The Instigator
wrichcirw
Pro (for)
Losing
9 Points
The Contender
RoyLatham
Con (against)
Winning
27 Points

The Purpose of the US Constitution is to Legislate Morality

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 9 votes the winner is...
RoyLatham
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 2/26/2013 Category: Politics
Updated: 4 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 10,228 times Debate No: 30620
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (122)
Votes (9)

 

wrichcirw

Pro

I have made this debate impossible to accept. If you are interested, just leave a comment or PM me, thank you.



I am curious to see how anyone can argue that the purpose of any law is not to legislate morality.

Resolution:

The Purpose of the US Constitution is to Legislate Morality



Definitions:

Purpose - the object toward which one strives or for which something exists; an aim or a goal

The US Constitution - the Constitution and all amendments

Legislate - make or enact laws
https://www.google.com......

Morality is the differentiation of intentions, decisions, and actions between those that are "good" (or right) and those that are "bad" (or wrong).
http://en.wikipedia.org......





Rules:

Round #1 - acceptance only
#2, #3 - arguments, rebuttals
#4 - closing only (no new arguments, no new sources).

4,000 character rounds
No abuse of semantics
2 week voting period
Imposing a framework on your opponent is prohibited
RoyLatham

Con

I accept the debate and look forward to Pro presenting his case.
Debate Round No. 1
wrichcirw

Pro

I thank CON for accepting this debate.

Argument

My argument is very, very simple.

It's obvious that the Constitution is a set of laws that was enacted, so that portion of the resolution, that the Constitution is legislating something, is not up for debate. The main point of contention deals with exactly what it is legislating. Is it morality? Recall the definition of morality from round #1:

Morality is the differentiation of intentions, decisions, and actions between those that are "good" (or right) and those that are "bad" (or wrong).

Does the Constitution differentiate "intentions, decisions, and actions between those that are "good" (or right) and those that are "bad" (or wrong)?" Of course. Therefore, the purpose of the Constitution is to legislate morality.

I move to win this debate by this simple argument. I will add some descriptors, but I want to make clear that this is my key point. As long as my key point remains uncontested, I win this simple debate.

---

Is this a subjective form of morality? Yes. Each and every one of us has our own concept of what is "good" or "bad". We each have our own perspectives on this matter. Many times, our perspectives coincide, so it may seem as though our perspectives are objective. However, they are only relatively objective - in the end, we will all have our differences. Our perspectives are subjective. The Constitution thus embodies the subjective morality of the Founding Fathers. The amendments to the Constitution embody the subjective morality of the Congress that ratifies the amendment. Supreme Court decisions on the constitutionality of certain laws embody the subjective morality of the Supreme Court justices ruling on specific cases.

Is this a religious form of morality? The Founding Fathers were certainly religious, but they went to great pains to keep religion separate from the state. Therefore, the Constitution would be a secular form of morality. Religion does not own a monopoly on morality.

What about the reasoning behind the morality, i.e. why is something considered immoral or "wrong"? For religion, this is typically easy to see. Assuming that we can ascertain the reasoning behind religious morality, the moral reasoning behind "Thou Shalt Not Kill" is pretty straighforward, even though it's not spelled out in Exodus 20:13 (http://www.esvbible.org...) - would you want to be in a society where someone could take your life whenever they wanted? No. Therefore, religion, which appeals to a higher authority, makes killing others "wrong", and by doing so, makes it immoral. This immorality is enforced by the spectre of eternal damnation for committing such sins. Many societies also encode a provision against murder into law, making it "wrong". These societies enforce this immorality through fines, prison sentences, or worse. By doing so, religious morality and secular morality coincide.

What about the moral reasoning behind the separation of powers (articles 1-3 of the Constitution)? The reasoning stems from Montesquieu, who saw fit to prevent "an imminent abuse of power" by the government. (http://www.montesquieu-institute.eu...) Abuse of power is a broad term that on a personal level is inherent in crimes like rape and murder, where one person abuses the power they have over another to inflict harm or death upon them. Abuse of power was thus "wrong" to Montesquieu, and to the extent that he influenced the Founding Fathers, they also sought to prevent this abuse by adding in his system of checks and balances into the Constitution, thus making it "wrong" for those in government to abuse power in this fashion. This is clearly a moral issue, albeit a secular one.

