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Round 2. Nerdling V DeltaChaos: Inaction/Injustice

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posted on Mar, 3 2004 @ 01:08 PM
The topic for this debate is "Inaction in the face of injustice makes an individual morally culpable."

Nerdling will be arguing for this proposition and will open the debate.
DeltaChaos will argue against this proposition.

Each debator will have one opening statement each. This will be followed by 3 alternating replies each. There will then be one closing statement each and no rebuttal.

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. This means any editing, for any reason. Any edited posts will be completely deleted.

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

As a guide responses should be made within 18 hours. If the debate is moving forward then I have a relaxed attitude to this. However, if people are consistently late with their replies, they will forfeit the debate.

Judging will be done by an anonymous panel of 11 judges. After each debate is completed it will be locked and the judges will begin making their decision. Results will be posted by me as soon as a majority (6) is reached.

This debate is now open, good luck to both of you.

posted on Mar, 8 2004 @ 11:53 AM
I'm afraid i'll have to pass on this intro, i have a major exam tomorrow and i've needed all my time for studying.

I'll be able to start proper tomorrow, thanks to kano for giving me this extension but i feel i should pass the introduction over to my opponent to get things started.

posted on Mar, 9 2004 @ 10:36 AM
Once again, thank you Kano for providing me this opportunity to challenge and improve myself. And welcome Nerdling, my most formidable opponent. May your wits and words serve you well.


Now, I knew there was a reason I read the Nicomachean Ethics. The pain it caused me at the time was so great that I could never justify having finished it. Until now, I guess, as it all seems to have come full circle. And I thought the best thing to come of my short-lived and half-hearted obsession with the Classics was all the sleep it inspired me to catch up on.

Now I see that I was lucky to squeeze in a couple of works by Aristotle and Socrates, surely for the purpose of securing decisive victory in this round of the debate tournament. My own internal debate as to whether fate exists has now been dealt another stonewall rebuttal. Depending on the outcome of this engagement, that debate will either become closer to being over, or I will simply await the proof the Final Resolution has to offer.

Ahh, this does bring back memories. Memories of the high school debate class that I rarely attended. I can only imagine that there isn’t a debate department in the country that hasn’t at least looked at this four thousand year old proposition. Mercy on the poor teachers who took it upon themselves to attempt to maintain order during a debate regarding this unmanageable and unwieldy topic.

Normally, it is good form to establish agreement concerning the definitions of terms and concepts contained in the proposal to be debated. In this case, the terms are so broad and ambiguous - so all-encompassing that there are truly no clear definitions to be agreed upon.

Inaction is relatively easy, and though already in the negative, I think we could agree that inaction is best described simply as the absence of action. It would be more prudent to define the positive (action) as it stands, though since in this case we are discussing action relative to injustice, it would be more suitable to our purpose to define and apply the term re-action. But I don’t feel like it. Nerdling, if you feel froggy, by all means, jump.

Injustice, I believe, is the term that we can agree is most subject to one’s own point of view. Gee, and then to personify a concept like injustice to the point that we must consider inaction with regard to it’s FACE… Well, that opens this debate to an entirely new line of conjecture, but I think Nerdling and I can exercise enough restraint not to go there. I hate to assume, but from what I’ve read of Nerdling’s posts on this site, it seems our sense of justice is similar enough that a lack of a clear definition of the term shouldn’t threaten a reasonable argument. We’ll see…

Then there are morals. These days it seems we hold morals against each other more often than we hold them to ourselves. Especially in politics, where the claims of moral equivalence are met with demands for moral clarity. At no time in mankind's history has there been more controversy regarding what is moral and what is not. There will be plenty of space, however, to discuss these in the course of the debate proper.

The question will be whether this debate will revert to the equally ancient one of moral relativism, or the less ambiguous debate over the degrees of injustice. Or maybe we’ll just end up in a heated struggle to figure out what inaction means.

Nerdling, I too prefer a defensive strategy at the outset, and I trust my opening statement was vague enough to subvert your deference tactic. Of course I’m happy to hand over the reigns and allow you to steer the course of this debate. Feel free to place your fodder on the field at your leisure.

5000 Points!

posted on Mar, 10 2004 @ 12:32 PM
Responsibility is the price of freedom.

A person that ignores injustice is a hallmark of a truly ignorant and selfish society, after all the measure of a man is how he treats someone that can do him no service.

