Debate Info

Yes, of course Definitely not
Debate Score:11
Total Votes:14
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Argument Ratio

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 Yes, of course (2)
 Definitely not (3)

Debate Creator

Spoonerism(831) pic

Do we all have the capacity to be a gas chamber attendant and a saint?

Noam Chomsky once said, "It's a fair assumption that every human being, real human beings, flesh and blood ones, not corporations, but every flesh and blood human being is a moral person. You know, we've got the same genes, we're more or less the same, but our nature, the nature of humans, allows all kinds of behaviour. I mean, every one of us under some circumstances could be a gas chamber attendant and a saint."

Is this true?

Yes, of course

Side Score: 6

Definitely not

Side Score: 5

Of course. Chomsky is himself a perfect example. From a confused apologist for terrorist groups, to a valuable moral scholar, Chomsky has had his own share of dissonance.

Side: Yes, Of Course
2 points

Look, everyone, while developing, has the capacity to become a gas chamber attendant OR a saint, but you can't be both! Once you choose the path of a gas chamber attendant, you can't become a saint, but if you are a saint, you can become a gas chamber attendant, but in doing so, give up your status of a saint. Once you choose your path, you can go down, but not up. That's the way society works.

Side: Definitely not

I agree that it should be phrased "a gas chamber attendant or a saint," rather than "and."

Side: Definitely not
1 point

Noam Chumsky is smoking some heavy duty chronic. That's the same to say that both Hitler and Buddha are both good and bad. What an idiot. Genes do not determine, but rather yourself, determine what kind of a person are you going to be. It would be as if every german is bad because perhaps his father/mother was a nazi or maybe that someone is going to gay/straight. It is more about choices you make in your life rather than what you inherited from your parents/ancestors. We all make mistakes, some more some less. It is the depth of those mistakes, not our genetic predisposition that decide it.

Side: Definitely not
ledhead818(637) Disputed
3 points

You were really unsuccessful in interpreting that quotation. He did not say that genes totally determine behavior, that had nothing to do with what he said. The part about genes was saying that genetically all humans are really similar.

His main point, however, was that human nature is capable of great good and great evil. And studies show you are not simply able to determine it yourself.

There was a famous study called the Milgram experiment in which people thought were administering electric shocks to someone in another room. An authority figure was present to encourage them to continue and most participants continued even after it had appeared the other person had perished. This study showed the inherent evil in human nature and explained how the holocaust was able to be carried out.

Another similar experiment found that when subjects were assigned to role play prison guards and prisoners, the prison guards rapidly began exhibiting sadistic tendencies and causing extreme distress to the prisoners.

As Chomsky said it is quite remarkable how humans are capable of good and evil.

Side: Yes, Of Course