The Instigator
MonochromeEffigy
Pro (for)
The Contender
onlytwin
Con (against)

Assuming there is no god, morality is subjective and laws are unnecessary

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 7/5/2017 Category: Philosophy
Updated: 1 year ago Status: Debating Period
Viewed: 1,293 times Debate No: 103104
Debate Rounds (5)
Comments (21)
Votes (0)

 

MonochromeEffigy

Pro

As an atheist, I do not believe in a god. Since I don’t believe in a god, I don’t believe in any kind of objective morality. Since I don't believe in objective morality, I don't believe there‘s any purpose in having laws to enforce one morality over another. Con will need to prove either a) there is an objective morality that doesn't come from a god, or b) laws are necessary.

Definitions:

God: a supreme being

Morality: a sense of right and wrong

Arguments:

1.Everyone doesn't have the exact same sense of morality. If everyone’s sense of morality was the same, morality would be effectively objective, but that is simply not the case. However, people who live close together are likely to have similar moralities. That’s most likely a survival instinct: humans aren’t very strong compared to other animals, but we’re smart enough to figure out how to ‘play nice’ so that we can work together in order to survive.

2.Laws used to be necessary, when it was important for humans to work together in order to survive. Now that we know how to build a functioning society, laws only get in the way of natural selection by protecting stupid people. For example, I carry a gun, and it is usually in plain sight. If an unarmed person were to attack me, they would be considered stupid, in my opinion. If I were to shoot them and they died, I would most likely be arrested for murder. This would dissuade me from shooting to kill, which would leave the stupid person alive to do more stupid things and to produce more stupid people. Natural selection exists for a reason. We need to allow the people with no common sense to be killed, rather than protecting them and allowing them to breed.

3.The concept of revenge destroys the idea of an objective morality. If one can break one’s moral code in the event that someone else breaks it first, what’s to stop one from breaking it whenever one wants, and why doesn’t one like it when someone takes revenge on them for taking revenge (perhaps because our morality is selfish… but that I’m and of itself goes against some people's moral codes)? That would make all morality subjective, since one would be saying ‘I can break the moral code in order to punish you for breaking the moral code, but I don't expect anyone to punish me for doing the same thing’.

4.With a subjective morality, everyone decides for themselves what’s right and what’s wrong, so laws aren’t necessary and only serve to try to establish a certain morality as superior to all other moralities without offering any reason as to why that morality is any better (because it’s not; it's all subjective).
onlytwin

Con

Instead of calling it an "objective morality" you should say you dont believe there are a set of intrinsic behaviors one could call morals that objectively exist between all humans. I am playing devils advocate here, im not sure how I feel about A. But B I do personally believe in.

a.) there is an objective morality that doesnt come from a god (in healthy individuals);

As a result of evolution, certain behaviors result in a cascade of neuro-hormone secretion that can serve to mimic the feelings others are experiencing. If one were to see another fall and break their ankles we flinch even if we had never had that exact experience. Endocrine glands, the brain, and blood serve to produce hormones, neurotransmitters, and transport them to cells to respond in such a way that it mimics the response the person falling has. Corticosteroid secretion, hypertension, and general activation of the flight/fight response.

Even without language, a sense of right and wrong is seen in apes as a result of our ability to mimic each others states during stress. If a primate witnesses an attack their body reflects that. When helpful behavior is displayed, and witness, a subject will secret similar hormones and neurotransmitters in response. http://www.sciencedirect.com...
http://www.cell.com...(07)00057-5
http://www.sciencedirect.com...
https://www.nature.com...

b.) laws are necessary.

Because these objective morals arise as a result of biology (just as ALL ideas do, thoughts and the brain cannot be independent of each other); UNHEALTHY individuals will deviate from the mean of accepted moral standards. Because so many individuals ARE unhealthy, laws that serve to regulate immoral behavior must exist. Just because you own a weapon and carry it around does not mean others do. Many important people do not choose to do this. Many are underage and CANNOT do this. If laws regulating immoral behavior did not exist, rates of these immoral behaviors would go up such as child rape, kidnapping, stealing and more. The law serves to deter through potential punishment as well as executing the actual punishment.
Debate Round No. 1
MonochromeEffigy

Pro

a.)

Congratulations on proving that there’s a scientific reason behind empathy, but that means nothing in regards to morality. They’re two separate things. The biological reactions that causes someone to feel another person’s pain could theoretically deter people from harming another person, thus creating a ‘treat others how you want to be treated’ mentality, but the reactions aren’t strong enough to actually do so. It seems to me that you’re trying to say that an objective morality comes from a general acceptance of the fact that there are negative consequences for some actions. Your example was ‘If one were to see another fall and break their ankles we flinch even if we had never had that exact experience.’ While this may be true, any rational person should be able to see that a flinch is nowhere near as intense as the pain one would experience from breaking one’s ankles. So then, there’s really nothing to keep someone from thinking through the situation and deciding that it is, in fact, worth the flinch to trip that person they don’t like and cause them to fall and break their ankles.

b.)

