The Instigator
DakotaKrafick
Pro (for)
Winning
19 Points
The Contender
phantom
Con (against)
Losing
16 Points

Naturalism provides a more plausible explanation for objective morality than God.

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 6 votes the winner is...
DakotaKrafick
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 4/8/2012 Category: Philosophy
Updated: 5 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 4,269 times Debate No: 22651
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (15)
Votes (6)

 

DakotaKrafick

Pro

For the purposes of this debate, objective morality is assumed to exist (my opponent and I agree they do). I will be arguing objective morality is more plausibly explained through naturalism. Phantom will be arguing that objective morality is more plausibly explained through God.

Morality: the field concerned with the distinctions between good and bad behavior.
Objective: not dependent on human opinion. If something is objectively morally good, then it is morally good no matter how many people disagree.
Subjective: dependent on human opinion. If something is subjectively morally good, then it is only morally good by certain people's standards.

Round 1: Acceptance and clarifications
Round 2: Opening arguments only
Round 3: Rebuttals
Round 4: Rebuttals/closing statements
phantom

Con

First, I would like to say, it is a pleasure to debate DakotaKrafick once again. Judging from our last debate I know that he is a formidable opponent.


I accept my opponents definitions, though I suspect allot of contention will rest on what "right and wrong" really mean.


To further clarify, it is presupposed that naturalism and God are the two only possible explanations for morality, thus if naturalism is found to be unreliable in explaining objective morality than God is the only other possible answer, unless God is also found to be unreliable and vice-versa.


Good luck to my opponent.
Debate Round No. 1
DakotaKrafick

Pro

Thank you, phantom, for participating in this debate with me. Morality and God are my two favorite subjects to discuss and debate, so without further ado, let's get to it...

My Argument for Objective Morality

You may be right, phantom, in that this debate could end up focusing on what ought to be considered "right" and "wrong", but I sincerely hope not. Firstly, when presented with a logical explanation of "right" and "wrong" I don't see how one could ignore its truth. And secondly, I'd rather focus on morality's foundation, not definition, if possible.

As my opponent alludes, the two most conversional words in the definition of "morality" are, of course, "good" and "bad". How can we justifiably say which actions constitute "good" behavior and which actions constitute "bad" behavior, without appearing to be merely projecting our own bias onto the problem?

Before we can even answer that, we must first ask ourselves something even more fundamental. It is understood that morality is that which governs what we consider to be good and bad actions, but good and bad for what or for whom? The answer is, of course, for us. For our own well-beings, for the well-beings of our fellow people, and for the well-beings of other conscious creatures (living things which, like us, can feel happiness and pain and other sensations of the sort).

Therefore, "good" actions are those which promote an overall "good" well-being of conscious creatures, and "bad" actions are those which promote an overall "bad" well-being of conscious creatures.

It is not, for example, morally apprehensible to pound your fists repeatedly into the softest part of a pillow. The same cannot be said, however, for performing the same action against the softest part of a child's face. Why is this? Because the child has nerve-endings to detect the sharp pains of a bombardment of fists and sentience to induce displeasurable feelings of fear, so it is clear that by beating his/her face in, you've made the existence of at least one conscious human being less satisfactory than it otherwise would have been, at least temporarily. A pillow, on the other hand, does not have the capacity to feel discomfort over its state of enduring pummeling, so it can be inferred that beating it with your fists is amoral (neither morally good nor bad, as it is irrelevant to the principles of morality).

The Value of Well-Being

The question has now changed from "How can we determine, objectively, which actions are good and bad" to "How can we determine, objectively, which states of well-being are good and bad".

It's clear to discern that well-being is somehow connected to both physical and mental health. Of course, perfect physical and mental health can be difficult to define, and we may not know everything there is to know as of yet; but that doesn't change the fact that some states of physical and mental health are objectively better or worse than others.

For instance, I should hope we can agree that bleeding unstoppably from every orifice of your body is objectively worse to your overall well-being than, say, not bleeding unstoppably from every orifice of your body. Of course, I've met some people who stubbornly couldn't admit that, for that would be one step closer to admitting morality is logically objective. Perhaps the problem here is that the value one places on well-being is subjective and, therefore, the actions which effect well-being are judged subjectively.

However, this is quite parallel to saying "the value one places on logic is subjective and, therefore, logical arguments are judged subjectively". While there is no celestial rule book of logical truths and the application of the principles of logic depends on thinking minds to understand them, logic is still an objective doctrine. And logic would remain objective no matter how many people misunderstood it (or, indeed, even if every living creature in the universe misunderstood it). The same can be said for morality. No matter how many people misunderstand the value of well-being or the course of actions we must take in order to achieve maximally good well-beings, the principles of morality remain objective.

