The Instigator
jonahofdeath
Pro (for)
Tied
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The Contender
frankfurter50
Con (against)
Tied
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There is no such thing as "right" and "wrong".

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 11/21/2016 Category: Philosophy
Updated: 1 week ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 328 times Debate No: 97249
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (16)
Votes (1)

 

jonahofdeath

Pro

There is no such thing as right and wrong. Everything is nurtured to you as a child, and every "right" and "wrong" is just something society, religion, or parents have created. We are not born with a moral code to think that "killing is bad" or "killing is good", or "stealing is bad" or "stealing is good".

Thinking as a moral nihilist, there are many ways to see that this is true. Other countries have different laws then us, which are "right" in their opinion. And who's to say they aren't?

Hitler and many of his Nazi followers thought he was doing good things. While we don't think he did good, does that give us the right to judge that being "right" or "wrong"? (I am not supporting Hitler, as I've grown up to thinking he is bad, if you are catching my drift).

If a bunch of people had their minds erased and were put on an island, their rules would for sure be different then ours, especially when we don't intercept their lives. There is reason behind what I am saying, and absolute "rights" and "wrongs" don't exist.
frankfurter50

Con

it seems that you favor complete anarchy, sir!

i am relatively positive that if "purge night" from those cheesy flicks was real, you would be wearing a horrifying white mask saying "love."

perhaps your obscure statement is true to foreign cultures, but that's precisely why those exotic nations are in constant turmoil. take the middle east for instance. they spend so much time in killing other people that they have barely any culture. and they don't know right from wrong.

we are told this as children because our parents were told this, and our parents' parents, and so on through the numerous eons of time.

perhaps this is true, perhaps "right" and "wrong" are only absurd concepts created by the bible two thousand years ago, but these absurd concepts have stood the test of time, haven't they? because killing and stealing are considered "wrong", the human race has continued. even if right and wrong is only an ethical system, you have to admit that it's worked darn well up to this point.
Debate Round No. 1
jonahofdeath

Pro

For one, I don't favor anarchy, because, like I've said before, I've grown up in a society where certain things are wrong. I will always think that killing and stealing is wrong, I even think swearing is wrong, even if any of these might not be.

For a second claim that you said:

"perhaps your obscure statement is true to foreign cultures, but that's precisely why those exotic nations are in constant turmoil."

This statement is a good example of how "morals" could have come to be. Maybe we made a "moral code" because a long time ago, when survival as a pack was a top priority, we needed rules. However, just because exotic nations are in constant turmoil, does it make it wrong to do certain things?

It is relatively all perspective. One rich or successful person might find stealing bad, but a poor, starving person might think it is okay to steal from a corrupt individual. And if killing is bad, where is the line? War? Animals? Our own earth?

The fact is, there is no line, because we make one up. If there was a line, why are people's morals different? Why aren't we all vegan if it is morally right? Or if it isn't, why are people vegan anyway?

And if you believe in survival of the fittest (if you don't, that's a pity), morals doesn't come into play. Stealing could have kept certain humans surviving and weaker ones dying, which could make up our healthy species today.

Why is swearing bad? Why is picking our noses bad? Why is burping bad?
They aren't, because they are made up by society.

Using that same logic, I can conclude:

Why is killing bad? Why is stealing bad? Why is animal brutality bad?
They aren't, because they are made up by society.

That concludes my idea, and I hope you see reason in what I'm saying, especially since it is reasonable.
frankfurter50

Con

i can see that you are well educated, jonahofdeath.

let's go back to your earlier comment about the mind erased people on the island. is this really any different from the existence of early man? early man did not know what came before, what was going on, or what was going to happen. yet over three hundred thousand years, he created the morals and laws you see today. surely the mind erased people would have a similar scenario: if one mep (mind-erased person) had two coconuts, and another mep stole one, the first mep might realize that he had less. his mind would want two coconuts. and he would conclude that the second mep was doing something "wrong." if the first mep killed the second mep, he might realize that the second mep was gone forever, never to return. he would logically think this as strange, and assume it was "wrong." eventually these mind-erased people would form a society similar to our own, with currency and penalties for murder. humans have these instincts, you cannot deny that.

some actions are less "wrong" than others. i will admit that. for instance, burping is hardly killing someone.

i believe that society developed these rules because they are what kept us alive. a society of thieves and murderers would collapse immediately. i think that there is such a thing as evil, and people who endorse it, such as hitler, are breaking the civil practice of millennia.

right and wrong are only concepts. you cannot hold them. but they do exist. if there were no right or wrong, as you propose, humans would have no opinions. opinions are based on right and wrong. we have opinions, therefore the concepts of right and wrong exist.
Debate Round No. 2
jonahofdeath

Pro

You state:

"if one mep (mind-erased person) had two coconuts, and another mep stole one, the first mep might realize that he had less. his mind would want two coconuts. and he would conclude that the second mep was doing something "wrong." if the first mep killed the second mep, he might realize that the second mep was gone forever, never to return."

