The Instigator
Briss
Pro (for)
Tied
0 Points
The Contender
GuitarSlinger
Con (against)
Tied
0 Points

Does Moral Truth Exist Without God?

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 11/30/2018 Category: Religion
Updated: 3 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 698 times Debate No: 119241
Debate Rounds (5)
Comments (6)
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Briss

Pro

@GunSlinger

I noticed your comment on my other debate and I appreciate the challenge. I always enjoy a good debate.

I'll start by answering your questions. Of course all my answers are based on personal opinion, And many have a founding in the philosophical and religious arguments of others, But I'll do my best to explain my reasoning:

By the way I haven't here given any examples or references to my points or claims for the sake of keeping this brief enough to not be an essay, But if you'd like me to do so for anything I say I'd be happy to.

1) What exactly do you mean by "moral"

My definition of moral is as follows: "A self-enforced law or ethical code that directly contradicts primal instinctive nature in order to sustain ones self in society. " It isn't necessarily the common definition, But it is what I believe to be the correct definition. What I believe is that our biological survivability mechanisms (as individuals and as a species) underlie each and every thought, Feeling, Action, And so forth that we can and do perceive or perform. However, What I also believe is that when one becomes a part of society (in our cases we were born into it) they must sacrifice their individuality (to an extent) in order to receive the benefits of being in a collective. A part of these two being true is that there is a certain level of conflict in having primal instinct saying to do one thing, And the need to fit into society saying another. That is where morals come in. I believe morals are every self-enforced law that exists where society is put before our own survival needs.

2) What exactly do you mean by "truth": I didn't bat an eye when my previous opponent talked of moral truth and I chose not to go down that tangent because I wanted to get at the implied meaning of his argument, But I do understand that "truth" is an incredibly complex issue. Truth can be meant in many way (and I won't get into too much detail because that is a whole other debate in itself) but in the context of that argument I was explaining how I believe there to be morals that are consistent across the board simply because human nature calls for their manifestation, And I chose to call that a Moral Truth in order to explain my point using his own rhetoric. However, In actuality I prefer not to use the term "moral truth" as I find it to be misleading in itself, Not to mention incorrect by my personal definition of "moral" and "truth"

3) Do you believe in "good" and "bad", "right" and "wrong": That's another complex mess of contentual debate. I believe "good" and "bad to be social constructs and not objective realities dictated by higher entities, If that clarifies it for you. That isn't to say that such concepts are unimportant; they are incredibly important ideas. But they aren't anything more than constructs developed through systems of thinking like religion.

Indeed it is simply my opinion. I won't deny it. Its all hypothetical and it's all speculation; my analogy here is as likely to occur in the way I've specified as yours is. However, The purpose of that particular analogy was to make a specific point to my opponent, And in taking it out of context and interjecting new aspects to the analogy you've made an assumption that my opinion would stand the same. The analogy was meant to explain how in situations where everyone mutually benefits from being an active part of society, One will not act in ways that will benefit to them on the short term (ie. 5 people acquire 50 extra coconuts), But will have long term consequences (ie. 5 people are missing a helping hand when the typhoon hits and they can't build a strong enough shelter in time). I used a simple example with few specifications because I was making a very specific point to a very specific opponent.

Another concept I beleive in is "minimum necessary force to ensure an outcome". That one comes from Peterson, Of whom I'm a big fan. Essentially, When conflict arises, One should take minimum amounts of force necessary to resolve a conflict. Secondly, When one's need to ensure their survival overcomes the need to ensure social acceptability moral necessity is obsolete. These two concepts, When taken hand in hand, Should determine when and where your moral law should and shouldn't be held in regard (ie. When you should or shouldn't kill someone)

Taking it back to the island analogy, Why is killing the sensible option? If you choose to use minimal necessary force to ensure an outcome then you could obtain many more benefits. You could diplomatically come to a compromise with me where we'll both benefit. If I'm uncooperative you could threaten me, Telling me to shape up or ship out, And I'll feel obligated to oblige because I'm outnumbered. Tell me to move my hut. Teach me how to hunt and I'll benefit to the group a couple of months down the road. Get me to help with other tasks that I can do and that would ease everyone else's lives. Noone is bad at everything. If you straight up kill me you could risk me injuring you in my attempts to resist (infections from small cuts are a nasty way to die), Lose a potential mutual benefactor (even if I'm producing the least, As long as I'm producing more than I'm taking then I'm still a benefactor), And a plethora of other things. These are just examples of what could potentially happen, But you get the idea of what I'm trying to say. And there are so many other options you could take. Like you could isolate me from the group, Leaving me to fend for myself or starve. The options are endless, And infinitely more beneficial than straight up killing me.

And consider what you're saying in a modern societal context. You're speaking like a utilitarian, Which is an understandable position to have when we are speaking of people stranded on an island fighting for their survival by the way (I tend to think similarily), But what if we have an elderly person with us? Maybe an overweight kid? Or one with a disability? I'm curious as to whether or not you'd still advocate for killing them if their physical ineptness makes them useless.

Not sure if you have already, But you should read the Lord of the Flies. It's a great book

I apologize for the long post. I will try and keep it shorter for your rebuttals.

