The Instigator
Typhlochactas
Con (against)
Winning
8 Points
The Contender
Anti-atheist
Pro (for)
Losing
0 Points

Does god provide us with objective moral values?

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 2 votes the winner is...
Typhlochactas
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 12/24/2012 Category: Philosophy
Updated: 4 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 2,485 times Debate No: 28585
Debate Rounds (5)
Comments (0)
Votes (2)

 

Typhlochactas

Con

Debate topic


Does god provide us with objective moral values?

Definitions

God--the omniscient, omnipresent, omnibenevolent, and omnipotent creator of the universe, specifically the Judeo-Christian god
Moral--a system of values that indicate what is right and what is wrong
Provide--give us a rational basis

Rules

1: Verbal insults and ad hominem attacks will cost conduct points.
2: Forfeiting a round will cost conduct points.
3: Sources for important claims should be provided.
4: Round 1 is for acceptance. Rounds 2, 3, and 4 will be back and forth debate. Round 5 can be used for conclusions and final thought.


Debate Round No. 1
Typhlochactas

Con

Argument

P1: Moral questions are about the well-being of conscious creatures.
P2: An action that promotes the well-being of conscious creatures is moral.
P3: When faced with two or more solutions, the most moral solution is the one that maximizes the well-being of conscious creatures.
C: Objective morality finds its basis in maximizing the well-being of conscious creatures.

Premise One
All moral questions are reducible to the well-being of conscious creatures. For instance, the moral issue of whether women should be forced to wear hijab is a question relating to well-being. Does it make human beings more compassionate to one another? Does it make life safer for the woman (prevented rape, etc)? Does it improve the woman and her mental health? These are all questions relating to the well-being of conscious creatures.

We do not feel moral obligations to rocks or lightbulbs, as they are not conscious creatures. They are only inanimate objects. I suppose that one could argue that we have moral obligations to inanimate objects, but ultimately, that could be reduced to the well-being of conscious creatures as well. Due to the fact that humans only feel moral obligations to conscious creatures, it is becoming clear that the well-being of conscious creatures is the central point of morality.

I understand that I have presented only one example of a case where a moral issue relates to the well-being of conscious creatures. Obviously, it is impossible to type out every moral question and then prove that it relates to the well-being of conscious creatures. Therefore, in order to refute this premise, I ask Con to present a moral issue that does not relate to the well-being of conscious creatures.

Premise 2
Premise 1 shows that morality is based in the well-being of conscious creatures. This means that we can consider an action that harms the well-being of conscious creatures to be immoral. For example, the actions of rape and murder would not promote well-being. Therefore, these actions are objectively immoral. Using the same reasoning, a moral act is an act that promotes well-being. An example of this would be donating to a charity that helps the homeless or drug addicts. These acts promote well-being, so they are moral.

Premise 3

Premise 2 establishes that an action that promotes the well-being of conscious creatures is moral. This means that one action can be more moral than another action if it better promotes well-being.

If we have a moral problem (call it X), and there are two opposing solutions to this problem (y1 and y2), then whichever solution best improves the well-being of conscious creatures is the most moral, as a moral action is one that improves well-being.


If it is moral to promote well-being, then it logically follows that actions that maximize well-being are better than actions that do not maximize well-being. Ergo, Premise 3 is logically justified.

Conclusion
Since all of morality is based in the well-being of conscious creatures, it logically follows that any action that promotes the well-being of conscious creatures is objectively moral.

Actions that maximize well-being are therefore more moral than actions that do not maximize well-being. In this, we have a basis for objective moral values.

Implications on the Resolution
If objective moral values are based in maximizing the well-being of conscious creatures, then there is no reason to invoke any type of deity as a basis for objective moral values. If Pro is not able to refute the moral framework I have presented, then it means that objective moral values are not based in god, but rather in maximizing well-being.

This is an important statement. Even if Pro can refute my moral system, he has still not proven the resolution to be true, and I win. This means that Pro must both refute my moral system and prove his own in order to win the debate. If he cannot do both, then I win the debate.

Final Note
I do not wish to attack straw man arguments, so I will wait for Pro to present his Round 2 arguments before I attack the idea of god giving us objective moral values.

I will also be willing to answer questions from the audience in R5. If you have any question for me, please write them in the comments. I will do my best to answer them in the last round of the debate.
Anti-atheist

Pro

Note how con doesn't define objective. Heres the definition from google

objective
Adjective:(of a person or their judgment) Not influenced by personal feelings or opinions in considering and representing facts

Con"s whole argument is based on the well being of others. Which IS based on a person"s personal feelings.

