The Instigator
popculturepooka
Pro (for)
Losing
11 Points
The Contender
Sargon
Con (against)
Winning
13 Points

Theism offers a more likely context than atheism for affirming moral realism.

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 9 votes the winner is...
Sargon
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 11/17/2013 Category: Philosophy
Updated: 3 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 7,236 times Debate No: 40718
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (122)
Votes (9)

 

popculturepooka

Pro

I thank Sargon agreeing to debate me on this topic. I shall be arguing that given moral realism theism is more likely than atheism. Or that theism makes "more sense" of moral realism than atheism does. My job is to argue that, yes, theism offer a more likely context in which to affirm moral realism and Con's job is to argue that, to the contrary, atheism offers a more likely context than theism in which to affirm moral realism. In short, this will be a mostly meta-ethical debate. [1]

Defintions

Theism - Theism is the view that there is a God which is is the creator and sustainer of the universe and is unlimited with regard to knowledge (omniscience), power (omnipotence), extension (omnipresence), and moral perfection. [2]

Atheism - ‘Atheism’ means the negation of theism, the denial of the existence of God. [3]

Moral Realism - Taken at face value, the claim that Nigel has a moral obligation to keep his promise, like the claim that Nyx is a black cat, purports to report a fact and is true if things are as the claim purports. Moral realists are those who think that, in these respects, things should be taken at face value—moral claims do purport to report facts and are true if they get the facts right. Moreover, they hold, at least some moral claims actually are true. [4]

Rules

Round 1 for acceptance and/or clarification of defintions, rules, etc, etc.
Rounds 2 - 4 for argumentation.

Sources

[1] Metaethics is the attempt to understand the metaphysical, epistemological, semantic, and psychological, presuppositions and commitments of moral thought, talk, and practice. As such, it counts within its domain a broad range of questions and puzzles, including: Is morality more a matter of taste than truth? Are moral standards culturally relative? Are there moral facts? If there are moral facts, what is their origin? How is it that they set an appropriate standard for our behavior? How might moral facts be related to other facts (about psychology, happiness, human conventions…)? And how do we learn about the moral facts, if there are any? These questions lead naturally to puzzles about the meaning of moral claims as well as about moral truth and the justification of our moral commitments. Metaethics explores as well the connection between values, reasons for action, and human motivation, asking how it is that moral standards might provide us with reasons to do or refrain from doing as it demands, and it addresses many of the issues commonly bound up with the nature of freedom and its significance (or not) for moral responsibility.
http://plato.stanford.edu...
[2] http://www.iep.utm.edu...
[3] http://plato.stanford.edu...
[4] http://plato.stanford.edu...
Sargon

Con

Ave

I thank PCP for arranging this debate. I will be showing that the arguments presented by PCP are not sufficient to show that moral realism is better supported on theism rather than atheism. If I can do this, then the resolution is negated.

Knowing PCP, this is sure to be an interesting debate for the two of us, as well as the audience. I eagerly await his next round.

Vale
Debate Round No. 1
popculturepooka

Pro

Again, thanks to Con for agreeing to debate this topic. I look forward to having an interesting and enlightening exchange. I propose that there several points that favor theism over atheism with respect to affirming moral realism - that is, theism offers a better account of moral realism than atheism because there are several features of moral realism that make more sense on theism than on atheism.

Objective moral values and obligations are essentially tied to personhood

The first problem for the atheist who affirms moral realism - and especially for the atheistic moral realist who is also a naturalist as my opponent is - manifests at the most basic level. Moral values and obligations are essentially tied to personhood. The are numerous worries in the neighborhood.

(I) Concerns related to the intelligibility of non-personal values and obligations
(II) Concerns related to personal dignity

(I) That is, moral values are instantiated through persons. Imagine if there was just some moral value of justice that just exists. What would that even mean to say justice just exists? We can readily make sense of the claim that person is just, but it would make no sense to say that justice exists in the absence of any persons as a mere abstraction. It seems clear that if there were no persons (including God), then there would be no moral values. But an atheistic moral realist - one who accepts that there are some necessary moral truths - will have to accept some necessary truths just exist "free floating" in the absence of persons which seems absurd and downright unintelligible.

Another worry about these necessary moral truths as abstractions is that the seem to require us to do things. That's just what moral obligation is. If I have a moral duty to be just and equitable in issuing a prison sentence then I am morally required/obligated to do so. Moral obligation has an inherent social aspect to it (and thus, essentially involving persons). If I fail to meet a moral obligation there is a sense of shame and blameworthiness that goes with it because there were specific intentions and expectations that I failed to meet. Obviously, this would lead one the conclusion that they have wronged someone. None of these sort of attitudes make any sort of sense on atheistic moral realism that posits essentially impersonal necessary moral truths/values.

Given my opponents world view, it remains extremely hard to see - some might think impossible - how one is supposed to see how these sort of personal values and obligations arose from a valueless and obligationless and impersonal universe.

Given theism, on the other hand, things hardly seem so dire. Theism already posits that personal God exists that instantiates all of these properties, values and makes sense of the social nature of moral obligations. The world, at the as level, is already infused with values, potential for obligations, and personhood in the God. It seems obvious that theism better accounts for objective moral values and obligations. This is something we would expect on theism, but not on atheism.

(II) Given moral realism it's plausible to suppose that persons have moral standing. [2] And if they have moral standing then it's plausible to suppose something like Kant's respect-for-persons ethic is true. [3] That is, people are intrinsically valuable and have personal dignity. Unsurprisingly, I think theism accounts better for personal dignity than atheism.

It'd be a massive understatement to say that atheistic naturalists have had a difficult time accommodating personhood (particularly the elements autonomy and consciousness). If they can't accommodate personhood then obviously they cannot accommodate personal dignity.

There are generally three strategies given at this point of accommodating personhood and consciousness within that specific framework. Elimitivist, reductionist, and non-reductionist.

Elimitivism simply states that there are no persons. Obviously that cannot account for personal dignity.

Reductionists will say that consciousness is reducible to the physical which is implausible.

"It seems to me evident that no description of brain activity of the relevant kind, couched in
the currently available languages of physics, physiology, or functional or computational roles,
is remotely capable of capturing what is distinctive about consciousness. So glaring, indeed,
are the shortcomings of all the reductive programmes currently on offer, that I cannot believe
that anyone with a philosophical training, looking dispassionately at these programmes, would
take any of them seriously for a moment, were it not for a deep-seated conviction that current
physical science has essentially got reality taped, and accordingly, something along the lines of
what the reductionists are offering must be correct. To that extent, the very existence of consciousness
seems to me to be a standing demonstration of the explanatory limitations of
contemporary physical science. " [4]

And the non-reductivist will say while consciousness isn't reducible to the physical it however supervenes upon it. But, as Jaegwon Kim notes, this leads to a form of epiphenomenalism, which leaves no room mental causation. [5] Obviously, if there is no mental causation then one cannot act in accordance to the respect for persons ethic. The basic thought is that given the principle of the causal closure of the physical, where physical events only have physical causes, that leaves no room for mental causes.

