I hear many people argue that ethics would be impossible without there being an objective standard established by god. Does anyone know any good arguements around this?

I don't know why they would assume God=Moral Standard, but I don't have a really good argument against it.

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Let's say you are trying to evaluate the practice of abortion on demand during the first three months of pregnancy (i.e. abortion not motivated by a serious health issue of mother or fetus). Let's say you come across a survey of people around the world which shows that a large number of people believe that abortion on demand should never be allowed at any stage during pregnancy, that an equally large number of people believe that abortion on demand should be allowed at an early stage of pregnancy only and that a few people believe that abortion on demand should be allowed at any stage during pregnancy.

How would this help you to evaluate the practice of abortion on demand? If it would not be helpful, what sort of facts would be helpful?
HI Deborah

Surveys would only collect opinions reflecting systemic culturally driven biases. This is important in selling a policy to the public but does not address the core moral questions behind abortion.

To establish the facts one needs to determine what the relevant questions to ask are. Some candidate questions would be what is the status of a foetus with respect to being a person; how does this change during terms and after birth; what is a person's protections under the law; what are the protection to partially developed or incapacitated persons; what are the legally enforceable obligations of one person to another (e.g pregnant woman versus foetus); what are the implications for doctors and nurses; and so on.
With regard to the questions:
(i) what is the status of a foetus with respect to being a person?
(ii) how does this change during terms and after birth?
,
are you looking for legal answers or are you looking for personal views?
Neither, we are looking for moral answers here. Of course in situations like this the answers may not be clearcut but fuzzy as is often the way when you push approaches to their extremes, but that remains to be seen here.

Plus this is the wrong way to examine the basics of an objective approach in ethics. First get the basics clear then examine the more challenging scenarios.

You appear to be arguing or defending some sort of objective approach. Well what is it?
I think the reason you as an atheist might have difficulty invoking the universalist stance for morality is that the logical next question, and I already asked it, is where does it come from?
This is as universal as any other empirical enterprise, it comes from the same grounds as any others nature and reality.


If you are going to argue that there exists a universal, unwavering and timeless standard of morality, you, like the religious, have the burden of proof.

Another straw man. How makes such an argument in physics no-one talks about a universal, unwavering and timeless standard of physics - not since Einstein anyway. Why should things be any different here?

I guess I am agnostic regarding universal morals.

What on earth do you mean by "universal morals"?

All I can say is, like science and evolutionary theory, we are learning as we go, perfecting, testing, and exploring a moral model.

Here we agree. But this contradicts your position that we cannot be objective in ethics.
Zackly. In you're haste to post comment, you're either missing the original context, don't know what the original point was, or are repeating what has already been said.

Threads are called threads because they're linear.
Nano- I well understand your position and was criticising it, as is quite clear from my last line to quote "But this contradicts your position that we cannot be objective in ethics."

How about you drop pointless avoidance of my questions?
Here is my sense of it. The whole idea of 'moral/ethical standards is just another issue of personal import: Fact! It has nothing to do with Truths standard of perfect behavior but contrarily, personal conviction. The world of 'Charity' says we should perhaps be a shoulder to everyone (our brother) in need. I personally find it 'unethical' that people would heap up their personal challenges on anyone with an ear and a smile on their face, sporting a strong stance and level of self confidence. Does this sound mean? So my 'personal' oppinion is that the biblical statement "work out your own salvation" Is a law that can be misconstrued or mis-represented by anyone who stands in judgement of others behaviors. Principle is a funny thing, isen't it? Wisdom is almost obscure! Honesty is grand and based on personal conviction and is something I NEVER undervalue and CANNOT be undervalued by society. there ya go. At least there is one safe place to dwell, yes?
Amber Fajardo wrote on March 15 Here is my sense of it. The whole idea of 'moral/ethical standards is just another issue of personal import: Fact! It has nothing to do with Truths standard of perfect behavior but contrarily, personal conviction.

Do you consider whether or not to go to war to be merely “of personal import?” It seems to be of enormous moral importance, and should be decided upon anticipated objective consequences.
Fact! It has nothing to do with Truths standard of perfect behavior but contrarily, personal conviction.
This is a straw man. Nowhere else in rational-empirical enquiry do we claim "true standards perfection" or just "perfection", on what basis can you argue that anyone looking at this objectively here? To objectively understand this domain, requires only seeking the best provisional and defeasible knowledge like anywhere else.
Why then do other animals practice moral behavior.
Do they or are we just anthropomorphizing what they do? O rre they exhibiting proto-moral behaviour along with proto-immoral behaviour and how do we differentiate these without being biased by our human perspective and question begging?
Faithlessgod wrote on 20 March 2009 - "You appear to be arguing or defending some sort of objective approach. Well what is it?"

My position is that if an action is wrong for a person, it will also be wrong for another person in relevantly similar circumstances.

Some wrongs are self-evident eg maiming a person for fun.

In general, ethical evaluations require one to select, to balance if necessary and to apply relevant values or principles. I am not aware of any ethical theory which provides an adequate account of all ethical evaluations. I don't think it should be expected that all ethical evaluations should be able to be accounted for in a neat sound bite.

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