The Instigator
Benshapiro
Pro (for)
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The Contender
LenaQueen
Con (against)
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Atheists cannot adequately explain morality

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Started: 4/28/2014 Category: Religion
Updated: 2 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 960 times Debate No: 53562
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (20)
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Benshapiro

Pro

By "explain morality" I mean that atheists can't give an adequate explanation of the existence of objective morals unless God exists.

Objective morals are morals that are inherently true regardless of society, culture, time period, or beliefs.

By "God" I mean the supreme being (omnipotent, omniscient, omnibenevolent) and creator of the universe.

The first round is for you to present your case as to why objective morals can exist in the absence of God. The burden of proof is on my opponent.

By accepting this debate you agree to these terms and rules. Thanks! Over to my opponent.
LenaQueen

Con

First, as it says in the comments, I am assuming you are referring to the Christian God. Now to start. I am an atheist, but my morals (and other reasons it is irrelevant to get into) have helped with my decision to be vegan. I believe causing harm to other animals is wrong. I do not believe this out of fear of being sent to Hell or because a God told me to think this way. These morals exist because we as humans are empathetic and a majority of us feel something when we see an animal being injured or killed; especially one we relate to more like a human. Another issue is fairness. Say someone steels from you. You'd get upset. Why? Not because of God, because you feel cheated. We base our morals on our understanding of others' feelings. This has nothing to do with faith.
Debate Round No. 1
Benshapiro

Pro

Thanks con. I am referring to a God that has traits of the Christian God.

I'll paraphrase your major points while staying true to your logic.

1. I am an atheist, but I know that objective morals exist. I believe they exist because causing harm to other animals and stealing is wrong.


If you agree that objective morality exists, I will then ask you how can anything definitively be "right" and "wrong" morally if we have no deliberate purpose for our existence? If we evolved from non-living material, how can a definitive purpose exist among the human race? Objective morals require that we have a purpose. Why? Because objectives don't exist in an objectiveless world unless you create objectives for yourself but then all morality would be subjective. Murder without cause and rape against someone's will is always wrong. Why though? Our moral code tells us that it is wrong. But why do we have a moral code that directs us for/against any kind of "wrong" purpose if we have no purpose to begin with?





2. I didn't need God to give me my objective morals. Humans have a sense of right and wrong because we are naturally empathetic.



My argument is that objective morals can't exist without a God. Either God exists or he doesn't. There is no middle ground. If a supreme being does not exist, it follows that we have a spontaneous, unconscious, non-deliberate cause for our existence. If God does exist, it follows that have a purposeful existence to do God's will. Since the will of an omnibenevolent God is for us to treat each other with unconditional love, it follows that this is the same principle guiding the moral code of each human being. Empathy is a way of understanding how others feel. But why do human beings care about how others human beings feel if we sincerely have no objective purpose in life? If one human being wants to harm another, why is harm considered a "bad" purpose if we really don't have any purpose at all?

LenaQueen

Con

First of all, our purpose of existance does not matter. What is rellavent is that we are here and if we are to stay here we need morals. Without them, the world would be crazy and hectic, and we would be extinct rather quickly. We care about how others' feel because we have emotional bonds. And your main point is based on us having a God. We obviously have objective morals, so for you to be correct, you must first prove God exists.
Debate Round No. 2
Benshapiro

Pro

Jumping right in.

Here are my paraphrased arguments from the previous round:

Previous round, Pro: How can an objective moral truth exist when our existence is objectiveless?

and . . .

Previous round, Pro: If objective moral truths require that we have a purpose, how can any intent (purposeful) existence of the human race exist if we're the product of undirected random mutations?


[paraphrasing] my opponent responds . . .


Con: 1) Purpose doesn't matter.



Con: 2) Morals are necessary for suriving in a world that requires cooperative order.



------------------------------


1) my opponent refuses to agree that objectives require a purpose. What is an objective? It's an intentional fulfillment of a requirement to reach a specified purpose. If no purpose exists among the purposeless human race, how can any objective exist among us in the form of objective morality? It's a simple logical contradiction.


2) cooperative order presupposes that our existence is to promote the evolution of the human race. If we sincerely have no purpose for our existence (resulting from undirected, random mutation) then no cooperative goal to enhance our continued survival can exist.



Thank you, I look forward to your specific rebuttals to my points of contention, con.




LenaQueen

Con

For my second point, I meant that we would individually die without order so we instinctively have morals as to not ourselves get harmed. This goes along with empathy.

For my other point, there are many different theories for our purpose, I just don't believe any I've heard. The one we are arguing over is that we are here to serve God. So until you can prove He exists, and that He made us to serve him, none of your arguments are valid/ sufficient.
Debate Round No. 3
20 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by Sagey 2 years ago
Sagey
Love: A bunch of genetically derived chemicals, produced for the purposes of mating and nurturing the young to adulthood.
Most of the love for fellow humans comes from the Nurture principles.
As we evolved in group, group dynamics, Sharing, Working Together, Hunting as a team, thus teamwork all assisted survival. Thus group dynamics and sharing the burdens and love became important for our survival. Much of human ethics/morality evolved from this group nurture.
Many of our moral codes can be easily witnessed in other similar social creatures, such as meerkats and voles, and especially other Ape colonies, who also have rules against rape, as in some ape colonies, raping a female results in death of the rapist, and if they escape, a lifetime banishment from the group. They are much more rational than the Islamic community who blame the rape on the female.
So there is an example of apes having better moral than some humans.

