The Instigator
thaddeusarndt
Pro (for)
Losing
0 Points
The Contender
Oliark
Con (against)
Winning
5 Points

Objective Morality Cannot Exist Without the Presence of a Supreme Being or Deity

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 2 votes the winner is...
Oliark
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 11/14/2014 Category: Religion
Updated: 2 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 711 times Debate No: 65194
Debate Rounds (5)
Comments (11)
Votes (2)

 

thaddeusarndt

Pro

The question of morality is one that is commonly debated within society. Homosexuality and abortion are but a few examples of commonly discussed moral issues. I would like to argue that without the institution of a God or at least some form of supreme deity with moral authority over us, there is no objective right or wrong and there is nothing wrong beyond the standards of society with any individual doing as he pleases. Therefore (according to subjective morality), a society based on anarchy should be perfectly acceptable to anyone, and is absolutely fine within the realms of morality. I am of course, reasonably against this form of morality, and believe that there are set standards for defining right and wrong in the majority of situations. I believe that these standards are set by A GOD, one who has authority to set such standards and is superior to us.

Without a God, one cannot argue that there is any form of OBJECTIVE morality, a standard that applies to all with regards to ethical values. This is the point that I will be defending.
Oliark

Con

The existence of a supreme being might be a sufficient but not a necessary condition to justify the existence of objective morality.
Morality applies to human beings. Therefore what makes the difference between subjective and objective morality is the existence of others. Acknowledging that, there is no necessity to find any justification to objective morality beyond human beings.(If one person was completely isolated in the universe: Then his subjective morality would be the objective, universal morality)

Besides, if the source of Objective morality was to be external to the human being, how could we explain the substantial overlapping between it and subjective morality ?

Kant"s "supreme principle" of categorical imperative makes this connection between individual will and universal law rendering an hypothetical supreme being superfluous : "Act only according to that maxim whereby you can at the same time will that it become a universal law."

Objective morality is definitely an example of the whole being greater than the sum of its parts. All human beings collectively can effectively set superior and objective standards of morality without any form of divine intervention. And this is what I"m going to defend.
Debate Round No. 1
thaddeusarndt

Pro

Although I can understand your reasoning, I am still in disagreement. Here's why:

Although society may be able to set socially subjective standards for morality, they cannot define objective morality. The reason for this is because objectivity applies to EVERYONE and not just to a certain sector of humanity. So if one society says that one thing is wrong, and the other says it is right, without the existence of a God to say what the actual standard is, it honestly doesn't matter because they're both only subjective still. If they were both objective, it wouldn't work because objective truth cannot contradict itself. Just because society is able to give standards for morality does not make it objectively right. You cannot objectively tell me that people such as Joseph Stalin, Mao Zedong, and Adolf Hitler (who between the three killed over 100 million people) were within the realms of being obedient to objective morality. Just because others existed who supported their movements and ideas, does not simply therefore make it objectively okay for them to do as they did. Let us take this example to the extreme.

If a world were to develop in which everybody agreed that rape and murder were perfectly acceptable at any time of day, I sincerely doubt that you would tell me that the kind of society I just described is within the realms of objective morality. But by your argument, that is what you are saying: If the human race agrees upon a universal moral, then it is therefore objective.

Allow me to address another part of your argument, although I am in complete agreement that if there were an absence of a God, and there was only 1 human being on earth, his moral will would be objective because he would basically be the closest thing to God and would be the only one with the authority to assert objective morality. I don't consider that relevant and here's why: there is not just one human being on this planet. The fact that there are indeed multiple with multiple ideas as to issues of morality shows that there is indeed a need for objectivity beyond ourselves. We won't ever completely agree on anything, and I honestly doubt we'll ever come close. What if there were only two human beings on earth, and they disagreed on everything morally? Who's right? They both have the same amount of authority. This is why we need someone above us to set the standard.