I will lay out my structure in this post as I have been educationally incapacitated for the past week

? Social welfare
? Individual welfare
? Humanitarian obligations
? Actions & Consequences
? Being a good citizen
? Unity, Patriotism and Situations.

It is our duty as a person to stand up in the face of injustice when others are incapable of standing up, we should help these people out of morality, failure to do so elevates us to the level of accomplice in the injustice, if a blind man falls we help him, if a drunk man falls we will think about it, we think about it because we don’t want to hurt ourselves in the process, we are not willing to put ourselves in the backseat for once and help another person and this truly saddens me.

If we continue down the road to a policy of laissez-faire (non-involvement) we will see the steady decline of society as we know it, we’re all in this game of life together and it is our duty to help each other.

It is a question of moral duty, we must help for we may go into that situation someday, it is on this front that groups such as Amnesty International and the ACLU fight for our rights when they gain nothing in return. It’s a question of being an introvert or an extrovert; some of the worst disasters in history have come out of people’s ignorance towards actions, The holocaust, Stalin’s gulags, Khmer Rouge, Polish Ghetto’s. All of these happened because we did not stand up and say NO! We did not condemn the actions and therefore we are ALL morally responsible.

I preach kindness, humanity, civility… whilst you preach ignorance.

Deny Ignorance.

posted on Mar, 10 2004 @ 08:37 PM
While it may be true that a measure of a man is how he treats someone who can do him absolutely no good, it surely isn’t the ONLY measure of a man. To what I believe Samuel Johnson was referring when he said this were the human traits of compassion and generosity, not justice.

Another measure of a man is his temperance. How temperance relates to inaction toward in justice is thus: When one is faced with an injustice, whether or not to intervene is a decision that has to be made with consideration of others. If taking action in a situation incurs risk to others, that risk must be compared to the graveness of the injustice, as well as the loss that may be incurred as a result of the action, should it fail.

Example: A man and his family are victims of a robbery in their home. No weapon is visible, but the perpetrator assures them that he has a knife in his pocket. One action toward this injustice would be an attempt to subdue the offender, but to do so would risk the lives and the welfare of his family as well as himself. If the man were to make the decision to take this action and failed in the attempt, it is the implicit negative outcomes, which are various, that would make him morally culpable. So in this case we see that an attempt to deter the injustice could result in the moral culpability for harm that could come to his family, and that inaction is truly the right action.

I think the truth we will find in this debate is that there is no real resolution to the proposition set forth, as there are infinite examples of both the negative and the affirmative. Your disadvantage in this debate, my dear Nerdling, is that the proposition is presented as an absolute, and you must attempt to prove that inaction in all cases result in moral culpability of the character in question. I’m sure that the judges will take this into account.

Next, regarding your statement referring to the duty of a person to confront injustice when others are not capable. That statement itself detracts from your argument, because you just pointed out that there are people who are not capable of preventing injustice. Do we hold these people morally culpable for their lack of ability to act? Anyone who did would be morally culpable themselves, in my opinion. What if one was faced with an injustice and they would like to act, but were afraid of death? Is this cowardice, or instinctive self-preservation? Or both? Certainly an instinctive reaction manifested as a lack of courage does not allege morally culpability any more than does lacking strength or intelligence, or having brown eyes or blue hair. (That last one's debatable).

Another point I’d like to make is that in most countries in the world you can not only be considered morally culpable, but be held legally liable for acting toward injustice. It’s called vigilantism, and it’s illegal for good reason. There are agencies established for the enforcement of law and justice systems established for the conveyance of justice. These justice systems have been tested by time, and have determined the most correct methods for enforcement of law and also the most humane and effective means of preventing further injustice. Simply put, justice is sometimes best left to the professionals, and one would not be morally culpable for believing so.

Alexander Pope said, “Fools are often reckless, attempting feats the wise avoid”. This reminds me of an incident I witnessed at a local diner.

It was about 3 AM, at the height of the bar rush, and the atmosphere was loose. My cousin and I were indulging in some chili-cheese fries, observing the happy chaos and the people that were enjoying it. A small group of ladies stood, walked to the restroom and entered. A few moments later, one of the men accompanying them followed after…

Start of a good story? I wish.

