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Good and evil co-exist as opposing necessities of free will


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Contender / Con

This debate is in the philosophy category to allow an expanded discussion incorporating religion and philosophy. Typical sources feeding argument from both perspectives is allowed. It should not be considered exclusively one category or the other, but either opponent is allowed to argue from either exclusively if desired.

As Pro, my BoP is to demonstrate that both good and evil are necessary elements for man’s free agency to exist to make personal choice of engaging either, that no other force is applied to coerce personal thought and action.

Con’s BoP is to demonstrate that good and evil do not co-exist, are not in opposition to one another, and that free will of man does not exist.

Note that no mention of any divinity is described. Though I am a theist, this debate is not necessarily dependent on the necessity of any divinity. This is within the scope of man on Earth. However, should an opponent wish to entertain a divine nature of the opposition of good and evil, either for or against the Resolution, it is allowed.

Definitions: [within the scope as these topics relate to the human condition]

Good: a person, object, thought, or action that is of good report, high quality, suitable for purpose, worthy of praise.

Evil: a person, object, thought, or action that is morally depraved, wicked, the opposite of all attributes listed under “good.”

Co-exist: to exist together, at the same time in the same place.

Opposition: in conflict or disagreement.

Necessity: something that cannot be left undone, or unengaged.

Free will: the ability of man to choose between good and evil, and act accordingly.

Debate protocol:

Three-round debate.

R1, R2: Argument, rebuttal, defense

R3: No new argument; only rebuttal, defense, conclusion

All argument, defense, rebuttal, and sourcing will be listed within the context of the debate argument rounds, or sourcing may also be listed within comments within the debate file to conserve maximum space for argumentation, but only during the argumentation’s three rounds. Neither participant may consult with any person associated with DART to serve as a sourced citation as a feature of participant’s argument.

No waived rounds. No more than one round may be forfeited, or forfeiture of entire debate will result. Concession in any round is a debate loss.

No declaration of victory will be made but in the 3rd round. No declaration of assumption of the opponent’s concession or forfeit in any round. These conditions will be obvious to voters only by either participant’s own declaration.

Arguments, rebuttals, defenses, or conclusions may not address voters directly for voting suggestions beyond statement of validity for arguments, et al, made in all rounds. Participants may encourage voters/readers to read/examine any portion of, or entire rounds.

Once the debate is accepted by an opponent, Pro [me] may or may not respond to any post in the Comments section of this debate. The preference is a non-response in favor of concentrating on the debate, itself, and for fear of having influence on anyone during the debate’s argument phase, particularly on potential voters.