Are you claiming that only unhealthy people deviate from these so-called ‘moral standards’? If so then why have prisons at all? Shouldn't those people be given treatments for their conditions instead? Doesn't your objective morality say that helping people is right? If all people who commit ‘crimes’ do so because they’re unhealthy, you can’t expect a potential punishment to stop them from committing ‘crimes’ or an actual punishment to stop them from repeating their actions. However, healthy people do deviate from ‘moral standards’. Take, for example, cheating on a partner (I’m picking this particular act for an example because most people strongly believe that it’s wrong, but there aren’t any legal consequences for it). A lot of healthy individuals cheat on their partners. If they’re caught they’ll often admit that what they did was ‘wrong’, but they clearly don’t believe that, or they wouldn’t have done it in the first place. The only reason they admit to being ‘wrong’ and apologize is because society has shoved the morals of influential people down their throat, and the societally accepted response for breaking those morals is remorse. The aforementioned morals aren’t objective. They’re merely the opinions of people in positions of power. If they were objective, society’s standards of moral behavior would never change. Looking back through history, that is simply not the case.

Just because you own a weapon and carry it around does not mean others do. Many important people do not choose to do this. Many are underage and CANNOT do this.’ I understand that many people don’t own a weapon and don’t want one, and that’s entirely up to them. However, I also believe that those who can’t defend themselves should find someone who can defend them and work out some kind of agreement, and I’d suggest that to them now, even with laws. If the reason they don’t have a weapon is that they’re either too lazy to get one or too stupid to use one, good riddance. I’d shoot them myself if it wasn’t for the consequences. As for those who are underage, they wouldn’t be if there were no laws, now would they?

…laws that serve to regulate immoral behavior must exist. … If laws regulating immoral behavior did not exist, rates of these immoral behaviors would go up such as child rape, kidnapping, stealing and more.’ I find it interesting how you, someone who claims you ‘don’t know how you feel’ about an objective morality, point out several behaviors that I assume must go against your morals in an attempt to explain why laws are necessary. Did you consider that perhaps not everyone considers those behaviors as immoral as you do?
onlytwin

Con

a.)

Biological reactions like empathy and sympathy are key to morality. Without them you cannot physically identify if a behavior falls under the sets of either "right" or "wrong" behavior. The reason they are key to morality is because they aid in analyzing context. Without context identification via empathy morality does not exist. For example; without empathy/sympathy consider the "on paper" version of this moral "right", where, helping the poor through currency funding is good. Without context identification you would fund poor terrorist organizations, murderers, rapists, charities, missionaries, food drives, and police all the same. Theres a very obvious problem that exists without proper context here as giving each group money results in a different amount of stress induction such as murder or stress relief such as food for those who struggle. It is impossible to separate empathy from morality. EVEN if god existed and an objective morality was undisputable without empathy proper context identification wouldnt exist and morality could not function.

I never claimed you would an equal or near equal amount of pain when witnessing such an event nor do the papers I cited suggest that. *You made a rebuttal against an argument I never made*. Also, just because one can indulge in the set of "wrong" behaviors does not somehow destroy the idea of morality. Its literally indulging in one half of morality.

b.)
Yes unhealthy people have a major problem with several areas of morality; context identification, behavior inhibition, and engaging in behavior to name a few. And yes, in pedophiles there are biomarkers that show there are disorders in the brains of these individuals and of those with similar disorders. *This is not an argument to relieve judicial punishment of these individuals, it is simply stating the fact that ideas come from the brain, and outlier behaviors like pedophilia have been proven to have biomarkers indicating a pathology exists within these people* However, as you seem to understand this does raise a major question in bioethics; do we explore treatments for "wrong" behavior? Who is to say what is a "right" behavior if this contextual layer exists on top of this base objective layer?

With your cheating partner example, again you dont seem to understand just because a behavior exists in the "wrong" set, this does not destroy morality and it does not mean the person committing the behavior does not recognize it as "wrong". People can do "wrong" things and recognize it and feel guilty about it (or not). I would not say their response is a result of societal pressures as they can see a person is in stress after they are caught. The person under influence of societal pressure is the person upset about the cheating as society deems monogamy to be ultimate or "right". They experience stress, the cheater understands this and their body mimics the stress response (again, to varying degrees and almost never to equal amounts).

Morals CAN change because contexts constantly change. As mentioned earlier even if a god created 100% objective morals you cannot just blanket these ideas over everything as context is EVERYTHING. Because contexts change, MORALS change giving the illusion that they cannot be objective. As mentioned earlier healthy humans with very little societal influence have objective morals, they see stress, consider context, and determine if a behavior is "right or wrong". This happens in apes and is the best example as contexts hardly change since they have inferior PFCs'.

