The Instigator
Pro (for)
3 Points
The Contender
Con (against)
3 Points

Morality is subjective.

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Post Voting Period
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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 4/29/2014 Category: People
Updated: 7 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 1,341 times Debate No: 53579
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (5)
Votes (2)




I will be arguing that a certain system of ehtics or set of moral judgements is subjective to a persons opinion.

Rounds will be structured as follows -

R1 - Acceptance and Definitions(if desired)
R2 - Opening Arguments and Rebuttals
R3 - Rebuttals and More arguments(if desired)
R4 - Rebuttals and closing statements.




I accept.

For clarification, you are arguing that all morality is subjective and I am arguing that some moral values are objective.
Debate Round No. 1


Firstly I'd like my opponent to explain what he means by all morality.


Morality is a complex issue that has been debated over for a long time. My personal views are that Morality is completely subjective. Depending on how you've been raised and what you've grown up around and taught to be right and wrong is what you believe to be a moral code. I believe that morality is constantly developing and altering based on a societies needs and opinions as a whole.

For my first argument I'd like to showcase a few very different cultures and their moral beliefs along with some of the things that are typically considered unorthodox and morally questionable to western society.


"Human Sacrifice was a common theme in Mesoamerican cultures. In the Aztec "Legend of the Five Suns", all the gods sacrificed themselves so that mankind could live. Some years after the Spanish conquest of Mexico, a body of Franciscans(Which are essentially roman catholics) confronted the remaining Aztec priesthood and demanded, under threat of death, that they desist from this traditional practice. The Aztec priests defended themselves as follows"

Life is because of the gods; with their sacrifice they gave us life.... They produce our sustenance... which nourishes life.

What the Aztec priests were referring to was a central Mesoamerican belief: that a great, on-going sacrifice sustains the Universe.

Conclusion: This argument proves that morality is completely subjective, it shows how the aztecs believed to be pleasing their gods and kings by sacrificing people. While roman catholics were against this and tried to explain to them how this is wrong. To which they replied that this is necessary to sustain the universe.

Let me paint this picture for you. Growing up an aztec boy and a roman catholic boy are influenced by their family and culture. The aztec boy wouldn't have a gut feeling that this was unpleasing to the gods. He would believe he is pleasing the masters of the universe. And the roman catholic boy wouldn't wake up and think, we need to be sacrificing and blood-letting our addherents to please our lord.

The purpose of the argument above is to showcase to you the radical difference there can be in morality by drawing comparisons between two radically different beliefs. Aztecs would find it wrong NOT to sacrifice to their gods. While Roman Catholics find it wrong TO sacrifice human lives.

I look forward to my opponents arguments and would like to remind him to provide evidence for his argument as I have.



Thanks Pro.

Either objective morality exists or it doesn't. In the comments you've affirmed that objective morality doesn't exist. Therefore, it must follow that all morality is subjective if no objective morals exist.


I'll paraphrase your major points while remaining true to your logic.

A.) Morality is learned by social norms and is constantly developing.

B.) The Aztecs believed that human sacrifice was moral while roman catholics did not. Thus, morality is dependent on different beliefs. It follows that objective morality doesn't exist.


A) response: I certainly believe that subjective morality exists. Some might find it wrong to eat meat because it requires the killing of an animal. Families and societies have all sorts of subjective morals. What I am arguing for, is that there are certain cases where:

It is always "wrong" to 1) murder just for the sake of pleasure, and 2) rape someone against their will.

These are two cases of objective morality where it is always true regardless of religion, society, or time period. The existence of any objective morals, even if it is only one case, shows that objective morality exists and that not all morals are subjective. There has been no record of any society in human history where these examples of moral abominations are not true.

B) response: The aztecs had the belief that human sacrifice benefitted their society by pleasing false gods. This doesn't prove that all morality is subjective. In fact, they justified their sacrifices in some fashion. This sense of required justification extends to other extreme cases too, like the Salem Witch trials in 1692 for example. Where perceived "witches" were rounded up and burned at the stake. This is obviously a horrendous and false killing, but the instigators killed those people using the justification that they were witches.

