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On the Origin of Morality: The Sam Harris v Wm Lane Craig debate pt 2

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posted on Dec, 6 2013 @ 09:20 AM
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reply to post by wildtimes
 




I'm no debate expert, as I've said. But, I think that if this had been a political debate, no doubt Harris 'won' on simple persuasiveness. And with a room full of college kids - philosophy students - that's a good thing.

But it was a 'dialectic debate'. Maybe in class afterward the kids discussed who "won" based on formal rules, and also discussed different forms of "debate" in which Harris would have won (by audience vote), and others in which he did not "score formal points."


Too bad they didn't tell us under what rules the debate would be judged. I'm not sure that this was a "dialectic debate".


How to Use Dialectics

In all cases, one or more individuals present the case for a solution to a problem. In some variations, as in a debate, the opposite side argues against the proposed solution. All participants look for assumptions to challenge and for original approaches to adopt...............

To conclude a dialectical process, the facilitator encourages the group to identify new ideas and insights that have arisen and to come to a consensus about how to execute a solution or solutions.
www.ideaconnection.com...


I think that this particular debate was done in a LINCOLN-DOUGLAS DEBATE STYLE


1. Lincoln-Douglas Debate is a form of two-person debate that focuses on values, their inter-relationships, and their relationship to issues of contemporary human concern. The focus is not upon facts to be ascertained or policies to be implemented, although such matters can be referred to as supporting material. Rather, the Lincoln-Douglas Debate should require the students to explain in a persuasive manner the most important values and criteria for judgement about the resolution under
debate.
www.nysfl.org...


In my opinion, Craig broke many of the rules, from what I can see, and should have been penalized as such. I can't see where Harris broke any rules, but I'm open to arguments on that.




edit on 6-12-2013 by windword because: (no reason given)




posted on Dec, 6 2013 @ 09:33 AM
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reply to post by windword
 



In my opinion, Craig broke many of the rules, and should have been penalized as such. I can't see where Harris broke any rules, but I'm open to arguments on that.

Thanks for the link. Like I said, I struggle to wrap my head around "debate" - I looked at the wiki page, and there are SO MANY DIFFERENT STYLES that it's as confusing for me as Quantum Mechanics!!



I agree, they might have let us know on what "style" the debate was purportedly based.

I don't think Craig did much of a job; I believe Harris shot him down totally.

Where I'm stuck on your point is that you disagree that there is objective morality???? It was Harris's premise that objective reality exists WITHOUT GOD having anything to do with it.

I think adj's decision that Craig "won" was based on technicalities of debating rules, not on his premise (divine command is the origin of morality - which it seems to me adj does NOT BELIEVE). adj also said that he's had to concede the win to people based on technicalities and rules, even when the opponent's case was stronger and much more persuasive.

So - from my pov, I don't really give a rat's ass what "rules" were or were not 'followed' - Harris won. Just like the folks who debated at that conference I went to in April. RELIGION/GOD does NOT CAUSE MORALITY.

Right? Craig claims that God is the source, and that without God's Divine Commands, people are only "constellations of atoms no different than a rat or a cockroach" - which is utter bull$h!t. It's not uncommon for believers to think - and claim! - that "atheists think we are no better than a radish or a rock" - and that is simply not true.

Atheists have moral compasses; and are just as often "good" and "moral" people as believers - but without needing the "fear of Hell" to coax them to "be good" or some "Divine Command" (revelation) to come to a point where they see "That's just WRONG."

I think you agree with that...don't you? So - that means that morality is a virtue IN AND OF ITSELF, and does not need to be HANDED DOWN BY "GOD" to make it so. Humans are capable of discerning what is harmful/wrong without needing a "book" - because we are a social species with inherent needs to cooperate and look after each other in order to survive.



