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The Instigator
Pro (for)
21 Points
The Contender
Con (against)
0 Points

DDO Tier Tournament Take Two: States Should Possess Nuclear Weapons

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Voting Style: Judge Point System: Select Winner
Started: 7/26/2014 Category: Politics
Updated: 7 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 2,998 times Debate No: 59307
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (23)
Votes (4)




Resolved: States Should Possess Nuclear Weapons

Debate Details:
Round Two of the DDO Tournament Take Two, Middle Tier. (

Tournament Judges:
Mikal: (
YYW: (
orangemayhem: (
bladerunner060: (
Blade-of-Truth: (

Debate Competititors:
FuzzyCatPotato is Affirming the resolution. (
ArcTimes is Negating the resolution. (

Debate Rules:
Character limit: 10,000/round
Posting time: 72 hrs/round
Burden of Proof: Shared

Debate Schedule:
Rd. 1: Acceptance.
Rd. 2: New arguments and rebuttals.
Rd. 3: New arguments and rebuttals.
Rd. 4: Rebuttals and summary.

Debate Definitions:
State: "a nation or territory considered as an organized political community under one government," [1]
Should: "Used to indicate obligation, duty, or correctness," [2]
Possess: "Have as belonging to one; own," [3]
Nuclear weapon:
"A bomb or missile that uses nuclear energy to cause an explosion," [4]

Thanks to all readers, to our judges, and to my opponent.


Edit 1: I changed the definition of "state", because ArcTimes asked.


I accept.
Debate Round No. 1


Again, thanks to all readers, judges, and Con.


2P0: Comparison of Pro and Con Worlds

Pro defends state posession of nuclear weapons; Con attacks this. With current technology, only state-sponsored entities can build sizeable nuclear weapons [1]. Thus, in a Pro world, sizeable nuclear weapons exist; in a Con world, they don’t.


2P1: Prefer Utilitarianism

2P1A: Util Allows State Morality

This topic involves states. All state policy involves distribution of resources such that distribution to one comes at another’s expense. Absolutist moral systems cannot guide state policy, because trade-off between competing absolute values is unacceptable and impossible. This prevents action and makes real-world morality impossible. Utilitarianism allows weighing the consequences to determine which outcome is better and thus avoids paralyzation.

2P1B: Maximizes Value

Value is that which is ethically significant and definitionally must be maximized. It is currently unknown what, if anything, is valuable. In this dearth of knowledge, we must maximize (a) the chance that we can determine what is valuable and (b) our ability to maximize value.

Only living sentient entities can determine and act towards what is valuable, because non-living entities cannot act and non-sentient entities cannot act in response to stimuli, and as such cannot act in an organized manner. Hence, we must protect living sentient entities. Furthermore, greater levels of sentience allow greater ability to determine and act towards value. Hence, we must promote greater levels of sentience.

Utilitarianism is the best theory to fulfill this, because it allows us to weigh the consequences towards increasing the number of living sentient entities and increasing their levels of sentience, and thus maximizes the chances that we can maximize value.


2P2: More Nukes, Less War

2P2A: War Hurts Utility

War kills 55,000 people yearly [2], displaces countless more, and hurts the economy [3]. Clearly, war reduces utility. As such, it is moral to reduce war.

2P2B: Theory

Nukes stop nations from starting wars. As Kenneth Waltz, Senior Research Scholar at the Salzman Institute of War and Peace Studies [4], states [4],

“Nuclear weapons ... make the cost of war ... frighteningly high and thus discourage states from starting any wars that may lead to ... use[.] .... First, wars can be fought in the face of deterrent threats, but the higher the stakes and the closer a country moves toward winning ... the more surely that country ... risks its own destruction. States are not likely to run major risks for minor gains. ... Second, states act with less care if ... costs of war are low and ... more ... if ... high. .... [N]uclear weapons [make] states exceedingly cautious. Third, ... nuclear weapons .... [make] it unnecessary for a country to fight for ... increasing its security, and ... [remove] a major cause of war.”

2P2C: Examples

Deterrence theory is supported by real-world examples.

Consider India and Pakistan. Before obtaining nuclear weapons in 1998, both fought 3 major wars on average every 12 years and killed thousands [5][6]. However, as Jonathan Tepperman, managing editor of Foreign Affairs [7], states [5],

“Since acquiring atomic weapons, the two sides have never fought another war, despite severe provocations[.] .... They have skirmished once ... in Kashmir in 1999 ... [and] both ... were careful to keep the fighting limited[.]”

It has been 15 years since the Kashmir conflict and 43 since the last war [6].

Consider the USA and the USSR. Both were ideologically opposed, paranoid, and warlike. However, nukes prevented full-scale war, despite severe provocations. As Khrushchev’s aide Fyodor Burlatsky states [5],

“It is impossible to win a nuclear war, and both sides realized that, maybe for the first time.”

2P2D: Empirics

These examples are backed up by empirical analysis.

