The Instigator
Geekis_Khan
Pro (for)
Winning
27 Points
The Contender
XsamacadoX
Con (against)
Losing
9 Points

An Atheist should not believe in moral absolutes.

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 4/16/2008 Category: Religion
Updated: 9 years ago Status: Voting Period
Viewed: 1,678 times Debate No: 3665
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (5)
Votes (12)

 

Geekis_Khan

Pro

First, let me tell you why I'm doing this debate. After reading the debate about "Atheists are more kind than Christians", it seemed to me that XsamacadoX is an Atheist that believes in moral absolutes (for example, he claims that people should do things that are right because they are the right things to do). I thought this would be an interesting topic for debate if I am right in his beliefs.

If he accepts, I'll present my first argument after he makes his first statement (if he wants to post an argument, great), so I'll be using four rounds.

But first, some simple framework:

We are not debating whether moral absolutes actually exist, we are debating whether an Atheist should believe in them.

Also, for the purpose of this resolution, the term "Atheist" does not include Buddhists, Taoists, or other types of Non-theists.
XsamacadoX

Con

Like you said, it does not include any pantheisms or whatever those other things are classified as. You mean secularlists. Since I am a human secularlist (which is a bit long to type so they will be known humanists) i will be arguing from that standpoint. Humanism a large section of atheism, which does include, but is not limited to pantheism, budhism, etc. It is the disbeleif in any diety etc. but the bleif in the values and non-religious beleifs in the religion. Essentialy they beleive that all should be treated fair and equally because were all human in this world. Other than that we go about skipping around our merry atheist ways. Also, other 'sects' of atheism beleive that all humans should be treated euqualy, as a basic right. Of course not all do beleive that, but it is essentialy the golden rule of humanity.

It's going to be fun to do this debate.
Debate Round No. 1
Geekis_Khan

Pro

Okay, first off, I'd like to point out something. You brought up a "basic right". Why does this right exist?

Choose any right. Actually, I'll choose one, since I don't want to waste rounds with too much dialogue. Let's say the right to life.

We start at the right.

Everyone has a right to life.

Why?

What is the justification for this?

There are several answers often given, but those answers must be justified with another reason, and those answers must be justified with another reason, and this keeps going on and on. This creates an infinite chain of justifications. Without the existence of any omnipotent and omniscient god to create moral absolutes, there is no justification for saying something is a moral absolute.

Now, there are reasons that an Atheist might ACCEPT moral absolutes and live with them, just for pure pragmatism. For example "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you". Living by this might be a good rule for a functioning society. However, if there is no God, then there is no absolute reason why this rule should be followed. It is just as likely that the "Do unto others as they do unto you" should be followed. Or, it is just as likely that a "Survival of the Fittest" scenario be followed. There is no absolute reason why any of these belief systems is morally absolute. Remember, in order for them to be absolute, they must be justified.

But then their justifications need justifications.

And it just keeps going.

And if you want to argue that Atheists should believe in moral absolutes to keep society running smoothly and peacefully, then the question arises, "Why should society keep running smoothly and peacefully?"

There is no absolute reason. Who says chaos is not the correct moral "path"?

The point is that outside of a god there is no justification for any moral absolute, whether it is something we commonly believe is good or evil.
XsamacadoX

Con

If we assume God does exist for this moment, than what makes him a justification for anything. He does exist than who created him? There is no real way to justify anything. Why should Christians beleive in absolute morals? Becauase there is a God? He doesn't justify anything. Anyone should beleive in absolute morals because they are good, and help humans.

I will wait for you to make another point for me to counter now...
Debate Round No. 2
Geekis_Khan

Pro

I agree that the existence of a God doesn't make anything necessarily right, but the idea is that God is infallible. So, if God says something is absolute, then it is absolute. But that's a different discussion.

However, I see where you were going with it.

Now, you say that everyone should believe in moral absolutes because "they are good, and help humans."

