The Instigator
Mike_10-4
Pro (for)
Losing
0 Points
The Contender
Raisor
Con (against)
Winning
6 Points

Morality, like gravity, is a physical force in nature

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 2 votes the winner is...
Raisor
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 6/20/2014 Category: Science
Updated: 2 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 785 times Debate No: 56906
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (1)
Votes (2)

 

Mike_10-4

Pro

I (Pro) would like to explore, from a scientific vantage point, with my opponent (Con) in the construct of morality being part of the physical Laws of Nature, not man-made.

I would like to keep the debate within the following spectrum: That is, morality is an outgrowth of life's Unalienable Rights, which is an outgrowth of the Constructal Law, which is an outgrowth of the Second Law of Thermodynamics.

The topic of life's Unalienable Rights have been debated recently, and I encourage Con should review this debate for background. http://www.debate.org...

Ideally Con is familiar with the following two references, but it is not a prerequisite:

http://www.bookdaily.com...

http://www.amazon.com...

Pro would like to keep the debate in the realm of physical science as oppose to metaphysical speculation.

Round 1 is for Acceptance
Round 2 is for Arguments
Round 3 is for Rebuttal
Round 4 is for Closing Statements

Pro is reopening this debate because my opponent forfeited. I would advise Con, before accepting this debate, to review the previous: http://www.debate.org...
Raisor

Con

I accept this debate.
Debate Round No. 1
Mike_10-4

Pro

Raisor (Con), thanks for your interest and may we both enjoy a learning experience from a constructive debate.

I came across in interesting read, "Scientific Proof of Our Unalienable Rights, a Road to Utopia" where the author Takac used Bejan's newly discovered physical law (the Constructal Law) to verify Thomas Jefferson's claim, where all humans have Unalienable Rights (Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness"), and these Rights are not man-made. Takac's argument is taking our Unalienable Rights out of the realm of "natural law" to the physical Laws of Nature.

The spectrum of "natural law" (civil law, man-made rights, etc.) is associated with metaphysics, which is a traditional branch of philosophy. During the Enlightenment era, the scientific method transformed natural philosophy into an empirical activity deriving from experiment becoming separate from the rest of philosophy. Therefore, I take the position during this debate that metaphysics denotes philosophical enquiry of a non-empirical character, where my focus throughout this debate, is on the empirical.

http://en.wikipedia.org...

The scientific method is about studying repeatable patterns in nature and trying to understand our place in the universe, while using those patterns to advance our standard of living. When we understand a pattern to some degree, we classify it as a Law in Nature. We also came to learn that life is a product of the Laws of Nature and everything is confined within the matrix of these Laws.

To begin our consideration of morality as a force, we will use the property of Symmetries starting with the Second Law of Thermodynamics. To simplify this Law in reference to flow, there is a persistent tendency in the direction of flow. For example, water flowing from the height of a mountain down to sea level. Flow having the tendency to move from high resistance to low resistance, from high pressure to lower pressure, from a high temperature to lower temperature, and so on.

On the human level we find similar patterns in general, however, not exclusively. That is, the desire to take the path of least resistance or less work for the same result. Human migration from the high resistance of tyranny, to the low resistance found in freedom. To go with the flow within a social group, rather than facing the high pressure struggles going against the flow. Moving from the high pressure of emotional stress, desiring a lower stress level. From pain to comfort, and so on.

Let's study the traceability path from Thermodynamics to life to morality:

Recently Bejan discovered the Constructal Law which is an outgrowth of the Second Law of Thermodynamics. The Constructal Law states:

"Given freedom, for a finite-sized flow system to persist in time (to live), its configuration must evolve in such a way that provides easier access to the currents that flow through it."

In general, the Constructal Law explains how everything that moves, whether animate or inanimate, naturally evolve in ways that facilitates such movement. According to Takac, movement for all "Live" includes freedom ("Liberty") that facilitates "the pursuit of" positive-feedback (aka survival, chemical/electrical, etc., including "Happiness" for us humans); hence, our Unalienable Rights of "Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness" (Thomas Jefferson).

We took a big step between Thermodynamics to our Unalienable Rights. For background see the following:
http://www.debate.org...

http://www.bookdaily.com...

http://www.amazon.com...

The subtle nonverbal communication between a parent and infant is miraculous, and it flows through life's Unalienable Rights in harmonious inter-species symmetry. This symmetry is apparent when we hear the cries from the screeching chirps within a nest, to the whimpering pups in a den, to the cries of a human infant along with the feelings those sounds evoke; the sounds throughout the tree of life. In many species, a newborn cries instinctively, elevating its cry to a scream when something is wrong--such as hunger triggered by the genetically programmed need to pursue food. Among humans, the parent is instinctively annoyed or alarmed by this cry and, in distress, tries to seek mutual Happiness by catering to the infant"s desires. In contrast, there is something quite pleasant about the sight of a smiling infant, as it naturally invites the sharing of Happiness. The behavioral difference between a smile and a cry are the tenets of right and wrong, the primitives of Morality.

The smiles and cries do not end with infancy; they persist through the cycle of life, from cradle to grave. The perception of doing something right, manifesting in Happiness between parent and child, naturally extends to the scope of the family, our neighbors, and throughout society, with the desire to bring about Happiness, promoting cooperation and social unity. Morality is a bias, a drive, and a desire to promote positive feedback that embraces Happiness and preserves an atmosphere of goodwill.

