The Instigator
MTGandP
Pro (for)
Winning
21 Points
The Contender
mongoose
Con (against)
Losing
17 Points

When in conflict, moral arguments should be valued over practical arguments.

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 4/29/2009 Category: Society
Updated: 8 years ago Status: Voting Period
Viewed: 4,509 times Debate No: 8028
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (23)
Votes (6)

 

MTGandP

Pro

Moral argument: An argument that shows the morality or immorality of a certain position.
Examples: Abortion is wrong because a fetus is a human being; gay marriage should be legalized because gays deserve equal rights; tobacco should be banned since it is harmful.

Practical argument: An argument that shows the practical benefits or detriments of a certain position.
Examples: Abortion is acceptable when childbirth is dangerous to the mother; gay marriage should be illegalized because intercourse between homosexuals can spread STDs; if we legalize tobacco, the government can make money by taxing it.

I think this is an interesting and important topic, and it's about time someone settled it. I don't feel very strongly about either side, so I will be debating PRO.

The resolution is meant to imply that the moral arguments and the practical arguments are roughly equal in significance.

Contention 1: Morality is timeless.
Morality is morality. It may be dependent on the situation, but it is still timeless, in a way. What is moral in some situation now will still be moral in another thousand years.

But practicality is constantly changing. What we do today may not be done tomorrow. Social practices relevant to moral issues change frequently. Sometimes they take a long time, and sometimes they never change, but in practice things change a lot faster than in theory. Practicality is temporary, while morality is eternal: therefore, morality ought to be valued over practicality.

Contention 2: The ends do not justify the means.
We may be able to reap benefits from practical issues, but that does not make them right. We cannot do something simply because there are practical benefits: we developed public airlines because of WWII, but that does not justify the war. No, we cannot base our decisions solely on the outcome.

Frequently, committing an immoral act for the practical benefits leads to unseen side effects. This can be avoided by weighing morality more highly than practicality.

I affirm that when in conflict, moral arguments should be valued over practical arguments.
mongoose

Con

I thank my opponent for starting this debate.

"Moral argument: An argument that shows the morality or immorality of a certain position.
Examples: Abortion is wrong because a fetus is a human being; gay marriage should be legalized because gays deserve equal rights; tobacco should be banned since it is harmful."

Mostly agreed, except for one thing: gay marriage is immoral. It is not right. They already have equal rights (http://www.Debate.org......). They don't deserve more rights. I agree on abortion and tobacco.

"Practical argument: An argument that shows the practical benefits or detriments of a certain position.
Examples: Abortion is acceptable when childbirth is dangerous to the mother; gay marriage should be illegalized because intercourse between homosexuals can spread STDs; if we legalize tobacco, the government can make money by taxing it."

Your homosexual argument is still strange. Heterosexuals can also transfer STDs, but it would be entirely impractical or intelligent to ban that.

"I think this is an interesting and important topic, and it's about time someone settled it. I don't feel very strongly about either side, so I will be debating PRO."

So this would have been better as a forum topic, not a debate. Why are you debating something when you don't feel strongly about either side? It makes for a weaker debate.

"The resolution is meant to imply that the moral arguments and the practical arguments are roughly equal in significance."

Wrong. Your resolution is that moral arguments are more important. My argument can be either that they are equally important, or that practical arguments are more important.

"Contention 1: Morality is timeless.
Morality is morality. It may be dependent on the situation, but it is still timeless, in a way. What is moral in some situation now will still be moral in another thousand years."

Way back when, it was considered immoral for a woman to even show her heels. Obviously, times and morals have greatly changed.

"Contention 2: The ends do not justify the means.
We may be able to reap benefits from practical issues, but that does not make them right. We cannot do something simply because there are practical benefits: we developed public airlines because of WWII, but that does not justify the war. No, we cannot base our decisions solely on the outcome."