I must concede that, of course, some people do not value their own well-beings. This is exemplified most commonly in suicidal acts, where one takes his/her own life at the benefit of no one. But most, if not all, of suicide attempts are a result of some form of depression, an imbalance of chemicals in the victim's brain. This is akin to the victim being, in a way, "broken" as an automobile is with a blown engine. We cannot tailor the definition of "good performance" to suit the behavior of a car with three flat tires any more than we can tailor the definition of "good well-being" to suit the behaviors or values of a person with self-harming tendencies.

Logically Deducing Objective Morality

Once you agree that some states of well-being are objectively better or worse than others, despite any "broken" or misguided discrepancies, you can agree that some actions are objectively better or worse for well-being, and therefore the principles which concern themselves with these actions (morality) are objective. Here is my four-point logical argument to summarize everything I've said thus far:

1. Some states of well-being are objectively better or worse than others.
2. Our behaviors and actions can effect the well-beings of ourselves and of other conscious creatures, for better or for worse.
3. Morals are the principles concerned with these behaviors and actions which effect well-being.
4. Therefore, some actions can be named objectively morally good or bad, depending on how they effect well-being.

The Foundation of Objective Morality

While these principles can only be refined through logical thinking, it's clear that we inherit some rudimentary understanding of them from birth. Morality, in its most basic form, is simply a natural mechanism for promoting the well-beings of social species.

For example, if our ancestors thousands of years ago were like phantom and thought objective morality could not exist independent of God, they would surely have gone extinct thinking "Psh, what good could come out of working together if God doesn't exist?" The ones who inherited a better sense of morality were more likely to survive and pass on that intuitive moral compass to the next generation.

It's really no different from how certain animals evolved sharp teeth, wings, or sonar through natural selection because that is what helps them promote survival and flourishing in their own species. Any social species (a species that depends on others of its own species' help to survive), like dogs, ants, bees, chimpanzees, and humans, would need a keen sense of morality to survive just as sharks need a keen sense of smell to survive.

phantom

Con

I'd like to thank my opponent for a wonderfully clear-cut case. I will try to be as clear, un-confusing and straight forward as my opponent has been.



This round I will not be directing any effort into proving that naturalism is not a plausible explanation for objective morality, in accordance with the debate set-up. I will only be making a case as to why God is a plausible explanation for morality. Next round I will attempt to refute my opponents case and show that God is a more plausible cause than naturalism, rather than just is a plausible cause. Thus, I will only be presenting my case this round.



I need not direct any effort into proving Gods existence, just as my opponent has not made an attempt to prove naturalism. This would be to confuse the meaning of the word "plausible". What I need to prove is that God's existence is a plausible explanation for morality such so that it is more plausible than naturalism. Plausible, defined by Merriam Webster dictionary, is, "appearing worthy of belief"[1] (viewers please acknowledge this definition is not binding as it has only just been presented and my opponent has yet to agree/disagree on it). Thus I have to prove that God being the cause of objective morality, appears worthy of belief.


It is my contention that God offers a very plausible explanation for morality. What makes my opponents case a tougher one to prove is that he has much more of a burden, to prove that naturalism CAN account for morality, whereas the question of whether God could cause morality if He existed is an obvious one. The contention against my case will most likely rest elsewhere.




We now have to deal with the question of how we determine God a worthy proposition for objective morality. To do this I will offer three questions in which I think it necessary for my assertions to meet the requirements. After this round I will also likely submit my opponents moral views to the same questions.





The three questions:



1. Could God cause objective morality?

2. What type of morality could/would exist if God was the cause?

3. Does this type of morality exist?



Could God cause objective morality?



I am interested to see what my opponent has to say about this, because I have yet to meet an atheist or anyone for that matter, who would entertain the idea that God could not cause objective morality. The general view of God is that His powers are either unlimited or subject to very minimal limitation. God is the supreme ruler of the universe. Thus He is either a maximally great being or at least highly powerful. Thus the things that He COULDN'T do would be very limited. Thus we can postulate that God could cause objective morality. The only way I can see my opponent refuting this would be if he contended that it would some how, contradict Gods nature for Him to cause morality. If so, that would be interesting, but again, I foresee no disagreements.


So in conclusion God having the ability to cause morality will likely not be an issue. This will probably be a much strong contention against the naturalistic view of morality my opponent has taken, but I need to leave that for the next round.



