The Instigator
bitterherbs
Pro (for)
Losing
4 Points
The Contender
EndarkenedRationalist
Con (against)
Winning
7 Points

Without God there can be no absolute morals.

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 2 votes the winner is...
EndarkenedRationalist
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 11/30/2013 Category: Philosophy
Updated: 2 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 1,066 times Debate No: 41449
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (2)
Votes (2)

 

bitterherbs

Pro

I would like to start out by defining morality. I don't mean morals that help you, like Aristotle's. Because any egoistic moral code is circumstantial, and therefore not absolute. I am talking specifically about Kantian, Utilitarian, or any other altruistic moral system. These systems claim that you should act out of someone else's best interest, instead of your own. They both are based on the idea that we are all equals, and should look as if from a third perspective at our own action.
This is false. If there is no God and no after life then the only person you can really know is yourself. Other people although they almost for sure do exist, they don't really exist from your perspective. A good way to look at this from here may be mathematically. You take the amount of goodness that happens to a person and multiply that by how much they exist. A person exists to the extent that you experience them. So if your good friend suffers you can somewhat experience that, and it causes you an empathetic pain. It is unlikely that it would be worth killing your best friend for a cheap pair of shoes. It would cause you a large amount of grief because you know them pretty well, and only a little happiness. Now suppose there is some child in China dying in a sweat shop to make you this pair of shoes. If you spend the extra money for fair trade shoes, then you won't be able to afford a coffee. Now you know almost nothing about this Chinese child and you will likely not even notice that they die. On the other hand that coffee can make your whole morning nicer. The obvious choice is to get the cheap shoes and the coffee. The amount you can experience yourself is orders of magnitude than how much you can experience a friend, and the amount you can experience a friend is orders of magnitude more than you experience a stranger you never meat.
Here comes the big assumption of my argument. I assume that you as a person would like to have as good as an experience as possible. I think this is a safe assumption, because most of what we do either directly or indirectly is aimed at this goal. In addition we enjoy it when we are having a good experience, and we get upset when we are not. Most things we do are aimed at this goal, Aristotle says that everything we do is aimed at happiness, but I won't even go that far. Think about what you do, whether it be working, studying, playing, eating, going to sleep, listening to music . These are all aimed at the goal of improving your experience. Now I will grant that some acts are truly altruistic, but many are actually disguised forms of self gratification. When people give to charity, help a homeless person, or work at a food kitchen, these people admit that it makes them feel good to help others.
To summarize my argument.
1 Some Immorality is a cause of happiness.
2 All causes of happiness are good(what you want).
3 Some Immorality is good(what you want).
A commonly made argument for morality is that you are no more valuable than any other person. To their perspective this certainly is true. But to your perspective you should know that this is not true. When a tornado is coming do you hope that it hits you and misses the next block, or would you rather it hit them? There are a rare few that have bought into equality so much that they do not value themselves over anyone else, and a difference in values is not something you can be argued out of. It is more of a persuasion than anything. In fact, It may be futile to even argue this debate, but an exchange of perspectives is always interesting.
Now in the past there has always been an argument to convince anyone who didn't believe in morals to accept morality. That has been the everlasting torture or bliss of the afterlife. These arguments do make for a good reason to be good. If you notice though they are solely based on a power structure. A power structure is really the only thing that could convince an amoralist to act morally. Now that there is no absolute power structure there can be no absolute imposition of morality, and good and evil are reduced to subjective valuations of the world.
Some of the words I used can be ambiguous, so here are some definitions. They are from dictionary.com
Amoralist: someone who adheres to the doctrine that ordinary moral distinctions are invalid.
moral: expressing or conveying truths or counsel as to right conduct, as a speaker or a literary work.
Absolute: As opposed to relative (listed as an antonym)
I would also like to pose this argument as a question. If there will be no punishment for my action and I will enjoy it, then why shouldn't I do it?

For this debate I would say that the Burden of Proof should be shared. Because my position is a rejection of another position, but I will make positive arguments because the position I reject is the statis qou for most people.
EndarkenedRationalist

Con

I would like to welcome my opponent and extend my hope for a great debate!

I will seek to refute my opponent's arguments before presenting my main point.

My opponent qualifies his argument to "altruistic" moral systems. I do not therefore have to argue other systems of morality (such as Objectivism, for example.) I retain the right to use them, however. My opponent instead attacks utilitarianism.

Utilitarianism can be viewed as people doing something because it produces the most total happiness [1]. It is false to explain it as my opponent did. Acting for the happiness of everyone does not necessarily require suffering on the individual's part. It is still possible for the individuals to be happy in a utilitarian system. However, because the opposite is possible, most utilitarian systems instead operate under doing something (or not) because of its good (or bad) consequences [1]. But because good and bad are relative to people, utilitarianism is not an absolute moral.