Theism has none of these attendant problems. On the contrary, on the supposition of theism we would expect that humans have personal dignity if they were created as persons, modeled to a limited extent off of God's own personage. The Imagio Dei if you will. If they were created by an intrinsically valuable person it makes a good deal of sense to suppose that these persons will also be intrinsically valuable. God is personal and the source of all value, so the value and dignity of personhood is in virtue of that fact. If finite persons are created in the "image" of God - who is the most ultimate and sacred of all things in reality - it makes sense and it is likely to suppose that these finite persons have personal dignity. There's no need to suppose that personal dignity could arise out of an essentially impersonal background like on atheism.

Cosmic Coincidences

Given the fact of human biological evolution, this gives rise to a vexing problem for the atheistic moral realist - the problem of knowledge of moral facts and it's related cosmic coincidences. Supposing that evolution is a "radically contingent" process (in the words of Stephen Jay Gould) in that, if the evolutionary processes were somehow rewinded back and then let go to do it's work again it'd be highly unlikely that we'd get creatures such as human beings again, it's extremely hard to see how we evolved to be able to know these moral truths. It seems like an awfully lucky coincidence that despite the presumably countless ways we could have evolved in an essentially unguided and non-teleological fashion we just happened to evolve into the sort of creatures that can know these independent moral truths. It seems like an awfully lucky coincidence that we evolved into the sort of creatures that matched up with these moral truths when there was nothing guiding us toward that end after billions and billions of years. The unlikeliness of the scenario builds once you see that these moral facts, on atheism, existed far before humans arrived on the scene, and who may not have even evolved into the sort of creatures who these moral facts correspond to in the the first place. Or not have evolved at all, for that matter. What it seems like is that the universe was almost anticipating the arrival of such creatures on the scene. But, of course, that isn't remotely likely to be true on atheism.

As many have noted it seems very easy to imagine that our morality might have turned out very, very different if evolution had taken a different turn.

Thus Darwin:

"If . . . men were reared under precisely the same conditions as hive-bees, there can hardly be a doubt that our unmarried females would, like the worker-bees, think it a sacred duty to kill their brothers, and mothers would strive to kill their fertile daughters; and no one would think of interfering. Nevertheless the bee, or any other social animal, would in our supposed case gain, as it appears to me, some feeling of right and wrong, or a conscience. . . . "

Given that evolutionary mechanisms are merely concerned with adaptivenss and not truth, it's entirely conceivable that we ended up with false moral beliefs that are nonetheless adaptive. In fact, it'd be far more likely given the unguided scenario of the atheist.

Theism doesn't have this problem. We could suppose that a good God who has aims intended for his creatures - such as that they come to be able to know at least some moral truths in a reliable fashion. And that he fashioned the universe in such a way as to "anticipate" the arrival of such creatures on the seen.

Sources

[1] Any moral realist should accept that there are some necessary moral truths such as "torturing babies for fun is wrong."
[2] By that I mean "Person S is the appropriate object of direct moral duties".
"The Moral Argument", p.419., The Blackwell Companion to Natural Theology
[3] "This formulation states that we should never act in such a way that we treat Humanity, whether in ourselves or in others, as a means only but always as an end in itself. This is often seen as introducing the idea of “respect” for persons, for whatever it is that is essential to our Humanity."
http://plato.stanford.edu...
[4] "The Moral Argument", p. 37, The Blackwell Companion to Natural Theology
[5] http://www.iep.utm.edu...
Sargon

Con

Ave

Atheism and Moral Realism

Pro wants us to think that the status of atheistic moral realism is "extremely hard to see", "dire", and faces many problems. His ideas are shared by many people who believe that atheism and moral realism can't be compatible. I argue that we should reject this request; It's belied based on an actual survey of the status of philosophy. There, we find that that the project of atheistic moral realism is alive and well in philosophy. Historically, philosophers have created moral ontologies without god for thousands of years, but even in modern times we see publications on atheistic moral realism from philosophers Quentin Smith
(Ethical and Religious Thought in Analytic Philosophy) and Shelley Kagan (Normative Ethics), the world famous ethicist. A recent study called 'What do philosophers believe?' by David Bourget and David J. Chalmers, published in Philosophy Papers, indicates that 72.8% of philosophers are atheists, while 56.4% are moral-realists. [1] This means that there are many philosophers who are also moral realists, at least enough to deal damage to the idea that atheistic moral realism is absurd. There is nothing inherently false, flawed, or wrong with the idea of moral realism on atheism.

In fact, there is a good reason to think that moral realism on atheism is actually more plausible, at first glance, than theism. As naturalistic moral realists, it's necessary that whatever morality is based on it, it's not supernatural. It's almost certain that the natural world exists. However, as a theist, you have to base your morality on something supernatural: something which has a debatable existence. There is a clear contrast between the two; atheist morality is based on something which almost certainly exists, while theistic morality is based on something which may or may not exist. This gives atheistic moral realism a
prima facie advantage over theistic morality.

Objective moral values and obligations are essentially tied to personhood


In regards to "(I) ", we're told about what atheistic moral realism has to accept, and what it must say, presumably for no reason other than that Pro says so. It's supposed to be absurd to suggest that there are true statements which do not depend on the existence of people. The absurdity comes from the idea that these true statements are just "floating around" somewhere in an abstract realm. If we take Pro on his argument, something is absurd 1) if it is a necessary truth that does not depend on people, and is 2) just 'floating around' absent of their existence.


Let's take this apparent absurdity and apply it to something philosophers know to be true: counterfactual statements. In David Lewis' theory on counterfactual statements "
Where c and e are two distinct possible events, e causally depends on c if and only if, if c were to occur e would occur, and if c were not to occur e would not occur." [2]This counterfactual statement doesn't rely on any person to exist. E causally depends on C whether or not any people exist. It is also a necessary truth. Ergo, it is a necessary truth that does not depend on personhood. According to the standard that Pro put forward, this obviously coherent and intelligible counterfactual statement must be absurd and unintelligible. (Yes, I understand that he's talking about ideas that are instantiated through personhood. I'm only making the argument that his standard of absurdity and unintelligibility is false.)

Furthermore, it's not even clear that atheistic moral realism depends on these abstract necessary truths. For example, in evolutionary moral realism, normative values depend on evolution, so there aren't any moral values floating around before life exists. [3] Ayn Rand's atheistic meta-ethics also don't depend on such things: "Rand's metaphysical arguments make two points central to her axiology and ethics. (1) Values are not just a human phenomenon but a phenomenon of life: life necessitates value. Thus, values are neither intrinsic properties of things, nor subjective, neither free-floating Platonic entities, nor mere matters of desire or preference, culture or time." [4] Atheistic moral realism does not depend on having necessary truths floating around, so Pro's attack does not establish the implausibility of atheistic moral realism, but only certain theories of atheistic moral realism.