What type of morality could/would exist if God was the cause?



As God is the supreme ruler, the type of morality in which He could cause would be almost unlimited. However we can also infer what type of morality would be likely to exit if God was the cause, and our results, I think we can extrapolate, support my case. A likely moral code in which God would create for humans would be one in which we naturally possess, within the construct of our being. Not a morality in which we generalize absolutes by use of logical syllogism, but one in which we simply know moral facts by sense or intuition. The action of pounding your fists into a child's face, an analogy my opponent uses, has been universally considered by normal persons (therefore excluded maniacs, and those with mental disabilities) for centuries as a morally wrong thing to do. Morality is something that humans are naturally in-tune with Hence "moral code". This sort of objective morality is somewhat analogous to sense perception. There is not much of a categorical difference between moral and sense perception. Our sense perceptions are often prima facie reliable. They allow us to perceive facts and make judgments. Hearing a sound behind me allows me to reason that someone is approaching. My sense perception allowed me to perceive a certain fact, just as our moral sense allows us to perceive certain facts. This is the exact type of morality in which God would be likely to cause. Now we are brought to the exclusively important question,



Does this type of morality exist?



I assume my opponent will strongly try to negate this question, however I will strongly affirm it. It is indeed evident that this type of morality does in fact exist. Human beings possess advanced cognitive faculties, and everything suggests that we possess the natural ability to differentiate between right and wrong, which would not be the naturalistic view of morality. I have already partially dealt with this question in the previous paragraph. Moral perception is comparable to sense perception. We can deduce certain facts, not logically but naturally. I can recognize signals from my sense of smell, and touch, just as I can recognize facts that my moral sense gives me. We cannot hold the view that our senses are incredibly untrustworthy. In fact to deny a moral sense would be to assert that we, for some reason, own a natural intuition that is entirely and completely flawed. The naturalist needs to answer the puzzling question, why do we have such a strong moral perception if it is entirely untrustworthy? In fact would not the naturalist believe that evolution would have by now eliminated this hindrance? Instead we would be left perplexed on why we as humans reserve such a deceptive and useless natural sense. It is plausible to believe that objective morality, if caused by God, would be something that humans are naturally in-tune with, and that is the exact type of morality that is evident in observation. Denying this fact only brings up opposing questions. For to negate this you would have to argue that we possess a highly, unreliable, deceptive and useless natural instinct, when there is no explanation through naturalism as to why we it naturally exists with in us. Thus God offers us the only plausible explanation for objective morality.



Re-Cap


I have shown that God could be the cause of objective morality. I have shown what type of morality would be likely to exist if God was the cause. I have shown that that type of morality does indeed exist, and naturalism could not account for it. Thus I have shown that God is a plausible explanation for morality, and in the future rounds I will make more effort into outweighing my opponents case rather than just presenting my own.


I hand it over to the pro.



[1] http://www.merriam-webster.com...
Debate Round No. 2
DakotaKrafick

Pro

Opening Remarks

Very good, phantom. I like the way you clearly presented your case. I would first like to say that I agree with the two main statements in your introduction:

1. We need not spend time trying to prove naturalism/God is ultimately true, just that our respective beliefs provide a more plausible foundation for objective morality than the other.
2. Your definition of "plausible" was perfectly fine; I accept it.

Now on to the rebuttals...

Could God cause objective morality?

I share my opponent's experiences in this case; I have yet to meet anyone, theist or atheist, to dispute the idea that God could cause objective morality, and I won't dispute it either.

What type of morality would exist if God was the cause?/Does this type of morality exist?

Phantom says that God would most likely create some sort of moral intuition for humans so we can intuitively know the answers to questions of morality. I agree; if God existed, he would have given us some sort of shared moral intuition, but not the kind we notice we actually have.

No, in fact, the kind of moral intuition that we actually have is more plausibly supported by naturalism, not God. By that I mean our moral intuitions are more likely to have come from evolution by natural selection than from God.

Consider the question: "If your house was on fire and could save only one, which would you save: a newborn puppy or a newborn human?" Our intuition tells us immediately to save the newborn human. In fact, our intuition tells us that the loss of any other kind of life is better than the loss of a human, that the torturing of any other kind of life is better than the torturing of a human. This is the kind of moral intuition that would most likely come from evolution by natural selection, not God.

These are just a few examples of what our moral intuition tells us:

1. Euthanasia is wrong; we must continuously try to remedy the problems until he/she dies naturally.
2. Abortion is wrong; fetuses must continue to live to become adults.
3. Killing fifty cows is better than killing one human.

