The Instigator
mongeese
Con (against)
Winning
57 Points
The Contender
wjmelements
Pro (for)
Losing
52 Points

TOC Round 2: Murder is, in general, just.

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 22 votes the winner is...
mongeese
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 9/28/2009 Category: Society
Updated: 7 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 8,194 times Debate No: 9547
Debate Rounds (5)
Comments (58)
Votes (22)

 

mongeese

Con

Murder - the unlawful killing of another human being with intent (or malice aforethought) (http://en.wikipedia.org...)
In general - for the most part (http://www.merriam-webster.com...)
Just - acting or being in conformity with what is morally upright or good (http://www.merriam-webster.com...)

I thank my opponent for coming up with this topic for debating for the Tournament of Champions. As he will have five rounds to argue while I have four, he shall have the burden of proof. Good luck!

Note that I will not be arguing that breaking the law is always bad, but rather that breaking the morals behind them is bad.
wjmelements

Pro

I would first like to note that I do not actually believe my position and that I will be taking part in Devil's Advocacy.

I will show through my arguments that murder is not only just in general, but any time it is committed.

THE AFFIRMATIVE CASE

VALUE:
Relief of suffering; suffering is generally accepted as an awful phenomenon. The individual is hurt in some way, unjustly, and simple morality holds that relieving pain is a good, moral, just thing to do.

VALUE CRITERION:
Liberation from life; I will show how "murder", with all of its awful connotations, is in fact a righteous act of total liberation.

AI. To live is to suffer.
According to Daoism[1], Buddhism[1], Jainism[1], and Hinduism[2], life is but endless suffering. Judaism[3], Christianity[3, 4, 5], and Islam[4] hold similar beliefs.

In life, there is nothing we can truly accomplish. There is nothing we can gain. There is nothing we can keep. Nothing in this life is worthwhile. Nothing here is valuable.

In life, there is no real pleasure. We are simply manipulated by chemical hormones to percieve pleasure. Where from comes this pleasure? Not from some true accomplishment, but subsistence. The nervous system rewards itself for accomplishing food, shelter, and water[6], but even this reward is but a grand illusion. It is but a trick to keep one alive, to continue suffering.

So, life is not good. Philosophers, religious and secular, have further noted that life is but perennial, inevitable suffering. The individual is subject to all sorts of external pressures and trauma that can be relatively worse than normal, but the individual is always suffering. We may adjust to it, but we're still suffering, seeking relief in everything, food, water, sleep, but finding no satisfaction, no relief.

AII. Ending suffering is morally upright.
The existence of suffering is inherently wrong. While it may motivate and cause a preference for a particular behaviour over another, the suffering is a pain and a burden. General morality holds that pain and suffering should be minimized. Elimination of suffering is an even greater step in moral goodness.

AIII. To murder is to relieve life, and therefore to relieve suffering.
To relieve suffering is generally an upright, righteous, moral, just thing to do. Therefore, the resution is affirmed.

B. Syllogism

1. Life is Suffering. (Contention I)
2. To end suffering is morally good. (Contention II)
3. Something is just if and only if it is morally good. [7]
4. Murder always ends life. [8]
5. Murder always ends suffering. (Substitution, lines 1 and 4)
6. Murder is always morally good. (Substitution, lines 2 and 5)
7. Murder is always just. (Subsitution, lines 3 and 6)

C. PRE-EMPTIVE ARGUMENTS
My opponent may object that this liberation, an act of coercion is immoral due to its coerciveness. This is not so. Most individuals will not decide to kill themselves because of fear of death. Death is feared because of its abstraction, its ambiguity.
I will explain why death is nothing to fear. There is no such thing as an afterlife. One's determination capability, also known as his soul, is entirely enclosed within a nervous system, which dies with the body. Therefore, there is nothing to lose and everything to gain. Suffering is eliminated, and a nirvana is achieved.

In all cases, the individual benefits from this nirvana. My opponent may also argue that the individual shoud be free to make this decision for himself, but to allow free choice would be immoral. To leave a bunch of individuals helpless and ignorant in their suffering would also be irresponsible. Because the relief of suffering is moral and just, murder, voluntary or not, is just.

Further, no objection can deny my syllogism.
It is undeniable. Murder is just. The resolution is affirmed.

[1] http://www.meaningsoflife.com... and http://www.thebigview.com...
[2] http://www.hinduwebsite.com...
[3] http://www.westchesteruu.org... (suffering is part of life because of original sin)
[4] http://www.associatedcontent.com...
[5] See Ecclesiastes.
[6] http://www.addictionscience.net...
[7] http://www.merriam-webster.com...
[8] http://dictionary.reference.com...
Debate Round No. 1
mongeese

Con

Thank you for your wonderful argument.

"VALUE:
Relief of suffering; suffering is generally accepted as an awful phenomenon. The individual is hurt in some way, unjustly, and simple morality holds that relieving pain is a good, moral, just thing to do."

Well, then my VALUE:
Deprivation of pleasure; pleasure is generally accepted as an awesome phenomenon. The individual is gratified in some way, and simple morality holds that allowing people to live their lives in pleasure is a good, moral, just thing to do.

A. Counter-Arguments

"AI. To live is to suffer."
My opponent's first argument is that to live is to suffer. True, life sometimes includes suffering; however, life also includes pleasure, which cannot be ignored. My opponent's first source says, "Faith, art, love, friendship and mental attitudes are among the ways of minimizing and overcoming the cruelty of the world." Death is not listed. Suffering can be overcome by the above things, and many people have done so already. To deprive someone of their life that is no longer filled with suffering, but instead filled with pleasure, would be unjust.

"In life, there is nothing we can truly accomplish..."
However, this does not actually add anything to my opponent's argument. Just because life makes no real impact on anything, doesn't mean that death is preferable. One has even less influence in death, and death is eternal, while life is finite. Life is the only chance to actually enjoy anything. To deprive somebody of this one opportunity to impact the lives of others would be unjust.