The ends can very well justify the means. WWII was to fight the evils of the Holocaust and Communism. If we didn't fight that war, thousands more Jews could have been killed, and we would have been further attacked by the Japanese. They would have taken Hawaii. It was necessary, so in this case practicality was more important than morality.

"Frequently, committing an immoral act for the practical benefits leads to unseen side effects. This can be avoided by weighing morality more highly than practicality."

Frequently, acting impractically can lead to doom, death, and destruction, as in being unconditionally pacifistic. This can be avoided by weighing practicality more highly that morality.

"I affirm that when in conflict, moral arguments should be valued over practical arguments."

I affirm that when in conflict, practical arguments should be valued over moral arguments.
Debate Round No. 1
MTGandP

Pro

My examples of moral and practical arguments were just examples; I was not implying that they were sound arguments.

"Why are you debating something when you don't feel strongly about either side? It makes for a weaker debate."
A debater should be able to argue equally strongly for either side, irrespective of personal belief.

"Way back when, it was considered immoral for a woman to even show her heels. Obviously, times and morals have greatly changed."
It was considered immoral then. But do we now think it was immoral then for women to show their heels? Of course not. What we consider moral now, we also consider moral a thousand years ago. Kind of reminds me of http://www.cooperativeindividualism.org...

"The ends can very well justify the means. WWII was to fight the evils of the Holocaust and Communism*. If we didn't fight that war, thousands more Jews could have been killed, and we would have been further attacked by the Japanese. They would have taken Hawaii. It was necessary, so in this case practicality was more important than morality."
That is not a practical argument. It would have arguably been morally wrong to allow the Nazis to continue slaughtering the Jews and other minorities. But preventing the Nazis from continuing had minimal practical benefit. Airlines were a practical benefit. Technological advantages were practical benefits. Preventing deaths was not a practical benefit, except in the sense that those people who would have been killed were productive members of society, and in that case airlines and technological advances were much more significant practical benefits in the long term.

"Frequently, acting impractically can lead to doom, death, and destruction, as in being unconditionally pacifistic. This can be avoided by weighing practicality more highly that morality."
See my previous paragraph.

" "I affirm that when in conflict, moral arguments should be valued over practical arguments."

I affirm that when in conflict, practical arguments should be valued over moral arguments."
Well alrighty then! :D

* * * * *

My opponent has not provided any contentions. The burden of proof lies on both the PRO and CON debaters. If my opponent refutes all my arguments but provides none of his own, then the debate is a tie. So I request that my opponent support the CON side with his own contentions.

*Side note: We did not fight WWII because of Communism. We were allied with the Soviets, after all.
mongoose

Con

"My examples of moral and practical arguments were just examples; I was not implying that they were sound arguments."

Usually examples are supposed to be actual examples of what it is trying to establish.

"A debater should be able to argue equally strongly for either side, irrespective of personal belief."

But it is still a weaker debate.

It was considered immoral then. But do we now think it was immoral then for women to show their heels? Of course not. What we consider moral now, we also consider moral a thousand years ago. Kind of reminds me of http://www.cooperativeindividualism.org...;

My point is that morals can very easily change over time. You said that morality is timeless. It is not. Your contention was established as false, and then conceded by you in this statement.

"That is not a practical argument. It would have arguably been morally wrong to allow the Nazis to continue slaughtering the Jews and other minorities. But preventing the Nazis from continuing had minimal practical benefit. Airlines were a practical benefit. Technological advantages were practical benefits. Preventing deaths was not a practical benefit, except in the sense that those people who would have been killed were productive members of society, and in that case airlines and technological advances were much more significant practical benefits in the long term."

Death is very impractical. This debate is about which argument should be considered, not which proves more beneficial as a result of the decision. You are going off topic. A practical argument could have moral benefits, and a moral argument could have practical benefits. Overall, the war, which used the practical argument over the moral argument, was more beneficial.

"See my previous paragraph."

