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Resolved: Adolescents ought to have the right to make autonomous medical decisions.

8 points
0 points
adminadmin (PRO)
I thank my opponent for instigating this debate with me.

Inherent personal dignity
In this debate, I want to stress the importance of the individual, as the most important value to uphold. Individual dignity inherently requires individual autonomy - if people cannot make decisions as a result of some artificial constraint, then the presumption is that the value underlying that constraint is more important than the individual's choice. This value affirms common medical principles, and as such is particularly relevant to medical decision making, such as bodily autonomy - the body is our own sacred property, and nobody can take away from that.

There are, of course, some occasions when such dignity is absolved in the name of socially held principles. However, the burden is on those who wish to restrict human dignity to justify that cost, not the reverse. A loss of dignity is nothing to take lightly, and should only be done in the case of serious social harm. It is my contention in this debate that teenagers making personal medical decisions is not one of those harms.

What kind of cases are we talking about here?
This debate is about the young confused pregnant girl, who must submit to the authority of her parents because she cannot choose whether or not to have an abortion, and cannot refuse if her parents or doctor tells her to have one. I'm saying she should have that inherent right to decide what happens to her own body. I'd extend that principle even further than surgical procedure - nobody should force medicate a teenager. Nobody should euthanize a teenager without that teenager's consent. Teenagers should not be forced to accept treatments like blood transfusions or vaccinations, should have the right to accept voluntary treatments against the wishes of others such as circumcision, breast enlargement or gender change operations, and all other medical autonomous decisions an adult may ordinarily make.

Of course there may be cases where it is valid to restrict the autonomy of adolescents in edge cases, but teenagers should be treated no differently from adults in this respect. We should not be in the business of dehumanizing individuals by insulting their inherent right to determine what to do with their bodies.

Healthy teens are not defined by their peers
Most medical procedures are irreversible - and those that are, the reversal is often difficult and painful. As adults, those who force decisions on this group are immune from the long term suffering, both physical and psychological, this can create. Their risk is minimized and, thus, they have a reduced incentive to make safer medical decisions, carefully considering all the costs and benefits of each procedure. A mother who chooses homeopathy for her cancer-stricken son won't die of cancer herself, so she will be more easily swayed by that sort of alternative remedy. Further, even if the son does survive the cancer, he probably won't be all too happy about the experience of being forced to undergo medical procedures he might not want.

Bear in mind that adolescents are in a tough transitional stage of their lives already. Compounding these harms with the damage of a difficult relationship with healthcare providers isn't easy for anybody, and can easily produce generations of jaded individuals who forsake the medical establishment on account of this, leading to worse treatment outcomes in the longer term.

This is all particularly the case because in adolescence, the desire for autonomy is strongest. Teens don't want to be defined by their parents, or their doctors, or anyone else - as a teenager, a young person seeks to go their own way, and demands respect. This provides a meaningful framework for social engagement with these people, as opposed to isolating and ostracizing their sense of self at a crucial stage in their life. Thus, defining a young person based on the beliefs of others - particularly the older generation - is a tried and proven means to failure of policy. This explains why for thousands of years, philosophers and writers from as diverse cultures as ancient Rome, Greece, Egypt and China all wrote about how useless and disrespectful the youth of their day were. This is simply a normal part of growing up - we should embrace it.

Means to support
When a teenager feels they are trapped and forced into making medical decisions, when their autonomy is vanquished, a deadly effect occurs - teenagers lose all incentive to report private medical matters. That teen girl I referred to earlier has every reason in the world to keep her pregnancy a secret, or worse, run away from home to escape the inevitable judgement that the revelation would impose on her, her future, and the future of her child. In the alternative view, that I advocate, her right to refuse any treatment provides the incentive to seek out support on her own, as faced with an uncertain future, she is empowered to find out all the facts herself and make a choice that's right for her.

This goes beyond the medical establishment, and allows a young person to receive a broader, more holistic support network for their conditions. A person questioning whether to take a certain brand of antidepressants, for example, may find somebody else who has experience with the drug. They may talk to their friends, teachers, extended family, and/or other community organizations that particularly deal with youth, like churches or advocacy centers. This allows their decision to be better tailored to their own lives and according to their own values, as opposed to (say) the friends or moral values of a doctor or parent. It's no secret that people of past generations have different values and social circles, and this directly informs their medical decision making in ways that could easily disenfranchise younger people.

Ageism is rife in our society, and removing this particular barrier, wherever it still exists, is a small step towards the broader problem of ending discrimination against people on the basis of their age more broadly. We see unjust discrimination as a fundamental injustice, and contrary to commonly accepted principles of human rights. And when there is no basis to discrimination against youth in particular, we see no justice in that discrimination.

The resolution is affirmed.

Return To Top | Posted:
2015-09-26 16:38:07
| Speak Round
ColeTrainColeTrain (CON)


This debate boils down to how important autonomy is, and if it should be *restricted.* I will demonstrate that because teens are incapable of making the *best* decision for their health, we should pursue a shared model instead. This is argued on the premise that adolescents are not developed *enough* to merit unconditional autonomy (e.g. allowing them to make their own medical decisions).

Contention I: Autonomy is a delicate value.

It’s all well and good that individuals have autonomy, but we must be careful in giving autonomy to individuals in a situation that is rambunctious and potentially harmful. Allow me to first define autonomy. Relatively similar to my opponent’s definition, I believe the following definition provides more clarity: “the right (and condition) of self-government.” [7] It is imperative to realize that autonomy is not only a right, but also a CONDITION. When one displays inability or incapacity to perform the duty of which they are required, it is removed.

For example, when an individual commits a crime, they are arrested and imprisoned. Likewise, their “rights” become conditional, based upon their behavior and ability to perform a duty. In a similar manner, if adolescents are unable to demonstrate maturity and ability to make their own medical decisions, their autonomy to do so must be conditional.

As I will demonstrate, adolescents should not be given the autonomy to make their own medical decisions, and thus the conditional autonomy to do so must take the form of a shared method, between their parents/guardians AND themselves. This is because “capacity to consent to medical care is a presumption for adults and incapacity is the presumption for minors.” [10] The normative method follows this statement, and I argue that it is fundamentally and empirically correct in nature.

Now, before proceeding, let’s clarify what exactly what this autonomy and its medical decision-making ability entails. In all seriousness, it’s quite difficult to define, as law professor Rhonda Gay Hartman explains, “Decisional autonomy is an elusive concept.” [8] However, it can be relatively explicitly defined in this manner, “"(a) the ability to comprehend information relevant to the decision, (b) the ability to deliberate [about choices] in accordance with [personal] values and goals, and (c) the ability to communicate [verbally or nonverbally] with caregivers." This formulation does not allow for a finding of decision-making capacity where a patient demonstrates "an inability to reach or communicate a decision," [9] This also includes the ability to recognize the future ramifications of the decisions. With that defined, we understand that these adolescents must be coherent and mature in their minds to fulfill this definition. Falling short on any of these aspects merits conditional autonomy.

Contention II: Adolescents require guidance in medical decisions.

