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foreduca
Pro (for)
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The Contender
MailboxVegetable
Con (against)
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3 Points

Is Homosexuality Wrong?

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after 1 vote the winner is...
MailboxVegetable
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 7/21/2014 Category: Philosophy
Updated: 2 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 558 times Debate No: 59308
Debate Rounds (4)
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Votes (1)

 

foreduca

Pro

Firstly, I want this debate to be in some sense philosophical. By philosophical I mean that we are arguing in normative ethical terms, not meta-ethical. Therefore this debate presupposes that there are absolute moral values and truths.

Secondly, I'd rather not have a debate if the only thing we are doing is throwing random ad hominem attacks at each other.

Lastly, my argument.

P1: If there is a class of moral issues that we we have no reason to say are wrong, yet they are wrong, then, SOME moral issues are not determined by reason/argument per se, but are instead wrong in virtue of themselves.

P2: There is a class of moral issues that we we have no reason to say are wrong, yet they are wrong.

Therefore: SOME moral issues are not determined by reason/argument, but are instead wrong in virtue of themselves.

P1 seems true. If something is wrong and we have no reason to say so, then it must be inherently wrong. It seems illogical to think that something is wrong in the absence of arguments and 'inherent wrongness'.

P2 to me seems to be true. I do not think that we have a reason or argument against every moral issue we consider wrong. Even in the face of such arguments it does not change the fact that a certain thing is wrong. Richard Dawkins, came under heavy criticism for his defense of what he called 'mild pedophilia' because it did not cause "lasting harm." Apart from my disagreeing with him, I can't say that what he said isn't true. Look at him, he is an example of the very thing he is saying. He was molested, yet he's a leading Evolutionary Biologist who doesn't seem to be mentally scarred from the experience. Yet, the criticisms were not about how it did cause him and other students harm. It was about how could such a popular man seek to justify the unjustifiable. Please note at this point I am not saying homosexuality is the same as pedophilia, which I don't believe, I am simply arguing for P1. Similarly, let us assume that I could show you statistics that polygamy actually improved people's quality of life, and considering it does no harm, is that sufficient reason to say it is okay? Most of us would probably say no. Therefore, my conclusion follows necessarily.

So far I have only argued that SOME moral issues are wrong inherently. This of course would not prove that homosexuality is a part of such a group, so I shall attempt to prove that it does. There seems to be in my mind a rather obvious distinction between the two. If I asked someone why is killing wrong? Apart from the how could you even ask that look, they'd probably respond with something like "it causes people pain", "life is precious" but if you ask "why is cannibalism is wrong the response more veers towards "it's just wrong" "it's unnatural" "the Bible says so" the same thing goes for polygamy, pedophilia, and homosexuality. The truth is these moral issues have never been considered wrong because they caused harm to anyone, they were always considered "unnatural" and I don't think unnatural in this sense means not found in nature, it more means something that should not be in the nature of man or something that goes against man's good nature.

Just to be clear, and I suppose I might be a bit more controversial than saying homosexuality is okay. I don't think homosexuality is a crime that requires jail/prison. I don't have a problem with homosexuals, they shouldn't be abused. I think homosexuality can be no more wrong than cheating, because after all I must admit it does no one any harm. However, the same can be said of incest and polygamy, and as such I do not consider them to be a crime either and have no hatred for people who practice it. But just as cheating is wrong but no gets into another person's life, so too I think about homosexuality, polygamy and incest.
Here ends my argument.
MailboxVegetable

Con

First of all, I'd like to thank pro for creating this debate. I hope we can have an intelligent discussion about morality, so good luck to both of us!

So, my main point of contention with Pro's argument is the fact that he says there is no reason for why homosexuality is wrong, but it is inherently wrong nonetheless. He argues that he can use his intuition and feelings to basically determine that homosexuality is wrong without a reason. But this is an error of thought that places feelings and intuition over deliberate conscious reasoning.

The only thing it proves when you say that you feel like homosexuality is wrong, is that you have a feeling not based on any logic or reasoning. It does not in any way prove that homosexuality is wrong. I am suspicious to think that the only reason why you think that homosexuality is wrong is because your own feelings of discomfort at the idea. It's a common phenomenon when people don't work the moral issue out in their head and instead decide the negatives vs the positives based on feelings and intuition. But I implore you to please try to be skeptical of your own feelings and intuitions, for we have seen through various studies how our intuitions are wrong.