Nuclear weapons lower both the rate of war and defense spending. As Todd Sechser, PhD of Political Science from Stanford [8], states [9],

“Four of the five states examined ... participated in fewer interstate conflicts ... once they became nuclear states[.] .... [P]roliferation optimists are correct to expect a decline in ... interstate wars as ... countries acquire nuclear weapons. .... [E]ven a few ... weapons ... provide adequate deterrence[.] .... [S]ince nuclear weapons negate the offensive advantages of conventional forces, nonnuclear-arms racing ... will become ... unnecessary[.] ... China, Israel, South Africa, India, and Pakistan ... all ... spent a smaller share of ... GDP on defense ... than in the year they ... acquired nuclear weapons. ... [T]he acquisition of nuclear weapons appears to be associated with ... declines in conventional military spending.”

Nuclear weapons built the modern peace, and it’s impossible to stop the creation of new nukes [1][10]. As David Von Drehle states [10],

“[T]he world without nuclear weapons engaged in two global wars resulting in the deaths of ... 78 ... to 95 million[.] .... [T]he global economy is a creation of the nuclear age. Major powers ... get along because the cost of armed conflict ... has become unthinkably high. .... [T]here is no way to un-ring the nuclear bell. [I]f nukes are outlawed ... only outlaws will have nukes. .... [N]ukes have been instrumental in reversing the ... seemingly inexorable trend ... toward ... deadlier conflicts.”


2P3: Nuclear Weapons and Asteroids

2P3A: Asteroid Impact Hurts Utility

Jonathan Hagstrum, USGS Research Geophysicist [11]), states that large meteoric impacts, especially oceanic ones, may have caused both megatsunamis, disrupting oceanic and coastal life [12], and massive volcanism, releasing toxic gases [12] These, in turn, may have caused mass extinction events [12], such as the event ~65 Mya that may have killed effectively all dinosaurs [12].

Large land impacts may black out the sun. As Lt. Col. John Kunich, USAF, states [13],

“The impact of a sufficiently large object on land may cause a blackout ... in which dust raised by the impact prevents sunlight from reaching the surface ... for several months ... terminates photosynthesis ... and leads to precipitous temperature declines. Obviously ... much smaller impacts ... have the potential to ... damage ... civilization ... irreparably. [V]ast ... fires may greatly exacerbate this blackout[.]”

Even small impacts are devastating. As Lt. Col. John Kunich, USAF, continues [13],

“[A] ... fireball appeared in the Siberian sky ... exploded ... and ... caused the destruction of more than 2,000 square kilometers of Siberian forest[.] .... [T]he source of this devastation was a[n] ... asteroid ... 80 meters in diameter[.]”

Clearly, asteroid impacts reduce utility. As such, it is moral to prevent asteroid impacts.

2P3B: Prefer Nuclear Asteroid Deflection

As NASA’s 2007 Report to Congress states [14],

“Nuclear standoff explosions are assessed to be 10-100 times more effective than the non-nuclear alternatives analyzed[.]”

As Homeland Security News Wire states [15],

“David Dearborn of the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory argued ... nuclear weapons could be the best strategy for avoiding an asteroid impact – especially if a[n] ... asteroid suddenly comes into view. .... [A] nuclear explosive would be cheaper to launch ... due to its large ... energy per unit mass. ... [A] non-nuclear blast might require several launches[.] ... [T]he nuclear option could be implemented in a short ... time; a detonation ... fifteen days before impact could fragment or divert ... a 270-meter asteroid (the size of Apophis, which has a chance of about 1 in 233,000 of striking Earth in 2036)[.] ... [A] laser ... would take 6,000 years ... to divert ... the same ... asteroid. .... [S]imulations show ... [i]f a collision ... is ... decades away ... a nuclear explosive ... could nudge it off course ... intact. If ... weeks away ... a direct detonation ... although ... smaller fragments could still strike Earth. .... NASA ... has identified ... 90[%] of near-Earth objects ... large enough ... to cause mass extinction[.] ... ‘In a few ... years, we’ll be able to say ... there’s nothing out there to cause a global catastrophe,’ said David Morrison, director of the NASA Lunar Science Institute[.] ... ‘But, there’ll be a million ... big enough to wipe out [a] ... city. .... we simply haven’t found[.]’ ”

Hence, it is possible that we will discover an object, large or small, on an impact path and have very little time to react. Nuclear weapons are the best option, especially if there’s little time.

2P3C: Probability

A large object probably won’t hit the Earth in the near future. However, when running a red light, you probably won’t crash. Running red lights is still stupid, because the consequences are so great.

Furthermore, the chances of impact in the next 100 years alone are not low. Consider merely 29075 1950 DA, with a 1 in 4,000 chance of impact and a diameter of 1.3 km [16]. If we assume 7,000,000,000 fatalities (too generous, but listen) stopping merely this asteroid saves (in game theory) 1,750,000 lives.











[9] Sechser, Todd. “The Stabilizing Effects of Nuclear Proliferation”. 2009.











I thank Pro for presenting his case and arguments.
I will present rebuttals in this round.

