Which side makes a better case?
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  • 2 years ago
  • 2 years ago

    Hi Nelson and Matt, my name is Arielle and I'm a resident judge here on Qallout. I hope to break the tie and advance one of you forward toward the next round, and offer some feedback and tips.

    This was a fascinating debate- I must say both of you are skilled orators, each with his own set of strengths. Nelson, I thought you were captivating in your tone of urgency, and Matt, despite not being as colorful in story telling, you used classical debate techniques to further your case strategically.

    Nelson, as I understood your argument, you put forth that moral law requires a source, a moral law giver. Hence without the existence of theism, concepts of morality could not exist or continue to provide an ethical template. Matt, you outlined your argument by giving the listener an accepted definition of morality- a stance or belief. Thus through your reasoning, it becomes possible for the areligious to assert stances or beliefs without the influence of God. You propose two central points- 1) beliefs are not quantifiable, and so it's impossible to say whether the religious or atheistic possess more morals; 2) more prescribed rules doesn't necessarily translate into an outcome of greater net morality.

    Ultimately, I was convinced by the CON side on account of the fact that he points out that although his opponent's first supposition is easy to follow, such that if morality exists it must come from a moral-giver, this very framework mired the PRO side when he did not prove his second point that the moral-giver must logically be God, or a transcendent religious being. This created a residual hole in the PRO side's argument.

    To the PRO side, I think you could strengthen your debates going forward by keeping this in mind: although the sources from your myriad of quotes were impressive and obviously thoughtful, I would spend more time honing in on one or two essential excerpts and allocate more time toward elucidating why you chose these quotes and how they could further prove your argument. In a similar sense to how the CON side began his case by enunciating the definition of morality, I might have begun by identifying what constitutes religion and describing how devout a person must be to consider themselves religious.

    I want to point out that the CON side was able to make a better case by engaging with the points put forth by his opponent and offering alternatives. The CON side was able to win in this instance firstly by demonstrating the coherence of his argument and showing its relevance to contemporary life within the US, and ALSO doubly through nullifying one facet of the PRO side's hypothesis.

    I wish you the best moving forward- I hope you will both continue to debate on Qallout as you are each respectively laudable thinkers and speakers!!

    • 2 years ago

      @arielle_3558 dislike 😥 haha
      thanks for taking the time to decide. Appreciate the feedback and I agree you make valid points. I definitely failed to outline the arguments and define terms.
      Congratulations to @mattrawlson for the victory. I think you were the best of the 5 Cons debating this contention.
      -How did his Patriots flag not tip the scales to my side? Lol

    • 2 years ago

      @nellyj_misesian true, that Patriots flag should have been a deal breaker lol

    • 2 years ago

      @nellyj_misesian in all honesty I am very surprised it didn’t tip the scales haha. But thanks for an awesome debate and I appreciate the compliment. I look forward to our discussions in the future!

  • 2 years ago

    @mattrawlson has a Patriots flag behind him and hence he too must be immoral lol

    • 2 years ago

      Always enjoy seeing people vote before the debate is even over.
      Thanks for the fun, @mattrawlson. Hope we can chat on this or other topics sometime.

      • 2 years ago

        @nellyj_misesian I'm always a little dubious of those... but I think in one of Qallout's promos they show that as part of the intended way the site would work, people could swap their vote around in real time as the arguments swayed them. I try never to do that, especially not if I'm watching live.

        Though some folks are just going to vote for their loved ones and friends purely out of solidarity. My wife is always going to vote for me no matter how bad my arguments may be. I think that's just a given in most cases.

      • 2 years ago

        @nellyj_misesian I voted early. Not because I agree with Con's side of the resolution (I do and you know that) but because he easily won on the actual debate side of things. You didn't show that atheists have no morals. Even if we accept every single argument you made, you just proved that atheists have no moral law from which to base morals, but as Con correctly responded, they can and do still have morals.

        Your arguments had nothing to do with the resolution. Con stuck to the resolution, explained what it meant, and had very appropriate applications showing that the numerical amount of morals is exactly the same between religious people and atheists.

      • 2 years ago

        @sigfried wish I could even get my wife to vote haha

      • 2 years ago

        @debateme13 lol how can you have morals without a moral law? That's so absurd only you would make auch a ridiculous claim.

      • 2 years ago

        @nellyj_misesian The way your opponent talked about for the entire debate. Maybe if you'd have listened to him you'd understand what morals are.