I am currently in the process of reading a book right now that is titled Thinking Fast and Slow by a psychologist of the name Daniel Kahneman. The book is very informative, and goes into detail about two different types of decision making. The first type of decision making is system 1 (being characterized as subconscious, automatic, instinctive, and emotional) and the second type of decision making is made with system 2 (being characterized as deliberate, effortful, and logical). The book goes into detail about how we commonly make errors in judgement based on system 1 processing and misconceptions.

Examples of automatic (system 1) thinking:

1) A bat and a ball cost $1.10. The bat costs $1 more than the ball. How much does the ball cost?

2) If it takes 5 machines 5 minutes to make 5 widgets, how long would it take 100 machines to make 100 widgets?

Hold your answers in mind and read this excerpt from the book below for the answer:

"A number came to your mind. The number, of course, is 10: 10 cents. The distinctive mark of this easy puzzle is that it evokes an answer that is intuitive, appealing, and wrong. Do the math, and you will see. If the ball costs 10 cents, then the total cost will be $1.20 (10 cents for the ball and $1.10 for the bat), not $1.10. The correct answer is 5 cents. It is safe to assume that the intuitive answer also came to the mind of those who ended up with the correct number- they somehow managed to resist the intuition.

Many thousands of university students have answered the bat-and-ball puzzle, and the results are shocking. More than 50% of students at Harvard, MIT, and Princeton gave the intuitive -incorrect- answer. At less selective universities, the rate of demonstrable failure to check was in excess of 80%. The bat-and-ball problem is our first encounter with an observation that will be a recurrent theme of this book: many people are overconfident, prone to place too much faith in their intuitions. They apparently find cognitive effort at least mildly unpleasant and avoid it as much as possible."

The answer to the first problem is that the ball is 5 cents rather than the common mistaken answer 10.
http://www.theblaze.com...
The answer to the second problem is that the 100 machines take 5 minutes to make 100 widgets, rather than the common mistaken answer 100 minutes.

The mere fact that 50% of students at Harvard, MIT, and Princeton gave the wrong and intuitive answer means that even some of the smartest people place too much faith on their intuitions. These studies and many other studies like them show that we place too much confidence on our intuitive and commonly incorrect thinking. And this error of cognition doesn't just show up on math problems, but it is also prevalent when people make decisions all throughout their day.

So I argue that in order for us to determine whether homosexuality is wrong, we must rely on system 2 logical thinking. I ask you to please disregard whatever feelings you have about homosexuality, and decide based on logic and hard facts.

The fact of the matter is that homosexuality is two consenting adult humans agreeing to be in a romantic relationship with one another. You have freely admitted that there is no logical reason for why homosexuality is wrong, so I must conclude that you must have arrived at your opinion based on feelings and system 1 processing. If you can't find a reason for why homosexuality is wrong other than your own feelings, then there is no valid reason for why we should think that homosexuality is wrong.

I will now refute your arguments directly.

"P1: If there is a class of moral issues that we we have no reason to say are wrong, yet they are wrong, then, SOME moral issues are not determined by reason/argument per se, but are instead wrong in virtue of themselves."

I take issue with this argument because no action can be wrong without a reason to say that it is wrong. I think it would be a breach of logic to say that something is wrong for absolutely no reason. Things cannot be wrong inherently; there must be a logical reason for why it is wrong.

"P2: There is a class of moral issues that we we have no reason to say are wrong, yet they are wrong."

This is completely untrue. We should revise this to be: there are a class of moral issues that people have no reason to think are wrong, but they feel like it is wrong. The only reason why we would consider something wrong outside of logic and reasoning would be because of our emotional and unreliable judgement.

"Similarly, let us assume that I could show you statistics that polygamy actually improved people's quality of life, and considering it does no harm, is that sufficient reason to say it is okay? Most of us would probably say no. Therefore, my conclusion follows necessarily."

If polygamy actually improved people's quality of life and did no harm, then what grounds would you have to say that it is wrong? You are once again letting your feelings take precedence over logical data in a hypothetical scenario that would show people's lives improving. You are basically saying is that polygamy would still be wrong even if everyone's lives improved because of it.

"But just as cheating is wrong but no gets into another person's life, so too I think about homosexuality, polygamy and incest."

