The Instigator
Doulos1202
Pro (for)
Losing
52 Points
The Contender
rogue
Con (against)
Winning
62 Points

Is morality Objective?

Do you like this debate?NoYes+7
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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 21 votes the winner is...
rogue
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 1/18/2011 Category: Philosophy
Updated: 6 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 15,852 times Debate No: 14424
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (78)
Votes (21)

 

Doulos1202

Pro

I have challenged con to the debate on the topic of morality and if it is objective or subjective. I will take the stance that morality is objective and a universal standard does exist. I do believe that morality is looked at subjectively from all standards and as this increases it opens a larger window of terrible acts throughout society. I will use the dictionary definition of morality as the foundation of our debate. For the purpose of a thorough debate I will state that I do believe in a transcendent law giver (the Christian God) who has "hardwired" us with a moral code which over thousands of years people grew away from, especially during the enlightenment period where everyone wanted to think for and remove themselves from these so called "moral obligations".

Morality: conformity to the rules of right conduct; moral or virtuous conduct.

Rules: If the opponent wishes to present arguements from her previous debates against the existence of God (whether philosophical or scientific) I am fine with that. I am looking forward to this debate and would like to thank con for accepting.
rogue

Con

Thank you Pro for challenging me to this debate.

I will start with responses to your opening statements.

" I will take the stance that morality is objective and a universal standard does exist." I think this is an extremely hard thing to prove. Almost every culture from the beginning of the human race up to now has had very different standards and beliefs about what is moral and what isn't. There are actions that are frowned upon greatly by first world countries that still happen in third world that are considered normal and even to be honorable traditions. Take for example female genital mutilation. This is a highly dangerous and painful operation that tribes in Africa and the Middle east consider to be a coming of age ritual and men consider it to be an attractive feature. In Africa, women and children are constantly raped by the men and none of the native try to stop it. In India, "untouchables" are raped, beaten, and lynched, things that are not tolerated by western civilizations, but in India this is morally fine because of their belief that someone born as an "untouchable" did something awful in a past life to become one.

" I do believe that morality is looked at subjectively from all standards and as this increases it opens a larger window of terrible acts throughout society." -This supports my point. If there is no code for morality that is written by a greater power then humans must decide for themselves individually what is moral and immoral. You may say God decides, but in every religious book, not just christian, a HUMAN wrote the morals. There is no evidence supporting that "god" wrote these morals but the writer's claim.

When the human race was evolving into what it is today, they did not have morals that were already in their heads, they did what they needed to survive. Morals were a human invention to keep people from doing things that might stop the species from surviving. Things such as incest, beastiality, homosexuality, mass murder, etc. Cheating on your spouse became immoral because people wanted to know who the children belonged to.

If morals were objective, wouldn't we all have the same morals? Or at least more similar morals?

That is all the argument I think I need for now. I look forward to Pro's response.
Debate Round No. 1
Doulos1202

Pro

First a broad response then detailed responses to follow.

The man who says it is morally acceptable to rape little children is just as mistaken as the man who says 2+2= 5.
-Michael Ruse (Philosopher of science)

There are some things that truly are wrong. We see right and wrong at its best not by action but by reaction. Even in the most remote of tribes who have been cut off from the rest of civilization observe a moral code or conduct similar to everyone elses. Civil matters do certainly differ but virtues like bravery and loyalty and vices like greed and cowardice are universal. If man were responsible for that code, it would differ as much as every other thing that man has invented. Rarely do people ever live up to their own moral code. Where, then, do we get these ideas of what should be done? Common proposals of social evolution is the herd instinct argument. By herd instinct I mean doing things for the good of society and community growth. Now I do not deny that we all have this instinct but it is not the basis of morality or why we choose to do good vs. evil. We all know what it feels like to be prompted by instinct- by mother love, or sexual instinct, or the instinct for food. It means that you feel a strong want or desire to act in a certain way. And of course, we sometimes do feel just that sort of desire to help another person: and no doubt that desire is due to the herd instinct. But feeling a desire to help is quite different from feeling you ought to help whether you want to or not.

Ethics is not naturally selected. In almost all mammalian societies (herbivorous herd animals, carnivorous dogs and cats), ethics are selected against. In other words, he who has the biggest teeth, strongest muscles, most aggressiveness, etc. gets to mate the most (even exclusively, in most cases within the herd/pack). Genetics always selects those individuals who can produce the most offspring. Being nice doesn't cut it. Virtually no other primate species displays any kind of ethics. A chimpanzee would never be offended if someone stole another chimp's food. They only get mad when somebody steals their food. Evolution provides no stable foundation for morality. If evolution is the source of morality, then whats to stop morals from evolving (changing) to the point that one day rape, theft and murder are considered moral?

"Take for example female genital mutilation. This is a highly dangerous and painful operation that tribes in Africa and the Middle east consider to be a coming of age ritual and men consider it to be an attractive feature. In Africa, women and children are constantly raped by the men and none of the native try to stop it".

