The Instigator
MyDinosaurHands
Pro (for)
Winning
12 Points
The Contender
xXCryptoXx
Con (against)
Losing
0 Points

Objectively, Humans Aren't Superior/Inferior to Anything

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 4 votes the winner is...
MyDinosaurHands
Voting Style: Open with Elo Restrictions Point System: 7 Point
Started: 10/7/2014 Category: Philosophy
Updated: 3 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 1,991 times Debate No: 62804
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (30)
Votes (4)

 

MyDinosaurHands

Pro

Resolution: Humans cannot be proven to be objectively superior or inferior to anything in existence.

Objective is anything 'not influenced by personal feelings or opinions in considering and representing facts'.

The first round will be for acceptance, and my opponent may not add any new arguments in his final round that are not a part of a rebuttal to one of my previously made points.

If there are any questions, I would ask that any potential opponents please ask them before joining. If any confusion arises during the debate that could've been averted with a question, the blame for that will fall upon my opponent.
xXCryptoXx

Con

I accept.
Debate Round No. 1
MyDinosaurHands

Pro

Thank you for accepting Crypto, and thanks for reading readers.

SUBJECTIVE VALUES
We place value on everything. Be it good, bad, or something else, everything we hold as a fact, we give a value. For instance, I can run a mile in under 5 minutes. We find the level of effort that would involve to be impressive, so we label that as a good thing. Some people might not like that I am bragging about how fast I can run, probably because they are jealous, aware of it or not. Since they're jealous, they say that bragging is a bad thing.

The thing these two examples have in common is that we, coming from a completely subjective viewpoint, place a value judgement upon them. It is important to differentiate between a subjective viewpoint and an objective viewpoint. An objective viewpoint is a fact-only kind of thing. It is a fact that I can run a mile in under 5 minutes. It is an opinion that this is impressive; an opinion that comes to be due to human biases influencing how we view that objective fact.

This idea can be extrapolated upon. Take for instance, the ability to build a skyscraper. It is an objective fact that humans are capable of building skyscrapers. We think about all the complex calculations, time, danger, and effort that might go into building a skyscraper that stands tall, and we are impressed. Thus, we deem building a skyscraper to be an awesome thing to do. Since we can do that, and other species can't, we might reason (incorrectly) that we are better than them.

But the reasoning behind that goes back to our subjective view of the ability to build a skyscraper. We have a bias towards the idea. The ideas that we value (intelligence, bravery, effort, etc) cause us to positively view the fact that we can build a skyscraper. However, the only objective truth is that we can build the skyscraper. The idea that building a skyscraper is great, or that we are better than other species because of our ability to do so, is an opinion; one influenced by the biases we have toward the action.

Our feelings on a matter do not equal objective truths. They equal subjective thoughts. Therefore, when we say humans are better than something because we can do X or Y, we are making a subjective statement, because we are being 'influenced by personal feelings or opinions in considering or representing facts'.

This fact that all values placed upon facts are subjective can be applied to literally all value judgements of a fact. Our subjective thoughts on objective thoughts form subjective criterion by which we judge ourselves relative to other things. Since these criterion are subjective however, they are just opinion, and therefore don't show that we are objectively inferior or superior to anything.

Thanks for reading.
xXCryptoXx

Con

Introduction

Thank you for having me as your opponent. I look forward to an intellectually stimulating debate.

Definitions

Superior – Better

Inferior – Worse

In my opponent’s arguments it would seem that he has confused these definitions to be synonyms for words such as ‘good’ or ‘impressive.’ Adjectives like these are largely subjective, but notions such as ‘better’ or ‘worse’ are not necessarily subjective, but can have objective grounds as I will show.

Objectivity of Logic

The laws of logic are objective, for regardless of whether or not humans exist or whether the laws of logic are being actively thought about, the laws always have an application on reality. For example, whether or not humans exist the Law of Non-Contradiction would hold that the universe cannot both be and not be in the same sense at the same time. If logic were subjective upon human ideas and emotions, any single conclusion could never be derived; everything would be purely relativistic. If logic were subjective therefore, it could be concluded that the universe could both be and not be in the same sense of the word at the same time and avoid all absurdity. I doubt my opponent will deny that logic is objective, but it is important that I establish this point. By establishing the objectivity of logic, I can therefore use logic as a means of showing that human beings are objectively superior or inferior to any said thing.

