Instigator / Pro
4
1464
rating
2
debates
0.0%
won
Topic

Humans are Innately Good Beings

Status
Finished

All stages have been completed. The voting points distribution and the result are presented below.

Arguments points
0
3
Sources points
2
2
Spelling and grammar points
1
1
Conduct points
1
1

With 1 vote and 3 points ahead, the winner is ...

Theweakeredge
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Category
Society
Time for argument
Two days
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Open voting
Voting period
One month
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Four points
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10,000
Contender / Con
7
1730
rating
28
debates
89.29%
won
Description
~ 281 / 5,000

It's been widely argued on both sides that humans are either born with good or bad qualities. So it would be interesting to find out how two people with opposing viewpoints on this issue of human morality defend their respective points while enhancing their agenda simultaneously.

Round 1
Pro
I will be arguing that humans are born with a sense of morality that makes them innately good beings from their birth. Furthermore, I believe that it's one's environment that makes people do bad things. 

Pro will make his argument with the following three claims.

1. Humans when left with nothing but each other are kind, caring, and overall good animals.

Before civilization and mass production homo sapiens were not the only human species on this planet. There were Neantherdals, Homo Erectus, and many more. We, as a species, had to work together to stay alive because the aforementioned species were much stronger and much smarter than us as shown by early archeological evidence. (https://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-13874671). However, the only reason why are the only human species alive today on this planet is because we worked together as a community to stay alive. Although we were a lot less smart than the Neantherdals we were a lot smarter than they when we worked together and put all of our brainpower together to fight for one cause - our existence. We cared for each other and looked after each other for millions of years.

2. Humans, at a very young age, are aware of what's right and what's wrong, and prefer good over evil.

In Yale University experiments babies were shown a puppet play where one puppet stole something from another puppet and afterward the babies were asked to choose which puppet they preferred (https://www.nature.com/articles/nature06288). Over 80% of the babies chose the good character over the bad one. This shows that we at a young age can differentiate between right and wrong without even being able to talk. Furthermore, we prefer to praise the good guy over the bad guy. This further enhances my argument because babies are humans that have recently just come into existence and have not interacted with their neighboring environment as much as other humans have. Thus babies are the perfect example of humans who have not been influenced in any way and prove to show qualities that emphasize that humans are indeed good when left to their own devices.

3. Civilization and capitalism have strayed us away from our innate goodness.

In the real world, it may seem as if there are tons of people who do bad things on a daily basis and one might argue that rightfully so they should be considered as bad people. However, it is not one's innate greediness or selfishness that causes one to commit atrocities rather it's because of civilization and the external incentive of making more money. There have been several studies showing that money makes us more greedy and selfish. For example in a study done by the World Economic Forum in the United States households with lower-class incomes tended to give a higher percentage of their income to charity compared to those with middle-class incomes. However, accumulating more money and spending it on ourselves doesn't actually make us feel good. A study at the University of British Columbia showed that students who were forced to spend money on others were much happier and felt much more highly of themselves than those who just spent money on themselves. (https://www2.psych.ubc.ca/~schaller/308Readings/Dunn2014.pdf). This proves the fact that money and power have misguided us away from our roots of kindness and love.
Con
  • Brief Opening Statement, 
Thank you Rishi_D for creating the debate, as Pro has not taken the time to define terms. I will provide definitions for the debate to operate off of and establish both the resolution and the burden of proof, as again, Pro has done neither of these things. My argument will be structured thusly, 3 parts:

The establishment of the framework of the debate
  • Opening statement/concise args.
  • Terms, BoP, and Resolution

The difference between the capacity of and possessing
  • Goodness or Selfishness
  • Morality, and therefore goodness, is subjective

The rebuttal of Pro’s arguments
  • internal perspective
  • The external perspective

  • Terms, BoP, and Resolution
Human - “Of or belonging to the genus Homo.”
Innate - “Inborn; natural”
Good - “Possessing or displaying moral virtue”
Beings - “A real or imaginary living creature or entity, especially an intelligent one.”

