Points: 6

Morality Is Objective

Finished

The voting period has ended

After 2 votes the winner is ...
Sparrow
Debate details
Publication date
Last update
Category
Philosophy
Time for argument
Three days
Voting system
Open voting
Voting period
One week
Point system
Four points
Rating mode
Rated
Characters per argument
10,000
Contender
Points: 14
Description
Round 1: Opening Statements, No Rebuttals.
Round 2: Rebuttals of Round 1 Statements
Round 3: Rebuttals of Round 2 Statements.
Round 4: Interrogation. Questions Only about any part of the topic.
Round 5: Answering Round 4 Questions and then closing statements.
Con must accept this format in order to debate this topic.
Round 1
Published:

Premise 1 == Evolutionary cues. 

Biology gives us cues that do lots of things.  They tell us when to eat, sleep, make waste, etc.  These cues also tell us when something feel moral or immoral. 

While people have differing opinions about how we interpret these cues, the cues themselves are objective.  



Premise 2 == Source of Morality. 

When people speak of morality, they use slightly different definitions.  But the two main ones are A) somebody's opinion or B) a general attitude of society. 

The latter seems to be the more logical one, but are these mere opinions.  No.  These norms that we form all come from our evolutionary cues.  This is why we can find examples of morals that are almost universal in every society. 

More amazing still, evolution also explains why some people believe different things via gene mutation. 

So I think the proper source of morality is evolution. 


Conclusion == Since the cues are objective and morality comes from our cues, that mean morality is objective. 


I guess my work here is done.  

Good debate :)

I  kid. 


I will now open my opponent up for his opening statement.  Please refrain from rebutting my R1 until next round and try to just make your case apart from me until then.
Published:
Definition of morality

1a : a moral discourse, statement, or lesson ended his lecture with a trite morality
b : a literary or other imaginative work teaching a moral lesson "Aesop's Fables" is famous as a morality.
2a : a doctrine or system of moral conduct the basic law which an adequate morality ought to state— Marjorie Grene
b moralities plural : particular moral principles or rules of conduct we were all brought up on one of these moralitiesPsychiatry
3 : conformity to ideals of right human conduct admitted the expediency of the law but questioned its morality
4 : moral conduct : virtue morality today involves a responsible relationship toward the laws of the natural world— P. B. Sears

Morality cannot be objective because it is a social construct and stems from subjective human feelings and social norms.

Round 2
Published:
Lets move to rebuttals. 

Morality cannot be objective because it is a social construct and stems from subjective human feelings and social norms.
When someone gets murdered in front of me.  I get a negative cue from my body regardless of my opinion.  That's not a social construct. 

Definition of morality
1a : a moral discourse, statement, or lesson ended his lecture with a trite morality
b : a literary or other imaginative work teaching a moral lesson "Aesop's Fables" is famous as a morality.
2a : a doctrine or system of moral conduct the basic law which an adequate morality ought to state— Marjorie Grene
b moralities plural : particular moral principles or rules of conduct we were all brought up on one of these moralitiesPsychiatry
3 : conformity to ideals of right human conduct admitted the expediency of the law but questioned its morality
4 : moral conduct : virtue morality today involves a responsible relationship toward the laws of the natural world— P. B. Sears

This is simply the definition of a moral that we have established.  This does not speak to the source of the morality.   Some people might make a false moral code (like in a holy book, for instance) and they could "claim" it's morality, but it's not.  If I wrote a holy book that said killing is morally acceptable, it would not change the fact that I still get a negative cue from my body when I witness a murder.  Therefore, you're not talking about the same thing as me.  It's a conflation, an equivocation fallacy. 


This was everything my opponent stated so I have nothing else to rebuttal. 


I will no make way for my opponent's rebuttal of my R1 statement.  Please refrain from rebutting R2 statements as that will come in the next round.  


Your floor. 
Published:
Biology gives us cues that do lots of things.  They tell us when to eat, sleep, make waste, etc.  These cues also tell us when something feel moral or immoral. 
There are no biological morality cues. It is important to know the difference between morality, ethics and compassion. Compassion is the closest thing to having direct biological cues, but they are not universal. Ethics is the philosophy of what is right and wrong in a humane-specific sense and morality (the most arbitrary and least objective of all three) is not necessarily rooted in being humane or compassionate but also deals with things which are entirely opinion/social construct based such as whether or not being gay is a sin. Things such as empathy and the capacity to form moral values are rooted in human biology but morality in and of itself is not inherent to any organism, and even if it was that doesn't make it objective because there are plenty of organisms for which that is not the case.