Id like to quote Victor Frankl who is a neurologist and psychiatrist.

"The gas chambers of Auschwitz were the ultimate consequence of a theory that man is nothing but the product of hereditary and environment or at the Nazi's like to say, blood and soil. I am absolutely convinced that the gas chambers of Auschwitz, Treblinka, and Majdenak were ultimately prepared not in some ministry but at the desks and in lecture halls of nihilistic scientists and philosophers".

I do believe strongly when humans are looked at in such an impersonal fashion heinous acts are done to the innocent and is simply shrugged away as moral relativism. The government of Uganda actually passed a law in 2009 that bans female genital mutilation. No wear is this taboo practice found morally acceptable. The topical fact that is not only demoralizing but also traumatizing for these woman should show that this is an absolutely evil thing being done. FGM has been banned not only in Uganda but in several African nations such as Burkina Faso, Djibouti and also the Central African Republic; Ghana, Guinea, Senegal, and Togo. FGM is commonly mistaken for religous purposes when really its a cultural practice. They are called rituals in order to rationalize that what they were doing was is good instead of evil. If morals were subjective there would be no need to call these acts "rituals". The fact that this still exists today does not validate moral relativism. An absolute moral law can exist even if people fail to know the right thing to do in a particular situation.

"If there is no code for morality that is written by a greater power then humans must decide for themselves individually what is moral and immoral. You may say God decides, but in every religious book, not just christian, a HUMAN wrote the morals. There is no evidence supporting that "god" wrote these morals but the writer's claim".

I think it is quite obvious what the result is of a subjective morality. When people are the victims of bad behavior, they have no trouble understanding that the behavior is absolutely wrong. While people may get morality wrong in complicated situations, they don't get it wrong on the basics. For example, everyone knows murder is wrong. Hitler knew it. That's why he had to dehumanize the Jews in order to rationalize killing them. Many of the Nazi's who followed Hitler were extremely pyscologicaly damaged and tormented by the things they were asked to do. When you are wronged you seek justice, when you are rewarded with something you do not deserve you feel guilt. There is a subconcious overwhelming sense of objective right and wrong that cannot be ignored. As far as the author of scripture, yes it was written by man but it was God breathed meaning it was His words through them. For the sake of the 2570 characters remaining in this discussion I will stick with the main topic.
rogue

Con

"There are some things that truly are wrong." - How or from where do you get the authority or validation to say that? There is no solid bass for that statement.

"Even in the most remote of tribes who have been cut off from the rest of civilization observe a moral code or conduct similar to everyone elses." That is very untrue based upon the evidence given by my previous arguments.

"Civil matters do certainly differ but virtues like bravery and loyalty and vices like greed and cowardice are universal. If man were responsible for that code, it would differ as much as every other thing that man has invented."- That is untrue as well. Many times in history a mutinous group of people, such as the british colonists in America are made out to be heros and in the right if they are victorious. If someone who is considered to be "brave" for going out into the battlefield dies in battle, many soldiers will think of his bravery as stupidity and their "cowardice" as wisdom. Also, greed and gluttony is not always frowned upon. In Ancient China, if you were fat that was good because it was a sign of prosperity that you could afford so much food. In America today, people idolize many rich people who have sickening amount of surplus money and don't give much of it to help others like Paris Hilton. Not to mention that these traits or judgments are completely subjective and while one person many think someone is greedy, another person may not.

"If evolution is the source of morality, then whats to stop morals from evolving (changing) to the point that one day rape, theft and murder are considered moral?"

If you read my other post you would see that in some cultures rape is considered alright. As for murder, in Roman culture gladiators would murder each other in a ring for other peoples' entertainment. As for theft, some people think that taxes are theft. I personally view that the underpayment of so many people is theft. But do all people see these things are immoral? No. Therefore morals are subjective.

"Ethics is not naturally selected."- This is true. But, natural selection is the cause for some similarities in cultures. Traits were decided as good or bad based on whether they bettered the race or group or not. Even the examples you gave, bravery, loyalty, greed, and cowardice go along with this theory. Bravery would be rewarded because when tribes had to fight each others they needed people to not be afraid to fight, so it is a desirable trait for the race. If people kept leaving the tribe or similar organization the tribe would suffer, so loyalty was rewarded, another desirable trait for the race. Greed was discouraged because if people were greedy people in the tribe wouldn't get enough of some resources and be unhealthy or unhappy, so this was an undesirable trait. Cowardice was discouraged because if a tribe was attacked and no one fought back the tribe would be taken over, another undesirable trait.

"I do believe strongly when humans are looked at in such an impersonal fashion heinous acts are done to the innocent and is simply shrugged away as moral relativism." This has no logical evidence to support this. Many moral relativists, like me, never break the law and do good things. The people that do horrible things might be moral relativists, but that doesn't mean they do those things because they are moral relativists. There are lots of theists over the years, like in the Salem witch trials who believed morality objective and did terrible things. It does explain why Hitler thought what he was doing was moral though.

