The Instigator
LD_Freak
Con (against)
Losing
0 Points
The Contender
Danielle
Pro (for)
Winning
21 Points

Secular ethics ought to be prioritized over religious ethics in the legislative process.

Do you like this debate?NoYes+1
Add this debate to Google Add this debate to Delicious Add this debate to FaceBook Add this debate to Digg  
Vote Here
Con Tied Pro
Who did you agree with before the debate?
Who did you agree with after the debate?
Who had better conduct?
Who had better spelling and grammar?
Who made more convincing arguments?
Who used the most reliable sources?
Reasons for your voting decision
1,000 Characters Remaining
The voting period for this debate does not end.
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 8/28/2010 Category: Religion
Updated: 6 years ago Status: Voting Period
Viewed: 2,547 times Debate No: 12855
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (15)
Votes (4)

 

LD_Freak

Con

I would like to debate this resolution in the LD format, including standards, ethics, and cross-examination. The first round will be my requested format, as well as my opponents acceptance. The Aff will then begin, and I will rebut.
Danielle

Pro

In America, we use John Locke's concept of the social contract theory to determine law. Locke argued that the government could not act on behalf of a collective conscience, and that individual conscience must be protected from government authority [1]. As such, religious differences ought to be tolerated. The concept of a separation between church and state therefore refers to the distance in the relationship between organized religion and the nation state [2]. In other words, it becomes not only unconstitutional but downright unethical to allow the beliefs of one particular religion to dictate the law that governs all citizens. As such, a different standard of ethics must be applied to law.

Secular Humanism is a philosophy that espouses reason, ethics, and justice, and specifically rejects supernatural and religious dogma as the basis of morality and decision making. It is a life stance that focuses on the way human beings can lead good, happy and functional lives morally consistent with the ethics that govern their fellow man [3]. It should be noted that secular ethics do not necessarily oppose or inherently contradict religious ethics. Certain sets of moral beliefs, such as the golden rule or a commitment to non-violence, could be held by both positions and mutually agreed upon [4].

Let's consider the reality that not everybody believes in the same god (or rules), yet laws are intended to govern all citizens regardless of creed. As such, the first problem in prioritizing religious ethics is not knowing which religious ethics to follow. Using secular ethics, we can find ways to determine moral codes of conduct applicable to all people without showing a preference or tolerance for one religious perspective over another.

For instance, Buddhists typically stand united in defense of legalizing gay marriage [5], while fundamental evangelicals vehemently rally against it [6]. Some even rightly point out that homosexuals would be condemned to death if people applied Biblical law to constitutional law, which stands contrary to the moral code espoused by groups such as the Human Rights Campaign. Therefore, if we plan to prioritize religious over secular reasoning, one of the most pressing concerns is not knowing which religious doctrine to adhere to. Imposing one particular creed on citizens against their will is tyranny, and why many original settlers came to America in the first place.

Another problem lies in the fact that no human nor scientific measure can either prove or disprove the existence of god [7]. As such, we have no reason to apply religious ethics over secular ethics when secularism is based on tangible, verifiable standards, and the basis for religious ethics is questionable, at best. Also, remember that religious ethics and secular ethics do not always disagree. When they do, we must realize that secularism offers a reasonable and logically sound basis for determining ethics, making it is a morally superior standard to something we cannot fully rationalize. These concerns make religion an insufficient standard for law making.

Con may try to argue that law should dictate right and wrong, therefore if the secularist position is wrong and the religious position is right, that the religious standard ought to be prioritized over the secular. First, how would it be determined that the secular position is wrong? I contend that secular reasoning would generally lead to this observation. Nevertheless, one must consider why law was derived in the first place.

When people live together in society, disputes inevitably arise. There are only two ways to resolve these disputes: violently or peacefully. Because violence has high costs and produces unpredictable results, human beings naturally seek peaceful alternatives [8]. As such, laws are created to resolve discrepancies in the way people live, act and trade. Rules that govern these aspects of life need not be determined by a supreme being or creator, but are in fact feasibly reconciled by the rational individuals who determine the necessity of law in the first place.

In short, legislative law exists solely for our convenience to live peacefully in a functional society. If one chooses to follow a religious code of moral conduct, they are free to do so in their personal lives. However considering there is no evidence for god nor is there absolute evidence to prove that the Bible or any other religious book accurately portrays god's desires, then again we come to the conclusion that secular ethics ought to be prioritized in the legislative process. There we have concrete answers to reconcile disputes whereas with religion we do not.

Furthermore, let us consider the ways in which sometimes religions call upon people to (violently) harm others or contradict modern science or standards of morality. For instance, Bishop John Shelby Spong rightly points out, "...texts from the source we call Holy Scripture have been used in the past to defend the divine right of kings and to oppose the Magna Carta; to condemn Galileo and to assert that the sun does indeed rotate around the earth; to justify slavery, segregation and apartheid; to keep women from being educated, entering the professions, voting or being ordained; to justify war, to persecute and kill Jews; to condemn other world religions; and to continue the oppression and rejection of gay and lesbian people" [9]. This is proof that upholding religious ethics can have devastating effects on individuals and even entire nations. Religious ethics are not infallible or able to be defended as inherently righteous simply by applying the word "god."

Moreover, there is still an ongoing debate about whether or not morality is objective or subjective [10]. Even if morality is indeed objective, it does not have to be rooted in religion. There are many philosophies that espouse an objective standard of morality without relying on god(s) as a divine law giver [11]. Still, the fact that there is such a widespread dispute about the nature of ethics and morality proves that human beings - whom laws are intended to govern - should have an active say in the rules that govern their lives. If they don't, they are nothing more than oppressed slaves.

