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Debate Tournament:Winston Smith v Mycroft.Organ Transplants.

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posted on Nov, 16 2003 @ 11:07 AM
Here we go!First round of the new ATS Debate Tournament.

Each debator will have one opening statement each.This will be followed by 3 alternating replies each.There will be one closing statement each and no rebutal.
No post will be longer than 800 words and in the case of the closing statement no longer than 500 words.In the event of a debator posting more than the stated word limit then the excess words will be deleted by me from the bottom.Credits or references at the bottom count as part of the post.

Editing is Strictly forbidden.

Excluding both the opening and closing statements only 1 image or link may be included in any post.Opening and Closing statement must not carry either images or links.

The Debate topic is:The organs of executed prisoners should go to the sick who need a transplant.

Winston Smith will argue for this proposition and he will open the Debate.
Mycroft will respond and argue against this proposition.

As a guide responses should be made within 18 hours.However if the debate is moving forward then I have a relaxed attitude to this.

Defaulters will not be excepted in the next Tournament.The winner will receive 1000 ATS points the loser(on condition of completion)will receive 500 ATS points.This on top of generous points allocation for Debate forum posts.

This Topic will be opened on Sunday Nov 23rd Evening GMT and the debate may start.

The debate will be judged by 7 independent and anonymous judges who will consider the quality of debate and not be swayed by personal sympathy for either argument.
Winning the debate and winning the argument are two different things.

I wish you both goodluck.

posted on Nov, 23 2003 @ 01:23 PM
I would like to thank our esteemed debate moderator for the opportunity to participate in this very fine aspect of our favorite website. And, to my opponent, Mr. Mycroft (you're not Shelock's brother are you?), good parry.

The concept of harvesting death row felons for needed organs has been a theory in the minds of men for some time. It appeared in stories by the likes of the venerable Robert Heinlein, and has been discussed by the admired political thinker Daniel Patrick Moynihan (a rare liberal whose vision foresaw the potential need for a compassionate way to address the issue).

And not too long ago, a convict by the name of Milton Griffin brushed up against this idea by attempting to broker a deal involving the donation of a kidney and bone marrow in exchange of a stay of execution. Not quite the same idea, but an example of how the subject rises to our attention from time to time.

The concept of death-for-a-purpose has been a companion of the human endeavor since before our species kept records of such things. We die for others in war and we find the need to risk sacrifice to save the life of another. The same attribute must be applied to the harvesting of organs from persons to prevent a society that sees the organs, and not the person.

In my various encounters, I have seen a solution to this problem that not only enables a clear metric from which to define when a convicted person shall be put to death, but also the standards by which their death shall give life. I'll keep that for my closing statement.

Mr. Mycroft?

posted on Nov, 24 2003 @ 11:32 PM
First, I would like to express my appreciation for the opportunity to engage in this debate as well as my apologies for the lateness of my opening. I have studied the writings of my opponent, and I find his writings indicative of a keen mind capable of sharp observation. I know this will be a challenge.

Sherlock is my more ambitious brother, the one who seeks publicity.

Capital punishment is itself a very controversial issue. Proponents believe that only the threat of this supreme punishment can deter certain crimes, opponents counter that a just society cannot be founded on murder, and that the punishment is applied disproportionately to poor minorities. How much more controversial then is the idea of harvesting the organs of the executed?

Its easy to see the attraction of the idea. Death, even the execution of a criminal is a terrible thing. Whats wrong with making some good come from such evil? After all, when people die by other means, we see nothing wrong with harvesting their organs. Doctors routinely approach bereaved relatives of the recently dead to ask for this final gift. Why not demand this same gift from those whom the state has condemned?

I intend to answer that question. I intend to prove through examinations of history and other societies and through explorations of the potential effects of our own society, that this practice would be an evil. This practice has the potential to corrupt our system of justice and it would erode those values that are most precious to us, those values that keep us struggling to improve ourselves, the values that teach us that human life and human dignity is precious.

Yes, harvesting the organs of executed criminals and bringing new life from tragedy is tempting, but evil is always tempting. No one commits an evil act who has not first convinced himself that it is good or just.

Mr. Smith?

posted on Nov, 26 2003 @ 07:22 AM

What can one make of a society which builds these two pillars?

Pillar One: The death penalty. Mr. Mycroft had implied on more than one occasion within his opener his distaste for the act of ultimate punishment. Indeed, entire debates hinge on whether or not this, in itself, is an act of evil. But that is not for us, not for this space, and certainly not within our capabilities to influence. But shall we, for the sake of this debate, take Mr. Mycroft's position? To expedite the point, I think we can.

