The Instigator
GenesisCreation
Con (against)
Winning
7 Points
The Contender
EricPrice
Pro (for)
Losing
4 Points

Humanist Manifesto III, Article 3 - "Ethical Values"

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GenesisCreation
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 8/27/2012 Category: Religion
Updated: 2 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 2,335 times Debate No: 25314
Debate Rounds (5)
Comments (23)
Votes (2)

 

GenesisCreation

Con

Topic:

Ethical values are derived from human need and interest as tested by experience.

Humanists ground values in human welfare shaped by human circumstances, interests, and concerns and extended to the global ecosystem and beyond. We are committed to treating each person as having inherent worth and dignity, and to making informed choices in a context of freedom consonant with responsibility. [Humanist Manifesto, Humanism and Its Aspirations, 2003]


Problem:

One of the major objections to Christian moral conduct is the age-old question:

"If God is all-powerful, why does he let bad things happen to good people?"

I would like to challenge a secular humanist to debate this topic from a different angle:

The burden and resolution:

"If ethical values are derived from human need and interest as tested by experience, why has the secular community not stopped human tragedy?"


Pro has the burden of proof. It has been the burden of many Christians to explain the problem of evil in the context of scripture. It will now be the burden of the secular humanist to explain the problem of inaction, indifference, evil and half-measures in the secular context, while still maintaining absolute moral authority.

To successfully meet the burden, the secular humanist must:

1.> Prove that core ethics, a limited parallel with the ten commandments, are produced by humans.

(Outlawing or condemning infidelity, murder, theft, lying, etc.)

2.> Explain the problem of global or national suffering in the presence of the ability to end it, while maintaining that humanism is the best measure of moral conduct.


To accept this debate you must agree to the following definitions:

Secular Humanists have the ability to end suffering through political, technological or humanitarian intervention.


Rules:


No new arguments in the final round.

No character attacks.

No external source lists. Sources must be listed inside each round, making them count toward your character limit.

EricPrice

Pro

"If ethical values are derived from human need and interest as tested by experience, why has the secular community not stopped human tragedy?"

First, I want to thank Con for proposing this debate, and for his patience in setting up clear guidelines for its conduct. In the pre-debate discussion period, we clarified the following points, and I would like to state them here, in the body of the debate as well.

The Formalities:
According to the rules set up by Con, I must accomplish the following:
• Prove that core ethics are produced by humans.
• Explain the problem of global or national suffering in the presence of the ability to end it, while maintaining that humanism is the best measure of moral conduct.

While doing this, I must also bear in mind:
• If I fail to prove that Humanism seeks to be maximally good in practice and premise, the burden is lost.
• The premise: Secular Humanism will seek to end evil “to the fullest extent of its ability.” (This premise was modified by Con in the comments section prior to the debate. If this agreement should not hold, I trust that Con will explain why it should not.)

The following parameters were also added by Con:

“I will not appeal to any other system outside of Secular Humanism. I will argue the entire debate in the context of your worldview, not mine. I will not appeal to the Bible, Jesus Christ, the God-head, Mosaic Law or even Tao Te Ching. We are concerned with the premise of your worldview only and I will use only secular sources.”

Con having graciously clarified his position, I should begin the task at hand. As stated, I am required to “prove that core ethics are created by humans” and then “explain the problem of suffering in the presence of the human ability to end it.”

Definition:
I will use, if acceptable to Con, the most accessible definition for “Humanism” that I can find (the ever noxious Wikipedia. Which cites the book, Good Without God: What a Billion Nonreligious People Do Believe, as its source):
"Humanism" describes the secular ideology that espouses reason, ethics, and justice, while specifically rejecting supernatural and religious ideas as a basis of morality and decision-making.”

In other words, Humanists believe, generally, that there are good reasons to behave in a socially cooperative manner – without regard to religion. Social cooperation and coordinated group action (adherence to social mores), will yield benefits that do not require any deific sanction for their justification.

This lack of requiring the sanction of a god is a major cause for the antipathy toward Humanism from the theistic community: it rejects one of the primary justifications for following gods – the issuance of holy laws. If laws and social order can be maintained without the threat of thunderbolts or promise of heavens, then mankind may fall into chaos. If these threats and promises are not needed to maintain order – then perhaps neither are the gods themselves. This is unacceptable to theists.


Prove that core human ethical standards are created by humans.

Here we have what seems a fairly straightforward task. Although I do not want to rely on axiomatic thinking to demonstrate this point, I feel that – in light of the debate parameters set up by Con - not much work needs to be done here.
I remind readers of the statements made by Con:

“I will not appeal to any other system outside of Secular Humanism. I will argue the entire debate in the context of your worldview, not mine. I will not appeal to the Bible, Jesus Christ, the God-head, Mosaic Law or even Tao Te Ching. We are concerned with the premise of your worldview only and I will use only secular sources”

If Con has forbade any recourse to non-human, supernatural sources of our ethics, then the only possible sources that are left are human ones. Therefore, we agree that all ethical systems, excluding non-human ethical systems, have been created by humans.

I am not playing a semantic game here; this is a straightforward argument: Where do human ethics come from if not humans?

• Humans interact with one another using agreed upon codes of conduct
• These codes of conduct are devised, interpreted and enforced by humans
• Therefore humans are fully in command of human codes of social conduct and interaction

It remains the case that, even if we did somehow receive the rules by which we humans would cooperate with one another from some alien, deity, spirit, supercomputer or other non-human entity, it would still be the case that human brains would be required to interpret, enforce and agree to use these social mores. This being the case, even the other-than-human societal rules would be very much human in origin, regardless of how the humans were inspired to enact these rules.

Considering this argument, I maintain that Con is required to admit that humans are the initiators, interpreters, and enforcer s of all human standards of behavior – including mores and ethical rules. This admission will, obviously, require Con to agree with me that human ethics are fully human in origin. This is further required by Con’s rule that only human agencies be considered in any attempt to determine the origin of human ethics.

Human fallibility and the Humanist quest to end all pain and suffering
Clearly, if Con is consistent, I may invent no recourse to extra-human agency in my second requirement, as well. That is, the requirement that I explain why Humanism has failed to eradicate human misery in every case. Clearly, any reading of this would require that Humanism be capable of far more than what is possible; human behavior cannot stop an earthquake from hurting people (one example). It also “makes the perfect the enemy of the good,” in that it sets unreasonable standards for what will constitute a successful ethical system. Con has stated that I am not required to demonstrate that humans are capable of superhuman abilities here – only that Humanist failure is explained.

I feel that ordinary human fallibility can best answer this requirement, as supernatural explanations are forbidden in this debate. I cannot argue that Humanism is capable of godlike abilities or results, therefore, I see no need to defend its (no pun intended) humanity from the charge that it is inhuman – or godlike. Humans cannot flap their arms and fly – therefore, this inability is not a “deficiency” that some people have; all humans are flightless mammals. Con and I obviously agree on this point as well. Con’s argument cannot be that Humanism should be held to account for an inability to perform tasks that would be beyond the power of gods.

