The Instigator
Harlan
Pro (for)
Losing
9 Points
The Contender
Whiplash
Con (against)
Winning
15 Points

The categorizations of "Good" and "bad" are illusions and nothing more. (and so is morality)..part 3

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 1/30/2008 Category: Religion
Updated: 9 years ago Status: Voting Period
Viewed: 1,062 times Debate No: 2309
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (4)
Votes (8)

 

Harlan

Pro

Let us look at the world objectively…let us look at it transcendentally...looking at the very fundamental existence of all particles, bumping into each other. In this world, things happen. Events occur, particles exist. All is. But then, some one shall make the claim that a certain event, a certain occurrence; a certain movement of particle's mere existence is "bad", I try to think deeper into this, since the people never do…and I can not find a fundamental, short definition of the word "good" or the word "bad". They mean nothing. Let us look outside of the human brain, which operates only to pass on its genes, and is rarely a good example for these transcendentalist philosophical theorizations and speculation. I do not know how better to summarize my argument then: things simply...are. Their existence cannot be good or bad.

The lion neither loves nor hates the gazelle, it just eats the gazelle. Humans are so delusional and ignorantly intelligent that they have these misleading delusions. I say "ignorantly intelligent", as in we have analyzed things based on the natural modes of our minds, labeling anything that our instincts deter us from as "bad", quite naturally. But in reality…pure, rich, un-embraceable, un-perceivable reality, good and bad are non-existent, good and bad do not exist. WE can never fully observe reality; because we must see it from the window of our brain…we are forced to see it through a tint, or a window that has been painted over. Everything perceived; our WHOLE WORLD; is merely a signal received by the brain. With sudden delight, thinking this over, I have remembered the analogy of the cave. My window analogy was nothing in comparison… Have you heard of the allegory of the cave? It was made by Plato.

It depicts a cave, in which there are prisoners, who are chained in such a way that they can not turn their heads. They are facing a wall. Behind them is a fire (artificial light) in front of this fire are puppeteers that are holding puppets that that cast the shadows of the puppets across the wall to which the prisoners are viewing. This wall is their world, they know no other. Only a small amount of natural light enters the cave, and this is the little glimpse of reality. When a prisoner is set free of the cave, it takes him a long time for his eyes to be accustomed to the blinding light. He tries to return to the cave and liberate his old comrades, but they think he is crazy. You all will know it better as "the matrix", a movie that was made partly based on the allegory of the cave.

For more, http://www.people.cornell.edu.........

So anyways, in reality, there is no good or bad…things occur from cause and reaction, and they occur whether you're instincts like it or not. It may not be bad, then, because things simply exist and act.

For something to be good or bad, by the deepest definition I can compile, is supposedly, (would have to be) either beneficiary of negative to some or other cause. But (sorry to the religious), nothing has any higher cause; things merely exist and occur without any cause or goal in mind. For only brains have goals, and the laws of nature do not have brains, and simply follow the laws of cause and reaction. So if there is no fundamental cause, there can be no good or bad, only existence. If you think that there is a cause, then please share so I may pick it apart.

You might ask at this point: If I do not believe in morality and good or bad, then why am I alive, eating, sleeping, have any political party, or bother to do anything whatsoever, or post in many of my debates with a m oral arguments. The answer is: because I do not have freewill. I will not go into detain of that, you may read my other debate on freewill for that. Its relevance in this context is that though my "rational" mind knows that there is no good or bad, my mind has a block to letting my way of living or acting embrace this idea, as it strictly goes against the structure of the brain. I realize that, in there being no purpose, there is no purpose in trying to resist my instincts, as it is useless. Also, being a Taoist, I purposeful follow my instincts, but also believe that to transcend this and to truly embrace the idea to the point of not believing at the very core in good or bad, would be truly liberating, to the point of godliness.

If I did any number of things to which you considered bad, it would not matter, as there is no purpose in anything. Everything is futile, and hence, nothing is futile, hence everything is futile. It would not matter. It would only make a couple brains distressed, and would have absolutely no affect on the fundamental purpose of everything, because, of course, there is no fundamental purpose to everything.

Added:

The problem with good and bad are...they are solely based on (namely self-preservation) instincts. IF human life did not exist, would there still be good and bad? Would good and bad apply to distant extra-terrestrials that may exist in the galaxies? NO. It is only an illusion. Ifg an alien was to come and see Humans, practicing thier silly "goods" and "bads" how do you think it would look.

