The Instigator
PonticComet
Pro (for)
Tied
0 Points
The Contender
Homosapien
Con (against)
Tied
0 Points

Individual Ought To Believe In an External Moral Force.

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 8/13/2013 Category: Religion
Updated: 3 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 607 times Debate No: 36644
Debate Rounds (5)
Comments (1)
Votes (1)

 

PonticComet

Pro

Inspired by Sargon's debate in Challenge Period.
Resolution:
We as individuals should put faith in the existence of
some supernatural force that exists outside(Or Transcends) the Physical Universe
in which can not be tested. This Force, Essence, Being, ETC is a force capable
of moral judgement and intervention in the human world.

BOP is shared
First Round is For Acceptance
No new evidence in Round 5
No Quitters
Have Fun!
Homosapien

Con

Hello PonticComet,

I am honoured to enter this debate with you and duly accept your terms.

As you are making the assertion, I leave the floor to you sir, to make your case.

With Kindest Regards,
Ben
Debate Round No. 1
PonticComet

Pro

Forward: Greetings Comrades, Voters and Opposition I will be

arguing the resolution in a very unique way. You all may have

seen the numerous Theist V. Atheist debates on this site regarding

Young Earth Creationism, Christian Apologism, Kalam Cosmological Argument, Etc. This is not one of those debates. I will be arguing my own personal favorite, the Mohist "Will Of Heaven" position, mixed with the similar style of contemporary muslim scholars.

(I will argue in the same fashion of rhetorical questions and conclusions) if you have not heard of the Mohist position that makes sense as it died out some 2000 years ago, this is going to be fun, I hope you all enjoy this as much as I do and I wish Benny Good Luck~Alex



I. Morality Is Beneficial To Mankind

(This style of Rhetorical Questions is intentional, Con may however Answer them if Ben sees it fit.) I mean simply by this that it behooves society when individuals act out of morality. When one sees a fellow human in suffering and acts to assist him out of a sense of moral duty, surely this is a benefit. Imagine yourself a father in the military and war has broken out, would you put them under the protection of a man who lives by moral

doctrine or one who act purely out of self-interest? Naturally you would invest the future of your family in that of the moral and just man. Now would you rather cast your ballot for a rigidly moral man who acts in government as a result of his doctrine or one who seeks office out of pure self interest and make state decisions off of self interest?

If you would favour individuals who act of morality in both cases and approve of Altruism as a result of Morality then indeed

you too agree that morality in beneficial to mankind.


II. The Will Of Heaven

Now before I get into this I want to point out that the "Heaven" i am referencing is not the Abrahamic paradise which you

spend for eternity in for being such a good chap. This Heaven is the Classical Chinese concept which is as follows:

"Now What does Heaven desire and what does it hate? Heaven desires righteousness and hates unrighteousness. Thus if

I lead the people the people of the world to devote themselves to righteousness then I am doing the will of heaven. If I do what heaven desires then Heaven will do what I desire." Heaven is thus a pure moral force of good that watches over humanity and has the power to intervene. Now onto the argument.


1. Since it would be impossible for us to truly test in any empirical fashion

a view of an external or transcendent spiritual force in the universe we must conclude rationally that all views are equally valid. For an example a Corrupt King dies suddenly in an accident, there is no way in which we can affirm if this way divine intervention and more importantly we cannot affirm that it was the intervention of God, Allah, “Heaven”, Eris, or not intervention at all. Therefore all of these beliefs are equally wrong therefore equally valid. This means that “Heaven” has equal validity as that of any other view on the workings of a spiritual force,I am simply using it as an example For the sake of Mozi.


