence would of have to been bombed. This would have been much worse than only use nuclear weapons against two cities. In fact, in the Tokyo fire bombings alone, one-hundred and twenty thousand people perished. This just goes to show that if the USA had not used nuclear weapons, that the death tolls would have been much higher. Therefore, use of nuclear weapons has, thus far, not resulted in absolute immorality. The US saved both American and Japanese lives by bombing Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

Contention 3: Not Using Nuclear Weapons Results in Immorality

As I said above, the US's use of nuclear weapons resulted in no absolute immorality. But, if the US had not used nuclear weapons, hundreds of thousands of people would have died as a result of an invasion. Without use of nuclear weapons immorality would have occurred in the forms of the deaths of the citizens of Japan.

The stockpiling of nuclear weapons around the world has prevent any wars and use of nuclear weapons from breaking out. As long as countries like the USA, India and Russia hold nuclear weapons, they can check terrorist groups, extremists and radicals who may threaten the world with acts of terrorism.


As we can see, much of the world today is kept safe by nuclear weapons. Though may opponent may rant on about the threat to the world nuclear weapons, keep in mind that only one use of nuclear weapons in war has been recorded, and it saved lives.





I will fulfill my aff burden by showing that both the use and possession of nuclear weapons are immoral. I agree to my opponent"s definitions and value.
Consider three worlds. One is the neg world, where people have nukes, one is the dystopian world, where people use nukes, and one is the aff world, where nobody has nukes. If I show that the aff world is the most moral one, vote aff. Now to arguments:
So consider the world where people use nukes. Source [1]:
"In a large U.S.-Russian nuclear war, thousands of strategic nuclear weapons would be exploded over cities, (...) All these cities would be utterly destroyed. Within an hour, hundreds of thousands of square miles/kilometers of urban areas would be engulfed by nuclear firestorms. (") the smoke would quickly form a global stratospheric smoke layer, which would act to block sunlight from reaching the Earth. This would destroy the protective ozone layer and cause deadly climate change, (") combined with the massive release of radioactive and industrial toxins from the nuclear war, would collapse the Earth's already stressed terrestrial and marine ecosystems. Many if not most complex forms of life would not be able to withstand such an event. A mass extinction event would occur."
This website elaborates even more, but you get the point. This would be detrimental to national security, so we must avoid it. This means that using nukes is clearly immoral.
Now consider a world where people have possession of nukes. If nobody uses them, isn"t it just the same as a world without nukes? There are 4 reasons why not:
a)Nukes are expensive. Source [5] :
"The average annual per-unit cost is about $1.8 million(") One of the reasons for the exorbitant cost: A major factor driving increased costs for the US nuclear arsenal is an oversized nuclear weapons production infrastructure made up of a large number of contaminated excess facilities." In a world where every country needs nukes to be safe, we are wasting money " and my opponent gives no other functions of nukes besides national security, which I will debunk. Wasting exorbitant amounts of money and resources is immoral.
b)False Alerts Source [6]:
"Petrov stuck to his common-sense reasoning. This had to be a mistake.
What if it wasn't? What if the holocaust the world had feared ever since the first nuclear bombs dropped on Japan in 1945, was actually happening before his very eyes - and he was doing nothing about it?
He would soon know. For the next ten minutes, Petrov sweated, counting down the missile time to Moscow. But there was no bright flash, no explosion 150 times greater than Hiroshima. Instead, the sirens stopped blaring and the warning lights went off.
The alert on September 26th, 1983 had been a false one. Later, it was discovered that what the satellite's sensors had picked up and interpreted as missiles in flight was nothing more than high-altitude clouds.
Petrov's cool head had saved the world." The world almost ended because of a computer glitch. A world without nukes completely sidesteps this, so you"re voting aff on this point.
c)Possible Accidents Source [7]:
"On 14 March 1961 an aircraft accident occurred near Yuba City, California. A United States Air Force B-52F-70-BW Stratofortress bomber, AF Serial No. 57-0166, c/n 464155, carrying two nuclear weapons departed from Mather Air Force Base near Sacramento. According to the official USAF report, the aircraft experienced an uncontrolled decompression that required it to descend to 10,000 feet (3,000 m) in order to lower the cabin altitude. Increased fuel consumption caused by having to fly at lower altitude, combined with the inability to rendezvous with a tanker in time caused the aircraft to run out of fuel." Once again, military disasters can happen. A world without nukes completely avoids this.
d)Terrrorists Nukes Source [8] :