Morality is just a bunch of taboos and supersticious ways of acting, sometimes based on instincts, and/or based on conditioning.

If I asked someone what the purpose for eating a slice of pizza was, it would go something like this...

q:"What is the purpose of eating a slice of pizza"

A:"To be full"

q:"WHAT IS THE PURPOSE OF BEING FULL?"

A:"To continue living"

q:"What, then, is the purpose of living?"

A:"...WEll...I guess to continue the human race"

q: "What then is the purpose of continuing the human race?"

A: "well, I don't r4eally know"

IN the end, nothing has any grand purpose.

PS. PLease do not solely base this on your religious beliefs, as the existance of god can neither be proven nor disproven.

more added:

I am an athiest as in I do not believe in god. IF there is no god; no all powerfull entity that binds the unniverse, than there cannot be absolute morals, which means that the philosophy of moral relativism must be true. But then, if morals are relative, than, hence, they are just illusions, because they are not definite and concrete, they only exist in the mind, and vary in different minds, and since it only exists in the mind, it is an illusion by definition.

-Harlan
Whiplash

Con

Thanks for the debate. There are a series of things that you need to understand for you to accept that morality exists.

1. God exists.
2. Sensible morality does not condemn things for existing, it condemns those who deliberately perform acts to harm others when the being's survival did not depend on said act.
3. Comparing morality to the behavior of animals is irrelevant, given that humans are capable of logic and rational thinking, and are not driven by instincts.

1. You say that God's existence cannot be proven. I disagree. Assuming we can accept the Big Bang as the creation of the universe, God exists. In a single instant, the First Law of Thermodynamics was wholly violated - one of the most fundamental laws of physics does not violate itself. Something cannot come from nothing. Moreover, if something did come from nothing, it would not be able to arrange itself into perfect, organized units we call atoms. Who decided there would be two charges, positive and negative? Why not 3? 7? Why does gravity exist? Why do the atoms of our body, perfectly disparate particles react to ensure that we have the highest desire to survive, when the individual particles would be just as happy in a nonorganic substance.

2. Morality as defined by the Church is not morality as it appears to me. I see an immoral act as an act that deliberately harms another human being. Does the lion harm the gazelle? Yes, for its survival. We live in a world where our survivability is largely set in place by the infrastructure of our society. Therefore what possible reason could we have for harming a possible human being, except where harming one human being could save the lives of many others? We have learned that causing another organism to feel prolonged pain sends its brain into distress. We as humans possess empathy, so why put an organism through that when we know that it is unpleasant?

3. There is a famous essay by Mark Twain that describes humans as "Lesser Animals" and animals as "Higher Animals" because humans cause harm to one another when it is not necessary. Animals have to harm each other to feed. As do we. But animals do not torture, do not murder. Neither should we, but we do. A system of morality is necessary to ensure that people do not infringe upon the rights of the individual citizens. That is the purpose of the government, to protect those innate rights of human beings. Therefore, many things cast as immoral are not immoral at all. Homosexuality? Who does that hurt? Gambling? Premarital sex? None that I know of.

Thanks again.
Debate Round No. 1
Harlan

Pro

Hello, thank you for accepting.

You provide the elements necessary for morality to exist. I will address each:

1. "God exists"

I remain that the existence of god can neither be disproven or proven, but you took the opposing opinion to this…

"You say that God's existence cannot be proven. I disagree. Assuming we can accept the Big Bang as the creation of the universe, God exists. In a single instant, the First Law of Thermodynamics was wholly violated"

The big bang is an incredibly complex thing, and only very advanced scientists can REALLY understand it fully. This type of analysis above comes from not understanding. It comes from looking at it, not being able to understand it, and then giving up and coming to this incredibly flawed conclusion: "If I can't understand it, it must be magic". This, however, is not science.

The scientific community never embraces 2 contradictory theories…when 2 theories/phenomenon contradict each other, they work to come up with a new one. So, we must decide something: Should we trust the elite scientists who understand the big bang, or should we trust a handful of Christians, who have little or no understanding of the actual science of the big bang.

AS far as my OWN understanding goes, it is to my knowledge that the atoms did not "come from nothing" they rapidly decompressed from an infinitesimally small point in space.

And let's say, by some stretch of imagination, the big bang was disproved…how, in any way, would that PROVE that there is a god?

And for all it's worth, NOTHING can be proven. Nothing at all. Especially something as magnificent as the existence of a god.