"In life, there is no real pleasure..."
In the same light, there is no real suffering. We are simply manipulated by chemical hormones to perceive suffering.
"Pain and pleasure, in the broad sense of these words, are respectively the negative and positive affects, or hedonic tones, or valences that psychologists often identify as basic in our emotional lives. The evolutionary role of physical and mental suffering, through natural selection, is primordial: it warns of threats, motivates coping (fight or flight, escapism), and reinforces negatively certain behaviors (see punishment, aversives). Despite its initial disrupting nature, suffering contributes to the organization of meaning in an individual's world and psyche. In turn, meaning determines how individuals or societies experience and deal with suffering." [1]
This suffering comes from danger to subsistence. The nervous system simply sends pulses of pain to the brain to warn it of threats to the body, such as an attacking dog or a flame on the shoe. And so, both pleasure and pain are simply caused by hormones, so to dismiss one as meaningless is to dismiss the other, as well. However, because we feel both pleasure and pain as very real, they still allow us to experience, and hope to experience more pleasure than pain.

"So, life is not good."
My opponent only draws this conclusion from a completely pessimistic way, overlooking pleasure and calling it hormones, while aggrandizing suffering.

"Philosophers, religious and secular, have further noted that life is but perennial, inevitable suffering..."
The satisfaction comes from those hormones my opponent previously mentioned. As does the suffering. Sometimes, life is bad. Sometimes, life is good. The goal of life is to make life good more often than bad. If you want evidence, listen to Video 1 (3:15), although you really should listen to the whole thing).
"But if it doesn't work out, there'll never be any doubt that the pleasure was worth all the pain." - Jimmy Buffett
I ask you, my opponent, if somebody just declared that all of the pain in the rest of their life would be worth the pleasure of what he was about to do, would murdering that man be just?

"AII. Ending suffering is morally upright..."
Again, I can turn this around so that it negates itself when it comes to life:
Ending pleasure is morally wrong.
The ending of pleasure is inherently wrong. While pleasure may distract from other duties, pleasure is a gift to be enjoyed. General morality holds that pleasure and enjoyment should be maximized. Elimination of pleasure is a horrible step in moral wrongness.

"AIII. To murder is to relieve life, and therefore to relieve suffering..."
I wave my magic wand, and:
To murder is to end life, and therefore to end pleasure.
To relieve pleasure is generally a horrible, despicable, terrible, unjust thing to do. Therefore, the resolution is negated.

It should be fairly obvious by now that pleasure and suffering are two sides of the coin of life, and one generally cannot be completely eliminated without eliminating the other, although most consider the pleasure to be worth the pain. (See Jimmy Buffett.)

As for my opponent's syllogism, the only problem is that it assumes that life is suffering, while life is actually a combination of both suffering and pleasure. To end pleasure is morally wrong, so by continuing the syllogism for pleasure rather than suffering, one would conclude that murder is both just and unjust, which is logically impossible. Therefore, it depends on whether or not the relief of pleasure was worth the relief of suffering. In most cases, it is not.

"There is no such thing as an afterlife..."
The case against an afterlife is a bold one, although it is backed by no evidence.
There is no evidence against a supernatural soul living on beyond the death of the natural nervous system, and as an afterlife would generally be supernatural, we are unable to draw any definite conclusions.

"In all cases, the individual benefits from this nirvana."
Nirvana is the lack of pleasure and lack of suffering, although my opponent finally chooses this time to be the optimist. Now, consider this situation: you are told that you will enter a room and play a game in which you either receive pleasure or pain for one week, then step out and spend the rest of your life doing and thinking about absolutely nothing. However, you can step out of this room at any time. Will you end this one chance to actually experience something, or would you rather just go right on into nothing, and had you the ability to think, you'd regret not using your one chance in a better way?

"Further, no objection can deny my syllogism."
I had one objection, that the premise was incomplete in its assumption, therefore invalidating the entire syllogism.

Now, allow me to introduce one more thing before I had over the debate to my opponent.

B1. Murder Causes Suffering in Others [2]
This suffering is also known as mourning. When somebody that you were close to dies, you feel pain and suffering, missing their presence. Therefore, in addition to the near-neutrality of the murder in question, there is also the additional suffering that it causes to others.

C. Syllogism
1. To cause suffering is morally bad. (Inverse of AII, also note that my negation only applied to life, and not suffering caused by murder)
2. Murder almost always causes suffering. (NI)
3. Murder is almost always morally bad. (Substitution, lines 1 and 2)
4. Murder is almost never morally good. (Inverse of 4)
5. Something is just if and only if it is morally good. [3]
6. Murder is almost never just. (Substitution, lines 4 and 5)

This syllogism is even more solid than my opponent's, as it does not have the flip-side of pleasure. The resolution is negated.

1. http://en.wikipedia.org...
2. http://en.wikipedia.org...
3. http://www.merriam-webster.com...
wjmelements

Pro

I would like to thank my opponent for his response. I welcome him to L-D format.

First, I would like to point out that my opponent has forfeited his opportunity to present a negative case and a value criterion.
Second, I would like to present a definition:

pleasure: the absense of suffering [1]

Hormonally, there is no such thing as "pleasure". Hormones can only relieve pain. [2, 3, 4]

VALUE
My opponent wields pleasure as if pleasure and suffering are morally equal. Suffering is in all cases a negative; the individual is burdened and hurt by suffering. We currently have a means, death, of completely guarenteeing the absense of suffering. We have no means of completely guaranteeing the existence of pleasure.

At a different angle, even if life were to contain two, opposing, equal entities being suffering and pleasure that either must exist together or not at all, then there is no difference between life and death. However, as I have shown, suffering and pleasure are different entities, one positive and real and the other negative and imaginary.

From a scientific perspective, there is no such thing as "deprivation" of pleasure. There is only deprivation of pain. Therefore, to go even further, my opponent's value does not even exist.

VALUE CRITERION
My opponent has not presented a value criterion. He has also conceded mine. We can therefore conclude that there is no way to uphold his value, that his value is unattainable through his (literally non-existent) case.

THE AFFIRMATIVE CASE
Contention A. Derivation of VC
I. To live is to suffer.
It is important to note that my opponent has conceded this subpoint ("My opponent's first argument is that to live is to suffer. True, but..."), though he has objections. He has also conceded that pleasure is ethically meaningless.

First, he claims that life also includes pleasure. Note: this does not negate my point. Pleasure being the absense of pain, to deprive one of life is to bring them pleasure to a level they have never even experienced.

My opponent calls my statement that we cannot accomplish anything irrelevant, but if nothing can be achieved or accomplished, then life is meaningless and has no value. My opponent concedes that we cannot accomplish anything.