Round 1
Thank you, Quinn for accepting the debate, and, welcome to the site. Looking for ward to a good, robust debate. Good luck!
Resolution: Good and evil co-exist as opposing necessities of free will
I Argument: The nature of good and evil
I.a  Good: as defined for a condition of humanity, the nature of good is to be a person, object, thought, or action that is of good report, high quality, suitable for purpose, worthy of praise.
I.a.1 The ideal of good is that it be achieved exclusive of evil. That is, I argue that a person, by free agency, as defined, can ultimately defeat evil completely, becoming a perfect person in all respects as good is defined. In this sense of perfection, the terms used in the “Good” definition are all achieved to their highest ideal.
I.a.1.A  The person [or object, thought, or action] is of  good report.  For future brevity, when speaking in this context of the properties of goodness, when “person” is noted, please understand that each instance assumes the others, i.e., “object, thought, or action,” also apply, unless specifically noted as restricted to “person.” Good report means that anyone’s unbiased perspective would describe the person as “good” in the context of that person’s comportment with all other life forms.
I.a.1.B  The person is of  high quality, sustaining personal standards that evoke impressions by others that the person seeks and achieves high ideals in their thoughts and actions, avoiding more base attitudes.
I.a.1.C   The person is  suitable for purpose. That is, they have prepared themselves adequately to be kind, caring, and loving of others, quick to perform service for others, even at a sacrifice of self-indulgence. They are, to the degree possible, self-sufficient, at least in that they do not depend on another, other than in gainful employment, to sustain their own lives, and those for whom they bear legal responsibility, as in children or others to whom they render legal support. In this sense of suitability, they are fulfilling the fullest measure of their creation possible.
I.a.1.D  The person is  worthy of praise.  They can be set apart as exemplary persons for others in all aspects of comportment. They exhibit qualities that are admirable in every way. They are dependable, trustworthy, respectful, humble, and efficient. They need not be captains of industry, or religious leaders. They can be of any employ at any level, and still represent the best of humanity.
I.a.1.E Lest one believe these are impossible attributes to achieve, even the effort to be so is exemplary. One may be more proficient in one than another, but the key to the appraisal one may make is that the effort to be exemplary is obvious. They are good people.
I.b  Evil: as defined for a condition of humanity, the nature of evil is to be a person, object, thought, or action that is morally depraved, wicked, the opposite of all attributes listed under “good.”
I.b.1 In the case of evil, it is also possible to be evil in the extreme, to have fully embraced evil, in all its attributes, as a preferred state of being, expressing all attributes as described by definition:
I.b.1.A  The person [or object, thought, or action] is  morally depraved.   For future brevity, when speaking in this context of the properties of evil, when “person” is noted, please understand that each instance assumes the others, i.e., “object, thought, or action,” also apply, unless specifically noted as restricted to “person.”  Morally depraved   means to be void of any aspect of goodness, and all tis opposing qualities.
I.b.1.B  Wicked: As defined for a condition of humanity, to be wicked is to have ill-will for anyone or anything of creation such that harm [physical, mental, spiritual, even in a secular sense of these conditions] is intended and inflicted on anyone or anything.
I.b.1.C  Opposition   expressed or acted out against any of the attributes defined above, I.a through I.a.1.E, for goodness.
I.c It is the nature of good to seek after and acquire the attributes of goodness as described in I.a through I.a.E, above.
I.d It is the nature of evil to seek after and acquire the attributes of evil as described in I.b through I.b.1.C
II Argument: Good and evil are co-existent and in opposition
II.a There must be opposition in all things, even in things as basic to human nature as good and evil.
II.a.1 Consider Newton’s Third law of Motion:
“…some forces result from contact interactions (normal, frictional, tensional, and applied forces are examples of contact forces) and other forces are the result of action-at-a-distance interactions (gravitational, electrical, and magnetic forces). According to Newton, whenever objects A and B interact with each other, they exert forces upon each other. When you sit in your chair, your body exerts a downward force on the chair and the chair exerts an upward force on your body. There are two forces resulting from this interaction - a force on the chair and a force on your body. These two forces are called action and reaction forces and are the subject of Newton's third law of motion. Formally stated, Newton's third law is:  For every action, there is a equal and opposite reaction.   …Forces always come in pairs - equal and opposite action-reaction force pairs. [1]
II.a.1.A  Although the above applies to physics, it also applies to philosophy:
