The Instigator
Chaos_Evolved
Pro (for)
Losing
24 Points
The Contender
stevenp11
Con (against)
Winning
30 Points

You cannot soundly derive morality from 'god'.

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 7/26/2008 Category: Religion
Updated: 8 years ago Status: Voting Period
Viewed: 1,519 times Debate No: 4797
Debate Rounds (2)
Comments (20)
Votes (18)

 

Chaos_Evolved

Pro

I would like to start by saying this is my first debate, so I'm test driving this site. I'd like to keep this one short and sweet, straight to the point.

Either god decides what is right and wrong, or he has no say in it.

1. If you say he goes decide what is right and wrong, then what is right and wrong has no worth at all, for he could say to wreck cars on Tuesdays and we would consider that as morally sound. If god picks what is right, then what is right is 100% arbitrary.

2. If he doesn't get a say, then why use him as a useless intermediate?

Either a moral rule is intrinsically sound, or it isn't.

This is a philosophical argument to show morality doesn't come from the divine, the examples in human biology and human evolution are much more numerous.
stevenp11

Con

I would like to begin by thanking my opponent for beginning this debate, as well as wish him the best of luck. (This is my first debate on this site as well)

Richard Chappell once wrote "morality is utterly dependent upon religion, and cannot be justified in any other way." Because I agree with Mr. Chappell, I must oppose today's topic.

My opponent begins with an ultimatum: Either god decides what is right and wrong, or he has no say in it. I however provide the following: because of the very nature of how individual morality is determined the influence of a supreme deity is essential.

For the clarification of today's debate, the Con offers the following definitions:
Soundly Derive- to receive or obtain from a source or origin while following in a systematic pattern without any apparent defect in logic.
Morality- a doctrine or system of morals
God- A being conceived as the perfect, omnipotent, omniscient originator and ruler of the universe, the principal object of faith and worship in monotheistic religions. For the purposes of this debate, the Christian God.

Though we can see that individually, each persons moral code is different, they all have a nondistinct universal following or trend. For example, my opponent and I might disagree on principals such as gay marriage or global warming, but we would both agree that someone shooting us in the head would be an inherently immoral action.

We can see that God is inherent in the concept of morality for two basic reasons:
1. An individuals morality is derived from god.
2. God places a check on morality.

Allow me to explain:

1. An individuals morality is derived from god.

There are three criteria for determining an individuals morality:
1. Societies Impacts, or what society believes is morally acceptable
2. Individual conscience or philosophy derived from past experience
3. Religious upbringing
An individuals morality is derived from god because god provides a fundamental foundation for each of these criteria. God provides for societies impacts because of the worlds religious segregation. From the polytheism of the ancient Greeks to the middle east to the Mormons currently thriving in Utah, societies are formed by common religious backgrounds. God provides for morality in an individuals conscience by the very nature of man through the bible, which states the God formed man in his (gods) image. This is also how god provides for an individuals religious upbringing through the formation of His church and through the nourishment found within the holy word.

2. God places a check on morality

Steve Cardno once provide an example of how a speed trap forces motorists to slow down to avoid receiving a citation. Just as with the motorists who slow down when faced with a speeding fine, society tends to become more responsible when, as individuals, we're accountable to someone. God provides for this accountability through the promises of a final judgment day when an individual will only be judged of their own actions and merits, not that of his fellow man. The Christian Gospel message of Salvation is meaningless without the concept of right and wrong. God the Creator imposed the (eternal, as well as physical) death penalty for infringement of His Law. In the ultimate act of love the universe has ever known, the Creator then became a man in order to take that penalty for mankind's sin. God upheld the validity of His Law by not relaxing its demands even when God the Son would be the one having to suffer its penalty. Those who believe this can thus know total forgiveness and acceptance by God on that basis.

Now on the arguments provided within my opponents case.

