The Instigator
AlanTiany
Pro (for)
The Contender
TheUnexaminedLife
Con (against)

(I'm new) Objective beats subjective morality. We depend on objective morality.

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 4/30/2017 Category: Religion
Updated: 1 year ago Status: Debating Period
Viewed: 291 times Debate No: 102313
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (1)
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AlanTiany

Pro

I will give reasons as to why subjective morality is bad and makes for a bad moral system, I will the argue that objective morality is good for all and that everyone including non believers are actually dependent on the Christian worldview to make sense of morality cogently.

Lets get started

1) Atheists say we as a society collectively determine our morals. And that they can sometimes change or evolve. So what happens if the larger majority of our collective society decide tomorrow that rape is morally acceptable because it propagates reproduction and therefore our species will grow and be stronger? Obviously this is hypothetical but I'm saying this to say that your, the atheists explanation is totally arbitrary.

2) Atheists always sound like they are evolutionists. But the foundation of the evolutionary theory is that "nature selects the strongest and the weak don't survive" so according to this worldview Hitler was right in trying to exterminate the Jews because he perceived that his race was the strongest and it is therefore his evolutionary prerogative to weed out the weak.
That's the one of the foundational principles of evolution but yet you are not saying that when it comes to morality. Instead you say that nurturing and caring for the weak is how the species survive? Sounds a bit contradictory to me.

3) Atheists often quote Professor Larry Arnhart, he says that morality is basically social norms :

> "Evolution has produced the requisites for morality: a tendency to develop social norms and enforce them, the capacities of empathy and sympathy, mutual aid and a sense of fairness, the mechanisms of conflict resolution, and so on. Evolution has also produced the unalterable needs and desires of our species: the need of the young for care, a desire for high status, the need to belong to a group, and so forth." (Arnhart)

But some societies have norms that we would find deplorable. Cultures that still practice female mutilation, child sacrifice, and child rape. We would condemn that as evil but certain cultures see these behaviors as acceptable. My question to you would be who's right? Us or them? It sounds like according to your belief system if it's a social norm and culturally acceptable then it's ok?

What I'm getting at is:
A) Morality cannot just be a chemical reaction in our brain because if that were the case then we couldn't condemn any act of evil as wrong seeing that the perpetrator was just following a chemical reaction in his or her brain.

and

B) Morality cannot be just a set of social norms because there are cultures and societies with different norms. How do we know who ultimately has the "right" norm?

Solution:

See in the Christian Biblical worldview that answer is easy. Which norm is closer to Gods nature? That's the one that is ultimately right. How do we know Gods nature? We are created in his image so it is innate in us but not through evolution. Evolution if examined internally has no need for morality. Cats kill mice all the time without being condemned because that's what the stronger species is supposed to do on an evolutionary worldview.

And to be clear I never stated that you had to believe in the God of the Bible in order to behave morally. But what I said was the God of the Bible has to exist in order for us to account for objective moral values. Without the Christian God all we would have is subjective morality. You make the rules. Do as you see fit. Or as your chemical brain reaction tells you to behave. But we could not live that way.

Atheist and evolutionist alike depend on the Christian worldview to make sense of morality cogently. Without the Christian Biblical God one can only arbitrarily account for morality wit conjecture and personal opinion.
TheUnexaminedLife

Con

Instead of defending non-objective moral systems, I will limit myself to a polemic of your arguments. But firstly, I have to raise the purely formal point that the choice isn't as simple as: our morality is either objective or subjective. This is a much too reductive. Western values and moral codes are developed relative to the long history of our culture. To the various inputs of people and groups in order to manipulate how society functions as a whole.

1) Seculars thinkers don't base their morality on whim. It isn't subjective in that when some delusional figure believes they are morally right, then if society agrees with them they are right. Whilst this has occurred in the past, today we want definitive evidence and reason for our morals. If we prove one moral practice harmful, activism and resistance will often occur to try and change our moral norms in so that they may align with some sort of truth as the moral standard.

2) The viewpoint you name far precedes the evolutionists. In Ancient Greece, the Melian Dialogue famously put it as 'the strong do what they can and the weak will suffer what they must'. But, even then, moral systems without some absolute source of truth were presented by philosophers like Aristotle and Epicurus.

Additionally, claiming that you must have a normative ethics stemming from evolution is mistaken. There are many other secular moral codes (Virtue Ethics, Kantian ethics, Utilitarianism, Situation Ethics, Contractarianism...) that whilst obviously do consider the human condition in their reasonings are based on no such maxim as proposed in the Melian Dialogue. The US Constitution is secular, as well as Enlightenment legislation, as well as the UN Declaration of Human Rights. Nowhere in these documents will you find reference to a God as the moral justification to the morals society deems acceptable. To argue that all atheists operate under Social Darwinism is just wrong. We build our moral foundations on reason and evidence which we argue, debate about and amend corresponding to how close it is to the truth and the effects enacting it has on society.

Also, you mention Hitler-- a dictatorial figure directly related to the Catholic Church who inverted the Jewish notion of 'God's chosen people' as to justify his actions on behalf of God (see Mein Kampf). The Aryan Race and Germanification (German racial purity) was actually a policy of Germany (at the time a religious nation) far preceding Hitler's 1933 rise to power. Hitler may have drawn on Nietzsche's writings here but he misapprehended him and Nietzsche's sister, an anti-Semite, actually edited some of Nietzsche's works to make his philosophy more palatable for the Nazis.

3) 'Atheists often quote... this Professor very few atheists have heard of who takes up a Darwinian philosophy'

Answering your worry about cultural relativism (what if moral for us, might not be moral for other societies), as I've already wrote, the additional criterion to many social norms which is the backbone of their evolution is this idea of 'facticity' or 'objectivity'. We can say someone's moral code is wrong if it is based on poor reasoning or evidence (like sacrifices to the gods) or produces consequences so negative it is deemed wrong on that account.

A) Very few are claiming that morality is a chemical reaction in our brain. Secularists think that morality are the social judgements made by different social factions in society. When these are erroneous, as with the case of Social Nationalism, empirical research can show that these moralities are unnecessary and harmful and therefore can be resisted and changed. By reference to a whole corpus of evidence ostensibly proving that Jews are in no way an inferior group of people, moral norms can change around this fact. Delusions are when people believe in moral maxims without any supplementary evidence or reasoning.

The Christian tradition is diverse with many different factions: which norms are God's will are widely contested and can justify any moral action if interpreted in a certain way. There is subjectivity and relativism in religion as well. Nietzsche makes your point exactly here: that birds of prey are not blamed for being birds of prey. This is a problem of moral responsibility; are we free or are our actions determined for us? We might not be able to help what we are by evolution, but we can certainly help what actions we do. Just because an instinct tells us to X, doesn't mean we have to enact it. We are the only animal which can defer or suppress our instincts; our condition can not be reduced to simple animal barbarism.

Your last statement is pure hubris, ignoring other religions and moral codes as well as reducing Christianity down to one tradition which is false given the multitudinous positions within Christian morality (which I will expand on if you dispute).
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Debate Round No. 3
1 comment has been posted on this debate.
Posted by FreshMeat12 1 year ago
FreshMeat12
Why have you set up this exact debate 3 times?
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