There are universal, objective moral values
Debate Rounds (5)
Welcome Edril (Con) to the debating floor, from your profile, this is your first debate.
You came out of the gate, with morality (the subject of this debate), “human rights,” and “God.” I (Pro) will try to address all three.
The “values” of morality is Right (moral) or Wrong (immoral). The “objective” of morality is to do the right thing to keep a group alive. That is, when two or more humans form a group, the group becomes alive. The life of the group is sustained through goodwill and kindness leads to a mutual moral respect for embracing the Unalienable Rights (“Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness”) of the members within the group. Goodwill is a Conservative force that promotes order, stability, and harmony through the pursuit of group-wide positive feedback. Over time, group-wide positive feedback is the genesis of traditions, social values, beliefs, language, etc., the norms of society. These norms are tried and tested, and conservatively pass down from one generation to the next establishing its culture. A moral order guides an individual in the prudent exercise of judgment relative to those norms. The individual in a civil society strives, albeit imperfectly, to be virtuous; that is, restrained, ethical, and honorable, respecting and embracing the Unalienable Rights of others relative to those tested norms.
The “objective,” of morality, to keep a group alive, is the evolution of traditions, social values, beliefs, language, etc., the norms of society. The empirical evidence of the diversity of language and social norms throughout history and today demonstrates the “universal” moral thread that runs through the tapestry of humanity.
On the subject of “rights,” life's Unalienable Rights of “Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of positive-feedback (“Happiness” for us humans),” are part of the physical Laws of Nature, not man-made.
On the subject of “God,” for those of faith, know that God created everything. Therefore, the Laws of Nature is the handwriting of God. On the other hand, for those of faith, including preachers and prophets, should be careful when studying man's written scripture about God. We must remember man is fallible, and those who study such scriptures may misinterpret of what God wants; therefore, God gets--and, in some cases, God help us all.
In addition, for those of faith, one may perceive morality as the fingerprint of God, which is an outgrowth of life's Unalienable Rights, which is part of the physical Laws of Nature, the handwriting of God.
Of course morality is a man-made word that simply refers to the values of Right or Wrong. These values generates mutual positive- or negative-feedback, relative to the Unalienable Rights of another. Mutual positive-feedback, in group creation, is found throughout the spectrum of life in the beneficial formation in schools of fish, flocks of birds, packs of wolves, tribes of humans, and even inter-species relationships, such as those between humans and their pets.
Therefore, morality is “universal,” having the “objective” of group formation, and maintaining the “values” of Right and Wrong.
First let me define some of my terms, I think you might have been using different definitions. When I said "objective" I meant "not based on someone's opinions", I didn't mean a purpose or goal. And when I said "values", I didn't mean "a numerical amount (or the verbal equivalent)", I meant "worthwhile", "valuable", etc.
Now first you contend our morality was necessary for our survival, which I would agree that was indeed the result. But that doesn't mean it was worthwhile, or that it was objectively supposed to happen. That doesn't mean that it was correct. I would ask how persistent social groups of humans (or any living thing) is morally correct? It's only valuable to those particular consciousnesses, and only while they are experiencing it. Later you basically state that something is moral if it affects the positive feedback of living things. Again, this is not only subjective, but literally impossible to achieve universally. The amount of living things that have had to die in order for me to live is innumerable. Mathematically speaking, life is detrimental to it's own happiness, therefore, according to your definition of morality, life is amoral.
You then go on to say that "life's unalienable rights of life, liberty and the pursuit of positive-feedback" is not a man-made idea, instead it's part of the physical laws of nature. Nothing has a right to life, there are infinite amounts of lives that don't exist. Did they choose to waive their rights? And as for the living, our right to do so is completely alienable. With sufficient power, which isn't much, anyone could choose to kill someone else. What happened to the unalienable rights of my food? Or the rights of murder victims? And as a matter of fact, all but a tiny percentage of everything that has ever lived was alienated from their "rights to life, liberty and pursuit of happiness". And I think it's safe to say that the rest will lose their rights as well. The famous quote was used as a basis of government mentality. The rights only exist as long as the government can enforce their laws.
