The Instigator
calculatedr1sk
Pro (for)
Winning
21 Points
The Contender
abyteofbrain
Con (against)
Losing
0 Points

Can there be objective morality without a divine lawgiver?

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Post Voting Period
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after 5 votes the winner is...
calculatedr1sk
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 10/4/2013 Category: Philosophy
Updated: 3 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 4,016 times Debate No: 38484
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (16)
Votes (5)

 

calculatedr1sk

Pro






Morality is one of the most consequential ideological battlegrounds in our society. The culture war waged in America today seems to be portrayed by its religious proponents as the last best hope for Christians to rescue civilization itself from the encroaching corruption of secular moral relativism.

Rather than argue in favor of moral relativism, I'd rather defend the position Sam Harris outlined in his book The Moral Landscape, which is that there are in fact objectively right and wrong answers to moral questions. Those answers can be determined through science.
I acknowledge that philosophy is necessary to provide the foundational bedrock of why we should even care about the well-being of conscious creatures, but once it is established that we do and ought to, then we can find objectively right and wrong answers to moral questions.

My opponent will also be arguing in favor of objectivism, but his position will be that any meaningful objective morality could only be determined and provided by an all knowing, all loving, all powerful God who created the universe, as depicted in the Bible.

To prevent this from devolving into a semantics debate, I want to acknowledge beforehand that a major cause of confusion over this issue is the definition of morality itself. If we define morality as "that which God has commanded", then there is nothing to talk about; this is obviously question begging.

I offer readers what I consider to be a more reasonable for morality: “behavior which promotes the flourishing of conscious creatures.” After all, it seems that at its core, even religion is deeply concerned with the exposure of humans to a range of experiences – albeit in a very crude and primitive way, in a spectrum that is generally limited to only two states, pleasure or suffering; heaven or hell (and for some views, a possible third option of neutral-ish purgatory).

Voters are asked to base your decision on which side makes the most convincing case, rather than on the basis of which side you already agree with. Neither side is burdened with conclusively proving a resolution to be true or false; we are merely tasked with articulating our positions in the more compelling way and exposing flaws and weaknesses in the other's argument.

First round is for acceptance only. However, Con is permitted to state any clarifications needed to establish exactly what his position is if it differs slightly from what I have expressed.

I’d like to extend a warm welcome to DDO to my opponent. Good luck, sir.
abyteofbrain

Con

Thank you fo the challenge, I'll do my best despite my inexperience (and difficulty) in this topic. I would like to suggest a definition for morality that I believe is more universally correct: the belief that it is right or wrong for us to do specific things, and that the rightness or wrongness doesn't change according to our own convenience/comfort. I appreciate that you did not make any loaded statements or questions, and that you took the care to establish a definition of morality before the debate.
Debate Round No. 1
calculatedr1sk

Pro


It is my pleasure, Con. Because our views are so polar opposite, I think there is a lot of room for us to have a really interesting and thought provoking conversation.


There are a few problems with the definition of morality that you suggested. Firstly, what you are describing is moral absolutism, but the debate is about if there can be “objective morality without a divine lawgiver. Moral absolutism may also happen to be a key feature of Divine Command Theory (DCT), but is a distinctly different idea from objective morality (also called moral universalism). Philosopher Louis Pojman explains this difference as the following [1]:



  • Moral absolutism: There is at least one principle that ought never to be violated.

  • Moral objectivism: There is a fact of the matter as to whether any given action is morally permissible or impermissible: a fact of the matter that does not depend solely on social custom or individual acceptance.



