The Instigator
pearlygates
Pro (for)
Winning
18 Points
The Contender
socialpinko
Con (against)
Losing
17 Points

If Atheism Is Correct, Morality is Entirely Subjective

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 4/28/2011 Category: Philosophy
Updated: 6 years ago Status: Voting Period
Viewed: 4,152 times Debate No: 16201
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (58)
Votes (9)

 

pearlygates

Pro

Description of the Debate:

This is my first debate, so I will be geatful to have anyone debate me in search for truth.

In this debate, I will be arguing for one contention,

  1. If God does not exist, objective moral values and duties do not exist.

This debate is not about the existence of God but rather if God does not exist, there is no sufficient way to ontologically ground moral values and duties.

Furthermore, I am not arguing the belief in God is required to act objectively moral, but rather the existence of God is the only way to sufficiently ground real, objective moral values and duties.

Argument:

On atheism, humans are merely highly evolved creatures who are self-conscious. With this view moral values are just the by-product of biological evolution and social conditioning. These behavioral traits or, "herd morality" proves to be advantageous though natural selection and in turn, functions well in the perpetuation of our species. Morality is just a tool to aid our species in survival. But this set of moral values and duties on is advantageous for our species only in our current environment; if we were placed in a different environment our morality might be vastly different. As Darwin himself wrote in The Decent of Man,

"If ... men were reared under precisely the same conditions as hive-bees, there can hardly be a doubt that our unmarried females would, like the worker-bees, think it a sacred duty to kill their brothers, and mothers would strive to kill their fertile daughters; and no one would think of interfering" (1).


Certain actions such as incest and rape may not be biologically and socially advantageous and so in the course of human development have become taboo. But that does absolutely nothing to show that rape and incest is really morally wrong. Such behavior goes on all the time in the animal kingdom but is not viewed as immoral because since they are just animals and there is no moral dimension to them. If one believes that human morality is objective, he is merely succumbing to an unjustified bias toward one’s own species. If there is no moral lawgiver, then there is no objective moral law that we must obey.

(1) Charles Darwin, The Decent of Man and Selection in Relation to Sex, 2nd edition (New York: D. Appleton & Company, 1909, 100.

socialpinko

Con

Before we begin I will debate what exactly 'morality' is.

Morality: Conformity to the rules of right conduct; moral or virtuous conduct.[1]

But what does the word right mean? Dictionary.com defines it as "correct in judgment, opinion, or action."

(1)Morality is what is right (Definition)

(2)What is right is what is correct in judgement, action, or opinion (Definition)

(3)Subjectivitiy is a statement where truth is contingent on opinion. (Definiton)

(4)Objectivity is a statement where truth is not contingent on opinion. (Definition)

(5)To do what is advantageous in survival is 'correct' in that it aids in the continuation of a species.

(6)This fact does not rest on one's personal opinion.

(7)Morality is objective.

Vote Con

[1http://dictionary.reference.com...
Debate Round No. 1
pearlygates

Pro

I apologize for not giving the definitions and thank you for accepting this debate.

(1)Morality is what is right (Definition)

I accept this definition.

(2)What is right is what is correct in judgment, action, or opinion (Definition)

I accept this as well.

(3)Subjectivity is a statement where truth is contingent on opinion. (Definition)

Again, accepted.

(4)Objectivity is a statement where truth is not contingent on opinion. (Definition)

This, I also accept.

(5)To do what is advantageous in survival is 'correct' in that it aids in the continuation of a species.

Here is where I believe the error lies. You are presupposing that doing what is advantageous in survival is “correct,” with the goal of the continuation of the human species. Why is continuing the human species correct in judgment, action or opinion? Isn’t this your own subjective opinion? How would one come to the conclusion that it is objectively true that the continuation of our species is moral?

(6)This fact does not rest on one's personal opinion.

I refer to my earlier paragraph.

(7)Morality is objective.

I agree, but why do you?

socialpinko

Con

My oponent has accepted all of my points and premises except for #5.

(5)To do what is advantageous in survival is 'correct' in that it aids in the continuation of a species.

My opponent argues that it is my own personal opinion that the continuation of the species is correct.

//"Why is continuing the human species correct in judgment, action or opinion? Isn't this your own subjective opinion?"//

First, I never argued that continuation of the human species specifically is moral. I argued that the continuation of 'a' species was correct in judgement, action, or opinion.

Second, the continuation is the vey point of evolution. An organism whose environment keeps changing while it's features stay the same will most likely not reproduce or continue the species. By not surviving, it is going against evolution and nature and is thus wrong in action.
Debate Round No. 2
pearlygates

Pro

I regret only putting three rounds in this debate now that I fully understand how these work. Alas.

"First, I never argued that continuation of the human species specifically is moral."

I understand now, I apologize for misreprespenting you.

"Second, the continuation is the vey point of evolution."

It seems asthough you are chosing a goal or telos and then whatever process happens to reach that goal is "moral." So with the goal of reprodcing and expanding our species anything that helps us do so is moral. But with the goal of murdering somebody else shooting them would be a moral acton because it is helping you reach that spacific goal. The question is weather or not a goal is moral.

"By not surviving, it is going against evolution and nature and is thus wrong in action.
"

You are presupposing that whatever goes against nature is morally wrong in jusdgement, action or opinion. Of course if your goal was to following the path of nature and evolution then of course it's stupid to do anything other. So the real queston is why going againt nature and evolution is objectively, morally wrong.

It seems to me Con has not given any reasons that, real, objective moral values and duties could exist without the existance of God.
socialpinko

Con

My opponent asks if murdering a person to survive is moral. I would say that while that is not the point of this debate, I would say it is as it follows from my syllogysm which I provided in R1. My opponent has not show why this is not true.

