Thanks to everyone who commented on the Objective vs. Subjective Reality post. This is an important topic for anyone who aspires to operate at the highest level of thought and attain the corresponding benefits. So here’s Part 2, and it’s a doozy! I challenge you to really think this through before posting your response. It’s a subject that’s been debated by philosophers, religious leaders, psychologists, sociologists, biologists and other scholars from numerous disciplines. It’s a subject I’ve studied for years and still find fascinating. Watch this short video (2:57) and I’ll look forward to your comments.

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Steve Siebold
Author and Professional Speaker since 1997. Past Chairman of the National Speakers Association's Million Dollar Speakers Group. Author of 11 books with 1.4 million copies in print.

55 thoughts on “Objective Reality Part 2: Is There an Objective Moral Code?”

  1. As a full time World-Class Thinker and Speaking Objectively of Morals for the “Human Animal Kingdom Of Consciousness” Their is a Moral Objective of Conscious, and that depends on what YOU classify yourself as in Consciousness Thinking.

  2. I think and believe on this topic as you do. I believe even from country to country that the moral code is different. It’s ok to cut off the heads or hands or… in one country but not in another. We have established our moral code along with out beliefs based upon the system we have chosen to follow, in our case the Christian code that founded this country. Animals are not thinking creatures but all thinking creatures have decided upon a master plan, typically called religion to base the morals of their civilization. See you in June.

  3. First of all, thank you Steve for replying.. Honestly, I wasn’t expecting a response of any kind!

    But I’ve jumped in now and might as well continue… 🙂

    First of all, you can’t use objective reality to prove itself? To be clear, I am attempting to use objective reality (critical thinking) to state a case for objective morality. After all, that is what science is based on, is it not?

    Scientific method says that in order to prove something, you have to be able to test the same condition multiple times and get the same results every time for it to be a fact. Eg. an electrical charge applied to H2O will cause the Hydrogen and oxygen atoms to separate creating their respective gases.. That is an objective reality, a fact that can be proven over and over again either by experimentation or by chemical math..

    Now I haven’t gone out and personally interviewed thousands of woman to see if what they experienced (rape) could be described as “wrong” or otherwise, but I would venture a critical guess that I wouldn’t have to ask too many to find my results. And to belabour the point, if asked if she felt that way because she was taught rape was bad, I am certain you would receive a hostile reply.

    But I rest my case… Because as I am reading all these posts presented here, the reality is this: universally binding objective moral values exist if and only if God exists. If we live in an atheists universe, there is no ultimate justice, or final moral consequence.. At death, all our moral choices become irrelevant. Legacy doesn’t matter and humanity will simply pass away to nothing as humankind eventually becomes extinct as the universe reaches maximum entropy. But if God does exist, then our relationship to him is essential to moral obligation. If there is eternal consequence, binding duty to an objective morality is maximal. This is what I believe we are really debating here..

  4. Steve,

    Here is an interesting question that I would like you to think about.

    Could subjectivity exist without objectivity?

    Objectivity is basically the actual truth, subjectivity is our perception of the actual truth.

    If you take out objectivity reality, could subjective reality even exist?

    If you take out “objective moral code”, could “subjective moral code” exist?

  5. My evidence of an objective moral code is my life; and results that occur when I violate that code. If I lie, cheat and steal nothing works, I do not accomplish anything I want to do. I can not even climb out of bed and do the things necessary for life if I go against that objective moral code.
    The code is to love the God with my whole body, soul and mind and to love my neighbor as I love myself.

  6. Steve,

    “How do you know that the main purpose of humans is to survive? How do you know humans have any purpose? Do other members of the animal kingdom have a purpose, or just the human animal?”

    Did I say that the humans absolute main purpose is to survive? I actually proved that cannot be the absolute main purpose because there are people who do the opposite of self-preservation, which is self-sacrifice.

    The humans absolute main purpose is to worship God. This comes from the Holy Qur’an. If the Holy Qur’an cannot be proven wrong, then you must accept it as truth.

    There is an error in your last question, you said the “human animal,” who told you a human is an animal?

  7. Steve,

    “Are you saying the Quran is inerrant? And are you quoting the Quran as the source of this statement?”

    Yes I am saying the Holy Qur’an (Arabic) is inerrant. The translations could have a few errors in them because they are the work of humans and there is a lot of content that is lost in translation.

    Yes I am quoting the Holy Qur’an as the source of this statement and every single thing testifies to it. There are challenges to doubters.

    If you doubt it, then prove it wrong. Like for anything, if you think it is wrong, then you should be able to expose it. No one in 1400 years has been able to find even one error in the Holy Qur’an (Arabic). It is an open challenge for doubters and critics.

    Find one error and you can end up proving the whole religion of Islam wrong. You know how rich and famous a person could get by doing that?

    Find one error, and i will leave Islam.

    If it is truly a Divine Book from God Almighty, he should be able to protect it,

  8. Steve,

    You stated:

    “The debate over objective vs. subjective morality has been debated throughout human history. This is not simple, logical stuff.”

    There are many things that have been debated throughout human history, doesn’t mean there is no clear simple truth.

    You know there are some people who want to find the truth and there are some who want to believe in “whatever they want” even if it goes against logic.

    The debate continues not because there are no clear simple truths, but because both sides are looking for two totally different things. One is chasing the truth while the other is chasing an illusion.