My opponent claims that suffering comes from danger to subsistence. This claim is false and further unwarranted by his sources. If danger to subsistence were to cause suffering, then suffering is indeed existent at every moment of life. Further, if danger to subsistence were to be the sole and direct cause of pain, then getting a hair pricked and having a loved-one die should not hurt and standing in the middle of the road and climbing trees should. Quite contrary to my opponent's point, pleasure comes from climbing trees, and suffering comes from having relatives die.

My opponent also protests, claiming my arguments are too "pessimistic". This should be disregarded.

My opponent sources a Jimmy Buffet song and a Jimmy Buffet quote. This should also be disregarded. Music and glittering generality cannot be said to be greater than science and philosophy.

The claim has been made that it is possible to have more pleasure than suffering. This, of course, is hilarious, for pleasure is not a positive entity that can be comparable to suffering.

My opponent asks me if murdering is just again, and I reply that to bring a man pleasure and eradicate pain is generally a great thing.

AII. Ending suffering is morally right
My opponent cannot "turn this [point] around", because my opponent's case is scientifically baseless and his premises, therefore, void. Pleasure cannot be eliminated in the same way that cold cannot be eliminated, for it is simply the absense of pain, as cold is the absense of heat.
Killing, therefore, brings forth the greatest pleasure concievable. My opponent's argument, therefore, supports my case.

AIII. To murder is to relieve life, and therefore relieve suffering
Again, my opponent's premise fails, and with it, his rebuttal. Pleasure cannot be relieved.

My opponent calls suffering and pleasure "two sides of the coin of life". Based only in music and glittering generality, my opponent's case collapses under the revelation of science, which says that pain is like heat and suffering like cold. There exists an absolute zero found only in death that can be achieved.

My opponent's rebuttal to my case pertaining to the non-existence of an afterlife has itself, again, no scientific evidence. It denies the existence my argument that consciousness dies with the Nervous System, which is scientifically founded. [5]

My opponent's objection to Nirvana has the same falsehood: that pleasure "no longer exists". Pleasure exists, all right, but it is not a facade of hormones anymore, but the real thing.

My opponent offers mourning as an awful side effect of murder. However, mourning occurs under murder and natural death, so this point is irrelevant. It is death, not murder, that causes this suffering. Further, murder ends life much quicker than natural death, and is therefore preferable.
Interestingly and ironically enough, my opponent's argument here contradicts his source's claim that suffering originates from threats to subsistence. The death of a loved-one is not a threat to subsistence, and in ancient times, it should have been a source of food and "one less mouth to feed", and should therefore, according to my opponent, bring joy.

Contention B. My Syllogism
I believe it stands, and my opponent's has been rendered entirely null. Murder is undeniably just. My syllogism is even further supported than in Round 1, because the individual does not lose pleasure - pleasure is gained.

Contention C. Pre emptive arguments
My opponent has conceded that coercion is not an argument against murder.

The resolution is affirmed. Thank you.

[1] http://wiki.epicurus.info...
[2] http://www.neurogenesis.com...
[3] http://www.neurogenesis.com...
[4] http://www.vancouver.wsu.edu...
[5] http://en.wikipedia.org...
Debate Round No. 2
mongeese

Con

First things first: I would like to kill my opponent's definition. It comes from a website devoted to one particular philosophy, that of Epicurus. However, this debate requires a more open definition, as we, as humans, are not entirely certain just what pleasure is. I also already established scientifically what pain and pleasure are with a quote from Wikipedia:
"Pain and pleasure... are respectively the negative and positive affects, or hedonic tones, or valences that psychologists often identify as basic in our emotional lives."

"Hormonally, there is no such thing as 'pleasure'. Hormones can only relieve pain."
False. Many hormones are connected with "pleasure." In fact, an entire set of brain structures is dedicated to receiving pleasure [2]. To say that pleasure has no scientific basis is absurd.

"Suffering is in all cases a negative; the individual is burdened and hurt by suffering. We currently have a means, death, of completely guarenteeing[sic] the absense[sic] of suffering."
However, at the same time, this guarantees the absence of pleasure. Nirvana is not a positive experience. It is a neutral experience.

"We have no means of completely guaranteeing the existence of pleasure."
However, we have a means of guaranteeing its absence. This happens to be the method you advocate.

"At a different angle, even if life were to contain two, opposing, equal entities being suffering and pleasure that either must exist together or not at all, then there is no difference between life and death."
Wrong. In life, there is pleasure, then suffering, then pleasure, then suffering, in an attempt to maximize pleasure while minimizing pain. Death is just nothingness.

"Suffering and pleasure are different entities, one positive and real and the other negative and imaginary."
Suffering (or pain) and pleasure are equally real, as described in my Wikipedia quote from Round 2.

VALUE CRITERION:
Deprivation of pleasure and trigger of suffering; I have shown how murder is an immoral act of deprivation of all emotion, especially pleasure, and a trigger of suffering in the survivors.

"It is important to note that my opponent has conceded this subpoint... He has also conceded that pleasure is ethically meaningless."
I said that life is both pain and pleasure. And where did I concede that pleasure is ethically meaningless?

"First, he claims that life also includes pleasure..."
I already established that pleasure is not the absence of pain. Therefore, to deprive one of life is to bring them a complete lack of pain and pleasure; there is no positive or negative experience, but a completely neutral experience, non-existence.

"My opponent calls my statement that we cannot accomplish anything irrelevant..."
Just because we cannot accomplish anything relevant to the world, doesn't mean that we cannot experience anything. Given that these experiences are just about all that someone can ever have that actually means anything to them, to deprive them of their future experiences to replace them with a neutral state seems rather cruel. It deprives them of the one thing they can actually do.

"My opponent claims that suffering comes from danger to subsistence..."
From Wikipedia [3]:
"Suffering, or pain, is an individual's basic affective experience of unpleasantness and aversion associated with harm or threat of harm."
Although, I will agree that humans have managed to expand pleasure and pain beyond things relevant to subsistence, as evidenced by pleasure from luxuries such as art and television and pain from the loss of a luxury.

"If danger to subsistence were to be the sole and direct cause of pain..."
True. Explanation above. However, if a human does not fully realize that their subsistence is in danger, then there is no suffering. However, the sudden realization that there is a car about to run you over causes fright, which is an example of suffering.