From there I will clarify the resolution, originally stating, “Humans are innately good beings,” the interpreted resolution would be: “Living creatures of or belonging to the genus homo naturally possess or display moral virtue.” 

Therefore, Pro must demonstrate this resolution true, while I must demonstrate it false, and there are two angles I will attack the resolution from: first; from the angle of whether the popular arguments in favor of the resolution are misattributing goodness with something else; and Secondly, that there is no objective "goodness" from the claim that is being made.



The Difference Between the Capacity of and Possessing

The main mistake I believe Pro to be making with their assertion is mistaking selfishness for goodness, for there to be some “innate” goodness, goodness would have to be objective in the first place. If we were to claim that x, y, or z trait is actually “good”, then we would have to analyze the moral standard that that claim is being made on, and try to discover if that claim is subjective or objective. 


  • Goodness or selfishness
Humans, perhaps, possess an innate capacity for goodness as we understand it, but to claim that they have innate goodness? This implies quite a number of things, but before we dig into all of that (which I will do in my second contention), let’s correct a common misconception. 


“Whether demonstrated by situations of hunting, foraging, child rearing or migrating, humans with culture, in pursuit of shared goals, had much to gain through cooperation. Cooperating humans would lead to greater survival, greater reproduction and colonization.” [1]
We must carefully differentiate between motivations here, there being some “goodness” to people does not seem true, instead, there is an evolutionary desire to work together to further your own livelihood. It's not like humans have behaved the same throughout history, any claim that they are “innately” considered in almost any regard would have to cover the entire 200,000 years [2] we’ve been here. Our societies and ways of adaptation have even changed.


“The scale of human cooperation is an evolutionary puzzle. All of the available evidence suggests that the societies of our Pliocene ancestors were like those of other social primates, and this means that human psychology has changed in ways that support larger, more cooperative societies that characterize modern humans. In this paper, we argue that cultural adaptation is a key factor in these changes.” [3] 
What is my point here? That humans are hardwired to work together, and that is not synonymous with good, all that means, is that humans do not engage in these things out of some goodness that has only been vaguely defined. They act out of a capacity to thrive and become better, they have the capacity for empathy [4], but that does not translate to possessing the trait itself innately. 


  • Morality, and therefore goodness, is subjective
This is a rather simple argument, but before I can jump into the deductive steps, I must first define some terms that way my argument is as concise as I can make it, with no needs for defining terms inside of the argument except for comparing characteristics. 

Objective - “Not dependent on the mind for existence; actual.”
Subjective - “Dependent on the mind or on an individual's perception for its existence”
Moral - “Concerned with the principles of right and wrong behaviour.”
Virtue - “Behaviour showing high moral standards.”
Principles - “A rule or belief governing one's behaviour.”

P1: For something to be objective, it must be true independent of the mind
P2: All morality is derived from the mind, with no objective verifiers of its truth
Con: No morality is objective, it is instead, subjective

To back up my claim that all morality is derived from the mind: Moral is defined as the principles concerning right and wrong behavior, with principles being a rule or belief governing one’s behaviors, none of this is actually objective, all of it - is inherently based on humans not only coming up with from their mind, but it is a second type of subjective as in it is also depends on the specific humans. This means that the supposed “good” that humans innately possess is only subjective good, and to innately have something like “goodness” is simply not possible. You can claim that it has your goodness, but that doesn’t mean that that trait is actually good per se. To have something like “good” be a general descriptor of anything, is to ignore what good actually is.

It's a descriptor for human made moral systems, relative in its applicability, not something that is fixed or objective, or something that can be innately considered. Therefore no one can actually have an innately good anything. That is just the truth of the words themselves. 