Concerns related to personal dignity


Pro says that reductionism as an account of consciousness is implausible. The only justification he gives for this assertion is to quote a theist philosopher named MD Linville. On it's own, this is hardly enough evidence to discount reductionism as an account of justification, so I don't think Pro has met his burden of proof in showing that it's an implausible idea. While I await further support in my next round, I'll offer a small argument for why our consciousness--the way we think, who we are, is explained by physical states in the brain.


Pro tries to explain personhood in terms of a soul rather than physical states in the brain. We can call this is the "soul hypothesis"; the idea that my thoughts, actions, and everything that makes up my identity, are more or less dependent on a soul rather than physical states in the brain. It is a prediction of this hypothesis that the way I act and think should remain the same even if the physical states of my brain have changed, because my identity in this respect has nothing to do with my brain. This hypothesis has been experimentally falsified: "
Prominent behavioral characteristics in TBI patients have included altered emotion (including restricted emotions with occasional inappropriate or uncontrolled emotional outbursts); impaired judgment and decision–making (including difficulty arriving at decisions as well as poor decisions); impaired initiation, planning, and organization of behavior; and defective social comportment (including egocentricity and impaired empathy). These impairments tend to be accompanied by a marked lack of insight. The abnormalities often are not evident in interviews or over brief time frames, but rather become apparent when the patient’s behavior is considered over a period of months or even years (Barrash, Tranel, & Anderson, 2000)."[5] While these experiments are not logically contradictory with the soul hypothesis, the hypothesis that our identity depends on physical states in the brain is a better explanation of them. This means that the hypothesis explains more, making it preferable to the soul hypothesis.

Cosmic Coincidences


Pro argues that evolution makes it implausible that we would come to know moral truths in an atheistic universe. He says that evolutionary mechanisms are concerned with adaptation rather than truth, so it's entirely possible that we ended up with false moral beliefs just because they're beneficial to survival. However, this problem holds true for the theist as well. I can argue that evolution makes it implausible that we would have justified and rational beliefs about necessary, all-good beings that ground morality using the same exact reasoning. We can easily use Pro's reasoning to demonstrate that it's entirely possible for us to end up with false beliefs about god because they're beneficial to survival.


Pro's theistic account of the validity of our cognitive faculties is question begging. He says that god guided evolution to make sure our cognitive faculties would be sufficient to have justified true beliefs about the world. He's using his cognitive faculties to establish the validity of his cognitive faculties, which assumes their validity in the first place! Otherwise, the argument would be baseless. So what we have here is a case of somebody assuming their cognitive faculties in order to justify them through god. There is simply no non-circular way of saying that god is the reason our cognitive faculties are valid, because the only way of arguing for this is through the use of cognitive faculties, which is the very thing you're trying to prove is reliable! Therefore, it follows that the problem of the validity of cognitive faculties, given evolution, is a problem for both atheists and theists. As my friend poetaster once remarked, 'We're all off the hook because we're all on the hook"[6]. Theists and atheists have to deal with this problem, so this isn't a reason to think that theistic moral realism is better than atheistic moral realism.


Conclusion

There are no prima facie reasons to doubt atheistic moral realisms, but there are prima facie reasons to consider atheistic moral realism to be more plausible than theistic moral realism. Pro's standards on what constitutes absurd and unintelligble would lead us to doubt ideas which are obviously true. Furthermore, his criticisms that atheistic moral realism depends on truths that are just "floating" around does not take into account many theories of atheistic moral realism. Therefore, it is not an attack on atheistic moral realism, but an attack on certain theories about atheistic moral realism. Pro's criticism of reductionism is weak because it relies on one biased quote from a theistic philosopher published in a book devoted to arguing for theism. His evolutionary argument is weak because it's a problem for both theists and atheists, implying that it doesn't make theism's moral realism more probable than atheism's moral realism.


Vale

References

[1]
http://philpapers.org...
[2] http://plato.stanford.edu...
[3] http://link.springer.com...
[4] http://plato.stanford.edu...
[5] http://www.nasponline.org...
[6] Personal communication on Skype
Debate Round No. 2
popculturepooka

Pro

Atheism and Moral Realism

1) Con seems to suggest that I am arguing that atheism and moral realism are incompatible. However, I am not. I entirely agree that atheism and moral realism are compatible if one means "logically compatible". One can entirely agree that two propositions when asserted in conjunction with each other are logically compatible, but nonetheless, wildly implausible/unlikely. An analogous situation would be how most atheistic philosophers today would concede that the existence of God and the existence of evil are logically compatible - that is there is no logical contradiction in asserting the two propositions in conjunction, but they would nonetheless argue that the existence of God is wildly improbable and unlikely given the fact of evil. I am arguing in the same vein.

2) Appealing to the fact that many professional atheist philosophers are moral realists does nothing to mitigate my arguments and show that moral realism on atheism is not unlikely and implausible. That'd be like Con appealing to the fact that many - if not most - philosophers in the early 1900's were logical positivists and this shows that their position was not absurd. We all know about the demise of logical positivism. For all we know, and I maintain that it is in fact the case, that these philosophers are mistaken about the likeliness of moral realism given their atheistic commitments.

3) Con's appeal to the prima facie
advantage of atheism over theism with respect to moral realism due it being based on naturalistic properties is entirely illusory. That is mainly due to the many considerations that point towards the failure of reducing moral properties to naturalistic properties. I will get into that in the next section.

Personhood

Con misconstrues my argument. I said nothing about truth statements in general which do not depend on the existence of people, I am talking specifically about moral values, obligations, and properties that seem to essentially depend on being instantiated through people. So, Con's argument against my apparent standard of absurdity and unintelligibility does not even get off the ground.

Now, Con intends to avoid some of my arguments by appealing to the thesis that moral facts are reducible to natural facts instead of being irreducible. There are multiple problems with this move:

4) It's an entirely gratuitous assumption to just assume that moral facts emerge and supervene on non-moral, naturalistic facts (such as sufficiently complex neurological/nervous systems). On the naturalistic, atheistic picture there would no reason to expect that given the the prior valueless, obligationless, moralless world these sorts of things would just happen to supervene on non-oral facts that humans just happened to develop through an unguided process. This would still fall prey to my argument from cosmic coincidences as well since there wouldn't be any reason to expect that we have moral knowledge either. (More on that later.)

5) If one wants to assert that that some proposition that contains only natural, non-moral facts is synonymous (i.e. the same meaning) with some moral fact like the wrongness then that seems to be open to refutation by G.E. Moore's open question argument. [1]

The problem, in short, is that if two propositions are synonymous than you should be able to substitute one proposition for the other without changing the meaning the of the proposition. The open question argument shows that this isn't possible if ones takes natural, non-moral facts to be synonymous with moral facts.

