The Instigator
TheMarketLibertarian
Pro (for)
Losing
0 Points
The Contender
QueenDaisy
Con (against)
Winning
5 Points

Secular Morality (Pro) vs. Reigious Morality (Con)

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 1 vote the winner is...
QueenDaisy
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 4/22/2017 Category: Philosophy
Updated: 8 months ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 625 times Debate No: 102145
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (9)
Votes (1)

 

TheMarketLibertarian

Pro

This debate has 2 resolutions, 1 for each side, whoever proves their resolution wins.
Pro must prove that Religious Morality is fallacious, and that there is an objective way to judge human behavior.
Con must prove that Secular Morality is fallacious, and that there is no objective way to measure human behavior aside from a religious text.

Objective shall be defined as being based on logic and not emotions. Enable to fill the obligation of being 'logical' each argument must follow syllogism.
QueenDaisy

Con

As it was not specified whether R1 was acceptance only, I will err on the side of caution and assume it is acceptance only. Hence, I will not begin to justify the claims:
1) Secular morality is fallacious.
2) There is no objective way to measure human behaviour aside from religious texts.

And will instead allow my opponent to first justify their claims that:
1) Religious morality is fallacious.
2) There is an objective way to measure human behaviour.

I would also like to ask Pro to define what they mean by "fallacious" in this context. Should they fail to do so in R2, I will take it upon myself to define this term in my R2 speech.

All that is left for R1 is to thank my opponent for proposing such an interesting topic, and to wish them luck for the debate. I look forward to a fruitful discussion.
Debate Round No. 1
TheMarketLibertarian

Pro

Fallacious is something that is not based on logic, and is false either because it is demonstrably false or contradicts themselves.
QueenDaisy

Con

Okay, since Pro didn't begin to argue any of their claims in R2, I will assume the onus is on me to do so first.

Objective secular morality does not exist, and simply cannot exist- though secularism can explain the origins of morality (In a nutshell, the I'll scratch your back if you scratch mine principle. See source 1), it cannot and has never provided a form of objective morality which can be justified without using either fallacious or subjective reasoning.

Philosophers like Sam Harris (see source 2) boldly declare claims like "That which maximises the wellbeing- and minimises the suffering- of conscious creatures is moral", and though this provides a sensible standard of morality by which to judge things, the claim itself needs to be justified in an objective way, and this simply cannot be done by secularism. It's also rather close to utilitarianism, which ultimately falls short as a form of morality in many respects e.g. it can be used to justify killing one person in order to harvest their organs and save ten people.

Religious morality is considerably more objective- whether you believe God exists or not, you should recognise that if we declare axiomatically that God exists, then a specific morality follows. God is defined as being a perfect being, which includes being perfectly moral. As such, by granting the existence of God, we have gotten to an objective moral standard- that which God desires is moral, and that which he does not desire is not.

So, to summarise my R2 speech:
1) Objective secular morality cannot exist, as all secular justifications for morality are subjective- the claims they rely on cannot be justified in an objective way.
2) If we grant that God exists, it follows that morality is simply whatever God desires- as such, religious morality is objective.

Sources:
[1]: https://www.youtube.com...
[2]: https://www.youtube.com...
[3]: https://www.google.co.uk...
Debate Round No. 2
TheMarketLibertarian

Pro

Secular is merely the absence of religious belief- thus, secuylarism cannot provide anything, just as lacking a belief in God doesn't do or prove anything. The resolution was that religious texts are not an objective or rational way to judge human behavior, and that there is an objective way to measure human behavior which doesn't require a diety.
For the first claim- religious moraity is not objective because religious texts are the mere opinions of those who wrote them- even assuming that there is a God who wrote them, his opinions would still be just opinions- granted, someone elses opinion and not our own. The existance of a magical man in the sky doesn't make morality objective, and it cannot provide any consistent or rational moral code.

For the second claim- the only way to have a moral code that is a legitimate form of morality is that based on first principles. Libertarianism, or Classical Liberalism, provides a very sensible and coinsistent moral yardstick, and it starts with the concept of self ownership:
1. Everyone owns themselves
2. You own your life (1)
3. No one has the rightto kill you (2)
4. You own your body (1)
5. No one has the right to infringe on your free movements (4)
6. You own the produce of your labor (1)
7. No one has the right to steal from you (6)

This is the concept of Natural Rights, John Locke said:
"All mankind... being all equal and independent, no one ought to harm another in his life, health, liberty or possessions."

