The Instigator
Con (against)
4 Points
The Contender
Pro (for)
0 Points

Objective morality exist, Top Down (God) vs Bottoms Up (Natural)

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 1/17/2015 Category: Religion
Updated: 1 year ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 1,014 times Debate No: 68410
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (24)
Votes (1)




Round 1 is attached to the proposition as clarification of the proposition.

In this debate both Pro and Con will argue that there is objective morality.

Morality will be understood in a general sense. A choice between two specific actions, the better choice is more moral, the worse choice is less moral. Objective morality would mean we can know which choice is the correct choice.

Pro will argue that Objective Morality can only exist if a God exists.

Con will argue that Objective Morality does exist from a naturalistic perspective.

Both opponents must argue for their position and against their opponents position.

The winner should be decided based on who has the best arguments and which system offers us the ability to determine which choice is most likely the most moral choice.

Don't accept this debate if you wish to make simple, short, statement arguments. As Con I will be putting forward full arguments for and against. If Pro doesn't meet this bar, Pro loses the debate by default. With Con simply typing "Pro hasn't meet debate expectations." I'm looking for someone who intends to put forward strong arguments. If that isn't you, don't accept.

Round 1. Con, clarification of debate, Pro opening arguments

Round 2. Con opening arguments, Pro rebuttal/arguments

Round 3. Con rebuttal/arguments, Pro rebuttal/arguments/closing

Round 4. Con rebuttal/arguments/closing, Pro types "agreed no comments in this round."

Once again, Pro is arguing Objective Morality exist due to the existence of a god and cannot exist otherwise. Con will be arguing that Objective Morality exist in the absence of a god.

Happy Debating


Thank you for issuing the debate challenge, Con.

Throughout this debate, I will be employing the classical definition of God developed by Descartes. That is, "God" will be defined as the manifestation of all non-physical perfections. This can be simplified as "the perfect being."[1]

Why atheistic systems of morality cannot be objective
All forms of morality are essentially a system of values, an argument that one should or should not behave a certain way because of the desirability of the outcome. Whether it be the pleasure of hedonism, the duty of deontology or the worship of theism, the moral lawgiver's “because” is his ultimate value. The difficulty of converting someone to your moral viewpoint lies in convincing them to share your ultimate value. It is in this area that religionless morality fails.

The atheistic worldview can have only a surface understanding of right and wrong. When asked why a particular action, stealing for instance, is wrong, most atheists will respond with a moral platitude that they inherited from their culture, such as “stealing is wrong because I would not want to be stolen from.” If pressed further, it becomes apparent that tying their belief that stealing is wrong to any ultimate moral value is impossible for them. One can simply ask why we should treat others the way we want to be treated, starting a cycle and causing the conversation to become an infinite regress. Attempting to use a moral principle to argue for the existence of moral principles is neither compelling or rational, and it must finally be admitted that the atheist's morality is subjective opinion.

This point has been widely affirmed by atheist thinkers throughout the centuries. Perhaps French naturalist philosopher Julian Offray de La Mettrie put it most elegantly when he stated that "natural law is nothing but a feeling which belongs to the imagination like all other feelings."[2] In other words, morality is, according to Mettrie, a highly subjective and personal experiencean opinion.

Why religion is necessary for objective morality
Naturalists often argue that the self-determination of the human species lends weight to subjective opinion, making its moral judgments valid. But let us consider that every human being on the planet forms moral opinions. Why is the opinion of the hero any more valid than that of the tyrant? They are on the equal playing field of being human and there is nothing in their nature that makes their system of morality inherently more valid than that of the other. In fact, from the standpoint of objective morality, the tyrant is most likely right on some ethical issues while the hero is wrong on others.

There is an impasse of moral opinion here that can only be resolved by abandoning moral opinion altogether. For morality to exist, there must exist some kind of moral authority. This is where theism (and its subsets) surpass other worldviews. God is a being who transcends humans, who is omnibenevolent. Because of his transcendence, God's moral opinion supersedes the moral opinions of humanity. By virtue of this, religious faith allows humans to possess an objective moral guideline.

I look forward to my opponent's response.

1. Discourse on Method and Meditations on First Philosophy by Rene Descartes
2. Qtd. in The Universe Next Door by James W. Sire

Debate Round No. 1


I'll begin by thanking Pro for his opening argument. Thank you Pro.