Incest is only considered wrong because of the negative effects of inbreeding and the destruction that comes with romantic relationships. Family members definitely shouldn't inbreed because of the risk of having a defective baby. The whole reason for why family members having relationships became such a taboo thing is because of the risk of having a baby with various birth defects and in some cases mental retardation. We usually have logical reasons for why we consider such things wrong, but on some issues it is only because of our feelings that we decide that it's wrong.

In conclusion, you have presented no real argument for why homosexuality is wrong besides your own feelings about the issue. Since feelings and intuition have been repeatedly shown to be unreliable, we have no valid reason to think that homosexuality is wrong. We do have valid reasons to think that pedophilia or incest are wrong, but we do not have any reason to think that homosexuality is wrong. Every moral issue must be decided on logic and evidence rather than intuition and feelings. I await your rebuttal and honestly hope that you provide at least some reason for why homosexuality is wrong.
Debate Round No. 1
foreduca

Pro

Con I very much appreciated your response! I particularly enjoyed the thought experiment you shared by Daniel Kahneman. I actually got the correct answers. In the first one, I must admit, I thought about saying ten cents at first, but I knew that's not how you properly derive the answer, so I ignored my intuition as the psychologist said, the second one I never double guessed; I just did the math.

So let me now address your response. You said:

"I take issue with this argument because no action can be wrong without a reason to say that it is wrong. I think it would be a breach of logic to say that something is wrong for absolutely no reason. Things cannot be wrong inherently; there must be a logical reason for why it is wrong."

There is something very pleasing about this statement. It seems at it's core to be very rational. However, upon closer inspection it really only has the facade of rationality, at least, when dealing with certain moral issues. I certainly agree with you that we should be logical and rational when dealing with moral issues. I never said that we should use emotions or intuition as a replacement for reason; what I mean is that there seems to be some moral issues that regardless of the consequences be they positive or negative, that we do not question their 'wrongness' or 'rightness'. Let us use incest as an example. You said that "Incest is only considered wrong because of the negative effects of inbreeding and the destruction that comes with romantic relationships." Now let us assume that there is a small family, a mother, father and two children (Sons). Apart from this small group they are pretty much alone in the world. Life has been very challenging for them, they can't find food often times, yet there is a very strong bond between them all. They truly support each other and try to make the best of horrible living conditions. Let us further assume that the father and the younger son dies in some tragic event. The mother and older son, who has now become 18, are now facing a very traumatic experience and having no other solace begins a romantic relationship with each other. In the mother's mind the older son reminds her of his father, and she reminds him of his brother. Now to both of them their relationship has taken on some symbolic meaning. Furthermore, they needn't worry about children because the mother had already tied her fallopian tubes after her last child. Moreover, the relationship is far from dysfunctional and seems to be thriving and is bringing joy to both of them. In this case, all of what you said that makes incest wrong does not apply. What then follows? That incest is okay? This I think proves my point, there is no reason per se to say it is wrong, but hardly anyone would seem to think that this relationship should continue, and for what reason? None.

"This is completely untrue. We should revise this to be: there are a class of moral issues that people have no reason to think are wrong, but they feel like it is wrong. The only reason why we would consider something wrong outside of logic and reasoning would be because of our emotional and unreliable judgement."

As I argued above in the case of the mother and son, it would seem that the only two possible conclusions would be either incest is perfectly okay or in truth some moral issues are inherently wrong.

In conclusion, it does seem true that not all moral issues are determined by logic and evidence as I attempted to prove in the incest scenario. This ultimately leaves us with two options, it's either as I said above or some issues like incest and polygamy, which also aren't determined by any evidence or logic are permissible.

Looking forward to your response.
MailboxVegetable

Con

"Moreover, the relationship is far from dysfunctional and seems to be thriving and is bringing joy to both of them. In this case, all of what you said that makes incest wrong does not apply. What then follows? That incest is okay? This I think proves my point, there is no reason per se to say it is wrong, but hardly anyone would seem to think that this relationship should continue, and for what reason? None."