Subjective Superiority/Inferiority

My opponent specifically attacks a subjective form of superiority/inferiority. The problem with his argument is that he attacks not a logically based position on superiority/inferiority, but an emotionally based position on superiority/inferiority. As my opponent argued, what we deem good is based on our own personal bias of what constitutes ‘good.’ However, if we set objective standards of what constitutes superiority or inferiority through the use of logic, then it is possible to deem something objectively superior/inferior.

For something to be objectively inferior/superior, it is important that vague statements such as ‘humans are better than cats’ are avoided, since such statements seldom have logical grounds to be supported on. In order to establish an objective ground for superiority/inferiority, we need a ground for comparing something in relation to an act.

Obviously we will get nowhere in terms of objective superiority/inferiority if we just state ‘Tim is a good runner’ and then conclude that Tim is superior to other creatures. Rather, if Tim can run a 5:00 mile and Paul can run a 6:00 mile, then on the grounds of ‘who is a faster runner,’ we can objectively conclude that it is Tim. We established the agents being compared and the act of comparison. My emotions and biases did not predict who was better, but rather the superiority of Tim was based on his actions in comparison to Paul.

Objective Superiority/Inferiority

Now from the reasoning established in the last round, I will form a syllogism showing an example of objective superiority/inferiority.

-

P1. If humans are better than cats at building skyscrapers, then humans are more superior than cats at building skyscrapers.

P2. Humans are better than cats at building skyscrapers.

C1. Therefore humans are more superior than cats at building skyscrapers.

Premise 2 is not based on my personal biases or emotions, but rather it is based on an objective assessment of reality. Of course this syllogism is not meant to be disputed, for it is not an actual argument, but rather only an example of what I mean by objective superiority/inferiority.

-

The syllogism shown follows an extremely simple form of formal logic:

P1. If A, then A

P2. A

C1. Therefore A

-

Logic, not emotion nor personal biases, is used as a basis for establishing superiority/inferiority, and therefore this establishment is objective.

Conclusion

If you can actually run a mile under 5 minutes:

Over to you.

Debate Round No. 2
MyDinosaurHands

Pro

My opponent reaches a conclusion that is incorrect, and appears to come from a position that misunderstood the requirements of this debate's resolution.

"Humans are better than cats at building skyscrapers."

"Therefore humans are more superior than cats at building skyscrapers."

Remember, the resolution states:
"Humans cannot be proven to be objectively superior or inferior to anything in existence."

If it said: "Humans cannot be proven to be objectively superior or inferior at anything than anything in existence", my opponent would have something, however it doesn't, and so he doesn't. He would've had something because the 'at something' would refer to an activity, like running a mile, and the 'than something' would refer to the ability to perform an activity in comparison to another being. However, only 'to something' is in there, which means we can only compare the worth of beings as a whole to one another.

The word 'anything' can be substituted with anything that exists; for instance, bikes, cats, birds, insects, whales, or soccer. These are actual objects.

(Of course, one could say that 'anything' could include the ability of a cat to build a skyscraper. That is a thing that exists, at least as an idea. However, if one were to insert that into the resolution, they'd find that a comparison could not even be sought after, because how is one supposed to draw an objective evaluation of the superiority/inferiority of a specific trait of one species to another species, with all their traits being included? For instance, all traits of humans vs cheetahs ability to run 60 mph. You can't cross compare because they're not even the same kind of values. One could argue that all of our traits beats the cheetah's speed, but if you're doing that, you're into subjective territory.)

What my opponent talks about in his conclusion is a trait of objects, with the traits being the ability to build a skyscraper, and the objects being a human and a cat. Even if we accept that humans are better at building skyscrapers, all we have proven is that humans have one trait that cats do not. We have not proven what is necessary for my opponent to prove, which is that the objects themselves are objectively different in value because of their differing traits.

Simply put, our ability to build a skyscraper does not prove us to be objectively superior to cats, which is what my opponent needs to do when talking about these particular traits and objects. While it is true that we're objectively better than cats at building skyscrapers, there is no objective worth to this trait, and thus, we have no objective superiority to cats (or anything else, which you can see by applying this logic).
xXCryptoXx

Con

Introduction


Thank you for your response. I will now get into my arguments.


The Determination of Superiority/Inferiority


In order to determine superiority/inferiority, it is necessary that object, action, and condition are taken into account. Without the object there exists nothing to be compared. Without the action, there exists no means of comparing. Without condition there exists no determination of the action.


Object - That which is acting

Act - Means of comparison

Condition - Comparison


Example

Object = Two Cats

Action = Running a Race

Condition = Whoever is Faster is Superior


Cat A and Cat B run a race. Cat A was faster than cat B. Therefore Cat A was superior to cat B.