To draw further upon the work of Louis Pojman, let me cite an excerpt from his excellent attack on moral relativism - an article I think you’d very much enjoy if you read it in full, by the way:


“To suggest that there is a right answer to a moral problem is at once to be accused of or credited with a belief in moral absolutes. But it is no more necessary to believe in moral absolutes in order to believe in moral objectivity than it is to believe in the existence of absolute space or absolute time in order to believe in the objectivity of temporal and spatial relations and of judgments about them. “[2]


I do not agree with the moral absolutist position that a specific behavior or action is always right or wrong regardless of the context. You could illustrate my perspective with a game of chess – there are objectively good and bad moves, however even a move as extreme as losing a queen is not always a bad decision. Sometimes it is a brilliant and game winning decision, depending on the context. Likewise, the principle that incest is prohibited may generally be correct… but perhaps even for the religious there are exceptions? To use a Biblical example, “righteous” Lot offered his daughters up to be gang raped by a Sodomite mob (but did so in the context of protecting angelic guests visiting his home, Gen 19:8) and eventually drank so heavily that he himself ended up fornicating with his daughters (Gen 19:31-35). Lot can at least be credited with consistency; he successfully impregnated not just one, but both. Contrast his exploits with those of his wife, who was turned into a pillar of stone merely for looking in the wrong direction (Gen 19:26). I try not to be quick to pass judgment, but I have to admit that this story certainly does raise a few questions for me about absolute morality. Is being so drunk that one has sex with multiple daughters on multiple occasions - always a morally wrong thing to do? Or is it sometimes okay, perhaps even “righteous”? If unmarried, child-producing drunken sex with your own daughters isn’t a red line for absolute morality by way of DCT, then would you be so kind as to define for us what is – especially if context doesn’t matter?


My other contention with your definition is that adding the phrase, “the belief that” confuses the issue, because what we are discussing is whether there are objective moral truths regardless of what anyone believes, in a similar sense to the Earth still being objectively round even if everyone believed for some reason that it was flat. It seems we both believe the answer of whether there are objective moral principles to be “yes”, but for very different reasons. In this debate, you will support DCT as having a monopoly over objective morality, while I will promote that there is a sound secular case for objective morality. If by the end of this debate you have convinced readers that DCT is the only way to get to moral objectivity, you will have done your job well and should win. If I have convinced the audience that there are valid secular paths to objective morality without drawing upon DCT, or even that DCT is a bankrupt idea, then I submit to voters that I will have rightly won. Once again, success in this debate should simply be judged on the basis of which side debated more convincingly (and not just on who you, the voter, happen to agree with!).


The Case for Secular Moral Objectivism:


After refuting Con’s definition of morality, I’ll again reiterate mine, which is that any meaningful conception of morality must be linked to the consequences that actions will have on the well-being of conscious creatures. Admittedly, this definition doesn’t promise to lead us to easy answers, and there could well be contradictions. If the government were to send everyone in the country a check for $1 million, that would certainly have a splendid immediate impact on the recipients, thus meaning it is “moral” in a short term sense. The long term consequences of such an action, however, are perhaps too horrendous to even comprehend, thus rendering it at the same time deeply immoral.



There are objective principles, and that at least some of them can be known. I turn again to Pojman to help us make some sense of this. He lists 10 reasonable candidates for what could be included in a set of minimally universal moral principles - that is, principles which are required for “the good life” of human flourishing:


1. Do not kill innocent people.


2. Do not cause unnecessary pain or suffering.


3. Do not steal or cheat.


4. Keep your promises and honor your contracts.


5. Do not deprive another person of his or her freedom.


6. Tell the truth, or at least, don't lie.


7. Do justice, giving people what they deserve.


8. Reciprocate; show gratitude for services rendered.


9. Help other people, especially when the cost to oneself is minimal.


10. Obey just laws.




He points out that if even one such principle is universally biding upon all rational beings – with “rational” being “self interest maximizing” - this would be enough to refute relativism. He suggests a proposition [A]: it is morally wrong to torture people for the fun of it (I will amend his idea by adding the word “non-consenting”, just to ease the worries of any of you S&M enthusiasts out there). Pojman rightly observes that even if there is a moral agent S who violates A, then it is more reasonable to conclude that S is perverse, ignorant, or irrational than it is to conclude that A is false.