2. Who Determines Morality? I may have a personal stance on right and wrong and Ben may have another. What is it that makes either of moral doctrine superior to the other? In a Democratic society this ethical clash would be determined by popular majority and then made into law. For Instance if a majority agree that it is malign or “wrong” to commit theft then we will create laws to deter theft. In an Authoritarian society our superior would judge that theft is wrong and he too would put laws into place. I ask

you, do all people regard laws put in place as morally sound? Is Justice always served? If the premise that morality leads to human benefit is indeed affirmed then surely our goal should be to maximize adherence to moral doctrine. I propose the following to you, If majority rule determines what is morally sound and the majority elected Adolf Hitler in 1933 does it thus follow that the policies that reflected their convictions were just and beneficial? Say instead that you advocate the Authoritarian model, even if

you ruler is benevolent and himself a moral man, I ask you to find me a single Authoritarian Regime free of corruption. Beyond that within a meritocracy in which your ruler appoints an intellectual elite to determine policy off the strictest moral tradition, this too is not a solution. I ask the voters and the opposition to look to Qing China what happened before.

Sun Yat-Sen and the Kuomintang lead a revolution to give moral decision back to the individual. Beyond that, if one is so inclined to defend the model of an intellectual elite, how would you as a ruler determine who deserves to join this “class”? As an individual would you be willing to accept the decisions of Mandarins in the field of what is morally repugnant and what is just? But back to Ben and I’s disagreement, Since Majority Rule and Intellectual Elite cannot be trusted to determine a victor then we can not determine a moral doctrine that grounds itself only in society to judge.

Now I shall Address the moral objectivity.

I give credit to Mozi’s “The Will Of Heaven” and “The existence of ghosts and spirits”For the structure of that argument and Imam Hamza Tzortzis for the Reducto Ad Hitlerum.

3. Quasi-Moral Argument.

Imam Hamza Tzortzis puts forward the following argument as do many Theists:

1. If God does not exist, then objective moral values do not exist;

2. The universe with objective moral values does exist;

3. Therefore, God exists.Explaining the key premise

I posit an altered view of this:

1. If there is no universal Moral Force, then there can be no universal objective morality. Furthermore since subjective morality (which can exist without a universal moral force) is no more than partiality.

2. If an individual aims to affirms an objective morality and universal doctrine, he/she must put faith in the existence of an universal moral force.

3. If an individual has faith and piety in the existence and judgement of a universal force with the power of intervention then that individual will act in accordance with the moral code.

4. If individuals act in accordance with and believe in that force and what the force deems as just, right, and virtuous the supposed “Will Of Heaven” will be achieved.

5. Since Morality is beneficial to mankind and individuals who put faith in a universal force creates morality then believing in a universal force is beneficial to mankind. Therefore Individuals ought to believe in a universal moral force as it benefits mankind.

Once more I cite Mozi and Imam Hamza Tzortzis which I give the sources of down at the bottom.



I have a few more arguments and examples however I would like to turn it over to Con to give his opening argument and I will save them for later rounds. I will be In San Diego this weekend with Cousins so hopefully Heaven favors me and will provide a strong wifi signal ~Alex


http://www.hamzatzortzis.com... Imam Hamza Tzortzis

Mo, Di, and Burton Watson. Mozi: Basic Writings. New York: Columbia UP, 2003. Print. (check out Universal Love, Existence of Ghosts, and Will of Heaven

Homosapien

Con

Hello PonticComet,

Thank you for a well thought out and clear opening argument, I hope I am worthy opponent of calibre.

Now onwards with the debate, firstly I will make my independent opening argument, and then, with permission I will address some of your points as they are very good and in my view deserve discussion.

Opening Argument

The supposition of this argument is very clear, and worth considering.

We as individuals should put faith in the existence of some supernatural force that exists outside(Or Transcends) the Physical Universe in which cannot be tested. This Force, Essence, Being, ETC is a force capable of moral judgement and intervention in the human world.

If we did such a thing, what would be the point in our own system of justice?

If I was sat watching a murder, a rape, a torturing, of a fellow prime mate, if I truly had faith in an external force, capable of intervening, what would be the point of me risking myself to save the victim, if this external moral force is so prevalent, why bother?

Let’s take a rather harsh but significant example. Please see the link below

http://news.bbc.co.uk...