When two or more humans form a group, the group becomes alive as a separate entity with its own Unalienable Rights. The pursuit of group Happiness through goodwill and kindness leads to a mutual moral respect for the Unalienable Rights of all the members within the group. Goodwill is a conservative force that promotes order, stability, and harmony through the pursuit of group-wide positive feedback. Over time, group-wide positive feedback is the genesis of traditions, values, beliefs, language, etc., the norms of society. These norms are tried and tested, and conservatively pass down from one generation to the next establishing its culture. A moral order guides an individual in the prudent exercise of judgment relative to those norms. The individual in a civil society strives, albeit imperfectly, to be virtuous; that is, restrained, ethical, and honorable, respecting and embracing the Unalienable Rights of others relative to those tested norms.

The evidence of morality in a wide range of independently developed cultures across isolated human tribes empirically supports the hypothesis that morality is a universal gravitational force throughout the nature of life. This force is responsible for the diversity of traditions, values, and languages that formed the independent civil societies found throughout the world today and throughout recorded history.

Independent groups have developed among many species on the tree of life. These include schools of fish, flocks of birds, packs of wolves, tribes of humans, and even inter-species relationships, such as those between humans and their pets. In each of these groups, the group members unite around some type of shared positive feedback. Thus, positive feedback promotes unity, order, and harmony among the group members, whether genetically or socially.

The Constructal Law, "reveals that the movement towards harmony, toward flowing together and in balance, is the central tendency of design in nature." The concept of wrong involves going against the flow and feeling the constraint of high resistance, which results in high emotional pressure and negative feedback. In contrast, the concept of right involves going with the flow and feeling the freedom of low resistance, which results in low emotional pressure and positive feedback. There is a natural tendency throughout nature to move from high to low resistance, from high pressure to a lower pressure, and from wrong to right. Within human interactions, this tendency manifests itself as morality, and it leads to social harmony by causing people to flow together. This flow falls within the shadow of the Second Law of Thermodynamics.

The empirical evidence, of a repeating pattern of flow, from inanimate to animate to social flow, enhances the concept of morality being a gravitational force in nature common throughout life embracing positive-feedback resulting in living-system attraction. Here are some examples of this attraction in lower life:

http://plantintelligence.wordpress.com...

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov...
Raisor

Con


Observation 1: Pro has offered the following account of morality:


The concept of wrong involves going against the flow


the concept of right involves going with the flow


Observation 2: Pro has the BOP since he is making a positive claim. My job is only to disprove Pro.


1) Pro’s account fails to yield normative judgments, and thus fails to establish an account of morality; Pro violates Hume’s Law


Pro has offered an account for what the Constructal Law means for human behavior and society. He has offered no justification for why these implications offer justification for moral judgments. For example, it may well be the case that the Constructal Law is the reason humans have “a desire to bring about Happiness,” but why does the fact that we have that desire mean we ought to act in conformance with that desire? What reason do we have for believing that all societal outcomes of the Constructal Law are moral or that some outcomes are not morally preferable to others?


Hume’s Law refers to Hume’s famous observation that no normative conclusion can be derived from purely factual statements about the world. This is often referred to as the “is-ought” problem; A statement about what individuals “ought” to do cannot be derived only from statements about how the world “is.”


Pro has not offered an account of morality, he has only offered an account of how human behavior relates to flow theory.


2) Pro grossly misinterprets the Constructal Law


a) Constructal Law is devoid of the value judgments Pro inserts


The Constructal Law is a law describing how “design” in nature emerges. It attempts to account for the emergence of design out of physical processes- it is a general law that can be applied to a huge range of physical systems. Note that the law is ambiguous in defining “flow system” and “currents;” this is intentional, as the law is formulated in such a way that it makes predictive claims for any physical flow system subjected to any physical current.


The implication of this is that the Constructal Law will predict vastly different outcomes for a given flow system subjected to vastly different currents. In the context of this debate, the impact of the Constructal Law on human behavior depends on whether we are discussing “survival,” “emotional fulfillment,” “chemical dependency,” or “procreative success.” Pro has chosen to insert morally relevant terms into his case as a means to hijack the Constructal Law and transform it into morality; this is how Pro attempts to overcome the challenges of Hume’s Law. But the Constructal Law could just as easily be used to discuss the success of crack cocaine in taking over impoverished communities.


The value judgments supplied by Pro are not scientific or empirical conclusions from the Constructal Law


b) The Constructal Law allows for indeterminate outcomes; it does not necessitate the “moral” outcomes Pro describes.


The Constructal Law predicts only that systems “evolve in such a way that provides easier access…” For any given flow system, multiple outcomes satisfy this requirement. The Law does not predict optimal outcomes, only outcomes which trend toward lower resistance to flow currents. This is why biological evolution has produced an immense variety of species- biological systems evolve in indeterminate ways to provide easier access to flow systems.


Pro attempts to cram determinate moral concepts into the predictive outcome of the Constructal Law- claiming humans move “from the high resistance of tyranny to the low resistance found in freedom.” Setting aside the fact that Pro offers no argument that tyranny and freedom actually represent quantifiably distinct states of flow resistance, Pro’s conclusion is not supported by the Constructal Law. The Constructal Law allows for indeterminate social outcomes – societies may react to the negative aspects of tyranny in any number of ways just as biological systems have reacted to natural forces in diverse ways.


Moreover, empirics affirm that different societies respond to tyranny in different ways. The failure of the Arab Spring demonstrates that transition from despotic to democratic societies is not a foregone conclusion due to some inevitable moral force. Many societies have transitioned away from freedom, as the Roman empire did when the Republic succumbed to rule by monarch after the rise of Caesar.


The Constructal Law doesn’t selectively apply to human behavior; all societies are outcomes of human interaction following Constructal Law. This means Pro has no grounds to claim that any existing society is more or less moral than any other existing society. Pro has no justification for any normative claim.


3) Pro’s concept of “right” and “wrong” leads to bizarre moral judgments.