(the caps are for me to see what I'm saying, not intended as 'yelling' at you
)



posted on Dec, 6 2013 @ 09:46 AM
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reply to post by wildtimes
 



Maybe windword doesn't, and I totally respect her for that...but...I agree that it exists...

and would like to discuss it, and its source. So...may we? Shall we? Can we?

Well, you know what I believe its source to be, where are you at? Every other suggestion that I have seen, to attribute it to a natural source, has led to a source that is ultimately subjective, not objective. Staying with the case of rape, if, for example, objective morality had its roots in evolutionary biology, as Dawkins claims, then rape would be good, because it allows the broadest dispersion of one's genes. And yet we agree that rape is inherently bad, so the dispersal of genetic material must be a subjective quality (which it is) and it cannot be the source of an objective morality.

Now, as to Craig's arguments, I do not agree with him. I am not a fundamentalist and I have long said that a lot of the Bible represents people's biased views regarding God, so I have no problem saying that some events in the Bible did not happen, or are misrepresented. In the case of "God ordering rape", I look at two truths -- God is objectively good, and rape is objectively bad. In order to remedy the contradiction of a good being ordering something that is bad, one is left with two conclusions -- either something that is objectively bad is made good by something that is objectively good ordering it, which makes it subjective, and which makes the objectively good being either subjective, or a moral relativist; or else the objectively good being did not, and could not, order the objectively bad action to be taken.

Since the first option is self-contradictory, the logical conclusion is the second, so I do not believe that God told the Israelites to rape anyone.



posted on Dec, 6 2013 @ 09:47 AM
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I was just reading this review when you posted, adj. It's not "aimed at you"...
thanks for your reply - you almost lost me in there, though...my eyes always start to glass over when I read "philosophy", I have to go really slowly. But then again, in my daughter's cast-off book Intro to Philosophy, it says that one ought to read slowly...to absorb the information.

It appears, from the below reviewer, that the two styles were a huge clash - and apparently there were no "formal rules" or numeric "points" given out...so we just have to go on the content of each speaker.

I found Craig's style to be abrasive, confrontational, and childish. Harris seemed cogent, collected, and refused to play Craig's "word games."

I say I agree with this reviewer's opinion:

I maintain that Victor Stenger and Bart Ehrman retain their joint-crown of Atheist Opponent Who Has Made Craig Look Like A Complete Fool At The Lectern, however, Harris in his own quiet and subtle way utterly destroyed Craig and everything for which he stands. Craig simply defined God as good and argued from inside the “theological bubble” (aka “CraigWorld”) whereas Harris argued from the Real World and discussed scientific examples of human behaviour about which religion as little, if anything, useful to say.

Harris also demonstrated with reference to the World’s appalling suffering and the Bible (which after all Craig maintains is the inerrant word of the creator of the Universe) that if some kind of supernatural being is at the heart of the Universe, he must be cruel, capricious and unworthy of worship. Craig dismissed these arguments as “red herrings” and “village atheist objections”, but ultimately Harris won the evidential case as to God’s true character.

It was also a stark contrast in presentation styles. Harris in his plain black suit and open-necked blue shirt was calm, collected and considered. If anyone needs some lessons in public speaking before taking the podium, they could do no better than to watch a few Sam Harris lectures.

Craig on the other hand, in his gold-buttoned navy blazer, starched white shirt and neck-crunching tie, looked and sounded harried as the debate progressed as evidenced by the increased volume of his smug, nasally voice at the beginning of his second rebuttal when he became severely irate at Harris’ description of certain Christian beliefs as psychotic.

His Gish Gallop was turned all the way up to eleven, particularly in the rebuttals, and stood ill at ease with Harris’ slow and methodical delivery that was filled with pauses at key moments.
edthemanicstreetpreacher.wordpress.com...
edit on 12/6/13 by wildtimes because: (no reason given)



posted on Dec, 6 2013 @ 09:51 AM
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reply to post by wildtimes
 




I think adj's decision that Craig "won" was based on technicalities of debating rules, not on his premise (divine command is the origin of morality - which it seems to me adj does NOT BELIEVE). adj also said that he's had to concede the win to people based on technicalities and rules, even when the opponent's case was stronger and much more persuasive.