On to God. It seems like you basically restated my thoughts on God's morality. It's still "someone's" opinion. It just so happens that this individual's opinion is enforced with absolute power. A deity with less power than omnipotence can hardly be called a god. Therefore since the original creator of everything is all-powerful, everything he wills is "good". That means there's no such thing as bad. Morality loses all meaning. For instance, to say that me murdering someone is wrong is to say that God's will is incorrect because nothing happens if it were not for God allowing it.
So again, how can you say whether anything is right or wrong? There is plenty of evidence that the ecosystems of earth would be more suited to foster life if humans weren't part of it. And this logic can be followed through with the fact that countless lives must be lost in order for a single one to persist, therefore the idea that morality is things that mutually benefit life leads me to ultimately believe that all life on this planet is "wrong". But again, thankfully, that idea is only our flawed, biased, and selfish opinion.
Finally I'd like to repose my question. Why should the well being of others matter to me? If I had the power to set everything and every one up as a support structure for my own happiness, on what logic would that be "wrong" or "incorrect" or "amoral"?
Con started the round with, “First let me define some of my terms, I think you might have been using different definitions. When I said "objective" I meant "not based on someone's opinions", I didn't mean a purpose or goal.”
Con stated what “objective” was not, but failed to defined “objective” relative to his argument.
Advice to Con, when starting a debate, one must make their definitions clear!
Con went on to say, “And when I said "values", I didn't mean "a numerical amount (or the verbal equivalent)", I meant "worthwhile", "valuable", etc.”
Con's values is Pro's social values. Values, aka social values, comes from morality. All cultures have values, traditions, beliefs, and language and these social traits can only come from morality. When social values keeps a society together, they are “valuable.” Therefore, morality is universal and an outgrowth of life's Unalienable Rights.
Con stated, “You then go on to say that "life's unalienable rights of life, liberty and the pursuit of positive-feedback" is not a man-made idea, instead it's part of the physical laws of nature. Nothing has a right to life, there are infinite amounts of lives that don't exist. Did they choose to waive their rights?”
Yes, one could choose to “waive their rights,” it is called suicide. All life has the Right to Life; otherwise, there is no life. In this universe, we have life; hence, the Right to Life.
Life's Unalienable Rights is simply a bio-program where once alive all “Life,” must have the freedom (“Liberty”) in "the pursuit of" survival; otherwise, there is no life. Since we have life, survival is a form of positive-feedback and a prerequisite for human “Happiness” (http://www.amazon.com...).
Unbeknownst to Thomas Jefferson (author of the US Declaration of Independence), he discovered, not developed, a primeval working function or life's bio-program found throughout all living-systems. He claimed a polished version of this primeval function, within the scope of humanity, giving it the label of Unalienable Rights in the celebrated form of, “Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness.”
We could play the word game and get trapped in semantics on the definition of “rights,” however, Jefferson used the label, “Unalienable Rights,” and that is just a label to a primeval working function, or a bio-program, found in all life. “Unalienable” is a fact, for when alienating any of those bio-program terms or “Rights” the result is death. Notably, it would be impossible to take away any one of the Rights while leaving the other two intact, as all of the Rights are dependent on one another. Without Life, one cannot enjoy Liberty or pursue Happiness. Without Liberty, one cannot pursue Happiness, and as this pursuit often overlaps with the pursuit of survival, one is unable to continue Life. Without the pursuit of Happiness/survival, one cannot continue Life or enjoy Liberty. Because of their interdependency and tendency to wane simultaneously with various degrees of obstruction, the three Rights define a spectrum of positions. The positive end of the spectrum is a position of Life, Liberty, and Happiness (positive-feedback), while the negative end is a position of Death, Tyranny, and Distress (negative-feedback).
The spectrums between Life and Death, Liberty and Tyranny, and Happiness and Distress, entertains a natural tendency during the struggle of survival to support, prolong, and improve “Life.” At the same time, there is an inherent drive to increase freedom (“Liberty”), with an ongoing effort to reduce and optimize the energy expended during “the pursuit of” an objective, while increasing and exploring new levels of “Happiness,” fulfillment, pleasure, and anything to do with positive-feedback. Life's Unalienable Rights helps life to thrive within the matrix of the Laws of Nature and interact with other living-systems. A bio-program, having an organically persuasive, self-adjusting, fine-tuning algorithm throughout the flux of life's Unalienable Rights; encouraging life to take the path of least resistance, in the attempt to satisfy the pursuit of its objectives, to maintain survival, or search for new levels of positive-feedback; this is the machinery of evolution and the Natural Selection Process.
