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Pro (for)
The Contender
Con (against)

The West's Claim of Universal Equal Human Rights is Unjustified

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 10/10/2017 Category: Philosophy
Updated: 2 years ago Status: Debating Period
Viewed: 510 times Debate No: 104374
Debate Rounds (3)
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The political orthodoxy in modern Western democracies like the United States holds that the equality of rights of all human beings is an unquestionable, moral claim that cannot be challenged by the findings of descriptive science. Equality, as a normative commitment, is viewed as fundamental to the West's conception of human rights, and is deemed not open to debate. The liberal political establishment in contemporary Western society currently insists, for example, that there is no substantial scientific basis for any claims that the pattern of human genetic variation supports hierarchically ranked categories of race or ethnicity. It is effectively forbidden to point out that the findings of modern scientific research suggest it is quite likely there may be a substantial genetic basis to observed differences in human behavioural traits such as IQ scores, the tendency toward impulsive violence and degrees of athleticism.In short, any open discussion on the question of a direct relationship between genetics and variations in the human traits ( of behaviour, cognitive ability and physiology) among different racial groupings has been branded taboo .

Those scientists who breach the system's imposed prohibition on the public discussion of any aspect of this issue by, for example, arguing that it now seems probable the empirical research data which has confirmed, beyond doubt, over the past four decades, the presence of significant - and in some cases, dramatic -disparities in the measurements of average cognitive ability (i.e. average intelligence/ IQ) recorded between populations of different racial/ethnic groups - (such, for instance, as that which is known to exist between groups of black Australian aboriginals, whose average IQ score on standardised tests is around 62 points, and groups of their white, European - descended Australian countrymen, whose average IQ score is about 100 points) - is probably caused to a substantial extent by innate biological (genetic) factors, as opposed to purely external environmental factors, are immediately denounced by the liberal political orthodoxy. They are immediately castigated as "racists" , "hate-mongers" , "bigots", "white supremacists" and so on; - condemned, in brief, for being dangerous, irresponsible extremists whose claims ought be treated with utter contempt by all members of "respectable society".

It seems to me that the ongoing trenchant refusal of liberal democracies in the West to tolerate any point of view critical of whether the normative commitment to absolute, universal equality which underpins their Human Rights discourse is in fact justified in declaring itself to be an unquestionable, unassailable, irrefutable moral claim is evidence of a logical fallacy in action; one that the Harvard microbiologist Bernard Davis referred to as the "moralistic fallacy".

Davis coined the term "moralistic fallacy" in a 1978 literature article he authored which was intended to respond to growing political and public calls for the imposition of ethical guidelines to restrict the scope of research in basic (or "pure") science amid criticisms of so-called "dangerous knowledge" - such as the genetic basis of IQ - on account of assertions that such knowledge had a clear potential for harmful misuse. Davis' "moralistic fallacy" can be understood as being the converse of the well-known "naturalistic fallacy" that was first identified by the 18th century philosopher David Hume. The naturalistic fallacy occurs when reasoning jumps from what IS to prescription about what OUGHT be; It is the idea that whatever is found in nature is good or right. The moralistic fallacy, on the other hand, occurs when reasoning jumps from prescriptions about what OUGHT be to statements about what actually IS; It takes place , that is, when what should be moral is assumed "a priori" to also be naturally occurring. To put it another way, the moralistic fallacy is the informal fallacy of assuming that whichever aspect of nature has socially unpleasant aspects, aspects that are, for example, ugly, offensive, brutal, immoral or contrary to our ideals, CANNOT exist.

I believe that we see in the established political orthodoxy of liberal Western democracies today, a perfect example of the moralistic fallacy in action. This is not because the West embraces and upholds a human rights discourse whose fundamental principle is that all men and women ought be treated equally under the law, but because it consequently assumes it is THEREFORE the case that all men and women are biologically identical; that there are no intrinsic genetic differences between people or groups of people, and any scientific study that demonstrates otherwise is "a priori" false.

There is clear evidence of this in the way that the majority of mainstream social scientists working in the West today continue to stubbornly deny that observed sex and race differences in human traits like behaviour, cognitive ability and athleticism could ever be genetically based. Their absolute refusal to accept even the possibility of this explanation, despite the existence of a substantial body of empirical research data that suggests otherwise, bears witness to their moralistic fallacy in action. It is a logical fallacy that is , in my opinion, primarily driven by their left- leaning, liberal political convictions.