Notice again that because I do not argue for moral absolutism, my position does not require me to argue that all, or even any of these principles must be absolute. They may at times even be in conflict, meaning that priority must be given to one principle over another. As an example, there are conceivable situations where that the most moral action could be the killing of innocent person(s), which is to violate #1 in order to preserve, say, #9 or #2. You may want to watch the first few minutes of the lecture I’ve linked to Harvard professor Michael Sandel for an understanding of why [3].


I’ve put a lot on the table already, so I think leave it here for the time being. Over to you, Con.


References:



1) http://en.wikipedia.org...


2) http://timgier.com...


3)


abyteofbrain

Con

I hate to bring this up again, but if we are going by your definition of morality, there is nothing to debate. The definition that you seem to follow is: "whatever makes others happiest", which is quite similar to the one you mentioned. If this is your definition, then I aggree, because people can be made more or less happy/prosperous if there is no god. To have anything to debate, the definition must include notions abou right and wrong. I suppose a more accurate explanation of myown would be: "that some actions are right or wrong". This leaves the question of right and wrong, which I would normally define as laws from God, but that would also immediately end the debate, so the only option I can see that would leave room for debate is "laws predetermined by somthing other than mankind". I don't believe that context always applies to morality; I believe that to lie is always wrong, and that to murder (which includes context of it's own) is always wrong.
Debate Round No. 2
calculatedr1sk

Pro


The content of Con’s last round could have been better transmitted in a personal message, or in the comments section, rather than wasting his debate round without any actual argumentation. He didn’t work to refute any of the points I made in the previous round, nor did he advance his own case. If the definitions I offered were so unsatisfactory to Con, I wish he would have clarified them with me in messages before accepting the debate. But ah well, what’s done is done.


It seems that my opponent has conceded that by the definition of morality I’ve offered, objective morality can and does exist regardless of whether or not there is a divine law giver. We might think of this as being similar to Adam Smith’s “invisible hand” in economics. There are rules of cause and effect that do not require a grand cosmic entity to orchestrate or coordinate human behaviors. Acting in our own self-interest produces outcomes that are beneficial to the whole in economics, and many of these principles are fairly well understood. Just as government policies can encourage or discourage prosperous economics, so too can a society’s cultural morality encourage or discourage their prosperity. A society whose religion commands them to torture and kill its little girls that learn how to read is doing something intrinsically morally “wrong” (such societies do exist, by the way [4]). We can and should feel free to condemn their behavior, but in truth, no condemnation on our part is required in order for their actions to be “wrong”. It is inherently wrong, regardless of what anyone thinks, because the consequences for their (im)moral action are predictable and not entirely arbitrary.


Again, Con seems not to dispute this, and agrees that a God is not necessary for objective morality to be in effect. Even so, I don’t feel that the debate is quite yet over, because I think what Con really wanted to discuss all along was absolute morality, which I do not believe exists, and I can happily build a case against it.


Unlike objective morality, absolute morality probably does require not just a God, but active supernatural intervention. It is not enough for an all powerful, all knowing God to merely exist, he would also have to care about what we do, and reward or punish accordingly. But then, we have a dilemma which philosophers have been aware of since at least the time of Socrates. Plato’s Euthyphro records the question in modified form “Is what is morally good commanded by God because it is morally good, or is it morally good because it is commanded by God?” The first horn of the Euthyphro Dilemma basically makes God seem irrelevant. If good is good, and evil is evil regardless of what God says, then God’s commandment wouldn’t really change anything, and it seems as if there are laws to which even he is bound, challenging omnipotence. By the second horn, if God commanding something is what makes it good or evil (the claim of DCT), then good and evil is actually just arbitrary, and this is the principle “might makes right” taken to its ultimate conclusion. As C.S. Lewis put it: "if good is to be defined as what God commands, then the goodness of God Himself is emptied of meaning and the commands of an omnipotent fiend would have the same claim on us as those of the 'righteous Lord.' [5]


Readers, please note that Con did not address the example I provided relating to the actions of “righteous” Lot, and whether or not Con thinks his behaviors would fall into the category of “always moral”, “always immoral”, or “it depends”. If it depends, then what does it depend on? We need some kind of answer as to how this does not invalidate the very idea of absolute morality. I would still like to hear some discussion on Lot in his next post. Additionally, I expect him to find and argue some kind of satisfactory answer to the Euthyphro dilemma (theologians have developed defenses, he does not have to reinvent the wheel, he merely needs to research). Otherwise it simply demolishes his case.