Con gave a number examples of Unalienable Rights can be “completely alienable.” Unalienable, we have life; alienable, we have death. Taking one of Con's examples will cover them all, “What happened to the unalienable rights of my food?” There are no inconsistencies with a nature-wide Unalienable Right to Life with the fact that all animal-life depends on killing other animals or at least plants for food. “The world is one big restaurant.” We humans are free to dine in a universe where we too could be the next meal from the appetite of viruses, parasites, cancer, occasionally lions, tigers, bears, etc. Therefore, nature is not cruel or kind, just indifferent as it gives all life the Right to Life through Liberty in the pursuit of survival. Survival includes the evolution of reproductive quantity, self-defense and hunting skills. This balance in nature made the evolution of life, which includes humans, possible.
Morality is an outgrowth of life's Unalienable Rights and therefore, part of the Laws of Nature, not man-made. Morality is simply embraces mutual positive-feedback between two or more entities, in group formation. Since morality is part of the Laws of Nature, it is universal.
Con continues his God rant by stating, “A deity with less power than omnipotence can hardly be called a god.”
As for beliefs in the super-natural or God, “omnipotence” or not, they are a function of cultural evolution via the machinery of morality coupled with Unalienable Rights. If beliefs enhances the moral equation, only benefits the efficiency of group formation and endurance through time. Therefore, beliefs serves a function in group formation.
For example, Pro lives in the US observing these modern times as the power of beliefs give way to secularism. The traditional view of morality rest with religious organizations which blossoms through the home. Today's educational systems are becoming schizophrenic about the importance of morality in a secular society, and who is responsible for its teachings.
If society does not have a good understanding of morality, more complicated laws emerge trying to keep the peace, institutional public surveillance becomes commonplace, militarization in law-enforcement is noticeable. Complicated laws morph into plundering dictates, while regulations kill economic freedom. In addition, the leaders of government are also part of this population having similar moral standing. If government controls education, then the moral decline will result in a soft tyranny.
John Adams, one of the Founding Fathers of the United States, once said, “Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other” (http://www.john-adams-heritage.com...).
Today the US is in a post Constitutional era while the ruling-class embraces a slow cancer known as the “living constitution,” and this cancer has metastasize. Today's Congress represents the lobbyist not the people, while the President, unconstitutionally, has a “pen and a phone” to make law, the administration branch (a fourth branch, not part of the Constitution's three branches) is made up of hundreds of departments (IRS, NSA, EPA, etc.). These departments employ hundreds of thousands of non-elected government employees, writing regulations having the same power as law, to control, monitor us, etc. Today, the people are essentially out of the loop, except on Election Day, and look what choices we have.
There are basic “universal, objective moral values” to keep a group or society civil that protects and embraces the individual's Unalienable Rights. For example: Thou shall not kill. Thou shall embrace their neighbor's Unalienable Rights. From a “universal” standpoint, thou shall strive, albeit imperfectly, to be virtuous; that is, restrained, ethical, and honorable, respecting and embracing the Unalienable Rights of others relative to those tested norms within one's culture.
From this “universal, objective moral” standpoint, society moves in the positive end of the spectrum towards the position of Life, Liberty, and Happiness (positive-feedback), otherwise, the position of Death, Tyranny, and Distress (negative-feedback) will be the outcome from moral ignorance.
Going back to the US example, we are currently in a soft tyranny moving towards a hard tyranny relative to our Constitutional founding that was to support and protect Unalienable Rights. Again, today the US is in a post-constitutional soft tyranny era. For example, if my Friend Con lives in the US, Con probably did something “illegal” today. If the government wants to incarcerate Con, or spoil Con's day, or freeze Con's bank accounts, etc., they could because there are so many laws on the books, on the average we commit 3 felonies a day.
