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Resolve: Arguments involving morals standards are weak and/or useless - take 2

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 12/5/2010 Category: Miscellaneous
Updated: 5 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 3,039 times Debate No: 13917
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (7)
Votes (2)




I intend to prove that arguing a topic based on moral standards is a bad idea, and should not be done.

Moral - of or relating to principles of right and wrong in behavior
Standard - something established by authority, custom, or general consent as a model or example
Opinion - a view, judgment, or appraisal formed in the mind about a particular matterThese are the definitions that will be used in this debate.
They can be found here:

First of all, moral standards are weak arguments because they are not set in stone.
As the definitions show, morals are the difference between right and wrong. This clearly can vary. In World War 2, Hitler thought it was right to kill off everyone who wasn't Aryan. Obviously, almost everyone else disagreed with him. This is because the Axis Powers(Hitler's Group) and the Allied Forces(America, Britain, etc.) had different opinions on right and wrong. A standard is something that can be based on custom or opinions. I will use World War 2 again. Hitler and the Nazis thought it was right to eliminate all who weren't Aryan. Since they were in control, this became the standard goal of Nazi Germany. The Allies, however, disagreed. This was an overwhelming public opinion. Therefore, the standard goal of the Allies was to stop the Axis Powers.

Next, morals are opinions. Since opinions are views formed by a person, they don't have to be shared. Due to this fact, morals can't be used because they might not be shared by both sides. This is obvious in a debate I took part in because I said yes, hunting should remain legal, but my opponent said no, it shouldn't remain legal. We had different views based upon our opinions. Our opinions had facts, and so they did become useable. The moral factor, however, did NOT always have facts. I had reasons why my morals could be accepted, but my opponent didn't. Regardless of facts or lack of, both moral arguments were very weak.

Finally, moral standards are weak arguments because standards can vary. For example, in China it is normal to eat dog, but most Americans wouldn't dream of eating dog.

Hi again losedotexe, time for a second debate.
Just to be clear, by accepting this debate you are agreeing with my definitions, and will not change them.


I thank my opponent for extending this debate to me ; I wish you the best of luck, Blackhawk1331.

To begin, I'd like to offer a few definitions ;

Morality is a sense of behavioral conduct that differentiates intentions, decisions, and actions between those that are good (or right) and bad (or wrong). [1] (The link is to wikipedia ; the definition derives from 5 separate sources of information)

I agree with your definition of standard.

Opinion ; A judgment based on special knowledge and given by an expert. [2]

Moral Value ; Moral values are the standards of good and evil, which govern an individual's behavior and choices. [3]

Ethics ; Ethics, also known as moral philosophy is a branch of philosophy that addresses questions about morality—that is, concepts such as good and evil, right and wrong, virtue and vice, justice, etc. [4]

First, I will address my own case, then move onto my opponent's case.

1. Morality effects our lives

Every individual has some sense of morals, whether they be religious, from the law of the land, or from self, we all use them in our decisions. Morality has a HUGE impact on our own society.
Humans are moral creatures ; they make decisions based on their own value system. For example, a person may have a value system to respect right to body ; however, they make also respect the legality of something, which may lead to them not engaging in said action because of a moral conflict.

This is important to know ; moral standards impact our every day life, and everything we do in our life. To say that using morals as a standard is weak is ludicrous ; in fact, they are one of the largest aspects of our lives.

This is evidenced by the fact that laws are created out of morals ; this is clearly seen through the value of freedom and equality as in the US Constitution, specifically referring to the first amendment. If you do not have a moral high ground, you cannot hold a legal one.

2. Moral Values evolve to be stronger

Morals are opinions ; however, they are often scrutinized and altered as accepted. For example, previously in history, slavery was acceptable. Our morals, as a society, has changed and grown, and deemed slavery to be immoral. This is a strong example of the big picture ; with time, we refine moral ideas.

The refinement of morals is usually done through a number of things ; scientific research, philosophical studies, public debates, and the refinement of life. While many people hold different moral values, it doesn't dispute the fact that the strongest moral values do hold impact in life. Again, our morals are a part of us in our lives ; to say it is weak or useless is to embrace a world without motive.

3. Morals create incentive

As I stated in the end of my second contention, without morals we do not have motive to act or not to act. For example, what dictates if you should kill someone? Without morality, we have no law to dictate this, and without morality, we have no reason to do so one way or another.
However, if we add morality into the mix, it becomes more clear. If the man has intention of harming you, it becomes self defense ; you defending your own right to body. Without morality, the situation doesn't matter ; morality dictates motive.

