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The Contender
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10 Points

The Argument From Morality is Flawed and Unconvincing

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 7/27/2010 Category: Religion
Updated: 7 years ago Status: Voting Period
Viewed: 1,919 times Debate No: 12643
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (16)
Votes (3)




Argument From Morality: It is necessary to posit the existence of a god in order to explain the existence of objective morality. Objective morality can be demonstrated to exist, thus God exists.

I assert that the above argument is flawed and unconvincing for three reasons:

1. Truly objective morality does not exist because morality is dependent on the suffering and happiness of sentient beings. There is no external affirmation of morality.
2. To the extent that morality does exist and is objective, it depends on the rationality and autonomy of human beings.
3. Even if both God and an objective morality were real, the latter could not be dependent on the former. I will explain this point in my rebuttal if necessary.

I will leave it to my opponent to alter the debate by offering up his/her version of The Argument From Morality.


Argument From Morality: It is necessary to posit the existence of a god in order to explain the existence of objective morality. Objective morality can be demonstrated to exist, thus God exists.

I assert that the above argument is true and absolute.

I would first like to clarify that your argument is saying three things.
1. That objective morality does not exist, thus God does not exist.
2. That objective morality does exist but is dependent on humans, not a supreme being.
3. That there is no way objective morality can depend on God. I would like for you to elaborate on this point indeed.

First I would like to propose the issue of the source of the debate. You are arguing the statement is false. You must prove that one point is incorrect and I must prove that each point is true.

Next I will move to my rebuttal side of the debate. Proposed in the same numbered format as the previous.

1. If my opponent is able to say that objective morality is not dependent on God. Then how is he able to state that it IS dependent on the rationality and autonomy of human beings without proper evidence to back this claim.
2. Now does objective morality exist? Yes it does. A simple observatoin of human nature can easily identify that choices are made, not only based on the situation at hand and the simple ethics of the situation, but also on human nature's ethical choices based on the situation.
3. Objective morality does exist, and is exclusive to humans. This is a key point. How can one observe the exclusivity of objective morality to the human being and say that it was not given by a supreme being? The possiblity of humans ending up with objective morality by chance is nearly impossible.
4. Another key point is that human nature is divined through God. There is no other explanation for it. Occam's razor says that the simplest solution to any given situation is often the right one. God providing objective morality and being the supreme being that created this human nature is the simplest solution here and thus is the right one.
Debate Round No. 1


Thank you Sportnak for accepting the debate. It is my first one here so I hope it is lively and provocative. You seem like a more than worthy contender.

I am not here arguing that God does not exist (though I am an atheist), nor that objective morality does not exist, but only that the argument from morality in favor of God's existence is not convincing. To clarify, when I said that "truly objective morality does not exist" but that morality was objective to a certain extent I was merely denying the notion that there is an "objective moral code" that exists in the same way that you and I and giraffes exist. I think this is ludicrous and incoherent.

Morality can best be seen as an extension of rationality. Indeed, for rational beings it is inescapable. You know beyond any reasonable doubt that the other human beings around you are no less conscious than you are. You recognize that they can feel pain and pleasure, experience suffering and happiness, in the same way that you do. You are also capable of taking an objective, birds-eye-view of your circumstances, which leads you to the understanding that your interests are no more valuable than their interests merely because they are yours.

I contend that this is the only solid foundation of morality. Morality is not written into the universe, or even into our hearts, but arises out of our rational mind and can be seen in the daily human interactions of actual human beings – human beings interacting with each other, with other sentient beings, and with the Earth. This is an answer to your first point/question.

Before I refute the argument that God is a possible (it seems you would say necessary) source of our morality, I would like to focus on your point that morality is "exclusive to humans." There is ample evidence to suggest that nonhuman animals have moral intuitions and act morally. In a recent study, rhesus monkeys would starve themselves for weeks when their only source of food was pulling onto a rope that brought them their meal but also administered an electric shock to their companion. I believe this study further bolsters my case. Rationality exists in degrees (after all, we evolved gradually out of ape forms) and thus morality, if my argument is correct, should exist in degrees as well. It turns out that it does.

You asked me to elaborate on my point that morality can not depend on God and still be objective, and I will answer your question with another question. Does God say that rape is bad because it is already bad, or does he proclaim that it is bad arbitrarily? Could God have just as easily put rape into the "thou shalt not" column instead of the "thou shalt" column? If so, morality is utterly relative; all morality could have gone the other way! Clearly, our morality is not divinely sanctioned. I will address other points (especially Occam's razor, which you misuse egregiously) in my next post.

