TED Conversations


This conversation is closed.

A unified moral code

OK, so on my other discussion "Do right and wrong exist?" there's a rather hefty debate raging on the existence of objective moral truths vs. subjective morality. I still hold that the only way to know any kind of objective morality is through personal communication with God. (If you'd like to dispute that with me, go to the "Do right and wrong exist?" discussion please.) I made the point that with subjective morality, nobody can agree with each other and any discussion of "what's the right thing to do about this issue?" breaks down into squabbling and nobody gets anywhere. Several of you on that other discussion claimed that by using reason and science, a unified moral code could be developed that the majority of mankind could agree with, a la Sam Harris. I disagree, I don't think it can be done.
So prove me wrong! Right here on TED, I want the TED community to hammer out a moral code. It needs to be applicable to daily life and issues of our time like illegal immigration, abortion, animal rights, environmentalism, government spending, business ethics, and income inequality. Don't worry about all the objective vs. subjective stuff, as long as it works. Go ahead. Define right and wrong in the way that will most benefit society. Be specific and measurable, and collaborate with everyone else. Once some kind of accord has been achieved, I'll try to put it to the test by suggesting a variety of moral dilemmas and we'll see if it holds. I doubt that we'll even get to that point, but go on, defy me!


Showing single comment thread. View the full conversation.

  • thumb
    Mar 3 2013: ....
    Scot, instead of asking to be proved wrong, why don't you lay out your position and how you got there. Your moral code and it's origins. Not asking for proof of your conclusion, just an informed argument with reasonable evidence to back it up. A coherent framework. Start at the beginning, what comes first for you and why, and step us through your thinking to your conclusion.

    If you are trying to get people to think in a better way about this and related issues, why not do it by example...
    • thumb
      Mar 3 2013: His point seems to be if you can not point to religious scripture via revelation as the basis of morality to impose, then it is difficult to agree on a framework.

      The flaws in this thinking are obvious. We will argue about the existence of gods, whose god, who's scriptures, which interpretations etc.

      There is no reason to put one religious framework for morality above any other human constructed morality without the same sort of analysis and debate. Its not a very satisfying position, just assuming divine command is and should be the benchmark.

      Assuming a god to be perfect morally and any perverse moral judgements or actions or threats just a mystery seems to be a convenient cop out.

Showing single comment thread. View the full conversation.