The Instigator
Bernabei
Pro (for)
Losing
0 Points
The Contender
CosmoJarvis
Con (against)
Winning
3 Points

Objective Morals and Values DO Exist

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 1 vote the winner is...
CosmoJarvis
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 2/26/2017 Category: Philosophy
Updated: 10 months ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 1,377 times Debate No: 100320
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (79)
Votes (1)

 

Bernabei

Pro

Welcome and thank you for enjoying and engaging your minds to this debate. My name is Anthony. I am a self-taught philosopher, that is, without formal education. My favorable method of arguing is argumentum ad absurdum. I favor William Lane Craig and Sye Ten for their theological arguments and use a combination of their arguing techniques myself; i.e., informal and formal logical mixed with presuppositionalism. I use these two forms of aplogetics to create and negate arguments.

This debate is not a debate about IF God exist, but, if Objective Morals and Values do and what would logically follow if so.
CosmoJarvis

Con

I will assume that this is an acceptance round. I await my opponent's argument in round two.
Debate Round No. 1
Bernabei

Pro

Objective morality does exist. This means that no single person can claim what they do is "good" or "bad" without a standard by which they call that act "good" or "bad". If someone, namely atheist, claim morality is subjective, that is, "good" and "bad" are decisions chosen by said individual, they would have to explain what they mean when they call that action "good". For example: Joe, an atheist, claims: "Rape is bad" Would have to provide a standard by which he calls it "bad". What does he mean when he says "bad". The reality is, you cannot make moral claims because they are inherently objective. You cannot call something north or south without a reference point from which you call is north or south. The same idea applies to morality because you cannot make a moral claim without appealing to an objective standard. When an atheist claims "Rape is bad", what do they even mean? Do they mean it is not beneficial? So they must have a standard by which something is beneficial or not.
CosmoJarvis

Con

Objective Morality: a morality based on "reality" (instead of subjective beliefs, desires, whims, etc), usually claimed to be the province of religion (S1).

Cultural Relativism: the principle of regarding the beliefs, values, and practices of a culture from the viewpoint of that culture itself (S2).


To summarize, objective morality is the belief that morals were not developed by man, but always existed. Objective Morality typically ties in with religion, as many believe that morals were created by a higher being(s). Objective morality states that you do not learn what is "good" or "bad," but you are "programmed" with that knowledge.

However, as philosophynow.org argues, "if morality were objective then every member of our species would share the same moral values. But it is patent that we do not share the same moral values.," (S3). Clearly, humans do not share objective morals. For example, my opponent is against gay marriage. Though I cannot exactly say why, I can assume that it is because he, being a Christian, looks down upon it and its "immoral sexual practices." However, I am an ardent supporter of homosexual marriage. No, I am not some heathenous Devil-loving snake. I simply perceive giving homosexuals the right to marriage morally good because I see it as an act of equality and I don't see it as something damaging to our society.

I believe that morals are created and evolved through cultural relativism. I believe that we learn morals, rather than acquire them. We do not have morals "pre-programmed" into our brains, but rather, we base our moral decisions on what we've learned and experienced, and what society deems to be "good" or "bad." This is evident by things in history such as different methods of public executions. In today's society, most of us would find public executions to be barbaric and brutish. A fair amount of people, in fact, have an aversion to the death penalty. However, in the past, public executions and torture were seen as forms of entertainment (S4). The Spanish Inquisition is a prime example of such. King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella and Pope Sixtus IV initiated the Spanish Inquisition in the hopes of purging the Jewish and Muslim populations in Spain. It is believed that approximately 3,000 to 5,000 people were sentenced to death (S5). People convicted of being heretics were usually subjected to death by torture. One infamous torture method in the Inquisition was the Strappado. As the website, HowStuffWorks describes this lurid form of torture, the hands of the accused were tied behind his back and the rope looped over a brace in the ceiling of the chamber or attached to a pulley. Then the subject was raised until he was hanging from his arms. This might cause the shoulders to pull out of their sockets. Sometimes, the torturers added a series of drops, jerking the subject up and down. Weights could be added to the ankles and feet to make the hanging even more painful (S6)." The Spanish Inquisition, a movement which people in the 15th, 16th and 17th century perceived as a noble cause, is now looked down upon by modern-day society. I especially see it as some nefarious excuse for hedonists to torture innocent people for their religion. However, I do not perceive it as being wrongful because I and all other humans were born with this belief that torturing and killing the innocent is wrongful, regardless of their religion, especially since many people during the 15th to 17th century saw it as an act of progress, but because society has grown to recognize that this is immoral.

Sources:
S1) http://www.strongatheism.net...

S2) http://www.chegg.com...
S3) https://philosophynow.org...
S4) http://www.slate.com...
S5) http://strangenotions.com...
S6) http://history.howstuffworks.com...
Debate Round No. 2
Bernabei

Pro

Thank you for your timely response.

You said: " I believe that we learn morals, rather than acquire them. We do not have morals "pre-programmed" into our brains, but rather, we base our moral decisions on what we've learned and experienced, and what society deems to be "good" or "bad."