Why should we try to prevent actions such as the horrible atrocities as this man committed if after all, there will be a divine intervention? Or divine justice? Will there be and most importantly, what do you tell his victim, beaten, tortured, raped for 24 years, are you going to tell her that there is a divine moral force that will balance this out eventually?

Imagine how she would have prayed for such a thing. Nothing came, for 24 years.

It cannot be tested

Here is a statement, a preamble, of the universal declaration of Human rights made in 1948.

“...recognition of the inherent dignity and of the equal and inalienable rights of all members of the human family is the foundation of freedom, justice and peace in the world.

—Preamble to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, 1948”

Here is a list of conventions that are entirely down to the hard work and dedication of Human rights lawyers over the last century.

Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (CERD) (adopted 1966, entry into force: 1969)

Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) (adopted 1979, entry into force: 1981)

United Nations Convention Against Torture (CAT) (adopted 1984, entry into force: 1984)

Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) (adopted 1989, entry into force: 1989)

Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) (adopted 2006, entry into force: 2008)

International Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of their Families (ICRMW or more often MWC) (adopted 1990, entry into force: 2003)

These are no small achievements, they are not supernatural, they are not untestable, they are some of the best things man has ever created for the sake of human progress, and in future generations, they can grow, change adapt and become better with each generation. Do not think that these are minor actions, to say any of this is supernatural is to say that the men and women who drove towards these conventions were not acting out of human dignity, but being driven by a supernatural force, that makes a mockery of all of the work they did, as though they were somehow not responsible for it.

To say any of these are supernatural would be to disregard the centuries, generations of suffering inflicted upon humans before this, where was the divine supernatural morality when 6 million Jews, Homosexuals, Minorities and Disabled people were slaughtered in the 1930s and 1940s. Which leads me nicely onto.

It doesn’t actually exist

I submit that the evidence provided above leads us to the most likely conclusion. It does not exist, the assertion is that we ought to believe in it, but ought we to believe in something for which there is no evidence?

Morality comes from centuries of development and work by good people who understand that we don’t get any morality without discussion, debate, rationality, and a lot of very hard work. In the name of all that these people have done, I submit not only should we not vote for this assertion, but we should vote for the truth, and the truth is this work is theirs, they deserve the credit, not the untestable, unchallengeable, supernatural.

Morality is beneficial *and innate* to mankind, *thanks to evolution.*

Yes I agree, it absolutely is.

So beneficial, that over centuries of evolution, morality has become innate with in us, tribes with, what we might call empathy or at least the golden rule (which we don’t even teach children) are so successful that it is a deep part of not only human interaction, but primate interaction.

I refer you to the following studies, one specific (Hamilton) and several others encompassing game theory, which provides explanation as to how mankind might act, or be perceived to act, morally, and why groups that apply this successfully are so, culminating in the modern man.

Kin selection or ‘inclusive fitness’ theory (Hamilton 1964)

In Hamilton's model, natural selection favors the gene for altruism whenever r × b > c. This equation has become known as Hamilton's Rule and can be distilled down to this: if a gene(s) for altruism is to evolve, then the cost (c) of altruism must somehow be balanced by compensating benefits to the altruist. In Hamilton's model, the cost is balanced by benefits (b) accrued by blood relatives of the altruist, because relatives may carry the gene for altruism as well. But relatives have only some probability, r, of carrying the gene in question, and so the benefits received must be weighted by that probability.

The link below contains this study under the title W.D. Hamilton

http://www.genetics.org...

Selection pressures leading to teamwork, reciprocal altruism (Trivers 1971; Maynard Smith 1982; Axelrod 1984) and indirect reciprocity (Alexander 1987; Joyce 2006)

These studies really culminate in Game Theory, originally designed for economics but proceeding to be applied successfully into Biology.

http://en.wikipedia.org...

Morality is beneficial and innate to other species, again, thank you evolution.

How does this external force proposed deal with other species?

http://www.bbc.co.uk...

