The Instigator
Skynet
Pro (for)
Losing
0 Points
The Contender
TheElderScroll
Con (against)
Winning
6 Points

Human rights do not have adequate justification under a secular government.

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 2 votes the winner is...
TheElderScroll
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 11/23/2012 Category: Philosophy
Updated: 4 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 7,491 times Debate No: 27455
Debate Rounds (5)
Comments (7)
Votes (2)

 

Skynet

Pro

Rights are a commonly debated subject. But where do rights come from? Do we even really have rights? What are they, and why do we have those rights?

The concept of rights in the historical U.S. have been tied inseparably as an endowment from the God of the Bible. In this debate I intend to show that:

An orderly list of rights, logical in scope and limitation, can only be derived from Biblical principals for the fair, equitable, healthy, and orderly function of a society.

My opponent must show that such a list of rights (not necessarily the same rights) can be made from a secular perspective.

First round for acceptance.
TheElderScroll

Con

I accept the challenge.
I will be arguing that Human rights can be derived from a democratic government.
May both of us enjoy this debate and let's begin.
Debate Round No. 1
Skynet

Pro


Thanks for accepting.



A right is unalienable, and granted to one by an authority, and held by the one to whom it is granted until they no longer hold the position they came to which entitled them to the right. In this case, the rights we are granted are human rights, so as long as we are humans, we have these rights.



It is clear from the Declaration of independence that rights were held as endowment from God by it's signers:



“When in the Course of human events it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.


We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. — That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed...”



I have reservations about the “pursuit of happiness” bit, but that's another story.



Why must rights be granted by an authority?



If a single person publicly declares they have a right, it wouldn't be much noticed unless it was a right that impeded someone else's desired goals. And such a person who disagreed might not take the declarer as a serious threat unless they thought that the declarer could back up their claim with the force of some kind of authority. The force the declarer could use to back up the claim of a right could be as simple as physical or psychological intimidation, one-on-one, or from a group or mob. Force by itself can be a form of authority. The silver-back and the alpha use nothing but intimidation and force, and they are authorities in their societies. Peer pressure, guilt, bribery, or even convincing reason could be used to back up the person declaring their right. But as I said at first, without any of these authoritative mechanisms, the declarer of the right doesn't have much of a way to get what they want.



Why must God be the authority that grants human rights?



Rights can be granted by human authority alone, but only as long as the human authority can maintain that authority. And individual humans generally have a quick expiration date when compared to societies. That's why we like constitutions, charters, and laws that go beyond our lifetimes, to lend more stability than an absolute dictator alone could provide. But laws that can be changed by legislatures, oligarchies, kings, and popular vote can also be fickle. Laws can even remain on the books, but be unenforced by the people who are charged with enforcing them.



For roughly 6-10k years of human history, the essential nature of humanity has not changed. We are still essentially human, and as long as we maintain that status, we would have human rights if they existed at all. Who else could grant those rights but an immortal, unchanging God who has communicated those rights to us?


TheElderScroll

Con

I thank Pro for intimating this debate

Table of Content
1. Introduction
2. Human Rights: Another Term For Desires
3. Secular Government Can Be the Protector of Human Rights
4. Religion is Not the Answer
5. Conclusion
6. References

1. Introduction
Thorough out the past several thousand years, right is a definition that bears different meaning in different era. American cultural is primarily built up Judeo-Christian tradition, a belief reveres one god. The protection of fundamental human rights was a foundation stone in the establishment of the United States over 200 years ago. Since then, a central goal of U.S. foreign policy has been the promotion of respect for human rights. [1] Human right mades its first and finest appearance in the Declaration of Independence, in which the America"s founding fathers assert that "all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and pursuit of Happiness."

