Instigator / Pro

If everyone else in a village drinks magical water that makes you confused, it would be fine for you to drink it.


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Contender / Con

how confused? It makes you unable to differentiate truth and false, and confuse black with white.

Is this permanent? We don't know. Everyone else in the village is confused thus far.

I am arguing that drinking the water and following custom is okay.

Unrated because I feel like pro side is really hard to argue.

Round 1
Qiba village, a deceptively simple place where you can drink strange water that makes you confused, and is custom. By drinking this water and being confused about values, you can be reborn in a way. It is similar to forgetting grief and problems. It would be perfectly normal and you would fit in, understanding what everyone else is talking about. The alternative could be being shunned by forgoing the custom and being the only person who thinks a specific way. As the differentiation of black and white does not necessarily harm everyday life, there is no problem with being confused as such. Therefore, it is fine to drink this water.
Before starting my argument, I would like to highlight the specific effect this water has per the description of the debate:

It makes you unable to differentiate truth and false, and confuse black with white.

The reason I do not think it is "fine" or "okay" to drink this water is that you would willingly be giving up truth. Assuming that we all share an objective reality, and that a right perception of this reality is what we would be giving up for confusion, we would essentially be trading truth for a lie. That may not seem unfavorable to some people in and of itself, but there are repercussions to such an action. I believe there is one dilemma that must be addressed regarding this debate. If you assert that it is fine to accept confusion over reality, it follows that you must also deny objective morality.

Objective morality must be based on what is true or what is real, and is not dependent on our perception of it. As soon as you become confused and cannot discern between what is true and false, you will also be unable to discern between what is right and wrong. To some degree, good becomes evil and evil becomes good. It would be a contradiction to say that objective morality exists, and also say that it would be okay to believe that evil is good.

Let's take a hypothetical situation in this village. Let's say you drink this water and it makes you believe that murdering people is morally good. By murder, I specifically mean unjustly killing someone. This would exclude self-defense or other such cases. Your topic sentence could then be rewritten to say:

  • If everyone else in a village drinks magical water that creates a reality in which murder is morally good, it would be fine for you to drink it.
Feel free to insert any other heinous crime in place of murder, but the dilemma remains. If you want to say that objective morality exists, that murder is actually evil, then it is neither fine nor okay to drink the water. To hold your position, you must also concede that murder is not evil and reject any basis to condemn it as such outside of your personal opinion.

The only way around this I can see would be to assert that the confusion only affects your ability to see color or some such detail of reality. But you specifically said that you can no longer discern what is true from what is false, so I do not think that argument would suffice.

To summarize, if drinking this water means that you no longer have any ability to know what is true, then you are trading truth for lies and that is foolishness. I also believe that drinking this water means denying or rejecting objective morality which leads to wickedness. If that is true, then it is not fine to do a foolish and wicked thing.
Round 2
Firstly, objective morality has been disputed countless times and I warn voters to doubt this approach. Secondly, it is obvious from mere example that everything is fine, despite the fact that this water makes you confused. The fact that "everyone else in the village" has drank this water infers that their replaced idea allows the village to continue functioning. Otherwise, the stipulation might become "everyone in this dystopian anarchy has drank the water, and they are now dead", or some other horrible possibility.

From the performance of everyone in the village it becomes clear as day whether they actually think murder is actually okay or if they are inflicting harms on others. But since the village custom has managed to continue despite misunderstanding reality, that means there is no actual tangible harm that would come into play here. People would object to anything they found immoral, as con has noted. And anything with big impacts would be clear as day, blood shed on the ground, for example. But merely confusion does not mean that you would commit heinous acts. You could argue the opposite. Like a deer frozen in headlights, it is highly plausible that you would just do nothing as you are not sure what to do. Based on the fight or flight instinct, these are the main two possibilities. The fact that there is still a village implies the effects of the water to just make you a docile animal with relatively harmless actions.

If the village was truly immoral, surely some minority would have disputed, rioted, spoken up. This has happened in every course of unreasonable dictator of history. The fact that it is here and there was the established custom of drinking the confusion water gives much credit to the stability and the harmlessness of the water. The result of the majority agreeing on a vague stance does not seem to have affected this strange village's interaction, and life has gone on regardless. Remember the alternative may be to feel lonely and outcast by the rest of the village, which has survived thus far with confusion water.
Let me make clear that I am not arguing for the existence of objective morality. I am merely pointing out that your position requires you to deny it.

As I stated, objective morality is based on what is true and real. If you become confused and cannot discern truth, then you will not be able to discern good from evil if those concepts exist. A state of confusion would inevitably lead to some area of morality in which what is objectively evil is then perceived to be objectively good. If objective morality exists (e.g. murder is inherently evil), then it would be a bad thing to alter your reality in which you would perceive any evil to be good. For a decision to be fine or okay, there is an underlying assumption that it is morally acceptable. This would make it not okay to willingly enter a state of confusion based on an objective moral standard.

You are then left with subjective morality. Essentially, you determine what is right and wrong based on preference. I will point out that societies are fully capable of functioning under this standard. But, the mere fact that the villagers have managed to keep themselves alive does not mean that there is no tangible harm or that everything is fine. There are villages that practice cannibalism who are living in stability and they didn’t even drink magic water to develop this custom. They just believe that killing and eating your neighbor is okay. But I suppose if the alternative is feeling lonely as an outcast, why not jump on the bandwagon?