"The government of Uganda actually passed a law in 2009 that bans female genital mutilation. No wear is this taboo practice found morally acceptable." Maybe governments condemn it but that means nothing. That is to look good to the rest of the world that thinks it immoral. FGM is still a problem because too many people see it as ok. If morality was objective, then no one or everyone would be doing FGM.

"If morals were subjective there would be no need to call these acts "rituals". " Actually this support morals being subjective. They call them "rituals" so that they can convince others that it is moral as they do. They also have to call them rituals because morals are subjective and other groups decide they are immoral.

"An absolute moral law can exist even if people fail to know the right thing to do in a particular situation." This is an unsupported assertion.

"When people are the victims of bad behavior, they have no trouble understanding that the behavior is absolutely wrong." This is most definitely wrong. Many victims or physical, mental, and sexual abuse do no know that they are victims. They don't know the behavior is wrong, in fact, many of them think is is normal out of ignorance. When these victims get upset about these things they usually blame themselves and think they deserved the treatment or something is wrong with them. I know from experience, I was a victim of a much milder but still damaging form of mental abuse.

"While people may get morality wrong in complicated situations, they don't get it wrong on the basics." What exactly are the basics and how can you prove they are the basics?
" For example, everyone knows murder is wrong. Hitler knew it. That's why he had to dehumanize the Jews in order to rationalize killing them." He had to rationalize killing them to get others to join. If he knew it was immoral then why did he do it? I think Hitler thought he was doing the right thing.

"When you are wronged you seek justice, when you are rewarded with something you do not deserve you feel guilt." Neither of these things is always true. Sometimes people are wise enough to know that justice won't make things better. Some people are happy when they get a free ticket to success. Then there are sociopaths which have no moral compass. If everyone has a feeling of right and wrong where do they fit it?

"here is a subconcious overwhelming sense of objective right and wrong that cannot be ignored." Except sociopaths don't even have that sense. According to you Hitler and people who perform FGM ignore it. If we all have this sense of right and wrong why don't we agree on it?

"As far as the author of scripture, yes it was written by man but it was God breathed meaning it was His words through them." Is there any solid evidence for this claim? Couldn't humans have given it meaning?
Debate Round No. 2
Doulos1202

Pro

PRO
Con has given very brief and weightless (being generous) refutations of why she feels that morals are subjective. I will be happy to add as much evidence as I can to previous proposals and answer to con's arguments.

CON
"How or from where do you get the authority or validation to say that? There is no solid bass for that statement".

PRO
I believe I mentioned earlier in my initial argument that I believe in a transcendent law giver (i.e. God) who has implemented an objective moral standard in each of us. Not only are we given this standard but we have the gift of free will on whether or not we wish to live by it. Many philosophers (enlightenment period) have proposed subjective ways of thinking, but each falter by simple dismantling with the use of logic. I believe man is finite and is incapable of having overall authority of what is right and wrong; however I do believe in a God who does have this authority. If naturalism is true, it becomes impossible to condemn war, oppression, or crime as morally wrong. Some action, say, incest, may not be biologically or socially advantageous, and so in the course of human evolution it has become taboo. But there is nothing really wrong about raping someone, if morality is subjective. The nonconformist who chooses to flout the herd morality is doing nothing more morally wrong than being uncultured. Nor, by the same token, can one praise brotherhood, equality, or love as good. It really doesn't matter what values you choose, for there is no right and wrong, which we all know there is.

CON
"That is untrue as well. Many times in history a mutinous group of people, such as the british colonists in America are made out to be heros and in the right if they are victorious. If someone who is considered to be "brave" for going out into the battlefield dies in battle, many soldiers will think of his bravery as stupidity and their "cowardice" as wisdom".

PRO
Being a combat medic I am actually appalled by this statement of complete ignorance. Courageous men fight and die on the battlefield in hopes that good will come out of a seemingly hopeless battle. Though few support the act of war, many support the men and women who give their lives for the protection of our nation. I would ask that you give evidence for reasons why you believe cowardice to be a wise tactic in combat seeing how the very opposite is demanded.

"Battle is the most magnificent competition in which a human being can indulge. It brings out all that is best; it removes all that is base. All men are afraid in battle. The coward is the one who lets his fear overcome his sense of duty. Duty is the essence of manhood"
-General George Patton.

"The brave man inattentive to his duty is worth little more to his country than the coward who deserts in the hour of danger".
-Andrew Jackson

"There is a certain enthusiasm in liberty that makes human nature rise above itself, in acts of bravery and heroism".
-Alexander Hamilton

"An Indian respects a brave man, but he despises a coward".
-Chief Joseph

Cowardice: lack of courage to face danger, difficulty, opposition, pain.

CON
"Also, greed and gluttony is not always frowned upon. In Ancient China, if you were fat that was good because it was a sign of prosperity that you could afford so much food. In America today, people idolize many rich people who have sickening amount of surplus money and don't give much of it to help others like Paris Hilton. Not to mention that these traits or judgments are completely subjective and while one person many think someone is greedy, another person may not".