Comparison of Pro and Con Worlds

Remember that the resolution is "States should possess nuclear weapons".In other words, the resolution is related to obligations. The negation of the resolution is "States don't have the obligation to possess nuclear weapons".

Having said that, Pro has to defend the state obligation to possess nuclear weapons.

About utilitarianism

Pro claims that utilitarianism is the best moral system for states to help them take decisions. Although I agree that absolutist moral system cannot guide state policy to an extent, utilitarianism as the best system is the topic of another debate.

Utilitarianism have serious criticism like the possibility to actually predict consequences or differentiate them with real consequences and desired consequences. This is an important factor, specially when talking about nuclear weapons. Subtle factors like the low amount of states with nuclear weapons can influence statistics or make them less accurate.


1. More Nukes, Less Wars

Here Pro claims that the more nukes means less wars.
There are serious problems with this argument.

-Nuclear war is more probable

First, even with utilitarianism, the consequences for a nuclear war, that as Pro's source says, is impossible to win, are terrible. It doesn't have to be several wars or more wars, just one to cause great damage to the world.

To put it in other words, the obligatory possession of nuclear weapons increases the possibility of a nuclear war, which has worse consequences than the non-nuclear counterparts.

-The possibility of an accidental nuclear war

With the increased possibility of a nuclear war, comes the possibility of an accidental nuclear war. This is a war caused by a mistake or false alarm. There are several cases that could end in a nuclear war in the past [1] with maybe the most popular one being the case of Colonel Petrov who disobeyed orders that could be disastrous [2].

In November 26th 1983, "the world almost ended. In what seems an alternative universe compared with the one we inhabit today, aging leaders in the Kremlin looked out their windows and saw the West preparing for war."

-Most states should possess nuclear weapons to reduce war in the world, which is not feasible.

And the last issue is that to avoid war, those that would have a war otherwise should have nuclear weapons. The problem is that if that's true, all states, or at least most of them, should have nuclear weapons. For example, if a state with nuclear weapons goes to a war against a state without nuclear weapons, there is nothing that deters the conflict, at least for the first one.

This is not reasonable because it will just make the other problems more probable/dangerous.
More states with nuclear weapons just increases the possibility of a nuclear war even more.

Other issues with this is that there are states that tend to pose a threat to the security of other states, specially with these weapons.
Cost is also a problem when states have the obligation to possess nuclear weapons.

2. Prefer Nuclear Asteroid Deflection

Pro present some studies about deflection of asteroids and shows that nuclear weapons are the best solution for defense in these situations. This doesn't make the possession of nuclear weapons necessary or obligatory.

The reason is that, even when the other solutions are not as effective, they exist. I know that the moral system Pro presented calls for the weighting of the consequences, but we also have to weight the disadvantages that possessing nuclear weapons have, specially when there no one can be sure when something like an asteroid colliding earth is going to happen, and IF is going to happen in the near future.

As Pro's own source says, there are other possible solutions for the possibility of an asteroid. [3] Like the kinetic impact, or tugging the asteroid into another direction / mirror bees, etc.

Pro needs to present reasons possessing nuclear weapons is an obligation for states if they want to deflect an asteroid.


Pro needs to present a compelling case for the defense of states' obligation of possessing nuclear weapons.
I will present arguments against the resolution in the next round. I was not able to present them in this round due to time constrains.
I thank Pro again for this round.


Debate Round No. 2


Thanks, Con.


3P0: Comparison of Pro and Con Worlds

1: Con: "The negation of the resolution is 'States don't have the obligation to possess nuclear weapons'. "

a: Con has two possible positions in this debate. The first is inactive negation, where Con attacks Pro arguments and but doesn't argue against possession of nukes. The second is active negation, where Con attacks Pro arguments and does argue against possession of nukes. Con has opted here for inactive negation. Thus, in a Con world, possession of nukes isn't opposed, but merely isn't supported. Therefore, in an inactive negation Con world, nukes may still exist.


3P1: Prefer Utilitarianism

1: Con: "(U)tilitarianism as the best ethical system is the ... another debate."

a: The resolution involves morality, because "should" is in the resolution. Unless we choose a moral system to judge the imacts of this debate, it's impossible for Pro or Con to win. Choosing an ethical system is necessary here, and unless Con has an alternative system, we will prefer Utilitarianism.

2: Con: "Utilitarianism have (sic) serious criticism (sic) like the possibility to actually predict consequences(.)"

a: Con has provided no reason why this is a problem.

b: Further, consider that decisionmaking happens under uncertainty all the time. As an analogy, when driving a car, the other drivers are an uncertain factor, yet we evaluate the probabilities and are usually able to drive safely.

3P1A: Allows State Morality

1: Con: "I agree that absolutist moral systems cannot guide state policy to an extent(.)"

a: Con "to an extent" agrees with 3P1A. Please extend it.

3P1B: Maximizes Value

Con doesn't contend 2P1B. Please extend it.


