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Debate: NoRegretsEver vs Druid42: Is it ethical to kill people for their radical beliefs?

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posted on Feb, 21 2013 @ 08:45 AM
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First I would like to thank Druid42 for this wonderful chance to debate a very well know and respected contributor to ATS, mods, lurkers, members, and the like, please enjoy my point of view concerning the following subject.

Is it ethical to kill people for their radical beliefs?

In order for this to have an even chance for debate we have to take the 2 most important words in that question and reacquaint ourselves with its definitions.

Belief

1
: a state or habit of mind in which trust or confidence is placed in some person or thing
2
: something believed; especially : a tenet or body of tenets held by a group
3
: conviction of the truth of some statement or the reality of some being or phenomenon especially when based on examination of evidence

www.merriam-webster.com...

AND


Radical

1. Arising from or going to a root or source; basic: proposed a radical solution to the problem.
2. Departing markedly from the usual or customary; extreme: radical opinions on education.
3. Favoring or effecting fundamental or revolutionary changes in current practices, conditions, or institutions: radical political views.

www.thefreedictionary.com...

Now here is a sentence, with the same words just a different meaning.

"Is it ethical to save people from their radical beliefs?"

Now we dont seem to be against this question, as it may on the outside look like we are in fact helping. As a matter of fact many of us do this on a regular basis, even in debates and discussions here on ATS, when we share what we know we feel like we are making a difference, and hope that it flourishes and changes people.

I would hate for this to be a "oh my neighbor has radical beliefs can he/she be killed as well?" NO. This is more along the line of looking for the "root" of the problem, how its presented, who is affected, and how to not be distracted.

There are over 7 billion people on this planet, with that number there would be a handful of the most extreme radicals. This delves into all aspects of life, and all people all over the world. The trickle down affect I supposed would have to be addressed, as with the radical belief, comes the radical follower. Now here is where it gets tricky.

You may ask "who would have control of such things?", and this my friends is where the question of the subject comes into play. We currently reside on this planet in very troubled times, with people in power that are even right now sharing their radical beliefs with the populous.

So ask yourself. If this subject could be perfected without bias, and agenda, in order to make a more joyous world, would you reconsider? I know is difficult not to see this in a horrible light, due to what we see and know today. I knew this would be a touchy subject based on what we as ATS members know very well, about deception, loss, crime, and distraction.

I would also like to add that I have chosen not to pick any particular faction of radicals, as not to distract from the debate, this would be unfair to readers, I will present things in a manner that can leave an open mind for all.
If for some reason I have to point something out, I will be sure to make it as widespread as I can, as not to choose one group/people/belief.

Take this tidbit with you, have you ever wondered what would have been if the person {ANY NAME? PLACE? ACTION} that brought about such destruction was killed, before it happened? If you answered yes, then its understood, if you said no, then stick around for a while, if not to change your mind, but to see that this is something that has been happening for thousands possibly hundreds of thousands of years.

What do you do to save the lives of a few, to save the lives of many?

So please stick with me on this, as I further present my opinion, on this very touchy subject. Thank you.

Now to you Druid42

Peace, NRE.


edit on 21-2-2013 by NoRegretsEver because: change title




posted on Feb, 23 2013 @ 10:37 AM
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I would like to begin my position by thanking NoRegretsEver for providing such a thought provoking topic for discussion. In setting up this debate, we both inferred it should be unnecessary to focus on any specific group or groups, thus raising the challenge level, and instead concentrate on the topic more directly.

As my opponent has provided basic definitions in order to direct the conversation, I must also provide my own, completing the groundwork upon which this debate is framed.

To complete an explanation of the title, Is it ethical to kill people for their radical beliefs? a definition of ethics must also be considered:.


Ethics, also known as moral philosophy, is a branch of philosophy that involves systematizing, defending, and recommending concepts of right and wrong conduct.


According to Tomas Paul and Linda Elder of the Foundation for Critical Thinking,


"most people confuse ethics with behaving in accordance with social conventions, religious beliefs, and the law", and don't treat ethics as a stand-alone concept.


they define ethics as:

"a set of concepts and principles that guide us in determining what behavior helps or harms sentient creatures".