The Rebuttal of Pro’s Argument

Pro is working on a quite a few assumptions, and I wish to deconstruct them, and explain why all of the arguments that Pro makes in favor of the resolution are not logically coherent, or that Pro is making an non-sequitur in there reasoning, which is to say, drawing a conclusion from a deductive argument that isn’t necessarily true. 


  • The Internal Consideration
“ We, as a species, had to work together to stay alive because the aforementioned species were much stronger and much smarter than us as shown by early archeological evidence….We cared for each other and looked after each other for millions of years.”
I agree, we did work together to continue our existence, but that does not logically lead to the conclusion that we innately have the ability to care for one another. At the core of working together is the selfish desire to improve, to survive, and evolutionarily speaking, that means that you have to work together. It does give us the capacity to be kind and caring, but that is not the actual instincts of being like that. Lying isn’t a learned trait afterall, while Empathy is.


“Over 80% of the babies chose the good character over the bad one. This shows that we at a young age can differentiate between right and wrong without even being able to talk. Furthermore, we prefer to praise the good guy over the bad guy. …….that emphasize that humans are indeed good when left to their own devices.”
What this actually proves is that humans prefer beings who are less selfish because that increases their own likelihood of cooperation, hence the hypocritical nature of human beings, they are inherently selfish (as all creatures are) - but they prefer the company of the least outwardly appearing selfish individual, that way they can be more selfish. Also, this does not demonstrate that babies are more good or anything of the sort, it proves that they prefer good things, this is a non-sequitur by pro. 


  • The External Consideration
“In the real world, it may seem as if there are tons of people who do bad things on a daily basis and one might argue that rightfully so they should be considered as bad people. However, it is not one's innate greediness or selfishness that causes one to commit atrocities rather it's because of civilization and the external incentive of making more money. There have been several studies showing that money makes us more greedy and selfish. For example in a study done by the World Economic Forum in the United States households with lower-class incomes tended to give a higher percentage of their income to charity compared to those with middle-class incomes. However, accumulating more money and spending it on ourselves doesn't actually make us feel good. A study at the University of British Columbia showed that students who were forced to spend money on others were much happier and felt much more highly of themselves than those who just spent money on themselves. (https://www2.psych.ubc.ca/~schaller/308Readings/Dunn2014.pdf). This proves the fact that money and power have misguided us away from our roots of kindness and love.”
This is an interesting paragraph, but it doesn’t actually lead to the conclusion that Pro insists it does, as Pro has not demonstrated that these college students have not been influenced by society themselves. The fact that they feel good because they gave others money can have a lot to do with the empathy that they developed, which, as I have said repeatedly, is not an innate trait, but a learned behavior. And again, the only thing this demonstrates is that money spent on ourselves after society has already affected us can be bad. This doesn’t prove that all of the other bad things aren’t a consequence of innate badness. 

This is not only another non-sequitur, but a generalization: which is - money is the root of all the bad things that happen, or at least that is the implication, given that the only consideration here is of how money affects humans, and not any other source of “badness” from the environment. This does not fulfill Pro’s burden of proof whatsoever. Therefore, Pro has made no compelling arguments in favor of their resolution,  all three of these arguments are misattributing some quality or another, or coming to conclusions that aren't true.
Round 2
Pro
Opening Statement
Pro would like to thank Con for his response and will continue to argue that human beings are born with a sense of innate goodness. Furthermore, it's one's environment that strays them away from that goodness.

1. Rebuttal to Con's "Goodness or Selfishness" Argument
Con has stated in his first point that my argument that humans possess innate goodness is invalid because humans haven't acted selflessly and with good intentions for the entirety of human history. Although this is true what I argued was that humans, when left with nothing - no society, no money, no extrinsic incentives except for the need to survive - are good beings who cooperate and work collaboratively with one another. This is demonstrated through the behavior of early human beings who didn't live in societies and only knew how to hunt, eat, and sleep. Obviously nowadays there are a myriad of extrinsic motivations that humans live for other than the need to survive. For example, making money, buying expensive items, getting a job, etc. Thus, Con's rebuttal that human beings have changed over the past thousands of years is incorrect because we have formed capitalistic societies that incentivize greediness and selfishness which is exactly what is meant by the term "one's environment" in the opening statement.