If an adolescent is unable to make the *best* decision for themselves, and if they are do not have the capacity to choose wisely in regards to medical decisions, then for the benefit of both themselves and the rest of society it is imperative that we not allow them to make their *own* decisions. This premise can be fulfilled as follows:

P1: Teens minds are not fully developed.

P2: Underdevelopment in their minds leads to bad decisions. (fulfilled by P1)

C1: We should not give unconditional autonomy to teens in regards to medical decisions. (fulfilled by P1 and P2)

Quite simply, an adolescent's mind is not fully matured until individuals reach the approximate age of 25. [1] Studies have been conducted and found that teens, even at the age of 18 (as my opponent has advocated) are not fully matured. [2] Allowing teens that are far younger than that age to make medical decisions that can dramatically and permanently affect their lives is a delicate proposition, and one that I will be arguing against.

This lack of brain development alone equates for numerous dangers in regards to medical decisions, some of which are as follows: “impulsivity, inflexibility, emotional volatility, risk taking “short termism.”” [3] These aspects collectively show high risk and potential problems for adolescents, which displays “a peculiar vulnerability of children; their inability to make critical decisions in an informed, mature manner.” [4]

Moreover, the correlation between an immature mind is strongly the cause of distress in adolescents, whether now or later, some of which can be potentially fatal. Cancer is an optimal example of this. “The success of cancer therapy is closely dependent on you taking your medications in a very religious manner," said Koren, a Sick Kids pediatrician and pharmacologist who supervised the study…some adolescents may balk at taking the medications, which can have "terrible" side-effects, he said, especially when pills must be taken day-in and day-out for several years.” [5] Furthermore, this isn’t an irregular occurrence. Pediatric oncologist Dr. Bejamin Gesundheit confirms, “Non-compliance with therapy is widespread among adolescents with cancer.” [6]

Essentially, non-compliance is a big issue that alone merits a shared method of medical decisions. This a huge problem when realizing how important medical decisions are. “Support for confidential care for adolescents has always been a pragmatic notion, directed toward public health outcomes.” [10] As it harms public health by giving potential for harmful medical decisions that could have a trickle-down effect, there is also pragmatic grounds to negate the resolution proposed by my opponent.

Contention III: A shared decision-making model is more pragmatic and beneficial.

On simply pragmatic grounds, a shared model looks WAY better. First of all, it encourages communication between teens and their parents, which is inherently beneficial. [11] Aside from that, however, a discussion can bring up points of which the other party may not have considered.

Beyond that, however, is revealed an even greater dilemma. “Recently... courts have begun to deviate from the common law maxim in order to allow certain chronically ill minors to discontinue necessary medical treatment.” [12] The same review notes, “One may initially interpret this phenomenon as an expansion of the rights of minors, based upon judicial recognition that chronically ill adolescents are (or may be) as mature as adults. However, as this Comment will demonstrate, "maturity" is not a well-defined legal term, and the mature minor doctrine is more an instrument of paternalism than a conduit of liberty for adolescents. The doctrine is nonetheless capable of effecting drastic consequences.”

With medical treatments becoming increasingly sophisticated [13], it is of optimal importance that the decisions are done correctly. To achieve this with the highest of success rates, we must use the traditional shared model between the adolescents and their parents. The best all-around method, “In a shared decision-making model… most health care decisions would require the consent of both patient and parent, rather than just parental consent, with some necessary exceptions for particularly difficult circumstances in which sole decision-making by the young person or parent would be most appropriate. Such a change may improve the actual physical health of young people by encouraging access to care and providing the psychological benefits that come from wielding some measure of power over one's own health care.” [9]

Moreover, if an adolescent decides to take medication or suchlike which the parent deems uneccessary, it could place a strain on the family’s budget. Conversely, a shared method would seek to find the most cost-efficient solution to the dilemma at hand.

Thank you! :)

Return To Top | Posted:
2015-09-28 02:15:05
| Speak Round
adminadmin (PRO)
I thank my opponent for introducing his contentions.

Personal dignity
Even if an adolescent's right to personal dignity were contingent upon their ability to make sound medical decisions, the resolution hardly follows. First, it's an entirely arbitrary standard, since it is not imposed upon adults. An adult of a low IQ is more than capable of making an autonomous medical decision in the eyes of con's model. Second, it's even more inconsistent because adolescents develop at different rates. Some adolescents of a certain age are going to be able to make better decisions than others. So we can expect that numerous intelligent teens who are more than capable of making sound medical decisions will also be subject to the whim of their less-than-capable parents, the reverse of my opponent's point.

This is an affront to the institution of medicine, and an affront to the personal dignity of every young person in society. It's the imposition of an arbitrary restriction ostensibly in the name of a stereotype, but since it is only being applied to one small subgroup, the reality of why it is being imposed is little more than ageist discrimination. Moreover, a shared model hardly supports these ends - if it were truly the case that personal autonomy should be restricted in the name of limitations on decision making, restricting decision making entirely (as we give parents medical autonomy over infants, for example) is the more sensible end. Con is in the difficult position of having to defend a young person's autonomy to agree or disagree with medical decisions, while also claiming they are fundamentally incapable of making a medical decision.

Further, we outright deny that limited decision making capability is any premise for personal dignity. Personal dignity is sacred and inviolable, and con has demonstrated no serious social harms at all from not adhering to conditional personal dignity in this instance.

A shared model blocks options
An adolescent, after careful consideration, may decide to get an abortion. If her parents are hardline Christians, however, she's going to be rather out of luck. The harm of a shared model is that it errs on the side of preventing treatment without consensus, and that ultimately means that adolescents, one of the most vulnerable groups in our society, are often denied the treatment that they desperately need, simply on the basis of their parents.

Bear in mind that many adolescents live away from their parents. They already are completely independent in almost every other respect. Blocking treatment on these grounds is fundamentally unjust, because the degree of connection between a teen and their parents will vary. They'll be driven to alternative means of finding treatment - perhaps they'll head to another country, or try a backyard abortion, which is inherently much more risky, in their desperation. The reverse is also true. Parents may, for example, blackmail their children into accepting medical treatments, threatening to throw them out for instance. This is hardly conducive to the aims of "guiding" adolescents.

Adolescents require guidance
While we broadly agree that adolescents require guidance, we don't accept they'll receive better guidance from their parents than from other stakeholders. We further find that adults require guidance exactly the same way. This is the exact reason why doctors exist - to guide people in their medical decision making. Indeed, many doctors specialize in precisely this - helping teenagers and young people.

No two brains are identical. For example, people develop at different rates and in different ways. It's true that some studies have indicated the brain continues to develop until well into a person's 20s. This does not mean that, automatically, a person is incapable of making a sound medical decision - there are numerous medical students and practicing nurses under that age who still do a damn good job. Further a "developed" mind clearly doesn't prevent bad medical decisions either, as numerous adults take up smoking every year.