You say good riddance to those who dont want to protect themselves 100% of the time? Good riddance to Plank? Einstein? Sapolsky? Newton? Good riddance to millions of people who have made a major impact on your life and humanities? Good riddance to millions who have accomplished more than you or I ever could because you think everyone should carry a gun or hire people to protect them? And you would shoot these people? Many of who are responsible for the creation of firearms? You must think youre some kind of hardass.

"As for those who are underage, they wouldn"t be if there were no laws, now would they?" This thought has sickening consequences. No laws mean people would happily take advantage of children and you seem to be okay with that.

Yes child rape, kidnapping, stealing and more do go against my morals because if people were free to do that humanity would grind to a halt and devour itself like the dark ages and before. It doesnt matter how you view them, right or wrong, these behaviors result in regression and not progression and they are why humanity spent so long fighting in the mud with sticks and stones thinking fire and lightning were signs of angry gods. They result in elimination of humans. They result in more time spent thinking of how to protect yourself than thinking of algebra or quantum physics or how to build computers or rockets or music or therapeutical drugs or predicting ecosystem crashes or how to farm or how to make light bulbs.
Debate Round No. 2
MonochromeEffigy

Pro

a.)

If stress is the difference between right and wrong, then I guess those people who procrastinate because they work better under stress must be pretty awful people. That brings me to the biggest flaw in your argument for an objective morality: your argument keeps coming back to negative consequences, and not everyone considers the same results to be negative consequences. For example, a member of a terrorist organization might donate money to said organization, and will likely not consider the acts of terrorism that it funds to be negative at all. As long as the consequences are viewed subjectively, morality will be as well.

I never claimed you would an equal or near equal amount of pain when witnessing such an event nor do the papers I cited suggest that. *You made a rebuttal against an argument I never made*.’ I did no such thing. I know that neither you nor the papers you cited (or at least what I could read of them without paying (that’s fighting dirty if I’ve ever seen it, and I’m pretty sure fighting dirty goes against most people’s morals. If it’s not against yours, well, I guess it must be subjective, unless you’re going to admit that your morals are wrong.)) said that. I was merely pointing out that the consequences of your supposed ‘wrongs’ aren’t remotely proportionate to the other person’s pain.

b.)

…in pedophiles there are biomarkers that show there are disorders in the brains of these individuals and of those with similar disorders.’ Really? Were you aware that they treat pedophilia by reconditioning the individual to have socially acceptable sexual preferences? A disorder in their brains would be better treated with medication, would it not?

Who is to say what is a "right" behavior if this contextual layer exists on top of this base objective layer?’ Are you trying to say that morality is objective and subjective?

People can do "wrong" things and recognize it and feel guilty about it (or not).’ The definition of ‘guilty’ is ‘culpable of or responsible for a specified wrongdoing’. So then, if someone recognizes that they did a ‘wrong’ thing, they must feel responsible for it, at which point there’s no chance of them not feeling guilty. It follows that if someone does not feel guilty for something that they do not believe that it’s wrong. Since people feel guilty for different things, they must believe that different things are wrong.

This happens in apes and is the best example as contexts hardly change since they have inferior PFCs'.’ Apes are nowhere near as intelligent at humans. Maybe they can’t comprehend a different morality? I can’t say I’ve studied the thought processes of apes, so I don’t really know, but I’m inclined to think there's a rather large difference between the morality of apes and that of humans.

I didn’t say ‘good riddance to those who dont want to protect themselves 100% of the time’. I said good riddance to people who are lazy and/or stupid, and I will stand by that statement. Three of your examples of people you think I said good riddance to are already dead, so it’s aside the point whether or not I would say good riddance to them. As for Sapolsky, if I could find a way to get away with killing him I wouldn't think twice about doing so. However, in the case of people I don’t actually dislike, upon thinking through my previous statement I realized that I probably shouldn’t actually shoot them, as they do make good distractions for the people who are looking to harm others. By the way, if my statement makes me a hardass, does the fact that you don’t agree with it make you a softass? I think I’d rather be a hardass.

…millions who have accomplished more than you or I ever could…’ Excuse me, but just because you believe that you can’t accomplish much doesn’t mean that I can’t. I happen to think that my brain is just as good as anyone else’s, and there are quite a lot of things that I intend to accomplish, thank you very much.

No laws mean people would happily take advantage of children and you seem to be okay with that.’ Maybe I am. I won’t confirm or deny it, as my personal opinion is completely irrelevant to this debate. Not to mention, confirming it would tip the debate in your favor due to the majority opinion, while denying it would make me look like a hypocrite. The way I see it, it’s a lose-lose situation if I reply to that.

It wouldn't send humanity back to the dark ages if there were no laws. Most people still wouldn’t do things that are against the law, unless the law is entirely out of sync with the morality of the majority (the closest we can get to an objective morality), at which point we need to do away with it, anyway. Our society is stable enough that it can sustain itself without anyone telling anyone else what they ought to consider acceptable behavior. There would possibly be a slight regression if all laws were done away with at once, but as long as it was done slowly there wouldn’t be any problem at all.