Again, I do not understand how anyone could think that any law doesn't legislate morality. I await CON's response.
RoyLatham

Con

1. Morality cannot be determined by legislation

What is morally right and wrong is not determined by what is legislated. Some believe that morality is determined by God. Many of the Founders were Deists who believed morality is determined by human nature. No thinking person, least of all the writers of the Constitution, believes it is possible to determine morality by legislation. Because he impossibility is so well accepted, it is not plausible that the purpose of the Constitution was to legislate morality. The resolution is dead on arrival.

One may argue that "legislate morality" doesn't mean to "define what is moral" but rather that what is legislated in the Constitution is supposed to conform with morality, to "legislate morally." That, however, is not a purpose, it is a constraint. Consider "The purpose of airplane design is gravity." No, the purpose of airplane design is to accomplish a useful purpose, flying, within the constraints imposed by gravity. The purpose of the Constitution is to accomplish a useful purpose, government, under the constraints of morality.

The purpose of the Constitution is given in the Preamble: "We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America." With the arguable exception of "establish Justice," those are practical goals, not moral goals. The purpose of establishing justice, however, does not determine what is just. It only organizes a system to accomplish that ultimate purpose. Theocratic and ideological countries have the purpose of enforcing morality, but the US does not.

2. The main purpose of the Constitution is provide organizational structure

A simple example of a law that does not determine morality is: "Cars shall drive on the right side of the road." The purpose is purely practical, and enacting the law does not imply that right-hand driving is morally superior to left-hand driving. The Constitution mandates that each state shall have two Senators. That does not imply that having one or three or four would be immoral. The purpose is purely practical. It fair to say that having elective office rather than, say, a nobility, reflects a moral judgement in favor of democracy, but that again is a constraint, not a defining purpose.

Pro's definition of morality is inadequate. We can say that a "good" design for an airplane is one that flies efficiently, and that a "bad" design is one that fails to fly efficiently. In that context "good" means "suitable to achieving a purpose." Similarly, we can say a "good" design for a government has three branches with checks and balances, but the measure of it's being good is that it "promotes the general welfare," and so forth.

3. Moral behaviors are generally not prescribed

Suppose that anarchy became immensely popular. If the Constitution is legislating morality, we would expect to have to repeal large sections of it to get the government out of the business of legislating morality. But such is not the case. The Constitution sets up a legislature, but it does not require that the legislature pass any moral laws. With no legislation to enforce, the executive would have nothing to do. Without laws to be violated, the judiciary would have no cases to judge. Therefore, morality was not legislated by the Constitution. The Bill of Rights reflects moral standards, but it does so by prohibiting government from legislating in ways that infringe personal rights. A government that does not legislate at all will not have acted to infringe rights.

There are government-mandated actions in the Constitution, such as conducting a census every decade and conducting elections according to certain rules. But such requirements are not for the purposes of morality; their purpose is practical.



Debate Round No. 2
wrichcirw

Pro

I thank CON for an interesting response.

1) Morality IS determined by legislation.

CON states that "what is morally right and wrong is not determined by what is legislated." I fully disagree. First, morality IS right vs wrong. There is no "morally right" action - this is redundant. There is only what is moral (right) and what is immoral (wrong).

CON continues: "some believe that morality is determined by God. Many of the Founders were Deists who believed morality is determined by human nature." CON clearly acknowledges moral subjectivity here - everyone thinks differently.

How then can we somehow get a group of people to conform to a set of actions that the group can consider to be "right" or "wrong"? Through legislation. Laws determine what a group of people have agreed upon as "right" or "wrong". Laws determine morality for citizens of the state, a group of people. The Constitution does not embody the morality of any one of the Founding Fathers. Rather, it is a product of their combined efforts. Their combined efforts determined what is "right" (ex: separation of powers) and "wrong" (ex: abuse of power) for citizens in the United States of America. I must stress that this is a secular morality, not a religious morality.

Is this an objective form of morality? It may be relatively more objective than the views of any one Founding Father, but is ultimately still subjective.

The purpose of the Constitution is to determine a set of moral standards - "right" and "wrong" - for a group of people - the citizens of the United States of America. This is merely A set...not THE set...of moral standards that one would feel compelled to obey.

2) Organizational Structure is a Moral Structure

CON states that "a simple example of a law that does not determine morality is: "Cars shall drive on the right side of the road." This is a moral standard, one determined by law. Allow me to explain.