Thank you and hope to hear from you soon :)
GuitarSlinger

Con

1)
My response: Please explain further, So as I can understand exactly what you are saying. On the surface, You appear to be contradicting yourself. You first say it"s a "Self-enforced law or ethical code ". ", Meaning it is enforced by the "self" (i. E. Individual). However, You then go on to imply that when one is a member of a society, It is society, Not the self (Individual) that is doing the enforcing of the moral ("society-enforced" as opposed to "self-enforced").

2) My Response
I"m sorry, But I don"t think you answered my question "What do you mean by "Truth? ". You wrote a lot of words stating how complex truth is, Etc, And then go on to say something about morals. That's not what I'm asking. I want to know what YOU think "Truth" is. Morals (related to actions) and Truth (facts) are two different things. I asked you about "Truth", Not "moral Truth". Explain to me in your own words what you mean by "truth". It"s ok to use definitions from elsewhere, Etc. I have no problem with that. I just don"t want a convoluted answer. Let me simplify my question for you: when you say something is "true", What exactly do you mean by that?

3) My response
Again, I don't think you answered my question. You gave an answer on where they came from etc etc, But that's not what I asked. I did not ask who created (constructed) "good" or "bad", I asked what they mean to you-- how would you define them.

What exactly do you mean by "good", "bad", "right", "wrong"? It"s very important to know/define these terms, Since they form the basis of the whole morality debate. So I would like to know, When you say "good", What do you mean by that? Likewise, With "bad", "right", "wrong"?

Sorry, You don"t know if, In the hypothetical situation (island with coconuts), There would be long-term consequences resulting from your termination and taking your coconuts. What if society is adamant and thinks the long-term effects would be beneficial to society?

You ask "Why is killing the sensible option? " Um, Because the society says it is (in my example). Remember this is a hypothetical scenario. Per your definition of moral from above, The individual sacrifices their individuality to the society. It is society that is choosing what is "right" or "wrong", "good" or "bad" isn"t it? . My point is, What if, In this society, The society agrees that it would best benefit the collective (society) if they were to terminate you, And still your coconuts. While you, As a member of the society, May not agree with it or it may not make sense to you, It would be the society determining the morality, And society deems it good (moral) to undo you and take your coconuts. You may not like it or agree with it, But that"s simply your opinion"society may think otherwise. You offer up all sorts of alternatives, But alas"you"ve relinquished your individuality to society"society determines what is right/wrong. Society simply thinks terminating you is the better option than teaching you to hunt, Moving your hut, Etc. I agree that perhaps moving your hut or teaching you to hunt might be a better option. But alas, That"s simply what I think"I too have relinquished my individuality to society". Society simply thinks it"s good (moral) to undo you"it would benefit society more. Who knows, Maybe in a 100 years society might think differently. But alas, The society here and now (in this hypothetical scenario) would think it best to terminate you and take your coconuts.

Your responses seem to indicate this doesn"t sit well with you. That tends to happen. Saying "Society or culture or the collective or whatever you want to call it" determines what is right/wrong, Good/bad, Moral/immoral is all fine and dandy". Until the society thinks or says or does something you may not agree with. Then the argument becomes "society is not right, Etc". This one little example you gave (the island with coconuts) is a great one, And I"m glad you brought it up. The society (the rest of us island inhabitants) deem it would be ok to kill you and take your coconuts. This doesn"t sit well with you. Something is gnawing at your conscience, Causing you to think "This just ain"t right! " You throw out other options or alternatives, As if to say "killing you and taking your coconuts" is not the best or right option" that there are other options other than killing you. And yet, This is what society deemed is good for itself (society). You argue as if "as if". As if there is a "right" and "wrong" that is above (beyond, Outside) what the collective (society, Group, Culture) thinks is right and wrong.

Let's be clear-- I do not condone or advocate killing you, The elderly or disabled. I"m taking the example YOU gave: you being stuck on island with 5 other people. You said there is an immediate unwritten rule that we can't kill each other even if one of us has more coconuts than everyone else. Where exactly does this "unwritten" rule come from? Society? If it comes from society, That"s naive to think that. Hence my example of what if society thinks it is ok, And that it would benefit society if it kills certain people? SO where does this "unwritten rule" come from? DO we just know it? What if the 6 of us islanders have a warped idea of what right/wrong is, And we believe with all our hearts that is ok for us to kill each other?

Alas, Before we continue further, I would like to understand how you define "good", "bad", "right", "wrong" etc. Before you start saying killing you in this hypothetical situation would be "wrong" or "bad", I would like to understand what you mean by "wrong" or "bad"
Debate Round No. 1
Briss

Pro

1)You: " On the surface, You appear"". Is doing the enforcing of the moral ("society-enforced" as opposed to "self-enforced"). "

Me: I said and implied absolutely nothing about society as a collective being the entity or body that enforces moral law. That is simply untrue.

I believe that your reasoning is this (correct me if I'm wrong): Opponent believes morals to be a self-enforced law. Opponent also believes that when one is a member of society, They are no longer individuals, But rather they are society itself. Therefore, Opponent believes morals to be enforced by society. However, As I will explain, This isn't what I said.