As outlined in round 1, I will present no rebuttal's at this time. I will simply argue for what I call the Bottoms Up approach to morality. In rounds 3 and 4 I will present the problems with authoritarian morality and it's fundamentally subjective nature.

We begin this debate with the intent to establish a system that can give us a way to objectively answer, "Is that moral or immoral?" The desire to achieve an objective moral standard is a desire to answer moral questions with what we can determine as the correct answer. As an example, "Is theft wrong?" Pro would answer this with a, "Theft is immoral because God says theft is immoral." My opponent says I cannot answer this from an objectively true position without appealing to an authority, God. By the end of this round, that will be shown to be false. Both my opponent and I think there is an objective moral truth regarding this question and other moral questions. Pro asserts that the Christian god is this foundation of morality. I will argue for a different foundation. One that I intend to show gives us greater moral clarity and greater power to evaluate moral questions. What do I intend to ground this system in? I intend to ground this system in harm. I will argue that harm is objectively bad. I will argue that we can build a comprehensive moral system off of that foundation. This moral system will give us a direct path to answering moral questions in a direct manner without appealing to the opinion of a deity, or those who claim to represent said deity.

I intent to support this claim from two primary positions. One is that our biology makes the statement that harm is bad. This removes subjective human preferences from the question. Two, I will then apply reason and logic to this biological statement in hopes of determining if the statement is correct or not. If I can do this successfully, we will end up with an objective statement on harm. This objective statement on harm will be the foundation of our objective moral system.

I will work from the perspective that we agree that reason and logic are powerful tools to discover what is likely to be true. We all apply reason and logic to our lives every day, logically thinking our way through problems, reasoning our way to conclusions, any individual doing a debate uses it to argue their position and against their opponents. Immanuel Kant, "All our knowledge begins with the senses, proceeds then to the understanding, and ends in reason. There is nothing higher than reason." [1] There should be no objection that reason and logic are strong tools in search of what is likely true.

A few final things on morality. I think most people would agree, including my opponent, that a positive moral choice is a good choice. Good meaning it promotes some greater quality of life. Donating to charity would be considered a positive moral choice. A negative moral choice (immoral) would naturally be considered the opposite. An immoral choice reduces the quality of life for perhaps myself, others, or the overall environment. Immoral actions generate negative effects. Moral actions generate positive effects. Amoral actions have no significant effects. My opponent should be in agreement with this. He believes God is good. God makes decrees that promote goodness. God is a positive moral being.

I would also like to make a distinction between "socially acceptable" and "morality." I think the difference is slight, but an important one to address. It might not be socially acceptable to rarely bath. But it isn't immoral to rarely bath. It might not be socially acceptable for a man to wear make up. But, it isn't immoral for a man to wear make up.

Objective morality removes the opinion from agents that have opinions. Both Pro and I intend to establish objective moral standards outside human opinion. Someone may say, "I think killing is good. Can you prove me wrong without invoking opinion?" For Pro, "It doesn't matter what your opinion on killing is. God says it's wrong. So it is wrong." My response, "It doesn't matter what your opinion on killing is. Harm is bad. Killing is harm. Killing is bad." Objective morality removes opinion. (a careful reader should already notice problems with the authoritarian system)

Harm as the Foundation for Objective Morality, the argument.

The Biological Statement. Our biology makes a statement regarding harm. As you've guessed by now, that statement is that harm is bad. As an individual, I might take the counter position. Harm isn't bad. Our question, who is correct? My subjective position on harm, or my biology's objective perspective on harm, or perhaps neither. Hopefully the following example will answer this question for us.

Tim doesn't believe in objective moral truths. Tim argues that harm is subjective. Let's put Tim's perspective to a test. We happen to have a fire burning. We ask Tim to place his hand in the fire. If harm is subjective, it is according to Tim, Tim should be able to place his hand in the fire and make some kind of statement, "See harm isn't bad." Tim's biology will be in incredible disagreement with him. Tim's biology will begin experiencing harm, it will notify Tim through pain, and demand Tim remove his hand. Tim's subjective view on harm will be overruled by Tim's biologically objective perspective on harm. Tim will be forced to remove his hand, regardless of Tim's opinion. For the sake of argument, let's say Tim could resist this commandment and keep his hand in the fire. What will happen? Wounds will open up on Tim's hand. It will begin to bleed. Tim will die from shock or blood loss. Tim's quality of life has been effected in a negative way by Tim's subjective opinion regarding harm. Tim's biological opinion, had Tim listened to it, would've prevented harm and saved Tim's life. As you can see, this leads us to an obvious question. Is life preferable to death?