Objective Morality is an argument from Ignorance.
There is no morality in the universe where intelligence does not exist.
It is only cognitive, beings who evolve morality structures for Group Survival and Harmony.
Posted by Benshapiro 2 years ago
Benshapiro
Interestingly, "rights" like unalienable human rights are an indication that humans are intrinsically valuable. Humans became intrinsically valuable even though we started off as not? Also, you stated that we don't rape because we're intelligent beings and have rights. Spontaneous processes have never shown to create intelligence because intelligence has only shown to come from prior intelligence.

If rape was seen as something that violated our rights, but resulted in pregnancy, why would we see violation of one's rights to be to be morally harmful if the basis of our morality is the propagation of our species? I'm arguing that the rights we have currently (because we love and respect our fellow human being) wouldn't exist in such a world. Why would we have these rights in the first place that say that our fellow human beings are intrinsically valuable even though we are the result of a purely undirected process of random mutations that began spontaneously?

I am not a pacifist, but if the entire world all treated each other with unconditional love we'd be living in an in an ideal world instead of the world full of so much hatred and evil that there is today. I also believe that our morality derives from the love of God and makes sense in explaining why examples like charity without retribution and jumping on a grenade to safe your fellow soldier are seen as acts of good because they're acts of love.
Posted by dtw 2 years ago
dtw
You're saying that we don't rape because we love. I can think of many reasons that don't require a God that support rape as a really bad way to propagate the species. That's a poor argument.

We are intelligent beings - we are capable of coming up with acceptable rules to live in a society, devoid of God. Rules that do not allow the infringement of one's rights, protect your property and your right to live.

So you are a pacifist? You love unconditionally, regardless of someone attacking you or your family? Would you fight back for love, or love your attacker and let God sort it out? I could argue that it's a natural process to be a coward - putting yourself in harms way to protect others could be the moral thing to do, but some feel the bible teaches pacifism, some theologians feel differently, specially about "turn the other cheek" and it's actual meaning. Love doesn't answer these questions, and any answer you could come up with is subjective.
Posted by Benshapiro 2 years ago
Benshapiro
Unconditional love is an objective love.
Posted by Benshapiro 2 years ago
Benshapiro
The natural process that I was referring to was the one I'd mentioned in the previous post, natural selection. Love is also a natural process. Love being the basis for our morality makes much more sense than morality that exists to cultivate life. For instance, if our purpose was to cultivate life, why would rape that results in pregnancy be considered wrong? It's wrong because rape is an unloving action that goes against our moral code of love and not because it furthers a purposeless evolutionary process.

By saying that "life finds a way to occur" requires the most basic action of life acting independently to sustain itself. How could any action occur without an action for that action's action? It becomes an infinite regress to a uncaused cause - something that must exist eternally, like God - for the first mover of these actions.
Posted by dtw 2 years ago
dtw
...a non-deliberate, unconscious, spontaneous cause for our existence?

I find that an interesting statement from someone so wrapped up in the wonderment of God. Ever see a blade of grass growing out of a crack in the sidewalk? Even as hundreds of people walk around it every day and then wonder, how the heck did that grow there? Lots of folks love to say that's a definitive proof of God. To me, it's proof that life in the universe is NOT an exception, but rather the rule. It's a guarantee, not unlikely.

You value life - you find it precious. In Western civilizations, we believe that all life is precious. We also know that precious things are rare or scarce. Econ 101, right? Oddly enough, we live in a world with 6 billion people, so life really isn't all that scarce, but we value it highly, and even more so for those close to us. So it's not untypical for people to feel that life is unique. That same thought easily leads to the belief that life in the universe is rare or doesn't just "occur". But logically, why would we think that? Life is not an exception - it happens constantly, all around us; quite often, even when we don't want it to.

So your argument: Out of all the billions of planets, life just happened to spring up here on Earth, so coincidentally, spontaneously, for no reason.... I think that's a very closed-minded and small-thinking statement. Life finds a way to occur, anywhere that it can, doesn't surprise me at all we emerged as we did, over millions of years.

...and you state that "your morality" follows a code of love and not a natural process. Well, there's not enough space on the Internet to write down all the contradictions to that statement. Love is subjective, not objective - so you're off the chart with that one.
Posted by Benshapiro 2 years ago
Benshapiro
So you do agree that objective morality exists although we had a non-deliberate, unconscious, spontaneous cause for our existence? Sounds logically contradictory there. Our morality follows a code of love, not a natural process.
Posted by dtw 2 years ago
dtw
...and how can you objectively say that our purpose is beyond our process? You're assuming there is something more, just because you know it to be true. Reality is, an Atheist can explain objective morality, you are just unwilling to accept the answer. Just as in Craig's argument, he is unwilling to accept socio-biological adaptations for morality... So basically, if you are unwilling to accept the concepts behind evolution, you are unwilling to accept factual data as objective, and this is a silly argument.
Posted by Benshapiro 2 years ago
Benshapiro
You're drawing a presupposition that our purpose is to propagate because natural selection resulting in the propagation of the human race is a natural process with no purpose. Dying is just as natural of a process than the process of life. You can't draw a purpose from a processes without presupposition if you apply that to our existence if we came from a non-living material.
Posted by dtw 2 years ago
dtw
The reason I responded regarding our "purpose" in life, is directly related to our morality. If our purpose is to continue to live or to proliferate, then morality can easily be extrapolated from that. Morality, for an Atheist, can be explained by our desire to continue... It does not involve or require the existence of any God or mystical, imaginary entity.
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