So part of my job requires me to understand the ethical implications of doing environmental research on humans. Well I must confess that I don't really know that much about ethics, in the academic sense. I've had a few classes over the years that have dealt with some of the theories, teachers and concepts. However, I've never really taken the time to understand what some of these models were actually saying or teaching. Well, due to the amount of free time that I have at work I decided that now would be a good time to do it. So I did some lovely internet researching and printed of loads of information, and boy have I been surprised.
First off, really distinguishing between what each ethical claim is stating is hard to do. Some of them are so similar that only a few things may appear different. Others seem so ludicrious that I just wonder how anyone could actually believe them. Yet, I've found most of them seem to be rooted in some sort of intellectual thinking; they are all based on ideas, concepts and beliefs of an individual, often coming to odds with religion. Several of these concepts sound wonderful to me such as natural right of all people, beneficience, respect for persons and fair justice. Who doesn't want to be treated fairly, respected no matter their status and provided with the best? Sounds great right? Then there's others that say collectivism is the true path and ambiguity is the preferred road. What? How does that work? How can promoting collectivism lead to a better society, a free society? What happened to the right to question, to wonder, to be an individual?
I've also delved into the philsophers such as John Locke, Kant, Aristole and many others. Each has their own view of morality and ethics and yet, none, are based in a world of faith. Locke, for instance, believes in the naturalistic approach to society and promotes a more tribal influence even at the expense of other weaker individuals. Immanuel Kant believes all morality can be found in logic and intelligence and Aristole, well he's great in many ways and yet wrong in so many others. Throughout all this research I kept being struck by the lack of faith displayed. Nietzche went so far as to say that God is dead. Seriously? Are we that far from the truth?
I think what really struck me is how torn I became. One part of me completely understood what they are saying and promoting. I get their theories and their basis for their proofs. I understand the intellectual consternation behind their proclimations and even agree with them on various aspects, but, yet, the faith part of me was shouting out that man is not truly capable of determining what is right and wrong. We cannot base morality, truth and goodness off of what we think. We are flawed human beings and therefore are naturally skewed. Yet, I see this happening all the time. This country, and world, is growing further from that Truth with each generation and each subsequent generation is being told to base their moral compass on what man thinks is right and true. How sad this is and look at where it's leading us.
Intelligence is a great thing to use to further question who we are and what we're here for. It helps and spurs us on to delve deeper and seek more answers, but should not be the basis for our ethics. That should come completely and fully from God. How much further are we to slide before we understand the Truth?
Take a look at your moral compass... what is itbased on?