"Pleasure comes from climbing trees, and suffering comes from having relatives die."
Alright, then, I concede that I got my facts mixed up. However, this sounds like a concession that pleasure exists, if it "comes from climbing trees."

"My opponent sources a Jimmy Buffet song and a Jimmy Buffet quote..."
For one thing, I do have scientific evidence. For another, while science and philosophy are secondary sources, Jimmy Buffett is actually a primary source, which is generally more reliable than a secondary source [4]. He is claiming that the pleasure of his life is worth the pain. If a scientist rants on and on about philosophy and science, that would not eliminate the fact that Jimmy Buffett still wants to live, because he views his life as a positive experience, and his perception is what decides whether or not depriving him of life would be to relieve suffering or to relieve pleasure. Now, if one were to kill Jimmy Buffett while he was drinking margaritas and enjoying his life, if he had a few seconds of thought left, he'd be really mad that his happiness was eliminated forever.

My opponent makes many claims rooted in the idea that pleasure is not a positive entity, clearly contradicting my first source. Pleasure is the positive force, while pain is the negative force. It is not like hot and cold. It is like one's perception of hot and cold. Sometimes, one feels hot, and other times, one feels cold. However, in the case of heat, neutrality is Absolute Zero, while in the case of pleasure and pain, neutrality is a lack of both pleasure and pain.

"Based only in music and glittering generality, my opponent's case collapses under the revelation of science, which says that pain is like heat and suffering like cold."
See the Wiki quote, based completely in science.

"It denies the existence my argument that consciousness dies with the Nervous System, which is scientifically founded."
However, my opponent ignores my argument that there is no evidence against a supernatural counterpart to the nervous system that lives on in afterlife.

"Pleasure exists, all right, but it is not a facade of hormones anymore, but the real thing."
No, it is not real pleasure. It is real nothingness. How can pleasure come from nothing?

"It is death, not murder, that causes this suffering."
Ah, but the murder brings forth this suffering when the relatives are not even prepared. Crying over a person who was shot at the prime of his life is different from mourning a man who died at the age of one hundred, already prepared for death. Also, consider John F. Kennedy [5]. Had he died naturally, after his presidency, people would be able to mourn a bit happier, knowing he had done his job. However, with an assassination, Americans were shocked, and "wept openly." People accepted Reagan's death much more calmly.

"The death of a loved-one is not a threat to subsistence..."
Humans have evolved beyond subsistence. This statement would only be valid if the resolution was in the past tense.

"My syllogism is even further supported than in Round 1, because the individual does not lose pleasure - pleasure is gained."
This is entirely refuted by the fact that nirvana is actually complete neutrality, lacking the positivity of pleasure and the negativity of pain. There is no dopamine.

In conclusion, nirvana is a neutral state, lacking both pain and pleasure. Life is filled with both pain and pleasure, although most people find more pleasure than pain [6]. This deprivation of pleasure makes murder unjust.

Thank you, wjmelements, for this debate so far. It's been great.

1. http://en.wikipedia.org...
2. http://en.wikipedia.org...
3. http://en.wikipedia.org...
4. http://en.wikipedia.org...
5. http://en.wikipedia.org...
6. http://www.nationmaster.com...
wjmelements

Pro

I would like to thank my opponent for a timely rebuttal.

First, I would like to point out that my opponent's entire case now rests on a scientifically incorrect definition of pleasure. My opponent's claim that hormones are associated with creating pleasure as opposed to relieving pain is baseless and unwarranted by any evidence or sources. My opponent's case regarding the pleasure center is outdated, and all evidence for its existence has been heavily defeated[1]. Modern research points to the probability that the ventral pallidum is simply a center for processing motivation[1].

The talk for my opponent's source for definition of pleasure claims [2] that the definition used is not scientific, proving yet again that Wikipedia is not a reliable source to base philosophical and scientific debates on.

I have just shown that my opponent's Wikipedia sources do not refute genuine science, which my opponent did not rebut last round.

My opponent mentions, unwarrantedly, hormones connected with pleasure as evidence for his case. These hormones, as I have already shown and my opponent did not rebut and therefore conceded last round, do not bring pleasure; they simply reduce pain.

Again, Dopamine, associated with pleasure[3], only serve to release Endorphins [3], which are painkillers that suppress pain [4].

I have clearly shown why my definition of pleasure is based in science and why my opponent's are entirely invalid.

THE AFFIRMATIVE CASE
My opponent has based his entire rebuttal on an unscientific definition, so rebuttal will be blunt, repetitive, and predictable, but here it is:

VALUE
I reassert that my opponent's value is inconsistent with science and reason; murder does not bring forth a deprivation of pleasure, it guarantees it. My value, therefore, is inherently preferable to my opponent's when in conflict.

All of my opponent's rebuttal falls with science:
There is no such thing as deprivation of pleasure, for pleasure is like cold; it is simply a negative and imaginary entity. Deprivation of pain occurs along with unprecedented pleasure and can be achieved with death.

VALUE CRITERION
My opponent's value criterion is an invalid means of attaining his value. It is simply a restating of his value, which is also invalid. He has also not refuted my VC, which stands conceded.

A.
Death brings forth nirvana; the individual is no longer subject to pain, and therefore feels complete pleasure. Death, and only death, remains the only way to ensure complete nirvana, and to bring it to an individual is a moral action.

My opponent has incorrectly stated that nonexistence is not pleasure. It is, for nonexistence is the absence of pain, and therefore complete pleasure.
My opponent makes the assumption that experiences in life are good. They are not, because life is all suffering, though to varying degrees.
My opponent concedes that his Wikipedia quote on the cause of pain is inconsistent with logic.
My opponent claims I concede the positive existence of pleasure. I mentioned that it exists, though it exists as a negative entity, like cold.
My opponent's Jimmy Buffett quote is an example of an argument from authority, a logical fallacy [4]. So, while his source is a primary source, it backs a fallacy.

My opponent makes a large amount of unwarranted claims about pleasure being a positive entity. Disregard them. The "absolute zero" of pain is as pleasureful as the individual can be, because pleasure is the absence of pain, as scientifically demonstrated.

My opponent claims that his Wikipedia quotes are based entirely in science. This is hilarious, for the Talk section openly admits otherwise [2].

My opponent asks the silly question, "how can pleasure come from nothing?" Pleasure doesn't "come" from nothing; pleasure IS nothing.