Well in that specific instance, I don't see what's really wrong with it. You and I both agree that there is no logical argument that can support the conclusion that the instance would be wrong. We just differ on our view points derived from that; mine being that the instance isn't wrong and yours being that it is wrong regardless of argument. The main point of what I was trying to prove in my previous argument was that people do not think that homosexuality is wrong based on logic or reason, but instead only view it as wrong because of their own feelings of discomfort with homosexuality coupled with religious dogma created in the bronze age. I assert that the reasons why people think homosexuality is wrong is either because of fallacious logical arguments, religious dogma, or their own feelings about homosexuality. Although I would suggest that the most important factor is their feelings and incorrect intuition.

The reason why people would think incest is wrong in this instance would also be because of their own feelings about incest that has been taught to them. I'm honestly not surprised that people who have been taught their whole lives that incest is disgusting, immoral, and deplorable would still come to the conclusion that the incest is wrong despite it bringing happiness and basically no negative consequences in that specific instance. The fact that many people would still call that specific instance wrong despite the overwhelming logical arguments against them only proves that people let feelings and dogma take precedence over logic and reason. If anyone can find a logical reason for why that specific instance is wrong, I would be open to be convinced by your logical argument. But you cannot convince anyone it is wrong by simply saying it is wrong inherently. That's circular reasoning.

And furthermore, your argument is self-refuting. If we cannot determine that homosexuality is acceptable or wrong by logical reasoning, then any and all debate about the topic is completely useless. Even if homosexuality's moral questions are not determined by logic and reasoning, then that would only advocate for a position of agnosticism; not for a position one way or another. If we suppose that the morality of homosexuality cannot be determined by logical reasons, then in what way do you suggest we should determine its morality? By how the majority feels about it? Because I see that in no way to be a suitable judgement for morality (even though a majority of the U.S. is beginning to accept homosexuality). The fact remains that if homosexuality is in fact not determined by logical reasoning, then the debate should come to a tie in which we determine that the morality of homosexuality is irresolvable.

In fact, the tides are changing in the world as gay rights are receiving more and more support from increasingly progressive people. I am unsure about the whole world's opinions about homosexuality, but at least in the U.S.A. the majority of people now support gay marriage.
Pew research on opinions of gay marriage: http://www.pewforum.org...

"As I argued above in the case of the mother and son, it would seem that the only two possible conclusions would be either incest is perfectly okay or in truth some moral issues are inherently wrong.

In conclusion, it does seem true that not all moral issues are determined by logic and evidence as I attempted to prove in the incest scenario. This ultimately leaves us with two options, it's either as I said above or some issues like incest and polygamy, which also aren't determined by any evidence or logic are permissible."

In my opinion, the incest in that specific instance would be okay. If anyone can come up with a logical reason for why it is wrong, perhaps I will change my mind. But that doesn't negate the fact that incest is wrong most of the time because of the negative consequences I mentioned previously. I would argue that many things can be considered the right thing to do in certain circumstances.

For example, some people would like to argue that lying is always objectively wrong. But if you are hiding Jews from the Nazis, this rule obviously becomes irrelevent because of the horrible things that would happen if you actually told the truth. I think we can all agree that it was the right thing to do for people to lie to the Nazis when asked for information on the whereabouts of Jews. This brings me to my main point: the morality of an action is only determined by the positive and negative consequences that will result from that action. If the action offers the most positive and least negative consequences above all other actions in the situation, then that action is the morally acceptable one. We do not determine what things are wrong by "inherent wrongness", but instead only determine it by the positive and negative consequences of the action.

So yes, if certain things like incest or polygamy in a specific situation bring out the most positive and least negative consequences above any other action, then who are we to say it is wrong for the person to do that?

But I want you to answer this as best you can: how exactly do we determine the morality of homosexuality if it isn't determined by logical reasoning? Do you suggest we decide by majority opinion? Because that would result in homosexuality being deemed okay in America since the growing majority of people believe it is so. If there are certain moral actions that can't be deemed right or wrong based upon its consequences nor logical reasoning, then we have no basis on which to say that those things are right or wrong. The topic of homosexuality would just remain a mystery that we would be forced to remain agnostic about since we couldn't determine it by argument.

But I assert that the morality of any action should be determined by its positive and negative outcomes, not based on feelings or majority opinion.
Debate Round No. 2
foreduca

Pro

Before I address your response I'd really like to say that this debate/discussion has been enlightening. I think listening to someone else on the issue helped me to better understand the nature of our morality and varying moral systems as well as think a bit deeper about homosexuality. I'm not hell bent on saying that my opinions must be right, in fact, I might change my mind sometime in the future.