A shared model doesn't solve for non-compliance. Increasing an adolescent's buy-in into the medical decision making process does. Teens who get sick from not taking medications hardly inspire others to not take medications, so there is no trickle-down effect in that respect like my opponent postulated. And finally, even if teens are inclined to think impulsively - and we deny this is true outside of stereotyping - this neither necessarily equates to an unsound decision, nor does it mean they couldn't make a calculated decision if they had to. There is greater risk providing old people with autonomy than adolescents in each of these respects.

You don't incentivise teens to communicate more with their family by forcing such communication for medical decisions. In cases where teens don't talk much with their family, we think they'll just not tell their family their medical problems, which is clearly a far greater harm. When a teen has the autonomy themselves, there's no risk of conflict with the family as the family would need to accept the teen's individual decision.

I think it's great that courts have begun to recognize the rights of minors. I further completely agree that maturity is a very poor standard for the provision of basic human rights, being grounded in mere paternalism. This is not a threat to my model, but to my opponent's.

We also agree treatments are becoming more sophisticated, but that impacts on adults too, who are not experts on medicine and cannot be expected to have a thorough understanding of treatments. Moreover, we feel this increases the incentives on young people to find support for their issues.

Finally, we doubt budget concerns are very relevant, since we can hardly put a price on the health of our adolescents, but we note the distinction between autonomy of medical decisions and availability of medical options. A teen may have perfect decision making power but only a limited range of options as dictated by their financial situation, just like adults.

Real teens are quite different
First, we categorically deny that teenagers respond positively to adults having more control over their lives. Teenagers want to rebel and be different. They are peoples crying for autonomy, rapidly developing their personal sense of self. As such forcing them to be defined, in whole or by shared decision, by somebody else, is inherently negative for them. We further feel that this autonomy is guaranteed by human rights and common principles of human dignity. This has all kinds of flow-on impacts that my opponent refused to engage with, such as teenagers being less likely to report medical conditions leading to negative health outcomes.

To extend, we feel this is inherently a misogynistic policy, since the decisions teenagers are likely to be most ashamed about are, by nature, sexual. An active policy that in any way discourages women from seeking the support they need in pregnancy is particularly harmful, and of course, disproportionately affects women more than men.

Second, we feel that parents are in a particularly poor place to make that decision, being not personally significantly and (in most cases) permanently affected. This point hasn't been contested at all by my opponent so you can consider it dropped. I thought my analysis with the son dying of cancer was pretty good personally. It further has not been contested that the model provides a more holistic yet targeted support network to a young person's needs.

Finally I'd like to extend that too. Medical autonomy creates incentives for the production of specialized resources in the healthcare sector. Much like large-print booklets etc are produced to inform the elderly of their medical decisions, so too would resources that particularly appeal to youth be more produced if my model were implemented. Teens respond positively to this kind of attention and recognition.

The resolution is affirmed.

Return To Top | Posted:
2015-10-01 12:09:53
| Speak Round
ColeTrainColeTrain (CON)

Personal Dignity

The dignity of human life is indisputably very important, but it's equally important to recognize how negating the resolution preserves human dignity on a utilitarian level, rather than simply an individual basis. Dignity was defined in a relative manner by my opponent, as such: the importance and value of an individual. He asserts this requires individual autonomy. However, as I have demonstrated, personal autonomy is conditional. Just like our other rights are conditional, liberty must be viewed the same.

Essentially, my opponent is valuing life. However, if an individual goes to a harsh extent to supposedly preserve their human dignity, but it harms other individuals' dignity, it is not utilitarian. Conceivably, valuing human dignity to the extent that incompetent adolescents make detrimental medical decisions is a value trumped by both utilitarianism and morality in general. This mandates adolescents have a conception of conditional autonomy in regards to medical decisions to preserve the human dignity of others, protect morality, and ultimately be utilitarian.

Types of Cases

The example my opponent mentions will suffice to give a generic connotation to the resolution, but it’s more of an emotional appeal to sway voters. Intentions good as they may be, it’s still a fallible idea to grant teen’s unconditional autonomy.

Donnelly writes, “A Kantian conception of autonomy, therefore, is not about free choice but about the drive to appropriate or moral action.” [1] Autonomy doesn’t necessarily guarantee *total* free choice, as Kant agreed, and was more about individuals having the right to take the appropriate and moral action. In this case, the appropriate, and moral, action would be utilizing a shared model. This does a lot to prevent impulsive or inappropriate decisions made by adolescents.

Healthy Teens "Aren't" Defined by Peers

My opponent’s view regarding this point is severely skewed. It acts under the false premise that parent’s don’t *really* care for their children. The initial example mentioned basically insinuates that the parent won’t die from no treatment, so they are fine with forcing their child to neglect undergoing said treatment. This is is inherently flawed. As a parent’s duty, the mother would endeavour to do what is *best* for the child.

Moreover, parents have MUCH better ability to make the most appropriate decisions. Parents raise their children, and recognize their strengths, weaknesses, and desires as individuals. It is recognizably true (as my opponent even mentions) that adolescents are trying to express themselves. It is equally obvious that they don’t have a solidified grasp of “who they are” by how religiously they respond to trends, fashion, the polar opposite.

Teens don’t really KNOW who they are, and as such, act impulsively. Pustilnik and Henry note, “Imaging studies show that adolescents have developing, but incomplete, prefrontal cortices, which may indicate immature executive function. The prefrontal cortex ("pfc") is the last region of the brain to develop fully. Researchers agree that the pfc is the seat of "executive control." These are inhibitory functions, like impulse control, long-term planning, and cost-benefit analysis. Neuroscientists hypothesize that a less-developed pfc may correlate with a lesser ability to control impulsivity, weigh future consequences, and engage in rational, cost-benefit analysis - hallmarks of typical behavioral differences between teens and adults. Research suggests not only that adolescents reason less effectively than adults but that they reason differently: Teens appear to evaluate risks relationally ("What do my friends think about this?" "What will my friends think of me if I do/don't do this?") rather than independently ("Is this a good idea?")” [2] This cited evidence and explanation explicitly refutes my opponent's tagline of the argument he's trying to make.

This definitively demonstrates adolescent inability to make competent, rational, and appropriate decisions for their health. It also suggests that parents, whose minds are more developed, would be capable of making competent, rational, and appropriate decisions for not only themselves, but their children as well. Cherry supports this and points out that there is a “substantial array of scientific evidence indicating that children, even so-called mature minors, are generally not in fact mature decision makers. There is a significant body of neurobiological evidence that the adolescent and teenage brain is not yet fully developed in its cognitive and affective capacities.” [4] Teens are simply unprepared to make such crucial decisions.

As parents are required to guide their children, rearing them in a more beneficial manner is the only moral option. Cross-apply more warrants from Cherry: “Parents have usually been identified, within rather broad side constraints, as the source of authority over their children and as the best judges of what constitutes the best interests for the family as a whole as well as the best interests of their minor children in areas of medical decision making. That is, parents themselves have usually been identified as the best judges for balancing costs and benefits, articulating values and inculcating virtues, to determine appropriate judgments for themselves and their children, and the family as a whole.” [4]

This shared model, not solely parental decision making, is much more beneficial as it allows the conversation and discussion, which not only assists family relationships, but also helps move toward a better decision in the long run. “Shared decision making (SDM) is a collaborative process that allows patients and their providers to make healthcare decisions together, taking into account the best scientific evidence available, as well as the patient’s values and preferences.” [3] This process is not one-sided, it accounts for both opinions when formulating a decision. Parental guidance is not only necessary, but it is much superior to adolescents going through the process alone.