They result in more time spent thinking of how to protect yourself than thinking of algebra or quantum physics or how to build computers or rockets or music or therapeutical drugs or predicting ecosystem crashes or how to farm or how to make light bulbs.’ Actually, there's not much thought required to protect oneself. There’s this incredible machine called a gun. When you pull the trigger, a bullet comes out and lodges itself in whatever you’re pointing it at. I would suggest pointing it at the head of the person you need to protect yourself from. It works wonders.
onlytwin

Con

a.) Youre not understanding, stress doesnt determine right or wrong. Context + certain "mixes" of hormones/neurotransmitters + reaction to the previous two defines what is negative or positive and this is objective in healthy people/animals. Stress responses themselves do not define right or wrong. When a person is murdered, when an ape is murdered, in front of another person/ape a stress response occurs. You do not have to have language or a society for this to happen. This is considered negative as constant stress responses such as constantly being in violent situations will diminish mental and physical health. Your body was built to avoid these situations and its why you have stress responses to begin with. This is an objectively negative biological response that your body will avoid. Your body will move energy from your brain, digestive tract, and sex organs and allocate them to the lungs, muscles, and basic parts of the brain that deal with fight/flight. Doing this for long periods of time will kill you/cause depression/anxiety. As I mentioned before CONTEXT is incredibly important, without the ability to perceive each others biological states you would NEVER have a stress response. Just because you experience stress decided what clothes to wear today does not mean there is a right or wrong choice. Stress isnt there to tell us whats right or wrong but you couple early mammalian brain structure with a more "modern" human pre-frontal cortex and you get abstract ways to interpret stress and other peoples stress.

Just go to sci-hub.cc and plug in the DOI and youll get past any pay wall bro. And they have to be proportional?

b.)
It is a disorder of the brain/body and as I mentioned "fixing" "wrong" behaviors is highly ethically controversial. Yes, medication would be the best option to "fix" any behavior but legally getting to that point is probably not possible. Just because a problem exists in the brain doesnt mean it starts there btw, which means you might not always want a drug to target the brain if you can fix the behavior elsewhere. For example if I get cranky cause I have ulcers you dont make a drug to stop me from experiencing anger you make a drug to fix the ulcers.

http://sci-hub.cc...
https://synapse.koreamed.org...

""Who is to say what is a "right" behavior if this contextual layer exists on top of this base objective layer?" Are you trying to say that morality is objective and subjective?" You could view it that way. I interpret this in such a way where there is a baseline objective morality that all healthy humans display and as more experiences occur in an organism more subjectivity builds up in the way contexts are identified but the baseline objective morality is always there and represented through stress physiology. And when I say "subjective" I mean that now the stress physiology changes and is dependent on experiences the organism had. A healthy person will still recognize a person suffering, but now whether its right or wrong determines what the physiology looks like. The stress response happens. That will not go away unless youre unhealthy. Amounts of molecules change.

"the definition of"... no.. there is no singular definition for anything so "a definition of guilty is.." is what you mean. You do not have to feel responsible to feel guilt. Survivors guilt is about feeling stress about the idea that you survived and others did not. In some cases, sure someone may feel they are at fault. In many other cases they just feel guilty people died.

The only comparison of apes to humans I did was how they have INFERIOR PFCs' so if youre implying I did than youre wrong. I compared the stress responses of humans to apes (note, a lot of behavioral interpretation of stress physiology was done on apes to determine the evolutionary uses of social stress etc). IF morality is based on experiencing stress responses when witnessing another organism suffer than apes have morality as well. As I mentioned previously because apes have less evolved prefrontal cortexes their morality is much less contextual and much more based on basic response.

"*However, I also believe that those who can"t defend themselves should find someone who can defend them and work out some kind of agreement, and I"d suggest that to them now, even with laws*. If the reason they don"t have a weapon is that they"re either too lazy to get one or too stupid to use one, good riddance."
So if there arent laws to defend these highly resourceful, impactful, and progressive individuals and they refuse to carry weapons themselves than what do you suggest we do to ensure they stay alive?

"They result in more time spent thinking of how to protect yourself than thinking of algebra or quantum physics or how to build computers or rockets or music or therapeutical drugs or predicting ecosystem crashes or how to farm or how to make light bulbs." Actually, there's not much thought required to protect oneself. There"s this incredible machine called a gun. When you pull the trigger, a bullet comes out and lodges itself in whatever you"re pointing it at. I would suggest pointing it at the head of the person you need to protect yourself from. It works wonders.

If all the thinking you do when making decisions about how to protect yourself especially with guns is "well I just point and shoot!" than youre probably missing ammo. And you probably havent cleaned your weapon. Or taken it apart to know how it works. Or studied it to further your knowledge of how it works. Or tested it. Or trained yourself so you can efficiently operate it in high stress situations. Or have thought of a career that allows you the time and money to support your training and purchases. Or where to store your weapons and ammo. Or how you will transport them.

