The Instigator
SaintHavoc
Pro (for)
Winning
24 Points
The Contender
LB628
Con (against)
Losing
14 Points

Blind obedience is a threat to morality

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 9/30/2009 Category: Society
Updated: 8 years ago Status: Voting Period
Viewed: 6,324 times Debate No: 9582
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (0)
Votes (7)

 

SaintHavoc

Pro

The act of blindly obeying a superior officer or refusing to question the actions demanded of one's self by a person of higher authority is a trait that threatens the inherent intelligence and morality that is within all human beings.

A perfect example of the point I'm trying to make is the massacre in My Lai, Vietnam. This horrifying display of morally corrupt submission resulted in the slaughter of an entire village in Vietnam; nearly 500 people were killed. The troops sent into the village were expecting a battalion of Vietcong forces but were instead presented with a village of women, elderly men, and children. The company had been previously instructed to kill anyone they encountered and proceeded to do so, with a few lapses in their blind faith.

The leader of the company, an inexperienced captain by the name Calley, was later tried for the murder of 107 unarmed civilians. He blamed his actions on the blind faith that members of the United States forces are expected to give their superior officers. He described the concept as a 'shoot first, complain later' process.

His actions, although explicitly illegal by the law of the United States service, seemed completely appropriate to himself. He was merely obeying a senior officer, an action repeatedly drilled into the heads of American troops.

Even in public education, children are taught not to question the authority or the assignments they are given. They are expected to accept the authority upon the blind faith that 'adults know best'. This typical shepherd leading the sheep routine results in a completely disinterested society and a youth that is inactive and faithfully accepts anything given to them on the basis of 'teacher knows best'.

Being a high school student, I can count on one hand how many times my teachers have encouraged me to question what they are teaching me or to question the meaning behind their instruction.

I do understand that teenagers are rebellious by nature and that many do stand up to authority figures, but confrontation is not what I am trying to discuss. I believe that we need a more active society with members that are willing to stand up and voice their concerns and questions and ideas and not continue to consume the mind-numbing routine that is encouraged by social norm.
LB628

Con

I would first like to take the opportunity to welcome SaintHavoc to Debate.org, and hope for a fruitful debate.

I deny the truth of the resolution on the grounds that morality is blind obedience.

I will rebut my opponent's examples, and then explain my advocacy.

She provides two examples, first that of My Lai, second that of education.

Now, the violation committed at My Lai was not that of blind obedience. It was of blind obedience to the wrong thing. Had the captain been blindly obedient to the laws of the United States, then he would have been morally correct. The only problem here with blind obedience is the person or thing that obedience is given to.

The educational issue is slightly different, because it involves no breech of commonly accepted morality. Until my opponent shows how blind obedience here is immoral, or causes immoral actions to occur, then this has no relevance to this debate.

Now, to my advocacy.

I propose that all morality is based around the concept of blind obedience. Indeed, if we look at the definition of morality itself "concerned with principles of right and wrong or conforming to standards of behavior and character based on those principles"(Princeton Wordnet) we see that it is based around the concept of obeying higher principles. Whether that obedience is to a God, multiple Gods, the laws of nature, "instinctive" moral rules, or reason, obedience without restraint is still advocated. Those who advocate a critical analysis of all things are themselves blindly obeying something, the principles of logic and reason. They assume, without justification, but only blind faith, that those principles can lead them to a just or moral outcome. If those principles are not followed, it will obviously, to them, lead to an immoral outcome.

We see then, that the primary debate concerning morality is not whether to blindly obey or to use reason to determine for ourselves, but rather, it is about which thing we should blindly follow, the dictates of a God, nature, or some other being, or the dictates of reason, which are no less dictates for being self-formulated.

The resolution is therefore inherently false, because morality comprises of blind obedience to one thing or another. Blind obedience cannot be a threat to morality, because it is morality.
Debate Round No. 1
SaintHavoc

Pro

I refute the conclusion of my opponent on the truth that morals are not, in fact, blindly observed but rather obtained through life experience and the study of the experiences of others.

Morals, even those observed by religious sects, are not structured blindly. Most popular religions base their moral founding on a religious text such as a Bible, Qur'an, Tanakh, or Talmud. These texts were not scribed by a single person lacking life experience. They were written over a period of time by many separate men based upon each of their individual experiences.

Especially in regards to logic and the defining principles of it, there is no blind obedience to be observed at all. Logic itself is defined as the systematic study of valid inference*. The founding of logic and logical thinking are almost exclusively formed through experimentation and observation. For example, man does not simply believe that fire burns, he learns it.

The critical analysis of supposedly unimportant things or occurrences has led to many significant discoveries. Maybe the study of distorted glass seems insignificant but bend that glass the right way and you have a magnifying glass or a telescope or even a pair of reading glasses. There is no instinct nor blindness in this creativity and discovery and creation.

Believing in a basic moral code that dictates that murder is wrong, is not blind belief but is rather a belief based upon the logic that a society that advocates systematic or unpunished murder would fall apart. The logic in that is not merely adhered to through some egotistical desire to 'take the high road' but rather was learned over time from the adverse effects that murder wrought on societies.

