The Instigator
PGA
Pro (for)
Losing
2 Points
The Contender
Rational_Thinker9119
Con (against)
Winning
19 Points

The moral argument is sound

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 6 votes the winner is...
Rational_Thinker9119
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 8/5/2013 Category: Religion
Updated: 3 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 4,017 times Debate No: 36266
Debate Rounds (5)
Comments (105)
Votes (6)

 

PGA

Pro

1) If objective moral values exist, God exists.
2) Objective moral values exist.
3) Therefore, God exists.

From the first premise my argument will be that God is necessary in order for there to be objective moral standards.
From the second premise I will try to establish that objective moral values/standards do exist.
If successful, this will point to the conclusion that God exists.

Defining Terms:
God – When I speak of God I will be thinking of the God revealed in the Bible.

Objective morals – A standard for right and wrong that is valid for everyone

Necessary Being – An eternal being whose existence is not dependant on anything else.


Relativism -
a : a theory that knowledge is relative to the limited nature of the mind and the conditions of knowing b : a view that ethical truths depend on the individuals and groups holding them [1]

Moral Relativism -
The philosophized notion that right and wrong are not absolute values, but are personalized according to the individual and his or her circumstances or cultural orientation. [2]


Opening statements and first contentions:
Without transcendent objective moral values we are left with subjective moral relativism which cannot justify itself because it becomes a question of which conflicting subjective authority can establish goodness, or truth. It lacks the foundation of morality altogether because of its contradictory nature in knowing right from wrong unless it borrows from such a standard.

I will be looking for my opponent to establish his authority, his standard, his truth, outside of God, in order to deny God’s existence, and/or objective morality, and every time he smuggles in a moral judgment or makes a moral distinction, such as between right and wrong, fairness or justice, I will want to know what makes his judgment good, right or true.

“Unless we believe in a transcendent framework of reference to right and wrong, relativism will hold sway, and relativism is self-destructive and mutually contradictory.” Ravi Zacharias [3]

One of the finest exposes, to my mind, on moral relativism came from a sermon by John Piper. [4] He made the point that a relativist can only talk about his relativism with arguments but he can’t put his relativism in practice because relativism claims its statements about goodness are true, not relative, even if they don’t apply to everyone.

Relativism goes against the laws of logic:

1) The Law of Identity - A=A. If any statement is true, it is true; it can`t be both true and not true at the same time.
Good is good. Good is not bad.

2) The Law of Contradiction - A cannot both be A and not A at the same time and in the same relationship. Something that is good cannot both be good and not good at the same time and in the same relationship.


3) The Law of Middle Exclusion – A is either A or not-A.


One society states and legislates abortion as permissible, a woman`s right; another states it is wrong, that it is murder. Which is right? They both state the opposite of the other. In order to know what is right there would have to be a universal, objective measure or standard. Without it, it is just one preference verses another. One persons taste or preference is torturing babies, another prefers pizza.

You can’t deny moral absolutes without undermining your view. As Michael Robinson put it:

"The denial of moral absolutes is a self-diminishing exertion because the denial of moral absolutes presupposes a moral view: it is morally permissible to absolutely deny absolute moral values. So in a sense, the attempt to deny absolute moral values affirms that they exist. To deny fixed moral values is self-deflating; the denial, in the end, leads to the removal of a standard that obligates others to communicate the denial absolutely. If you ask them if they absolutely believe that there are no absolutes; they may say no. Then you just ask them if they absolutely believe their answer of no. At some point they must stand on an absolute or they fall into idiocy. [5]

C.S. Lewis, in The Abolition of Man, lists principles that societies all over the world adhere to, that it is wrong to murder, lie, steal, rape, commit adultery, thus suggesting a universality morality. These principles echo the Ten Commandments, the standard for normative ethics. It shows the moral ‘oughtness’ of man.

Try to imagine a culture or society that adopted lying as the norm.

Hence objective values can be found in life. People from all societies speak of evil. If evil exists then there must be a fixed objective standard in which we can know it is evil. Without that fixed standard evil becomes meaningless. You can’t know evil unless you know what is good, so there must be a fixed standard or measure that is good. I believe that God built into His creatures a sense of morality that has been marred by the Fall, but nevertheless exists to an extent. Most of us recognize that torturing babies for pleasure is wrong, as is lying. Please point to in any society that this does not hold. Torturing babies is psychopathic and for anyone who supports it, don’t let them near your children.

The fact that values exist at all, for most people, speaks of meaning. Meaning speaks of objective value. Why be moral if morality is meaningless? People believe that what they believe as good is objectively so (i.e. true) or else they would not hold the view they do. What purpose would morality serve if there was no true meaning behind it?

People want justice when they feel wronged. Justice is an objective value. It applies to people in every culture. If you think otherwise then please list.

Douglas Groothuis makes the point that statements about morality are thoughts of mind. Along the same lines, “[I]f a human being thinks or speaks…moral statements, his or her statement is true if and only if the statement corresponds with some reality outside the statement itself (given the correspondence view of truth). “ [6]


It can be argued that the “reality outside the statement” would be the Mind of God, the true ideal, on the basis that “a moral ideal can exist only in a Mind from which all Reality is derived.” [7] How do you even get morality from a mindless, purposeless, amoral universe? What does such a universe care about good or evil? If God does not exist where do our moral obligations come from? In an atheist universe where does the moral incentive come from to do anything against our own self-interests?

[1] http://www.merriam-webster.com...

[2] http://www.encyclopedia.com...

[3] http://www.powerpointapologist.org......

(under Ethical Options)

[4] http://www.desiringgod.org......

[5] http://thelordgodexists.com......

[6] Douglas Groothuis, Christian Apologetics, A Comprehensive Case for Biblical Faith. P. 358.

[7] Ibid
Rational_Thinker9119

Con





Introduction


I thank my opponent for deciding to participate in this debate.


The Presumption Of God As The Only Explanation


The burden of proof is on Pro to establish that objective morality only exists if God exists, my burden of proof is to undermine his arguments, and show why the conclusion has not been established by Pro. Even if we assume an objective standard independent of subjective moral wants, there is no reason given why it must be grounded in a necessarily existing conscious being engaged in a mental process. This seems to just be presumed without any solid warrant or justification. Moral philosophy has been done for a long time without appealing to God:

"A common outlook amongst moral philosophers that I share, is that people have been doing moral philosophy without appealing to God for thousands of years." - Philosopher, Shelly Kagan[1]

On top of that, there are actually many objective Atheistic moral frameworks:

"There are many different [Atheistic] objective moral systems, such as Objectivist morality, many variants of utilitarian morality, humanism (when not used with the evolutionary justification), and to a certain extent, rational pragmatism." -François Tremblay[2]

Pro must knock down all Atheistic accounts of morality in order to show that only God can account for such a phenomenon.

My opponent's position in no way self-evident either:

"There is no obvious contradiction between a strong commitment to moral realism and disbelief in God. That atheism and moral realism are in tension is a philosophical position that must be argued for." - Jason Thibodeau[3]


The Non-Argument


The nearest thing Pro gave to an argument for Premise 1, wasn't even an argument at all. It is as follows:

"How do you even get morality from a mindless, purposeless, amoral universe? What does such a universe care about good or evil? If God does not exist where do our moral obligations come from? In an atheist universe where does the moral incentive come from to do anything against our own self-interests?" - Pro

However, questions are not arguments by their very nature:

"Questions are not arguments, nor are announcements, complaints, compliments, or apologies"[4]

Pro hasn't come close to meeting his burden of proof on Premise 1 of the argument.