My opponent again brings up the suffering caused by murder, that it is a greater suffering than that of natural death. This should be disregarded. The reason that pain cannot be avoided in life is that the pain hormones are produced consistently but not released so. If pain hormones are not released when an individual witnesses death, then they will be released later. Pain can only be increased by something if that something causes increased production of the pain hormones. Murder does not do this; therefore, my opponent's objection should be disregarded.

B. Syllogism
My opponent's only objection to the logical case is that death ends pleasure. I have shown this to be false. My case stands.

CONCLUSION
Pleasure is the absence of suffering, as demonstrated by study of endorphins [5] and opiates [6], which deliver "pleasure" by reducing pain [7 8 9].
Murder brings the "victim" to a state of permanent and perfect nirvana, a freedom from suffering, consistent with perfect and permanent pleasure. Such an act is therefore just, as demonstrated by deductive syllogism.

I would like to thank my opponent for another great round and ask that he either post tonight (Sunday) or on Tuesday night so that I can respond.

[1] http://en.wikipedia.org... (Doug Watt, of Harvard Medical School)
[2] http://en.wikipedia.org...
[3] http://www.neurogenesis.com...
[4] http://fallacyfiles.org...
[5] http://www.severe-brain-injury.com...
[6] http://www.medterms.com...
[7] http://clubtnt.org...
[8] http://www.medicinenet.com...
[9] http://www.opiates.org...
Debate Round No. 3
mongeese

Con

Thank you for your response.

Firstly, my opponent has not provided any defense for his own definition of pleasure, which I claimed came from a poor source, a philosophy. Therefore, my opponent no longer has his own definition.

He links to the lengthy talk page about the pleasure center, claiming that it has been "heavily defeated." However, upon checking the page, after thorough scanning, I found this:
"This is not at all obvious, and hardly self-evident. What does it mean that certain kinds of neural activities are pleasurable? When you start thinking about this, you have to concede that this exposes a core mystery in neuroscience, namely that within a conscious system, certain kinds of neural 'resonances' are somehow positive, while others are negative?..." [1]
Basically, Doug Watt is saying that the science of pleasure and pain is a mystery, far from a sound science that has reached any definite conclusion whatsoever.

My opponent claims that dopamine only has the ability to kill pain, and not the ability to cause pleasure. However, the page on endorphins only says that endorphins have pain-killing ability. It does not say that endorphins cannot additionally cause pleasure when there is no more pain to be killed [2]. Additionally, the dopamine page [3] contradicts my opponent's statements, saying, "Dopamine is believed to release chemicals that allow us to feel pleasure (e.g., endorphins)." If it is chemicals that allow us to feel pleasure, then it only follows that a lack of chemicals (nirvana) would be a lack of pleasure.

My opponent's value still relies on his own definition, which he does not defend. In addition, there is no way we can come to a definite conclusion on how neuroscience works within this debate (see Watt's quote). More on that later.

My opponent claims that I have conceded his value criterion. However, the criterion is merely his own prediction on how his arguments would work. What was I supposed to do, say "No, you're wrong"? That would seem more than lame. He also claims that my criterion is invalid, without saying why, which is a very important part of the accusation.

Most of my opponent's case still relies on his own definition of pain, which he has failed to defend. In reality, neither of us can prove that our own definitions are correct, due to the mysteries of neuroscience. Again, more on this later.

He calls my video an appeal to authority. However, Jimmy Buffett is a bit of an expert on whether or not Jimmy Buffett's life is pleasurable.

My opponent makes a few more arguments against my definition. Good for him. He left his definition to rust.

He then claims that "pleasure IS nothing." For one thing, this completely relies on his rusted definition. For another, chemicals create the feeling of pleasure, so nothing is neither pleasure nor pain.

My opponent's paragraph about suffering caused by murder relies on the idea that pain hormones are consistently produced. I cannot find any sources that can verify anything that my opponent says. He's going to need some sources if he wants to be taken seriously.

Now, back to what I was talking about. Neuroscience is largely a mystery so far [3]. See how many mysteries of neuroscience have been solved only recently. Now, it is practically impossible for science to arrive at a definite conclusion on the neuroscience of pleasure and pain by the time this debate ends. Now, where does that leave us? It leaves us with a bit of a gamble. Perhaps murder relieves all pain to grant eternal pleasure. Perhaps murder relieves whatever state the victim was in to replace it with total neutrality. However, for one thing, my opponent has the burden of proof, as stated in Round 1. As he cannot prove his case, which relies on a definition that he cannot prove to be true, as there is no true scientific definition of pleasure [4]. For another, let's say that there's a 50/50 chance of me being correct or he being correct. That leaves us with impossible statistics. We don't know how my idea of complete neutrality would compare with my opponent's idea of complete pleasure. So, it would be completely unjust to leave this 50/50 possibility to the hands of a murderer. Why risk it? Personally, even if I knew that there was a 99% chance of achieving complete pleasure and a 1% chance of achieving complete nirvana, I would still rather live out the rest of my life, as infinite pleasure can wait, and I'm sure my average pleasure would have averaged very high by the end of infinity, with more pleasure being hardly worth it, while if infinite neutrality awaits me, I would have given up all possible emotion of life for nothingness. And then there's the fact that I want to watch the complete Season 6 of NCIS.

As for my opponent's syllogism, he claims that he has shown life to be only suffering, although he let his own definition die and has not definitely proven his own case.

My opponent's conclusion uses a whole string of sources, although they do not actually show his case to be correct. Endorphins may "have pain-relieving properties" [5], but that does not necessitate a lack of pleasure-creating properties as well. In addition to relieving pain, endorphins "leads to feelings of euphoria, modulation of appetite, release of sex hormones, and enhancement of the immune response" [6], euphoria obviously being a positive experience brought about by chemicals [7], not a lack of them. Opiates also lead to euphoria [8].

"Murder brings the 'victim' to a state of permanent and perfect nirvana, a freedom from suffering, consistent with perfect and permanent pleasure. Such an act is therefore just, as demonstrated by deductive syllogism."
Again, this statement relies on the definition that I challenged last round with no response and the scientific "facts" that are really just conjectures over the uncertain mysteries of neuroscience, which my opponent cannot prove.