Doom, death, and destruction are all very impractical. It is very difficult to get a job when nobody is alive to employ you. It is very practical to advance society. The choice is obvious.

I affirm that when in conflict, practical arguments should be valued over moral arguments. Again.

Now to add a contention:
Moral decisions can lead to doom if impractical.
Universal healthcare is generally considered "morally correct" because it gives people better healthcare for less cost and increases supply and all the other stuff Obama blabbed on about. It would also be extremely impractical. Because it is mostly for the people who do less work and do less to improve society, it costs more than we can practically deal with, and it would lead to less initiative to make money. It would lead to less work, less pay, and less overall money and happiness. This is not beneficial.

As to the side note, we later fought against communism, giving countries money to not accept it.
Debate Round No. 2
MTGandP

Pro

"You said that morality is timeless. It is not. Your contention was established as false, and then conceded by you in this statement."
Morality does sometimes change, I can't argue with that. Unless of course objective morality exists, though I do not personally think it does. Maybe "timeless" was the wrong word, but I happen to like that word. Society has many aspects to it, and changes very rapidly. Morals change over long periods of time. It was immoral for a woman to show her heels, but how long did it take for that to change?

For the sake of analogy, I am going to use the example of women being forbidden from showing their ankles, since I can't think of a good analogy with heels.

A practical argument for why women should be able to show her ankles might be this: There is a type of dress that is very popular. But if it is too long, women trip over it rather frequently. If it is too short, women's ankles may be revealed. But it is okay, because it has the practical benefit of reducing trippage.

The counter-argument is that even in medieval ages, fashion was changing very quickly. The dress would have gone out of style in around twenty years, and would not longer be relevant. But the idea that ankles should not be shown lasted for hundreds of years. In this sense, moral arguments are much more long-term than practical ones.

"Death is very impractical... Doom, death, and destruction are all very impractical. It is very difficult to get a job when nobody is alive to employ you. It is very practical to advance society. The choice is obvious."
If ten million people die, that's a relatively small percentage of the population. But what if over a billion people are given the opportunity to fly in aircraft, and travel over long distances very rapidly? Aircraft also allow the rapid transportation of food and other goods across the globe. This benefits billions of people on a daily basis. But if those ten million people had not died, society would not be very different. Aircraft is a practical benefit. Ten million deaths is not.

* * * * *

Thank you for adding a contention.

"Universal healthcare is generally considered "morally correct" because it gives people better healthcare for less cost and increases supply and all the other stuff Obama blabbed on about. It would also be extremely impractical. Because it is mostly for the people who do less work and do less to improve society, it costs more than we can practically deal with, and it would lead to less initiative to make money. It would lead to less work, less pay, and less overall money and happiness. This is not beneficial."

I have a problem with "[Universal healthcare] is mostly for the people who do less work and do less to improve society". Meaning lower-income people? Income is not based on how much one contributes to society. Income is based on the education level required for the job and on the demand for the job. There are many jobs which are very important to the functionality of society, but which do not pay well. A job not paying well does not imply that the person with the job is lazy. For example, janitors must work very hard, and are very important, but are not paid well.

It's time for some factual evidence. Let's look at what countries have universal healthcare, and compare them to the quality of life.

Below I have a list of the countries with the highest quality of life (based on several factors including freedom, health, economy, and others). Ones with universal healthcare are marked with a 1, and ones without are marked with a 0.

Highest quality of life (descending):
France 1
Switzerland 1
United States 0
Luxembourg 1
Germany 1
Australia 1
Italy 1
New Zealand 1
Spain 1
Netherlands 1

9 of the top 10 countries with the highest quality of living have free healthcare. So we can conclude that universal healthcare probably is, in fact, beneficial. Quality of living is subjective, of course, but we can still get a sense of the quality of living in different countries.

If my opponent refutes the above argument to the satisfaction of the judge, my opponent's contention is not necessarily proven. Both my argument about income and my argument about quality of living must be refuted for the contention to stand.