3P2: More Nukes, Less War

1: Con: "The consequences for a nuclear war ... are .... worse ... than the (sic) non-nuclear counterparts."

a: Yes, nuclear war is more destructive than comparable non-nuclear war. However, this makes deterrence stronger.

b: Con provides no quantitative measurement of how probable or destructive nuclear war is. As such, it is impossible to compare it to the lives saved by nuclear peace (as noted, war now kills 55,000/year, rather than the 10,800,000-14,200,000/year during World War II [1], making war a distant notion) and by nuclear asteroid deflection (perhaps merely cities, possibly humanity itself).

2: Con: "[A]n accidental nuclear war ... is a war caused by mistake or false alarm. There are several cases that could end (sic) in a nuclear war in the past, with ... the most popular one being the case of Colonel Petrov[.]"

a: An accidental nuclear war is possible. However, considering that from Con’s sources, the record appears to be 0 for 20, it doesn’t appear very probable at all.

b: As Kenneth Waltz pointed out [4], “[S] tates act with less care if ... costs of war are low and ... more ... if ... high. .... [N]uclear weapons [make] states exceedingly cautious.”

c: Consider Col. Petrov. Why didn’t he fire? The concept of the nuclear taboo has an explanation [17]. People know that actually firing nuclear weapons would result in massive death, and oppose doing so on moral grounds. Col. Petrov didn’t fire because he knew that he would be responsible for many deaths. On a personal scale, being responsible for an atrocity feels impossible. But nations are less bound by the taboo, and there only deterrence holds.

d: Technology has improved. It’s much less likely that false positives will occur with newer computers. Furthermore, United States anti-missile technology offers significant defense against nuclear missiles [18], as does Russian technology [19], and together the two form large nuclear umbrellas that protect against nuclear war [20].

3: Con: "If ... true, all states, or at least most(,) ... should have nuclear weapons. .... This ... increases the probability of nuclear war even more."

a: Citation needed.

b: No wars between nuclear states have ever occurred between two nations possessing nukes [21], while wars have occurred between nations not possessing nukes and between nations where one possesses a nuke and the other does not. It seems that having more nuclear nations would only reduce the amount of war.

4: Con: "(I)f a state with nuclear weapons goes to war against a state without nukes, there is nothing that deters the conflict.

a: The nuclear taboo helps prevent such a conflict [17] and ensures international response, offering deterrence.

b: The nuclear umbrella deters war, allowing only some states to possess nuclear weapons in order to protect others [20].

c: Thus, I do agree that more nations having nuclear weapons would increase deterrence, but not that deterrence is presently nil.

5: Con: "(T)here are states that ... pose a threat to ... other states, specially (sic) with these weapons."

a: This is true. However, only a suicidal nation would use nukes because of the terrible response.

b: In the present world, especially in Africa, and previously world-wide, nations posed threats to many of their neighbors and engaged in frequent wars, often over little issues like land or wealth. This is because success or victory mattered little, and so it was acceptable to squabble with neighbors. When nuclear weapons enter, as Kenneth Waltz notes, it puts an end to such behavior, because war can only be used in the most dire of situations.

6: Con: "Cost is also a problem(.)"

a: Citation needed.

b: As shown, both war deaths and defense spending goes down after possessing nuclear weapons. Surely this is savings enough?

3P2A: War Hurts Utility

Con tacitly agrees with 2P2A. Whoever reduces war more wins.

3P2B: Theory

Con doesn't contend 2P2B. Please extend it.

3P2C: Examples

Con doesn't contend 2P2C. Please extend it.

3P2D: Empirics

1: Con: "(T)he low amount of states with nuclear weapons can influence statistics(.)"

a: Yes, it can. However, this is the best available data on how nuclear weapons affect war. Unless Con can present better data, we must accept Mr. Sechser's data.


3P3: Nuclear Weapons and Asteroids

3P3A: Asteroid Impact Hurts Utility

Con tacitly agrees with 2P3A. Please extend it.

3P3B: Prefer Nuclear Asteroid Deflection

1: Con: "Pro present (sic) studies about asteroid deflection and shows ... nuclear weapons are the best solution ... in these situations."

a: Con explicitly agrees with 3P3B.

2: Con: "This doesn't make the possession of nuclear weapons ... obligatory. (E)ven when (sic) ... other solutions are not as effective, they exist. .... As Pro's own source says, there are other possible solutions for ... an asteroid. Like the kinetic impact, or tugging the asteroid into another direction / mirror bees, etc. Pro needs to present reasons possessing nuclear weapons is an obligation for states if they want to deflect an asteroid."

a: Let’s look at this situation like looking at the airbags of a car. When faced with the choice between an airbag that, with one immediate chemical reaction, prevents you from breaking your face, and a selection of others that are expensive, require multiple timed reactions, and/or take minutes to inflate, which do you choose? The faster airbag. Nuclear weapons work better, cheaper, and faster.

b: In emergencies, nuclear weapons are the only alternative. As pointed out, it’s possible that we might discover an extinction-level asteroid, or even merely a large asteroid, close to and on a path towards Earth. In both of these situations, nuclear weapons are necessary. Nuclear weapons already exist and can deploy immediately while other methods are slow to construct, require less launches and thus less timely construction of spaceships, and can massively fragment an asteroid if there’s no alternative when tugboats and lasers cannot.

c: Con has this skewed idea of how “obligation” works. Absolute necessity is not required for obligation; it isn’t absolutely necessary (for you) to save a drowning child (maybe someone else will, or maybe the paramedics will come), but you still have an obligation to do so (under Utilitarianism). Obligations simply means that it is better to do one thing than another thing, and in this case, having nuclear weapons (as Con admits) is better.