Philosophers all through the ages have widely agreed that self-governance was a good, moral standard [12]. Even if one looks to religion to evaluate their own ethics, I fail to see why everyone shouldn't have that same opportunity to either choose or not choose whether or not religious ideals will play a part in their standard of life. If not, what right do believers have to impose that standard upon them? I eagerly look forward to Con's questions and rebuttal.

== Re-Cap of Arguments ==

1. We can't prove god exists making it an irrational basis for morality.
2. Even if god(s) existed, his/her exact desires are disputable.
3. Following religious dogma has been problematic in the past.
4. The law is applicable to everyone, yet religious beliefs on morality vary and we don't know which are right.
5. The government cannot speak on behalf of all religious morality.
6. The government imposing religion is oppressive tyranny.
7. A separation of church and state is right and necessary to respect rights.
8. Secular humanism is a logical philosophy with reasonable ethics.
9. We are capable and willing of governing ourselves ethically using this system.

10. Conclusion: Secular ethics ought to be prioritized over religious ethics in the legislative process.

[1] Feldman, Noah. Divided by God. Farrar, Straus and Giroux: 2005. pg. 29
[2] http://tinyurl.com...
[3] http://tinyurl.com...
[4] http://tinyurl.com...
[5] http://tinyurl.com...
[6] http://tinyurl.com...
[7] http://tinyurl.com...
[8] http://tinyurl.com...
[9] http://tinyurl.com...
[10] http://tinyurl.com...
[11] http://tinyurl.com...
[12] http://tinyurl.com...
Debate Round No. 1
LD_Freak

Con

Do you know any philosophers who advocate Secular Humanism?

So, in your third paragraph, you say that secular ethics "can find ways to determine moral codes of conduct applicable to all people without showing a preference or tolerance for one religious perspective over another."
By stating such a claim, are you implying that secular ethics cannot conflict with religious ethics? Thereby making this resolution redundant?

Do christian religions today apply such Old Testament law as you mention?

Is logic always correct? If you apply logic to every problem you encounter, can it not lead you astray? did not Aristotle assume that heavy objects fall faster than lighter ones? Isn't Aristotle one of the most renowned political philosophers in history?

Let's say God does exist, and that he did give us laws to follow. Should we then follow His laws, if he existed?

Is it POSSIBLE that the Bible, the Book of Mormon, or the Quran are true? Is it even infinitesimally possible that ONE of them is true?

How can you prove that no religious book 'portrays God's desires'?

Are religious ethics NOW telling us to condemn Galileo, justify slavery, kill Jews, and oppress Homosexuals? (Note, discouragement and disapproval is not oppression. Neither is protesting.)

Cannot secular ethics have devastating effects? Utilitarianism tells us that if we have a choice in letting 10,000 people die, or killing 9,999, we should kill the 9,999. Is this a devastating effect?

Once again, if God DID lay down laws to these effects, should we not follow them?

I thank my opponent for his excellent opening speech and the prospect of a good debate.
Danielle

Pro

== Response to Questions ==

1. By stating such a claim [secularism can find ways to determine moral codes of conduct applicable to all people without showing a preference or tolerance for one religious perspective over another], are you implying that secular ethics cannot conflict with religious ethics? Thereby making this resolution redundant?

----> No, secularist ethics can absolutely conflict with religious ethics. I pointed out that they don't always have to (for instance both secular ethics and religious ethics typically advocate non-violence), however, there are many pertinent cases where religious and secular morality conflict. There are also many cases where religious people tend to feel one way, but that doesn't mean their preference should be applicable to law. For instance, religious people tend to be pro-life whereas many of our current laws are pro-choice. Religious people also tend to be against euthanasia which is also legal [1]. In short, I never implied that secular ethics do not or can not conflict with religious ethics, therefore my point wasn't redundant at all whatsoever.

2. Do christian religions today apply such Old Testament law as you mention?

----> This question needs to be more specific; I have no idea what law(s) you are referring to. Moreover, it doesn't matter what certain Christians in particular believe. This resolution is about prioritizing religious ethics - not necessarily Christian ethics. Even if Christians did not apply Old Testament law... which many do [2], all of the criticisms and arguments of favoring religious ethics over secular still apply.

3. Is logic always correct? If you apply logic to every problem you encounter, can it not lead you astray? did not Aristotle assume that heavy objects fall faster than lighter ones? Isn't Aristotle one of the most renowned political philosophers in history?

----> Logic is the science that investigates the principles governing correct or reliable inference. Seeing if theories are logical or not is one way to determine the validity of those assertions. One question I plan on asking you is whether or not there is a better method for observation, and to give one example of where logic actually failed. Your example regarding logic and Aristotle is entirely irrelevant given it has absolutely nothing to do with logic in the first place.

Aristotle never applied our logical laws to his theory. He was handicapped by the fact that he had to use a deductive method of inquiry instead of an inductive method. Today, we know that an inductive (sometimes called scientific) method is most appropriate for the study of nature. Aristotle didn't know that - in fact, the inductive method wasn't invented for 2000 years after his death [3]. Moreover, the only reason one would even suggest following religious ethics is because they have come to the conclusion that if god exists it's LOGICAL to do so. If you plan on advocating abandoning logic, then you'd also have to abandon every conclusion you've ever come to considering the use of logic is paramount in reasoning of any kind.