It is exceedingly obvious to state that murder for the sake of pleasure and rape against someone's will is wrong. Empirically, no society in any time period has record of laws condoning these moral wrongs without justification.

Ted Bundy is considered one of, if not the most, evil and insidious serial killers in American history. His defense attorney had this to say about him, "Attorney Polly Nelson, a member of his last defense team, agreed. 'Ted,' she wrote, "was the very definition of heartless evil."

Surely, you would think that one of the most notorious serial killers, who had a confirmed 30 homocides (random victims), would have no reason to see his behavior as wrong to some higher power. Here is an excerpt of what he had to say in his final interview,

"It was like coming out of some horrible trance or dream. I can only liken it to (and I don’t want to overdramatize it) being possessed by something so awful and alien, and the next morning waking up and remembering what happened and realizing that in the eyes of the law, and certainly in the eyes of God, you’re responsible."

There is also a similar situation in the final interview with Jeffrey Dahmer, the cannibal, serial rapist, and murderer where he claimed to know the difference from right and wrong and knew that he was fully responsible for his actions.

So why did I bother bringing the morality of serial killers into this debate? Because even the most sick individuals that murder for the sake of pleasure know that their actions are morally wrong.This is contrary to the assertion that their morality is subjective because if it were subjective they wouldn't see their actions as wrong.

Another problem claiming that all morality is subjective is this: your morality is no more true that IF somebody believes they are morally justified in killing another human being for the sake of their own pleasure or raping someone against their will is true. If we have a purposeless existence, no objective moral truth can exist and anybody is equally justified in claiming something to be moral that you deem to be immoral.
Debate Round No. 2


I thank my opponent for his reply, this is already an interesting debate.

Yes, your clarification is correct.


It is always "wrong" to 1) murder just for the sake of pleasure, and 2) rape someone against their will.

These are two cases of objective morality where it is always true regardless of religion, society, or time period. The existence of any objective morals, even if it is only one case, shows that objective morality exists and that not all morals are subjective. There has been no record of any society in human history where these examples of moral abominations are not true.

(1)My opponent has argued that there have been no recorded events in human history where Murdering for pleasure and raping someone against there will is considered an untrue moral abomination.

My opponent has made an argument however, not backed it up with any viable evidence. During the last round I stated that burden of proof is on both debaters. I will also disprove why this statement is untrue.

I will be showing cases in which murdering for pleasure and raping someone against their will was not considered wrong.

I'm sure my opponent is familiar with the KKK, they are a group of white supremacists who commited countless terror acts against anyone they deemed unworthy. Homosexuals, African-Americans and Chinese were often targeted reasons as for why are still a heated topic.

Klan violence worked to suppress black voting. More than 2,000 persons were killed, wounded and otherwise injured in Louisianawithin a few weeks prior to the Presidential election of November 1868. Although St. Landry Parish had a registered Republican majority of 1,071, after the murders, no Republicans voted in the fall elections. White Democrats cast the full vote of the parish for Grant's opponent. The KKK killed and wounded more than 200 black Republicans, hunting and chasing them through the woods. Thirteen captives were taken from jail and shot; a half-buried pile of 25 bodies was found in the woods. The KKK made people vote Democratic and gave them certificates of the fact

The KKK hunted black republicans like animals and shot them. They believed that murdering black republicans was the morally correct thing to do. I have disproved Con's argument that ALL PEOPLE THINK MURDERING IS WRONG.

In Tanzina african albinos are being hunted and butchered and raped like animals because there's a common belief that their bodyparts will bring goodfortune and cure illness.
It states in the article that these albinos must hide at all times because their own neighbors would butcher them like pigs.

The people do not view the act of butchering the children wrong.

(2)My opponent has argued that even serial killers/rapists feel that what they have done is wrong

First off, let me say that taking the words from a serial killer, hours before execution is the most biased source of evidence you could offer. Ted Bundy's explination of how he feels is clearly a desperate attempt to save his own pathetic life. I would like to refute this by providing a message Ted Bundy himself recorded while he was safe in prison. He had sent this recording to one of his surviving victims.