Reading the rules, I think that Craig broke rules and failed to live up to them, too. I disagree with Adj's assessment that Craig won on technicalities. I think he lost on technicalities, and he broke several of the rules in the Lincoln Douglas setting. I also think that Adj, as a debate judge, based his in judgement this case in his personal bias.



Where I'm stuck on your point is that you disagree that there is objective morality???? It was Harris's premise that objective reality exists WITHOUT GOD having anything to do with it.


I don't think either party proved their case for Objective Morality. I think that Harris' case, that morality arises in the mind of sentient beings, is correct. And, I think that morality also embodies the "collective mind", which is why, as a subjective morality proponent, I can judge another person's morality.



posted on Dec, 6 2013 @ 09:58 AM
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reply to post by adjensen
 





Staying with the case of rape, if, for example, objective morality had its roots in evolutionary biology, as Dawkins claims, then rape would be good, because it allows the broadest dispersion of one's genes. And yet we agree that rape is inherently bad, so the dispersal of genetic material must be a subjective quality (which it is) and it cannot be the source of an objective morality.


I do not agree that rape is "inherently bad", and can't stipulate to that premise. As I pointed out, duck gang rape is NOT bad. There is no objective morality when it comes to rape, or any other thing that humans as resolved as "bad".

Wild,

I have 3 day craft show starting this morning, and probably won't be able to post much. Don't think I'm ignoring your thread, but I don't like trying to post from my phone.
But, I will try to keep up with the posts.


Gotta go now!



edit on 6-12-2013 by windword because: (no reason given)



posted on Dec, 6 2013 @ 10:05 AM
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reply to post by windword
 



Reading the rules, I think that Craig broke rules and failed to live up to them, too.

What rules do you think he broke, and where in the debate do you think he broke them?

The most fundamental rule is that you have to stick to the subject of the debate, which was not "Why Christianity is bad", so the vast majority of Harris' time is simply disqualified, leaving him with a largely empty argument. I don't understand why you don't get that.

Have fun at the craft show -- my sister makes jewelry and travels around the upper Midwest selling at shows. I was able to hang out with her at one in North Dakota once and it was a lot of fun. I was amazed at the amount of money people were willing to drop on some of her pieces.



posted on Dec, 6 2013 @ 10:08 AM
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In that review I linked above,
Harris is quoted as saying:


Here [is my central thesis]: Morality and values depend on the existence of conscious minds—and specifically on the fact that such minds can experience various forms of well-being and suffering in this universe.

Conscious minds and their states are natural phenomena, fully constrained by the laws of the universe (whatever these turn out to be in the end).

Therefore, questions of morality and values must have right and wrong answers that fall within the purview of science (in principle, if not in practice).

Consequently, some people and cultures will be right (to a greater or lesser degree), and some will be wrong, with respect to what they deem important in life.


He even offered $20,000 to anyone who could successfully persuade him to recant his thesis in 1,000 words (or less)!!



posted on Dec, 6 2013 @ 10:24 AM
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reply to post by wildtimes
 



In that review I linked above, Harris is quoted as saying:

There is nothing in the quoted text that suggests an objective morality. The mere existence of conscious minds does not result in the creation of an objective morality.


He even offered $20,000 to anyone who could successfully persuade him to recant his thesis in 1,000 words (or less)!!

That is as disingenuous as the Randi Prize -- it's put forth as "evidence" that his claims are unshakable, because it will never be awarded.



posted on Dec, 6 2013 @ 10:45 AM
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reply to post by adjensen
 


ok then...
do you recall that he spoke about "Bad" being defined as "the worst possible misery for everyone"?

That seems self-evident to me. And it doesn't require an invisible dictator to figure that out and let us know.
We can figure it out without some 'entity' supposedly "saying so."