4. Let's say God does exist, and that he did give us laws to follow. Should we then follow His laws, if he existed?

----> This is a ridiculous and irrelevant question that ignores all aspects of reality. If it was able to be PROVEN without a doubt that god exists, then many of my original arguments would be for naught. However considering that this is not the case, then it becomes an entirely irrelevant hypothetical scenario. Even if I were to say "yes" in response to this question, it would be entirely inapplicable to the debate at hand considering we don't know god exists, we can't prove god exists, etc. I can just as easily say to Con, "Let's say we have proof that god did not exist. Should we follow religious laws if we knew god did not exist?" The same hypothetical question is entirely useless to the debate from both sides.

5. Is it POSSIBLE that the Bible, the Book of Mormon, or the Quran are true? Is it even infinitesimally possible that ONE of them is true?

----> Isn't it POSSIBLE that unicorns exist? Isn't it POSSIBLE that Santa's reindeer can fly? Isn't it POSSIBLE that god does not exist? Isn't it POSSIBLE that you're a flaming homosexual and haven't realized it yet? An infinite amount of things are possible yet once again these hypothetical questions are irrelevant considering the universe's innumerable possibilities. Moreover I'd argue that neither of the aforementioned holy books are reasonable because of all the logical breaches in text. For instance, the Bible says that Jesus died, rose and ascended into heaven (a logical impossibility) among many others. And finally you'll notice that even if one of these books are true as my opponent implies, all of my arguments from the first round would still apply considering there would still be Christians even if the Quran was "true."

6. How can you prove that no religious book 'portrays God's desires'?

----> God was not responsible for writing any holy books. There is not one shred of evidence that god had a guiding hand in writing any religious texts aside from personal testimony which is completely unreliable. How can you prove that god's desires are portrayed, and if so, in which book? Once again these are nothing but hypothetical questions that do not have any bearing on my arguments.

7. Are religious ethics NOW telling us to condemn Galileo, justify slavery, kill Jews, and oppress Homosexuals? (Note, discouragement and disapproval is not oppression. Neither is protesting.)

----> First, there are a handful of religious beliefs in the world outside of monotheism. You cannot possibly pretend to know what all religions advocate. Since this debate is about applying *religious law* and not necessarily Christian law, you don't know that there are no oppressive religious beliefs out there. Second, there are still A LOT of absurd religious claims and beliefs that stand entirely contrary to science much like people stood against Galileo. For instance, over 95% of all scientists accept the theory of evolution, yet Christians still rally against it despite the plethora of evidence and the fact that it stands as a cornerstone and foundation of all modern science [4, 5]. This proves that people still advocate accepting faith and fantasy over evidence and logic, meaning my same concerns still apply. Religious people also believe in a bunch of other non-sensical things like choosing prayer over medicine [6], etc.

Additionally, protesting and other hate speech reinforced by RELIGIOUS HATE GROUPS [7] is indeed offensive, intrusive and oppressive in that they advocate inequality and bigoted attitudes and legal policy against innocent individuals they simply disagree with. They also wish to enact oppressive laws by only electing people who share their bigoted views [8].

9. Cannot secular ethics have devastating effects? Utilitarianism tells us that if we have a choice in letting 10,000 people die, or killing 9,999, we should kill the 9,999. Is this a devastating effect?

---> First, not all secular ethics are utilitarian making this once again a completely useless question. Second, that example doesn't even make sense. In one case you're losing 10,000 people and in another case you're losing one less than that. You're implying that saving one more life is devastating? That makes no sense and is insufficient as an attack on either utilitarianism OR secularism.

10. Once again, if God DID lay down laws to these effects, should we not follow them?

----> Please extend my answer regarding why this question is both absurd and useless from #4.

[1] http://tinyurl.com...
[2] http://tinyurl.com...
[3] http://tinyurl.com...
[4] http://tinyurl.com...
[5] http://tinyurl.com...
[6] http://tinyurl.com...
[7] http://tinyurl.com...
[8] http://tinyurl.com...
Debate Round No. 2
LD_Freak

Con

First, some comments on a few of my opponent's answers.
1: My opponent didn't answer this question, so she seems to be the only advocate of Secular Humanism in existence. She alone has logically deduced that this theory is valid. But we obviously can't base a sound judgment on one person's testimony, so Secular Humanism is so far not verified.

2: The laws you blatantly cited from the bible. "Some even rightly point out that homosexuals would be condemned to death if people applied Biblical law to constitutional law…" You probably haven't read any significant portion of the bible, have you? There are many Biblical laws that Christian religions don't follow, such as the one aforementioned by my opponent. If you had read the Bible, you would know that Christ came in a few thousand years later and rescinded the Law of Moses, replacing it with the higher law of Christ.

3: It has a lot to do with the science of the day, and yes, a lot to do with logic. One observes that a heavy object is more difficult to pick up from the ground than a lighter one. Therefore, since the heavy object is more attracted to the Earth, it would logically fall faster toward it than the lighter object, which is not as attracted. Of course, this is all BS, but in Aristotle's time it was logic.

4: Prove every secular philosophy to be true beyond doubt, and I'll agree with you.

5: You talk about oppressing homosexuals in your case, how it's a horrible thing, and now you further that oppression. That, my audience, is true hypocrisy.

7: No, it's not about applying religious law, it's about applying religious ethics in the legislative process.
You claim protesting is equivalent to hate speech? That's very narrow-minded.
You say in your arguments that you can't prove that God doesn't exist, and yet you spout evolutionist rhetoric like a fountain. The ‘plethora of evidence' you mention is not evidence; merely outcomes of experiments that seem to compliment Darwin's theory (that he created without a shred of evidence). The theory was there, and those scientists that advocate it see facts because they want them to exist.

