The Instigator
rw499
Pro (for)
Losing
0 Points
The Contender
calculatedr1sk
Con (against)
Winning
10 Points

Is there absolute truth? Is there right and wrong?

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 2 votes the winner is...
calculatedr1sk
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 5/21/2013 Category: Religion
Updated: 3 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 957 times Debate No: 33997
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (13)
Votes (2)

 

rw499

Pro

I will allow my opponent to go first. Rules:
1. No swearing
2. Attack the argument, not the person.
calculatedr1sk

Con


Resolved: There are Absolute Moral Truths.


(see comments)


Any definitions will come from


http://www.merriam-webster.com...


“Absolute”, definition 4


“Moral”, definition 1a


“Truth”, definition 2a


Pro accepts BoP, and both generously and curiously gives me the opportunity to refute an argument which he hasn’t made yet. I’ll take it.


There are two ways, which I have encountered at least, of attempting to establish Absolute Moral Truth (AMT):


1) Divine Command Theory (DCT): Essentially, proposes that God’s command is what defines something as moral and good. There are quite a few problems with this, such as the Euthyphro dilemma, Leibniz challenge to Omnibenevolence, autonomy, and pluralism. So if he wants to trudge back down this well-travelled road, I’ll start by asking my opponent a very, very old question to see how he’ll answer:


Is the pious loved by the gods because it is pious, or is it pious because it is loved by the gods?


—Plato, Euthyphro [1]]



2) Science of Morality: The Philosopher and Neuroscientist Sam Harris recently argued in his book The Moral Landscape that moral truths do exist and can be known. Will my opponent ride out to face me alongside one of the Four Horsemen of the Atheist Apocalypse –and one of my own heroes? I tend to doubt it, but we shall see!


I thank my opponent for creating this debate, and am sure it will be an exciting one! Over to you, Pro.


[1] http://en.wikipedia.org...




Debate Round No. 1
rw499

Pro

I thank my opponent for accepting my challenge. I will be arguing DCT, and I will refer to the Christian God and Bible for evidence of this.

Ah, the famous Euthyphro dilemma. Not intending to be trapped by my own phraseology, I will respond in a way that you might find unusual: Piety is loved by God, and therefore, is loved by God because it is pious. 'Piety' is defined in the Merriam-Webster (Which we have agreed to use) as 'fidelity to natural obligations'. What God commands is pious, and, therefore, is moral and obligated. Whatever he says is law, so even things that we might consider 'wrong' could be 'right' if commanded by God. This is an absolute truth; that God's commands apply to everyone as 'right', whether we consider them right or wrong, and whether they realize it or not.

Now, as my opponent has asked me a question, I reserve the right to inquire one of him: Is what is fair right or wrong? (Remember: I am defending a Christian viewpoint. I will hold what the bible says as fact and valid.)
calculatedr1sk

Con

I thank my opponent for clarifying his intention to defend DCT from the Christian perspective, but note that he actually didn’t offer us any argument whatsoever yet.


In order for my opponent to meet his burden of proof, he must first prove all of the following:


1) God exists.


This is an incredibly difficult proposition to prove true, made all the more difficult because it is worse than false, it is incoherent. To provide merely one of the logical contradictions which ensue from the clumsy Abrahamic conception of God, who is classically thought of as a perfect being, and as omniscient, omnipotent, and omnipresent, consider this: If God is omnipotent, then he can create a creature with free will. However, if he is omniscient, then the future is already known to him, the fate of an individual is already determined, and that being essentially does not have any more free will than a character in a book which he has already read. [1] Even if my opponent manages to somehow untangle this paradox (good luck), he’s still got quite a bit more work ahead of him before the God Hypothesis is proven.


2) God’s view is not merely another form of arbitrary moral relativism.


Here’s a tremendous, possibly insurmountable problem for Pro. Even if the God idea made logically coherent sense, and even if he could be proven to exist, this elevates him to be no higher than the schoolyard bully of the universe. If there is nothing to underwrite God’s behavior and commands except “because I said so,” then he really provides no firmer a foundation for moral truth than Ouranos, Kronos, or Zeus would.