Means to Support

My opponent argues teens will “feel trapped” and decline to report private medical matters. This assertion is untrue given the shared decision-making model for which I advocate. This gives teens the ability to voice their opinion in the matter, but also provides necessary guidance as well. Under this method, adolescents can feel free to share their problems and get the *best* help possible. This also ensures that parents do not make hasty decisions, as they are checked by the adolescent as well. By doing so, they protect not only their own morality and human dignity, but also those of others in utilitarian manner.


My opponent asserts this is a large problem in our society, specifically regarding teens. I’d argue (strictly in relation to adolescents) that it is NOT a problem. “Ageism” is necessary to protect the entirety of society. This is why there are regulations on a plethora of other things, such as: obtaining a firearm, driving, working jobs, among many others. Without these regulations in place, severe damage could be done. The same applies to medical decisions. Allowing teens to make decisions that have a greater reaching impact than exclusively themselves poses a threat to society.


My opponent does nothing to show that teens are at the very least even CAPABLE of making appropriate decisions. Moreover, autonomy can’t be valued above morality, as there’s no place for liberty to exist without morals. Immoral autonomy, as Kant noted, is flawed, and entirely different from appropriate or moral autonomy. Since negating the resolution constitutes *better* morality, better protects utilitarian human dignity, and is more pragmatic given the shared model, there is no option but to vote negative.

The resolution is soundly negated.

Sources: http://pasted.co/3db95a47

Return To Top | Posted:
2015-10-02 09:24:37
| Speak Round
adminadmin (PRO)
I thank my opponent for continuing his case.

Let's be perfectly clear about a "shared" model. It says adolescents have no rights to their own bodies. Sure they are consulted, but in my opponent's view, the only time an adolescent's opinion should actually matter is when they happen to agree with both of their parents. It's not shared as in requiring the guidance of adults, and we agree, doctors should exist. It's not even shared as in giving the teen limited responsibility. No - shared in this case means a complete removal of the person's medical rights to their own body, except as validated by a third party. The "shared" part is entirely misleading.

Personal Dignity
My opponent has yet to prove that, when given the right to make autonomous medical decisions, adolescents have more negative health outcomes. However, even if he had, he fails to respond to my substantive to this point. I told you that the standard is arbitrary because adults make poor medical decisions all the time. I'd extend that further by pointing out that even doctors, the most trained medical professionals, can misdiagnose conditions on occasion, or make other crucial errors that end lives. Second, I told you the standard is fundamentally inconsistent, both between adolescents and between an adolescent and an adult. Third, I told you that my opponent's model makes no sense in this view, since if teens are really incompetent there is no utility to a shared model over a restricted one.

However, we still don't accept that personal dignity is in fact contingent at all. All our evidence to this point - such as the views of medicine and society at large as having moved beyond ageism - has been ignored.

We don't believe that Kantian autonomy is a particularly valid counter-point, because 1) I've never argued for the provision of free choice, but the right of more individuals to take moral actions, 2) The right to take moral actions inherently incorporates the right to take immoral actions, as morality can only be determined post facto, and 3) Kant was dead wrong on a lot of things, so we just don't generally think name-dropping is enough to carry this point.

Defining teens by peers
We dispute that every mother wants what's best for each of their children. All too often there are exceptions. However, even if this were not the case, a mother may be genuinely misinformed. When the law validates her own opinion only on the basis of age, we find it reasonable that such a mother would dismiss the views of her own child as being made immaturely. In fact, people of any age can be brainwashed, deluded, have a poor doctor, or just plain misinformed. No malice is necessarily required - we don't believe everyone who swears by homeopathy or faith healing is evil, for example. Further, we have already demonstrated that a lack of personal investment reduces the incentives on people to care for other parties.

I know my parents certainly don't know everything I got up to as a teenager, and this is in fact a typical case. Teenagers, being in a rebellious state, are learning autonomy and thus, becoming more independent. As psychologists like to say, the best expert on you is you. None of this is limited by a state of expression, but the common trope of teenagers being lethargic around their families holds true for a reason.

I concur that teens often haven't worked out their identities fully, and that their brains are developing in ways that may be this or that. However, this does not mean that a) they are incapable of making an autonomous medical decision, or b) that we can automatically assume their decisions will be poor. First, personality has nothing to do with reasoning ability. Not understanding your own person well does not mean you cannot think well. Second, even taking a vastly oversimplified model of brain development (cf. Personal Dignity), a decision may be less well reasoned than an adult's but still a good decision. And third, very few people make such cost benefit analyses anyway. Most people just go to the doctor, get a prescription, go to the pharmacy, and get on with their lives. They don't want to waste their time evaluating complex science.

Various quotes
Rather than come up with his own original points, my opponent spends about half of his argument simply quoting other writers verbatim. Some points about the specifics of these.

First, an "undeveloped" prefrontal cortex is more than enough to allow people to safely drive on the roads the vast majority of the time. Teens are no gibbering idiots. That the reason differently is both a generalization and not an argument that this reasoning is relatively incorrect. Indeed in many cases, the limbic system alone can generate a more accurate answer than the prefrontal cortex. When I was younger I found it hard to concentrate for an hour on chess, probably because my brain was still learning how to look that many moves ahead. This did not prevent me, however, from being a decently good player. It's a myth to say a slightly undeveloped prefrontal cortex always means a smarter decision, and numerous poor health decisions by adults continue to be the nail in the coffin for con.

Cherry's particular personal views on this debate do not impact on the resolution. Their observation that parents have "usually" been deigned the best judges for the health of their family does not mean that parents actually are that, nor does it support a shared model, nor does it mean they should be the ultimate authority. Cheery is simply relaying tradition.

Shared decision making is not particularly collaborative for all kinds of reasons I've mentioned already that con still refuses to rebut - for instance, that often the most harmful medical decisions at that age are the ones teens are least likely to want to report to their parents. Con has much work to do before he can make such a bold claim.

Finally, right at the end con quotes Kant again as if anything Kant says is automatically right. It's not.

A shared model does not absolve teens of their feelings. If they know they will be stigmatized by their family for having unprotected sex, then you can safely bet they'll be apprehensive when it comes to telling them the news. It doesn't particularly matter if they can voice their opinion - they regret what happened, they wish it would all go away, and they fear the consequences. Does that sound like it will lead to a very collaborative process to you?

Simply because they have the right to voice an opinion does not mean they want to, or that doing so would be a good idea given their circumstances in the horrible conditions con wants to subject them to. It's like an officer in a concentration camp holding a gun to some Jew's head and telling them they are free to voice their opinions on Hitler. Of course they really are, but they know the consequence of doing so all too well. Many teenagers will still not talk to their families, and that's a harm.