Does The Atheist Even Need To Account For Morality?


Erik Wielenberg has argued that if morality is objective, the truth of moral statements could be non-contingent brute facts[7]. A brute fact, by definition, requires no explanation or grounding. Brute facts obtain without doing so in virtue of any other facts obtaining. Additionally:

“Brute facts, like volcanic eruptions or the number of electrons in a hydrogen atom, do not depend for their existence on human conventions or institutions; institutional facts, like those involving money, property, government, marriage, promising, games, etc., do so depend. Anscombe used ‘brute’ in this sense in her ‘On Brute Facts,’ Analysis 18 (1958), and Searle introduced ‘institutional’ as a contrasting term, in ‘What is a Speech Act’ in Max Black (ed.), Philosophy in America 1965, and has elaborated on this distinction in later publications . . . " - The Penguin Dictionary of Philosophy (2005), p. 88[8]

The above suggests that the arguments involving Atheists not being able to account for objective morals may be just be nothing more than question begging. It assumes that if objective morality exists, it would have to be grounded in something, or accounted for in the first place. Pro has given us absolutely no reason to believe this is even required.


Does Moral Relativism Contradict The Laws Of Logic?


Pro makes the following statement:

"He made the point that a relativist can only talk about his relativism with arguments but he can’t put his relativism in practice because relativism claims its statements about goodness are true, not relative, even if they don’t apply to everyone." - Pro

The problem with this statement is one can make truth claims about the concept of goodness, without having to claim that a certain thing is objectively good or evil. One can say that it is true that there is no such things as action A being objectively good, or objectively evil. My opponent also lists some laws of logic, then claims that Moral Relativism goes against them. His support for this revolves around the argument that one society may claim that abortion is moral, and the other claim that it is immoral. Both of these statements cannot be objectively true, I agree. If Moral Relativism is true however, then each society would have collectively subjective moral values, that don't involve any ontological contradiction in the slightest. Society A could have a collectively subjective moral code that is different than society B, but as long as there is no objective contradiction, then no laws of logic are violated by Moral Relativism. Pro then quotes Michael Robinson as saying that Moral Relativism presupposes:

"it is morally permissible to absolutely deny absolute moral values."

First of all, the source he used to for the quote is faulty as it does not lead to an active website with relevant information. Besides that, it is in not clear that the Moral Relativist is committed to the position that it is objectively morally permissible to deny objective morality. The Moral Relativist would believe it is acceptable to deny objective morality according to his/ her personal compass:



We all self-evidently have collectively shared subjective moral compasses. They also obviously entail different relative degrees, and there is no evidence of a fixed objective degree. You might think killing is wrong, but do you think it is as wrong as me? Some people would kill the man who they caught raping their wife, others would just attempt to restrain the rapist somehow and call the police.

Basically, once you qualify the difference between "objective" and "subjective" in this context, it becomes quite clear that there is no contradiction at all implied by my opponent's argument in this regard.


The Non-Sequitur


Pro asks us to imagine a culture or society that adopted lying as the norm. However, all we have to do is look at the society we have. Lying is the norm in the government. Lying is the norm when evidence mounts up that someone did something bad. A child's natural reaction when confronted with a question regarding guilt, is to deny it. We all remember doing this. Either way, even if one could not imagine a society where lying was the "norm" (whatever that specifically means), it wouldn't follow from this, that morals are in fact objective. Thus, the argument from my opponent is a non-sequitur.


Meaning And Objective Value


The argument was made from the other side that meaning speaks of objective values. However, the exact opposite is true. Meaning is subjective by essence:

"[T]he end, purpose, or significance of something: What is the meaning of life? What is the meaning of thisintrusion?"[5]

Purpose and significance are subjective, and experience confirms this. The locket my grandmother gave me has significance to me, but it does not have significance to someone else for example. So, the argument that meaning speaks of objective values is shaky at best. We make our own meaning, and our own purpose. Sometimes it is individually shared, or collectively shared. The point is that we are left without any solid reason to believe that morality is universally objective; Pro has failed in his task.


The Euthyphro Dilemma


Is rape wrong because God does not condone it, or does God not condone rape because it is already wrong? If God does not condone rape because it is already wrong, then a problem arises for the Theist:

"If a good God prohibits torture he does so because torture is intrinsically wrong, not merely because he declares torture to be wrong by fiat. But if torture is intrinsically wrong, then it is wrong regardless of whether or not God exists." - Keith Augustine[6]

If the theist claims that rape is prohibited because God does not allow it, then if God condoned raping innocent children it would be good. However, this would stomp on the same intuitions the Theist tries to claim supports objective morality in the first place. The theist could say that this is a false dilemma, as goodness itself would be grounded in God's nature. However:

"While some retort that goodness flows from God's nature, this merely changes the form of the dilemma: Is compassion good because it is a part of God's nature, or is compassion a part of God's nature because it is already good? The first option produces problems parallel to those for DCT. If malice were a part of God's nature, for instance, it is doubtful that malice would automatically be good. If there are any objective moral standards at all, then a god can be either good or evil, and the assessment of a god's character would depend upon appealing to standards independent of any god's commands, opinions, statements, nature, or character." - Keith Augustine

It seems as if the problem is not grounding morality under Atheism, it is grounding morality under Theism.


Conclusion

Pro has the burden of proof to establish that The Moral Argument is a sound argument, and demonstrates that God does indeed exist. Not only did Pro fail to establish the first premise, but the second premise was not close to sufficiently supported. I also showed an inherent problem with trying to ground morality in God.


Sources


[1] You-Tube [watch?v=SiJnCQuPiuo]
[2] http://www.strongatheism.net...
[3] http://www.infidels.org...
[4] panthers.moundsparkacademy.org/~mvergin/.../a_little_logic.doc
[5] http://dictionary.reference.com...
[6] http://www.infidels.org...
[7] http://philosophicaldisquisitions.blogspot.ca...
[8] http://greatcloud.wordpress.com...
Debate Round No. 1
PGA

Pro

In my opponents opening remarks, 'The Presumption of God as the only explanation' he states:

"Even if we assume an objective standard independent of subjective moral wants, there is no reason given why it must be grounded in a necessarily existing conscious being engaged in a mental process"


1) When we speak of morality we speak of a mental process of discerning right and wrong, thus of the mind, of conscious being. How can morality be grounded in something other than conscious being - mind?

2) As a subjective human being, limited in knowledge, what does my opponent ground his morality upon? Yes, in people 'doing moral philosophy without appealing to God' we see disagreement between individuals, cultures and societies on what is right and wrong. Which individual, culture, or society decides? Relative, subjective morals have been the basis for man’s contention and inhumanity towards his fellow man. Who decides? Which subjective being is necessary or even capable of grounding objective morals in their own being without an external objective standard? Why is what my opponent is saying true or is it? Why should he, in his limited understanding, get to determine moral values and pass them off as truth for the rest of us? Why should his little group of nontheists determine what I ought to believe?

So I ask my opponent to state what standard his moral foundation of right and wrong rests upon. If there is good, as my opponent believes, then what does he see the ideal ‘good’, the best, as resting upon; himself or something external to himself?

What is his standard or measure for abortion? Is it a woman’s ‘right’ to choose? Is it murder of another human being if the woman's life is not in jeopardy or even if it is?

Con wants me to knock down all atheist accounts of morality in order to prove that only God can account for what is truly good and truly right or wrong. All I have to do is show that an explanation of what is truly good cannot be argued for by a limited, subjective human being in and of himself without appealing to an ultimate, universal, omniscient, unchanging and benevolent mind or standard. That standard, by logical necessity, I claim, would be God, unless Con can show otherwise.