My opponent begins by claiming that people cannot be equal because everyone will look only from his or her own perspective. To each individual, another individual will never be considered equally, and it takes the presence of a third perspective (God) to understand the equality between the first two. I believe this is my opponent's basic argument, and I hope he will correct me if I am mistaken.

I find a few problems with this claim. My opponent states that, "if there is no God and no afterlife, then the only person you can really know is yourself." My opponent attempts to create a link between knowledge and equality. I reject this link. Just because I know myself better than I know someone else, that does not mean I am superior to them. Why should my perspective be placed before theirs? There is a step missing in my opponent's argument.

My opponent asserts that "a person exists to the amount you experience them." I find fault with this claim as well, aside from the fact that my opponent continues elevating an individual's viewpoint above others without grounds to do so. If a tree falls in the forest and nobody is around to hear it, does it make a sound? Science would tell us that it does. Likewise, we know that there are approximately 7 billion people on this planet (common knowledge). I've never seen that many - does that mean they don't exist? I've never met Steve Jobs or former President George Washington. Do they not exist? Or does having indirect experience with them (textbooks, for example) count? If it does, then this is inconsistent with your other arguments.

Before I go further, I should explain my position on individual viewpoints and perspectives in relation to my opponent. My opponent falsely assumes that God is necessary to consider people as equals. Why God? Why can't a third person, a neutral party, or someone with authority, like a judge or magistrate, hold this position? Let us say, for the purposes of this argument, that Person A and B are in an argument, and person C has to resolve it. Person C has never met A or B and knows nothing about them. Why can't (s)he be that third perspective?

"It is unlikely that it would be worth killing your best friend for a cheap pair of shoes." True. I don't think God's existence has any impact on this. You feel empathy for your friends regardless of whether or not God exists and absolute morals exist. You would also be unlikely to kill a stranger or, to use your example, a boy in China for a cheap pair of shoes. There are not many people who would knowingly kill someone for cheap shoes. Your examples are not equivalent.

Your assumption is that individual people "would like to have as good an experience as possible." I agree that this is a reasonable assumption. I do not see what this has to do with God being the only source of absolute morality.

Whether an action is altruistic or motivated by self-interest is irrelevant to the resolution because, again, it does not relate to God being the only source of absolute morality.

"1. Some immorality is a cause of happiness." Naturally. But happiness to whom? A pedophile is happy having sexual relations with a child. Most of society agrees that this is immoral. But if it is good to the individual, then you argument seems to support it.

"2. All causes of happiness are good (what you want.)" Refer to my previous counterpoint. No, all causes of happiness are not good. The value of a society cannot be the happiness of every individual person. People necessarily have to sacrifice some of their happiness in order to receive the benefits of society. If a murderer is happy killing people, this is not good for society, and is not a good cause of happiness. However, again, society does not need God to say that murder is immoral. For example, Japan is one of the most atheistic countries, with around 31% of the population being atheist [2], and yet it has a low and declining murder rate [3]. Note I am not arguing that religion causes murder and atheism causes it to decline. I am saying that, if my opponent's resolution is true and God is required for absolute morals, then Japan should have a much higher homicide rate than it does.

"3. Some immorality is good (what you want)." Again, why value the self above everyone else, and what does God have to do with that?

My opponent is correct in his later analysis. From an objective standpoint, you are no more valuable than anyone else. Why does your perspective negate this? If everyone around you believes you will get wet if you jump in a river and you do not believe that, does your perspective negate all of theirs? I don't understand why my opponent keeps using this argument and what God has to do with it.

I think my opponent's power structure argument harms his case. If you are forcing morality upon people, does that make it absolute morality? Obviously not. If it was absolute, it would not have to be forced because everyone would accept it. And that is why, as part of my central premise, even with the existence of God, there is no absolute morality. All morality is subjective to the individual. It is no more morally correct to practice Objectivism (Ayn Rand's selfishness is a virtue) than Utilitarianism (the most happiness for the most people).

To answer my opponent's question - there are many reasons why you still should not do it. (Before I get to those, again, why does the punishment have to be from God? What about legal punishment? I do not have to argue against the existence of God, but if I successfully divorce Him from the resolution, my opponent's arguments become invalid.) For example, let's say you were a cattle farmer, and you let all your cattle devour everything from a common grazing area. This brings you and them happiness. However, it destroys the common area and prevents others from eating there. So what, you might say. You still reaped the benefits. But then, after repeated processes, the commons no longer provides the nourishment. You've lost a valuable ground for resources by valuing yourself over everyone else. (This type of experiment is called the Tragedy of the Commons [4], and it applies well to global warming today). You were not punished for your actions, which made you happy, but they made you and everyone else suffer in the long run.

Most of my opponent's arguments also lost the idea of God, which is central to his resolution. I ask the voters to note this.

I look forward to my opponent's responses in the next round.