Why is it good? In your line of thinking all it does is lead people to one final destination. Let's say that it's world peace. Why is world peace good? Why isn't war what we should be pursuing? That follows at least two different schools of credible philosophical thought: "Might is Right" and Social Darwinism. Why is world peace any better than those? There is no absolute reason.

And as for helping humans: why is helping humans good? Most people are scum. Why should we be helping them?

My entire point is that there is no objective, absolute, moral reasoning.

In order for the CON to win, you have to prove why whatever ultimate goal you're trying to reach through moral absolutes is good.
XsamacadoX

Con

A moral absolute... hm... I actually have to think about that. Now i can win via loophole but i shall save that untill round 4 if i feel like im losing.

The moral absolute is to be helping other humans. It is part of our genetics to want to help other people. When you do so your body rewards it with that 'warm fuzzy feeling'. Wether this is a result of God making us want to make the world a better place, or a Dawkin like idea, in which we want to help people because that increases the chance of the human gene being passed on to another generation (honsetley that theory make me scared). Either way it is part of our genetic make up to help others, or want to help others, because it is rewarded.

Now if it is a part of our make up, then humans should beleive in helping others.
Debate Round No. 3
Geekis_Khan

Pro

Okay, so you're arguing that a desire to help people is a part of our genetics. That might be true, at lest in some way, but I'm not seeing the link.

First of all, have does something being genetically absolute make it morally absolute?

Moreover, how can you actually prove that it is in our genetic make up to want to help one another. Adam Smith argued that humans are driven by selfish instinct, and that that actually leads to good.

The idea that I'm trying to get across here is that without some infallible deity to establish what is good and what is evil, we can't establish what is good and what is evil. I mean, helping people sounds good at first thought, but then consider that the human race is arguably one of the most disgusting things in all of existence. Why should we help them? Without a deity to say that this is good or this is bad, nothing is really good or bad because there is no absolute to judge it by. You can make the argument (and I believe that you did) that believing in moral absolutes helps society function, whether or not you can prove that these absolutes exist. Well, it's true that they can help society function. But there's no objective and absolute reason why society should function.

There's no objective and absolute reason for any branch of morality. The PRO rests. Good luck.

(NOTE: if you want to bring up the loophole in Round 4, I'm going to post a comment refuting it, since I'd have no other chance to refute it otherwise. Technically, you're not supposed to establish new arguments in your last speech.)
XsamacadoX

Con

Okay... an atheist SHOULD beleive in moral abolutes. He/she does not always do so, but they SHOULD because there is a diety that seperates good from evil. is that not what you said?

phear teh loophole!

now, everyone just going to remind you, vote on the debate and not your views. also vote on convinient loopholes in my opponent's speech and title for this debate.
Debate Round No. 4
5 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 5 records.
Posted by InkSlinger4 9 years ago
InkSlinger4
CON, I really don't think you argued well. And your misplaced confidence places somewhat of a mark against you. I also agree that your errors in grammar were ill undergone. You gave practically no reason at all for you being right.
Posted by Geekis_Khan 9 years ago
Geekis_Khan
I think you misunderstood something. I never said that there was a deity that defines good and evil. I said that the only way to define good and evil is through a deity. Since an Atheist doesn't believe in a deity, there's no way to define good and evil in Atheistic terms.

I thought I had established that basis of thinking early on.

Unless I'm misunderstanding your loophole...
Posted by Bitz 9 years ago
Bitz
some scientists say selfish agression is also part of our genetics since it is a product of our ancient evolution via natural selection. those that were aggressive took more food forcibly and survived and passed there genes down
Posted by birdpiercefan3334 9 years ago
birdpiercefan3334
HMM. INTERESTING. SO, UM, CON, DO YOU HAVE A CASE. AND ALSO, CHECK YOUR SPELLING. COULDN'T FOLLOW YOU ROUND 1 SPEECH
Posted by XsamacadoX 9 years ago
XsamacadoX
Thank you for making this debate. It should be interesting.
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