PRO
This is a vague statement and virtually empty of facts or evidence. You make countless objective statements on morality but fail to recognize them. We see too often the result of wealth when abused. I can't think of one person who idolizes a CEO who lays off X amount of people in order to increase his income. Simply by you making the statement that people have a "sickening amount of money" is objective (using logic). Whether or not people are idolized holds no bearing on morality so I am not sure where you are going with this argument but I will entertain it. As far as Paris Hilton goes I believe many will agree that she is hardly idolized but more so looked as a spoiled individual with no values. For the sake of the argument I will not go into detail on the morality of Paris Hilton. Further into greed and gluttony we know today that simply because a person is fat does not imply that they are wealthy. If anything it is either a lack of discipline as far as diet goes or some medical condition. A person's weight does not determine success. There are genetic causes of obesity and environmental, differentiating between the two is the first step in treatment. Scientist have also discovered how stress drastically impacts weight gain (http://www.medicalnewstoday.com...). Believe it or not the things you have to say about money and how people handle it coincides with the Bible.

"Whoever loves money never has money enough; whoever loves wealth is never satisfied with his income. This too is meaningless". (Ecclesiastes 5:10)

"A generous man will himself be blessed, for he shares his food with the poor". (Proverbs 22:9)

"The righteous care about justice for the poor, but the wicked have no such concern." (Proverbs 29:7)

"Of prosperity mortals can never have enough."
-Aeschylus (525–456 B.C.), Greek tragedian

CON
"This is most definitely wrong. Many victims or physical, mental, and sexual abuse do no know that they are victims. They don't know the behavior is wrong, in fact, many of them think is is normal out of ignorance. When these victims get upset about these things they usually blame themselves and think they deserved the treatment or something is wrong with them. I know from experience, I was a victim of a much milder but still damaging form of mental abuse".

PRO
I'd like to first point out your objective statement of "This is most definitely wrong". That is about as objective as it gets, you are validating my arguments while presenting your own. I have spent quite some time working with psych patients who have been victim of such things. You are far from right to say that they do not know the behavior is wrong. The result of their anxiety/depression/mental abuse is due to "wrong" actions done towards them which can even cause an altered mental state. I have worked with many Psychologists and discussed the damaging effects of both physical and verbal abuse. Many choose to stay because they feel they have nowhere to go and or are afraid of further abuse if the situations escalate. Many also feel that they will never find anyone better for them and it is simply an expression of love from his/her partner or are in love with them so much that they are willing to look past the wrong being done to them. Here is the result of subjective morality, which brings me to my initial statement at the beginning of the debate. As society continues to look at morals subjectively, the window for horrible acts grows larger and larger.

CON
"If he knew it was immoral then why did he do it? I think Hitler thought he was doing the right thing".

PRO
For the sake of how much space I have left I urge both con and readers to check out link
http://www.whycenter.com...

CON
"As far as the author of scripture, yes it was written by man but it was God breathed meaning it was His words through them." Is there any solid evidence for this claim? Couldn't humans have given it meaning?

PRO
Like I said earlier this is a larger topic which would take us off the main discussion of the debate. If CON would like to have a separate discussion on the validity of scripture and it being divine I would be more than happy to.
rogue

Con

"I believe I mentioned earlier in my initial argument that I believe in a transcendent law giver (i.e. God) who has implemented an objective moral standard in each of us."- Your whole argument hinges on assuming that God is real. You have to evidence to support your claims. All you arguments are assertions.

"but each falter by simple dismantling with the use of logic."- How is the use of logic faltering? Logic and reason are a good and credible ways of determining things.

"however I do believe in a God who does have this authority."- This is a belief with no substantiated evidence.

"If naturalism is true, it becomes impossible to condemn war, oppression, or crime as morally wrong."- First of all we haven't defined naturalism so I will now.

naturalism- a. a manner or technique of treating subject matter that presents, through volume of detail, a deterministic view of human life and actions. b. a deterministic theory of writing in which it is held that a writer should adopt an objective view toward the material written about, be free of preconceived ideas as to form and content, and represent with clinical accuracy and frankness the details of life.

http://dictionary.reference.com...

Second, that sentence is a non-sequitur. If everyone decides for themselves what is moral and immoral for ourselves and we consider each opinion as valid, then I would suggest that the majority of peoples' stance should be the one supported by the government. If you do not like the majority's stance then you can try to convince them otherwise. Though we cannot back up the decision with "we know for certain this is morally wrong", the only way of determining that you have given is checking with God, and we all know god can't be proven or disproven so that is just as unsubstantiated.

"But there is nothing really wrong about raping someone, if morality is subjective. The nonconformist who chooses to flout the herd morality is doing nothing more morally wrong than being uncultured. Nor, by the same token, can one praise brotherhood, equality, or love as good. It really doesn't matter what values you choose, for there is no right and wrong, which we all know there is."- If we accept that morals are determined by oneself then if you find it morally wrong to rape, then for you, raping is morally wrong. One can praise brotherhood, equality, and love as moral of one believes them to be. Just because we do not have an absolute authority on what is right and wrong does not mean that things cannot be right and wrong. You cannot absolutely back up your opinion on what is right and wrong, but where can you do that anyway? We all know that we all have our own personal set of opinion on what is right and wrong, but there is not and never will be a universal agreement on what is right and wrong.