"ISIS says it has already seized "tanks, rocket launchers, missile systems, anti-aircraft systems" " and is now setting its sights on the ultimate dirty bomb. (") "The Islamic State has billions of dollars in the bank, so they call on their wil?yah [powerful friends] in Pakistan to purchase a nuclear device through weapons dealers with links to corrupt officials in the region. It"s the sum of all fears for Western intelligence agencies and it"s infinitely more possible today than it was just one year ago. And if not a nuke, what about a few thousand tons of ammonium nitrate explosive? That"s easy enough to make.""
MAD doesn"t apply to non countries. Source [9]:
"Even then, nonstate entities such as terrorist groups may be able to purchase fissile material on the black market, and if they do there is nothing to deter them because many look forward to a martyr's death."
So if ISIS gets a nuke, they can use it without fear, extinction happens. Yikes. Remember, a world without nukes avoids this.
And for weighing, remember nuclear war will cause extinction. Avoiding extinction must be the first priority. Source [10]:
"Even if we use the most conservative of these estimates, ("), we find that the expected loss of an existential catastrophe is greater than the value of 10^16 human lives. This implies that the expected value of reducing existential risk by a mere one millionth of one percentage point is at least a hundred times the value of a million human lives. (..) One might consequently argue that even the tiniest reduction of existential risk has an expected value greater than that of the definite provision of any ordinary good, such as the direct benefit of saving 1 billion lives."
A world without nukes clearly avoids this. I have shown 4 reasons why a world with nukes, even if not used, is bad, and I will refute my opponent"s claims that nukes are good- but even then I"m outweighing.
Now on to my opponent"s points. His contention 1 says nukes promote national security, but they don"t discourage war. For example, my opponent brings up India. But despite the fact that India and Pakistan both have nukes, they have still fought over their border multiple times since they acquire the nukes. So how is this happening? Nukes just discourage other countries from nuking you. They can still invade you if they have nukes since they know if you use the nuke, they will too. His contention is from 1939 " and if it were true, why did the Cold WAR happen? The US and Russia still fought in Vietnam and Korea despite both having nukes. Clearly, his contention is false.
Contention 2 is ridiculous and morally repugnant. He actually attempts to claim that the bombing on Hiroshima and Nagasaki saved lives. But the long term tolls of these bombs had insanely horrible repercussions. Source [2]:
"More than forty percent of the city was destroyed. Major hospitals had been utterly flattened and care for the injured was impossible. Schools, churches, and homes had simply disappeared. Transportation was impossible. (")plants growing at ground zero presaged the frightening genetic aberrations in humans that were to come: (") For decades abnormally high amounts of cancer, birth defects, and tumors haunted victims." The long term repercussions were horrible for the area. And for his contention 3, Japan would have surrendered anyway. Source [3]:
"According to Hasegawa, Stalin spent the summer of 1945 building up his forces for an attack on Japan while trying to figure a legal way out of the pact. Hasegawa never reveals why Stalin thought the legality of his actions against a country the allies loathed was so important. Meanwhile, the Japanese, who had already been told by the Soviets that they would let the pact naturally expire in 1946, viewed the Soviets first as a partner to help win the war and later as the agent to help them negotiate a peace treaty."
So had the Allies just waited until 1946, Japan would have surrendered and asked Soviets to hep them in negotiations.
The bombings were inherently immoral. Source [4]:
"By the time the bomb was ready for use, Japan was ready to surrender. As General Dwight Eisenhower said, "Japan was at that very moment seeking some way to surrender with minimum loss of face. It was not necessary to hit them with that awful thing." (")t was also claimed that Hiroshima and Nagasaki were legitimate military targets. Again, this just wasn"t true. Hiroshima was home to the Japanese Second Army HQ, but it was primarily a big city with a huge civilian population. About 10,000 of the total 200,000 deaths in Hiroshima were military personnel. Nagasaki had no military units and, of the total 140,000 deaths there, only about 150 were military. In total, over 95 per cent of the combined casualties of the two cities were civilian. "
In this case, the United States government made the active choice to bomb Japanese cities rather than military bases. Specifically targeting civilians when other options are available is near very generally accepted as being an international taboo on moral grounds. The killing of civilians during wartime is morally unacceptable. So turn the argument.
I"ve refuted all of my opponent"s arguments, even turning one, and all my points currently stand. Pro is winning.
Debate Round No. 2