Then I learned that all moral judgments are "value judgments," that all value judgments are subjective, and that none can be proved to be either "right" or "wrong." I even read somewhere that the Chief Justice of the United States had written that the American Constitution expressed nothing more than collective value judgments. Believe it or not, I figured out for myself - what apparently the Chief Justice couldn't figure out for himself"”that if the rationality of one value judgment was zero, multiplying it by millions would not make it one whit more rational. Nor is there any "reason" to obey the law for anyone, like myself, who has the boldness and daring "” the strength of character "” to throw off its shackles. ... I discovered that to become truly free, truly unfettered, I had to become truly uninhibited. And I quickly discovered that the greatest obstacle to my freedom, the greatest block and limitation to it, consists in the insupportable value judgment" that I was bound to respect the rights of others. I asked myself, who were these "others"? Other human beings, with human rights? Why is it more wrong to kill a human animal than any other animal, a pig or a sheep or a steer? Is your life more to you than a hog's life to a hog? Why should I be willing to sacrifice my pleasure more for the one than for the other? Surely, you would not, in this age of scientific enlightenment, declare that God or nature has marked some pleasures as "moral" or "good" and others as "immoral" or "bad"? In any case, let me assure you, my dear young lady, that there is absolutely no comparison between the pleasure I might take in eating ham and the pleasure I anticipate in raping and murdering you. That is the honest conclusion to which my education has led me"”after the most conscientious examination of my spontaneous and uninhibited self.

This essentially proves my point. I have provided evidence to support my statement that morality is simply subjective. As seen in the actions of Ted Bundy and Jeffrey Dahmer. Ted Bundy simply stated that he felt intense remorse after killing because he knew that it would appease western society. Same thing with Dahmer his "remorse" should not be taken as viable evidence due to the horrendeous repeat offences.

It states in Wikipedia that dahmer started dismembering animals as early as age 4. Also that he was subject to neglect from his parents which causes a poor education in the differences between right and wrong. Perhaps this is why he had concluded himself that it would be alright to rape and kill for his own pleasure.

Lastly I'd like to address a point Con made in the previous round. he stated that Aztecs sacrifice but they need a justification. Just as people sacrificed under the pretense that women were witches. This has nothing to do with morality being Subjective or Objective. It proves my point that the aztecs did not view human sacrifice as wrong. They would view it as insulting and morally wrong to the gods if it did not continue.


Thanks pro. In this round I will paraphrase your arguments as "pro" and I will rebut with my arguments this round as "con".
[last round, paraphrasing] Pro: my opponent argues that "x" is objectively immoral in instance "x" but can provide no examples.

Con: Examples aren't necessary to provide a logical framework to deny the existence of objective morality if no empirical evidence has been shown to the contrary. I can make an argument that it's "possible" for dogs to speak english, but since no dogs have any record of speaking english even though they have vocal chords, the assumption that they can is assumed to be false. This is directly analogous to my assertion that since no lawful record in human societal existence has shown murder for the sake of pleasure or rape against someone's will is wrong, then it is assumed to be wrong based on our preconcieved notions of it being wrong and backed by empirical evidence that it hasn't shown to be true and also opposes any reason to argue otherwise.

[last round, paraphrasing] Pro: The KKK movement and superstitious murdering of Tanzanian African albino's shows that murder for the sake of pleasure or rape against someone's will is not objectively wrong.

Con: These are NOT examples of murder of the sake of pleasure or rape against someone's will. The KKK movement believed in the suppression of *blacks* or *other minorities* that they deemed to be unworthy. Not proponents of *murder for the sake of pleasure* or *rape against someone's will*. The same is applicable to the Tanzanian African albino's. They were murdered *because* they were thought to harness some superstitial benefit of good fortune or medicinal cure of illness. Therefore, these examples are not applicable at all because they require a purpose other than murder *just* for the sake of pleasure or rape against someone's will. My opponent agrees that ALL morality is subjective. Therefore, if I can provide JUST ONE instance of objective morality, my opponent's assertion that ALL morality is subjective fails. I have provided two examples that remain improperly unrefuted: 1) murder for the sake of pleasure is objectively wrong and 2) rape against someone's will is objectively wrong.

[last round, paraphrasing] Pro: The words of a serial killer has little merit, expecially hours before execution because it's an attempt to save his life. His own previous contradictory statement proves that his final testimony is false.