4) http://www.cnn.com...


5) http://en.wikipedia.org...


abyteofbrain

Con

I believe that things are right/wrong according to what God says,and that what he says is largely based on our own welfare. It doesn't matter what kind of god we have, as long as he's more powerful than us; make him happy and he'll make you happy. If God made the world, then He made reality, and because He doesn't lie, this disqualifies the statement "2+2=4 is true regardless of what god says" ("Divine Comand Theory" -Keith Augustine -the Secular Web).
About the Biblical example, I'm not sure I see the objection, but I'll try anyway. According to my beliefs, extramarital sex is wrong (absolutely) according to the Bible, God does not punish us after death if we believe that's Jesus paid for our sins (or if we don't sin). There are, however, still earthly consequences for them, which, I believe, is why God told us not to do them. If we lie, at the very least, we'll have the guilt on our hands, and be likely to do it again. It's the same with all sins if you believe in morality. Sins frequently have life-ruining consequences. In the case of lot's wife, He knew what was in her heart, and forewarned them not to look back. God rarely directly punishes in the Bible, and when He does, it's best explained as an example.
I don't disagree that some things help or hurt people regardless of God's existence, but there's no reason to be concerned about others without a god (or even with some of the gods). The belief that morality exits, doesn't make it exist, and if we are to believe in evolution, some false beliefs will come to be to aid our survival. I'm not sure I understand the Euthyphyro predicament, because it was previously explains as what I've just agreed with: that things can be good/bad for humans with or without God. Your explanation of it didn't seem that clear to me, but it seems to be something more like "God doesn't directly punish people sometimes, while he does others, therefore some things that He says are wrong aren't always", I'm sure this isn't accurate, but that's what I saw. God (I believe) saves punishment for after death. I have to go now, I'm sorry. I'll try to do better in my final argument.
Debate Round No. 3
calculatedr1sk

Pro

Thank you, Con. It appears you put more effort into this round, although from some of your comments I think you may have been short on time. Moreover, to provide support for objective truths, you are relying heavily on your own personal faith, which comes across as a strange and not wholly satisfying way to do it. Logic, reason, evidence, and well established philosophical traditions tend to be far more convincing supports for an argument than our own personal opinions and beliefs.


I’ll address what I consider to be the highlights in this debate by number, so please feel free in your conclusion to save space by referring numerically to the point you’re commenting on.


1) Moral Objectivity: Con concedes that with or without the existence of a God, by the definition I provided and defended, moral objectivity does indeed exist when he says in round 2, “…whatever makes others happiest", which is quite similar to the [definition] you mentioned. If this is your definition, then I aggree, because people can be made more or less happy/prosperous if there is no god.”


2) Moral Absolutism: Whether or not a specific action is always right or wrong, regardless of context, became the next battleground in our debate, as I identified in round 3. All other points will in some way be relating to this question.


3) Lot: I raised the issue of drunken incest on the part of Lot, who is nevertheless referred to as “righteous” in the Bible, and contrasted his actions with the mere looking backwards by his wife to demonstrate the inconsistency and injustice of God’s sense of morality - assuming we take Bible stories as literal history which I assume Con does. Con handles this by indicating that she deserved it for ignoring a command not to look back and that God knew what was in her heart. I have to respond to this by reiterating that we are talking about specific actions being right or wrong regardless of context. Actions, not thoughts or intentions. Even if her heart was filled with hated for God, Lot, her family, puppies, and everything good, then even still, her action of looking backwards is not intrinsically wrong in an absolute morality sense. Lot’s action of incest with his daughters, by contrast, was. Moreover, he did not accept Jesus into his heart as personal Lord and savior, because Jesus had not yet been born. Assuming free will is real, then no matter how you try to massage the facts, God would have no way of knowing for sure whether or not he would accept Jesus.