9: It's an example, so you can't flaunt your fond excuse of "completely useless."
You don't seem to understand ethics very well, do you? The point is that you wouldn't KILL 9,999 people to PREVENT the deaths of 10,000. I highlight the verbs so my opponent can wrap her mind around this sentence.

10: Please extend my answer regarding why this question is both absurd and useless from #4.

I will give my own case, and then cross-reference my arguments back to my opponent's.

Resolutional Analysis- The actors of this resolution are one of two: voters or elected representatives. This resolution says basically that the actors of the resolution should act on secular ethics first and religious ethics second. So, if the actors of the resolution are the voters, the resolution is saying that people should ignore their religion, and vote secular instead. If the actors are the elected representatives, then the elected representatives should not vote according to their conscience, but to someone else's conscience.

1: All the impacts my opponent has (Religions kill people, theocracies kill and oppress people, if He exists then God is a taskmaster and we are his slaves if we follow his laws, etc.) are easily rebuked by this simple resolutional analysis. There will be no governmental oppression of religions. All I'm saying is: if you're religious, you shouldn't be a hypocrite and vote against your religion. If you're not religious, then your religious ethics aren't going to get in the way of secular ones, are they?
However, if secular ethics are prioritized over religious ones, nearly all the people in the world are going to be hypocrites. It is against democratic principles to vote against your belief, and therefore democracy is overturned by this resolution. If this resolution is affirmed, then it will preserve the tyrannical and dictatorial regimes that already exist, and destroy the free and democratic ones.

2: As to my opponent's answer of "Is it possible that the bible is true?" 1. Insults aren't very good arguments, and 2. Even if the actor(s) of the resolution was governments in general, religious ethics are still just as important, if not more than, secular ones. As my opponent has ceded that the Bible is POSSIBLY true, that means there's a POSSIBILITY that if we stick with secular ethics when we make our laws, we'll all go to Hell.
Let me explain. Whenever religious and secular ethics collide in the legislative process, we have to make a choice between the two. Now, if God does exist, and he did outline his laws in the Bible, and we DIDN'T follow them when we made our laws, that means everyone who obeys the law will face Eternal Damnation. Even if the chance is absolutely minute that the Bible is true, the overwhelming impact of eternal damnation is so great, we should do anything and everything we can to avoid it. This world is temporary; we're all going to die, so that means we should focus on our life after death; the eternal one. No matter how many people die because of religious ethics, no matter how many people are oppressed, nearly all of us will go to heaven. And then we'll be happy for eternity, even if we were miserable for a minuscule amount of time. The magnitude outweighs the probability, in this case.

I will now cross-reference my arguments back to my opponent's.

1–And yet, you can't tell others what they ought to believe or prioritize. Even if belief in God is erroneous and unwarranted, belief has de facto value, according to Dewey's Theory of Valuation. Point #1.

2–The authors of the Bible believed they were transcribing the history of God's commandments and His people, and there are many people today who believe that also. It is the same with the Book of Mormon and the Torah.

3–‘Problematic' is an understatement, but today it isn't nearly as ‘problematic' as it was. Even so, religious ethics are much different than the outcome of religious zeal. Jihadists, the KKK, these organizations don't promote or uphold their religions, they only tarnish their religion's beliefs.

4-Neither do we know which secular ethical theories are ‘right.' They also vary widely. Deontology, Consequentialism, Utilitarianism, Intuitionism…these theories' contradict each other in several ways.

5-Not ethically. But the government in general is not the actor of this resolution, so this point is ‘ridiculous and irrelevant.' Point #1.

6–Once again, this is "ridiculous and irrelevant," in the immortal words of my opponent. Besides, it wouldn't be imposing religion, merely religious ethics, which are two entirely different things.

8-As internet poster XEntity intelligently says: "Logic is not an absolute law that governs the universe. Many times in the past, people have concluded that because something is logically impossible (given the science of the day), it must be absolutely impossible. It was also believed at one time that Euclidean geometry was a universal law; it is, after all, logically consistent." We may find faults in the supposed ‘scientific facts' that disrepute religious ethics in the future, mainly because we might be as narrow minded as XEntity suggests.
Logic may be a powerful tool, but it doesn't always fit for the job.

9–Governing ethically according to Secular Humanism, which is one of many secular ethical theories, which all claim the same rewards, but reach those rewards by different means.

10-Please extend my answer regarding why this answer is both absurd and useless from #4.

In short, the government is not the actor of the resolution, logic has its uses and its faults, and if you vote Affirmation, several things will happen, including:
1. Democracy will cease to exist in a principally ethical form
2. We'll all go to Hell, which is a pretty unethical place.
I negate.
Danielle

Pro

== RESPONSE TO QUESTIONS ==

1. Con's first question asked if I knew any philosophers who espoused secular humanism. I forgot to respond to this question in the last round, but here is an extensive list: Jeremy Bentham, Albert Camus, Noam Chomsky, Richard Dawkins, Daniel Dennet, Albert Einstein, Friedrich Engels, Sam Harris, Chris Hitchens, Bertrand Russell, Carl Sagan, etc [1]. The supposition that I am the only secular humanist in existence is clearly null and void. Moreover, even if only 1 person advocated it, it wouldn't necessarily make it wrong according to the appeal to majority fallacy [2].

2. The Bible is where Christians get their morality from, so one would expect they follow it. Saying they pick and choose what they're willing to follow only demonstrates their inability to remain consistent in values - a contention actually in favor of my side of the resolution. Even if you apply only Christian law, every single contention I mentioned regarding prioritizing secular ethics in previous rounds still applies -- including the fact that Con is only referencing Christian ethics and not RELIGIOUS ethics as a whole.

