AS POSTED BY KAWAKI:
My thanks to everyone for their patience and my apologies to both teams for the delay.
Let's begin with Xunzian: For starters, Xunzian mentions that he pointed "out examples of violations of a universal human morality". Truthfully, he did no such thing (he mentioned that violations occur, but provided no specific examples). There were two parts to Xunzian's statement: the true part, that part that Pavlovian essentially said 'ah-duh': people break laws; laws are not universal morals. However, the part that my brother Pav left for me to cover is that a violation of a law does not affect the law's universal applicability. Similarly, the mere fact that there can, theoretically, be violations of morality does not affect the universality of any particular moral. Why is this important? POINT 1: It is important because while we concede that laws are not universal morals we do not concede that the violation of any given moral harms the universality of that given moral.
Xunz also mentioned that "a universal human morality remains undeveloped". While we do not concede that this is accurate (discussed by Pav), I will debate it as if it were and take a cue from my teammate Pav and reply with: so what!
In quantum physics, scholars continue to look for a unified field theory precisely because they believe (and have evidence) that a theory that unifies all fields exists and can/will be developed. It is therefore no jump to suggest that philosophers too continue to search for and believe that a universal human morality does exist and can be developed. So, while team ILP may reject our team's conception of universal morality, their rejection of it by no means suggests that one such morality cannot be developed AND/OR does exist. This is important because the questions is "is there a universal morality...?" Is there one? Is there? Perhaps. Perhaps team ILO stumbled upon it. Regardless, the question, to me, is about potential or possibility. POINT 2: The potential for a universal morality exists, the possibility exists, and in scientific terms, it is a safe bet that there is such a universal morality.
Xunz's next point about universal moral grammar, while interesting, is ultimately uncompelling. Here's why: Tabula Rasa claims that the universal mathematical laws only work because the formula is reduced to its absolute minimum; POINT 3: that is not only wrong but blatantly false and misleading; it is because those formulas were reduced to their absolute minimum that they are not universal laws.
The classic view of gravity is an example of something that is seemingly universal, something that was reduced to near formulaic perfection; however, it breaks down at the quantum level and therefore it is not a universal law. This is not to say that a model that almost works on every level isn't useful--the fact that we have international laws between countries and peoples despite their inapplicability at a universal level goes to show that it is a useful tool much the way gravity is used for standard calculations of objects on earth. However, there are models of gravity that attempt to be all inclusive; that are immense in their complexity and that attempt to be applicable universally. But back to Xunzian: he points out in these universal moral grammar tests that there are different responses to different scenarios that vary by degrees of separation; the results are typical (there are different responses and not everyone has the same reaction). Here is where I think it is fair to accuse Xunzian (and the researchers of moral grammar) of what Tabula Rasa ALMOST got right (point 3): it is not universal because it has been reduced to the absolute minimum. Just as more complex models of gravity have and are being developed so too would theories of universal moral grammar need to be developed into much more complex 'formulas'. Afterall, the complexity of even gut level decision making cannot be reduced to a simple: right and wrong in every scenario; universal formulas are rarely, if ever, this simple. Or to use Xunzian's point against him: "Morality in the real world is anything but clean." POINT 4: Morality, examined at this depth, should be anything but a matter of simplicity and the minimum inputs/outputs; rather it should be a matter of intense and continued examination and exploration.
On to evolutionary morality. Xunzian presents us with slime/mold/spores; demonstrates their altruism; and then somehow twists the altruistic act into a case where immoral individuals profit over moral ones. Well, not so fast there. How exactly did Xunzian determine that the surviving slime spores were immoral? Oh wait, they apparently were thieves stealing with impunity. The slime spores have not violated any code that I am aware of because it has not been established that these 'immoral' spores were the ones that survived (that bettered their position). Xunzian assumes that a moral system would not punish "immoral" bacteria; this cannot be assumed (Pav discussed incarceration in his post). In human terms, imagine that we put all of Earths children in a vessel and provided them with the tools to survive and thrive elsewhere? Where is the violation of morality suggested by Xunz? Is Xunz suggesting (without evidence) that those children were immoral? It may seem like overkill to add that even in the example of human slime, err thieves, whereby universal morality implodes that it implodes because Xunzian again resorts to point 3 and reduces his model into the absolute minimum--by excluding punishment, evolution, and many more issues, the altruistic act seemingly leads to immoral implosion. I must also refer to POINT 1 - that the breaking of law or the breaking of a moral (and profit therefrom) does not affect that law's or that moral's applicability at a universal level.