Additionally, my opponent ignored my link to the chart that showed how most people are happy. Here are more statistics:
"Americans are, on average, only 69 percent happy" [9]. That's better than 50%, which means that murder is still unjust.
Many more Americans are happy than unhappy [10].

In conclusion, murder quite likely deprives one of pleasure as well as pain. Combined with the fact that most people are happy, murder quite likely usually unjust. Therefore, the resolution cannot be affirmed.

1. http://en.wikipedia.org...
2. http://www.neurogenesis.com...
3. http://www.bing.com...
4. http://en.wikipedia.org...
5. http://www.severe-brain-injury.com...
6. http://www.medicinenet.com...
7. http://www.medterms.com...
8. http://www.addictionmedicinepractice.com...
9. http://thehappinessshow.com...
10. http://astrohow.org...
wjmelements

Pro

I would like to thank my opponent for his response.

My opponent straw-mans me, claiming that I did not defend my definition of pleasure. However, I did this two (2) times in my last rebuttal, both in the beginning on dopamine and in the end on dopamine and opiates, in addition to refuting the base of my opponent's definition.

Now, I would like to note that my opponent has conceded that his definition is invalid, formulated from common-language, and not science. We now agree here. As I have scientifically demonstrated and continue to demonstrate, pleasure is the relief of pain.

My opponent makes no attempt to understand the argument from Dopamine. Dopamine is noted to grant the individual pleasure. What does dopamine do? It only releases endorphins, which only reduce pain. Therefore, reducing pain is what creates pleasure. [1 2 4]
My opponent claims that my sources contradict my arguments. This is not so. Endorphins allow us to feel pleasure by relieving pain. Death relieves pain entirely, and therefore brings an entirety of pleasure.

Take careful note that my opponent has made no attempt to defend his definition with science. He could not even find any hormones to defend his reasoning. He only attacks mine, with arguments based in misunderstanding, as above demonstrated. He further concedes my definition entirely, stating that "endorphins cannot additionally cause pleasure when there is no more pain to be killed", meaning that no more pleasure can come once pain is removed entirely.

My opponent claims that neuroscience is too much of a mystery to make any conclusions about pain and pleasure, according to Doug Watt. However, Doug Watt only lists out "many unanswered questions" [3]. This does not mean that there is an entire mystery; there are plenty of things that we do know, like the effects of pleasure hormones, like dopamine.

THE AFFIRMATIVE CASE
Due to the above scientific clarifications, my opponent's entire case again falls apart.

VALUE
My opponent only attacks my value, saying that it relies on my own definition. Seeing that my opponent has dropped his definition and that my definition is standing, my value is also standing.

My opponent also drops his value entirely and concedes that there is no such thing as deprivation of pleasure.

VALUE CRITERION
My opponent claims I did not state why his value criterion is wrong. I can easily disprove this claim by quoting myself: "My opponent's value criterion is an invalid means on attaining his value". This is because "it is simply a restating of his value". A self-upholding value is not a value, and a criterion that is a value is not a criterion.

My criterion remains conceded, and has been conceded since round 2.

A. Derivation
My opponent again mentions that he cannot prove his definition. I will concede that my opponent cannot prove his definition and that it is void; however, I have defended mine with ample scientific evidence. On these premises, in the end of the debate, my definition can only be more valid than my opponent's.

My opponent seems to think it is significant whether or not an individual percieves his life to be pleasurable. My advocacy claims that they would be more pleasurable dead. Jimmy Buffett is not a neuroscientist.

My opponent mentions that "chemicals create the feeling of pleasure". This is false. Even the chemical that my opponent has wielded as a pleasure creating hormone only relieves pain [1 2 4].

My opponent concedes that experiences in life are not to be associated with good.

My opponent wrote a long paragraph last round that I will here refute.

First, my opponent's source declaring neuroscience a mystery [5] is invalid. He simply searched for "neuroscience mystery". This does not mean that there is no knowledge with which we have. In fact, nothing can be derived from this at all, for more than 20 times as many results come from "addition mystery" [6] and 7 times as many results come from "physics mystery". Clearly, there are many things we can do with addition and, further, we know just about everything there is to know about addition, and yet it comes up with more results. The same applies to physics. Following my opponent's logic, any knowledge of basic mathematics and quantitative science should be disregarded in any debate, because humans do not yet understand any of it.

Second, my opponent claims that we cannot be certain of anything and then lies down a bunch of bogus mathematics. However, this would only be true if there were absolutely no known facts. It is a FACT that nicotine enhances perception of pleasure [8] and it is a FACT that nicotine releases endorphins [9] and it is a FACT that endorphins fight pain as painkillers [10].

Third, my opponent states that he'd like to go wait to go through an infinite pleasure. This argument was conceded in the second round: coercion is not a valid counterargument. Even if the individual would rather be alive due to some preconceived notion, he/she is better off dead. The coercion argument has already been preemptively nullified. The coming of nirvana should not wait, and individual objection is void.

My opponent claims that it is my burden to prove that the production of the hormones of suffering is constant. However, my opponent is trying to assert something, and therefore has a burden of proof for his claims to be valid.

B. Syllogism
My opponent's only remaining objection to my syllogism, which affirms the resolution perfectly to a complete and total burden, is that I supposedly let my definition die. Again, I defended it twice in the last round.

C. Additional Rebuttals
My opponent objects to the science of endorphins. Endorphins create euphoria, my opponent says, and therefore pleasure. However, euphoria is a "feeling of happiness" [11], which is created by the killing of pain, as I have already explained. My opponent sources this reference [12] to claim that pleasure is a positive entity, like heat, but that source makes no such claim [12]. Euphoria is a negative entity, the absence of pain, existent in a natural high [13 14] caused by releasing dopamine [14], which activates endorphins [1], which reduce pain [2]. The natural conclusion is that the euphoria is only a negative experience, from a relief of pain. Opiates do the exact same thing [15], except they directly mimic endorphins [16].

My opponent argues that "most people are happy". This is best refuted by a simple restatement of my entire case, as seen in my conclusion, in addition to the following visual [17].

CONCLUSION
The only way to relieve pain completely is to die. This is because pain is just part of life. Though it can be relieved occasionally during life, causing a level of pleasure, complete and perfect pleasure can only be achieved in death. Bring someone this pleasure is moral and just; therefore, murder is just.