As Lavrenti Beria, chief of Josef Stalin's secret police, once stated, “You bring me the man, I'll find you the crime” (http://www.qotd.org...).
Funny how many in the US, still feels they live in a free country. The price a nation pays for lack of moral education.
Objective, adjective :
not influenced by personal feelings, interpretations, or prejudice; based on facts; unbiased
relative worth, merit, or importance:
a just claim or title, whether legal, prescriptive, or moral
to turn away; transfer or divert
Pro seems to relentlessly provide examples which would promote Con's stance which is morality is all based on someone's point of view. There is no universal objective criteria that applies to all things which can be used to decide whether something is morally right or wrong. It all comes from ones own perspective and is nothing but an arbitrary idea until one controls the power to enforce his opinions on others. Pro states, "When social values keeps a society together, they are 'valuable'". They are only valuable to that particular society. Just because something is good for one person, doesn't mean it is universally good in general. From my point of view, it's good for me to survive, I admit, but I doubt cows, spinach plants, apple trees, wasps, ants, mice, moles, and bacteria would agree. All of these life forms are alienated from their "rights" to life by me, en mass, on a daily basis. If the promotion of life is morally correct, any life forms that require the consumption of other life forms is morally incorrect. It is a logical possibility that life could exist with out this necessity. Most plants do this just fine. I wonder if humans could synthesize a diet using methods that don't utilize any consumption of living things?
But that is irrelevant (just like the rant about the U.S. Government.) There is no criteria to judge right from wrong. If you want a law or to have any rights, you need power to enforce it, or it will cease to exist. In Hitler's mind, as well as that of his colleagues, many of his subjects, and many subsequent fans to this day, he was doing a morally good thing. The only objective criteria one can use to say he was morally wrong is that the opinions of a larger force differed from his, and they used their power to enforce their opinions, which ultimately led the the virtual extinction of his morality. No matter what, there were 2 opposing opinions at that point in time, the one with the more powerful force is the one history will say was morally just; and will have nothing but the outcome of the power struggle to justify that claim. If Hitler had the power to enforce his will, every living human today (or at least the consensus) would consider Hitler a hero; a champion of good.
I hate to keep bringing a deity into this as I wouldn't call myself a theist, but I must say if it weren't for my own selfish enjoyment of altruism and compassion, I would require a supreme god-like being offering some sort of eternal life to convince me of the value in morality. Because as of now, Pro has not convinced me that it would be morally wrong for me to obtain dominion over all living things simply for my own happiness. Once I die, how can I care? In fact, the world would have 100% less suffering if I just destroyed the entire solar system. Who could possibly care in the long run?
I'm glad Con finally put forward terms and definitions critical to his debate.
Objective: “... based on facts; unbiased.”
Value: “relative worth, merit, or importance...”
Con went on to say, “There is no universal objective criteria that applies to all things which can be used to decide whether something is morally right or wrong.”
“A universal objective criteria that applies to all” groups is the “universal objective moral value” of “thou shall not kill” each other within the group; otherwise, there is no group.
Since we have a diversity of separate social groups, having their own culture throughout the world and history, is testimony of clear empirical evidence of a “universal objective moral value, of “thou shall not kill” each other within the group.
Life outside the group, typically other species, is food to sustain the group--bon appetite!
Con went on to say, “In fact, the world would have 100% less suffering if I just destroyed the entire solar system.” A typical “Hitler” mentality in conquest to destroy other social groups with some self-proclaim righteous dogma.
How obtuse, a clear example of one who does not understand morality. Many are not “suffering,” in fact, having a great moral time, while keeping their social groups alive by not killing each other. Life is great!
"...the universal objective moral value of thou shall not kill each other within the group; otherwise, there is no group"
"...many are having a great moral time, while keeping their social groups alive by not killing each other"
I agree that the fact that killing a group leads the group to non-existence. My contention is that there is no criteria to say whether it is morally good/correct for the group to persist. Burden of proof is on Pro. I might actually contend that according to your definition of morality (any ideas that promote life), life on this planet (especially humans) is bad for life.
"Life outside the group, typically other species, is food to sustain the group -- bon appetite!"