Pro argues that right and wrong is simply a matter of going with or against the flow. But a massive array of behavior, much of it amoral or immoral, falls under “going with the flow.”


For example, this article by Bejan describes how specific paddling techniques best go with the flow for competitive swimmers [1]. Does this mean that competitive swimmers who use different techniques are immoral? What about people who design constructally inefficient equipment, are they immoral?


Consider the case of an impoverished crack-addict. If the lowest resistance path to positive feedback is to continue dumpster-diving for bottles and purchasing crack, is that the moral thing to do? Some economists have argued that the popularity of crack is due precisely to the fact it is the path of least resistance to positive feed-back.


This is more than a refutation of Pro, this is an active reason to reject Pro’s thesis.


[1] http://constructal.files.wordpress.com...


[2] http://www.nytimes.com...;


4) Pro fails to account for why “doing the right thing” often requires going against the flow


It is often the case that acting morally requires going against the flow of society and taking the path of least-resistance. Consider Schindler’s List, a film which describes the true story of a man who jeopardized his wealth and social standing in Nazi Germany to save hundreds of Jews from the peril of the Holocaust. This is just one example of how moral action often requires going against the flow.


In fact, if Constructal Theory were a valid account of morality it would justify the horrific actions of concentration camp executioners who were “just following orders.”


Again, this is not a defensive argument. This argument is a reason to reject Pro’s thesis as morally repugnant.


5) Pro generally fails to justify his assertions about Universal Rights.


Pro offers zero justification for his claims about Universal Rights.


First, he offers no justification for his claim that life naturally evolves towards movement. Sloths, oysters, coral, and plants have all evolved to either not move freely or be totally stationary.


Second, he makes the massive leap in equivocating “freedom of movement” to “Liberty.” Liberty is a complex political concept that far exceeds the very basic evolutionary advantage of being able to move. Similarly Pro equates “positive-feedback” to “Happiness.” Positive-feedback encompasses chemical feedback from drugs and sex, emotional support from peers, satisfying hunger urges, or even satisfying the urge to rape or dominate.


Third, Pro acknowledges there is a “big step” between thermodynamics and Unalienable Rights but DOESN’T EXPLAIN HOW THAT STEP IS MADE. Seriously, how does the fact that animals move mean I have an unalienable right to anything? Pro needs to explain how he is bridging the is-ought gap. Even if life evolves toward “liberty,” why does that mean humans have an unalienable right to it? Is everything humans have evolved to do an unalienable right? Humans have also evolved to reproduce sexually; does that mean humans have an unalienable right to have sex? Are my rights being violated when I’m told I can’t have sex on the steps of Lincoln Memorial?


6) Pro’s account of morality describes a statistical tendency in nature, not a force.


Pro claims morality is a product of the Constructal Law, which describes how systems tend to evolve over time. According to Pro, the Constructal Law is an outgrowth of the Second Law of Thermodynamics.


The Resolution claims that morality is a physical force, like gravity. Gravity is a fundamental interaction- it describes a physical pattern of behavior not reducible to other physical phenomena. Gravitational force describes how the fundamental constituents of the universe interact with each other.


The laws of thermodynamics describe the statistical behavior of systems over time. These laws do not describe fundamental physical interactions, but deal with the behavior of thermodynamic systems. For example, the second law of thermodynamics explains the phenomenological behavior of heat transfer. The phenomenon of heat transfer can be explained by the complex interaction of fundamental forces through the work done on a system or the change in potential energy of a system.


Thus, even if Pro’s case is 100% correct, morality is NOT a physical force like gravity but only a law describing the macroscopic behavior of organized systems.


Debate Round No. 2
Mike_10-4

Pro

From Con's response, he clearly missed Pro's point about Right and Wrong being the primitives of Morality. Here is a summary of my previous round.

Right embraces positive-feedback, as Wrong induces negative-feedback. In other words, the moral thing to do is to embrace positive-feedback, doing the right thing. The immoral thing to do is to embrace negative-feedback, doing the wrong thing.

It is simply a binary relationship. Moral is right resulting in positive-feedback. Immoral is wrong resulting in negative-feedback.

Relative to the life's primitives (Takac), once alive, Life, has the freedom, in the pursuit of survival (positive-feedback); otherwise, there is no life. http://www.bookdaily.com...

Survival is positive-feedback, the moral thing to do, and survival is a prerequisite for the pursuit of any objectives within the domain of existence.

On the human level, these life primitives have symmetry with Unalienable Rights of “Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness.” Between humans, the pursuit of mutual Happiness (the right thing to do) within a group is the attractive force of morality. Attraction brings the members of the group together. Immorality is a repulsive force having the tendency of dispersing the group.

Con started with Observation 1

“The concept of wrong involves going against the flow”
“The concept of right involves going with the flow”

Pro's concept of right and wrong are summarized as primitives above. My apologies for not making that point clearer in the previous round.

Relative to “flow,” the Constructal Law, "reveals that the movement towards harmony, toward flowing together and in balance, is the central tendency of design in nature" (Adrian Bejan).
http://www.amazon.com...

The flow of animate harmony is a manifestation from the moral pursuit of mutual positive-feedback between living systems.

Since life is a product of the Laws of Nature and flow systems, Pro, in Round 2, used examples of life going against, and going with the flow. Going against the flow, is going against the tendency of design in nature, generally results in negative-feedback. Within a culture, going against the flow is going against the norms of that culture, often considered immoral or doing the wrong thing. Going with the flow is the tendency of design in nature, doing the right thing relative to cultural norms. As with everything in life, there are exceptions.

Con pointed out that “Pro violates Hume's Law.” Hume's Law is metaphysical, falling outside the parameters of this debate (http://plato.stanford.edu... ). The focus of this debate, are on those repeatable patterns, of living-systems, presenting the construct of morality being part of the physical Laws of Nature.