As you can see, they are things specifically fine-tuned to promote the continuation of our own species, precisely the kind of things natural selection would want us to believe so we can continue to exist from generation to generation. But are these the kinds of things God would want us to believe intuitively?

I think Phantom (or any theist) would imagine God as being not only good, but perfectly good; not only just, but perfectly just. If I were God, I would have made our moral intuition say things like "The pain felt by a cow is equal to the pain felt by a human" and "A life non-existent is better than a life of only physical suffering". Instead, we have intuitions like "Slaughter as many cows as necessary to feed human hunger" and "Even when a person appears to be beyond medical help, do not kill that person".

Again, though, while the moral intuitions given to us by natural selection are crude, we can understand moral truths more clearly through logical reasoning. And the crudeness of these intuitions by no means negates the idea that they were given to us by natural selection (as opposed to by God); in fact, the crudeness of our intuitions explicitly suggests they were given to us by natural selection and not God. We can understand logically that hurting a dog is wrong, in fact, as wrong as hurting a human, but that is not what our moral intuition tells us, though we'd expect it to if it was given to us by a perfectly good God.

Therefore, the resolution remains intact: Naturalism provides a more plausible explanation for objective morality than God.
phantom

Con


Naturalism and objective morality



According to pros version of morality, objective morality is determined by what is overall beneficial to our fellow creatures. In other words, killing a human being would be wrong because societies net-gain is negative. However, if pro assumes this view he must also concede some facts. All actions that have an effect on the furthering of the human race would be judged either objectively moral or objectively immoral. Whatever action that positively effected the over all well-being of everyone, would be considered a morally good thing. Therefore, if murdering a human being resulted in the human race gaining a net-benefit, the action would be considered an objectively good one. Therefore, pounding your fists into the child’s face pro mentions, may be considered moral if the child is Adolf Hitler, for instance before he has grown up, and hitting the child in the face would some how prevent the sequence of events that lead to his rising of power. Or to a less extreme extent, killing a child would be considered moral if it stopped that child from growing up and killing two other human beings.




Two kinds of good/bad.



I'll refer back to this in my arguments, but I think it is necessary for us to differentiate between the two different kinds of good/bad. Pro sometimes writes in such a way in which he is arguing about the good and bad moral actions, as if it depends about bad/good in a superiority sense of the word. Such as when he says, “morality is that which governs what we consider to be good and bad actions, but good and bad for what or for whom?”



Suppose I say "that was a bad movie."We can garner two different conclusions.



1 .Morally bad: He didn't like the explicit sexual content.


2. Content wise bad: The acting sucked, and the dialogue was poor.



A movie can also be both morally bad but entertainment-wise good.



Pro's missing premise:



Despite pros logic based morality, there are still some questions naturalism cannot account for. Pro uses categorical imperatives, which he has yet to justify. For categorical imperatives necessarily imply an ought and if we ought to do something there must be some basis as to why we ought to do that. Therefore pro has yet to justify the assertion that we ought to do what is beneficial to others and beneficial to us. Naturalism assumed we would have no duty whatsoever to positively affect the well-being of others or of ourselves. I am afraid there is little to nothing supporting this assertion from the pro. Now even if you proved that it would be more logical for us to do so, that still doesn’t satisfy the question, because for one that’s just advice, and two, it has yet to be proven that we are objectively bound to do the most logical thing. In fact in many situations we choose the less logical path, and also do no not regret it.




Stephen: Why is murder wrong?


Roger: Because it negatively effects the well-being of everyone.


S: Why should I care about the well-being of everyone else?


R: Because you are part of society.


S: But what if it doesn't negatively effect me? Only everyone else?


R: You should make your fellow creatures better off.


S: But you're just creating a categorical imperative which you can't justify. I shouldn't be bound to positively affecting other people. Why should I care about other peoples lives, or even the progression of the human race? I die and then I'm gone. If I want to steal why am I bound to going against my wishes? Should I not do what I want? If I want to harm myself why can I not do so?



At best, pro's morality could be thought of as advice, and going back previously, saying something is good because it's beneficial, is entirely different to saying something is good because it is moral.



To quote Jean Paul Sartre "Life has no meaning the moment you lose the illusion of being eternal. It is up to you to give it a meaning, and value is nothing but the meaning that you choose."[1] Atheism assumed, the purpose of life is not to progress the human race. In fact, purpose is entirely subjective. I could be a hedonist, for example, and who is anyone to say that I ought not to be? Only a non-natural metaphysical basis could give us an objective purpose of existence and that of course completely contradicts pros case.