QueenDaisy

Con

At this point, I'd like to draw attention to the wording Pro used in R1:
"Pro must prove that Religious Morality is fallacious, and that there is an objective way to judge human behavior.
Con must prove that Secular Morality is fallacious, and that there is no objective way to measure human behavior aside from a religious text. "
These are the motions being discussed. All I did to these motions in my R1 speech was to split each one up into its two constituent claims- firstly about the fallacious nature of the other kind of morality, and secondly about the existence of objective moral standards.

Now, the wording of the second part of the motion that I'm defending needn't actually require me to argue that religious texts are an objective way to measure human behaviour- rather, that there are no other ways. If there are no ways to objectively measure human behaviour, it is also the case that there are no ways to objectively measure human behaviour other than religious texts, and hence, the second part of my motion must carry.

As it happens, I think that religious texts are the only way of getting morality which resembles anything objective, but should I fail to convince you of this, the second part of my motion may still be considered to have passed.

Now, on to some rebuttal:

"religious moraity [morality?] is not objective because religious texts are the mere opinions of those who wrote them- even assuming that there is a God who wrote them, his opinions would still be just opinions- granted, someone elses opinion and not our own."

As I already stated, God is defined as being a perfect being. Thus, he is perfectly moral. Thus, his opinions are perfectly moral. That is what makes religious morality objective while secular morality is not- religious morality checks an action against the will of a perfect God, while secular morality checks an action against an arbitrary human standard- secular morality is inherently subjective for that reason.

Pro actually proves this point very well: they declare that libertarianism and classical liberalism are the source of secular morality, but they fail to justify this- they simply assert that one particular human standard is moral, while neglecting other, equally valid (in that they are all subjective) human moral standards. For instance, why chose those moral standards over Kantianism or Utilitarianism? (see sources 4 to 6).

Where does Pro get is claim (1) from? Though the standard Pro suggests is almost consistent (but not quite- why does 5 follow from 4?), it's based on a premise that they essentially arbitrarily (and therefore, subjectively) declared.

Libertarianism and liberalism may produce an almost *consistent* moral code, but in order for it to be *objective*, one would have to justify its first claim as necessarily true from some fact about the universe, and there's no way Pro can do this- secular morality is necessarily based on subjective premises.

So, to summarise:
1) You necessarily agree with my case if you think all morality is subjective.
2) You also agree with my case if you recognise that God provides an absolute, objective moral standard by which to measure things, while secular morality can at best produce a consistent, subjective moral standard.

Sources:
[4]: https://www.youtube.com...
[5]: http://www.csus.edu...
[6}: https://www.utilitarianism.com...
Debate Round No. 3
TheMarketLibertarian

Pro

First of all, no- you have to prove that religious texts are an objective way to regard human behavior because 'aside from' means that this thing you are referring to (religious texts) are different from the things previously mentioned in that they are not as described. To demonstrate:
There is no objective way to measure human behavior aside from a religious text- i.e. (with regards to all moral codes) none of them measure human behavior objectively (except for) religious texts- which means that you must prove religious texts are an objective way to measure human behavior.

I. RELIGIOUS MORALITY:
My opponents response is nonsensical for 2 reasons:
1. My opponent never provided a definition of God that said he was perfect, and Merriam Webster's dictionary doesn't include this either- instead he claims that God is 'perfect' without even defining perfect because a religious text that he claims came from God said so. Let's assume there is a God, and that my opponents bible came from him- why does that mean God is perfect? Because he said so? This is an assumption the assumption of an assumption which is highly unreliable in of itself. We don't even know that the person claiming it exists or assuming they do exist that they really claimed it, and even assuming they did, we have no reason to believe is true- in addition to all this, we haven't even defined the claim!
2. This argument relies on the assumption that there is already an objective moral system that exists outside of God, which God is merely expressing to us and did not concoct himself- which means it doesn't require a deity to be true, and God is going off of his own Secular Moral Code since he doesn't believe in a creator that created him!

II. SECULAR MORALITY:
My opponent states:
"They declare that libertarianism and classical liberalism are the source of secular morality, but they fail to justify this- they simply assert that one particular human standard is moral, while neglecting other, equally valid (in that they are all subjective) human moral standards. For instance, why chose those moral standards over Kantianism or Utilitarianism?"