4) Earthly/Heavenly Consequences: Con explains that absolute morality is only really relevant for protecting us from negative consequences here on Earth, because as long as we believe that Jesus paid for our sins then no matter what we may have done, God forgives us and does not punish us in the afterlife. Well to put it bluntly, this doesn’t make a whole lot of sense. If Con is right, then this world filled with pain and suffering is so inconsequential as to be laughable – why would our comfort in this temporary world of suffering and pain even matter against the backdrop of eternal bliss? In fact, one who accepts Jesus as Lord should be super excited about death, waking up each day hoping that today he and everyone he loves will all die. That way you all get to beam up to heaven that much faster and get out of this relatively rotten place. Also, based on consequences, it seems there is only one rule of absolute morality that really matters – believe in Jesus to go to heaven, don’t believe to go to hell. Everything else is basically irrelevant, and highly inconsistent, because sometimes you are rewarded for things like honesty, and other times you are ripped off or taken advantage of, so absolute morality obviously doesn’t apply on Earth in terms of absolute consequences. Sometimes the bad guy does win in real life, and lives a long contented life free of the consequences of his actions. The other problem is that belief is not a behavior, nor is it really even a choice. No one chooses to believe that the Earth is round or flat, or that the integral of f’(x) = e^x can be solved or that it can’t, or that people landed on the moon or that they didn’t. We arrive at belief or disbelief involuntarily and automatically after using the information at our disposal, there isn’t a conscious choice involved. Thus belief itself is an amoral process which is not itself a behavior (though obviously our accepted set of beliefs do impact our behaviors). This renders Con’s position to be incoherent.


5) Concern for others: in his previous round, Con states that there is no reason to be concerned about others without God, and this is both blatantly false and insultingly prejudiced. Secular atheists are no less charitable, are actually less prone to commit crimes than Christians, and in fact some secular countries are more charitable than the highly religious United States in terms of % of GDP donated. Confucianism, Buddhism and a number of other Eastern religions have no conception of a YHWH-like deity (thus making them atheist in a strict sense), and yet they are still widely known for promoting compassion, understanding, peace, and concern for others. As social/tribal/pack creatures, we are mutually dependent on one another for physical survival as well as psychological well-being, and that is reason enough to care about one another regardless of what we believe.


6) Euthyphro Dilemma: Con made an attempt to overcome it, but kind of seems to have done so without even really understanding it. I’ve included in my sources a brief article written by a Christian named Gregory Koukl who explains the Euthyphro dilemma quite well (though I find his answers to it lacking), and also addresses the challenges posed by Bertrand Russell – basically the same problem as the one I raised from the C.S. Lewis quote. Anyway, Koukl believes he has overcome Euthyphro by using what is the most commonly accepted way that theologians use to defend against this problem: claiming a third option. Con came close to doing this with his “God doesn’t lie” assertion, but a better Christian response is provided by Koukl here:



“The third option is that an objective standard exists (this avoids the first horn of the dilemma). However, the standard is not external to God, but internal (avoiding the second horn). Morality is grounded in the immutable character of God, who is perfectly good. His commands are not whims, but rooted in His holiness.



Could God simply decree that torturing babies was moral? "No," the Christian answers, "God would never do that." It's not a matter of command. It's a matter of character. [6]



This, to me isn’t a sound refutation, it is just mysterious metaphysical gibberish spoken with confidence, or perhaps bravado. It strikes me as being as ridiculous as the argument that God is the father, the son, and the holy ghost all at once, so he is at once both three and one, which he can do because of his mysterious and baffling superpowers.



Koukl next “solves” Russell’s challenge by bizarrely pointing to Abraham using his own moral intuition to keep God’s faulty moral compass in check. But this seems to completely contradict the point he just made about God’s moral and character!



Koukl once again: “If God does not exist, then moral terms are actually incoherent and our moral intuitions are nonsense.” I agree. Your moral terms are incoherent and useless. The secular atheist’s definitions as I have provided throughout this debate, however, remain standing.