In this 1AR, or 1st Affirmative Rebuttal, I will be showing how I, in fact, am still winning this round despite my opponents attempts to tear down my case. First of all, my opponent is assuming what would happen in a nuclear war. I highly doubt he is a PhD in nuclear physics or a military general, so he cannot accurately predict what would happen in a nuclear war.

Response 1: Purpose of Nuclear Weapons

This response applies to my opponents contentions a) and d)

My opponent said that nuclear weapons have no other purpose than national security, and I agree. We use nuclear weapons to keep other countries in check, to make sure that terrorist organizations cannot attack random cities without retribution. My opponent showed you several worlds in his AC, but I would like to show you one more. Imagine a world where terrorists can kill at random, attacking cities without anyone to keep them in check. The purpose of national security to ensure our country is kept safe. Nuclear weapons uphold that value. My opponent states that "MAD doesn't even apply to non countries" in his contention d), I would like to point out that this is the point of nuclear weapons. We cannot control what terrorists do, what weapons they obtain. If the US is not armed with nuclear weapons, terrorists can fire these weapons at whoever that want, without retribution. This leads into my second response...

Response 2: WMDs Have Always Existed

My opponent assumes that without nuclear weapons, the world will immediately have peace. This is not true. Let me bring up the example of Biological Warfare. Before nuclear weapons had ever even been used, the world considered Biological Warfare the biggest WMD, or Weapons of Mass Destruction. The US, Russia, China etc... stockpiled these chemicals because they thought they were the ultimate weapons. Why would we want to get rid of nuclear weapons just to have another, worse weapons come along. What if a terrorist organization creates a new weapon, and we have nothing to stop them with. You see, nuclear weapons, though grisly, are used to protect our people. If the US just gets rid of all of our NW (Nuclear Weapons) we will be vunerable to attacks from the smallest of countries.

Response 3: Responding to My Opponents Responses to My Contentions

My opponent stated that I brought up the example of India, when in fact I just used a quote from a specific person. My opponent actually admits to my entire case by stating that "nukes just keep other countries from nuking you". This is exactly right. The reason India and Pakistan have not launched nuclear weapons is because they are keeping each other in check. Once again he says that the US and the USSR fought the Cold War without nukes. My opponent has, multiple times, in fact, admitted to my entire case. He is bringing up responses that not only help me, but should win me the round. I do not mean to sound haughty, but it is true. In response to my 2nd contention he is using Ad Hominem, specifically banned in the rules. You did not refute my contention at all, all you did was list what happened because of the bombings. Can you justify the loss of American lives? No, the answer is no. My opponent states that he knows that Japan would surrender, but I doubt it. We have seen, at Guadalcanal, Iwo Jima, etc... That the Japanese fought till the last man to defend useless pieces of rock in the ocean. How hard do you think they would have fought if their very home islands were threatened. My opponent states that killing civilians in war is unacceptable, tell that to the fourteen million Chinese citizens who lost their lives because of the Japanese invasions, tell that to the millions worked to death to make the Japanese war machine go.


