virtue... knowledge or speculation?
Debate Rounds (4)
people in other countries have completely different moralities than ours. the consensus here is not the consensus in a lot of other places and times. now if an american veteran here is considered to be a hero and is considered to be a criminal else where for the same actions it is clear that most people do not know right from wrong. i dont even know how one can go about arguing against this but hopefully craig will surprise me.
i have had this debate so many times and never found a logical defense for the belief that people know right from wrong. people who think they know right from wrong are the enemy of moral progress in the world. example: christians who think they know right from wrong have opposed almost every moral progress. the mitigation of slavery, the diminution of war, every improvement in criminal law and humane feeling, the list goes on. but they eventually came around to them. whos to say we arent going to come around to new morals in the future. chances are we will. people who think they already know right from wrong dont thin they have anything else to learn so when better morals come along they are against them because they think they already know right from wrong. that is why im so passionate about this right and wrong thing and why your going to see me doing this debate until someone beats me and even then i will probably still debate it because i know we are wrong about many moral issues. the contradictions prove that much. please do not give points to my opponent for spelling and grammar. i am under educated but it does not mean what im saying is wrong. i think its stupid to give points for spelling and grammar. thats like body builders being judged for the whiteness of their teeth which has nothing to do with their build.
While it is true that other cultures follow different moral standards than the US, this isn't necessarily because they outright disagree with the morals of American culture. For example, almost every major culture on Earth would tend to agree that murder is a terrible offense, and punishable by law. For a social example, while adultery may have different legal ramifications in different areas, the social disdain for adultery is a common concept. While the specifications may vary from culture to culture, the reality is that people know when someone does something seriously immoral.
People know what is right and what is wrong, but we, as people, tend to compromise our morality when it isn't cost effective. In war, people are forced to do terrible things to survive. This applies to the physical and mental aspect equally. Soldiers are tasked with violent warfare, and in some cases, they are forced to demonize the enemy, to make them seem less than human, so that the task becomes an easier one. They compromise morality so that they can improve their chances of making it home.
Con raised the point of being a hero in one place and a villain in another. This is almost explicitly a matter of point-of-view. In sports, we support our team, while despising a rival; war is no different. We cheer on our heroes who fight for us, while viciously booing our opponent. War is full of atrocities on every side, and the harsh truth is that the victors write the history books. When the victors write the books, the victors almost always will embellish accomplishments, and demonize the losers. This is why why the Union is so highly praised, and the Confederacy is shunned and misconceived by history, despite the fact that the Union was just as dependent on slavery, and Lincoln didn't actually free any slaves.
Arguably the only real exception to the rule would be in cultures who have experienced massive atrocities such as genocide. Incidents like the Holocaust, or the genocide in Africa. These unfortunate situations are so intensely negative and devastating that all people can agree to their moral condemnation. This, if nothing else, provides a rare opportunity to observe a universal understanding of morality. Even the harshest of cultures understand that such senseless destruction is wholly wrong.
The simple fact about morality, in my opinion, is that people understand right and wrong, although we may choose not to act on it.
people used to get burned alive for prostitution by people who bought prostitutes themselves(read the bible) and today its a slap on the wrist. we disagree with our ancestors on almost every moral. murder was defined differently and it was appropriate to do whatever you wanted to your slave or people of another color or culture. there is a whole lot of precepts just on how to treat your slaves and we disagree with all of them. people today say its wrong to punish people for their beliefs but they believe a perfect god will torture you for eternity for your beliefs. racism today and slavery are wrong and they were once right. women were given no rights and today they are equals. rape was acceptable as long as you werent raping someone equal to you which meant free people in your country. and even when you did rape someone the punishment used to be that you had to marry them which is horrible for rape victims. some nasty freak of a man rapes you and you have to marry him so he can abuse you legally for the rest of your life (deuteronomy 22:28-29). you may think we have it figured out today but our ancestors thought the same thing and they clearly didnt. so how do you know we are right today? you dont! how do i know we are wrong today? because we all contradict each other! if we all knew right from wrong we would have the same opinions on which crimes are worse than others and what punishment it deserves. we dont though so i say we dont know right from wrong. we are learning right from wrong but we do not have it figured out yet. we still do horrible things to animals for pleasure like locking a bird up that could otherwise fly around the world. to spend your entire life in a cage would suck! we wouldnt want it done to us but its said to be appropriate to do to animals. why? no one can justify it. and moral stupidity like this is to be expected from beings that once thought it was acceptable to kill and torture people for land that you WANT. lol or beings that once thought it was ok to own other people as property. or to rape slaves and people of other countries. or thought that a perfect god wanted them to kill people as sacrifices. we would call it murder today but they called it a sacrifice. even if all people agreed that murder was wrong which they dont, they all define murder differently. almost everything we call murder was once considered to be justifiable. everything we "know" about right and wrong was once not known. you say we have it figured out i say we have a long ways to go still. if you believe in moral progress then you shouldnt believe we know right from wrong but we are learning it. if there is no moral progress then our ancestors were in the right. and i guess if they were in the right i can do pretty much whatever i want because someone who "knows" right from wrong said i would be justified in doing it.