3. Con says "Aristotle thought he was using logic" but I pointed out how the concept of logic and the way we apply it HAD NOT EVEN BEEN CONCEIVED YET in Aristotle's time, meaning we have no reason to accept that logic failed in that instance. Aristotle used reasoning but did not apply the traditional standards and rules of logic to his thought process. This point is negated.

4. Con says I have to prove "every secular philosophy" without a doubt. This is a completely non-sensical demand considering the ONLY philosophy secularism espouses is using reason, ethics, and justice as the basis of morality and decision making instead of a deity. I have proven why this is a superior standard throughout this debate.

5. Con asked me if it were possible if any religious books were true. I responded accordingly by saying it was possible but irrelevant. Con ignored this.

6. Con asked me how I can prove god's desires were not accurately portrayed. I proved that even if god existed, his/her intentions were unknown. Con completely ignored and skipped this number which by his logic means he concedes to my superior reasoning :)

7. Con asked me if religious ethics were oppressive today, and I explained and proved that they were. In response he randomly tried to negate evolution (a futile attempt... lol and nonetheless entirely irrelevant). You'll notice he never responded to the relevant issues here where religious ethics are used to oppress people, including stifling a woman's choice regarding abortion, the choice for homosexuals to get married, etc.

(There is no number 8... whoops!)

9. Con asked me if secular ethics were just. He then responds using ad hominem (which is bad conduct - note to voters) and writes, "You don't seem to understand ethics very well, do you? The point is that you wouldn't KILL 9,999 people to PREVENT the deaths of 10,000. I highlight the verbs so my opponent can wrap her mind around this sentence." Perhaps my opponent should try to wrap HIS mind around the concept of utalitarianism, which states preventing 10,000 deaths is better than preventing only 9,999. So really, the point here is that he must defend why it is preferable to kill more people instead of less if his intention is to discredit utalitarianism.

10. Here Con simply repeated the same question as #4. I can simply refer him to my response to his #4 question considering it asks the same thing, and I don't want to waste character space repeating it.

== RESPONSE TO ARGUMENTS ==

1. Con's first point is, "If you're religious, you shouldn't be a hypocrite and vote against your religion. If you're not religious, then your religious ethics aren't going to get in the way of secular ones, are they?" This is completely negated considering the Constitution i.e. the basis for our laws and political policy specifically states that people should indeed make political decisions based on SECULAR rationality that people are deserving of equal rights [3, 4]. If, say, a Christian did not believe in abortion, then it's their prerogative not to get one. However if mandating that abortion be criminalized infringes upon another's right to govern their own person, then constitutional law a.k.a. the secular law our public policy is founded on stands contrary to Con's assertion.

2. Con contends that religious ethics are just as important as secular ones without explaining why meaning we have no reason to accept this claim. He then advocates Pascal's Wager: conceding to secular laws just in case god exists. However, once again it is Con's prerogative to live his life by that standard -- he hasn't proven why it's moral to impose that standard upon other individuals who might want to "take their chances." That coupled with the fact that Pascal's Wager has been criticized and refuted innumerable times makes this a pretty baseless assertion. The Atheist's Wager contends "You should live your life and try to make the world a better place for your being in it, whether or not you believe in god. If there is no god, you have lost nothing and will be remembered fondly by those you left behind. If there is a benevolent god, he will judge you on your merits and not just on whether or not you believed in him [5]. This negates Con's premise.

== CONCLUSION ==

First, it's very obvious that my opponent did not write the arguments presented in the cross reference section and that they are in fact plagiarized from another party.

Nevertheless, none of Con's cross reference arguments negate my points in any way. His reference to Dewey's Theory of Valuation makes absolutely no connection to the resolution. He states, "And yet, you can't tell others what they ought to believe or prioritize." Ironically, that stands completely contrary to Con's assertion that one ought to prioritize religious ethics thereby making this a self-defeating argument. Congratulations - you just negated your own premise.

Con points out that many people consider god's law to be moral, but that does not address my concerns about prioritizing religious ethics over secular in any way. This does not even begin to address my contentions regarding not knowing which religion to follow, not being able to prove god even exists, using the government in tyrannical (unconstitutional) ways, etc. Con claims that we don't know which of the secular philosophies are right, but I've pointed out that this is irrelevant considering the concept of secular ethics does not espouse EVERY secular ideology, but rather simply advocates not basing ethics off of an innumerable, unprovable bunch of hypothetical deities.

Con writes, "5-Not ethically. But the government in general is not the actor of this resolution." I don't know what "not exactly" refers to considering at #5 in the last round I simply explained how Con's plethora of hypothetical questions are irrelevant considering the universe's innumerable possibilities, and that none of the holy books are reasonable because of all the logical breaches in text. Next Con says he advocates not imposing religion but religious ethics. Of course it is still immoral to impose religious standards upon non-believers making this a moot point.

== CONCLUSION ==

Con says my standard will cause democracy to cease, which is a completely baseless claim absolutely not supported by any of the arguments in this debate. Further he contends that we'll all go to hell, which is obviously a random (BS) claim that holds zero weight.

== QUESTIONS ==

1. Which religious ethics would we use, which would we discard, and why?
2. Why should the government be allowed to impose religious morality (which is tyranny) despite not being able to prove any god(s) exist let alone know what god thinks is right?

== SOURCES ==

http://www.debate.org...
Debate Round No. 3
LD_Freak

Con

2. Pro does not at all understand Biblical Law. Obviously, as I have stated before, because she has never read the Bible, at least not actively in pursuit of actual knowledge.
I quote myself: "If you had read the Bible, you would know that Christ came in a few thousand years later and rescinded the Law of Moses, replacing it with the higher law of Christ." That's why Christian religions today don't 100% practice the Law of Moses, because Christ told them that it was no longer necessary. This negates Pro's futile attempt to assert an inconsistency in Christian values.
I was simply using Christian ethics as an example, as you did in your original case.