Without Object:

Run a race. Faster. Superior. (there is no object to apply these notions to)


Without Action:

Two Cats. One cat is superior.


Without Condition:

Two cats. Whoever runs faster is superior.


-


When any one of these is missing the determination of superiority/inferiority is rendered impossible. Now my opponent is arguing that I must argue that differing objects in of themselves are superior to other objects. However, this notion is absurd, for the determination of superiority/inferiority is not possible without act or condition.


Implication of the Resolution

This debate is not over the determination of superiority/inferiority, but rather on whether the determination of superiority/inferiority is objective or subjective. This implies that there is a set way on determining superiority/inferiority. Since it is logically sound that the determination of superiority/inferiority is determined by object, act, and condition, and the lack of any of the requisites creates a failure to properly determine superiority/inferiority, it is to therefore be concluded that the resolution implies the use of object, act, and condition when determining superiority/inferiority.


My opponent’s notion that I must argue for superiority/inferiority by object alone is first off, impossible, and second, it goes against the implications of the resolution.


Now the words “to something” as stated in the resolution seem not to imply that superiority/inferiority is determined by object alone (since such a notion is absurd), but rather it applies to the conclusion of object, act, and condition. For example, I used object, act, and condition to determine that humans were superior to cats at building skyscrapers. It is in this sense that humans are superior to cats.


Objective Determination of Superiority/Inferiority


In order to win I must show humans to be objectively superior/inferior to something. I did this last round with the syllogism I created in which I argued that humans are objectively superior than cats at building skyscrapers. It is in this particular sense that humans are objectively superior to cats.


My opponent states that in order to win I must prove that “objects themselves are objectively different in value because of their differing traits.” This is simply false. I don’t need to show that any given thing has an objective value, but only that it is superior. Value and superiority aren’t necessarily connected to each other, and my opponent has yet to show they do. My argument that humans are superior to cats does not imply that humans are more valuable than cats; they are two different things. Now perhaps value is connected with superiority when we do not consider act or condition, but since I showed that act and condition are necessary for the determination of superiority, it therefore does not follow that value and superiority are connected.


Conclusion

Over to you.

Debate Round No. 3
MyDinosaurHands

Pro

ACTION AND CONDITION
My opponent tries to undermine my conclusions by stating that in order for valid determinations of superiority/inferiority to be made, we must take into account object, action, and condition. He says that if we don't do this, we can't reach a correct (objective) determination. He is right, but that doesn't mean we need to use these three in the way he wants.

In his example my opponent states that the objects are two cats, the actions running a race, and the condition that whoever is faster is superior. The problem lies with the condition. Without adding anything after 'superior', he leaves it as an absolute statement; that is, that the winner is superior as a being, not just as a racer.

My opponent is not explaining how being better at racing would make one cat better than the other. Better than the other at racing? Yes, that has been explained. But better than the other overall, in their entirety? How does being a better racer makes you better as a cat? No, this part has been skipped over. He has skipped over it because one cannot logically and objectively say that racing better makes a cat a better cat. Humans might think it makes them superior, but that is because we value speed. There could be an alien race out there that does not value speed. They might consider the slower cat to be superior, because they think speed sucks. Both of these conclusions about the same cat are subjective, as they are driven by different values.

In order to cover for the fact that he is skipping this step, he is calling my way of thinking absurd. Perhaps he thinks that by repeating it enough times people will believe it.

Yes, by saying that racing better does not make one better as a cat, I am disregarding the action's superiority in regards to the object's superiority, but that does not make me wrong. It means I am recognizing that we place value on people based on how we value what they can do, which makes our determinations of superiority or inferiority subjective, which renders them useless when answering the question of an object's superiority over another.

My opponent wants to tie an action's superiority to an object's superiority, but, as I have shown, it would take some skipping of thought processes to do this, which is why his three part proposition on how to determine superiority/inferiority is fallacious. He is saying that using anything else would be absurd, because one couldn't reach an 'objective' conclusion otherwise. Another way to say that: 'That would be absurd, because I'd be wrong'. Re-read it. The closest he comes to a reason for saying one could not use anything but his system is because it'd be absurd, because you wouldn't be able to do what he needs to do to win.

Aside from the logic of using such a system, it doesn't even make sense in terms of the resolution. As I explained in my last round, 'anything' includes any objects, NOT objects and their actions, at least if you're trying to reach an objective conclusion.

VALUE AND SUPERIORITY
"Value and superiority aren't necessarily connected to each other, and my opponent has yet to show they do."
Superiority is a human concept. It is based off of things that we value. We value being able to run fast, so runners who are faster than others are deemed superior. If we for some reason valued running slowly, we'd call slower runners superior runners (or inferior runners, but the positive meaning behind 'inferior' in that context would be the same positive meaning behind 'superior' that we see in normal contexts).