you know a war veteran here is considered to be a hero. in other countries our war vets are called infidels and criminals. if we hadnt one some of the wars we won our leaders would have been hung as criminals. clearly most people dont know right from wrong. saying the majority of people are right about morality is no different than saying the answer to two plus two is 2 3 4 5 6 and seven. its ridiculous. this shouldnt be controversial. but neither should a lot of other things. whether or not the world was flat was once controversial. people thought they knew the world was flat. clearly they were wrong. they once thought the sun revolved around the earth. it doesnt but everybody thought it does. today we think we are different than all of our ancestors who didnt know right from wrong. we dont either.
Regarding the concept of past moral codes, it doesn't really make sense to judge modern culture by the past moral standards. Society progresses, and our moral system evolves. There is no real reason to compare our past moral code to our current moral code, because the past code is already deemed obsolete.slavery and gender inequality are both examples of things that were once morally acceptable, and are now completely obsolete by the modern society. If we really intend to argue that people don't understand the concept of right and wrong, then our entire legal system is entirely pointless. If people honestly don't know right from wrong, then the people who try to do the right thing, such as enforce the law, wouldn't know what to enforce in the first place. If people legitimately did not know right and wrong, then such concepts cease to exist entirely, and there is no such thing as the right thing, or the wrong thing.
The veterans in America are not necessarily considered criminals in other countries. While, yes, they may be disliked, but that doesn't make some criminals, and certainly doesn't make them evil. You can't really judge someone morally based on which side of the fence they're on. Just because I'm American veteran is disliked by people in the Middle East, does not make this veteran immoral. American veteran is deemed immoral, then an Iraqi veteran must also be deemed immoral. If this is not the case, but you can't really make a successful argument that this veteran is immoral. The most you can really say is that this better and is disliked, which really is more the results of intercultural differences, not the result of moral differences. With all due respect, scientific history doesn't really have anything to do with moral right and wrong. I will admit that we are not the most advanced culture that there ever will be, but that doesn't mean that we do not know right from wrong. People generally know what the right choices, and the wrong choices are.
By this logic, are you suggesting that we are becoming more tolerant to atrocities, or did you mean these people WOULDN'T be considered innocent today? Because civilized society has arguably become more intolerant of these horrid concepts in recent history, and if you intend to argue that society is degenerative as a whole, then you must prove that people are able to openly support slavery and torture of innocents without consequence, which is not the case in modern society.
"and we differ on specifics but we have the same basic morals. no we don't."
In general we do. No murder and no stealing are two simple examples. Other, less official examples of a common morality include the concept of mercy, the concept of being a "good samaritan," the concept of standing up for others who cannot," the concept of charity, and the concept of honesty, which are all visible in every major culture. These are virtuous concepts that are known and accepted, regardless of the cultural way we define them. Can you definitively prove that all of these concepts are widely discredited? Furthermore, can you provide examples of culturally close societies that have drastically different moral codes? I suggest that you cannot.
"some people think its wrong to eat cow meat because cows are sacred."
True, but this is based on the conceptual belief that cows are reincarnated people. Therefore, protecting cows can be construed as murder, which only proves that these people agree with murder. In America, we do not subscribe to this particular belief, and our beef production has exploded, however, that doesn't mean that we believe murder is any less wrong.
"what about parents. they dont know what rights they have as a parent. some think they shouldnt punish their children and some punish them for everything and even get to chose their career path."
Yes they do, and more often than not, they choose to exercise those rights. They choose to do what they believe is best for their children, whether or not the child tends to agree with it. In most cases, parents who violate these rights are often punished by the legal system, so even if you intend to argue that parents don't know right from wrong, society is there, enforcing right or wrong, so right and wrong is still a valid concept.
"bosses dont know what rights they have as a boss."
In almost every case, a boss who does not know their rights and responsibilities as a boss will be deemed incompetent or unfit for their position. In many cases, these people face serious legal consequences for violating rights, so the system of right and wrong remains intact.