“People mostly determine how to treat someone based on the reactions of
other people. Sometimes it’s conscious, sometimes it’s subconscious. But the fact is, if you’re in an environment or around a group of people who love you, you are far more likely for strangers meeting you to treat you with that same love and admiration.
The other side is true too: If you hang out with catty, backstabbing “frenemies”, it is
extremely likely that their subtle negative cues are POISONING the way other people react to you as well.”[2]
II.b  Therefore, good cannot exist without evil, and, vice versa.
III Argument: The benefit of good: free agency
III.a Goodness has the benefit of allowing greater free agency to humanity as we engage in more and more goodness, individually denying evil’s influence. We can, Individually, thus combat evil and gradually lessen the allowance of its influence in our lives, and the resulting consequence is procuring an increasing measure of freedom to choose.
III.a.1  The common good is a notion that originated over two thousand years ago in the writings of Plato, Aristotle, and Cicero. More recently, the contemporary ethicist, John Rawls, defined the common good as ‘certain general conditions that are . . . equally to everyone's advantage.’”[3]
IV Argument: The problem with ‘the problem of evil’
IV.a There is a philosophy proposed that is called “The Problem of Evil” wherein it is proposed that evil cannot exist. The side is related by an alleged syllogism which conclusion is related to the non-existence of God. The “syllogism” is as follows:
P1: In an omnipotent, omnibenevolent, and omniscient God exists, then evil does not exist.
P2: There is evil in the world.
C: Therefore, an omnipotent, omnibenevolent, and omniscient God does not exist.
IV.a.1 Though appearing perfectly logical, analysis of the two propositions bears review.  Recall that a syllogism’s Proposals, Pn, must all be true, always, or the Conclusion is faulty. 
IV.a.2 In this “syllogism, P1 makes assumption that because God possesses the three omni’s demonstrated, he nust always act with full force. That is, he cannot dial down; he cannot only use a measure of any force necessary to accomplish a task. The assumption is, God is all-or-nothing. But who is it that places such a limitation on God? Anyone but God can impose such limitation. But who is the actual actor, here. And who really claims to have power in excess of God’s, so as to limit him? That, itself, would deny God of omnipotence. Therefore, the claims that God is omnipotent, itself, fails. Thus, P1 fails, allowing someone else that power, benevolence, and intelligence attributed to God in P1.
IV.a.3 P2 of the syllogism is clearly true; there is evil in the world, but one must research to discover cause. This proposal, too, makes the assumption that God is the creator of both good and evil? Is he? Or do these attributes exist, co-existent with, but not necessarily created by God. There is nothing in the syllogism explaining the origin of either good or evil; it is assumed. Are assumptions logical constructs, always? No, therefore, thought P2 appears to be true, arriving at the proposition as stated requires assumptions.
IV.a.3.A  Further, there is a problem in timing for p2. There is, presently, evil existing in the world, but will this always be so? Given the definitions of the attributes of good and evil given above, R1, I.a through I.d, it is possible for good to become so widespread by humanity, in a mode of continuous improvement, good can ultimately consume all the evil in one person. Evil will still exist, but, individual by individual, it can be totally defeated.
IV.a.3.B The opposite condition can also be witnessed, individual by individual. Any given person can be totally consumed by evil, yet, there will still be others who are good. Therefore, good, as well, will continue to exist. All this leads to P2 being inconsistently true; therefore, both proposals have issues with being consistently true.
IV.a.4 Therefore, given the failures of P1 and P2, C is, therefore, false, and the inherent problem with the proposed Problem of Evil is exposed.
IV.b  The result of evil is a lessening of our free agency to the potential extent that we become enslaved by evil practices, even if those practices are not inflicted on others. To the extent that we allow ourselves to act with evil intent, the damage to ourselves, or the damage caused to others, may limit our freedom, such as by breaking the law and being subjected to the consequences. The more evil we cause to ourselves, and others, the less free agency we have to exercise.
IV.b.1  In a discussion of Sartre’s Existentialism, it was remarked, “Existence precedes essence also means that every human being is solely responsible for their actions because we choose who we are. Humans are born as “nothing” and then become who they are through their choices and actions. Sartre noted that there is no basis for making these choices; we just have to make them. Humans do not have a set purpose because we spend our lives creating who we want to be. We create who we are through our choices and actions. Humans are nothing more or less than what they make themselves to be.”[4]
I conclude that the Resolution is supported:  Good and evil co-exist as opposing necessities of free will.  I rest my case for R1 and pass to Con.