For example, say a reductionist (utiltarian for example) says that x is good = x promotes pleasure. You can then ask an open question like "Is pleasure good?" This would reduce down to "Does pleasure promote pleasure?" on the reductionist interpretation. This is obvious nonsense, so that cannot be true.

6) Suppose a reductionist wants to deny that naturalistic, non-moral facts are synonymous with moral facts and that they don't mean the same thing but are nonetheless reducible in some other way. Perhaps they will say that the naturalistic, non-moral facts explain what it is for something to be wrong but they don't mean the same thing. For example, the evening star and the morning star are both the same thing (Venus) but they do not mean the same thing.

The problem is moral facts just self-evidently seem to be in an entirely different class of things than non-moral facts. Something being bad seems entirely and utterly different than anything than naturalistic properties, like, say, mass, velocity, up spin, or rectangular shape. If someone performs a wrong action that is obviously a different thing and we are trying to describe or ground that property of "wrongness" it seems utterly wrong headed to say that that moral property also has naturalistic, non-moral properties. It's like the fact that if I sufficiently grasp the concepts of "the Eiffel Tower" and "the U.S. constitution" that they obviously are not the same thing or even the same kind of thing. If one adequately understands the moral concept of wrongness it would seem we could just "see" that it is not the same thing as some specified non-moral, naturalist fact(s).

The problem of the possibility of moral knowledge rears it's ugly head yet again. If moral facts are reducible to non-moral, naturalistic facts that would mean that we would or could go about gaining moral knowledge in the normal way we go about gaining knowledge of non-moral, naturalistic facts. This seems to make little sense. After all the way we go about gaining knowledge about non-moral, naturalistic facts is through some empirical method (e.g. the methods of science and observation and what not). But, again, this seems absurd because that is not the way moral knowledge is gained. We don't observe with our five senses that an act is wrong, nor do we scientifically test it.


Personal Dignity

7) Appealing to a strategy of my opponent - showing some versions of the "soul hypothesis" (I'm assuming he means dualism) - are implausible does nothing to show that all versions of dualism are implausible given the tight observed correlation between mental states and brain states. For example, on the emergent dualism advocated by the likes of William Hasker the substantial, immaterial self emerges from a sufficiently complex neurological system. [2]

8) Con hasn't actually explained how appealing to the brain states would explain something like qualia. [3] The main problem with reductionist programmes in philosophy of mind is that it seems that no matter how much detail one gives of a corresponding brain state, one hasn't actually explained the existence of "what it is like" to be in that mental state.

9) There are positive reasons to think that qualia are not reducible to brain states. To show just one we can appeal to the possibility of the inverted spectrum. [4] Which is the possibility that two people could have the similar physical make ups but experience difference qualia when looking at an apple. One would experience the normal "red" qualia while looking at the apple, but the other person could also be seeing "green" but calling it "red" because they have learned to react to qualia in the same way have the same behavioral outputs. If this is merely possible then this shows these sort of experiences can't be reduced to certain brain states - that is, they are irreducible.

Cosmic Coincidences

Con misses the point of the argument which is what makes his sort of parity and tu quoqe argument fail. I am not arguing for the general unreliability of our cognitive faculties on atheism/naturalism with respect to everything (this isn't a Plantigan evolutionary argument against naturalism); rather it is of more limited scope. It is specifically pertaining to moral knowledge and the possibility of obtaining it on atheistic naturalism.

As people like Sharon Street have extensively argued that it is massively implausible that there is a some way of "truth-tracking" moral facts given the standard theory of evolution.[5] The problem she notes (and Darwin did too which I showed with his quote about hive bees) is that the essential explanations of our moral beliefs and judgements that figure into the evolutionary history nowhere actually presume that these moral beliefs and judgements are true in order to make sense of them.

A theist, on the other hand, is entirely free to assume in a non ad-hoc that evolution is in some sense guided and that there is a sort of telos (or "final end") for the products of this evolution, so it is not at all mysterious why such beings who are intrinsically valuable and can have moral knowledge would show up on on the scene.

It is entirely surprising on a atheistic, naturalist view to see how such creatures could gain knowledge of these moral truths seeing as there is no direction or telos inherent in the evolutionary process on that view. Or, if there is, it would be an entirely ad-hoc add on.

Sources

[1] http://plato.stanford.edu...
[2] www.lastseminary.com/dualism/Emergent%20Dualism.pdf
[3] http://www.iep.utm.edu...
[4] http://plato.stanford.edu...
[5] http://as.nyu.edu...
Sargon

Con

Ave (Apologies in advance for going out of order.)

Atheism
and moral realism


The whole purpose of mentioning the status of atheistic moral realism in philosophy was a direct response to his negative descriptions (“extremely hard to see”, “dire”, and so on). It’s hard to describe atheistic moral realism with those words in light of the evidence I provided. I wasn’t trying to make the argument that Pro thinks atheism and moral realism are logically incompatible. For that reason, it’s not pertinent to discuss point one any further.


In my last round, I discussed the popularity of atheistic moral realism, and how its project has been continued up until the present day. This was meant to show that atheistic moral realism is a valid project, and isn’t truthfully described by Pro’s adjectives. In his second point, Pro compares this argument to saying that logical positivism wasn’t absurd because it was so popular when it was around. This objection isn’t analogous to my original point. Logical positivism was more or less a short fad [1]; Atheistic moral realism has been pursued for thousands of years [2]. When an idea is flawed and defective, it usually dies out after a while, like logical positivism. The fact that atheistic moral realism has been in metaethics for thousands of years, and enjoys support today, shows that it’s not in terrible condition as Pro portrays it. Pro’s analogy fails; Although we can both agree that logical positivism was very popular, it’s not a valid comparison because logical positivism was a short-lived fad, while atheistic moral realism has been around for thousands of years and has support today.


I also didn’t see any response to my
prima facie argument for atheistic moral realism. My argument was that, as naturalistic moral realists, we have to ground morality on the natural, which almost certainly exists, while theism has to ground morality on the supernatural, which has a very arguable and uncertain existence. This gives atheistic moral realism a prima facie advantage over theistic moral realism. Pro should have addressed this in point three rather than foreshadow his future arguments.


Personal Dignity


The issue raised by Pro is how atheism accounts for personhood. He tries to show it doesn’t by refuting typical atheistic accounts of consciousness like eliminativism, reductionism, and non-reductionism. However, these refutations are inadequate. As I pointed out in the last round, his argument against reductionism amounts to nothing more than an incredulous quote from a theistic philosopher. That's obviously not enough to establish that reductionism is an implausible account of consciousness. He says that eliminativism, which denies the existence of the mind, doesn't account for personal dignity. The problem with this argument is that eliminativism gets rid of these things in the first place. By denying persons, it also denies personal dignity. It doesn't try to solve the problem because it gets rid of it. Pro fails to explain why non-reductionist accounts of consciousness require epiphenomenalism. His arguments here are just too weak for anyone to accept.