We have to agree upon something. Without something, there would be total chaos - people would be afraid to drive their cars out of the driveway, let alone attempt to drive on a freeway, if no one knew which side of the road to drive on. Therefore, the government differentiates "between [actions] that are "good" (or right) and those that are "bad" (or wrong)". Again, is this a religious morality? Absolutely not - this is a secular form of morality. The REASONING behind this moral code is that we must have some structure in order to function properly. If you drive on the left side of the street, hopefully the person in the passenger side will slap you over the head and tell you to get your act together. Why? Because you're doing the wrong thing. You are liable to cause an accident and kill somebody. Any cop would tell you that. Hell, anyone would tell you that.

This same logic applies to CON's points about the census and elections. Without either, no one would have any idea how many people are in the US, or who should actually lead the country. How could you administer justice when you don't know who we are and who is leading us? You would be wrong every time without a census or elections.

This may seem absurd. This is because we are all accustomed to placing morality in a religious context. Without that context, one's moral code becomes much less constrained. Without religious dogma, the justification of a law tends to shed light on why seemingly arbitrary regulations are actually moral obligations. This one boils down to - do you REALLY want to commit murder by killing a fellow driver? Then go ahead and drive 50 mph on the left side of the road during rush hour in an SUV - something that would be just fine and perfectly legal if you did it instead on the right side of the road.

3) Anarchy Precludes State Morality

In an anarchy, there would be no government, no laws, no Constitution. There would be no state-version of morality. This scenario is totally irrelevant to the resolution. Draw up a truth table - P would be false, thus the resolution Q would be affirmed.


RoyLatham

Con


1. Morality cannot be determined by legislation


Pro claims that any differentiation between right and wrong constitutes morality. So by Pro's definition, claiming that 2 + 2 = 4 is right and 2 + 2 = 5 is wrong is making a moral judgment. In defining morality, Pro said nothing about society or social punishment or subjectivity being applied for right and wrong as being a part of morality. He tells us that “morally right” is a redundant expression because there is no other meaning to “right” to be distinguished from the moral meaning. So by Pro's reasoning, the purpose of a math textbook is to establish morality, because it distinguishes right answers from wrong answers. That's absurd. His problem is equivocation of “right.”


Pro did not provide a special definition of “right” in his challenge, so we turn to a standard dictionary and find [http://www.merriam-webster.com...]:


right:


1: righteous, upright


2: being in accordance with what is just, good, or proper <right conduct>


3: conforming to facts or truth : correctright answer>


4: suitable, appropriate right man for the job>


The dictionary, and common sense, support my contention that right and wrong have a moral meaning (in definitions 1, 2) and what I call a practical meaning (in 3, 4). Pro must distinguish the two meanings.


What is righteous cannot be determined by legislation, and the Founders knew that as well as anyone. That means their purpose was to make a practical system. That's how they sold the Constitution to States having widely varying fundamental religious concepts of morality.


2. The main purpose of the Constitution is provide organizational structure


The next question is whether the purpose of the Constitution was to legislate what is righteous or what is suitable. Pro has the burden of proof in this debate, so be must prove the purpose was to establish righteousness. The announced purpose in the Preamble is to establish a government suitable to achieving practical goals. Many people, and certainly the Deist founders, believe that doing what is righteous will also produce the best practical result. Pro's mistake is confusing the purpose of achieving practical results with the purpose of asserting righteousness. Consider the Chinese adopting capitalism; they do so for the economic benefits even though it contradicts communist concepts of morality.


Pro explains that driving not obeying driving rules is “wrong” because you will because you will crash. That confirms the reason is practical. The two sides of the road are morally interchangeable, but one is selected arbitrarily solely for practical reasons.


3. Moral behaviors are generally not prescribed by the Constitution


Pro says “we are all accustomed to placing morality in a religious context.” I'm not at all accustomed to that, having long argued that strong political ideologies prescribe moral codes entirely comparable to religious moral codes. Anarchists base their entire system on an abstract concept of righteousness, with little care for results. What I object to is the preposterous notion pressed by the resolution that every finding of right and wrong is a moral judgment.


The resolution claims that the purpose of Constitution was to establish morality. If that were true, then Pro should be able to provide a long list of actions that the Constitution establishes as being right and wrong, but he cannot.