I understand why you see this as being contradictory. Without proper explanation, It would seem so. I must reject your interpretation of my second point. I specifically said that one "must sacrifice their individuality (to an extent) in order to receive the benefits of being in a collective" (Or to put it better, "One refutes their individuality in becoming a collective. People become a collective in order to retain the benefits of being a collective"). I specifically said their individuality, Not their ability to make moral decisions, Their ability to think rationally, And their own free will (all of which one still has in refuting their individuality), Amongst other things. When one identifies as a group rather than an individual, There are certain social obligations one must abide to in order to remain a part of that collective. When those obligations contradict primal instinctive nature (the momentary satisfying of one"s survival needs), It is your morals that obligate you to refrain from satisfying them for the sake of social necessity.

2) You: "I just don"t want a convoluted answer. Let me simplify my question for you: when you say something is "true", What exactly do you mean by that? "

Me: I'm not giving you "convoluted" answers, And for the record, I'm not trying to confuse you with complex, Nonsensical answers. I assumed that you were trying to get at something else in asking that question, And so I answered it in such a way as to defuse the sort of response I was expecting from you.
The question you initially asked and the new question you just asked are incredibly different, But I'll answer the new proposition for your sake.
To answer your question, When I say something is "true" (which I won't when it comes to metaphysical arguments or arguments pertaining to subjective realities like morals), I am saying that by my current understanding of things it seems to make sense to me. For example, I believe evolution to be true because it makes sense with everything else that I believe to know, And therefore I hold it to be true.

3) You: "I did not ask who created (constructed) "good" or "bad", I asked what they mean to you-- how would you define them. "

Me: That's not what I said and no you didn't. Word for word, You asked me, And I quote: "Do you believe in "good" and "bad", "right" and "wrong? " That's all you asked me. And I gave you an answer. I believe that "good", "bad", "right" and "wrong" are social constructs. I know you were looking for a yes or no answer but such a question as the one you asked is not so simple. There are so many aspects to it that must be considered. For example, Do you mean "good", "bad", "right", And "wrong" in an objective, Subjective, Or relative sense? Because to that I'd say these constructs do exist in a subjective (sometimes relative but never objective), And that the metric to which one might determine what is "good", "bad", "right", And "wrong" is determined by society and the morals, Beliefs, Values, Culture, Underlying (or explicit) religious imperatives, Philosophical stances, Views specifically on topics like justice and other social factors that people within it hold.
To answer the new proposition, "good" and "bad" mean plenty to me, As they should to everyone. I might define such concepts as being "two opposites on a spectrum of which an individual might be able to organize what they believe to be sought after and what to be avoided, On the basis of personal belief, Perception, Outlook, Insight, Etc. ", Though certainly words with such varied applicable relevancy deserve multiple definitions to fit their multiple contextual fields of usability.

You: "Since they form the basis of the whole morality debate. "

Me: To the contrary. The whole morality debate forms the basis of what is considered to be "good", "bad", "right" and "wrong".

I forgot to ask if you could provide me with your own answers to these three questions. I'm curious to see your definitions.

You: "What if society is adamant and thinks the long-term effects would be beneficial to society? "
"You ask "Why is killing the sensible option? " Um, Because the society says it is (in my example). "
"What if, In this society, The society agrees that it would best benefit the collective (society) if they were to terminate you, And still your coconuts"
"You offer up all sorts of alternatives, But alas"you"ve relinquished your individuality to society"society determines what is right/wrong. Society simply thinks terminating you is the better option than teaching you to hunt, Moving your hut, Etc"
"Who knows, Maybe in a 100 years society might think differently. But alas, The society here and now (in this hypothetical scenario) would think it best to terminate you and take your coconuts. "

Me: You're being quite a hypocrite, Pointing out an endless amount of times how I'm diverging into hypotheticals and criticizing it relentlessly while you continue to do the same. The debate topic is "Does Moral Truth Exist Without God? " You've dived so deep into an analogy that you've taken completely out of context that you aren't even debating the initial topic anymore. I already explained the purpose of my island analogy; you're continuing to add to it in order to break it down to the point where the analogy has become a completely different hypothetical scenario with no bearing on reality. And though I'm happy to oblige, I must remind you that this isn't what we are debating about.

You: "Per your definition of moral from above, The individual sacrifices their individuality to the society. It is society that is choosing what is "right" or "wrong", "good" or "bad" isn"t it? . "
Me: Refutes their individuality in the sense of action and identification, To an extent. One identifies as a part of society, And acts in accordance to society, TO AN EXTENT. People don't literally become society and not individuals. That's absurd. I'm not speaking of some fictional society where everyone mindlessly acts in accordance to what society says, And don't think for themselves. I'm talking about how people interact in the real world, Here in Canada, Wherever you live, And everywhere else in the world with healthy societies.