Unless Con can show me that his moral beliefs are grounded in an objective source then what his beliefs amount to is his feelings, what he prefers. Unless Con can show me that his standard for believing is the ultimate good then he, and everyone who believes the same, has nothing other than their personal preference and relative subjective opinion to base goodness on. On those grounds right and wrong become meaningless, whatever a person wishes it to be.

Con quotes:

"There is no obvious contradiction between a strong commitment to moral realism and disbelief in God. That atheism and moral realism are in tension is a philosophical position that must be argued for." - Jason Thibodeau

I spent over an hour reading the Thibodeau argument and may take time to expand on his presuppostions later in the debate. I'll just tackle one now. I did not see him once account for objective morality outside of God:

"If asked to enumerate the differences between Barack Obama and God, it would be easy to come up with a fairly long list. And it is just as easy to see that many of the properties on this list can have nothing to do with the issue at hand. Obama is not immortal, whereas God is. But being immortal does not give one the capacity to ground moral truths, since if there were an immortal human being, he would have no more claim to be the ultimate arbiter of morality than Barack Obama has now. So again, the question is: What special feature does God have that endows him with the ability to ground moral value, and in virtue of what does this feature grant him this ability?"

I find this type of argument flawed. For one, it is comparing a subjective, relative, limited, created, changing, immoral being to an infinite, objective, omniscient, eternal, self-existent, unchanging moral Being. One character that was left off this list by Thibodeau is God's nature, His goodness.

My opponent quotes Erik Wielenberg on 'brute facts':

"A brute fact, by definition, requires no explanation or grounding. Brute facts obtain without doing so in virtue of any other facts obtaining."

I have stated that God is a necessary being for there to be such a thing as morality. How do you get 'good' from differing subjective opinion?

I have given reason to believe objective moral values are grounded in God. In order for there to be a moral value there would have to be something that the moral is fixed upon, something that is best. Con needs to show that the something exists outside of God or else he has no ground to refute my claim that God is a necessary being.

Concerning the laws of logic my opponent states:

"If Moral Relativism is true however, then each society would have collectively subjective moral values, that don't involve any ontological contradiction in the slightest. Society A could have a collectively subjective moral code that is different than society B, but as long as there is no objective contradiction, then no laws of logic are violated by Moral Relativism."

That is precisely my point; they have collective subjective values/codes that contradict each other. They state the opposite of the other. 'A' does not equal 'A' violating the Law of Identity (i.e., concerning my example - abortion). One society is claiming the contrary truth of another society. Which is true? It would be like me saying that a dog is a cat. 'A' does not equal 'A'. A dog is not a cat. 'Good' or 'right' for one society is the opposite in another society. Which is right? 'A' has no fixed address. 'A' means two totally opposite things. It loses the meaning of right or good, making it absurd, nothing but preference. Preference does not necessarily equate to goodness.

Also with any code or law, it originated from a thought, either God's or some subjective person's mind. Why is that which originates from Con’s mind objective? For it to be objective Con would need to show that it originated from an objective source. What is that source?

I said:

"These principles echo the Ten Commandments, the standard for normative ethics. It shows the moral ‘oughtness’ of man.

Try to imagine a culture or society that adopted lying as the norm."

Con replies:

"Pro asks us to imagine a culture or society that adopted lying as the norm. However, all we have to do is look at the society we have. Lying is the norm in the government. Lying is the norm when evidence mounts up that someone did something bad..."

How does Con know that lying is bad or that lying is the norm unless he has an objective standard of measure for such an act? That is my point. In any culture or society we know that lying is bad, that it is not good. Con wishes to argue that lying is the norm but he still sees lying as bad.

Con states:

"The argument was made from the other side that meaning speaks of objective values. However, the exact opposite is true. Meaning is subjective by essence..."

Is the exact opposite true? Does my opponent want me to understand his exact meaning with this statement or will any meaning do? Is there any objective meaning to what he has said or am I free to interpret it any way I choose? Do words in context carry specific meaning or is it impossible for my opponent to make himself understood? When I say that lying is deceitful have I in fact made a meaningful moral statement?

Con states:

"The locket my grandmother gave me has significance to me, but it does not have significance to someone else for example. So, the argument that meaning speaks of objective values is shaky at best. We make our own meaning, and our own purpose… The point is that we are left without any solid reason to believe that morality is universally objective; Pro has failed in his task. "

This statement is either true or it is not. Although it speaks of a relative sense in that it applies to Con it is not relativism. Con confuses something relative with relativism. It grounds the experience to something and someone that is real/true, thus objective - the locket and Cons grandmother. It is relative to Con if what Con says is in fact true. It can't both be a locket that his grandmother gave him and not be. The meaning is clearly either/or. It is not both.

The Euthyphro Dilemma

My opponent states:

"If the theist claims that rape is prohibited because God does not allow it, then if God condoned raping innocent children it would be good. However, this would stomp on the same intuitions the Theist tries to claim supports objective morality in the first place. The theist could say that this is a false dilemma, as goodness itself would be grounded in God's nature."

Ronald Nash states:

"What God wills can never conflict with what God is. There is nothing higher than God, but neither is what God wills arbitrary. What God wills reflects and is consistent with His own eternal nature, which is immutably and necessarily good." [1]

Con is the one who tries to tag God with evil. The biblical God has given man a will that was marred in the Garden with his choice of knowing both good and evil. Man becomes a relativist when he chooses his own right from wrong - evil. Nevertheless, justice is served in God's time.


[1] Ronald Nash, 'Life's Ultimate Questions', p.87.


Rational_Thinker9119

Con





The Presumption Of God As The Only Explanation


1) My opponent claims that when we speak of morality, we speak of a mental process. However, a mental process is only needed to recognize morality, or use it to make certain choices. This deals with moral epistemology, not moral ontology. Thus, even if metal processes are how we come to know morality and utilize it, that in no way means that objective moral truths (assuming they exist) are grounded in a mental process.

2) Pro goes back to mentioning how different cultures disagree on particular moral issues. So, who is actually correct between them? Well, if morality is purely subjective, then nobody is right. If moral objectivism is correct, even without God, then the answer is simply unknown. No society gets to "decide" what is true as Pro implies. If Moral Realism is true, then moral truths obtain regardless of any human debating, and what we can figure out. The question then remains to as what grounds these moral facts if they are real? There is no reason why the nature of existence itself cannot ground these facts; why must the nature of some conscious being ground these facts? A conscious being would only need to be present to acknowledge the truth and act, or not act on it; not to be the foundation of it. Also, as I stated in my last round, moral truths could be non-contingent brute facts. Brute facts by definition need no grounding, or explanation.

Pro tries to dodge his burden of having to show all Atheistic theories of morality are false, by arguing that if something is truly good, then it has to be grounded in the specific being that he described. If you read my thoughts on 1) and 2) above, you will see that his arguments for this imaginary necessity fall flat on their face. Pro still needs to knock down all Atheistic accounts of morality, including the accounts that human beings have not conjured up as of yet:

"The onus is on [The Theist] to show that all such atheist-friendly accounts are wrong, even the ones we haven't thought of yet." - Philosopher. Stephen Law[1]


Shifting The Burden Of Proof


PGA simply asserts that God must ground moral truths, and that this assertion holds unless I can come up with a different explanation. This is nothing more than shifting the burden of proof. Even if I did not provide an explanation, that does not automatically make his position correct, or even most likely correct. This is self-evidently fallacious.