As mentioned previously, such models tend to inaction, which is a harm when often, a teen needs urgent medical help. The refusal of a parent to consent to treatment, for example, perhaps while their old minds "carefully" consider the facts, may be thought of as a kind of child abuse, or at least neglect, but my opponent wishes to protect that as their absolute right and privilege. It's sick, and hardly "utilitarian".

Ageism is valid when there is a valid reason for it. We see a lack of rationale on side negative as tending towards a discriminative framework. Our society undervalues people in old age and in youth, being run by middle-aged people with a vested interest in keeping themselves at the top for as long as possible. Movements to empower these marginalized groups, and especially youth, has a ripple effect in encouraging the spread of equal rights and opportunities to these groups more readily according to dignity and not prejudice.

The resolution is negated.

Return To Top | Posted:
2015-10-06 23:42:46
| Speak Round
ColeTrainColeTrain (CON)
Shared Model
My opponent makes an incorrect assumption about the shared model. The claim that a shared model renders adolescents "no rights to their own bodies" is by the very definition false. A shared model means that they DO have rights to their bodies, but it is done in a shared manner with the parents. My opponent obviously assumes that the parent's decision always trumps the adolescent's, but this isn't necessarily true. It does well to solve the problem of hasty and incompetent decisions, which is more important than autonomy. Even if you don't buy that, autonomy shouldn't be valued above life. Under the resolution, autonomous medical decisions doesn't exclude or discriminate. It accepts ALL medical decisions. By this definition, life-changing, crucial, and even deathly decisions could be made because of a teen's incapability to make the *right* decision. It is imperative that we value life above autonomy.

Personal Dignity
My opponent claims I haven't shown how adolescents have more negative health outcomes if they choose. In this, he is correct. But I don't have to, because it's impossible. Allow me to explain. It is my opponent who is advocating to change the status quo, and thus the burden rests *more* on him. Since countries don't already allow autonomous medical decisions for teens, there is no way for me to prove through historical evidence that it is a bad idea. The same, my opponent cannot claim I must or the Con side is irrelevant. Rather, I must, and have, prove that there is good reason to believe bad decisions would be made. I have done so by using a broad array of sources, while my opponent has provided none.

My opponent makes another irrelevant claim by stating that even adults and doctors can make bad decisions. Obviously this is true; but it's also irrelevant. This debate is centered around what would be best or teens. I'm arguing that it would be best if teens were not to make their own decisions, as there is a much higher likelihood of them to err than adults or medical professionals. While my opponent has cited no credible sources to disprove this, I have proved this with quite a few sources. As that is clearly not sufficient for my opponent, I'll provide even more.

Jetha and Segalowitz (2012) note "Children and adolescents have not reached the adult levels of processing efficiency in the
brain networks supporting social cognition despite apparent sophistication in some
contexts. The circuitry supporting mature levels of perspective taking and empathic
understanding have not fully matured." [1] Immaturity disallows competent and ultimately the *best* decisions to be made. Regardless of whether teens can in some cases make competent decisions, a more developed brain is still better! Barina and Bishop (2013) add "Adolescents, whose frontal lobes are not fully developed, are known to have more
impulsivity in making decisions. When compared to adults, adolescents tend to assess threat–safety
scenarios very differently." [2] Impulsivity, as is commonly known, is a dangerous hinderance in regards to medical decisions, especially those of dangerous or critical manner.

Adolescence is crucial time of development for the brain. [3] Allowing decisions to be made before the brain has fully developed on its own can cause regret later. Because of that brain development, adolescents are more emotional, which could prohibit correct choices. [4] Emotional sway can also cause future regret or error in decision-making. Limited life experience can hinder decision-making, particularly for adolescents. [5] [6]

My opponent denies Kant. However, Kant was very right on a lot of things. Though my opponent claims he's not advocating for free choice, he essentially is. Free choice means making your own choice regardless of others. That is the dangerous situation in which we would be placing teens. His assertion that moral actions can only be made after the fact is flat out wrong. It's easy to predict, based on related evidence, that teens wouldn't be able to make the best decisions for their health. Other policies restrict teens from doing things that would obviously have negative consequences. Autonomous medical decisions for teens is no different.

Defining Teens by Peers
My opponent's entire contention here is built on presumption. He PRESUMES parents will make rash and incorrect decisions, just because humans are prone to err. The same could be said for teens, and it's even more likely that they would due to the time of life that they are in. Parents, or adults in general for that matter, have a much higher likelihood of making decisions that are the best for their children. This is a time where evidence is critical. My opponent's ENTIRE case is backed by NO evidence or expert opinion, but rather on his own word. All of the studies I've provided that show incompetence are uncontested, all of my evidence for ALL of my arguments are uncontested. As a judge, you prefer the quoted and cited word of an expert with explanation than the word of my opponent.

My opponent concedes that teens are still in development. However, he contests the very basis of underdevelopment immediately after. Incapability to act rationally is directly correlated and caused by the brain and its development. As I've shown through reasoning and a plethora of evidence, it is true that teens have an inherent incompetence in regards to medical decision due to the underdevelopment of the brain. It is imperative that, as a judge, you prefer my word backed by evidence over my opponent's opinion.

Various Quotes
This argument is flawed. My opponent says that I don't have original points and that I use quotes instead of my own arguments. This is inherently false. While I do utilize quotes they are used for credibility, justification, and expert opinion. I don't simply quote-drop, I use quotes to support my points, which gives them more power, relevance, and impact. Using quotes is in no way a hindrance, but rather an assistance.

As I've already shown, using evidence and expert opinion, the prefrontal cortex can hinder adolescent decision-making, thus being pertinent and detrimental to my opponent's stance. Again, prefer expert opinion to my opponent's personal opinion. As for Cherry and Kant: both of them are experts in their respective fields, and their ideas and study-based opinions hold more water than my opponents leaking position and opinion.

Contrary to my opponent's assertion, a shared model does absolve teens of their feelings. It gives them the right to choose, to a degree, but at the same time, with parental assistance. Teens have their opinions heard, which does a lot to absolve feelings. Moreover, it's better than the status quo, but not extreme like my opponent's. For example, medical decisions have much further reaching effects than the individual making the decision or being affected by the decision. Furthermore, if an incompetent teen makes an irrational decision, it can facilitate regret for themselves and the people around them. As such, it would be utilitarian as well as right for the adolescent to negate this heavily flawed resolution.

This is false. As I have definitively showed, teens are incapable of making the *right* decisions, which fulfills my opponent's premise of a "valid" reason for ageism.

I have exemplified in both a pragmatic and moral manner how granting adolescents autonomous medical decisions is an egregious idea. Let's go over the reasons:
1. Autonomy is conditional (autonomy shouldn't be given freely)
2. Teens are incompetent (brain development, limited experience, trendy, etc.)
3. A shared model is better (absolves teens feelings and helps reach the best decision - a check and balance)

Refer to the P1, P2, C1 flow I provided in R1. I've fulfilled all of my burden both pragmatically and morally. This leaves you with NO option but to vote Con.