His whole argument can be debunked by simply asking why should we care about the well being of others? What is the objective reason for caring about the well being of others.
Debate Round No. 2
Typhlochactas

Con

Definition
Pro uses a definition of objective that does not relate to morality. He has defined objective, not objective morality. Thereore, I will provide the definition of objective morality.

"Morality being objective in the sense that they hold or not regardless of human opinion'. From the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy


'Con's whole argument is based on the well being of others.'

Please do not change the terms of my argument. My argument is based on the well-being of conscious creatures, not 'others'.

'Which IS based on a persons personal feelings.'
Well-being is a feeling, obviously. However, the (flawed) definition you provided refers how we asses factual information when analyzing something. It means that you have put aside your biases and objectively looked at the facts you have been presented with. It refers to assesments of a set of facts, not a moral system. That is why your definition is pointless.

'His whole argument can be debunked by simply asking why should we care about the well being of others? '

Because morality is based in the well-being of conscious creatures. You have no refuted Premise One of my argument, so this stands true.

What is the objective reason for caring about the well being of others?
My argument establishes that morality is based in the well-being of conscious creatures. Therefore, if one acts in a way that harms the well-being of conscious creatures, they are acting immorally by definition. States of the brain that cause people to feel well-being are objective. Their brain is in that state regardless of human opinion. Ergo, one can objectively harm human well-being.

No Arguments in Favor of the Resolution
Pro has not provided us with a single argument in favor of god providing objective moral values. As I noted in my last argument, Pro has to refute my moral sysem and put his own forward, or else the resolution is negated. So far, he has failed to provide a system of objective moral values based in god. This means that he has the lost debate even if my moral system does not hold up.

Anti-atheist

Pro

Sorry I will post my argument for God giving us objective morals

It's simple
"An objective absolute morality needs an absolute objective standard. Humans are ever changing therefore cannot be the result of humans."

The definitions I gave arent flawed. Its basically the same things.

" Well-being is a feeling, obviously. However, the (flawed) definition you provided refers how we asses factual information when analyzing something. It means that you have put aside your biases and objectively looked at the facts you have been presented with. It refers to assesments of a set of facts, not a moral system. That is why your definition is pointless."

This doesn't touch the main point. How is morally not based on an arbitrary standard since it is based on peoples" feelings and desires which change?

" Because morality is based in the well-being of conscious creatures. You have no refuted Premise One of my argument, so this stands true."

this is circular logic. Why should we care about the well being of creatures? Saying "because morality is based on the well being" is circular.

" States of the brain that cause people to feel well-being are objective. Their brain is in that state regardless of human opinion. Ergo, one can objectively harm human well-being."

Wrong. There exists people who have impaired empathy. There called psychopaths. And there is a link in the brain between psychopaths and lacking mirror nerons(1). This makes it subjective.
Is it wrong to rape a comatose person if no physical or emotional harm is suffered and the person is never aware of it? And is it wrong to cheat on your wife or girlfriend if they don't know about it? As no one's well being is being harmed

If a murder wants to murder you're saying he should not do it due to the well being of the victim. But what about the well being of the murder? It infringes on the murders well being, so why should we prefer the well being of the victim?

1. www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/m/pubmed/18599127/
Debate Round No. 3
Typhlochactas

Con

Definition
'The definitions I gave arent flawed. Its basically the same things.'

Pro states that his definitions are not flawed. He also states that defining objective is the same thing as defining objective morality. However, he does nothing to prove this point. This is a logical falacy known as a bare assertion fallacy. He does nothing to justify his statements, yet he expects the audience to take it as truth.

A simple analysis of our two definitions will show that objective is not the same thing objective morality. Let's read Pro's definition of objective:

''Adjective:(of a person or their judgment) Not influenced by personal feelings or opinions in considering and representing facts'

I have put the most important word of his definition in bold and underline. His definition is an adjective. An adjective is a word that is used to describe something. Objective morality is a noun, as it is a thing. Therefore, his definition is using 'objective' in a non-moral context, making it flawed and useless for a debate on morality. Now, let's turn to Pro's argument for objective morals from god...

Objective Moral Values from God

I will postulate the euthyphro dillehma in response to Pro's argument. Is something good because god loves it, or does god love it because it is good? If the former is true, then morality from god is arbitrary. If the latter true, then goodness exists outside of god, and he cannot be its source.

