The Instigator
AbnerGrimm
Pro (for)
Losing
0 Points
The Contender
StevenDixon
Con (against)
Winning
15 Points

The Moral Argument is Sound!

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 3 votes the winner is...
StevenDixon
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 5/19/2013 Category: Religion
Updated: 3 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 1,003 times Debate No: 33329
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (4)
Votes (3)

 

AbnerGrimm

Pro

I wish to engage in the topic of morality. I contend that the moral argument is sound. This moral argument is strictly for the God of Abraham and His character.

Resolution: The moral argument is sound!

In this debate Pro will assume the Burden of Proof. Pro must show the moral argument is sound. Con assumes the task of showing the moral argument as not being sound.

My moral argument is as follows:

i) If God does not exist, then objective moral values and duties do not exist

ii) Objective moral values and duties exist

iii) Therefore, God exist

Pro has the task of showing that moral values and duties exist and they come from God. Con must simply show either moral values and duties do not exist or they do not come from God.

Definitions:

1. Sound -

Based on valid reasoning: a sound observation. Free from logical flaws. http://www.thefreedictionary.com.........

2. Values -

the regard that something is held to deserve; the importance, worth, or usefulness of something. http://oxforddictionaries.com.........

3. Duties -

moral or legal obligation; a responsibility. http://oxforddictionaries.com.........

4.Objective -
1a thing aimed at or sought; a goal. http://oxforddictionaries.com......

Rounds:

1. Round one is for acceptance

2. Pro presents their argument. Con may present their own argument or they may just rebuttal Pro.

3. Additional arguments and rebuttal

4. Rebuttals only

5. Final rebuttals and conclusion

Rules:

1. No semantics or trolling

2. Round structure must be followed

3. Definitions must be followed

Whoever accepts I wish you a good luck and I await Con.

StevenDixon

Con

I accept!
Debate Round No. 1
AbnerGrimm

Pro

I appreciate StevenDixon for wanting to debate this topic with me. We are debating the moral argument and whether or not it is sound. In this debate I am going to present a deductive argument(top-down logic) which is one of two ways science reaches conclusions. A Deductive Argument is a form of argument where the conclusion logically follows from the premises. If the premises are true then the conclusion of the argument must also be true. http://www.iep.utm.edu...


Formulation


The Moral Argument is logically valid standard Modus tollens formulation. Modus tollens is a valid argument form in logic. Let's note that I am not arguing that morality based in God is in any way arbitrary but necessary. This is how we can chose not to ablidge the moral values and duties set upon us any given time. I must show that both premises in the moral argument are true. If Con wants to deny the conclusion, he must object one of the two premisses. http://www.cs.ucsb.edu...



i) If God does not exist, then objective moral values and duties do not exist



ii) Objective moral values and duties exist



This debate is not whether or not we can be moral without God. I am going to defend two contentions in this debate: (i) that objective moral values and duties exist through God, and (ii) that nature itself does not provide a sound basis for morality.


C1} Objective moral values and duties exist through God


If Objective morality exist then we would notice it. Objective morality would be necessary and moral values and duties would be a system of ethics which are universally seperate of the opinions of individual human persons. Just like 2 + 2 = 4 is objectively true even if everyone in the world disagreed. This view, known in philosophy as "moral realism," contrasts with "moral relativism" which maintains there is no correct objective moral values and judgements. http://www.allaboutphilosophy.org...


We weigh our goods and bads in ranking systems. We use these ranking systems to determine what is good or bad but there must be a standard to make such a standard possible. Thinking of our moral experience like the experience of our five senses helps to show the objectivity of morality. Everyone shares the five senses experience, just as everyone shares the moral experience. The only reasonable conclusion for moral truths that impose values and duties is a being with moral excellence. Only an moral standard is necessary for objective moral values. http://www.maverick-christian.org... The idea of moral values and duties are clear, they provid reference to some higher lawmaker than those of our physical state. Oour moral obligations can be understood as imposed.


If God does not exist to establish objective moral value and duties then where do they come from? Unlike opposing theories, the Divine Command Theory provides an objective metaphysical foundation for morality. Divine Command Theory is the view that morality is somehow dependent upon a personnel being, and that moral obligation consists in obedience to God’s commands. Divine Command Theory includes the claim that morality is ultimately based on the commands or character of this personnel being, and that the morally right action is the one that this being commands or requires. http://www.iep.utm.edu... According to the Divine Command theory, our life does not end at the grave, all persons are morally accountable for their actions. God triumphs over evil and justice will be balanced. Therefore, the choices that we make have an eternal significance.