While people have differing opinions about how we interpret these cues, the cues themselves are objective.  
The cues are not "objective" other than that they objectively exist, they not only have different interpretations but there are also different cues for different people.

When people speak of morality, they use slightly different definitions.  But the two main ones are A) somebody's opinion or B) a general attitude of society. 
Morality is both of those things. Your moral values are both shaped by your own dispositions and the values imprinted on you by culture and experience. If morality is universal and objective why do ideas of what is moral differ so much between cultures and individuals? It seems like an entirely subjective and socially constructed phenomena to me.

This is why we can find examples of morals that are almost universal in every society. 
You can find entirely opposite morals just as often. Also, it is objective that if I stab you it will hurt you, and since humans are biologically equipped with empathy they often are opposed to needlessly hurting others. That doesn't mean that people tending to incorporate the "no stabbing rule" into their moral systems suddenly makes it an objective fact that it's "wrong" to stab people. The laws of physics don't care if you stab people, plenty of other organisms don't care either, in what way do human values and feelings of empathy make something a fact?

More amazing still, evolution also explains why some people believe different things via gene mutation.
Even if that was true (which you haven't provided any proof of) that would not prove anything other than that the gene mutations objectively exist, not that the values and beliefs derived from them are objectively true and valid. What if there was a species who's gene mutations tell them it is objectively moral to eat humans?



Round 3
Published:
Thank you to my opponent, lets do rejoinder and then we'll move on to interrogation. 


There are no biological morality cues. It is important to know the difference between morality, ethics and compassion. Compassion is the closest thing to having direct biological cues, but they are not universal. Ethics is the philosophy of what is right and wrong in a humane-specific sense and morality (the most arbitrary and least objective of all three) is not necessarily rooted in being humane or compassionate but also deals with things which are entirely opinion/social construct based such as whether or not being gay is a sin. Things such as empathy and the capacity to form moral values are rooted in human biology but morality in and of itself is not inherent to any organism, and even if it was that doesn't make it objective because there are plenty of organisms for which that is not the case.
I never said the cues we're universal.  The topic isn't "morality is universal"  The topic is "morality is objective".  That means it only need be true apart from my opinion.  Universal just means everybody arrives at the same conclusion.(which they could do subjectively or objectively)  Morality is generally equated with the harm or well being of a group or society.  Humans are group animals.  Therefore some of our evolutionary cues promote group behavior. 

People might make subjective decisions based off the cues.  But they can also make objective decisions based off cues once we understand why we're receiving them.

Lets take murder for example.  I could murder someone and my cue would go off but I could ignore it.  However, the fact that I received a cue is objective and it was possible for me to properly interpret the cue and not murder them had I thought about it objectively beforehand.


 The cues are not "objective" other than that they objectively exist, they not only have different interpretations but there are also different cues for different people
Correct.  That's exactly what I'm saying.  The cue objectively exist.  It objectively tells us one thing "harm/benefit on a group level or individual level depending on the cue" and the fact that not everybody has the cue doesn't matter.  All that means is that genes give us our morality randomly and then natural selection rewards the ones who have the best morality in terms of survival. 


Morality is both of those things. Your moral values are both shaped by your own dispositions and the values imprinted on you by culture and experience. If morality is universal and objective why do ideas of what is moral differ so much between cultures and individuals? It seems like an entirely subjective and socially constructed phenomena to me.
That's an equivocation fallacy, while those things might share the same name, epistemologically speaking, they count as different words because their definitions don't match.  Anybody can have an opinion and name it morality.  If that was the only standard, then we wouldn't see moral trends in society the way we do.  The fact is that while we might make subjective decisions, we're making them off an objective source and we can think objectively about that source and get objective judgements which is why murder and rape are illegal in most places on earth. 