I won't touch Carleas' post; I would merely echo Gobbo's counter to it. On to Tabula Rasa where there isn't much to say. I think Tab is a real magician. He's pretty good at making you watch the right hand while his left does all that master debating. His sleight of hand is fantastic and quite entertaining but in the end, it's not truth you have witnessed its trickery. I've already mentioned that he got it wrong on the "absolute minimum" formula thing in my Point 3. At the end of the day, the most complex, all encompassing formula, will have a solution that equates to, for example, a universal human morality; a unified field theory, or whatever.
Now, Carleas, Tab, and Smears all touched on this so this next segment can be considered a counter to all three:
None of the arguments made by ILP actually claimed that our conception is not a "universal human morality"; rather, they argued that it did not include its opposite. Well, first I will; echo the sentiment of the team that POINT 5: 'immorality' is a word describing the actions of an other that does not suit one's wants/needs. All actions are moral.
Next, this "x and -x" thing. Let me get this straight: the argument is "there is something so there must be nothing too" or closely resembling "there is nothing because there cannot be something without the nothing." The whole thing reeks. It reminds me of Plato's dialogue between Parmenides and Aristoteles whereby they "consider the consequences which follow on the supposition either of the being or of the not being of one?" http://classics.mit.edu/Plato/parmenides.html
What ensues from that dialogue is utterly bizarre and fascinating. I'll summarize: the one cannot have any parts, nor be a part of a greater whole (as that would make it many) and that it cannot be round nor straight, nor have a beginning, nor a middle, nor an end. Yikes! POINT 6:OK, I would suggest that something to grasp from this dialogue is that the existence of one in no way necessitates any other thing, object, quality, opposite, etc.
To delve just a bit deeper, a similar version of this argument: "if there is x, there must be a y." The argument is that if there is morality there must be immorality; if there are moral actions, there must be immoral actions; if there is God, there must be Satan; if there is a peach, there must be a nectarine. However, POINT 7: the existence of the one does not essitate the existence of the other.
Below is Smears summary countered:
A. Smears: People acting according to their own desires is not morality per se
A. Kawaki: Per se? I'll take that as a concession that it is morality; especially since he pretty much defines it as such himself under "C".
B. Smears: Broad definitions lend themselves well to logic, but not to reality.
B. Kawaki: this is a version of tab's absolute minimum formula. Smears is taking all broad definitions and stuffing it down to an absolute minimum formula that works for him and concludes that it therefore is 'x'. Don't be fooled by this one, see POINT 3 and POINT 4.
C. Smears: It is theoretically impossible to quantify the emotions of all the people in the world, and since these are the basis of true conceptions of morality, (individual ones), any idea that you could possibly prove that there's a universal morality is misguided and incorrect.
C. Kawaki: Smears is saying, that if it were possible to quantify all emotions, then there is a true universal conception of morality. Hence, people acting according to their desires (emotive or otherwise) constitutes morality. Team ILO surely did quantify it; the conception is universal and all encompassing.
D. Smears: You can't have morality without both good and evil.
D. Kawaki: again with the x; -x or if x, there must be y. This is nonsense Please see POINT 6 and POINT 7; besides, our conception leaves room for what is 'considered' good and evil.
E. Smears: Evil isn't just what happens when you fail to satisfy your desires.
E. Kawaki: See POINT 5; also, of course it is... Ever had an evil piece of ass or a wickedly bad cock?
F. Smears: Just because everything is connected by love doesn't mean that there is a universal human morality.
F. Kawaki: In a way, this is team ILP's concession that our POINT 6 and POINT 7 are correct. Smears is saying that "x" exists, but that it does not necessitate "y". That's great. However, our argument was not that because "x" (love) exists there must be "y" (universal human morality) but instead it was a comment that love controverts Tabula Rasa's "Catch-22" scenario. Don't be confused by this one.
The last thing I will touch on is the absurdity of moral relativity. Embracing moral relativism is much like embracing anarchy; surely our opponents don't wish to concede a previous (undeserved) victory, right? Our conception of a universal morality is not only valid but poetic. Sure, love as a bind to all things is a bit corny; but it is not simple. It may be elegant, it may even be easy, but simple it is not. Or, to quasi quote G.K. Chesterton: 'Poetry floats easily in an infinite sea.'
This debate has been an interesting one and I had the honor of concluding it. Team ILP put together a hell of a debate and it's been fun. Hopefully we can do this again... no seriously. To conclude, bravo to all participants and readers and judges and thank you for your time and consideration.