It's a continuum...from "worst possible misery for everyone" to "best well-being and contentment of everyone."
(or if you prefer: "the least possible misery for everyone.") We KNOW that we are capable of inflicting abject misery onto others. We LEARN, from our early experiences - both through our own misery AND the 'remorse' for having caused another to be miserable - that the least possible suffering for everyone is the ultimate goal for us, as a species.


It doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure that out - nor does it take a Godhead - it's simple cooperation and social stability. Hell, a classroom full of kindergartners - not yet having reached the age of "reason" - but not having brain damage or neuro-physiological abberations either - are capable of figuring that out.

People who have never heard of God, who were brought up in cultures that don't recognize the "Abrahamic God" of the Bible and Koran, are capable of sustaining thriving societies where others are treated with respect and the collective well-being is paramount. No "God-delivered-command" required.

As for his prize being equivalent to Randi's crap, well, I'll just have to disagree. Randi is deliberately holding back advancements in metaphysical understandings of consciousness and neuroscience ON PURPOSE, and with a clear agenda....and he's a condescending, self-adoring jerk.

Craig seems more hystrionic, and rather "lost" but just as entrenched in 'old' belief systems (as Randi is). He seems "smarmy" and pathetic to me...
I actually felt bad for him while watching him sit there with shaking hands; he knew he was losing.
But that's my "observational skills" and "empathic" ability to read others' body language and tone, etc.

Also, he could not answer the questions posed to him by students; one had to restate her question twice; the other Craig simply dismissed as not worthy of his response (although Harris gave the kid a thumb-up for effort to show God as a human construct - granted, the kid's approach was lacking: he said "God told me last night that we shouldn't hate on homosexuals" or something to that effect - and Craig had no answer at all except to wave him away! How self-righteous and deflective is that? A lot.)




edit on 12/6/13 by wildtimes because: (no reason given)



posted on Dec, 6 2013 @ 11:18 AM
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wildtimes
reply to post by adjensen
 


ok then...
do you recall that he spoke about "Bad" being defined as "the worst possible misery for everyone"?

That seems self-evident to me. And it doesn't require an invisible dictator to figure that out and let us know.
We can figure it out without some 'entity' supposedly "saying so."

It's a continuum...from "worst possible misery for everyone" to "best well-being and contentment of everyone."
(or if you prefer: "the least possible misery for everyone.") We KNOW that we are capable of inflicting abject misery onto others. We LEARN, from our early experiences - both through our own misery AND the 'remorse' for having caused another to be miserable - that the least possible suffering for everyone is the ultimate goal for us, as a species.


It doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure that out - nor does it take a Godhead - it's simple cooperation and social stability. Hell, a classroom full of kindergartners - not yet having reached the age of "reason" - but not having brain damage or neuro-physiological abberations either - are capable of figuring that out.

People who have never heard of God, who were brought up in cultures that don't recognize the "Abrahamic God" of the Bible and Koran, are capable of sustaining thriving societies where others are treated with respect and the collective well-being is paramount. No "God-delivered-command" required.

As for his prize being equivalent to Randi's crap, well, I'll just have to disagree. Randi is deliberately holding back advancements in metaphysical understandings of consciousness and neuroscience ON PURPOSE, and with a clear agenda....and he's a condescending, self-adoring jerk.

Craig seems more hystrionic, and rather "lost" but just as entrenched in 'old' belief systems (as Randi is). He seems "smarmy" and pathetic to me...
I actually felt bad for him while watching him sit there with shaking hands; he knew he was losing.
But that's my "observational skills" and "empathic" ability to read others' body language and tone, etc.