Return To Top | Posted:
2015-10-08 07:12:29
| Speak Round
adminadmin (PRO)
I'd like to thank my opponent for his penultimate round. Now that we're in the home stretch, I'd like to briefly summarize why I win this debate.

Let's first deal with the countermodel
In many nations, I'm not advocating a change to the status quo. I don't think it's fair to set this motion exclusively in shared model jurisdictions.

Con has proposed a shared model. He asserts that under a shared model, people do have bodily autonomy. He refuses to say what that autonomy is. When every medical decision is vetted by a third party, that is by definition not autonomy. Con claims that the parent's decision doesn't always trump the adolescent's, but he never says when that actually happens. In fact the only time when that can possibly happen in a shared model is when an adolescent refuses treatment, which is both not a right to one's body, and not a good thing in terms of health outcomes. Further, if the teen didn't make the right decisions, a shared model doesn't solve the problem, as their refusal to participate in parent-approved decisions compromises their health more than any alternative remedy they suggest would do. Con has never justified how teens can possibly be smart enough to make a shared decision, but dumb enough to not make an autonomous decision. It's inherently a double standard.

My model
The remainder of the points in this debate fall under the terms of my model, and should be judged based on that model's merits.

In this debate, we're not talking about your everyday situations. Those are resolved amicably between teenagers, their doctors, their families and such, every day. We're talking about the small minority of outliers; we're talking about the extreme cases. We're talking about victims of incest or family violence. We're talking about children of parents with extreme, fundamentalist views with regard to medicine. We're talking about youth in distress, who are denied the love and care they so desperately deserve, all sanctioned in the name of an absolute belief that a parent must vet every decision a child makes in the name of their dubious "best interest".

I've argued in this debate by analogy. Put yourself in the shoes of that young girl I described in round one. Con might say that you're stupid, and heck, usually you probably are. But this is a life and death scenario where the consequences of you seeking the medical treatment that you need are inhumanely severe, and would most likely be denied to you anyway. Now consider the alternative - my model. You are able to get confidential information and advice when you need it. You'd get treatment when you need it. You are able to find support, somebody will be there for you even when your family isn't. And at the end of the day, you know that no matter what your parents say, you are your own self-respecting person, and your family does not own your body. This is the autonomy and respect that every young person ought to be entitled to.

Personal Autonomy
If autonomy was subject to optimizing perceived medical outcomes, we wouldn't allow adults medical autonomy either. An adult's right to refuse treatment to prolong their life, for instance, is universally recognized as a sacrosanct right. The notion then, that it is irrelevant that adults cannot make good decisions, is nothing more than a fallacy - indeed it is proof that the restrictions on youth are arbitrary, as people are unwilling to impose that same standard upon adults. Nor has there been any engagement that this standard is inherently inconsistent, and con has entirely strawmanned the notion that you can't know in advance if a decision will be regretted or be seen as unethical later. I'd loathe to see a society emerge where only the "best" and brightest meritocratically earn the right to their bodily autonomy - no, our natural rights are not contingent on our foresight. Only our consequences are. We don't apply that standard for autonomy to anyone else, so I don't see why we should do it for adolescents.

Ability to make the "right" choices
First, con's "evidence" here is all anecdotal at best. Yes, adolescents have different brains than adults. No, that does not mean they are worse at making medical decisions.

I've issued specific rebuttals to con's evidence in previous rounds, and con has taken no interest in defending it any further. My guess is that he dumped the resolution into Google Scholar and started hurriedly gushing out quotes that seemed to support his view. The majority of it was statements of opinion, not of fact, and entirely related only to adolescent development, not the motion. And I've specifically refuted, in several ways, how this fails to impact on medicine. For instance, I argued that most adults simply rely on their doctor's opinions when making medical choices. None of these arguments was even looked at by con. Nor did we hear engagement on my substantial analysis that con's model blocks options.

Who defines a teen?
We first of all note that con has entirely chosen to ignore the vast majority of the arguments that I have presented here. For one example - and there really are too many to list - in round 2, I argued the policy was misogynistic. Never has con even attempted to ask who this policy would actually impact. He has asserted numerous times that it would break families, but never shown how or why - on the contrary, I have presented reasoning showing that his countermodel creates perverse incentives to undermine the best health results for adolescents in many situations.

Is this all based on presumption? No. These things really happen. Not everybody has an idyllic childhood, and even people that do go through a phase where they want to rebel against their parents. That's normal, and human. As a judge, your job isn't to work out who can cite the better expert, but who can make the most persuasive argument. I'm happy to concede that con has had more sources in this debate, but in my view, saving lives and protecting autonomy are more important values that make sources entirely irrelevant. After all, if Albert Einstein told you to shoot somebody for no reason, you probably wouldn't do that either.

Again, my points on this matter have been very comprehensive. For example, several times going back to round 1, I talked about the need to establish a holistic support network - a principle con appears more than happy to ignore. We have had discussion, though, on whether simply "having a voice" is sufficient. For example, I brought up my Holocaust analogy, and again, con pretends like the point was never raised.

Con raised a few points of rebuttal, but by this point, they have become repetitive and thoroughly answered. For example, the notion that the impact of treatment might impact on the family budget was answered immediately - now con simply resorts to "others" instead. It's worth noting this is true of any family member. People pay for the elderly, and the elderly have impaired reasoning skills, but we still give the elderly absolute autonomy. However, con has answered none of my counter-rebuttals anyway.

There is never a valid reason for ageism, but a perception of a lack of intelligence is a particularly poor one. The world is not survival of the smartest, its working together for the benefit of all. Sometimes it may be legitimate to ask a teen to sit down and carefully consider their choice. But asking a family member to vet the teen's decision on the presumption that an adolescent is inherently "too stupid" until they turn 18 and magically become smart enough overnight, is silly.

I have 3 key questions at the end of this debate:

Should a teenager have absolute medical autonomy over their own body?
Should a teenager have the right never to be afraid to seek support for any medical condition?
Should we prioritize actually supporting teens over ensuring congruence between the teen's values and their families?

If your answer to any of the above is yes, I win this debate.

The resolution is affirmed.

Return To Top | Posted:
2015-10-12 21:52:40
| Speak Round
ColeTrainColeTrain (CON)
I'd like to thank my opponent for this engaging debate! :)

My opponent says that "in many nations" affirming the resolution wouldn't be a change to the status quo. However, he has provided no examples of where this is practiced nor that it has shown even remote success. His point here is invalid. The burden must lay predominantly on him as he is both affirming the resolution and advocating for a change in the status quo.

Under the shared model, adolescents have the autonomy to their body as the decision is shared. Not once have I asserted that adolescents have full autonomy under the shared model. However, I did explain, without refutation by my opponent, that autonomy is conditional. Teens are incapable of effectively wielding full and unconditional autonomy. Since I've explained this through an entire contention, and my opponent has neglected to directly attack it, this point stands. In regards to a shared decision and teen competence, my opponent severely misinterprets competence and how it relates to autonomous decisions and a shared decision-making model. Teens having FULL control, while being incompetent, renders them incapable of making good decisions. However, with proper guidance, they can come to the understanding at a better level. It's not that teens are incapable of making decisions, it's that they need guidance and check-and-balance to make the proper, safe, and best decisions.