Pillar Two: The health care system. Certainly this country enjoys the most successful and productive healthcare infrastructure of any nation. The science of curing and repairing the body within this country (United States) has no equal when one examines the totality of all healthcare. But with that advanced stature comes a price, the price. And the price of the highest order of health care, organ transplant, is indeed, the highest order. Combine this with the scarcity of available matching organs, and we have a manufactured evil -- the unfulfilled promise of those waiting for needed organs, free people on death row.

Is there a societal need to put persons to death for extreme crimes against humanity? Yes.

Is there a societal need to make critically ill people wait in agony for needed organs? Yes.

These two distasteful attributes of modern society can merge in a compassionate way to result in a measure of ethical correctiveness. One death row can, and should, aid the other.

posted on Nov, 27 2003 @ 12:26 AM
My opponent is correct when he recognizes my distaste for capital punishment, though he doesnt go far enough in recognizing its relevance in this debate. If we agree that capital punishment is evil, then what more is there to discuss? Harvesting the organs of executed prisoners implies the acceptance of capital punishment, and if were not willing to do that, how can we even discuss this other issue? We agree that the vine is poisoned, yet you would still have us taste its fruit?

Is there a societal need to put persons to death for extreme crimes against humanity? Clearly the answer is no. The two of us agree its evil and society as a whole is undecided. The death penalty is legal in only a few states, and where it is allowed, it is a legal nightmare to implement. There is a societal need to protect itself from perpetuators of extreme crimes against humanity, but there are ways other than the death penalty to do this.

Is there a societal need for more organs for transplant? Yes, but the numbers of executed prisoners are small. We can meet this demand by increasing public awareness of the shortage and thus making more organs available from willing donors.

My opposition to harvesting organs from executed prisoners goes beyond simple distaste for the death penalty. We have a duty to ourselves and our future generations to form an ethical society, a society that values the sanctity of human life. All human life.

Who are the people on death row? Are they the wealthy? The privileged? No, they are the poor and the under-educated. Almost all are minorities, many are mentally ill. Only the most retched of us make it to death row, those without the resources or the capacity to defend themselves in the legal arena.

Who receives organ transplants? It would be nice to imagine that everyone in need has an equal chance to receive one, but the truth is that doctors give priority to those who would have the best quality of life. Thats a code for choosing the young over the old, the rich over the poor, the educated over the uneducated, and the powerful over the common. In short, it is the elite of our society who benefits most from organ transplants.

It is said that a society is judged by how it treats its weakest members. Who is weaker than the person on death row? Is there a form of abuse more extreme than this? How would our society be judged if we make the elite of our society ghouls who consume the organs of the weakest of our society?

posted on Dec, 1 2003 @ 07:30 AM
Mr. Mycroft would have this topic devolve into a discussion of the merits of the death penalty in our society. While that in itself is a worthy topic for debate, that is not the topic of this debate.

Since when has any society been able to be ethical Mr. Mycroft? Your concerns for building a society for our children founded on (your) ethics is indeed honorable, but unfortunately, has never happened throughout human history. Ethics gets in the way of what is best for society.

And poor Mr. Mycroft would have us believe he is concerned for the downtrodden convicts on death row, and the poor flotsam of our health care system. Well, again, we stray away from the actual topic at hand. These are issues dealing with how we might operate a system of organ harvesting form executed prisoners, not the purity of the idea of "should we".

Yes, we should. That is the question of this debate. Not the weak-kneed issues of how could new, or what would our children think. None of that matters to someone desperately looking for an organ to save their life.

This is about life. This is about our ability to give life. We should give life.

There is no compelling reason not to give life. We are already taking life through very compelling reasons. Why should one death sentence mean two, three, or perhaps more? Life is the subject of this debate, and we have the ability, means, and ethical grounding to give it.

posted on Dec, 2 2003 @ 02:34 AM
First let me welcome Mr. Smith back to this debate and say that I hope he enjoyed his time away, and that I look forward to continuing the challenge of facing Mr. Smiths refreshed and sharpened wits.

While it's true that the death penalty itself is not the topic of this debate, neither can it be ignored. Not only does a plan to harvest the organs of executed prisoners imply acceptance of the death penalty, but implementation of such a plan would force us to abandon our current methods of humane execution. Poison gas, electrocution and lethal injection all destroy the very organs to be harvested.

I'm puzzled that Mr. Smith argues that we should not even attempt to create an ethical society. If we have no regard for ethics, what value can we place on saving human life? This argument is an ethical argument, there can be no doubt.

In considering the effect this idea could have on our society, we should look at a society that does harvest organs from executed criminals. China.

China's organ trade

Even setting aside the horror of the actual process, these articles demonstrate the following:

1) The harvesting of organs plays a role in the legal process that leads to the convictions and executions of prisoners. Judges and court officials assure rapid prosecution of accused criminals as well as rapid turn over of appeals to insure that a prisoner will be executed at the optimal time to harvest the organs. In some cases, its even been reported that accused criminals have been arrested, tried, and executed within only a few days.