When we discuss whether there is a god, we are discussing one of the fundamental questions of the universe. How, then, could we, as insignificant and relatively ignorant we are, ever PROVE, without a doubt, whether there is a god or not. How can so magnificent a question ever be answered by us, here, on this tiny pin-prick of a planet, so incredibly small and insignificant, still so relatively ignorant in nature.

And this is what the debate boils down to, but because we can neither disprove nor prove god's existence, we must go with the most logical, and, for the most part, with evidence besides whether or not god exists.

My PERSONAL opinion is that the idea of a god existing is NOT very logical.

Now, unto the second…

2. "Sensible morality does not condemn things for existing, it condemns those who deliberately perform acts to harm others when the being's survival did not depend on said act."

This is interesting, though flawed.

WE are discussing the FUNDAMENTAL EXSISTANCE of all things. While I agree that in society it is beneficial to see people as individuals…in REALITY, it deos not work that way.

We are physical objects…Do you deny this? WE are physical objects…we are made of matter. Therefore, we are just objects and act like any other. WE follow the same laws. And you are taking the position that it is a fundamental law that there is morality. Therefore, there is absolutely no difference between a sin committed by a river, and a sin committed by an "individual".

This aspect of your stance largely circulates around free will. This is scientifically and logically flawed.

We live in a world of logic and fate. One event CAUSES another event, and so it goes in our head. A multiple of factors and variables can only add up to ONE thing. 2+3 can not choose to equal 5, it HAS to equal 5. This is why free will is flawed.

There are chemical processes in our brain that predict whether we do A or we do B.

Therefore, in the eyes of fundamental existence, in the eyes of reality, un-tainted by illusions from our instinctual brain, we are no different from physical objects. WE are a group of atoms arranged in a certain way. So it is irrelevant to apply this to solely Human individuals, but not other physical objects.

"I see an immoral act as an act that deliberately harms another human being."

Why does it matter whether they are harmed? Why does it matter if it helps their survival? Does it really matter if a brain triggers a chemical reaction that symbolizes pain? Why does it matter? There is no universal cause, therefore it cannot matter…nothing can matter. What would it matter whether the human race died tomorrow?

The only thing that compels you to state that these things are immoral are your instincts, you are analyzing things through the eyes of your instinctual brain.

If an alien was to come, would they see it in the same light? Probably not.

Whether or not blood runs through the veins of a couple of animals will not matter to any cause; there is no cause.

3. "Comparing morality to the behavior of animals is irrelevant, given that humans are capable of logic and rational thinking, and are not driven by instincts"

This is very scientifically flawed.

IN the realm of science, humans are, technically, animals. They are animals in every scientific definition of the word. We have organs like animals. We have a brain like animals. We are animals.

These are the first 2 definitions of the word "animal" from dictionary.com…

"
1.any member of the kingdom Animalia, comprising multicellular organisms that have a well-defined shape and usually limited growth, can move voluntarily, actively acquire food and digest it internally, and have sensory and nervous systems that allow them to respond rapidly to stimuli: some classification schemes also include protozoa and certain other single-celled eukaryotes that have motility and animallike nutritional modes.
2.any such living thing other than a human being.
"

The first one, one can see on first glance, is the technical, scientific definition. This, scientifically, proves that we are animals.

The second one, is the common usage definition. This is based on the minds (common usage; in other words how people render a word reflecting their own brains) of humans. This reflects upon how we PERCIEVE that we are above animals; that we are fundamentally different than them. This reflects upon how we have that ILLUSION (see the topic of this debate).

But here in this debate, I am trying to transcend the silly illusions of our own brains. The topic is based on the fact that "good" and "bad" are illusions. WE are trying to look at the fundamentals, the very core of all existence. That is why we must use the FIRST definition, in this context. Because this is the scientific definition, and here is dictionary.com's definition of science:

"a branch of knowledge or study dealing with a body of facts or truths systematically arranged and showing the operation of general laws: the mathematical sciences."

My opponent is basing his views on illusions, I am basing mine on FACTS (see above). The voter must consider this.

And I would like to focus on something else that grabbed my opinion that you said:

"humans are capable of logic and rational thinking, and are not driven by instincts"

This, too, is scientifically flawed. We are driven by instincts. This is a fact. You cannot deny it. It has been proven by the scientific community. If you really want to further pursue this stance, I will find some sort of proof. But I guarantee you, this is a fact.

-Harlan
Whiplash

Con

Given that we could attempt to convince each other of God or the lack thereof until the cows come home, I will cease this topic since it has no capacity for progress. There is only one thing I will say. You seem to believe that the creation of the universe was an accident. No more than quantum mechanics. Tell me this; if we exist by mere chance, who's rolling the die?