I don't understand the criteria (besides selfishness) on which you say it is good for a group to survive, then glamorize the mass slaughter of another or even all other groups (as food), then you hypocritically refer to the "Hitler mentality" as an "obtuse" misunderstanding of morality. This is the opposite of a "universal" morality. This is also evidence that life on this planet is a "bad" sort of life. Even if you ignore the direct suffering of our food, the fact that we consume resources en mass as a direct result of our flourishing (or rather, over-populating, for all you realists), humans have never been able to agree on a universal moral code. If it is a natural property of nature, why are we relentlessly killing each other? Why are we destroying the habitability of the planet? We took cows, genetically modified them, and grow and harvest them like a crop. The results are constant and endless suffering of the cows, as well as the number one source of greenhouse gas; the collective bovine fart. The number of suffering plants and animals is far greater than the likely temporary happiness of humans. And as I said, this same logic can be applied to all creatures on this planet. Life is detrimental to life. You seemed to dismiss my hypothetical question of why I shouldn't destroy the solar system by saying that "many are not suffering". "Many are not suffering" is the same as saying "some are suffering". I reassert that 0 is less than "some", and 0 is the amount of suffering that would result in the destruction of the solar system while "some" multiplied by infinity equals infinite suffering. Are you saying that happiness for some is worth the suffering of others? Again, on what criteria?
"A typical Hitler mentality in conquest to destroy other social groups with some self-proclaim(ed) righteous dogma"
Self-proclaimed righteous dogma is the source of every idea concerning morality. And yet there are still many differing ideas on which is correct. Again I ask what is the criteria? Even if you say the criteria is what ever most reduces suffering, why is that morally good?
So far war is the only method of deciding who's "self-proclaimed dogma" is the correct one. This is hardly a universal, objective moral code. This is just a contest of strategy and resource control. Who ever has the biggest gun, is the one who is morally correct.
Why is the persistence of life (at least on earth) a morally good goal?
I see there is agreement with Pro's argument when Con stated, “It is already agreed that the human sense of morality facilitates our persistent survival. Can that case be finally closed?”
That “case” cannot be “closed” because that is the case that represents a “universal objective moral value,” that is, “Thou shall not kill” each other within a group, otherwise, there is no group.
This “universal objective moral value,” is found throughout many species. For example, the subtle nonverbal communication between a parent and infant is miraculous, and it flows through life's Unalienable Rights in harmonious inter-species symmetry. This symmetry is apparent when we hear the cries from the screeching chirps within a nest, to the whimpering pups in a den, to the cries of a human infant along with the feelings those sounds evoke; the sounds throughout the tree of life. In many species, a newborn cries instinctively, elevating its cry to a scream when something is wrong--such as hunger triggered by the genetically programmed need to pursue food. Among humans, the parent is instinctively annoyed or alarmed by this cry and, in distress, tries to seek mutual Happiness by catering to the infant's desires. In contrast, there is something quite pleasant about the sight of a smiling infant, as it naturally invites the sharing of Happiness. The behavioral difference between a smile and a cry are the tenets of right and wrong, the primitives of Morality.
Therefore, the cries throughout the tree of life is the stimulus for mutual Happiness between the parent and child group, in the “universal objective moral value” of “Thou shall not kill” your child, in order to preserve the parent-child relationship within the family group.
Without this “universal objective moral value,” humanity will not be here.
Con went on lamenting about: selfishness, mass slaughter, killing each other, greenhouse gas, genetically modified cows and crops, destroying the planet, etc. Ah the humanity!
Unbeknownst to Con, said lamenting is a morally good and natural activity within the context of a “universal objective moral value” in the evolution of group Happiness. Con's distress is input to the evolution of social group values moving the group in a better direction relative to Con, and others like Con.
Con stated, “Self-proclaimed righteous dogma is the source of every idea concerning morality.”
Con is confusing social values, beliefs (dogma) with morality. Morality is like a force in nature that brings life to a group via mutual positive-feedback between members within a group, which is the genesis of social values, beliefs, etc. Therefore, the “universal objective moral value,” that is, “Thou shall not kill” each other within a group, while embracing the Unalienable Rights of others, is the foundation to this moral force that keeps a group alive and civil.