"Well in that specific instance, I don't see what's really wrong with it."

I don't have much to say here. I guess we just disagree on that point. I wrongly assumed that you would concede that incest was not permissible in this case, so I'll have to make another point, but before I do that, I'll have to first address something you said.

"This brings me to my main point: the morality of an action is only determined by the positive and negative consequences that will result from that action. If the action offers the most positive and least negative consequences above all other actions in the situation, then that action is the morally acceptable one. We do not determine what things are wrong by "inherent wrongness", but instead only determine it by the positive and negative consequences of the action."

In essence this is Consequentialism. Now, I do think that the underlying concept of Consequentialism is a useful idea to determine some moral truths, but to reduce our entire moral discourse to a question of whether "the ends justify the means" makes many of our moral concepts absurd; for example, incest, as you said would only be wrong because of the negative outcomes, and given a situation where the outcomes are positive, then incest would be okay. Similarly, pedophilia would be wrong, only inasmuch as it causes harm, and would be wrong if and only if, in the end some sort of negative consequence came from it. So logically, if a 14 year old has some relationship with a 30 year old teacher so long as there is no 'abuse', the child is not psychologically scarred, and is happy in the end, then pedophilia, in this instance would be okay.

Now, the point I mentioned above, has to do with the is/ought problem. You keep saying that we determine whether a moral issue is right or wrong based on 'reason', logic, and evidence, and seem to disagree that you could ever say that something is inherently wrong, so I'll attempt to prove that you actually do believe that somethings are inherently wrong.

I think both of us would agree that killing is wrong. But suppose we started asking why is killing wrong? We might respond with a reason,x. But we can further ask well why does x make killing wrong? We might respond with another reason, y, and we can continue in this way ad infinitum. This will eventually lead you to either at some point concede that morality is essentially not based on reason or that there are some basic moral beliefs; for example, that causing other people pain is inherently wrong etc.

Another reason to believe that morality is not based on 'logic', 'evidence' and 'reason' is to actually look at the arguments that we have supporting some of our moral ideas.

P1 Causing people harm is wrong.
P2 Killing people causes people harm.
Therefore, we ought not to kill people.

Logically, the conclusion does not follow from the premises. Even granted, the fact that killing IS wrong, it doesn't follow from these facts that we OUGHT not to kill people. So if we really followed 'logic and 'evidence' this would not lead us to say that there isn't anything wrong with killing, because one cannot derive an ought from an is. No fact can dictate that we ought to behave in a certain way. So as far as I can see, it seems more like our moral system has basic moral beliefs that are inherently wrong and from these we use sufficient reason to determine what is right and wrong.
MailboxVegetable

Con

I have to admit, this is turning out to be a rather interesting debate about the ethics of certain choices. I've really enjoyed this as I've had to think very deeply of why certain things are wrong.

"In essence this is Consequentialism. Now, I do think that the underlying concept of Consequentialism is a useful idea to determine some moral truths, but to reduce our entire moral discourse to a question of whether "the ends justify the means" makes many of our moral concepts absurd; for example, incest, as you said would only be wrong because of the negative outcomes, and given a situation where the outcomes are positive, then incest would be okay."

Well, isn't the ultimate goal of morality to bring about the most positive and least negative outcomes for all parties involved? I'd honestly have a hard time accepting a morality with a different goal in mind. Because that's what I think objective morality is: in any given situation, the objectively moral choice is the one that provides the most positive and least negative outcomes above all other actions. I think any other definition or goal of someone else's morality would be wrong and irrational. There is always a choice that provides the most positive and least negative outcome, and I think the only way we can have objective morality is by trying to find that choice in any given situation.

"Similarly, pedophilia would be wrong, only inasmuch as it causes harm, and would be wrong if and only if, in the end some sort of negative consequence came from it. So logically, if a 14 year old has some relationship with a 30 year old teacher so long as there is no 'abuse', the child is not psychologically scarred, and is happy in the end, then pedophilia, in this instance would be okay."