My opponent uses a lot of fallacies and loaded language in his argument. I will just go through the points one by one and refute them. He starts it off with an ad hominem attack. Attack the arguments, not my credibility. Plus, I am taking Physics and my teacher has talked about nukes in the course, as well as nuclear theory such as MAD. So even if you consider ad hominem to be a legit argument, it"s false. As for his claim of my ad hominem, I said the argument was ridiculous and morally repugnant, I never said my opponent was. So I did not use any ad hominem, but I"ll be winning the actual debate as well.
He says nukes are to keep other countries in check, but as I showed, wars still happen. So saying nukes stop terrorism is clearly false- terrorism is a huge threat to global security even though many countries have nukes. Terrorists do kill at random in my opponent"s world, so his argument doesn"t make sense at all. As I showed, MAD does not apply to terrorists, so they can fire nukes without fear " and some of the terrorists organizations with suicide bombers want to die. My opponent does nothing to stop terrorism.
As for WMDs always existing, this is non-topical. Just because one bad thing exists doesn"t mean another should. I don"t have to show that WMDs are OK, just that nukes are bad. If people moved from these previous chemical weapons to nukes, clearly nukes are more disastrous. So not only does his argument that WMDs are worse than nukes make no sense, but it isn"t pertinent to the debate at all.
Then to his third response. If nukes just stop other countries from nuking you, then why don"t we just all not have nukes? Plus, India doesn"t need nukes while another country has it " if any country were to nuke another, then everyone else with nukes would bomb that country. Source [11]: "The most fundamental objective of our strategic policy remains nuclear deterrence. I reaffirm the directive of PD-18 to that effect. The purpose of this directive is to outline policies and actions in the nuclear force employment field to secure that continuing objective. (S)
Our strategic nuclear forces must be able to deter nuclear attacks not only on our own country but also on our forces overseas, as well as on our friends and allies, and to contribute to deterrence of non-nuclear attacks."
So as long as the US has nukes and one other country to keep the US in check, that is sufficient. So India doesn"t need nukes, as it will just feed into my first contention points a-d.
I already addressed his accusation of an ad hominem attack " I"m sorry if it seemed like one, but it wasn"t. As for Japan, his arguments refute his point. First of all, one nuke didn"t even make Japan surrender, so clearly nukes failed at forcing the surrender. And the soldiers won"t surrender even if their country gets nuked. That argument just helps me! Even though Japan got nuked, soldiers didn"t surrender and the emperor didn"t either. That shows that nukes did not make Japan surrender, refuting my opponent"s contention.
Now let"s take stock. My opponent doesn"t contest my point that using a nuke causes an apocalypse. So clearly we must avoid a world where an apocalypse occurs, as the Bostrom evidence shows. National security would be destroyed by the use of nukes. And he doesn"t respond to the fact that a world without nukes is better in every way then a world with them. He makes an off-topic response and an ad hominem attack " don"t listen to those arguments. There is no reason to have a world with nukes when a world without one is strictly better. So vote Pro.
Also remember judge to ignore any new sources or new arguments brought up in my opponent"s next round as well as my last round if we forget the rules.
Debate Round No. 3



In this 2AR or Second Affirmative (Pro/For) Rebuttal, I shall refute my opponents arguments in the previous round(s).

Response I: Ad Hominem Conundrum

My opponent blatently accuses me of committing Ad Hominem, or an assault on the morality, conscience, or ability of an opponent. I did not commit this accusation. My alibi is as follows: I informed the judges that my opponent was not a PhD, I did not say this was bad, I was stating that he cannot assume without credible evidence. If I would have said that my opponent has no morality because he thinks Americans should die, I would be committing Ad Hominem. My opponent clearly commits Ad Hominem when he calls my argument "morally repugnant". This is an attack on my morality because I created the argument. An moral attack on my argument is a moral attack against me. If you refer back to the introductary remarks section, I specifically state that Ad Hominem is not applicable in this debate.

Response II: Nuclear Weapons DO Stop Terrorism

My opponent says that MAD does not apply to terrosists, so they can fire nuclear weapons without risk. I believe my opponent has not gone to the root of the argument. The only way a terrorist group can attain nuclear weapons is through the help of another country. The USA prevents this by keeping those other countries in check. If North Korea tries to give secret plans to Pakistan, for example, they have to risk the obvious threat of war with the US, not a lucky situation. My opponent also does not mention a huge advantage the US has against terrorists, anti-nuclear weapon weapons. The US has counter-missiles that can destroy incoming nuclear weapons. If a terrorist organization somehow obtains a nuke, the US can use these systems within seconds notice. I doubt, however, the terroists could obtain enough nuclear deterance systems to destroy all the nuclear weapons the US could throw at them. The US protects national security by keeping countries that could give nukes to terrorists in check and by threating anhiliation of the

Response III: Misinterpretation

When I brought up WMDs I was not saying that my opponent has to prove that they are good, it was merely an example that supports my argument against his contentions. I also never stated tht WMDs are worse that nukes. My opponent says that my argument does not even belong in this debate, despite the fact I clearly showed it does. This shows my opponent fallacy of a Red Herring. My opponent is avoiding my example of WMDs by saying it is not applicable. He does not even take the time to refute it. My WMD argument still stands as my opponent presents neither sufficient logic nor sufficent evidence to refute it.

