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The Contender
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16 Points

the possesion of nuclear weapons is immoral

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 1/31/2010 Category: News
Updated: 4 years ago Status: Voting Period
Viewed: 7,798 times Debate No: 11038
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Resolved: that the possession of nuclear weapons is immoral. I stand strongly affirmative on this issue. I would like to begin by defining a few terms defined by Webster's dictionary the first being nuclear weapons: being a weapon whose destructive power derives from an uncontrolled nuclear reaction. The next being immoral: not moral; broadly: conflicting with generally or traditionally held moral principles. I will be basing my debate today on the value of the sanctity of life. The value debate handbook states that the value of the sanctity of is based on the premise that human life is uniquely sacred and precious.
Contention one: safety.
Criteria one: a nuclear war would be completely unpredictable, and is far more dangerous than a conventional, average war. Granted that people are going to inevitably die in any war, however no war, including World Wars 1 and 2 have never threatened to have the damaging effects that would be unavoidable with a nuclear war. Because there is no premise of which to base the possible out comes of a nuclear war, we do not know exactly how a war with these deadly weapons would turn out. The only known fact is a war of this sort would inevitably kill all societies engaged in the war, and if it was large enough possibly all of humanity.
Criteria two: the risks of nuclear war were not properly weighed when they were first used. Even though they were used to end World War 2 extremely quickly, when they found these bombs to be an option, they did not consider the possibility that if a nuclear war was developed all of humanity could be destroyed because there is no way to control a nuclear war once it has broken out.
Sub point a: we would not walk up to a three year old on the street and shoot them. Even in the average war, we it is a generally excepted value that you try to engage only those concerned in the war, so even then usually we do not kill innocent bystanders. However, nuclear weapons do not discriminate. They do not kill only those who are engaged in the war or those who are responsible for the war. They kill everyone, and everything in their paths-that means every man woman and child. How THAT be moral?
Criteria three: the possession of nuclear weapons promotes the use of the weapons. Nuclear wars are possible ONLY because of the possession of nuclear weapons. If no one possessed them, no one could use them. One may argue that it is moral to possess these weapons because they are not being used, however, the more countries which possess nuclear weapons, increase the likelihood that a crisis could escalade into a nuclear war. I ask the question then, if life is in fact sacred, which it is, then how can the possession of nuclear weapons possibly be morally justified?
Sub Point A: How many guns do you know of that are bought and not fired? Even if someone doesn't plan on firing the gun just to fire it they probably have it to use incase they need to protect themselves. They would never need to use it if there wasn't bad people in the world, and if it wasn't a well known fact that people break into houses. But one day someone might possibly break into that house and they might have to use that gun, but either way it will be used. The same is with a nuclear weapon, even if it is just for a deterrent, it is a matter of time before someone somewhere pulls the trigger.
observation a: Terrorists, who hate our country, are willing to pull that trigger. They do not care that we have more weapons as them, or that we have a so called deterrent by owning more nuclear weapons. They only care about taking the lives of the American citizens who they hate, and do not care about the aftermath and effects their actions will have on the people of their country. Deterrence is not an option with this group of people. If they get their hands on these weapons, which they will because of the fact that they want nothing more than to find the thing which will inflict the most harm on those they hate, there is no knowing how soon their attacks would occur, or the damages they will have Are we really willing to risk leaving our safety in the hands of people like this, just to deter? I do not believe any of us here are willing to take that risk
Contention 2 the quality of life. Not only do nuclear weapons threaten to kill all of human life, they also threaten the quality of life man kind can enjoy. The "fallout" or after math of a nuclear blast is known to leave highly toxic radiation which has been infamous for leaving people even many miles away with cancer and other internal problems. In fact right here in our area many people are diagnosed with cancer because of the effects of testing in NEVADA! And this was just testing. One can only guess the damage caused by an actual war. Innocent people again are being affected by these undiscriminating weapons. These terminal illnesses can and SHOULD be stopped. They are completely preventable.
Contention 3: Fear. Fear is synonymous with deterrence, which is a negative moral justification, and fear is immoral.
Criteria 1: consider this hypothetical situation. Lets pretend that sally is a 12 year old girl who's father is addicted to illegal drugs. Every day when Sally comes home her father beats her to remind her that he has more power than her and to deter her from telling a teacher, friend, or local official about the problem. Sally obviously has not told anyone about her drug abusing, beating father, so her dad's tactics are in fact working juts as he had planned. However is his justifications moral? You be the judge.
Sub Point A: Using fear to deter anyone from anything can NOT be moral no matter if it is working or not. Just because "deterrence" is supposedly working, it doesn't mean it is okay.
Contention 4: proportionality:
Criteria 1: the bad things out weigh the good things. Even though it is an arguable point that nuclear weapons are used as deterrence, there is too many negatives, as I have pointed out previously, plus even justifying it as a deterrent is far too risky and has negative consequences. The bottom line is that the negatives out weigh the positives and we simply can not take the chances that come with nuclear weapons, it is unproportional, and far too dangerous.
Sub point a:the movie WarGames, a computer program is developed in order to calculate every possible strategy in war, including the possible use of nuclear weapons. Eventually the computer overrides every thing everyone is telling and decides the only way to win the game is to use the nuclear weapons. To insure the Computer does not in fact launch the nuclear weapons, the main character teaches the computer to instead play tic tac toe. In the end the computer figures out that 99% of the time in tic tac toe the result is a tie with no winner. There for concluding that the only way to win the game is to not play. Now imagine that every x or o dropped on the board was a nuclear weapon, the results would be the same, no one could win, because chances are no one would survive. Even though this is just a silly, quite frankly stupid example, it does show us that in nuclear w
In closing I would just like to ask YOU to decide what is moral and what is not, keeping in mind the definition of immoral and my value the sanctity of life. Is it moral to kill innocent people? Is it moral to allow people to be affected by cancer and other diseases when they could be stopped? Is it moral to use fear against people? Is it moral to potentially wipe out every living breathing living thing? You be the judge.