2. Human Rights: Another Term for Desires
Right is an elusive term. Human right, according to the Oxford Dictionary, is "a right that is believed to belong justifiably to every person." [2] But what would constitute "a right that is believed to belong justifiably to every person?" Would right to self-defense be a part of rights belong to any human being? Perhaps and perhaps not. In nature, strong preys on the weak and there is so such thing called right to kill or right not to be killed. Self-defense is a mean to survive, a instinct imprinted in all species, including humans. Human civilizations are the product of nature. Therefore, in essence, humans are no different from other species: we are all fighting for our own survival. If human rights are indeed inalienable rights conferred by the Supreme Being, why did the salves (Spartacus for example) who live in ancient Rome Empire have to resort to violence to have the right to liberty? Why did God abandon him and his followers who are ruthlessly crucified by Roman legions? Would emancipation still be possible if President Lincoln was defeated in the American Civil War? Then what are Human rights if they are not conferred by nature? The answer is: Human rights are what we desire. The nexus between desire and rights is very complicate. Naturally we want to believe we have a right to that which we desire. Equality and liberty, for examples, are virtually non-existed until the founding of America. Since people are not born equally and we all long for equability, we cover our desires into something indestructible: inalienable rights. Years ago, during an interview, Mr.Warren Buffett said: "Before you enter the word, you will pick one ball from a barrel of 6.8 billion. That ball will determine your gender, race, nationality, natural ability, and health - whether you are born rich or poor, sick or able-bodied, brilliant or below average, American or Zimbabwean." [3] As he explained to a group of University of Florida students, "You"re going to get one ball out of there, and that is the most important thing that is ever going to happen to you in your life." in conclusion, equality and liberty are not something we are entitled to, but what we desire.

3. Secular Government Can Be the Protector of Human Rights
Undeniably, not all governments are American alike. President Bashar al-Assad of Syria, for example, murdered hundreds of innocents people to maintain his ruling. President Mohamed Morsi of Egypt, for instance, issued an decree to shield him from judicial review to consolidate his power. But if democratic government is the evolutionary end of all governmental systems, Human Rights, in theory, could be adequately guarded by it. The main object of any ruling party in a democratic government is to secure the further of its governing by maintaing a peaceful living environmental and promoting general welfare for its people. Special interests are somewhat unavoidable given the fact that money is the symbol of power. But as long as such special interests do not fundamentally alter the nature of democracy, we should expect the government to continue respecting human rights for the purpose of prolonging its legitimacy.

4. Religion is Not the Answer
Apparently, not all type of governments are able to adequately protect human rights, many perhaps are unwilling to protect given the fact that fear and oppression are much more powerful and effective tools to govern people. But religions are not the answer. Religion, since its inception, is largely utilized as a political tool to advance some special interests. The war between Christians and Muslims epitomizes the power of religion, and how religion can lead to violence and blood. Today, Hamas, in the name of God, dedicates its charter to Israeli destruction because their god despises Jews. Russian authority, in the name of God, arrests Pussycat, a popular pop music group for its criticism of Primer Mister Vladimir Putin. For some rulers, the word God is often used as a semantic stop-sign, meaning simultaneously "Stop asking questions." It is hard to believe religion, in the hands of wrong people, would sufficiently protect human rights.

5. Conclusion
Human rights are rights desired by human beings. But what we desire is not necessary what we are entitled to. Although not all governments are willing to protect their own people from human rights abuse, religions may perhaps do more harm than good in these cases. Democratic government, in hope of prolonging its governing, may resort to promote human rights to avoid social upheavals, which would inexorably undermine the strengthen of its ruling. Therefore secular government (democratic government) can be the protector of human rights.

Thank you

6. References
[1]. http://www.state.gov...
[2]. http://oxforddictionaries.com...
[3]. http://www.getrichslowly.org...
Debate Round No. 2
Skynet

Pro


My opponent claims that there are really no rights as we claim, just desires, because no basis for unalienable rights can be made from a secular view of the world. This is consistent with my argument that secular government cannot guarantee rights, since from a secular standpoint, rights don't really exist. If God doesn't exist or doesn't matter, the highest authority to secure your desires (which you claim are rights) would be a human party with influence. A majority, influential minority, or powerful individual could suffice. But once you have convinced enough people, enough of the right people, or the right person (possibly even one's self), to stand up effectively for your “right,” you only have that right until someone else usurps the minds of those who you convinced or controlled. The next election, or a new popular ideology could quickly destroy your so-called right. Hardly inalienable.



My opponent is applying a very modern philosophy in response to my argument that only God can secure inalienable rights. He sweeps aside the fact that I am using a specific God, and responds, “Religion is Not the Answer.” I think this is not malicious, but only natural since the philosophy he's using probably lumps most religions into the same category.