This not universal or objective. It's only valuable to one group (if even that) and is constantly changing.
To end these circles we are going in, I will forfeit my final argument and leave you with a question that has been dodged for the past 4 rounds. Perhaps my next debate will focus more solely on this.
Why is life (especially human) on this planet a morally good thing? Why would it be morally bad for life to end, or better yet, to not ever have begun?
Please, leave out our obvious bias towards wanting to live. I understand that we have an instinct to survive and that we all enjoy doing it. But I'm hoping you will check that at the door, and try to think honestly about this from outside a biased viewpoint. I have provided plenty of evidence that it is likely even bad for everything as a whole.
One more interesting article I saw on face book that clearly demonstrates a huge example of my point.
Con posed an interesting question, “Why is life (especially human) on this planet a morally good thing?”
Con, like many others, is conflating the phrase, “a morally good thing,” with human side effects on nature which is an improper usage of the term morality. Morality is following social values that has been tried and tested throughout time benefiting the Unalienable Rights of others within a group, achieving group wide positive-feedback.
All life is part of nature and maintains a footprint within the environment of its existence. In time, its existence may change the course of other life or may be the cause of its own extinction. This is part of evolution. Human life is a natural event and part of nature; otherwise, we will not be here. Humans may be the first specie to understand this relationship and the concept of evolution.
There are symmetries throughout nature. For example, it is interesting to find a relationship when one morally follows a social value has the tendency in generating positive-feedback within a social group, to a similar relationship when one morally following the Laws of Nature has the tendency in generating positive-feedback throughout the human family.
For example, man's age-old objective of learning to fly like a bird. Historically, man attempted to achieve this objective by attaching wings to his limbs. These attempts were unsuccessful because nature's Laws of Aerodynamics decree that such a mode of flight is impossible for man. However, the Wright Brothers followed the Laws of Aerodynamics when they invented the airplane. Their invention, along with many others, showed that man can achieve amazing things when he morally follows the Laws of Nature in his pursuit of Happiness, providing positive-feedback throughout the human family.
With such understanding, the human family will have the natural tendency and the freedom to optimize the environment, working with the Laws of Nature, to improve the standard of living, and prolong human life in the pursuit of positive-feedback. Such positive-feedback is the fruits of technology, food production, and medicine, the stables of human existence throughout the world today. A compelling example of what happens when our Unalienable Rights are free to morally operate within the awesome machinery of nature.
Therefore, the Laws of Nature are “universal, objective moral values” that created life and life is a good thing. As humanity discovers and morally follows those “valuable” Laws in Nature results in positive-feedback throughout the human family.
In our modern age, understanding these “valuable” Laws in Nature became inseparable from human endeavor. For example, Con referenced some new research (http://www.iflscience.com...) pertaining to, “According to a new study, it's [human activities] 10 times worse than scientists previously thought with current extinction rates...” Con's reaction implies humanity is bad, reflecting Con's tone throughout this debate. On the other hand, Pro views this “new study” as a morally good activity for scientist to be concerned with our environment. Such research will develop new social values for humanity to morally follow, preserving the environment as humanity moves forward in evolution.
Pro thanks Con for bringing forward an important topic on the debating floor. Pro is stressing a different way to view morality, within the context of the Laws of Nature. Viewing morality from such a vantage point will give academia an option, in a respectful way, treat morality from a scientific perspective, complementing, and expanding morality from the monopoly of faith base organizations. Viewing morality, in this context, is from an improved understanding of evolution:
The symmetries of moral positive-feedback following social values and moral positive-feedback following the Laws of Nature, optimizes the human existence, as this human existence is a way for nature to see and experience itself.
Con's life is a piece of nature experiencing itself, as life is a vacation from nonexistence. Like all vacations, they are too short. In closing Pro wishes Con a long, healthy and enjoyable “Life,” striving for freedom (“Liberty”), in the moral “pursuit of Happiness.”
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by MasturDebatur 2 years ago
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Reasons for voting decision: Pro explained the pursuit of happiness is one main moral goal/value for everyone. Especially in the group. Therefore, there is a reason to value the well being of others, as Pro explained well. Con presented great arguments, though.
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