Here’s what happened. Another man, obviously perturbed by this perceived injustice took it upon himself to regulate. The result was disturbing, unnecessary, and a general joy kill for everyone there that night. Little did the regulator know that the perpetrator was someone who didn’t like to be told how to have fun. An argument ensued, and the regulator felt so strongly on his position that the perpetrator was wrong, he chose to elevate the conflict to violence. Well, the regulator was regulated. Not only by the perpetrator, who knocked him on his [expletive deleted], but also by the authorities who decided that he was likely guilty of disturbing the peace. It was just downright buffoonery. Justice served.

794 Words

posted on Mar, 13 2004 @ 11:34 AM
Lovely, but the logic behind that is still flawed.

Ah no, it is indeed how a man treats a man who can do him no good that shows the true personality of a person, this is due to the choice, a choice that can be made which reflects on what kind of a person someone is. Helping is the morally right thing to do but many are too selfish to do it.

Here’s a story about that as you seem to like telling and spinning them;
There once was an old lady, she was very sick and just had several major operations leaving her frail and vulnerable, and she goes to the store on her own at night to go and fetch some milk, on the way she is confronted by an attacker who demands her purse, held at knifepoint she can see no way out, but there are people coming towards her and the attacker runs off into the night.

But if we change the roles and make it young black man, would you go running to his aid? I didn’t think so, this does make you morally responsible if the person is hurt for you are the one who could have stopped it but didn’t because of selfish desires.

Moving on,
Humanitarian Obligations are a major part of our world today, with the entire continent of Africa needing help as well as countless other second and third world nations, we help them for many reasons but we feel we are responsible for their safety as they are our fellow men, but not always.
A country that runs out of food should be helped regardless of actions for it is the right thing to do.

Sorry about the late replies, i am in exam season and currently rate this low on my priorities. I am considering forfeiting myself.

posted on Mar, 13 2004 @ 01:58 PM
Firstly Nerdling, you are still missing the mark with your reference to the Sam Johnson quote. It characterizes the human qualities of generosity, charity, and goodwill. Helping someone isn’t necessarily justice, though it is just. Exacting justice is correcting a wrong, where helping someone is an act of compassion. If the actor chooses to think of his act of compassion as an act of justice, so be it, but it doesn’t automatically imply a reaction to a wrongdoing. If you help a friend who was laid off from their job by giving them some money or lending them the spare bedroom for a time, that doesn’t mean that the former employer couldn’t justify cutting their costs by laying off your friend. Helping your friend isn’t an act of justice, it is an act of compassion. Enough of this.

And who is the spin doctor?

Next, the story I told was simply a recount of what I observed. I told the story to make clear a point. A point you obviously refuse to contend with, as your rebuttal proves. The story you told came closer to addressing the proposition of the debate than anything you have stated thus far. Until you spun it and turned it into an issue of RACE. And you further ruined your chances of even coming close to competing with me when you made it personal. I consider what you stated with regard to me refusing to act in defense of a young black man a personal attack with absolutely no basis whatsoever, and acutely unsporting. Furthermore, do you actually believe that the judges will come into your favor as the result of a feeble attempt to peg me as a racist? I didn’t think so…

Moving on, I understand the point you’re making in reference to humanitarian obligations worldwide, however, I think it might behoove you, in the course of this debate, not to forget the very proposition being debated. The proposition reads, “Inaction in the face of injustice makes an individual morally culpable”. By diverting the topic to a global issue you are not only varying from the original proposition, you are debating an entirely different one! Beside that fact, the scourge of disease and famine in Africa to which you refer are not acts of injustice, they are acts of NATURE!

At this point, I don’t believe it is necessary to utilize my entire word allotment to secure a decisive victory. There’s probably a rebroadcast of the BBC News on that could similarly justify the of waste my time and brainpower. In my opinion, Nerdling, you couldn’t buy victory in the ATS store with your 50,000 "cool points" or to whatever you liken them. Editor? Pfft…

Run if you must, Nerdling, but know this: You may never have the privilege of being mastered by the likes of me again.

”Why won’t anyone fight me?!!!” –Connor MacLeod of the Clan MacLeod


But personally…

I know that you have exams, and it is much more important that you study hard and do well, so if you have to withdraw from the debate that’s totally understandable. I’ve enjoyed it to this point, and I sincerely hope that I’ve taunted you to the point that you cannot resist countering!
Who knows, we may just resolve this debate once and for all! So if you truly don't have the time, just make sure not to let your SCHOOL interfere with your EDUCATION! (Thanks, Al)

"I'm just in it for the book, man..." -Moi

But seriously, whatever you decide, well met, and godspeed!