2. Rebuttal to Con's "Morality, and therefore goodness, is subjective" Argument
Con argued that since morality is subjective no person can have innate goodness. Although the first half is true the second half is not. Goodness can exist as an objective even if morality is relative. This is because humans are able to tell the difference between what's good and what's bad. So humans who choose to do the right thing possess some sort of "good" quality. However the selection of which action is good and which action is bad is what's subjective.

3. Rebuttal to Con's Rebuttal of Pro's Argument

I agree, we did work together to continue our existence, but that does not logically lead to the conclusion that we innately have the ability to care for one another. At the core of working together is the selfish desire to improve, to survive, and evolutionarily speaking, that means that you have to work together. It does give us the capacity to be kind and caring, but that is not the actual instincts of being like that. Lying isn’t a learned trait afterall, while Empathy is.
The above is Con's rebuttal to my argument that since humans worked collaboratively with one another during the early stages of our existence we have an innate sense of caring and kindness for one another. Con tried to refute my argument by saying that hidden in our collaborative efforts is selfishness. However, this is not true because if we were acting because of our selfishness then we would not care about the well being of others from our own species. We would branch off and each individual human being would do their own thing to survive. Selfishness is not a quality of a collective rather it's a quality of an individual. So, since we stood up for our fellow humans we were acting out of the goodness of our heart.

What this actually proves is that humans prefer beings who are less selfish because that increases their own likelihood of cooperation, hence the hypocritical nature of human beings, they are inherently selfish (as all creatures are) - but they prefer the company of the least outwardly appearing selfish individual, that way they can be more selfish. Also, this does not demonstrate that babies are more good or anything of the sort, it proves that they prefer good things, this is a non-sequitur by pro. 
Above, is Con's rebuttal to my point where I brought up the study done by Yale University Professors which tested to see whether humans from a very young age possess some sort of moral understanding. Con's rebuttal is self-defeating because a baby who selected the good character had no incentive to select it at all. So, how can Con conclude that the babies chose the good character because of their innate selfishness. Also my point does prove that young humans possess a moral understanding that allows them to prefer the good character over the bad character. This allows for the conclusion that since the baby had no incentive or extrinsic motivation to choose one character over the other that they, by choosing the good character, displayed moral virtue. 

4. Conclusion
Con has not been able to dismantle my argument suggesting that humans are innately good beings. In fact all Con has done is unsuccessfully refute each argument one by one.
However, he has not been able to make his own arguments as to why humans are innately bad beings which is the role of Con in this debate.
Con
Forfeited
Round 3
Pro
Since Con has not been able to post his argument for round 2 due to unfortunate circumstances, I will use this round to further emphasize my points and enhance my argument that humans are innately good beings.

1. Humans are not motivated by their supposed inherent selfishness as Con describes it as such.
There have been several studies that show that humans, especially at very young ages,  choose to do good things and help each other out not because of a reward but because of their inherent goodness (https://www.researchgate.net/publication/257608480_A_New_Look_at_Children%27s_Prosocial_Motivation). In fact when the child is told to help out for the second time when an incentive is introduced they are less likely to help. In sum, they choose to do the good thing because they want to.

2. We genuinely value certain virutes such as honesty and integrity.
We, humans, tend to experience mental and physiological health benefits when expressing good moral virtues. For example, a Notre Dame study tested to see whether people who told the truth and those who told lies would experience differences in well-being (https://www.apa.org/news/press/releases/2012/08/lying-less). In fact they observed that the subject group that was instructed to only tell the truth experienced far fewer mental and physical health problems. Thus, this study shows that we live much better lives when we express our true virtues.

