The Instigator
RationalMadman
Con (against)
Losing
0 Points
The Contender
UltimateSkeptic
Pro (for)
Winning
6 Points

It is possible for an atheist to have a consistent morality of any kind

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 1 vote the winner is...
UltimateSkeptic
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 12/22/2012 Category: Philosophy
Updated: 4 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 894 times Debate No: 28526
Debate Rounds (5)
Comments (9)
Votes (1)

 

RationalMadman

Con

UltimateSkeptic had a debate with me over Secular Morality that I lost because it is impossible to assert moral absoluteness over moral relativity.

Then I realised the reason I lost is because the fundamental flaw I find in secular morality isn't that it is incorrect in and of itself but rather that there is a pure impossibility of having a moral compass of any kind and be atheist at the same time, after all no-one will punish you if you're not caught (according to atheists).

I have made this challenge out of good-hearted hope that UltimateSkeptic will perhaps have the decency to redo our debate on a more 'fair' playing field.
UltimateSkeptic

Pro

I like to think that I'm a pretty decent guy, so I accept my opponent's case. Though I fear that with the resolution he's applied he may have actually dug his own grave, so to speak.

Acceptance round


"there is a pure impossibility of having a moral compass of any kind and be atheist at the same time, after all no-one will punish you if you're not caught"~RationalMadman

This debate will not be centered on the existence of secular morality, but on the concept of whether atheists can choose what is good (or even know how to choose what is good) and act as morally sane individuals. The above statement implies that atheists know very well the difference between right and wrong, but there is just nothing stopping them from picking the wrong choice because they feel there is no punishment in the afterlife.

In this debate, I will be attempting to show the readers 3 very important points and prove them over my opponents stance on the issue of morality/moral codes in atheists.

1) Atheists can have consistent moral codes and exhibit consistent moral behavior.
2) Belief systems don't mirror behavior.
3) Punishment is not the standard for morality.


Thanks for the challenge madman, look forward to your next round.
Debate Round No. 1
RationalMadman

Con

We didn't define morality but I don't like the dictionary definition because it is not so good for our debate.

Morality: A consistent system of determining what really is a 'good' thing to do and a 'bad' thing to do EVEN IF the 'bad' thing seems a more beneficial option because it is a very dirty tactic.

Atheist: Someone who doesn't believe in a higher power of any kind for source of either morality nor consciousness.

Now I must explain the horror of modern day systems of finding morality (I am a moral nihilist but I realise that I need to find a false sense of morality in religion because without it I'd be a very nasty person oh my gosh).

ANYWAY...

If you really don't delude yourself of a god (I say delude because to an atheist reader to believe in any god(s) is inherently self-delusion) the what is there to fear if you rape your one year old daughter?

A one year old is likely to be so severely traumatised by how forceful and aggressive you were as you shouted "DO NOT TELL ANYONE IT IS A SECRET!" that they will never do it. They cannot pose as a threat of any kind (unless they do blab their mouth about the details which is like 0.001% of one year olds are that rebellious). So risk-wise you have very little to worry about APART FROM... Your emotional guilt and 'conscience' biting back at you. However there are clinically diagnosed psychopaths who, despite being perfectly sane (unlike sociopaths) they literally cannot feel any guilt for any degree of abuse they do unto others. How can such a person (I actually think in a way I am a psychopath) find any morality at all? Surely the only way is to create a source of constant terror of ETERNAL PAIN... Of that YOU ARE ALWAYS BEING WATCHED BY the eye of the supreme being of all. If I'm honest with you the only real reason I wouldn't, given the opportunity, rape someone who I took a fancy to if I figured there's pretty much no way I'd get found out and that they wouldn't even see my face is because I fear a later punishment of some kind brutally from fate. Perhaps I might get REALLY unlucky for rest of my life or in NEXT LIFE (Hindu and Buddhist religion here) perhaps I'll be eternally suffering (judeo philosophy here) this is what makes me go oh... Well what if? What if that superpowerful awe-inspiring he/she/it/thing that controls morality will punish me for it? Only THEN do I truly realise oh.. I shouldn't do that.