I don't understand Pro's truth table. By Pro's logic it should be discounted as a subjective moral judgment, because there is no assertion of truth aside from subjective morality.


The Constitution enables passing Amendments and laws that involve morality, just as an airplane design necessarily deals with gravity. That does not mean that the purpose of the Constitution is to establish morality. It's comparable to the purpose of an airplane design being to provide a practical airplane, not to assert physical laws.


Debate Round No. 3
wrichcirw

Pro

I again thank my opponent for an invigorating debate. I will clarify some points and then close.


Clarifications

1) I'm right on "right"

I applaud CON's efforts at clarifying the resolution. However, I will demonstrate how he has equivocated on how he utilized the word "morality".

Let's lay out the relevant definitions:

Morality - differentiation...between..."good" (or right) and..."bad" (or wrong).

Right -

1: righteous, upright

2: just, good, or proper

3: correct

4: suitable


CON claims that I have not distinguished between two sets of meanings for "right", i.e. a "moral/righteous" meaning and a "practical" meaning. This is simply false. I have stuck to the practical meaning for this entire debate. CON on the other hand has repeatedly vacillated between "righteous" and "practical", especially in his phrasing of "morally right".

Allow me to demonstrate by defining "righteous" (from CON's source, http://www.merriam-webster.com...):

Righteous -
1: acting in accord with divine or moral law
2: morally right or justifiable

When CON states that "right" has a moral meaning, what results is a circular chain of definitions - "moral" means "right", which means "righteous", which is again "moral", etc...

There are ways to break this circular chain of idiocy - 1) Right means "correct", i.e. what CON calls "practical", and 2) Righteous means DIVINE, i.e. religious, what CON calls "moral".

Here we again get to the crux of the problem. "Morally right" thus can only mean "religiously correct." However, CON also states that he "is not at all accustomed to [placing morality in a religious context]". This is a clear case of unintended equivocation from CON.

I have been consistent throughout this debate that I am using a non-religious form of the word "morality". I continually point to the secular nature of my arguments. CON however is not clear on exactly what he is advocating.

Again, religion does not have a monopoly on morality. An individual can have a sense of morality independent of any and all of the world's religions. CON himself talks about "communist concepts of morality".

Think of a zoologist's morality, and then a butcher's morality. Their subjective forms of morality would conflict quite a bit, yet we would acknowledge both of them having a form of morality separate from religion, whatever their religious preference may be.

2) Therefore, I agree that "What is righteous cannot be determined by legislation" - the Constitution is clear on separation of church and state. I have been clearly advocating a secular morality, i.e a practical morality, and that this practical morality is what the Founders agreed upon.

3) I agree that "any differentiation between right and wrong constitutes morality", and that 2+2=5 is immoral. This is a secular morality, specific to mathematicians. If they taught that 2+2=5, bridges would fall apart, bombs would explode in your face, and people would die. This is clearly immoral.

4) I agree that the "purpose in the Preamble is to... achiev[e] practical goals." This is a moral purpose.

5) I do NOT agree that I must "prove the purpose [of the Constitution] was to establish righteousness". This is CON equivocating on the meaning of morality. I've been clearly advocating a secular morality, not a religious morality.

6) CON is imposing a framework upon me (prohibited in round #1) by stating that I need to "provide a long list of actions that the Constitution establishes as being right and wrong." I have shown examples (checks and balances), which CON did not refute.


Closing

CON's arguments highlights the preponderance of religious influence in the meaning of morality. It is so pervasive that CON himself is unaware of its impact on how he thinks of morality.

ALL of my arguments have focused on what CON calls a "practical" morality, i.e. a secular form of morality. I have not equivocated one bit, whereas CON has equivocated quite a bit. From this practical morality, as with all laws, the purpose of the Constitution is to legislate morality.

Thank you, and VOTE PRO.


RoyLatham

Con

Okay, so how many of you now agree with this proposition:"The purpose of math textbooks is to establish morality."?

If you take a test and get nine ten questions correct, you are more moral than a classmate who only answered eight correctly? Pro not only agrees with these notions, but assures us that any other interpretation is wild misuse of semantics.