Because these moral systems are not consistent nor founded upon rational assumptions. Utilitarianism for example states that whatever benefits humanity the most is moral- well who decides what is best for humanity? By what system can we measure the state of humanity to tell if something benefited it or harmed it more? What I think is best for humanity is different from what everyone else does- making it founded upon a subjective preference. Kantianism is not even applicable nor sensical, nor is it founded upon first principles that are rational to assume. His first principles already assume a way that humans behave- it's like claiming murder is bad because humans shouldn't murder- it already assumes a morality prior to that, and is therefore not even a moral system of its own.

He asks where number one came from- and the answer is that number 1 is a given- a rational assumption that is in itself true by definition. You ARE you, so how can you NOT own yourself? It is like asking why 2=2- 2 IS 2 so how could 2 NOT be 2?
Aristotelianism first relies on our senses and our perceptions of reality, then applies Syllogism to come to conclusions about that. Claim 1 is based on the physical world and requires no further logic to explain it. If reality is that the sky is blue, no logic is needed to show that the sky is blue- objective reality itself assumes that it is self evidently true, that an object exists even as we look away from it.

See Round 1:
"Objective shall be defined as being based on logic and not emotions. Enable to fill the obligation of being 'logical' each argument must follow syllogism."
Therefore, an objective set of moral principles must be formed via
Syllogism, and based on Aristotelianism, which states that our senses are self-evidently true, and not be founded on emotion. I need not prove Aristotelianism or Syllogism since these were both given premise for this debate.

CONCLUSION:
My BOP was to prove that moral principles can be derived from logically following claims, originating from an observation of the physical world, all the while not requiring emotional assumptions. I have proven that this is indeed the case- my argument is a series of logically following claims originating from an observation of the physical universe- that people are themselves, and none of these clauses require an emotional assumption. Even if my opponent proves them wrong, I still won because they still fit the definition of objective provided in R1.
QueenDaisy

Con

[Side note: Pro used "he" pronouns for me. I am a woman- please use "she" pronouns for me]

If there are no objective ways to measure human behaviour, there are also no ways to measure human behaviour which are not from religious texts. Mathematically:

X !E A => (X! B) !E A if BEX.

If Pro meant that I must justify that religious texts are an objective way to measure human behaviour (as I have done, anyway), the wording should have been that "religious texts are the only way to measure human behaviour) (i.e. religious texts are a way to do so, and all other ways are not). There being nothing in the set X which meets criterion A also means that there is nothing "aside from" B (such that B is a subset of X) in set X which meets criterion A. Ambiguous wording traditionally counts in favour of whoever did not word such- in this case, in my favour. Therefore, if voters deem there to be no way to objectively measure human behaviour, they also deem there to be no way to objectively measure human behaviour outside of religious texts, and thus agree with my case.

"My opponent never provided a definition of God that said he was perfect"

See my R2 speech:

"God is defined as being a perfect being"

If Pro is demanding an external link for such a definition, here is one:

"A being conceived as the perfect, omnipotent, omniscient originator and ruler of the universe, the principal object of faith and worship in monotheistic religions."

(See source 7)

"why does that mean God is perfect? "

God is axiomatically being defined as perfect, here. That which is God must be perfect. That which is not perfect is not God. A definition needed be justified as Pro suggests, as definitions are true a priori (see source 8).

"This argument relies on the assumption that there is already an objective moral system that exists outside of God, which God is merely expressing to us and did not concoct himself- which means it doesn't require a deity to be true"

This is not true; God is (axiomatically defined as) the creator of all things, including morality. Thus, he is perfect by the objective moral standard which he created- just as he created light, sound etc. as objective quantities.

"God is going off of his own Secular Moral Code since he doesn't believe in a creator that created him!"

God is omnipotent- he exists beyond our universe. There's no reason to think he should have to obey causality, and therefore there's no reason to think he was created.

"Kantianism is not even applicable nor sensical, nor is it founded upon first principles that are rational to assume."

It is no more "rational" to assume the premises of libertarianism or liberalism than it is to assume the premises of Kantianism, Utilitarianism, or any other secular moral system- they are all *subjective* because they are based on arbitrary premises which are chosen only because they lead to consistent (though equally arbitrary) conclusions. As I said before, the best secular morality can do is produce consistent- but arbitrary and subjective- moral codes. Objective morality can only come from a being whose ideas are objectively true- from God.

"You ARE you, so how can you NOT own yourself? "

How does Pro justify the idea that being someone gives that person ownership of themselves? For centuries, humans thought it was perfectly acceptable to own another person, and their ways of thinking- though horrible- are just as valid as yours under a subjective secular morality.