We can scientifically assess the outcome of a decision made by species such as the swan demonstrated above, that statistically leads to the best possible outcome, now without redefining morality, one could argue on this evidence, that this morality is innate and acted upon all the time, both in the Human and Non-human animal kingdom.

Now sir, if you do not mind I will address some specific points you made very well.

“Who Determines Morality? I may have a personal stance on right and wrong and Ben may have another. What is it that makes either of moral doctrine superior to the other? In a Democratic society this ethical clash would be determined by popular majority and then made into law. For Instance if a majority agree that it is malign or “wrong” to commit theft then we will create laws to deter theft. In an Authoritarian society our superior would judge that theft is wrong and he too would put laws into place. I ask you, do all people regard laws put in place as morally sound? Is Justice always served? If the premise that morality leads to human benefit is indeed affirmed then surely our goal should be to maximize adherence to moral doctrine. I propose the following to you, If majority rule determines what is morally sound and the majority elected Adolf Hitler in 1933 does it thus follow that the policies that reflected their convictions were just and beneficial? “ - PonticComet

This is exactly my point, sir I submit you again to the proposition, would heaven, or divinity, be just as unchallengeable, just as authoritarian and just as untested as the unchallengeable authority of a dictator, the difference is, we can kill Adolf Hitler, we can’t kill anything you or I might call divine. This would make us slaves to an even more worrying form of dictatorship then the one you rightly speak against.

is Justice always served? No, because it is down to us to make it happen, and we are only humans, we are not divine, we make mistakes. But if you assert that justice isn’t always served, and are correct to do so, then how does adding divinity to the equation resolve the issue. I would ask, Justice isn’t always served, why isn’t heaven, the all-powerful doing anything about it?

I don’t want a divine authority, I don’t see any evidence for it, and if it does exist then it has some serious questions to answer for overseeing the unnecessary deaths of a new born baby every four seconds.

I want a morally that is thought out, reasoned, discussed and improves with time, that is challengeable, changeable and always up for discussion, just as we are now, with respectful discourse.

I dedicate this argument to the hundreds of Human Rights lawyers who work tirelessly to oversee this, who do it, not because of divine authority, but because they know it is the moral thing to do, because they know we only have one life, and we are all fellow primates driving for unity and compassion, and there are big questions we must ask of ourselves, what to do with the time we have? How do we build the just city? What is the best compassion to show others?

We lose all of those things by referring it up to the divine, it’s hard, I know, I get it, it’s easy to hope and wish for something that would do it all for us. But this is not the case, this will require hard work and dedication.

If you are willing to put that work in, to go on that journey with me, then vote against the idea that something else will do it all for us.

With respect,

Ben

Debate Round No. 2
PonticComet

Pro

First I would like to thank Con for replying quickly with a compact and rational position.

I Shall Return the Favour!


1. Divine Intervention and Worldly Justice.

Is the world naturally evolving to become more and more Altruistic? Logically it would follow that since 1945 we as a species would have become more altruistic.

The record of history does not affirm such a trend. As the actions of Hirohito and Hitler were indeed horrible, however Stalin died some 8 years later warm in his bed after a long career of starving, executing and putting into labor camps his own people! This unfortunately is not an isolated event. For instance Pol Pot’s extermination of religious, ethnic and political groups In Cambodia. Mao’s Great famine and Purges. But you will find a very interesting trend today Democracy is in retreat. the revolt of middle class citizens, traditionally proponents of reform, who have turned against democracy in countries such as Venezuela, Pakistan, and Taiwan. He observes that countries once held up as model new democracies, such as Hungary and the Czech Republic, have since curtailed social, economic, and political freedoms. Military coups have grabbed power from Honduras to Thailand to Fiji. The number of representative governments has fallen, and the quality of democracy has deteriorated in many states where it had been making progress, including Russia, Kenya, Argentina, and Nigeria”.

http://www.cfr.org...

Even Since that article was published In Egypt we have seen a military coup and the steady rise of the Neo-Fascist Golden Dawn in Greece the Birthplace of Democracy.