You can find entirely opposite morals just as often. Also, it is objective that if I stab you it will hurt you, and since humans are biologically equipped with empathy they often are opposed to needlessly hurting others. That doesn't mean that people tending to incorporate the "no stabbing rule" into their moral systems suddenly makes it an objective fact that it's "wrong" to stab people. The laws of physics don't care if you stab people, plenty of other organisms don't care either, in what way do human values and feelings of empathy make something a fact?
That's not true, you cannot find them "just" as often.  For every person who supports murder, there are 1,000 that don't.  That's a disparity and it's caused by natural selection because the one person is interpreting their morals subjectively  while the others are acknowledging the objective assessment that society has made over the centuries based on evolutionary cues. 


Even if that was true (which you haven't provided any proof of) that would not prove anything other than that the gene mutations objectively exist, not that the values and beliefs derived from them are objectively true and valid. What if there was a species who's gene mutations tell them it is objectively moral to eat humans?

I did provide proof.  Random gene mutation.  What does random mean?  It means we don't know the outcome.  That means no matter how many non murders survive from natural selection, there's always a chance of random mutations introducing another murder, who will then be suppressed by natural selection.  That seems to explain it quite well in my opinion.  Furthermore there is no competing explanation and there is nothing that my explanation doesn't account for.  




My opponent will now rebuttal my R2 statements and then we'll move on to interrogation. 


Your floor. 
Published:
When someone gets murdered in front of me.  I get a negative cue from my body regardless of my opinion.  That's not a social construct. 


There is a difference between feelings/instinctive reactions and morality. "Negative cues" are not morality, you don't need a contrived system of morality to feel bad about something.

This does not speak to the source of the morality.
You are conflating the source of morality (human social awareness and the instinctive reactions to the suffering/death of others) with the socially constructed systems of morality that humans make up.

Some people might make a false moral code (like in a holy book, for instance) and they could "claim" it's morality, but it's not.  If I wrote a holy book that said killing is morally acceptable, it would not change the fact that I still get a negative cue from my body when I witness a murder.
The cues that people derive their morality from are not morality, and the cues are not universal. There is no "wrong" morality, because the cues you are talking about are contrived from human biology and do not correlate to any objective truth other than the mere fact that we experience them due to our biology. Furthermore the cues themselves are often fabricated by society, and people are literally programmed by the generally accepted moral system of their culture to feel a certain way about things.


Round 4
Published:
Alright, interrogation time.  My and my opponent will post their questions and then we'll answer them in R5


1. You do realize that universal and objective are two different things right? 


2. You claim that the place we derive our morality is not the same as our morality, if it's the source of our morality and that source is objective, then how is morality also not objective? 


3. You say that source of morality is different than the social constructs of morality, if one is objective and the other is a social construct, then how is the second one morality and how is the first one not? 


4.  Do you think evolution is accurate? 


5.  Since gene mutations are random, wouldn't it then follow that if morality came from gene mutations, that they would not be universal? 


6.  If natural selection favors survival behaviors, wouldn't it then follow that if morality came from gene mutations, that natural selection would make the best gene mutations for morality the most popular in our species? 

7. Since morality is not universal and the majority of people have similar morality, doesn't it then follow that this seems to fit in with evolution? 


8.  Since words are merely defined by usage and we don't have a unified definition, wouldn't it then follow that we should define morality based off what all the definitions seem to point to? 


9.  Since that definition seems to point toward harm/benefit and evolution seems to also favor this behavior, wouldn't it then follow that evolution can account for this behavior? 

10.  If evolution can account for this behavior and there is no other things that can account for this behavior, wouldn't it then follow that evolution seems to be the most likely candidate for our moral? 


I await your questions. 



Published:
1: How can a social construct based on the inter-subjective feelings and notions of a certain type of organism be an objective truth?

2: If everyone believes in a certain religion, does that make that religion objectively true?

3: If our genes have adapted through natural selection to believe in a flying booger sausage with googly eyes that shoots fireballs out of it's backside and this is an optimal survival strategy does that mean it is real?


Round 5
Published:

1: How can a social construct based on the inter-subjective feelings and notions of a certain type of organism be an objective truth?
Normally, it can't, unless it gets lucky and happens to also be objective.   But this is conflation, You're confusing the source of morality with moral judgements.  Moral judgements can be subjective or objective depending on the method the person uses.  Objective morals are those that come from evolutionary dispositions to promote group behavior.  If we use this as our standard without inserting our opinion, then we get objective moral judgements.  If we add our feelings into the mix, then it's subjective.  

