Bihar Baby Position Paper | Homework Writings Help

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Your objective in this assignment is to compose a formal position paper that supports a SOUND argument for what you would do in the Bihar Baby case, assuming you were in this situation and you had to make a decision. Remember from your reading that a SOUND argument must pass two tests:

(1) THE VALIDITY TEST: It must be valid, and

(2) THE TRUE PREMISES TEST: All the premises must be true.

GUIDELINES FOR COMPOSING FIRST DRAFTS OF THIS PAPER?: Please adhere to the following criteria:

Criterion 1:Did you clearly state a primary (or core) argument that directly supported your final conclusion? (0-4 points)

Criterion 2:Did you develop secondary arguments that directly supported the premises of your primary argument, or, that further supported your primary argument? ((0-4 points)

Criterion 3:Was your language use (or content) clear, unambiguous, well-defined, and respectful?(See Chapters 4 through 9) (0-4 points)

Criterion 4:Was the structure of your overall argument clear, coherent, and consistent?(0-4 points)

Criterion 5:Did you offer a summation of why your argument passed the two tests of a sound argument, namely, (a) the validity test and (b) the reasonably true premises test? (0-4 points)

I have included the Bihar Baby Case below as I am having difficulties getting the upload accepted, as well as supporting and helpful information for the argument. I personally would try to argue this from a legal standpoint as to argue morally or culturally leave room for too much debate, outrage, etc.

The Bihar Baby Case:

A Study of Conflicting Cultural Values

Introduction:In general, it is important to respect the cultural values of others different from your own culture.Sometimes, however, the values embraced in another culture can conflict with your own fundamental or most cherished values.In this case, travelers in another country are confronted with a decision in which they must choose between their own values and those of another culture.In reaching a decision in this case, you should think critically about such ideas as morality, human rights, cultural values, and religious rights.


You are traveling as tourists in the company of four other U.S. students in a rural part of southern India.As you come within a mile of a small village called Bihar, you notice something beside the road.As your car comes closer, you notice an infant wrapped in a blanket.You urge the driver to stop.Upon closer inspection, you discover the infant is still alive and well.

One of your friends, Jonathan, says,“We’d better leave it.They have different customs over here.It’s none of our business.Let’s not get involved.”

Jim replies, “Are you crazy!This is just a little baby.We’ve got to do something!Let’s take it to the next village, at least.”Jim gets out, picks up the child, and climbs back in the car.

Gwen and Susan agree with Jim.Jonathan reluctantly consents, and so do you.So, the five of you proceed toward Bihar with the baby.When you get to the center of the village, you see an elderly man sitting in front of the largest house.

Gwen says, “He looks like the village elder or a priest or something.I’m going to take the baby over to him and see if we can find someone to leave her with.”Gwen gets out of the car with the baby in her arms.She walks over to the elderly gentleman and begins to speak.Suddenly four or five villagers rush toward her, gesturing angrily.She cannot understand them, but feels a bit intimidated.The elderly gentleman stands up and yells something, and the villagers back off.He walks over to Gwen and begins to speak in broken English.

“You have done our village a grave injustice.You must return that child to where you found it at once.”

Gwen replies,“But why?She is just a little baby!She will die out there!”

The elderly gentleman answers, “Our astrologer told us that the great god Shiva is displeased with our village and requires a sacrifice of an outcaste.If we do not offer this sacrifice, the great god will destroy our harvest this season.The lives of our villagers depend on that harvest each year.We must comply or we will starve.This baby is a member of the outcaste, and she is our sacrifice.For many hundreds of years we have done what the great god says.You must return it our we will starve.”

Gwen returns to the car with the baby.She says, “They want us to take the baby back.I can’t do it.”

Jonathan says, “Look, we are in their country.They have been doing this sort of thing for hundreds, perhaps thousands, of years.Just because we don’t like it is no reason we should impose our values on them.After all, we are just visiting in their country.”

Jim chimes in:“I guess Jonathan is right, as much as it bothers me.We have no right to impose ourselves on them.We had better put her back where we found her.”

Susan complains, “Wait a minute! I thought we believed in human rights.Doesn’t this child have a right to life like everyone else?Whatever happened to, ‘All men are created equal and have a right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness’?”

Jonathan replies, “And who are you to judge that these people are wrong?Who says our values are right and theirs are wrong.You’re just another typical imperialistic Westerner who wants to colonize the third world.Don’t be so arrogant?”

Susan replies, “And you are just a wishy-washy wimp who hasn’t the courage of your moral convictions.What’s the matter with you?Can’t you empathize with suffering when you see it?Are you actually capable of being an accomplice in this culture’s infanticide?I don’t care if they’ve been sacrificing innocent children for a million years.That doesn’t make it right.We have to rescue this child.I say we drive on to the next big city and find a social service agency or some Christian church somewhere that will take her in.”

Jonathan replies, “Listen to the middle-class, white, Anglo-Saxon, Protestant girl from the burbs.You don’t even know if they have social services or Christian churches for this kid.This is not the suburbs of Chicago, you know.Don’t you see what you are doing?Don’t you realize that you have stumbled into an ancient religious community and are presuming—naively, I might add—to meddle with 3000 years of tradition?Wise up!The world is a big place and there are lots of different cultures out there you might not agree with.Besides, if you are really worried about human rights so much, there are plenty of human rights abuses right at home in the good old U.S.A.You should take care of your own back yard before you try to improve those of others.”

Susan asks, “Would it matter if this baby were abandoned in Central Park back home?Would you do something to help her then?”

Jonathan answers, “Sure, I would.But this ain’t Central Park, babe!That’s my point.”