The purpose of mentioning that experiment was focused more on a probabilistic argument for reductionism. In regards to this, Pro doesn't attack my line of reasoning, so I don't consider this point to be addressed. Furthermore, I was not trying to refute all forms of dualism; It was a general case against dualism.


Pro says a reductionist account of consciousness can explain the corresponding brain stain, but never what it feels like to be in that brain state. For example, it may explain the mental states behind seeing the color red, but it never explains why we feel a certain way when we see the color red. It may be true that qualia doesn't feel like a brain state, but that doesn't establish that qualia is not a brain state [3]. As an example, a glass of water does not seem like H20 molecules, yet that's exactly what it is. There aren't any conclusions to make from Pro's point that damage or help either side.


Pro says that it's metaphysically possible for people to have the same brain states, yet experience an apple differently. From this, he concludes that reductionism is false. This argument, like the last one, doesn't have any non-question begging conclusions. It's only possible for people with the same brain states to experience an apple differentl
y if reductionism is false. If reductionism is true, then it's metaphysically impossible for people with the same brain states to experience to see an apple differently. Pro is trying to prove reductionism wrong by supposing that it's possible for people with the same brain states to experience an apple differently, but this begs the question against reductionism in the first place.


(I'm ignoring point 6 because he's responding to a particular "out" to his arguments, one which I'm not using.)


Personhood


I wasn't misconstruing any argument. The only "absurdity" and "unintelligibility" identified by Pro was that these things were floating around in some abstract space before people came around. I point out that this doesn't make something absurd by pointing to things which are obviously true. Pro says the difference is that counterfactuals don't need to be instantiated by people, but moral values do. I'm not sure what he means by this. The word "instantiated" refers to "coming into being". Necessary truths and values are never instantiated because they're necessary. Perhaps by "instantiated" he means "recognized", but this definition wouldn't help Pro's point.





Pro brings up the open-question problem from the philosopher G.E. Moore. However, Pro's source notes a way that we can get out of this problem:"Another objection, made later in the century, said the argument cannot support Moore's conclusions about the distinctness of goodness as a property. Science, the objection runs, uncovers many non-analytic property identities; for example, water is identical to H2O even though the terms “water” and “H2O” are not synonymous. By analogy, the property of goodness could be identical to that of pleasure even if “good” and “pleasure” have different meanings."[4]




Pro's opening round tried to refute atheistic moral realism by pointing out all of these necessary abstract truths have to supervene on life. However, this was refuted when I mentioned Ayn Rand's metaethics as well as evolutionary moral realism. Pro's original point, therefore, is not an attack on the plausibility of atheistic moral realism, but an attack on specific conceptions of atheistic moral realism. It therefore does nothing to establish the resolution.


Pro challenges me to explain how the brains of humans come to know about moral truths on an evolutionary picture. This is actually very simple; Through our reason, we determine what is right and wrong. Moral truths are therefore determined by reason. Our reasoning comes from our cognitive faculties like the cerebrum. Recognition of moral truths comes when a species evolves with cognitive faculties that are sufficient for reasoning about the world. Before that, moral truths exist in the same way that counterfactual statements exist. A species evolves that can reason about the world, and then, through our reason, we recognize these moral truths. That's a very simple account of how humans come to know about moral truths through evolution. You might say it's implausible that we would evolve to have the
right beliefs, but that's addressed in a different point.


Cosmic Coincidences


Let's recall what Pro said in his opening statement. He said that we could have easily evolved brains which have different ideas on morality. This is argued to be plausible because our brains evolve for adaptation rather than truth. Therefore, Pro argues that it's implausible that we would have the brains which recognize the right moral truths. As an example, we could have easily evolved to think it's moral to kill our brothers and fertile daughters, like bees. Carefully note what Pro is saying here. We are supposed to doubt, on naturalism, that we would come to know moral truths, because our brains evolve based on adaptation, and it's implausible that we would evolve to recognize the right moral truths. My response to this argument was to point out that it's implausible that we would have correct beliefs about god by the same reasoning. Our brains evolve for adaptation rather than truth, so what's the probability that we would have brains which evolve to know true things about god? There are millions of different ways we could have evolved which would lead to false beliefs about god. Therefore, it's implausible that we would brains which recognize the right beliefs about god, like the statement "God is the basis of morality". (For those of you who would entertain the idea that god guided evolution to make us have true beliefs about him, consult my answer in the last round.)





Pro's answer to this is completely unsatisfactory. He says he's not talking about truth, but only moral truth. Why does this distinction matter? In order for it to matter, Pro has to demonstrate that the reasoning he used on moral truth cannot be applied to truth itself as well. If he can't do this, then there's no reason to think that the reasoning he used about moral truth can't be used for truth itself as well. Pro never shows us why the reasoning he used to doubt moral truth can't be used to doubt truth itself. Since he hasn't done this, the dilemma hasn't been solved.



(The remainder of this section is more or less a repetition of his earlier points, so I won't answer them.)


Vale





References


http://www.arn.org...
Kagan, Shelley. "Is God Necessary for Morality?" Lecture. Is God Necessary for Morality? YouTube. Web. 26 Nov. 2013. <;.
Visual Reference Guides: Philosophy, pg 128
http://plato.stanford.edu...
Debate Round No. 3
popculturepooka

Pro

A preliminary point that is important: I can't but help but note Con's highly questionable strategy here that's been deployed all throughout this debate; in multiple instances Con appeals to other possible versions of atheistic moral realism(s) - often times with just a quick passing mention to some position or the other (and often times they are mutually exclusive) as if that's enough to up hold his end of the burden of proof in resolution. But, clearly it's not enough to just mention several positions in passing with little to no argumentative support and then say "Aha! Well you haven't refuted this version of atheistic moral realism I have mentioned, so therefore the resolution claim has not been fulfilled!" If Con argues for the claim as a way to show that I have failed to meet my burden of proof then that is a perfectly legitimate strategy; mentioning several positions in passing is not.

In a probabilistic case (or a case based on likelihood) one need not rule out every single alternative in order to establish something as unlikely given certain fact(s).

Atheism and moral realism

1) Con's point here is bizarre, what exactly does the fact that there have been atheistic moral realisms for thousand of years have to do with the the question of whether the conjunction of the two is absurd or not? If my arguments are correct, that would merely show that they're wrong about the prospects of such a conjunction.

2) Con's prima facie case for the plausibility of atheistic moral realism still stands insufficiently motivated because of my arguments against the project of reducing moral properties to natural properties. Con hasn't sufficiently refuted them as I detailed.


Personal Dignity

It's fair to assume that Con agrees that it's reasonable to believe in something like personal dignity if moral realism is true (at least he didn't object to it earlier) so that rules out eliminatvism.