Questions from Pro
'Is it wrong to rape a comatose person if no physical or emotional harm is suffered and the person is never aware of it?'

Yes. I am afraid that your point is very narrow-sighted. This type of argument ignores the impacts that such an action would have on conscious creatures. If it was moral, then it would mean that if any one us fell into a temporary coma, it would be perfectly justified for someone to rape us. Ergo, the action has a wider affect on the well-being of conscious creatures, as conscious creatures do not want to be raped.

This is similar to other objections to utilitarianism. It reminds me of the question, 'If we can save two lives by killing one person, is it moral to kill that person?'. These type of questions ignore the implications of living in such a world. It would mean that at any moment, I could be murdered for a part of me that was needed. This is a world that be bad for well-being, and we are justified in being intolerant of such actions.

'And is it wrong to cheat on your wife or girlfriend if they don't know about it?'

Yes. Again, I feel that these type of questions are narrow-sighted and ignore the long-term implications of these actions. We, as a society, expect people in monogomous relationships not to cheat on their partner without the partners consent. If one cheats on their partner without them knowing, they are in effect a liar.

In the book “Sex and Love in Intimate Relationships', Dr. Firestone writes:

'Deception may be the most damaging aspect of infidelity. Deception and lies shatter the reality of others, eroding their belief in the veracity of their perceptions and subjective experience. The betrayal of trust brought about by a partner’s secret involvement with another person leads to a shocking and painful realization on the part of the deceived party that the person he or she has been involved with has a secret life and that there is an aspect of his or her partner that he or she had no knowledge of.'


Psychologist and author Shirley Glass wrote in her book “Not ‘Just Friends‘”:

'Relationships are contingent on honesty and openness. They are built and maintained through our faith that we can believe what we are being told. However painful it is for a betrayed spouse to discover a trail of sexual encounters or emotional attachments, the lying and deception are the most appalling violations.''

'If a murder wants to murder you're saying he should not do it due to the well being of the victim. But what about the well being of the murder? It infringes on the murders well being, so why should we prefer the well being of the victim?'

We should prefer the well-being of the victim because favoring the well-being of the murderer would have obvious detrimental affects on civilization and social order.

Other Objections
'This doesn't touch the main point. How is morally not based on an arbitrary standard since it is based on peoples" feelings and desires which change?'

The only thing that could change over time is what actions harm or improve the well-being of conscious creatures. For example, what helps well-being in 2012 will probably not be the most effective way of helping well-being in 4050. The central moral point of this system (' any action that promotes the well-being of conscious creatures is objectively moral') is not changing. It will be true in 2012 and 2045, and it will be true forever. Pro simply confuses what is changing and what is not changing.

The moral value is not changing, just the ways that we can act to follow this moral value.

'this is circular logic. Why should we care about the well being of creatures? Saying "because morality is based on the well being" is circular.'

This is not circular logic. As my argument establishes, all moral questions are based in the well-being of conscious creatures. You have not answered my challenge (' I ask Con to present a moral issue that does not relate to the well-being of conscious creatures.'), so this is true. Ergo, if moral questions relate to improving well-being, then it is obvious that we should care about well-being because doing otherwise would be immoral.

'Wrong. There exists people who have impaired empathy. There called psychopaths. And there is a link in the brain between psychopaths and lacking mirror nerons(1). This makes it subjective.'

Pro has erected a straw man argument. I have not said that the neurocorrelates of empathy are the same in all human beings. I have said that if a person's brain is in a certain state, then it is in that state irrelevant of the opinion of others.

Well-being, and feelings of well-being, relate to states in the brain. Ergo, it is possible to perform actions that objectively harm the well-being of another person, as your actions can change the state of their brain.

Pro has significantly misunderstood my argument.

Final Notes
At the start of this debate, I put forward a weighting mechanism for the audience to vote on. This weighting mechanism states that Pro must refute my moral system and prove his own during this debate. If he cannot refute my moral system, then he loses, because my moral systems conclusions negate the resolution. If he cannot prove his own, then he loses, because he has not proved the resolution to be true.

Pro has barely tried to prove his moral system true. Instead, he spends his time attacking my moral system. He devotes a mere sentence to proving the resolution. From this, I ask the audience to recognize that Pro is not defending the resolution, and has so far lost the debate.