That is how the two are connected. We label things superior that we value. So we can label ourselves superior to cats because of our skyscrapers, but the driving force behind that labeling is a subjective appreciation of the ability to build skyscrapers. Far from the two not being necessarily connected, values drive conclusions of superiority.

CONCLUSION
A human can build a skyscraper and a cat can't. We say we're superior at building skyscrapers because we value building skyscrapers. Assuming the cat could speak, it would say it is superior at building skyscrapers because it doesn't spend its time on something it doesn't consider worthwhile. Or it might say that it is inferior at building skyscrapers, but that it is superior because of that, because it isn't spending its time on something it considers to be value-less. Either way, both conclusions are subjective, as they are derivative of subjective values.

Superiority in one activity does not add objective superiority to a being because 'superiority' comes from a subjective viewpoint of what matters and what doesn't. Yes, humans can build skyscrapers better than cats, but it is we who decide that this makes us superior, even though it is just opinion on our part that this is so. My opponent calls this absurd, but it is true. You cannot objectively compare an object to an object, which is why I am right.

Thanks for reading through all this, assuming you did!
xXCryptoXx

Con


Misrepresentation of my Arguments


My opponent states that my use of ‘condition’ in the determination of superiority/inferiority implies superiority as a being, as opposed to superiority regarding the act. This derives from a misunderstanding. Act is the means of comparison and condition is the comparison itself. This means that the condition is based on the act.


Act – Running a race


Condition – Whoever is faster is superior


Condition implies superiority at running a race, since condition is based on the act as stated in the definitions I provided last round.


This being said, I am certainly not arguing that just because a cheetah can run faster than a human, the cheetah is superior as a whole over the human. The implication of the condition is that the cheetah is superior to the human at running fast.


“Skipping the Step”


There is no ‘step’ I am skipping, for the determination of superiority/inferiority by object, act, and condition determines objective superiority/inferiority. My opponent’s whole argument on how humans value different traits subjectively is based on subjective superiority/inferiority, but since the determination I am using is objective, my opponent’s argument has no grounds as a proper rebuttal.


Pro’s argument was based on the misunderstanding that my use of object, act, and condition determined superiority as a whole. I made it quite clear that the condition is based on the act.


Object and Actions


Actions are simply the traits of objects. Me being able to run fast is a part of me, because I, the object, am committing the act. When action is separated from its object it is only an idea that has no grounds in reality. Objects ground acts into reality. This is why if we are to make an objective determination of superiority/inferiority based on reality, it is necessary that acts have objects. Objects are also necessarily made up of acts. Objects are made up of passive acts and active acts. Active acts must be consciously committed (such as running a race), whereas passive acts are acts that serve as actual traits of objects that need not be consciously committed, such as having blue eyes or even existing.


Now as shown last round, acts are necessary for the determination of superiority/inferiority since objects in of themselves cannot be objectively compared. My opponent does compare objects in of themselves to each other, and all he proves is that such comparisons are completely subjective. The reason I am not comparing objects alone is because a) it is impossible to do so objectively b) it goes against the implications of the resolution (see my argument last round which my opponent conceded).


Conclusion


There really isn’t much here that I had not already covered last round. The resolution implies the use of object, act, and condition when determining superiority/inferiority and my opponent conceded this. This concession in addition to his concession that my syllogism was indeed an objective assessment of superiority/inferiority is enough to win me this debate.


Debate Round No. 4
30 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by xXCryptoXx 2 years ago
xXCryptoXx
Whiteflame understands this debate the best. Even if I lose, at least someone understands the position I was in (one that I didn't see coming until after entering the debate).
Posted by UchihaMadara 2 years ago
UchihaMadara
@Crypto: Unfortunately, in debates like this, where there are multiple interpretations of the resolution, potato vs. patahto can make all the difference.
Posted by xXCryptoXx 3 years ago
xXCryptoXx
Comparison by object alone is impossible anyways, which would render the resolution meaningless. This is covered under 'Implications of the Resolution.'
Posted by xXCryptoXx 3 years ago
xXCryptoXx
Humans are better at building skyscrapers than cats. It is in this sense that humans are superior to cats. Potato patahto really.
Posted by dylancatlow 3 years ago
dylancatlow
I read it. "Superior to" =/= "Superior at". If A is superior to B, then it must be inherently superior, since it is "superior" without any additional context.
Posted by xXCryptoXx 3 years ago
xXCryptoXx
This is all covered in the debate
Posted by dylancatlow 3 years ago
dylancatlow
And if you were honestly confused, you should have asked what he meant, like he said to do in the OP.
Posted by dylancatlow 3 years ago
dylancatlow
That's an entirely different issue altogether. Just because humans are superior to cats *at building skyscrapers* does not mean that they are "superior to cats".