Before I begin my response, I want to give everyone reading something to think about. It seems as though we are more uncomfortable with issues of sex rather than violence. It's legal to kill a pig for food and keep the pig in tortured and horrible conditions for the duration of its lifetime, but a man raping a pig is what would land him in jail. I'm not defending bestiality in any way, and in fact I'm saying that both torture and bestiality should be illegal to ensure animals with rights and well-being. But what does it say about our society when it appears that tortured conditions for animals are okay but bestiality is the sick and perverse practice? It lends credit to the thought that we are way more uncomfortable about issues of sex rather than issues of violence. Bestiality would be the lesser evil than tortured conditions, but we turn a blind eye to one while calling the other completely disgusting.

I have a theory for why we sometimes deem things wrong in every situation, even though it is not always the case. Lying is probably wrong I would say 90 percent of the time, but in certain situations it is better to deceive someone than to be honest (the man hiding jews from the Nazis for example). Incest on the other hand is probably irrational and wrong 99.9999 percent of the time. It makes sense that people would just assume that it is always wrong all the time since they just estimate the number to be 100 percent. So I want to make this clear before I say something extremely controversial: statutory rape is wrong and causes damage 99.999999999999999999999999 percent of the time and should never be considered in situations because of the lasting physical and psychological harm it will invariably inflict upon minors. There is usually manipulation, rationalization, overpowering, and many other factors that cause incidents of statutory rape to cause lasting physical and more importantly psychological harm to the victims. It may cause the victims to have nightmares, uncomfortable thoughts, emotional instability, and may plague the victim to have unhealthy relationships when they are older.

That being said, there may be other people like Richard Dawkins who are very cold and insensitive, and as a result these extremely rare people may not be bothered by statutory rape from their childhood. Actually, there may be a person who would be happy that they had a relationship with their 30 year old teacher when they were 14. The age of consent varies from state to state and country to country, with some countries and states having their legal age of consent set at 16 or 14. I personally believe the current 18 years old as the age of consent in my state is the law that will produce the most positive and least negative effects.

If no manipulation is used, the child consents or initiates, no psychological harm is done to the child, the child is generally happy, the child is not deterred from studying or any other potentially negative effects that could result, the action does not cause the teacher to cause any harm to children by statutory rape in the future, and if no harm ever results from this instance (which would be an extremely rare case that I doubt would exist), then I am forced to say that objectively speaking, the instance caused no harm. My rationality has to conclude that if this specific instance did not cause any harm and actually brings about the most positive effects of any other option, then there is no harm done.

But if police were to find out, the law should still be forced to punish the teacher. Because if the law didn't punish the teacher, then people would undoubtedly be in an outrage, and pedophiles may think that their urges are okay in certain instances which could lead them to cause harm in the future. So we would still have to punish the teacher so that the teacher will never do this again and potentially cause harm, and so that pedophiles won't think that it is acceptable and subsequently cause psychological harm to a child. And again, I doubt there is a case of statutory rape that resulted in no harmful effects whatsoever.

In order to come to the right objectively moral conclusion, we have to put away our feelings and remain objective. That is exactly what I have done above, and that's what I would advise other people do in order to ensure the most positive and least negative outcomes.

"I think both of us would agree that killing is wrong. But suppose we started asking why is killing wrong? We might respond with a reason,x. But we can further ask well why does x make killing wrong? We might respond with another reason, y, and we can continue in this way ad infinitum. This will eventually lead you to either at some point concede that morality is essentially not based on reason or that there are some basic moral beliefs; for example, that causing other people pain is inherently wrong etc."

Well sure, pain and suffering are inherently negative. They wouldn't be pain and suffering if they weren't inherently negative. Killing is almost always wrong because it ends the conscious existence of the person, essentially taking away every positive experience they will ever have in the future and causing pain to them while they are dying. You may ask why this is wrong, and I will say because it takes away positive experiences and causes negative experiences. If you ask why this is wrong, I will say that because the goal of morality is to bring the most positive and least negative outcomes, killing in this instance has resulted in a less positive and more negative outcome than if the man were allowed to live. By definition, killing the man would be immoral because it has lessened positive experience and heightened negative experience.

At least that's how I view morality. I think that if anyone says that morality's goal is not to bring about the best outcomes for all parties involved, then they have a twisted definition of morality that describes a different idea entirely. We may not have a logical reason to bring about the best outcomes for everybody except for our pro social and empathetic nature, but the objectively moral choice exists with every situation. I think a lot of people try to find out what that choice is, but are usually plagued by their irrationality or their selfishness.