Con stated, “What reason do we have for believing that all societal outcomes of the Constructal Law are moral or that some outcomes are not morally preferable to others?”

The Constructal Law deals with the evolution of flow. Not all evolutionary results produce “preferable” outcomes; hence, extinction or the tendency to improve those outcomes that “are not morally preferable to others,” in the course of evolution.

According to Con:
“2) Pro grossly misinterprets the Constructal Law
a) Constructal Law is devoid of the value judgments Pro inserts”

It would seem that Adrian Bejan supports Pro's assertion, according to Bejan:

“Good ideas travel and persist. They keep on traveling. This is why culture is a constructal design [Constructal Law]--a tapestry of morphing linkages in our minds and on the globe--all superimposed on the same area (the globe) and in the same volume (the brain). As such, culture is the same kind of design as the tapestry of vascular architectures, animate and inanimate, all superimposed on the Earth’s surface.”

“Good ideas” evolve from the moral desire of mutual positive-feedback within social groups. The migration (“keep on traveling”) of cultural “good ideas” are “value judgments” during the “tapestry of morphing linkages in our minds and on the globe...”

Con continued with item “b):”
“b) The Constructal Law allows for indeterminate outcomes; it does not necessitate the “moral” outcomes Pro describes.”

Again “good ideas,” within a culture, are a manifestation of morality.

According to Con, “Constructal Law allows for indeterminate outcomes;” Not true! According to Bejan:

“Life is movement. Every living system performs better when the power that is required for maintaining its movement is minimized. Just as lightning bolts and river basins should generate treelike structures to reduce thermodynamic imperfection and increase flow access, animals should have evolved to cover a greater distance for less effort, which means per unit of useful energy derived from food.”

That is deterministic, the optimization of energy in the pursuit of an objective. For example, the human was successful in fulfilling optimization of food acquisition, resulting in “covering a greater distance for less effort” by driving one’s automobile to a “fast food” restaurant with the drive-through option, effectively optimizing the human energy and time in the pursuit for food relative to our cavemen ancestors. The development of such “fast food” infrastructure is from the moral pursuit of mutual positive-feedback through a market system between supply and demand. Morality is the engine for living-systems following Constructal Law.

Con raised a good point in the following:

“Moreover, empirics affirm that different societies respond to tyranny in different ways. The ... the Arab Spring ... transition from despotic to democratic societies is not a foregone conclusion... Many societies have transitioned away from freedom, as the Roman empire did ... Republic to monarch ... after ... Caesar.”

Relative to the Arab Spring, forcing the culture of democracy is taking away the freedom of choice of those desiring a theocracy to rule, the power of myth. Moreover, the Mid East has issues in morally forming a civil society resisting the “movement towards harmony, toward flowing together and in balance, is the central tendency of design in nature" (Bejan). From the immoral repulsive force having the tendency of dispersing the Muslims into conflicting factions, for example, the Sunnis and Shiites to name a few. The Muslim conflicts, throughout the ages, will only record the Arab Spring as an entry on the following list: http://wikibin.org...

The cause of the Roman Empire transitioning from a republic to monarch has historian debate ( http://en.wikipedia.org... ). Focusing on the writings who lived during that time, Juvenal written on the obsession of free “bread and circuses,” while rulers seeking only to gratify those obsessions. Sounds a lot like what is happening in the US today of free food and entertainment for those on the dole. Free money, to many, is the ultimate state of freedom, for the population on the dole, where the working-class must subsidize those on the dole via the tyranny of government through taxation. Here in the US, such immorality is causing dispersion between those on the dole and the working-class, while the government slowly moves from a republic to an oligarch.

Macro currents causing immoral friction within the flow of groups is part of social evolution, with the desire for moral resolution to preserve the life of the group; on the other hand, extinction is also part of evolution. Extinction is no stranger to living-systems under the shadow of the Constructal Law during the evolution of life.

Con went on to say:

“The Constructal Law doesn't selectively apply to human behavior; ... This means Pro has no grounds to claim that any existing society is more or less moral than any other ...”

Human behavior follows Constructal Law as mentioned above by the migration of “Good ideas” according to Bejan. As for a society being “more or less moral than any other,” Con is confusing morality with social values. Morality is a force in nature that brings into existence social values. Comparing social values from different cultures will often provoke immoral feelings; hence, the often repulsive nature of cultural conflicts.

Con's item 3:

“3) Pro's concept of “right” and “wrong” leads to bizarre moral judgments.”

The concept of “right” and “wrong” is a function of the mutual result between the Unalienable Rights of the individuals within a group. A moral judgment embraces the Unalienable Rights of the members within a group (going with the flow). An immoral judgment detracts from it (going against the flow). There is nothing “bizarre” about this simple relationship.

As for a “massive array of behavior ... of ... immoral” we simply have little to no flow, but forms of social chaos as in the above list of Muslim conflicts.

Con went on:

“For example, ... Bejan describes how specific paddling techniques best go with the flow for competitive swimmers [1]. Does this mean that competitive swimmers who use different techniques are immoral?”

If the different paddling technique yielded a win, that is positive-feedback, morally adding knowledge to the evolution of “specific paddling techniques.”

Con continues with a “crack-addict” example. It is obvious addiction embraces positive-feedback for the user, while in many cases, such addiction goes against establish social norms causing negative-feedback, within the group, going against the flow.

I'm running out of space with such good comments from Con.

For “Universal Right” see: http://www.bookdaily.com...

As for morality being a physical force, morality is positive-feedback, an attractive physical force, between living-systems.
Raisor

Con

Observation 1: I accept Pro’s clarification; however he should not be allowed to make any further clarification in the final round. Further modification of his position makes Pro a moving target, shifting his position as evasion of my arguments. If Pro hasn’t made his position clear by now, he should lose the debate.