[1] http://web.nmsu.edu...
[2] http://www.huffingtonpost.com...
[3] http://www.globalpost.com...
[4] http://www.princeton.edu...
Debate Round No. 1
bitterherbs

Pro

Ok I am going to go down the flow and respond. Numbering will be based on the paragraphs
4. Utilitarianism that also helps you could just be considered egoism. The moment that you make a sacrifice for another person or a group is when you become altruistic or utilitarian. All else is just a form of social egoism. Egoism is in effect what I am arguing for, so if an action helps you and happens to help someone else. Then that is fine.
4. Utilitarianism could be absolutely right if an omnipotent god deemed it absolutely right. But under any other circumstance it isn't.
5. This presumes that I think all people are from some third view equally valuable. I do not. My main argument is that you are the only thing/person that you can really know even exists. You experience only your own happiness. And without any kind of afterlife there is no reason to help others, because it won't make your experience any better. Keep in mind that happy feeling you get from helping is considered helping yourself.
6. Your mind is its own universe. In this universe you are not the most superior person. You are the only person, unless of course there is a God/afterlife. This is why you are superior to other people, because there are no other people in the universe where you live. Their perspectives may and most likely do exist, but not to your mind. To the earth/cosmos nothing exists. So unless there is some perspective that links us we are forever separate in our own little worlds.
6. If you chose to hope that other perspectives are real then try to help them, and assume that it worked, then I can't prove you're doing something wrong. All I can say is that if you are hurting yourself, and wasting your very short life. It is in effect like helping an AI that says thank you and smiles.
7. If there were no humans what color would the world be? None. When you die what happens to the world? It ends.
7. I believe in the outside universe. And my best theory for other people is that they have perspectives just like I do. Though this is not true in the case of certain mental disorders like schizophrenia. But I all of these things are only shadows of what is really there. If something is really there. Therefore any law that I receive from the shadows is still a law of shadows, and it is not binding on me, and there is or absolute truth to it.
8. For A C is just as unreal/not experienced as B. A God by definition is omnipotent, so his laws could be as real as the color blue on my computer screen. This is an argument often made by believers against moral nihilism, and the reason why I included God in the resolution.
9. The whole point is that the chinese boy who dies because you didn't buy fair trade coffee is far removed from your mind, and therefore doesn't matter. If people had to know who they were killing then they would have experienced him more, and would probably assign some empathy to him. Also my argument is not that people do kill people through markets or other removed situations,(even though they do unknowingly) but rather that they might as well.
10. I am setting up an argument to act immorally sometimes. If you should act immorally then morality is not only not absolute but wrong.
11. If an action is done in self interest then you are not obeying an absolute moral, but a relative situation. Kant says this when he claims that an action that you enjoy cannot be good.
12. This is my argument precisely. The epicurean response to a child molester is to say bummer that what you want is so hard to get and will likely to cause you suffering. But if you could get away with it and feel fine afterwards then go for it. This is a great example of how morality cannot be absolute. To the pedophile pedophilia is good. And he doesn't have to care about what society thinks about it. But society can think it pedophilia is bad. And they don't have to care about what the pedophile thinks. Who is right, well it depends who you ask. So ultimately no one is right.
13. A group of people could never hold this view because the group itself lacks a perspective, but all of the individuals could hold this. (This would probably be a bad thing, but I don't know maybe forced preferences aren't neccissary.) Sacrifice for your ultimate good is not a moral act. I would suggest that you kill this murderer, but to say what he is doing is wrong is meaningless. It could after all be right for him. Society can say murder is immoral, but without the divine all they are really saying is" boo murder. We don't like that"
14 Extend my second argument on seven.
15. If there were an objective standpoint then you wouldn't be more valuable. But your perspective is the only one there is. From your perspective you are inherently more valuable than all others, due to how real you are. I do not reject that the outside world exists, just that it is irrelevant outside of what we can perceive. The water you don't believe in becomes relevant only once it forces itself into your perspective via sense data.
16. If you absolutely force it everywhere then yes. I mean like morality is forced upon you like breathing or seeing is forced on you. The fact that you can be immoral I think proves this is not the case. I agree that neither of these moral systems are morally superior, only because of my meta disbelief in morals.
I would like to point out that I do not reject the possibility of a lack of absolute morality with a God, only I thought that it may be possible. I being an atheist didn't want to debate over morality in a world with God. So I simply added without God. Sorry for the confusion the resolution does almost imply that there is absolute morality in a world with God.
BTW I am not an objectivist. I much prefer Nietzsche or Epicurus. But Ayn Rand's vocabulary is useful for this debate topic.
17 An appeal to the consequences of my argument is not an appeal to morality. You are saying that in the long run I will not enjoy my action. I certainly concede that Aristotelian style ethics are fine, but they are circumstantial and all hinge on whether a "bad" action will cause you happiness in the long run. This is prudence not morality. In your scenario you are valuing your present self, which you can do if you don't care about your future self. If you do want to be happy in the future though it would be unwise to be so rude to your neighbors. A moral scenario must not be based on the consequences for you, but for others. If it only made everyone else suffer in the long run, then you should do it. And that would be a prudent selfish and according to some an immoral act.
God is not central to the resolution I wanted to debate within an atheistic framework. Otherwise if I would end up in an is there a God debate.
Sorry I don't use a lot of sources. A lot of the stuff I know about Kant and Descartes are from lectures that I listened to months ago, so if you find that I misrepresent them then please say so.
Thank you for the so far very stimulating debate. You sir kept me up until 3 a.m. because I was so Interested.
EndarkenedRationalist