"Courageous men fight and die on the battlefield in hopes that good will come out of a seemingly hopeless battle."- That is your opinion.

"I would ask that you give evidence for reasons why you believe cowardice to be a wise tactic in combat seeing how the very opposite is demanded."- I did not say that I think that, but I know people who think that people who join the army are foolish because they are putting themselves right in harm's way. It is just another opinion. The point is that no one agrees on what actions and judgments are right and wrong, moral or immoral. There are infinite amounts of ways of thinking and so people will always have different stances on what is moral and immoral showing that morality is subjective.

"'Also, greed and gluttony is not always frowned upon. In Ancient China, if you were fat that was good because it was a sign of prosperity that you could afford so much food. In America today, people idolize many rich people who have sickening amount of surplus money and don't give much of it to help others like Paris Hilton. Not to mention that these traits or judgments are completely subjective and while one person many think someone is greedy, another person may not'".

As for my argument about fatness: http://www.foodmuseum.com...

As for Paris Hilton sadly I give you: http://community.parishilton.com...

As for thinking that everyone thinks that rich CEOs are good, right here on this site I found this: http://www.debate.org...

"Simply by you making the statement that people have a "sickening amount of money" is objective (using logic)."- What? This is a subjective opinion by me. All opinions are subjective. If this is logically objective please explain. Didn't you say that logic was not credible earlier?

"Further into greed and gluttony we know today that simply because a person is fat does not imply that they are wealthy."- Did I say today? No, I specifically said in history. The point is that opinions change a lot because they are subjective. In ancient cultures, being fat was good because it meant you were wealthy enough to afford a lot of food.

As to all of your Bible quotes, maybe my opinions coincide, but the point is that a lot of peoples' do not.

"I'd like to first point out your objective statement of "This is most definitely wrong". "- The statement is subjective because it is my opinion. If it was objective, you would agree with me, which you obviously don't.

"You are far from right to say that they do not know the behavior is wrong. The result of their anxiety/depression/mental abuse is due to "wrong" actions done towards them which can even cause an altered mental state. I have worked with many Psychologists and discussed the damaging effects of both physical and verbal abuse. Many choose to stay because they feel they have nowhere to go and or are afraid of further abuse if the situations escalate. Many also feel that they will never find anyone better for them and it is simply an expression of love from his/her partner or are in love with them so much that they are willing to look past the wrong being done to them."- It is true to say that some do know that what is being done to them is wrong, but many don't. You merely have to see some interviews with patients who have been abused and many thought for a long time that they somehow deserved the abuse. This is especially common with cases with children.

http://www.healthyplace.com...

"As society continues to look at morals subjectively, the window for horrible acts grows larger and larger."- This is unsubstantiated. I have given much evidence that morality is different from person to person, culture to culture. Actions are considered "immoral" when most of society and/or the law is against it. If we had all agreed on morals throughout all of history and everywhere, morals would be objective. But obviously I have shown that is not so. The very fact that you say that society can switch to subjective morals is accepting that morals are subjective. If they were objective, there would be no switch. It is not like we had some code of morals before that everyone shared and now they are gone. There are so many other factors that contribute to these awful things that happen. Subjective morals cannot be blamed.
Debate Round No. 3
Doulos1202

Pro

PRO
This being the final round I will address as much as possible with as much reasoning and evidence as I can. I'd like to thank Con for engaging in such a controversial topic and hope that points will be awarded fairly.

I do believe you have misunderstood me on the following statement.

"Many philosophers (enlightenment period) have proposed subjective ways of thinking, but each falter by simple dismantling with the use of logic".

What I am stating in the argument is that many philosophers have proposed subjective worldviews. Each of these worldviews falls apart with the use of logic against it. We use logic daily; we are using it right now to determine whether or not morals are objective or subjective. As far as my basis for morality I will be happy to debate Con in the possibility of a God implementing morals Vs. Social Evolution in a separate debate.

CON
"The statement is subjective because it is my opinion. If it was objective, you would agree with me, which you obviously don't".

Here is my response using logic:

1. Object: to offer a reason or argument in opposition. (Verb form)
2. Con offers reasons/arguments/opposition for her belief.
3. Therefore Con offers an objective argument.

CON
"If we accept that morals are determined by oneself then if you find it morally wrong to rape, then for you, raping is morally wrong".