Unless Pro can fufill the two tasks he is faced with in the next round, he has lost. Thank you.








Anti-atheist

Pro

The definition is still the same

The Dilemma

This dilemma is a false dilemma. As Morally comes from God's nature. And his commands reflect his nature. His nature never changes. So the argument hasn"t been refuted.

" Yes. I am afraid that your point is very narrow-sighted. This type of argument ignores the impacts that such an action would have on conscious creatures."

The conscious creatures need not know. If they don't know then it's OK right? Your argument against lying and cheating doesnt fly. Why is lying wrong if the other person never figures it out?

" We should prefer the well-being of the victim because favoring the well-being of the murderer would have obvious detrimental affects on civilization and social order".

That's subjective. If a civilization wants to defend the well being of the murder why shouldn't it. What if it was good for the social order to kill someone, if no one likes said person. Then it would be good for the social order and civilization. This is subjective.

" The only thing that could change over time is what actions harm or improve the well-being of conscious creatures. For example, what helps well-being in 2012 will probably not be the most effective way of helping well-being in 4050."

If they change then they're subjective. What if it changes for the worst?

This is not circular logic. As my argument establishes, all moral questions are based in the well-being of conscious creatures. You have not answered my challenge (' I ask Con to present a moral issue that does not relate to the well-being of conscious creatures.'), so this is true. Ergo, if moral questions relate to improving well-being, then it is obvious that we should care about well-being because doing otherwise would be immoral."

This doesn't answer to what I said. It's circular. We should care about the well being otherwise it would be immoral. How do we know what's immoral? The well being of creatures. It's so circular.

" Pro has erected a straw man argument. I have not said that the neurocorrelates of empathy are the same in all human beings. I have said that if a person's brain is in a certain state, then it is in that state irrelevant of the opinion of others."

Then the states of the brain are subjective and not objective like you said.

Con uses circular logic to defend his claim. He also says his subjective opinion is objective.
Debate Round No. 4
Typhlochactas

Con

Definitions
I mean no offense to Pro, but I am severely dissapointed in his response to my earlier argument about definitions. Pro does refute anything I said. He doesn't even try to. He's just typed out a bare assertion fallacy, as he did the last round. Therefore, I extend my arguments relating to the definition, and hope for a refutation in R5.

Euthyphro Dillehma
The problem is that god's nature is arbitrary as well. God chose his nature, didn't he? Basing morality in god's nature is arbitrary by way of the fact that god chose his own nature. He could have chosen an evil nature, a good one, or an apathetic one. What makes the nature he chose objective, and not arbitrary whim?

And if he didn't choose his nature, it does not leave Pro any better off. According to the agreed definitions in R1, god is omnipotent. This means that he can do anything he wants at any moment, by whim, with nobody to stop him. This means that god can easily change his nature at any moment in time. Ergo, we cannot hope to get objective moral values from god.

Why is lying wrong if nobody ever finds out?
Why is murder wrong if nobody ever finds out you did it? Why is rape wrong if your victim spends her whole life too frightened to report you? Why is stealing from a store wrong if the alarm doesn't go off?

All of these actions are bad for well-being even if nobody ever finds out. Let's say you stole money from a friend, and when asked about it, you refused to tell the truth about your crime. Your friend didn' find out that you were lying, but this is obviously irrelevant. Your friends well-being has been harmed if he finds out the truth or not.

If you had told the truth, your friend would have his money back. This would improve his well-being.

Using this thought experiment, it's obvious that lying is bad for well-being, and telling the truth is good for it. You can harm well-being by lying even if nobody finds out.

Is it subjective?
I claimed that tolerating murder would be bad for civilization. Pro stated that this is just a subjective claim. I'm taken aback by this. Can Pro provide a single example of a civilization that tolerated murder of its own people and thrived? Sure, there were civilizations that sacrificed prisoners of wars to their gods, but no civilization has ever stood the test of time by allowing the murder of its own people. There has not one civilization that allowed a person to walk outside, randomly kill a person, and go unpunished, that thrived.

Mob Rule
'What if it was good for the social order to kill someone, if no one likes said person. Then it would be good for the social order and civilization. This is subjective.'

There is such a thing as rights. Rights are in place in order to protect people from mob rule. We have rights that give us free speech and fair trials because we realize that the world is better with such rights. Consider a universally hated man such as James Holmes. Almost the entirity of the nation hates this man for his crimes. Yet, we have no mobs marching to Colorado to kill the man. This is because we recognize that rights are the foundation of civilization, and such mob rule is a threat to the rights of everyone.