I have to confess some thing honestly, I used to be a really immoral guy. I've actually stolen people's things at school and cheated on a mock exam [it wasn't an official one] (I had a paper of notes that I found a way to look at). I have looked at horrible rape pornography and jacked off to it too. I've done many many bad things in my 'thoughts' and thankfully had the sanity not to do many of them in real life. This was because I used to be atheist. Then I really asked a very strong (this guy didn't even listen to MUSIC because he said it is a satanic trance and his whole family would beat him up if they found him listening to his own music) and I asked him "why do you believe in a lie?" and his answer changed my life. This is what he said to me: "When your science teacher says "WE stay to Earth because of Gravity why do you not question it? Why do you not question that you are a boy? That you are real? This is because of the urge of sanity, we must put trust in certain things for the sake of remaining a sane human being. This is why I believe in Allah, without Allah I am always left to wonder "is there a god?" Without Allah I maybe would rape a girl I saw on her own in an alley way and think nothing of it. Without Allah I'd be a lost soul, ready to fall into the hands of evil at any time, the only way to avoid this is to stop questioning and start answering." I don't know why but that just made the most perfect sense to me and so if you are reading this (Ali Jaffer) I want to thank you very much (He will know who I am I think).

This is more a personal debate for me in that before I just accepted god and said "you know what? There has to be a creator!" I was lost. I am not a very religious person and neither is my family but the core values of sanity (as opposed to psychopathy and sociopathy in criminals) is only possible if I really believe no I MUST NOT EVEN DO THIS NO QUESTIONS TO GOD!

I know I seem erratic and I have no real contentions but I fail to see a single way to find morality as an atheist.
UltimateSkeptic

Pro

Thank you RM for a very entertaining round, and thank you voters/readers for taking the time to read this debate. Onto the debate...


Atheism:
In a broad sense, the rejection of belief in the existence of deities. [1]

Morality: Of,pertainingto,orconcernedwiththeprinciplesorrulesof rightconductorthedistinctionbetweenrightandwrong [2]

Consistent: marked by harmony, regularity, or steady continuity [3]


As a brief road map, I'd like to establish my case in this debate, and then review my opponent's case in his previous post.

I. Atheists can have consistent moral codes and exhibit consistent moral behavior.

I'd like to make a very important statement. Very rarely, do people stop and think if the actions they take in everyday life will result in eternal damnation by hellfire or bliss in heaven. Generally, people rely on their conscience for moral decisions. More often than not, the everyday moral behavior exhibited by individuals relies on a very simple concept of treating people how you'd want to be treated, or doing to others only what you would want someone to do to you. There is no mental block that hinders atheists from learning this concept, thus, there can be established a moral framework that is easily consistent. Someone can just as easily follow that framework as they can the religious framework that has to do with punishment and reward, and to the same consistency level as well. Atheist Bill Gates, for example, exhibits this behavior. The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation has earned Bill Gates the title of the second most generous philanthropist in the world with a total donation count of nearly $33 billion, as of Sept. 30, 2012. [4] Bill Gates donates money out of a sense of responsibility and not out of fear of eternal punishment. Meaning, if someone else were in his shoes and he was in their shoes he would expect the same.

II. Belief systems don't mirror behavior.

What is clear in the world is that believing in something doesn't meant you abide by its laws, & has no bearings on your character in and of itself. Being a Christian, Muslim, Hindu, or Buddhist doesn't make you a good person anymore than being an atheist makes someone a bad person. The Republican party, for example, is known as the God party in the United States and consistently stands at odds with the Democratic party on policies that deal in morality. Examples of these policies are their stance against universal health care due to monetary reasons, their stance against the idea of welfare, how judgemental they are of women who have sex out of wedlock, and their lack of inclusivity among different ethnic groups in their party in comparison to the Democrats. Bombings of abortion clinics by Christians, and bombings by Muslims are other examples of immoral behavior by theists. With it established that beliefs don't mirror behavior, it becomes obvious that it doesn't take a belief in a specific governing deity for people to exhibit moral behavior.