The Reason and logic portion. If we can answer this question, we will know which was objectively correct, Tim's subjective perspective or Tim's objective biological perspective. I will give four reasons why there should be no objections to the view that life is preferable to death. One, Pro holds a theological commitment to the claim life is preferable to death. He should be in agreement. Two, biology has two fundamental goals, life and then reproduction. The first being needed for the second. Biology holds the perspective life is preferable to death. Three, the word preferable implies a comparison. We have much information regarding life and no or nearly no information regarding death. We cannot compare life to death. If we cannot compare the two, we cannot argue that death is preferable to life. Four, all of us have weighed in on this already. We are all here. You are reading this. Every person reading this has voted for life being preferable to death.

With life being preferable to death established we can see which perspective is correct. Tim's subjective position on harm or his biology's objective opinion? Well needless to say, Tim's biology has gotten it right. Tim's has behaved in an irrational way. Tim's subjective perspective has lead Tim to harm himself, this has resulted in Tim's death. The counter to that is that Tim's biology has behaved in a rational way. It warned Tim of harm. Had Tim listened this would've save Tim's life. Therefore we can safely conclude harm is objectively bad.

Hopefully I've presented a strong case that harm is objectively bad. I've removed it from human opinion by establishing it as a biological statement. I've then applied reason and logic to this statement in an effort to determine if the biological statement is grounded is a sound conclusion. It is.

From the position that harm is objectively bad we can build a objective moral system. Within any given set of choices, the choice that does the least amount of harm is the more moral choice. Within any given set of choices, the choice that does the most good (good being opposite of bad, harm being bad) is the more moral choice.

Let's see how this works in a present topic concerning America. Should gay marriage be permitted? To answer this question we turn to harm. Does gay marriage harm people, or society at large? If the answer to this question is no. Then we have no moral grounds to prohibit it. Which means we should permit it. Conclusion, gay marriage isn't immoral.

Can I ground theft in harm and claim it to be objectively bad? My opponent says I cannot. "If pressed further, it becomes apparent that tying their (atheist) belief that stealing is wrong to any ultimate moral value is impossible." Impossible, not so fast. I can say theft is morally wrong because theft is a form of harm to the victim. Theft reduces the resources of the victim. A reduction of resources is a net negative to the victim. Resources can be trade to further improve the quality of life for the individual: money can be traded for medicine, medicine for food, food for shelter, shelter for money, car to get to work, work to attain money, money to buy shelter/food/medicine/power. You see the point. Theft of property is theft of resources. Resources are required to maintain a positive quality of life. The atheist has just grounded theft as being objectively bad in harm being objectively bad. Harm is grounded in life being preferable to death. This we agree on.

In this round I've argued for objective morality through a natural perspective. In the following rounds I will continue to support this. I will also turn my attention to authoritarian morality and it's inherently subjective nature.

Back to Pro.



Thank you, Con.

Prior to presenting my rebuttals, I would like to clarify one point. My opponent seems to be under the impression that I am saying that the Christian God is necessary as a basis for morality. I am actually arguing that theism in general is necessary, not Christianity in particular.

Most have at least heard of Jack London's classic novels White Fang and Call of the Wild. But very few are familiar with his brilliant work The Sea Wolf. The book has essentially no plot, as London wants us to focus entirely on the character of Wolf Larsen. London created in him a literary manifestation of his own naturalist philosophy. At one of the most exciting parts of the narrative, Larsen asks another character why he became nervous when their shipmate was in peril.