I also have to ask the question why is well-being the most important factor of our lives? Why would happiness, for instance, not be more important?


Suicide/causing harm to yourself



I would think that naturalism assumed you could do whatever the hell you want with your body. It’s yours. It is your own possession, therefore you should have the right to harm it if you want, such as by eating unhealthy food, or cutting yourself.



I am confused as to why suicide would NOT be a morally wrong thing to do. Pro alludes that these actions are done simply because of an imbalance of chemicals in the victim's brain, and thus we can ignore them. But really we can only question pros assertion in a number of ways. Firstly how do we determine the “chemical imbalance”, pro speaks of? What is a chemically balanced mind in a naturalistic world, when all we are is really just machines? I don’t think we could deductively conclude what a chemically balanced mind would be. Maybe it’s not an imbalance but just a different chemical balance. Then there’s the question of whether depression could exempt you from doing immoral things. I think that this is just an unsupported assertion from the pros part, for depression does not entail loss of logical intuition. We can still rationalize while being depressed very easily.



The moral facts that we can deduce using pro's naturalistic moral code:



Now, what makes pros morality fun is that we can logically deduce many moral facts. Pro even presents a simple formula to postulate these facts. Let's look at what moral facts pro's position would entail.




Morally good things



Murdering 1,000 people in order to save 1,001


Torturing terrorists


Killing one person and eating him so that the other two would survive


Any war that results in more benefit than loss


Exterminating those who were un-beneficial to society


Cheating small business’s so that large corporations would benefit


Killing 1,000 people of low intrinsic value, in order to save 900 people of high intrinsic value


Exterminating 100 retarded people in order too make room for those of higher value in an overpopulated world, because it would over-all be beneficial to the human race



Morally bad things



Eating skittles


Cutting yourself


Not living a healthy life


Suicide


Almost any abortion


Drinking alcohol


Too much sex


Squishing spiders




This is a frightful moral code. It takes practicality and logic to a huge extreme. Now if pro wishes to assert this code, that's all fine and dandy, but I would just like to make it clear to anyone that shares pros moral views what exactly they are advocating. I could easily predict pro accusing me of appeal to emotion, but like I said, I’m just pointing out the extremity of a logic based morality. If pro also wishes to contend that his morality does not entail these facts, that is also fine. But I think it's clear they do.



God and objective morality


Pro contends that the moral intuition that exists, would be more plausibly explained by evolution, due to the crudeness of it and the certain things our moral sense tell is are right/wrong. The crudeness contention can easily be refuted because of the fact that evolution and God are not mutually exclusive, as well as the fact that many or most religions teach the fall of man, and thus the moving away from perfection and partially losing our sense of morality. Pro also asserts that facts that our moral intuitions presents us, such as that abortion and euthanasia are wrong, correspond with logic based morality. However he completely ignores the entirely contrary facts our moral sense dictates such as that torturing people is wrong, even if it is much more the logical thing to do.


I’ll respond to the rest in the next round.


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



Debate Round No. 3
DakotaKrafick

Pro

What my morality entails (according to my opponent)

With much of what my opponent claims my views of morality entails, I find absolutely no dispute with and am confused why anyone should. Most of the things he lists are really just rewordings of “Do something that would cause more benefit than harm” in as many repugnant ways he can think if. Apparently, doing something that would cause more benefit than harm is to be shunned by my opponent’s views of morality.

For instance, he highlights the idea that, according to my views, it would be morally acceptable to kill a child if that child was later going to kill two innocents (Adolph Hitler being the prime example my opponent used). In what universe is this not morally acceptable?

Who more deserves to live (that is, if you could save only one, who would you save?): Hitler or the millions of Jewish people killed in the Holocaust? Let’s make it even simpler. Who should you save: one person or two? What if that one person was a murderer and the two were innocents?

Clearly, my opponent’s views of morality would prioritize the murderer over the two innocents, but I don’t understand why. I’ll leave it to you to decide whose morality should be favored.

As for my opponent’s confusion of my stance on suicide: I never said suicide was a morally wrong thing to do. The most I said was that people with a dysfunction in their brain are not ideal candidates for judging the value of well-being. A life of suffering is worse than a life of nonexistence, so if a person wishes to commit suicide as a means to avoid a life of nothing but suffering, then that’s okay (so long as his/her problems cannot be otherwise remedied).