The cause for moral values and duties would have to be some external cause of all physical reality, and there are two things that fit that requirement: abstract objects and unembodied minds. Abstract objects can’t cause anything which leaves the only viable candidate as an unembodied mind. God is divinely intelligent and He expresses this divine intelligence completely free from ignorance. He is the one divine source of order or law. Even science has projected the idea that our universe is like a giant brain. In many philosophies, the conscious mind is considered to be a separate entity, existing in a parallel realm not described by physical law. Therefore, we have reason to consider that a mind imposes morality on us. http://www.social-consciousness.com...


C2} Nature itself does not provide a sound basis for morality.


If naturalism is true, objective right and wrong do not exist. By naturalistic views moral values are just behavioral and biological products of social conditioning. We are left wanting on the natural view on objective morality. How can we ground morality in the natural world when nature is morally neutral? Science and society depends upon these moral values. If these moral values and duties are just illusions, then science and society use illusion. There’s no good evidence that our perception of moral values have been programmed by evolution.


Without God, there is no objective rights and wrongs. It becomes impossible to condemn any crime really. It would seem that there would be nothing wrong with rape, murder, war, and oppression. Equally so, there would be no reason to praise equality, love, and freedom as good. There would no accountability for ones own actions. Even if there were moral values an duties under natural means then it would mean nothing to us, nothing more than basic animals. By naturalism if we live good or bad really does not matter because there is no moral cost. If would no pay for the rich and morr valuable members society to not help others or sacrifice themselves because they are in selfindulgence. The absence of accountability in naturalism makes the value virtues of compassion and sacrifice hollow. Naturalism fails to offer any elements necessary for any sound moral foundation.


God being known as the personal being who provides the absolute standard against which all actions are measured. God as described is maximally great, making Him the standard of moral greatness, making Him the being that issues moral commands. The existence of God is merely the explanation of why those values exist. With all factors being considered, the simplest explanation is the best one. In Occam's razor it is a principle that states "Entities should not be multiplied unnecessarily." The most useful statement of the principle for scientists is "when you have two competing theories that make exactly the same predictions, the simpler one is the better." http://math.ucr.edu...


Conclusion


Divine command theory and theism offers a sound foundation for morality because it explains the grounds of both objective moral values and duties. If God exists, we have a sound foundation for objective moral values and duties. If God does not exist, then we do not have a sound foundation for objective moral values and duties. Any argument from moral scepticism will come from premises that are less obvious than moral truths. Other explanations are not as good because given them, objective moral values and duties would plausibly not exist. The moral argument provides a perfectly coherent and sound basis for morality. It appears that the premises are true and the conclusion as presented is iron clad. I await my opponents rebuttal.



StevenDixon

Con

I would like to thank my opponent for this debate.


I would ask that people leave their personal feelings and views at the door and only judge this debate on the content of the arguments.



C1} Objective moral values and duties exist through God

"We weigh our goods and bads in ranking systems. We use these ranking systems to determine what is good or bad but there must be a standard to make such a standard possible."


I would like to rephrase this statement to what I believe you actually mean by it

"We weigh our goods and bads in ranking systems. We use these ranking systems to determine what is good or bad but there must be an objective standard to make such a subjective standard possible.

You would have to show that humans are incapable of making subjective standards...which of course would deny empyrical observation of our ability to do so. Of course there are subjective standards, we have the ability to make moral standards and outlines based upon subjective values that we hold. For example, if we value the well being of children then we ought not torture them for fun. This is an assesment made based on a subjective value, not an appeal to an objective standard that exists outside of ourselves nor does it require one(nor have you shown it does). http://plato.stanford.edu...

Because moral intuition is often in conflict and contradictory(For instance he senses that murdering jews because they're jews is wrong, yet hitler and the nazi's not only felt it was objectively right but that it was their objective duty), what my opponent needs to do is show an objective ought , value, or duty and demonstrate that it is objective independant of an appeal to god(The moral argument is used to show that a god does infact exist) or an appeal to emotions, subjective standards, or subjective values(This would negate the first premise that god is required for objective morals).
http://www.philosophy-index.com...


"If Objective morality exist then we would notice it. Objective morality would be necessary and moral values and duties would be a system of ethics which are universally seperate of the opinions of individual human persons. Just like 2 + 2 = 4 is objectively true even if everyone in the world disagreed."

I think it's incredible that you claim, if objective morals did exist then we would notice them(You believe they exist, implying that everyone does notice them), then you claim we weigh our goods and bads. If we can just observe objective morals, what weighing is to be done? We should be able to see them(as you said) as well as we see 2+2=4, yet every single day there are arguments about what is wrong and what is right based on subjective values(observable), this is a CLEAR illustration that we do not see objective oughts and values as we see 2+2=4 I would also like to illustrate that I myself could demonstrate that 2+2=4 without resorting to intuition, i represents 1 unit ii+ii=iiii. Until my opponent demonstrates objective morality as such, we can easily disregard it as a horribly deceptive analogy.We have the ability to create our own standards, build upon previous standards that were made, and reason out what ought be done based on common values(although common, still subjective). This is merely evidence that we have this ability, not that an objective standard exists. Humans can conceptualize things that do not exist and often attribute feelings or thoughts to things that do not exist.