“If the village was truly immoral, surely some minority would have disputed, rioted, spoken up. This has happened in every course of unreasonable dictator of history.”
This statement from your argument assumes objective morality. What makes the village “truly immoral,” or the dictator unreasonable? And according to whom? If morality is subjective, then the village would not be truly immoral and the dictators would not be unreasonable. They would just have different preferences than you. Even your assertion that we could observe the village before drinking the water to make a decision assumes that we can judge their actions as wrong by some standard.

So let me pose a couple questions for the final round:

  • Do you deny objective morality in order to maintain your position in this debate? If not, why?
  • If you deny objective morality, by what standard do you deem the decision to enter a state of confusion to be “okay” or good? Put another way, what makes the decision to drink the water morally acceptable besides your personal preference?
Round 3
I see what con thinks the problem is. But in the past many harmless beliefs were wrong, but still believed by a wide variety of people. Christopher Columbus did not think America existed, and people in Europe agreed. Everyone thought earth was the center of the universe. Mere ideas cannot cause harm, it is only when given to malicious or people with inherently malicious intentions that it becomes dangerous. Consider belief in God. Most people trust in the "supreme being", as it gives them hope in times of desperation and darkness. However, bad people use religious crusades to kill people and cause big problems. The problems lies in their actions, not in the idea that they believed in God. Similarly, being unable to tell black from white and having your mind be a confused jumble should be fine as long as your mind and personality was already kind and fine.

Changing your beliefs does not change your actions upon them or your inherent ideas of what way acting is normal to you. There must be some inherent motivation and some reward/punishment that encourages you to act a specific way. Being unable to decide one way or another does not lead to pessimistic result of people dying. Inaction does not result in bad things occurring. Remember that con has not yet defeated the idea of the peer pressure and the potential punishments or being ill received for being in the minority. Joining a majority belief should not be wrong, as long as their actions are not wrong. As no wrong actions can be predicted with certainty with this strange culture, it is difficult for con to truly justify that it would lead to killing (if both living and dying are in the same vein). Vote for pro.
While you didn't directly answer my questions, you have revealed two critical underlying assumptions that need to be addressed before stating my conclusion.

  • Actions are determined by perceived results, not beliefs
  • Morality is subjective, more specifically pragmatic, as opposed to being objective

Actions are determined by perceived results, not beliefs
I reject this idea. The examples you provided are also irrelevant because they involve people who were not in a self-induced state of confusion. Allow me to elaborate my disagreement. If I was in a building that was on fire, the only way I am going to flee that building is if I actually believe it is on fire. It would be unreasonable for me to run out of a building that I did not believe was on fire as though it was. It doesn't matter how strong my opinions are on the rewards/punishments of staying inside a burning building. I must first believe it is burning for me to act upon the fact that it is truly burning. Inaction based on the wrong belief that there is no fire would result in the undesirable outcome of a human barbecue.

Let's apply this to the village scenario. Even if the confused perception of reality did not manifest any evil actions at the time of observation, it may lead to problems down the road when confronted with new circumstances or information. Perhaps the village catches fire, and you discover that after drinking the magic water, you now believe that getting burned by fire is a good thing. If you had known this consequence at the time of observation prior to drinking the water, you may have chosen not to do so. Also, you may also have been able to try to warn the villagers that fire is in fact bad and they should leave. But you have since given up your ability to discern truth from error and what you thought was a harmless decision to drink the water ended in a human barbecue. Your choice and the resultant inaction led to the harm of yourself and others.

So no matter what influence rewards or punishments may have on our actions, these actions are ultimately dependent on what we believe to be true.

Morality is subjective, more specifically pragmatic, as opposed to being objective

"Remember that con has not yet defeated the idea of the peer pressure and the potential punishments or being ill received for being in the minority."

The argument is that the end result of being accepted by the majority is the basis for justifying the action of drinking the water. That is pragmatism. The action is determined to be "fine" or "okay" so long as that action is useful or practical in achieving the desired outcome. This is a form of subjective morality. Right and wrong is not absolute but a matter of preference and perspective that is subject to change at any time.

So I would like to summarize what we have discussed so far. The assertion of this debate was that it would "fine" or "okay" to drink magic water that causes confusion (unable to discern truth from falsehood). There is an implication that it would be morally acceptable to enter this state of confusion. The motivation for drinking the water is to be accepted into a village of people who have all done so. You also don't want to be rejected, giving further incentive to comply. The justification for drinking the water is that, upon observation, the village seems to be functioning normally in their confused state.

My contention is that rejecting your ability to discern truth from falsehood is foolish and wicked. It is foolish because you are creating an alternate reality in your mind that is different than the true reality you still physically exist in. It is wicked because you must deny objective morality that is based on absolute truth. If you drink the water and lose your ability to discern what is objectively true and false, you will also be unable to discern what is objectively good and evil. Such a decision would be wrong if objective morality does in fact exist. I believe my opponent has admittedly rejected objective morality as his position requires him to do.

This means that when my opponent says it is morally acceptable to drink the water, he can only make this assertion apply to himself and those who agree. There is no basis to say my position is actually wrong, since there is no absolute standard to determine that. If there is no basis to say my position is truly wrong, then you may as well vote on this debate according to your own personal perception of right and wrong. However, if you believe that there are actions like murder, rape, or slavery that are truly and inherently evil, then I believe I have demonstrated that you must also reject my opponent's position based on the denial of objective morality.