3. Humans are hardwired for friendship.
We love to form social connections with others from our species. Furthermore, we are biologically programmed in a way that we need friendships and companionships in order to live a happy life (https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/why-we-are-wired-to-connect/). This comes back to the fact that I believe humans are good because friendships require compromise and cooperation from both parties without which they would collapse. Therefore friendships prove how we express our good qualities in order to maintain long lasting friendships that we could not live healthily without.

Conclusion
Because of the arguments and evidence I have presented here and in previous rounds, I believe that humans are innately good beings and it is unwise to conclude otherwise.
Con
Thank you Rishi_D for your patience and your response - as the main contentions are out of the way and discussed, I'll simply refute your points here:


Although this is true what I argued was that humans, when left with nothing - no society, no money, no extrinsic incentives except for the need to survive - are good beings who cooperate and work collaboratively with one another. This is demonstrated through the behavior of early human beings who didn't live in societies and only knew how to hunt, eat, and sleep. Obviously nowadays there are a myriad of extrinsic motivations that humans live for other than the need to survive. For example, making money, buying expensive items, getting a job, etc. Thus, Con's rebuttal that human beings have changed over the past thousands of years is incorrect because we have formed capitalistic societies that incentivize greediness and selfishness which is exactly what is meant by the term "one's environment" in the opening statement.
This fundamentally misses the point of my argument here - Pro insists that humans are motivated to value others well-being from some sort of intrinsic good nature; however, this is not the case. As I pointed out above - the reason that humans put value in one another is because that is what is evolutionary suitable for growth. Again, empathy is something that is learned, and humans do have a great capacity for it. Why? Claiming that this capacity for empathy is an intrinsic nature is an non-sequitur first of all, and second of all , its a claim to say that empathy is good at all. From a humans perspective perhaps, but not from an objective standard. 

It doesn't particularly matter if humans lived in societies or not, for as long as we can track back their ancestory humans have lived in groups, and as group species it is to our best interest to take care of the pack, if the young fall behind or die, then the lifeline doesn't continue. As human's best tool has always been our innovation and mind, it only makes sense that humans would learn to work together in order to get farther, and if you learn to develop empathy - you can more effectively work with people. Claiming that because there are now external facets that influence the moral character of humans is irrelevant when discussing internal influences. 

Pro must demonstrate this this goodness is innate, and this fails to do that.


Goodness can exist as an objective even if morality is relative. This is because humans are able to tell the difference between what's good and what's bad. So humans who choose to do the right thing possess some sort of "good" quality. However the selection of which action is good and which action is bad is what's subjective.
To rephrase this - "There is a good, but what that good is, is subjective." That would render your entire position moot. Why is it that human well-being that is good? Why is empathy good? In fact, if good is subjective, than claiming that anything is good intrinsically breaks down immediately. By that logic I could easily call each of your characteristics evil, and then say:

"Well as Pro agreed, good is subjective, I don't agree that x. y. and z are good - I agree that humans have it, it just isn't good, therefore Pro does not fulfill their resolution"

Instead I'll point this out - if morality is subjective, than good - which is defined as “Possessing or displaying moral virtue”, is also subjective and relative. If you agree with the premise that morality is relative, then so is goodness, that deductively follows. Humans make a distinction between good and bad based on biases and subjective opinion. That does not mean that goodness is objectively true, it means that humans share biases. 


if we were acting because of our selfishness then we would not care about the well being of others from our own species. We would branch off and each individual human being would do their own thing to survive. Selfishness is not a quality of a collective rather it's a quality of an individual. So, since we stood up for our fellow humans we were acting out of the goodness of our heart.
That is flatly wrong. It is beneficial for humans to care about other people's well-being, that is how social creatures work. To claim that selfishness is a trait of a individual is to not understand how collectives work. Collectives or groups are made up of individuals, in order to care for a group, you must care for yourself - the entire "you must help yourself before you can help others". You are asserting that standing up for other humans is out of the goodness of our heart.... but where is your evidence?

