The Instigator
JLWilliams
Con (against)
Tied
0 Points
The Contender
Aguilajoyce
Pro (for)
Tied
0 Points

Do "right or wrong" or "natural or unnatural" make valid points in an argument?

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 3/22/2016 Category: Philosophy
Updated: 10 months ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 286 times Debate No: 88627
Debate Rounds (5)
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JLWilliams

Con

When debating animal rights or issues of religion, I often come across the argument that hurting animals should be banned because it is "wrong" to do so. Another example is how AI development should be avoided because we are "playing God" or making "unnatural" things. I am saying that these are invalid and groundless arguments because of multiple reasons:

1. Morals are pure fabrication of our thoughts, subjective and changing from person to person, so accepting one set of morals means ignoring someone else's.

2. Just because something is unnatural doesn't mean it should be avoided. The development of the human race depends on our potential to create the unnatural and build the artificial. Biased alliance to "natural" or "organic" is illogical.

As this is a debate, I should highlight my own personal biases. I am a progressive Atheist, supporting Evolution and the Big Bang theories. As such, I am arguing from this perspective. (I wish I was more objective and unbiased, however I'm just not there yet.)

Please respond coherently and clearly.
Aguilajoyce

Pro

I will challenge your argument and say yes, that all words and concepts, including right, wrong, natural and unnatural are valid in arguments. Your dismissal of their validity in arguments stems from the failure of concerned parties to define their precise meaning for the purpose of debate. Language itself is subject to same, i.e., we must agree on the meanings of words in order to achieve mutual intelligibility. So instead of dismissing the words, you must refute the underlying assumptions on which they rely.

Your definition of morals (in point 1) and unnatural (point 2) are prime examples of limited definitions:
Morals are not just figments of the mind (abstractions created for the end of indoctrination), they are derived from our experience, which explains some of the variations from person to person, culture to culture, nation to nation, etc. They are adopted from learned truths regarding how to thrive in society/survive in nature. Though the specifics (gender roles, rearing children, sex, etc. may vary widely, the broader terms of what it means to be a 'good' person is generally shared within and across cultures, e.g, contributing to one's group/community, and adhering to one's cultural values/beliefs, nurturing younger generations, etc. Of course, the term 'good' is ever evolving, because of changing times and the resulting change in experience, but it is not as amorphous as many believe.

Your definition of unnatural accepts (which I reject) the limited definition that falsely sets man and his activities apart from nature, but man is naturally occurring in nature and the universe and so his activities are also natural...as they are created on, and subject to the natural laws of this earth/universe. The materials he uses/manipulates also come from this earth... Mutations are naturally occurring in nature, so why should it be any different for man to use science (observation of natural laws) to cause mutations?
The explosion of Mount Vesuvius occurred in nature so why should harnessing the power of a bomb made of elements of the universe be deemed unnatural?. Violence, infanticide, incest, etc, all occur in nature...and on and on. The only thing that makes it different/distorts it for man is that we believe that we are distinct from nature, this is the assumption that I reject based on the aforementioned....so I can safely say that not only should unnatural things be avoided, but that they will be avoided, as they can never come to exist. And that bias toward the natural is natural and logical, as this is all there is!
Debate Round No. 1
JLWilliams

Con

I still retain my position, however your discussion of 'natural' must be considered.

An issue that I have with the term 'natural' seems very similar to yours. In a summary, either everything is natural, or nothing is. If the 'natural way' is the path which changes little, then life itself is unnatural because there was no (known) life until about 4 billion years ago. If anything we do or make is unnatural and artificial, then that means Internet and vehicles and medicine are all unnatural. They certainly are, however I am working to eliminate the assumption that 'unnatural' or 'artificial' are bad things and should be avoided. I feel as though this is where we agree. As you said, I am working under a bias that we are separate from nature. I have to agree, here, that my assumption was misinformed.

Now to morals.

