The Instigator
Pro (for)
5 Points
The Contender
Con (against)
0 Points

Morals are Objective

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Post Voting Period
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after 1 vote the winner is...
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 4/5/2014 Category: Philosophy
Updated: 6 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 725 times Debate No: 51719
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (2)
Votes (1)




I'm arguing that morals cannot be subjective, meaning that they change from situation to situation, and that they are in fact objective- what was wrong in one situation will be wrong in the next.

1st round is for acceptance.


I accept. Pro has the burden of proof, obviously, since he has made a positive statement. Therefore, he must refute all of my arguments, along with any possible counterexample that I could provide, whereby I must only neutralize his arguments.
Debate Round No. 1


rugbypro5 forfeited this round.


BobTurner forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 2


Awesome! Both forfeit the first round!

Now, to the debate...

Morals: concerning or relating to what is right and wrong in human behavior.

Tell me the difference between these two statements: 1. Chocolate ice-cream is better than vanilla. 2. It's wrong to torture babies for fun.

The first statement was subjective, it's legitimacy changes from taste to taste and person to person. The second statement appeals to a higher "moral code" if you will, and is a claim that is true no matter what someone's taste is.

Relativists and relativism is part of a worldview that says, "You're right in what you believe, and I'm right in what I believe. There is no set of rules we are to follow except for the ones set by either the individual or the society." Scott Klusendorf defined relativism as this: "What's right and wrong is up to us to decide either individually or as a society. There are no objective standards of morality that we are beholden to independent of personal tastes and culture."

These are the 2 types of relativism that Greg Koukl describes.

1. Society Says Relativism: There are so many different nations with different morals than you do- how can you say you are right? Basically, there is no consensus, therefore there is no right answer.

- The first sentence seems intimidating for a person who believes morals hold true in whichever circumstance or society you find yourself in, but the claim is only descriptive, meaning, it only describes what the society is doing, not what it ought to do. Just because there isn't any consensus, there isn't an absence of a right answer. In this belief, morality is "reduced to a social contract and is determined by popular consensus." But if this is true, there is no such thing as an immoral law or immoral society. If each nation or group creates their own morality, none of them and none of us have the right to claim one to be better or worse than the other. It then becomes impossible to improve society, it can only be changed.

In the Nuremberg Trials, that is what the Nazi's used as justification. They tried to appeal to the belief that morals are relative, they were only following orders, what Nazi Germany creates to be morality is morality for Nazi Germany- no one else should condemn them for it. The judges however looked past that and had them hanged. I believe that's because the judges knew that what the Nazis did was wrong, and even if they had won WWII -took over the world and brainwashed everyone to believe that what they did was right- it would still be wrong.

I'd also like to address those who agree that the society we live in now, is better than Nazi Germany in the 1940's. If you agree with this, why do you say it's better? In order for you to say ours is better, you need to believe that there is some standard that is better than what we're at, a standard we are striving towards. I ask now, "How is it that you think there are societies that have more ideal moralities and less ideal moralities if there is no objective moral guideline that is ideal?" C.S Lewis put it extremely well in his book, Mere Christianity, when he said, "...But how had I got this idea of just and unjust? A man does not call a line crooked unless he has some idea of a straight line. What was I comparing this universe with when I called it unjust?"

From the evidence, I conclude that morality is not relative and is, in fact, objective- What is wrong here and now was wrong in the past and will be wrong in the future anywhere else.


I must only provide one example of cases where morality is objective. But here are several.

1. "Swearing is wrong." Says who? Says I. My opponent may disagree. My opponent may disagree on what is a swear. My opponent may live in a culture where sticking up his middle finger is a curse and thus immoral, while I may live in a culture that doesn't make use of such a symbol.

2. Morals are culturally dependant. In some cultures it's rude for someone to complement an item you own, and you not offer it to them. That's deemed immoral there, but in the US, at least, that isn't the case -- morality is subjective based on culture. There are also cultures with different rules as to touching and personal contact -- some see it as a sign of affection, some view, say, a handshake as formal, and others find it outright rude and insulting.

3. A statement such as "killing is wrong" is subjective for a number of reasons. First, why are you killing someone? Are they threatening your life or your family, prompting you to act in self defense in order to save yourself (which is completely legal)? Are we discussing war, which people of good faith will disagree on?

My opponent's position disregards nuance and subjectivity and wants to suggest that there is a singe, finite moral code. Hoewever, morality changes over time with new cultures, new information, etc. If we found out, for instance, that fetuses can feel pain at 5 weeks gestation, abortion at 5 weeks could be wrong by all means -- though we would have to question whether it is right when the mother's life is in danger -- though people will still disagree.

