The Instigator
brian_eggleston
Pro (for)
Winning
29 Points
The Contender
cobiader
Con (against)
Losing
15 Points

The obese are immoral

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 6/18/2008 Category: Politics
Updated: 8 years ago Status: Voting Period
Viewed: 2,514 times Debate No: 4435
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (5)
Votes (10)

 

brian_eggleston

Pro

I start this debate on the assumption that my opponent agrees that wilfully allowing children to starve to death is immoral. If this is not the case, he or she should demonstrate that letting kids die of hunger is a good thing and that anyone who deliberately feeds a malnourished child is acting immorally.

An observation - I have entitled the debate "The obese are immoral" rather than "The overweight are immoral" deliberately as I recognise that it is possible to be overweight but not fat, as is the case with some rugby players for example. In addition, some people are overweight due to water retention caused by medical complaints and do not, necessarily, consume food to excess. So, for the purposes of this debate, let "the obese" be defined as people who are fat because they eat too much out of pure greed.

I would like take this opportunity to urge readers to vote on the quality of the debate, not on any personal allegiance to thin or fat people - after all, many of us who live in the West will know somebody we like who is obese, indeed, some of us may be grossly overweight ourselves.

Now, please allow me offer you the following scenario:

Mum, Dad and their children, Montmorency and Ethelbertha, load up their touring trailer, hitch it to the back of their truck and head off on vacation.

Now this is a big family, not in terms of number, but in terms of size, as they are all obese.

Some time later, they arrive at their destination and set up camp.

That evening they have a slap-up barbeque with 21-day matured t-bone steaks, minted lamb chops, tiger prawns, Lincolnshire sausages, marinated pork steaks and stuffed chicken breasts which they consume with heaps of corn-on-the-cob and piles of fries, all washed down with lashings of beer and pop and followed with cream cakes and chocolates. In short, they ate far more than their recommended daily calorific intake in just one meal.

Nothing wrong with that, you may say, why not? It sounds very nice.

Aha! But that's not the end of the story, because the camp they chose to park up in was a refugee camp in Africa full of starving people.

Clearly, polishing off a massive feast while desperately malnourished mothers holding their dying children in their arms look on is more than "not very nice" – it's immoral. That is because they have each consumed far more calories than they actually need to stay healthy and their excess body weight is evidence of ongoing gluttony.

It is my contention is that, if the fat family had consumed the same meal in a National Park in California or a campsite in the South of France, it would have been as equally wicked as having the nosh up in the refugee camp - the truth is that the obese family knew there are starving people in the Third World and the fact that the starving people couldn't have seen them greedily scoff up their grub, doesn't absolve them from blame, because those facts wouldn't have made the malnourished campers any less desperate for food.

We all know there is a global shortage of food yet this could be greatly alleviated, and millions of lives could be saved, if people in the West ate no more than they actually required to keep healthy and the food saved was diverted to the starving in the Third World.

Thus, by wilfully depriving starving children of food, I have proved that the obese are immoral and you should, therefore, vote Pro.
cobiader

Con

Immoral = involving right and wrong

I would agree that having a 7 course meal in front of a starving family to be immoral. However, the debate topic is generally speaking about the obese excluding those who have metical conditions.

I'll just start off by stating a few things and you can argue your side.

1) Society generates our views of moral and immoral. So what a southern American citizen, like myself, views immoral might be completely different from a citizen in Hong Kong, or even New York.

2) Time changes our social rules. Now, we have a very specific scale of obesity according to height and gender. Centuries ago, there was no such thing. In fact, being "plump" (now considered obese) was a sign of wealth and class. So in that aspect, if you were starving, you were a peasant, which was acceptable.

3) You're saying that instead of eating that 7 course meal that far surpasses what our society says we "need," donate money to charity so other people can eat and be healthy as well, right? Every culture, and every individual, has a standard of living. I bet you live in a house or apartment, probably have furniture, a t.v, a nice bed, refrigeration, a/c, etc. You can probably live on a quarter of the expenses your living on now and still be better off than those that are starving. However, that is all you know, that is how you were brought up and anything less would be uncomfortable (just an example). Those over seas, in Africa, who are starving know little more than being starving. I'm not saying that is right, or wrong. I'm simply stating that the definition of right and wrong changes.

Basically, immoral is a word that changes by culture and over time. My country condones luxury living first, and then giving to charity. Other cultures differ, which is similar to the over all principal of morality. There is no concrete definition for being moral.
Debate Round No. 1
brian_eggleston

Pro

With thanks to my opponent for joining this debate, I would like to reply to his comments as follows:

I accept my opponent's point that morals vary from society to society, but every society agrees that taking a child's life is immoral, and I shall explain why this is relevant shortly.

