Further Discussion of Natural Ethics | Letters | Chicago Reader

Further Discussion of Natural Ethics 

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To the editors:

I am writing in response to Francisco Ruiz's letter of March 23 about Natural Ethics. Quoted below is the key paragraph of the article. "Natural Ethics is independent of any religious creed; it depends on the common characteristics of people's understanding of right and wrong. For instance, most agree that killing is wrong; anyone who disagrees with this is considered a pathological case. The same can be said of lying or stealing. These, and other subtler points are engraved in our minds with a strength that goes beyond the barriers of creed, language, or culture. Natural ethics' only 'belief' is that these rules are an integral part of human nature. The evidence of centuries overwhelmingly supports this assertion."

The last sentence of the quote is particularly interesting. "The evidence of centuries" shows that majorities have supported such things as killing women for adultery, infanticide, and killing or imprisoning those who disagree with the majority. Thus the quote repeatedly contradicts the facts of human history.

Natural Ethics can be used to justify any atrocity that a majority of humanity decides to commit. Using Natural Ethics teaches one to try and figure out what others think, rather than applying reason to a situation. Fortunately Galileo and Darwin were not practitioners of Natural Ethics; if they were they would not have announced their extremely controversial theories. This refutes the claim that Natural Ethics, "even if not a hundred percent accurate has an immense practical value."

I close this letter with a question addressed to the adherents of Natural Ethics. If a majority of people share my opinion of Natural Ethics, does that prove Natural Ethics is invalid?

Jordan Kassof


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