"So the real queston is why going againt nature and evolution is objectively, morally wrong."

I have already shown that it is wrong in action because it goes against an objective goal.

"The question is weather[sic] or not a goal is moral."

If my opponent had read my syllogysm carefully, he would know that an action is moal specifically because it helps one to reach a goal. My opponent has yet to bring any point against this and so I urge a Con vote.
Debate Round No. 3
58 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by phantom 5 years ago
phantom
Zaradi, I have to disagree. Pros burden is to support a conclusion. Atheism is assumed. He doesn't have to prove it. He is arguing, that IF atheism is true morality is subjective. Not atheism is true AND morality is subjective.

Essentiall it is,

if a then b

He doesn't have to prove a, because he's arguing about the consequences of a.
Posted by Zaradi 5 years ago
Zaradi
I agree, that's what he probably meant by the resolution. But given the specific wording of it, that's not what is implied. So if I were to judge off of the resolution, I would find it impossible to evaluate any of the arguments made by both sides, as they both skipped a major level of the debate.
Posted by drafterman 5 years ago
drafterman
The way I look at it, Zaradi, is this was a question of whether or not anything other than God can serve as an objective basis for morality. Evolutionary survival is an objective basis. The discussion of why such a basis is valid is out of scope because it just begs the question of why God is a valid basis for objective morality.

Furthermore, if we were to include it in the scope, it'd be Pro's burden to demonstrate why it is necessarily NOT a valid basis for objective morality.

At least those are my thoughts.
Posted by Zaradi 5 years ago
Zaradi
This debate becomes pretty hard to vote on because an entire layer of it was skipped over, plus pro places arguments in the last round that voters have to decide on how to weigh, and con failed to really show how evolution really linked into morality, although since the link wasn't contested I have to give it weight. I can't really give much weight to pro's arguments in the final round, but I have to give them some weight, since con did a really piss-poor job of refuting them regardless.

Eventually, I end up giving the arguments some weight, but it's not really sufficient to really de-rail the premise it was meant to attack, which leaves the syllogism in tact. So off of that, I can vote con.
Posted by Zaradi 5 years ago
Zaradi
Okay pearlygates, you are god-awful at setting up BOPs from resolutions. In this resolution, two questions are being asked:
1: Is atheism true?
2: If 1 is true, is morality subjective.

You have to prove both 1 and 2 correct to sufficiently affirm the resolution, which turns it into a God debate. Because if God DOES exist, it then becomes impossible to debate question two, which is what you're wanting to do. I'm really disappointed spinko didn't point this out.
Posted by Intellectual_Perplexion 6 years ago
Intellectual_Perplexion
Okay virgin ;)
Posted by pearlygates 6 years ago
pearlygates
Let vote people! haha
Posted by Contradiction 6 years ago
Contradiction
Maybe I'll challenge you then ;). And thanks, I'm using the philosophy degree as a springboard into law.
Posted by Intellectual_Perplexion 6 years ago
Intellectual_Perplexion
Oh, and have fun with a Philosophy Major. I'll be sure to visit you at Burger King in a few years.
Posted by Intellectual_Perplexion 6 years ago
Intellectual_Perplexion
Nahh, I think I'll just go continue being a hedonist, god-less, atheist and have fun in life. You can continue to argue pointless logical semantics... and stay a virgin.
9 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 9 records.
Vote Placed by 16kadams 5 years ago
16kadams
pearlygatessocialpinkoTied
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Total points awarded:50 
Reasons for voting decision: some of cons argument has holes and questions that pro exploited. Also pro approved the premise to a greater extent. Also the book of darwin > dictionary .com. (5) and (6) Where poor arguments making him lose the mid part of his argument as well.
Vote Placed by drafterman 5 years ago
drafterman
pearlygatessocialpinkoTied
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Reasons for voting decision: The question for this debate was simple: can there be an objective basis for morality other than God? Con provided an answer: evolutionary survival. The questionas to why this is a better basis than God is out of the scope of the debate, so such objections are dismissed. Rule in favor of Con.
Vote Placed by Zaradi 5 years ago
Zaradi
pearlygatessocialpinkoTied
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Reasons for voting decision: RFD in comments.
Vote Placed by InVinoVeritas 5 years ago
InVinoVeritas
pearlygatessocialpinkoTied
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Reasons for voting decision: Pro does effectively point out where Con's logic fails. #5 in Con's syllogism leaves many gaps.
Vote Placed by bradshaw93 6 years ago
bradshaw93
pearlygatessocialpinkoTied
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Reasons for voting decision: Both debaters could have done bette but Pro didn't bring up any point against con's claim.
Vote Placed by Cliff.Stamp 6 years ago
Cliff.Stamp
pearlygatessocialpinkoTied
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Reasons for voting decision: Con ignored Pro's argument so it stands (2 pt), Con offers a unique argument for objective morality (1 pt). Pro does not refute this argument well, but neither does Con support it and meanders to 'By not surviving, it is going against evolution and nature and is thus wrong in action.' . This argument thus really says any action which supports any goal is moral? Odd argument (1 pt to Pro). Con does also make a few minor grammar errors (1 pt).
Vote Placed by anarcholibertyman 6 years ago
anarcholibertyman
pearlygatessocialpinkoTied
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Reasons for voting decision: pro brought no argument to the table and put the BOP on con.
Vote Placed by Charles0103 6 years ago
Charles0103
pearlygatessocialpinkoTied
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Reasons for voting decision: How do we know we're suppose to keep evolving or living? If nothings there, there's no point to go on. There's no DEFINED set of morales without God.
Vote Placed by TrenchMouth 6 years ago
TrenchMouth
pearlygatessocialpinkoTied
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Reasons for voting decision: I DO believe that Morality is entirely subjective....with, or without, the existence of God.