To "cut to the chase" the point I wish to make is that if government policy-makers in West today are sincerely interested in solving the social problems that beset their societies -
such serious endemic problems as , for example , the disproportionately high levels of antisocial violence, criminality, incarceration, drug and alcohol abuse, domestic dysfunction, child abuse, poor academic achievement, long-term unemployment, welfare dependency, poverty, mental and physical illness, diminished life expectancy and so on that are a tragic reality for racial groups like Australian aboriginal s and African -Americans in contemporary Western societies, they must endeavour to determine what the TRUE cause of these problems actually is. I believe that if the West continues trying to remediate the multiplex problems experienced by racial groups like the Australian aboriginals or African- Americans the was that it current is, that is, with social policies and support programs that are generated by a political establishment in thrall of a moralistic fallacy which insists that all human being and all groups of human being ( like racial and ethnic groups) are absolutely biologically/genetically identical and and therefore MUST be treated in an equal manner under the law, it is certain to continue to fail in its goal. This is because I believe the truth of the matter is that this is not , in actual fact, the case. The differences in average intelligence (IQ) that exist between black and white racial groups in Western societies is an established and incontrovertible matter of scientific fact, and I believe there is a high probability that its explanation is predominantly genetic. It is only by accepting this scientific truth that workable social policiues capable of redressing the current problems of black African-Americans and aboriginal Australians can ever begin to be formulated.


Thank you to Pro for making this debate. I will argue against the position that "The West's Claim of Universal Equal Human Rights is Unjustified"

I will offer the definition of unjustified as "not shown to be right or reasonable." I will take "the west's claim of universal equal human rights" to refer to the collectively accepted body of documents and theory which is most readily embodied in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights but also seen in other national and international charters.

Pro's argument seems mostly focused on whether Aboriginal Australians have a lower IQ. This is largely irrelevant to the topic of the debate. The key connection pro makes between his argument and the topic under debate is his claim that: "This is not because the West embraces and upholds a human rights discourse whose fundamental principle is that all men and women ought be treated equally under the law, but because it consequently assumes it is THEREFORE the case that all men and women are biologically identical; that there are no intrinsic genetic differences between people or groups of people, and any scientific study that demonstrates otherwise is "a priori" false."

Pro's claim is false. I will base this on three points:

1) His claim is completely unevidenced. Like the entirety of his post, Pro makes very definite claims about things but leaves them completely unevidenced, offering not a shred of proof.

2) The claim is absurd. Following Pro's logic, people who believe in human rights would refuse to believe that someone born with a genetic condition that left them completely legless is just as capable runner as a person born without any such conditions; that a person born braindead will be as intelligent as a normal person or that a male is just as capable of having ovaries and a womb that allows them to give birth as a genetic female. These claims are totally absurd but they are what people would supposedly believe if they did think "there are no intrinsic genetic differences between people". It is absurd to claim that people believe such a thing.

3) The actual evidence does not support it. For instance in the same Western nations that support human rights, it is very common for them to recognise that people can be genetic differences between people which result in drastic effects. Take for example the disability living allowance in the UK, where people with disabilities will be be paid money in recognition of the fact that is harder for them then it is for most people [1]. This is directly contrary to Pro's claim. Furthermore if you examine the text of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the European Convention on Human Rights or any other similar document [2][3] you will notice that they make no mention of enforcing anything like what Pro suggests.

The West's Claim of Universal Equal Human Rights is Justified

What Pro seems to have misunderstood is that the western conception of human rights is founded on the knowledge that that are a whole range of differences between humans. However, the point human rights makes is that despite the differences of whether you're poor or rich, male or female, black or white, smart or dumb, atheist or Hindu - there is a shared commonality of humanity which qualifies people for certain rights and protections.

To whit:

- It is wrong to torture people for having the wrong colour skin.
- It is wrong to deny someone the right to vote for having a certain gender
- It is wrong to deny someone a fair trail due to them not reaching a certain metric of intelligence

This does not mean it is wrong to acknowledge any difference as my opponent claims - if that was what they were trying to do then the UCHR could be a lot shorter - "Everyone has to treat each other as if they were all perfectly equal in every way, no matter how stupid that is". Instead it numerates specifics rights and protections that apply, not some limitless infinite protection.

This was done to the drastic pain and suffering that has been incflicted by others in the past and recognises that there is a certain basic level of decency that should be accorded to all humans. Human Rights don't ignore our differences, they simply focus on the shared humanity.

The development of human rights was brought about specifically to fight against injustice and suffering, spurred on by the likes of the Holocaust to try and ensure such events never happen again.

Pro's claims are wrong and Universal Human Rights are entirely justified.

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Debate Round No. 3
2 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 2 records.
Posted by atjacobmajor 2 years ago
I'd like to know what you are basing these claims off of... I might accept.
Posted by Shad0wXx 2 years ago
Are you claiming that a person with a lower IQ than another is inherently worth less?
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