Conclusion
In my point directly above, I evidenced that the morality of healthcare did not lead to doom, and even improved the quality of life. Before that, I explained how morality is a more long-term standard than practicality. I also elaborated upon why death, in the end, is not very impractical.

Vote for morality. Vote PRO.

Quality of life: http://www.il-ireland.com...
Universal healthcare: http://en.wikipedia.org...
mongoose

Con

"Morality does sometimes change, I can't argue with that. Unless of course objective morality exists, though I do not personally think it does. Maybe "timeless" was the wrong word, but I happen to like that word. Society has many aspects to it, and changes very rapidly. Morals change over long periods of time. It was immoral for a woman to show her heels, but how long did it take for that to change?"

It may have taken a while, but it changed. That's what counted in that argument.

"A practical argument for why women should be able to show her ankles might be this: There is a type of dress that is very popular. But if it is too long, women trip over it rather frequently. If it is too short, women's ankles may be revealed. But it is okay, because it has the practical benefit of reducing trippage."

In the case you just presented, the practical argument was used over the moral one.

"The counter-argument is that even in medieval ages, fashion was changing very quickly. The dress would have gone out of style in around twenty years, and would not longer be relevant. But the idea that ankles should not be shown lasted for hundreds of years. In this sense, moral arguments are much more long-term than practical ones."

Slow and steady wins the race...

"If ten million people die, that's a relatively small percentage of the population. But what if over a billion people are given the opportunity to fly in aircraft, and travel over long distances very rapidly? Aircraft also allow the rapid transportation of food and other goods across the globe. This benefits billions of people on a daily basis. But if those ten million people had not died, society would not be very different. Aircraft is a practical benefit. Ten million deaths is not."

Cleary, ten million deaths could never be seen as a practical benefit. Anyways, aircraft was not an expected benefit. It just happened, and happened to turn out for the great benefit of society.

"Thank you for adding a contention."

You're welcome.

"I have a problem with '[Universal healthcare] is mostly for the people who do less work and do less to improve society'. Meaning lower-income people? Income is not based on how much one contributes to society. Income is based on the education level required for the job and on the demand for the job. There are many jobs which are very important to the functionality of society, but which do not pay well. A job not paying well does not imply that the person with the job is lazy. For example, janitors must work very hard, and are very important, but are not paid well."

Income is based on profits of the work. If the job is not profitable, either its wage is lowered or its position is terminated. Otherwise, they would not want them. Also, many people are lazy. Being a janitor is a very small example. Lots of people don't get an education, put no effort in getting a promotion, and expect the same. Others are unemployed, and don't bother to get employed and just live off of welfare. It would remove almost all innovation from creating better medicines, lowering the pay of doctors and other professionals.

"It's time for some factual evidence. Let's look at what countries have universal healthcare, and compare them to the quality of life.

Below I have a list of the countries with the highest quality of life (based on several factors including freedom, health, economy, and others). Ones with universal healthcare are marked with a 1, and ones without are marked with a 0.

Highest quality of life (descending):
France 1
Switzerland 1
United States 0
Luxembourg 1
Germany 1
Australia 1
Italy 1
New Zealand 1
Spain 1
Netherlands 1

9 of the top 10 countries with the highest quality of living have free healthcare. So we can conclude that universal healthcare probably is, in fact, beneficial. Quality of living is subjective, of course, but we can still get a sense of the quality of living in different countries."

"Quality of Life" is very subjective. In the countries with universal health care, the people get a lot of what they need from the government. They have less innovation, retire earlier, and get less done. Also, their birthrates are going down rapidly, so that countries like Italy are having their population halved every generation. Also, whenever these countries have an epidemic, what do they do? They don't want to have to fix it, so they send to Atlanta where scientists find a cure. When the United States has an epidemic, what do they do? They fix it. If America had universal health care, nobody would want to fix it, and diseases would spread rampantly. It would be, thus, very impractical and bad for society.