Even if selfishness wasn't the motivator, you would still have the BoP in demonstrating that the motivation was intrinsic. 

If you care for other people they care for you - which is beneficial for you in the first place. This is what things like the golden rule is taking advantage of, the innert selfishness within humans - because if you do something wrong that can hurt others, then you are giving implicit permission for them to do it to you. Thus, being good to others and "standing up for them" will always, in the long run, be advantageous to you. 


a baby who selected the good character had no incentive to select it at all. So, how can Con conclude that the babies chose the good character because of their innate selfishness. Also my point does prove that young humans possess a moral understanding that allows them to prefer the good character over the bad character. This allows for the conclusion that since the baby had no incentive or extrinsic motivation to choose one character over the other that they, by choosing the good character, displayed moral virtue. 
What? Of course their is an incentive, the genetic/evolutionary incentive, this is the only way something could be innate. This seems to be a misunderstanding on Pro's part of what selfishness is. Not to mention - the actual point here is that this is a non-sequitur, a baby choosing something which is good over bad tells us that babies prefer things that are good over bad, not that they are good themselves. Let's give a hypothetical - if person x had the chance to choose someone who was a lier or someone who was honest who would they most likely pick as a friend? The honest person, obviously, but does that mean that person x is honest? No. So again, this is a non-sequitur by Pro.


There have been several studies that show that humans, especially at very young ages,  choose to do good things and help each other out not because of a reward but because of their inherent goodness
uh uh uh, that isn't what your study says, here is what your study says: "Young children’s prosocial behavior is thus intrinsically motivated by a concern for others’ welfare, which has its evolutionary roots in a concern for the well-being of those with whom one is interdependent." Did you notice a word there? "Well-being of those with whom one is interdependent." According to lexico, interdependent means "dependent on each other" Then that means that children are motivated to help others who they are depend on. Why? Because they depend on them! Obviously you are going to care about the ones who take care of you, they take care of you.


tend to experience mental and physiological health benefits when expressing good moral virtues. For example.. study tested to see whether people who told the truth and those who told lies would experience differences in well-being .... they observed that the subject group that was instructed to only tell the truth experienced far fewer mental and physical health problems. Thus, this study shows that we live much better lives when we express our true virtues.
Okay? What does this have to do with the innate goodness of human beings? This demonstrates that humans are benefited by certain virtues, which I agree with, this doesn't show that those virtues are innate. 


We love to form social connections with others from our species. Furthermore, we are biologically programmed in a way that we need friendships and companionships in order to live a happy life... This comes back to the fact that I believe humans are good because friendships require compromise and cooperation from both parties without which they would collapse. Therefore friendships prove how we express our good qualities in order to maintain long lasting friendships that we could not live healthily without.
Okay? But how does this prove that any of these traits are innate, this is a red herring at best, again - the reason we form social connections is for our benefit, some short term compromise is nothing to long term prosperity. That is why we are evolutionarily linked, notice, voters, that Pro asserts, "That I believe humans are good", this premise is based on presumptions that have no backing.


Back to Pro
Round 4
Pro
Now, I'd like to close out the debate from Pro's side by refuting Con's last points and re-emphasizing my main points.

It doesn't particularly matter if humans lived in societies or not, for as long as we can track back their ancestory humans have lived in groups, and as group species it is to our best interest to take care of the pack, if the young fall behind or die, then the lifeline doesn't continue. As human's best tool has always been our innovation and mind, it only makes sense that humans would learn to work together in order to get farther, and if you learn to develop empathy - you can more effectively work with people. Claiming that because there are now external facets that influence the moral character of humans is irrelevant when discussing internal influences. 
Con has tried to refute my argument that humans are innately good because they help each other out by saying that we are driven by our own inner selfishness to survive and continue our bloodline. However, this is not true because as I said before selfishness is a quality of an individual and not a group. Thus, if humans were selfish they would act in ways that would only benefit themselves as individuals rather than as a pack. But since we lived in large groups and societies we cared for one another and helped each other out not because we wanted to keep the bloodline going but because we are social animals with a good heart.