By your standards for morality you are saying that the human race can create its own morality. I think that you are actually only arguing that they can create socially subjective morality. Even if the whole world were to decree that the death penalty is wrong, if there's no objective being, who's to stop one man from giving the death penalty to someone? What's the real punishment deserved for him if he does give someone the death penalty? There's no supreme being to say that "that's wrong (not saying it is)" and hold him accountable to it in life after death. If he wants, he can run away and escape the punishment of the government who decreed it wrong and there will be no consequences for him, and he can live conscience free for the rest of his life believing that what he did was okay and that society is wrong. There is nothing beyond the standards of society to tell him he's wrong, and you can go against society any time you like and manipulate your way to escape punishment, and then live conscience free. Why should you have to care? Maybe you think society's wrong about whatever it is you did. And if there's no supreme being to say otherwise, then you're never going to care, or know. Surely you don't think that's right. If he even wanted, he could go and start his own society, where the death penalty is okay. Lets say (I'm just giving extreme examples to make my point) he takes over the world with this society, and then changes the mind of everyone that the Death Penalty is good. Objective morality is supposed to be set in stone. If something is truth, then it's truth. It needs to be immutable, unchanging. Humanity cannot create this kind of morality. You see us attempting to create objective morality, but in the end we can only do our best in subjectively agreeing together that something is right or wrong.

Just because in the early 1700's the majority of the U.S. agreed that African Americans were inferior individuals who were not worthy to be socially or economically equal with whites, does not make that idea objective truth. It is nothing more than a social opinion, that was found to be false obviously.

Objective morality requires something above us and with authority to set the standard over us all, not just a few, not just nearly all, BUT ALL.

(the caps are for emphasis, not yelling lol)
Oliark

Con

I do agree with you that different society are able to set socially subjective standards. That's exactly why my conclusion in R1 was "All human beings collectively can effectively set superior and objective standards of morality without any form of divine intervention".
Obviously it does imply that collective interests of just a part of the population would not have such authority.

Also do not misunderstand me, genocides perpetrated by Hitler & co where immoral actions according to Kant definition of objective morality. If everyone started acting like Hitler it would inevitably lead to extinction of the human race. Which is clearly against collective interest. The same would happen if there were 2 people left on earth. If both were to be killers everyone would die.

Others simple examples. If everyone stole from its neighbours, there would be nobody left to gather food or produce commodities and everybody would just live in poverty and starve to death. If every race tried to enslave others there would be constant fighting.

Now let's examine your extreme example : "If a world were to develop in which everybody agreed that rape and murder were perfectly acceptable at any time of day"
Are you even sure this is possible ? In this world you are describing women would have to like and accept being raped !!! and men would need a reason to sacrifice their personal safety and begin to constantly murder each other.
Besides, The human race doesn't have to agree on something. Objective morality defines right and wrong in the context of collective best interest (common good, common well being) . This can be very different from individual or collective choices.

I believe this is solid evidence to show objective morality doesn't not come from a Deity.

Anyway I had some "extremes" questions for you. : Let's assume that supreme being existed. How was he supposed to communicate to humans being his moral code ? And how could he prevent it from being biased by humans ?
Also there are hundreds of religions on earth claiming that a superior being gave them the absolute truth. How can I possibly make the difference between God's law and an impostor law ?
Debate Round No. 2
thaddeusarndt

Pro

thaddeusarndt forfeited this round.
Oliark

Con

I pass the turn
Debate Round No. 3
thaddeusarndt

Pro

thaddeusarndt forfeited this round.
Oliark

Con

Shibirish baba
Debate Round No. 4
thaddeusarndt

Pro

thaddeusarndt forfeited this round.
Oliark

Con

Forfeiture please vote CON











Debate Round No. 5
11 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by dhardage 2 years ago
dhardage
Christian morality (and I say this because Pro uses the term God) is not objective by any standard. It is derived from rules written by different groups of men, translated, edited, and redacted by other groups of men. It is totally subjective to those men and has no greater merit than any other code of conduct. It is actually far inferior to today's commonly accepted morality that states rape and slavery are crimes. The Christian bible makes rules for the treatment of slaves that would be considered criminal under the laws of most civilized people. It makes rape a crime against property, since the rapist only has to pay off the male relatives of his victim and perhaps marry her. The entire debate is groundless since there is no such thing as an objective morality.
Posted by NoMagic 2 years ago
NoMagic
Morality directed by an authority is subjective to the nature of the authority. One day, the authority could decree that rape is good. Therefore rape is good. The next day, that same authority could decree that rape is bad. Therefore rape is bad. So is rape good or bad? Has an objective decision been made concerning rape? Morality directed by an authority is subjective because it is directed.
Posted by Oliark 2 years ago
Oliark
@Atmas you example reminds me a J.S.Mill writing on Utilitarianism "He who saves a fellow creature from drowning does what is morally right, whether his motive be duty, or the hope of being paid for his trouble; he who betrays the friend that trusts him, is guilty of a crime, even if his object be to serve another friend to whom he is under greater obligations."