III. Punishment is not the standard for morality.


Punishment is not the standard for morality. Good people do good things because they couldn't imagine not doing them, because they feel it is better for society or because they'd appreciate it if someone would do good things for them if they needed it. If someone is only doing a good deed because they don't want to be punished, then they aren't truly exhibiting moral behavior because coercion perverts their mind and they aren't free to make the choice of their own cognizance. Moreover, when one tries to establish punishment as the standard of morality in a society (theocracy), it results in a perversion of the law to suit whatever the individual needs to happen and the deity becomes the source of their intentions. For example, people don't hate gays or wish them dead, God does and they're just following his law. Another is that their deity demands that all witches be killed, leading to killings of thousands of innocent people over time.

When you act under pressure of punishment, you are choosing because of the principle of right and wrong (as defined by the definition of Morality), you're choosing out of fear and coercion. With this established, it becomes clear that irrational fear is no true basis of moral character or any true moral code.


While addressing my opponents claims, I'll first quote him in bold, and then address the statements in the following paragraph.


"If you really don't delude yourself of a god (I say delude because to an atheist reader to believe in any god(s) is inherently self-delusion) the what is there to fear if you rape your one year old daughter?"


This quote is very powerful for 2 main reasons. My opponent first shows that the fear he has is irrational, and through that sense of irrational fear he shows that it is no basis of moral conduct with his question that immediately follows the parenthesis. People don't just not rape little girls because it is illegal or because they'll be set on fire in an afterlife, they do so simply because it isn't right. Parents have an innate feeling of love and welfare for their child's safety. Adults, as a whole, generally have that feeling of responsibility for children (Hence the societal-wide disgust at those actions). Of course there are a few out of every hundred thousand that do commit heinous and unthinkable acts, but it has more to do with psychological problems and perversions than any lack of fear for an evil afterlife.


"If I'm honest with you the only real reason I wouldn't, given the opportunity, rape someone who I took a fancy to if I figured there's pretty much no way I'd get found out and that they wouldn't even see my face is because I fear a later punishment of some kind brutally from fate... I have to confess some thing honestly, I used to be a really immoral guy. I've actually stolen people's things at school and cheated on a mock exam [it wasn't an official one] (I had a paper of notes that I found a way to look at). I have looked at horrible rape pornography and jacked off to it too. I've done many many bad things in my 'thoughts' and thankfully had the sanity not to do many of them in real life. This was because I used to be atheist."

My opponent was once an atheist, and I am now, yet we have very different moral codes. I do no do things with the expectation of rewards or punishments in an afterlife, yet he does. Whatever is true about our moral behavior, it's obviously not lying solely in our belief system; this idea that he only did those things because he was an atheist, cannot be universally true.


"However there are clinically diagnosed psychopaths who, despite being perfectly sane (unlike sociopaths) they literally cannot feel any guilt for any degree of abuse they do unto others. How can such a person (I actually think in a way I am a psychopath) find any morality at all?"

My opponent has mixed the two terms, for clarity I'll provide the correct assessments. Sociopaths are marked by an inability to relate to emotions (love, etc/lack of empathy), feel emotional responsibility (lack of remorse and guilt/conscience is lacking), and entrepreneurial versatility (adapting so that he/she avoids persecution). [5]

A psychopath is when the above paragraph magnifies & transforms into a more dangerous and egregious mindset. A psychopath is a person with an antisocial personality disorder, manifested in aggressive, perverted, criminal, or amoral behavior without empathy or remorse.

One is simply being antisocial, the other is being dangerously emotional inept to the point where you let your mindset manifest itself with no regard for law or morality whatsoever. I'd suggest that my opponent should call himself sociopath before psychopath, but only he knows that truth.