How does Pro get to these bizarre conclusions? Pro gets to define "morality" in the challenge. He defines

morality: that which is right or good

He doesn't define "right," so we look that up and find that "right" has two basic meanings.

right: 1. righteous or in accordance with is just, good, or proper 2. correct or suitable

Pro then has a problem with parsing "righteous." He finds one of the definitions to be the original "right" so he concludes the definition is circular and invalid. This circularity is normal. If we look up "feline" we expect "cat" to be a definition, and if we look up "feline" we'll find "cat." The escape is to use the non-circular definition. In our case:

righteous: in accordance with moral law

where

moral law: a general rule of right living; especially : such a rule or group of rules conceived as universal and unchanging and as having the sanction of God's will, of conscience, of man's moral nature, or of natural justice as revealed to human reason moral law based on man's dignity — Time> [ same dictionary, http://www.merriam-webster.com...]

So when an ordinary people read "The purpose of the Constitution is to establish morality" they will take the meanings that fits the context and interpret it as "The purpose of the Constitution is to establish righteousness according to universal rules of living." That uses the primary definition of each term involved.

Pro argues that he never intended to use the common primary meanings of the words, and that he always wanted to argue the interpretation, "The purpose of the Constitution is to establish rules suitable to governing." Had he stated what he meant directly, everyone would have immediately recognized the debate to be an uninteresting waste of time. The fun was entirely in equivocating. Pro claims that we should have detected his meaning from his definition of morality as "right or good," but the equivocation begins by using the second meaning of "right" (suitable or correct) rather than the primary meaning of in accordance with moral law.

Equating to good implies morally correct. We wouldn't ordinary use good to mean factually correct
or suitable, especially not in the given context. It doesn't work cleanly in most contexts. We are not likely to say that 2 + 2 = 4 is good, while 2 + 2 = 5 is bad, though if the whole context were provided we could decipher the broken English to get the meaning.

Now that we understand that Pro always takes "morality" to mean "factually correct or suitable" we can appreciate why the purpose of a mathematics text is to establish morality. The text establishes definitions and proves theorems. Definitions are true. Theorems prove what is true. Math is suitable to practical problem solving as well. Therefore, a math text establishes morality, in the sense of morality meaning "correct or suitable." In the real world, of course, people do not "morality" in that sense, so the startlingly conclusion that math is all about morality is only for code talkers.

An unclear resolution can never be proved, so Pro did not meet his burden of proof.

I showed that with the obvious meaning of the resolution, it fails. The Constitution was established for practical, not moral, purposes. Pro seems to agree.



Debate Round No. 4
122 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by wrichcirw 4 years ago
wrichcirw
YYW on facts: "Facts are problematic, insomuch as while one can speculate upon their basis"

lol, this is kinda a problem I have when it comes to debating...I don't know when to stop. :D
Posted by YYW 4 years ago
YYW
lol, I'm not making an argument. I'm positing an observation of fact, but again... whatever.
Posted by wrichcirw 4 years ago
wrichcirw
I clearly highlighted Roy's circular reasoning. Coming from someone that stated that facts are ambiguous, your own argument has no merit.
Posted by YYW 4 years ago
YYW
@wrichirw

This is another example of where you are just factually wrong. Roy clearly highlighted that.
Posted by wrichcirw 4 years ago
wrichcirw
Does this example come up all the time? Absolutely. Every time someone attempts to learn a new language, they typically adopt a name in that language. That way they can avoid the issues that typically come from people not being able to pronounce or spell their name correctly.

Now, what if they couldn't adopt a new name, and people utilizing that other language simply could not get their name right under the vast majority of circumstances? How difficult would it be for that person to interact with those utilizing that other language? At what point does this become a moral issue?
Posted by wrichcirw 4 years ago
wrichcirw
Let me try a different approach.

Let's say that "somebody", not me, not you, not anyone you know, began to spell your name "RoyLatham" as "L*sle@KJ" which that person pronounced as "cats and dogs". Is this right or wrong?

There are two answers. For now, let's take this from your own perspective.

1) It's right. You adopt this funky new name and have no problems with it. Everything is fine, there's nothing wrong, even if others decide to use this same convention.

2) It's wrong. You do not adopt this funky new name. You definitely have a problem with it. Everything is not fine.