In short, without morals, we cannot have laws. To say a moral standard is weak is to say that laws are weak and/or useless. When we use moral standards, through scrutiny of argumentation over the integrity of said value, a stronger moral system is created. Without morals, we don't have motive, and without motive, we do not have reason to act one way or another.

Argumentation involving morals can be some of the strongest ; morals dictate our lives and our laws.

On to my opponent's case ;

1. Moral standards vary

I concede that moral standards DO vary ; however, through scrutiny of debate (IE, Argumentation) the weaker morals fall, and the stronger morals strive. WW2 is a great example of this. Hitler believed it was justifiable to take away others' lives, in an attempt to take over the world. However, the spark of WW2 was the Treaty of Versailles from WW1. This Treaty trampled germany into the ground, bankrupting them, removing their ability to maintain an airforce, and a heavily restricted ground force. In a sense Germans wanted to stop the oppression against them ; this made it easy for Hitler to take control and act on his own moral actions (which were immoral by most of the World).

While they are not set in stone, they are scrutinized. The stronger morals rise to the top ; and because of this, moral standards are strong arguments. When we have a moral high ground, the laws can and likely will change to match the moral standard. In debate, morality is vital. Morals prevent greed and corruption ; morals can and typically do override personal gain.

2. Morals are opinions

I've addressed this, so i'll paraphrase here. Morals are opinions, but the strongest morals will be accepted ; the weakest morals will be dropped. That is why we debate the morality of something ; because morality impacts everyone.
Morals are intuitive ; they do not require external evidence to be accepted. For example, the evidence for freedom being a good moral value is self evident ; that we should all be allowed to make our own choices.

3. Moral standards are weak arguments because the standard varies.

Again, this is condensible into a single phrase ; Stronger morals will rise ; weaker morals will fall.

In short, morality is a huge aspect of life. They impact our laws, our decisions, and yes, even our intentions. The stronger the moral, the more it makes intuitive sense, the more accepted and approved the moral becomes. When people rise past previous biases, new moral ideals will emerge ; and that is why moral arguments are so important when debating any issue.

I'll end with a quote,
"Every art and every inquiry, and similarly every action and choice, is thought to aim at some good; and for this reason the good has rightly been declared to be that at which all things aim." - Aristotle

Debate Round No. 1


First of all, I said that by accepting this debate, my opponent was accepting all definitions, so technically I don't have to refute his definitions. I will anyway. All of my opponents definitions agree with mine more or less except one. His definition of opinion. It's just stupid. My opponent states that only an expert can form an opinion. Does that mean I can't have an opinion? While I think this definition is stupid, I also like it because it completely supports me. Since morals are based on opinions, very few people could have morals, and therefore they can't argue morals. This takes my point much farther, but it still supports my point.
I don't deny that humans have morals, but like my opponent and I both said, everyone has their own morals. This is why they are weak arguments. No matter how big of an aspect morals are in our lives, they differ from country to country, state to state, city to city, town to town, and person to person. Since there is so much difference in morals, they can't be used to argue. I don't care about my opponents morals, I only care about mine. Finally, just because laws may be based on morals, that doesn't mean everyone agrees with them.
I have already explained how morals and opinions are poor arguments based on the fact my opponent has pointed out. Morals differ, therefore it doesn't matter how many people agree with one moral, if you are arguing with someone who disagrees, then your argument is void.
Although having morals dictates our actions, that doesn't mean people with differing morals have no incentive. Since we have differing morals, we cannot and should not use our morals to argue since we cannot guaruntee the same morals in our opponent.
Based on the fact that Hitler gained control of a shamed nation, does that mean Hitler had the stronger morals? If you answer yes, you may want to reconsider this debate losedotexe, and if you answer no, your entire rebuttal of my first point is void. Trust me, most Germans did NOT support Hitler. I know this because my dad knew a German soldier who doubt in WW2 that would have been, like his comrades, very happy to kill Hitler.
This same argument argument applies to my opponent's rebuttal of my second argument.
Once again, a simple question voids my opponent's argument, or reveals them to be, in my opinion, morally weak. Granted, the morally weak is my opinion, and one of the people reading this could think Hitler had the greatest morals ever. This supports my point.
I have already shown how my opponents points are void.
That quote is a poor argument. We are not debating good versus bad, we are arguing moral arguments being useful. Morals depict right and wrong, as shown in definitions, and morals vary. My right is different from your right, losedotexe, and your wrong varies from mine. Just look at our hunting debate. You said hunting is wrong, but I said it's right.