I agree that religion is not the answer. I'm not sure my opponent actually came out and said it yet, so I would like to ask: Do you agree that to secure a claimed right, one needs authority, whether it be convincing a majority of your society, or the right person(s) asserting that you have that right?



I've just shown that human authority is not enough to guarantee rights, and my opponent just argued that a government with a secular view couldn't even logically say that inalienable rights exist.



So I would like my opponent and any spectators to hypothesize for the sake of argument: In a universe where a God like that of the Bible existed, who was immortal and unchanging, could true inalienable rights exist? I argue yes. He would have sufficient authority to claim those rights for us, and they would be given inalienability by his immortality and immutability.



Rebuttals to other specific points my opponent made:



The nexus between desire and rights is very complicate. Naturally we want to believe we have a right to that which we desire.”



It's not so complicated in a universe where God exists, because regardless of our desires, he already established our rights. A God would allow an orderly, fixed set of rights not molestable by man.



But my opponent is correct in demonstrating how those rights are violated all the time. Does this God have no authority to guarantee the rights of his creation?



The question is normally worded, “If God's so good, why do bad things happen to innocent people?”



God is so good that he's perfect, and in his perfect eyes no one is innocent before him. I might not think I'm that bad, but “whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles at just one point is guilty of breaking all of it.” James 2:10 One moment of envy, one moment of lust, is all it takes to be guilty.



God's immortality ensures everyone who has violated another's rights will someday be judged, and all those put in positions of power will be held responsible for not protecting the rights of their charges. Judgement is sometimes reserved from this life, and left to a later time so that those that are not turning to God will turn to him. Galatians 3:24 and Romans 7:7-14



Equality and liberty, for examples, are virtually non-existed until the founding of America.”



This statement, as well as the claim that “...democratic government is the evolutionary end of all governmental systems.” may stem from the trend in the last few centuries of the decline of the number of monarchies, and the rise in the number of claimed and actual democracies and republics. However, actual democracies are short lived, and very unstable. They can evolve from other forms of government, but most often result in anarchy or oligarchy. (1)



We can see specific examples of Liberty and Equality being upheld in ancient society as rights in secular, pagan, and God fearing societies going back thousands of years.



Rome: 200 B.C.-300 A.D.



You can see very detailed accounts of trials and rights given to Roman citizens as recorded the in Bible: Acts 16:35-17, 18:12-16, and 22:22-29, (and pretty much from there to the end of the book.)



Ancient Israel: 1500 B.C



Equality is integral to the Jewish Law:


Deuteronomy 18:18-20, 19:15-21, Leviticus 19:15









  1. I'm not too savvy with hyperlinks. Here's http://www.biblegateway.com... to look up all the Bible references.





TheElderScroll

Con

I thank my opponent for his response.

First I must apologize to my opponent for not making things more clear. In R2, my primary object is to lay down the framework that would support my argument. To a certain extent, contentions presented in R2 are assumptions that my argument would be relied on. In this round I will proceed to piece all the fragments together.

Answer to the question
My answer is affirmative. But I do have an objection to the notion that human rights derive their legitimacy from the Supreme Being.

Main Argument
C1. In last round, I attempted to show that any right is a reflection of one"s will, and there is no inalienable right whatsoever. Since human desires are generally shaped by his or her own experience, it is not unreasonable to assume that there is no consensus on what one"s desires should be.

C2. Given the existence of the Supreme Being and by assuming that every human being is an image of God, if one did acquires one"s rights by appealing to God"s will, it shall be inferred that one"s desires would reflect the desires of God. Since Christians worship one God only, it necessarily follows that there should exist a consensus about what one"s desires are. This conclusion, however, contradicts what has been concluded in C1, and by assuming the accuracy of C1, one should therefore logically conclude that human beings cannot derive their desires from God.

C3. If human beings cannot derive their desires from God, the only alternative is government. It is not unreasonable to question that whether governments necessarily exist. One can undoubtedly live the life of a recluse thereby deriving his/her right from his/her own will. But owning to the human nature in which it suggests that human beings tend to live in a sociable life, it is therefore implausible to assume that the majority of human beings would favor a solitary life. If so, governments would be an inevitable consequence of this sociable life.

C4. It is also known that rights can only be derived from orders or constitutions. For the authoritarian states, rights are derived from the will of governing body in a form of decree or orders. For the democratic states, rights are primarily derived from the constitutions, a document reflects the people"s desires. Since all rights are derived from either orders or constitutions, it follows that human rights find their legitimacy either in decree or constitutions, contrived by the government.