Thibodeau's Argument


I only quoted Thibodeu with regards to his claim that this "problem" for Atheism pertaining to morality in no way obvious. I did not imply once that I endorsed any specific theory of morality that he endorses. This is just a red herring from Pro. Either way, he claims that God is perfect goodness. However, no reason is given as to why this is necessary to ground morality. If there is objective morality, then there is objective immorality. One could easily posit and evil being to ground objective immorality. Pro says that goodness is the difference which allows God the ability to ground these moral truths, but does not actually state what the supposed relevance is supposed to be. Additionally, even if morality changes that does not make it subjective. If a mountain is at one height at one stage of its existence, but another height at another, it is still objectively true that at both of those times, the mountain was at that particular height. It is not clear at all why changelessness is required for the grounding of morality.


Brute Facts


In this section, Pro continues to assert his position without actually arguing for it. He claims that in order for there to be moral value, there would have to be something that the morality is fixed upon. What reason are we given to believe this is true? None, and that is the problem. His response here also begs the question. If the main bulk of the argument in support of the first round is going to work, then he has to list all of his logical steps. We can boil down the argument he would have to prove true in order to sufficiently support the first premise:

P1: If objective moral values exist, they must be fixated upon something
P2: If objective moral values must be fixated upon something, they cannot be fixated upon anything else but God
C: If objective moral values exist, they must be fixated upon God

Not only has Pro failed at proving P2 (he hasn't ruled out all Atheistic accounts of morality), but he hasn't ruled out the idea that moral truths, if objective, are non-contingent brute facts. Here is the simplest definition of a brute fact:

"A fact is brute when an explanation for it does not exist"[2]

Brute facts aren't explained by, grounded, or fixated upon anything. Erik Wielenberg's idea has not even really been touched upon by the opposing side in this debate. If objective morality is a brute fact, then P1 in the above syllogism is false. It is only possible for God to be the only explanation for morals, if there even can be an explanation for morals! Pro has to show that moral truths cannot just be brute facts. There is nothing logically or metaphysically impossible with this idea, and we have received no reason to think it is implausible, so it seems like a rather uphill battle for Pro. His entire argument rests upon hidden unsupported premises.


Does Moral Relativism Contradict The Laws Of Logic?


My opponent claiming that Moral Relativism breaks laws of logic is a mistake. If Society A claims that abortion is wrong, and this is a subjective claim, then it is true that abortion is wrong to Society A. If Society B claims that abortion is not wrong, and this is a subjective claim, then it is true that abortion is wrong to Society B.

These two statements alone, without a qualification, would be contradictory:

i) Abortion is wrong
ii) Abortion is not wrong

However, in logic, if you qualify a difference, then contradictions can be easily avoided. These two statements below are not contradictory:

i) Abortion is wrong to society A
ii) Abortion is not wrong to society B

The claim that Moral Relativism violates the laws of logic is just a misunderstanding of logic (and on top of that, Moral Relativism). To give another example, these two statements contradict each other:

i) The cat is white
ii) The can is not white

...But once you qualify the statement there is no contradiction:

i) The cat is white at certain parts (parts A)
ii) The cat is not white (black) at certain parts (parts B)

Obviously a black and white cat is not contradictory. Once you add a qualification in the equation; contradictions can be avoided.


Must Laws Originate From Thoughts?


Laws can either be prescriptive or descriptive. Take chess for example, the rules (laws) of the same were created from a mind, or minds, and are prescriptive in essence. However, the laws of physics for example, are descriptive. Yes, the laws come from human minds, but what the laws are describing are not dependant on those laws. If the law of gravity (our description of gravity) did not exist, gravity still would. What about moral laws? Well, humans may just be describing truths which could be non-contingent brute facts. They could also be grounded in the nature of existence itself. Perhaps a Contractarian view is correct. Pro simply has not shown that all Atheistic accounts are destined to fail. He simply presumes this erroneous conclusion, then tries to hold his weight without solid foundation.


Meaning And Equivocation


My opponent commits the fallacy of equivocation with regards to the word "meaning". Yes, my words do have objective meaning. Obviously, I meant "meaning" in a totally different different sense (as in, the "meaning" of the locket my grandmother gave me). Here are the two different definitions:


1.
W
hat is intended to be, or actually is, expressed or indicated; signification; import: the three meanings of a word.

2. The end, purpose, or significance of something: What is the meaning of life? What is the meaning of thisintrusion?[3]


Now, here is why my opponent's claims here work against him. If humans can make up objective laws for something like meaning behind words, then it becomes inexplicable why human beings could not conjure up objective laws for morality as well.


Expanding On "The Grandmother's Locket" Analogy


My opponent says that I still have to make claims about objective truth to state what I said. I agree. It has to be objectively true that my grandmother did give me a locket, and that I find value in it. However, if moral relativism is true, then these two statements would be true:

i) The locket has meaning to me (person A)
ii) The locket does not have meaning to most people (group B)

There is no contradiction. However, if Moral Relativism is true, then only "no" can answer the following question:

"Does that locket have objective, universal meaning?"

While it is true that objectively true claims have to be made, that in no way harms the concept of Moral Relativism.


The Euthyphro Dilemma


Pro basically just completely ignored my arguments here. Thus, the Euthyphro Dilemma stands. He presents a red herring quote from Ronald Nash:

"What God wills can never conflict with what God is"

....I never made any claims to the contrary. What God "is" refers to God's nature. I already pre-rebutted this response in my previous round using the second quote from Keith Augustine. Since I already responded to this potential objection in my last round; Pro's quote is trivial.


Conclusion
Pro has the burden of proof to establish that The Moral Argument is sound, and demonstrate that God does indeed exist. Not only did Pro fail to establish the first premise, but the second premise was not close to sufficiently supported. Most of my arguments were hand-waved away also.


Sources


[1] http://stephenlaw.blogspot.ca...
[2] http://www.phil-fak.uni-duesseldorf.de...
[3] http://dictionary.reference.com...
Debate Round No. 2
PGA

Pro

My opponent offers two objections to my claim that God is necessary for morality. The first point is that a mental process is only necessary to recognize/know morality but this does not account for its ontology. He is assuming that morality can arise from and be grounded in something other than mind. What could that be? Is it a brute fact, one of those 'facts' that are unexplainable?


My opponent is taking for granted that any fact (truth/what is real), not just those that he says stem from 'brute facts', can be known without reference to God. How does he know this? How does he even know there are brute facts; facts that can never be explained? He doesn't. It is just his philosophical worldview that takes him there and gives him these assertions that he supports by like-minded ‘experts’. First he has to deal with the nature of reality. If he has a false view of reality then he doesn't know what he thinks he knows. How can he ever be sure he knows what he thinks he knows about morality or origins in the first place? He can't. He assumes that life can come from something non-living, intelligence from non-being, a thinking mind from matter, morality from something amoral, laws from chance happenstance, etc.

Rational Thinker, in his limited knowledge of anything, thinks that he can determine truth without a sufficient basis for truth. He takes this for granted, along with all kinds of subjective experts to solve the problem of why there is something rather than nothing.

The question of facts, (as Greg Bahnsen put it), is "which universal [explained by Van Til as any truth of a general or abstract nature, whether a broad concept, law, principle, or categorical statement] can state or give meaning to any fact?" [1] Bahnsen also said, and I agree, "Facts without God would be brute facts. They would have no intelligible relation to one another. As such they could not be known by man." [2] That they could not be known by man is essentially what my opponent said, but the point I find compelling is the Bahnsen statement that they would have no intelligible relation to one another. A 'brute fact' is just, IMO, another way of saying nothing, and Van Til does not believe there is such a thing as a brute fact because all facts are known by God. Here again, I agree.