Con: This is inadvertantly particularly damaging to pro's case. Ted Bundy is arguing that "if there is NO God, then I have NO reason whatsoever to accept societal norms as being morally contradictory to what I WANT to do." Disturbingly, this line of logic is correct if no God or purposeful existence of the human race is true. However, in direct rebuttal to pro's point last round, moments before Ted Bendy's execution is much more reliable evidence of his true thoughts and feelings. Why? Because the years before Ted was sentenced to die, he had much more opportunity to appeal his case and be freed. Literally the day before his execution in his final interview, no opportunity whatsoever existed for his release. Thus, telling the REAL truth just before he was execution holds much more merit than anything he had said years beforehand.

[last round, paphrasing] pro: Ted Bundy and Jeffrey Dahmer both showed remorse to simply appease to society in the hopes that they'd be released. Especially in the case of Dahmer because he had repeat offenses. Also, Dahmer began dismembering animals at an early age beause he had a poor social understanding between right and wrong.

Con: The time at which both serial killers showed remorse or retractions of their previous behavior was too late in the death penalty process to be considered for appeals. Pro's baseless assertion that their motive for their evil intentions is because it was their true nature can't be verified. If their true intent can't be verified in either circumstance, either years before execution or day before, the instance right before execution should hold the most merit since they'd literally have nothing to gain or lose by telling the truth whereas years before their execution they'd lose out on the opportunity to appeal to an appeal's process.

[last round, paraphrasing] pro: Aztecs committing human sacrifice has nothing to do with whether morality is subjective or objective. The point is that Aztecs viewed human sacrifice as morally permissible when it is clearly not viewed as morally permissible today.Therefore, morality is clearly subjective and not objective in light of this.

Con: This does not directly address my major contentions which are: 1) murder for the sake of pleasure is objectively wrong and 2) rape againt someone's will is objectively wrong. My point in the previous round, was that since the Aztecs had some moral justification for human sacrifice, (it wasn't for the sake of pleasure) then in their mind it was morally permissible. I don't object to the assertion that subjective morality exists because I believe that subjective morality DOES exist, but I also believe there are cirumstances where morals are objectively true like in my examples of murder for pleasure and rape against someone's will are objectively wrong. Pro has yet to provide a compelling or relevant case to prove either one of my examples wrong when it is intuitively true, empirically verified, and has no other reason to logically believe otherwise.

Back to you, pro.

Debate Round No. 3


Hello and thank you to my opponent for his points. This has been a fun debate for me and I hope my opponent has also enjoyed it.

My opponent has argued that Examples cannot be used to deny the existence of objective morality. However I disagree. Since morality cannot be proven, or tested on. It can only be theorized about. Pro and Con are both arguing that morality is a thing. So examples are the best way to provide evidence for both sides.

My opponent has argued mainly that my examples happened with justification. I disagree with this statement. This is the explination of a subjective opinion. For example imagine a family which is against washing their dogs. And they view a family that washes their dogs with this kind of logic "They justify washing their dogs by saying that it makes them cleaner, but there's so many chemicals in the shampoo it's wrong to subject a dog to treatment like that" Examples I have provided are not a justification.

Also Con's point about murdering for pleasure is irrelevant to this debate, It's about subjective morality vs. objective morality. Because not everyone gets pleasure while murdering someone. A desire to kill for pleasure as serial killers do is speculated to be a hormone in the brain not functioning properly essentially nulling the hormone for empathy. And before my opponent tries to take advantage of this point. Let me say that Empathy and Moral decisions are different things. Someone can be empathetic and still feel like killing someone is morally correct.

My opponent argues that ted bundy's words hours before his death are a lot more reliable than one's when he still had time. This is completely un-true. Perhaps if he had come to terms with his execution which he certainly hasn't He states multiple times in the interview that HE DOES NOT WANT TO DIE, This interview was his last hope to change his sentence. And he did so by attempting to manipulate everyone around him. While he is in a cell he even states that there is no moral difference to him from eating a piece of ham, and the ENJOYMENT he gets out of finding his victim and murdering AND RAPING HER. for his own enjoyment.