Con

My opponent states that "utilitarianism that also helps you could just be considered egoism." According to my first source from the previous round, this is false. It states that "the egotist really only cares about his own happiness" while utilitarian theory believes that "everyone's happiness counts equally." I don't see a need to cite this source again.

There are many different types of egoism. Psychological egoism claims that each person's only aim is his or her own welfare. Normative forms make claims about what people ought to do. Ethical egoism, which seems closest to my opponent's resolution, is that it is necessary for an action to be morally right to maximize self-interest. And rational egoism believes that an action must be rational to maximize self-interest [1]. Would my opponent mind clarifying which aspect of egoism he supports and - in accordance with the resolution - how it requires God to be an absolute moral? My opponent again seems to forget his resolution - without God, there are no absolute morals. Therefore, if my opponent is arguing against the existence of God, he is arguing against egoism being an absolute moral just as much as he is against utilitarianism. If my opponent is arguing for the existence of God, then he has to establish egoism as God's absolute moral. This is not a debate of egoism versus utilitarianism (though I would love to see such a debate).

My opponent claims that utilitarianism can only be absolutely right if "an omnipotent God deemed it absolutely right." This argument applies to egoism as well.

My opponent states that "you are the only thing/person you can really know even exists." I find several faults with this assertion. My interactions with other people prove they exist. When I hand in a paper to a professor, I know he or she is not a figment existing in my mind. When I order from a restaurant or participate in a job interview, I know the same. When I see news reporters on television and footage from people suffering in the Middle East, I know they exist. When I read a history textbook or a visit a museum, I know the things I'm reading about and seeing really occurred. I cannot see or hear gravity, but scientifically, I know it exists. Scientific evidence trumps individual perceptions.

On happiness - if you gain happiness from helping others, then it does make sense to help other people, even without the existence of an afterlife. Whether or not people are motivated by a sense of self-interest has no bearing on God's existence being necessary for absolute morals unless my opponent connects the two. Thus far, he has failed to do so.

In response to my opponent's response to (6), I have to ask - why can God exist in your mind, your own universe, but other people cannot? Additionally, I am aware of other people's perspectives even without God. You are aware of my perspective right now - we are on a debate website arguing our perspectives. Your mind necessarily needs to incorporate the perspectives and notions of other people unless you live in complete isolation which, in this day in age, practically nobody does. The Association of International Product Marketing and Management states that the lives of humans "depend on other humans" [2]. When not just our interactions but our lives connect and link together, one can hardly claim with validity that other perspectives and people do not exist within your mind.

My opponent says "to the earth/cosmos, nothing exists." The earth and cosmos are not sentient. Nothing exists to them because they are incapable of recognizing existence.

My opponent then describes the perspectives of others existing as shadows. This contradicts several of his earlier points regarding their non-existence, and I urge the voters to note this. If he does not heed any "laws" received from these "shadows," why should anyone do so from a God? Is this not the same sentiment? Additionally, how does this apply to the laws of society - laws made to other people? If they are their perspectives do not exist or do not have to be heeded, we would have chaos.

I find it interesting that my opponent indirectly argues that God is more realistic and believable (though we have no evidence of his existence) than the people we physically can see, touch, and interact with. How can God be more real to person A than person C is?

In response to the Chinese boy, I re-affirm my earlier point - if a tree falls in the forest and nobody hears it, does it make a sound? My opponent's argument is no, it does not, because nobody experienced it. But this does not make the event any less real.

The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines morality as beliefs about what is right and wrong behavior [3]. My opponent can believe that it is morally better to act for your own interest, and I can believe that it is morally better to act for the interest of others (and we can agree that if it benefits yourself, so much the better). My argument is not that one position is superior - that is irrelevant to the resolution. My argument is that the existence of God has no bear on the absoluteness or relativity of these morals. I do not believe absolute morals can exist even with a God.

Which God? Why are the morals of the Christian God more absolute than those of the Muslim God? Of Zeus? Of Thor? And if God's morals are absolute, why doesn't everyone accept and obey them?