To respond to that, the mep who's coconut got stolen would have thought it "wrong", but the one who stole it clearly didn't have a problem with doing it. Clearly the second mep doesn't have "morals", but who's morals are we basing this scenario on? The stereotypical American moral code? or that of the second mep? And what gives us the right to say what is "right" and "wrong"?

And what if the mep who stole it was starving? Would it be bad then? Or would it be survival? (Which could happen on that island).

I feel as if your comment here is supporting my theory:

"he would logically think this as strange, and assume it was 'wrong'."

This is my idea; that "good and bad" is all perspective. the mep would think it was strange, and HE himself would assume it to be wrong. Or would he? Can we honestly know, as indoctrinated as we are in a world today that teaches us certain things are wrong?

"i believe that society developed these rules because they are what kept us alive. a society of thieves and murderers would collapse immediately."

You are completely right in this statement, I see you are as well educated as I am. you are completely right. But then why is there still war (which is murdering), and why do some people think war is still dignified?

Because there is no such things as morals in a universal sense.

" i think that there is such a thing as evil, and people who endorse it, such as hitler, are breaking the civil practice of millennia."

And who are we to say that he is breaking the civil practice of millennia? Did we get the right to make up a "civil practice of millennia"? Who made it up? We did.

And finally:
"if there were no right or wrong, as you propose, humans would have no opinions. opinions are based on right and wrong. we have opinions, therefore the concepts of right and wrong exist."

Humans do have opinions, but only because we are a slave to society. Whether you realize it or not, your opinions are not your own. Everyone is impacted by each other, by religion, lifestyles, and, yes, morals. We only have opinions because our society gives us these opinions. This explains why people have different opinions in there different societies. Why would other places have different opinions as us if we have universal concepts of right and wrong?

My position still stands, and I feel like I have explained close to as well as I can.
frankfurter50

Con

sir, i truly agree that culture impacts us. however, we have our own personalities, therefore, culture does not completely decide who we are. we can create our own opinions based on our own conceptions. besides, "society" is only composed of people like ourselves, who form their own opinions and then broadcast them to the world.

people sometimes try to change what is right and what is wrong. an example of this would be hitler. he clearly knew what right and wrong were, and yet he chose to form his own opinion. he was incorrect, of course. right and wrong are iron cast laws which, when changed, result in damage. you cannot look at history and notice an example contrary to this. rebellion always causes damage to people or places.

allow me to present my theory in a simple way. when there is existence, there is time. where there is time, choices are made. choices contain two paths or more. some paths work better than others. hitler losing is better than hitler winning. people staying alive is better than people dying. people keeping their possessions is better than those possessions being robbed. not burping is better than burping. normally, our conceptions of "right" follow the better path. our conceptions of "wrong" follow the worse path. these concepts are simply what makes sense.

i await your final argument.
Debate Round No. 3
jonahofdeath

Pro

Do we have our own personalities? Of course we don't. A person growing up as the youngest child of five, will tend to be more of an extrovert. A person who grows up in a "corrupt" household will tend to be more hostile. A child who is taught that everyone is evil if they are different then you will be shy, or very egotistical. As a baby, we don't have a set of personalities that automatically defines us; it is the world around us that gives us the way we think, and the way we act in different situations.

Because society is only composed of people like ourselves, they form THEIR OWN opinions. What makes their opinions right? Why do they get to say what is right and wrong?They don't because it is there opinion. Opinions aren't facts, which concludes that "rights" and "wrongs" aren't facts, but opinions.

I don't believe Hitler knew he was doing wrong. He wanted to blame his countries defeat in the first world war on Jews. He believed what he was doing was right. And if he knew it was wrong, why would he do it? If you know something is wrong, but you do it anyway out of impulse, clearly "right" and "wrong" doesn't exist, otherwise it would stop people from doing evil things.

Your theory is riveting, but I find many flaws in your idea.
Would you kill a little boy to help five others? Would that make it right?
You can't decide. There is no choice in that. Morally speaking, that gives you justification to kill the boy. There it stands once again that morality is relative.

People keeping their food and supplies is better, but is it better if everyone around them is dying from starvation? Is it okay to keep all that food from the starving people? There it stands once again that morality is relative.

Not burping is better than burping... in our society. Asian etiquette displays that burping is polite, and means that the chef has done something good with food. Does that make burping wrong because American etiquette said so? No.