My Opponent has also stated that it was too late by the time they showed remorse that they were already too far into the death sentence. This proves my point exactly, they tried to appease public eye by making them look like guilty psychopaths.

The aztecs did not justify anything. Appeasing gods was the reason for which they killed. My opponent is trying to bring up his 'murder for pleasure' argument which is irrelevant because he is implying that everyone kills for pleasure but doesnt because they have a moral boundry. I agree people don't kill for no reason at all, that would make a purposeless existence if everyone is doing things for no reason at all. The aztecs commited brutal human sacrifice and did not view it as wrong. While roman catholics devastatingly tried to stop it even in the face of death themselves. The aztecs said "hey buddy, we're doing this so the universe can keep sustained" They didn't apologize or try to clear a guilty conscience.

Same with the KKK, and the Tanzina african hunters. They murder and kill giving no dignity to the victims. The white supremacists hunted blacks like animals through woods. If Con wants to disprove my point he needs to prove that these were done with a guilty conscience and that everyone didn't want to do it. And hated themselves for shooting other people like animals.

My opponent has essentially stuck with the murder for pleasure and rape against someone's will thing saying that these are not recorded ever. This is because people do not get enjoyment from killing someone for no reason at all. This is something only psychopaths experience which they repeat time after time. Because as I have proved, ted bundy doesn't give a rats a$$ about anybody but himself and the pleasure he can get out of raping a 12 year old girl then brutally killing her.

Con is completely ridiculous to argue that the words of a pathetic liar hours before his rightful death have any kind of evidencial credibillity for his argument. TED BUNDY DIDN"T GIVE A SH** ABOUT HIS VICTIMS. He didn't care what he did. He cared about himself and the effects his actions had.

So, Like I have stated. In order for Con to disprove my resolution, he needs to argue that my Examples, the people commiting "moral atrocities" in our eyes. Felt incredibly guilty and didn't want to do it.

Murder for no reason at all other than pleasure is not objective morality because most people don't think about it or want to commit it. Because there is no reward for themselves in it. They will just get into legal trouble which is why nobody does it. Not because everybody thinks its wrong.

As for rape for pleasure. This happens all the time. I do not need to provide evidence for it. Con needs to provide evidence that it is never morally admissable when it surely is. because it happens ALL THE TIME.


Thank you I have enjoyed this debate and look forward to your response.


Thanks Pro, this has been a fruitful and interesting debate.

Burden of Proof: The burden of proof hasn't been discussed in this debate. Since objective or subjective morality isn't an established norm, the person asserting something - by default - has the burden of proof. Since no burden of proof has been established in this debate, by default Pro has the burden of proof to prove that all morality is subjective. He has agreed that no objective morality exists. Therefore, he argues that all morality must be subjective. It is his burden of proof to show that NO objective morality exists.

He argues that since no evidence of objective morality has been provided, that it must not exist.

Around 1:15:00 in this debate with Christopher Hitchens and William Lane Craig, Christopher Hitchens (a leading atheist and proponent of subjective morality) admits that no society has ever accepted murder or rape against someone's will in the history of human existence. Since Christopher Hitchens has been published in peer reviewed journals, his assertions should have merit.

Also it is explanatorily superior to asset that humans have a sense of objective morality. Empirically, no society has ever accepted rape against someone's will as lawful or murder for the sake of pleasure as lawful. Intuitively, we know that rape against one's will and murder for our own pleasure is wrong. Logically, it is explanatorily superior to assert that these moral abominations are wrong objectively. Why objectivlely? Because absolute rather than relative morality has been shown to be true regardless of religion, culture, or time period of within human existence. According to Occam's razor, we should assume the simplest explanation that meets the data, which weighs in favor of objective morality. In addition, I will reiterate an analogy that i've given in the previous round. Humans have morals, and have the capacity to see murder and rape against someone's will as right if morals are relative. Dogs have vocal chords, and have the capacity to speak english just like humans have the capacity to disobey objective morality since dogs harbor the resource necessary to do so, but empirically, dogs have never been verified to do an action like speak english because it's incoherent. It is also incoherent to believe that morals are subjective in the sense that any society would ever condone rape against someone's will or murder as being morally justified behavior. If you assert that humans, as a product of random and spontaneous causation, have an obligation to propagate the evolutionary process and dervive morality from this purpose, you must ask yourself how a purpose can exist among a purposeless species. It is logically incoherent.