The Christian worldview, when correctly interpreted, I believe, is the only worldview that can make sense of morality/meaning, reality, origins, objectivity, because of God's revelation to us.


Bahnsen again: [Because] "all the facts are part of God's personal plan and serve His personal purpose; all of the laws by which we relate the facts (whether conceptually, logically, or causally) are a reflection of God's personal mind and His ordering of reality. Man's mind was created to imitate God's thinking with respect to these...facts and...laws. God's personal influence over all the objects of knowledge as well as the mind of man, and His purpose to have man understand and control the facts of his environment, provide for the possibility of the mind accurately apprehending the extramental world. Everything and every event must be ultimately related to God (who controls the relationships between things and between events) in order to be part of a coherent and intelligible system." [3]

In any other system of though, such as the atheistic or nontheistic, you get different views that cannot justify themselves because they don't thinking God's thoughts after Him. They make up their own, 'Did God really say?' the start of relativism.

What is necessary to understand and make sense of ourselves, this world, this universe, morality, truth?

Without God morality would have to arise from a random, chance, non-thinking process, something without intent or purpose that is incapable of reason. How does something like this come about without intent? It’s an illogical and far-fetched worldview. The magic ingredients are chance plus time plus energy - poof - morality and everything else under the sun.

Next, for something to be objective it would have to correspond to a measure independent of the subjective human mind alone. It has to correspond to what actually is - to truth, to reality. How does a subjective being make sense of morality without first knowing what is truly objective?

To my opponent’s second objection in 'The Presumption of God…’ I believe the problem with relativism is that it cannot justify its own beliefs. It says that all values are relative to the individual, situation or culture but at the same time it believes its values are better than those of another individual, situation or culture or else those values would not be believed by the relativist. In effect, it places its view of morality as a truth. Truth is something objective. For something to be true that something could not be false. Yet if Society 'A' believes abortion is a woman’s right to 'terminate' a life and Society 'B' believes that it is not the woman’s right, in fact it is murder, then one of these two beliefs about abortion is not true because it states the opposite of the other, regardless of which society, which individual, which group thinks it. Only one of these two beliefs would conform to objective reality, if there is such a thing.

If there is no objective morality/reality, nothing is true, just lip service to what you like, then anything is permissible and morality means nothing. It means do whatever you like or whatever you can get away with. Yet all over the world we see that people do have a sense of justice, of obligation, however confused that may be with the Fall. When someone wrongs you then you seek retribution. People everywhere believe there is objective truth or fact, but without God they can't make sense of what it is or see it as it is.

Con states:

"There is no reason why the nature of existence itself cannot ground these facts; why must the nature of some conscious being ground these facts? A conscious being would only need to be present to acknowledge the truth and act, or not act on it; not to be the foundation of it. Also, as I stated in my last round, moral truths could be non-contingent brute facts."

That is just the point, isn't it - there is no reason, yet here my opponent is trying to give one. What is the nature of existence? This is just another one of Con's question begging. How does nature ground any fact? Only a mind can ground a fact and then only an omniscient Mind that understands the facts as they really are because He made them to be what they are. Again, my opponent takes it for granted without any proof [brute facts], any explanation, that a mind is not necessary, just this magical connection. Con thinks he can ultimately judge what can and can't be; that his mind, his authority and the authority of those he places as his ultimate measure of all things is/are capable of determining what is or what should be. These 'brute facts' which I don't believe even exist, are ultimately irrational for you can't even interpret what they are. There is no explanation for them. It is just a convenient way of avoiding an explanation. What kind of thinking is this?

Con states:

“Pro still needs to knock down all Atheistic accounts of morality, including the accounts that human beings have not conjured up as of yet”

No, I don’t. All I have to do is to show that without God, or thinking His thoughts after Him, any other position is groundless, having its feet firmly planted in mid-air; that these assumptions cannot make sense of themselves because the person thinking them is not a necessary being and he believes he is living in a universe (outside of God) that holds no meaning other than what this person gives it.

Con says:

“Either way, he claims that God is perfect goodness. However, no reason is given as to why this is necessary to ground morality. If there is objective morality, then there is objective immorality. One could easily posit and evil being to ground objective immorality. Pro says that goodness is the difference which allows God the ability to ground these moral truths, but does not actually state what the supposed relevance is supposed to be.”

The relevance is that when we speak of goodness we actually have something objective to ground it upon, an ultimate true measure - a best. How can you even use the word ‘good’ without first having an objective sense to what good means. You can’t make sense of evil if you don’t have a standard of good to contrast it with. That is why we see one man’s good as another man’s evil.

My opponent states:

“Additionally, even if morality changes that does not make it subjective. If a mountain is at one height at one stage of its existence, but another height at another, it is still objectively true that at both of those times, the mountain was at that particular height. It is not clear at all why changelessness is required for the grounding of morality.”

First Con confuses the thing with its standard of measurement. The standard for measuring the mountain does not change or else Con would not be able to compare or contrast its height in regards to its existence. Morality, likewise, changes when men do not know the standard of measurement.

Con states:

“These two statements alone, without a qualification, would be contradictory:

i) Abortion is wrong
ii) Abortion is not wrong

However, in logic, if you qualify a difference, then contradictions can be easily avoided. These two statements below are not contradictory:

i) Abortion is wrong to society A
ii) Abortion is not wrong to society B”

Yes they are. They are stating a truth that is contrary. They both concern abortion. One society believes abortion is wrong, another that it is right. Logically, both cannot be right or true statements. If you would like to pursue this further bring it up again. I’m out of space and I touched on it above.


[1] Van Til’s Apologetic, Readings and Analysis, Greg Bahnsen. P.38


[2] Ibid, p. 38


[3] Ibid, p. 278

Rational_Thinker9119

Con





Brute Facts And The Grounding Of Morality


My opponent asserts that I have not shown that there are, in fact, any brute facts, and that brute facts are just part of a philosophical worldview. I agree. However, this ignores the burden of proof. Pro has to show that moral facts (assuming morality is objective) cannot be brute facts in order for him to meet the burden of proof on the first premise. He says that I may have a false view of reality, and I may not know what I think I know. The response to this is rather simple: Pro may have a false view of reality, and he may not know what he thinks he knows about morality. This holds for any worldview in context. The implication that his worldview is somehow exempt from this line of skepticism is nothing more than a special pleading fallacy.


Pro then makes the claim that I just assume life can come from non-life, intelligence from non-intelligence, and that morality can come from amorality. However, Pro just assumes that life cannot come from non-life, intelligence cannot come from non-intelligence, and that morality cannot come from amorality. He makes just as many assumptions. The problem is that Pro has the burden of proof to establish the conclusion (he started the debate, and never specified a shared burden), meaning that he has to show that all the things he asserting I assume can happen, cannot happen. This has not been accomplished.

PGA then tries to attack my limited knowledge (which is an ad hominem). Either way, even with limited knowledge, it is not clear why Atheism cannot ground morality. Pro just presumes the superiority of his position throughout the debate without actually arguing for it sufficiently.

He then quotes Bahnsen saying:

"Facts without God would be brute facts. They would have no intelligible relation to one another. As such they could not be known by man."