Now for something that our intuitions disagree with: exterminating those who are un-beneficial to society. Our moral intuitions disagree with this very much, because natural selection wants every single individual to succeed, even though they can’t. My opponent clearly disagrees with it as well.

I won’t say I agree or disagree with it; what I will say, though, is that my opponent has provided absolutely no warrant for why it’s wrong. Sure, our intuitions disagree with it, but my opponent has already conceded that our intuitions are crude for understanding morality (which, by the way, was literally suicide for his entire case). Therefore, my opponent must explain why eugenics is wrong without appealing to intuition, but if he does, then he will still be proving that morality is grounded in logic.

Is/ought

My opponent spends a lot of time discussing something that is not relevant to this particular debate: moral duties. I am arguing that naturalism is the most plausible explanation for objective moral values, not duties. I believe that objective moral duties cannot exist, whether we assume naturalism or God or anything else (they are just logically impossible) because of the is/ought problem.

Originally articulated by David Hume, the is/ought problem states that one cannot derive an “ought” (a moral duty) without both an “is” and an “if”.

For example: it “is” true that it hurts people to be punched in the face, so we “ought” not punch people in the face, “if” we don’t want to hurt anyone. Without adding that conditional statement (“if”), you’re basically saying we shouldn’t punch people in the face because it would mean we’d be punching people in the face, and the question that would immediately follow such a statement lacking the “if” would be “why?”

Everything about the is/ought problem suggests moral duties are subjective (dependent on the relevancy of the conditional statement of the individual). To say moral duties are objective is to say the conditional statements are somehow unimportant and, indeed, irrelevant. “You ought to do X, even if you don’t want to do X or find X’s effects desirable.”

God cannot account for objective moral duties either. Many theologians (William Lane Craig included) adopt Divine Command theory; that we get our objective moral duties from God’s commands, but this does not jump the hurdle of the is/ought problem either. God commands X (“is”); therefore, we ought to do X (“ought”), if we trust God’s judgment (“if”).

Again, I’m not arguing for objective moral duties (and neither should my opponent be); I’m arguing for objective moral values.

My Opponent's Argument

Phantom has figuratively taken a tanto and committed seppuku in his last round. He conceded the answer to his third question is "No".

1) Could God cause objective morality?

Yes.

2) What kind of morality would exist if God was the cause?

Moral intuitions that would allow us to answer questions of morality intuitively (instead of logically).

3) Does this type of morality exist?

No. My opponent has conceded that our moral intuitions are crude for understanding morality, and therefore has shown how his own argument holds no actual weight.

phantom

Con


I would first like to sincerely thank my opponent for the insightful debate.



The ought problem



As I think this ultimately destroys pros case and that his addressal of this contention only throws the debate to my side, I will address it first.



Pro’s entire basis of negation for this contention rests on his assertion that he is talking about values rather than actions. Thus he has directed zero effort into proving that we ought to act in accordance to morality. Therefore all I have to prove is that pro’s morality does entail moral actions rather than just values. Now I'm afraid for pro, but this is a very easy task, for pro asserts it himself, as well as the definition presented by him and mutually agreed upon.



The definition: Morality: the field concerned with the distinctions between good and bad behavior.



We see pro has absolutely no grounds in claiming that we are only talking about values. Morally good behavior is behavior in which we ought to act by. Otherwise why mention behavior at all when talking about objectivity?



We can further see that pro himself sets down a distinction early on in the debate between good/bad actions and good/bad state of beings. Unfortunately for him he outright asserts that we can determine objectively good behavior.



"How can we determine, objectively, which actions are good and bad" to "How can we determine, objectively, which states of well-being are good and bad"."



So yes, it is obvious that pros morality does entail categorical imperatives contrary to what pro wishes us to believe.




//… you’re basically saying we shouldn’t punch people in the face because it would mean we’d be punching people in the face…//



I can't but find cons analogy in support of the is/ought problem, rather lacking. The reason for which is that he does not make a directly applicable and fair analogy. The more fitting example would be "we shouldn't punch people in the face because it would mean we are initiating a harm on their well-being. This clearly and completely coincides with everything pro has been saying up till this round. Furthermore pro outright states earlier that it is morally apprehensible to pound your fists into a child’s face! Thus there’s really no reason to even consider this analogy, as pro has already taken the position early on that we shouldn’t commit certain actions.



There is really no way out of it. Con has essentially conceded the debate by naming my contention irrelevant rather than negating it, for it has been found to be very relevant and in fact pivotal.