2) While China is a world leader in the number of transplant operations performed, they have no system for voluntary organ donation. There is no registry program, no education of the public for the need for organ transplants, virtually no effort is made to secure organs for transplant other than from executed prisoners. Why? Because their demand is satisfied through execution, yet the demand for more organs and the cash it brings in from foreign countries puts pressure on China to execute more people.

3) The priority system that favors high ranking government officials, military officers and wealthy foreigners over common Chinese citizens has made reality the fear I described in my earlier post, where the elite of Chinese society has become ghouls who consume the organs of their most underprivileged class.

Its no coincidence that the only country in the world that allows the taking of organs from executed prisoners is also one of the most brutal and oppressive regimes of this century. Yet even China takes pains to hide this activity from the outside world.

Is this the society we want to emulate?

posted on Dec, 2 2003 @ 07:00 AM
Well Mr. Mycroft, events in the offline world conspired against me, thank you for waiting.

But I see the time to compose yourself has net favored the clarity of your thinking on the singular subject to be discussed. You would have this discussion derailed into the what-if mentality of bleeding heart liberalism, while avoiding the very issue, life. You would have our readers dwell on death and the distasteful policies of a villainous regime across the Pacific, while avoiding our goal, life.

And we see a further attempt to befuddle our readers and jury by the wringing of hands over the possibilities or lack-of-possibilities for an ethical regime. My, how noble and quixotic of our fine Mr. Mycroft. If only we could, if only we could. Since when does ethics have any role in societal governance? I would suggest that a purely ethical government wouldn't last any longer than the first gavel strike of its first meeting.

Logic. I present clear, sane, workable, and noble logic into this fray. Emotion has no place here. When emotion takes hold of discussions of societal punishment and health care, ethics won't even obtain a distant back seat. Logic is our key Mr. Mycroft, and our only hope.

Our society is at a cross-roads during this fleeting moment in human history. We stand on the cusp of the ability to cure almost anything, yet are saddled with death surrounding us at every turn. The collected baggage of our sedentary lifestyle, combined with poor dietary choices has given us generations of very ill people in need of a wide variety of human organs. Logic would have us search for any and all solutions that give a chance for life.

Our society is also at another cross-road -- violent crime, worthy of death sentencing, is not abating. We would have these convicted outcasts perform one final act of wasting a wasted life, death for the sake of death.

Our society has a choice, death for the sake of life. The clear, clean, and infinitely logical choice in this dilemma.

Do I need to repeat the focus of this in each contribution to our debate Mr. Mycroft? It seems so. You would derail this event to further your own feelings on ancillary topics and erode our focus on the main topic, life.

Life, Mr. Mycroft, life. Clear your mind of your preoccupation with death and the hopes for a noble utopian society. Focus on life, and our responsibility to examine all means to give it.

Perhaps I can allay my opponents preoccupation with "how" this process would work in my closing statement. For now, Mr. Mycroft?

posted on Dec, 2 2003 @ 01:53 PM
Upon reflecting on my opponents arguments I am struck by the significance of his choice of avatar. Most people read Orwell and see it as a warning of what society might become. This, I think, is the first time Ive had discourse with someone who might view the writings of Orwell as a model for us to emulate.

I think its ironic that my opponent scoffs at the idea of considering ethics in making decisions about our society, citing that we cant create a purely ethical government while simultaneously urging us towards horrors in the name of preserving life. Is Mr. Smith unaware that we are also unable to put an end to death?

On some issues, the attempt to reach a goal is as important as the goal itself. The pursuit of ethics and the preservation of life are both such an issue. We should not let our inability to attain perfect ethics deter us from trying to be ethical anymore than we should let the inevitability of death prevent us from trying to preserve life.

Happily, this issue is not an either/or choice. We have the ability to do both. While its true that right now we do have a shortage of donors for organ transplantation, we dont have a shortage of potential donors. Every year some three million citizens of the United States die of causes other than execution, utilizing organs from just 1% of these potential donors for organ harvesting would not only wipe out our shortage, but create a huge surplus. By comparison, in the year 2000, only 85 criminals were executed in the United States.

In looking to solve the shortage of organs for transplant it makes no sense to look towards this tiny population, this handful of condemned prisoners whose organ harvest would require serious considerations of ethics and civil right not to mention further condemnations from Amnesty International and the international community when the numbers available is not enough to make a statistical difference anyway. Its better by far to look towards the three million who die every year who only need more education and perhaps small modifications in procedures to make their organs available.

Logic. Clear, sane, workable and noble logic.

posted on Dec, 3 2003 @ 07:09 AM
Well, just as Mr. Mycroft has missed the even deeper significance of my name and signature (beyond the avatar), he as missed the point of this debate.