Therefore, Con and I agree that human ethics are created, interpreted and enforced by humans. We also agree that humans should not be condemned for their lack of godlike powers to end human suffering. This requires that Con concede his argument – or adapt it into an ipso facto concession.
Debate Round No. 1
GenesisCreation

Con

We've already had Malthus, the friend of humanity. But the friend of humanity with shaky moral
principles is the devourer of humanity, to say nothing of his conceit; for, wound the vanity of any
one of these numerous friends of humanity, and he's ready to set fire to the world out of petty
revenge - like all the rest of us, though, in that, to be fair; like myself, vilest of all, for I might well be
the first to bring the fuel and run away myself
.” - Fyodor Dostoyevsky, The Idiot


To my opponent,

For your most expeditious response, I thank you. Indeed, I should even pause to praise you for
your highly developed sense of humor, which allowed me to change my avatar without invoking
a response from a fragile sensibility; something quite rare for this community.

I wish to alleviate the tension between us, as it appears that you are still guardedly arguing
against a man of religion. I remind you, I play devil’s advocate. Consider me an atheist, who
needs to be properly indoctrinated into your world view. You need to make no appeal to denounce
religion. I will not invoke its name here. This debate is the Pro and Con of Humanism, not a competition
between opposing worldviews.

As agreed, I will limit the scope of my argument to post 1950 Humanism.

Let me proceed with my opening statement:

Fresh of the Cambridge print, the 2001 Comparative Criticism Journal [1] sought to establish the
common premise in virtually every sect of post-renaissance humanism. One underlying principle that
could never be overcome is the core humanist doctrine of a Unitarian principle, in which the individual
is absorbed into a collective community, at the expense of individual liberty. Despite the best efforts of
Humanist Marxism, American Humanism or contemporary Humanism, the individual freedom is
pervasively suppressed under the premise of the greater good. As quoted by the source, “I wonder even
whether socialist humanism is not such a reassuring and attractive theme that it will allow a dialogue
between Communists and Social-Democrats, or even a wider exchange with those ‘men of good will’
who are opposed to war and poverty. Today, even the high-road of Humanism seems to lead to socialism
.” [2]

I would find it disingenuous, in light of human history, for my opponent to claim that the premise and
practice of humanism are united or fulfilled. Indeed, if all roads lead to Rome, all humanism has led to flagrant human rights violation.

It would be the next logical step to form this premise, that a lack of follow-through on basic humanist
doctrine has resulted the unnecessary suffering and casualty of the very people that humanism attributes an “intrinsic worth”. I find it additionally disingenuous to lay half-measures, indifference, and provocation at the altar of human error. No philosophy, no doctrine and no culture has created more human suffering in the post 1950s era, than the Humanists who ironically claim the best interests of their fellows.

Point 1: Flagrant Inaction.

Consider simply the August 20, 2001 report on the Pro-Humanist United Nation Council and their inaction in Rwanda. Recently declassified reports indicate that United Nations leadership was aware of an impending uprising, yet chose inaction and retreat. [3]

Please view the reference link to find the “Facsimile from Maj. Gen. Romeo Dallaire, Force Commander, United Nations Assistance Mission for Rwanda, to Maj. Gen. Maurice Baril, United Nations Department of Peacekeeping Operations, Request for Protection for Informant, January 11, 1994.” [4] The inaction of the United Nations resulted in the torture and killing of ten Belgian soldiers assigned to the Prime Minister, who was the clear
target of an assassination.

Please review the reference link to find the “Memorandum from Prudence Bushnell, Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary, Bureau of African Affairs, through Peter Tarnoff, Under Secretary for Political Affairs, to Secretary of State Warren Christopher, Death of Rwandan and Burundian Presidents in Plane Crash Outside Kigali, April 6, 1994.” [5] As quoted by the source, “Indeed, the Prime Minister, Agathe Uwilingiyama, a member of the
opposition MDR party, will be assassinated by members of the Presidential Guard the following day”, which directly resulted in genocidal uprising that killed countless.

Point 2: Half-measures.

According to the 2012 report by “worldhunger.org”, the global food production is creating 17% more calories today, than it did 30 years ago, despite a near 70% increase in population. In fact, the global food
production can afford to supply every living person with 2,720 daily calories.
So my challenge to the opponent is this:” If you have the ability to feed the world, where is the humanistic effort to fulfill its doctrine? Do you believe your fellow humanists have done everything within the scope of their
ability to end world hunger, and if so, why are 925 million people still hungry? Is that an acceptable margin of error? ” [6]

Rebuttal Section:

____________________________________________________________

Pro established:

• Humans interact with one another using agreed upon codes of conduct

• These codes of conduct are devised, interpreted and enforced by humans

• Therefore humans are fully in command of human codes of social conduct and interaction

Rebuttal:

  • Human interact with one another outside of agreed upon codes of conduct, as shown by the evidence.
  • The codes are devised, interpreted and largely ignored, as shown by the evidence.
  • Therefor Human are either incapable or unwilling to fully command human codes of conduct.

____________________________________________________________

Pro said:” Considering this argument, I maintain that Con is required to admit that humans are the
initiators, interpreters, and enforcer s of all human standards of behavior – including mores
and ethical rules.”

Rebuttal: I will not concede this. I would refine your argument by establishing that moral depravity is the natural state of mankind, which requires no interpretation or enforcement because it flows naturally. The evidence clearly showed Humanism to look wonderful on paper, yet a fantasy in practice.

____________________________________________________________



-------------------------------------------- REFERENCES-----------------------------------------------------------------

Cambridge University Press 978-0-521-80807-1- An Annual Journal: Humanist Traditions in the Twentieth
Century –
Edited by E. S. Shaffer [1]

Louis Althusser, Cahiers de l’I.S.E.A., June 1964 [2]

The US and the Genocide in Rwanda 1994 - Evidence of American Inaction,
William Ferroggiaro, August 20, 2001 [3]

http://www.gwu.edu... [4]

http://www.gwu.edu... [5]


Black RE, Morris SS, Bryce J. "Where and why are 10 million children dying every year?"

Lancet. 2003 Jun 28;361(9376):2226-34. [6]



EricPrice

Pro

GoodReads.com on Humanism:

If those committed to the quest fail, they will be forgiven. When lost, they will find another way. The moral imperative of humanism is the endeavor alone, whether successful or not, provided the effort is honorable and failure memorable.
―E. O. Wilson

“Men are from Earth, women are from Earth. Deal with it.”
― George Carlin

“Being a Humanist means trying to behave decently without expectation of rewards or punishment after you are dead.”
― Kurt Vonnegut

“The day the power of love overrules the love of power, the world will know peace.”
― Mahatma Gandhi

Rebuttals

It seems that “Humanism” is being redefined by Con into a straw horse parody that only a madman would support. Consider this as you read the following statement, provided by Con:

Con:
Despite the best efforts of Humanist Marxism, American Humanism or contemporary Humanism, the individual freedom is pervasively suppressed under the premise of the greater good. (Emphasis added.)

Here, Con attempts to conflate Humanism with Socialism, totalitarianism and Marxism. However, as humanists generally do not self-identify as supporters of totalitarianism, this is likely a simple ad homen insult, and impossible to discuss.