C5. If human rights are derived from either decrees or constitutions, it can be properly inferred from that that no human rights are unlawfully defined, as long as the will of ruling body is not incompatible with people"s desires. With respect to authoritarian states, since laws are merely instruments to oppress or to regulate one"s will, there would be a constant human right abuse. In terms of democratic states, since states tend to pay great attentions to people"s desires, it follows that the ruling part would not tend to draft laws in a way that merely reflects the will of power elites thereby securing the environment for one to exercise one"s right, including his or her right to liberty.

C6. The above analysis does not preclude the possibility that a democratic states cannot be guided by the doctrines of religions or faiths. If one, however, accepts the assumption that religion is not the answer to the human rights abuse, it follows that a democratic state cannot be guided by religious doctrines, thereby proving that a true democratic state must be a secular state.

Therefore although human rights may not have adequate justification under all type of governments, they do find reasonable protection under the roof of democracy.

Rebuttal - Principles
First, I am willing to accept the existence of God.
Second, although the nature of Bible is still somewhat contentious (whether it decedents from the Heaven), people would generally agree that Bible is a book that witnesses the history of one of the most accomplished person that has ever walked on earth. Bible can be determined to offer the path to redeem a life of evil, but if one has to suffer in this mortal life to make atonement for one"s sin and wrongdoings for the purpose of gaining the right to enter the Kingdom of Heaven, then this particular right graciously conferred by God upon human race is not an inalienable right because it can be taken away from or given away by the possessor. To a certain extend, Bible actually supports the contention that no inalienable rights have ever existed.

Equality and Liberty
If right to equality and right to liberty ever existed, and by assuming that God would not discriminate against any human beings, it follows that everyone should enjoy such rights. Acts 16:35-17,18:12-16 and 22:22-29 do present a detailed account of trails and rights given to Roman citizens, but it does not follow that all these rights shall be enjoyed by non-citizens. Slaves, for example, enjoy a very limited set of rights. In ancient Rome, salves were treated as a personal property and can be disposed at owners" will. It would therefore present a formidable hurdle for anyone who attempts to understand why right to equality and liberty are restricted to a group of people only. If one has to suffer in this life to in order to gain the right to freedom, it is more than likely that the right to liberty is not inalienable. Simply put, whatever you have gained can be taken away as well.

More specifically
Deuteronomy 19:16-21 reads
"If a malicious witness takes the stand to accuse someone of crime,....The rest of the people will hear of this and be afraid, and never again will such an evil thing be done among you. Show no pity: life for life, eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot."

Deuteronomy 19:16-21 may actually deny the existence of inalienable right. If right to life is a part of inalienable, it cannot be taken away by any authority. Deuteronomy 19:16-21 however suggests that a witness may have to suffer from insufferable pain if he or she deliberately lies in front of Lord, and people would have the authority to take away his inalienable right. If a right can be removed by the authority, such right becomes alienable.

Leviticus 19:15 reads
"Do not pervert justice; do not show partiality to the poor or favoritism to the great, but judge your neighbor fairly."

Leviticus 19:!5, on the hand, does not confer any right upon any one. Literally, the phrase teaches one how to behavior in a socially approved manner, but one is not obligated to follow the suggestion nor shall the violation entail any consequence.

Conclusion
On the basis of above analysis, it is not unreasonable to conclude that one can derives one"s right from government only, and human rights do have adequate justification under democracy.

Thank you.
Debate Round No. 3
Skynet

Pro


Below, I have summarized my opponent's main argument, earnestly trying to keep true to what he's saying:




1. Rights are the consensus of the desires of society.




2. If God made us, our wills should conform to God's, and our desires would be the same. But our desires aren't all the same, so we can't rely on God for our rights.



3. Government is the next authority to go to. They define rights through consensus or fiat.



4. Democratic states that derive their power from the will of the people would necessarily give the people their desires/rights.



Can a democratic government be relied on to provide and enforce rights? Yes. “But for how long?”




Would these rights by consensus be fair? In the L.A. Riots, a consensus was reached among enough people that people with things should be looted. What'd that truck driver have to do with it? But that's not democratic government in the strict sense.