I already gave a brief case for why non-reductivism leads to epiphenomenalism; it's was up to con to challenge it earlier if he found it insufficient. Saying it is insufficient without any argument does nothing.

Con hasn't actually argued for reductionism here though. He just appeals to the possibility that if reductionism is true, then qualia aren't non-reducible. Well, that's trivially true. The question is whether it's true or not. My case of qualia inversion gives us prima facie case to suppose that qualia are irreducible because it seems possible. It's up to Con show why that prima facie appearance is in fact misleading. And, in fact, that qualia do not feel like a brain state does indeed seem to establish that qualia are not reducible to brain states. If we go by standard definitions, physical states that are wholly explainable through the language of physics with a wholly third-person enterprise, while qualia have an essential first-person, subjective element to them. These are mutually exclusive, therefore they cannot be the same thing.

Personhood

Con says "Necessary truths and values are never instantiated because they're necessary." but that is entirely question begging in that he assumes the truth of his position in order to to assert this. This is because in my first round I gave numerous considerations as to why moral values and obligations should be thought of as instantiated through personal beings. And that includes necessary moral truths. If they are instantiated by a necessary being like God than they never "came into existence" as it were. By "instantiated" I simply mean this: " it is impossible for a property to exist which is not had by some object". [1 ]

Con appeals to my source in order to note a possible response to my utilization of G.E. Moore's Open Question Argument; unfortunately for Con the sentence right after the one he quoted gives an excellent rebuttal to this line of thought: "Again, however, Moore could respond. The property of being water is that of having the underlying structure, whatever that is, of the stuff found in lakes, rivers, and so on; when this structure turns out to be H2O, the latter property “fills a gap” in the former and makes the two identical. But this explanation does not extend to the case of goodness, which is not a higher-level property with any gap needing filling: to be good is not to have whatever other property plays some functional role. If goodness is analytically distinct from all natural properties, it is metaphysically distinct as well." [2] So, if Con wants to press his objection further, he needs to show how the property of "goodness" (for instance) is "filled out" by the role of some naturalistic properties as in the water = h20 case.

Con's mere passing mentions of Ayn Rand's meta ethics and evolutionary moral realism didn't refute anything because he never actually argued for them. In any case, they are cases of reductionistic naturalistic moral realism and so my case against that sort of atheistic moral realism applies to them as well.
.
Con's "simple" explanation of how we come to know moral truths ("through reason") on the evolutionary picture (sans God) is weak. [3] In essence, Sharon Streets notes that evolutionary forces have had a tremendous impact on our (as she calls them) "basic evaluative tendencies" which by that she means our tendency to generally value certain things instead of others. Things like valuing actions that helps one children, for instance - we tend to think that is a good thing. These "basic evaluative tendencies" are the sort of thing we reason from whenever trying to find out the truth of some moral proposition or the thing we take for granted as a basic moral truth. The problem is that evolutionary processes with respect to moral truths is "non-truth tracking" - that is, there seem to be no proposed evolutionary processes that can be plausibly taken to be reliable detectors of an independent moral truth. The proposed evolutionary processes can adequately explain why humans have the moral judgement and attitudes and valuations they do without appealing to the truth of these judgements, valuations, and attitudes. This is because we already have an excellent evolutionary explanation of why we would have these moral judgements (etc.) - because they contributed to reproductive success. Take again, the penchant we have for valuing taking care of ones own children as good. This would naturally promote reproductive success by leaving more descendants. The people who do so would certainly be more reproductively successful than those who think taking care of their own children is bad. Note, nowhere do we need to appeal to the truth of these judgements and that recognizing the truth of these judgements helped aid reproductive success; truth or falsity has nothing to with it. We'd expect that evolutionary processes would push us in such a way as to value certain things that promote and motivate reproductive success regardless of the truth of the alleged independent value. That was Darwin's whole point. Had we evolved in such a way as hive bees where their conditions for reproductive success and survivability are different from humans we'd easily have different moral judgements. The fact that these evolutionary forces are so pervasive on our moral faculties gives us good reason to think that they did not evolve to reliably detect the truth of independent moral facts. And as it is said, if the best explanation of P (moral judgements and the like) doesn't require the truth of P then there is no reason to believe that P.

Cosmic Coincidences


Again, Con's parity argument and attempt to generalize the argument into one of general skepticism is weak because my argument isn't just based on the thesis that because our cognitive faculties evolved due to evolutionary pressures that mainly "concerned" with adaptability and the like. Moral truths are particularly singled out because the evolutionary processes involved in the development of a moral faculty (in the context of naturalism) and our moral judgements the truth of these judgements need not be invoked to explain these judgements as I explained above. That is, considerations about evolutionary theory and it's impact on our basic evaluative tendencies give us good reason to suppose our evolved moral sense isn't reliable and we can't have moral knowledge (on naturalism). In the matter of our cognitive faculties generally and pertaining to us having knowledge generally these sort of considerations don't have much bite. In a simple mundane example, it obviously be advantageous for our perception faculties to be generally reliable in detecting sorts of things like physical objects. That is, the truth of our perception is involved in explaining our reproductive success. Or in the case of basic mathematics it'd obviously be advantageous to know whether it's 1 or 2 tigers chasing you. This same sort of explanation can't be applied with a moral detection faculty as has been detailed. In such cases as general, basic religious beliefs we have good reason to think that the sort of proposed faculties involved in the formation of general religious beliefs - the hyperactive detection device - are not generally speaking, unreliable. [4] And even if it turns out to be unreliable, Con's parity case still would fail due to the fact the evolutionary mechanisms involved in the formation of religious beliefs are different than the ones involved in the formation of moral beliefs. And the ones with moral beliefs are what we are concerned with.

Sources

[1] http://en.wikipedia.org...
[2] http://plato.stanford.edu...
[3] http://as.nyu.edu...
[4] prosblogion.ektopos.com/CogSciandRelBel.doc
Sargon

Con

Ave

Let’s look over the debate and see if we can make any conclusions. I intend for this round to serve as a justification for a Con vote rather than a point-by-point rebuttal to Pro's last round, even though I'll touch on some new points he brought up.


When one makes an argument for a resolution, they’re supposed to demonstrate that the resolution is correct. In this case, the resolution is saying that moral realism combined with atheism is unlikely. Pro’s burden of proof, therefore, is to show that putting moral realism and atheism together is improbable. He has to demonstrate that there’s something improbable about moral realism without the existence of god. He can’t get away with simply showing one idea of moral realism without god is implausible, or even four. No, he has to prove that there is something inherently implausible about moral realism without god, no matter what form of atheistic moral realism you chose. He has to show that it doesn’t matter if you choose utilitarianism, ideal observer ethics, or contract ethics; They’re all implausible if atheism is true. I point out other forms of atheistic moral realism that Pro hasn’t addressed because it’s pertinent to the resolution. He can’t get away with simply attacking atheistic moral realism with abstract necessary truths, but he has to go further and attack atheistic moral realism without these abstract necessary truths as well. That’s why I bring up Any Rand’s metaethics, or evolutionary moral realism. They’re mentioned because they expose the fact that Pro hasn’t fulfilled the resolution. If Pro didn’t want to have to do this, he should have made the debate “Theistic moral realism is more plausible than any given atheistic moral theory”, or something like that. But he didn’t, so this is the resolution you should base your vote on.