For example, is Con’s argument actually that “individual freedom is pervasively suppressed” whenever we seek “the greater good?” This may seem to defy reason, yet it appears to be the case; it is his exact words – context provided.

Why is this?

Because Con has substituted a cartoonish insult – a simplistic parody – as a stand-in for what we are actually discussing: a Humanist philosophy that humanity is intrinsically wonderful, even if not divine. Simply put, no sane person would self-describe as the monster that Con is painting.

Con:
I would find it disingenuous, in light of human history, for my opponent to claim that the premise and practice of humanism are united or fulfilled. Indeed, if all roads lead to Rome, all humanism has led to flagrant human rights violation. (sic)

"If all roads lead to Rome," is a strange way to demonstrate that "all humanism has led to flagrant human rights violation." (sic) These two statements do not seem to have much in common. Again, the definitions of Humanism and totalitarianism are not identical. We see this when we replace the word "Humanism" with its definition, and restate the proposition, thus:

Con’s Statement, with the definition of Humanism replaced for the word "Humanism."
“Indeed, if all roads lead to Rome, sanctifying all life, raised to the level of a moral value has led to flagrant human rights violations.”

Here I have paraphrased a definition of Humanism (provided by Ernest Renan, from The Future of Knowledge: Thoughts on 1848. The original passage reads, “…all that pertains to man—all of life, sanctified and raised to the level of a moral value.”)

I ask: Would it be better to devalue human worth? Would the rejection of human worth lead to fewer human rights violations?

Con:
It would be the next logical step to form this premise, that a lack of follow-through on basic humanist doctrine has resulted the unnecessary suffering and casualty of the very people that humanism attributes an “intrinsic worth”. I find it additionally disingenuous to lay half-measures, indifference, and provocation at the altar of human error. No philosophy, no doctrine and no culture has created more human suffering in the post 1950s era, than the Humanists who ironically claim the best interests of their fellows. (sic)

This is a somewhat sonorous and garbled statement - its authors' message is unclear. However, if we remove some of the unnecessary verbiage, it seems to attempt to state the following:

"It is disingenuous to describe half-measures, indifference, and provocation as forms of human error."

This begs the question: if these things are not evidence of human fallibility, then what should we consider them to be – evidence of human infallibility?

And

"No philosophy, doctrine or culture has created more human suffering since 1950, than those who strive to preserve the intrinsic value of human worth."

If valuing human worth has created more human suffering than any other philosophy, doctrine or culture since 1950 – should we have devalued human worth since 1950?

Here is another of Con’s perplexing statements:
Consider simply the August 20, 2001 report on the Pro-Humanist United Nation Council and their inaction in Rwanda. Recently declassified reports indicate that United Nations leadership was aware of an impending uprising, yet chose inaction and retreat. (sic)

The inaction of the United Nations resulted in the torture and killing of ten Belgian soldiers assigned to the Prime Minister, who was the clear target of an assassination.

This example could help to strengthen Cons argument that, "no philosophy, no doctrine and no culture has created more human suffering in the post 1950s era,” than efforts to elevate human worth… if it involved Humanists. Sadly, it does not; it involves religious and ethnic extremists who represent the opposite of Humanist doctrine. We should not blame the firefighter for the actions of the arsonist. Likewise, we should not blame those who oppose ethnic extremism – for those who perpetrate it.

Perhaps Con was using the inaction of the UN as an example of Humanist philosophy “creating more human suffering in the post 1950’s era," than, any other philosophy, doctrine or culture. If so, then this example would support his position better if the UN were a purely Humanist organization. It's not, however; the UN is an international organization of countries set up in 1945, in succession to the League of Nations, to promote international peace. (Google Dictionary.) Since the UN is comprised of many nations – including Iran, Russia and China – it cannot be defined as “Humanist” any more than these human-rights violating nations can.

Con goes on to point out that food is often hoarded by some – while others starve. It is reasonable to suppose that he has assumed that greed is another attribute of Humanism. This is another “ad homen straw man,” and, therfore, another statement that is impossible to discuss.

In his rebuttal, Con makes the following case:

I had previously established:

• Humans interact with one another using agreed upon codes of conduct

• These codes of conduct are devised, interpreted and enforced by humans

• Therefore humans are fully in command of human codes of social conduct and interaction

Con’s Rebuttal:
Human interact with one another outside of agreed upon codes of conduct, as shown by the evidence. (sic)

The codes are devised, interpreted and largely ignored, as shown by the evidence.
Therefor Human are either incapable or unwilling to fully command human codes of conduct.(sic)

This is not a rebuttal at all: my argument that humans create human social systems remains valid. Con suggests that these human-created systems can be violated - and I agree with him fully. However, my challenge was to establish that these systems are set up by humans - not that they were inviolate. The fact that these systems can be violated or changed is further evidence of their humanness: humans make mistakes, and create imperfect systems. We would not expect humans to create perfect systems - that is the purview of gods.

Con’s closing statement:

Moral depravity is the natural state of mankind, which requires no interpretation or enforcement because it flows naturally. The evidence clearly showed Humanism to look wonderful on paper, yet a fantasy in practice.(sic)

Con and I agree that “Humanism looks wonderful on paper.” However, the term “fantasy” implies that any attempt to elevate humanity as a moral imperative unto itself is utopian – it’s not.

If fact, it may be inevitable. If moral depravity is the natural state of mankind - then why does mankind write moral codes? (Rhetorical question.)

It seems that Con may have abandoned his argument, as I predicted.


Debate Round No. 2
GenesisCreation

Con

Pro said: “Here, Con attempts to conflate Humanism with Socialism, totalitarianism and Marxism. However, as humanists generally do not self-identify as supporters of totalitarianism, this is likely a simple ad homen insult, and impossible to discuss.”

Rebuttal: Socialism, Communism and secular atheism are united in congress through Humanism.
In fact, one might say Humanism is the very common ground that allows the three premises to work together.
The core mechanism of the United Nations is an international Congress of varying social idealisms united under
the very ideal of humanistic ethics.

Consider the Mission Statement of the United Nations:
to reaffirm faith in fundamental human rights, in the dignity and worth of the human person, ...and to promote social progress and better standards of life in larger freedom.


Consider Article 3 of the Humanist Manifesto (vol.3):

We are committed to treating each person as having inherent worth and dignity, and to making informed
choices in a context of freedom consonant with responsibility
.


= = = =


Pro said
: “For example, is Con’s argument actually that “individual freedom is pervasively suppressed” whenever we seek “the greater good?” This may seem to defy reason, yet it appears to be the case; it is his exact words – context provided.”

Rebuttal: In secular Humanism, individual freedom is pervasively suppressed because the core ethic devalues the individual under the guise of group welfare. This is easily established because Humanism is inherently socialistic.