3: Con: "I know ... the moral system Pro presented calls for the weighting (sic) of the consequences, but we also have to weight (sic) the disadvantages that possessing nuclear weapons have, specially (sic) when ... no one can be sure when ... an asteroid colliding earth is going to happen, and IF is going to happen in the near future."

a: I have responded to Pro’s criticisms to 2P2.

b: I have discussed emergencies in 3P3B2.b.

c: Con admits that nuclear weapons are better, in speed, efficacy, and launches, and when weighing the consequences we must choose nuclear weapons.

3P3C: Probability

Con doesn't contend 2P3C. Please extend it.



Two things.

Sorry if this response seems rushed, I didn’t have much time due to other commitments.

I’m going on a 10-day vacation with family, making it impossible for me to use my computer to respond. Via phone, I can offer a quick summary next round, but nothing more.











I thank Pro for his arguments.

Comparison of Pro and Con Worlds

I accept the inactive negation. I must clarift, though, that it's not too much about Pro and Con imaginary worlds, but the real world and how it would change if States have the obligation to possess nuclear weapons. In other words, in Con world "nukes may still exist" is not more real than the fact that nukes actually exist right now.

About Utilitarianism

Pro claims that we should pick a moral system before discussing the issue, and I disagree. The problem here is that moral systems are not perfect and it's really difficult to say something like "this system is the best". One system may be better than another in certain situations, but I think it's necessary to first analize the problem before choosing what moral system is the best. Other moral systems or ethical system like deutology can lead to better answer in some situations.
In summary, the complexity of the situation and the different levels of an scenario need to be addressed and then an explanation on why a moral system is better than another in that situation is needed.

In the case of nukes, one can't use expected consequences to weight decisions.
For example, less wars seems like a good consequence except when you contrast it with a possible consequence, the possibility of a nuclear war.

And that's one of the problems I mentioned.
The lack of ability to make accurate predictions on really complex systems makes it really difficult to use utilitarianism to help decision making, unless one would want to take possible scenarios into account and how those could be severly destructive, not just expected consequences.

More Nukes, Less War

The problem is not about deterrance, but of a correct weightning of consequences. Pro is only comparing desired consequences with wars in the past but it's not using the possibility of a nuclear war.

-Nuclear war is more probable

"the risks of catastrophes involving nuclear weapons currently appear to be far above any acceptable level." [1]
In 2013 the accepted probability of a detonation of a nuclear weapon is 1 in a million. [2]
But it doesn't matter, the fact that if states have the obligation to possess nuclear weapons, there would be more nuclear weapons and it would increase the risk is a higher concern.

About it's destructive power, just to make an example that it's easy to remember, only 1.38% of the Uranium of Little Boy, the bomb that US detonated in Hiroshima in 1945, fissionated. [3] That's very inefficient.
That's 1.7 grams of Uranium and was enough to kill 80000 people and destroy most of the houses.

And now, there are thousands of these bombs with greater power controlled by "few" nations. [4]

Pro then claims that it doesn't appear very probable at all because 20 possible accidents didn't end in the accident. Pro has to remember that there were people that would detonate the nuclear weapon without thinking it two times. Petrov didn't do it, but there were people that was ordering him to do it.
He claims that Petrov didn't fire because he knows that it would result in massive death. It seems to me that Pro's 2 points are in conflict. If it's too dangerous or if it causes "massive death" as Pro states, then the fact that it's possible should weight more in Pro's decision making.
If it's not as probable, then it would not help the deterrance.

Pro claims that things are safer because of new technologies and because some countries that have these technologies can protect their allies. I don't think this is reasonable because there are countries that are not considered allies of those two countries.

-Most states should possess nuclear weapons to reduce war in the world, which is not feasible.

And the fact that if all states should have nuclear weapons, it would increase the probability of anuclear war doesn't need citation. More states with nuclear weapons means more nuclear weapons, which increases the probability of it happening.

Pro claims that only a suicidal nation would use nukes. If there is no risk of nuclear weapons attack, then where is the deterrance?
The fact is that the risk exist.


I can't present better data. The data I could present would have the same problems. But I can call it unreliable as Pro already accepted. ASking for "better" data is not a solution.

Nuclear Weapons and Asteroids

Pro presents an analogy of the airbag of a car. This analogy fails because it doesn't take the disadvantages into account.
Change the analogy to, if you have that airbag, it can save your life from a car accident, but it can make all the cars of the street explode. This analogy is not perfect, but I'm just using it to show the problems with Con's analogy.

Then Pro talks about emergencies, but it suffers the same problems of his analogy. Even using utilitarianism, there is no reason to think that states should possess nuclear weapons.

