The Instigator
Teleroboxer
Pro (for)
Tied
11 Points
The Contender
InsertNameHere
Con (against)
Tied
11 Points

Man is basically good.

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 4/1/2010 Category: Religion
Updated: 7 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 5,659 times Debate No: 11604
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (25)
Votes (6)

 

Teleroboxer

Pro

"It's a wonder I haven't abandoned all my ideals, they seem so absurd and impractical. Yet I cling to them because I still believe, in spite of everything, that people are truly good at heart." - Anne Frank

RESOLUTION:

I affirm that the basic personality and intentions of the individual, toward himself and others, are good.

DEFINITIONS:

Man: "an individual human," "the human race" (1)
Basically: "in fundamental disposition or nature" (2)
Good: "virtuous, right, commendable," "kind, benevolent" (3)

ARGUMENTS:

I. Bad or immoral behavior is the result of false or incomplete data.
II. When an individual is engaged in harmful behavior, he will attempt to sabotage himself.

CITATIONS:

1. http://www.merriam-webster.com...
2. http://www.merriam-webster.com...
3. http://www.merriam-webster.com...
InsertNameHere

Con

Oooooo...more Devil's Advocacy for me! This should be amusing. ;)
I'll like to thank my opponent for setting up this debate.

I'll be arguing that humans in general, by nature are bad in counter of my opponent's argument that humans are good.

Bad- "not good in any manner or degree.", "having a wicked or evil character; morally reprehensible." http://dictionary.reference.com...
Immoral- "violating moral principles; not conforming to the patterns of conduct usually accepted or established as consistent with principles of personal and social ethics." http://dictionary.reference.com...
Nature- "the particular combination of qualities belonging to a person, animal, thing, or class by birth, origin, or constitution; native or inherent character.", "the instincts or inherent tendencies directing conduct." http://dictionary.reference.com...

I look forward to my opponent's first argument. :)
Debate Round No. 1
Teleroboxer

Pro

In Round One, I put forward two opening arguments, which I will now elucidate:

I. Bad or immoral behavior is the result of false or incomplete data.

Immoral acts include lying, stealing, and murdering, to name a few of the more basic. Immoral acts are regarded as such because they stifle the survival potential of an individual, group, mankind, and even all life. When man is engaged in immoral behavior, he is therefore seeking to stifle his survival potential. Such is an irrational pursuit, therefore it must be the result of false or incomplete data or processing of data.

II. When an individual is engaged in harmful behavior, he will attempt to sabotage himself.

Consciously or otherwise, evil men almost universally find themselves stricken by accident, depression, illness, reckless behavior, or some other form of self-inflicted sabotage. This is because man is basically good and will, in lieu of changing his behavior outright, attempt to destroy himself.
InsertNameHere

Con

My opponent proposes that acts such as lying, stealing, and murdering are immoral. This is correct. However, without some kind of moral guidance, humans are bound to commit these acts. Religion is a prime example, having several rules intended to keep people from committing these acts. The 10 commandments serves as one such moral code: http://www.allabouttruth.org... True believers won't break these rules as they'll have fear of being damned. National laws also serve as another guide. In most countries, including Canada, murders carries a maximum penalty: http://duhaime.org... Surely this prevents people from running crazy and slaughtering each other?

My opponent also states that people will harm themselves when engaged in harmful behavior. However, when desperate, man will often harm others in order to get what they need to survive. Such examples of this could be a starving man stealing and making others starve.
Debate Round No. 2
Teleroboxer

Pro

Responding to Con's contentions from the previous round, I have attempted to enumerate and restate them.

As follows:

I. Without moral guidance, humans are bound to commit immoral acts.

I counter that it is in fact a testament to man's inherent goodness that moral guidance systems have sprung up in every time and culture throughout human history. From Confucius to Christ, each and every viable civilization has embraced a system of ethics delineating right from wrong behavior and has as a whole pursued the latter. Peoples that have not have, wittingly or otherwise, set up the conditions for their own destruction.

II. Man often harms others in order to get what they need to survive.

More often than not, such an act would be due to false data processing, such as "I'm not going to get caught," "His survival is meaningless to me," et cetera. When it is not, stealing in order to save one's own life could be argued simply to not be immoral in the first place.
InsertNameHere

Con

My opponent states that religious moral systems have sprung up as a result of man's good nature. One could argue that these systems aren't the creation of man, but the creation of a divine being. It's unlikely that man would have been able to create these system themselves.

