The Instigator
Nimbus328
Con (against)
Losing
0 Points
The Contender
CriticalThinkingMachine
Pro (for)
Winning
6 Points

Absolute Truth

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 2 votes the winner is...
CriticalThinkingMachine
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 3/28/2013 Category: Philosophy
Updated: 3 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 669 times Debate No: 31830
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (4)
Votes (2)

 

Nimbus328

Con

My position: morality is relative.

Your position: truth is absolute.

For context, please state your religious beliefs, if any. I am atheist.
CriticalThinkingMachine

Pro

I accept your challenge. And I am a Catholic.

Make your case.
Debate Round No. 1
Nimbus328

Con

Morality is relative to the observer. There is no fixed morality, it is only in the context of the culture.

For a primal tribe of savages, it is moral and correct for 30+ men to murder and pillage neighboring tribes.

Under American Law, it is illegal for 30+ men to travel to Vegas to murder and pillage.

The question is, what defines morality?

If you talk about homosexual behavior in the context of the Middle East, the death penalty is in effect.

If you talk about homosexual behavior in the context of the Canada, gay marriage is allowed.
Suppose a culture thought yeast was evil. Not just person X and person Y, but the entire culture.

True story.
CriticalThinkingMachine

Pro

My opponent’s only evidence for why he thinks that morality is relative is that different cultures hold different views of morality.

Let me try to show the illogic in my opponent’s argument with this analogy:

Americans believe that the world is spherical, but in Australia it is believe it is flat, and the Eastern Europeans believe that the world is shaped like a square. Therefore, the truth of the world’s shape is relative to one’s country.

This analogy uses a different example, and obviously is false in its empirical claims, but the logic of this absurd argument is the same logic used by my opponent in his defense of moral relativism. We should be able to see more clearly now why my opponent’s argument is fallacious. He argues from the fact that people hold different moral views to the conclusion that all these moral truths are true and so morality is relative. Just because somebody believes something does not make it so. Truth and belief are not the same thing. Are we so politically correct that we cannot admit when someone is just plain wrong and illogical?

I would also question the claim that moral beliefs are necessarily based on one’s own culture too. Maybe Canada as a country holds that gay marriage ought to be legal, but that does not mean that every individual Canadian believes that gay marriage ought to be legal. This is another fallacy, called the “fallacy of division”, which argues that what is true of the whole must be true of the parts. That does not follow.

Relativism is also incoherent since it holds that conflicting views can all be true. To say that is to commit oneself to irrationality. How can it be true that “Murder is wrong” and “Murder is not wrong.”?

CONCLUSION

All that my opponent has proven is that different cultures believe in different views of morality. He has made an epistemological point. This is not controversial and I do not know anyone who does not accept this point. What my opponent has failed to do is to show that morality’s existence is relative. He has made no ontological point. Hence, he has not shown that absolute truth is false and that morality is relative.
Debate Round No. 2
Nimbus328

Con

>> Americans believe that the world is spherical,

A square is a two dimensional object, so this is logical. Ancient writings speak of the four corners of the earth. Circular in the two dimensions is more logical. Study the ancients, the blind men feeling the elephant.

A cube would be an odd belief that none would take seriously.

To believe the earth is flat is actually correct. It's ALMOST flat. The invention of Latitude and Longitude was designed for the flat earth, and was modernized recently to take into account the miniscule curvature of the earth.

The earth exists under a dome. It's obvious: all stars are equidistant from the observer. This was the commonly held belief of the ancients.

In a similar fashion, Newton understood gravity to the 99th percentile, his calculations hold true today for most situations. However, Einstein's Theory of General Relativity explained the remaining 1%

All of the above are true, some are more true, but that does not make the others false.

Matters of science are relative to the observer, and the equipment available during his time.

>> Just because somebody believes something does not make it so.

Certainly. Every individual and every culture has REASONS for their beliefs. Take religion. Was Jesus equivalent to YHWH? The Jews and Muslims say no, the Christians say yes, the early church fathers said he was the SON of GOD, not GOD the SON as the counsel of Nicaea states. Nuances are a quick Google search away.

