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Round 1: FreeThinkerIdealist v pstiffy Bad Boys

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posted on Sep, 29 2007 @ 09:19 PM
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The topic for this debate is "Humans are inherently immoral".

FreeThinkerIdealist will be arguing the pro position and will open the debate.
pstiffy will argue the con position.

Each debater will have one opening statement each. This will be followed by 3 alternating replies each. There will then be one closing statement each and no rebuttal.


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posted on Sep, 30 2007 @ 12:01 AM
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I would like to thank Vagabond for giving up his valuable time to run the debates and ATS for giving us a forum to speak freely.



Are humans inherently immoral?

Well, let us define morals. I tried to find the clearest definition that leaves out influences of religion or regional differences. I put in bold the 'meat' of the definition.



… morality as a universal guide that all rational persons would put forward for governing the behavior of all moral agents, it is concerned with promoting people living together in peace and harmony, not causing harm to others, and helping them.


Stanford.edu


To be inherently immoral it would be concluded as: not helping others, causing harm to others, and not living in peace nor promoting living in peace with others. I think the status of the world today (especially if you read the newspaper or watch television) is evidence enough of the immorality of people, but I will not rest on my laurels.

Anyone who has had the luxury of rearing children or helping out others rear their children know you must teach them the ‘proper‘ way to behave not only in public but also at home. Doing the right thing is not something the kids do naturally (though some are better than others); this is how we have the common saying ‘terrible twos’ or the known fact that most teens go through a rebellious stage. It takes a strong and moral parent to be strict and loving to instill the proper views into their children - or a lot of personal strength from within to fight off the desires - for them to be productive members of society.

I could use up a lot of space by giving you quotes you already know, such as the percentages of people under 21 who consume alcohol, the percentage of the populations that use illegal drugs, and many other crime statistics. The fact is, breaking the law itself is immoral, and, it is quite a common occurrence.

I bet nearly all who read this have broken at least one their selves … drove intentionally over the speed limit? Littered instead of saving it for a receptacle?

These things are known to be wrong and committed by people every day. The severity of the offense is not in question. You do not have to think or commit murder to do feel or do something immoral. Any immoral thoughts prove those feelings are threaded in our being when we are born, though, through life we learn to control them.

I am not trying to prove that all people inherently act on their immoral impulses, but that all people have the immoral thoughts and feelings inside, that over time they have learned to control and lessen, but those thoughts are part of the nature of the human animal, and therefore we are all born with this trait that some have more power over than others.


I would last like to ask you to look within yourself with honesty. Think about things that have happened in your past. Have you always taken the higher ground? Done what you think would be best for the situation ... or best for yourself? Did you help the people you saw in need? Given a bum change or thought he should 'get a job'? Helped an elderly person putting groceries in their car? Tipped the driver/waitress well? Helped out an injured animal? How may things were overlooked because you didn't have time/the weather was unagreeable/no one has done that for you lately? What have been your own immoral acts that you can find and what could you have done differently. How many times have you had to step back from bad thoughts you knew were wrong but somehow came into your mind anyway?

As much as I try to be good, being honest with myself, I have had some moments that I am not proud of, even if I didn't act on them; the thoughts alone were not pleasant.


Being inherently immoral doesn't make you inherently evil, it is whether your learned judgment can override your immoral impulses. Unfortunately, a lot of people in the world today haven't shown they even care to rule over their immoral nature.


Thanks for taking the time to read this, and I hand it over to my wise opponent in this debate. May you do your best



posted on Sep, 30 2007 @ 06:50 PM
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First and foremost, I would also like thank Vagabond, ATS, and the 3 Amigo's for giving us this opportunity, as well as FreeThinkerIdealist for debating me.

The subject we will be debating is "Humans are inherently immoral".

During this debate I will prove to you that humans are inherently moral individuals and that acts of immorality committed by humans, are a result of ones environment.