My Opponent's Model
My opponent makes another misinterpretation. He assumes the resolution ONLY deals with specific and extreme cases. This is not the case. He never explicitly exclude it to extreme cases. Moreover, in his first argument he said the resolution referred to "all other medical autonomous decisions an adult may ordinarily make." Inconsistency is a big problem. Also, my opponent's analogy by which he argues is flawed. It operates under the assumption that teens know what is best for their bodies. As I've definitively demonstrated, they are not. His analogy supposes that parents will deny any decision the teen wants, which is untrue. With a shared model, as I have shown over and over again, there is a two-party system in which both parties work together to reach a good decision, instead of teens making rash decisions.

Personal Autonomy
Obviously, I understand that autonomy shouldn't be subject to simply perceived medical outcomes in totality. However, it's only pragmatic and moral to weigh those consequences in the balance and attempt to ensure that the BEST options are pursued rather than a sketchy and often problematic one. Adults make decisions autonomously because they are as fully developed as they will ever get. Teens are different. They perceive and judge things differently which can and will alter their decision making. The same standards aren't explicitly imposed on adults because adults have a) more developed brains, b) life experience, and c) a mindset which fluctuates less based on social trends. All three of these things are imperative for making the best decisions. It's not that adults are totally superior and make all the right decisions, it's that they are better capable, on average, to make the better decisions.

Ability to make "right" decisions
Here is another area where my opponent neglecting my evidence is a HUGE disadvantage. My opponent claims none of my evidence relates to the debate, and that I simply "dumped" the resolution into a Google Scholar search... none of this is remotely true. As it appears it will be necessary, I will provide a more detailed explanation to the evidence I have provided and how it is directly related to teens making medical decisions.

Regarding the brain development evidence: The studies and medical research evidence I provided comes from credible sources, professors and medical experts who recognize that teens have underdeveloped brains. Underdevelopment in the brain, as the studies noted, result in "impulsivity, inflexibility, emotional volatility, risk taking “short termism.” [1] In regards to medical decisions, these effects are inherently detrimental. If teens aren't thinking about the long term and acting impulsively, they CAN'T make the best decision for themselves. Most medical decisions in dispute are one that will affect the long-term well-being or lack thereof, and if teens don't factor in the consequences, they'd naturally make the one that seems best at the time. Alongside those effects, more include: teens' "inability to make critical decisions in an informed, mature manner." [2]

My opponent says that I don't respond to his evidence, but this is untrue. I showed how brain development (even in past rounds) hurts teens in regards to decision-making. Since that apparently was not sufficient, here's a reiteration: My opponent claims, in personal opinion with no evidence to support him, the PFC (prefrontal cortex) doesn't affect decision-making. This is VERY untrue. "a less-developed pfc may correlate with a lesser ability to control impulsivity, weigh future consequences, and engage in rational, cost-benefit analysis..." [3] All of the consequences mentioned here impact decision-making. You prefer my stances because they're explained and supported with expert studies.

Who defines a teen?
I wouldn't go so far to say I've ignored my opponent's points. I've responded to the ones with substantial merit, and by responding to those, they subsequent rebut the smaller ones as well. This is far from ignoring arguments. In regards to who this policy would impact, I feel it's quite straightforward. The resolution doesn't use any words that would suggest it excludes teens, so we can assume it means all teens in said society. Teens HAVE to come from parents, so most of the time there is a parental couple involved. In regards to hurting families - families could be harmed by autonomous decisions creating rifts because of disagreement. This was not one of my primary arguments, so it isn't critical my opponent didn't understand my initial explanation.

My opponent basically says citing sources is of no help. This is inherently wrong, refer to my last round where I explained this. I have done much more than that. I've used explanation and argumentation alongside my evidence to give credibility. This doesn't mean my argument is of any less validity than my opponents, but actually suggests it should be of more. His Einstein analogy is irrelevant. Jumping off of a cliff is obviously a bad decision, whereas the topic is disputable. Moreover, I haven't just quoted suggestions, but EVIDENCE, study-based reasoning. The two are totally different.

There's really nothing here to actually argue, as my opponent is simply saying I didn't address his arguments. I did, and you can refer to previous rounds to see that. As for his support network, this can be better achieved with a shared-model and is much more safe that way. Besides, my opponent is affirming the resolution, and can't add his own stipulations to affirm exactly what he wants. He's got the resolution, that's all. My opponent contradicts himself. In this round, he says there is never a valid reason for ageism, but in the last round agrees that ageism is valid if there's a reason, which is explained.Once again, teens aren't "stupid," but assisting them while their brain is developing is essential, and doing it as long as we can (18) is beneficial.

I have exemplified in both a pragmatic and moral manner how granting adolescents autonomous medical decisions is an egregious idea.
1. Autonomy is conditional (autonomy shouldn't be given freely)
2. Teens are incompetent (brain development, limited experience, trendy, etc.)
3. A shared model is better (absolves teens feelings and helps reach the best decision - a check and balance)

Refer to the P1, P2, C1 flow I provided in R1. I've fulfilled all of my burden both pragmatically and morally. This leaves you with NO option but to vote Con.

Return To Top | Posted:
2015-10-14 08:05:42
| Speak Round

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I find that age has nothing to do with wisdom.

The only difference being that younger people are usually more susceptible to new ideas and view changes
Posted 2015-10-20 06:22:47
That's a real westernised worldview you have there. Fortunately the Western world is only one small part of the global village. I would wager there are far more countries that glorify the elders over the youth.
I'll start with pretty much every Asian country, with the possible exception of India, where I've never been. Then as icing on the cake, I'll take all the Pacific nations where youth is routinely made to wait and serve.
Posted 2015-10-20 01:37:12
Dassault PapillonDassault Papillon
Glorifying youth is extremely common these days. Most best-selling novels have teen and young adult protagonists. Most non-country songs these days are written for young adult consumers. Virtually every woman wants to look like she's in her 20s or 30s.
Posted 2015-10-19 12:10:39
Just because it may be socially accepted doesn't make it good. I for one hate both notions of glorifying youth (which BTW is far from the reality) and valuing people on the basis of their success. Meritocracies are pretty awful places really.
Posted 2015-10-19 11:59:15
Dassault PapillonDassault Papillon
I'm not saying that richer people have a greater intrinsic value. I'm just pointing out a fact about human nature; greater success causes a person to be more respected.
Posted 2015-10-19 11:54:22
Dassault PapillonDassault Papillon
Today's culture provides old people with social security, but it's the youthful part of life which is glorified by our culture. Everyone wants to stay a young skinny hipster; I suspect that this kind of thinking causes many people in our culture to come to increasingly loathe life and despair whenever the inevitable aging process occurs.
Posted 2015-10-19 11:52:41
You respect people based on their accumulated net worth? Seriously?