Identifying my bias, I will prioritize objective truth over emotional feelings or the risk of being offensive. The truth is the most important thing, and no subjective reason gains priority.

I disagree on where you mentioned the small variation of good and bad from person to person. From my (clearly biased) perspective, people have extremely wide variations in ethics and morals. It appears rhetorical and weak to reference ISIS, however they seem to visualize my point. Their moral code, from our perspective, is abusive and hateful. However, from their perspective, Western culture has been turned into a God-hating pleasure-abusing brothel. As these are matters of opinion, the only thing that appears to justify our position is that we win by population, and the people with power agree with us. Excluding their actions, what makes their ideology more or less valid than our own? They would argue that gay marriage should be banned because it is 'unnatural', or that prostitution should be banned because it is 'wrong' (often motivated by their religious beliefs, but I will make those points later.) I would argue that these points are invalid, because they are motivated by their own personal subjective mental map, and as you said subject to different experiences, memories, and teachings. They may appear completely justified in their position, as we do in ours. The only way to validate arguments is to use evidence and reasoning, from an objective and neutral position.

Simply put, a common mistake to make is to make an impactful decision based upon a biased and subjective viewpoint. If morals are valid points of argument, whose morals do we ascribe to? What code will they be based on? How will it be decided? Too much confusion and opinion are in the mix for any logical point to be properly considered by those involved, and so the objective truth is usurped in favor of emotional agendas. Labeling people as evil or a saint doesn't help.
Aguilajoyce

Pro

How can you retain a position?
Well, by simply stating that you retain it and moving on to the next point? LOL

You say: certain 'charged' words should not be valid in a argument.
I say: all words are admissible, in an argument as long as their meaning and their underlying assumptions are clearly defined...
You say: I still maintain my position (and nothing more)... lol lol

Oh well... Onwards to the discussion of the natural...
Here, we find some commonality...Nice!!!

And then we move onto morals as they pertain to these invalid/groundless arguments
Initially you say that morals are mere fabrications of though, subjective/change from person to person, and the acceptance of ones morals means ignoring or dismissing someone else's.

I respond that morals are not as abstract as you make out, as they are based in experience which results in differences, but also results in our sharing generalized values about people/actions.

Your response is launching into how ISIS proves how morals are anything but shared, including our view toward them, and their view toward us... a very odd position as they are called by how most people see them, EXTREMISTS. lol. You went way out there, to make this point, but its cool because I think it works toward my point.

The Muslim population is 1.6 billion, and though many of them share the specific viewpoint with Muslim extremists, like, gender roles, sex, education. They share a greater moral with the rest of the peace-keeping communities (non-Muslim included) of the world. They value their children's future, and the well-being of their communities, and stability over fundamentalist ideologies. Many Muslims have even spoken out against extremists, and live in fear that they will be treated differently because of these groups... Imagine that.. no matter how steadfast they believe, they are afraid to be persecuted or profiled because of their religion. What does this say about the values we share has human beings? That although religion is very much a significant part of who we are, we value life and prosperity and the health of our children and families over many of these specifics that people squabble days on end about, but recognize that to blowing up a building, kidnapping school children, or hijacking a plan over such things, is a step too far.

So again I offer that ALL words/ideas/concepts are admissible in an argument
Morals are NOT just pure fabrication of thought and NOT so subjective that others' values are unintelligible to us.
unnatural things MUST be avoided as they CAN NEVER exist...
Of course, all based on the aforementioned arguments
Debate Round No. 2
JLWilliams

Con

JLWilliams forfeited this round.
Aguilajoyce

Pro

I'm not entirely sure what is supposed to happen at this point...lol
Debate Round No. 3
JLWilliams

Con

JLWilliams forfeited this round.
Aguilajoyce

Pro

No response submitted for previous round...
Debate Round No. 4
JLWilliams

Con

JLWilliams forfeited this round.
Aguilajoyce

Pro

No,no...the pleasure was all mine... :-(
Debate Round No. 5
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