3) The God who created the universe also inspired the Old and New Testaments of the Bible.


It has been calculated that there could have been as many as 28,000,000 gods worshipped through the course of human history so far. [2] Xenu, the scientologist God, is a recent addition, and demonstrates that the number is still growing. Even if my opponent could pass requirement 1, and somehow give something worthwhile for requirement 2, we should still expect to be following the wrong god, and thus be doomed - merely as a matter of probability! Even if we narrowed the scale only to the religions which are still actively practiced in the world, we must consider that only 33% believe in a Christian God, and of these, Christians bicker even to the point of violent warfare over whether it is the Catholic, Lutheran, Calvinist, Baptist, Greek Orthodox, Russian Orthodox, etc... conception of the Christian God which is accurate and true. The moral truths believed by each of these groups differs – for example, is homosexuality a sin or isn’t it? Must we follow the Sabbath, or no? The list goes on. So where then do we get one “absolute moral truth” out of all this mess?



As far as I am concerned, the most sensible understanding of morality is expressed by Richard Dawkins, who “in the God Delusion suggested that our morality is a result of our biological evolutionary history and that the Moral Zeitgeist helps describe how morality evolves from biological and cultural origins and evolves with time within a culture. [3]



[1] http://www.sciforums.com...


[2] http://atheism.wikia.com...


[3] http://en.wikipedia.org...

Debate Round No. 2
rw499

Pro

rw499 forfeited this round.
calculatedr1sk

Con

Extend all arguments.
Debate Round No. 3
13 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by calculatedr1sk 3 years ago
calculatedr1sk
I understand. I'll be looking forward to the rematch.
Posted by rw499 3 years ago
rw499
I agree. I will challenge you to a new debate, Are there Absolute moral truths. I apologize for having forefeited.
Posted by StevenDixon 3 years ago
StevenDixon
There's absolute truth, there's no absolute morality.
Posted by calculatedr1sk 3 years ago
calculatedr1sk
I understand, I almost did that once too. We should probably debate again with more rounds anyway, three feels rushed.
Posted by rw499 3 years ago
rw499
May have to forfeit in on vacation
Posted by rw499 3 years ago
rw499
Yes. That sounds acceptable to me. Please begin.
Posted by calculatedr1sk 3 years ago
calculatedr1sk
No worries. Hmmm... that is inconvenient that they don't have Absolute Truth as a definition, but I like your idea.

For the word Absolute, I think definitions 4, 6a , and 9 are all good contenders, but it's your resolution, so we'll let it be your call.

For "truth", I think 2a makes the most sense, do you agree?

I would also suggest the addition of the word "Moral", (definition 1a) since that is really at the heart of what we want to get at. Otherwise, if I were to say something like "there are no absolute truths", then if that statement is true, it is also self-refuting.

So how about making it
Resolved: There are Absolute Moral Truths.

Sound good?
Posted by rw499 3 years ago
rw499
However, we could look up 'Absolute' and 'Truth' and cross-reference definitions. This would complicate the debate by giving room to interpret, though. What definition do you wish to use?
Posted by rw499 3 years ago
rw499
There is one vital problem: 'Absolute Truth' is not listed in the Merriam-Webster dictionary.
Posted by rw499 3 years ago
rw499
Resolved: There is an absolute truth. I agree with using merriam -webster for definitions. Thank you for accepting my challenge, and I apologize if I was unclear. By including 'Is there right and wrong' in my opening, I was informing my opponent that we may have to get in to that topic in order to resolve the first conflict. Please begin.
2 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 2 records.
Vote Placed by 1Devilsadvocate 3 years ago
1Devilsadvocate
rw499calculatedr1skTied
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Total points awarded:04 
Reasons for voting decision: F.F.
Vote Placed by Subutai 3 years ago
Subutai
rw499calculatedr1skTied
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Total points awarded:06 
Reasons for voting decision: FF.