I'm going to start out with a refutation of my opponent's counter analysis of the word ; Opinion.
An expert is defined as ; adept: having or showing knowledge and skill and aptitude. [1]
Technically, anyone who THINKS and has KNOWLEDGE can form an opinion ; my opponent is entitled to an opinion because he has knowledge, and he has a right to opinion of morals, because he has some knowledge of it. Anyone who has thought of morals, can have them.

I'm going to rebut my opponent's R2 in order that he listed.

1. Morals can't be used to argue.
This is the clearest statement my opponent made. However, his only argument is, "Morals are subjective ; therefore, they can't be used in a debate."
This clearly inaccurate. Abraham Lincoln held many debates when he first ran for president, against Stephen Douglas. [2][3]
These debates were, for the most part, about the issue of slavery. Abraham Lincoln argued in favor of abolition ; the banning and removal of slavery. His opponent, Stephen Douglas, argued in favor of popular sovereignty, that being that each state should be allowed to choose.
These issues were heavily debated at each stop on their trail. It was an argument of morality ; is it right to own slaves? Both sides inevitably included morals. While their intentions were different then than they were now, it leads to the question ; why was it an issue at all?
Because people realized that morals were vital ; and that this was a moral issue. Is it moral to own another human being? The moral debate was settled ; it was immoral to own slaves, as settled by the US constitution, amendments 13, 14, and 15.[4]
What does this point have to do with morals? Without a moral guidance, this issue would have been a non-issue. However, morals matter, and ultimately, they matter more than any law can. Whether everyone agreed or not, what mattered was upholding a foundation of morality, "We hold these truths to be self-evident ; that all men are created equal..."

2. Morals are mandatory for motive
Without morals, there would not be motive ; without motive, we wouldn't act. All my opponent seems to say is, "It's weak because I said so, and because it's subjective."
Which leads me on to the next point. Morals ARE subjective. New moral theories come, and some die out. However, morals are more advanced than we think ; from the simple idea of equality, we can establish eating animals is immoral ; because it's treating animals unequally. This is why morals are SO important in debate ; without morals in debate, and without debating morals, nothing could be established as 'good' or 'bad'. So while yes, everyone has different morals, everyone knows in themselves which morals they support, and on what basis.

By using morals in a debate, you are establishing something beyond efficiency ; you are establishing yourself as human, and through morals, you can establish what is the best way to live, run a society, etc.

Morals WILL differ ; but the strongest morals will rise to the top, and these will be the morals supported. Without morals, anything can be justified through efficiency. Murder, rape, stealing, all for the sake of making your own life easier. The judges will see this, that morals are necessary in order to properly hold any form of argumentation ; every law, action, and policy is linked to moral ideas.

I acknowledge that most Germans did NOT support Hitler ; and hence his morals did NOT become the norm.

We must first kritik the basic idea of the purpose of morals ; Morals are an action set in place based on 'good' and 'bad', through the use of standards, such as equality, fairness, societal good, etc. These are necessary in order to understand why we do anything, or why we establish laws, policies, etc.

This is vital to know ; we here are arguing an abstract without an application ; I've shown why it is applicable to every situation to have some form of moral motive for your actions.

Morals are not only useful, but inevitable AND vital for our lives ; in a debate, they are a standard of what is good and bad. The reason moral philosophy exists, is to establish reasons behind morals.

Without a moral basis for our actions, we would lack motive ; without a motive, we do not act ; without acting, we do not live.

Dropped arguments
Impact of Life
Refinement of Morals
Moral Incentives

In addition, my opponent failed to refute my arguments, which negated his own ; he is left without a valid argument.

Merely saying something is subjective is not reason enough to discredit it ; our own existence can be considered subjective. Because my arguments went through untouched, they flow on into the 3rd round.

I end with a quote about the legal practicality of morality, and how surely vital it is ;

"Because just as good morals, if they are to be maintained, have need of the laws, so the laws, if they are to be observed, have need of good morals" - Niccolo Machiavelli

[1]adept: having or showing knowledge and skill and aptitude
Debate Round No. 2


Now that expert has been defined, I have no problem with the definition.

Now, I am completely ignoring Wikipedia since we know that it's an unreliable source. The second source doesn't say Lincoln was an abolitionist, it says that he said a country can't stand with half slave and half anti slave. You may have heard his famous saying "a house divided against itself cannot stand".[1] Here is another quote from Lincoln. "I have no purpose directly or indirectly, to interfere with the institution of´┐Żslavery where it exists. I believe I have no lawful right to do so, and I have no inclination to do so." [2] It can clearly be seen that Lincoln had no intention of eliminating slavery. The amendments my opponent speaks of came late in the Civil War, with the Emancipation Proclamation. This clearly shows that there was no slavery debate with morals.