Offering alternative means to find organs, or weak-kneed fears of Amnesty International is side-stepping the issue of life.

We can give life from death. We know how. We do it nearly every day. We should not hesitate to give priority to life.

And that is what this is about. Mr. Mycroft would have us give priority to fear. Or priority to a cascading and ever expanding list of what-ifs to muddle the issue and cause great gnashing of teeth amongst so-called "enlightened reformists." The issue is clear my friends. And I would implore our judges to consider who has been offering the clarity of thought -- life is the issue.


Mr. Mycroft would have us dwell on process and methodology. Well then fine, the method whereby the condemned provide organs is simple. A minimum of three organ recipients must be located, and properly tested. Simple. Life times three.

In closing, I remind our judges this issue is not about the fears of what-if, but the gift of life. Our society has determined that a category of people must face death as the ultimate punishment for their crimes, it is our duty, no, our moral commission to bring forth life from this event.


It matters.

It matters more than fear.

(thank you)

posted on Dec, 4 2003 @ 01:21 AM
Life is certainly important, nobody could argue with that. But as important as life is how we conduct our lives. Rejecting evil and inhumanity is not fear; it is an affirmation of those qualities that make life worth living. My opponent offers the promise of life from death, but it is a promise that offers nothing of value and threatens much harm.

We must not condone the taking of organs from executed prisoners. I have offered many reasons for this, and my opponent has not refuted any of them.

I have told how harvesting the organs of executed prisoners would imply an acceptance of the death penalty. For that reason alone, it is inconceivable that we should adopt such a practice while society as a whole is undecided on that issue.

I have told of how our methods of execution render the organs unusable. These methods, lethal injection, gas and electrocution that has been deemed to pass our constitutional prohibition against cruel and unusual punishment, and my opponent has offered no alternative.

We have examined the organ trade in China, and have seen through the testimony of Dr. Guoqi, Harry Wu and Dr. Diflo how this practice has added to the corruption of their legal process and health care system, and how their use of executed prisoners for organ harvesting has even hindered their development of a system for voluntary organ donation.

And finally, I have demonstrated that we just dont need this. That the number of prisoners executed in the United States is simply too small to make an appreciable difference, and that the demand for organs can be met by simply increasing public education and better developing existing methods of organ harvesting.

In summary: We must not allow the taking of organs from executed prisoners. The benefit is too small, and the potential for harm is too great.

posted on Jan, 6 2004 @ 10:04 PM
Thankyou to both Mycrof and Winston Smith for competing in this debate, apologies for the delay in judging.

The panel has voted, and the winner of this debate is Mycroft by a margin of 8 to 3.

Some of the judges comments:

Winston Smith is a very good writer. Very sexy. But he was all flair, no facts. His F-17 never left the runway.

In terms of Winston's argument, every point was refuted by facts, however strong, from Mycroft. Winston didn't even cite one reference! I found Mycroft's evidence of the damaging organ trade in China to be particularly damning. He also has a good statistical point that there are to few executed prisoners to make a difference.

On a literary level Mycroft couldn't touch Winston. I noticed he tried to "adapt" Winston's wit and style. In the future I would suggest Mycroft stick to penetrating facts and fatal (in this case) analysis. He's a solid debater, from all appearences, and shouldn't worry about flash and bang.

Comments: This debate is especially difficult to judge. Given my druthers it would be a "draw" as both contenders fell victim to topic transferance, emotional appeals and personal attacks on occassion, while the topic itself remained stalled. However, absent the option of voting 'draw' I credit Mycroft with slightly more external preperation, and thus success.

"While Winston's arguments seem pretty solid in the end I think they are flawed at best. Mycroft made the best argument by just using common sense. Mycroft gets my vote here."

My goodness, I would have paid money to actually HEAR Winston Smith in this debate. He is so articulate and it would have been wonderful to hear him speak his written words.
However, Mycroft made a much better argument. In fact, I was in favor of this subject before the debate and now have a different opinion. Mycroft did such an outstanding job against a worthy opponant.
Congrats to both on an intelligent and respectful debate.

posted on Jan, 6 2004 @ 10:20 PM
Well done and much deserved my fine oponent Mycroft. I enjoyed this very much... and many thanks to John Bull 1 and Kano.

posted on Jan, 6 2004 @ 11:10 PM
This having been my first experience with formal debating, I would like to say how much fun it was and give my thanks to everyone involved. I was simultaneously delighted and apprehensive to be matched against Winston Smith, whom I considered to be the best among the potential adversaries. The judges who noted his flair for writing are entirely correct. If he hasnt already, I hope he considers making a career of it.

Thank you John Bull 1 for getting us off to a great start, and thank you Kano for bringing it to a satisfactory conclusion. Many thanks also to the judges, whoever they are, for the useful constructive critical commentary that came with the votes.

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