You: I agree that perhaps moving your hut or teaching you to hunt might be a better option. But alas, That's simply what I think"" You argue as if "as if". As if there is a "right" and "wrong" that is above (beyond, Outside) what the collective (society, Group, Culture) thinks is right and wrong.
Me: Everything you have just said here is mindless garbage that speaks for itself (if you want me to break it down for you I'd be more than happy to), And for the love of god, I never argued any of the points you just posed me as making!

You: "I"m taking the example YOU gave: you being stuck on island with 5 other people. "
Me: No no no. You've taken an example I gave to another person to make a very specific point on a very specific thing, Took it completely out of context, Inserted about a million and a half new propositions to completely warp the context of the analogy, Played the hypothetical game until the cows came home, Misread my definitions for what morals are, And then interjected a completely convoluted version of my argument back into it. I urge you to reread everything I've said more carefully.

Also, Learn how to spell
GuitarSlinger

Con

GuitarSlinger forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 2
Briss

Pro

Briss forfeited this round.
GuitarSlinger

Con

I"m an engineer, So science, Math, And facts are near and dear to my heart. I will ask a lot of questions in effort to understand why, What, Where, When, Etc. In fact, It"s been said that science (the scientific method) is simply man"s effort to reveal answers to these questions. As an engineer, When designing products or processes, I often use PFMEA (Process Failure Mode Effects Analysis) to analyze things. It"s basically a way of looking at all possible outcomes related to a product or process. It"s a way of identifying all possibilities of "what could go wrong" in order to help engineer solutions to ensure the failures. It"s basically asking "What could/can happen if". . "

Let"s be clear. You posted an argument saying that Moral Truth does not require a God in the mainstream sense in order to exist. You also say you are a moral relativist, And then basically use several sentences to say support this claim. You then use the island example to bolster your position"to make your point. And then you say there is an "unwritten" rule that we can"t kill each other. How does one come to know this "unwritten" rule"how would you know this unwritten exists and is in fact a true rule that should be followed.
All I did was simply point out the folly of moral relativism using your own example.

What other context could there possibly be? Please tell me. You"re either a moral relativist, Or you"re not. If you are, Then are you ready to live with and accept what can naturally/logically follow from such a belief?
The error with your example is this: you"re making a big assumption that society would agree "thou shalt not kill" is a rule to be followed. You are not looking at other possibilities which arise when there is not an objective moral truth, But only subjective moral truth (this is the PFMEA"looking at all possibilities arising from such a belief)
I"m challenging YOUR statements about God not being needed as well as your statements and example backing up this claim.
1. You yourself use a hypothetical example to bolster your position. I am not criticizing you for using a hypothetical example. I"m simply pointing out the error of your example. It"s perfectly fine to use hypotheticals to illustrate points and provide analogies in order to help the other side understand. I often do this myself. Again, All I"m doing is pointing out the folly of moral relativism using YOUR example. The issue is not that you are using a hypothetical example, The issue is the example you are using is flawed.
2. You said there would be this "unwritten" rule of "thou shalt not kill each other".
a. You are asserting this as a fact in your example to bolster your position. But in reality, If society is making the rules, They could very adopt a "Thou Shalt Kill" belief.
b. This "unwritten" rule you speak of"is it an objective rule or subjective rule?
c. Again, How would this "unwritten" rule come to be known? You could say something like "Well, Society would realize they would benefit but not killing. " And I could counter, "Well, Society could equally realize they might actually benefit by killing. " This is what I did with your example.

Definitions are not that hard to provide. I find that the moral relativist (and the atheist) often struggle providing definitions for these terms because it begins leading them down paths which sometimes arrive at conclusions they aren"t willing or find difficult to accept. Providing these definitions is easy for me:
True " in accordance with fact or reality
Truth " that which is true or in accordance with fact or reality
Right " true or correct as a fact
Wrong " not true or not correct as fact
Good " in accordance with a rule or custom
Bad " not in accordance with a rule or custom
Morally Good " behavior that is in accordance with a rule or custom
Morally bad (immoral) " behavior that is in accordance with a rule or custom
I"ll even add the following definitions
Subjective Truth " a truth based off a person"s perspective, Feelings, Or opinions
e. G. "It gets cold in Austin during the during December. " This may or may not be true for certain people. Some think it is cold in December, Others (native Northerners, For example, Not so much)
Objective Truth " a truth that that is independent of an individual"s perspective, Feelings or opinions.
e. G. "The average low temperature in Austin is 42 degrees F. " This is true whether or not you and I believe it or understand it. Another example would be "Water freezes at 32 degrees F. "

Thank you for providing your definition/meaning of "true". Let me reiterate what you said: something is "true" if by your current understanding of things it seems to make sense to you.
Here are the problems I have with your "definition" of true:
1. If I read this correctly, You are basically saying if you don"t understand something, Then it"s not True.
2. Several interesting questions arise when someone professes such a belief or definition. Yes, I"m going to use hypotheticals here (again, Nothing wrong with hypotheticals)
a. Let"s imagine Dick and Jane notice an ice cube on the table.
b. Jane says "That ice cube will melt at 33 degrees F. " Dick says "No way. Ice will not melt at 33 degrees F. " Jane with all her heart, And with everything she understands, Believes ice will indeed melt at 33 degrees F"it makes sense to her. Dick, With all his heart and with all he understands, Really believes ice will not melt at 33 degrees F"it makes sense to him (his statement)"
Who would you believe, Dick or Jane, And why?
Debate Round No. 3
Briss

Pro

"I"m an engineer" happen if": I can respect that. I"m studying to become an architect, So my career path and studies are similar in nature.