[1] http://www.neurogenesis.com...
[2] http://www.severe-brain-injury.com...
[3] http://en.wikipedia.org...
[4] http://www.medicinenet.com...
[5] http://www.bing.com...
[6] http://www.bing.com...
[7] http://www.bing.com...
[8] http://www.post-gazette.com...
[9] http://www.jimmyr.com...
[10] http://teenhealth.about.com...
[11] http://education.yahoo.com...
[12] http://www.medterms.com...
[13] http://www.merriam-webster.com... Medical Definition 2
[14] http://medicalmarijuana.procon.org...
[15] http://www.addictionmedicinepractice.com...
[16] http://www.drugtext.org...
[17] http://yfrog.com...
Debate Round No. 4
mongeese

Con

Because this is the last round, rather than going over the entire debate line-by-line, I will address the few key points.

1. The Certainty of Neuroscience

Doug Watt: "What does it mean that certain kinds of neural activities are pleasurable?"
WJM: "This does not mean that there is an entire mystery; there are plenty of things that we do know, like the effects of pleasure hormones, like dopamine."
My opponent clearly contradicts Doug Watt by stating that we know the effects of pleasure hormones, while Doug Watt says that we don't know. The comment was fairly recent, in July of 2009. It also came from a Harvard Medical School student, who probably knows more about neuroscience than my opponent, who is a high-school sophomore wanting to be a politician, just to establish that this would not be an appropriate time to pull out the link to Appeal to Authority.

Me: "However, the page on endorphins only says that endorphins have pain-killing ability. It does not say that endorphins cannot additionally cause pleasure when there is no more pain to be killed."
WJM: "Even the chemical that my opponent has wielded as a pleasure creating hormone only relieves pain."
The three sources cited by my opponent [1, 2, 3] do not use the word "only" in any relevant way whatsoever. We can conclude that these chemicals relieve pain, but to say that that is all that they do is not scientific. We don't know whether or not they do anything in addition to relieving pain. My opponent has no source or argument to properly contradict my argument that these chemicals might additionally create pleasure. Almost all of my opponent's sources are obsolete, because they do nothing to meet the rather high burden that my opponent must meet, as illustrated in Point 4, "I'd Like to Wait for Infinite Pleasure."

WJM: "It is a FACT that endorphins fight pain as painkillers."
However, it is not a FACT that endorphins do not additionally create pleasure.

Me: "In conclusion, murder quite likely deprives one of pleasure as well as pain."
WJM: "My opponent also drops his value entirely and concedes that there is no such thing as deprivation of pleasure."
The contradiction should be obvious.

2. The Goodness of Life

WJM: "My opponent makes the assumption that experiences in life are good. They are not, because life is all suffering, though to varying degrees."
Me: "Most of my opponent's case still relies on his own definition of pain, which he has failed to defend. In reality, neither of us can prove that our own definitions are correct, due to the mysteries of neuroscience."
WJM: "My opponent concedes that experiences in life are not to be associated with good."
This is clearly false. I stated that my opponent's argument relied on pleasure being only the absence of pain. Assuming that you agree with the above point that science has not definitively established that hormones cannot create pleasure, you agree that my opponent's case fails, which means that my opponent's conclusion is incorrect.

3. Values and Whatnot

WJM: "Seeing that my opponent has dropped his definition and that my definition is standing, my value is also standing."
As long as you agree with me on Point 1, you agree with me here that my opponent's definition is not standing, so his value is also not standing.

Me: "However, the criterion is merely his own prediction on how his arguments would work. What was I supposed to do, say 'No, you're wrong'? That would seem more than lame."
WJM: "My criterion remains conceded, and has been conceded since round 2."
He refuses to address my pointing out that a value criterion can only be argued against by arguing against the statements used to affirm the value criterion, because anything other than that would seem lame.

Now, my opponent also seems to think that my value criterion is invalid because it restates my value. However, I wrote my value and my value criterion to mirror those of my opponent's, as I have never written values before. Therefore, if my value criterion is invalid, it only follows that my opponent's is invalid as well.

4. I'd Like to Wait for Infinite Pleasure

WJM: "Third, my opponent states that he'd like to go wait to go through an infinite pleasure. This argument was conceded in the second round: coercion is not a valid counterargument."
The coercion argument: "Most individuals will not decide to kill themselves because of fear of death."
Me: "Personally, even if I knew that there was a 99% chance of achieving complete pleasure and a 1% chance of achieving complete nirvana, I would still rather live out the rest of my life..."
You see, my paragraph has nothing to do with the fear of death. It has to do with the fact that I'd rather live in a finite state for as long as I could before entering an infinite state due to the insignificance of a few decades to an infinite state and the significance of a few decades to a finite state. This is not refuted by the coercion argument. My opponent's only attempt at this argument failed, so he concedes my argument, as there is only one round left in which he cannot put together another refutation.

WJM: "The coming of nirvana should not wait, and individual objection is void."
This would only be true if my opponent can prove beyond any doubt whatsoever that what he says must be undeniably true, which is not the case.

5. Suffering in Others

WJM: "The reason that pain cannot be avoided in life is that the pain hormones are produced consistently but not released so..."
Me: "He's going to need some sources if he wants to be taken seriously."
WJM: "My opponent claims that it is my burden to prove that the production of the hormones of suffering is constant. However, my opponent is trying to assert something, and therefore has a burden of proof for his claims to be valid."
My argument was one that was accepted as common knowledge, that murder brings about suffering in others. However, my opponent tried to assert something new, that pain hormones are created consistently. He gives no sources whatsoever to back up this claim. As he has the burden of proof, it is his responsibility to give sources to his arguments. He has not done so. Therefore, his claims that pain hormones are created consistently are invalid.

6. Syllogism
WJM: "My opponent's only remaining objection to my syllogism, which affirms the resolution perfectly to a complete and total burden, is that I supposedly let my definition die. Again, I defended it twice in the last round."
However, my opponent has not defended his definition in a complete and total way, which is necessary for a syllogism to affirm something to a complete and total burden. His definition relies on neuroscience proving that endorphins ONLY fight pain rather than create pleasure, but this has not happened.

8. Visual
Seeing as my opponent has made a visual to illustrate his argument, I may as well make one as well to illustrate my own case [4].