In Paul Mattick’s manuscript (Anti-Bolshevik Communism, 1978), he describes this problem with astounding accuracy. He said:” Humanism as a practical reality presupposes socialism. Until then neither man, nor men, but only a particular social class of men will attempt to change its ideological state into a weapon for its concrete realization.” [4]

Socialistic Humanism is intrinsic to the very argument of secular Humanism. Merleau-Ponty (The Autodidact Project,1965) said that “to speak of humanism without being for "humanistic socialism," in the Anglo-Saxon manner, and to "understand" the communists without being communist, is apparently to place oneself high above, or in any case above, the conflict.” [5]

I cannot even fathom that my opponent would deny the inherent socialistic nature of Humanism. It is such a commonly conceded fact, that I am excited beyond words to hear my opponent’s rebuttal on the subject.



= = = =

Pro said: “"If all roads lead to Rome," is a strange way to demonstrate that "all humanism has led to flagrant human
rights violation." (sic) These two statements do not seem to have much in common
. “

Rebuttal: I apologize for my euphemism. I quite expected my opponent to understand my direction. To better explain, see “Reshaping the International Order: A Report to the Club of Rome (1976).”

This body of over 100 humanist professors, philosophers, politicians and social elites gathered to establish
a “groundwork” schematic to the establishment of secular Humanism on a Global scale. In their meeting they
established the fragile nature of public opinion, stating that the in-place system of “sheep to slaughter” would suffice
to indoctrinate the public via political representation.
As quoted by the source:” Public opinion is no phenomenon sui generic....If some sectors of public opinion in the industrialized countries are immersed in the rhetoric and slogans associated with misunderstanding, then much of this may be inherited from their political leaders." [6]

Perhaps that is sufficient information to allow a rebuttal from my opponent.



= = = =

Pro said
: “This begs the question: if these things (half-measures, indifference, provocation and inaction) are not evidence of human fallibility, then what should we consider them to be – evidence of human infallibility?

Rebuttal: Please do not mistake my rebuttal for condescension but I feel we need to establish the definitions of:

  • Fallibility - Capable of being mistaken, error without intention.
  • Indifference - Lack of interest or concern. Unimportant.
  • Inaction – Idleness.
One of these three is not like the other. Therefore I state again: I find it additionally disingenuous to lay half-measures,
indifference, and provocation at the altar of human error.


= = = =

Pro said
: “If valuing human worth has created more human suffering than any other philosophy, doctrine or culture since 1950 – should we have devalued human worth since 1950?”

Rebuttal: You should have abandoned your philosophy. I find your suggestion lacks objective reasoning.


= = = =

Pro Argued: “This (U.N. inaction in 2001, resulting in Genocide) example could help to strengthen Cons argument...Sadly, it does not;... We should not blame the firefighter for the actions of the arsonist."

Rebuttal: Fallacy. The firefighter in my source is watching the building burn, choosing not to act despite the evidence of flames. Misdirection and burden shifting are tactics of desperation. Concede or supply objectivity.


= = = =

Pro objected: “…this example would support his position better if the UN were a purely Humanist organization. It's not, however..”.

Rebuttal: Purity is not a measure of policy action. Not all Americans agreed to invade Iraq. Should we now claim that America didn’t enter the war because our population isn’t politically unified?

The United Nations has always operated on a premise of Humanism.
I don’t wish to be disingenuous by making statements without substance, so I have provided a direct source.
Not too long ago, I had a brief exchange with a high-ranking United Nations official in New York. I noted the similarity between humanist worldviews and those held within the UN, as expressed by UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan and others.
“Of course,” he replied. “We are all humanists here.”
” (Humanism and the UN: A Shared Future?, Carl Coon, 2003)

= = = =


Pro said
:”Con goes on to point out that food is often hoarded by some – while others starve.
It is reasonable to suppose that he has assumed that greed is another attribute of Humanism. This is
another “ad homen straw man,” and, therfore, another statement that is impossible to discuss
.“

Rebuttal: What my opponent just stated is a straw-man by definition. He set up his own argument, so that he could knock it down.

Consider, this argument does not assume greed. The problem of world hunger assumes inaction and indifference. I was very clear on this being my objection. Greed was not amongst them, not even through insinuation. Since he flagrantly chose not to discuss this point, I will accept nothing less than a concession.


= = = =


Pro said
: “However, my challenge was to establish that these systems are set up by humans - not that they were inviolate.
Rebuttal: You misunderstand. Since we are radical and depraved, how could we come to understand ethics and morals? That’s the philosophical equivalent of a disease finding a cure for itself. I want you to provide a naturalistic mechanism.


= = = =



Pro said
: “the term “fantasy” implies that any attempt to elevate humanity as a moral imperative unto itself is utopian – it’s not.“

Rebuttal: It seems my opponent is at odds with almost every humanist on the planet.

Consider the source:”….In this regard humanists have often banked on the notion that there is, within each individual, an essential core of decency and reasonableness, or lacking this, at least a shared human nature of some sort that would serve to anchor the progressive, utopian development of a properly humanistic culture. If this core or nature exists, then it would give grounds for hope in the eventual triumph of humanism as the culminating expression of that nature.” (Humanism and Postmodernism: A Reconciliation, Thomas W. Clark 1993)

= = = =

Anti-Bolshevik Communism, Paul Mattick, 1978 [4]

The Autodidect Project, Zdravko Saveski, 1965 [5]

Reshaping the International Order: A Report to the Club of Rome (1976) [6]

Humanism and Postmodernism: A Reconciliation, Thomas W. Clark 1993 [In text citation]

EricPrice

Pro

Humanism asks that we provide a lifetime of jubilant dedication to family, friend, nation and world. It asks that reason, learning, and individual liberty replace the superstition and tribalism of darker times.

It is makes no claim to divine inspiration, or efforts to appease the credulous swarms with promises of magical wish-granting. Lacking the ability to provide fantastic dream-world rewards, Humanism offers its followers only hard work. There is no guarantee that this work will bear fruit – only that the earnest desire and committed attempt to improve the world may – possibly - improve the odds that tomorrow will be better than today. The Humanist believes that it is better to try and fail … than to fail to try.

Humanism does not fear human emotion, but seeks to fulfill it. As John Stuart Mill might write, "Harm no one – and do as you will" has been the motto of the Humanist since the Enlightenment, and before. Released to pursue bliss, wealth, status, joy, love and fulfillment, the human is capable of achieving great things. The will to live, to love and to learn is common among all people – regardless of culture. Humanism champions the tireless pursuit of these things.

"Humanism" is more a definition than a title. This worldview could be called "libertarianism," "Capitalism," "Utilitarianism," "Social Ethics," or "Epicureanism" were it to abandon the creed that humans should rely on human means to achieve human ends. This specific rejection of priestly power sets it apart, and earns the ideology its animosity. Nevertheless, even if the name "Humanism" is wrenched away from this worldview, the worldview itself would continue to exist. We Humanists would have to rename it, but we would eventually agree on something. I'm certain it would be catchy.