Why can't an action you enjoy be good? Ayn Rand's entire philosophy as revealed in Atlas Shrugged and the Fountainhead is that selfish is a virtue and the only moral way to act. In fact, Ayn Rand openly criticizes religion for advocating altruism.

Is my opponent advocating the views of the pedophile over not only society but the child? Here is a breach in my opponent's argument. If the happiness of the pedophile conflicts with the happiness of the child, who wins out? This also applies to murder. The murderer's happiness conflicts with his victim's, but neither - if we adopt my opponent's reasoning - exist to the other. In this instance, it would make more sense to choose the avenue more beneficial to society.

My opponent drops his forced perspective argument.

"Sacrifice for your ultimate good is not a moral act." Sacrifice for your own good is a relative moral act.

"If there were an objective standpoint then you wouldn't be more valuable." I believe there can be. Humans are capable of thinking outside of themselves even without the existence of God.

I repeat that your perspective on your reality is then negated by scientific evidence.

My tragedy of the commons appeals to prudence and morality. To an egotist, it makes sense to use all of the resource now, or at least to maximize his or her benefits from it.

How can a moral scenario suddenly concern others when they do not exist or are only shadows? This is a contradiction in my opponent's argument.

"I would like to point out that I do not reject the possibility of a lack of absolute morality with a God." My opponent concedes his entire resolution here. His reasons for adding God attempt to minimalize God's relevance, but because of the resolution, God is central to this debate. If my opponent concedes this point, then I win the debate. I took this debate because of God's centrality within the resolution. If my opponent wanted to debate within an "atheistic" framework, God should not have been part of the resolution. Otherwise all my opponent and I can really do is agree on the relativity of morality.

You are welcome for the stimulating debate! I'm finding it quite enjoyable as well. I look forward to round 3!

[1] http://plato.stanford.edu...
[2] http://www.aipmm.com...
[3] http://www.merriam-webster.com...
Debate Round No. 2
bitterherbs

Pro

Without God there can be no absolute morality. This statement says nothing about what there would be if there was a God. I have my own objections to objective morality in a world with God. If there is a God well then maybe there could be some form of objective morality. After all God simplifies many problems. Life has a meaning with God, There would be an absolute enforcer with God, God could make himself known to us or as the Christians put it reveal the natural law to everyone. I think all of these things are ridiculous because they rely on the premise of God's existing. The resolution is asking everyone to suppose there is no God, and then my argument is that there can be no absolute morality in this world. Whether there can be an absolute morality in a world without God is a matter of theology. And I will let the Christians decide what they want to believe about their own god.
*Note when I say Christians I potentially mean any believer, but Christianity is the only religion I know well enough to talk about. I would be uncomfortable assuming things to be true of any other religion.
I would like to note that the opposition has yet to give any evidence of an absolute morality. The closest he came to this was his appeal to emotion about the pedophile, but an emotion even if it is shared by everyone still is not an absolute moral. One day a person could still come along and say that Pedophilia is good. And there could be no way to show that he is wrong except by appealing to some stronger value he has.
If there is no God then we live in an uncaring universe with no absolute goal or moral code to achieve that goal. As far as we know the universe doesn't know or care that we are here. This statement itself is personifying it too much. for a crystal to break another crystal. Or a lion to hunt a gazelle. The only difference with people is that we are complex enough structures that we care what happens to us. Care about other people if you want to, but to say that it is wrong to not care about other people is really just revealing what you think about it. There is no absolute authority. There may be punishment for an action, or there may not be. The world is absurd like that. An appeal to human nature for morality is still just a bunch of people agreeing that they don't like something.
Now I will do the Line by line Numbering will be based on spaces b/w paragraphs
1.My point was that if you're goal is to help yourself you are acting egoistically whether it helps other people or not. The difference between egoism and utilitarianism is when you make a decision that hurts your self interest.
2.My egoism is non normative. I would suggest that other people be egoistic, but I don't make any claim that egoism is right unless you can call good for you right. The egoism I support is only for me. It is all about me when it comes to egoism. If someone else wants to be egoistic I say go for it. My egoism doesn't require anything to be absolute because there are no absolutes. An absolute normative ethical egoism is a contradiction in itself. My position is there is no God and there are no absolute morals.
3.Egoism can't be absolutely right, it is subjective by nature.
4.I will take the assumption with you that the world is real. The people you see are still objects to you. But you and PERHAPS a god or some other nonphysical being can be real to you like you are. You cannot feel another person's emotions or think their thoughts. The only connection your minds have to each other is through sense data by means of the world. They are objects of your perception like everything else as complex as they may be. Therefore you may chose to care about them or you may not but there is no obligation deemed to us by the universe to treat other people well.
5.I'm not arguing for God but against morality. Even though many Christians make this argument too.
6.Because God is made up and doesn't have to follow the laws of physics, or logic. I see the results of your perspective and I do assume you have a perspective but you are still an object in my world. You can like other people and have friends without thinking that there is some absolute duty you have to them. Are you putting in quotations just for the votes, because that was the most unwarranted argument ever. "depend on other humans" Quotes should articulate your point well or have some authority in the field. What is the difference between our lives and our interactions linking together?
7.This is my point.
8.Nonexistence to you means they don't have thoughts in your mind. You don't feel their emotions they are objects in the world that you can perceive just like a rock or a dog or a computer. The difference lies in the complexity. They shouldn't there are no absolute morals if there is no God. The resolution does not imply that if there was a God that there would be absolute morality. A lack of God is sufficient for a lack of absolute morality but not necessary for it. It is a basic if then logical argument. Saying that the results of something being believed would be bad is not a refutation of whether it is correct. I obey laws only if it is beneficial for me to do so.
9.I am not arguing that God is more real. The concept is nonsense to me. But maybe if a God existed he could get in your head, that is after all what prayer is supposed to be. You and God could feel the same things and think the same thoughts. Humans have a basic disconnect from each other but a God may not.
10.If a Chinese boy dies and you don't know about it does it affect you? No. Assuming there is no butterfly affect. If reality is the world as you experience it then yes it does make it less real. If you had to feel their pain then I would say don't let them die. But if you get off scot free then you may as well buy the cheaper shoes.
11.My argument is that there is no absolute value to judge morality by. If "absolute morals can't exist even with a God" then the resolution is true and there are no absolute morals.
12.This would be a good question for a theologian or a believer. All I am saying is that made up rules are game changers so I don't have a position when it comes to a universe with a God.
13.Well selfishness can be good for you but it can't be morally right in an absolute way. It depends on what you value.
14.In the world whoever has the most power wins out. I am advocating not saying either is objectively right. I wouldn't like a pedophile, but he has to make his own choices. Societies can make theirs too like the death penalty or jail. If you were the murderer it would make sense to side with yourself.
15.I was only responding to your arguments. The forced perspective I thought went un challenged, unless you think you don't have to feel your emotions or experience your life, but not other peoples.
16.What makes it moral. I believe I said when I say morality I means specifically altruistic morals or duty morals not Aristotelian relative morals in my opening.
17.Yah but you can't make someone look outside themselves, and if they would rather not there is no argument that could convince them except an emotional one. Further any human made system is not objective it is still seen through a human lenses and can be rejected without consequence potentially.
18.Science is seen through a perspective, it explains the world I experience but it cannot make another person as real to me as I am myself. You are trying to look from outside of your perspective which is impossible and pointless.
19.Yes circumstantial morality or the guise of it can be useful. You don't have to believe there is a right thing to do in order to do something that other people say is the right thing to do.
20.That is why I don't believe in absolute morals.
21 is in comments
EndarkenedRationalist