Also, he could not answer the questions posed to him by students; one had to restate her question twice; the other Craig simply dismissed as not worthy of his response (although Harris gave the kid a thumb-up for effort to show God as a human construct - granted, the kid's approach was lacking: he said "God told me last night that we shouldn't hate on homosexuals" or something to that effect - and Craig had no answer at all except to wave him away! How self-righteous and deflective is that? A lot.)




edit on 12/6/13 by wildtimes because: (no reason given)


As far as William Lane Craigs shaking hand, it could be part of a condition he has talked about.
he was quoted:
----
But the incentive to exercise was given to me by the neuro-muscular disorder mentioned above by Matt. I, like my mom and brother, have Charcot-Marie-Tooth Syndrome, a hereditary disorder that involves the slow disintegration of the myelin sheaths around the nerves in the forearms and legs, resulting in progressive muscular atrophy. Some people afflicted with this condition are terribly disabled, but my case is quite light, affecting mainly my hands and in recent years my calves. It principally means that I can’t go bowling or type-big deal, Jan says! But I could see what was coming (though, I must say, my mom is currently 87 years old and still going strong), and this has spurred me to try to stay in shape and tone my muscles to stave off as much as I reasonably can the effects of the inevitable atrophy.

-----
Source:
joongwlee.wordpress.com...


______


just thought I would mention it



posted on Dec, 6 2013 @ 11:29 AM
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reply to post by wildtimes
 



do you recall that he spoke about "Bad" being defined as "the worst possible misery for everyone"?

That seems self-evident to me.

Yes, but "the worst possible misery" is subjective, because suffering is not universal. There is no worst possible misery for everyone, because there is nothing that can cause such suffering for everyone. You'll note, again, that Harris waves off the student who brings this up, but it is a key point that proves him wrong.

A better case could be made for "bad" being defined as the state of nothingness. That is objective, universal and applicable. Unfortunately, the duality of "good" then being the opposite of "bad" (Harris' definition of good is a dualistic one) results in a pointless definition of good being a state of "something-ness".



posted on Dec, 6 2013 @ 11:43 AM
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I must say, I have found this thread rather interesting.

Mainly in realizing that a "debate" is viewed so vastly differently from individual to individual.

It appears to some that it is their pursuit of truth. If the proposed ideas one encounters does not agree with their perception, it is discarded as an inept point. But that is not how debate works.

The reality is, with "official debate," it doesnt matter who is right or not. That is really, really important to understand! Its not a matter of bias confirmation, or whether or not you personally agree. It, very literally, has nothing to do with that. This concept was hammered home for me on the debate teams I have been on, where we were intentionally given stances that we personally disagreed with. We were still fully expected to win the debate, regardless of our personal feelings or bias.

It all comes down to who can put their opponent in a position which is either difficult or impossible to defend. Even those who say Craig lost says he did this, which would mean he won in a forum of debate. There is no search for "truth," whatsoever. In that way, it could be looked at as an intellectually dishonest form of discourse, but I wouldnt personally go quite that far.

Basically, it has very little to do with the topic at hand, and is much more focused on how you argue that point. Whether the point is even representative of reality at all is not relevant. You could legitimately win a debate when your stance is that the Earth is flat, for example. It doesnt matter that the Earth isnt flat, in any way, shape, or form. All that matters is how you debate it.
edit on 6-12-2013 by Serdgiam because: (no reason given)



posted on Dec, 6 2013 @ 12:25 PM
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reply to post by adjensen
 



because suffering is not universal.

Well, I disagree with that.

Suffering IS universal. We ALL suffer from time to time.

@Serdgiam: I appreciate your point, nevertheless, I do not think Craig "won" his point.
Like I said, "debate" is not my forte (although I try to be civil on these forums when 'discussing' sensitive topics) - but nothing that Craig said refutes the fact that non-believers can be - and many are - very good people.