I don't care that morals are required for motive. It is irrelevant in this debate. Your motives are different from mine the same applies to our morals. My opponent has openly stated that everyone has different morals. That's all I needed to read. We have different morals. That's why terrorists can blow themselves up to kill civilians, but Americans won't fire until fired upon. Laws are based on morals, sure, but that doesn't mean everyone agrees with them. Are you so ignorant that you can say Hitler's morals didn't become he norm? He ruled for over 10 years and killed millions. Can you really say that his morals didn't become the norm? Once again, I'm not denying that morals are important, I'm arguing that morals aren't a valid argument because they differ. As a closer, you state that we can decide eating animals is immoral. That is a perfect example of my point. I disagree that eating animals is immoral.

My opponent has failed refute my ideas, and so they flow through. He dropped them all by saying that even though something changes from person to person, it's a valid argument. I have shown time and again how morals are in invalid arguments.

Once again with the quote, not everyone agrees with laws, or morals.


Thank you.


I'll start by countering my opponent's attack of wikipedia.
Wikipedia is CITED, SOURCED, and under constant SCRUTINY. Your opinion that wikipedia isn't reliable is lacking ; the fact of the matter is, it's easier to link wikipedia, than several sources which were combined to come with what the page offers.

I'll concede this fact of Lincoln, simply because I was undereducated on the issue. However, morals DID become a part, as YOU stated, during and after the civil war.

If the purpose of morals is irrelevant to the debate, then what is, pray tell? You've basically said, "Morals are weak arguments, and any argument in favor of morals is irrelevant." This is ABUSIVE, and should be ignored.
I'm not saying that every human being is a moral creature, or that they even have refined morals. That's why moral debate is SO IMPORTANT. With the use of morals, and the debating of morals, the stronger morals can exist. The problem was, Hitler gained power quickly, and as he implemented his policy, the punishment for speaking against him became death.[1]

Again, my opponent repeatedly ignores all my of arguments, instead switching to a tactic of, "No, you're wrong, I'm not listening."

If you refer to your flows, you'll see that I answered all of his arguments.

He claimed morals are weak arguments, because they are not set in stone > Strong morals rise to the top, and become near impossible to refute.

Morals are opinions > Scrutiny forces refined opinions made by experts > Not only experts can have opinions > Thought of the subject matter can consider someone an expert. At this point, my opponent agrees, surrendering his own argument, whilst conceding to mine.

Standards vary > Standards raise with time and refinement of ideas.

My opponent's claim that I dropped his arguments, as I've shown, is incredibly flawed and a flat out lie.

To the subject at hand, morals are subjective, yes. However, through scrutiny, refinement, moral philosophy, etc. They become stronger and stronger, eventually creating standards of which to judge actions on. Again, morals dictate our motives, and to say this is a weak argument is to say anything we do is baseless and irrelevant.

My opponent failed again to refute my case, though I showed him clearly what arguments he dropped.

Dropped arguments
Impact of Life > Dropped entirely.
Refinement of Morals > Dropped entirely
Moral Incentives > I don't care that morals are required for motive, it is irrelevant in this debate.

His responses are listed above, if one was offered.

The important thing to remember in this debate is such ; Morals dictate how we live, act, and indeed, the motives behind our deeds. The refinement of morals is required in order to create standards, which we use in debate as moral arguments. These moral initiatives provide solid reasoning and rhetoric as to their basis, and why they are important.

Vote Breakdown

Conduct : Tied, both debaters had their moments of distasteful statements
S&G : Tied, both debaters had good sentence structure.
Arguments : CON, Pro failed to refute any of Con's arguments, Con refuted all of Pros.
Sources : CON, Pro provided 3 sources ; Con provided 9.

I thank my opponent for this debate, and I must encourage a vote for CON.

Debate Round No. 3
7 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 7 records.
Posted by blackhawk1331 5 years ago
Losedotexe asked for the challenge. It doesn't matter if points overlap because I'd argue them the same.
Posted by arturo 5 years ago
it's really lame that you have the same debate twice because most of my points overlap

hopefully the user will delete the previous debate as I don't really want to do it...
Posted by losedotexe 5 years ago
Because they are very general and vague ; a definition should be descriptive as possible.
Posted by blackhawk1331 5 years ago
Mine come right from the respected Webster's Dictionary.
Posted by blackhawk1331 5 years ago
Best of luck to you too. How can a definition be abusive?
Posted by losedotexe 5 years ago
I am going to accept this ; but your definitions can be abusive ; so, i'm going to contest them, and let the better definition be chosen. :)
Posted by losedotexe 5 years ago
I thank you kindly for extending this debate to me ; best of luck to you, good sir :)
2 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 2 records.
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