Thanks to my opponent for offering this debate on the topic of nuclear weapons. I take great interest in international relations and nuclear weapons obviously play a large role in this. From a political standpoint, I believe it should be illegal to own nuclear weapons for practical (not moral) reasons. However, political opinions are often far disconnected with the issue of pure morality. My opponent proposes the resolution that: The possession of nuclear weapons is immoral. I do not believe that it is immoral to simply possess nuclear weapons. There are very few things, perhaps in fact nothing, that I would consider it immoral simply to possess. The direct use or use as a threat of something is a different matter entirely. To prove this I will simply address each of my opponent's points and explain why they do not lead to the conclusion that possession nuclear weapons is immoral.


Criteria-1-1: This argument was that, in summary, nuclear war presents a huge risk to human society due to its potential devastation. That is correct. However, this seems like an argument against the use, not possession of, nuclear weapons. Just because nuclear weapons could be used to inflict massive destruction does not mean it is immoral to possess them. This would be analogous to saying that because a gun could be used to shoot an innocent man in the face, it is immoral to possess it. The use of, not possession of, dangerous objects is the crime. Objects, in the possession of thereof, lack an intrinsic moral value.

Criteria-1-2: The thought process of those who created nuclear weapons in the first place does not affect their final, intrinsic moral value. I could make a ham sandwich with the intent of having man choke a man on it, but if I leave it and someone comes along and picks it up, it is not immoral for them to possess it even if they somehow knew it was made for that purpose. In any case, as my opponent stated, nuclear weapons were not created with the intent to destroy the world. Though it might be possible to use them for this purpose, that does not make possessing them immoral.

Criteria-1-2a: I don't know what my opponent means by average war, but in all wars since the beginning of the 20th Century the amount of collateral damage has been huge. (1) Nuclear weapons do not change the qualitative nature of war, it has always been acknowledged that aerial bombing causes huge numbers of civilian causalities and it is used often intentionally for this purpose. Nuclear weapons simply increase the scope. Now, the bombing of innocent civilians is not moral. However, all this means is that it is immoral the use a nuclear weapon to kill civilians, just as it is immoral to kill them by bombing, shooting, throwing stones, or choking on a ham sandwich. It does not make it immoral to simply have a nuclear warhead sitting in your back yard, which is what possession is.

