The Instigator
lotus_flower
Pro (for)
Tied
3 Points
The Contender
Buckethead31594
Con (against)
Tied
3 Points

Resolved: Objective Morality, (or "moral truths") are non-existant

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 3 votes the winner is...
It's a Tie!
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 11/8/2011 Category: Philosophy
Updated: 5 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 2,836 times Debate No: 19157
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (18)
Votes (3)

 

lotus_flower

Pro

You have an 8,000 character max.
72 hours to argue.
Voting period of 2 weeks.
4 rounds.

**I prefer a christian debate me, seeing as how this is in preparation for a debate with a former (christian) professor of mine.

I thank you in advance for accepting my debate!
Buckethead31594

Con

I accept this debate. I wish the best of luck to my opponent.
Debate Round No. 1
lotus_flower

Pro

I thank my opponent for accepting this debate. I maintain that moral truths are non existent, rather, morals are subjective. This is why in some cultures, particular taboos are in place that aren't taboos in other. An example is in the middle east. In most middle Easter countries, beating your wife is acceptable, but in America it is punishable by law. If these morals were universal, then we would ALL have the same morals, but we do not.

There really isn't much for me to say, because my opponent has yet to make his point, but when he responds, I will have a lengthier argument. Thank you for your time. (:
Buckethead31594

Con

I apologize for not mentioning this earlier. As I am a Christian, my foundation for morality derives strictly from the Bible alone; this is what my opponent wanted. Secondly, I would ask my opponent to support a trusted definition for which morality can be stated. Now, I will continue to rebuke my opponent's first contention.

Immorality in the Middle East:
However this may be true, one must ascertain the possibility that universal morality still exists. It is simply human nature to rebel, such is the choice of some of those in Middle Eastern countries. Let me remind my opponent, that rebellious nature is not an indicator of a subjective morality, rather, an indicator that humans would rather act selfishly, regardless of whether or not it is detrimental to someone else. Also, whether or not the government condones the practices of immorality is irrelevant (the government being, any form of authority over a group of people). The governments are run by human[s], therefore, the governments are subject to the same code of morals that their citizens must also follow; I will go into details later, if necessary. Nonetheless, some people still utilize the government's arrogance as an excuse to commit horrible, disgusting acts simply because they are allowed to.

I'm eager to hear the rest of what my opponent has to offer. I will refrain from going into greater detail until Pro explains the rest of their argument.


Onto Pro.
Debate Round No. 2
lotus_flower

Pro

I thank my opponent for his quick response. I will now move onto refute his argument:

Rebuttal:

My opponent is claiming that morals derive from one universal truth, but this just simply does not seem to be true. My opponent states: "...rebellious nature is not an indicator of a subjective morality, rather, an indicator that humans would rather act selfishly, regardless of whether or not it is detrimental to someone else..."
Morals are defined as followed: "A person's standards of behavior or beliefs concerning what is and is not acceptable for them to do."

So, if someone finds it more beneficial to act selfishly, wouldn't you say that the morals of that person are selfish morals, not that they are rebelling against what is morally correct for all human beings?

refuting the argument for certain "Universal Morals":

A lot of Christians respond to my arguments with things like:

"Name a society in which it would me morally acceptable to show cowardice on the battlefield,
or A society in which taking another man's wife is acceptable."

Well, this is a good point, (and probably the strongest point I have heard on this argument.)

My response to that is because some morals are created by individuals, but some morals are created by society, and the society dictates what is acceptable, and what is unacceptable, depending on what benefits it as a whole.
Stealing a mans wife, or cowardice on the battlefield is ultimately not beneficial to society, and so is usually a taboo in most societies.

I will now give my opponent an opportunity to respond, and disprove my arguments. Thank you for your time. (:
Buckethead31594

Con

I shall continue with my refutes and impose a new argument.


First off, I appreciate that my opponent has provided a definition for morals. However, it is not a trusted definition; allow me to provide a new, cited definition:



Moral:
Of or relating to principals of right and wrong behavior (1)




There are many definitions, but this will suffice for now.



Refuting the rebuttals:

contention one

"So, if someone finds it more beneficial to act selfishly, wouldn't you say that the morals of that person are selfish morals, not that they are rebelling against what is morally correct for all human beings?"

Let us examine this question in further detail:

"wouldn't you say that the morals of that person are selfish morals...?"

An obvious flaw. my opponent accepts the fact that selfishness is an aspect of morality. Furthermore, my opponent is aware of the fact that selfishness is negative to the progression of humanity; If selfishness is an aspect of morality, it must be universal- therefore Universal Morality exists.



contention two

"some morals are created by individuals, but some morals are created by society, and the society dictates what is acceptable, and what is unacceptable, depending on what benefits it as a whole."

