The Instigator
SweetBags
Pro (for)
Winning
40 Points
The Contender
Solarman1969
Con (against)
Losing
21 Points

Morality is subjective

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 4/2/2008 Category: Politics
Updated: 9 years ago Status: Voting Period
Viewed: 4,603 times Debate No: 3491
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (69)
Votes (19)

 

SweetBags

Pro

Solarman said that morality wasn't subjective (i had brought that up in a critique of a debate he did), so i decided to challenge him to debate it. I'm also making this four rounds so i can waste this one explaining why i chose to debate Solarman on this topic, i hope he accepts.
Solarman1969

Con

First I am going to challenge you on the subjectivity of morality

Here are some subjects (from the 10 commandments)

theft

adultery

murder

gossip

coveting others possessions (envy)

Here are a few others

lying

abortion

subjugation of others

forced conversion to a "faith" or "state"

justification of violence against innocents

gay "marriage"

polysexuality

blurring of the lines between men and women

OVERVIEW

you are very young and have not had the life experience to know the consequences of violating ancient social morays and rules of conduct

Thus this should be educational for you

Moral Relativism, the HALLMARK OF THE DEMOCRATS AND LIBERALS , is slowly but surely destroying the basic building blocks of our society, those being the family and the Judeo-Christian ethics upon which this country was created

Everything is OK - not matter how wrong or evil - it is just anothers point of view

This is WRONG

There is GOOD and EVIL

There is Right and Wrong

these principles are encased in LAWS and SOCIAL MORAYS

they are IMPORTANT to the functioning of a free society

your turn
Debate Round No. 1
SweetBags

Pro

Sorry it took so long to post this, had a few tests I had to study for. Moreover, thank you for accepting, I will enjoy (in the loosest possible meaning of the term) debating this with you.

Firstly, since you have neglected to define morality, here is mine: morality, an individual's personal sense of right and wrong.
So morality is a personal view (and therefore subjective), some of the common threads of which were written into biblical texts over 2000 years ago. not only would the individual person's sense of right and wrong (morality) change in that time, but it would also become nonsensical to live by the "laws" or "rules" of people that lived thousands of years ago (at least in my opinion, of which im sure you disagree. what a subjective way for us to feel about an issue).
However, if you are going to use biblical text, then can you please let us know which translation you are using, is it the King James (KJV), New King James (NKJV), English Standard (ESV), New American Standard NASB), Revised Standard (RSV), New Revised Standard (NRSV), Updated NASB, Amplified Bible, New American Bible, New International (NIV), New English Bible, Good News Bible, Phillips Modern English, Living Bible (LB), New Living Bible (NLT), Jerusalem Bible, Modern Language, Contemporary English (CEV, "The Promise"), Today's English, Worldwide English, "The Message", or are you reading from a Greek or Hebrew version? http://www.swapmeetdave.com...
I assume you are not reading from a Torah (Old Testament, and the basis for Judeo-Christian faith), as you say abortion is immoral, and the Torah allows it up to the third trimester (how oddly subjective, two different faiths based, at least in part, on the Torah disagreeing about right and wrong).

To first rebut some of your examples of "wrong" things,
adultery, while many people dislike it, the people committing it obviously do not believe that it is wrong, so here is an example of two (groups of) people disagreeing about morality, about right and wrong, how subjective of them.
Murder, again people say it is immoral, but what is war but state-sanctioned murder. Seems odd, doesn't it. A random person kills someone, and is a murderer, yet a solder kills several people and is welcomed home a hero. Tad subjective, no? (Note: I'm not bashing our troops, just trying to make a point)
gossip, if this is such an immoral act (as you say), then why do so many people around the world buy tabloids? They are just gossip magazines after all. How subjective of the world.
Gay marriage, while several (mostly right wing Christians) despise gay marriage as a horrible sin, many others disagree, like say, the gays. What a subjective way to feel about a subject.
I could show you why you're other examples of wrong behavior are subjective, but I think Vie made my point.