Con

If my opponent and I disagree on a central meaning of the resolution, then I am unsure how far we can progress in this debate. The resolution "Without God there can be no absolute morals" is equivalent to 'with God there are absolute morals' and thus 'God is the source of absolute morality.' In order to disprove this resolution, I either have to prove that A) there are absolute morals without God, or B) There are also no absolute morals with God (that is, God is not the source of absolute morality). All of my arguments have been geared toward point B which is, as the resolution is written, a fundamental aspect of said resolution. This may be a semantics issue, but it is a major one, and the fault of it lies with my opponent. If my opponent reuses this debate in the future, I recommend 'God' to be dropped from the resolution to supply my opponent's atheistic perspective. Furthermore, I urge the voters to note that my opponent made no reference to God in his first argument save for one hypothetical, "If there is no God...then the only person you can really know is yourself" and thus I had no option but to further my understanding of the resolution.

1. My opponent appears to argue that if a decision benefits yourself in any way, it falls under egoism. This is false. I have already established the differences between egoism and utilitarianism.

2/3. Then why support egoism at all? Why champion it as though it were absolute without God? Why argue any specific morality if you argue that all are relative without God?

4. My opponent has altered his argument from 'people do not exist' to "people are objects to you." This is a significant concession on his part. My opponent argues that one cannot "feel another person's emotions or think their thoughts." Through common experiences they certainly can - and even without them. This is called empathy. Merriam-Webster defines empathy as "the feeling that you understand and share another person's experiences and emotions; the ability to share someone else's feelings" [1]. This in itself strikes a blow to egoism - you do not feel empathy for objects but for people. Thus they exist. Thus you know they exist. Thus you have been taken out of yourself and into a sense where other people matter.

5. Refer to my opening paragraph.

6. I am putting in quotations because not to do so is plagiarism. Those words were not mine. Additionally, if the lives of humans depend on each other - something my opponent does not contest - then you do have an absolute duty to them.