3. So, no one during or before Aristotle's time ever used any kind of secular reasoning to deduce anything? Okay, everything during or before Aristotle's time should be discredited, simply because the "traditional standards and rules of logic" that my opponent assures us all is necessary for any kind of reasoning, weren't in existence.

4. I did not say that at all. Only that you would have to prove every secular philosophy beyond a doubt for me to AGREE with you, since you obviously can't agree with me unless I prove God's existence.

5. My opponent assumes that I have to debate all of her answers to my questions. That is completely absurd. The point of asking questions in debate is to clarify your opponent's case, not to simply create new arguments.

6. Refer to #5.

7. My opponent introduced evolution as an example (therefore MAKING it part of this debate), and I negated it. She refused to give a refutation to my negation, so I must win on that point. BTY, Pro, you can't refute this again in your rebuttal, since you refused to do it in your speech. Basic debate conduct.

9. You accuse me of having bad conduct? I'm going to quote Pro:
"Isn't it POSSIBLE that you're a flaming homosexual and haven't realized it yet?"

Anyway, once again my opponent does not understand my statement, despite me highlighting the verbs for her.
You assume the choice is between killing 9,999 and killing 10,000. It's not. It's between killing 9,999 OR LETTING 10,000 die. Let me ask Pro a question: Would you actively kill 9,999 people to prevent the deaths of 10,000? No, you wouldn't. If you did, then you would be a homicidal maniac with no grip on ethics whatsoever.

Response to my arguments:

1.Please quote the Constitution for me, showing me where it says that the people should ignore their religion. In the overall topic, my opponent is claiming that, on principle, no one can ‘mandate' (or in context) ‘have an opinion' that limits someone else's supposed freedoms. Well, if those ‘freedoms' conflict with your ethics, you are 100% within your rights to have an opinion against that ‘freedom.' Say you knew someone who was going to kill someone else. You are obligated to, in some way, prevent that murder. It is the same with a breach of ethics. This is what I have been advocating for the length of this debate.
Pro apparently doesn't understand a lot of things. Like what I advocate, for instance. In my case, I offer two ways (or instances) wherein religious ethics should be prioritized over secular ethics in the legislative process. One is choice. You are free to choose as you wish, but it is unethical to ignore your religious beliefs when you make that choice.

2.The second instance I offer is one of assured destruction, in a sense. My opponent links this argument to some random theory that I have never heard of, and then arbitrarily claims that I plagiarized my entire case. While I can see my opponent's link, it is a very shoddy and ridiculous one. I thought of and processed this argument on my own, with no help from any source or person. Is it entirely inconceivable that I came to the same conclusion someone else did, only he got there first? In refuting this, my opponent says that there have already been a lot of criticisms of this, though he only mentioned one. "He hasn't proven why it's moral to impose that standard upon other individuals who might want to "take their chances." Yes I have, and if you had read my argument more carefully you would understand, which seems to be an issue with you. The people who make the laws in this country (elected officials, and this country is only an example) have an obligation to do the greatest good they can to their citizens. Therefore, religious ethics should be imposed to ensure the eternal life of the citizens of this country.

Response to Pro's Conclusion

1.I've already refuted this, and apparently my opponent is desperate to discredit me, and it is severely disappointing to see my opponent attempting such low and pathetic blows in order to win this debate.
2.I used D.T.O.E. in a context, only to refute one of your claims in an answer to one of my questions. It isn't part of my case.
3.Also ironically, in making such a point, you also negate your own premise. You can't tell anyone that they ought to prioritize secular ethics. I guess this resolution is moot point, since neither of us can argue our side of the resolution if you insist on making this point.
4.Yes it does. You just don't understand (again, with the coherence problems =). It attaches to my first contention that people's choices shouldn't conflict with their own beliefs or morals. Yet, that is what you advocate through your entire case, that someone's choices should conflict with their beliefs and morals. Since you never argued that the actor of this resolution is the individual, we must treat the resolution as such. My opponent assumes through her entire case that the Government is the actor of this resolution. It is not.
5.So, I have to advocate every single religion's ethics, but you only need to advocate only tiny aspect of secular ethics? That is incredibly unreasonable. If my opponent will force me to advocate all religion's ethics, then I will force her to advocate every secular ethic. ‘Ethics' is a plural, not a singular. Pro doesn't seem to understand that different secular ethics conflict just as much as different religions do.

Both claims have warrants, as I have proved above.
Answers to questions:

1. This is a moot point. Pro should have caught this by now. I cannot advocate all religions, and Pro cannot advocate all secular ethics. If my opponent asks me to do this, I ask her the same thing, but with secular ethics.

2.We can't prove that Bible or the Quran or any other religious book anymore than we can prove God exists. We believe things. It's like morality. You can't PROVE what is moral and what is not; it depends on what you believe. So, any person, group, government, etc. can believe something and then act upon it. If Pro believes that the Pegasus Galaxy exists, he should prove it, right? Well, Pro doesn't know how to prove that, so he looks up people he can go ask to prove that the Pegasus Galaxy exists. He takes the word of scientists that the Pegasus Galaxy exists. Similarly, believers of different faiths take the words of the prophets or of people who knew the prophets, and witnessed the miraculous things they performed. All ‘facts' are about trust; you can only prove very little.