Of course we are ignorant in nature. We understand so infinitesimally little about God, the best we can do is to study his creation. "We see now as through a glass darkly." It is the best any man can do to draw what conclusions he can from what little he can see. The beauty of science is that it is the method by which we slowly lift the blindness of our nature. But I can promise you one thing - God will never be disproven, but he could quite easily be proven.

Now onto other things:

To relate a human sinning to a river sinning is also counterproductive. We are capable of thought. Of weighing options. Of getting hurt, and not choosing that option again. I agree with you that many of our choices are predetermined by our experiences, triggering a specific reaction in our brain. But man cannot be allowed to believe this. If he did, he would cease taking responsibility for his actions. He could murder someone and say "Well, it's not my fault. The chemicals in my brain just reacted that way." Belief in choice grants us choices. Disbelief chains you to the current of the choices of others.

You said this: "Why does it matter whether they are harmed?" It matters because you know what it feels like to be burned. You know it is painful. Why would you inflict that same pain on another? Because you wish it to feel pain as you felt pain. And that is where we differ from other organisms. Other organisms are incapable of wishing pain on another.

When I stated that humans are not driven by instincts, I did not mean we did not obey our instincts. I meant that they do not rule us. A surgeon operating on someone does not leave to get food in the middle of an operation because he is hungry. It is rational to postpone that urge, because obeying that urge would mean someone would die. And so logic overrides instinct.
Debate Round No. 2
Harlan

Pro

"You seem to believe that the creation of the universe was an accident. No more than quantum mechanics. Tell me this; if we exist by mere chance, who's rolling the die?"

You have misunderstood. This is not how determinism works. IT works on the concept that nothing is random. By saying the above statement, you are making the assumption that no event can ever occur, unless an entity with free will (scientifically impossible) decides for the moment to occur. Determinism can be summed up by the concept of fate. One event causes another event…there are no "accidents" there is no "chance" we are just bugs, frozen in the amber of the moment. The moment is structured this way, and could not be any other way, because a multitude of factors and can only add up to ONE answer…this is an elementary mathematical concept. This moment could not hav4e been any other way.

And, just my luck, I can use your own metaphor against you. A die is not random. It is predicted. Every single little factor contributes to what number is rolled: How it is rolled, the wind speed, the amount of dust in the air, the springiness of the surface it is boucung on. It is in no way random.

"Of course we are ignorant in nature. We understand so infinitesimally little about God, the best we can do is to study his creation. ‘We see now as through a glass darkly.' It is the best any man can do to draw what conclusions he can from what little he can see."

Yes, but this is incredibly a separate issue than PROVING his existence. Yes, you can base whether you believe in god on a…feeling you have…, but this is in no way PROVING his existence. This is no basis for science pr anything else.

"To relate a human sinning to a river sinning is also counterproductive. We are capable of thought. Of weighing options. Of getting hurt, and not choosing that option again. I agree with you that many of our choices are predetermined by our experiences, triggering a specific reaction in our brain. But man cannot be allowed to believe this."

I agree, whole-heartedly, that we should not pursue trying to act based on a utter lack of morals.

This debate, however, is not about the consequences of following this belief, it is about whether it is TRUE. So it does not help your argument to, once more, cram this fundamental, celestial topic into a tiny human society.

"If he did, he would cease taking responsibility for his actions. He could murder someone and say "Well, it's not my fault. The chemicals in my brain just reacted that way." Belief in choice grants us choices. Disbelief chains you to the current of the choices of others."

It doesn't exactly work that way. There's a catch, lack of free-will itself is what blocks us from fully embracing, as you describe, the lack of freewill. Of course, there are no laws of psychology, there will always be exceptions when some poor soul has completely lost their mind, but, for the most part, this is true.

Also, at the same time as admitting that there is no free-will, you state that it is bad to think that because things could happen such as murdering someone. Do you realize the circular logic of this…?

If you admit that there is no free-will, than you admit that there is no good or bad, because we are forces of nature. But at the same time as giving the implications that there is no good or bad, you dismiss the belief on the ground that it could lead to something "bad". Does this make sense? Even while saying that, we can see instincts and conditioning acting on you. SO, if it were possible, it would actually be quite liberating to achieve this embracement of determinism, and embracement of a lack of morality, because the realization itself, would imply that the "negative" consequences of it would not matter, yet when we suggest how liberating it would be, we always talk about the "negative" consequences, while contradicting the thing itself in the process, and proving: It would be impossible, because we do not have free-will.