However, Pro has not shown how Bahnsen is correct (this is just a bare assertion fallacy on PGA's behalf). Facts without God could be grounded in the nature of existence itself, or in something else. Simply because a truth is not grounded in God, does not mean that it is a brute fact by default; that's a non-sequitur. Regardless, the idea that brute facts don't have any intelligible relation to one another is not warranted, just asserted.

My opponent keeps endorsing the notion that God is the best explanation, but he ignores The Euthyphro Dilemma which entails that Morality cannot be grounded in God. Also, he says that without God morality would have to arise from a random, chance, non-thinking process, something without intent or purpose that is incapable of reason. No reason is given as to why something being mindless means it has to be random. I mean gravity for example isn't "random", it keeps my butt on the ground and this is consistent. It is mindless, and has no intent. Basically, my point here is that if it is mindless, that doesn't make it necessarily random. Something can have a function that can be carried out with the need for any intent or purpose at all. Morality needing to be grounded in God is imaginary, and Pro is presenting no reasons to believe this is the case, that are not based on logical fallacies. He simply presupposes his position, then tries to switch the burden of proof by asking me how his position could not be the case.

Moral Relativism And Logic

My opponent keeps talking about Relativism in general, but this debate is about Moral Relativism specifically. There is no contradiction in it being objectively true, that morality is subjective. It would only be a contradiction if one was making the claim that every claim is not objectively true. I am not making this claim. Thus, this is just another one of Pro's many fallacious red herrings. Also, my opponent does not seem to grasp that there is nothing contradictory with these two statements:


i) Abortion is subjectively immoral to society A
ii) Abortion is not subjectively immoral to society b

It does not matter if two opposing societies have opposing views on morality, that in no way points to any sort of logical contradiction in the slightest. Two different societies having competing opinions does not violate the Law of Non-Contradiction, or the Law of Identity at all. The argument to the contrary from Pro is nothing less than embarrassing. It would only be contradictory if it was true that both:

i) Abortion is objectively immoral
ii) Abortion is not objectively immoral

However, Relativism deals with subjective morality, not objective morality. Thus, Pro is just straw-manning Moral Relativism by asserting there is this conjured up contradiction; there is no contradiction.

So, just to clear up any confusion, Moral Relativism does not state that there are no objective facts. It just posits that action A is neither objectively morally good, or evil. Pro's claim that the Moral Relativist is committed to their being no objective facts is just outrageous. Either way, the fact that there are differences with regards to what is right and wrong are used as evidence for Moral Relativism; not against it. The fact that there are differences in how cultures view morality is commonly used in philosophy as support for Moral Relativism. Here are a couple of examples below:

"Argument from cultural relativity

(1) Different cultures hold different sets of moral values and no moral values are held throughout all cultures.

(2) If different cultures hold different sets of moral values and no moral values are held throughout all cultures, then what is morally right and wrong is relative to culture.


Therefore, (3) what is morally right and wrong is relative to culture.

Argument from tolerance

(1) Persons should be tolerant of the different values of other cultures.

(2) The best explanation of the truth of (1) is moral relativism.


Therefore, (3) what is morally right and wrong is relative to culture." [1]


There obviously is no contradiction involving two contradictory objective truths pertaining to Moral Relativism.

Grounding of Morality Continued

Pro claims that facts must be grounded in a mind, and they cannot be grounded in the nature of existence. However, this is just another one of Pro's unjustified bare assertions. While a mind may be needed to understand and utilize these facts, my opponent has still left us with zero reasons to assume a mind has to ground these facts. This is, once more, confusing moral epistemology with moral ontology. He also thinks that I think I can judge what is right or wrong. This is false. Some moral facts (assuming their are objective moral facts) are just self-evident (raping children for fun is bad), others are unknown and debated about (is abortion wrong?). But I am not judging what is right or wrong on my own. If moral facts are brute facts, then we can can know them or not know them; we wouldn't dictate what they were. This would hold even if objective morality was grounded in the nature of existence. We are left with no reason to think that a mind is necessary to ground morality. Morality could be grounded in the nature of existence itself. There is nothing logically or metaphysically impossible with this. Pro certainly hasn't ruled it out.
Additionally, Pro says that when we speak of something good, we speak of something external that grounds it. However, this is just begging the question. I can just say that when we speak of good, we speak of nothing more than a brute fact that cannot be explained, it is just a fact that can be known. These arguments are just bare assertions, and not convincing in the slightest. Pro also hasn't shown why God has to exist (an omnibenevolent being by definition), instead of some evil being instead. Immorality is needed to contrast morality, however, morality is needed to contrast immorality! Pro has still left us without a reason to think that immorality isn't grounded in an evil being, with morality just being a necessary side effect, instead of God existing.

The Mountain Analogy

An objective standard can still change, thus my analogy still gets the desired point across. The standard of spelling the country above the United States entails that it must be spelled "Canada". Any other spelling of that country does not live up to this standard. This doesn't mean that we cannot change the name of the country, and change the standard. Regardless, even if there is a standard that must be changeless, why must it be a mind? Why can only a mind ground facts? Even if minds can only ground facts, who says that what the facts describe must be grounded in a mind? Pro has way to many unsupported hidden premises within his argumentation.


Conclusion

Pro bare asserted that relations between brute facts would be non-intelligible. Even if it was true that relations between brute facts would be non-intelligible, it wouldn't follow that the brute facts themselves in relation to human beings would not be intelligible. Pro also argued that facts must be grounded in a mind, not in any nature. This was once more, a bare assertion. PGA has not shown why morality cannot be grounded in the nature of existence itself, instead of the mind of God, or the nature of God. My opponent just assumes his position is required.


As far as logic and Moral Relativism are concerned, I think it should be crystal clear to the viewers of this debate that there is no contradiction. If abortion is subjectively immoral to Society A, but it is not subjectively immoral to Society B; this entails no contradiction at all. It should be self-evident that there would only be a contradiction if one posited it was both true that abortion was objectively immoral, and not objectively immoral.

What is the punchline of this whole debate? Well, The Euthyphro Dilemma has been completely ignored! This argument shows that morality cannot truly be grounded in God.

All of Pro's arguments fail; the resolution has not been established.

Source

[1] https://sites.google.com...
Debate Round No. 3
PGA

Pro


Cons 3rd round opener switches my claim that he may have a false view of reality by stating the same could be true of my worldview. I appeal to what is necessary to know with certainty that a view is true in regards to morality. That is the heart of the issue. I see no other option than a revelation from One who is the final reference in matters of truth because He is and He created the reality that we live and can know by Him. Other than that we are left in a sea of subjectivism.

If Con will not grant my supposition that God is necessary then he needs to provide some other way in which we can know certainty? If Con can't do that then what argument does Con have that what he says is true?


I stated: "Facts without God would be brute facts. They would have no intelligible relation to one another. As such they could not be known by man."



He replied: “However, Pro has not shown how Bahnsen is correct (this is just a bare assertion fallacy on PGA's behalf). Facts without God could be grounded in the nature of existence itself, or in something else. Simply because a truth is not grounded in God, does not mean that it is a brute fact by default; that's a non-sequitur.”

It is also a bare assertion fallacy on Cons behalf that facts could be grounded in the nature of existence itself. He reaches into his magic bag and pulls out ‘brute facts' again. He says that some beliefs hinge on these facts, facts that have no connection to other facts, but how does he know brute facts exist if there is no explanation for them? What does he mean by ‘grounded in the nature of existence’? What is the nature of existence? Again, without God it is any bodies guess.


Con says: "The problem is that Pro has the burden of proof to establish the conclusion (he started the debate, and never specified a shared burden), meaning that he has to show that all the things he asserting I assume can happen, cannot happen. This has not been accomplished."