CONCLUSION
Dying may or may not completely relieve pain. Because it cannot be properly affirmed which statement is true, it is impossible to know whether killing a happy man is a just action of liberation from pain or an unjust action of deprivation of pleasure. Because it is impossible to know this, it is impossible to affirm the resolution. The resolution cannot be affirmed, and as my opponent has the burden of proof, vote CON.

Thank you for this debate, wjmelements. It has been great.

1. http://www.neurogenesis.com...
2. http://en.wikipedia.org...
3. http://www.medicinenet.com...
4. http://www.debate.org...
wjmelements

Pro

I would like to thank mongeese for this debate.

I will start with final rebuttals.

1. The Certainty of Neuroscience
My opponent sources a rhetorical question that does not contradict my case and claims that it does. It most certainly does not, upon review ("What does it mean that certain kinds of neural activities are pleasurable?"), and is simply the beginning of a slew of questions with the conclusion that there is much more to learn [1]. Doug Watt does not question or contradict my case, or make any reference to it.

My opponent also implies that my case is entirely based on individual speculation, stating that I am a sophomore in comparison to Doug Watt, a college student. This is in itself a triple fallacy, twice (once against me, and once for Watt) an appeal to authority [2] and a straw man [3]. My case is based on neuroscientific studies, and is well-sourced.

2. Definition of pleasure
My opponent's rebuttal is based entirely on speculation, that there may exist some other, undiscovered function of endorphins. In all of the neuroscientific research on them, no such function has been discovered. Endorphins create the feeling of pleasure, and only by relieving pain. The logical conclusion is that the relieving of pain causes pleasure, and that the absence of pain is a complete pleasure.

Therefore, pleasure is the absence of pain.

3. My opponent's concession of his value
My opponent feels that the mentioning of his value in his conclusion is a rebuttal. This clearly cannot pass for a counter-argument. My opponent made no rebuttals to defend his value, and conceded it.

4. Goodness of life
My opponent concedes that if my definition is valid, so is my entire case. His only rebuttal to my case is sourceless and unwarranted speculation. I have well established that every pleasure hormone even mentioned in this debate matches my definition.
If my definition is valid, then life is suffering. My definition is valid; therefore, life is suffering [4].

5. Value and Value Criterion
My opponent does not seem to understand the concept of L-D. The case supports the Criterion and the Criterion supports the Value, and the Value supports the Advocacy. By not rebutting my criterion, he conceded it.

Also, my opponent claims the my value criterion is as invalid as his because he PERCIEVED that his was in the same format as mine. My criterion, murder, supports my value, relief of pain. His criterion, "deprivation of pleasure" is identical to his value, "deprivation of pleasure". Therefore, his value criterion is invalid.

My opponent states that my value is valid if my definition of pleasure is valid. My definition is valid; therefore, my value is valid [4].
And again, my opponent's value is nullified because my definition is valid.

6. Coercion Argument
The coercion argument is not what my opponent sourced in the 5th round. In the second round, my opponent conceded the statement "Because the relief of suffering is moral and just, murder, voluntary or not, is just". So, the argument that the individual would rather live out his life than be killed is null.

7. Burden of Proof
My opponent claimed last round that I must "prove beyond any doubt whatsoever". This is obviously false and abusive, though my syllogism achieved even this strict burden. Based off of all available information and most likely any future information, the resolution is affirmed. This, even, is a greater achievement of burden than the standard burden of proof, which holds that I must push my advocacy over the draw line.

8. Suffering in others
There is no such thing as "common knowledge" in a scientific debate. In fact, most "common knowledge" is false entirely. For example, "common knowledge" once stated that the Earth was flat. My opponent's argument here lies entirely unwarranted and should be disregarded.

Again, this argument is unfounded because murder only causes the relative's grief-causing hormones to be released, not produced. The Endocrine System produces these hormones regularly [5].

9. Syllogism
Again, my opponent's only objection to my syllogism, which affirms the resolution beyond a shadow of a doubt, is based entirely in unwarranted speculation. Based on all of the research done to this date, which is a significant amount, according to Doug Watt [1], endorphins relieve pain, creating the feeling of pleasure. My syllogism is entirely justified.

10. Visual
My opponent bases his visual [6] on a definition that he dropped in round 4. There is no scientific justification for it, while mine is well-justified.

CONCLUSION
My opponent's last argument itself, ladies and gentlemen, was based entirely in the proposal of stalemate and then burden of proof. My argument had retreated all the way to stalemate, and his only hope of getting that was the argument that neuroscience has not done enough study on endorphins to make any logical conclusions. However, the study of endorphins has been extensive [7 (awesome link, very thorough)], and no further responsibility has been found.

Murder brings total pleasure and complete removal of pain. This is moral and just. VOTE PRO.

[1] http://en.wikipedia.org...
[2] http://fallacyfiles.org...
[3] http://fallacyfiles.org...
[4] http://www.iscid.org...
[5] http://www.hormone.org...
[6] http://www.debate.org...
[7] http://aids.hallym.ac.kr...
Debate Round No. 5
58 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by mongeese 6 years ago
mongeese
Aw.
Posted by wjmelements 6 years ago
wjmelements
Subtracting the sevens, I won by 9.
Posted by mongeese 7 years ago
mongeese
It was? Snap.
Posted by wjmelements 7 years ago
wjmelements
The voting was plagued with 7-bombs. I wasn't going to take the voting result seriously.
Posted by Xer 7 years ago
Xer
Lol, I forgot to vote and leave an RFD...
Posted by crackofdawn_Jr 7 years ago
crackofdawn_Jr
Syllogism...
Posted by mongeese 7 years ago
mongeese
A 29 to 46 looks like two 5s and a 7, which would only involve one votebomb. Then you add another 4.
Posted by Xer 7 years ago
Xer
I haven't voted yet. I'll hopefully read the whole debate and leave an RFD tomorrow.
Posted by wjmelements 7 years ago
wjmelements
I am highly suspicious of vote-bombing (the vote went from 29 - 33 to 46 - 33 in one day).

Can anyone warrant a CON sources vote? Or a CON conduct vote?
Posted by Kefka 7 years ago
Kefka
Pleasure provides a source of happiness, happiness is an emotional state, and emotions are physiological (Chemical, physical, etc). So how can you say "In life, there is no real pleasure. We are simply manipulated by chemical hormones to perceive pleasure?"

This site is becoming more and more depressing the deeper we delve into thought. :D
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