Now, I would like to offer a more expanded definition of morality, from wikipedia:


...a code of conduct held to be authoritative in matters of right and wrong, whether by society, philosophy, religion, or individual conscience.

Wiki

I choose this definition, instead of the definition my opponent posted, because I believe it is not possible to have a debate on morality without bringing religion into it. Religious institutions are one of the main driving forces behind dictating to us what is 'moral' and 'immoral' and as thus, should play an important role in this debate.

What is an immoral act? Is drinking alcohol when you are under the age of 21 an immoral act? Is using illicit drugs? Is going over the speed limit when driving? While nobody is doubting that these acts are all against the law, are they immoral? What about having sex before marriage? What about being homosexual, or having homosexual sex? Are they immoral?

Many people would who read this will say yes, while many will say no. So which side is right? How many people have to agree that a specific act or belief is immoral before it is considered that way by society. Since morality in itself is quite subjective, how can one define what an immoral act really is?

Thanks.



posted on Sep, 30 2007 @ 09:51 PM
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While I respect the position my opponent is taking, it makes no difference in this debate as I will show.

I would still offer that regardless of religion, there are still things that we know to be right and wrong with or without religion. Honestly, adding religion and other forms of defining morals will make my argument easier, so I will refrain for now and stick with the more restrictive definition.

Going back to the speed limit law, I would understand that, without a law setting speed, driving at any speed has no moral consequence, no right or wrong speed. We also know that certain laws such as this have been agreed upon by the many for a greater good ... usually safety. This is why school zones are usually 15-20 mph; neighborhoods are 30-35 mph. These limits are imposed onto our privilege to drive to ensure to not cause harm to children, pets, and families.

To deny these laws is intentionally putting yourself in the position of increasing the danger to the people and animals outside your personal bubble for your personal benefit. Disregarding others safety for a selfish and irrelevant gain of a few seconds can be a few things ... either senseless abandon and carelessness (violating the law by speeding for no reason at all), or rushing as the result of personal irresponsibility (violating the law and jeopardizing others safety for the sake of being late, leaving late, and/or will be late for a promised time of meeting; either a job, appointment, date, or a self-appointed schedule/plan).

Laws are to protect the safety of others and have been agreed to by the majority of society to set forth a precedence of right and wrong actions to take. Whether you agree with each individual law or its individual importance, you would have to agree, it is wrong to break the law. To do something wrong is inherently immoral.

Again, the issue of speeding is a simple and common one that most people can relate to; some even do this offense with reckless disregard. I don't need to pull up records of each state's revenue to prove it happens (though if requested I will make this information easily accessible via links), since it is almost guaranteed that each of us either have, or have known someone who has willfully broken the law once if not many times on this issue alone, if not many others. Again, the severity isn't the question ... immorality doesn't have to be murder by any definition put forth on either side.

Now, with religion or without, using my opponents definition which I was well aware of (but also decided not to source a publicly editable source) states ... a code of conduct held to be authoritative in a matter of right and wrong, whether by society, philosophy, religion, or individual conscience.

This would easily fit to the laws our society has agreed upon as laws of right and wrong that we must adhere to (including traffic laws and laws on drugs including alcohol - remember, alcohol is a regulated drug).

Not just the act of violating but any underlying desire to violate any of these laws which are set forth by society that clearly dictate right or wrong behavior is obviously an act against the definition or morality given, therefore immoral.

I will also restate, I don't need to prove that humans act on their immorality, just that they think and/or feel immoral thoughts and have wishes of immoral things inside their mind and heart naturally. How well they can personally fend off these immoral urges is not in question. Each of us has our own strengths and weaknesses, but I will easily argue that all of us do go through such an inner struggle.

Ok, let's step it up a notch.

My opponent has brought up religious morality.

Another's immoral act does not justify you to think or act immorally.

It is common practice in the U.S.A. to execute criminals of severe crimes. A lot of people seem to enjoy and encourage this behavior, including the victim's families. To kill someone because of their wrong doesn't justify the glee from ending the criminal's life.