To expound a bit more:


Ethics is two things. First, ethics refers to well-founded standards of right and wrong that prescribe what humans ought to do, usually in terms of rights, obligations, benefits to society, fairness, or specific virtues.



Secondly, ethics refers to the study and development of one's ethical standards.



Ethics, for example, refers to those standards that impose the reasonable obligations to refrain from rape, stealing, murder, assault, slander, and fraud. Ethical standards also include those that enjoin virtues of honesty, compassion, and loyalty. And, ethical standards include standards relating to rights, such as the right to life, the right to freedom from injury, and the right to privacy.


With the primarily definitions we are dealing with now clarified, we could reasonably reword the title of this discussion to:

Is it right or wrong to promote death for humans whose convictions of truth depart markedly from the customary?

Stated as such, there is no simple answer, as each answer would be complicated by various factors such as geographic location, religious convictions, and political affiliation.

As this debate continues, I believe we'll be led to further understand the mentality of humans throughout the ages, and see that the trend in ethics, the ability to perceive right and wrong, has steadily improved over the course of time, and while humans constantly struggle with such decisions, there are a few ethical decisions that are rather immutable, and murder is one of them.

One must ask oneself, if killing is wrong, why do wars continue? That, my dear readers, is one of the questions I wish I had the answer to.

With my position now clarified, I'll turn the debate floor back over to my opponent. Over to you, NRE.



posted on Feb, 23 2013 @ 11:54 AM
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Yes I have provided basic definitions, as not to misconstrue or apply the thoughts of others outside of readers of this debate. This topic and its controversial directness can be easily derailed. But... since you added a few links I would like to now use the same ones and prove my point as well.


Though you focused on the word "ethical" lets see where you decided to share the definition, and use the definition from the site you provided which is "The Critical Thinking Community".

Critical.

1.
inclined to find fault or to judge with severity, often too readily.
2.
occupied with or skilled in criticism.
3.
involving skillful judgment as to truth, merit, etc.; judicial: a critical analysis.
4.
of or pertaining to critics or criticism: critical essays.

dictionary.reference.com...

I can easily dismiss this reference and the use of the content as being part of the problem, with the link provided, this sounds more or less like the problem than the solution.

Each year it sponsors, along with the Foundation for Critical Thinking an annual International Conference on Critical Thinking and Educational Reform. It has worked with the College Board, the National Education Association, the U.S. Department of Education, as well as numerous colleges, universities, and school districts to facilitate the implementation of critical thinking instruction focused on intellectual standards. Studies illuminated through the work of the Center for Critical Thinking (CCT) demonstrate the fact that, as a rule, critical thinking is not presently being effectively taught at the high school, college and university level, and yet it is possible to do so.


There is a reason that I chose to ignore the word "ethical" not because it isnt relevant, but because it can be played both ways. Ethics though important, can be seen in two very different lights. So even though my opponent would like to focus on that I chose to not necessarily ignore it, but focus on the issues that would cause people to take my stance into consideration.

My point isnt that there should be mass murders committed, that would not be sensible, but there is always a leader in such cases where atrocities take place. there isnt one person that has been able to make a dent in society concerning the mayhem that man can achieve that at some point warned of the callousness and dangers when not stopped, or especially influenced and promoted.

From this list "History's Worst Dictators" there seem to be 34 notorious offenders. From 1920-2000. How is it that such as small faction of the population, miniscule at best can commit and basically go so far against so many?
www.filibustercartoons.com...

My opinion is one reason is due to the link that my opponent provided. The masses are taught about humanity, humility, peace, submission, and ethics, all while these things are being ignore, and promoted within the world of those that commit them.

Why would that be you may ask, and its quite simple. We are to believe that this is something that no "normal" person would do, if we were to actually realize that almost all people on this planet have to ability to be the next "Dictator/Monster", then we also have a way of stopping, and even seeing the signs before hand, and this is a huge problem for those that wish for us to remain complacent.

Druid asked this "One must ask oneself, if killing is wrong, why do wars continue? That, my dear readers, is one of the questions I wish I had the answer to. "

My answer is, Killing is wrong, but only the casualties are taught that its a price to pay, as the murderers are taught its "ethical" "

Now to you Druid.
Peace, NRE.



posted on Feb, 23 2013 @ 06:22 PM
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I'll borrow a quote that my opponent has made, to help further my position:



Ethics though important, can be seen in two very different lights.


