The Instigator
socialpinko
Con (against)
Losing
0 Points
The Contender
MrCarroll
Pro (for)
Winning
22 Points

Objective morality exists

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 5/13/2011 Category: Philosophy
Updated: 5 years ago Status: Voting Period
Viewed: 899 times Debate No: 16494
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (7)
Votes (4)

 

socialpinko

Con

For this debate both my opponent and I will assume that god does not exist. We will be debating on whether or not objective morality does exist in a world without god.

Definition

Objective: not influenced by personal feelings, interpretations, or prejudice; based on facts[1]

Morality: the quality of being in accord with standards of right or good conduct or a system of ideas that fall into those same categories[2]

Rules

(A)No semantical arguments, or arguments based completely on wordplay or definitions.

(B)Drops will be counted as concessions.

(C)Forfeiting of any round will constitute a loss of all 7 points.

I will ask that my opponent bring their arguments in the first round. I will not bring my own arguments, but will try and refute the arguments my opponent brings. My opponent will win this debate in the event that I am unable to refute his arguments, I will win in the event that I am able to.

[1]http://dictionary.reference.com......
[2]http://www.allaboutphilosophy.org......
MrCarroll

Pro

Welcome readers, and thank you socialpinko for inviting me to debate this with you. I will be explaining that morals are objective as opposed to subjective. My opponent has left me in a difficult position in regards to the rules. I personally think it would make more sense if the BOP was shared on such an issue as this. Anyway, on to my arguments.

The statement, objective morals exist is intuitively obvious to most humans. For analogy, we may take the objective truth of mathematics. Mathematics is a truth that is hard to explain similar to morality. 2+2=4 is an objective statement. No matter how hard anyone would like to make 2+2=5, they can’t. With morals, we can take a number of situations and occurrences such as mass murdering or torturing innocent children and come to the conclusion that these are obviously wrong to most humans. It is not necessary to prove this as wrong to every single human as not every human may have the ability to distinguish right and wrong behavior like everyone else. A person could, for example, be a psychopath. Mistakes in morality may be comparable to a person who gets their sums wrong. The answer one comes up with is not necessarily the correct one. We may find disputes with more complex mathematical problems just as humans have disputes over what actions are moral or immoral. Everyone knows murder is wrong, but humans argue whether abortion is murder or not.

When observing those who consider morality to be subjective, we expect them to consider that actions that are wrong are only wrong from their point of view. Yet, they are never consistent with this claim. C.S. Lewis writes,

But the most remarkable thing is this. Whenever you find a man who says he does not believe in a real right and Wrong, you will find the same man going back on this a moment later. He may break his promise to you, but if you try breaking on to him he will be complaining 'It's not fair' before you can say Jack Robinson. A nation may say treaties do not matter, but then, next minute, they spoil their case by saying that the particular treaty they want to break was an unfair one. But if treaties do not matter, and if there is no such ting as Right and Wrong--in other words, if there is no Law of Nature--what is the difference between a fair treaty and an unfair one? Have they not let the cat out of the bag and shown that, whatever they say, they really know the Law of Nature just like anyone else?"[1]

Invariably, people who are moral subjectivists will view a wrong against themselves as a real wrong. If moral relativists and the like cannot uphold their own beliefs on the matter of objective morality, appealing to a real Right and Wrong when they don’t believe in one, then it is more logical to conclude that Right and Wrong are actually objective facts.

If morality were subjective, then we should expect to find significant differences between the fundamental principles of moral codes. This is not what we find. Generally speaking, there is agreement on the fundamental principles regarding human moral codes around the world. We may find the remotest of tribes and primitive civilization and find that people consider actions such as bravery, humility, and honesty are noble, and actions such as selfishness, cowardice, and betrayal are condemned. Nowhere is it considered a moral action to murder a person (although they debate what is or isn’t murder) and nowhere is it considered evil to be kind and unselfish. Often in this debate, many will point out the immoral actions of hate, rape, torture, and so on, but they never consider the opposite. What if there was a world where sharing, bravery, honesty, and doing a deed for your neighbor with no return were considered evil and immoral? I suspect we would have to travel across universes to opposite-land to find such a world. Although let’s be honest, thinking of a world where torturing children for fun is a good thing is just as difficult.