7. I agree to retract this point, as it has little relevance to the debate, if my opponent likewise agrees.

8. Nonexistence does not mean they have no thought. Nonexistence means they do not exist. To say a rock does not exist because it does not think is absurd. On feeling their emotions, I refer my opponent back to empathy. The rest of this paragraph can be referred to my opening paragraph. I will add that my opponent does not have to defend the existence of God. I am not arguing whether or not He exists.

9. Again, why can a human conceive what a God might think but not another human?

10. My opponent states that "if you get off scot free then you may as well buy the cheaper shoes." If we extend this argument, numerous problems develop. If you can get away with murder scot free, should you murder? If a pedophile can molest a child and get away scot free, should he molest a child? I will even attempt to argue method A of disproving the resolution here. These are moral taboos not because society perceives them to be bad but because they violate the basic rights of another individual. It could be argued that anything that directly threatens the rights of an individual with no benefit outside of self-interest is always morally wrong.

11. False. If absolute morals can't exist even with a God, then God is not the source of absolute morality, and the resolution is proven false. Refer to my opening paragraph.

12. Refer to my opening paragraph.

13. I am not arguing that selfishness is morally right in an absolutist sense.

14. Power is not the sole factor in determining victory. And if we play along for a second and agree that people have to make their own choices - what about those incapable of making their own choices? What about children or the mentally handicapped?

15. I think we may conclude that we both retract the forced perspective argument due to its irrelevance to the debate.

16. Refer to point 15.

17. Certainly, humans have the liberty to deny looking outside of themselves. This does not negate the existence of an objective standpoint; it instead negates their willingness to participate in it. In the same way, if I choose not to attend a carnival, it does not mean the carnival does not exist, just that I have chosen not to go.

18. Science is (not typically) seen through the biased lens of emotion. I am exactly arguing for looking at something outside of my perspective. This is the only way to find an objective, absolute standpoint. If the universe could think, humans would mean nothing to it. Our lives would be but numbers. Furthermore, humans may reject scientific findings, but this does not negate them. Refer to point 17.

19. What does this have to do with the Tragedy of the Commons and the egotist?

20. The contradiction in your argument - that it concerns others and that others do not exit are your words - somehow prove the resolution? How can you use a faulty conclusion you made to support your standpoint?

21. That 21 is in the comments is not permitted within the course of a debate, and I do not have to respond to it. However, I shall, and I again point my opponent to my opening paragraph. Your resolution absolutely implies that God is the source of morality, and your entire first argument does nothing to divorce God from the resolution. Again, if my opponent wanted to debate within an atheistic framework, he should have excluded God from the resolution and noted something in his first arguments.

I thank my opponent for a great debate thus far, and I look forward to the final round!

[1] http://www.merriam-webster.com...
Debate Round No. 3
bitterherbs

Pro

Please Everyone who reads this look up how an if then logical statement works. My opponent is falling prey to the fallacy of denying the antecedent. Or look at how the truth table for the if then statement works. the only way to prove without God there can be no morals is to prove that there could be morals without God

X , Y, X>Y
T, T, T
T, F, F
F, T, T
F, F, T

Your difference is only based on why the person says they are acting. The only difference between an egoist and an utilitarian is that an egoist won't let himself be hurt for the greater good.

I have a distaste towards moralism and would like to see it eradicated.

I never claimed that people didn't actually exist. But to you they never exist as they do to themselves, that is to say as people, they only exists as objects in your perception. Empathy is you putting yourself in their place not putting them in your place. It assumes that they feel the same way as you do. Some people do feel empathy towards objects. You can perceive what its like to be outside of yourself, but you can never know if your perception is right.

"if the lives of humans depend on each other - something my opponent does not contest - then you do have an absolute duty to them." This is unproven. My life depends on water do I have a duty to water?

8. If you're computer never receives a program. Then to your computer the program does not exist.

9. I don't know maybe God is part of who you are.

10. Yes, Yes, there are no rights. My point is not that small moral dilemmas have no solution, but that all moral dilemmas have no solution.

11. God does not exist in the universe I am positing so he can't be the source of anything.

13. Fine then we are in agreement over that.

14. There are many forms of power but yes it is. They still make choices however heavily influenced they are.

15. Well it is a reason why people value their existence and happiness over others. But I agree it isn't that important anymore.

17. A carnival is a bad example because it is not itself a made up social construct that purports to be a prescription of how you live your life. Basically everyone is saying act this way, I am saying that we don't need to listen.

18. Looking from outside your perspective is impossible. I too assume people are real, but they still aren't in my mind, and I still selectively care about them.

19. I am saying that a moral dilemma where acting moral helps you is not a problem for the immoralist/ammoralist. they can act in their own interest even when it helps others.

20. If people are just objects to your perception, then you don't have moral duties to them. people are just objects to your perception. therefore etc.