Regardless of what people choose to believe, the moral cues we receive from evolution are not influenced by our opinion, and therefore, they are necessarily objective.  Just because people sometimes make subjective assessments based off of this doesn't change what the cues told us. 



2: If everyone believes in a certain religion, does that make that religion objectively true?
No, but any decision they make based off that religion is objectively religious or non religious, just like any decision based off the cue can be objectively moral or immoral

Also, everyone not believing doesn't make the religion objectively false either.  



3: If our genes have adapted through natural selection to believe in a flying booger sausage with googly eyes that shoots fireballs out of it's backside and this is an optimal survival strategy does that mean it is real?
no for so many reasons.  First of all, you say those are optimal, but that doesn't make it so.  

Second, evolution doesn't make things optimal, it just favors certain mutations. 

Third, just because a gene combination is possible doesn't mean it's going to happen, especially if one of those steps of development leave it at a survival disadvantage.(your silly booger sausage might seem formidable when finished, but in the early stages, it would be quite weak.)

Fourth, Most of what you named there would be biologically impossible anyway, so your example is incoherent. 






In closing.  Evolution is the cause of morals and the result is objective moral cues.   Are they intrinsically or absolutely right or wrong?  No.  But they are the reason that we make moral decisions regardless of if we choose to interpret it the same way. 


The key thing here is that this explanation is better than opinions, which wouldn't create the majority that we have in moral judgements, and we can't say absolute or universal because people don't listen universally.  

But evolution is neither of these things.  Evolution produces majorities through natural selection and explains like of universality through random gene mutations.  In short, the model fits and nothing is missing. 



Published:
1. You do realize that universal and objective are two different things right? 
Yes, but what is objectively true is universally true even if it wasn't always true or isn't true everywhere. If there is a rock on a sidewalk, the rock still exists even though there aren't rocks on other sidewalks. But the existence of the rock of morality depends on what sidewalk you are on, and whether or not you trip over it depends on societies opinion of where it is located.

2. You claim that the place we derive our morality is not the same as our morality, if it's the source of our morality and that source is objective, then how is morality also not objective? 
My brain objectively exists, that doesn't mean every notion that pops into it is true.

3. You say that source of morality is different than the social constructs of morality, if one is objective and the other is a social construct, then how is the second one morality and how is the first one not? 
Because the source is the human brain interacting with other humans in a cultural context and morality is one of the abstract social constructs that arise from that.

4.  Do you think evolution is accurate? 
Yes.

5.  Since gene mutations are random, wouldn't it then follow that if morality came from gene mutations, that they would not be universal? 
Yes.

6.  If natural selection favors survival behaviors, wouldn't it then follow that if morality came from gene mutations, that natural selection would make the best gene mutations for morality the most popular in our species? 
No. There are no specific gene mutations for morality, only mutations that make you more or less susceptible to certain moral ideas. The rest comes down to environment/experience based conditioning and the morality you are taught.
7. Since morality is not universal and the majority of people have similar morality, doesn't it then follow that this seems to fit in with evolution? 
Maybe if it was an inherited trait rather than a social construct, but even still there would be no objective standard for it.

8.  Since words are merely defined by usage and we don't have a unified definition, wouldn't it then follow that we should define morality based off what all the definitions seem to point to? 
Maybe, maybe not.