Religion is a great helper in this debate; since one of the 10 Commandments is 'Thou shall not kill' ... it does not have clauses or loopholes. It is wrong, therefore immoral, to kill for any reason, regardless of what crime is done. It would be better to put the criminal is solitary confinement and forbid them of any amenities other than what is required for survival.

Having sex before marriage. This is immoral as far as religion is concerned. You should only have sex with your wife. Drinking to intoxication is also deemed immoral in The Bible, though of course a glass of wine with dinner is not. Homosexual sex, is immoral, it is a sin, but, let me also state that in the eyes of G-d, all sins are equally bad and immoral, so a murderer, a homosexual, an adulterer, and an intoxicated person all share the same sin and immorality as the other ... there is no bashing of any particular choices from my side.

Individual conscience, well, yes, I have made mention of this indirectly ... but the individual still must adhere to societies standards and their personal religious standards (if they have them). A person is not exempt from society's laws because their personal beliefs don't coincide with them.

I will end this round for I am running out of characters. Thank you again for all who are participating in this debate directly and indirectly.



posted on Oct, 2 2007 @ 03:42 PM
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pstiffy

"Are humans inherently immoral"

Reply #1

My opponent has done a very good job during his last post showing that humans do commit immoral acts, and that people do in fact break the law. I do not doubt either point. Both happen all the time, all over the world and all you have to do is turn on the news, or read a newspaper to prove it. However, that is not what we are here to debate. We are here to debate whether people are inherently 'immoral,' or if these immoral (and sometimes illegal) acts are a consequence of ones environment, their upbringing and the world we all live in.

In simpler terms, is a child born with the instinctive ability to know what is right or wrong, or does this have to be instilled on a child by society?



I would still offer that regardless of religion, there are still things that we know to be right and wrong with or without religion


Which is my argument exactly. People do instinctively know what is right and what is wrong. When a child is born, he or she is born with an ability, albeit a very basic one, to tell the difference between right and wrong. Children know how to share with others and instinctively feel compassion for people in distress. However in our society, this primitive, instinctive morality we are all born with can only go so far. It is up the parents of the child and society in general, to take that morality, nurture it and help the child grow and expand his or her own moral compass, so when one is put into a situation where a difficult choice is needed to be made, they will know what is right and what is wrong. If done properly, a child will grow up to be a good moral individual. If done wrong, the he or she will not.

In saying that, I am in no way saying that every child born with caring, loving parents, grows up to be a completely moral individual, nor am I saying the the opposite for people who grow up with neglectful parents, as parental influences are only part of the equation and can only go so far in helping shape a child.

As we continue to delve deeper into the technological age and as people from all over the world continue to get more and more interconnected, through the advent of television, radio and the internet, society, and it's effect in shaping our, and our children's morality continues to expand.

Thanks



posted on Oct, 2 2007 @ 06:39 PM
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I will beg to differ on the opponent's responses ... I do not feel the argument of 'nature vs. nurture' to be relevant to this discussion, but I will gladly play along.

The very fact that you claim (most) children must be nurtured towards the moral side shows the natural want and thoughts of wrong doing. The point that the environment can magnify the path of feeling and acting on these negative impulses inside shows it was there in the first place.

You conceded that if the moral obligations are reinforced a child will grow up into an adult capable of making moral choices, but besides the few stray examples, a person with either no or poor guidance will not.

I do quite enjoy the rosy picture of children you painted. If only it were universally so. The fact is, even at a very young age, children show the signs of greed and violence. I have worked with friend's toddlers that believe everything to be 'mine' and cry or lash out if one of their normal playmates picks up a community toy. I have watched one push the other down for no reason, or even just run up and hit adults. You could say, it is for attention, or maybe they weren't taught. No, they were taught the words no and wrong, and told these things shouldn't happen ... they had listened to this advice about other subjects ... but they decided that they just didn't feel like being good at that moment.