It is also true that we are conditioned by society to put our own personal wealth above charitable donations and pretty much everybody, with the possible exception of tramps, monks and students, could live a more meagre existence and give the remainder of their disposable income to good causes. However, that is not at the heart of the issue here. The crux of the matter is that there is only so much farmland on Earth and because the obese eat more than their fair share, it cannot sustain the whole of the world's population. By depriving people in the Third World of their daily sustenance, grossly overweight people are, in effect, eating starving children's lunches.

Here are the facts: a normal adult consumes 2427 calories per day, 533 or 18% less than the 2960 calories an obese consumes.

Source: http://environment.newscientist.com...

A baby requires 1000 calories per day so every two days each obese is personally responsible for the death of a Third World baby – over a period of 40 years that's 7300 infants' lives a grossly overweight person snuffs out for the sake of their own selfish greed - Saddam Hussein got hung for less than that.

Though my opponent digresses from my central argument that the obese lack morals, I do, nevertheless concur that in previous times overweight women were considered beauteous, as is evidenced by the depiction of voluptuous nudes in countless Renaissance paintings. Times have changed, but even today, there are some men that actually prefer bigger women, just as there are some men that prefer older women, or underage girls, or other men, or animals, or even inanimate objects - yes really, I saw a documentary about a bloke who lives near Seattle that has sexual intercourse with his VW Beetle – it was most disturbing! However, the majority of men, given the choice, would opt for a stunning blond cheerleader over some doughnut-devouring dropout from the fat farm who looks like a pig in knickers!

However, as I said, this debate is not about the physical attractiveness of grossly overweight people, it is about morality, and since I have proved conclusively that the obese are morally responsible for the deaths of millions of innocent children, your conscience should oblige you to vote Pro for an end to wanton gluttony.
cobiader

Con

--My opponent first argues that there isn't enough farmland on earth to feed the obese and the starving.

This isn't quite true.

If the obese can sacrifice food for the starving then Pro has contradicted himself by proving enough land to feed both. Not only is this a contradiction, it simply isn't true. As of now we have plenty of food and farmland to raise food for more than everyone.

However, if we continue to grow in population, by 2050 we will have a possible 12 billion people. Not only is food important for everyone, but so is a job. This just shows Darwins theory of "survival of the fittest" more plausible. Even if the obese remain obese, and we continue to reproduce at this rate, there will be starving children and there is nothing we can do about it. I think it's horrible that children die every day as a result of starvation, but that is nature. We are no different from the animal kingdom, the strongest and most prosperous will prevail. And it will always be the case. Animals will always die because there isn't enough food in the area, likewise with humanity. Animals will fight to the death for food, and if humanity gets put in a situation where food is an issue, so will we. We can't expand the earth, there is only so much room, and people will die because of that. It's not going to get any better, technology will improve, we might even become "green" and keep enough vegetation for everyone, but we will still be overpopulated if we keep growing this much, and people will die as a result of things other than starvation. It's life, not immorality. Sometimes that's just the way it goes.

--My opponent also stated that money was not the heart of this issue.

You're right, greedy, obese people are the heart of these worlds starving children. Not exactly, Your saying that obese people are eating starving children's lunches. They are eating it, because they have the money to buy it. Greed is essentially your argument. So while the obese are eating those children's lunches, you're spending money on, maybe not food, but a television set, a car, air conditioning, cable, a cellular phone, not to mention anything you do for fun. NOT IMMORAL, and neither is the obese. Not healthy maybe, but certainly not immoral.

--My opponent then goes to explain the needs an adult vs. the needs of babies as far as nutrition goes.

Life is most important here, obviously. That being said, why not give the calorie intake for survival? You gave the calorie intake to be healthy. We can survive off of much less. So, if simply eating more food than it takes to survive is killing lives, then even the smallest who consumes very little, but who are nonetheless surviving, is immoral.

Obesity can also be a psychological disorder. Obese people eat because they are lonely, because they are depressed, or simply out of habit, which we all know to be a psychological disorder. Metabolism also plays a large part. We can increase or slow down our metabolism to a certain extent, but we all have a set, natural metabolism. I can almost guarantee you, I, a 6'1' 150lb guy, can eat more than the average obese person. So, once again, obesity is not the issue. Food consumption, sometimes, has nothing to do with obesity.

Immorality has nothing to do with obesity, as I have clearly proven.

Figured out that issue, give me a harder one…
Debate Round No. 2
brian_eggleston

Pro

As part of my opponent's last response he wrote:

"If the obese can sacrifice food for the starving then Pro has contradicted himself by proving enough land to feed both. Not only is this a contradiction, it simply isn't true. As of now we have plenty of food and farmland to raise food for more than everyone."