Don't be an ageist, it's not an argument. It's your own personal feeling that the "young" don't have enough experience. To bad I disagree, how subjective of us.
Your right in the statement "There is GOOD and EVIL" and "There is Right and Wrong" however, because everyone feels differently about what is good (right), and what is evil (wrong), they are both subjective ideals. Take Christianity, it was once part of the Jewish church, but it split off (around 400 ad) because it disagreed (subjectively) with some parts of Judaism. Then in the protestant reformation, it split into two different sects because of some rather large (subjective) disagreements. I could go on, but you get the idea.

Your case is about how morality is what holds society together, however, as I have shown, this morality is entirely subjective. It is not morality (personal views) that holds society together, but the system of laws (societies) that it holds.

thank you
Solarman1969

Con

Here is your premise

"Firstly, since you have neglected to define morality, here is mine: morality, an individual's personal sense of right and wrong."

WRONG , WRONG , WRONG

your PERSONAL views are irrelevant

Morality is plainly and simply, a set of LAWS developed people over MILLENIA, based on both legal and spitirual means

you DO NOT have the right to determine good and evil, they are set in stone

if you start down this dangerous path of thinking , you will quickly find yourself supporting EVIL.

becuase those that are EVIL and promote it use this notion

Then you simply ramble

and then come to this ABSURD conclusion

"you say abortion is immoral, and the Torah allows it up to the third trimester"

Oh please! Cite me the passages from the Old testament (torah) that support in any way this point of view

Now onto the rest of your absurd points

"adultery, while many people dislike it, the people committing it obviously do not believe that it is wrong, so here is an example of two (groups of) people disagreeing about morality, about right and wrong, how subjective of them."

This is NONSENSE

Both adulertous people KNOW they are being wrong, and are guilty

Thousands of murders are committed every year, and hundreds of thousands of lives, espcially those of children, RUNIED by this SELFISH behavior

you dont think it hurts kids for their parents to bitterly divorce?

you dont think that the amount of pain and anguish from broken trust matter?

you dont think the ruined lives and permanent distrust that happen matter?

HOW HEARTLESS and WRONG!

----- your next liberal point -------

"Murder, again people say it is immoral, but what is war but state-sanctioned murder. Seems odd, doesn't it. A random person kills someone, and is a murderer, yet a solder kills several people and is welcomed home a hero. Tad subjective, no? (Note: I'm not bashing our troops, just trying to make a point)"

The ONLY justification your try and make here is the COMPLETELY UNJUJSTIFIBLE

you ARE bashing the troops and calling them the same as the scum who shoots a clerk in cold blood in a 7/11

or the SCUM who bomb innocents in Islamic fashion

or the SCUM like "Mumia Jamal" who murder police officers

YOU NEED TO HAVE YOUR HEAD EXAMINED

----------- your next liberal point____________

"gossip, if this is such an immoral act (as you say), then why do so many people around the world buy tabloids? They are just gossip magazines after all. How subjective of the world."

When you look at the Buddhist codes of conduct, seven out of 11 deal with speech

What we say is incredibly important

Many have died based on LIES and FALSE RUMOURS

FALSE WITNESS is not only a crime but one of the worst possible things

GOSSIP is talking ill about someone NOT in their presence , where they cannot defend themselves

It is a low behavior that I will not tolerate

the fact that when rumours or even events are spread word of mouth, the story changes dramatically

THE TRUTH IS THE MOST IMPORANT THING OF ALL

----------your next liberal point---------------

"Gay marriage, while several (mostly right wing Christians) despise gay marriage as a horrible sin, many others disagree, like say, the gays. What a subjective way to feel about a subject."

You seem to always grasp for this argument

SUBJECTIVE

SUBJECTIVE

Isnt that a little bit weak?

"Don't be an ageist, it's not an argument. It's your own personal feeling that the "young" don't have enough experience. To bad I disagree, how subjective of us."