Conclusions
1. My opponent's case is entirely refuted, boxed, wrapped, and thrown into the flames where it belongs. For one, the crux of my opponent's case was that the actor of this resolution is the government, which it is not. Second, she only refuted one of the ten claims she listed as her arguments. I refuted them all, and she never responded. She has dropped all ten of her *contentions.* Whereas I have not. Therefore, you must vote Con, because Pro doesn't seem to like her case anymore. (Note to Pro, you can't try and defend your case because you never talked about it in your second speech. If you did, I wouldn't be able to refute again, which is unfair.
2. Democracy will be overthrown, and we'll all go to hell if you vote pro.
Danielle

Pro

== RESPONSE to QUESTIONS ==

1. Con dropped his ridiculous argument that I was the only secular humanist. There have been innumerable throughout history.

2. Con says I have never read the Bible. This proves just how ignorant he truly is; I attended Catholic school for many years of my life and was required to read the Bible many times over. Therefore Con's ad hominem attacks (bad conduct) are not even relevant. Nevertheless, Con absent mindedly writes "This negates Pro's futile attempt to assert an inconsistency in Christian values." Of course this has nothing to do with what I said in the first place, thereby making it an entirely irrelevant argument.

What I said was that in this debate Con has only referenced Christian ethics. However, this resolution applies to religious ethics as a whole - not necessarily or only Christian ethics. Therefore while Con keeps trying to make HIS futile point that Christian law is not contradictory, my point was that one might try to espouse non-Christian religious ethics while voting, meaning his point about consistency has absolutely nothing to do with what I said or responds to my concern in any way.

What if one tried to impose Muslim ethics into law? Considering Con is not Muslim, I doubt he would like this being forced upon him. However he's completely ignored every single one of my requests to explain why that would be fair (for other people to force their religious standards upon him via law if they did not vote using Christian ethics) and Con just ignored it, instead babbling on about how Christianity is apparently consistent. Extend my argument.

3. Here Con uses fallacious reasoning by completely straw manning my entire point. He tried to say that logic failed Aristotle, while my point was that Aristotle did not fact check his idea using the laws of logic (which were not yet in existence). He straw mans the argument to say that "everything during or before Aristotle's time should be discredited" which I NEVER SAID. Simply because the laws of logic hadn't yet been derived does not negate everything we learned before those laws at all whatsoever. Some were right regardless of not being fact checked via logic. Here you should further note Con's bad conduct in manipulating the points, and also his failure with the Aristotle analogy because I've proven it does not apply.

4. Con once again says I'd have to prove "every secular philosophy without a doubt" in order for him to agree with me. In the last round I pointed out that this is a completely non-sensical demand, considering the ONLY philosophy secularism espouses is using reason, ethics, and justice as the basis of morality and decision making instead of a deity. Con once again repeated his non-sensical demand and did not respond to my point. He was trying to say that there are various secular philosophies including objectivism and utalitarianism. In other words, he said I'd have to prove them both correct. I said that I only had to prove secularism itself was correct; in other words why the secularist ideal was preferable for law making, which I have.

5, 6. Con says he does not have to respond to all of the questions he asked me, and that's true. Therefore I'm assuming he realized it doesn't matter whether or not it's possible any religious book is true, and concedes that it's not possible to know if god's desires have been accurately portrayed.

7. Con writes, "My opponent introduced evolution as an example, and I negated it." Let's just make it perfectly clear that Con in no way, shape or form at all whatsoever negated evolution in any way. If he insists that's true, I will debate him on evolution asap. Moving on, this point was about religion being used to oppress people and their freedom of choice. I pointed out that religious people today suppress those seeking abortion, gay marriages, etc. Con *completely ignored this* and did not respond to this reality meaning I have completely won this point.

(No #8)

9. Con's point is ridiculous. He writes, "You assume the choice is between killing 9,999 and killing 10,000. It's not. It's between killing 9,999 OR LETTING 10,000 die." IN THIS EXAMPLE (debating utalitarianism) IT MEANS THE SAME THING. Utalitarian ethics posit you should do what's best for the greatest number of people. If that means killing 9 to save 10, they'd say it was okay. It would be perfectly reasonable for a utalitarian to debate why they would kill 9,999 people to save 10,000 and NOT be considered a homicidal maniac, if one indeed understood the concept of utalitarianism which Con obviously does not. Nevertheless, this point was about whether or not secularism can have devastating effects. Con never proved that it was; he simply went on a random tangent about utalitarianism that did not even make sense. Moreover, he ignored the reality that religious ethics can also have devastating effects, i.e. religious wars among other tyranny [1,2].

== RESPONSE to ARGUMENTS ==

1. Con's point here is that one should be free to choose to prioritize their religious ethics over secular ethics when being active in the legislative process. However, I pointed out that laws exist not to dictate morality, but to protect people's rights to act according to any ethics they please so long as they do not infringe on another's rights. Throughout this debate I have explained how religious ethics and ideals can be used to oppress other people. For instance, if Con being a Christian wanted to vote against gay marriage because it violated his religious ideals, it's NOT FAIR to the non-religious people who are affected by Con's morality. The law has no business trying to dictate morality for anyone. Once again, the law's only purpose is to protect people's rights. Con NEVER PROVED OTHERWISE.

Con insists (attempting to insult me in the process, but really just looking like a fool) that I have ignored or not understood his point that people should be free to prioritize their religious ideas if they please. On the other hand, I have explained why people should NOT try to impose *their religious ideals* onto others via law. Instead, they should respect everyone's moral convictions so long as no one's rights are being violated. That's the point. Con has never once addressed this at all.