Firstly, it is not a contradiction as I only said the problem could be "alleviated" if the obese ate less and secondly, I'm afraid there isn't plenty of food to go round, that's why food prices are at a record high and at least 100 million people are being pushed further into poverty and hunger as a result.

Source: http://www.wfp.org...

My opponent continued…

"Not only is food important for everyone, but so is a job. This just shows Darwins theory of "survival of the fittest" more plausible."

I have no argument with that statement but then my opponent wrote…

"We are no different from the animal kingdom, the strongest and most prosperous will prevail."

I do take issue with this, however. As my opponent stated, food is important and so is a job, and it is employment that sets humans apart from the animal kingdom. We evolved into the planet's dominant species though co-operating with one another. Instead of each individual foraging for themselves, we formed tribes and introduced division of labour whereby only some of the members were responsible for the provision of food, leaving the others to mine for metal ores, make tools, construct buildings, etc. There were two things that made this co-operation possible. The first was the ability to communicate sophisticated concepts using speech and the second was a code of laws based on common moral values (one of which is not to allow any fat people go around stealing grub off the kids!)

As the human race developed, the physically strongest in society became less important than the most intelligent, to a point now where the situation is completely reversed.

Here's another one of my scenarios to illustrate the point:

A 22 year-old student rocks up in a pub in downtown Athens, Georgia. He is a big lad, 6'1" and 150lbs, because he eats more than some obese people. He takes a stool at the bar and as he guzzles down his domestic beer he notices a couple of attractive girls and decides to impress them by picking a fight with some guys over by the pool table.

Just as the student is about to throw his first punch, everybody's attention is attracted by the howl of the highly tuned V8 engine of a brand new Lamborghini Gallardo Spyder which pulls up outside. Out steps a tall, dark, handsome company director / revolutionary socialist. He walks into the pub, takes a table near the pretty girls' and orders a bottle of Chateauneuf du Pape.

He notices the young ladies' glasses are almost empty, so he politely invites them to join him, explaining in dulcet English tones that he couldn't possibly finish the bottle himself and legally drive back to the Foundry Park Inn and Spa, where he is staying in the Presidential Suite.

The girls accept his offer and as they chat, they are impressed by his intellect and enthused by his ideas for socio-economic justice based on a mass redistribution of wealth and his plans to end to world hunger by shaming the obese into not being so damn greedy all the time.

By this time, our student friend has forgotten his quarrel at the pool table and looks on jealously as the debonair Englishman leaves and heads back to the hotel with the girls.

Unfortunately, the Lambo only has two seats so one of the girls has to catch the bus, but never mind that, the point is, it wasn't physical prowess that prevailed in this situation, it was personality and intelligence – that's what separates humans from animals.

A summary of opponents penultimate point were that anyone that eats more than they need to survive, rather than stay healthy, would be immoral according to my reasoning. I don't accept that, we all have the right to eat enough to be healthy, but I do accept that people who eat food in excess, just out of pure greed, are also acting immorally, even though they may not be obese.

His final point was that some people can become overweight for medical reasons, a point which I conceded in Round 1. You see, I'm not being unreasonable, all I'm saying is that if the obese weren't so greedy, more of the planet's finite food supply could go to malnourished children in the Third World and for that reason, I urge you to vote Pro.
cobiader

Con

"I'm afraid there isn't plenty of food to go round, that's why food prices are at a record high and at least 100 million people are being pushed further into poverty and hunger as a result."

Not to sound rude, but did you read your source? Soaring prices have little to do with how much food is produced. Gas prices alone have a large impact on prices of our food.
http://www.worldhunger.org...
The source above has accurate facts about world hunger and clearly states, IN BOLD, that we have enough food for the world's population.

My opponent then demonstrates how we are different from the animal kingdom by providing an example that explains humanities intellect as the difference. Because of this difference, I'm assuming he is implying that humanity is not greedy because we have come together.

I'm afraid you are missing the point. Humanity is not at the top of the food chain because of strength. We are at the top of the food chain because of intellect and the tools we have developed as a result. As of now, we are the smartest species known to man, and that is our strength, that is why we are still walking the earth. So "survival of the fittest" still fits in our scenario. We may be able to outsmart the animal kingdom, but we can't control our universe. For example, in a thousand years our earth could be 200 degree hotter. Some reptiles and insects may be able to survive the heat and eat each other. Humanity will have lost most of our vegetation as well as most of the animal kingdom which will eliminate most of our food, and that is assuming we can survive that heat, which isn't probable. We would ultimately die off. Species under water might be the only form of life left. That is just an example, may be extreme, but it illustrates the natural order and the fact that we are a part of it despite our stereotypical theory of being more important than the world itself.
That being said, we will do anything to survive, just as other animals will. If you're stranded in the desert with a friend, 130 degrees and the only water you have will either keep you alive for 7 days, or keep the 2 of you alive for 2. Despite what the "moral" thing to do might be, we will fight for survival and try to live as long as possible with the hope of being rescued.
The point is, we are animals; slightly more civilized than the rest of them, but that is only because that is what it has taken to survive. We are just as greedy. But, we have developed a system of government and money and protection and can therefore do more than simply survive, we can be comfortable. And we will do what it takes to be comfortable even if it means somebody somewhere else is dying. We could give all of our money away and save a life or two. But that would mean living in a tent and being uncomfortable. Is it immoral? No, simply our standard of living.
Now, I think both of us have strayed away from topic, but I'll try and tie this all together. The following are my points and why the obese should not be considered immoral.