Observation 2: Pro has not contested that he has the BOP in this debate.

1) Hume’s Law

Pro’s ONLY response to this argument is that it is “metaphysical” and thus irrelevant.

First, this is non-responsive to my original argument- that facts like “humans have a desire for happiness” do not justify moral claims like “humans ought to promote happiness.” It is absurd to claim that every natural desire of humans justifies moral claims to pursue those desires – some humans have a desire to rape but that doesn’t justify promoting rape. The bare fact that constructal law means certain value systems will spread does not demonstrate that those value systems are morally right.

Second, Pro arbitrarily labels this argument “metaphysical” as a cop-out. Hume’s law is an argument about the nature of morality just as Pro’s entire case is an argument about morality. I’m also not sure how his source proves that my argument should be ignored.

Third, the genre of my argument is irrelevant; if my argument disproves the Resolution that is all the justification I need to use it. And this argument DOES disprove the Resolution- morality makes normative claims about what people “should” do, Pro has offered no arguments justifying normative statements.

Finally, Pro proves my point in claiming extinction “improves” outcomes. He arbitrarily interjects moral terms into naturalistic events- extinction is often due only to sudden shifts in the environment (or the “current” a system is exposed to). Prior to a global ice or asteroid collision, dinosaurs were very well-adapted and successful systems; it makes no sense to claim an ice age transformed dinosaurs from “preferable” to “less preferable.”

On what grounds do we decide that species that survive extinction are “preferable?” Why shouldn’t we prefer species that go extinct? Any response to this question will inevitably be value-laden.

2a) Constructal Law is devoid of Value Judgments

Bejan’s statements are arguments that go beyond the initial formulation of the Constructal law, which is only compelling due to the wide range of naturalistic behavior it describes, such as evolution and fluid behavior. That Bejan is willing to go beyond the original naturalistic formulation and impose value judgment on cultural developments doesn’t prove Pro’s assertion, it just shows that Pro isn’t the first person to make the assertion.

A LOT of ideas “travel and persist” – racial animosity has been around since recorded history, as has slavery and the treatment of women as property. Are these ideas “good?”

At best Constructal theory offers an explanation for why ideas persist- they minimize flow resistance. Constructal theory says nothing on whether those ideas are morally preferable.

Pro is unresponsive to my point that constructal outcomes are dependent on what currents are imposed on a system. The implication is that societies imposed to different currents can arrive at contradictory value systems. This undermines Pro’s claims about human rights.

2b) Constructal Law does not necessitate moral outcomes

First, Pro ignores the empirical proof of my claim- that biological evolution results in wildly divergent outcomes. The same “currents” imposed on the Amazon rainforest resulted in trees, ants, fungus, fish, and bacteria. There may be patterns of similarity between certain branches of biological families, but even these patterns diverge: trees are extremely dissimilar from ants.

Second, arguing for minimization of movement energy does NOT prove Pro’s point. My entire argument is that there are indeterminate ways for that energy to be minimized. Moreover, the fact that life has a general trend ignores that the “currents” which resulted in life ALSO resulted in diverse forms of non-life like valleys and inorganic minerals. Constructal law applies to the entire physical world; the divergent nature of life and non-life shows how radically different outcomes can emerge from the Law.

My original point stands- Pro is picking and choosing whatever constructal outcomes best align with accepted Western philosophy to create the illusion of moral content in constructal theory. There is nothing moral about the fact that dinosaurs went extinct and sharks didn’t, but this is just as much a system “embracing positive feedback” as anything Pro claims is moral.

Pro has made the MASSIVE claim that the rise of tyrannies over free societies is just one entry on the path toward “harmony.” Turbulence in the Middle East has resulted in the largest number of displaced peoples globally since WWII [1]. In a world where humanity has the power to obliterate itself via nuclear and biological weapons, Pro needs to demonstrate why harmony is inevitable for humanity.

Nothing about Constructal Law guarantees the political freedom Pro wants. The currents of survival and the urge to dominate could result in a society minimizing access to those currents via efficiently despotic governments. Pro’s explanation of the Middle East conflict shows how Constructal Law DOES NOT guarantee “moral outcome;” he admits the Mid East has shown a tendency to fracture into competing factions. History has time and again shown the societal pressures can result in morally despicable governments.

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

Pro says the US is repeating the mistakes of Rome – this suggests history has cyclical tendencies, not a unifying moral direction toward freedom. Pro’s case would suggest the emergence of stable free societies, but even he concedes this is not happening.

Pro offers no explanation for how we can claim that one society’s values are morally superior to others. This is important because PRO CLAIMS unalienable rights for all humans falls out of his framework; Pro’s position entails that societies which do not respect those rights are immoral.

3) Pro’s concept of “right” yields bizarre moral judgments

Pro simply asserts that moral judgments must embrace the unalienable rights of a group, even though his definition of right is only “to embrace positive feedback.”

Nothing about Pro’s own definition of right and wrong necessitates group dynamics. Nothing about the constructal law places a greater emphasis on group behavior or individual behavior. If crack addicts could best embrace positive feedback by sustaining their addiction, then they meet Pro’s criteria for right behavior.

Con concedes that swimming with inefficient finger placement is immoral; this is a reductio ad absurdum againstCon’s case.

This argument underscores that constructal law is silent on value judgments. Even Pro’s formulation of “right” is essentially silent on such judgments. Pro claims “right” is embracing positive feedback, but doesn’t define what type of positive feedback or explain why we should prefer some types to other. Crack cocaine generates chemical positive feedback, anything that aids individual survival is positive feedback, anything that perpetuates sexual reproduction is positive feedback.