This is my theory. We are slaves to society. Everything we do is because society indoctrinates us to do so. People living in bad conditions will tend to do bad things. People that live in close-minded conditions will tend to be close-minded. People that live in loving conditions will tend to be loving to others. Just proof of personality. Morality is relative. In all cases, if morality was absolute, we wouldn't have high school classes on bio-ethics, psychology, and sociology. But we do. Morality is relative.

Morality changes depending on society, which concludes that morality is formed from society.
frankfurter50

Con

jonahofdeath, i do admit that right and wrong are man-made concepts. however, nearly all concepts and ideals are. the world we perceive has sprung from the brains of the human race.

your query on perspective, "would you kill a five year old child to help five others?" is a foolish and ridiculous statement. perspective does not matter in terms of ethics. it does not matter how much a murder will help five people. evil is evil. even if those five people were in a situation where they were about to die, i would simply ask them, "why does a child need to die in order for you to live?" cases such as this are rare in today's civilized world.

now let's look at your argument on the environment a child is brought up in. this argument is trivial at best. a child's environment doesn't cause who the child will be. it depends on whether the child will accept this environment or refuse it. in a fictional world where your statement was law, hitler would not be hated by millions, because he was brought up in a family of fascists. alfred packer would not be accused of cannibalism, simply because he was brought up in a family of cannibals. o.j. simpson would not be accused of murder because he was brought up by a family of murderers. and jared fogel would not be accused of being a pedophile, because he was brought up by a family of pedophiles. your theorem does away with responsibility and lets mentally ill people off the hook, simply because of their environment.

many famous people did away with their environments and grew the legacies you see today. shakespeare was only a pauper in his childhood. the wright brothers were simple working class people. harry houdini was once a beggar. paul revere was just a blacksmith. but they all transcended those environments and became legends.

in many wars, there has been a side with reasonable ideals of right and wrong and a side with less reasonable ideals of right and wrong.

american revolution:
good: us. we did away with tyranny and taxes, and started a grand new country.
bad: england. taxing nearly everything we loved, and ordering us to house grimy soldiers, this two-bit island was clearly wrong.

civil war:
good: the north. yankees quickly understood that slavery was a depraved and immoral practice, and gave the hicks from georgia a real fight to end it.
bad: the south. bloodthirsty savages who treated humans like cattle.

world war one:
good: us, france, britain, japan, russia, and italy. we quickly understood that nazis were evil.
bad: germany and turkey. fascist countries with maniacal plots.

world war two:
good: us, britain, and france. we conquered the nazis once more.
bad: germany, italy, and japan. they apparently didn't learn their lesson, so they stepped up again, this time with three evil tyrants.

jonahofdeath, right and wrong are real, perspective doesn't matter, and the laws we have are set for a good reason. without the concepts of right or wrong, the world would be complete chaos. you cannot deny that. my argument stands. i await to see the winner.
Debate Round No. 4
16 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by canis 1 week ago
canis
Whatever...Black friday...right?
Posted by canis 1 week ago
canis
You are small or tall..Right ?
Posted by canis 1 week ago
canis
No.no.NO.... Two feet small...
Posted by liam2002 1 week ago
liam2002
-->
right
Posted by liam2002 1 week ago
liam2002
"I am two feet tall" This is wrong this is right
Posted by frankfurter50 1 week ago
frankfurter50
saying that right and wrong should always work is like saying that popcorn should exist everywhere in the universe.

if right and wrong always worked, then everything would be perfect, and therefore they would not exist. these rules must be broken occasionally in order for them to be reasonable concepts.
Posted by canis 1 week ago
canis
I do not think that universal moral principles exist....That is how we explain our wars.
Posted by canis 1 week ago
canis
I do think that universal "right/wrong" exist....That is why we have wars.
Posted by binkshimself 1 week ago
binkshimself
I don't think that examples of people not upholding said universal moral principles is enough of an argument to say they don't exist.
Posted by canis 1 week ago
canis
It is "right" to kill your "enemy". It is "wrong" to kill your "freind" ??. It is "wrong" to kill. It is "right" to kill. To the nazis it would be "wrong" not to kill the jews. To the jews and others it was "right" to kill the nazis..Right/wrong is a relative of "curcumstances".." Ideas"..."Dreams".."evolution".."survivel"...I-us-them.
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by datGUUYY 1 week ago
datGUUYY
jonahofdeathfrankfurter50Tied
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Reasons for voting decision: Both sides had good spelling, grammar, and neither side needed sources. I would give the "convincing arguments" to jonahofdeath, but that probably includes my own bias. With ideas like these, both sides could make good debates and the debate could go nowhere. Noone forfeited, and the arguments were close enough that I couldn't find myself voting one way or the other. I just don't want to see this debate go without getting any votes.