"Do you know the only value life has is what life puts upon itself? And it is of course overestimated, for it is of necessity prejudiced in its own favor. Take that man I had aloft. He held on as if he were a precious thing, a treasure beyond diamonds or rubies. To you? No. To me? Not at all. To himself? Yes. But I do not accept his estimate. He sadly overrates himself. There is plenty more life demanding to be born. Had he fallen and dripped his brains upon the deck like honey from the comb, there would have been no loss to the world."[1]

It is in this paragraph that London presents the crux of the problem with the attempts of the atheist to have an objective moral code: it is merely wishful thinking. Throughout the novel, Larsen refers to a character who is also a naturalist but believes in right and wrong as "the sentimentalist."[2] This is language strangely similar to that of Francis Schaeffer. Schaeffer, one of the most esteemed and beloved philosophers of the twentieth century, writes that "Before these dates everyone would have been working on much the same presuppositions [objective moral truth]. [...] Now it may be argued that the non-Christian had no right to act on the presuppositions they acted on. This is true. They were being romantic in accepting optimistic answers without a sufficient base."[3]

During this debate round, I will be showing why London and Schaeffer held philosophically consistent views of naturalism while my opponent's is flawed.

Rebuttal #1 - Biology cannot be a standard for morality
Although I believe that my next rebuttal will make this point irrelevant, I thought that it might be good to briefly respond to this assertion.

The human body did not evolve through natural selection of the most moral but the most adaptable. Using it as a litmus test for morality, and mixing philosophy with science in general, is something we must therefore be cautious about. This is especially true when we consider that our psychology can predispose us to do many things which are usually regarded as moral evils. Kleptomania, compulsive lying, psychopathy, sociopathy... the list continues.[4][5] Directly contrary to you point on the body's aversion to harm is the fact that many are genetically predisposed to risk-taking.[6]

It might also be worth considering the philosophical position that harm and death add meaning to human existence, but that falls outside the scope of this debate. One may also consider that many find solace or sexual excitement through pain, and so to say that it is objectively bad is questionable. Once again, I believe that will be an unnecessary point to make in this debate.

The sum and most important aspect of this rebuttal is that physiology is not necessarily a good working basis for ethical reasoning.

Rebuttal #2 - Con has not distanced himself from opinion
Con's claims that harm negates the need for a moral authority are the result of not following his argument to its logical end. In actual conversation, his position results in an infinite regress.

To argue your position on the basis that life or non-harm are preferable to the individual is to make the presupposition that the individual's preferences must be valued. To call once again upon London's creative mind, let us consider Wolf Larsen's response to your position. It would most likely be a simple "why?" and this is entirely justified.

"It doesn't matter what your opinion on killing is. Harm is bad. Killing is harm. Killing is bad."

"Impossible, not so fast. I can say theft is morally wrong because theft is a form of harm to the victim."

Both of these statements are heavily grounded in the opinion that the preferences of human beings are to be valued and that life is to be considered important. As we saw when I quoted him earlier, Wolf Larsen would consider such assumptions laughable. And, indeed, he is correct if there is no God. With no ultimate moral authority, it cannot be said that Wolf's opinion on the value of life is any less valid than yours. When you had replied that human life is to be valued because you hold to X value, Wolf would simply question why X deserves to be valued.

In order to continue this line of thought, my opponent must prove that human life has objective value within the naturalist framework.

Rebuttal #3 - My theologically-motivated value of life does not place me in agreement with you
Although I would certainly agree with you that life is to be valued, this does not mean that I must agree with you in the sense that you wish me to. Let us remember that what we are debating is whether or not your belief system is internally consistent. I would argue that it is not, and that while my worldview causes me to value life you value life despite your worldview.

To use Schaeffer's words when describing non-theists who operate on a basis of antithesis, you are "romantically operating on this basis without a sufficient cause, an adequate base, for doing so."[7]

1. The Sea Wolf by Jack London
2. Ibid.
3. The God Who Is There by Francis Schaeffer
7. Schaeffer, Ibid.
Debate Round No. 2