As I have stated in round two, society is nothing more than the embodiment of a grouping of individuals. My opponent claims that morals are created in order to establish peace. Unfortunately, this argument cannot be refuted in terms of Objective Morality. As I have stated previously:


"whether or not the government condones the practices of immorality is irrelevant (the government being, any form of authority over a group of people). The governments are run by human[s], therefore, the governments are subject to the same code of morals that their citizens must also follow."


The society in question could "choose" whether or not to follow Objective Morality- however, this does not mean that Universal Morality does not exist. Let us look at a metaphor: If every person on the planet refused to believe that gravity existed; what happens to gravity, does it cease to exist? Of course not! In the same way, Universal Morality continues to live on, regardless of whether or not a society chooses to follow it. In this case, my opponent's previous argument is invalid, as it is based off of an opinion.



Evidence for Objective Morality:

-My opponent proposes that Objective Morality does not exist, by proposing this, Pro condones Moral Relativism. If this is absolutely the only truth regarding this matter, absolutes exist. If absolutes exist, this means that Moral Relativism cannot exist, because Moral Relativism is not absolute, it is relative (hence the name).

-If my opponent states that Moral Relativism is not absolute (to debunk the concepts of Absolutism), they are claiming that Objective Morality is also not absolute. But this would be impossible, as Objective Morality is the only alternative.


Concluding Round Three:


I have taken apart my opponent's arguments and have exposed the uncertainty that lies underneath. I look forward to the rest of what my opponent has to offer.


Now, for Pro.







(1)http://www.merriam-webster.com...
Debate Round No. 3
lotus_flower

Pro

I would like to thank my opponent for their most convincing arguments. I would also like to say that I accept my opponents definition of moral. Now, onto the arguments.

"...my opponent accepts the fact that selfishness is an aspect of morality. Furthermore, my opponent is aware of the fact that selfishness is negative to the progression of humanity; If selfishness is an aspect of morality, it must be universal- therefore Universal Morality exists..."

this sounds like a convincing argument, but if you peel away all of the sophisticated phrases and "big" words, it is just simply circular logic that my opponent is using. selfishness isn't a moral truth. A satanist will tell you that selfishness is meant to be praised. A Buddhist will tell you an exact opposite. Both of these, you cannot deny, using your definition, are morals.

"My opponent claims that morals are created in order to establish peace"
I never claimed this. Morals are just established to move a society in a certain direction. Most societies just want to move into a progressive state, but some do not, and implement systems like shariah law, for example. Morals taught by shariah are no less morals than those taught my western society, but they are FAR from similar.

" If every person on the planet refused to believe that gravity existed; what happens to gravity, does it cease to exist? Of course not! In the same way, Universal Morality continues to live on, regardless of whether or not a society chooses to follow it. In this case, my opponent's previous argument is invalid, as it is based off of an opinion."

you cannot really equate gravity and morality, but let's go with this example. Gravity may still exist, but it wound need to be proven, because it is an invisible force, and we cannot know it's true nature, unless we question and test it. So far, my opponent has not given, at least in my eyes, a valid argument. As far as it being an opinion, I do not know how it could be, I have provided ample proof of my stance.

"My opponent proposes that Objective Morality does not exist, by proposing this, Pro condones Moral Relativism. If this is absolutely the only truth regarding this matter, absolutes exist. If absolutes exist, this means that Moral Relativism cannot exist, because Moral Relativism is not absolute, it is relative (hence the name)"

I never said that there were absolutely no 100 percents. for example, if I get onto a boat and sail to the middle of the ocean, and then jump out without any protective gear, then I will 100% of the time sink, because I cannot swim. However, this isn't a moral, rather, just a fact. in the same way, the fact that Objective Morality does not exist is just a fact, not a moral, and therefor CAN be a 100%.

this is about it for me. I feel like I have responded adequately to my opponent's arguments, and I hope that the readers feel the same way. no matter your opinion on the issue, please, read this with an open mind. I thank you for your time, comments, and votes! (:
Buckethead31594

Con

Considering this is a debate of faith, I find no further reason to continue. My opponent and I have supplied adequate arguments regarding this school of thought; the rest is up to the voters. There is really no way to prove the existence of a universal morality. With this said, there is no way to disprove it due to lack of evidence.

I appreciate my opponent's efforts concerning their faith, for Objective Morality can exist regardless of whether or not a person believes in it; this, I am absolutely certain of.
Debate Round No. 4
18 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by wiploc 5 years ago
wiploc
You are welcome. :)
Posted by lotus_flower 5 years ago
lotus_flower
@wiploc thanks! (:
Posted by wiploc 5 years ago
wiploc
: selfishness isn't a moral truth. A satanist will tell you that selfishness is meant to be praised.
: A Buddhist will tell you an exact opposite.

Excellent refutation of Con's minor point. But it's still about universality rather than objectivity.