He is not obligated to use Koukl’s flawed help, of course, but it is among the best and most articulate of the Christian defenses that I was able to find so I provided it as a courtesy and provided my rebuttal to it pre-emptively. I will end it here, and thank readers for your interest and Con for an enjoyable debate.



6) http://www.str.org...

abyteofbrain

Con

Thank you for your effort in making your points clear.
I find it quite interesting that you mention Koukl. Just so you know, I have seen him use bad logic as well, so he's not the prime example for logical arguments.
Under your definition of morality, absolute morality can't exist, because anything might be good for people in a certain circumstance.
About Lot, yes, we can do anything we want and not suffer for it, but we should respect and honor God because He wants us to, and is worthy of it. Also, pleasing God gives us "treasures in heaven". The reason he was referred to as righteous, was because he was probably considerably less sinful than other humans. Only God knows what we do and think all of the time. The Bible says that certain things (like lying) are absolutely wrong, therefore, the non-existence of absolute morality (right and wrong as defined by the Bible) would discredit the Bible. According to the Bible, God is outside of time; unruled by it, and therefore, can see all past, present, and future (as we perceive it). He knows what we'll do before we do it, and after we did it. There are many theories about how people got "saved" before the crucifiction, but I don't know what I think on the subject. God did inform us ahead of time about the coming of Jesus, but not all the way at the beginning as far as I know. Some believe in"soul sleep", in which people's souls waited until the crucifiction. I do believe that God provided a way other than being perfect before Jesus. The first thing that comes to mind is that everyone before Jesus was forgiven, but I'll admit that it seems a little unfair.
To believe in evolution and not God, the only way somthing could be wrong or right is if effects evolution (or there would be no morals, I'm using my definition of right/wrong here), in which case, morality itself would be wrong.
I strongly believe that lying is always wrong, regardless of context, and in all cases is bad for humanity in the long run (immoral by your definition). Even in the rare cases wher lying would be beneficial to humanity in the short-time, It is bad for the following reasons. (1) It's habit forming, if you lie once you'll probably do it again, if you lie frequently, it will become a compulsive habit (I'm speaking from experience). (2) falsities are bad for progress, especially scientific. This ones fairly obvious; if you believe that the chemical formula for water is H2O2, to synthesize this would be to synthesize hydrogen peroxide, no-matter how much you believe you're synthesizing water. A less scientific example would be that you told your friend that his shirt looked good, when you and everyone else believes otherwise. As a result, he wears it frequently and it bothers everyone. He may even be told that it looks awful, and you would be discredited and he, embarrassed.
Some things are absolutely wrong with the context in their names, but to go down that road means to show that everything has it's own context (I.E. To lie isn't just to speak, but to speak false statements, or adultery isn't to have sex, but to have extramarital sex, or murder is for a human to kill an innocen human, not for a human to be killed).
I beg to differ on number four for the reason that we do choose to believe things. Believing in somthing we don't see evidence for is possible, although not easy. I, and others I know have convinced ourselves of non-truths (in my case, it's a memory problem). If we don't chose to believe somthing, then how do we come to believe it? How do we change our beliefs? Any methods I can think of not involving a higher power makes no sense. Many people chose to believe things because they see good reason, and many chose purely on emotion. Although I can't completely prove that I chose what to believe, or to change my mind, I certainly feels like I do. Sometimes the same evidence convinces people, but sometimes it does not, further implying choice of belief.
I agree that there are some great secular characters, but this does in no way prove that they have reason to be. The only reason they have to be nice, is if they enjoy making humanity more pleasant for others, or a (unreasonable) sense of obligation. People don't trickle obey their beliefs, if I did, (and most everyone else) I could honestly say that I've never lied. I don't believe that Christians are more or less criminal, and will not attempt to prove it, because it does not affect my argument. I am sorry if I offended you, but I see good reason for believing that atheists have no basis for morality. I define an Athiest, as one who doesn't believe in a higher being; it's just us and nature (not "Mother Nature either"). We can help each other survive by learning from each other, but it is not necessary. Even if you were necessary for others' existence, and you're an Athiest, what reason would you have to cooperate?
I don't aggree that It's completely based on His character, what he says is, but if we were to judge right and wrong by our perception of God's character, that would be as bad as moral relativism. We should follow what He says, which is based on His character.
You seem to find it ridiculous that we believe in God's amazing power. If He created the world (which you don't seem to find a ridiculous), then He would have to have amazing power. Also, I'm not entirely sure what God meant by the trinity, but I don't think that He was implying that it was based on His power.
The Euthyphyro situation, as Koukl puts it, doesn't appear to me as an argument, but simply a question. If you wish, you can provide the Euthyphyro situation as an argument in the comment, and I'll respond.