SUBJECTIVE
SUBJECTIVE
SUBJECTIVE

Im sorry, but most kids are totally stupid and have no idea just how stupid they are

the only thing that truly teaches is LIFE EXPERIENCE

and your opinions are a perfect example- liberal sophistry

finally you get something right

"Your right in the statement "There is GOOD and EVIL" and "There is Right and Wrong" however, because everyone feels differently about what is good (right), and what is evil (wrong), they are both subjective ideals."

SUBJECTIVE
SUBJECTIVE
SUBJECTIVE
SUBJECTIVE
SUBJECTIVE
SUBJECTIVE

you really need a new word

"Take Christianity, it was once part of the Jewish church, but it split off (around 400 ad) because it disagreed (subjectively) with some parts of Judaism. Then in the protestant reformation, it split into two different sects because of some rather large (subjective) disagreements. I could go on, but you get the idea"

So are you arguing that one is good and the other evil?

Your final point shows your complete confusion

"Your case is about how morality is what holds society together, however, as I have shown, this morality is entirely subjective. It is not morality (personal views) that holds society together, but the system of laws (societies) that it holds.

Uhhhmm.

How do you think we came up with our laws?

hmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm?
Debate Round No. 2
SweetBags

Pro

SweetBags forfeited this round.
Solarman1969

Con

I rest my case

MORALITY IS NOT SUBJECTIVE

YOU (YES YOU, KIDS) have a RESPONSIBILITY to YOURSELVES AND SOCIETY

to be a MORAL PERSON AND DO THE RIGHT THING

AND FIGHT INJUSTICE AND IMMORALITY

SOLARMAN
Debate Round No. 3
SweetBags

Pro

SweetBags forfeited this round.
Solarman1969

Con

I dont know why this kid asked for 5 rounds

MORALITY IS NOT SUBJECTIVE

I rest my case

SOLARMAN
Debate Round No. 4
69 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by A-ThiestSocialist 8 years ago
A-ThiestSocialist
SweetBags, you're just too "young". You can't have read philisophy or form cogent thought until you're at least one year older. Apparently age isn't that much of an advantage, if it were, solarman would be able to form a decent argument.

I rest my case.

A-THIESTSOCIALIST
Posted by Ragnar_Rahl 9 years ago
Ragnar_Rahl
"
but the topic this was about how people think about right and wrong."

No. It is about the actual nature of right and wrong. This topic is whether morality "is" subjective, i.e. a fluctuating code the truth of which changes with every person, often implying that those people just make it up. It is not about whether people think it is subjective, nor about whether people think different things about it, it is about whether it actually is.
Posted by Ragnar_Rahl 9 years ago
Ragnar_Rahl
"someone can look at the same "facts" as another person, and come to a different result."

No, they can't, without an error.

"disagreement doesnt (always) stem from someones misunderstanding of facts. "

Except for disagreements of personal preference (which stem from the fact that some people do indeed have different experiences), yes, it does. A disagreement must always arise either from a fact being different for two people, or one of them being wrong. Most facts aren't different for people, some however (such as the fact of one's own genes, and the fact of previous experiences causing classical conditioning, and such) are.

"it occurs because of every individual's unique understanding and perception of the world.
"
Only in very minor, particular cases. I might like metal and you might like jazz, due to different experiences associated with them or differently structured ears, but the standard by which the value of music is to be judged remains the pleasure we get out of it (pleasure in some amounts being a good way to keep psychologically healthy, and therefore live more easily).
Posted by Ragnar_Rahl 9 years ago
Ragnar_Rahl
"
were not talking about objects, were talking about an idea, morality. objects are (reletivly) black or white, ideas are shades of gray."

Ideas exist only in reference to groups of objects. If you have gray ideas in a universe of black and white objects, your ideas are not optimal. Your ideas might be gray, mine are not.