Round 2
Resolution: Good and evil co-exist as opposing necessities
I Argument: The balance of good and evil
I.a  Contrary to how some people think, virtually no mortal is either all good, or all evil. These are easy labels to apply, to simplify our perspective of the world if people, but rarely are there actual absolutes in human behavior. There is a balance. Not to imply that the balance is even, i.e., that a person is typically half-good and half-evil.
I.b The balance, rather, is that a person chooses to be one or the other in a myriad of characteristics, all of which, combined, leave a general impression that any given person is good, or evil, with predominant impression that each person is mostly good, or mostly evil, with remaining traces of the opposing characteristic.
I.c A personal perspective: I am a freelance writer who considers himself, on balance, as a good person. Once, several years ago, I was contacted by the attorney for a convicted and imprisoned murderer on the East Coast who was associated with a crime family. What’s called, in the vernacular of this kind of family a “made man.” The attorney requested that I travel to the penitentiary where this man was incarcerated to interview him, without the attorney’s presence other than an initial introduction, with the purpose of then ghostwriting the man’s autobiography. I agreed to do so.
I.c.1 I was taken to an interview cell by the attorney, conducted by a guard, who told us [me] the ground rules of my responsibilities, and to ask if I wanted the convict shackled and cuffed during our interviews, which extended over three days. I decided that, even though the convict and I would be alone in the cell, with a guard outside the solid door, and assured that he would not have a weapon of any kind, I would prefer the convict to be unencumbered. I’m a big guy, 6’ 3”, 240 lbs, and my shout could easily be heard, so I wasn’t that worried. I met the convict, several inches shorter and less weight, and, unshackled by the guard, we shook hands. He smiled, and I returned the gesture. The guard and attorney left, and we began the interview. He put me immediately at ease. He was, simply, an intelligent, easy-going, and talkative fellow, in spite of his incarceration. He put me further at ease by saying, still smiling, that there were several ways he could kill me with his bare hands, but he appreciated that I had allowed his free movement, and so would not be inclined. Reassuring…
I.c.2 That’s how we started. I was locked in a room with a killer who was as congenial as my best friend. Over the three days, we got along just fine. He was a relatively good person who has done despicable things. Murder is just the most despicable. He worried about how God might judge him. There’s the balance [usually imbalanced] to which I refer.
I.c.3 Yes, I wrote the story, but will reveal nothing about it. It is not yet published since my interviewed subject cannot profit from it while incarcerated, but will likely be released on parole in another ten years or so, after which he can profit by its release. I’ve been paid my quoted fee by the attorney. It was, I assure, a fascinating story of a conflicted man with regard to his personal dance with good and evil.
I.d  Our own conflicts with good and evil are just such a dance, particularly if the dance has steps which are unknown to us. That we can take steps is a given: we walk by such manipulation of our legs and feet. But a dance is not walking; it is orchestrated, rhythmic steps to music. We dance to the rhythm of the music even if the music is unfamiliar. Proper steps are good, and our willing partner, if also skilled, will follow along. Improper steps probably land us on our partner’s foot. Thus “good and evil” are engaged, even if it is just an innocent dance. You get the point.
I.e  There is a website that offers several examples of Hollowood movies [my spelling is purposeful] that are yet successful in exhibiting the dance of good and evil in our lives.[1]  The movies exhibit various stories of how good and evil affect our lives, individually. They are different plots and characters, but all do a credible job of exhibiting just how constructive it can be to encourage good and shun evil, with the hope that the imbalance in the direction of good is useful to keep our freedom of choices open to us, because the imbalance toward evil is ultimately just as restrictive as freedom of choice is liberating.
I.f  In human beings, ‘good’ and ‘evil’ are fluid. People can be a combination of ‘good’ and ‘bad’ qualities. Some people who behave cruelly and brutally can be rehabilitated and eventually display ‘good’ qualities such as empathy and kindness. And rather than being intrinsic, most cruel or brutal behavior is due to environmental factors, such as an abusive childhood, or social learning from a family or peers.”[2]
II Argument: The misinterpretation of the non-existence of either good or evil
II.a  By a practical, secular reasoning, alone, the idea that one or the other, good or evil, does not exist in the world, is a self-blinding exercise because it is evident that we encounter both. Whatever their origin, good and evil can be demonstrated as the actions of mankind on a daily basis, else society would have never seen the need to invent locks, or charity. 
II.a.1  “…while most of us recognize that these concepts of good and bad aren't always black-and-white categories, we never cease to be surprised when someone or something we've perceived as "good" does or becomes something we perceive as "bad…"[3]
II.b  This is not a debate about why good and evil exist; just that they do both co-exist. It is just as clear that we are each influenced by the actions of others. Therefore, there is purpose in good and evil to allow our free choice to think and act according to the characteristics, as defined, of good and evil. Because the choices are ours, we bear the consequences of our choices.
II.b.1  Making judgments about whether a person is morally responsible for her behavior, and holding others and ourselves responsible for actions and the consequences of actions, is a fundamental and familiar part of our moral practices and our interpersonal relationships.”[4]
III Rebuttal: Pro’s R1: None
III.a  As a consequence of my opponent’s forfeit of R1, there is no argument to rebut. I will, therefore, close my R2 at this point, and hope for the best for R3.

Round 3