Given the ubiquitousness of Humanism (regardless of what each individual or culture calls this philosophy) one might think it would have no detractors. Sadly, this is not the case. As Eric Hoffer wrote, "Mass movements can rise and spread without belief in a God, but never without belief in a devil." For the priestly class, Humanism is the Devil – and must be defeated at all costs. For the priestly class, the focus on the attainment of life, love and learning is an insidious attack at the superstitious power structure that has supported them over the ages. They will argue that only their god can provide these things – and then only by placing the priests in positions of exaltation and power. The suggestion that so much human joy can be attained, and so much fear and pain can be overcome, without these priests and their magic is a grave threat that cannot be tolerated… by the priests.

And so, the priests and their minions hurl the most vile and fantastical accusations at those who proclaim the philosophy of reason, human effort, and unearned love. Although rationalism and enlightenment predate Karl Marx, Humanists and other rationalists are "Marxists" and "Socialists." Although Humanist philosophy and unabashed human achievement inspired the creators of American Democracy, Humanists "oppose freedom," and "promote collectivism." Everything is permitted, because for them, everything is at stake.

Is it reasonable to suggest that the same Humanist that is so unwilling to submit to a god is suddenly willing to submit to an oppressive society or tyrant? (Rhetorical Question.)
Debate Round No. 3
GenesisCreation

Con

Pro said:” Humanism asks that we provide a lifetime of jubilant dedication to family, friend, nation and world. It asks that reason, learning, and individual liberty replace the superstition and tribalism of darker times.”

Rebuttal: This argument assumes that Secular Humanism is the “light” and the older system is the “superstition of darker times”.

The last century of secularism’s ascension yielded 250 million more deaths than the sum of all measured human history before it. (Clarke, Who Really Cares, 2006) Limiting this count to post 1950, that’s over 150 million deaths; a number similar to the entire world population just 2000 years ago. [1]

If my opponent wishes to assume that Secular Humanism provides a lifetime of jubilant dedication to family, friend, nation and world, then I would respectfully ask for a definition. What, dear opponent, is your definition of “lifetime”?

========================================



Pro said: It is makes no claim to divine inspiration, or efforts to appease the credulous swarms with promises of magical wish-granting. Lacking the ability to provide fantastic dream-world rewards, Humanism offers its followers only hard work.

Rebuttal: My opponent forgets, as per the rules, we are both assuming an atheist worldview. My position does not presuppose magical wish-granting, dream-worlds or divine inspiration. This is an attempt at misdirection, in which my opponent hopes to wound me by attacking a religious world view. I will maintain good conduct and discipline and not discuss religion here.
========================================

Pro said: “There is no guarantee that this work will bear fruit.”

Rebuttal: Obviously.

========================================


Pro said: “Humanism does not fear human emotion, but seeks to fulfill it…..Released to pursue bliss, wealth, status, joy, love and fulfillment, the human is capable of achieving great things.”

Rebuttal: Bliss, wealth and status are not virtues that can be synonymously listed with love and fulfillment.

  • Bliss is inherently self-motivated.
  • Status requires other human beings to be below you, by definition.
  • Wealth is the ultimate historical motivator for human suffering.

Explain why Humanism elevates these three as virtues. I see them as an anathema to human virtue.

========================================


Pro established: "Humanism" is more a definition than a title. This worldview could be called "libertarianism,"
"Capitalism," "Utilitarianism," "Social Ethics," or "Epicureanism" were it to abandon the creed that humans should
rely on human means to achieve human ends. This specific rejection of priestly power sets it apart, and earns the ideology its animosity. Nevertheless, even if the name "Humanism" is wrenched away from this worldview, the
worldview itself would continue to exist. We Humanists would have to rename it, but we would eventually agree on something. I'm certain it would be catchy.”

Rebuttal: I believe my opponent is attempting to say:” Humanism by any other name is still humanism”. I fail to
see how this supplies any backbone to the burden. I could easily counter by establishing that Fascist Humanism is therefore of equal virtue as Liberal Humanism. I hope my opponent is not trying to paint every secular ideology with the same brush.

========================================


Pro wrote: “As Eric Hoffer wrote, "Mass movements can rise and spread without belief in a God, but never without belief in a devil." For the priestly class, Humanism is the Devil – and must be defeated at all costs.

Rebuttal: This presupposed that culture believes in a supernatural demonic power. This is yet
another appeal to misdirect the debate to religion.

========================================

Pro said:” And so, the priests and their minions hurl the most vile and fantastical accusations at those who proclaim the philosophy of reason, human effort, and unearned love.

Rebuttal: I am neither priest nor minion. Additionally, I have provided ample objection from secular sources that would challenge your worldview. You have thus far debated with the most terrible manner of condescension.

Is it not true that Humanism is not universally accepted amongst atheists? Isn’t there some method of appeal you would have to convince them that you’re right? Why is your entire argument built on religion? Does religion need to exist to define your worldview, the way that evil needs to exist to define good? Just what would that imply?

========================================


I extend all my arguments. The opponent did not refute the previous round, but rather chose to write an essay on his personal feelings concerning Humanism.

========================================

Who Really Cares?, Arthur C. Brooks, 2006 [In text Citation]

EricPrice

Pro

I have thanked Con for his patience before, and will do so again. I had to spend my last round offering a valid description of what Humanism actually is, as Humanists view themselves. I wanted to exchange rebuttals, but felt the exercise to be a nearly pointless “I’m rubber and you are glue” match. I was lucky in this – Con has only articulated a few fallacies, leveled a few insults, and quoted a few people whose opinions are colorful, but of limited value. Therefore, I can address them all in short order.

It really does not make for a very productive debate, simply saying everything the other guy says is wrong. This is not what debate and open discussion are for. This type of forum is for sharing and expanding ideas, increasing our knowledge and understanding – and possibly expanding one another. “I’m always right and you are always wrong” is the type of debate that is best suited for Facebook.

However, as it seems that Con’s patience is growing thin, I should probably offer my perspective on his rebuttals, and then will re-address his main premise, that is, “If Humanists are ‘good,’ then why do hey allow human suffering?” As the premise of the argument itself is fairly easy to address, I will begin by answering his rebuttal.



Con is riffing off of a limited number of arguments. The easiest way to address them is to do so by category, rather than individually.



“Humanism, the doctrine that human empowerment is achievable through human means, is responsible for 150,000,000 deaths since 1950.”

Observe hyperbole…

I’m fairly sure that if any philosophy or political system had killed 150 million people since WWII, we would have heard about it on the news by now.

This is illustrative, and represents the bulk of Con's rebuttals: Con seems incapable of any courtesy whatsoever to the notion of Humanist ideation. He seems to regard the entire doctrine in polemic terms, as if any act of Humanist creativity, brainstorming, proposals, or action must be – by definition – an act of sheer evil.

I ask: what if Humanists were to propose that breathing air is good, and declare this a cornerstone of Humanist doctrine? Would the Humanists be wrong about this type of behavior, prompting Con to condemn the worldview because some Humanists drown? (Breathing air actually is a Humanist “cause” … Humanists value the betterment of human life as a moral imperative, so breathing, life… you get the idea.)

Con seems to argue that Humanism is bad simply because it is Humanism. If something good were to be loved by Humanists, then that thing would also become evil – because the Humanists prize it. This polemicist view forces us to wonder if Con actually believes his own argument. We must ask: “If he truly believes that Humanism is actually killing 150,000,000 innocent people, why isn’t he killing Humanists?” The best answer seems to be either that he is guilty of the same “flagrant inaction” that he accuses Humanists of…or these are simply histrionic statements.