I got my information from "America Alone: The End of the World as We Know It", by Mark Steyn. (http://www.claremont.org......)

"If my opponent refutes the above argument to the satisfaction of the judge, my opponent's contention is not necessarily proven. Both my argument about income and my argument about quality of living must be refuted for the contention to stand."

Wrong. All I must do is prove a scenario in which the practical argument should be chosen over the moral argument, which I have. I will now add a few more scenarios...

SCENARIO ONE:

As you are walking down the street, you see a little boy strapped to the wall by duct tape. There is a evil, grinning man who is about to cut off the boy's head with an axe. You are unarmed. The moral choice would be to try to save the boy against all odds. The practical choice would be to run away as fast as you could. Which would you choose?

SCENARIO TWO:

You and your friend are in the woods. Your friend falls into lake, somehow, hits his head on a rock, and floating there unconscious. There is no other way to get him out besides swimming to him, but you have a lot of heavy equipment that would cause you to drown. You know that if you left it there, it would be captured by the evil monkeys who live in this forest and steal anything unprotected. Without this equipment, you will surely be lost and run out of food and die, for all of the plants, animals, and fungi of these woods are poisonous. The moral choice would be to save your friend, and lose everything. The practical choice would be to continue. Which would you choose?

It is clear that in each situation, the practical choice would be the reasonable choice, so moral arguments should not be valued over practical arguments.

"Conclusion
In my point directly above, I evidenced that the morality of healthcare did not lead to doom, and even improved the quality of life. Before that, I explained how morality is a more long-term standard than practicality. I also elaborated upon why death, in the end, is not very impractical."

Conclusion
In my points, I evidence that the impracticality of universal healthcare is going to lead to doom, and even hurt the quality of life. How long-term it is is completely irrelevant to the current debate. Death is very impractical. The practical argument at least in many situations is valued over moral arguments, so my opponent's resolution is proven false. In addition, they could be said "equally valuable", in which case I still win.

Thank you for reading this debate.
Debate Round No. 3
23 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by mongoose 8 years ago
mongoose
Ah. Well, that makes sense.
Posted by wjmelements 8 years ago
wjmelements
It was discussed in the debate.
Posted by mongoose 8 years ago
mongoose
How is that relevant?
Posted by wjmelements 8 years ago
wjmelements
RE: Universal Healthcare

The success of capitalism leads to socialism (as Marx taught) can explain why 9 of the top 10 countries have UH. UH has not made them so great. UH has since been added. This does not make it moral or practical.
Posted by mongoose 8 years ago
mongoose
You should see Kleptin's elderly vs. infant scenarios...
Posted by MTGandP 8 years ago
MTGandP
Mongoose, your scenarios were funny. XD
Posted by I-am-a-panda 8 years ago
I-am-a-panda
Morality is subjective, even to soldiers. Most soldiers in WW2 didn't actually kill Germans. However, is one to judge the morals of dropping nuclear bombs on Japan instead of risking the lives of 1-1.5 million U.S. soldiers?
Posted by Rob1Billion 8 years ago
Rob1Billion
I take it I will be arguing that temperance, fortitude, prudence, and justice are flawless concepts that are not ambiguous and should form the foundation of any person's morality.

This is what I believe and it would be questionable for me not to defend my beliefs. I do believe I would have the tougher argument to make, because you will only need to find one instance of flaw or ambiguity in any of these terms, and a term like "fair"(justice) can certainly be argued to be ambiguous in many different ways.

Is the thesis I put forward exactly what you had in mind? I am prepared to defend it.
Posted by Nail_Bat 8 years ago
Nail_Bat
Sounds like we could have a pretty good debate, Rob1B. Interested?
Posted by rangersfootballclub 8 years ago
rangersfootballclub
when in confilict , take a sharp stick. that will shove it to all those people attacking you with their debaes , also you could jsut take a gun .
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