On his first point, my opponent argues that "If god picks what is right, then what is right is 100% arbitrary" because god could decide that an immoral action is moral. My first argument to this will be that my opponent doesn't provide a warrant for why arbitrary morally is wrong. I would further like to turn this argument and further argue that because of the points under the con case, having arbitrary morals would cause a utopia society because everyone would agree with exactly what is moral. The impacts of this argument include a total loss of all crime and immoral behavior providing for the perfect society. My second argument to my opponents first point will be that god does not change his moral code. Since the death of Jesus Christ the moral code provided by the Bible has not changed. (It could be said that interpretations have changed but interpretations are performed by man an are thus non-topical in today's debate.) My opponent also says under his first point "he could say to wreck cars on Tuesdays and we would consider that as morally sound." This will be the foundation for my third argument under my opponent's first point. My opponent once again provides no warrant as to why god would change his moral code, but by this very argument he shows how he is in agreement with the con case. If god has currently determined it is immoral to wreck cars, then it is immoral. However, If god deemed it morally acceptable to wreck cars, then society would except it, and thus my opponent would deem that is was not a problem.

Now on to my opponents second point, which argues that "If he doesn't get a say, then why use him as a useless intermediate?" You can look to the arguments I have already provided to see as to why God does receive a say, through the formation of individual moral codes as well as through providing a check for society's morals.

In addition to these arguments, one can look to the argument that without god's moral code as argued in the con case proper, society would have no moral code, thus leading to an overabundance in crime, terrorism, death and eventually leading into anarchy and a descent into a state of nature.

So in the end of the debate, one should always prefer the con's position because the con allows for a moral code through a supreme being, which allows society to have a moral code, whereas the pro's position doesn't allow or provide for a moral code or any sense of morality through the lacking of a moral standard.

I thank you for your time and earnestly await my opponents rebuttal.
Debate Round No. 1
Chaos_Evolved

Pro

I thought I wanted this one short, but oh well.

Firstly, when you say the Christian god, you just made this a mess. I wanted to talk about a plain intervening theistic god, it does include the christian one, but when you bring the religion to this table, you just lose.

I was trying not to bring a specific god to the table to prevent humiliating my opponent, now that he has though, do I really need to comment on the moralities of the christian god? Do I need to show the sexism in the bible? The slavery, the racism, the ethnic cleansing? I need not to any educated thinker. This will get us in a whole mess of biblical contradictions of where you're supposed to stone an unbeliever to death, or an adulterer, but then a carpenter tells us not to, and the next page he tells us to always obey the laws of the old testament.

I need not waste time with these propositions, and I will get back to the philosophical.

You're basic argument was that we have no objective morality without a god, and you make the fatal mistake of attributing this to one specific god, now you see how holy wars can begin. The religious have always found ways in starting conflicts where there were none.

Before my opponent makes another fatal mistake, of saying "But look, atheists were evil too." I'll correct this right now. Stalin's nation or Kim's nation aren't examples of what people do when they start becoming too skeptical or too scientific. North Korea is possibly the most religious nation ever, completely totalitarian, just like a monotheism. The definition of totalitarianism: a THOUGHT CRIME. This is what the christian god can do to you. But at least you can ******* die in North Korea and leave, not in this barbaric myth, where once you die, that's when the fun truly begins.

So to say religions are moral you need to turn your back to these 3

1) History
2) The holy texts
3) Statements made by their leaders.

Now on to the point.

If it is to be said that religion is moral, then give me an ethical statement made, or a moral action performed that could not have been said or done by a non-religious.

Think of the opposite, a bad saying or a bad action performed that could only have been done by a man of religion, you do not need a second to think of this one.

Finally, observe the problem, ask a priest would you be moral without god? If he says yes, god is again, like the first problem which my opponent didn't answer, useless. If he says no, it means he is only behaving because he is being watched.

Is this morality? I think not.