Constructal law merely predicts an increase in efficiency under a system subjected to currents. A crack addict demonstrates this principle as the addict cuts out aspects of life that interrupt the positive feedback of drugs and gravitate toward a lifestyle focused one easy access to the current they are imposed to – crack cocaine.

4) Pro fails to account for cases where moral behavior requires embracing negative feedback

Pro ignores this argument, which deals with positive feedback in group settings and cultural norms. My argument is that it is often the case that individuals need to go against social norms to behave morally. Pro argues that going against social norms causes negative feedback and is therefore immoral. Pro’s argument leads to the reprehensible conclusion that all the brave men and women who risked their lives and well-being in Nazi Germany to prevent state sponsored murder were acting wrongly.

5) Pro fails to justify his assertions of Universal Rights

Pro has yet to justify his claim that Constructal Theory results in unalienable rights. From my perspective, Pro’s case looks incoherent. Pro alternatively argues that there are unalienable rights, that following social norms is always right, that the failure of democracy in the Middle East is embracing freedom, and that right is simply embracing positive feedback. I really do not know what to make of Pro’s moral system.

Extend all my arguments about Pro’s complete failure to justify his claim that there are unalienable universal rights.

6) Pro has not proven a force of nature

Pro ignores my argument. The Resolution makes a very specific claim about the nature of morality. The Resolution doesn’t just claim that morality is part of the natural world, or that morality is a natural process, or morality is a pattern of physical phenomena. The Resolution claims that morality is a force similar to gravity, establishing that Pro must defend that morality is a fundamental physical force.

Pro reiterated his claim in R3 by stating “morality is an attractive physical force.”

What Pro has described is not a physical force, but a law describing the behavior of systems. Pro has described a process similar to evolution, and evolution is not a physical force. Evolution does not have “attractive” power; if the Resolution were “evolution is a physical force” Pro would lose.

This is not a minor semantic argument- the Resolution makes a very specific claim about morality’s status in nature and Pro needs to defend it. So far Pro has only defended the amorphous claim that morality is part of the natural world, not that it is a physical force.

Debate Round No. 3
Mike_10-4

Pro

I would like to thank Con for his time on this debate. I enjoy the learning experience while debating potential new ideas on the human endeavor of enlightenment, a never ending endeavor.

This debate on morality was inspired by the research of Bejan (“Design in Nature”) and Takac (“Scientific Proof of Our Unalienable Rights”).
http://www.amazon.com...
http://www.bookdaily.com...

These two books offer a new way of looking at a common and a repeating pattern found throughout nature. Relative to humans, the Constructal Law (Bejan) extends into many facets of life, “shaping everything from traffic patterns to the hierarchical flowcharts in corporations, the military, science, academia, political bodies,” etc. Takac points to the force of morality via life's Unalienable Rights, which is an outgrowth of the Constructal Law, responsible for the group attraction forming those hierarchical patterns found in corporations, the military, science, academia, political bodies, etc.

The Constructal Law covering both inanimate and animate (Bejan):

Given freedom, for a finite-sized flow system to persist in time (to live), its configuration must evolve in such a way that provides easier access to the currents that flow through it.

Life's primitives (Takac):

Once an organism comes to (1) Life, it has the (2) freedom, (3) in the pursuit of survival; otherwise, there is no life.

Linkage between Life's primitives to Constructal Law: (1) Life, aka (Constructal) “flow system (to live).” (2) freedom, aka (Constructal) “given freedom.” (3) in the pursuit of, aka (Constructal) “provides easier access.”

Thomas Jefferson’s Unalienable Rights of “Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness.” Takac generalized Unalienable Rights to all living-systems, by simply replacing the human emotion of Happiness with positive-feedback.

Linkage between Life's primitives to Unalienable Rights: (1) Life, aka (Unalienable Rights) “Life.” (2) freedom, aka (Unalienable Rights) “Liberty.” (3) in the pursuit of, aka (Unalienable Rights) “in the pursuit of.”

The above linkage presents the traceable path from the physical Constructal Law to Unalienable Rights.

Living systems, are physical, confined within the Laws of Nature, requiring a constant flow of bio-energy to live, where pursuit is the work (function of force and displacement). From the energy in the force generating a thought, to the force in taking your next breath, to the force needed in mutual positive-feedback sustaining a moral force of attraction holding a group together.

The empirical existence of groups, packs, cultures, tribes, etc are manifestations from the moral force of attraction.

The empirical symmetry from the Constructal Law to morality being the agent of attraction between physical living-systems, describes, morality, like gravity, is a physical force in nature.

Such patterns in living nature may have a profound renaissance in social and economic systems relative to the physical Laws of Nature. Studying repeatable and symmetrical related patterns in nature is the foundation to the scientific method.

Comments on Con’s items of 1 through 6.

“1) Hume's Law”
Con complains about the limits on metaphysics, defined in Round 1. I would remind Con, he accepted that condition by entering this debate.

Hume's Law is metaphysics, case closed, and is narrowly focused on humans, and is outside the debate parameters. But in the insistence of Con, I'll comment on it in this closing Round.

As in all transitions from metaphysics to the empirical, one will find resistance from classical ideologies. For example, during the Dark Ages, the popular ideology of the earth being flat, and the center of the universe, relative to today’s accepted scientific empirical solar system understanding. Another example is found in today's classical ideologies over creationism, being in conflict with, the empirical from Darwin, DNA mapping, and now the Constructal Law. And in saying that, one day Hume's Law may also fall victim to such transition.

There is no conflict between Hume and Pro at the human level. http://plato.stanford.edu...