Thank You Pro for that response.
In this round I will begin by addressing Pro's rebuttals to my opening argument. I will then argue against authoritarian morality and hope to demonstrate that it is ultimately subjective.
Pro's Rebuttals 1 and 3
I'm going to address these two together since they share a common point. They are both off point. Pro's second paragraph's first sentence R1, "The human body did not evolve through natural selection of the most moral but the most adaptable." This objection doesn't address the point of my argument. I never claimed, at any point, that human beings evolved in a moral direction. I never made an argument that our biology has evolved a moral system. My argument was that our biology makes on objective statement regarding harm. I then presented an argument using reason to conclude this statement is a correct statement. Pro's rebuttal 1 doesn't address the point of my argument in any way. To be clear, my point is "biology makes an objective statement that harm is bad." Pro needs to argue against this point. In rebuttal 1 he doesn't do this.
Moving to rebuttal 3, this one is even farther off point. It falls into the Red Herring category. [1] For those who may be unfamiliar with the "Red Herring" term, it is a term applied to an argument that is intended to distract from the actual discussion. I don't know if this is intentional or just a simple mistake, but in Pro's rebuttal 3 he presents one. Pro's R3 quote, "Let us remember that what we are debating is whether or not your belief system is internally consistent." Do I need to point this out? No that isn't what we are debating at all. Not even close. I wrote the proposition. I wrote the debate guidelines. We are debating objective morality from an authoritarian perspective (Pro's) and from a natural perspective (Con's). If Pro wishes to do the "internally consistent belief system" set that up and challenge me. Rebuttal 3 is completely invalid and completely off topic.
Pro's Rebuttal 2
I must confess frustration here, I wish people would truly stick to the arguments. In my opening argument I clear established harm as being objectively bad through a biological statement. This removed it from human opinion. Pro either didn't understand the argument or he is intentionally miss representing it. A quote from my round 2 argument, "...which perspective is correct? Tim's subjective position on harm or his biology's objective statement." "Well needless to say, Tim's biology has gotten it right." I've grounded harm in a biological statement not a human opinion. Now lets look at a few quotes from Pro's R2, " to make the presupposition that the individuals preferences must be valid." Once again, I established harm in a biological statement, not an "individuals preferences." "Both of these statements are heavily grounded in the opinion that the preferences of human beings are to be valued..." Again, no they are not. I grounded harm in a biological statement, not a human preference.
Here is one of my round 2 statements that Pro is referring to, "Harm is bad. Killing is harm. Killing is bad." Pro is simply wrong here. The "harm is bad" portion is grounded in "our biology states that harm is bad." The argument I presented in round 2 is my own argument. I haven't seen it before. Maybe it is valid, maybe it isn't. But, Pro has yet to tackle my main point, our biology states that harm is objectively bad. My suspicion is that Pro doesn't quite know what to do with this argument. Pro might be nibbling at the edges because this isn't a standard argument. I would like Pro to tackle the argument directly. I personally want to know if it holds up. Rebuttal 2 doesn't hold up because Pro is claiming I'm grounding harm in human opinion, that clearly isn't the case.
Rebuttals conclusion
To this point my argument still holds up. Pro's rebuttals 1 and 3 don't address my argument. Pro's rebuttal 2 claims I haven't moved "harm is bad" from human opinion. Read my argument, you will see I have done that.
Why is authoritative morality fundamentally subjective?
If we establish morality in any authority, it is subjective due to the nature of the authority.
P1 God is Good. Based on what standard?
Horn 1. External standard. Pro cannot select this option. He says there is no standard outside God.
Horn 2. God's standard. This is Pro's. This is subjective. I'm good based on my standard. Pro is good based on his standard. Satan is good based on his standard. George W. Bush is good based on his standard. If God is pure evil, yet we base goodness on his standards, then evil is goodness. There are no moral absolutes in this model, no objective moral standards. Whatever God is, we simply say that is good. That isn't objective. That is subjective. Horn 1 defeats Pro's position. Horn 2 defeats Pro's position.
P2 Pro cannot claim God is good.