Here, you claimed that morals are learned from society. If this is the case, then where did the "thing" that taught you your morals attain its morality from? You cannot use society as a scape-goat for your morality for 2 reasons.
1. If only 2 people were left on earth, you would have no society to learn from.
2. If society claims something to be "good", it must have had a reason to call it "good". What does it mean by the word "good"
My proposition against this is that people know what is truly good and what is truly bad, that is, what truly benefits humans, and what destroys them.
You already agreed that society sets the precedent for morality. Germans believed killing Jews was a good thing, while other societies believed they were bad. You would say the murder of Jews is both good and bad, which is logically contradictory.
You claimed morals were "learned" and therefore admitted that you must have had a concrete standard (objective morals) from which to "learn" from. For instance, you cannot learn how to tie your shoes unless the source you learned it from knew for certain, how exactly how to tie a shoe. If you claim it is subjective, well, there is only 1 way to tie your shoes, that is, the right way.

Next off you said:
"However, as philosophynow.org argues, "if morality were objective then every member of our species would share the same moral values. But it is patent that we do not share the same moral values.," (S3). Clearly, humans do not share objective morals."
1. So if everyone that disagreed with me was killed and we all ended up having the same moral values then logically, morals would then become objective. Sounds like a few historical figures I know. This website claims that because people have different morals, it is not objective. So if I figured out how to get rid of everyone that disagreed with me, we would all have matching morality, and therefore objective morals. This is not what objective morals means and this website assumes that we would all follow a code of morality if it existed and this is not true because some people would rebel. In which case, you would have no authority to tell them they were wrong.

Then you ended with:
" I simply perceive giving homosexuals the right to marriage morally good because I see it as an act of equality and I don't see it as something damaging to our society. "
Here, you use my worldview of objective morals to justify your own. You can't. This is because you can't even use the words equality or damaging to our society without appealing to an objective standard. What is good about "equality" might I ask? And what is wrong with damaging society? You cannot justify these thoughts with your subjective morals because you will always have another word to justify.

For example:
You: Murder is bad.
Me: Why is it bad?
You: Because it isn't beneficial to our society.
Me: Why is benefiting society good?
You: Because it is better for our survival.
Me: Why is surviving good?

You will notice that each argument you give will lead to another and seemingly infinite explanation of the prior argument. Unless you have an objective standard by which to call these things, you cannot make any moral claims, or use words like beneficial, good, damaging, and so on, because they all have value to them that exist apart from your existence.
Thanks.
CosmoJarvis

Con

My opponent attempts to rebut my claims by saying "You cannot use society as a scape-goat for your morality for 2 reasons: 1. If only 2 people were left on earth, you would have no society to learn from. 2. If society claims something to be "good", it must have had a reason to call it 'good.' What does it mean by the word 'good."

Perhaps it is how it is worded, or rather, I simply fail to comprehend his question, but I do not exactly understand what he means if "two people were left on Earth, you would have no society to learn from." I assume that my opponent means to suggest that it is impossible for people to have created morals when there was no preexisting society from which to learn them. To address both points, I would like to provide my take on how morals were developed.

I believe morals are based on the judgment of what is considered "beneficial," and are developed through geological influences. As the famous English philosopher and architect of utilitarianism, Jeremy Bentham, argues, ideas should be judged on their usefulness. He defines what is "morally good" by what will benefit the most people in the best way possible (S1). For example, the Aztecs saw human sacrifice as something "morally good" because they believed that it would benefit their society. They believed that it would help their society attain the Gods' blessings, and help them get better crop yields and have suitable weather (S2). They thought that human sacrifice was good solely because they believed that their environment was controlled by divine beings who purposefully subjected people to harm if they did not follow their commands and pray to them. This can also be said about Greek Gods such as Zeus, who was believed to control the weather. Ancient Greeks believed that, if they did not pray to these Gods and give sacrifices, they would be subjected to their wrath.

My opponent has confused part of my argument, saying "Germans believed killing Jews was a good thing, while other societies believed they were bad. You would say the murder of Jews is both good and bad, which is logically contradictory." I believe that the statement my opponent has made, in fact, supports my argument. He is practically questioning objective morals by asking that, if Germans believed that killing Jewish people were a good thing, why didn't the rest of the world see it as good too? If objective morals did exist, then the entire human population would either agree or disagree on the mass killing of Jewish people. However, while many Germans saw the killing of Jews as a positive thing, under the impression that the Jewish people were the ones who created the financial struggle in Germany following World War One, a vast majority of the Western world scolded this. Millions of Americans desired to wage war on these disgusting acts of murder and torture.

My opponent attempts to refute my arguments furthermore by suggesting that "You cannot learn how to tie your shoes unless the source you learned it from knew for certain, how exactly how to tie a shoe. If you claim it is subjective, well, there is only 1 way to tie your shoes, that is, the right way." He compares tied shoelaces to objective morals, and compares the method(s) of tying shoes to be a moral. Admittedly, I am confused. Yes, this is supposed to be a metaphor, but he uses shoes and the method of tying shoes, both man-made products, to explain objective morals, a standard that is supposedly made by a divine power. Furthermore, my opponent has failed to provide any evidence of objective morals beyond comparisons and baseless statements.