      • 2 years ago

        @debateme13 he said they have a moral law unto themselves.

    • 2 years ago

      Seeking input here from some of the great debaters and those interested in the subject
      @the_peoples_champ
      @mvineyard
      @alot_like_locke
      @behind_the_veil_of_ignorance
      @julian
      @sigfried
      @chasuk

    • 2 years ago

      Yup I will watch it a little later, I’ll post it though so some others can watch.

      • 2 years ago

        Actually - @nellyj_misesian - I would have stated the proposition slightly different.

        "Religious People have more 'fixed' morals (based on 'natural law') than atheists. Atheists believe in 'relative' morality and it can change over time."

        Consider how Obama could be against same sex marriage until after the 2012 elections...and then change. Leftists loved him before the election...and after the election. People who still have the same belief that Obama had before the 2012 election are NOW evil....even though they (and their beliefs) haven't changed. Subjective morality changes. I could continue with plenty of examples...but I am sure you get my point.

        • 2 years ago

          @mvineyard yes. Though ever changing morals are no morals at all. Morals require a moral law and a moral law cannot change. So when people's 'morals' change it's because they had no foundation for their morals. They were not morals but mere feelings.

        • 2 years ago

          @nellyj_misesian BUT - people who have 'relative morality' think that they HAVE morality...and in fact, it is superior to the morality of most religions. They think themselves superior because they can evolve ....AND because they can find ways to justify infanticide (murdering the unborn) ---- yet they are so strong in supporting LIFE - by opposing the execution of a convicted murderer. They can agree with a Peter Singer - who posits that a dog has more of a 'right to life' than a baby born with major birth defects (and his argument that there would be nothing wrong with 'post-birth abortion.')

      • 2 years ago

        I enjoyed watching this debate. Both debaters were very clear and reasoned in their arguments. Both very respectful and genuine on the topic. That always makes for a good debate.

        @nellyj_misesian I think this was one of your stronger presentations I've seen. Probably because it was part o the tournament, you went to a more formal style for your opening. And I think that makes for a good persuasive start. I could follow your reasoning, and it linked up well with the resolution.

        Now, with all honesty, I utterly disagree with many of your contentions here. My view of what morality means is light years from yours. Still, I'm determined not to just dismiss it. I'm holding your opponent to a high standard to come back and rationally break down your case.

        @mattrawlson starts out on a good footing by giving us his own definitions and making his own case. His tactic is to deconstruct the resolution and basically say it's something we can't judge so we should reject it. It's a logical case, but I feel like it either needed more punch or he needed to go after Pro at the same time.

        For the early part of the debate, I feel like Con didn't quite grasp what Pro's argument was exactly even though Pro repeated it nearly every rebuttal. He sticks with his own case, that can be a good tactic, but I think it is weak here, and this is why.

        Pro's case takes an absolutist view, and if he can hold it, it crushes the whole notion that we cannot judge. His 1 > 0 is a clear answer to the resolution, and until it is answered and challenged it is more compelling than "we can't really count very well" Only if you throw a shadow on how pro is counting, can you contend we can;t really count.

        Con seems to finally be getting to grasp Pro's case in the last third. He challenges the moral definition, but that doesn't do much for me. They have competing definitions, so there needs to be a challenge to the moral lawgiver claim for a definitional argument to have a real impact.

        Finally, Con gives me some traction. He points out each Atheist has their own code, that they don't believe in the moral lawgiver, that different religious point to different lawgivers, that they don't all think like Neiche does, that there is no actual universal moral code and everyone picks their own be it from authority or not.

        Not shockingly, I agree and since this is essentially a one argument debate, and Con clashes on that central point and I find his view makes a ton of sense to me, I can vote Con. But if that moment hadn't come, I'd have to, in principle, give this to Pro, who did a good job constructing a logical case based on his worldview.

        I respect Pros argument and delivery, but after considering Cons late breaking arguments I don't agree. (next up, some of my own answers)

        • 2 years ago

          @sigfried thanks @sigfried. Excellent analysis. Appreciate all of it.

        • 2 years ago

          As an atheist, I don't believe the Christian lawgiver exists. Thus I don't believe that he is the source of objective morality. I don't think there is an objective morality.

          I believe that individual men are the lawgivers. We all set forth our own laws, our own moralities and we are the authority from which it stems. It is only as universal as men are universal and it is as diverse as men are diverse.

          I do not recognize or believe in a universal morality. Yet I have morals, they are my morals. They are the only morals I follow. I formed them from my own reason and from the reason of other men like me.