Humble Fighter,

posted on Mar, 15 2004 @ 01:48 PM
Honestly, put the handbag down and stop taking it so personal, I was merely painting a picture where a person would be the subject of selfishness on the part of another human but naturally you decided to spin it out and play the race sympathy card, I almost believed you for a second. Nice try and I’m not even going to respond to your personal attacks.

Ok, back on track with my argument.

This is a debate of philosophy not cold hard facts so it effectively comes down to who can write the nicest steaming pile that pleases the reader, well that’s how it normally works so I shall set out my argument in a nice fashion for you to read.

The Reasons Inaction in the face of injustice makes an individual morally culpable.
1. It is our duty as a citizen to stand up for our fellow members of society and we are responsible for injustices not stopped, life is a team game and we all need to contribute to make society a better place.
2. Things that are immoral or unjust to you, are the same to others... strong morals are universal.
3. Someone who is fully developed morally will defend his or her morals and ideals under every circumstance, regardless of the situation, these people are valuable members of our society.
4. Allowing injustice and immorality to afflict someone else is the same as allowing it for oneself

So there we have it.

We must stand up for others as we are members of one society and we progress socially and technologically only through the sum of ourselves and others work, we all have common goals and idea’s, we all want a happier life but also we also share the same fears and apprehension, we pull together on a small scale in our families to deal with these but our community is just one large family anyway, its just on a bigger scale, people still care and have the same issues but we are scared of those we do not know and we shouldn’t be because deep down inside we’re all the same and we all must look out for each other in today’s world. People who are fully developed morally without any psychological issues will always defend their principles to the end regardless of the situation or those making a confrontation on them and these are the true gems of society that pull us closer, these heroes serve as societal nodes where we connect to each other, this is how many of us intend to be and see ourselves but few make it, this is something many strive to achieve, now we have the time old point that we do unto others as we wish done onto us, when we allow something bad to happen we are accepting it, and this acceptance stems from the thoughts that we would accept it if happened to us.

Thank you.

Footnote: Editor? Damn sight more than you are.
Oh, and have you actually made ANY points? All I see is stories and large words, come on son, show us that you can actually debate instead of going for a vocabulary version of shock and awe, any idiot with a thesaurus can do that. Whats with the word counts? feeling insecure about your argument?


550 Words -And still better

posted on Mar, 15 2004 @ 04:59 PM
I knew you had it in you, Nerdling. I knew you were a Fighter, I guess you just had to coaxed into the ring. And I’m glad to have found your buttons right on the front of your shirt, where I can reach them. I just wanted to make sure I actually WON a debate before I made it to the finals. It just goes to show, that with a little help,one can realize their greater potential. Excellent rebuttal.

And now that I have you on the defensive where you belong, back to the debate…

First, I have to agree that this is a purely philosophical debate, which will never be resolved by references to historical facts, as there are too numerous accounts attesting to both sides. As far as the quality of the use of language is concerned, I assume the standard should be high, as this is formal debate. I have noticed praise from judges on contestants’ writing style, such as in the case of Winston Smith v Mycroft - Organ Transplants. In this instance, Winston Smith was highly praised for his prose, but alas, he lost the debate because his case was not strong. This proves that it is not eloquence with which the judges are concerned, but rather which contestant presents the strongest argument. So go ahead and spew forth your steaming pile, and may the best man win.

I present the case of the crucifixion.

It is obvious the consensus is that the crucifixion of Jesus was unjust. If it were not, people would not still be blaming others for it. Now, I am certain there were those who cried out against the decision to crucify him, but not to the extent that it made any difference. But what if it had? What if Pontius had listened to those who defied this injustice, and changed his mind? Could we, in retrospect, imagine what this world would be if Jesus had not died on the cross?

Consider all of the good works that have been carried out by the followers of Christ. I would say that the majority of what is right in this world is a result of the way in which Jesus died. And that was an injustice! Now, this case is purely speculative, and we would have no way of knowing, but if those who pleaded with Pontius not to carry out his injustice were successful, would they be morally culpable? I say yes. They would be not only culpable from a standpoint of history, but they would be held morally accountable by God Himself. For it was not Pontius that carried out the injustice; he was merely an instrument of God’s will. It was God’s plan – God’s idea that Jesus should die on the cross for the sins of the world! Reference: John 3:16.