Not only are ethics important, they manifest themselves at the base of every society on this planet. They define cultures. They define regimes, both past, and present. I'm not arguing for the sake of the current socio-political environment, and the rampant violations of human rights across the globe, but rather for the definitions of the words themselves.



While comical, the essence of the argument remains, and hits home quite resoundingly.

Throughout history, individuals with charisma have affected a change within their regimes which deviate from the universal standards of ethical behavior. They gain followers which agree with their radical beliefs, and as such, effect change within the world.

This aspect of humanity has been present since history has been recorded, and there's no denying that every group in power has subjected the members of it's society to their own ethical beliefs, whether right or wrong. I can understand how my opponent sees the ethical bias as a variable position, but in reality, the "monsters" of times past, yea, even now, define their ethics to their own agenda, which detracts from the true value of what ethics actually mean.

Consequently, humanity has devised methods for determining the ethical values that need to be upheld.

The Courts of Law. Trial by peers, military tribunals, UN sanctions, and in the USA, the Supreme Court.

Those that continue to uphold radical beliefs, as long as they not infringing on the rights of others, are free to continue their beliefs.

Perhaps this is the way that they view reality:



It's when a crime, perhaps even injustice, is committed that they draw attention to themselves. Once in the spotlight of the media, everyone else's ethics come into play. That makes an interesting mix.

There's a consensus as a result. There's a blending, a consideration of ideologies, and the final ruling.

Those with radical beliefs embrace the spectrum of humanity. I wouldn't expect much less from the diversity of human kind. To study humanity, and all the flaws, there are bound to be radical factions that are truly a small percentage of the whole.

I'll accept people with radical beliefs, in fact I must, in order to participate as a member of humanity. I recognize the rights of others to believe as they may.

I also believe, personally, that it is ethically wrong to kill anyone for their beliefs, no matter how radically different they are from my own. In retrospect, people who commit crimes against humanity have violated the tenuous balance between right and wrong, and deserve justice, in whatever form the courts of law prescribe.



Sometimes we forget the balance that society requires. It's a tangled web of feelings and emotions, beliefs mixed together with reality. It's no easy task, but one in which the only choice we have is to experience it, and become better, as a whole, from our own shortcomings.

Back over to you, NRE.



posted on Feb, 23 2013 @ 07:23 PM
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I see my opponent has chose to again use the word "ethics", this isnt about the ethics of those that have radical beliefs, but the ethical dilemma of those that choose to correct or punish those that commit atrocities with death.


Consequently, humanity has devised methods for determining the ethical values that need to be upheld.

The Courts of Law. Trial by peers, military tribunals, UN sanctions, and in the USA, the Supreme Court.


I am surprised that this was mentioned as these are some of the greatest offenders of both radical beliefs, and problems with ethics.


Those that continue to uphold radical beliefs, as long as they not infringing on the rights of others, are free to continue their beliefs.


Yes, they are, but this is about those that have such radical beliefs that all they do is infringe on the rights of others, which is why this form of punishment is being considered.


I also believe, personally, that it is ethically wrong to kill anyone for their beliefs, no matter how radically different they are from my own. In retrospect, people who commit crimes against humanity have violated the tenuous balance between right and wrong, and deserve justice, in whatever form the courts of law prescribe.


Thank you so much for proving my point! This isn't about a person who killed a cat, or even someone that killed 100 people, this is about those that have challenged all rights of life, personal freedoms, and the will for happiness of people on this planet, and that I have been presenting that should be held to such punishment.


There is a difference between a group holding signs at a rally, and a dictator that hold a tribunal of death for innocent people, they are the people that would be considered for such a penalty. I dare say that there is such a need on this planet for such considerations if we are to continuously ignore those that are collateral damage for people in power.

If we are to move ahead on this planet, we must first put the fear into those that can present terror, as opposed to being the ones ( innocents ) who are afraid. How is this any different than a person who is killed for stealing a loaf of bread, why should there be a fear for stealing, but not for killing thousands?

Now to Druid.