Also, without moral guidance, man could easily steal. Man can be greedy and desire more than they already have thus they would take it from somebody else. It's considered one of the many failure of political systems such as communism.

Another factor to address is conflict. If man was naturally good wouldn't they not want to go to war? Humans are constantly fighting and often over little petty things. If man was good, wouldn't it be more nature to negotiate instead?
Debate Round No. 3
Teleroboxer

Pro

REBUTTAL:

First, one could very well argue that religious systems are the creation of a divine being, but one would be hard-pressed to explain why a deity created thousands of different, often conflicting, belief systems. If there is a deity, common sense would tell us that it is unlikely that he has authored more than a handful of religious systems, leaving thousands of other man-made systems to lend credence to my proposal.

Second, the fact that man tends toward self-interest is what has contributed toward the historical failure of communism, not that man tends toward theft as Con suggests. Self-interest is not inherently bad or immoral. Self-interest contributes to the survival of the individual, which as I have demonstrated previously is good.

IN CLOSING:

I would like to thank Con for accepting this brief debate. She will have the last word. I hope you all have enjoyed reading, will carefully consider the strengths of the arguments herein, and will vote accordingly.
InsertNameHere

Con

Although the core beliefs of each religion may be slightly different, their set system of morals are often very similar. No murder, no theft, respect others, etc. Not much conflict there. :)

Theft did not lead to the downfall of communism. However, if man was naturally good they would be less inclined to act in self-interest and focus on helping others as well. In such a case, communism would probably have potential to succeed.

Thank you to my opponent for giving me a short, brief debate. :) I look forward to seeing the results.
Debate Round No. 4
25 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by alto2osu 7 years ago
alto2osu
John Locke was definitely not a moron, nor was he the first to posit that human beings have natural rights or some sort of due derived via the respect of one's fellow human being. It's that sort of natural rights theory that keeps you alive and out of the state of nature. Hobbes only felt the way that he did in the context of some pretty heavy and unjust political revolution in England, hence his commitment to the power of the state. While Hobbes had reason to believe as he did at the time, his theories have little use in the 21st century with regards to centralized government power.
Posted by Teleroboxer 7 years ago
Teleroboxer
Please explain your contention in greater detail.
Posted by bombmaniac 7 years ago
bombmaniac
i think you both have deviated from debating whether man is good or bad..and started debating whether man is SELFISH. there a difference
Posted by atheistman 7 years ago
atheistman
@InsertNameHere John Locke was a moron, he thought that all people somehow had 'inalienable rights.' Thomas Hobbes knew what he was talking about regarding human nature, but I disagree with his political views in Leviathan.
Posted by Teleroboxer 7 years ago
Teleroboxer
I agree. My next debate will have a 2,000-character limit. It is what it is, however, and I hope people will be able to take something out of the meager discussion we produced here.
Posted by InsertNameHere 7 years ago
InsertNameHere
Yea, 1000 is way too restrictive for a debate like this. We should have had at least 2000.
Posted by Teleroboxer 7 years ago
Teleroboxer
I should add that, in my estimation, the vast majority of debates on here suffer from excessive wordage. Ideally, a debate should get down to the core of an argument. Character restrictions compel participants to do this. Granted, 1,000 characters per submission felt rather too restrictive for my tastes.
Posted by InsertNameHere 7 years ago
InsertNameHere
@ninja_tru: Well you can alter the character limits for debates. They're generally anywhere from 500-8000 characters.

@Atheistman: John Locke is better. ;) lol
Posted by Teleroboxer 7 years ago
Teleroboxer
As a deliberate exercise in content condensation, I set the character limit to 1,000 and the rounds to 4. I am trying to see how restrictive I can make a debate in terms of characters and still feel like I am having a qualitatively valuable exchange on a subject. I am actually somewhat pleased with the results of this debate, but next time I will double the character limit.
Posted by atheistman 7 years ago
atheistman
Thomas Hobbes ftw
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Vote Placed by Teleroboxer 7 years ago
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Vote Placed by atheistman 7 years ago
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Vote Placed by Railsguardian 7 years ago
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Vote Placed by InsertNameHere 7 years ago
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Vote Placed by Ninja_Tru 7 years ago
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