PRO
Humans are wired to understand the ethic of reciprocity. (Some, such as sociopaths, don't follow it, but they understand it.) That this is so suggests that it's an objective truth of the human condition that, on average, an individual who follows the Ethic benefits from it. A severe violation of the ethic, such as rape, is thus wrong in any moral framework. Even in moral egoism, rape is immoral because it results in a bad outcome for the rapist (and victim) over the long run, due to ostracism and retribution by the rest of society. Simply because an action such as rape is done does not validate it as morally acceptable. It would be like me misdiagnosing a patient and the patient dies. Does that make it ok because it happened, certainly not? Laws are implemented against such things because it is absolutely wrong to misdiagnosis a patient even if there are minimal damages to the patient's health. I am not sure you are aware of how expensive malpractice insurance is. As of 2009, the average cost for malpractice insurance for general surgeons hovered around $10,000 per year; for internal medicine, $4,000 per year; and for OB/GYNs, up to $17,000 per year.

The Average Cost for Medical Malpractice Insurance | eHow.com http://www.ehow.com...

If I were to use the same argument Con is proposing in a courtroom setting I would be butchered alive by the jury. I am sure if Con were to be mistreated by a careless physician justice would be sought. According to Con all the doctor would have to do is simply state "that's your opinion" and the jury could use this as substantial reason to have the case is closed. I urge con to put her worldview into practice and place herself in the victim's shoes. Assume that man makes all the rules. But when this is done, only popular opinion can be the winner. Are you willing to tell a rape victim that what happened to her wasn't wrong….Of course not.

CON
"It is true to say that some do know that what is being done to them is wrong, but many don't. You merely have to see some interviews with patients who have been abused and many thought for a long time that they somehow deserved the abuse. This is especially common with cases with children".

PRO
I have been involved with countless interviews of psyche patients over the past couple of years. Each victim of abuse or in some cases being the abuser knew that what was taking place was in fact wrong. Simply because a child does not understand what is going on at the time of abuse doesn't mean that it is morally acceptable. A child is born without any idea of airplanes but that holds no bearing on the existence of airplanes.

Trauma: an experience that produces psychological injury or pain. (Psychiatry)

Any experience that would cause psychological injury or pain is an ethical issue. The reason why therapy is offered is to assist recovery of present distress in an individual. Yes some are able to cope quicker than others so in that case would be subjective but once again holds no bearing that an absolute wrong action has taken place. I would urge my opponent to put her belief into actions and explain how it is morally acceptable to tell an abuse victim that the wrong that had happen to them is merely opinion.

"There is an absolute standard of right and wrong that is written on the hearts of every human being. People may deny it; they may suppress it, their actions may contradict it, but their actions reveal that they know it. Relativism is false. Human beings do not determine right and wrong. If human beings determined right and wrong, then anyone would be "right" in asserting that rape, murder, the Holocaust, or any other evil is not really wrong. But we know those are wrong intuitively through our consciences, which are all manifestations of the Moral Law".
-Dr. Frank Turek

"Human beings, all over the earth, have this curious idea that they ought to behave in a certain way, and cannot really get rid of it. Secondly that they do not in fact behave that way. They know the law of nature; they break it. These two facts are the foundation of all clear thinking about ourselves and the universe we live in".
-C.S. Lewis

CON
"This is unsubstantiated. I have given much evidence that morality is different from person to person, culture to culture. Actions are considered "immoral" when most of society and/or the law is against it. If we had all agreed on morals throughout all of history and everywhere, morals would be objective. But obviously I have shown that is not so. The very fact that you say that society can switch to subjective morals is accepting that morals are subjective. If they were objective, there would be no switch. It is not like we had some code of morals before that everyone shared and now they are gone. There are so many other factors that contribute to these awful things that happen. Subjective morals cannot be blamed".

I hate to say it but you have given me hardly any evidence but merely stated "that's your opinion" in several different ways. I never said in any of my arguments that society can switch to subjective morals I stated and I will simply copy and paste.

"As society continues to LOOK AT MORALS SUBJECTIVELY, the window for horrible acts grows larger and larger".

By everything being counted as "opinion" as you say, then Ted Bundy is no different than Mother Theresa. I believe this is sufficient to show that ethical relativism to be bankrupt. Though still popular for some to view in secular institutions and thought to be more tolerant, more open and more intellectually respectable to old fashioned absolutism. We have see that it is quite the opposite and is inconsistent with tolerance, closed off to the possibility of moral truth, and an intellectual failure.
rogue

Con

Here is my response using logic:

1. Object: to offer a reason or argument in opposition. (Verb form)
2. Con offers reasons/arguments/opposition for her belief.
3. Therefore Con offers an objective argument."

Object and objective and two different words with different meanings. The meaning of objective is: not influenced by personal feelings, interpretations, or prejudice; based on facts; unbiased: an objective opinion. source: http://dictionary.reference.com...

Obviously the statement I made was influenced by personal interpretations. Therefore that statement was subjective.

"Humans are wired to understand the ethic of reciprocity."

I do not see how you have given any evidence of this.

"That this is so suggests that it's an objective truth of the human condition that, on average, an individual who follows the Ethic benefits from it."

What evidence have you given to support this? How does this relate to morality being objective?

"A severe violation of the ethic, such as rape, is thus wrong in any moral framework."