Evolution is the typical explanation for the existence of morals if they are indeed subjective. But what we find is that moral tendencies are separate from animal instinct. To say that morals are an evolved construct, nothing more than an arm or leg to aid our individual survival, is a completely illogical notion. Just because something is not socially advantageous, such as rape, does not mean it is really wrong. Say someone committed raped and escaped the social consequences; we could consider that act moral if morality was an evolved construct. Also, if morality is an evolved construct, it should be labeled under our instincts. Our instincts do not however tell what someone ought or ought not to do. C.S. Lewis' way of differentiating herd instinct and moral law is this:

Supposing you hear a cry for help from a man in danger. You will probably feel two desires-one a desire to give help (due to your herd instinct), the other a desire to keep out of danger (due to the instinct for self-preservation). But you will find inside you, in addition to these two impulses, a third thing which tells you that you ought to follow the impulse to help, and suppress the impulse to run away. Now this thing that judges between two instincts, that decides which should be encouraged, cannot itself be either of them. [2]

If our moral sense, what we ought and ought not to do, is merely our instincts, we should expect there to be nothing but instincts in our head when faced with this situation. The stronger instinct wins. But there is something different there. Remember that instincts themselves are not bad. The sexual instinct or fighting instinct are not themselves bad, yet there are situations where they must be suppressed. So we must differentiate the moral sense from herd instinct. Morality is not something that is a consequence of evolution but rather something separate from it. Since morals are not derived from evolution like a moral subjectivist would have you to believe, then we may conclude that morals are actually objective. This, among the other factors previously argued, is a significant case that morals are actually objective rather than subjective. I await my opponent's response.

[1] [2] C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity Ch.2
Debate Round No. 1
socialpinko

Con

socialpinko forfeited this round.
MrCarroll

Pro

Extend arguments.
Debate Round No. 2
socialpinko

Con

Unfortunately, the rules say that any forfeit will constitute a loss of all 7 points by the offender. If my opponent would like to re-do this debate I would very much appreciate it. Sorry to readers and voters who were expecting a lively debate, time seemed to have gotten away from me. Vote Pro.
MrCarroll

Pro

Oh, right. I forgot about that rule. I suppose we can redo it.
Debate Round No. 3
socialpinko

Con

Du du du du du.
Debate Round No. 4
7 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 7 records.
Posted by BennyW 5 years ago
BennyW
I would have liked to see this play out. Moral relativism is quite easy to refute and so it is a harder task to defend it.
Posted by Cliff.Stamp 5 years ago
Cliff.Stamp
socialpinko, in extreme cases rather than a blank forfeit you could post a request for time and then follow it up very shortly with a post in the comments. This does not have to be accepted, some of the more rigid members will likely protest, but it would show your audience that there are conditions.
Posted by unitedandy 5 years ago
unitedandy
I really don't envy Pro here. While I agree with him and think he does a pretty good job, the existence of objective morality is so difficult to establish that it makes the sceptic of objective morality firmly in the driving seat, as long as they are willing to swallow some pretty outrageous and grievous implications.
Posted by socialpinko 5 years ago
socialpinko
Sorry, I had my laptop taken away and only had my Itouch. I'll get my case in on time this time.
Posted by Cliff.Stamp 5 years ago
Cliff.Stamp
That is because he has no morals.
Posted by Thaddeus 5 years ago
Thaddeus
SP! You'd been going for so long without forfeits. How could you relapse? I believed in you man!
Posted by Cliff.Stamp 5 years ago
Cliff.Stamp
Pro, nice opening.
4 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 4 records.
Vote Placed by Zarroette 2 years ago
Zarroette
socialpinkoMrCarrollTied
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Total points awarded:07 
Reasons for voting decision: ff
Vote Placed by BennyW 5 years ago
BennyW
socialpinkoMrCarrollTied
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Reasons for voting decision: Rules are rules
Vote Placed by quarterexchange 5 years ago
quarterexchange
socialpinkoMrCarrollTied
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Total points awarded:07 
Reasons for voting decision: Forfeit means all 7 pts go to the opposition according to the instigator
Vote Placed by Cliff.Stamp 5 years ago
Cliff.Stamp
socialpinkoMrCarrollTied
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Total points awarded:01 
Reasons for voting decision: SP, you were don't so well - the dark side of anarchy has claimed another soul.