You also must now be paranoid of those around you so instead of walks thinking about mass spectroscopy and fluorescence detection for a drug you developed that cures a popular strain of cancer you must keep your eyes peeled and be ready to fight.
Debate Round No. 3
MonochromeEffigy

Pro

a.)

Context + certain "mixes" of hormones/neurotransmitters + reaction to the previous two defines what is negative or positive and this is objective in healthy people/animals.’ Healthy people/animals should probably have an objective reaction to hormones and neurotransmitters, but, at least in the case of humans, reactions to context can and should vary.

They don’t have to be proportionate (obviously, since they aren’t), but wouldn’t it make more sense if they were? You said at the beginning of the debate that these reactions are a result of evolution, but I think the opposite is true. The reactions that cause what you call a baseline objective morality are deteriorating. The greatest civilizations in history have accepted more and more behavior that other civilizations would have called morally wrong. The only reason these civilizations collapsed is that their governments made bad choices. The way towards societal progression is away from government and laws, and toward freedom for the people, including freedom to follow their own view of morality. If we were to allow natural selection to take it’s course, I believe these stress reactions would fade further, and eventually disappear.

b.)

..."fixing" "wrong" behaviors is highly ethically controversial.’ If morality was objective there would be no controversy. It would either be right or wrong, period. ‘…medication would be the best option to "fix" any behavior but legally getting to that point is probably not possible.’ It would be possible if there were no laws. ‘Just because a problem exists in the brain doesnt mean it starts there btw, which means you might not always want a drug to target the brain if you can fix the behavior elsewhere.’ Indeed, and that’s the idea behind the reconditioning I mentioned. However, it doesn’t account for the fact that ‘problems’ like pedophilia might not always start outside the brain. Someone could be born a pedophile, you know. It’s not too far-fetched.

You claim there are two layers of morality: an objective, biological reaction as the base, and a subjective, contextual reaction that modifies the base. In that case, morality as a whole is controlled by subjective reactions to context, and is therefore effectively subjective, despite your so-called objective layer (which cannot actually be objective, as it changes to match the subjective layer, by your own admission).

…"a definition of guilty is.." is what you mean.’ No, actually it’s not. However, I can specify further what I meant. I meant the definition of ‘guilty’ as it applies to someone who has just committed an action. Survivor’s guilt is completely different, as the people who experience it usually didn’t do anything to contribute to the other people’s deaths. If you want more definitions of guilty, I’ll have to give you definitions of guilt instead, since most definitions of guilty are something along the lines of ‘experiencing a feeling of guilt’.
Guilt:
1. a feeling of having done wrong or failed in an obligation.
2. a feeling of deserving blame for offenses
3. a feeling of responsibility or remorse for some offense, crime, wrong, etc., whether real or imagined.
4. Guilt is also a feeling of anxiety or unhappiness that you have done something immoral or wrong, such as causing harm to another person
5. a feeling that you have done something wrong or bad or let someone down, or the state of having broken a law.
6. a painful feeling of self-reproach resulting from a belief that one has done something wrong or immoral.
7. A painful emotion experienced when one believes one's actions or thoughts have violated a moral or personal standard.
8. A feeling of having committed wrong or failed in an obligation.
There you go. Now you have plenty of definitions.

It’s true that apes come much closer to an objective morality than humans. It actually helps to prove my point: we evolved from something with an objective morality into something with a subjective morality. The contextual level of morality developed further in humans than it has in apes, giving us a subjective morality as opposed to their objective morality.

So if there arent laws to defend these highly resourceful, impactful, and progressive individuals and they refuse to carry weapons themselves than what do you suggest we do to ensure they stay alive?’ Nothing. There are people who are concerned about the welfare of these people (you clearly are), and some of these concerned parties will undoubtedly be willing and able to protect them from harm.

…youre probably missing ammo.’ Nope. As I said at the beginning of the debate, I keep my gun in plain sight. Most people don’t mess with me, so I haven’t had many occasions where I actually needed to use any ammo. ‘And you probably havent cleaned your weapon.’ I have. Probably not as often as I should, but that’s just because I hate cleaning in general. ‘Or taken it apart to know how it works.’ I most likely wouldn’t be able to put it back together. ‘Or studied it to further your knowledge of how it works.’ Not overly in-depth, but I know the basics. ‘Or tested it.’ Of course I tested it. I’d be dead if I hadn’t. ‘Or trained yourself so you can efficiently operate it in high stress situations.’ Is there another kind of situation to operate it in? It doesn't take as much training as you seem to think it does. ‘Or have thought of a career that allows you the time and money to support your training and purchases.’ Like I said, it doesn’t require much training, and I don’t have to make many purchases. ‘Or where to store your weapons and ammo.’ Suffice it to say I keep them close. ‘Or how you will transport them.’ In a holster, attached to my belt. I don’t generally carry extra ammo with me. I didn’t mean that I don’t put any more thought than point and shoot into having a gun. I meant that to actively protect yourself that’s all that’s required.