Criteria-3: That the possession of nuclear weapons promotes the use of nuclear weapons. This is true of absolutely everything, since obviously possession of an object is a prerequisite for its use. My opponent brings the argument that the more nuclear weapons there are, the more likely they will be used. If the probability of a given weapon being used is greater than 0 than I agree, but we are not arguing about how many nuclear weapons should be produced or whether they should be hidden on Easter for children to find. We are arguing about whether it is moral simply to possess one. Possessing an object that could potentially be used in a bad way is not immoral. My computer could potentially be used to scam people, spread viruses, and steal people's money by hacking. I don't feel bad for owning it because it is not and will not be used for that purpose.

Criteria-3a: Here an analogy compares the possession of a gun for home defense with the possession of a nuclear weapon. Again I have to ask, is it the possession or use of something that is immoral? It is fully possible, however unlikely, for me to buy a gun and bury it in the under six feet of dirt where it will never be found. The possession of it would not be immoral there. If someone bought the same model an hour later and shot someone with it, neither of use would have committed a moral infringement by possessing the gun. It would be the use of the gun by the crazy in my example that was immoral.

Criteria-3-observation: My opponent seems to be begging the question by assuming that I will argue nuclear weapons are moral because they are used to deter. This is evident throughout the debate but most relevant here. I don't care why anyone possesses nuclear weapons. It is true that terrorists could use nuclear weapons to cause great damage. That is a practical argument in favor of dismantling them, not a moral argument supporting the resolution that the passive act possessing nuclear weapons is immoral. My opponent's task is to prove that the possession of a nuclear weapon is fundamentally immoral and practical considerations against it are not pertinent to that. From a pragmatic standpoint it is a bad decision for me to hit my own hand with a hammer but it is not immoral for me to do so.


Once again my opponent has given perfectly reasonable arguments why the use of nuclear weapons is immoral. Nuclear weapons cause massive destruction. Guns also cause destruction, but on a smaller scale. Rocks, smaller still, and my ham sandwich of choking is still on the scale. None of these things are immoral to possess, they are only immoral when used to create destruction. If innocent people are harmed by nuclear weapons, the answer is not to use them. Possessing them remains a morally neutral act.


Fear as a feeling is not inherently immoral. If people are afraid of something, that does not make it immoral to possess it. Some children are quite afraid of roller coasters, does that mean it would be immoral for someone to possess one?

Criteria 1: This is about the nature of using fear as a means of control. Nuclear weapons can be used to control people through fear. However, they do not control people through fear simply by existing. It is extremely obviously that many nations would use them in this way, but that does not make possessing them immoral. Someone could use a gun to control someone through fear, that does not attribute negative moral value to the gun I buried in the weapons. The object and thus the act possession are morally neutral by themselves. Even if 100% of nuclear weapons are used for this purpose that does not mean that it is a necessary characteristic of them.

Criteria 1-A: I don't care about deterrence at all because we're not talking about deterrence here, we're talking about possession.


Criteria 1: The bad things only outweigh the good things when it comes to using nuclear weapons. If I had a nuclear warhead sitting right next to me, which I owned, I would consider that to be quite morally neutral. The potential uses of an object do not determine the morally of owning it.

Criteria 1-A: In the movie Armageddon, nuclear weapons are used to destroy and asteroid and save the Earth. This would seem to negative the previous contention that nuclear weapons have more potential to do harm then good. Movies aside, my opponent is still discussing the use of nuclear weapons in war. The Computer is not contemplating whether it is okay to keep some nukes in its back pocket, which is what we're talking about.


Running out of room here, but the bottom line is that the possession of an object is not morally equivalent to the sum of all of its possible uses. Possession of anything is morally neutral as objects are morally neutral. Practicality may dictate something else entirely.


Debate Round No. 1


jaylen.dodds forfeited this round.


Unfortunately, my opponent has forfeited the round, probably due to choking on an immoral food. I wish my opponent the best of luck in her recovery. All arguments extented.
Debate Round No. 2


jaylen.dodds forfeited this round.


My opponent has once again forfeited. I have offered a case against the resolution and no counterargument has been provided. Therefore the resolution is negated.
Debate Round No. 3
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Vote Placed by Awed 4 years ago
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