February 06, 2018
Detailed win examples for Round 1
For Craig -
Point #A - St. Anselm argument - God existence = moral values
#A1 Craig - “God’s own holy and loving nature provides the absolute standard against which all actions are measured.”
#A2 Harris – “her moral scruples were very finely calibrated … in ethical terms in our War on Terror; and yet she was quite willing to forgive some primitive culture its fondness for removing the eyeballs of children in its religious rituals”
Craig’s #A1 gets 8 points because the St. Anselm argument proves that god must be the moral standard to which we all adhere. If god exists, the St. Anselm argument alone proves that he is the moral standard by which we must all be judged.
Harris’s #A2 gets 3 points because Harris attempts to define god by one religion which Craig has already condemned. Religion is not in the resolution of the debate. The reason this gets low points is because the debate is about natural vs supernatural not natural vs religion so Harris isn’t addressing the debate.
#B Commandments - God existence = moral duties
#B1 Craig – “God’s commandments must be consistent with His holy and loving nature.”
#B2 Harris – “If we should do anything in this universe, if we ought to do anything, if we have a moral duty to do anything, it’s to avoid the worst possible misery for everyone.”
Craig’s #B1 gets 10 points because the commandments show a clearly defined set of moral duties. If moral duties can’t clearly be defined then they don’t count as duties.
Harris’s #B2 gets 1 point because this is uselessly vague and non-committal. Harris shows here that he isn’t even certain if we have a moral duty to do anything, and the duty that he does define is both subjective and broad.
#C God non-existence = immoral values
#C1 Craig – “On a naturalistic view moral values are just the behavioral byproducts of biological evolution and social conditioning.”
#C2 Harris – “Well clearly they’ve been drummed into us by evolution. They’re the product of these apish urges and social emotions; and then they get modulated by culture.”
Craig’s #C1 gets 9 points because he shows moral values aren’t objective they are just social. If naturalist morals are a social construct then different societies will have different morals, and therefore morals would not be objective, but subjective.
Harris’s #C2 gets 2 points because it concedes that morals are just apish urges. As above if morals are subjective, then they will change, and that invalidates them as objective.
#D Wellbeing =/= morals values
#D1 Craig – “Dr. Harris isn’t really talking about moral values at all. He’s just talking about what’s conducive to the flourishing of sentient life on this planet. … Of course, it [science] can–just as it can tell us what is conducive to the flourishing of corn or mosquitoes or bacteria.”
#D2 Harris – “Questions of right and wrong, and good and evil, depend upon minds. … They depend upon the laws of nature in some way. Morality and human values, therefore, can be understood through science, because in talking about these things, we are talking about all of the facts that influence the well-being of conscious creatures.”
Craig’s #D1 gets 7 points because it shows how wellbeing does not equate to morals. If wellbeing equates to survival then as survival changes, then morals must change as well, and would therefore not be objective.
Harris’s #D2 gets 1 point because again he concedes that he doesn’t understand the interrelationship of his own argument. There is no reason to listen to an argument where the speaker has to say they are “dependent in some way”. It’s like Harris is just admitting that he can’t prove what his argument is, and he wants us to believe something he doesn’t believe/understand.
#E No moral obligations in animals
#E1 Craig – “When a great white shark forcibly copulates with a female, it forcibly copulates with her but it doesn’t rape her–for none of these actions is forbidden or obligatory.”
#E2 Harris – Drops this argument
Craig’s #E1 gets 9 points because it shows a lack of morals in conscious creatures. Both Craig and Harris agree that morals are independent of opinion and therefore conscious creatures having no moral obligations shows that Harris’s point is invalid, and Harris just lets the point drop with no rebuttal.
#F “ought” implies “can”
#F1 Craig – “if there is no free will, then no one is morally responsible for anything!”
#F2 Harris – Drops this argument
Craig’s #F1 gets 10 points because it removes moral responsibility. If we can’t control ourselves then morals don’t matter, and again Harris drops this argument with no rebuttal.
#G Religion can be bad
#G1 Craig - “If only one person in the world held down a terrified, struggling, screaming little girl, cut off her genitals with a septic blade, and sewed her back up, … the only question would be how severely that person should be punished. …” What is not in question is that such a person has done something horribly, objectively, wrong.”
#G2 Harris - “So on the one hand, her moral scruples were very finely calibrated to recoil from the slightest perceived misstep in ethical terms in our War on Terror; and yet she was quite willing to forgive some primitive culture its fondness for removing the eyeballs of children in its religious rituals.”
Craig’s #G1 gets 7 points it defeats Harris’s point. Craig has agreed that religion has caused some objectively horrible actions, but religion is not what is being debated, god is, and with Craig’s #A1 and this statement he proves that supernatural does not equal religion.
Harris’s #G2 gets 0 points as it’s a cheap trick. It’s easy to see why Harris wants to change the debate from god to religions so that he can point out the horrors of religions which Craig has already agreed to, but that is a cheap trick, and awards no points because it’s not part of the debate.
#H Yahweh is immoral
#H1 Craig – “He is by nature loving, generous, faithful, kind, and so forth.”
#H2 Harris – “Yahweh is perfectly fond of genocide, and slavery, and human sacrifice.”
Craig’s #H1 gets 2 points it does not address Harris’s issues with the old testament. While god is loving, and kind by nature, Craig should have addressed these topics from the bible.
Harris’s #H2 gets 7 points as it shows that Yahweh might not always be moral. Craig should have addressed this point better as I feel like it would have been easy for him to show these are due to free will rather than god’s will, but as they were not addressed Harris shows Yahweh to have negative traits and it wasn’t well refuted in the debate.
#I Worst possible misery – minimum standard of moral goodness
This was addressed in #D but I will go on to say that this only shows one point of morality, and that makes this a weak argument for naturalistic morality.
#J Taliban is still bad
This was addressed in #A but Harris still tries to use it against Craig again.
#K Defining wellbeing … somewhat
#K1 Craig – (see D1)
#K2 Harris – “The distinction between a healthy person and a dead one is about as clear