If so, I hope you never visit the third world.
Posted 2015-10-19 11:50:28
Dassault PapillonDassault Papillon
Age discrimination to me is one of the least serious of all forms of discrimination. Everyone would have a time where they were the youngster who nobody took seriously and later they'd go through a period where they were older and more respected. Men who are around 40-50 years old are generally the group which has the highest level of income and accumulated net worth, granting them more respect than, say, a college student. However, one's life when younger is of higher quality.
I'd say that giving more respect and influence to the elderly is better because it gives people something to look forward to whenever they reach that age which would otherwise be the worst part of one's life.
Posted 2015-10-19 11:48:36
The judging period on this debate is over

Previous Judgments

2015-10-16 05:18:02
ButterCatxJudge: ButterCatx    TOP JUDGE
Win awarded to: admin
Pro proved that a group should not be disallowed certain rights over personal matters such as their body. While con made some good arguments Pro Rebutted them quite well and sort of led the argument. Con had better sources but could not offer as well made arguments as Pro. Overall it was a great debate and choosing Pro was difficult due to the amazing arguments on both sides, but Pro had a little bit extra. Great job, guys
1 comment on this judgement
Thanks for voting! :)
Posted 2015-11-06 12:21:06
2015-10-18 17:53:55
nzlockieJudge: nzlockie    TOP JUDGE
Win awarded to: admin
PRO wins this debate on the basis of a more persuasive argument. He sets the tone by simply asserting that humans should have autonomy, especially in respects to personal dignity and potentially life changing medical decisions - but this is then backed up by some pretty persuasive logic. The burden is shifted to CON, who must now persuade me WHY a specific subset of our society, (adolescents) should not be entitled to the same rights and privileges as another. (Adults)

CON did a great job with his sources -which I'll address in more detail in a minute: but ultimately the closest he got was showing me that there is medical evidence to suggest that Adolescents reason differently to Adults. I was NOT convinced that this was automatically bad, nor was I convinced that in the examples that he cited, ("what will my friends think" for example) the same reasoning could not be used by Adults.
PRO was correct when he said that Adults make such poor decisions all the time, (eg Smoking)

Even if CON HAD been able to show me that Teenagers make, on average, a statistically significant higher number of "bad" decisions than Adults, I'm still not sure that the age argument would have worked. Even though it was a small line in his final round, PRO's bringing up of the Elderly was a good example, (I didn't count this in my judgement though) as were his repeated references to Adults who bring a certain religious or cultural bias to their decision making.

Finally, CON's counter model was totally flawed. This was pretty obvious right from the start and PRO effectively pointed out the big holes in it.
To sum up, two parties can't make a truly shared decision without compromise - unless they obviously agree.
If Person A wants the treatment and Person B doesn't want the treatment - Person B holds the decision making power, since the treatment can only happen if they agree.
It doesn't matter which one is the Adult in this equation, or who's body it is, no matter what, Person B holds the power. If one person holds the power, then it's not a shared decision.

Great debate guys, definitely one of the clearest to follow and most well written of any of the debates I've seen on this site.
I felt like CON had the harder side of this resolution for sure, and so I don't think they need to feel bad about my judgement against them. I felt like I understood their argument perfectly - I just didn't think it was ever going to be enough to counter PRO's one.

PRO: I'm trying hard to find a critique here. You basically argued a pretty solid case, and argued it pretty clearly. Contrary to your in round claims, I think CON did a good job with his medical sources. Had you been able to find some, I think it would have strengthened your case to produce some hard evidence of Adults making poor decisions. Of particular relevance might have been ones where children were negatively impacted as a result... kids that get sent to school with no lunch for example, or kids not being vaccinated, or being vaccinated - whichever would suit you more!
Even some specific cases where Parents forbid treatment or prescribed treatments based on religious bias would have helped. CON was correct when he called you out for not having anything but opinion.
Conceding this point by submitting even some loose evidence would have convinced me more.

CON: This was a well argued case. I think in the past I've been critical of you for wasting time arguing against stuff that your opponent says which is obviously wrong or has no bearing - that wasn't the case this time. In your later rounds you dismissed several of his accusations about your case, which was the correct thing to do, but you didn't go on about it - which was good.
Specifically I'm thinking of the way you handled his accusation that your argument was "copy and paste" - in the past, you may have accused him of launching a personal attack there, but you didn't fall into this trap. I simple, dismissal was all that was needed. Well done. In NZ we call that "a straight bat".

I feel like you were correct to call him out on not having sources, and had you not pointed that out, I wouldn't have factored that as heavily as I did - so again, good move there.

The pace and delivery of your points was good.

I have two critiques for you:
1. The way you list your sources is really annoying. That copy and paste third party arrangement you have is not convenient, (and spammed me with ads each time I used it) and listing them all at the bottom of your argument interrupts the flow.
Edeb8 has the ability to hot link text right in your argument, which I think would have made it a much more engaging piece. Let me know if you're not sure where it is or how to use it.

2. I think the big issue you had here was the strategy. The argument you chose to go with was assuming that ability to make GOOD decisions is directly linked to age/brain development.
Had you decided that the ability to make good decisions was the criteria for personal autonomy a more logical counter plan would be one that assessed the individual's ability to make good decisions. Unfortunately YOU couldn't present that plan because it would go against the resolution.

Your counter plan of having the decision shared was CLEARLY flawed, and shouldn't have even been presented in that form. If you REALLY wanted to go with it, you should have had something in there about the child's right to legally contest the Parent's decision.

Likewise, the argument about finances was also doomed from the outset. Wisely, you let this one slide.

One critical flaw you made was in assuming that Parents were automatically good people, and would be more capable of making a "good" decision than the child, or even the medical professional who is trained and infinitely more experienced in these matters.

The other was extending the brain developmental phase out to 25. Regardless of the truth of the matter, your side should have been directing my attention to the YOUNGEST examples of adolescents. When PRO mentioned that many Doctors and Nurses are younger than that - he's completely right!

As I said at the outset, I think you had the worse side of this resolution. Perhaps a better option may have been to attack the fact that Adolescents ought to have the same rights as Adults in the first place... after all, what have they done to earn this?
If the Parents are legally bound to provide care for their children, and indeed, can be prosecuted for any perceived lapse in this, then why should their fate hang on the balance of their child's decisions?
Effectively we're talking about "Power of Attorney" here. The State demands that Parents be responsible for the health of their kids and yet PRO is advocating that critical health decisions be taken out of their hands?

Now, I'm not saying you would have won with this argument, but I think it would have been a little less predictable than the Age = Decision making one, and probably a little harder for PRO to combat.

Once again - great debate guys, really good stuff from both sides. And honestly CON - I doubt I could have argued your side better myself.
1 user rated this judgement as constructive
1 comment on this judgement
Thanks! I'm glad to see a detailed vote, which eases my concern for Buttercat's vote. Thanks for the feedback and encouragement. :)
Posted 2015-11-06 12:21:06
2015-10-21 12:02:32
genesis01Judge: genesis01
Win awarded to: admin

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R1: Pro's Case, Con's Case
R2: Pro's rebuttals, Con's rebuttals
R3: Pro's defense, Con's defense
R4: Pro and Con defense and rebuttals.