This isn’t a tu quo que fallacy: Con clearly does not agree with his own wild, hyperbolic claims – and this trepidation should cause us to question them as well.

To ascribe any attribute other than normalcy to any large group is problematic. Are most Humanists “unusually good?” No. I say so, and I am the fiercest of Humanists. Most Humanists are just like most people – not unusually good people, but also not unusually bad.

Most people are not unusually intelligent, or unusually stupid, unusually good, or unusually bad – because most people are not unusual at all; most people are normal. This is so with all large groups.

This is the “Assumption of Mediocrity.” Until proven otherwise, we are well advised to assume normal. Con makes an error in painting Humanism with such a large brush – his generalizations are far too hasty.

“Important Secularists disagree with each other – and Humanist doctrine.”

An “Appeal to Authority” fallacy occurs whenever a proposition is supported by authority figures, rather than being demonstrated to have its own merit. If these “Secular authorities” have a good point, then let Con restate that argument – the authority figures are not needed.

Aside: I am unimpressed by any appeal to authority, indolent, arrogant bastard that I am. I can, however, admit when a competing argument has beaten one of mine. (I am actually usually delighted to learn something new and revolutionary.)


Wrapping up….

I am re-reading, and I may obviously be missing something, but I do not see any of the “Arguments” that Con has proposed. I see fragments, but nothing clearly jumps out at me. I am certain that this is my error, and Con will articulate exactly what his argument is as of this round.

Until then, here is mine:

Con has asked:

“Explain why Humanism has failed to end the suffering that Humanists can potentially end.” This, he points out, is a turn on the “Logical Problem of Evil,” or why a good and powerful god would allow suffering to exist. Obviously, it is impossible for Humanists, however resourceful, to end all human suffering. Con has agreed not to ask Humans to perform superhuman feats during this debate.

My answer:

Because Humanists are human, and are often unable to stop human misery, despite their best efforts. It is not because, cherishing "life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness" (as our own founding fathers might have said,) is an act of human depravity.

For example: the USSR established an anti-human rights government over much of Europe and Asia. This nation did not survive, however, partly due to the forces that were placed upon it by those who supported humans over the authority of the Soviet state. Human right eventually partially defeated the Soviet oppression, but this was not easy; it took human beings dedicating their lives to making the human condition better than they found it. It is also an ongoing evolution: Humanists are opposed by most of the ex-Soviet nations.

I restate my challenge for this debate –

  • To prove that humans make human rules
  • To explain why Humanists screw up sometimes

These have been accomplished, and I have pressed my case that Humanism, although humanly imperfect, is perfectly human – it can, and will improve over time. It will also continue to advance human rights, human liberty, human happiness and human expansion, elevating these things over oppressive authorities and cruel priestly demands. As the cause of mankind expands, and gains acceptance – humans will no longer tolerate their ages-old enslavement to outdated dogmas and humiliating restrictions. The examples of human weakness with which Con had hoped to condemn the entire philosophy of human worth will become fewer – and Humanism will be better able to accomplish more – in the coming years.

Con's only actual attempt at rebutting this has been to suggest that all humans are depraved beyond the ability to manage these values. This fact, if true, would easily win the debate. However, Con has never demonstrated that this level of human depravity exists, and this type of claim would require the absence of many forms of human socially cooperative behavior.

Debate Round No. 4
GenesisCreation

Con

It has been a true pleasure to debate secular morality and humanist ethics. Despite our polar views, I believe my opponent and I understand each other in a light of mutual respect. With that spirit in mind, this debate
furthered the cause of open dialogue between diametrically opposed world-views; a process which should be acknowledged for its inherent value.

Round 4 rebuttals:

Pro said: I’m fairly sure that if any philosophy or political system had killed 150 million
people since WWII, we would have heard about it on the news by now
.”

Rebuttal: My opponent commits a logical fallacy. Since humanists have not taken responsibility, he assumes they are not guilty. This is known as an appeal to ignorance. Unfortunately, it’s a poor appeal because
we are no longer ignorant of the truth.

Consider simply my case against the UN. The evidence I have provided clearly shows an effort to
cover-up evidence of crimes against humanity. The documents were just recently declassified.

I would ask my opponent to bring some evidence to the table, rather than trying to shift the burden. I don’t
need to prove that 150 million deaths can be attributed to humanism because he has yet to prove that 800,000 deaths in Rwanda are not directly resulting from Humanist inaction.


Pro said
:” Most Humanists are just like most people – not unusually good people, but also not unusually bad.”

Rebuttal: This statement lacks evidence and reason in many dimensions:

  • Humanists are just like most people (No evidence)
  • Humanists are not unusually good (They ought to be, as the moral authority)
  • Humanists are not unusually bad (My sourced evidence proved this wrong)

Pro said:An “Appeal to Authority” fallacy occurs whenever a proposition is supported by authority figures, rather than being demonstrated to have its own merit.”

Rebuttal: Interesting objection but none the less a lie. I did provide evidence which demonstrated that humanism lacks merit and my opponent dropped all my points. My heavy sourcing only served to solidify what human history had proven. I invite the reader to review the first four rounds to find satisfying evidence, coupled with authoritative narrative. I also invite the voter to review my opponent’s rebuttals. They are either missing, source less or burden-shifting.

My opponent flagrantly lies with this statement. I find this to be in very poor
conduct.

Pro said: “Humanist have failed to stop evil because Humanists are human, and are often unable to stop human misery, despite their best efforts.”

Rebuttal: I feel my opponent is being disingenuous to the context of the debate. Did I not display four rounds of solid evidence and argument that shows inaction, indifference and half-measures on behalf of humanism? How can anyone call these “their best effort”? Is a half-measure your best effort? Is that not paradox?

Pro said: Human right eventually partially defeated the Soviet oppression, but this was not easy;

Rebuttal: The Soviet Union collapsed internally. Economic failure coupled with internal
political uprising separated the USSR in 1991. Perhaps my opponent wants to supply some sources to support his claim? All my sources seem to indicate that the USSR collapsed under its own weight.

Pro said: This fact, if true, would easily win the debate. However, Con has never demonstrated that this level of human depravity exists, and this type of claim would require the absence of many forms of human socially cooperative behavior.

Rebuttal: Burden shifting, yet again. If humans where “not unusually evil”, why did 800,000 of them get murdered? Is this normal? Are you conceding depravity?

Closing Arguments:

My opponent accepted the burden presented in round one and mutually conceded amended rules in the comment section which stated clearly:

  • Explain the problem of inaction, indifference,evil and half-measures in the secular context, while still maintaining absolute moral authority.
  • Prove that core ethics, a limited parallel with the Ten Commandments, are produced by humans.
  • Explain the problem of global or national suffering in the presence of the ability to end it, while maintaining that humanism is the best measure of moral conduct.
  • Maintain a secular scope, as I adopted the “devil’s advocate position” of an atheist. No appeal to religion is necessary for my opponent, and entirely taboo for me to argue.