Con keeps avoiding any accountability for his position by making up rules as we go, like not establishing a 'shared burden' of proof. Why is that not a given?

Con says: "PGA then tries to attack my limited knowledge (which is an ad hominem). Either way, even with limited knowledge, it is not clear why Atheism cannot ground morality."

Whether Con likes it or not his knowledge is limited. It is a true statement. For a true and certain knowledge of reality and morality what is necessary? There would have to be objective knowledge, a knowledge existing outside the subjective self in order to know certainty. How does Con know he has objective knowledge? He can’t if there is no objective knower or he doesn't interpret according to that knower. Without that objective knower his knowledge becomes meaningless. Knowledge of any fact to be known requires a mind. Outside of God there is no objective mind. Without God how can Con know his view is true or good?

Con starts and finishes his assumptions based on his own limited autonomy with his brute facts, facts that cannot be known or explained. Does this not sound self illogical? There is no reliable connection between the mind and the object of moral knowledge for Con, because Con can't get outside of his subjectivism unless he thinks God's thoughts after him. Con is swimming in a sea of subjectivism, and being in this sea he doesn't know of anything else but this sea.


He appeals to rationality and logic but behind his worldview there is nothing but irrationality. His worldview will not let him grasp the meaning of reality. There is always that doubt. He has no objective knowledge in which to base reality on.


I have stated the only justifiable position to know with certainty. It does not contradict what we witness in life either. We see life coming from the living, intelligence from the intelligent - mind (Con wouldn’t know that something had intelligence without first having a mind), morality only possible with mind, yet in a godless, irrational chance universe there are no answers. Con just assumes through his own rationality that time plus chance is the ultimate answer to origins, thus his logic is ultimately a product of chance, thus ultimately irrational and illogical because it can't make sense of itself.

Con says: “Pro has not shown how Bahnsen is correct (this is just a bare assertion fallacy on PGA's behalf). Facts without God could be grounded in the nature of existence itself, or in something else. Simply because a truth is not grounded in God, does not mean that it is a brute fact by default; that's a non-sequitur. Regardless, the idea that brute facts don't have any intelligible relation to one another is not warranted, just asserted.”


Bahnsen is laying out the position on what is necessary for something to be correct, either God or thinking God’s thoughts after Him. Con is coming from the position that what is correct can be grounded in the nature of existence itself – which is for Con what ultimately – some irrational, non-thinking, non-living, non-being what? Is this another one of his ‘brute facts?’ It is just another way for him to dismiss the thought of God as responsible for reality. It’s another of his say anything kind of magic incantations/mantras.

Con says: “Regardless, the idea that brute facts don't have any intelligible relation to one another is not warranted, just asserted.”


What? How does he know there is no connection? Again, he presupposes it. It is just a useless, absurd statement that proves nothing.

“A fact is brute when an explanation for it does not exist.” [1]

How does he know it does not exist? Because he has no explanation he asserts that no explanation exists.

Con says: “My opponent keeps endorsing the notion that God is the best explanation, but he ignores The Euthyphro Dilemma which entails that Morality cannot be grounded in God. Also, he says that without God morality would have to arise from a random, chance, non-thinking process, something without intent or purpose that is incapable of reason. No reason is given as to why something being mindless means it has to be random. I mean gravity for example isn't "random", it keeps my butt on the ground and this is consistent. It is mindless, and has no intent. Basically, my point here is that if it is mindless, that doesn't make it necessarily random. Something can have a function that can be carried out with the need for any intent or purpose at all.”

I did not ignore the Euthyphro Dilemma. Con does not like my answer. As Douglas Croothuis explains:



"The Euthyphro argument trades on a straw man (or straw god) that creates a false dilemma. Biblical theism….claims God as the source of all goodness on the basis of God’s character and God’s will. God’s moral will is based on God’s changeless nature…Objective moral values have their source in the eternal character, nature and substance of a loving, just and self-sufficient God. Just as God does not create Himself, so He does not create moral values, which are eternally constituent of His being.” [2]

God gave man (in Adam) a free will in which he could choose to follow God’s good commands or find out for himself what evil is (doing what is contrary to God’s good, changeless nature). If man could not choose there would have been no freedom of will, and therefore no choice in man to love God of his own volition (it would be all preprogrammed). Thus man chose to know evil and God chose to allow evil that good would come of it. But God has warned that evil would always be judged, and it has and continues to be, either in Christ’s perfect merit or in each man’s merit or lack of. I ran out of space. I will continue my rebuttal in the comment section.


Rational_Thinker9119

Con





Moral Epistemology, Moral Ontology, Begging The Question And Red Herrings


Pro re-asserts God necessary to know with certainty that a view is true in regards to morality. However, is Pro absolutely certain about this argument? If so, then by his own standards, he would have to presuppose God exists. Thus, his argument is inherently circular. Also, he claims this is the heart of the issue when the exact opposite is true. Morality's relationship with human knowledge deals with moral epistemology, what grounds morality deals with moral ontology. Pro has spent the entire debate confusing the two. Any Revelation pertaining to The Bible could just be written by men without being directly inspired by God. If Pro wants to appeal to The Bible, he has to show that God actually inspired The Bible, and that everything in The Bible is true. This has not been accomplished.

Pro claims that if God is not necessary to know something with absolute certainty, then I must provide an alternative. It seems Pro just cannot let go of the shifting the burden of proof fallacy. Regardless, humans don't have to know anything with absolute certainty; this says nothing on whether objective morality can exist without God or not. Thus, this whole "certainty" argument is a red herring to begin with.

My opponent also argues that I am bare asserting that morality can be grounded in the nature of existence. Lets say he is correct, and it is a bare assertion; it does not matter. Thus, his bare-assertion claim is a red herring. Pro has to show that morality cannot be grounded in the nature of existence itself. Remember the burden of proof. A shared burden of proof only holds when specified in the rules. It is just assumed that whoever starts the debate has to establish the conclusion as true. All I have to do is undermine the Moral Argument. Asking me to falsify it would be unfair, as this is the Theist's argument; they have to prove it true.

Limited Knowledge (Begging The Question And Red Herrings Continued)

Pro says:

"Whether Con likes it or not his knowledge is limited. It is a true statement." - Pro

Well, whether Pro likes it or not his knowledge is limited. This is a true statement. Pro is committing the special pleading fallacy, and delving into the world of double-standards. Once more, Pro commits the fallacy of begging the question, and the red herring fallacy. He begs the question because he is arguing that God is necessary for absolute certainty regarding morality, but in order for Pro to prove this with certainty, he would have to presuppose God exists (according to his own argument). The argument is a red herring, as I said before, because morality's relationship to human knowledge deals with moral epistemology, not moral ontology. What grounds morality deals with moral ontology. Thus, his argument in this regard, even if successful (which it is not), has no bearing on the resolution. Even if knowledge dealing with morality cannot be 100% certain, that says nothing on whether morality can exist without God.

Brute-Facts

As far as brute-facts are concerned, Pro has not proven that brute facts cannot be known. He just presumes this. We know brute facts cannot be explained, or grounded in anything, but its not clear that brute facts cannot even be known. Pro then says there will always be doubt in my worldview. However, the same is true for his worldview. If he wants to argue that God can make things absolutely true, then he has to presuppose God to be absolutely sure about this. This makes his worldview incoherent, as it is based on circular reasoning. Additionally, once more, what does knowing anything with certainty have to do with this debate? Nothing. Even if I cannot know anything with certainty, that does not mean morality cannot exist without God. That is a non-sequitur. Every one of Pro's arguments are based on logical fallacies. They can all be dismissed.