The resolution is: Objectively, Humans Aren't Superior/Inferior to Anything.

The word "anything"is acting as a placeholder.

For instance, he's basically saying:
Objectively, Humans Aren't Superior/Inferior to Cats
Objectively, Humans Aren't Superior/Inferior to Rocks
Objectively, Humans Aren't Superior/Inferior to Trees.
etc...
Posted by xXCryptoXx 3 years ago
xXCryptoXx
The debate is whether objective determinations of superiority/inferiority can be made. I don't have to prove that humans as a whole are superior to any given thing, I must just prove a given circumstance in which humans are objectively superior/inferior. The circumstance I gave was how humans are objectively superior to cats at building skyscrapers.
Posted by dylancatlow 3 years ago
dylancatlow
"For something to be objectively inferior/superior, it is important that vague statements such as "humans are better than cats" are avoided, since such statements seldom have logical grounds to be supported on."

But that's the entire debate! lol
4 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 4 records.
Vote Placed by 9spaceking 2 years ago
9spaceking
MyDinosaurHandsxXCryptoXxTied
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Reasons for voting decision: My Dino wins this. It was unfair anyways. Pro highlights the fact that we mostly decide based upon our subjective opinion, while con tries using specific examples in activities. However, these did not apply to human beings themselves or those other things. Therefore unfortunately, the mighty XXcryptoXX has lost. Good try though, good try.
Vote Placed by UchihaMadara 2 years ago
UchihaMadara
MyDinosaurHandsxXCryptoXxTied
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Reasons for voting decision: This debate ultimately came down to the wordings of the resolution. Pro effectively showed that any comparison of two beings is inherently subjective, as it is based on what we value as making one superior or inferior. Con took a gamble with the interesting argument that humans are objectively superior to other things *in certain activities*, but if we take a look at the resolution, it clearly is referring to direct comparisons between beings. Con is essentially adding a clause onto the resolution in order to validate his argument, which simply doesn't work. Con asserts that it is necessary to do so because objectively comparing two beings in their wholes is impossible. This may be true, but the resolution specifically mentions doing exactly the latter, and by admitting that the latter is impossible, Con has conceded the debate. He cannot win by admitting that the current resolution is false, changing it, and then negating his new resolution. Good debate. Feel free to contest my RFD.
Vote Placed by whiteflame 2 years ago
whiteflame
MyDinosaurHandsxXCryptoXxTied
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Reasons for voting decision: This debate is all about burdens. Con had the burden of showing that the superiority or inferiority of humans by comparison to anything else can be objectively proven. Pro had the burden of showing that Con had failed in his burden. Con tells me that the only way to do this objectively is to include an act. Pro tells me that adding in the act takes away from the essential comparison of humans to anything else. I can see the point in both cases, and I am sympathetic to Con's concerns that objective comparison is not possible without an act. I am also aware that Con's interpretation turns it from impossible to a basic tenet of logic, which makes Pro's case impossible. I agree that the way Pro has framed this debate makes it impossible for Con to win. I feel the topic itself is unreasonable, but I don't think Con ever manages to show how he meets the topic, just that his makes it possible to make an objective argument. Without a direct argument against his topical burden, I must vote Pro.
Vote Placed by Blade-of-Truth 2 years ago
Blade-of-Truth
MyDinosaurHandsxXCryptoXxTied
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Reasons for voting decision: Conduct - Tie. Both had proper conduct throughout. S&G - Tie. Both had proper spelling and grammar throughout. Sources - Tie. Neither utilized sources in this debate. Arguments - Pro. Con himself conceded that, "Now as shown last round, acts are necessary for the determination of superiority/inferiority since objects in of themselves cannot be objectively compared." The resolution was regarding the objective comparison of humans to other things. Con was unable to show that, 'Objectively humans are superior/inferior to anything'. He attempted to argument that it's impossible to do so, thus Pro should lose, but provided no real grounds to negate the resolution. He first attempted to connect actions to objects, and then compared an object to another of the same species based on actions. Neither negated the resolution since neither were applicable to the standards Pro set forth when desiring to compare *Humans* to anything else. Since con was unable to negate the resolution, Pro wins.