Except I have negated that statement. In Africa and other third world countries, rape is rampant and in many communities it is normal and now frowned upon.

"Even in moral egoism, rape is immoral because it results in a bad outcome for the rapist (and victim) over the long run, due to ostracism and retribution by the rest of society."

That depends on whether the person is subject to the "rest of society" in the world, or in their own community. If rapists in Africa never encounter people who are not part of their community and culture, and many do not, then they will likely not be subject to ostracism or retribution.

"Simply because an action such as rape is done does not validate it as morally acceptable."

I did not imply that. I believe Pro misunderstood my argument. I meant that everyone decides for themselves what is moral and immoral. So, if a rapist in Africa believes rape is moral and his right as a man, as many do, then for him, rape is moral. That does not make it moral to you or me or most people. But we cannot prove that the action is immoral or moral because there is no absolute authority to decide what is moral or immoral. Moral and Immoral are judgments on an action. Judging if something is moral or immoral is as subjective as judging if someone is attractive or not. This is why some people will say that being gay is immoral while I will say it is moral. While I might find Keira Knightly to be gorgeous, maybe you do not. Since neither beauty or morality can be proved, it is left up to each person to decide for themselves what they believe to be true.

"I have been involved with countless interviews of psyche patients over the past couple of years. Each victim of abuse or in some cases being the abuser knew that what was taking place was in fact wrong."

This is completely irrelevant. Regardless of what experiences you have had, I have cited an article in the last argument in which patients say outright that they felt that they deserved the abuse they got and did not think it was wrong. In the article it also says that this belief is common. Therefore you cannot say that this belief never happens or is uncommon.

"I would urge my opponent to put her belief into actions and explain how it is morally acceptable to tell an abuse victim that the wrong that had happen to them is merely opinion."

There is no need to tell them that, but if I did, I would tell them that it is almost everyones' opinion that the abuse they received was immoral including mine. I am not telling them that what that person went through was morally acceptable, but that it is immoral in most peoples' opinions and we should be glad of it, since it is not that way in all places.

"'As society continues to LOOK AT MORALS SUBJECTIVELY, the window for horrible acts grows larger and larger'".

For one, if society is able to look at morals subjectively, that proves they are subjective. Two, this IS your opinion, well more of an assertion. You have no evidence to support that this is true. You have merely blamed horrible actions on people viewing morality as subjective. You have no proof that those people even thought that morals are subjective.

"By everything being counted as "opinion" as you say, then Ted Bundy is no different than Mother Theresa."

Have I ever said that EVERYTHING was an opinion? I have said that deciding whether something is moral or not is an opinion. As for Ted Bundy and Mother Theresa, they are obviously are different in many ways. Whether they are moral or immoral is your opinion. If you think that they are both equally moral or immoral, then in your opinion and in your reality they are. Most people will not agree with you, but they cannot prove you wrong. Just because moral judgments are opinions does not make them invalid or nonexistent.

My opponent wants to act as if everyone deep down has the same moral standards. As I have shown, this is just not true. Pro has also, especially in this round, gone off into several irrelevant subjects. I have sourced most of my assertions while Pro has not. I think I have presented my case the best I could have and have done as superior job than Pro. Thank you for reading and my opponent for participating. Vote Con.
Debate Round No. 4
78 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by Awe124 2 years ago
Awe124
It seems like people don't get the fact that just because people think they are doing something right, it doesn't mean it is! An objective moral standard will be true whether people believe it or not. 2 + 2 is an objective statement that will be true even if no-one believes it to be true.

Also, i believe that Con had a faulty argument because she made many objective statements. For example, to say that All morals are subjective is an objective statement, because you are saying that this is definitely true for everyone. So really, there was no argument. Pro should have won, logically.
Posted by Dimmitri.C 6 years ago
Dimmitri.C
Of course you can prove that something doesn't exist, for example: there is no such thing as a round square, any living Tyrannosaurs rex or polka dot geese. The theists position in this debate is specifically related to moral facts being grounded within the nature and goodness of God's being. If you wish to prove there are no moral facts, then you need to prove that God doesn't exist or that God's attributes are at least contradictory.

I don't think you proved that there are no moral facts, I think all you managed to do was prove that moral facts have been seen to differ within relatively circumstantial situations amongst varying societies. This is not a direct refutation of an objective morality. It's simply an irrelevant fact! It is true that moral facts have differed amongst varying societies but this says nothing about whether or not an objective morality exists. If you wish to show that an objective morality doesn't exist you will have to debate on the topic of whether or not God exists and whether or not His attributes are contradictory. I think this is what you misunderstood! You seem to think that the nature of mans beliefs (relative to the society.) somehow precludes the existence of an objective morality.

The conclusion you came to was logically irrelevant to whether or not an objective morality exists for all you had managed to prove was that differing societies have differing views in respect to moral facts.