If you care for other people they care for you - which is beneficial for you in the first place. This is what things like the golden rule is taking advantage of, the innert selfishness within humans - because if you do something wrong that can hurt others, then you are giving implicit permission for them to do it to you. Thus, being good to others and "standing up for them" will always, in the long run, be advantageous to you. 
Con once again tries to argue that we were acting in our own selfishness when we tried to help others of our own species during our early days. But once again this is not true because selfishness as defined by Merriam Webster Dictionary is "a concern for one's own welfare or advantage at the expense of or in disregard of others excessive interest in oneself." Humans do not fit that definition of selfishness as they were concerned for the betterment and the welfare of everyone in the group and not just their own agenda.

"Young children’s prosocial behavior is thus intrinsically motivated by a concern for others’ welfare, which has its evolutionary roots in a concern for the well-being of those with whom one is interdependent." Did you notice a word there? "Well-being of those with whom one is interdependent." According to lexico, interdependent means "dependent on each other" Then that means that children are motivated to help others who they are depend on. Why? Because they depend on them! Obviously you are going to care about the ones who take care of you, they take care of you.
The study that I provided in my previous argument proved that humans at a young age are motivated to do good things without the need of extrinsic incentives. The quote that Con has cited is legitimate however his interpretation is slightly off. Yes, humans care more about people who they are close to but that does not mean that we care more about our family and friends because they provide us with something in return, right? We care about them because we truly love them and expect nothing in return but more love.

In conclusion Con has not been able to provide a sufficient argument as to why humans are not innately good beings who do not possess good qualities from birth. Instead they've based their argument on their belief that morality and goodness are subjective and since they are subjective they cannot be measured or accounted for. This is false and it disregards all the empirical evidence that I have brought forth in my arguments. I rest my case that humans are indeed good beings.
Con
Closing Statements

Thank you Rishi_D for the Debate,

I'll just sum up how this final round will go, structure wise, first I'll present a general rebuttal against Pro's arguments and interpretations of the debate at hand. Then I'll get into my arguments, summarizing my main points, and emphasizing my opponent's dropping of my points and main flaws with their argument. The very last part of this section will be summing up my arguments in a concise way. 


Final Rebuttal

This entire debate has been jam-packed of assertions and postures, but I think that this last round has had the most of them. On top of dropping two of my points, one of which being the core of my argument for there to not be innate goodness, but more on that later on, Pro also continues on with this dichotomy of inner versus outer motivations. While my opponent isn't necessarily wrong to point out the distinction between the human "evils" of greed and the general corruption of society as a whole, simply discrediting the notion that humans are innately evil does not prove that they are innately good. Furthermore, proving that the evil typically displayed is influenced by external events rather than physical ones, does not prove that humans aren't innately good. A good majority of Pro's earlier points are trying to intercept an argument that I never intended to, nor ever actually made. This even spreads to trying to insert this as a rebuttal to some of my arguments that, frankly, had nothing to do with that.

Another contention I should bring up in this "Final Rebuttal" is the point of "Good heart", this is really never substantiated in a evolutionary sense, basically what I mean by that is that Pro never provided any impactful citations or studies that proved humans were good. In fact, even the study that Pro did provide in round 1 [a] only ever goes into how humans worked together. The motivation the study does go into actually supports my argument funnily enough, what do I mean? Whenever Pro first brought this up, I first brought up how Pro was mistaking evolutionary selfishness, which I mean, the desire to reproduce to live on, and the general desire to thrive, for inherent goodness. Even if I had never brought this up, Pro often missed the link between actually demonstrating their claims and making them. Regardless I did go into it, and that basically the reason that human beings work together is for their benefit. That's what the study that Pro provides actually substantiates, that Babies can distinguish and decide based on that.