Then Pro talks about "obligation". I'm not asking Pro to show absolute neessity, but to see the problems that nuclear weapons can cause just because one solution is more effective than the other. And It's not about better, because if a nuclear weapon can cause "massive death", then it's not better than trying other solution to deflect the asteroid.

Thanks for this round. Vote Con.



Debate Round No. 3


Thank you, Con, for this debate.


4P0A: No New Arguments

This round is the final round. Thus, neither Pro or Con may raise new arguments, only extend, expand, and summarize previous arguments.

4P0B: Comparison of Pro and Con Worlds

Con explicitly agrees to inactively negate. Hence, some nuclear weapons exist in both worlds.

Furthermore, I have shown that it is impossible to remove all nuclear technology, and therefore also all nuclear weapons (1)(10), making active negation effectively impossible.

**Summary: Nukes will exist in both worlds.**


4P1: Prefer Utilitarianism

Con stated that (a) we don't need to choose a morality in order to debate the resolution, (b) it's hard to predict consequences in nuclear situations, and (c) consequences cannot be the basis for morality.

On (a), I have pointed out that morality is necessary to make decisions like this. It's impossible to affirm or negate the resolution unless we know what we ought to do. Fundamentally, all arguments in this debate must go:
1: X is good, un-X is bad.
2: Y causes more X than un-X.
3: Y is more good than bad.
Unless we know what X is, moral debate like this is impossible.

On (b), I have pointed out that uncertainty is inevitable but decisionmaking is possible anyways through analysis of what is probable in the future. This is especially true in nuclear situations, because nuclear weapons make states cautious, and thus likely to consider all options before performing risky actions (4).

On (c), Con's example of choosing to reduce war while ignoring an increase nuclear war is a poor example, because if one ignores such a major consequence then one clearly isn't using consequences to drive morality.

4P1A: Util Allows State Morality

Con explicitly agreed with 4P1A in Round 2 and did not attack it in Round 3. However, in Round 3 Con stated that (a) different moralities are necessary in different situations and (b) "deutology" (deontology) can sometimes provide better moral results.

On (a), I have pointed out that utilitarianism is necessaary (and therefore better) when making government decisions, which this situation requires.

On (b), Con fails to even explain deontology, much less make a case for it being "better". In addition, it is an absolutist system that governments cannot work with, as I pointed out in Round 2.

4P1B: Util Best Maximizes Value

Con has not contested 4P1B in any round. Please extend it.

**Summary: Utilitarianism is preferred due to (a) the lack of an alternative, (b) its necessity in state government, and (c) its maximization of potential value.**


4P2: More Nukes, Less War

Con raises three major objections: (a) that a nuclear war is more likely with more nukes, (b) that nukes cost too much, and (c) that if only suicidal nations would use nukes, deterrence wouldn't work.

On (a), Con has shown 20 examples where nuclear war DIDN'T happen, which suports the unlikliness of nuclear war. Con's only quantification of the probability of nuclear war is 1 in 1,000,000. If we pretend that nuclear war kills 7,000,000,000 people (too generous, but wait) then stopping it is the equivalent of saving 7,000 lives. Compare that to stopping just one asteroid and saving 1,750,000 lives!
Furthermore, nuclear weapons exist in both worlds, making nuclear war possible in Con's world, too. Con states that "more nukes means more probability of nuclear war" doesn't need a citation, when it does. It's possible that increased deterrence could actually decrease the probability. Furthermore, Con's hasn't told us whether the increase is 1 percent or 0.001 percent, making comparison impossible.

Con simply hasn't provided enough information to evaluate nuclear war, much less compare it to nonnuclear war.

On (b), Con has dropped this point.

On (c), I would amend my statement. Only a suicidal *or severely threatened* nation would use nuclear weapons, which is where deterrence comes in. You can't make your enemies really uncomfortable, or else they might fire.

4P1A: War Hurts Utility

Con tacitly agrees with 4P1A, that war is bad. Please extend it.

4P1B: Theory

Con never contended 4P1B, that nuclear weapons deter war in theory. Please extend it.

4P1C: Examples

Con never contended 4P1C, that nukes prevented USA-USSR war and Indo-Pakistani war. Please extend it.

4P1D: Empirics

Con merely argued that 4P1D's statistics represent a small sample size. While true, Con never showed that this small sample size invalidates the results. A small sample size is only a problem if the sample is irrepresentative of the whole, and we have no reason to believe this. If nukes reduced wars and defence spending in nations in as diverse security situations as China, Israel, Pakistan, South Africa, and India, why wouldn't they for other nations?

Con doesn't attack the fact that no two nations possessing nuclear weapons have gone to war. Please extend this.

**Summary: Con has failed to attack nuclear deterrence in any significant way. Thus, nuclear weapons clearly have reduced war from multi-million-deaths WWII to multi-thousand-deaths and wealthier, globalized 2014. Con's major counterargument , nuclear war, is incredibly unlikely and the deathtoll hasn't been quantified.**


4P3: Nukes and Asteroid Deflection

4P3A: Asteroid Impact Hurts Utility

Con doesn't contend 4P3A, that asteroid impact really sucks. Please extend it.