What does a church need to be a non-profit in the United States. No correct mentality of a god, simply fulfill the requirements of a 501(c)(3) organization.

According to Evolutionary Psychology, homo sapiens evolved in a pack of ~40 individuals. If this pack had a serious disagreement they would dissolve into separate packs.

One would be hard-pressed to find a "pack" with serious divisions. In any location.

Before the word murder was invented, before language was invented, there was simple emotion. Think of a wolf pack. Is it "wrong" for a wolf to murder? In MOST situations killing is acceptable.
CriticalThinkingMachine

Pro

My opponent has frustratingly presented statements that are disconnected from each other and are not relevant to the debate. I cannot get a general theme of what he is trying to say. He did not respond to the points I made but has only made a series of unrelated points. I have tried to summarize his points as best I can, separating them when I think he is making a separate point. My responses follow.

ARGUMENTS

The earth is almost flat.

No it isn’t. It is spherical. And this point that my opponent is making has nothing to do with the debate.

Matters of science are relative to the observer, and the equipment available at the time.

This is true, but it does not mean that truth is relative. It only means that what scientists believe is relative to the observer and the equipment used. It does not make an ontological statement. I already explained this in the last round. Either my opponent skipped over it or he read it but chose to ignore it.

Christians say that Jesus was God. Muslims and Jews say no. Different religions believe different things.

Again, this means that people believe in different things. It does not mean that the truth itself is relative. My opponent is making an epistemological claim, not an ontological one.

How many times do I have to explain this?????

Before the word murder was invented, there was only emotion.

Just because humans only felt emotion before language does not mean that truth is relative. Again, that’s confusing epistemology with ontology.

CONCLUSION

I’m not sure what to make of my opponents posts. I think he may be trolling. He is clearly presenting statements that are way off-topic. I already explained the main mistake he was making in his first post. And yet, rather than admit that and then present different arguments that avoid the mistake, he simply made the same mistakes again by reiterating his first post but with different examples. He falsely inferred from facts about what people believe, why they believe it, and how, to his claim that truth is relative. Again, you can’t infer from epistemological claims to ontological ones.

VOTING

Here is my own evaluation of the debate. If you disagree with me, please explain why:

Arguments: pro
Con confused epistemology with ontology and inferred from claims about people’s beliefs to claims about the reality of the world. Pro explained this well. Beliefs do not entail existence.

Spelling/Grammar: tie
Although Con had unconnected points, he had no spelling or grammar errors, and neither did Pro.

Conduct: tie
No poor conduct was used on either side.

Sources: tie
I used one source. My opponent did not use any, but none were needed anyway.
Debate Round No. 3
4 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 4 records.
Posted by Secryte 3 years ago
Secryte
Before I read the debate, my two cents...saying that all truth is relative is stating that statement as an absolute truth. By saying that, you prove yourself wrong and that there is, in fact, absolute truth.
Posted by CriticalThinkingMachine 3 years ago
CriticalThinkingMachine
I forgot to include my source. Here it is:

Mosteller, Timothy Relativism: A Guide For the Perplexed

contains some of the best criticism of relativism out there.
Posted by Nimbus328 3 years ago
Nimbus328
I believe I have a worthy opponent.
Posted by RyuuKyuzo 3 years ago
RyuuKyuzo
Con on absolute truth, eh? My prediction, CTM.
2 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 2 records.
Vote Placed by johnlubba 3 years ago
johnlubba
Nimbus328CriticalThinkingMachineTied
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Total points awarded:03 
Reasons for voting decision: Con did not tackle Pro's points, instead went on a tangent of supposed facts with little relevance to the topic at hand, Pro showed that two held beliefs can not both be true at the same time, proving that relativity is not a standard for Truth.
Vote Placed by x2MuzioPlayer 3 years ago
x2MuzioPlayer
Nimbus328CriticalThinkingMachineTied
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Total points awarded:03 
Reasons for voting decision: Con was too tangled up in the concept that a belief necessarily adds truth to that belief. As Pro pointed out, this trail of logic isn't valid and doesn't support the position that morals are relative. Since this was really all Con presented, arguments go to Pro.