Kenya, 2005. http://news.bbc.co.uk...
Keep in mind the article mentioned several issues, not just the redistribution of colonial-seized land. Limits were set on land ownership and land that is “idle” can be seized.

Those that lean socialist would probably see this as absolutely fair. Those who claim property rights see this as a massive injustice. Who's got the right to the right rights? Without an authority above majority rules, how can that be determined?


French Revolution. http://theonomyresources.blogspot.com...
Secularism is at the core of the French Revolution. They became a Republic, but without recognition of the moral laws of God, the revolution turned into what we now call the Reign of Terror. Reason supposedly became their god, but without absolute morality from an immutable authority, many things can be called reasonable.


Russia. http://theonomyresources.blogspot.com...


Much the same happened in the USSR as happened in France, and for much the same reasons. The will of the masses was met, but the results were disastrous for the economy and society.


Is there no authority worth paying attention to greater than the most forceful mob? In R1, my resolution was: “An orderly list of rights, logical in scope and limitation, can only be derived from Biblical principals for the fair, equitable, healthy, and orderly function of a society.”


What would an orderly list of rights look like under god-less democracy? How could that be determined? My opponent agrees that no such list can be made, as any list of rights arising from the fickle desires of people would just be an exercise in whim. We've never seen a fair, equitable, and healthy society arise from god-less principals, because without God, there are no real principals. What happens when two societies are forced to live near or with eachother, when they don't agree upon what rights are? We get the massive revolt of Spartacus. There will be no possibility of order unless they can look to an authority higher than both their governments. But it can't just be another shifting body of people, it has to be an immutable, lasting source of authority. Even a constitution only has power as long as people pay attention to it. In the wreckage of a failed government, where can people look to for a new list of rights?


My opponent has put forth some very good questions, but so far has not shown that humanistic democracy can provide human rights adequately for us. In fact, he's even proclaimed that no real rights exist, but that democracy can somehow make them up to provide order.





Other arguments.







“The bible supports the contention that no inalienable right can exist because the right of salvation to believers can be taken away by it's giver.”







God is immutable, and though he could, he will not take away salvation from believers. John chapter 17 is Jesus' prayer before his arrest. “I have revealed you to those whom you gave me out of the world. They were yours; you gave them to me and they have obeyed your word...None has been lost except the one doomed to destruction so that Scripture would be fulfilled...My prayer is not that take them out of the world but that you protect them from the evil one. They are not of the world, even as I am not of it. Sanctify them by the truth; your word is truth...My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, that all of them may be one...”







1 Corinthians 3:10-15 Paul talks about the closest thing a believer can experience to losing one's salvation. Salvation is a right that God does not take away. My opponent's argument is that that right from God is not inalienable because the highest possible authority COULD take it away. But God's immutability precludes him from being willing to take it away. It is effectively inalienable, and only applies to the elect, not all humans.







But this debate is more about human rights.







Equality and Liberty.




My examples of equality and liberty in Rome were given only to show that the concepts existed long before the US. You're correct in pointing out the inequity given to non-citizens and slaves. Remember Rome was a pagan government with sanctioned idol and Emperor worship, and was not meant to be an example of rights being taken directly from the Bible.







So where is God in this world with all these violations of rights given by him? In Eden, Adam and Eve chose to un-conform their wills from God's. We, as their descendants, continue to go our own way, apart from God, and deny others the rights God gave them, as well as apply to ourselves rights that have no basis in reality.







“Leviticus 19:!5, on the hand, does not confer any right upon any one. Literally, the phrase teaches one how to behavior in a socially approved manner, but one is not obligated to follow the suggestion nor shall the violation entail any consequence.”







This passage is a rule for judges. If you didn't follow the rules of the judgeship you were charged with, you were breaking the Law, and in dereliction of duty. People that are derelict in their duty are supposed to be removed from their jobs. Job loss is a consequence. Even if you're not an official judge, and two parties ask you to mediate, you were to remember that God will judge even the secret things in the end.

TheElderScroll

Con

I would like to thank my opponent for presenting his counter-argument.