Here we see that what is just and unjust is subject to the context of scale, and also of intention. What we may consider unjust may not be, as we may not be in possession of all the facts. I say that had Jesus been run over by a mule-drawn cart, we would likely not even remember his name.

I have just presented a case that shows a minor injustice being carried out and tolerated in the name of greater justice for all, over time. Another more realistic and historically precedented instance of this is techniques used by drug enforcement agencies to convict suspected dealers.

It is a simple concept. Agents will observe and tolerate transactions made by lower level distributors in order to build a case against their leaders. They take note of patterns, learn the identities of people involved, and document and acquire evidence against their intended target.

The deals they are watching are injustices - they are defined so by law. However, the agents are not morally culpable for allowing them to take place, because the intent is to bring down the kingpin, and subsequently his entire network. Not only is this greater justice, but also an efficient and effective tactic. Were these agents not allowed to overlook certain injustices, but be required to prosecute every small infraction, the scourge of drugs would most certainly be uncontrollable.

I for one can see the harm the prevalence of drugs does to our society, and I am completely willing to allow these tactics to be used. In fact, not only do I not hold those who use this tactic morally culpable, I consider them to be great people. Anyone willing to put themselves in harm’s way for the greater good of all are to be commended.

Once again, through compelling argument I have proven to a degree that inaction in the face of injustice does not always make one morally culpable.


posted on Mar, 17 2004 @ 02:13 AM
Nerdling has until I get home from the pub to make his post. Otherwise his closing statement is forfeited.

posted on Mar, 17 2004 @ 12:28 PM
..and too slow. Nerdling misses out on a closing statement, wrap it up for us DeltaChaos.

posted on Mar, 17 2004 @ 01:09 PM
I would like to again say thank you Kano, for moderating this forum. I’d also like to thank ATS and it’s creators and administrators for brining us all this excellent debate forum. Debate is one of my favorite things to do, and I didn’t think I would ever be able to participate in one after school.

It got heated there for a little bit, which is OK, ‘cause we’re fighters and this is competitive debate. I had to do everything in my power to convince Nerdling to counter that last time because I already had my last rebuttal generally written, and being the slacker that I am, I couldn’t let my energy go to waste.

When I looked at the proposition when this debate began, I wondered how I could refute something in which I believe so strongly, just like my last debate. But as I analyzed, I realized the proposition was presented as an absolute, and I got to thinkin’. But I knew to defend myself, I would have to be a little more aggressive than usually necessary in a philosophical debate, but I guess the best defense is a good offense. Just took a page out of the book of Johnny Cochran.

That would give me a good idea for my post-grad work, if I weren’t grossly disfigured and mired with speech impediments. What? No. Neo-Con liars of the world prepare to defend yourselves! I’ll be passing my bar exam in about 13 years or so!

Nerdling, well fought, old chap. Best of luck, and thanks for the invigorating debate.


posted on Mar, 17 2004 @ 01:23 PM
I will begin the rituals to raise the Judges from their slumber. Results in a day or so.

posted on Mar, 18 2004 @ 09:50 PM
Ok, the Zombie Judges have spoken.

In a 6-2 decision, the winner of this debate is DeltaChaos. Thankyou to Nerdling also for being a part of the action. Good luck DeltaChaos for the next round.

Some of the Judges comments:

I think he beat Nerdling from the word go. Well spoken,and to the point. I was set back by the race card being pulled out,there was no need for it.

Very close debate and difficult subject. DC mainly just seemed to have made more of an effort, given Nerdlings conflict.

Nerdling was doing good until he failed to show.

Nerdling made a better argument (actually, in my opinion, he is the only one who really MADE an argument).

I felt that DeltaChaos solidified his argument moreso than Nerdling did. I wish that this could have been to Nerdling's schedule, I would have been greatly interested in his opening and closing remarks. Understandable, nonetheless. I look forward to reading future debates from both.

Although it was a decent debate, DC seemed to spend most of his time saying how much more he knew stuff than Nerdling rather than making points. Although he wrote alot more and used bigger words, when he did actually make a point they were not as strong as Nerdlings.

DeltaChaos, your style and prose are unique. My compliments to both of you.

Well done to both of you.


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