"yes every culture agrees that murder is wrong. thast just one precept not to mention they dont consider all the we call murder murder."
Very true, which is arguably the result of cultural beliefs and philosophy that differ around the world. However, if you admit that every culture agrees murder is wrong, then you cannot say that we all disagree on morals. If two cultures on opposite sides of the world will agree that murder is wrong, in any way, shape, or form, then clearly, virtue against murder is a perceivable concept in modern society. So then virtue as a concept is validated.
"a hero here is a criminal somewhere else."
Could you please provide me an example of one such scenario, as I believed I had addressed this claim in Round 2.
"we have opposing moral views so most cant know right from wrong. and obviously you cant refute that."
I have suggested that we, generally speaking, do not have opposing moral views; and I suggest that, since there are people in the world who can perceive of the right or wrong thing to do, people generally do know right from wrong. You have done nothing to refute MY CLAIMS, other than repost the same few statements over and over. If you really believe that the majority of people do not know right from wrong, then I challenge you to provide proof that the majority of people are naturally inclined to do wrong.
"im saying people have opposite moral values when it comes to some murderous acts and even rape and all other precepts."
With all due respect, which society openly accepts murder and rape? If these things are illegal, then the society clearly does not accept these things.
"people dont know all of right and wrong so how much of it do you think they know?"
I think people know right from wrong, otherwise our society would be infinitely more chaotic than it is now.
"we all disagree on whether or not a politician is good or whether or not a god is horrible or extremely good and we all have different reasoning behind our opinions."
No, we don't all disagree with whether or not God is good. We disagree with whether or not He exists.
"you have only provided a few morals we "agree" on and ive refuted that"
No you haven't, you just disagreed. If you would like to refute this, then you must provide sources of two drastic moral differences with murder and rape, not just two different culturally based definitions.
"our ancestors thought they were right owning slaves raping women and killing slaves and people etc. we still dont quite have it figured out but like them we just think we do."
You have provided many single statements trying to attack the concept of right and wrong, but have not produced a coherent argument. I will admit that history is brutal, and we don't have it all figured out, but the human condition is progress. Even if you intend to demonize historical morality, you will only make it easier to argue that our modern society is more virtuous.
We know right from wrong, and I challenge you in round 4 to provide hard, sourced evidence either arguing that, we as a world society, disagree on every moral front, or provide some substantial evidence that we, as a society, cannot discern right from wrong.
stealing is one of the most non changing moral that we have had. but it still has changed. we acquired the land we call america by stealing and it wasnt considered stealing. we also did horrible things to the indians to drive them off their land. we criminalized them for not leaving the land they call their own. and im supposed to believe they knew right from wrong? our ancestors were cruel murderous thieves and what they called righteousness we would call the worst of evil. are you going to tell me north korea doesnt speculate when it comes to morality? are you going to tell me hitler and his society didnt speculate when it came to morality? are you going to tell me early americans didnt speculate when it came to morality? i could go on all day like this. we speculate when it comes to morality. i believe in objective morality but most people dont know it. you cant deny that a percentage of morality is speculation. we seem to just disagree on what percentage that is. but our moralities are 99 percent different than that of our ancestors so most has to be speculation. you can say they were all against murder but they werent. they werent against what we call murder. i could say i love macaroni meaning green beans while you love macaroni. would you then say that we both love macaroni? by your logic on murder and stealing you would.
you say we all have had a concept of mercy. some countries cut off arms for stealing while we would give them a fine and no jail time so tell me what we call mercy is the same? not to mention not everybody has had mercy. in the bible it says to sack towns and kill innocent men women and children. is that mercy? did hitler have mercy for the jews? even the people who had mercy didnt define mercy the same way. again with the macoroni. lol this is comical. if i lose this debate it will only be because people want to believe we all know right from wrong because ive refuted every point you have made. you said we have all had good samaritans. but what your failing to realise is the term good means something completely different today than it has meant. being a good samaritan used to be returning a slave who escaped. today it would be the opposite and would be helping a slave escape. we contradict our ancestors on so many precepts that one has to come to the conclusion that not everybody knew right from wrong. if morality is changing then we are merely learning right from wrong. not to mention your arguing that morality is knowledge and not speculation so what it is our firm evidence for morlaity? if we had it morality wouldnt change. and you cant provide us with this firm evidence for morality so i guess it is speculation. im not even reading the rest of your argument because i skimmed through it and its so weak that saying nothing will be better than what you have said and i can with with omission. one last thing though. cows arent considered to be sacred because they think they are reincarnated humans. the people who believe cows are sacred believe all animals are renincarnated humans. the buddhists believe in reincarnation and that all animals are renicarnated humans. the dont call killing animals murder. so the hinduists and the buddhists disagree on what constitutes a murder. thank you for helping me out.