* http://www.referencecenter.com...
LB628

Con

"Morals, even those observed by religious sects, are not structured blindly. Most popular religions base their moral founding on a religious text such as a Bible, Qur'an, Tanakh, or Talmud. These texts were not scribed by a single person lacking life experience. They were written over a period of time by many separate men based upon each of their individual experiences."

This is true, but not relevant. What I am claiming is that the following of those texts is blind.
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"Especially in regards to logic and the defining principles of it, there is no blind obedience to be observed at all. Logic itself is defined as the systematic study of valid inference*. The founding of logic and logical thinking are almost exclusively formed through experimentation and observation. For example, man does not simply believe that fire burns, he learns it."

Again, true but not relevant. Moral systems based on logic are still slaved to that logic. They assume that cause and effect is true, they assume humans have worth, they assume that things which are illogical cannot be true. Moral systems based around logic never justify that basis, thus making the moral systems blindly obedient to logic.
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"Believing in a basic moral code that dictates that murder is wrong, is not blind belief but is rather a belief based upon the logic that a society that advocates systematic or unpunished murder would fall apart. The logic in that is not merely adhered to through some egotistical desire to 'take the high road' but rather was learned over time from the adverse effects that murder wrought on societies."

It is blind belief. It blindly believes that murder is bad, that society is worth something. It does not indulge critical analysis of its assumptions, by claiming that those who challenge those assumptions are immoral. It is blind belief because, according to that system, in order to be moral you must follow the rules it has laid out. There is no other way, there cannot be a challenge to that system, there can only be interpretation.
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In the last round, my opponent never rebutted the core of my argument, that morality is based around blind belief. She provided arguments that said that moral systems are not founded on blind belief, but that is irrelevant. Moral systems, regardless of how they are formed, are based around blind acceptance of certain principles, whether they be the existence of God, or of inherent human worth. If you do not accept those principles, you can never be moral.

Blind obedience is therefore not damaging to morality because it is morality.
Debate Round No. 2
SaintHavoc

Pro

First, I would like to thank my opponent for a wonderfully engaging debate and also appologize for my inability to post a more organized and thourough response at this time.

What I fail to see is why my opponent believes that the following of thouroughly researched ideas and opinions and morals is blind. I thought I had proven my statement both relevently and soundly when I previously stated that the essential foundation of belief in the afforementioned texts or theories of logic were not air-headed and unfounded, but rather based upon decades of experience.

Morals, in essence, are a means of defining oneself. The basis and ultimate formation of morals centers around self discovery and how a person desires to interact with other people. One, through self experimentation and sociological interaction, slowly ove time begins to realize how they personally wish to relate to other people. Whether that person values human life or not dictates how they will be seen by other members of society and ultimately how they will be socialized.

I state again that there is no blind obidience in the process of self-discovery associated with determining one's own morals. I the belief in morals was blind, everyone would supposedly value the exact same things that their parents before them valued. However, our society and societies thoughout the world continue to grow and change based upone the morphing necesities of their people.

Morals are not inherent, they are not given by any higher power nor spoonfed to a flock-like following of unintelligent and blind people. Morals are learned through socialization. How one person wishes to be seen or wishes to interact with another person, how they personally want to live their life.

What my opponent essentially describes is a state of chaos. Without any founding in the morals that a person has, or without the morals that drive a person to interact with the world in a certain way, society would lose what little order it has. Moral systems are no based upon the blind acceptence of moral principles as my opponent stated, but rather on the desires of individual people to interact either peacefully or confrontationally with their environment and society.
LB628

Con

SaintHavok, this was a wonderful debate, and I thank you for it.

I feel that I was slightly unclear in my last posting, and so I wish to clarify. My position is that morality itself is blind adherence to a set of rules. Now what these rules are may change, but the blind obedience to them does not.

I am not arguing, as my opponent states, that people choose their moral systems blindly. Rather, once they have decided upon their systems, only by obedience to those systems can they be considered moral. Peoples systems may change, but in that case they are simply shifting obedience to another authority.

My opponents responses are only responding to an argument that people choose their moral systems blindly, or accept whatever systems are given to that. I am dealing solely with the actions of people once they have chosen a system.

In case my opponent has failed to notice, the world is currently in a state of chaos. Various moral systems are competing against one another, often religious systems, but some profoundly irreligious. Self-discovery simply determines which moral system you want to follow, not how you will act once you follow it.

For that reason, blind obedience is not a threat to morality, because blind obedience is morality. Morality is adhering to a morally code, without exception, also known as blind obedience.
Debate Round No. 3
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7 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 7 records.
Vote Placed by Kahvan 7 years ago
Kahvan
SaintHavocLB628Tied
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Vote Placed by measkiba 8 years ago
measkiba
SaintHavocLB628Tied
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Vote Placed by philosphical 8 years ago
philosphical
SaintHavocLB628Tied
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Vote Placed by Cygnice 8 years ago
Cygnice
SaintHavocLB628Tied
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Vote Placed by LB628 8 years ago
LB628
SaintHavocLB628Tied
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Vote Placed by simpleton 8 years ago
simpleton
SaintHavocLB628Tied
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Vote Placed by atheistman 8 years ago
atheistman
SaintHavocLB628Tied
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