". Thinking of our moral experience like the experience of our five senses helps to show the objectivity of morality. Everyone shares the five senses experience, just as everyone shares the moral experience...Only an moral standard is necessary for objective moral values.http://www.maverick-christian.org... idea of moral values and duties are clear, they provid reference to some higher lawmaker than those of our physical state. Oour moral obligations can be understood as imposed."

I agree that it's a good analogy. Everyone experiences deliciousness, something that tastes good to us, this does not mean that there is something that is objectively tasty. If you say yes, but that makes it objectively tasty to us, then I could easily say that something could be objectively wrong or we ought do something objectively to us(rendering premise 1 as false due to objective morality being grounded in us). Everyone experiences beauty, things we find attractive, this does not mean that something objectively beautiful exists. Everyone finds certain things disgusting, wrong, abbhorent, this does not mean that those things are objectively disgusting, wrong, and abbhorent(For instance, Spartans felt it was their duty to throw children off cliffs for the better of their race and empire, while we would find that horrible). The action we perceive is equivalent to the steak, the piece of art, etc, while the wrongness, disgustingness, rightousness is what we assess based on our nature, emotions,reason, and culture(Meaning if you consider that objective, then premise 1 is not valid). We all have emotions, the ability to assess based on values, etc...this does not mean that our values are objective. Just as Tina finds steak objectively tasty while Timmy finds it disgusting, we feel what the spartans did is horrible while they felt is was their objective duty. These inconsistencies mean that you are required to verify it independantly of your own intuition and as of now you have not done such.
http://www.philosophybasics.com...


"Conclusion

Divine command theory and theism offers a sound foundation for morality because it explains the grounds of both objective moral values and duties. If God exists, we have a sound foundation for objective moral values and duties.

Divine Command theory is trounced by the Euthryphro Dilemma.

Paraphrasing
"Is something good because god commands it? Or is it commanded because it is good?"

The former makes morality arbitrary thereby not objective and can change at the whim of god. The latter means that god is not necessary or responsible for morality but merely an observer and messenger.

Divine command theory in no way offers a solid foundation for morality.
http://www.philosophyofreligion.info...


I will try and address some objections that I suspect will arrise

"You're confusing moral epistemology with moral ontology"

Considering premise 2(Objective morals and values exist) is being supported by our experiencing what is supposedly objectively wrong and right and these experiences contradict, moral epistemology is most certainly at the forefront of this discussion.
http://plato.stanford.edu...


"I bet if your mother was raped you wouldn't believe it was objectively wrong"

No, if I did hold this view, it would be a contradiction. I would believe it's wrong based on my subjective values(including the fact I value my mother), empathy, and reasoning. I would also like to illustrate that no one is thinking "Wow, what that guy did was wrong because god said so"...they more are in an extreme state of emotional distress, anger, and it's due to the harm that was done to their loved one and their ability to empathize.


"You believe the statement that torturing a child for fun is wrong needs independant verification?"

Not if one claim's that it's just simply wrong, I value children, you value children so there's an understanding. If a person claims that it's objectively wrong and is so independant of any person's values and judgements...then yeah, there does need to be.





My opponent has not demonstrated that objective oughts or duties exist in a way that requires them to be grounded in god. I look forward to his response.
Debate Round No. 2
AbnerGrimm

Pro

AbnerGrimm forfeited this round.
StevenDixon

Con

Pro closed account, Argument extended.
Debate Round No. 3
AbnerGrimm

Pro

AbnerGrimm forfeited this round.
StevenDixon

Con

All arguments extended. Pro has not shown that the moral argument is sound and has closed his account, resulting in forfeit. Vote Con.
Debate Round No. 4
4 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 4 records.
Posted by StevenDixon 3 years ago
StevenDixon
Damnit, he closed his account.

Ruining my life, this was supposed to be my first "real" debate.
Posted by StevenDixon 3 years ago
StevenDixon
Posted by StevenDixon 3 years ago
StevenDixon
nvm
Posted by StevenDixon 3 years ago
StevenDixon
Oh you sneeky #$%*
3 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 3 records.
Vote Placed by Ragnar 3 years ago
Ragnar
AbnerGrimmStevenDixonTied
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Total points awarded:04 
Reasons for voting decision: FF.
Vote Placed by 1Devilsadvocate 3 years ago
1Devilsadvocate
AbnerGrimmStevenDixonTied
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Reasons for voting decision: What a shame :(
Vote Placed by bladerunner060 3 years ago
bladerunner060
AbnerGrimmStevenDixonTied
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Total points awarded:07 
Reasons for voting decision: Full forfeit.