Before we end this debate, I want you to answer this question: if certain things are inherently wrong and not determined by rational and logical arguments, then how do we determine what is right and wrong? People have so many different opinions about such things, so I think it would be impossible to know what the correct conclusion is if logical arguments cannot determine it. Ultimately, consequentialism seems to be the most rational and objective moral theory created so far. It does not rely on human opinion or emotion, but only deals with the suffering or negative consequences of any given action. The objectively moral choice exists independent of human opinion, and the best way to arrive at it is by logical reasoning.
Debate Round No. 3
foreduca

Pro

"Well, isn't the ultimate goal of morality to bring about the most positive and least negative outcomes for all parties involved? I'd honestly have a hard time accepting a morality with a different goal in mind."

I do think that morality to some extent is about providing the most positive and the least negative, but this is not the case in every moral situation. Consider Phillipa Foot's 'Trolley Problem' as well as 'the fat man' variation by Judith Thomson. I'll quote from Wikipedia:

The trolley problem

"There is a runaway trolley barrelling down the railway tracks. Ahead, on the tracks, there are five people tied up and unable to move. The trolley is headed straight for them. You are standing some distance off in the train yard, next to a lever. If you pull this lever, the trolley will switch to a different set of tracks. However, you notice that there is one person on the side track. You do not have the ability to operate the lever in a way that would cause the trolley to derail without loss of life (for example, holding the lever in an intermediate position so that the trolley goes between the two sets of tracks, or pulling the lever after the front wheels pass the switch, but before the rear wheels do). You have two options: (1) Do nothing, and the trolley kills the five people on the main track. (2) Pull the lever, diverting the trolley onto the side track where it will kill one person. Which is the correct choice?"

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

Already, this is a moral dilemma, but I suppose you could say that switching the lever to the side track and allowing one person to die rather than five would be far better than doing nothing at all, but consider the fat man variation:

As the previous situation
"a trolley is hurtling down a track towards five people. You are on a bridge under which it will pass, and you can stop it by dropping a heavy weight in front of it. As it happens, there is a very fat man next to you "" your only way to stop the trolley is to push him over the bridge and onto the track, killing him to save five. Should you proceed?"

In this case, it becomes very different because now you are faced with the opportunity to maximize the positives; saving five lives with the use of one, but still this seems morally abhorrent. In this case Consequentialism seems useless because it seems morally contemptible to push this man onto the trolley, so this cannot be what morality is all about; it is in some cases, but not all.

" It's legal to kill a pig for food and keep the pig in tortured and horrible conditions for the duration of its lifetime, but a man raping a pig is what would land him in jail. I'm not defending bestiality in any way, and in fact I'm saying that both torture and bestiality should be illegal to ensure animals with rights and well-being."

I've actually thought about this before. Honestly, I eat meat, but i feel something in the back of my mind is telling me it's wrong. There is something that I'd like to mention that might complicate the issue a bit. You said "to ensure animals with rights" I agree with you that bestiality is definitely something that should be outlawed, I'll admit I'm still struggling about eating the meat part, however, when we say that animals have rights, wouldn't this in some way also app to the fact that we take baby animals away from their parents in order to keep them as pets? Also, what even gives us the right to own animals in the first place and to keep them as pets. Why do we take them away from their natural habitats and put them in zoos, often times against their will only for our amusement. This is another part of the equation I think we have to look into.

On Pedophilia
"My rationality has to conclude that if this specific instance did not cause any harm and actually brings about the most positive effects of any other option, then there is no harm done."

Again, I just disagree with you on this one. I must admit however, that I respect you for sticking to the logical conclusion, however wrong I think it might be.

"But if police were to find out, the law should still be forced to punish the teacher."

I find some inconsistency in this statement. Following your reasoning, you would be encouraging the law to convict and otherwise punish, in your opinion, an innocent man. This would not seem to be a moral thing to do. What I think, and quite naturally, is that, while you say it's okay in theory, in practice it is hard to believe that pedophilia could ever be justifiable.

"Before we end this debate, I want you to answer this question: if certain things are inherently wrong and not determined by rational and logical arguments, then how do we determine what is right and wrong? People have so many different opinions about such things, so I think it would be impossible to know what the correct conclusion is if logical arguments cannot determine it."

