TED Conversations

Scot Wilcox

TEDCRED 10+

This conversation is closed. Start a new conversation
or join one »

Do right and wrong exist?

I'm curious about objective right and wrong. If you believe in God, this is a no-brainer. Some things are wrong, some things are right, simply because God says so and He knows. But if you don't believe in God, can you still believe in objective morality? I personally don't think you can. I mean, what do you base it off of? How do you find out what's objectively right or wrong? (By objective I mean "existing independent of thought or an observer as part of reality." from dictionary.com)
Sure, there's subjective morality. Any idea of right or wrong come up with by a human is by definition subjective. That's all well and good. Problem is that it only applies to people who believe in it and it gives them no authority to proclaim anything as "what we should be doing." Very often everybody disagrees with each other and we don't get anywhere. (Just look at Congress for an example of this.)
Maybe you disagree with me and you think there is objective morality but no God. That's fine. I would like to ask you to answer a question for me though. Let's pick an easy one. Why is rape objectively wrong? Don't misunderstand me, I can't think of a single instance where rape wouldn't be wrong. I believe very strongly that sexual abuse is one of the greatest evils in the world. Why is it evil? If you can answer me without using a God-based or subjective argument, I'll concede the point.
That point is this: Without God, there is no such thing as right and wrong, only the things we call right and wrong. And since nobody can agree on what to call what, we're all in a lot of trouble.

+15
Share:

Showing single comment thread. View the full conversation.

  • Feb 27 2013: God or no God, doesn't subjective ultimately become objective? We are never born fully developed from a physical, mental or social perspective. Thus, I would hope we learn, what is right or wrong, from a combination of observing behaviors and responses and asking questions and seeking answers. We ultimately don't need "God" to decide that rape or any other social behavior is wrong. A consistent negative response to the behavior is all that is needed.
    • Feb 28 2013: Exactly! The word rape was invented for such cases, otherwise if it weren't bad it would be called sex. 100 out of 100 people would say they would rather have sex than be raped.
      • thumb
        Mar 1 2013: Not quite I suggest. There are all sorts of outliers in regards to masochism.

Showing single comment thread. View the full conversation.