Pro's last round asks why I even brought up the fact that atheistic moral realism has been a project for thousands of years. Well, I explained my motivation: "The whole purpose of mentioning the status of atheistic moral realism in philosophy was a direct response to his negative descriptions." Pro tried to say that atheistic moral realism is "dire", "extremely hard to see", and so on. As the defender of atheistic moral realism in this debate, I have to show that these adjectives are false, and I did so using empirical evidence. It's not "dire", because something that's been around for thousands of years is not in a fight for survival, and it's not "extremely hard to see", because some of the greatest minds have seen, and continue to see it. I feel as if Pro continues to misunderstand this argument, despite my explanation for its motivation. He first thought I was suggesting that he thinks atheism and moral realism are logically incompatible, which clarified as erroneous in R3.

I’m also concerned about the double standard being employed here. Remember that I gave an argument against dualism based on neuroscience in my opening statement. Pro objected to this argument by pointing out that there is a form of dualism, emergent dualism, which my argument doesn’t touch. Now, in his last round, he tells us that you don’t need to rule out every single alternative to establish something as unlikely. Isn’t he contradicting himself here? He objected to my probabilistic case against dualism by noting an alternative, but now he tells us that you don’t need to rule out every alternative to establish something as unlikely. I don’t see how this is fair on the part of Pro.

I don't think that Pro's made a good effort to respond to my points, when I made a good effort to respond to his. Let's recall some important points in this discussion that Pro doesn't seem to mention substantially in his last round.

Pro argued that if an inverted qualia is even possible, then qualia is not reducible to brain-states. I argued that this actually begs the question against reductionism in the first place, because inverted qualia are only possible if reductionism is false. Pro hasn't given us a new form of this argument which doesn't have the same question-begging assumptions.

With another point on qualia, we're told that since qualia doesn't feel like a brain state, then it can't be reducible to brain states. Like I pointed out, this is like saying that since a glass of water doesn't feel like H20, then it's not H20. Yet, that's exactly what water is. When you vote in regards to this point, please ask yourself this: What has Pro said that can't be used to prove that a glass of water isn't H2O molecules?

I also have scruples about Pro's application of the law of identity. He seems to be saying that since the experience of qualia is not explainable by physics, yet brain states are, they have to be different things. This is supposed to be true because if A=A, or qualia = brain state, then anything that's true for one side has to be true for the other. I don't see how this works, because identity relations don't apply to psychological experience. If they did, then the following argument would be true:

P1) Superman is someone Lois Lane believes can fly.
P2) Clark kent is not someone Lois Lane believes can fly.
C) Superman is not Clark Kent. [1]

Pro tried to compare my argument in the section "Atheism and Moral Realism" to saying that logical positivism is not absurd because of its popularity in the 20th century. I pointed out and explained why this is a defective analogy in my last round. Pro never got back to us on this point.

I offered a prima facie case for atheistic moral realism in my opening statement. My argument was that naturalistic atheist moral realists have to base on morality on nature, which almost certainly exists, while theistic moral realists have to base morality on a god, who may or may not exist, giving atheistic moral realism an advantage. Nowhere in this debate did Pro offer any response to the premises of the argument or its conclusion.

I mentioned an experiment which is suppose to serve as an argument for reductionism. Nowhere was this specific line of reasoning responded to.

He says that he gave a case for why non-reductionism leads to epiphenomenalism. When I hear "case", I think of a series of reasons which justify a conclusion. Did Pro give a case? Let's look at his only justification in the debate.

"And the non-reductivist will say while consciousness isn't reducible to the physical it however supervenes upon it. But, as Jaegwon Kim notes, this leads to a form of epiphenomenalism, which leaves no room mental causation."

"Jaegwon Kim says so " is not a case. Pro has failed to substantiate this part of the argument.

Pro finally tries to answer the fact that his arguments about evolution and atheistic moral realism could be applied to belief in god itself. He points out that it would be a survival advantage to know how many lions are attacking you, so evolution can guide us towards true beliefs. However, in his own words, this is a mundane example. It doesn't help Pro establsih the legitimacy of belief in god itself as well, which is not a mundane issue. Pro, for example, believes that there is a necessary being who is the reason for the purpose of the nature and existence of the world. This belief about god relie s on complex metaphysical principles like the Principle of Sufficient Reasons, and concepts analytically entailing their own instantiation, as in the case of a necessary existent. That's certainly not a mundane belief, and it can't be justified by pointing to lion chases.

Pro says that there are good reasons to think that the hyperactive detection device is reliable. This is a lot of jargon, so I'll clarify with a simple example; Imagine that you are a Cro-magnon human being standing next to a bush. You hear a rustling in the bush. You can assume that this is the wind and stay still, or you can assume that this is a predator and run. Evolution benefits attributing agency, in this case a predator, to the rustling in the bush rather than the wind. This is because the person who stands by the bush thinking it's the wind could be wrong, leading to their death, while the person who runs has a better chance of survival. It's better to assume too much agency than too little agency.

Pro argues that this agent detection is reliable. This is obviously false. Think about your own agent detection. Perhaps you were home alone as a child and heard a noise, and then felt afraid because you thught somebody was in the house. This is exactly like the Cro-magnon human who attributes a predator to the rustling in the bush rather than the wind. This is your "reliable" agent detection hard at work! From our own experience, we can see that our agent detection is generally false, and causes us to be afraid of things that aren't there. Agent detection, therefore, leans towards false beliefs about reality rather than true beliefs. How, then, is it reliable?

Conclusion

Pro's arguments, in many places, are not supported sufficiently. He also doesn't give enough attention to the crucial objections I brought against his argument, which I went over earlier in this round. Sometimes they beg the question against the very thing they're trying to disprove. The voter should ask themselves this one question: Has Pro shown that that there’s something improbable about moral realism without the existence of god? Based on this round, I submit that the answer is a "no".

I want to thank Pro for this excellent and enlightening debate. I hope the audience enjoyed it as much as I did! I have a great and deep respect for PCP's understanding of this topic, and I look forward to debating him in the future.