[1]http://en.wikipedia.org...
[2]http://dictionary.reference.com...
[3]http://www.merriam-webster.com...
[4]http://en.wikipedia.org...
[5]http://www.mcafee.cc...
Debate Round No. 2
RationalMadman

Con

Things we agree on:
  1. A theist can be immoral.
  2. An atheist can BE MORAL at times, or by pure coincidence all the time.
  3. Most theists do not follow their religion's moral code fully, and when acting in this atheist manner can be immoral
The single factor we disagree on:
  1. Without fear of eternal regret and pain, one can truly feel 'bad' for doing something if they are a psychopath/sociopath

I concede that I meant I think I am a sociopath in many ways, not a psychopath my apologies for mixing terms up but this doesn't win my opponent any votes in itself.

UltimateSkeptic

Pro

My opponent has outright lied to the viewers and readers. We do not both agree on his 2nd premise that atheists can only be moral by pure coincidence or his 3rd contention that when theists act immoral it is because they're acting as atheists.


I do disagree with my opponent's proposition that sociopaths and psychopaths won't feel bad because of religion, precisely because these people are marked by an inability to feel remorse, guilt, and empathy altogether. Giving them false punishments won't work by the very nature of their mental illness, they won't feel remorse because they don't relate to emotion.

Even if you were to convince someone to do good based on heaven and hell, that doesn't give credence to the truth of the story. You can make children behave well with the idea of Santa Claus, but being that he is not true you cannot claim that Santa Claus is the reason for their moral system. In that instance Santa (like religion) is only a tool to help guide someone's moral compass, meaning whatever is true about our morality is in the fact that we get it from elsewhere. All of this lends credibility to the fact that atheists can be perfectly good, consistently moral, people without a religion just as people can be consistently bad with one.


Also, my opponent has not attacked my case.
Debate Round No. 3
RationalMadman

Con

RationalMadman forfeited this round.
UltimateSkeptic

Pro

Arguments extended. If at all possible, I'd like for my opponent to go ahead and concede if he doesn't want to debate the issue anymore. That way we can get this out of the way.
Debate Round No. 4
RationalMadman

Con

I like the following phrase:

"Giving them false punishments won't work by the very nature of their mental illness, they won't feel remorse because they don't relate to emotion. " It is actually true if you do research. I just realised I am not a sociopath though because I wouldn't rape my cousin, and she is only 10 by the way.
UltimateSkeptic

Pro

Well that is great! I didn't think that you were, I'd just rather you be that than a psychopath, lol.


Debate Round No. 5
9 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 9 records.
Posted by RationalMadman 4 years ago
RationalMadman
Definitely not DDO...
Posted by UltimateSkeptic 4 years ago
UltimateSkeptic
Yeah, windows. Lol But is that my computer or this website?
Posted by RationalMadman 4 years ago
RationalMadman
I bet my a$$ you're using a windows.
Posted by RationalMadman 4 years ago
RationalMadman
you must have a very funny configuration setting on your computer.
Posted by UltimateSkeptic 4 years ago
UltimateSkeptic
Yeah, I don't know how it ended up with no spacing? Is that what it does when you copy and paste? That's definitely a pretty cool way to spot people who intend to plagiarize.
Posted by RationalMadman 4 years ago
RationalMadman
no spacing =.=
Posted by RationalMadman 4 years ago
RationalMadman
No look at it, it's disguting
Posted by UltimateSkeptic 4 years ago
UltimateSkeptic
It's a cited definition. Of course I copied it word for word and cited my source.
Posted by RationalMadman 4 years ago
RationalMadman
nice copy pasting on your morality definition...
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by Bodhivaka 4 years ago
Bodhivaka
RationalMadmanUltimateSkepticTied
Agreed with before the debate:-Vote Checkmark-0 points
Agreed with after the debate:-Vote Checkmark-0 points
Who had better conduct:-Vote Checkmark-1 point
Had better spelling and grammar:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Made more convincing arguments:-Vote Checkmark-3 points
Used the most reliable sources:-Vote Checkmark-2 points
Total points awarded:06 
Reasons for voting decision: Pro ultimately made a stronger case for his position, while Con made (in my opinion) many irrational and unwarranted assertions; as such, Pro receives points for arguments. Seeing as how Con forfeited a round, Pro get's conduct points; furthermore, Pro was the only one to use sources, and he therefore gets source points, also.