Human solidarity has always transcendent the morality of religion.
stevenp11

Con

My opponent misunderstands his own topic which simply states "You cannot soundly derive morality from god." Thus, a few observations:

1. The resolution states that you cannot derive morality- look to the un-argued definition in the first con speech which states that morality is simply a doctrine or system of morals. This means that as long as a supreme deity provided for a moral code, you vote con. For example, if any god said that is was moral to kill innocent people, this is still fulfilling the requirements of the topic, and thus you still vote con. This then negates any possible offense that my opponent tries to make off of his "Christian god morals bad" arguments.
2. The resolution states "from god" implying specificity, not "from a god" implying generality. Therefore this debate must be framed in the sense of a specific deity.

My opponent says that "The religious have always found ways in starting conflicts where there were none." as opposed to every other monarch who has always had just cause to start conflict??? This is not a valid argument and should thus be rejected from today's debate.

My opponent then goes on to explain "you can ******* die in North Korea and leave, not in this barbaric myth, where once you die, that's when the fun truly begins." Yet why does my opponent believe this? This very belief that the work of "God" is untrue allows for my opponents individual moral code. So even by rejecting God, my opponent is proving how god allows for the development of my opponents moral code, thus proving why you should vote for the con.

My opponent then provides three criteria I must meet in order to win:
1) History
2) The holy texts
3) Statements made by their leaders.

(My opponent now tries to place an extra non-topical burden on me by forcing me to prove how religion is morally right while the topic only says "Morality"- cross apply the definition provided in my first con, So I well meet his burdens, but even if I do not, my opponent cannot gain any ground from them)

1. History- The fact the human race is still in existence proves divine intervention. For example, it is human nature to want what your neighbor has. Therefore, following that logic, the human race would have long ago destroyed itself through violence without a moral code (which the con is providing for but the pro isn't)
2. The holy texts- You can look to my first con and see how the holy texts promote a code of morality.
3. Statements made by their leaders- Leaders are persons, not a divine entity, and are thus non-topical in today's debate.

You can once again look to the first con round in which I state several arguments that go dropped throughout today's debate, including my thesis and substructure which state:
We can see that God is inherent in the concept of morality for two basic reasons:
1. An individuals morality is derived from god.
2. God places a check on morality.

Please note that because my opponent doesn't speak on either of these points, he must be in accordance and agreement with them.

So a brief overview of why you should vote con:
1. My opponent attempts to change the topic to a generic god, when the topic implies specificity
2. My opponent argues that religious thinking sometimes results in bad things happening, yet so does non-religious thinking.
3. The only thing the con must prove (following the definitions in the first con round) is that God provides for a moral code (be it good or bad) and the con has done this profusely.
4. My opponent basically dropped my entire case
5. My opponents provides no alternative as to where exactly are we going to find a moral code if not from a religious deity. One can also cross apply my first speech impacts of a perfect society VS my opponents descent into a state of nature and anarchy here.

Even if you don't listen to any of the previously stated voters, we can look to the con case and see that even if an individual rejects god's moral code, or if an individual diverges from or supersedes Gods moral code or if as my opponent says "Human solidarity has always transcendent the morality of religion," God still provided the fundamental foundation for the creation of a moral code, thus justifying a con ballot. Thank You
Debate Round No. 2
20 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by Ragnar_Rahl 8 years ago
Ragnar_Rahl
oops, the note for the third should say "1,2, modus ponens."
Posted by Ragnar_Rahl 8 years ago
Ragnar_Rahl
It actually isn't the fallacy of circular reasoning either (and note I hold no sympathy with the argument). You see, it can be symbolized as (physics being as they are, P, God existing, G.)

1. P (assumption)
2. P>G (assumption)
3. G (1,3, modus ponens).

Modus ponens is not circular reasoning, i.e. the premise is not identical to the conclusion. "G" is not identical to "P>G" (if P, then G.). This argument is actually not a fallacy at all, though the problem is, the second premise is unacceptable, and could only be arrived at by use of the fallacy of "argument from ignorance," or perhaps an earlier circular argument, or some other fallacy I can't yet imagine. So no fallacy in this particular argument, just an implied one in an argument on which the soundness of this argument is dependent. The argument is clearly valid (it's premises support it's conclusion), it simply has a bad premise.
Posted by LDT 8 years ago
LDT
I have to say Pro's arguments did get lost in the sea of all that his subject touches.