Vale

References

Visual Reference Guide: Philosophy, pg 209




Debate Round No. 4
122 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by Genghis_Khan 2 years ago
Genghis_Khan
How did PCP not win this?
Posted by MichelleLouise 3 years ago
MichelleLouise
People really don't know how to vote.
Posted by Sagey 3 years ago
Sagey
People make dumber than dumb assertions all the time, like morality or goodness cannot exist without God and assume they will be agreed with, to the thinking voter, we must be given evidence for such assertions and don't accept them because a debater presented it in his/her argument.
That's the difference.
Rational, critical thinking voters must have evidence for the statements within an argument, they will not just accept a debater's case without such evidence.
That's simple!
Posted by Sagey 3 years ago
Sagey
Beside's Pro's assumptions aren't supported by any of the evidence he produced.
Thus the correct person, one whose statements are supported by their evidence.
He only made the assumption that morality cannot exist without God, he did not demonstrate this in any form, thus unsupported assumptions can be just negated as nonsense.
Posted by johnlubba 3 years ago
johnlubba
Does anybody vote properly any more?

I was hoping to actually gain more from the RFD'S than I could from the debate.

I give up, I might as well whistle in the wind, nobody can hear.
Posted by johnlubba 3 years ago
johnlubba
Sagey's RFD is invalid in that he makes no account of any of the content of the debate, rather he gives his own account of how the debate should be constructed by constructing his own argument as a reason for his vote.

This is not allowed and Sagey's vote should be removed, and at best this debate as it stands now should be a tie on arguments, and the win to Sargon on spelling and grammar.

This is why I don't debate anymore.
Posted by Sagey 3 years ago
Sagey
Sorry Popculture, that is the way I interpreted many of your comments.
Basically stating that Atheism has less basis for developing moral realism.
Yet, the truth is, all humans developed moral realism from the very same source.
Theism only falsely attributed Abraham's Hallucinatory character (God) as the cause for Morality.
Atheism made no such stupid claim, it just accepted the same Morality without feeling the need to blame a non-existent entity for it.
Both acquired Morality from the same Evolutionary Source.
Yet, Theists Scribbled what they could think of down naively as Objective Laws (Commandments) before properly understanding them, and now, stupidly, keep going back to those Naive Commandments.
That is the only problem with Theism.

They should accept their Commandments and Sharia, as naive scribbles from poorly educated, unknowledgeable, fishermen, sheep, camel and goat herders.
Throw them away or burn them and put an effort into redefining their Morality with open minds.

Likely they and Atheists would then find that they are Both Equal.

That is the only way towards achieving World Peace.
Posted by Sagey 3 years ago
Sagey
It's strange how this site cuts off around the last dozen letters, even though it says you have more characters allowed.
It was meant to say.

64 Million years ago our Ethics/Morality began.

So, it still is not perfect, but a work in progress.
Atheism has the upper hand there.

Running back to Out-Of-Date, scripture only takes Morality back into the Less Moral Dark Ages.

This is why Atheism is leading, it does not backtrack to Out-Of-Date, poorly contrived values.
Only Scripture Loving Theists do that.

For a more Ethical society, all such scripture should be completely Ignored or destroyed (the best option).

It's going back to Scriptural Morality that is killing Theism, literally, because it produces more Murderers.
:-D~
Posted by popculturepooka 3 years ago
popculturepooka
For example, I didn't argue (nor did I have to) that "atheism" could not develop a moral framework.
Posted by popculturepooka 3 years ago
popculturepooka
You're a terrible voter, sagey. smh
9 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 9 records.
Vote Placed by Subutai 3 years ago
Subutai
popculturepookaSargonTied
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Reasons for voting decision: Con didn't have a big burden of proof in this debate. It is pro who had the BoP, as he was affirming the resolution that theism is better than atheism (in the context), while con simply had to negate pro's arguments. With that, pro never met his BoP, and he never had the superior arguments within the context of how the resolution was being argued. While both presented good cases, in the end, con's arguments represent a valid enough objection to negate the resolution. Pro also had a number of unsubstantiated "holes" in his arguments. Overall, pro did not meet his burden based on the wording of the debate, and con therefore wins arguments.
Vote Placed by johnlubba 3 years ago
johnlubba
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Reasons for voting decision: Spelling and grammar to Con
Vote Placed by CynicalDiogenes 3 years ago
CynicalDiogenes
popculturepookaSargonTied
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Reasons for voting decision: Con did not really meet his burden of proof, nor did he make any sound arguments.Appealing to Occam's razor is not exactly an argument, if you don't show that everything else is equal.
Vote Placed by Grandbudda 3 years ago
Grandbudda
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Reasons for voting decision: Pro was able to make a well reasoned argument for theism. Atheism is faith for the faithless and Con did a good job of demonstrating that.
Vote Placed by Sagey 3 years ago
Sagey
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Reasons for voting decision: Pro's arguments are not convincing, too subjective and assumptive. no real evidence given as to why Atheism could not develop a moral framework, yet atheist cultures (prior to religion) did just that. Pros sources did little to show such evidence. Con's argument was more sound with good sources.
Vote Placed by Mikal 3 years ago
Mikal
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Reasons for voting decision: rfd comments
Vote Placed by yay842 3 years ago
yay842
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Reasons for voting decision: GOOD JOB DUDES
Vote Placed by philochristos 3 years ago
philochristos
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Reasons for voting decision: I think Con may have misunderstood the resolution, resulting in a failure to carry his burden of proof. The resolution, as Pro pointed out in the first round, entailed a shared burden of proof. While assuming the truth of moral realism, Pro had to show that theism was more likely than atheism, and Con had to show that atheism was more likely than theism. I didn't get the impression that Con even attempted to carry his burden of proof in this debate. He simply tried to undermine Pro's case for his own burden by poking holes in his arguments. I couldn't find anything in Con's rounds that given moral realism, atheism is more likely than theism. He didn't so much as show that moral realism is possible given atheism. There are some arguments Pro made that I don't think Con understood and as a consequence didn't address adequately, like the argument about moral truths anticipating our arrival and how evolution could just have easily resulted in bee behavior. S&G to Con for Pro's typos
Vote Placed by Rational_Thinker9119 3 years ago
Rational_Thinker9119
popculturepookaSargonTied
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Reasons for voting decision: It seems to me that PCP was tearing down certain versions of moral realism, but not all, or even most of them. Its not at all clear that the moral realist is committed to the things Pro says the Atheistic moral realist is committed to. For example: "But an atheistic moral realist - one who accepts that there are some necessary moral truths.." But all that needs to be true for moral realism to be true is "Hitler was evil", not "Hitler was necessarily evil". I wasn't convinced by Pro that the things he was tearing down; Atheistic moral realism was actually committed to. Therefore, I wasn't convinced by his arguments as there are tons of versions of Atheistic moral realism Pro did not touch. What about Con? He offered a rather weak case for Moral Realism being better under Atheism (or naturalism) by appealing to Occam's Razor. That's not a strong case at all, because Occam's Razor only raises the probability if it can be shown that all else is equal. I call this a tie.