Response IV: You Cannot Control Other Countries:

I would like to point out to the judges that this is not a perfect world, we cannot make Russia, NK, and China all disarm their nuclear weapons at once. My opponent believes that it is a good idea for the US to disarm nuclear weapons, this is false, however. If we disarmed nuclear weapons, we would be open to threats from the smallest of countries. We cannot make everyone else disarm nuclear weapons. Nuclear weapons put the US at an equal level with, maybe even above, other countries.

Response V: Speed of Government Powers, Especially in Wartime, Are Slow

My opponent states that Japan did not immedately surrender when faced with a nuclear bombing, this is because the government could not act quickly. The Japanese government cannot just surrender on a whim. The fact that Japan eventually did surrender just shows that the bombs did work!

Response VI: Nuclear Weapons WOULD Cause an Apocalypse

I will now take the time to respond to my opponent's arguments that nuclear weapons would cause an apocalypse. I have to agree. Nuclear weapons would cause an apocalypse. My opponent, however, states that nukes can suddely disappear if we will them to. This is not the case. Nuclear weapons are held by multiple countries who would like to use them on the US if possible, but the US's holding of nuclear weapons protects our national security. Trust me, if I could I would get rid of nuclear weapons, but because I am not a God, I can only agree with the best option we have, nuclear weapons. This clearly shows that holding nuclear weapons is not immoral because it our only option.


First I will just touch my opponent's arguments but I won't make any new arguments. Then I'll be saying why I won this debate.
His Response 1 literally concedes the point. To quote him, "when he calls my argument "morally repugnant"". Exactly. Attacking people's arguments is allowed.
For Response 2 the US does not have anti nuclear weapons. If any on country had anti-nuclear weapons, then MAD would not apply and that side could just bomb everyone else. This is what my physics teacher said, and he is a PHd. So ad hominem away, friend.
For Response 3 like I said the argument doesn't apply.
For Responses 4 and 6 it's still immoral for them to have nukes even if we can't take it away from them. The possibility of having a nuclear war is reason enough for them to be immoral. Remember the topic!
And response 5 I'd have to make a new response to so I'll prove I'm winning without the whole Japan surrender argument.

Reasons to vote Neg:
1. He concedes that Japan was affected by all these horrible health defects which are far worse than any lives the Us would have lost. Plus my argument is substantiated whilst his is speculative. So I outweigh his argument and my argument is more legit.
2. If the only point of having a nuke is to stop nuke attacks, then not having nukes is strictly superior. It doesn't matter that that isn't obtainable because it will still be immoral.
3. He uses ad hominem on me, while I just attacked his argument.
4. Having nukes risks extinction. There is no response to this argument, and I'm winning the debate on that alone because of the Bostrom weighing card - reducing extinction must come before everything else because of how bad a result extinction is. Why would you risk having the world end? It is clearly immoral to have nukes if the world might end because of it.
5. I contest his arguments, while mine go uncontested, so I'm also winning on strength of link.
Clearly a world without nukes is the best one. Even if it isn't obtainable, that still means I win because it's immoral regardless.
Vote Pro, and thank you for the debate.
Debate Round No. 4
4 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 4 records.
Posted by TheJuniorVarsityNovice 1 year ago
lol no one should accept this because its impossible to win. no one can argue that the possesion of a thing is immoral in and of itself. other contexts or potentialities have to be factored in for morality to be involved.
Posted by asi14 1 year ago
Aw, phoo. I'll let someone else take this one.
Posted by ColeTrain 1 year ago
Ad hominem are personal attacks instead of actual arguments, basically.

The rules say "also no kritiks."
Posted by asi14 1 year ago
what's ad homiem?
also, are kritiks allowed?
No votes have been placed for this debate.