It's important to note that I never said that all things were inherently wrong and that we didn't use arguments to determine moral truths, I said that somethings are inherently wrong and that it isn't wholly irrational to believe this. I think there is a similarity between moral philosophy and Epistemology, at least at the most basic level. Both have this tendency to be reduced to this infinite regress of questioning, which ultimately questions the very foundation of itself. I think Foundationalism is a suitable answer to the basic question of Epistemology; I think there are properly basic beliefs, ones we might call a priori. I think the range of these a priori beliefs are vast; so they range from mathematical concepts to logical concepts (concepts about the nature of logic and reasoning) to concepts about the uniformity of nature and of course moral concepts. So I tend to agree with G.E. Moore when he says that "goodness cannot be defined" I think it's almost like asking to define the color blue, it seems to be a very basic way to categorize sentient and conscious actions. So I think in the same way that 2+2=4 is true, independent of any reason, that causing people pain is wrong is also true, independent of any reason.

Now to answer the real brunt of your question "People have so many different opinions about such things, so I think it would be impossible to know what the correct conclusion is if logical arguments cannot determine it." The mere fact that people have differing opinions about an issue, in the absence of a reason to believe it, does not push us into a state of ignorance. This would mean that if someone started disagreeing with me or had differing opinions about the color of the sky , then I wouldn't know whether or not the sky is blue because we would be relying on the same logical argument, namely sense perception as evidence. So I don't think this is a real challenge. What I must stress however, is that while we might have knowledge of basic moral truths, this does not imply that we know every moral truth or that we will ever know every moral truth, in fact it is quite obvious that we don't know everything about morality. In essence I think morality functions like any other form of knowledge, we have basic beliefs about it and from these basic beliefs we use arguments to derive new knowledge about it.
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Con

Ah yes, the trolley problem. Ignoring the obvious problems of how a fat man could weigh enough to stop a trolley and how you could subsequently push that extremely heavy man over a bridge, I would of course choose to throw the fat man over the bridge. That would undoubtedly bring some appalled commentators to exclaim, "you would push an innocent man off of a bridge?" To which I would respond with the same mirrored disgust, "you would let five innocent people die rather than one?"

I understand that people have different opinions over whether it is worse to let five people die when you could save them or to murder one man, but the objective facts remain clear: one instance would cause significant and major depression and harm over the other. At the very least, I find it inconsistent to divert the tracks in the one scenario but to not push the man off of the bridge in the other one. The cause of this inconsistency is undoubtedly our emotions clouding our judgement.

http://www.philosophyexperiments.com...

This link will take you to a test that will evaluate just how much your emotions play into your moral judgements. I urge everyone reading to take this test since it is very enlightening on the subject of intuition and disgust vs logic. It gives credence to the thought that many people only decide what is right or wrong based on what bothers or disgusts them rather than legitimate reasons.

One of the consequences of this tendency to let emotions play into moral judgements is the issue of homosexuality. We find that instead of homophobes giving legitimate reasons for why homosexuality is wrong, they appeal to either emotions by saying it is unnatural or disgusting, or they make appeals to authority by saying that their Holy book says it's an abomination. All attempts of logical arguments I have seen so far have been fallacious and irrational. And it appears as though you would agree with me that homosexuality causes no harm to anyone and would indeed provide positive effects for homosexuals. It doesn't matter if it brings you feelings of discomfort or disgust; homosexuality is not in any sense wrong.

Ultimately, I'm still confused as to how you suggest we determine homosexuality's "inherent wrongness". I suggest that the best course of action would be to weigh the consequences of the situation. Since I am running out of time after being extremely busy with work, I must conclude my argument. Homosexuality is completely morally acceptable because of the positive outcomes. No knew feelings should determine it, but rather logical evidence should.
Debate Round No. 4
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1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by bladerunner060 2 years ago
bladerunner060
foreducaMailboxVegetableTied
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Total points awarded:03 
Reasons for voting decision: The debate went off on an interesting tangent on the nature of moral choices, but fundamentally, Pro gave no reason for homosexuality to be wrong outside of an appeal to "inherent wrongness" that he never supported and, to some extent, conceded he *couldn't* support. He tried to draw an analogy, and came up against disagreement from Con that he couldn't address about his incest analogy--let alone his arguments regarding homosexuality. And as Con noted in R1, even if we accept that it's wrong intuitively, there are times our intuition leads us astray. Everything else seemed equal enough, so arguments to Con. As always, happy to clarify this RFD.