For that matter, how does Pro justify ownership even as a concept without appealing to other arbitrary moral standards or to a deity? Even if Pro can justify ownership under a secular morality, how can they then justify the idea that simply being entitles one to ownership of oneself? (While I'd agree that everyone does own themselves, I'd disagree that this can be justified without either recognising that it's an arbitrary claim, or appealing to a deity).

The premise Pro used to justify the moral code they outlined is arbitrary. It is not "based on logic" as they described, but simply an emotional claim. Hence, it is fundamentally incompatible with their own definition of "Objective".

Conclusion:
1) Pro has arbitrarily chosen a premise to start off with, and deduced a consistent- but equally arbitrary- moral code from there. This premise comes from nothing more than an emotional declaration- it is, by definition, not objective.

2) There is no reason to take the moral code outlined by Pro over Kantianism, Utilitarianism, or any other secular moral system- they are all subjective and arbitrary.

3) If you agree that all morality is subjective, you agree that "there is no objective way to measure human behavior aside from a religious text. " because of the mathematical logic I outlined earlier in this speech, and the wording of the claim (none of it actually requires religious texts to produce an objective moral code- only that there are no objective ways to measure human behaviour which do not come from religion).

4) God is axiomatically declared as perfect. Thus, he is perfectly moral. Thus, if an action is consistent with God's desires, it is objectively moral, and if it is not, it is objectively not moral.

5) Therefore, objective morality- if it exists- can only come from God. If objective morality does not exist, my case also holds true- there are still no objective ways to measure human behaviour outside of religious texts.

It is for these reasons that I urge you to vote in my favour- I feel my case has been more thorough, more convincing, and reliably sourced from external references. None of these can be said of Pro's case.

Sources:
[7]: http://www.yourdictionary.com...
[8]: https://en.oxforddictionaries.com...
Debate Round No. 4
9 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 9 records.
Posted by whiteflame 8 months ago
whiteflame
*******************************************************************
>Reported vote: Jonbonbon// Mod action: NOT Removed<

5 points to Con (Arguments, Sources). Reasons for voting decision: http://www.debate.org......

[*Reason for non-removal*] The voter provides more than enough detail to explain each of their point allocations.
************************************************************************
Posted by TheMarketLibertarian 8 months ago
TheMarketLibertarian
The debate wasn't about libertarianism
Posted by Ockham 8 months ago
Ockham
If I were able to vote, I would vote Con. I thought both sides made reasonable criticisms of the other position; the weak point in both sides' cases was the positive case for their own position. Specifically, Pro never really gave an argument for libertarianism, and Con never really gave an argument for God being perfect or a definition of perfection. However, the defect in Con's positive case is less severe, because perfection is widely understood to be part of the definition of God. So that is why I would vote Con.
Posted by canis 8 months ago
canis
Yes "alternative truth" is often the winner...
Posted by CosmoJarvis 8 months ago
CosmoJarvis
If I were to vote, while I don't believe in Religious Morality, Con created a convincing argument by discussing the benefits of abiding by religious morality, effectively using resources such a quote from philosopher Sam Harris. Con also used outside information from reliable sources, creating a stronger argument.
I'd certainly award Con points for making more convincing arguments and for using more reliable sources.
Posted by missmedic 9 months ago
missmedic
We don't base morality on revelation from authority, that would render us merely obedient.
Saying that moral values are objective is to say precisely nothing about moral accountability, including whether there are "eternal consequences" for our actions.
Posted by canis 9 months ago
canis
Religions exist but gods do not..So religious morality is based on something that does not exist..So it can not be moral..But "moral-fiction"...
Secular morality is based on other ideas...But can be discussed and changed with knowlegde...
Posted by TheMarketLibertarian 9 months ago
TheMarketLibertarian
Because that nonsensical, I will address it in the debate.
Posted by TheBenC 9 months ago
TheBenC
Can anyone give me an example of secular morality that was not based on or covered by religious morality?

Really...if there is no God then why is it wrong to murder someone or to rob someone? All that matters is my time on this planet, nothing exists after that. So I need to do the best for myself. Screw everyone else, my time is MINE and I WILL do everything I can to get the most from it. So what if I killed someone or stole something? Those things improved my life and that is all I care about.
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by Jonbonbon 8 months ago
Jonbonbon
TheMarketLibertarianQueenDaisyTied
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Total points awarded:05 
Reasons for voting decision: http://www.debate.org/forums/miscellaneous/topic/100736/