This closely follows from P1. How does Pro make this claim? He cannot appeal to an outside source. Then say, "God follows the lines of goodness, therefore God is good." Pro must presuppose God is good. But that presupposition has a cost. It leaves Pro with no ability to know if he is following a good God. If Pro cannot know if he is following a good God, then Pro cannot claim this God is the author of an objectively positive moral system.
P3 By what standard did God determine theft to be bad?
Horn 1. Some external standard. Pro cannot select this option.
Horn 2. His own standard. If this is the case, then it is pure opinion. Lets imagine a world before humans existed. Theft at this time is neutral. Not a current issue. Then humans arrive. God then must decide if theft is good or bad. How does he decide? Pro, is it just opinion? Does he appeal to the consequences of theft? God, "It harms someone." Me, "Why does that matter?" God, "It has a negative effect on the lives of people." Me, "Why does that matter?" Notice the trap God and Pro are falling into. If God appeals to an outside reason that theft is bad, then morality lies outside God. That defeats Pro's position. If God simply says, "because I said so." That is nothing more than the subjective opinion of an authority, might makes right. Question to Pro. By what standard did God determine theft to be bad? How is that objective? Horn 1 defeats Pro's position. Horn 2 defeats Pro's position.
P4 Can God do something that is immoral?
Horn 1. Yes. If this is the answer, then morality resides outside of God/authority.
Horn 2. No. Then there are no moral absolutes. No moral absolutes, no objective moral standards. If God decides to kill an innocent child, then killing an innocent child is good. Horn 1 defeats Pro's position. Horn 2 defeats Pro's position.
P5 A gotcha moment?
Let's look back to a comment made in Pro's rebuttal 2, "Con has not distanced himself from opinion." Opinion is a shared problem for both of us. We both are trying to get to objective moral standards. I've removed human opinion and established it in a biological statement. I've made that case already. But, Pro has made NO attempt to remove opinion and in fact has conceded that his position is opinion with this comment from round 1, "God's moral opinion supersedes the moral opinion of humanity." I'm sure this wasn't an intended concession but it is a concession none the less. Opinion is subjective. My opinion is that shrimp is delicious. My wife's opinion is that shrimp is disgusting. This is nothing more than, "God is the top authority. The top authority sets the rules. Might makes right." No objective moral standards, just authoritative standards.
I have a few characters left. So I would like to show the problems with Top Down morality vs. Bottoms Up morality. I will use a few examples.
A man is picking up sticks on the Sabbath. Exodus 15:32. Exodus 15:35 "Then the Lord said to Moses, 'The man shall be surely put to death: all the congregation shall stone him with stones (you mean not stone him with sticks?) outside the camp.'" If we presuppose that God is good, then we must claim this action is just and good. However, I'm advocating for a different approach. The Bottoms Up approach. What has the man done? Pick up sticks. Is there harm in that? It doesn't appear so. God decides to have the man killed. Is there harm in that? Yes. The Bottoms Up approach says this decree by God is immoral because the man has done no harm and God's commandment does harm. For Pro, he must claim this directive is good. Pro has placed himself in no position to evaluate the directive. All directives are good, regardless of what they are.
Let's imagine an even more absurd scenario. God decides to flood the entire planet, killing nearly all life, pandas, lion cubs, kittens, puppies, children, the elderly, pregnant women, giraffes, trees, bees, you name it, God is killing it, and all but a very few that can fit in a boat. Now if we accept God as the standard for goodness, we MUST conclude this action to be good. So is it? Pro must answer Yes. Regardless of whether the story is true or not. In this example, if it is an action done by God, it is a good action by default. Now let's apply the approach I'm advocating for. Does God's action inflict harm? It does in the most extreme way. Needless to say, this is an immoral action, without question.
Are you noticing the problem here? Presupposing goodness in God removes ones ability to evaluate moral or immoral actions. Pro is forced to accept all moral actions from God has good. He has no ability to even know if he is correct or not. The Bottoms Up approach gives us tools to evaluate moral decrees from ANY authority. This makes it clearly superior. It is objective. I've removed human opinion and placed it in a biological statement. Top Down is purely subjective and removes our ability to make moral assessments.
Back to you Pro.