To me, that's the crux of the matter.



posted on Dec, 6 2013 @ 12:28 PM
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reply to post by gadfire
 


Thanks! I wondered if maybe it was a physical symptom of a malady. I appreciate you adding that info - I hand't gone so far as to look it up yet.



posted on Dec, 6 2013 @ 12:52 PM
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reply to post by wildtimes
 


The issue is that "facts" are not necessarily pertinent to an actual debate. This is one facet you HAVE to understand to talk about "debates."

The flat earth example I gave was a real world example. I was given that stance in a debate. Do you think I could have won it if "facts" were all that mattered? No! It also helped that my opponent thought they were a shoe-in simply because they had reality on their side. But... debate doesnt work like that. You are essentially figuring out who can argue their point the best, and the "factual" part of the points are NOT relevant to the overall outcome of the debate (though it does need consistency throughout the discourse). eta: On a funny note, the teacher who organized these debates really enjoyed putting me, personally, in positions that I disagreed with on a fundamental level. I have never learned more in my life.

Think of the talking points kind of like areas of focus, or "corners" in a boxing match. They do not need to be based in fact, it is the presentation, and consequent rebuttal of the others presentation, that matters. Its not the corner you are in which determines the outcome of the boxing match, but how you swing your fists and move your body.

Without understanding how a debate actually functions, it will be difficult to see why Craig won.
edit on 6-12-2013 by Serdgiam because: (no reason given)



posted on Dec, 6 2013 @ 12:52 PM
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reply to post by wildtimes
 



Suffering IS universal. We ALL suffer from time to time.

That isn't what I meant -- everyone suffers differently. Something that you might find torturous someone else might not be troubled by, and their ultimate suffering might be something that means little to you. So there is no blanket "abject misery" state, and Harris' position is shown to be subjective. His "bad" cannot be the basis of objective morality.



posted on Dec, 6 2013 @ 12:57 PM
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reply to post by Serdgiam
 


I understand what you're saying, Serdg, I really do. I've seen "formal debates" with rules - even participated in them in high school, and I recall the structure imposed.

This "debate" then, was not a 'formal' one except inasmuch as the speakers were given a set time in which to make their case and rebuttals. I've watched a couple dozen of these debates now.

The review I posted even mentioned that Harris's "style" was quite different from Craig's....perhaps it would have been a better debate if there were "rules" established, but it appears to me (a lay-viewer) that there were not. Therefore, Harris "won" because his points held up to the "facts", and to me, that's all that really matters.

It IS a quest for "truth", these theological debates. Harris held his own, with dignity. He wins. I really, really wish they'd had the audience vote. Who do you think then would have been the winner?

Not a panel of debate-coach judges, but THE AUDIENCE (which is another form of debate that is considered 'formal') decides who succeeded in persuasive argument. In this case: Harris. That's who.


edit on 12/6/13 by wildtimes because: typo. that's all.



posted on Dec, 6 2013 @ 01:00 PM
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reply to post by adjensen
 



That isn't what I meant -- everyone suffers differently.

Someone who is on fire, starving, has multiple broken bones, or a debilitating disease such as Alzheimers or other chronic illnesses SUFFERS just like anyone else who has that condition imposed upon them.
PAIN is PAIN.

Torture is torture. It's ALWAYS torture. It's not "sometimes not torture."



posted on Dec, 6 2013 @ 01:05 PM
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reply to post by wildtimes
 


The audience doesnt tend to understand how a debate works. If you had the audience in football matches vote on the winner, do you think we would see an entirely different sport? I do believe so...

It doesnt sound like debate is your thing, you are more interested in facts. That is the very reason I got out of debate altogether, and instead vested my time into learning "facts" like math, science, etc. and applying them to the real world (an important step for me personally).

A debate isnt about who is "right," its about who can argue their point the best. It really doesnt matter how you or I feel about the "truth" or "facts." Thats how a debate works. You may not like it (I know I dont), but that would be like trying to take the punches out of boxing. You are simply talking about an entirely different scenario/sport.

In fact (
), you would be talking about science.
edit on 6-12-2013 by Serdgiam because: (no reason given)



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