"You posted an argument saying that Moral Truth does not require a God in the mainstream sense in order to exist. You also say you are a moral relativist": These are true.
"And then basically use several sentences to say support this claim": untrue. In fact, My analogy only took up 3 sentences in my multi paragraph introductory rebuttal.
"You then use the island example to bolster your position "to make your point": I think the brunt of the friction between our arguments stems from a misunderstanding of the purpose of the analogy in my initial argument. I was attempting to illustrate how one might be able to hypothetically rationalize a moral truth without a mainstream version of god. My argument focused on presenting ways in which moral truth can be derived without god (ie. Kantian philosophy).
"You say there is an "unwritten" rule that we can"t kill each other. How does one come to know this "unwritten" rule. How would you know this unwritten exists and is in fact a true rule that should be followed": In the particular society I have created in this analogy (which, By the way, Is a very bad example of a society to try and base an entire worldview and moral stance on), I presented a way in which this particular society, Which is unique in that it is utilitarian, A true democracy, Extremely small (to name a few), Could rationalize how this moral could be held. But morals don"t need to be explicitly and objectively stated in order to be derived in this kind of society, Because the primary goal of said society is to meet the most basic of survival needs and nothing more.
"The error with your example is this: you"re making a big assumption that society would agree "thou shalt not kill" is a rule to be followed": I didn"t say anything about what society would agree on or not. I stated my beliefs as to how this specific kind of society could be able to derive rationale for a system of moral truths without god, Not how I predict society to act, How I think it should act, Or how a society will act. The topic is "Does Moral Truth Exist Without God". My answer is "it could, Here's how. "
"You are not looking at other possibilities which arise when there is not an objective moral truth, But only subjective moral truth": We haven"t even touched on the subjective and objective applications of moral truth because we"ve been to busy squabbling over this stupid coconut analogy, Thank you very much, Though I"d be more than happy if you could elaborate and maybe we could talk about this.

"The issue is not that you are using a hypothetical example, The issue is the example you are using is flawed": I understand this. Of course it is flawed. Every analogy is flawed if you take it out of context or add to its context. Take the analogy "I was as strong as a rock". There is a serious flaw in this analogy; I"m not grey and dense like a rock! But if you keep to the context (rock illustrating feelings of strength and confidence) it makes sense. My analogy is not flawed in making the point I was trying to make, Which I"ve stated about a hundred times now; it is only flawed in the ways that do not matter to the context.

"You said there would be this "unwritten" rule of "thou shalt not kill each other": No, The analogy simply proposed how such a "moral truth" could be derived. Nothing more.

"You are asserting this as a fact in your example to bolster your position. But in reality, If society is making the rules, They could very adopt a "Thou Shalt Kill" belief": I already specified what I meant when I talked about one refuting their individuality, And explained how the paradox of thinking doesn"t exist. Society does not make the rules (in the sense of morals). And "though shalt not kill" is not a fact. It is a commonly held moral often present in societies.

"This "unwritten" rule you speak of"is it an objective rule or subjective rule? " For your sake, We"ll say subjective, Though it"s more complex than that.

"You could say something like "Well, Society would realize they would benefit but not killing. " And I could counter, "Well, Society could equally realize they might actually benefit by killing. " This is what I did with your example. " How does that go to counter my argument?

"All I did was simply point out the folly of moral relativism using your own example": Not really. Interjecting new implications into a specific analogy is not "pointing out the folly". As we both know, Analogies have a certain utility in illustrating specific points, But when you stretch the analogy too far it becomes invalid in the context of the point it is trying to make. All you merely did was go down the "what if" path until the analogy has lost the value it originally had in the point I was trying to illustrate. You didn"t critique what was already there. You added to it and then criticized it.

"What other context could there possibly be? Please tell me": Explained above.

"You"re either a moral relativist, Or you"re not": I am by definition. I already stated that and nothing that I"ve said has gone to say the contrary.

"I find that the moral relativist (and the atheist) often struggle providing definitions for these terms because it begins leading them down paths which sometimes arrive at conclusions they aren"t willing or find difficult to accept": Just to clarify, I"m not an atheist in the traditional sense. Secondly, This is untrue for many relativists (though perhaps true for ones who aren"t so well read). Anyone who seriously studies ideas regarding morality from any given field knows that such ideas as truth, Morality, And so on have been defined and redefined millions of times over the last thousands of years by distinguished figures from all standpoints, Both within and apart from the church. There isn"t an objectively determined definition for these terms and the definitions behind them; there are only the definitions and such that we regard to be objectively true, Though technically it is all subjective. Read Nietzsche, Kant, Aristotle, And Hume and then come back to me and tell me that such concepts as morality are easy to define. Also read Philo and St. Augustine"s works while you"re at it, And then tell me that there is a universally acceptable objective definition for these terms as is distinguished by the church. Thirdly, I do not struggle to define these terms. I"ve done so already twice. If anything, You seem to have difficulty understanding my definitions.