Whether or not Hamilton’s observations on animals is true the record of history does not affirm an evolutionary process of human society towards Altruism and virtue.

http://abcnews.go.com...

This is Evidence that nation states and international organizations or even those cited Human Rights Lawyers are unable to create greater morality with top down approach.

One is reminded of Theists who thought they could convert the world and create a greater morality force and institutions. The same is true for Secular Humanists who believe through international organizations that promote trade, human rights and democracy will result in a greater morality. I however offer a third position, the mohist position, that we as individuals must accept an universal benevolent force and on an individual basis, act in accordance. You might say all of these atrocities are evidence of ineffectual divine intervention. But it is only reasonable that examples of evil must exist, not only as to compliment benevolence and to show the path we must not travel but also to struggle against. If you let rape happened then that it is a victory for evil, rather you should favour universal benevolence and morality and intervene.

Your intervention is the divine intervention as you are acting as an agent of good according to a moral doctrine affirmed by the transcendent moral force. Life is a struggle, would Humanity have a point if there was no evil to struggle against?

You are absolutely right this force is more powerful than that of the strongest Totalitarian dictator. But as the resolution states it is a moral force and as I have presented it is a force that creates human benefit, rather than a Machiavellian Tyrant who acts out of self-interest.


2. Subjective Morality

I also pose a non-rhetorical question to the opposition, How in an universe in which is NOT an universal moral force can there be any morality which is above subjectivity and partiality as which is not destined to be altered in a matter of generations?
Finally I ask the opposition respond to and the audience ponder the hypothetical below:

Imagine I am a very successful criminal, perhaps even the most, I have the politicians on payroll and police bribed(As we may find even today in several parts of the world).

I act out of self-interest and I will cease operations if a logical argument can be posed that it is not in my self-interest to continue criminal operations if there is indeed no punishment after death and no of divine intervention.

Since my opponent kept it clear and concise so shall I, I hope you enjoyed it, I now give the floor back to Ben to give a rebuttal I am sure we will all enjoy.


Homosapien

Con

Hello PonticComet,

Thank you for your response, I will take this opportunity to rebut some of your well made arguments, hopefully with quality to match your own.


Divine Intervention and Worldly Justice.

I must say, the evidence for human evolution since 1945 is rather scant, this is because evolution is process that takes such a long period of time for primates such as us, either way I am not qualified to support or deny such a position, I do feel it is somewhat superfluous to the thrust of the argument. Perhapes I shall read up on the subject and offer a position in the future.

Stalin, exactly my point, there was no balancing force in the universe that enabled Stalin to receive punishment (unless you would debate me on the tantalising subject of Hell) but if we are talking about a force that acts, in this world, to 'right the wrongs' as it were, Stalin is evidence that no such force exists. The truth is not always as we want it to be, and the truth is Stalin, to put it mildly, got away with a lot of wicked acts. Where was the external moral force then, I’ve yet to see evidence of such.

If democracy is in retreat as you claim (another debate again!) it adds nothing to the idea that we 'ought to believe' in this force which is acting independently. It is exactly because such things occur that we must act upon our own morality, the rights that I listed in my opening argument that were made by people, for people.

The Mohist position, as you state, might well be superior to the principle that I would hold of secular humanism, and now I return a direct question back to you.

What is more important - A lie that makes people act morally (as you would perceive it) OR the truth.

I submit readers, that no evidence can be found for an external moral force, and all the evidence presented by myself and my opponent thus far suggests the opposite is the case. That the cold hard truth is that there is no external moral force, means we have the tough job of enforcing, upon ourselves, for the good of future generations, the principles outlined in my opening argument.

These principles are not a direct result of evolution, but a result of human solidarity, compassion and respect. They are hard to enforce upon ourselves, but in doing so we find far more self respect, than following the orders of a divine force that tells us what is right and wrong.


Question responses

"PonticComet - Question 1 - Response
I also pose a non-rhetorical question to the opposition, How in an universe in which is NOT an universal moral force can there be any morality which is above subjectivity and partiality as which is not destined to be altered in a matter of generations?"