In conclusion, humans do not have objective morals "pre-programmed" in our brains. Morals are developed through cultural relativism and geological influences. This is apparent by basic observations in different societies, such as the Aztecs who saw human sacrifice as being morally good because it was believed to benefit the greatest amount of people. If all humans did, however, have objective morals, every member of our species would share the same moral values. We wouldn't have wars because of religious conflicts such as the Crusades because everyone would objectively be praising the same God, we wouldn't have political parties because everyone would be supporting similar political ideals, we wouldn't have pro-life and pro-choice disputes because we'd all be pre-programmed on what's truly morally good, etc.

Sources:
S1) https://en.wikipedia.org...

S2) http://anthropology.msu.edu...
Debate Round No. 3
79 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by CosmoJarvis 10 months ago
CosmoJarvis
Good debate, Berny. I would appreciate if you could've respectfully answered my questions during our previous discussions so that we could have a greater discussion on this topic, but I guess it doesn't matter now.
Posted by CosmoJarvis 10 months ago
CosmoJarvis
Will you answer my questions?
Posted by Bernabei 10 months ago
Bernabei
So you beleive in a standard by which people deserve and dont deserve seath? Also, you misread the verse. You cannot justify why they are innocent because you deny objectivism here. You sying they are innocent is meaningless. But reguardless, your standard must come from somewhere. If you didnt exist, would it still be wrong of God to murder those kids?
Posted by CosmoJarvis 10 months ago
CosmoJarvis
I believe that 42 children did not deserve to die under the circumstances that only a small group of those children simply made fun of a man for being bald. I simply assume that, if a child is murdered because they make petty insults about a person's hair, they are the victims.
Why? Do you think 42 children deserved to die because a few of those children made fun of someone because they were bald? Do you believe that a group of 42 children have done something so immoral to have deserved death?

Additionally, could you please answer my questions? You seem to be stalling.
Posted by Bernabei 10 months ago
Bernabei
Are you making an objective true statement when you say those children were innocent?or do you not believe and objective truth either?
Posted by CosmoJarvis 10 months ago
CosmoJarvis
And why is survival good? And how do you know God supports the proliferation of our species? Besides, he's killed a fair amount of presumably innocent people. While you're arguing that maybe 42 children deserved to get torn apart by bears, I will assume that God, who summoned bears to murder children and who created a massive flood to kill almost all of humanity for malicious or selfish reasons. When he committed these lurid acts, he clearly didn't prioritize the survival of our species.

Additionally, I value life because I don't take for granted the opportunities my family and friends have provided for me, and because I am proud, as an individual, of my achievements. God did not give me these reasons to live. I did.
Posted by Bernabei 10 months ago
Bernabei
Besides, I don't actually define good, because you already know what it is. I can deduct this from your statement conserning the word "best" which assumes a standard of goodness.

"My argument against God was that the universe seemed so cruel and unjust. But how had I got this idea of just and unjust? A man does not call a line crooked unless he has some idea of a straight line. What was I comparing this universe with when I called it unjust?"

R13; C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity
Posted by Bernabei 10 months ago
Bernabei
What is like God, namely what will allow you to survive and thrive in this world. And then you would be correct in asking: "Why are those good"? Because survival is good. God's will is good and thus is decision to allow you to be born into this world and creating mankind itself. Doing bad is a deviation from what God is and is therefore evil. Doing evil will take away from your survival. Which allows you to more easily die. Which is contrary to God's intentions, that is, creating you. So any decision to to bad is bad BECAUSE it goes against God's will for you to live, and he is the standard by which your morality objectively comes from. Which is the primary reason you won't go and commit suicide because in your heart, you value life, for the reasons I just explained.
Posted by CosmoJarvis 10 months ago
CosmoJarvis
Define "good."
Posted by Bernabei 10 months ago
Bernabei
You do know what is best. But you cannot justify it through your worldview. Because if you died tomorrow, good better best would still exist.
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by squonk 10 months ago
squonk
BernabeiCosmoJarvisTied
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Total points awarded:03 
Reasons for voting decision: PRO argues that those who make moral claims must appeal to some sort of objective standard. CON points out that societies have different ideas about what is good and evil, and individuals may make moral decisions based on what is subjectively "beneficial." According to PRO, there is no such thing as subjective moral standards; i.e. an action cannot be subjectively "damaging to our society." Why not? PRO doesn't say. Furthermore, PRO seems to think that subjective moral claims require justification while so-called "objective" moral claims do not. When faced with the claim, "Murder is objectively bad" we could still ask "Why is it objectively bad? / Why is benefitting society good?" etc. In the debate, PRO provides us with no method to determine what is objectively good or evil. What are the objective standards? We are never told. For these reasons, CON made more convincing arguments.