You also must now be paranoid of those around you so instead of walks thinking about mass spectroscopy and fluorescence detection for a drug you developed that cures a popular strain of cancer you must keep your eyes peeled and be ready to fight.’ You’ve never carried a weapon, have you? If you’re armed and you know you can use your weapon well, you won’t be paranoid. You won’t be paranoid because you won’t be afraid of anyone. You won’t be afraid of anyone because you’ll be prepared to put an end to any threat. However, I wouldn’t suggest giving paranoid people guns as a way to help them with their paranoia, as they will most likely just be paranoid people with guns, and paranoid people are more likely to shoot at any potential threat, rather than wait for them to become actual threats. In other words, there’s a good possibility they’ll shoot whoever’s trying to teach them to use their guns, and then there will be a lot of people who have guns, but don’t know how to use them.
onlytwin

Con

I'm going to reorganize this a bit and start here, as this is the most relevant part I think

""Indeed, and that"s the idea behind the reconditioning I mentioned. However, it doesn"t account for the fact that "problems" like pedophilia might not always start outside the brain. Someone could be born a pedophile, you know. It"s not too far-fetched." Social conditioning is one of many methods. But social conditioning is effectively changing brain chemistry through social means which is very much subject to variability (which means unpredictability) and is pretty much a more socially acceptable method to changing brain chemistry. Drugs directly delivered to their target will always be better than anything social provided its dont correctly.

"You claim there are two layers of morality: an objective, biological reaction as the base, and a subjective, contextual reaction that modifies the base. In that case, morality as a whole is controlled by subjective reactions to context, and is therefore effectively subjective, despite your so-called objective layer (which cannot actually be objective, as it changes to match the subjective layer, by your own admission)." I think youre trying to make a quantitative statement about something in which there is simply 0 data to back up. However, I will still entertain this idea. This objective layer changes in an attempt to maintain homeostasis. Scientifically, this is why stress, calmness, joy and all emotions exist. They exist to maintain homeostasis and reproduce. The thing is, one of these layers can exist without the other. If you deprive a human of ALL senses, touch, pain, smell, burning, cold, vision, depth of field, etc these objective layers still exist. These objective layers are crucial for things like making your heart beat. Corticosteroids for example are crucial to stress physiology because of this. This is why you see raised corticosteroid levels while being screamed at or while in a gunfight as well as when you go for a jog. This objective layer servers more than just morality. It is fundamental to your physiology and MUST exist without any context. You can remove a LARGE amount of the brain and deprive people of thoughts and this physiology exists.

This means, essentially and half-hypothetically (cortical knock-out studies are out there that examine some aspects of this) you can remove things such as the capability to hear and have touch sensations and bare witness to a murder and still have this physiology carry out. My point is, you start eliminating variability in the context and you get a baseline. This baseline exists without context meaning; this subjective layer could be entirely eliminated and you still have morals.

Does this mean this baseline is more important than the subjective layer? Absolutely not. As I stand by; context is everything. But without this objective layer to start with and continuously use (thats the key here, its constantly used) than you have no subjective layer. This is not a deterioration of this objective layer when contexts change, its actually just minor adjustments (and when I say minor, I mean minor. Youre not gonna pump out even a picoliter more testosterone in a gunfight just if you suddenly change which side youre shooting for).

The fact that you provided 9 different definitions of guilt (im including your definition of guilty) is evidence that definitions are subjective which is why I asked you to define what you mean.

For your paragraph about apes and humans, I find it difficult to say morality is either objective or subjective. We will always be stuck within the limitations of our human biology. There is an objective framework that this species is dealt with. To say that it is either here or there is not considering this objective irreplaceable starting point that this "subjective" layer constantly references in decision making. Its like saying all pencils are subjective because they have different designs.. well, a pencil is a writing tool that you can also erase with and thats your objective base. A pencil is not a dishwasher. A pencil is not a pen. Just because there are some minor variations doesnt mean its totally subjective and this also does not mean its totally objective.

" what do you suggest we do to ensure they stay alive?" Nothing. There are people who are concerned about the welfare of these people (you clearly are), and some of these concerned parties will undoubtedly be willing and able to protect them from harm." you are making a major assumption. The man who invented the standard we use now for sequencing DNA (invented the "shotgun method") was a f*cking *sshole. This man shouldve won many Nobel prizes but never did. Very few people enjoyed working with this man and the only reason so many have is because he is just too smart not to give resources to. I find it hard to believe that at the start of this mans career that people would be willing to die for him. And this brings my attention to another point, that, the only way people would want to die for science is if the people theyre risking their lives for HAVE DONE something. What about all the Einsteins in the making who have not yet sprouted and made leaps for mankind? Nobody will protect an undergrad student who is potentially the next Einstein if he isnt already famous or producing results. Yet, hes extinguished from existence and his ideas will never come to fruition because of a barbaric meathead wanted to let some steam off with his AR (note, im not against guns either. Ive been shooting many times).