1)Immoral changes with time and place. Those in refugees, I'm sure, do not find it immoral to have an entire meal while there family and peers whither away. What we consider being obese now, was not obese 500 years ago and will not be 500 years from now. While the definition of morality is relevant, it doesn't prove that, by today's standards, obesity is immoral.
2)My opponent claims to be specific in food and not money, but then states the cost of food being a record high. Sounds like, to me, food and money goes hand in hand even from my opponents perspective, whether he means for it to be or not. We all live to the comfort level of our society because that is what is expected, and that is what we consider the standard of our comfort. My opponent's core concern is obviously saving lives by eating less, and blames the obese for doing that. Money provides food on our table just as much as it provides food on anyone else's table. So if being obese is immoral, then simply being comfortable in the way that most of us are living is immoral as well. The money we spend on a car, a/c, heat, television, cell phones, furniture, electricity, water, etc. All of this can be eliminated or at least cut down significantly so we can feed the needy. I don't know about everyone else, but I don't consider myself immoral because I have all of this, just fortunate.
3) To better tie together mine and my opponent's examples of why we are, or are not different than the rest of the animal kingdom:
a. I am simply stating that we are no different. Sure, we are smarter, organized, and have developed tools as a result. But, we have done this only to survive, and it evolved from there. When we were cavemen, we had to make spears for weapons, discovered fire for warmth, and as time went by it progressed in to what we are now. We did this to survive, and it has evolved from there in to a civilization superior to other animals.
4)I am considered extremely skinny, and I can guarantee you, that I can eat more than your typical obese person. We all have natural metabolisms, mine is faster than most of your overweight people. That doesn't mean that they are immoral because they are fat but simply overweight because that is the way they were made. Sure, they can work out and trim the fat, but some people are going to be naturally bigger than others.

My opponent has tried to demonstrate that being obese is immoral by giving an example of a family eating in front of a refugee camp. Obese or not, that would be immoral. Being obese has nothing to do with his example. He then gave a source, trying to prove that we did not have enough food on earth because the cost of food is soaring. His source had nothing to do with the amount of food and actually went to prove my theory that money and food go hand in hand. We then debated on the "survival of the fittest," and he claimed that we are different from the rest of the animal kingdom because we are smarter, which is true. However, it further demonstrated my point because it simply proves that we are here because of the tools we have made, not because we are physically stronger. This ties in to obesity because we are all greedy by nature and will have lived the life that we were born in to. Greedy, maybe, and quite naturally. Immoral, not by a long shot.

So I will say it one more time, obesity simply has nothing to do with the morality of our society. Skinny people can eat a lot, and obese people can eat very little. If the obese were the only people to blame for consuming more than what is recommended, they would still not be to blame for starving children. Check the sources; we have plenty of food to go around. Starving families are in geographic locations that don't support much vegetation and are dying off because they don't have the money to import goods. Obesity is not the issue; it's more of an economic issue.

I could go on and on to try and prove my point but I feel I have already done that. I hope everyone else can see that as well.
Debate Round No. 3
5 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 5 records.
Posted by cobiader 8 years ago
cobiader
good point, didn't think about that.
Posted by Lithobolos 8 years ago
Lithobolos
Most of the obese eat cheaper tfood then the healthy. TV dinners and fast food are less expensive then health food. Athletes also lift weights to get more muscle that requires more calories, thus more food. So if you are going to start calling some people immoral, you better broaden your condemnation to all people who not only eat more calories then they should but spend more money on them.
Posted by brian_eggleston 8 years ago
brian_eggleston
You should have enough time, just, I hope you do. If you don't make it, you can post your response in the comments box.
Posted by cobiader 8 years ago
cobiader
I'm not going to be able to respond until Monday, I don't know how long I have... just a heads up
Posted by brian_eggleston 8 years ago
brian_eggleston
With many thanks to my opponent for taking on this debate, I should like to compliment him on his reply. I will need to think about his comments before I revert as I had thought I had all the bases covered!
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