Peace, NRE.



posted on Feb, 23 2013 @ 10:01 PM
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In closing, I need to state the difference between those in power, elected officials, and those in power, dictators and monarchs with absolute rule.

The elected officials are representative of the "right" side of the ethical balance, upholding the recognition of rights, and the dictators that are on the "wrong" side of the scale, who present their own agenda.

Most people adore the freedoms allowed on the former side of the scale, while the rest, unprotected by a valid system of ethics, yearn to join the other side of the balance, being repressed, often their whole lives.

Freedom, you see, isn't free. It comes with a price. Either you adhere to a system of ethics, or you allow yourself to be trapped within other systems. Most people born into such regimes, and never know the freedom and liberties we have.

That doesn't justify condemning the whole system. Sure, there are faults, but workable systems of ethics, no matter how flawed they are, are our only protection from becoming trapped under the same provisions of government that people have been subjected to in times past.

In any system of ethics it is not valid to kill anyone, no matter how heinous their crimes against society may be. Period.

It happens, but then again, this is not a perfect world. We adapt, as citizens of this planet, and learn, looking back upon the mistakes of the past, with the hope of someday improving ourselves.



posted on Mar, 12 2013 @ 11:19 AM
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After the loss my operating system ( having to reformat and start fresh ), and the flu... I've got the results for this debate!!!

Judge one says:


This is a very difficult subject to debate as it could be argued that there is ample opportunity to rule both for and against killing for radical beliefs.


In setting up this debate, we both inferred it should be unnecessary to focus on any specific group or groups, thus raising the challenge level, and instead concentrate on the topic more directly.


Both NRE and Druid42 maintained a stance throughout the discourse that focused, indirectly or otherwise, on individuals who's beliefs lead to the death of other individuals.

I would like to have seen a focus on some other aspects of this argument from Galileo's celestial observations through to alternative cancer cures. These aspects of radical beliefs, by definition, form part of the debate.

I felt that NRE provided a valid argument for exercising the killing of individuals where it is deemed necessary: Chairman Mao's "kill one, scare a thousand" philosophy comes to mind. But, this stance did not address those radical ideals where there is no clear right or wrong.

Druid42 focused, primarily, upon the ethical aspect of the decision making process and his use of the K&H cartoon is a very good example of where the lines can become blurred. Druid42's reference here:

Consequently, humanity has devised methods for determining the ethical values that need to be upheld.

The Courts of Law. Trial by peers, military tribunals, UN sanctions, and in the USA, the Supreme Court.

Those that continue to uphold radical beliefs, as long as they not infringing on the rights of others, are free to continue their beliefs.
in essence, is what we have come to believe, as a "society", as the correct process in determining the extent of punishment to be imposed where a departure from the law has apparently occurred.

However, this system does not appear relevant to the entirety of the debate subject as some radical beliefs are not within the scope of harming others.

In reading this debate more than once, I conclude that Druid42 gave a more convincing argument on his stance on the topic yet NRE gave a clearer argument on the moralistic nature of his stance.

NRE is the winner, however I wish to reiterate, that this is by the narrowest of margins.


And judge two says:


First round was a great opener for both opponents; both did a great job of explaining the ins and outs of what is defined as radical beliefs, and how the definition of belief is varied from each standpoint.
NRE did a great job of defining how radical beliefs differ depending on the viewpoint of the person, while Druid42 returned with a definition of why people do kill for their beliefs. However, for a better description as an opener, I give round one to NRE.

The second round NRE did not bring much to the table that hadn’t already been said in the first round of posting, although she did answer Druid’s question about wars and killing rather well.
Druid returned with a very concise set of facts regarding society and laws, and really stuck to his guns regarding the topic. Round two to Druid42.

The final round was very difficult to decide a clear winner, as both presented very sound arguments.
Despite this, I give the final round to NRE for a more concise argument regarding the facts behind ethics and those in power. Druid did make a strong reply regarding freedoms, but I tend to believe NRE proved her points well. By a very slim margin, round three and the debate to NRE.


The winner is NoRegretsEver! Congratulations to both fighters on a fantastic debate! My apologies that it took awhile to get this finalized! Thanks to both participants and to the members and readers of the Debate Forum!


edit on 3/12/13 by Hefficide because: (no reason given)






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