Bahnsen And The Fallacy Of Presumption

He also claims that Bahnsen is laying out the position on what is necessary for something to be correct. But laying out a position, doesn't mean that the position is true. Pro has to show that Bahnsen is correct; not just presume his position. Pro commits the fallacy of presumption here. Pro still has not shown how moral facts cannot be brute facts. Thus, this objection alone shows that Pro has not even come close to meeting his burden of proof.

The Euthyphro Dilemma

As far as the Euthyphro Dilemma is concerned, he completely ignores my main argument once again! He keeps rebutting the version of the dilemma which deals with God's commands. I already rebutted his rebuttal in my first round by shifting the dilemma to deal with God's nature. Douglas Croothuis doesn't deal with the latter version of the dilemma I mentioned in my first round. Thus, the Euthyphro Dilemma stands. Morality cannot be grounded in God; the resolution has been negated. Mentioning The Bible is useless as well, as I am discussing moral ontology; The Bible deals with moral epistemology.

Relativism And Logic

Pro completely dodged this subset of issues in his last round. Thus, my arguments from the last round stand; Moral Relativism does not violate the laws of logic. This alone negates the notion that Pro has established the resolution. Any additional arguments from me should be considered nothing less than generous.

Conduct Violation

PGA tried to pull an Aperion and cheat the character limit, but he tried to do this by presenting the rest his arguments in the comment section. I am not going to read it, and it has no bearing on the debate (as members of this site are already aware of). If Pro wants to use his arguments in the comment section in his last round, then he is free to do so. The character limits in the debate are more than fair, and trying to cheat like this unethical to the extreme. I urge full conduct deductions due to this act of cheating. It is a well known rule that trying to get passed the character limits is not permitted.

Conclusion

All of Pro's arguments are based on elementary logical fallacies. Thus, the resolution has not been established. Also, Pro violated conduct by trying to cheat the character limit.
Debate Round No. 4
PGA

Pro

Congratulations! I concede. You presented a more skilled argument.
Rational_Thinker9119

Con

Since Pro did not know about the character limit rule; I now believe Pro deserves conduct points for gracefully conceding argument points. Good debate PGA.
Debate Round No. 5
105 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by Rational_Thinker9119 3 years ago
Rational_Thinker9119
I'm reading Raymond J. McCall's book "Basic Logic" right now, and it is extremely interesting. It talks all about what constitutes as a contradiction.
Posted by Rational_Thinker9119 3 years ago
Rational_Thinker9119
If you believe the position is false then you are going to have to explain how. other than proposing that it violates the formal laws of logic; because it clearly doesn't. A contradiction in logic is when two proposed objective truths cannot both be true. However, if what is "moral" or not is purely subjective, then there is clearly no contradiction (as there are no two objective truths that contradict each other). I can say that Goodfellas was a subjectively good movie, and my friend can say that Goodfellas was a subjectively bad movie. That would seem like it entails a contradiction, because both of these propositions are objectively true:

i) The Goodfellas is subjectively good
ii) The Goodfellas is subjectively bad

Worded like that, there is a contradiction. However, in formal logic, we have a thing called "qualifiers" to avoid contradictions like these. We would say:

i) The Goodfellas is subjectively good to Person A
ii) The Goodfellas is subjectively bad to Person B

The above is not contradictory because I spit it up into (Person A, and Person B). Now, viola; no contradiction.
Posted by Rational_Thinker9119 3 years ago
Rational_Thinker9119
Hopefully you understand my position now. A "moral act" is just a word we use to describe that which entails positive emotions, or that which helps people, or refrains from hurting unecessarily. However, we all have different ideas on what helps or hurts people, and we all have different emotions. This seems to suggest that morality is subjective, and based on the individual (or a collective group of people). There is no ultimate morality on which we go by, it's every man for himself out here, or every group for themselves. Covering up a woman's face is immoral and treating her like less than a man is wrong TO OUR SOCIETY for example, but to Islam, that is the norm and it is not wrong TO THEIR SOCIETY. This is powerful evidence for Moral Relativism. So, who is right in this scenario? Well, nobody. Only if morality was objective would there be an objectively correct answer. However, I don't believe morality is objective. I think it is self-evident that morality is purely subjective.
Posted by PGA 3 years ago
PGA
"It's like you want to fight in the parking lot, I want to fight in the ring lol -RT

You already won. I just want to understand what you believe and see what makes it tick. In a debate I don't get the chance. The ring does not give me that opportunity, neither does a forum because you just want to debate.

So I appreciate the chance to scrutinize.

Peter
Posted by Rational_Thinker9119 3 years ago
Rational_Thinker9119
It's like you want to fight in the parking lot, I want to fight in the ring lol
Posted by Rational_Thinker9119 3 years ago
Rational_Thinker9119
Not to be rude, but I think we are just going in circles here. That's why I like this site, so we can settle issues in a certain amount of rounds. Continuing the debate in the comment section defeats the purpose. I don't have time to debate for days, and days, and days man. If you have an issue with my views, then lets debate and get it over with! You know. I know you like debating in the comment sections, but that isn't me. I like a real, sanctioned debate.
Posted by Rational_Thinker9119 3 years ago
Rational_Thinker9119
Once you learn the difference between objectivity and subjectivity, then you might be equipped to discuss this with me. As far as I can see, you are equating the two like there is no tomorrow. When you say "right"or "wrong" you have to put "objectively" or "subjectively" before it, or else your words are meaningless.
Posted by Rational_Thinker9119 3 years ago
Rational_Thinker9119
"Again, for a subjective moralist more often than not rape can mean anything the person wants it to mean until the crime is perpetrated on the relativist, then it becomes a different story. Once rape was not wrong but when the act is done to the relativist it becomes wrong."

No, NOTHING is wrong. Don't you get it? I don't even think you know what moral subjectivism is lol There is no such thing as right or wrong as far as morality is concerned. It doesn't exist! There is only things which feel wrong to certain individuals. That doesn't make anything ACTUALLLY wrong. Once more, you don't know the difference between objectivity and subjectivity.
Posted by Rational_Thinker9119 3 years ago
Rational_Thinker9119
There is no such thing as right or wrong. Rape isn't wrong, nothing is wrong. There are only things which entail negative emotion. Some people feel bad about rape (most of society), some people don't feel bad about it (rapists). Who is right? Nobody! There is no right answer. Do you "get it" now?
Posted by Rational_Thinker9119 3 years ago
Rational_Thinker9119
I have explained the errors in your reasoning countless times, and to your own admission you don't "get it". However, this is not my problem. I am tired of baby sitting you. If you believe you are right, then challenge me to another debate. If not, then I don't want to bicker in the comment section. The only reason I offered to debate you is so we could settle the issue and avoid comment sections. It's done. Now find something else to do other than bicker with me about things you are self-evidently wrong about. Thank you...
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Vote Placed by philochristos 3 years ago
philochristos
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Vote Placed by DakotaKrafick 3 years ago
DakotaKrafick
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Reasons for voting decision: In his final round, Pro conceded the debate to Con in terms of who had the better arguments. Pro also violated the rule that each round cannot exceed 8,000 characters; thus, the conduct point is Con's.
Vote Placed by LevelWithMe 3 years ago
LevelWithMe
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Vote Placed by Mikal 3 years ago
Mikal
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Vote Placed by Magic8000 3 years ago
Magic8000
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Vote Placed by Sargon 3 years ago
Sargon
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Reasons for voting decision: Concession.