As I have already stated, and as pro has entirely refrained from addressing, at best, pro's morality could be thought of only as advice. And as I explained in the last round, saying something is good because it's beneficial is entirely different to saying something is good because it is moral.



I would also like to restate the question, not that pro has a chance to answer it, but because he completely ignores it, why is well-being the most important factor of our lives? Why would happiness, for instance, not be more important?




Pro commits a few lines to focusing his is/if problem in refuting God causing objective morality. He tries to argues along the lines that we ought to follow Gods commands if we trust his judgment. However I see absolutely no relevance between judgment and morality. God, the maximally powerful authority and ruler of all creation could easily impose moral duties on us and trusting his judgment has nothing to do with it.




Moral facts according to cons morality



Note that con has not directed effort into refuting these facts.



Now I will concede that in part I did commit to fallacious appeal in my initial contention.


My opponent starts out using my actually least worthy example, which was used primarily to show that pros analogy of hitting a child in the face could be considered a morally good thing. I will focus on other facts.



Pro declines to affirm whether he agrees that it is objectively moral to exterminate those who are un-beneficial to society. I think an act of refraining should be considered as an assent to this fact, and thus we should still absolutely consider that pros morality entails exterminating un-beneficial persons as a morally good thing to do. I'm also confused as to why appealing to our intuition would be to affirm moralities logical basis. I'd think it would be much more the opposite. Our moral intuitions very strongly dictate that exterminating those that are un-beneficial is a morally wrong act, whereas the naturalistic morality pro presents clearly dictates that it is morally right. Pro makes the claim that our moral intuition has been formed by evolution into perceiving certain moral facts, but his claims that natural selection would cause us to want "every one to succeed", are both unsupported and false. Exterminating those that are unbeneficial to society in order that that the superior may prosper is directly in line with survival of the fitness.[1] Thus pro can't explain this puzzle.




And then we again come to further problems with my opponents case, for if you want to cause harm to yourself why is it objectively better not too? Why is the so called moral state of your well-being not dependent on how you want that state to be? Instead pro would claim that it is based on how beneficiary that state is. Thus according to my opponent, if you want to cause harm to yourself, that would be a morally wrong state, independent of the fact that it is your decision and your inclination to cause that harm and be in that state of well-being.



Moving on, suppose we take the statement,



"It is better to have a balanced amount of iron in your body than not."



Can we insert the two words objectively moral into this statement? That it is an objectively moral state of being? I say absolutely not. I see little sense in assuming so. It doesnt seem logical. I have never had the experience of being called immoral for the fact that I was depriving myself of sleep, and thus causing harm to myself. What would your reaction be if someone came up to you and accused you of being immoral for the fact that you were overweight or underweight? I think most people would give that person a queer or offended look and walk away. So again, it makes no sense to say states of well-being are morally better than others, because that does not even coincide with the general meaning of the word morality.



Cons response to my arguments for God and morality is simply completely unwarranted and over-expressed. I don't know what to attribute it too, but I deem it nothing but a little semantical twist that does not correlate whatsoever with relevance. Basically he uses my concession of our "crude" moral intuition as "suicide for my entire case". I see little to no facts supporting this addressal and I think it safe for the viewers to drop it. The reasons being as follows; moral intuitions that give us certain moral facts can still very easily be a crude intuition. It's as simple as that. It would be absurd to claim that our intuition is entirely objective, or that God being the cause of objective morality would necessitate an inherent moral sense. Thus it would be absurd to deny the fact that our moral intuition is a crude one. I do not know why con took this approach to my argument. Maybe it is partially due to the fact that there really is nothing to refute the fact that God is a plausible explanation for morality. As agreed upon from the beginning, proving God/naturalism is not necessary but rather the task of proving which one would be more plausible if it were reality. I think the question of whether God offers a plausible explanation for morality has always been an easy one. The idea of God causing objective morality is very plausible where-as naturalism causing objective morality only brings up countless unanswered questions.



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



Debate Round No. 4
15 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by DakotaKrafick 5 years ago
DakotaKrafick
General52, are you suggesting every piece of fiction humans come up with is actually true, because why would nature make us think of things that aren't real?
Posted by general52 5 years ago
general52
But naturalism actually defeats itself, if nature was all that their is and that it is responsible for our existence. Why would nature make some of us think nature wasn't all their is. If you have lived your whole life in a cave or without eyes you won't know what light is or even dark because have never had the contrast, if you lived forever in nature you shouldn't know about supernature (supernaturalism). Why should the whole of nature let parts escape unless it isn't the whole?