According to Stanford.edu, in general, “Hume sides with the moral sense theorists: we gain awareness of moral good and evil by experiencing the pleasure of approval and the uneasiness of disapproval when we contemplate a character trait or action from an imaginatively sensitive and unbiased point of view.”

From a human standpoint, this is the point I (Pro) was making all along. Moral being good, right, by the mutual positive-feedback experience between humans embracing the pleasure of approval. Immoral being evil, wrong, by the non-mutual negative-feedback experiencing uneasiness of disapproval between humans.

Where, feed-back is a function on how one “contemplates a character trait or action from an imaginatively sensitive and unbiased point of view.”

Con pointed out the following, “It is absurd to claim that every natural desire of humans justifies moral claims to pursue those desires – some humans have a desire to rape but that doesn’t justify promoting rape.”

Pro did not make that claim! Rape is an event resulting in, not a mutual positive-feedback; hence, an immoral event! When both parties experience positive-feedback we have mutual positive-feedback resulting in a moral, physically attractive, event. In the event of rape, one member experiences positive-feedback, while the other does not; resulting in an immoral, physically repulsive, event.

I find most of Con's arguments of a metaphysical nature. Where I (Pro) is focused on symmetrical patterns found in nature on the physical level. Too bad Con could not debate on that level.

“2a) Constructal Law is devoid of Value Judgments”

According to Bejan: “Good ideas travel and persist. They keep on traveling. This is why culture is a constructal design [Constructal Law]…”

For “good ideas” to travel from person to person, is simply a function of “value judgment.” Therefore, Constructal Law is not void of value judgment at the human level.

On this issue, Con is debating Bejan not Pro.

“2b) Constructal Law does not necessitate moral outcomes”

For “good ideas” to travel from person to person, embraces mutual positive-feedback resulting in the evolution of cultural norms. Cultural norms are the result, or the “outcome” from the force of morality. “This is why culture is a constructal design [Constructal Law].”

“3) Pro’s concept of “right” yields bizarre moral judgments”

A moral action embraces the positive end of the spectrum of the Unalienable Rights within the group approaching or “embracing Life, and/or Liberty, and/or positive-feedback.” An immoral action embraces the negative end of the spectrum of the Unalienable Rights within the group approaching or “embracing Death, and/or Tyranny, and/or negative-feedback.”

What is so “bizarre” with that?

Con is stuck on crack cocaine. Again, relative to the crack-head, positive-feedback happens during the next fix. To the crack-head this is a moral event. Since the crack-head is a member of society, such self-centered positive-feedback over the fix, causes negative-feedback relative to others as a function of society’s norms, resulting in an immoral event.

“4) Pro fails to account for cases where moral behavior requires embracing negative feedback”

Con made a good point relative to negative-feedback. Negative-feedback in cultural evolution is a manifestation of the natural selection process, where there are many eddy currents within the flow of cultural norms.

In the moment of disciplining your child, both parent and child are not happy during this immoral event of a painful beating. The parent knows, in time this immoral event will help place the child on a moral direction relative to cultural norms.

On the other hand, and in addition to “good ideas,” travel from person to person being Constructal Law, includes those “good ideas” flow from one generation to the next. One facet of cultural evolution happens when a child finds their parent's norms (a reflection of cultural norms) to be old-fashioned and rigid (high resistance), the child offers little resistance to the subtle change of those norms, and such change will flow through the child. The child, influenced by its generational peers, sees cultural improvement, while the parent questions the child's morality; hence, the majestic clockwork known as the “generation gap.”

“5) Pro fails to justify his assertions of Universal Rights”

See the above discussion on Unalienable Rights before item 1).

“6) Pro has not proven a force of nature”

See the above discussion before item 1).

In closing, I wish Pro a healthy “Life,” having the freedom (“Liberty”), in the moral “pursuit of Happiness.” Morality, that attractive force holding a physical group together.
Raisor

Con

For my final round I will provide an overview of why I have won this debate and then a line by line response to Pro"s final arguments.

Overview:

I have presented a case with multiple layers of independent arguments; if I win any one of these layers, I have won this debate.

Pro has made the claim that morality is an outgrowth of the Constructal Law, claiming that the bare fact of a physical law generates normative moral obligations. I have made the argument that bare facts about what is cannot generate normative claims about what ought to be. Pro offers no explanation for how bare facts can yield normative conclusions, so he has failed to show that the Constructal Law yields morality. If I win this argument, I have negated the Resolution.

My 2a and 2b can be viewed as support for my argument about Hume"s Law. These arguments show how Pro must leverage external claims about morality to transform the Constructal Law into a moral law. If Pro relies on external value judgments, then morality is external to the Constructal Law and his argument fails.

My 2) is also an independent argument that Pro"s case fails. Even if it were possible to bridge the is-ought gap, Pro"s case fails to do so. I have argued that the Constructal Law does not contain the value judgments Pro is making, meaning Pro has failed to show that the Law yields moral claims and instead has snuck in moral claims from elsewhere. I have also argued that the Constructal Law predicts different outcomes depending on what currents a system is subjected to. This means the Universal Rights Pro supports are not guaranteed outcomes of the Constructal Law, that in fact the Constructal Law offers no guarantee of moral outcomes.

My 3) and 4) demonstrate how the conclusions generated by Pro"s theory of right and wrong yield absurd moral conclusions. It is not difficult to uncover scenarios where maximizing positive feedback is a non-moral matter like using good posture while swimming or scenarios where doing the right thing requires embracing negative feedback. These arguments show that Constructal Law does not yield a moral theory, it yields morally repulsive conclusions. Thus the resolution is defeated.