"Here we show that 6- and 10-month-old infants take into account an individual’s actions towards others in evaluating that individual as appealing or aversive: infants prefer an individual who helps another to one who hinders another, prefer a helping individual to a neutral individual, and prefer a neutral individual to a hindering individual."

The voter might notice that Pro tries to cite a definition to debunk my arguments, but even if that argument wasn't purely pedantic, it doesn't matter. Perhaps if my arguments were contingent on the term "selfishness" but notice that I have consistently used a more abstract definition more inline with evolutionary desire, than "selfishness". Even then, the definition, "a concern for one's own welfare or advantage at the expense of or in disregard of others excessive interest in oneself." does not necessarily stipulate that no one else would benefit, just that the motivations are purely self serving in nature. Again though, my argument isn't really contingent on selfishness specifically, just that what early humans display isn't some innate goodness. A thing I've said a couple times is that, empathy is a learned trait and lying isn't, which supports my claims on this - and I did source this in my first rounds. Overall, the argument that social creatures have a "good heart" just isn't substantiated and contradicted by the facts.

Finally, Pro attempts to argue that their study is still legitimate, because, "Yes, humans care more about people who they are close to but that does not mean that we care more about our family and friends because they provide us with something in return, right? We care about them because we truly love them and expect nothing in return but more love." Does Pro provide any evidence to demonstrate this? Does Pro actually provide a proper rebuttal to my claim? No. Neither of those questions can be answered in the affirmative. What the studies prove is that the good thing can sometimes line up with what humans need evolutionary. Does that demonstrate that they are somehow innately good? Not that Pro has demonstrated. In fact, while sometimes these two things line up, as I mentioned before, we specifically have to teach kids not to steal or lie or cheat. Because often times most lies aren't detrimental enough to cause any lasting harms, while things like "murdering your friends" do, hence why most have an averse reaction. 



Conclusion

Throughout the debate I have made two central arguments fundamentally. The first is that while it is true that humans have an innate capacity for moral good, there was a difference between having the innate nature and the capability of being, and furthermore if we were to have any nature it would be selfish in nature. This is just how evolution, natural selection, and fundamentally - humans - work, the desire to thrive and improve. Yes, we work together and learn to empathize, but that is because cooperation has shown to be the most effective route to success. Thus giving the individual the most benefit.  Pro has this weird insistence throughout the debate that seemed to imply that they thought that one couldn't have selfish thought and happen to do something good. A lot of the disagreement from Pro was that it is not possible that people are selfish, even though it is almost undisputed that that is how species work biologically, including humans. In fact, Pro flat out drops my point about collectives working through selfishness. 

The second argument I made - was that goodness is itself isn't something anyone can possess innately as goodness is something which is ultimately subjective. This is concluding that Morality is subjective, with goodness being an positive extrapolation of morality, that would render goodness also subjective, and therefore relative. That would mean that any qualities that Pro could point to, would only be good to a point, but not really good - its just what Pro thinks good is. Regardless of if the voter disagrees that morality is subjective, Pro never disputed that fact, even agreeing that it was. Pro also kind of dropped all of the arguments regarding this principle in the last round, not even mentioning that argument. This would display that I have clearly met my goal post in proving that humans, fundamentally, can not be innately good, as nothing can really be "good". That means that even if the voter thinks that I lost the other argument for humans not being innately good, this one would ensure victory on my part. 

Pro has not been able to demonstrate that humans are fundamentally good, meaning at the most a tie, that would be if I hadn't argued anything, but because Pro has failed to actually rebuke my points, most of his refutations even lacking impacts or citations, Pro has failed his goalpost, whereas I have evidently fulfilled both burdens. 

Vote For Con, thank you.