Thank you for your definitions.

"Thank you for providing your definition/meaning of "true": So explain to me how it makes sense to tell me three times, Through side comments and through the main debate, That I haven"t provided definitions for these terms, And then suddenly wow now you"re criticizing my definitions for them.

I keep on running out of room for these rebuttals, So I"ll properly address three important points in a series of comments when I find the time: Your criticisms of my definitions, My criticisms of your definitions, And your criticisms of my analogy. I"m not dodging them; I just need to be able to fully iterate them without this stupid word limit stopping me. I just hope that the stuff I"ve brought up here diffuses any of the unnecessary conflicts that have been created in establishing this debate, So that we may properly focus on each other"s actual core standings in this debate rather than tangential rhetoric with little relevancy.

To anyone who may be reading, Please don"t vote for either of us. The debate here is not so much focussed on winning or losing; here myself and the contender are having an interesting discussion that does not necessitate competition. Feel free to read but note that this argument has transgressed beyond the restraints of this round system and so you may not retain the full context of the argument.
GuitarSlinger

Con

Ok, I get it. But would you agree that while your hypothetical island scenario does arrive at a moral truth of "thou shalt not kill", It is equally plausible that the same hypothetical island scenario could arrive at the moral truth "thou shalt kill, "? That is what I attempted to show you. I apologize if you still feel like it"s out of context, But I think it"s totally related. My point being, If you follow that way of thinking, It"s certainly possible that certain "moral truths" one arrives at may not "feel right. My point being, While it"s certainly plausible that moral truths can be derived at all without God, Let"s see what happens when we allow that happen.

I think your analogy drives home the conclusion that man, Left to his own devices, Might come up with some "rules" (moral truths) that are unsavory. That is the danger with "man" using himself as the standard for rule-setting (moral truth-setting). Now the question becomes, "Ok. Well, Then what should man use to determine his mora truths? "

Alright, I"ll go back and read. But I don"t recall seeing your definitions. You did define "true" after I ask and statement of how good and bad are opposite ends of the spectrum""But I don"t view your description of "good" and "bad" as definitions. That"d be like me defining "hot" as the opposite of "cold" and then defining "cold" as the opposite of "hot".
Debate Round No. 4
Briss

Pro

Haha okay I tried to make my response smaller for your sake; that didn't happen bc I had so much to say. . Sorry

"Would you agree that while your hypothetical island scenario does arrive at a moral truth of "thou shalt not kill", It is equally plausible that the same hypothetical island scenario could arrive at the moral truth "thou shalt kill? ": I do agree that it would be equally plausible if we consider the hypothetical scenario as it is, And I do understand what you were getting at so I apologize for not acknowledging that.

"But I think it"s totally related": I agree that it is related, If not a valid, Compelling argument. It wasn't this particular point itself that I found to be out of context (and I'm happy to discuss it), But rather the decision to introduce it through an extended narrative on my analogy.

"My point being, If you follow that way of thinking, It"s certainly possible that certain "moral truths" one arrives at may not 'feel right'": Certainly, Though what you perceive as "feeling right" is only driven by the natural biases that exist when you come from a certain moral standpoint. In fact, The point you bring up is even true for me; I can give you an example of a "moral truth" that doesn"t "feel right" to me but "feels right" to most of Western Society. Society has concluded that "guilty before proven innocent" is the reasonable way to tackle social issues like assault allegations; there is plenty of moral weight that exists in this belief. I firmly believe the opposite "innocent until proven guilty". This based on my morals. It doesn"t "feel right" to me but it does to almost everyone else. Thus (and I can elaborate more if you"d like) the point doesn"t really go to disprove my argument.

"While it"s certainly plausible that moral truths can be derived at all without God, Let's see what happens when we allow that happen": We already have. Observe every single society that existed before Antiquity. Consider the indigenous people of North America, Africa, Australia, And so on. Consider Sumer, Assyria, Babylon, The Akkadians, The hunter gatherer societies of pre-fertile crescent Earth. How about the Oceanic people, Or the! Kung people who still exist to this day disconnected from all of society. Consider atheists, The young, The severely mentally ill, Those who are still establishing their beliefs and worldviews, The Satanists, And everyone else on this planet who derives morals from somewhere other than god. It is unreasonable to assume that none of them manage to derive a valid moral truth. I mean Nietzsche was one of the most important philosophers ever and he was an outspoken critic of religion and morality, And an atheist.

