Morals Do Not Exist
Debate Rounds (3)
Thank you for this debate.
I'd like to start by defining morality, from which you have obtained the term morals.
In spite of the bad wording of the question, as morals clearly exist regardless of whether they are subjective or not, I will debate on the assumption you mean no objective morality exists. You have stated that 'They are created by man' and so have already admitted their existence; how does one create something that doesn't exist?
A world filled with torture (even if you enjoy physical pain, there are many ways to torture people, so assuming everyone on the planet is uncomfortable). This is an objectively 'bad' place. The reason it is objectively bad and not subjective is that no one can possibly describe this place as good. Even the masochists and sadists are in their own world of hurt (bearing in mind this is a hypothetical world). As we have established an objectively 'bad' place, we can now say, objectively, whether one thing is better than another. If this is the worst possible place to live in for any conscious creature, then there must be better places. Every situation can't be equally bad for everyone.
Although we may never know the answers to some questions like 'Is killing one person better than leaving ten to suffer?', we have established that there must be an answer out there. The reason there is an answer out there, is our objectively bad place has shown us that we can compare the 'goodness' and 'badness' of places. Indeed some behaviours may be equally bad or equally good, but some will be considerably better than others. Consequently there is an objective morality, even if we don't know the answers this objective morality will give yet.
One way we may discover this objective morality is through neuroscience. The science of morality is very young, and is described very well by Sam Harris, whose books explain this in great detail. As a neuroscientist, he believes that breakthroughs in the study of suffering and happiness can allow us to establish whether societal behaviours will improve or impair well being. Indeed some people may prefer pain to generosity, however when it comes to the human race on the whole, the ability to experience happiness (a positive emotion) is impaired by pain and suffering, and so consequently we can for example establish that a world of total pain is worse than a world with total generosity. (1)
This world you describe is only based off of the fact that we humans have already experienced modern day society. A child in a poor country with terrible conditions can be extremely happy. But if you put someone from a middle class home in their position, they would be miserable. This good and bad you speak of does not exist. Humans have biological instincts. Avoiding pain is one of these. This does not mean that pain is bad. There is nothing that is objectively bad. Everything is subjective.
Objective morality does not exist. Morals have been developed by society to serve a purpose or agenda. If objective morals exist, give me a list or solid proof they do. How come every society has different morals if objective morality exists?
Indeed a child may be very happy in a poor country, however what causes us to bring up our kids in our own society? Surely it would be cheaper if we didn't have medical facilites and a stable water supply, or electricity? The fact of the matter is, is that these things are luxuries that improve our well being. Is the well being of a child in Africa, who is ecstatic to get some water, the same as a child in the West who has just received a new Xbox? I would argue no. The strains and stresses of not having a stable water supply, of having a much lower average age, of having no medical services, make it impossible for the child to have as happy a life as someone in a western society. The sheer number of bad events that will happen to a child in a poor country means that a child is much better off in a rich country.
Pain is objectively bad as it has a negative impact on the lives of everyone affected by it. Indeed some people may have been abused and so enjoy pain, however this goes against human nature and so can be considered an anomaly. If pain did not have a negative effect on those who suffer from it, it would not serve its purpose, which is to warn of dangerous stimuli. What on earth would be the point of pain if when a flame is held to your skin, it feels fine or even pleasurable?
Bad according to the Oxford dictionary in this context is: 'Lacking or failing to conform to moral virtue'
According to your claim, there is no objectively 'bad' behaviour as there is no objectively moral virtue. I would argue otherwise.
I propose the idea that morality is the word given to the well being of conscious creatures. Bad behaviour thus is behaviour that impairs the well being of conscious creatures. I think that well being is a scientific concept, not a subjective one. The well being of a creature can be measured on the level of the brain through the brain's responses to suffering, generosity etc. As this measurement is a scientific measurement, it is not subjective. It is not subjective when looking on the level the brain, to say that torturing a child has an effect on their brain that impacts on their ability to experience happiness and joy. This is not subjective. Consequently to say that torturing a child is immoral is not a subjective claim, as the impact the torture has on the child's brain is a scientific claim, not an opinion.
I would compare well being to health. Both are undefined terms. Health is not a subjective matter. It isn't one's opinion over whether a chemical is poisonous or not. It is a scientific fact that poison by definition reduces the health of an organism. To liken this to well being, the well being of an conscious being may be reduced by torturing a child. Now I think this is an obvious one, as we know the ability to flourish in society is severely impaired by the mental and physical damage caused by torture. However even if I were to say that I don't know, the fact is torture either contributes to or impairs well being. It isn't a subjective matter, it is a factual one. The reason it is factual is that well being can be established on the level of the brain. Trauma can lead to physical damage (changes) to the brain. Consequently we can say that trauma reduces well being.
Torture as far as I am aware never stops being immoral, as a society that encourages torture will be one with far more worrying, and far more suffering in. I see no need to justify why suffering is objectively bad, however I will for the sake of argument. Suffering is objectively bad because bad is a term that refers to the morality of an action. Morality only exists as long as conscious beings exist. To that extent morality does not exist, but only insofar as history doesn't exist, as both exist only as long as conscious beings do. Morality refers to the well being of conscious creatures, which is either improved or impaired by actions. Suffering is by definition a negative experience. In no one is suffering enjoyed. Even though a masochist may enjoy being cut, he may not enjoy his family being cut, and so suffering will apply to everyone in their own particular ways.
Morals appear to only apply to man as only man appears to be capable of contemplating right and wrong. This is different to being created by man. I will confess that some moralities are made by man, e.g religious morality. However the existence of right and wrong is a very true one if looked at as an action's impact on the brains of others.
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by Bored_Debater 7 months ago
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Reasons for voting decision: Pro admits that morals exist, con agrees. Point goes to con. Con is the only one of the two to use sources, point goes to con.
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