Vote Meursault


This is my first debate here as well but i do participate in LD debating in the school year. That being my only qualifications i will continue.

1. You are arguing that the statement is "not convincing". I would like to note the fact that this is merely an opinion and thus this whole debate must be thrown to the dogs. Thus in order for this debate to continue the pro must accept that he must prove the statement false.
2. My opponent says that the existence of god is completely irrelevant to the debate. However, when arguing that the statement is true. The existence of God is a totally relevant issue, because if God did not exist, then objective morality could not possibly be derived from such a being. Thus, the fact that God does exist, shown through the fact that the possibility of a God not existing is beyond possibility. So God does Exist. If necessary i can provide details on the logic of this conclusion.
3. Objective morality must exist. My opponent has agreed that this does exist, he just states that it comes from the rationality of the human being and is present to certain degrees in other animals. Thus I will rest this point for the moment.
4. The connection. Well first God created humans thus he created their rational thinking which lead to this objective morality. Wherever my opponent says that this objective morality came from, God created it and thus it must be a given because God does exist. Second, what is to say that this rationality of humans is not just as arbitrary as God's decision? God recognizes the pain of His creation just as easily as any other creature can feel it. Thus His decision on objective morality is just as logically formed as it would be if a God did not exist.
5. Since this debate rests mainly on the fact that God exists. Thus I will take the rest of this rebuttal to explain how God exists. Lets take the two possibilities at hand. God exists and created and interferes in the natural world. God doesnt exist. Monotheism or Aetheism. Now what do we have? We have an expanding universe as evidence. Recall the Bing Bang theory. That little particles collided and created what we know of as the universe. Odd that a Christian would be using such a theory right? Well the known Universe expanded and grew to its current size. This is the evidence. Now trace it back. It all started at a single point, and before that single point, there was nothing. Something became of nothing. This something came from somewhere. If there is no God, then that something was made out of some dust particles that after billions of years rubbed together and made that something, but keep looking back and you need more "stuff". If there was a God, then this something was created by the God, causing the creation of the known universe. Thus there is a God, as it is the only possible explanation of the two given. This means that he created humans, their rational thinking, and thus objective morality in them.
Debate Round No. 2


Thank you for your timely response.

When I said that it was my task to argue that the argument from morality was "not convincing" I was merely clarifying the purpose of the debate, and I then proceeded to lay out my case. So don't throw this debate "to the dogs" just yet.

You are wrong to say that if God was disproved the argument from morality would be rendered unconvincing. Sometimes arguments in favor of an incorrect position are indeed persuasive. In any case, I am not here arguing against God's existence, and it is not your task to argue in its favor.

Though I have on multiple occasions clarified that this is not a debate about God's existence, but about the merits of the argument from morality (AFM), you have attempted to demonstrate God's existence by laying out an entirely different "argument" that has nothing to do with AFM. You have asserted that God's existence is relevant to the debate and are attempting to work backwards by proving God's existence which you think will somehow demonstrate that AFM is a solid argument. This is an enormous fallacy, as you argue that because God necessarily exists, then AFM is necessarily a convincing argument (fallacy of necessity).

By your reasoning, we can claim that every single thing in the universe is a convincing argument in favor of God's existence. Since a universe without God is inconceivable (to you), every single thing in the universe can be held up as convincing evidence in favor of his existence. This is nonsense. My laptop was clearly created by humans, but the small crack on its side is not convincing evidence that it was created by humans.

You say that because God understands the pain of his creation his "decision on objective morality is just as logically formed as it would be if God did not exist." You have inadvertently conceded the argument here! By your own admission, there is an independent standard of morality: logical (rational) judgment that takes pain and pleasure, suffering and happiness, into account.

You then use a different argument to "prove" the necessity of God's existence, which you say shows objective morality must come from him. Unfortunately, you are supposed to start with AFM and demonstrate that it leads to God. And even if God was necessary, and even if this showed objective morality depended on him, this isn't an argument in favor of the merits of AFM. Again, working backwards.

In your first post you misused Occam's razor by postulating the existence of an enormously complex deity and claiming that this explanation was the simplest one available to us. God's existence to the debate is, again, of little importance.

I asked you a question that is important to my argument: Did God prohibit rape because it was already bad, or could he just as easily have made it good? If you answer that it is the former, you admit that morality and God exist independently. If it is the latter, morality can not be objective; it could have gone the other way!