Con states that we must compare asteroid deflection with the possibility of nuclear war. Using Con's data, I showed (4P2a) that stoping even one asteroid is far far more important than stopping nuclear war. Clearly, we are obliged to stop an asteroid even at the cost of possible nuclear war.

4P3B: Prefer Nuclear Asteroid Deflection

Con states alternatives exist. However, even Con agrees that nuclear deflection is preferable. Because nuclear warheads, essential to nuclear deflection, can be used as nuclear weapons, we must maintain a suply of nuclear weapons.

4P3C: Probability

Con doesn't contend 4P3C, that asteroid impact even if improbable is terrible.

**Summary: Stopping an asteroid is more important than even nuclear war, simply because of its deathtoll. Nuclear weapons are key to this.**


**Summary summary:**

Vote Pro for four reasons:

I have proven that Utilitarianism is preferrable.

I have proven that nuclear deterrence saves millions of lives and that nuclear war is very unlikely.

I have proven that stopping an asteroid is more important than anything else in the debate.

I have provided 21 reputable sources, to Con's 7, including expert opinions.

Thanks for reading.



I thank Pro for this debate and wish him good luck.

About Utilitarianism

I never said that you don't need a moral system to make decisions, I was just stating that one need to analyze the problem first.
But I do believe that Pro can't show a compelling case even with Utilitarianism.

Relation between nukes and wars

1. Nuclear war's probability

Pro here claims that because there were 20 cases where nuclear war didn't happen, this shows that it's very unlikely.
This actually would make it more likely. Like rolling a dice several times and not getting an specific number. This of course, should not affect the probabilities Pro and me are using.

2. Nuclear war vs asteroids

Then he claims that an asteroid is more probable and it would save more lives. Considering that he is using the same amount of lives in the comparison, let's just compare the probabilities. He is using 1 in a million and 1 in a 4000.
This comparison is unfair. I did not address this issues because he did not compare the probabilities until now and my arguments were not related to the probability of an asteroid colliding with Earth.

The first issue is that as stated in his source number 16, that probability is inaccurate:

"The probability computation is complex and depends on a number of assumptions that are difficult to verify. For these reasons the stated probability can easily be inaccurate by a factor of a few, and occasionally by a factor of ten or more. "

The second issue is that he is misinterpreting his own sources, at least if consider a fair comparison. The asteroid of the presented probability is an small body asteroid that has a probability of colliding with Earth of 1 in 4000 in the year 2880. Also mentioned in Pro's sources.
The probability of 1 in a million I used for my side is the probability of it occurring right now.
Considering that he is using the probability of a single asteroid in an specific year shows that the probability of an asteroid colliding with Earth is not as high as Pro makes it seem, and that small body asteroid would probably no be taking 7 billion lives.

3. Nuclear weapons and the probability of a nuclear war

Here Pro claims that because nuclear weapons exists in both worlds, there is also the probability of a nuclear war in "Con's world".
It's true that considering that took a passive position, my side has still the possibility of contain nuclear weapons, therefore the possibility of nuclear war, but none of us is taking the real world position, or at least to an extend, I would be taking the real world position. But Pro is taking the position that states has the obligation of possessing nuclear weapons. There are only 7 states that possess nuclear weapons with some others that might possess them. That means that there are a lot of other states that are not possessing nuclear weapons.

If more states were to possess nuclear weapons, the fact that there are more states and more nuclear weapons increases the possibility of a nuclear war. Pro here still uses deterrence as a way to reduce the possibility of a nuclear war. The only thing he shows to prove this is his source of reduced war after WWII of few states. Pro just asked me to show my own data even when the problem would persist in mine too. This problem may not be enough to invalidate the results completely, but his data would not affect nuclear war. His data doesn't show the reduction in nuclear war because it has not happened (yet).


Pro accepts that there is an small sample size. This makes the results less accurate. How can you know the probability of getting an specific number with a dice? The bigger the data, the more accurate the results will be. 7 states is a very small sample size compared to the states of the world, and even the states that participated in war in the past.

Nukes and asteroid deflection

1. Prefer nukes

It's true that nuclear deflection is more effective, but it should not be preferable if we need nuclear weapons (and their disadvantages) for nuclear deflection. In other words, this point part of Pro's argument is not as important as the first part.
Pro showed the advantages of nuclear weapons, but not its disadvantages. This is in no way weighting the consequences.

2. Probability

And asteroid is terrible, yes, but here Pro claims that it's more important than the nuclear war issue because it is more probable, using then, his reasoning on the first part in the comparison between the probability of nuclear war and an asteroid colliding with Earth. This is false.


-Pro tried to use Utilitarianism weighting only the advantages of the possession of nuclear weapons.

-Pro has not used accurate enough data to show significant deterrence, specially considering that with slight different factors, the situations I presented as possible nuclear war would have ended in nuclear war.

-Pro misinterpreted his own sources and used them to make an unfair comparison.