That is quite plainly wrong. For example: if I am a New York Yankees fan, and you are a Boston Red Sox fan, we have different views, but we both acknowledge that players cheating in baseball is immoral. There is a distinct difference between rooting for/against a certain team, and morally disagreeing. Now, if I root for cheating during the game, and you don't, THEN: THAT is a difference in morality.
"a hero here is a criminal elsewhere."
You have repeated this statement multiple times in this debate, but you haven't proved it, expanded on it, or refuted my response to it. I hope the voters will take that into consideration. Apply my same scenario above to the concepts of warfare.
"you could say they were against murder rape etc. but they disagreed on what these crimes deserved as punishment and we disagree on what constitutes a rape or a murder etc."
So then our definitions of crimes progress, in the same way that our languages and just about every other cultural aspect changes with the times. But, you still don't disprove the concept that murder and rape are universally accepted as morally wrong.
"i could say i love macaroni meaning green beans while you love macaroni. would you then say that we both love macaroni? by your logic on murder and stealing you would."
But that's not what I'm saying, and your scenario is based on the concept that you are able to entirely mislabel macaroni without any consequences. Calling green beans "macaroni" is like calling borrowing something "theft". We both disagree with "theft," but what you mean, is that you disagree with borrowing. That doesn't mean that you have any right to accuse someone of theft if they borrow something, not steal something, from you. And the fact that we, as a society, agree on the concept of theft, among other crimes, is proof of a base morality, whether or not we define it in precisely the same fashion.
"you say we all have had a concept of mercy. some countries cut off arms for stealing while we would give them a fine and no jail time so tell me what we call mercy is the same?"
That isn't mercy on either account. Mercy would be if the victim of theft in either country refused to press charges, which happens, so your statement has no weight.
"did hitler have mercy for the jews?"
No, but Hitler is an exception, as modern science would likely show that he was highly disturbed. The reason that he wasn't eliminated sooner is because the majority of the German population did not know about the reality of the Holocaust until after the concentration camps had been liberated. Concentration camps were often kept secret from public knowledge, and the number of Nazi soldiers who had access to this knowledge were either brainwashed or threatened to suit their positions. Many undercover Nazis actually attempted to kill Hitler once they understood the truth about the Holocaust. German soldiers and civilians that were later shown footage and images of Holocaust atrocities were, in many cases, horrified and disgusted by the brutal treatment of the Jewish population.
"ive refuted every point you have made. you said we have all had good samaritans. but what your failing to realise is the term good means something completely different today than it has meant."
No, you have attempted to manipulate my arguments to fit yours. I proved that virtuous concepts are accepted in the world, so then you have responded by trying to argue that we define these concepts differently. That doesn't mean that these concepts are invalid, it means we have different cultural definitions, based on nationality and time period. "Being a good Samaritan" means "going out of your way to help someone," and that concept has existed for centuries, whether you admit it or not.
"im stating the fact that all of our ancestors would be imprisoned today for things they considered to be righteousness and we would be imprisoned by them for things we consider righteousness. this proves that we do not know right from wrong but we are learning it at best... we contradict our ancestors on so many precepts that one has to come to the conclusion that not everybody knew right from wrong."
So then your argument is more based on the past than the present; your present argument is essentially to argue that in the future, we will probably condemn the present. This is an argument about societal progress, but it doesn't mean that you can totally condemn the current state of morality.
"im not even reading the rest of your argument because i skimmed through it and its so weak that saying nothing will be better than what you have said and i can with with omission."
Which proves how little effort you are putting in to this debate, and I sincerely hope the voters see that.
"the buddhists believe in reincarnation and that all animals are renicarnated humans. the dont call killing animals murder."
Actually, they do. The 1st Buddhist Precept, at every level, is to "abstain from intentionally harming or killing any living creatures, human or nonhuman."
"...morality has changed completely thousands of times. do you deny that?"
No, I don't deny this. It's called progress, and it's what makes this country, and society as a whole, better. However, you just admitted that morality exists, even if I admit it changes. Therefore, morality is knowledge, not speculation.
Morality is a universal concept, despite Con's unsupported claims about cultural difference. Con has not proven his arguments, and thus, they bare no weight. Virtuous concepts have existed for centuries, if not longer. The results may differ, but the concepts of right and wrong are undeniable, and most people apply them to life.
Thanks to Con for the debate, and I wish him luck in the voting period.
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