My 5) shows that Pro has not offered a clear explanation of we get from the Constructal Law to Universal Rights. If Pro fails to construct a sound argument for Universal Rights as an outgrowth of the Cosntructal Law, then he has failed to meet his burden of showing that the Law yields morality. Pro makes wild leaps and assertions in his argument, including equating a broad understanding of "freedom of movement" to the complicated political concept of "Liberty." Pro never responded to my objections, he merely repeated his original argument in his final round. On this point alone I have shown that Pro fails to meet his BOP.

Finally, even if you buy Pro"s case lock, stock, and barrel, he has failed to uphold the Resolution. Pro made a very specific claim about the role morality plays in nature- he claimed it was a physical force similar to gravity. I outlined that a physical force is very different from the broad pattern of phenomena described by the Constructal Law. The Resolution isn"t about whether morality is part of nature or can be seen in nature; it is that it is a physical force. If the Resolution were "evolution, like gravity, is a physical force," Pro would lose this debate. In the same way, Pro has lost this debate by failing to defend the totality of the Resolution.

Line-by-Line:

1) Hume's Law

Pro has never shown that my arguments are metaphysical in nature. Pro is making just as many claims about morality as I am; if my claims about the is-ought gap are metaphysical then so are his non-empirical claims that there is symmetry between "freedom of movement" and "liberty."

My argument is not esoteric speculation or ideology- I am arguing that bare facts simply do not give justification for moral claims. The fact the I desire X doesn"t justify claims that I ought to pursue X. The fact that Constructal Law results in life that moves doesn"t justify claims that we ought to promote all movement. The fact that positive-feedback systems propagate does not mean we should promote any positive feedback system.

The bottom line is this argument is a standard front-line response to Pro"s case and totally in line with the scope of the Resolution. This debate is about what morality is and my argument confronts this directly.

Pro offered a number of new arguments in the final round, but I will briefly respond.

Hume"s ethical theories are debated, but Pro"s interpretation of Hume doesn"t support the resolution. Hume says we gain awareness of good by sense-experience, suggesting that the good is something else. Hume doesn"t claim that such sense experience IS morality, only that it is the epistemological route to knowing it.

Pro makes the radical claim that morality IS the positive feedback event, that it is a force in nature.

2a) Constructal Law is devoid of Value Judgments

The Bejan makes a claim beyond the empirical support of the Constructal law doesn"t make the claim true. This is classic appeal to authority. If Einstein claimed Special Relativity meant genocide was ok he would be wrong, regardless of the fact he discovered that physical law.

Pro is ignoring the substance of my argument that Bejan"s claim implies that all ideas which persist are good, including reprehensible ones like slavery and racism.

Pro also ignores the heart of my original argument, which is that the Constructal Law is a broad formulation of how physical processes respond and evolve over time; the law talks in broad terms about "systems" and "currents." It only appears to take on moral tones when loaded terms are injected into it.

2b) Constructal Law does not necessitate moral outcomes

I offered a huge amount of analysis in R3 about what the Constructal Law implies and empirical confirmation of the claim that the Law does not guarantee moral outcomes. Pro doesn"t even touch this analysis; on this alone I have refuted the Resolution.

3) Pro"s concept of "right" yields bizarre moral judgments

Pro ignores my argument that his formulation of "right" yields conclusions that vary wildly depending on what "systems" and "currents" we are looking at. Again, his position suggests that sharks are more moral than dinosaurs because they survived extinction.

Pro"s response about crack confuses me. He says shooting up is a moral event to the crack-head but relative to others it is immoral. Is he implying events can be both good and bad, or that morality is subjective? If this is the case then he has certainly disproved the resolution- natural forces are not subjective.

4) Pro fails to account for cases where moral behavior requires embracing negative feedback

Pro again presents a number of new arguments. He seems to suggest that some negative feedback events are actually good because they fall within a greater positive feedback system over the long term. First, this directly contradicts his formulation of right and wrong- Pro is a moving target and offers no stable advocacy. Second, this renders his principle of right epistemologically opaque. Any negative-feedback event could be justified as just part of a larger positive feedback system. Also, individuals have no way of knowing if a negative-feedback act actually is a part of a positive feedback system; our hypothetical Nazi-fighters then have no justification to risk a negative feedback event.

5) Pro fails to justify his assertions of Universal Rights

Pro is totally unresponsive to my original criticisms of his argument.

6) Pro has not proven a force of nature

Pro is totally unresponsive to this argument; he only refers to his overview which does not address my point that the Constructal Law is not a physical force.
Debate Round No. 4
1 comment has been posted on this debate.
Posted by phantom 2 years ago
phantom
RFD

Con won this debate on a number of points, though any one would have been enough.

1) Pro never showed morality was a physical force. If accepted, his argument would only prove morality was a pattern or law in nature, not a physical force like gravity. Pro essentially drops Con"s objections latter on.

2) Pro fails to demonstrate how descriptive claims can produce normative claims, as per Hume"s is-ought problem. The is-ought problem is no more metaphysical than many of Pro"s claims. I find it strange that Pro would even exclude metaphysical speculation from a debate that would almost inevitably have metaphysical underlinings.

3) Constructal theory imposes moral worth to events that shouldn't have any moral value, such as dinosaurs going extinct and not sharks, or inefficient swimming techniques.

4) Actions that go against positive feedback could often be seen as more moral.

5) Pro"s inclusion of human rights was never reconciled with the relativistic way currents operate on societies. Moreover, Pro never actually explained how unalienable rights are an outgrowth of constructal law.
2 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 2 records.
Vote Placed by phantom 2 years ago
phantom
Mike_10-4RaisorTied
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Reasons for voting decision: RFD in comments.
Vote Placed by FourTrouble 2 years ago
FourTrouble
Mike_10-4RaisorTied
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Reasons for voting decision: Pro's argument was a non-starter. Con won before the debate even began.