" Nope. As I said at the beginning of the debate, I keep my gun in plain sight. Most people don"t mess with me, so I haven"t had many occasions where I actually needed to use any ammo. "And you probably havent cleaned your weapon." I have." YOU HAVE. The whole point of this is that youre spending time thinking about how to survive and not how to understand reality and explore the universe. Throughout this entire time you speak on your personal behalf. I have a lot of science that needs to be done that will progress humanity, not comparable to einstein obviously, but nonetheless Im here to contribute. Even if Im confident in my skills theres always someone with a better shot than me out there and going to the store is a gamble not just for my life but for my lifes works. Youre not just talking about lives, youre talking about ideas.
Debate Round No. 4
MonochromeEffigy

Pro

I don’t know why you chose what you did as the most relevant point, because I would say it’s the least relevant. The issue of treating things like pedophilia hinges on the issue of whether morality is objective of subjective. If morality is objective, it should be clear whether or not these things should be treated. If morality is subjective, while some people may prefer that they always be treated, it should ultimately be left up to the individual whether they want treatment.

If you deprive a human of ALL senses, touch, pain, smell, burning, cold, vision, depth of field, etc these objective layers still exist.’ They exist, but they don’t function. You claim ‘This is why you see raised corticosteroid levels while being screamed at or while in a gunfight as well as when you go for a jog.’ but that begs the question, if one did deprive a human of all senses, how would that human know that they were being screamed at, how would they know they were in a gunfight, and how would they know if they were jogging? They wouldn’t. As soon as you add some form of perception, it can and will be interpreted subjectively, and that subjective interpretation of context will control the previously objective layer, turning it into something subjective. The only way to avoid subjectivity in the interpretation of context would be to severely diminish the intelligence of the human in question so that they would be incapable of interpreting context at all. The biggest difference between humans and apes is that of intelligence, so if one diminished the intelligence of a human being that much, said human would be more like an ape than a human, and therefore irrelevant to this debate.

This is not a deterioration of this objective layer when contexts change…’ When I said the objective layer is deteriorating I didn’t mean that it deteriorates in each individual, I meant that it’s deteriorating as humanity evolves.

To say that it is either here or there is not considering this objective irreplaceable starting point that this "subjective" layer constantly references in decision making.’ The problem is that the subjective layer references the objective layer and then changes it to match what the individual wants it to say. There are at least two ways it can do that. For example, you said: ‘...a pencil is a writing tool that you can also erase with and thats your objective base.’ Here are two cases in which that would most likely be modified:

1. The first way would be to introduce something that fits the statement made in the objective base but shouldn’t (in the opinion of the individual examining the thing against the objective base). Are erasable crayons pencils? I wouldn’t say so, but they do fit the statement made in the objective base. In order to avoid having these classified as pencils, the objective base needs to be modified.
2. The second way would be to introduce something that should fit the statement in the objective base (once again, in the opinion of the individual) but doesn’t. Are drawing pencils without erasers pencils? Not according to the statement in the objective base. This is another case where the supposedly objective base would need to be modified.

These types of situations also apply to morality.

1. Suppose the objective layer of morality says that murder is wrong. Now suppose Person A murders Person B’s mother. Person B knows that Person A is the culprit, and they know that they could kill Person A without being caught. If Person B breaks into Person A’s house and kills them in their sleep, Person B has murdered Person A. However, Person B probably doesn’t believe that they’ve done anything wrong, because their subjective perception of context has modified the objective layer of morality so that it now says ‘murder is wrong, unless the person I want to murder has murdered someone I care about’.

2. This is more like social reconditioning, and as such it can come from outside the individual. It’s where someone is repeatedly told, by their self or by others, that something is morally wrong, and they hear it so many times that they start to believe it. Once they believe it, the subjective layer modifies the objective layer so that it matches the individual’s new perception of context. This kind of thing can be observed in religious settings, where everyone is expected to share the same morality.

The man who invented the standard we use now for sequencing DNA (invented the "shotgun method") was a f*cking *sshole. This man shouldve won many Nobel prizes but never did. Very few people enjoyed working with this man and the only reason so many have is because he is just too smart not to give resources to. I find it hard to believe that at the start of this mans career that people would be willing to die for him.’ I find it hard to believe that people would work with this man. If he’s as bad as you say, it would make more sense for the people who were supposed to be working with him to refuse to do so until he made himself a tolerable companion. He would either learn to be pleasant, or he would work alone. One way makes him a more likeable person, at which point people would be willing to defend him, and the other way makes him unproductive, at which point he does society no good and he may as well spend all his time defending himself.

…the only way people would want to die for science is if the people theyre risking their lives for HAVE DONE something.’ Most people have parents, and parents have parental instincts that tell them to protect their children. In the case of children without parents, relatives will step in and protect them, out of a sense of responsibility if nothing else. There are children with no relatives who are willing to take them in, and those children are either adopted, left in orphanages, or just told ‘tough luck’ and left to fend for themselves. Anyone who wouldn’t be considered a child should have already gotten to work on whatever they plan on doing, in my opinion, so there shouldn’t be any more of an issue than there is now.