My opponent did meet his burden in the following respect:

The Problem of evil –

I provide two direct sources from declassified government reports that indicated flagrant inaction and indifference on behalf of the UN. This woeful failure to action resulted in a genocidal fallout, causing over
800,000 civilian deaths. My sources were secular, undisputed and thorough. My opponent was only able to object by claiming that the UN is not a humanistic entity and that we cannot blame the firefighter for the arsonist. All of his objections, mind you, were entirely without source. Due to the lack of sources, it would be accurate to classify his rebuttals as baseless objections.

I refuted the appeal to authority by providing sourced information from the UN mission statement and a direct quote from UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan, which affirms the Humanist nature of the UN without a shadow of a doubt.

The firefighter metaphor was easily dismissed with logic reduction. As I described in the
previous rounds, we can indeed hold the firefighter responsible for inaction and indifference at the evidence of flames, which is my direct objection to secular ethics.

My opponent never attempted to recover these burdens.

The problem of origin –

The origin of ethics was pretty much provided in the resolution. I furnished article 3 of the
Humanist manifesto. The opponent only needed to prove it. In fact, my opponent
can be quoted as stating:”
Here we have what seems a fairly straightforward task. Although I do not want to rely
on axiomatic thinking to demonstrate this point, I feel that – in light of the
debate parameters set up by Con - not much work needs to be done here.”

I will now demonstrate that my opponent did exactly what he promised not to do; stating the issue axiomatically.

Consider his arguments:

• Humans interact with one another using agreed upon codes of conduct

• These codes of conduct are devised, interpreted and enforced by humans

• Therefore humans are fully in command of human codes of social conduct and interaction

All three points where established without a single source. Each of these points where stated axiomatically because my opponent maintained that an absence of deity would eliminate all other possibilities. That is an axiom.
It’s true because it’s true. Naturally, I took issue with this argument.

I countered by establishing that Humans are naturally depraved and evil, since the evidence shows undisputed inaction and indifference to the suffering of 800,000 human beings. I then established the philosophical premise
that a human in a depraved state cannot manifest ethics and moral values, because that would be the equivalent of a disease finding a cure for itself.

My opponent did not reply to this argument and thus dropped this burden also.

Defining and understanding Humanism -

Humanism absorbs the individual into a collective, stunting,
limiting or entirely suppressing liberty and license for the citizen, all in
the name of the greater good. Humanism is a fantasy. Humanism is utopian.
Humanism is anti-individual. Humanism is anti-human. Humanism is evil and therefore,
it is incapable of authoritatively supplying ethics and morals. History is the
absolute evidence and it has delivered that this premise is proven.

I thank the voter for reading the debate and supplying a fair and
balanced feedback. I urge the readers to support me by voting CON.

EricPrice

Pro

I have greatly enjoyed this debate, and want to thank Con for agreeing to spar with me. He can take a punch, which is always the best kind of sparring partner. However, as Con has been exasperated repeatedly by my refusal to answer some of his more shrill complaints, I will clear some of the remaining rebuttals that he has offered, and then present a brief closing statement.

Rebuttals

Con: “(Quoting me)I’m fairly sure that if any philosophy or political system had killed 150 million
people since WWII, we would have heard about it on the news by now
.”

My opponent commits a logical fallacy. Since humanists have not taken responsibility, he assumes they
are not guilty. This is known as an appeal to ignorance.” (Sic)

My Rebuttal: An "Appeal to Ignorance" occurs when an person claims to know how something happened, because they do not understand what happened. A classic appeal to ignorance fallacy reads, “I do not understand how the universe works. Therefore, I know that a specific god made it.”

My statement could have been interpreted as an Appeal to Ridicule, as I am belittling his claim that Humanists have slaughtered 150 million people. Had I been so inclined, I could have framed my response to the idea that Humanists have killed so many innocents like this:

Has Humanism really killed more people than Godzilla, NAZIs, UFO invaders and
zombies? The picture that Con paints would have us believe that we are in the
midst of a great mass extinction, a Humanist (instead of a zombie) apocalypse,
and the human race is hanging by a thread. Millions and millions are dead, (150
million, in fact) nations are in ruin, and our Humanist United Nations
overlords are enslaving the survivors.

…Or I could just point out that there just aren’t all that many humanists out there, and that killing 150 million people has to be a lot of work.

Con: “I don’t need to prove that 150 million deaths can be attributed to humanism because he has yet to prove that 800,000 deaths in Rwanda are not directly resulting from Humanist inaction.” (Sic)

My Rebuttal: I am not certain how to “prove” that machete – wielding zealots were more directly involved in the Rwandan deaths than hippie Humanist girls singing songs in between college classes… if this isn’t a little obvious. Does this proof have to occur before we can address his hyperbolic 150 million murders accusation?

Con: “I provided evidence which demonstrated that humanism lacks merit and my opponent
dropped all my points.”

My Rebuttal: I actually did address them – and swept them all up as mere appeals to authority. I would have responded more comprehensively if Con had spent as much time describing the arguments that these men produced as he spent describing their degrees.

Con might have made an impact with his appeals to the authority of Humanist thinkers – if he had used better-known, and more authoritative, Humanists in his examples. Albert Einstein, for example. Or John Stuart Mill. Or John Locke, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, Tom Paine… there are any number of well-known thinkers that Con could have mentioned. Instead he chose obscure writers and took statements out of context. Let Gandhi explain why he helped kill 150 million innocent people, or let Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. explain why he ‘allowed’ African genocide to occur, and these statements still will not establish that Humanists are to blame for these things more than the authoritarian warlords that ordered these massacres. (No authoritarian Humanist warlord exists that has killed 150 million people. Because Humanism and authoritarianism are mutually exclusive.)

Con: Humanism and Authoritarianism are identical, because the individual is enslaved by the collective.

I have addressed this several times, but not directly. Con has invented a thing that he calls “Humanism.” This invention of his is indeed, authoritarian and oppressive. But this description is a flimsy straw man, wholly unlike the actual thing that is being described by self-indentified Humanists. Only a lunatic would support such a system.

Actual, real Humanism seeks to fulfill human potential, not to oppress it, or to destroy our individual rights. Actual, real Humanism is something that supports human achievement, freedom and happiness as a moral virtue – and argues that humans must achieve these things by themselves, without recourse to aliens or spirit guides.

All liberty must, by definition, be individualized. The entire concept of liberty is nonsensical on a mass scale.

Con: “Humanism absorbs the individual into a collective, stunting, limiting or entirely suppressing liberty and license for the citizen, all in the name of the greater good. Humanism is a fantasy. Humanism is utopian. Humanism is anti-individual. Humanism is anti-human. Humanism is evil and therefore, it is incapable of authoritatively supplying ethics and morals.” (Sic)

My Rebuttal: Where do I start? I am frankly at a loss with this statement. The level of hyperbole on display here recalibrates every standard of rhetoric and debate. Although we do agree on one point: Humanism is incapable of authoritatively supplying ethics and morals. But not because Humanism is “evil;” rather, because it is inanimate. It is human beings who authoritatively provide ethics and morals – Humanists merely recognize this fact.