I hope that made sense.

And also, on the subject, what would it really matter if "he would cease taking responsibility for his actions"?

"It matters because you know what it feels like to be burned. You know it is painful. Why would you inflict that same pain on another? Because you wish it to feel pain as you felt pain. And that is where we differ from other organisms. Other organisms are incapable of wishing pain on another."

You misunderstood the question, it was not: "why would it appear to matter to the human?" it was "what does it matter?" Why would it matter if you wished it to feel pain, what would it matter if you were full of hate and wished them to die a horrible death? It is all illusions. There is no universal cause, therefore it is infinitely irrelevant whether anything happens, hence nothing is good or bad.

(On a side note, other organisms are "capable" of wishing pain on one another; there are no fundamental psychological laws)

"When I stated that humans are not driven by instincts, I did not mean we did not obey our instincts. I meant that they do not rule us. A surgeon operating on someone does not leave to get food in the middle of an operation because he is hungry."

Once more, there are NO psychological laws. Any law of psychology will have exceptions, as I have stated earlier in this round. Of course we can not make a law that would state: You will always eat when you're hungry" because it is not as straightforward as that, just as you cannot say "A tree will always fall over if it is windy". The brain is extremely complex, and literally billions of factors are involved with it's processing. Due to the chaos theory, it can not be predicted on such simple rules as eating when you're hungry, because there are millions of other factors influencing him to do other things. He has been conditioned in society to not want to leave a patient there for hours with there gut cut open. Instinct, in the simplest definition of the word, is obviously NOT the only form of compulsion for our brain to act.
Whiplash

Con

I must confess my confusion. If it is not random, then there was always destined to be a planet called earth in the Milky Way and it could not have been any other way. I find it difficult to accept this as mere coincidence. If you believe everything was destined to happen a certain way, how could you not believe God set this path in motion?

I am not saying we have no free will. I am saying that there are some things in life that we can truly choose and some that we cannot. It is up to each individual to choose the path which can give him the most happiness. And, regrettably, the rest of your paragraph did not make sense to me. =D

All this debate really comes down to is, as you said, the belief in god. I will ask you one final question: do you think it is possible to believe in God and not believe in morality? Or to believe in morality and not God? That is the fundamental question of this topic, and truly, as you said, what this debate boils down to.

Even as a Deist, I believe God made things a certain way for a reason. As such, I do not believe it is just in the eyes of God or nature to perform certain acts. We as humans are capable of greater.

(Hate to be overly brief, but Chemistry awaits, and I think it would be immaterial to discuss additional peripheral topics, as this, I believe, is the focus of the debate.)
Debate Round No. 3
Harlan

Pro

Harlan forfeited this round.
Whiplash

Con

Eh, no worries. I'm busy as well. It was a great debate, thanks so much for the intelligent discussion! I don't really have anything to add, so if you return, looks like you'll have the last word.
Debate Round No. 4
4 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 4 records.
Posted by Harlan 9 years ago
Harlan
Hey, sorry i forfieted that. Ill post my argument soon. I have been busy with homework.
Posted by bones 9 years ago
bones
I agree that you can't prove that God exists, and you don't need to in order to prove that morality is here per se. I beleive that there is a grander scheme. Morality is relative though, to a certain point. I don't think you would appreciate it if I killed your mom, or somoone you loved. However, to some peoples, this would be allowed. But the very center of it is killing, which all cultures feel is wrong at certain levels.
Posted by Harlan 9 years ago
Harlan
Well, this debate loooks promising, and I think I have finally found a good debate with this topic.

Thoughm this debate will probably boil down to an argument of whether there is a god. It will trun out that we can not know for sure wheter there is a god or not, and nothing cn be proved or disproved. It will come down to that one fundamental question of the universe: Is there a god?

Tis reflects upon the nature of this debate, and how so many other topics (free will, whether god xists, etc.) tie into it.

I look foward to it.
Posted by Harlan 9 years ago
Harlan
Well, this debate loooks promising, and I think I have finally found a good debate with this topic.

Thoughm this debate will probably boil down to an argument of whether there is a god. It will trun out that we can not know for sure wheter there is a god or not, and nothing cn be proved or disproved. It will come down to that one fundamental question of the universe: Is there a god?

Tis reflects upon the nature of this debate, and how so many other topics (free will, whether god xists, etc.) tie into it.

I look foward to it.
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