If you have any return arguments, please post them in the comments, I'd love to read them. Thank you for the debate, it has intellectually benefited me.

http://www.biblestudymanuals.net...
http://www.faithalone.org...
Debate Round No. 4
16 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by calculatedr1sk 3 years ago
calculatedr1sk
Oops, sry for double post. Technical error I guess.
Posted by calculatedr1sk 3 years ago
calculatedr1sk
Thanks for your comments. I'm probably a little bit guilty of fan-worshipping Michael Sandel - one of my favorite educators. I once even snuck this hour long clip into a debate about Star Trek, much to my opponent Ragnar's irritation. I agree I should probably avoid such indulgences, as I did end up losing that debate. My goal is more to expose readers to an educator that I feel is worth sharing, rather than to empower Sandel to make my arguments for me. Still, I sometimes have to veer off topic in order to do this, so I agree that this habit can be a liability for me, especially in a tight debate that demands a high level of focus.
Posted by calculatedr1sk 3 years ago
calculatedr1sk
I'd be glad to debate you, by the way, LayTheologian. You're new to the site but obviously have some debate experince, and I think you'll make a good opponent. I might not have time until I've finished my current debate with abyteofbrain though; we'll see.
Posted by calculatedr1sk 3 years ago
calculatedr1sk
Thanks for your comments. I'm probably a little bit guilty of fan-worshipping Michael Sandel - one of my favorite educators. I once even snuck this hour long clip into a debate about Star Trek, much to my opponent Ragnar's irritation. I agree I should probably avoid such indulgences, as I did end up losing that debate. My goal is more to expose readers to an educator that I feel is worth sharing, rather than to empower Sandel to make my arguments for me. Still, I sometimes have to veer off topic in order to do this, so I agree that this habit can be a liability for me, especially in a tight debate that demands a high level of focus.
Posted by Quatermass 3 years ago
Quatermass
It's quite simple. History shows us that the Romans, Jews, Egyptians, Chinese, etc all had codes of law before 1) the prophecies of the Messiah. 2) the alleged coming of Jesus Christ 3) the alleged events of Mount Sinai (or more accurately Mt. Horeb) and 4) the birth of Christianity and its 'affiliate' religions.

Therefore there is clear evidence that Morality is not divinely inspired.
Posted by LayTheologian 3 years ago
LayTheologian
I'm going to essentially say what I said in my vote: I think that there exists a strong argument that the objective moral imperative cannot exist without a moral lawgiver. However, I definitely don't believe that Con made that argument. Con didn't really put forth much of an argument at all, in fact.

That said, I would like to say a few things. The first is that I don't approve of the practice of including videos in one's argument. It seems almost to reduce one's task to that of a particularly-verbose search engine rather than a debater. The second is that I'd be very interested in debating calculatedr1sk on... just about anything, really. Congratulations to both of you on being polite and cordial.
Posted by calculatedr1sk 3 years ago
calculatedr1sk
Evolution (life from other life) is a well understood scientific fact, and no amount of creationist political power can change that. Abiogenesis (life sprining from non-life), however, is considerably more improbable, and I would have a much more difficult time providing convincing evidence for it. Still, you should be aware that these are two separate processes. Most educated Christians therefore accept evolution, but reject abiogenesis.