About the
"1) The laws of physics are tuned for life
2) only god can tune these constants

Therefore god exists"

I do not know what tautology means, but I do know the fallacy of circular-reasoning, and this does apply to that.

Final thing, I never thought of it the way PRO stated it, but I always thought that if a mean kid was given god powers, and what he liked to do, say throw rocks in windows, he would write these as moral code, and we would all do it, why? Because he told us to do that. That is why if it is arbitrary it is empty.
Posted by Puck 8 years ago
Puck
"1) The laws of physics are tuned for life
2) only god can tune these constants

Therefore god exists"

This is not a tautological statement. Ragnar is correct in stating all components of a tautology are irreducibly true.

As for the debate, Pro seemed to get lost in the narrow definitions of the debate that he/she wanted. Unfortunately such definitions were not clarified and left the ensuing arguments weak. A good topic though.
Posted by brittwaller 8 years ago
brittwaller
My thoughts precisely, Xera. The existence of "god" was not questioned, and this blew open a huge hole in PRO's argument. Once existence is presumed, it is nearly impossible to prove that morality cannot be derived from "god." The final nail in the coffin:

"3. The only thing the con must prove (following the definitions in the first con round) is that God provides for a moral code *(be it good or bad)* and the con has done this profusely."
Posted by Xera 8 years ago
Xera
Because morals are subjective to each, and because some moral standards, such as honesty, have a basis to at least SOME religion, this topic is difficult to argue. Morals deriving from God automatically assume that there is at least one God in existence. This prevents the argument from becoming about whether there is a god or not, so that is good.

PRO attempted to show how God's morals would be completely arbitrary and meaningless. CON refuted this by simply demanding that PRO show that arbitrary was bad. Since Pro did not, this was a point for CON.

Con refused to be drawn into the argument that religions are moral on the grounds that this has no bearing on the actual resolution, as well he should have, another point in his favor.

Pro made one good point in that many religions act in an immoral manner. Since this does not necessarily show that God has no morals, it did not really help the resolution.

The resolution has no quantifiers. The Pro did an excellent job of showing how what is commonly perceived to be "good morals" can be attributed to a bad religion. Since the resolution did not quantify that the morals he finds acceptable are the only ones to be discussed, and con brought this point up, he looses this point. Further, since the resolution calls for a basis on God, and the Pro only refutes religion (not God),I must vote CON.

Katana: the refutation of the quote you used was "as opposed to every other monarch who has always had just cause to start conflict??? This is not a valid argument and should thus be rejected from today's debate."

Now Con had an opportunity to show specifics of conflict caused by atheists, and he did not, but he did provide a direct refutation of the quote you used.
Posted by Katana 8 years ago
Katana
Con didn't respond to naming a moral action that only a religious person could do, no surprise, this is Christopher Hitchen's challenge.

"2. My opponent argues that religious thinking sometimes results in bad things happening, yet so does non-religious thinking."

That's not what he said, he said religion's cause problems where none would exists without religion:

"The religious have always found ways in starting conflicts where there were none."
Posted by Serene_Thinker 8 years ago
Serene_Thinker
In what way is that a tautology?

Well since you ask.

What's wrong with the following

1) The laws of physics are tuned for life
2) only god can tune these constants

Therefore god exists

This is like the creation-creator circular reasoning. In 2, you are not only asserting god exists, but describe his properties.

To say the human race only exists because of divine intervention is circular.
Posted by Ragnar_Rahl 8 years ago
Ragnar_Rahl
Tautology? In what way is that a tautology? It's a false statement, tautologies are however true statements, specifically a statement that is true no matter how you define your variables. Therefore it cannot be a tautology, the fact that humans exist does not indeed prove divine intervention, and certainly not regardless of definitions.
Posted by Serene_Thinker 8 years ago
Serene_Thinker
Con, you make many logical fallacies which Pro did not point out, for example:

1. History- The fact the human race is still in existence proves divine intervention.

This is a tautology.
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