Pro has done a great job summarizing my argument. However, in citing of Kenya, French Revolution, and Russia examples, Pro may mistakenly believe that the majority vote is the manifestation of the democracy. It is admitted that the rights ordained by the majority may not necessarily appear to be fair to the minority, but neither can Pro deny the fact that minority can be adequately protected under the democracy. The United States Constitution, for example, does not establish a single unified "Congress;" instead it vests legislative powers in a Congress which consists of a Senate and House of Representatives. When Congress acts, it must act in a bicameral way.

The House functions on a majoritarian basis while the Senate cannot take action without a bipartisan support due to procedures like the filibuster. The two chambers of Congress are constitutionally designed to be in constant tension and competition with each other, so that they can serve as checks on one another. A majority vote in the House may not pass the the Senate given the fact that Senate minority can filibuster the bill whenever they are under the impression that their voices are not heard. As a result, the Senate enters litigation only when there is a broad and bipartisan support within its chamber. The United States system, therefore, would sufficiently protect the minority view while the consensus is made.

My opponent also suggests that God is absolute necessary for real principals. I would respectably disagree. Principles under discussion include fairness, equitability, and health. Under the democracy, all the principles therein are protected though Judicial system (judicial review). Justices are immune from the national politics and their functions are to speak for the law i.e., human desires. Justices are guided by reasoning, and reasoning alone. Plaintiff and defendant are required to present their cases in front of the justices, who act as impartial arbitrators. Justices are required to recognize the minority view (religion freedom for example) while also take the majority view into considerations. Under judicial review, citizens are allowed to sue government and numerous laws that are discriminately against the minority view (Marriage equality for example) have since been struck down. Therefore, fairness and equitability can derive their legitimacy from a secular source, and there is no need to restore to religions when an alternative is available.

Besides, religions may even lead to human rights abuse. Recent protest in Egypt in response to President Morsi"s decree is one of the examples about how an individual, in the name of religious righteous, may attempt to abuse the power. Moreover, religious rules published by Vatican suggest that making woman a priest is as sinful as abusing a child.[1] Salvation may lie in Jesus Christ, but Church"s views on the role of women are still deeply troubling.

"The bible supports...can be taken away by its giver"
My opponent suggests that God"s immutability may preclude him from being wiling to take the right away, even if he COULD. The word inalienable is defined as: unable to be taken away from or given away by the possessor (Oxford Dictionary). Palpably, if God has the capability to remove a right from an individual, regardless of his willingness, that right is necessary alienable.

Equality and Liberty
Christianity, in terms of its development, is no distinction from other religions. Roman emperors, like Greek kings, alway identified themselves with divine patrons. Constantine's own father revered the Unconquered Sun (paganism) a step towards monotheism. But the choice of the Christ was not inevitable - it depends purely on Constantine"s personal whim. In 312, Manichaeanism and Mithraism were no less popular than Christianity. Constantine could just as easily have chosen one of these and people today - and Europe, perhaps even America might today be Mithraistic or Manichaean.[2] Rome emperor embraced religions in guiding his troops and fulling his ambitions. Whether it is paganism or Christianity would not alter the fact that religions were political tools.

"Leviticus 19:15"
I have came to realize that I may have made a terrible mistake by suggesting that Book of Leviticus does not any details of law. Therefore, I am willing to retract my previous arguments. However, Book of Leviticus explicitly speaks against homosexuality, which has been gradually accepted on the ground of Equal Protection. Leviticus 18:22 reads: "Do not have sexual relations with a man as one does with a woman; that is detestable." Therefore, it should still be debatable if God confers everyone an equal right.

It is debatable if democracy would last forever. It appears that no government can exist forever. From ancient Rome to 18th century British monarchy, it seems that democracy would eventually give its way to anarchy or oligarchy, perhaps even dictatorship. However, this is not a debate about whether human rights can be sufficiently protected by all type of governments. As long as there is one example of secular government (democracy in the United States), it should not be unreasonable to conclude that human rights can find their safe haven under a secular government. In conclusion, under the democracy, human rights can have adequate justification.

Thank you

References
[1]. http://www.dailymail.co.uk...
[2]. Jerusalem: The Biography by Simor Sebag Montefiore
Debate Round No. 4
Skynet

Pro


This is the last round of this enjoyable, but slightly frustrating debate. My opponent will have the last word, but I will try not to present new arguments per tradition.



“As long as there is one example of secular government (democracy in the United States), it should not be unreasonable to conclude that human rights can find their safe haven under a secular government. In conclusion, under the democracy, human rights can have adequate justification.”