"
they do decide, based on their past expiriences, what they find acceptible. also, if the individual doesnt "discover" morality, then who does? assuming the individual does discover it, then what is to stop different individuals from discovering a different set of acceptible actions then a different person?"
The fact that if a thing exists in reality, any more than one view on the truth or falsity of an attribute of that thing proves that at least one view is false.

"
but differnet individuals live by different codes, there is no (moral) "code" by which every human holds true. because different "codes" (of morality) exist, morality is subjective."
No, because error is possible, different codes exist. The objective fact, true of every human, is that either you choose to live or you die shortly. The dead have no need of a code, only those choosing to live do (for only they can act). The code is derived from that choice, their first choice, that all other ones presume.

"the problem with this is that everyone perceives the world through their own lenses. "
The fact that a given lens distorts a thing does not disprove the objective existence of a light source.

"everyone sees the world differently then everyone else."
Yet they all see certain attributes of it the same. Since there is only one world, any differences in the way it is seen are products of one party seeing less or less accurately than another.
Posted by Ragnar_Rahl 9 years ago
Ragnar_Rahl
"
but you havent shown why that definition is true, perhaps i would understand your point if you did."

Definitions are not "true" or "false," they are simply used. Most alternate definitions of morality are invalid concepts and therefore should not be used.

"
you also havent shown why an end is nessasary to morality. save "If you had no end you would not act", and i dont see why thats accurate or true. you might need to explain this better."

Every action by a rational being presumes an end, because rational beings by their very nature attempt, successfully or not, to achieve an end with their actions. It's a consequence of rationality.

"this is again untrue, an end is not nessasary to find out weather you find something acceptible or not. then again i may be misconstrewing your "end nessasary" point."

An end is indeed necessary, i.e. the end which caused you to even think about it.
Posted by SweetBags 9 years ago
SweetBags
"need of a code to achieve- the code known as "morality.""
but differnet individuals live by different codes, there is no (moral) "code" by which every human holds true. because different "codes" (of morality) exist, morality is subjective.

"Disagreement in the code stems from some parties' failure to perceive certain facts, or some failure to check conceptual premises for error"
the problem with this is that everyone perceives the world through their own lenses. everyone sees the world differently then everyone else. someone can look at the same "facts" as another person, and come to a different result. dissagreement doesnt (always) stem from someones misunderstanding of facts. it occurs because of every individual's unique understanding and perception of the world.

"The lack of agreement is not evidence for the lack of truth"
but the topic this was about how people think about right and wrong. if the people dont know what their thinking, then who does? is their a person with a giant mind reading device somewhere? whos reading everyone's minds and can somehow know what the people are thinking better then they do?
Posted by SweetBags 9 years ago
SweetBags
rahl, "It therefore fits with the definition I gave of morality"
but you havent shown why that definition is true, perhaps i would understand your point if you did.

"Yes, yes it is. (on me saying an end wasnt required)"
you also havent shown why an end is nessasary to morality. save "If you had no end you would not act", and i dont see why thats accurate or true. you might need to explain this better.

"First, you haven't defined "responsibly examined,""
thats because i thought the meaning ovious, seince that is not the case: responsibly examined, to look at (a subject) in a responible (in the correct context) manner.
"Second, if you have no end in mind, you have no motive for finding whether you think something is acceptable"
this is again untrue, an end is not nessasary to find out weather you find something acceptible or not. then again i may be misconstrewing your "end nessasary" point.
"Third, by your reasoning, if I find that an object is made of wood and someone else finds it is made of plastic"
were not talking about objects, were talking about an idea, morality. objects are (reletivly) black or white, ideas are shades of gray.

"Nobody directly "decides" the acceptableness of actions...It is to be discovered"
they do decide, based on their past expiriences, what they find acceptible. also, if the individual doesnt "discover" morality, then who does? assuming the individual does discover it, then what is to stop different individuals from discovering a different set of acceptible actions then a different person?