Anyway +1 for your comment. I agree with most of your points.
Posted by missmedic 2 years ago
missmedic
Following " the decree of a supreme being" is follow orders. God has to many contradictions to be a moral guide. Following order does not make one moral it makes one obedient and submissive to another's will. Behaving out of fear of punishment or promise of reward is not a bases for morality. A proper foundation of ethics requires a standard of value to which all goals and actions can be compared to without contradictions. --example; god asks his followers to kill in his name and then says do not kill. God asks his followers to hate, hate is destructive and immoral.
Belief in God and religion clearly is proven to produce more violence, immorality and bigotry than any other group.
Posted by Atmas 2 years ago
Atmas
I was just addressing your statement that those things are moral questions, I understand that the debate are not about those topics. I don't intend to be antagonistic, I only want to point out that certain moral questions are not actually valid. As far as the debate itself, if 75% of the people you knew believed the same way you did, you would assume your position is objectively correct while the rest have false beliefs. Subjective beliefs can appear to be objective when the belief has vast support, but that doesn't automatically make it objective. Even if objective morals did exist, it doesn't actually correlate with a creator, it's more indicative of our evolution from a common ancestor (since beliefs are passed down through the generations and the more those beliefs aid survival, the more likely they would become spread out). It's more likely that a creator who judges a person's fate would want to judge the consequences of their actions and not the immediate decision they made. An example would be giving money to charity, morally good on the surface, but if the person is after the tax breaks, then it is no longer moral. (I won't get into how no action is truly unselfish). A creator who doesn't judge and just watches what happens (as a creator who has created a self-sustainable universe like our own would probably do) wouldn't set moral tenets because then they couldn't tell if humans are capable of producing it themselves. The only option would be a creator who judges based on the first action and sets laws that gives no wiggle room. Thou shalt not kill? Kill what? Humans? Animals? Plants? What if it's a robber versus your kid? Anyone would agree that killing that robber is morally correct.
Posted by thaddeusarndt 2 years ago
thaddeusarndt
Atmas, this debate is not over homosexuality or abortion. I did not voice my view on homosexuality or abortion within my statement, I merely said that they are commonly debated issues. There are people who consider both morally wrong from an objective standpoint. There are people who do not. The only way to truly determine would be through the decree of a supreme being. That is ALL I was saying. I hope I didn't offend you, and I'm sorry if you misunderstood me. Thankyou
Posted by kaptonok 2 years ago
kaptonok
All our actions have a moral dimension for they affect everyone else directly or indirectly.
It would be nice to opt out and exclude ourselves but it would be self- centred. Even what I think can affect others words are powerful they have caused revolutions.
Posted by Atmas 2 years ago
Atmas
Well said missmedic, I also want to add that abortion and homosexuality are not moral questions. You have no say on what two consenting adults do in their privacy nor do you have any say about what a woman does to her body. You must accept no matter how much you dislike it, for if you don't, then you infringe on their inalienable rights.
Posted by kaptonok 2 years ago
kaptonok
Sam Harris the well known atheist has written ' The Moral Landscape' suggesting well-being could be used as a moral yardstick. It would certainly improve the world as it stands where 23,000 starve each day.
Posted by missmedic 2 years ago
missmedic
reason is absolute, so if you base your morality in reason, it is objective.
Objectivity is the recognition of reality as the ultimate standard of evaluation. It is the acceptance that all knowledge is knowledge about reality. It is the only means of determining the truth. The concepts of true and false are only meaningful in reference to reality, not fantasy.
2 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 2 records.
Vote Placed by NoMagic 2 years ago
NoMagic
thaddeusarndtOliarkTied
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Reasons for voting decision: Pro forfeited rounds. Con wins
Vote Placed by lannan13 2 years ago
lannan13
thaddeusarndtOliarkTied
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Total points awarded:04 
Reasons for voting decision: Forfeiture