Definitions of Well-being
'If they change then they're subjective. What if it changes for the worst?'

Pro is asking what we should do if definitions of well-being change in a way that would actually hurt well-being. I hope the audience understands my reasons for ignoring such a nonsensical question.

Circular Logic?
'This doesn't answer to what I said. It's circular. We should care about the well being otherwise it would be immoral. How do we know what's immoral? The well being of creatures. It's so circular.'

Notice that Pro's argument is bait and switch. First he talks about the reasons for caring about well-being, and then he talks about the methods of finding out what is moral. He takes the answers to two different questions and puts them together as if I presented them as one singular argument. The audience would do well to pay attention to the switching of terms.

States of the brain
Rather than correct Pro's misrememberment of what I actually said, I will outline my position.

Well-being relates to states of the brain. If you do something that has an affect on someone's well-being, you are objectively altering that state of the brain. My point is that you can objectively harm someone's well-being, and personal opinion will never change that. You can throw in as much personal opinion as you want, but that person's brain was in that state regardless of opinion.

With this second clarification, it should be clear that Pro is misunderstanding my position.

Conclusions
There were two things that Pro had to do in order to win this debate
(1): Knock down my argument for objective morality.
(2): Erect his own.

He attempted to do the first task using straw man arguments, bait and switch tatics, and bare assertion fallacies.

How did he attempt to the second? Well, he barely tried to do the second. We are offered very little argumentation about objective moral values from god. Pro did not give any argumentation for the resolution in R2, and provided a mere twenty words in R3. This trend was followed up in R4, where we got to see twenty-five words on the subject. In total, Pro devoted fourty-five words to defending the resolution over three rounds. This works out to an average of fifteen words a round. You can see how Pro barely tried to accomplish task two, and thus, we can consider the task incomplete.

Using the weighting mechanism established for this debate, I believe that I have won. Please analyze the evidence objectively, and I believe that you (the audience) will come to this conclusion. I wish to thank Pro for this debate, and I look forward to talking with him on thes issues again in the future.

Vale.

Anti-atheist

Pro

Euthyphro Dilemma

No god didn't choose his nature. It is apart of Him. He didn't choose his nature anymore than you choose hight to be an attribute. His nature is apart of Him, meaning he didnt choose it was always there and always will be there

God can do that which is logically possible. God doesn't change so neither does good. God cannot logically change his nature. Making morality objective absolute and unchanging.

Why is lying wrong if nobody ever finds out?

Your response was full of false analogies. You added a victim in all of them. Lying or adultery have no victims that harm well being of anyone.

Is it subjective?

You have not given an objective reason for not allowing murder. What's the objective reason to care about a society.

Mob Rule

How are rights objective? Unless the come from God its subjective. What if the rights in place allow for mob rule. What if its an anarchy type of society?

Definitions of Well-being
Evasion from con

Circular Logic?

More evasion. It doesn't change a thing. Con just types up something to evade in the last round. knowing he doesnt have to respond.

States of the brain

Still doesn't change a thing. I've shown the states of the brain are subjective.

Conclusion

Con fails hard. He lies about what I did and ignored most of what I said. Such dirty tricks are wrong. He fails

vote pro
Debate Round No. 5
No comments have been posted on this debate.
2 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 2 records.
Vote Placed by DoctorDeku 4 years ago
DoctorDeku
TyphlochactasAnti-atheistTied
Agreed with before the debate:-Vote Checkmark-0 points
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Total points awarded:40 
Reasons for voting decision: Pro ignores Con's standard of morality. Although I agree Pro has a solid interpretation of what objective morality should be, the arguments made by Pro don't apply in the given scope of this debate.
Vote Placed by Jarhyn 4 years ago
Jarhyn
TyphlochactasAnti-atheistTied
Agreed with before the debate:Vote Checkmark--0 points
Agreed with after the debate:Vote Checkmark--0 points
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Total points awarded:40 
Reasons for voting decision: Convincing: PRO failed to speak to the Euthyphro dilemma adequately. If the morality is foisted upon god(s) by some external nature, then the morality does not come from the gods, but rather the source of that nature, therefore it is not sourced of god(s). If for no other reason than CON's invocation of the ED, PRO fails. Conduct: PRO never met his burden of proof that god(s) are the source of objective moral values.