All the best.
Posted by rogue 6 years ago
rogue
DimmitriC: I actually don't think you understood the debate. I didn't have to prove God doesn't exist. That was not part of the debate, in fact, you cannot prove that something doesn't exist. Pro has the burden of proof; he had to prove that there are "moral facts", which he did not. I proved that there are no "moral facts".
Posted by Dimmitri.C 6 years ago
Dimmitri.C
Con lost the argument when she failed to realise that a societies relative understanding of moral facts within relatively circumstantial situations is irrelevant to whether or not an objective morality exists. All Con has managed to do is show that there has been differing views of morality or schools of ethics--relative to time era, geographical positioning, etc,.--and nothing else. Con needed to show that God doesn't exist in order to refute pro's position. I don't think Con understood the argument and it's implications from the very beginning and has thus defeated herself.
Posted by DoubleT 6 years ago
DoubleT
The statement "Morality is objective" is such a black and white over generalization that all it takes is one example to refute it completely.

Hitler honestly believed what he was doing was for the greater good. He believed what he was doing was right and for the good of his people. Even though 99% o the world most likely disagrees with it. But the fact still remains that is was of his OPINION that was he was doing was right. Therefore, subjective.

Another example: I've met many different other men who don't see anything wrong with cheating on their significant other. But for everyone of those jerks I've also met nice guys who would never do such a thing.

Bang, end of discussion. This debate was over before it even began.
Posted by Zazzman 6 years ago
Zazzman
As pro started the debate and Con had a slow beginning, this quickly became a debate of "I win because you're wrong," which doesnt prove anything. With only examples, rather than evidence this was further expressed.

In Ethics, we must first define what makes an act right or wrong relative to alternatives. If an objective means to form such a basis exists, the best way to logically prove so would be to provide said basis and demonstrate it.

Pro did not do that. Visibly hoping to presuppose this condition from the beginning, he neglected to explicitly state the existence of God as a term for the debate, and simply stated his religious belief.

Assuming that there is an Objective basis for reality, there are only subjective means by which to perceive it. This being so, we can neither prove nor disprove it's existence. As Con's position was not clearly defined to state firmly that "Morality is Subjective", Con logically wins by default, even without the arguments presented by both participants.

If we allow the subjective idea to that human survival and social advancement is a positive thing to be considered objective for this debate, suddenly Pro has a case.

While particulars differ, social norms exist universally benefit the group. Murder is immoral, though distinct from execution.

Social cohesion and interconnectedness benefits the group, by making social bonds stronger, and allows more individuals to collaborate on projects which advance the group.

What is left is to provide a basis for morals which promotes that social cohesion. I propose Empathy as that basis. In all actions, empathy towards each individual and to the whole group provides means for maintaining social cohesion. (though I don't have the space left to prove it). When that is not possible, individuals' empathy allows the amicable splitting of that cohesion. When the other party cannot be empathetic, expulsion becomes necessary out of empathy for the theoretical perfectly empathic
Posted by Greyparrot 6 years ago
Greyparrot
You are a wise kitten.
Posted by tigg13 6 years ago
tigg13
@Greyparrot

That's a slippery slope that must moral objectivists don't want to get close to. They like to think of moral questions as following the law of the excluded middle. A choice is either right or it's wrong.

I personally think that, if morality is objective then it should be measurable and you should be able to line different moral options up against each other and notice a clear distinction between them. There are some who say that this can be done by measuring brain chemistry or help vs harm graphs. The problem is, these both measure the results of moral decisions not the decisions themselves.

The bottom line though, is that there is no way to assign levels of wrongness or rightness objectively to moral decisions because wrongness and rightness are themselves subjective ideas.
Posted by Greyparrot 6 years ago
Greyparrot
This wouldn't even be an issue if someone could authoritatively assert that an objectivist could assign levels of wrongness or rightness to actions. That is to say, a soldier could objectively be able to choose the lesser of two evils.
Posted by tigg13 6 years ago
tigg13
"Suppose there were two soldiers with the same orders. One of them felt it morally wrong to kill innocent people - that there would be other chances to kill the terrorist when innocent lives wouldn't be put in danger. The second soldier honestly believed that, he wouldn't have been given these orders if there was some other way; if the terrorist was allowed to live many more innocent lives would be lost than just those in the village, so he blows it up".

"Simply because an action is permitted or done does not make it morally subjective."

The fact that 2 different choices could be made and both can be seen as morally correct is what makes it morally subjective.

"Terrorism: the use of violence and threats to intimidate or coerce, esp. for political purposes.

Are you asserting that the definition above is morally permissable."

Permissible by who?

I'm asserting that there are people who do find your definition to be morally permissible given the situations they see themselves in. (Not that they should find it permissible, but that they do.)

I also don't think that labeling them as objectively immoral is going to change their minds. But mostly, I don't think anyone has the right to tell someone else what they should or should not believe is right. If you want to arrest them, punish them, imprison them, exile them or, even, kill them for the sake of what's best for society, that's ok. Because you have a right to your beliefs as well. But nobody should be allowed to control what other people think.

At least, that's what I believe.
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