          And "I think therefore I am" is all the evidence I need that I have reason. It need not come from anywhere else. It is simply a self-evident fact of my existence. I differ from other animals by virtue of my DNA which gives me a more powerful mind. Many animals also reason, just not nearly as well we do (so far as we can tell).

          Just because people don't have the kind of morals you beleive in, doesn't mean they don't have morals. Every day they make moral choices and that is self evident proof that they have morals.

        • 2 years ago

          @sigfried thus you are your own Moral Lawgiver. Still, it affirms that moral laws require a moral law giver. I answered this in the debate too.

        • 2 years ago

          @nellyj_misesian Yes, someone or something has to be creating moral rules for them to exist.

        • 2 years ago

          @sigfried You cite Rene Descartes famous maxim - but then you appear to abandon a common morality that is a foundation of 'natural law'.

          I would point out that I exist - I have a right to existence, so no one has a right to take my life from me. (Therefore, no one has a right to murder me.)
          I have a right to the fruits of my labor. I should be able to keep what I build/develop/earn. (Therefore, no one has a right to take or steal from me.)
          The essence of many religions is a common thought espoused in the "Golden Rule"....Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. As I do not want to be murdered, I must not murder others. As I do not want my stuff stolen, neither do I have a right to take from others.
          At this point...we have GOOD IDEAS established - that only brutes and thugs would disagree with.... SO - we establish the idea of LIMITED government that is designed to maximize all people's freedoms to prevent the thugs/murderers and thieves from forcing their will on us. Government needs to be strong enough to stop or punish those who violate basic norms.

          NOW - you can have consortium of peoples who envy the success of others (we might call these people 'leftists' - or 'socialists') - because they would grow the power of the state to TAKE (for redistribution) from some to give to others. They reject the idea of natural law and the idea that an individual is allowed to keep the fruits of his own labor, now it is subject to redistribution as determined by the cartel in power. AND - this cartel is ready to violate the basic right - the right of existence - and use state power to kill anyone who resists the state.

          Morals based on the natural laws - the right to self and property - are supreme in a MORAL system. BUT - in an AMORAL system, these values are relative and can be considered less important and can be taken away by the state, if necessary, for the state to do as it wants. Universal morality is rejected in favor of the state having the right to re-define at any point what acceptable morality is. When they can change morals, reject previously accepted morals in favor of new morals...it this not like having 'living Constitution' - subject to the routine 're-interpretation' of the Supreme Court? Why bother with a written document if the Supreme Court and if leftists act as if the Constitution was written on an Etch-A-Sketch(tm) device (which only leftists are allowed to modify...no conservative or libertarian is allowed similar efforts to interpret the Constitution to their side.)

          No - your own arguments help prove that @nellyj_misesian was correct and accurate in his Debate Assertion.

        • 2 years ago

          @mvineyard I refer you to this conversation which I'm sure you will find objectionable in nearly every respect. ;P

          https://www.qallout.com/debate/3201-what-does-it-mean-to-have-natural-rights-an-open-dialog

        • 2 years ago

          @sigfried I did listen to that on the way home very entertaining but in my opinion horribly illogical. If government grants "rights" where does it get the authority to do so and where do the "rights" it grants originate? If government kills you for any reason what recourse would you or your heirs have to say government was "wrong" since you had no right to your life save that which govt gave and then quickly withdrew? What happens when govt "rights" conflict with other "rights of govt? Etc.....

        • 2 years ago

          I would also say that Rights do exist even if there is nobody to follow them. Animals have no moral obligation and no requirement to respect rights having none themselves and thus a tiger killing you is not violating your actual and Natural Right OF Life. It did what was in its own nature.

        • 2 years ago

          @nellyj_misesian I'll put up a topic with you in mind so we can discuss it.

          The thing is... many of my answers will not be satisfying to you. You want assurance that you always have an appeal to a higher power, that there is always a truth you can lead others to that they should obey if they were wise. That is a desire in my view, not a truth.

          My truth is everyone makes their own rules and the only objective authority is power. We live in a world where every choice we make has consequences so we have to choose carefully because there is no backstop or safety net to fall back on. No final appeal. We have to appeal to one another.

        • 2 years ago

          @sigfried I hope to take you on over this eventually. We can hold our remaining cards against our respective chests haha

      • 2 years ago

        @nellyj_misesian @mattrawlson we have a tie! A second judge will come soon to declare the final winner