2. Con says we should apply Pascal's Wager. He never said why. I told him about the Atheist's Wager. He ignored it. He concludes with, "The people who make the laws in this country have an obligation to do the greatest good they can to their citizens. Therefore, religious ethics should be imposed to ensure the eternal life of the citizens of this country." This is a horrible argument considering (a) he hasn't proven in any way whatsoever that secularism would result in lesser good -- remember unless he's proven that god and hell exists, then hell cannot be used as an argument -- (b) this ignores almost every single one of my contentions - including the fact that it imposes ideals onto others (tyranny), that he's only taking Christian ideals into consideration, that he can't prove to know god's desires, etc. Essentially Con has ignored every one of my fundamental arguments from the first round and then tries to snidely say I have abandoned my arguments while it's obvious he's ignored them.

== CONCLUSION ==

Con says I debated as if the government is the agent. I have not. Con has not given us any answers as to why people should impose their oppressive standards onto others, when our government is founded on ideals advocating the opposite. Con says that democracy will be overthrown if you force people to prioritize secular ethics, but this is not true at all. Justice is best served in letting people live under whatever standard they please (this is what the law should protect!) so long as nobody else's right to do the same thing is violated.

[1] http://www.lepg.org...
[2] http://www.wsu.edu...
Debate Round No. 4
15 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by Danielle 6 years ago
Danielle
1) Your s/g mistakes weren't all that bad. I confused you with some other debater who I was debating at the same time and did horrible... my apologizes, but my sources vote stays the same considering I had like 24 relevant sources and you only had 1 irrelevant source.

2) If you say I've attacked you, I invite you to point out where. I pointed out my instances in the debate itself.

3) Utalitarianism isn't all about numbers, so you should try getting your facts straight before making such passionate (but wrong) assertions. It's about what maximizes pleasure. There are many forms, but for the most part it posits adherence to the rules that produce more happiness than otherwise. In most cases numbers are largely important, but not always.

4) "If morality and ethics shouldn't be factored into making laws, as you say..." BUT I NEVER SAID THAT.
Posted by LD_Freak 6 years ago
LD_Freak
Just a few facts:
1. Look at my first speech, and then tell me that I never addressed your arguments.
2. If you don't respond to a refutation or an argument then yes, it's negated, no matter how stupid it may seem.
3. Utilitarianism is all about numbers, and to a Utilitarian it WOULD be the same thing. For anyone else it would be different.

If morality and ethics shouldn't be factored into making laws, as you say, then how can you affirm the resolution? "Secular ethics should be prioritized over religious ethics in the legislative process."
Posted by LD_Freak 6 years ago
LD_Freak
My grammar and spelling were horrible? Wow.
FWY, I wasn't the only one using said attacks.
Posted by Danielle 6 years ago
Danielle
RFD:

Arguments - Pro, for obvious reasons (see debate). Sources - Pro (I gave over 22 relevant sources and Con didn't). Conduct - Pro, for Con's ad hominem attacks blatant all throughout the debate (especially the last round). Spelling/Grammar - Pro, for obvious reasons considering Con's was horrible.
Posted by mrsmooth27 6 years ago
mrsmooth27
Ah, the good old reversal of burden of proof.
Posted by Danielle 6 years ago
Danielle
Sure.
Posted by popculturepooka 6 years ago
popculturepooka
L, do you want to debate this with me sometime?
Posted by Danielle 6 years ago
Danielle
Omg I just read my opponent's questions... this is gonna be great lol. R2 is where I answer your questions so I'll answer them all now. Then in R3 you will make your case. In my R3 I ask you questions and make more arguments. In R4 you answer my questions and make a rebuttal speech. In R4 I make a few closing statements. Got it. I will get to answering your questions now.
Posted by Kinesis 6 years ago
Kinesis
'Is it POSSIBLE that the Bible, the Book of Mormon, or the Quran are true? Is it even infinitesimally possible that ONE of them is true?'

It's infinitesimally possible that the world rides on the back of a giant turtle and no-one has noticed yet. :P
Posted by Danielle 6 years ago
Danielle
Okay, so in R2 am I answering your questions, making my speech, asking you questions, or all 3?
4 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 4 records.
Vote Placed by Yurlene 6 years ago
Yurlene
LD_FreakDanielleTied
Agreed with before the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Agreed with after the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Who had better conduct:-Vote Checkmark-1 point
Had better spelling and grammar:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Made more convincing arguments:-Vote Checkmark-3 points
Used the most reliable sources:-Vote Checkmark-2 points
Total points awarded:06 
Vote Placed by Danielle 6 years ago
Danielle
LD_FreakDanielleTied
Agreed with before the debate:-Vote Checkmark-0 points
Agreed with after the debate:-Vote Checkmark-0 points
Who had better conduct:-Vote Checkmark-1 point
Had better spelling and grammar:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Made more convincing arguments:-Vote Checkmark-3 points
Used the most reliable sources:-Vote Checkmark-2 points
Total points awarded:06 
Vote Placed by sllewuy 6 years ago
sllewuy
LD_FreakDanielleTied
Agreed with before the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Agreed with after the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Who had better conduct:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Had better spelling and grammar:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Made more convincing arguments:-Vote Checkmark-3 points
Used the most reliable sources:--Vote Checkmark2 points
Total points awarded:03 
Vote Placed by Vi_Veri 6 years ago
Vi_Veri
LD_FreakDanielleTied
Agreed with before the debate:-Vote Checkmark-0 points
Agreed with after the debate:-Vote Checkmark-0 points
Who had better conduct:-Vote Checkmark-1 point
Had better spelling and grammar:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Made more convincing arguments:-Vote Checkmark-3 points
Used the most reliable sources:-Vote Checkmark-2 points
Total points awarded:06