21. I thought we were here to become better people or enjoy ourselves not quibble over rules. My opening responds to the rest.
EndarkenedRationalist

Con

I would like my opponent to note that this is not an if/then logical statement. If the resolution read, "If there is no God, then there can be no absolute morals," then I would have to argue against the existence of absolute morals independent of a God. However, the resolution reads, "Without God there can be no absolute morals." If I argue an antecedent of this - with God, there are no absolute morals - it still proves this resolution, as it is worded, false.

As this is the final round, I will refrain from introducing new sources. I will respond using the same numbers as my opponent.

My difference is an example of a difference between the two philosophies/moralities.

My opponent dropped my points regarding the existence of people we experience indirectly. My opponent asserted in Round 1 that people only exist "to the extent that you experience them." However he never countered my points, so we must conclude he concedes them.

I reassert that your perception does not matter if it conflicts with reality. I may perceive that I will not get wet if I go into the rain, but that perception will quickly be proven false (I made this same analogy earlier). Likewise I may perceive that other people and their perspectives do not exist/do not matter, but this will also be proven inaccurate.

Now my opponent admits that you can perceive "what its like to be outside of yourself." I think my opponent may have confused empathy and sympathy. You can empathize with someone without having experienced what that person did.

Having a duty to water is a faulty comparison - water is not living, and we (I am assuming my opponent lives in the developed world) generally do not provide our own water. If we rewound the clock or traveled anywhere in the developing world, we would have a duty to care for the water supply.

8. That the computer never receives a program does not mean the program does not exist in the same way that if I never play World of Warcraft, that does not mean World of Warcraft does not exist.

9. My opponent admits that he does not know why God would exist in your perception when other people would not. Essentially, he no longer defends this argument - I have won this point.

10. My opponent does not respond to my argument for method A of disproving the resolution. I argued that the actions of a child molester or murderer were immoral not because society perceived them to be but because they violated the rights (and perceptions) of another individual. Since my opponent does not respond to this point except to restate that moral dilemmas have no solution, we must conclude that he concedes this argument - and as it is central to the resolution even without God - the debate.

11. Again, I reassert my understanding that God is central to the resolution. My opponent did not clarify this in the resolution, nor in his opening argument.

14. My opponent counters my statement that power is not the only factor in determining victory with the statement "yes it is." This is unsubstantiated. Additionally he says that children and the mentally handicapped still make their own choices. Perhaps I should clarify - they cannot make reasoned, informed choices. I cannot bring new evidence into the round to help prove this, but there are many studies out there. For example, we know that children's brains are not fully developed until around age 25.

15. We agree that 15 is not essential to the resolution.

17. I am not saying that absolute morality is determined by the majority. Refer to my argument regarding the child molester and the murderer.

18. My opponent already said that you can "perceive what it's like to be outside yourself." Now he says it is impossible. This is a clear contradiction. Again, this boils down to perception versus reality. I have consistently argued that your individual perception does not negate reality, and my opponent has not sufficiently proven otherwise.

19. If the ammoralist can act in their own interest even when helping others, does this not still work toward a broader sense of morality?

20. I have sufficiently disproven this point. Refer to my duty paragraph (the paragraph right before 8 in this round).

21. I would agree that we are here to become better people and enjoy ourselves. I was not trying to insult you by pointing out the rules.

I am sorry that we could not have a more fulfilling discussion. This was a truly interesting debate topic, and I am willing to admit some fault on both sides - yours for not clarifying and wording the resolution as it is - and mine for misunderstanding. I still think, however, that this should have been apparent from the start, not from halfway through the debate. Even if we acknowledge this, my opponent disregarded my argument about pedophiles and murderers.

I thank my opponent for the debate and wish him the best of luck in the voting and in the future!
Debate Round No. 4
2 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 2 records.
Posted by EndarkenedRationalist 2 years ago
EndarkenedRationalist
In Round 4, I meant sympathize, not empathize. That one was my mistake - I should have caught that.
Posted by bitterherbs 2 years ago
bitterherbs
21.I have explained this enough. This is bad that what you came for a God debate because I would have left it out to avoid a debate about God. The way I worded it seems to imply God is the source of morality, but I made sure that it does not. I was hoping for a Sam Harris Type Humanism debate. Because I think there are serious flaws in atheistic humanism.
2 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 2 records.
Vote Placed by kbub 2 years ago
kbub
bitterherbsEndarkenedRationalistTied
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Total points awarded:05 
Reasons for voting decision: I found Con to have won the argument flow, that objective morality can exist without god.
Vote Placed by Tophatdoc 2 years ago
Tophatdoc
bitterherbsEndarkenedRationalistTied
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Total points awarded:42 
Reasons for voting decision: Both debaters seemed to get off track at some point in the middle of the debate. This would of been a quality debate if Con was arguing the debate. Instead Con was "arguing that with God there are no absolute morals." That was not what the Pro side was proposing. Pro provided a stronger case for the argument. Good luck to you both in a future debates.