-Pro showed more sources, but considering that some of them were to show that asteroids are terrible, they hurt utility, and one of them was used to show an unfair comparison, I don't this is enough to give him the sources points. This and the fact that more sources doesn't mean better use of reliable sources.

-Pro has not presented compelling case for the obligation of states to possess nuclear weapons. In any part of the debate showed a relation between his defense on nuclear weapons with this obligation. The best scenario for his case s "We are fine as we are now", which is not Pro's World.

Thanks for the debate. Vote Con.

Debate Round No. 4
23 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by Blade-of-Truth 7 years ago
Conduct, S&G, Sources - Tied. Neither gave reason to award points to the other in regards to any of these categories. I actually commend both debaters for the invigorating debate and refreshing format. In regards to Arguments - I award these points to Pro. Pro started off presenting several strong cases in his favor, which seemed to uphold against a majority of Con's rebuttals. Con presented cases based off of speculation to rebut the point that nuclear weapons deter war by saying that it increasing the risk of accidental wars and the damage they might cause. Key word - might. Moving on, the asteroid defense case was not met with a sufficient rebuttal. Con claimed that less effective alternative means exist, unfortunately, this falls into the "well, we don't know if it'll happen again so what's the point" issue that just doesn't have the same weight as the empirical evidence provided by Pro.

The trend of empirical evidence vs. skepticism continues throughout the debate. Towards the end, Pro was able to solidify his utilitarianism as valid in this debate due to needing a set of morals to either affirm or negate a resolution of this nature. It comes down to burden and I was convinced by Pro that states should possess nuclear weapons for the reasons listed above. To this end, Pro wins.

I have no suggestions pertaining to the arguments themselves, as the fault should be pretty obvious between my vote and the others placed. What I will say though is that the excessive spacing by Pro isn't really necessary. Perhaps one or two lines of spacing would be fine between points but the 3-5 line spaces between paragraphs is a little excessive.

Other than that though, this was a well-fought debate on both sides. I wish both debaters the best in all of their future debate pursuits.
Posted by ArcTImes 7 years ago
No. Here is where I learned to debate. Before DDO, the most similar things to a debate I had were little discussion in youtube.
Posted by FuzzyCatPotato 7 years ago
It was a good debate. =)

Btw Arc, do you debate IRL or nah?
Posted by ArcTImes 7 years ago
Posted by ArcTImes 7 years ago
Thanks for the vote. I guess this is my first lose lol.
Posted by Mikal 7 years ago
I will expound upon this if requested but I have ten debates to vote on tonight so I am going to keep this pretty short

This debate comes down to whether or not you buy speculation or possibility, vs viable reasons to possess nukes. Pro was able to lay a outline out and give viable reasons and examples as to why should people should possess nukes, which forced con into a semantical game that revolved around possibility and speculation in order of refute the points.

In the end pros outline was kind of weak, but it held his BOP in regards as to the reasons that states should own nukes. Some of the points were weak, but were never over turned by cons semantics games. It was a great debate, but in the end pro was able to lay out enough of a case to hold down his BOP and won 2 of his key arguments which awards him the win.

Debate Pro
Posted by 9spaceking 7 years ago
@Fuzzy You=Arctimes
Posted by FuzzyCatPotato 7 years ago
1: I also don't know which arguments were "semantic". Could you please tell us hich one(s) is/are "semantic"?
2: Do you have any suggestions for either debater?

Who is "you"?
Posted by ArcTImes 7 years ago
It's impossible to tie if every judge vote.
Posted by 9spaceking 7 years ago
I'll be watching this closely. I'll be very surprised if you manage to even tie the debate. That would mean you would still be unbeatable...and that there would probably be either a rematch or a different match-up. Or something. I can't be too sure.
4 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 4 records.
Vote Placed by bladerunner060 7 years ago
Who won the debate:--
Reasons for voting decision: I'll be honest--I've been hesitant to vote because I'm not sure who I felt won. It was a good debate from both side, don't get me wrong. But I don't believe Pro gave a real sufficient justification for a moral imperative of "should"--but, with a shared BoP, neither do I think Con countered it sufficiently. After going back and forth and back and forth on it, I'm voting on principle (since I'm a judge, and should vote) before it ends--and I'm leaving it a tie.
Vote Placed by Blade-of-Truth 7 years ago
Who won the debate:Vote Checkmark-
Reasons for voting decision: RFD in Comments.
Vote Placed by Mikal 7 years ago
Who won the debate:Vote Checkmark-
Reasons for voting decision: comments
Vote Placed by Anonymous 7 years ago
Who won the debate:Vote Checkmark-
Reasons for voting decision: Normative resolution, equal burden. All of CON's harms were speculative, whereas PRO showed that there are good reasons to possess nukes. Both sides fumbled most arguments. CON's semantic games were also frustrating, but that's a lesser issue. PRO takes the asteroid argument, and therefore wins. CON has no viable alternative to alleviate that harm. I don't really feel like typing up a long RFD, but I'm happy to clarify to a reasonable extent if necessary.

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