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

    In a retrospective summary; my biggest contention with a statement like this is that it's very guilty of assuming its own premise. "I say morality is subjective, and I define morality as 'the subjective decisions we all make about what we think we should do' ". You've assumed your premise in your definition.

    I say morality is objective, and I define morality as the universally binding values and principles which determine right human behaviour. Am I assuming my own premise there? I contend not, but I don't want to tip my hand too much as to the particulars before our next debate. ;)

    As we concluded; the only way to determine whose definition is right is to have a debate about the existence of an omnipotent creator God. I feel that I can demonstrate good arguments for why it is intellectually dishonest to withhold belief in such a being, and we'll have that debate next! :D

    Thanks again for the debates so far, @sigfried.

    • 2 years ago

      @daveykanabus I would not say I define morality as subjective. I'd define morality as a means of determining right and wrong actions and leave it at that. (I should add that to my case file.)

      I do observe that all instances of morality we can observe among human beings pertain to social interactions because right and wrong mostly loses meaning outside that context.

      And I observe that all moral determination is ultimately dependent on individual human judgment, or on the judgment of sets of rules created by individual humans working in concert to make them.

      --- I can imagine objective morality ---

      To demonstrate that my view is not that morality is subjective by definition, I can easily imagine an objective moral world.

      In this imagined world, there are a set of stone statues in France. We know they are not made by human hands, we know they are made of stone, and they speak aloud with an otherworldly voice that anyone can hear regardless of their language. In short, these are not of human origin or control.

      Revering these monoliths we have requested they provide us with a set of moral codes, and they have done so. All trials and disputes are adjudicated by the monoliths. All humans rightly recognize their authority in these matters.

      At this point, all human morality is objective and independent of individual moral opinion or action.

      -- the real definitional lynch pin = Subjective --
      It is the word subjective, and its meaning that is the true heart of my argument. Because moral determinacy rests solely in the hands of humans and we all disagree to varying degrees, morality is inescapably subjective unless we can show a moral judgment force that lies outside human control.

      -- is god enough? --
      One challenge you may find is that deism is not sufficient for that. A deist god may have no moral code for humans to follow and may be uninterested in human affairs in general. That is the classic definition of a deist god. He would have imposed order on the universe but left moral decisions to each social species to work out for themselves.

      I think to defeat subjective morality you need a specific God who has delivered unto us specific moral standards and that it makes judgments based on those standards.

    • 2 years ago


      That's just it Sig, you define morality as a *way of determining* right and wrong actions, I define morality as what is *already determined* to be right and wrong from eternity. So in this sense, yes our definitions of morality do intrinsically differ and lend themselves to one side of the argument or the other simply in terms.

      Point by point:

      --can you really imagine objective morality?--

      As we covered briefly in this video; even the morality of an eternal deity would fit your definitions of subjectivity, it would simply be subjective to the eternal creator, and thus overwhelm, winning out over all others by your definition of "force" from the first debate. Likewise, it's evident to me by the points you've provided here, that even if I were to somehow interview every person on the planet, and all 7.6 billion unanimously agreed on one particular moral point - you could still say it was a consensus of subjective opinion. Whether or not you would concede to that being effectively/pragmatically objective, is up to you I suppose. But nonetheless I still contend that your definition of morality is the main point of disagreement; as evident by the fact that I agree with your definition of subjectivity, and reject the idea that it applies to morality.

      --the real definitional lynchpin = Morality --

      See above.

      --is god enough? not quite, but close.--

      I wholeheartedly agree that a deist god would not necessarily imply objective morality simply by the fact that it created our universe. However, there are further implications from that premise which strongly imply it, and are very short logical steps *away* from near-definitively demonstrating it. Likewise; I don't tend to think my debates will convert anyone to a specific faith. I'm more than satisfied with demonstrating that the best move is to believe some kind of God most likely exists, and earnestly search for an answer to the questions that concession inevitably raises.

    • 2 years ago

      @daveykanabus I disagree about what I think. ;)

      I feel like my definition of morality leaves room for it to be objective. If the means for determining morality involves consulting with a non-human moral lawgiver, then it is an objective system under my definition. I don't specify the means, only that there needs to be one.

      If there is a god, that doesn't mean my definition of subjective I put that purely in the context of human beings. A supreme being would be an objective being almost by definition. Supremecy means just that and their will would be the objective truth of the universe. I suppose if we are discussing a pantheon god like Hera or Thor, then they don't have supremacy and would fall into a potentially subjective frame. But in debating the topic, I allow for any superhuman agency to qualify as outside my definition.

      The only thing I do require, and can be a stickler, is some solid evidence that agency is not just an invention of humans and shows some capacity to judge actions.

    • 2 years ago

      @sigfried Well, that works for me. Simplifies it quite a bit, and eliminates what would have been an annoying technicality.

      With that, it seems we hardly disagree on terms at all (I still contend morality is an inapplicable term in a deterministic context, but I'm actually hoping to get the free-will debate in the upcoming qualifier, so I'll save it for that).

      We simply disagree on the main point that shifts the paradigm of those terms. As you said; the true existence of a superhuman agency which has the capacity to morally judge actions.

      Again, I do look forward to that debate!

  • 2 years ago

    "You can only do things in keeping with your nature."

    A human being can willingly choose to torture (cause unnecessary suffering to) a newborn child. How is that in keeping with human nature?