My opponent does seem to be learned, but he allows too many of his misconceptions to carry too much weight.





  1. The U.S. is not a Democracy, it is a Republic, a very important distinction. The Founding Fathers universally rejected Democracy. (1) Also see the video in R3.




  2. The U.S. Was not founded as a secular government, nor were our rights derived from any other than Biblical principals. The Declaration of Independence, in it's opening, declares that we get our inalienable rights from God. One can't turn around and then use the US as an example of successful secular rights establishment. Misconceptions about the separation of church and state will have to be covered separately, as that would be a new argument, but the mere fact that the Creator is directly pointed to as the giver of rights shoots down the notion that American rights have secular basis.




  3. “Pro may mistakenly believe that the majority vote is the manifestation of the democracy.” Yes, sans mistakenly. (2)




  4. My opponent repeatedly refers to the part of my argument that relies on a specific God, as if I am referring to generic religion. He cites examples of Islamic abuses, as well as Constantine's creation of the Catholic church as examples of the unfairness of religion. I would agree with most of this. I would even go a step further and reveal that Constantine combined sun worship with Christianity to create a new, non-Christian religion, that has remained separate, though much larger; the Catholic church.(3) However, if you ignore all Catholic traditions, and only use the Bible as a guide, you end up with examples of governments that honor a consistent and successful list of rights. Examples I can think of right now are the US and Canada (also cites God as the rights giver(4)).




  5. “Justices are guided by reasoning, and reasoning alone.” Incorrect. Justices are guided by the law, a transcendent set of principals they are to apply using reason.





“Palpably, if God has the capability to remove a right from an individual, regardless of his willingness, that right is necessary alienable.”


In this context, this is a strange argument. If I sit down with my 7 yr old nephew with a big, steaming plate of broccoli, and tell him, “Don't eat this,” I know it's safe. He'd laugh at the thought of taking it. You could say, between just him and I, the broccoli is inalienable from me. But it's not inalieanable because he COULD eat it? It's against his nature to eat it. Besides that, going to the highest possible level of power (God) negates most any argument. It's like boasting that no one could beat you if you shot them with the Death Star. It's just not going to happen.



“Christianity, in terms of its development, is no distinction from other religions.”


This, too is a new debate topic on it's own. I will only reiterate, “an orderly list of rights, logical in scope and limitation, can only be derived from Biblical principals for the fair, equitable, healthy, and orderly function of a society.” This debate is not about religion vs. secular reason, it is Biblical principals vs. secular reason, something my opponent has refused to acknowledge. If Islamic, Hellenistic, and Christian principals were all essentially the same, a lot more of us would get along, and only the leaders would be arguing for power.



In conclusion, my opponent has laid out a secular basis for shifting public desire, codified into law, in lieu of non-existent rights. He refers to fairness and justice, but gives no basis by which these can be clearly defined.


Desire cannot reign supreme as our guide, not for long. I ask my opponent and the audience to wonder, would it be a fair, equitable, healthy, and orderly life if we lived where desire were the guiding principal? If you were treated unfairly, and had to go to the court for justice, would you want the judge to look to the desires of the majority, or transcendent principal (law) for fairness?


My opponent does understand our court structure, but fails to recognize that the Justices are supposed to be isolated from the political system specifically so that they are held to transcendent principals, and NOT the whims and desires of the masses.






  1. http://tenthamendmentcenter.com...




  2. http://www.merriam-webster.com...




  3. http://www.newadvent.org...




  4. http://www.efc.ca...



TheElderScroll

Con

I would like to thank my opponent for instigating this debate
As per rule, I will not present any new arguments or offer any counter-arguments. This round is for summary only.

Table of Content
Summary
Comments on the Debate

Summary
In this debate, I and Pro attempt to discuss if human rights do not have adequate justification under a secular government. My opponent takes the stand of Pro, thereby affirming the resolution while I strives to establish that a secular government would be capable of offering sufficient protections for the human rights. Right from the beginning, I attempted to show that all rights are desire, and there were no objective human rights. After establishing that human rights are, in essences, human desires, I proceeded to stress the point that all rights derives their legitimacy from laws, necessarily ordained by the government. Human rights violation would occur when states decide to run afoul of existing laws in an attempt to maintain their rulings. Only democratic government would pay enough attentions to people"s wills, thereby lessing the risk of human rights abuse. In addition, I also stressed the point in which religions were frequently misused in the hand of rulers in the past, thereby significantly raising the risk of human rights abuse. In conclusion, I suggested that only a secular and democratic government would be able to adequately protect human rights.