The whole point of this is that youre spending time thinking about how to survive and not how to understand reality and explore the universe.’ Not much time. I spend more time thinking about eating than I do taking care of my gun, honestly. ‘Throughout this entire time you speak on your personal behalf.’ I can’t speak on anyone else’s behalf. ‘Youre not just talking about lives, youre talking about ideas.’ Ideas aren’t worth anything until they’ve been realized.


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Debate Round No. 5
21 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by MonochromeEffigy 1 year ago
MonochromeEffigy
This isn't an official definition of guilt (it came from urban dictionary), but I've got one more. 'An unfortunate side affect that results from being overly exposed to morality.'
Posted by MonochromeEffigy 1 year ago
MonochromeEffigy
@Ockham I'd be happy to debate with you, but it will have to wait until I'm finished with this one. I can barely keep up with one debate, sometimes.

@Fr3ak Just what are anarchists like, exactly?
Posted by MrDelaney 1 year ago
MrDelaney
I find the topic fascinating - though there would be no use debating between us because we seem to be on the same side.

As far as a universal standard, you're right, and I wasn't assuming it does not exist.
I was only pointing out that you hadn't made a case for it.

Our biology may indicate certain preferences, but you would still need to justify the belief that those biological markers of 'right' and 'wrong' are in fact 'right and wrong' in some objective way (ie. a universal standard to which they can be compared).
Posted by MrDelaney 1 year ago
MrDelaney
I find the topic fascinating - though there would be no use debating between us because we seem to be on the same side.

As far as a universal standard, you're right, and I wasn't assuming it does not exist.
I was only pointing out that you hadn't made a case for it.

Our biology may indicate certain preferences, but you would still need to justify the belief that those biological markers of 'right' and 'wrong' are in fact 'right and wrong' in some objective way (ie. a universal standard to which they can be compared).
Posted by onlytwin 1 year ago
onlytwin
@MrDelaney, again I agree. I myself am agnostic (for practicality you could say atheist) and as I attempted to explain earlier; that is precisely where I would target if I were debating myself. Just because there are biomarkers that indicate a state of stress, which could be interpreted as wrong, there are so many different states of stress and "amounts" of bio-molecules secreted which vary across each individual that actually quantifying at which point someone reaches a "wrong" or a "right" ***MAY*** be impossible.

Of course, if we had precise tools that could measure EVERYTHING we could measure all biological activity and create an average # that represents the average state of stress during a "wrong" event. Because of variations in health the standard deviation would be pretty high but nonetheless this idea could be entertained and perhaps quantified appropriately by someone putting real effort into it.

To say a universal standard does not exist is to assume as a lack of evidence is not proof of something not existing. And as I just explained it may actually be possible to quantify rights and wrongs (and it might not be).

If anyone cares to re-challenge me on this debate again I'd accept the offer. Though, as mentioned, I am focusing on quantification of things which means biology and GOOD science will be discussed.
Posted by MrDelaney 1 year ago
MrDelaney
Hahahaha
Well played.

:)
Posted by canis 1 year ago
canis
The lack of a universal standard is what most atheist object to when it comes to claims of theistic objective morallity..
Posted by MrDelaney 1 year ago
MrDelaney
Onlytwin - agreed. You're hitting against the is/ought problem that has plagued philosophers for centuries.

Though I will say that one issue with the debate so far (in my humble opinion) is the nebulous definition of morality being used ("a sense of right and wrong").

When dealing with a God then the standard for that right and wrong is implied (and so such a vague definition might be adequate), but once you go into an atheistic worldview you really need to define and justify the standard by which you are judging right and wrong.

Even if you can justify that we each have an innate and evolved sense of 'right' and 'wrong,' you haven't defined (and then rationally justified) a standard by which we should measure those judgements.

The lack of a universal standard is what most theists object to when it comes to claims of atheistic objective morality.
Posted by onlytwin 1 year ago
onlytwin
@MrDelaney, yes I agree. Although, as mentioned in round 1 of my argument. My hypothesis is based off the idea that our bodies mimic the physiology of other humans we see, most notably during stressors like violence. However, making the leap between stress physiology and "wrong" is difficult. And I think if I were to debate the other side thats where I would target.

Stress physiology doesnt directly imply things that are wrong. this is especially true in short term stress, non-debilitating medium-long term stress, and the abstract human made environment we live in. Generally, these responses have biomarkers and generally this sort of response is regulated such that it is not frequent.
Posted by MrDelaney 1 year ago
MrDelaney
Fr3ak - just because people debate issues of morality does not mean that morality is subjective. It means that people have opinions about things, and opinions are by definition subjective.

People debate issues of science as well, because data can be interpreted in different ways.
But I doubt you would say that science cannot lead to objective truths.

In the same way, it would be possible for there to be objective moral truths, even if we debate our own subjective beliefs about them amongst ourselves.
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