"People used to disagree on whether the earth orbited the sun " again, this is an analogy based upon objects, not ideas.
Posted by Ragnar_Rahl 9 years ago
Ragnar_Rahl
"
"if the people don't decide the acceptableness of actions, then who does? it is the people who decide, and their disagreement proves morality's subjectiveness."

Nobody directly "decides" the acceptableness of actions- they decide on an end and a course of action. The acceptableness is a product of how well the action fits the end, given the facts of reality. It is to be discovered, not decided.

People used to disagree on whether the earth orbited the sun or the other way around. Does that make the orbit subjective? No. The facts are the same for all parties, the disagreement stems from a failure to perceive them.

Ultimately, for morality, the external facts are also the same. As for ends, ends must ultimately be understood in light of one end (to avoid contradictions). Either the end to live or the end to die, it is the ultimate choice of human beings. If the latter, the person will if consistent eliminate themselves swiftly without need of a code, it's fairly simple to die in most situations. It is only the former choice which is in need of a code to achieve- the code known as "morality." Disagreement in the code stems from some parties' failure to perceive certain facts, or some failure to check conceptual premises for error. For example, religious moralities are based on the error of believing in various supernatural deities. They are thus under the impression they will be granted "life after death"- but it is still life they are seeking, just in a poor manner.

And I'd best address something specific I see wrong with your epistemology:

"this is untrue. neither i, nor anyone I've spoken to, agrees with this"

The lack of agreement is not evidence for the lack of truth. This is a severe fallacy, one that stems from philosophical idealism (the notion that the mind creates reality, rather than perceiving one already there, which is of course obviously foolish since if it were true the mind would not have errors of perception).
Posted by Ragnar_Rahl 9 years ago
Ragnar_Rahl
"rahl, how is moving moral?"

It enhances your life, in the situation you just described. It therefore fits with the definition I gave of morality, whether you like it or not. Moving away from people you don't approve of is also of course an act of moral judgment- One is condemning them, based on an end; if rationally, than

"
this is untrue. neither i, nor anyone I've spoken to, agrees with this. as I've said, morality is the mental barrier we set up within ourselves to (hopefully) stop us from committing acts we find unacceptable. an end is not required for that."

Yes, yes it is.
"
this is again untrue. i don't find murder acceptible in any situation, i have no end in mind, i simply find it unacceptable."
You do have an end, you just haven't admitted to yourself what it is. If you had no end you would not act, not even to make that statement. If you didn't intend to live you wouldn't bother judging those who kill.

"is to whom? if everyone finds different things acceptible (or unacceptable) then morality (which can only be responsibly examined on a personal level) is subjective."
First, you haven't defined "responsibly examined," so you are obviously just trying to dismiss any examinations on an impersonal level. Second, if you have no end in mind, you have no motive for finding whether you think something is acceptable. Third, by your reasoning, if I find that an object is made of wood and someone else finds it is made of plastic, there must be no objective truth on the matter. Nevermind of course that it is quite likely to be plastic painted like wood.
Posted by SweetBags 9 years ago
SweetBags
rahl, how is moving moral? i seem to either misunderstand you, or miss your point entirely, please explain.
"Anyone who speaks of right and wrong has an end in mind whether it be life on earth, some imagined heaven, or something more malicious"
this is untrue. neither i, nor anyone I've spoken to, agrees with this. as I've said, morality is the mental barrier we set up within ourselves to (hopefully) stop us from committing acts we find unacceptable. an end is not required for that.
"If you have no end, everything is equally acceptable"
this is again untrue. i don't find murder acceptible in any situation, i have no end in mind, i simply find it unacceptable.
"Just because someone finds a thing unacceptable does not mean it actually is."
is to whom? if everyone finds different things acceptible (or unacceptable) then morality (which can only be responsibly examined on a personal level) is subjective. if the people don't decide the acceptableness of actions, then who does? it is the people who decide, and their disagreement proves morality's subjectiveness.
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