Con: “My Opponent uses Axiomatic logic when he says that humans write, enforce and interpret human standards of conduct.”

My Rebuttal: I can prove it. For evidence, we may look up any law written by the US Congress over the past 100 years or so. Each of these pieces of legislation has the names of the humans who wrote them – directly on the law
itself. Sometimes these laws require judicial review – or interpretation. When this happens, the Judges reviewing the law will identify her or himself.

Spoiler: they are all humans. Just like I said they were. So, not axiomatic.

(Source: “I am Just a Bill on Capitol Hill” video, Schoolhouse Rock, Youtube 9/4/2012 link- http://www.youtube.com...)

Closing Statement: Humans create human codes of conduct, and despite their best efforts, other humans are still jerks sometimes.

My requirement throughout this debate has partially been to rebut the idea that non-humans create human laws, ethical rules, standards of conduct, penalties for violations, etc. This was done very quickly, and so Con and I have been doing a bit of rhetorical MMA to pass the time since then.

He has never shown any evidence that those non-human computers, aliens or whatever, “devise, interpret or enforce” human standards of conduct. He has never really challenged the assertion that “Humans interact with each other using agreed upon standards of conduct.” All other arguments and rebuttals that he has made since I produced this argument have been decorative; he really needed to successfully challenge my claim that humans make human laws, rules, ethics, etc., but he never did. This failure has to be regarded as conclusive.
I was also required to “explain the problem of inaction, indifference, evil and half-measures in the secular context, while still maintaining absolute moral authority.” The godlike requirement to maintain “absolute moral authority” was retracted in the comments section, graciously.

This allowed me to drive home the point that humans are very human. In fact, humans are more human than Con seems to realize – we screw up constantly. We have limitations that prevent us from ending all pain and suffering. We want things that we cannot have. These human shortcomings easily answer this part of my challenge. Humans are not “evil,” just imperfect.


Cons' response to this seems to have been that these shortcomings should not be considered to be "human flaws." This is insufficient, clearly.

As I stated earlier, I have greatly enjoyed this debate, and I am aware that I have Con to thank for providing it. I also want to thank any of the readers and voters who have followed this debate to this point.

Debate Round No. 5
23 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by EricPrice 2 years ago
EricPrice
It's tacky to say so, perhaps. But in the future, please be so kind as to run the debate through a spellchecker of some kind prior to scoring. I am bitter, but I'm sure that I have a point.

I'll be drinking in excess now.
Posted by Mathaelthedestroyer 2 years ago
Mathaelthedestroyer
What a debate! Extremely well thought out, reasonable, and interesting arguments from both sides. Great rebuttals to the other's arguments. I really had a hard time choosing a winner here. Ultimately, I feel that pro's arguments were just a tad more convincing; this is partly because con confined himself quite a bit. Pro did a great job of shifting the first burden back to con. The second burden (does humanism work) played out pretty much equally to me, except that con used a lot of extreme examples, which is ultimately why I think pro made a better case in that respect. Pro also made good arguments on the grounds of human fallibility. Ultimately, this was a great debate and I had a very hard time choosing a winner.
Posted by KRFournier 2 years ago
KRFournier
Both parties agreed that Pro was burdened to "prove that core ethics are produced by humans" and to "explain the problem of global or national suffering in the presence of the ability to end it, while maintaining that humanism is the best measure of moral conduct." Con agreed to remain wholly within the realm of Secular Humanism, and therefore, he made it impossible for the first burden to be denied. The second burden, however, was not automatically Pro's.

The second burden is about whether or Humanism actually works. If humanism cannot hope to eventually lead to the elimination of gratuitous suffering, then should it not be rejected for something more favorable? That was I what I was on the lookout for. Here is where Pro failed me. It seemed all his rebuttals amounted to finger-pointing. No matter what evidence was presented, it was always the fault of the non-humanist. To be honest, I was even inclined to believe him except that he didn't really support most of these rebuttals. In the end, Pro was begging the question.

Con pointed out that if humanity is depraved, then humanism is an irrational ideology. To say it another way, humanism relies on the intrinsic goodness of humanity. True, Con relied on quite a bit of hyperbole to make the case for depravity, but Pro offered nothing to show otherwise. For me, the debate hinged on being able to answer that question. Since Pro did not, I felt he filed to meet the second burden.

Con mentioned more than once that Pro was engaging in misconduct, but I felt it was overreaching. In fact, Con going so far as to call Pro a liar prompts me to give the conduct to Pro, who maintained courtesy throughout the debate. In terms of sources, however, I feel that Con put in a lot of effort to cite other opinions (even if they weren't all perfect) whereas Pro just dismissed everything as fallacious without providing his own sources. Therefore, sources go to Con.
Posted by GenesisCreation 2 years ago
GenesisCreation
Thanks. I'm thinking about doing this with every debate. I'll build a collection of "sarcavatars". (Copyright 2012, Genesis-Creation)
Posted by EricPrice 2 years ago
EricPrice
I understand, and thank you.

I greatly enjoyed your choice of Profile Picture for the debate! Well done!
Posted by GenesisCreation 2 years ago
GenesisCreation
PS: Feel free to use round one to it's full extent. We don't need to waste it with an "I accept"....
Posted by GenesisCreation 2 years ago
GenesisCreation
I will not appeal to any other system outside of Secular Humanism. I will argue the entire debate in the context of your worldview, not mine. I will not appeal to the Bible, Jesus Christ, the God-head, Mosaic Law or even Tao te Ching.

We are concerned with the premise of your worldview only and I will use only secular sources.
Consider me to be an atheist who disagrees with Humanism, for the sake of this argument.

I can certainly appeal to a Hitler or a Stalin if I wish, but if you would prefer, we will keep it modern.
We will limit our debate to post 1950. That safely excludes the holocaust.
Posted by EricPrice 2 years ago
EricPrice
Thank you again, GenesisCreation, for your patience.

A few things, off-topic, so I mention them here, instead of inside the debate itself.

- You mention the killing of 6 million religious minorities during the 1940's as, I suppose, evidence that SH will occasionally fail to stop evil to the "full extent of it's ability." I remind any readers that, according to the bible, Moses slaughtered a larger percentage of the total world population than Hitler and Stalin combined.

I believe that this fact may warn off any such arguments in the future – if those arguments were intended to demonstrate the superiority of Iron Age religions over human-centered ethics.

-Please reafirm these paremeters in the debate itself, if you don't mind.
Posted by GenesisCreation 2 years ago
GenesisCreation
Actually, Secular Humanism was founded six years before WW2. The first edition manifesto was published in 1933. Nice try. :p
2 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 2 records.
Vote Placed by Mathaelthedestroyer 2 years ago
Mathaelthedestroyer
GenesisCreationEricPriceTied
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Total points awarded:23 
Reasons for voting decision: RFD in comments.
Vote Placed by KRFournier 2 years ago
KRFournier
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Total points awarded:51 
Reasons for voting decision: RFD in comments.