We were talking about beings more powerful than ourselves, so that's why I brought it up. The reason aliens are depicted in pop culture as being so advanced is that since we only just started to experiment with space travel in the past 60-70 years or so, it stands to reason that any spacefaring species we encountered would probably have a lot more experience at it and better technology than we would.
Posted by abyteofbrain 3 years ago
abyteofbrain
Biblically, He crated us because He was bored (my own interpretation). I don't believe that there is intelligent life (a creationism term), on any other planets, but nothing about my belief system would contradict that. It annoys me that everyone expects alien live to be more intelligent and capable than us, not once have I seen an imaginary alien race that was less intelligent/capable, or more moral than us. I see no reason to expect anything about them. For those who believe in atheistic macro evolution, I think that the thought of et would be preposterous, because of the little chance that life could have evolved even once.
Posted by calculatedr1sk 3 years ago
calculatedr1sk
By the context, I think you meant "...although I may be right". Fair enough, I can't be sure that there aren't more powerful beings in this universe - in fact I think it is likely that in such an enormous and incomprehensible expanse as the universe, there could well be civilizations or lifeforms that are far more powerful than us. I strongly doubt we will ever come in contact with such beings, and I hope we don't because I don't expect them to have any more concern for us than a scientist would have concern for bacteria in beaker. To think that any mind incredible enough to create the universe would take interest in and derive happiness or sadness from the beliefs, interests, and sexual habits of billions of primates (humans) on an individual basis doesn't make a whole lot of sense to me. The only minds who care about how others are living their lives with that level of interest are housewives hooked on soap operas. If not even we lowly humans really care all that much what each other is doing, why would the master of the universe? Seems that such a being would have better things to do than munch on popcorn and watch our mundane lives.
Posted by abyteofbrain 3 years ago
abyteofbrain
I know that I'm wrong on some things, although I may be wrong (Food for thought). I don't see an issue with us needing to obey God because He's powerful. If the devil were more powerful (again, hypothetically), then pleasing him is all that would matter, because he would have the power to make us happy or miserable. I do partially agree with Koukl, God's nature is good, because He cares for our welfare. A bad god would create us and toy with us (like the mythological gods), with no care for our well being. I don't believe that might makes right, because that would require me to change my definition of right, although I'm not sure of what it is. For the onlookers: do not judge the debate with the comments included, vote only on the debate. You have helped me to better understand my perception of good and bad, and morality, although I've still got a lot of thinking to do.
5 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 5 records.
Vote Placed by Juris_Naturalis 3 years ago
Juris_Naturalis
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Reasons for voting decision: Better structure and delivery.
Vote Placed by johnnyvbassist 3 years ago
johnnyvbassist
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Reasons for voting decision: This thesis could've actually been argued, but was never. Con must argue the direct points rather than trying to convince pro about God's existence. Though Pro gave a poor definition Con accepted the debate with that definition.
Vote Placed by funwiththoughts 3 years ago
funwiththoughts
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Reasons for voting decision: Con conceded that, according to the established definitions, the resolution is true beyond any doubt.
Vote Placed by LayTheologian 3 years ago
LayTheologian
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Reasons for voting decision: I think that there exists a strong argument that the objective moral imperative cannot exist without a moral lawgiver. However, I definitely don't believe that Con made that argument.
Vote Placed by TheHitchslap 3 years ago
TheHitchslap
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Reasons for voting decision: Do i really have to explain this vote? ...look, this is a debate between the old guard and a rookie it seems to me, and the old guard slaughtered. Con never really submits an argument until the last round, till then he submits that morality is simply what one believes in, but by very definition it is not, it is what society philosophically believes or justifies as right versus wrong, he failed to even note one of those ways could be biblical morality, but completely missed the connection and as such looks like a bunch of unsupported rants. Risk on the other hand showed that morality can have empirical effects (good versus bad) and thus wins by default. Sources to pro; actually establishes his case constantly with sources, con doesn't until his last round