"Not everyone gets pleasure from murdering someone"

It doesn't matter if it's one person or a billion people. What matters is whether or not they are morally justified in receiving pleasure from murder. My case is that murder for the sake of pleasure or rape against someone's will is always wrong, even if it's one case!Taking a relativistic position on morality, Murder for the sake of pleasure or rape against someone's will is NOT WRONG OBJECTIVELY! Meaning that you have NO moral authority to assume that the behavior of the Nazi's or Ted Bundy killing others for the sake of some cause was wrong. You must agree that if morals are relativistic, no absolutes exist and that they are just as justified in killing and raping as justification for seeing that behavior as wrong.

With the view of objective morality, that is empirically, logically, and intuitvely supported, actions destroying other human's well-being (like murder for the sake of pleasure of rape against someone's will) is wrong indefinitely and objects to the assertion that all morality is subjective (which you assert without proof despite having the burden of proof).

My opponent attempts to debunk Ted Bundy's previous statement by re-asserting Ted's previous statements (that he murdered for pleasure in the same way he derives pleasure from eating ham). My opponent also re-asserts that Ted Bundy and Jeffrey Dahmer showing remorse was only in the interest of appeasing the public eye. I will reiterate my stance that I've provided in the previous round: Ted Bundy and Jeffrey Dahmer have no reason whatsoever to allign their moral values with God's moral values or public moral values if they are about to be exterminated the next day. If their true motivation behind committing evil can't be known, moments before their death should hold more merit instead of years before execution because they'd have no opportunity to appeal or lessen their sentence. My opponent never rebuts this point.

My opponent commits an oxymoron by stating: "The aztecs did not justify anything. Appeasing gods was the reason for which they killed." The justification for killing in the first place was because they were trying to appease false gods and justified this by killing humans!

My opponent falsely claims that I must know the exact intent of everyone committing murder and rape, specifically in the case of the KKK and Tanzanian African hunters. This is not true. They have a verbalized justification of their behavior. The KKK targeting minorities because of their beliefs and the Tanzanian African hunters targeting people because of their beliefs also. "belief" by definiton, is the stance on the validity of the truth of some statement. So justification is needed to see moral justification in these actions.

Given Pro's burden of proof, and the validity of my objections (that went improperly unrefuted) I ask voters to remove bias from either side and weigh the evidence of human behavior on its own merits.

Thanks to Pro for instigating this stimulating debate!

Debate Round No. 4
5 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 5 records.
Posted by jamccartney 7 years ago
This is a good debate. Pro and Con are both making god points, however I think Pro's arguments are stronger, mostly because one cannot prove that morality is objective. I look forward to seeing the outcome of this debate.
Posted by Dennybug 7 years ago
That's right.
Posted by Benshapiro 7 years ago
So you don't believe that objective morality exists?
Posted by Dennybug 7 years ago
Alright, an example would be to argue that pointlessly killing your best friend is objectively wrong.

I will be arguing that a statement like that is a subjective opinion.
Posted by Kaneo 7 years ago
Could you please elaborate?
2 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 2 records.
Vote Placed by Defro 7 years ago
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Total points awarded:30 
Reasons for voting decision: Con provided a resolution at the start of the debate and did not defend it enough.. His arguments were that nobody rapes someone against their will and nobody murders for pleasure because they're wrong. Pro adequately refuted these examples. Pro backed up his arguments and provided evidence to show that morals are not always the same
Vote Placed by Wylted 7 years ago
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Total points awarded:03 
Reasons for voting decision: The most BOP belongs to pro here. Con have enough examples to give doubt to subjective morality. Con gave 2 cases that would lead a reasonable person to conclude that at least 2 cases of objective morality exists. If every society that ever existed believes 2 of the same things to be immoral than we have a basis for an objective morality. Pro showed some cases of murder being considered moral by certain groups, but they all had justification for it. He failed to show murder for pleasure alone ever being considered immoral.

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