Susan replies, “This baby is not just a hunk of meat to be tossed to some mythical god called Shiva to devour.It’s not the baby’s fault she was born an outcaste in Bihar and not Central Park.That’s is an accident of nature, not a choice of hers.So, what, Mr. Worldly Wise, does the accident of geography have to do with whether this baby has a right to grow up and live a full life?”

“So you think these people are superstitious, undeveloped, not up to your social and moral standards?,”Jonathan sarcastically asks.

Susan answers, “Whether I do or not is irrelevant.What is relevant is that this baby’s future is now in our hands—mine and yours!”

Jonathan replies, “No, what is relevant is that you’re just another arrogant ugly American.”

Susan turns to you, the fifth traveler, and asks, “What would you do.Why don’t you break the tie.We will do what you decide.Is that OK with everyone?”

The all agree with Susan.So what would you do and why?

Helpful tips and info for the paper and argument

A Sample of Competing Primary Arguments


the Bihar Baby Case

Introduction:The following argument forms are called “Categorical Syllogisms.”They are constructed with a view toward passing the “Validity Test” of sound arguments (see Chapters 12-14 on formal logic in “Reading Assignments”).Remember, however, that validity is not the only test of a sound argument.An argument can be formally or logically valid, yet fail to pass the “True Premises Test.”To be a sound argument it must pass both tests.

A reasoning diagram (see Chapter 10 & 11) for each would look like this:

On the other hand, two formally valid arguments with directly contradictory conclusions cannot both be sound (with some exceptions).In other words, if one is sound, then the other is unsound.Usually that means that one of the two arguments must fail the true premises test.Or, it also can mean that neither passes the true premises test.If the latter, you have to go back to the drawing board in search of a sound argument.That might mean clarifying the language used by offering precising or theoretical definitions of terms highlighted in yellow below.

Finally, keep in mind that the following five arguments are just a sample of many possible valid arguments from other points of view that could be constructed.It is possible that none of the following arguments is sound even if they all are valid.If so, then more critical thinking must be done before you settle on an argument the soundness of which you would defend or advocate.

A Human Rights Advocate: Since all human beings have a right to life, and since this baby is a human being, it follows that this baby has a right to life. (Implied Conclusion: Save the baby.)

A Bihar Villager: Some of our religious practices are practices that are rooted in our own unique culture. All practices that are rooted in our own culture should be respected by those from outside our culture. Some of our religious practices should be respected by those from outside our culture. (Implied Conclusion: Leave the baby.)

An Orthodox Hindu Theologian: No human being has a right to act like a cultural imperialist. All American tourists visiting India are human beings. So, no American tourists have a right to act like cultural imperialists. (Implied Conclusion: Leave the baby.)

A Cultural Relativist: No human being has a right to impose their moral values on other cultures. All attempts to kidnap the Bihar baby are attempts to impose their moral value on another culture. So, no human being should attempt to kidnap the Bihar baby. (Implied Conclusion: Leave the baby.)

An Outcaste Liberation Advocate: No human being should presume to know what only God can know.All who categorize others as lower on the caste system are presuming to know only what God can know. Therefore, no human being should categorize others as lower on the caste system. (Implied Conclusion: Save the baby.)

Some questions (or issues):

  • Do all human beings have moral rights?
  • Do all human beings have a right to life?
  • Is the right to life conditional or unconditional?
  • If mores (or social customs) are parochial, is morality universal?
  • Are some mores immoral?
  • Do all cultures (and/or religious traditions) have a right to religious expression (or practice)?
  • Is the idea of a “human right” universal, or is it just a Western value which does not apply to non-Western cultures?
  • Are morals (and/or religious values) relative to the cultures from which they emerge?
  • Are there moral limits to religious practice?Which takes precedence if morality and religion conflict?
  • On what grounds is it every morally justified to restrain or interfere with the religious practices of others?
  • Is it “imperialistic” or “acting like God” to presume one can act on negative moral judgments of the moral (and/or religious) practices of other cultures?
  • Are moral norms relative to the particular cultures from which they emerge?
  • Do two wrongs make a right (e.g., kidnapping or lying for some greater good)?
  • Might doing “good” for one cause greater harm for others?
  • Would avoiding doing “good” amount to moral apathy?

Some key terms:

  • Human being4.Acting like God
  • Human right5.Cultural (or moral) imperialist
  • Right of religious expression 6.Moral (or morality)

Sample primary arguments:

  • A human rights advocate:Since all human beings have a right to life, and since this baby is a human being, it follows that this baby has a right to life.(Implication:Save the baby.)
  • A Bihar villager:Some of our religious practices are practices that are rooted in our own unique culture.All practices that are rooted in our own culture should be respected by those from outside our culture.Some of our religious practices should be respected by those from outside our culture.(Implication:Yankee, go home!)
  • An Orthodox Hindu Theologian:No human being has a right to act like a cultural imperialist.All American tourists visiting India are human beings.So, no American tourists have a right to act like cultural imperialists.(Implication: Be more humble and leave the Bihar villagers alone.)
  • A Cultural Relativist:No human being has a right to impose their moral values on other cultures.All attempts to kidnap the Bihar baby are attempts to impose their moral value on another culture.So, no human being should attempt to kidnap the Bihar baby.(Implication:Quit judging others and leave the baby.)
  • An outcaste liberation advocate:No human being should presume to know what only God can know.All who categorize others as lower on the caste system are presuming to know only what God can know.Therefore, no human being should categorize others as lower on the caste system.(Implication:Have a heart and save the baby.)

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