Debate review

Last Wednesday, 11 May 2016, I debated a Collin College classmate, Bob Shields over the issue of abortion. The specific topic was, “Should abortion be illegal in all fifty states?” I, of course took the affirmative position whereby Shields took the negative. The debate served as a demonstration of secular or left-wing illogic, fallaciousness, and irrationality. It was painfully obvious which side was prepared and had actually thought their side through. Shields came loaded with objections, however, he did not lay a foundation or underlining principle as to what the basis of his objections were.

The debate began with my opening presentation. During which I entered the Declaration of Independence as evidence, specifically its clause that humans are endowed by their creator with certain unalienable rights. Among these is the right to life. I then stated my thesis: The unborn are living beings and are human people, therefore, abortion is not only in opposition to the Declaration of Independence, but that it is murder. Scientific evidence was submitted that the unborn are indeed living beings, and I argued that the only difference between the born and the unborn were not essential differences but physical differences. I then claimed that Shields was going to have to demonstrate that the physical differences were so substantial that it justified killing human lives, but if he did this he would be appealing to performance value rather than endowment value. Performance value cannot account for equality for the reason that everyone performs at a different level. Endowment value says that a person is valuable because of the kind of entity they are.

We then moved on to the first cross examination sequence. During which Shields had three minutes to ask me questions. At this point Shields made a mistake that was detrimental to the rest of his position. He started off by stating that he did not in fact disagree with my two premises. He made it clear that he did not deny that the unborn were living and that they were in fact human but that the mother has the right over her unborn child. At this point Shields had no basis for any of his following arguments. He asked very few questions. Many of which I shot down immediately for the reason that his objections needed to be based off the denial of the unborn being living humans and he did not deny that.

Next, was Shield’s presentation. He brought up classic abjection like the case of rape and incest. He also brought up the problem of the over abundance of orphans in nations that do not allow abortions. All these objections held no consistency when you affirm that the unborn are living human beings. This alone gave me enough fire power in the cross examination sequence.

After Shield’s finished his presentation, I cross examined him for three minutes. Since he did not differentiate between the born and the unborn I asked him if a two year old who is a result of rape or incest and is an orphan can be killed. Shields had extreme difficulty in giving straightforward answers. He kept going back on what he said and jumping from one criteria to the next. For example, when I demonstrated that financial criteria was no justification for killing a two year old, he then jumped from that to arguing that it was different because the unborn were still in the womb. I then asked him if it were a matter of environment. After he affirmed this I then began to demonstrate to him that a person doesn’t lose value because of their location.

I think the debate was a success in the since that I demonstrated the foundation for the pro life stance and how it remained consistent under cross examination. It was most evident that Shield’s stance held no substance from any angle whether it be scientific, philosophical, logical, or ethical. To prove his case he had to resort to double standards and inconsistencies. My hope is that the audience considers the arguments presented to them and that they might be pointed toward the gospel of Christ.





Published by Ben Moore

Ben is a Christian worldview writer who holds a BA in Economics and is currently pursuing a Masters degree in Biblical studies at Reformed Theological Seminary. He and his beloved wife live and serve to see the Gospel permeate throughout all areas of life.

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