Now, if you accept 1), then anyone could use this funky convention, and there would be no problems. If you accept 2), then the question becomes at what point would you consider this to be a moral issue. In the example, this was just someone you did not know, and would never meet. You would have no exposure to this individual, so there's no chance that your subjectivity would be brought to bear on this issue. What if it was the village idiot? Well, that guy's crazy, who cares what he thinks? He's always wrong anyway. What if it was a close friend? Or a family member? Would this situation of them getting your name wrong no matter what you did to convince them otherwise become a moral issue? What if it was your bank, and you could not access your accounts until you followed this wrong-headed naming convention? Would that be a moral issue? Most people would say yes at the bank issue, maybe even just a close friend doing it. After all, it's YOUR NAME. You should be the one to decide what is right or wrong when it comes to your name.

Looking at the final sentence in my last paragraph, you get the definition of morality - the differentiation between right and wrong.
Posted by wrichcirw 4 years ago
wrichcirw
Roy: ""Legislate morality" was defined by you as legislate what is "right or good." The correct definition of right of good for the context is "in accord with moral law." The moral law definitions allows moral laws gives as an example laws of behavior determined by religion, but the definition includes any means of determining them. I gave an example of a ridiculous moral law in which a commoner eating a banana was punishable by death because the moral law dictated that yellow objects where restricted to use by the nobility. Whether reasonable or not, or derived from religion or not, everyone (yourself excepted) has a good understanding of what constitutes a moral law as distinct from a practical rule or determination."

Here your reasoning is again circular. That a commoner utilizing a yellow object in your society is wrong is as arbitrary as 2+2=5 is wrong. Is 2+2=5 practical? It depends, doesn't it? You have to explain what each symbol in that equation means, and then given those assumptions, arrive at a conclusion of right or wrong. Without those base assumptions, 2+2=5 is as meaningless and impractical as 2+2=4.

Similarly, is eating a yellow banana wrong for a commoner? It depends, doesn't it? You have to have some base assumptions encoded by law. If the law says it is wrong, then it is wrong.
Posted by wrichcirw 4 years ago
wrichcirw
Roy: "The dictionary offers multiple definitions for "right." Your idea that you are free to pick whichever definition you want and reject the rest. That's incorrect because the definition to be used is implied by context. "

No. Simply no. I did NOT pick the definition that suited my purposes. I explicitly analysed ALL of the definitions of the word "right", as you did, and came to the conclusion, like you did, that there were two separate forms: 1) the "practical" form, and 2) the "moral" i.e. "righteous" form. Well, going with the "moral" form is circular, since we are discussing morality, so analyzing the word "righteous" is next. Well, righteous has two definitions too, a "moral" definition (again circular) or DIVINITY.

The moment you interject religiosity into the discussion is when you throw reason out the window. As I have contended repeatedly not only in the debate but in the comments section as well, most people either consciously or subconsciously link their sense of morality to commonly accepted religious principles. The Founders however were explicit that the Constitution was not to be a religious document. Therefore, if the Constitution has any sense of morality to it, it must be of the practical form.

Back to the practical definition of morality, does the Constitution differentiate from what is right and wrong on a practical level? Absolutely. Any law does. All laws are thus legislating morality. We may not understand the context, and perhaps over time the context of a law becomes impractical, as with your yellow bananas example - usually this is when laws change. Regardless, they are by definition morals albeit of a secular nature, in that they differentiate between what is right and wrong.
Posted by RoyLatham 4 years ago
RoyLatham
w, The dictionary offers multiple definitions for "right." Your idea that you are free to pick whichever definition you want and reject the rest. That's incorrect because the definition to be used is implied by context. English is actually more explicit than many languages, where words are often loaded with 20 or 30 definitions and the language user has to pick which one is correct for the sentence in which it is used.

"Legislate morality" was defined by you as legislate what is "right or good." The correct definition of right of good for the context is "in accord with moral law." The moral law definitions allows moral laws gives as an example laws of behavior determined by religion, but the definition includes any means of determining them. I gave an example of a ridiculous moral law in which a commoner eating a banana was punishable by death because the moral law dictated that yellow objects where restricted to use by the nobility. Whether reasonable or not, or derived from religion or not, everyone (yourself excepted) has a good understanding of what constitutes a moral law as distinct from a practical rule or determination.

Madison, the Deist primary author of the Constitution, wrote clearly and explicitly that is was not derived from religion. At the time, the colonies had many fervent religious sects, so a religious derivation would then turn to which religion. The Constitution was sold to the states as not being a religious document, thereby making it acceptable to the diverse strong religions. Madison allowed that there was some overlap with religion, like the principle of democracy, but that the principles were derived independently and that religion could not conflict with what was self-evident.
Posted by devient.genie 4 years ago
devient.genie
Think about the Garden of Eden...the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. Another name for this tree is the Tree of Morality."