PhiloTheist forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 3


PhiloTheist, I wish you hadn't forfeited the debate. Thought we had a decent debate going and would've liked to finish it. I guess I will have to repost the debate at a later time and hope to get someone who will see it through. With that being said, I will free lance on the subject a bit and then sign off.
I think the Moral Argument from the theistic side is fundamentally the God of the Gaps argument, which is a well established fallacy. It seems the theist wishes to get you to a point were you eventually say, "I don't know." It is then they wish to slip god in as an explanation for whatever the "I don't know" is referring to. Admittedly, grounding morality is a objective source isn't an easy thing to do. Maybe I've accomplished this with my argument, maybe I haven't. But, simply putting god in the stopping point, concerning morality, isn't really any different from the stopping point regarding the universe and putting god in there. The Morality Argument is little more then a God of the Gaps argument.
Before I sign off from this debate, I would like to point out why I think a bottoms up approach is a superior approach. If we allow moral decrees from any authority, we remove our ability to evaluate that decree. This places us in a position in which we are simply following order, or rules without knowing to what degree they are just. That isn't morality. That is just obedience. If we take a bottoms up approach and use harm as our guide, we gain the ability to evaluate directives from all sources, including a god, or what we may mistakenly believe to be a directive from a god. By simply asking, "where is the harm" and then basing our choices on the choice that does the least amount of harm, we have a path to objective moral standards. Is it immoral for a women to wear a short skirt? Based on some religions, the answer would be yes. But why is that immoral? Because god said so? That teaches us nothing. Gives us no information. It is just a rule. But lets apply harm. Does wearing the short skirt harm anyone? No. If it doesn't harm anyone, then there are no grounds to prohibit it. If no harm is done, then that means it isn't immoral. Conclusion, women should be permitted to wear a short skirt if the wish.
We can go through may different examples to illustrate this difference, but that isn't necessary. Lets just look at this example. With the top down approach, we don't even know why something is wrong. Which means it may not be wrong. We are adrift without a paddle just following arbitrary rules. If we apply the bottoms up approach we can actually answer the question. We can learn why it is wrong or it isn't. The bottoms up approach gives us more information. It allows us to evaluate a given situation. It gives us a method to question authority when given rules. It has much more to offer than any authoritarian system.
I would like to thank Pro for this debate, but thanks isn't deserved when a round is forfeited. So I will just thank the readers and the voters.


PhiloTheist forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 4
24 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by NoMagic 1 year ago
Correction, the Bible passages I quoted are in Numbers not Exodus, chapter and verse are still correct.
Posted by NoMagic 1 year ago
PhiloTheist, I tried changing the setting, setting the number of debates lower so you could accept. It wouldn't save that for some reason. So I just challenged you. I haven't done it that way before. I think you should just be able to accept and begin. If not, I guess just post that in the comments.
Posted by PhiloTheist 1 year ago
I suppose that, for me, morality does not exist in any practical way without God so I will ague the rez as is if you wish.
Posted by NoMagic 1 year ago
Mismedic, shhhhh, That1User, the purpose of my opponent going first is because I don't wish to present a in depth argument and be left with a feeble response. My surprise is I've heard may a theologian/apologist claim objective morality cannot exist unless a god exist. Objective morality exist. Therefore god exist. This claim both supports the Pro position and claims the Con position is incorrect. So why is the hold up? A theist who holds that to be true should be completely fine with the structure. At least I think they would.
Posted by missmedic 1 year ago
Theists should have a very hard time defending a god based objective morality, when the god they defend has so many contradictions. You have to suspend reason and truth to have faith and belief, when reason and truth are the bases for objectivity. Objectivity, reason and truth are absolutes because they exist without contradictions. Faith is a contradiction. Faith has no criteria for accepting a statement as true. If there is no evidence for a claim, then accepting it is irrational. It is more likely to be false then true (since there are more false ideas then true ones, being that their is only one reality).
Posted by That1User 1 year ago
"Pro will argue that Objective Morality can only exist if a God exists. " I think that is the section that Philo disagrees with. Having the contender go first may also have people not accept.
Posted by NoMagic 1 year ago
Philo, let me ask it this way, what part of the debate outlines don't you agree with? Your last comment seems pretty close to me. If unknowable would mean doesn't exist without god, then we would be more or less in line. That "practically non-existent" also has me a bit concerned. What does that mean?
Posted by PhiloTheist 1 year ago
I could argue that objective morality is unknowable and therefore practically non-existent without God.
Posted by NoMagic 1 year ago
Kind of surprised no one has taken this one up yet. I know a frequently used argument for the theist side is the moral argument. Would think this would appeal to them. They don't think morality can be grounded without a god, so my side shouldn't concern them. Why no takers?
Posted by Burncastle 1 year ago
Can I argue in favor of objective morality WITHOUT God?
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by Tweka 1 year ago
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Total points awarded:40 
Reasons for voting decision: FF and Con provides arguments which are not refuted at all.