Comments on the Debate
I share Pro"s frustration. The main culprit, in my opinion, is perhaps due to the fact that our points are not necessarily collide with each other. Another issue is perhaps due to the way that I, as Con, interpret the resolution. The resolution read: "Human rights do not have adequate justification under a secular government." Literally speaking, as long as I am able to offer a particular counter-example (in response to the word "a" in the resolution), I shall win the debate. However, I am also under the impression that the the scope of resolution is much broader, perhaps including all forms of secular governments in presence or in theory. Therefore in attempting to cover all possible meaning of the resolution, I resorted to a "middle ground" by including both a broad reading of the resolution and a narrow reading of the resolution in my arguments. In response, Pro suggested that God is the only source that human beings may derive their moral codes from. In a sense, he attempted to affirm the resolution on a broad reading of the resolution. It inescapably creates a certain problem. Many of our contentions are not necessarily against each other, and in fact, we share agreements on some of the issues, thereby creating an impression that we are both arguing for/against the resolution instead of arguing against each other. Besides, some of the contentions seem rather irrelevant to the resolution or the relation between contentions and resolution is not crystal clearly established. The lack of coherence may also contribute to the frustration. In conclusion, I am also under the impression that we, both Pro and Con, have yet achieved what we want. Nevertheless, it is still an enjoyable moment and it is my honor to be a part of this debate. I sincerely hope that we can do better if chance has ever raised again.

Thank you.
Debate Round No. 5
7 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 7 records.
Posted by Mike_10-4 2 years ago
Mike_10-4
The answer to this debate is in the following book: "Scientific Proof of Our Unalienable Rights," by Takac:

http://www.bookdaily.com...

Life"s Unalienable Rights are an outgrowth of the Constructal Law, which is an outgrowth of the Second Law of Thermodynamics. Therefore, life"s Unalienable Rights are part of the physical Laws of Nature, not man-made.
Posted by Skynet 4 years ago
Skynet
I would argue that was not the intention of the founders.
Posted by Skynet 4 years ago
Skynet
"Pro makes some excellent points too in that historically, there has not been a secular government yet that is completely devoid of religious influences. Especially, this is the case for democracies. "

Chuz-Life: are you saying this because you think the US was founded as a secular nation?
Posted by DudeWithoutTheE 4 years ago
DudeWithoutTheE
"The main culprit, in my opinion, is perhaps due to the fact that our points are not necessarily collide with each other."

It's the respondent's job in any debate to ensure that this happens.
Posted by Chuz-Life 4 years ago
Chuz-Life
Seems I confused Pro & Con. I will have to revisit my vote on this.
Posted by Chuz-Life 4 years ago
Chuz-Life
For me, the entire debate hinges on the word "adequate." Con does a good job showing that a secular government CAN adequately justify human rights. However, Pro makes some excellent points too in that historically, there has NOT been a secular government yet that is completely devoid of religious influences. Especially, this is the case for democracies; and Con seems to agree that democracies are best for establishing rights and for defending them. Great debate! (edited)
Posted by Chuz-Life 4 years ago
Chuz-Life
This is a great debate. I have no favorite and the subject is great. So far it looks like you both did a great job too. too tired to finish reading tonight but I look forward to coming back to it and voting. Good job guys.
2 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 2 records.
Vote Placed by Chuz-Life 4 years ago
Chuz-Life
SkynetTheElderScrollTied
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Total points awarded:03 
Reasons for voting decision: For me, the entire debate hinges on the word "adequate." Con does a good job showing that a secular government CAN adequately justify human rights. However, Pro makes some excellent points too in that historically, there has not been a secular government yet that is completely devoid of religious influences. Especially, this is the case for democracies.
Vote Placed by iamnotwhoiam 4 years ago
iamnotwhoiam
SkynetTheElderScrollTied
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Total points awarded:03 
Reasons for voting decision: Con provides a pragmatic basis for human rights. Pro even concedes that such is possible.