I will also claim that in a perfect world, the last statement of my opponent's reply would hold true. The fact is; we have watched a moral decline by children despite the technological advances. Technology can be harnessed for good or bad, it is up to the individual to use these resources as they see fit.

I can see how this debate has turned to discussing children, for; we can debate at the core level of emotional and personal development. Nevertheless, the thoughts and acts are present from the earliest stages, and it still comes down to the individual even at the youngest stage on how they choose to act on their impulses; that the immoral thoughts and desires and battles are fought from the very beginning. These same thoughts and battles are with us our whole life, and we constantly have to make the active choice of morality against the other things we think inside.

Once again, I would like to state, being inherently immoral doesn't require you to act immoral or be evil. It just keeps that negative choice inside.

To put it another way ... someone who isn't inherently immoral ... someone who is inherently moral would rarely even be able to think or consider the things that most people do. Those choices and desires don't even occur in their mind (and unfortunately, those people are usually coerced easily from their naivety).

A good way this is shown is ... how the immoral tendencies of individuals differ, even if they are not universal examples, are as follows…

Violence is one ... some people are so pure in this aspect, they couldn't think of killing a cockroach, though some speak of murder casually. This type of person is usually shown if film to be a pushover or insecure ... since they don't seem to stand up for themselves or speak up for themselves, but it is just a non-aggressive nature.

Sexuality ... some would never consider an encounter before marriage (though that is waning) would never glance at porn nor understand dirty puns ... while some love or are in the porn industry, have sex casually with people they don't even know the names of and you cannot say a sentence without it being taken out of context.

I will admit there are flaws to those examples, so I will expose them myself to show my honesty in what I am trying to put forth. Sexual morality is based more on religion (which still submits to one of the definitions of morality) ... it is not restricted to just religion, for I have known non-religious people who also hold highly restrictive moral values on sexuality and find the way people don't even think twice about all of it any more to be overwhelmingly disgusting. I share a slightly less aggressive view irrespective of my religion ... for me modesty is a moral issue that people have long forgotten and that includes a lot of the problems related to it.

Violence ... this is an issue that is somewhat across the board. Most agree that physical harm to others is plain wrong, each person has their tipping point on where they justify it. The majority of religions forbid violent acts, the majority of laws also forbid violence physical and verbally.


Each person has their own complex mix of various qualities good and bad. What is thought that you can't hear, what is done and said when no one else is looking is the true nature of people.

Just search within yourself and your past, and pay attention to your daily feelings and actions ... no matter how upstanding of a citizen you may be ... and you may find your own dirty secrets. It would be impossible to list all the examples of daily immoral behavior and thoughts. I am not claiming thought-crimes ... but, if we use religion, thoughts are immoral ... here is an example:

"Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, Thou shalt not commit adultery: But I say unto you, That whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart."
(Matthew 5:27,28)

This clearly shows that the thought itself is immoral.

I am once again running out of space so I will end here. Thanks pstiffy for participating.



posted on Oct, 6 2007 @ 04:02 PM
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Pstiffy has missed his post. FreeThinkerIdealist may make his next post.



posted on Oct, 6 2007 @ 05:43 PM
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Reply #3 ...

Well, it is not really a reply as there is no message to do so to ... but I shall manage


We are creatures of internal conflict. Used in the right way, this is what makes us so great ... allowed to spiral out of control the consequences can be dire.

We have witnessed references in our culture many times of this duality ... an angel and devil on the shoulder in movies and cartoons ... religions speak of fighting off the sins and embracing the light ... within all of us is not only the good, but also the bad. We are born with this inner-fight.

My point in this response is, I believe we are BOTH inherently immoral and good-natured ... which side of this struggle we choose to embrace is up to the individual.

I will keep this one short



posted on Oct, 8 2007 @ 02:09 PM
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Pstiffy has missed two posts and forfeits the debate. FreeThinkerIdealist will advance to round 2.




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