=== end of comments on this specific debate ===

Your professor's argument will be based on equivocation. He'll define objective morality one way when he's saying that atheists don't have it, and another way when he's saying theists do. Your job is to point out that inconsistency. Catch him contradicting himself.

You hamstring yourself if you go into that debate with the claim that objective morality doesn't exist. He can easily come up with a reasonable definition of objectivity that makes it clear that there is a sense in which it does exist.
Posted by wiploc 5 years ago
wiploc
Lotus, I'm going to respond here to your question about whether you proved your case.

First let me say that I really like the quotes on your profile page!

Okay, you said:

: I maintain that moral truths are non existent, rather, morals are subjective.

That contradicts itself. If, "morals are subjective," is true, then it is a moral truth, in which case it is false that moral truths are non-existent.

: If these morals were universal, then we would ALL have the same morals, but we do not.

Trying to conflate universality with objectivity. Your professor, despite the fact that he's professionally incompetent, won't be confused for a moment.

To illustrate the difference, look at countries where they drive on the left side of the road. That is an objective truth without being universal.

: if someone finds it more beneficial to act selfishly, wouldn't you say that the morals
: of that person are selfish morals, not that they are rebelling against what is morally
: correct for all human beings?

You seem to be arguing that everything anyone does is moral. Their morality is defined by their behavior. If that were the case, nobody could feel guilty or repent of misbehavior.

: My response to that is because some morals are created by individuals, but some morals
: are created by society, and the society dictates what is acceptable, and what is unacceptable,
: depending on what benefits it as a whole. Stealing a mans wife, or cowardice on the
: battlefield is ultimately not beneficial to society, and so is usually a taboo in most societies.

Your purpose is to show that no morals are objective, so I don't think this is helpful. Your professor may respond, "Yes, some morals are personal, some are social, and some are objective." You haven't begun to move against that claim.

I'll continue this in another post.
Posted by RoyLatham 5 years ago
RoyLatham
Moral truths are absolute and derived from human nature. Sand gobies (fish) eat their young, polar bears try to kill their young, Humboldt squid are aggressive cannibals; humans are none of these. Humans have inborn moral obligations to self, family, and tribe. These moral obligations sometimes conflict, and how they are resolved depends upn the society. That doesn't change the inborn nature of morality. In the extreme, morality is absolute, but that doesn't mean we always know how to apply it. It doesn't mean that there are no conflicts among moral principles or that societies always craft satisfactory resolutions of moral conflicts.

Revelation cannot be the basis of morality because revelation is unreliable. Still, because of the inborn social factors, religions tend to converge on basic moral principles.

Neither side said much of anything useful in the present debate.
Posted by Buckethead31594 5 years ago
Buckethead31594
I had realized that there were no further reasons to address my opponent's rebukes, as the debate was quickly coming to a close. Again, this debate was about faith; so there really was not much we could ground our arguments into, besides logic. At the time, I thought that both of us had adequately explained our arguments and rebuttals. Either way, it was a fun debate and I know that my opponent and I had received something from it :)
Posted by Stephen_Hawkins 5 years ago
Stephen_Hawkins
CON has CONceded the debate in his last argument, although he probably could've won without saying it.
Posted by nickthengineer 5 years ago
nickthengineer
The resolution that Pro asserts is a dogmatic objective statement about the impossibility of making dogmatic objective statements. Contradiction. Thus, objective morality exists. QED.
Posted by wiploc 5 years ago
wiploc
This isn't the only place he's been trolling. Lukedog's account has been closed.
Posted by wiploc 5 years ago
wiploc
Innoman wrote:
: The implications of an objective morality are pretty massive, and
: denote a nature and pupose in the universe and man.

Curious.

: Whereas the implications of a subjective morality are less massive,
: but still can mean that the value of life is more arbitrary, and in
: the eye of the beholder - which can justify all sorts of action and
: behavior. It changes the formula of the greater good, when there
: is no objective morality, into that of the goal of the controling interest.

What if the objective morality requires you to pursue the goal of the controlling interest? What if the subjective morality is instituted by Jehovah? I don't see that any of your claimed implications actually follow.
3 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 3 records.
Vote Placed by innomen 5 years ago
innomen
lotus_flowerBuckethead31594Tied
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Total points awarded:30 
Reasons for voting decision: What a terrible performance by Con. Pro had an impossible BoP and you never nailed him on that. It's like trying to prove God doesn't exist, you cannot, but you didn't go this obvious route. This was the most winnable debate for Con, but for some reason the argument was lost.
Vote Placed by wiploc 5 years ago
wiploc
lotus_flowerBuckethead31594Tied
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Reasons for voting decision: The arguments lacked lucidity. I couldn't understand important parts. Pro had the burden of proof, so I vote Con.
Vote Placed by RoyLatham 5 years ago
RoyLatham
lotus_flowerBuckethead31594Tied
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Reasons for voting decision: No convincing arguments from either side. A tie.