9.  Since that definition seems to point toward harm/benefit and evolution seems to also favor this behavior, wouldn't it then follow that evolution can account for this behavior? 
That doesn't make it an objective truth and very "immoral" behaviour by most people's standards has lead to great success for many people.
10.  If evolution can account for this behavior and there is no other things that can account for this behavior, wouldn't it then follow that evolution seems to be the most likely candidate for our moral? 
No. My belief in flying sausages is not an inherited trait, only the stupidity that lead to it is.
Added:
--> @Dustandashes
you sure you are not refering to absolute morality?
Moral absolutism is an ethical view that particular actions are intrinsically right or wrong. Stealing, for instance, might be considered to be always immoral, even if done for the well-being of others, and even if it does in the end promote such a good.
#11
Added:
--> @Sparrow
lol
Instigator
#10
Added:
--> @Wrick-It-Ralph
Yes, I read and agree to the terms of service and privacy policy.
Contender
#9
Added:
--> @Sparrow
you read the format I assume?
Instigator
#8
Added:
--> @TheRealNihilist
maybe. We'll see. I don't mind tackling the unpopular side.
Instigator
#7
Added:
--> @Wrick-It-Ralph
Sheesh. Good luck. I got Sparrow winning this won.
#6
Added:
--> @Dustandashes
you and me would ultimately agree on morality besides maybe particularism and the source of the objectivity if that makes sense
Instigator
#5
Added:
--> @Dustandashes
So I'm not sure if you could really take Con side unless you took some weird skeptical argument because you can't argue for subjective morals
Instigator
#4
Added:
--> @Dustandashes
Well, When I say Objective morality, I mean it's objective in that situation because I believe in Moral Particularism. But that wouldn't really apply to this debate because I still think the situation itself is "absolutely moral or immoral" assuming we know all of the moral variables.
Instigator
#3
Added:
--> @Dustandashes
For
Instigator
#2
Added:
--> @Wrick-It-Ralph
Are you arguing for or against objective morality? I am in favor of objective morality (there is absolute right and absolute wrong) but I wasn't sure if you are in favor of this as well, since I saw you debating moral particularism
#1
#2
Criterion Pro Tie Con Points
Better arguments 3 points
Better sources 2 points
Better spelling and grammar 1 point
Better conduct 1 point
Reason:
Neither side really defines or outlines what is meant by objective, so I am largely forced to frame both arguments against my interpretation of what Morality being objective means.
Cons argument is that morality is inherently subjective - because it is different for different people, multiple individuals could judge different scenarios differently, and it is largely a social construct. Con argues that as there is no universally accepted moral code, and as morality is more subjective and arbitrary than ethics.
Con argues that the source of the cues upon which moral and ethical decisions are notionally driven are not the same as the constructed moral framework that governs morality. Con goes further to specifically argue that many in built biological cues are programmed by social and cultural constraints, rendering even those implicitly subjective.
Pros argument, on the other hand primarily revolves around the idea of biological cues that drive morality being objective readings.
Pro points out these are both evolutionary in origin and objective by nature.
Pro concedes that con is correct, and argues mostly that the cues that drive morality objectively exist.
This appears to be largely semantic driven, made even more irksome as nobody defines the nature of what objective morality actually means.
Out of these two, pro appears to mostly be asserting his position, and without sources I have to rely on whether his arguments appear intuitively correct.
Con casts doubt on the idea that any two individuals would necessarily agree on the cues they receive for a given act they witness - and casts doubt on the link between Morality as framework and the cues that drive it. The former is most important as it more intuitively explains to me why morality can’t be agreed.
Pros argument that you can’t simply invent morality and claim its moral, and the argument that everyone receives moral cues seems against basic intuition - as this appears to be what innumerable religious groups appears to do. Are all these groups all denying their own cues for morality? Or are they simply training different cues. I don’t know, by simply asserting the former is not enough.
Due to this, and lack of any objective criteria that I can measure or interpret - as pro does not provide much in the way of specifics of examples - con manages fo establish the subjectivity of morality: thus arguments to con.
#1
Criterion Pro Tie Con Points
Better arguments 3 points
Better sources 2 points
Better spelling and grammar 1 point
Better conduct 1 point
Reason:
Pro fails to ever explain (and literally concedes, using this as the fundamental core of the Pro case) how socially constructed, 'groupthink' morals can revolve around an objective source. Even the need to survive (but many morals are about sacrificing survival) is not objective.
Con plays pure defence and uses a reliable online dictionary, Merriam-Webster, to make it crystal clear from Round 1 (and onward) that morality is based on statements, opinions or literary concepts portrayed from (and only from) our own opinions and thoughts on the matter. Pro literally concedes this and says that they're based on our urge to survive as a species against the others (so why is it morally okay to kill others to defend your subjectively preferred life-forms?) Con excellently plays pure defence the entire debate, leaving Pro incapable of upholding BoP.