I think your analogy drives home the conclusion that man, Left to his own devices, Might come up with some "rules" (moral truths) that are unsavory. That is the danger with "man" using himself as the standard for rule-setting (moral truth-setting). Now the question becomes, "Ok. Well, Then what should man use to determine his moral truths? "
Well I"d say more along the lines of my analogy drives home the conclusion that man derives his/her morals from their own findings when left on their own devices, And your argument is that they might incidentally come up with moral truths that are unsavoury. But here"s the problem with your argument, And I brought this up in a point with my earlier adversary; societies that held spiritual views very different from what could be looked at as being a mainstream view of god have existed from hunter-gatherer periods to premodern society (tens of thousands of years). In fact, Treating God as this literal physical entity of omnipotent power and influence (the modern outlook) is quite new relative to all of civilisation. I"m presuming your argument to be that we need some sort of higher entity (god) to determine moral truths because there is a certain danger with "man" using himself as the standard. For that I"ll say this; determining a moral truth isn"t an arbitrary process. Humans are biologically inclined to think in certain ways, To act in certain ways, And to solve problems in certain ways because we are inclined to carry out a life that satisfies our biological necessities; the survival of ourselves and as Dawkins puts it the survival of our genes. Everything beyond that, The psychology, The philosophy, The very structure of human perception and existence, Is built on this concept; everything is quite predictable in a sense. So predictable in fact that societies across the globe (many of which had no connection to each other and no religious applications beyond tribalistic spirituality) developed the exact same moral principles long before the bible was even written, Many of which still exist to this day. So when I say "thou shalt not kill" is a moral truth (at least assuming a scenario where killing is not necessary to ensure one"s own survival or the survival of close ones), It"s because the way biology has shaped us as individuals of a species to be and to act and to value and to associate in society ensures that this specific principle prevails, And has, Across all cultures for millennia.

"I don"t view your description of "good" and "bad" as definitions":
Well to be fair I didn"t merely define them as being opposites. I said that I "define such concepts as being "two opposites on a spectrum of which an individual might be able to organize what they believe to be sought after and what to be avoided, On the basis of personal belief, Perception, Outlook, Insight, Etc. "" But I"ll elaborate; I think of such terms as "good" and "bad" to be labels that we attribute to certain things (whether that be objects, Ideas, Anything really) based on personal judgements. Perhaps "opposites" was a poor word choice; good and bad are used more broadly. I don"t see there being a universally objective "good" and "bad"; I firmly assert that one"s perception of what is good and what is bad differs across individuals. The closest thing to an objectively acceptable determinant for what Is "good" and "bad" would be the views of mainstream society, Though that of course is infinitely flawed, And one should only consider its ideas for what is good and bad; not base it off it. For example, Consider a modern rap hit. As much as I hate to admit it because I so vehemently detest it, I acknowledge that although I see it as "bad" music as an aesthetic judgement some people consider it to be "good" music. But no one here is right or wrong; when an objective measure does not exist to determine whether something is what would be "good" or "bad" in the mainstream eye, There is no way of objectively determining whether something is "good" or "bad". So my usage of what is good and bad are as follows: "Jane, A co-worker who buys me a Frappuccino every day on her way to our work, Is a good person. Sam, Who is her brother, Thinks Jane is a bad person because she still hasn"t returned his calls since she ran away from home when they were children. Who"s right? Neither of us; both of us have different experiences of Jane, Have a different kind of relationship with her, And thus draw from different experiences when considering whether we see her in a positive or negative light.
GuitarSlinger

Con

I liken "guilty before proven innocent" to the "Thou shalt Klll" belief. Again, It"s society making the rules, Using nothing but their own bias/belief. As you say, It just doesn"t feel right. Society is using as it"s benchmark what IT believes to be right, Not what is TRULY right (which leads us to the question, What IS truly right? )

**"While it"s certainly plausible that moral truths can be derived at all without God, Let's see what happens when we allow that happen": We already have. Observe every single society that existed before Antiquity. Consider the indigenous people of North America, Africa, Australia, And so on. Consider Sumer, Assyria, Babylon, The Akkadians, The hunter gatherer societies of pre-fertile crescent Earth. How about the Oceanic people, Or the! Kung people who still exist to this day disconnected from all of society. Consider atheists, The young, The severely mentally ill, Those who are still establishing their beliefs and worldviews, The Satanists, And everyone else on this planet who derives morals from somewhere other than god. It is unreasonable to assume that none of them manage to derive a valid moral truth. I mean Nietzsche was one of the most important philosophers ever and he was an outspoken critic of religion and morality, And an atheist. **

Sorry, I don"t understand your point. Are you agreeing with me in my belief that if you attempt to follow a truth not based on God, You end up with unsavory results? That is what my point is. And Honestly, I really wasn"t talking about a specific People(s), I was talking about individuals. Let"s see what happens, Or can happen, If an individual bases their truth on something other than God. Let" see where that takes us.