Sportnak forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 3
16 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by Sportnak 7 years ago
I didn't realize forfeiting a round by accident lessened my conduct and that i could not form a sentence.
I also did not realize that conceding one point regarding the choice of argument for one point meant that i was forfeiting the debate.
Posted by Meursault 7 years ago
Are you serious? I'm losing to this semi-literate fundamentalist because some tea bagger theocrat from Texas thinks that the guy who forfeited a round "tied" me on conduct, the guy who can't put a sentence together "tied" me on spelling and grammar, and that the guy who argued everything completely backwards and conceded the debate in one of the rounds he actually participated in made more convincing arguments than I did? This website SUCKS.
Posted by Sportnak 7 years ago
yeah sorry i was just now able to get on... my mom wouldnt let me till now. sorry but good job my only real response would have been to answer your question at the end there but good job.
Posted by Meursault 7 years ago
Unfortunately Sportnak forfeited the final round. Thanks for the debate though man.
Posted by Meursault 7 years ago
Also, I realize that when I said "I read those books too" that probably came across as condescending. There was no such intent behind it. After all, I like those books! I just am a sloppy writer sometimes.
Posted by Meursault 7 years ago
Obrya1j: I would like to take up that debate some time in the near future. You seem like you have some interesting things to say that I could learn from.

wjmelements: I think you may misunderstand me. I am an atheist. I disbelieve in the Christian god and gods in general for the same reasons you do. I was just noting that atheists and theists are in the same boat when it comes to morality because even Christians have to decide for themselves using their mind whether the morality laid out by their god is legitimate.
Posted by popculturepooka 7 years ago
"I feel like morality is an extension of rationality, but they are both subjective human behaviors."

Well, there goes all your arguments against God then...Subjective rationality? Lol.
Posted by wjmelements 7 years ago
"We can conceive of an evil, unjust god, so when theists say that God is good and just they are making a value judgment about God himself, demonstrating that our conception of morality exists independently from God. Ergo, morality and God, regardless of their existence or nonexistence, are not connected."

I can conceive an invisible pink unicorn.

Rock X is the greatest possible rock. I can conceive a lesser rock. Therefore, Rock X isn't necessarily the greatest possible rock.
You're way off in your reasoning.

If God X, the greatest possible being, exists, then there must already be an objective standard by which we can determine that he is. We know no standard. Therefore, our subjective morality and objective morality/God X exist entirely dependent of each other.

Because we have no objective morality, WE CANNOT KNOW THE NATURE OF GOD X. If God X exists, then objective morality exists to define God X. God X cannot exist without an objective morality to define it.
Posted by obrya1jr 7 years ago
The beginning idea came from Stephen Roberts who thought that everyone is an atheist, to a degree. When Christians realize why they don't believe in Allah, they should understand why Muslims don't believe in their God and why atheists don't believe in any gods. "I contend we are both atheists, I just believe in one fewer god than you do..."

The thing for Christians is that they are told to believe too many things, and it gets confusing. So confusing that they themselves don't even really know what to think about it. They have a God that we are made in the image and likeness of, yet He and his kingdom are beyond our conception. If everything about God and heaven and the angels is beyond our ablity to conceive, what is there really to think about or to relate to? There seems to be an endless loop of ambiguity when questions arise like this.

As far as morality, I would like to take up the origins of religion and morality in another debate if you would like to post one. I feel that both religion and morality are concepts that we made up to explain things before the science was there to tell us what they are. I feel like morality is an extension of rationality, but they are both subjective human behaviors. Morality concerns whats right and wrong, rationality concerns what is logical and illogical. I feel it is all base on context but thats another debate.
Posted by Meursault 7 years ago
"When theists realize..." -Dawkins, Hitchens, Harris? I read those books too and used to find this convincing, but in the end Christians don't really have a specific conception of a god in their head. It's not as easy as saying, "Well, just think about God the way you think about Allah!" They are convinced of a world beyond their senses, as am I. But they interpret that belief within the context provided to them by their birth.

I seriously disagree that "morality was man made" to "create purpose and a value for our lives." Morality arises out of rationality. It is inescapable. We know that other sentient beings have interests just as we do, and we are capable of taking an objective view of our interactions. So we understand that our interests are not worth more than the interests of other people merely because they are ours. Thus, we can't pursue our interests at the expense of anyone else's without justification.
3 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 3 records.
Vote Placed by Guardian 7 years ago
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Vote Placed by Sportnak 7 years ago
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Vote Placed by Meursault 7 years ago
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