I submit, morality is not subjective.
Debate Round No. 3


I'm not sure the distinction between 'objective' and 'subjective' has fully set itself in your mind...
"I must only provide one example of cases where morality is objective."- This means you are providing examples of morals being absolute, in which case you would support my argument.
"I submit, morality is not subjective."- This means you agree with me- morals are objective, not subjective.
Lastly, I'm not sure you used 'singe' right. That means to superficially burn something (verb) or a superficial burn (noun). You may have also meant to write 'single' which, in that case should add points for me.

To the argument.

1. Your argument against morality with your example of swearing is entirely inadequate. You are talking about sociology, not morality. Sociology is the way people act, morality is the way people SHOULD act. I would argue that nobody wants their 4 year old to curse or swear, that's because we all know that the words' meanings are unvirtuous and immoral. Just because someone acts wrong doesn't mean that there isn't a right way to act.

Secondly, you place morality into the same class as social convention is, meaning, you think morality is just another thing you learn from school, your teachers, parents, society etc., and because you think that (and I agree that you learn it from you parents and all), that morality is simply a human invention, unlike something such as mathematics. Take it away Mr. Lewis: "But, of course that is not so. We all learned the multiplication table at school. A child who grew up alone on a desert island would not know it. But surely it does not follow that the multiplication table is simply a human convention, something human beings have made up for themselves and might have made different if they had liked? I fully agree that we learn the Rule of Decent Behaviour from parents and teachers, and friends and books, as we learn everything else. But some of the things we learn are mere conventions which might have been different- we learn to keep to the left of the road, but it might just as well have been the rule to keep to the right- and others of them, like mathematics , are real truths. The question is to which class the law of Human Nature belongs." (Remember this guys from Britain so he used to drive on the left side of the road.)

There are two reasons why it falls into the class of mathematics. First, because morality between cultures is remarkably alike. Take a look at the Egyptians, Romans, Greeks, Hindus, Buddhists, Chinese, you'll find that their moralities are all quite similar. One society may say it's best to kill yourself so that you don't lose a battle, the other may say that you did good for trying. But no culture praises a man who runs away from a battle, or celebrates the man who betrays his best friends. They may differ on how many wives you should have, 1 or 4, but none will say you should have any woman you like. Some may say you should serve your country first then your family, others may say the opposite, but none of them say you should serve yourself first. You see? Morality between cultures is fundamentally the same and superficially different. (Superficially, I mean the human conventions that are applied on top of the core morality).

2. "Morals are culturally dependant." (The right way to spell this is *dependent*). Just re-read that last paragraph, it'll do you well. It'll be even better if you read C.S Lewis' book, from which I am taking almost 100% of my examples. I do not hide the fact I am quite ignorant in these matters without the help of those of whom I read. C.S Lewis is fantastic and he's helped me tremendously.

3. The statement "killing is wrong". First of all, there is a difference between killing and murdering. Murdering is cold-blooded. It is for a personal vendetta that is unjust. Killing is not always wrong, sort of like a square and a rectangle. Murder is always killing, killing is not always murder. Killing happens for a number of reasons, like you said, self-defense, wars etc. And this is also something you'll find to be practically identical throughout every civilization, society and culture. No one should murder.

Your last statement about abortion is also arbitrary, quite like a few of your other arguments. Abortion is very much still up in the air as to whether the fetus is alive or not, deserves life or not, etc. and to use that unknown to solve for the other unknown of morality's objectivity is like trying to solve x=y+1- You place in an unknown variable to try and bolster your other unknown variable's credibility and it does nothing in actuality for your case. If you want to debate abortion then let's do it- in another debate.

My opponent has not given any evidence of a case in which the morality is actually different, rather, he has provided certain hypothetical cases in which human convention is the factor that changes. I, on the other hand, have provided solid evidence for the objectivity of morality. He also has trouble grasping the difference between subjective and objective and has spelling mistakes.

"Mere Christianity" by C.S Lewis


BobTurner forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 4
2 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 2 records.
Posted by rugbypro5 7 years ago
Are we gonna debate?
Posted by Jifpop09 7 years ago
Good luck pro, you'll need it.
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by wolf24 6 years ago
Agreed with before the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
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Total points awarded:50 
Reasons for voting decision: Pro not only had better spelling and more convincing arguments, but Con managed to forfeit 2 of his 3 rounds to debate. This gives me good reason to vote Pro on conduct, spelling, and arguments.

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