** I"m presuming your argument to be that we need some sort of higher entity (god) to determine moral truths because there is a certain danger with "man" using himself as the standard. **
Yes, You put it nicely. Not simply just a "certain danger" though-- when left to his devices, Man might create "truths" that simply don"t feel right. Granted, Humans may be inclined to act in certain ways to satisfy our biological necessities, To ensure the survival of ourselves, And as Dawkins, Puts it, The survival of our genes. However, We often do things that "go against" the survival of ourselves. We hear stories all the time of folks giving up their own lives for others. So granted, We have a "survival instinct", However, It"s not what rules/drives us. There is often something "larger" or "higher" that often drives us. We often sacrifice our needs to something else (some greater/bigger purpose that is outside of the "self"). If I simply go by biologivcal needs (I would call that instinct), That makes us no different then the animals. I would stop at nothing to make sure there is food on my table. But because I do respond to something higher than biological needs, There are just somethings I will not do (kill others, Etc)

Sorry, When I asked you define "bad" or "good", I didn"t mean in terms of how one feels about certain things like music, Art, Etc"those are subjective feelings/thoughts. What I meant was the determination of actions. So really, It"s not about defining "people" as good or bad, But actions. That"s what morality is about, Defining (judging) actions as good or bad. So in your Jane example, Forget about calling her good or bad, Let"s look at the actions. And I"m going to be asking a lot of "why"s" here in order to get to a point:
Jane buys you coffee. I"m assuming you think that is a good action. Why is that a good action? Let"s keep asking WHY is it good, And see where that gets it
Jane doesn"t return calls. Why does Sam think it"s a bad action? What makes it bad?
Debate Round No. 5
6 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 6 records.
Posted by Briss 3 years ago
Briss
By the way I apologize for the late response. As Im sure you'd understand, I lead a busy lifestyle.

I should also apologize for sounding irritable last round. I would attribute a mixture of school, Work, Holiday season, And life related stress, My being sick, And so forth as well as what i feel to be a misrepresentation of everything id previously said for the tone of my response. I usually try to present my arguments in such a way as to emanate respect for my opposition, Which invariably hold even when I don't necassarily show it in the heat of the moment. Although I back everything I said and I do feel like I haven't fallen into the realm of ad hominem and diatribic arguments, I will affirm that what I had said probably could've been said in a kinder tone, And I will work to do that in my future responses.

I'll be posting my next round response asap. Thanks for your patience.
Posted by Briss 3 years ago
Briss
@Guitarslinger

Before I rebuttal the main argument, Ill quickly address some things I noticed in your comment.

Certainly it is reasonable to ask ones opponent the questions you asked. . I won't dispute that. However A) When I responded with the same question you ignored it B) Ive answered those three questions twice now C) You seem to have focused on these questions so much that you've failed to address the actual topic of debate at all. . . Its like if I were to ask if the sky were blue, And for you to ask me to define blue and sky, And then to focus mostly on those definitions even though the answers have been given and you aren't actually addressing whether or not the sky is blue.

I already told you how i define truth twice, And what i mean by it.

I already defined both, And its irrelevant to me which one youd rather use in the discussion.

1) I'm on board with you on that one, And will try and contribute allow for this discussion to go unheeded by the debate round and winning systems. Perhaps it would be worthwhile to exchange emails or something of the like?
2) I hold the same stance. However, I will point out that I have in no way attempted to insult you personally, In case you have misinterpreted my words; I beleive that ad hominem attacks are quite unproffessional and low in debate.
3) I don't concern myself with minor grammatical errors like youre and you're either. However, Some of your statements were incredibly difficult to follow; thats the only reason why I pointed this out. And considering the fact that my comment on your spelling was a single stand alone sentence that preceded an essays worth of critique and commentary (and by the way I reached the max char. Limit despite cutting things out), And was presented as it was; an afterthought in the wake of a perfectly acceptable rebuttal with plenty of good points, I would say that it's slightly naive to insinuate that i maybe don't have an argument.
Posted by GuitarSlinger 3 years ago
GuitarSlinger
@briss

I'll keep this brief.

Your debate topic contains the word "Truth', Which is a derivative of "True".
Your debate contains the word "Moral". Morality is the determination of "good" or "bad", "right" vs "wrong".

It's logical in a debate like this to ask the opponent these questions, So I will ask again:

What d you mean by "Truth" or "True"? How would you define it?
DO you want to use "good" or "bad" or "right" vs "wrong" in this discussion? Whichever one you choose, I ask you to define them.

These are simple questions: How do you define "Truth"? How do you define "good" or "bad" (or "right" or "wrong" if you prefer).

Simple questions that provide the foundation for this discussion.

Finally, There are several things i'm not concerned about:
1. Winning votes, Etc. That's not why I'm here. I'm here to argue/debate topics that I enjoy discussing. How Jane, Joe, Etc vote on our debate doesn't concern me.
2. Insults. Insults don't bother me. If my opponent insults me in some way, I simply take that as meaning my opponent has no other argument and must resort to personal attacks or insults. It's quite funny. But i will never reply in kind.
3. Spelling or grammatical mistakes. Thanks for your advice to learn to spell. I don't take stock in spelling errors. Again, If my opponent's only argument is to point out that I misspelled a word or two, It says to me they have no argument. To me what's not important is whether or not my opponent wrote "your" instead of "you're", What's important is the substance of the argument.
Posted by GuitarSlinger 3 years ago
GuitarSlinger
@Briss

I still want to participate in this debate. I haven't been able to log on and post arguments/comments for a couple of days (sorry, Work and other duty calls).

I'll address your argument in comment form.
Posted by GuitarSlinger 3 years ago
GuitarSlinger
how so? Define morality. . . .

define "good"
define "bad"
Posted by missmedic 3 years ago
missmedic
Morality is innate in most all humans even Christians.
No votes have been placed for this debate.

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