In fact the very act of escaping nature is to go above it.
Posted by phantom 5 years ago
phantom
Well seeing as all my arguments that categorical imperitives would not exist in a world without God, were conceded, as pro agreed they did not, I think all I had to do was prove pros moral code did entail these duties. If I did that then the argument would have to be considered won since no effort was directed into provings duties could exist, just the opposite. That's why I so strongly argued "the ought problem".

But again, I do appreciate your RFD. In fact more so than many votes that are for me rather than against.
Posted by XimenBao 5 years ago
XimenBao
I got that's where you were coming from, I just didn't think that the values/beliefs/duties/advice debate had the relevance and weight you thought it did.
Posted by phantom 5 years ago
phantom
XimenBao, thank you for the RFD. I do appreciate it and the fact that you read the whole debate. I do find various problems but the only thing I'll correct is that the is/ought problem wouldn't have worked for me to use since pro explicitely denied moral duties (towards the end). In fact most of my last round was directed into trying to prove that pros morality did entail duties.
Posted by XimenBao 5 years ago
XimenBao
RFD part 2

The same is/ought argument could have been turned to destroy Pro's argument as well, and then Con could have won on BoP. However, Con doesn't make that argument as pointedly as Pro does. Many pieces of it are in place within various other arguments, but I don't think it would be fair of me to connect-the-dots on the winning argument for Con when Pro has made it directly and explicitly.

The Moral Facts debate was irrelevant. Who cares if the outcome of Pro's morality offends one's intuition? It's a set of morals defined by an objective criteria. That said, Con did take a poke at morality and group selection and Pro should have sourced it. In fact a lot of his claims about evolution and nautrally selected morality should have been sources.

So, arguments to Pro, sources to Con, and S&G to Pro because Con's formatting was horrible.
Posted by XimenBao 5 years ago
XimenBao
RFD Part 1:

I had trouble following this debate, it tended to wander all about. Kept me up past bed time though :)

The way I read this debate, Pro argues that morality is the naturally selected set of behaviors/beliefs that humans evolved to hold. That since these beliefs provided survival benefit, well-being necessary to survival is an objective set of criteria, thus naturalism produces objective morality. Basically Pro argues that utilitarianism is objective morality and we get a form of it from evolution. I don't really buy that, since the desire to survive is human opinion and thus subjective, but Con doesn't follow it up hard enough for me to reject, which is the key to the debate.

Con makes the argument that if God created morality we'd have a moral sense that tells us what right and wrong is. We do have such a sense, therefore God created objetive morality.

To counter that argument Pro shanghaied the Is/Ought argument usually used to argue against the existence of objective morality to argue that regardless of what it is that God wants us to do, there's only an ought to do it if we believe He's right, thus God only accounts for subjective morality. That pretty much skewers Con's advocacy. Con tries to respond that God could force moral duties on us, bypassing our considerations of judging His positions moral. The possiblity of God forcing morality in that manner is irrelevant to a debate of it's existence as it stands.
Posted by Reason_Alliance 5 years ago
Reason_Alliance
Changed the debate around, are you still interested?
Posted by Reason_Alliance 5 years ago
Reason_Alliance
Revised the debate, let me know If you're still willing.
Posted by Reason_Alliance 5 years ago
Reason_Alliance
"Theism Provides a more Plausible Foundation for Morals"

Thanks, any preferences with the formalities?
6 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 6 records.
Vote Placed by johnnyboy54 5 years ago
johnnyboy54
DakotaKrafickphantomTied
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Reasons for voting decision: You have to have a better than that Santorum2012. You also failed to justify your conduct and sources points.
Vote Placed by SANTORUM2012 5 years ago
SANTORUM2012
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Reasons for voting decision: Con had better arguments
Vote Placed by Rational_Thinker9119 5 years ago
Rational_Thinker9119
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Reasons for voting decision: Pro showed that our intuitions sometimes go against what's logically more moral. Con flipped flopped back and forth between his positions regarding this intuitions and didn't present a very good argument. Basically, Pro showed that objective morality is better explained by naturalism clearly. Con had sources though, so I give that to him.
Vote Placed by 16kadams 5 years ago
16kadams
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Reasons for voting decision: counter, you cannot just say see last vote.
Vote Placed by Matthew3.14 5 years ago
Matthew3.14
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Reasons for voting decision: Look at the reasons of ximenbao below
Vote Placed by XimenBao 5 years ago
XimenBao
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Reasons for voting decision: Two part RFD in comments.