This is exactly what my opening position was for, it is destined to be altered by future generations, as we have altered the perception of right and wrong of previous generations. It's not a comfortable feeling, to think there are no absolutes... Or is it?

If you believe in an unchallengeable, unchangeable, moral authority, isn't that arbitrary depending upon what this divine moral force decides? I don't want this, I want a it to be challenged, that it can be altered, that it can be reasoned, discussed and thought out just as the universal human rights act was, just as the abolition of slavery was, just as the decision of one individual to donate blood is, links for each below.

http://www.un.org... - Universal Human Rights 2 years of UN debate
http://en.wikipedia.org... - Abolition of slavery £20,000,000.00 in cost to UK government
http://www.blood.co.uk... - Link included should anyone wish to give blood I recommend it

Ironically, it requires a little faith, it requires us to make our arguments and make our rights heard based upon secular humanism, solidarity and compassion for fellow primates, hand that down to future generations and say "this is what our world is built upon, this is how far we have come, now you must go further."

"PonticComet - Question 2 - Response
Imagine I am a very successful criminal, perhaps even the most, I have the politicians on payroll and police bribed(As we may find even today in several parts of the world). I act out of self-interest and I will cease operations if a logical argument can be posed that it is not in my self-interest to continue criminal operations if there is indeed no punishment after death and no of divine intervention."

A good question sir, but it doesn't help your point for the following reasons.

To act in self interest, in self gain, as this person in the above situation would be doing, is the exact opposite of morality. As you state, there is clearly no divine intervention going on as many people do fit into the category above, none of which receive divine punishment that I am aware of. If they were to act for fear of eternal torture in hell I would submit the following makes this in and of itself immoral.

1. Eternal torture in hell for the above act, I would submit is immoral in and of itself, many would agree with me as the evidence below confirms. 73% of Mexicans, 53% of US citizens, 82% of Francs and even 49% of Russians believe that torture, in all forms should be prohibited.

http://filipspagnoli.wordpress.com...

So if this divine authority is sending people to hell (without a trial by jury of peers a right that humans have established for a long period of time) then it is arguably acting in and of itself in an immoral fashion.

Maybe an individual ought to believe in an external immoral force?

2. Acting solely out of self interest is not morality, it is game theory, a logical choice taken for self gain.

http://levine.sscnet.ucla.edu...


Questions for the opposition.

1. Can you provide evidence for a divine moral authority acting in the here and now or will you submit that any force must punish people such as those listed above in the 'afterlife'?

2. Can you name me a moral action or statement made, that you can take or make because you believe in a moral authority above humanity, that I cannot make or take because I do not?

Question 2 is not of my making, but of Christopher Hitchens in his book 'God is not Great', so the credit for it goes to him. It's very important that the distinction is made. I can still be moral, as an individual without being instructed in the subject by a divine authority. I act out of respect, compassion, humanism and solidarity with my fellow primates.

A divine authority takes away our option to be moral by threatening us with punishment, isn't true morality doing right not for self gain, but out of self respect, we loose that by referring morality up to a divine authority.

I submit to you readers, it is much more rewarding to be moral without reward or fear of punishment.

Thank you for reading.

Best Regards,
Ben

Debate Round No. 3
PonticComet

Pro

PonticComet forfeited this round.
Homosapien

Con

Homosapien forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 4
PonticComet

Pro

Since we both missed a round lets just start a new one where we left off, if this is unacceptable to you Benny then I will cocede. If Ben forfits judge us on the merit of what we have posted already.
Homosapien

Con

Homosapien forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 5
1 comment has been posted on this debate.
Posted by PonticComet 3 years ago
PonticComet
I am so so sorry I am with family and I will just mix my rebuttal and closing statements.
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by Ragnar 3 years ago
Ragnar
PonticCometHomosapienTied
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Reasons for voting decision: Both dropped out, and then planned to restart the rebate (moving this out of the 0 vote search).