Another name for that tree is fictional.

Grow Up, its disgusting in 2013 adults spew such witless banter :)
9 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 9 records.
Vote Placed by tmar19652 4 years ago
tmar19652
wrichcirwRoyLathamTied
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Total points awarded:07 
Reasons for voting decision: Counter daktoria vote bomb
Vote Placed by Citrakayah 4 years ago
Citrakayah
wrichcirwRoyLathamTied
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Total points awarded:03 
Reasons for voting decision: Con won the /moment/ he pointed out the difference between moral constraints and moral purpose; Pro was unable to demonstrate that the Constitution was originally designed to define what is moral, and never recovered from Con's arguments against the idea. The other arguments, such as the driving example, was just icing in the cake, so to speak.
Vote Placed by Daktoria 4 years ago
Daktoria
wrichcirwRoyLathamTied
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Total points awarded:70 
Reasons for voting decision: Con ignored Pro's reasoning of morality being subjective, collective, and practical in itself. To be fair, I don't personally agree with Pro on this definition of morality, but given this definition, his argument makes sense. I've often seen it used by feminists, multiculturalists, and other liberals to mandate conformity to authority via social democracy. Perhaps if Pro argued that the Constitution is a "living document" instead of being a founding fathers textualist, he would have gained more support.
Vote Placed by Lizard 4 years ago
Lizard
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Reasons for voting decision: Pro's argument was pretty semantic-based. Con did a good job of cutting righto to the center of the issue and showed that Pro didn't really fulfill his burden of proof. Words were still being defined in the last round, so like con said "An unclear resolution can never be proved, so Pro did not meet his burden of proof."
Vote Placed by thett3 4 years ago
thett3
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Reasons for voting decision: I buy wholesale the argument that the Constitution is set up to, rather than decide morality, to set up a system in which practical results based on our goals occur. Pro tries to argue that this is legislating morality, but if the morality is *already there* as the framers believed, what's really being legislated are means of reaching these moral goals/achieve practical goals within moral constraints. Contra Pro, 2+2=4 is not a moral truth, it's a logical truth. There is a clear distinction between the two and no amount of semantic peddling will change that. Thus I vote Con
Vote Placed by Kinesis 4 years ago
Kinesis
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Reasons for voting decision: Despite boiling down to semantics this was a good debate. Con showed that Pro's understanding of morality made the resolution uninteresting because it does not conform to what people mean when they talk about morality - brought out vividly with the maths textbook examples. Since Pro did not make it clear what he meant by morality this counterargument was persuasive. Interpreting crucial terms into the debate into something that is very unlike what people would ordinarily assume they mean lost Pro the debate.
Vote Placed by DanT 4 years ago
DanT
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Reasons for voting decision: Pro used semantics to affirm the resolution. Pro had the BOP, which I felt lacking.He did make a stronger case in this debate than in our debate, but the logic was still fallacious. Sources obviously goes to pro.
Vote Placed by KroneckerDelta 4 years ago
KroneckerDelta
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Reasons for voting decision: Overall, I thought this was a fairly weak debate. I cannot really pick a winner for this debate, on the one hand Pro tried to use a ridiculous definition of moral, but on the other hand all Con did was attack that definition. Pro did a good job of explaining why driving on the left side of the road or saying 2 + 2 = 5 is immoral (or can be immoral). Con could have easily crushed this line of argument by merely stating that the law makes driving on the left immoral: this is a consequence of the law, NOT the purpose (this argument was either never made or was very unclear). Even so, I cannot justify voting for Pro because their definition of moral is ridiculous and Con pointed this out. I'm giving conduct to Con because Pro stated "no semantics" and the semantics of their particular definition of morality seemed to be one of their main arguments.
Vote Placed by FourTrouble 4 years ago
FourTrouble
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Reasons for voting decision: Pro's interpretation of the resolution doesn't really make any sense. If you tell someone to drive on the right side of the road as opposed to the left side, it has no moral content. It could easily be the other way around: people could drive on the left side of the road. Would it make any difference morally? No. It purely organizational. Neither is right or wrong, it is just a matter of structuring society.