  9. There is an objective moral code. The difference is that animals were not created in God’s image. Animals do not have guilt that can devastate them. Wrong is the willful act of violating the objective moral code. I know that God exist, not only because of the organized existence of nature, but also because of the series of miracles that have been done in my life. If God exist (I believe He does) than He wants me to have the best (most abundant) life, which means an objective moral code.

    1. Dave,
      What evidence do you have that there is an objective moral code? And, if you cite such evidence, what is the objective moral code?

  10. @ Commander Wiz Withers

    “Now I have a definite set of beliefs of what I consider to be “right” and “wrong”, and I believe many people have beliefs similar to mine.”

    Here is the crazy part, if there is no such thing as objective morals, then how can you really have a set of beliefs that you consider “right” and “wrong”?

    And then you state that you believe many people have beliefs similar to mine. Why are you stating this? You should know that just because most people believe in something doesn’t make it true.

    E.g. In a group of 10 people who have a criminal mind, if 7 people agree stealing is the right thing to do, and 3 people disagree, does that mean those 7 people are actually “right”? In this case majority won, but does that make it right? Obviously No.

    Morals are objective, not subjective. This is simple logical stuff.

    1. Mohammad,
      The debate over objective vs. subjective morality has been debated throughout human history. This is not simple, logical stuff.

  11. Hi, Steve –

    The answer to this question seems so simple, that I’m wondering if I’ve misunderstood your question.

    Of course morality and morals are subjective. What we call “right” and “wrong” are collective standards of behavior that we as humans have developed to help us live in an orderly society. But these societal standards vary widely – there is no one absolute “objective” standard.

    You use killing and “murder” in your example. While in most societies killing another human being is considered “wrong”, even this is not absolute. The person who fires a gun at an assailant in self defense. The military person who fires a weapon at an adversary. Or the driver who accidentally hits a child who darts in front of his moving car.

    In these situations, killing is involved, but most won’t call it murder. And while all are tragic, to many they aren’t considered “wrong”. It’s subjective.

    Now I have a definite set of beliefs of what I consider to be “right” and “wrong”, and I believe many people have beliefs similar to mine.

    But I freely acknowledge that these are subjective. Even those we codify into law – still originate in the subjective realm.


    1. Wiz,
      I’m with you on this. History shows that society benefits from laws, rules, and order. We’ve created an environment where we have the best chance to procreate and thrive. Your examples are great and there are many more.

  12. “There is no question in my mind that there is a Higher Authority, who created this universe with everything in it. However, there is no scientific evidence that this Higher Authority still influences life.”

    Looking over your comment again, I realized i misinterpreted it. I thought you meant there was no question in your mind about the existence of a higher authority. Sorry about that. So you do believe in a Higher Power but you think there is no scientific evidence that this higher power still influences life.

    Okay so according to your comment, you wrote “still influences life”…so you mean to tell me God was influencing it at one point but now He is not? Correct? Can you expand on what led you to believe that He was influencing it before and not anymore?

  13. “Okay now you exist, who created you? There are 2 alternatives. Either you are a random creation, meaning you came here by chance, by coincidence or you were created by a Great Intelligent Designer (God).”\

    I meant 2 “choices” instead of alternatives?

  14. @ Mike Jacobi

    You haven’t answered my question…Who created you?

    A person could believe in anything he wants, but that doesn’t make it necessarily true.

    Right now, I can choose to believe in Superman, but how come I don’t believe Superman exists in this world? It is because there is evidence that shows Superman is a fictional character.

    But every single thing proves there is a God. Every single thing. You didn’t even name anything. You are constantly telling me what you believe, without evidence.

    Who said it is logic vs beliefs? Why believe in something that isn’t logical?

    Do you believe in logic and critical reasoning?

    If you do, let me show you something.

    Who created you? You know you didn’t create yourself but you exist. So someone created you. Was it your parents? Actually no, they were part of the process, they didn’t create you literally. Your parents didn’t sit down and draw out your eyes, nose, mouth etc.

    Okay now you exist, who created you? There are 2 alternatives. Either you are a random creation, meaning you came here by chance, by coincidence or you were created by a Great Intelligent Designer (God).

    Now here is the question…show me something that is random in this world? Something that has no reason, no purpose, no cause and effect?

    You won’t even find one thing. There is no such thing as randomness. Even a random generator is not really random. And to create a random generator, it takes an intelligent designer (human) to create it.

    What is random in this world?

    If a computer cannot be made on its own by nothing, how can a whole complex universe be created on its own by nothing?

    It goes against logic and critical reasoning.

    Every single thing proves there is a higher power, the One and Only God Almighty. It is your choice to believe in Him or not. But remember you are responsible for the choices you make, and if you choose to believe in falsehood, there will be consequences.

    “This discussion is about belief vs. logic and I can tolerate any belief system, which does not try to force me to accept it.”

    I detect emotions in your comment. The truth is the truth, regardless whether you like it or not.

    People who don’t believe in God, it must be for emotional reasons, not logical. Logic shows there is a higher power. If it is for logical reasons, they are not using their intellect.

  15. @Mohammad,
    There is no question in my mind that there is a Higher Authority, who created this universe with everything in it. However, there is no scientific evidence that this Higher Authority still influences life. You can BELIEF, that this Higher Authority still influences you, but there is no critical, unbiased proof of such influence.
    This discussion is about belief vs. logic and I can tolerate any belief system, which does not try to force me to accept it.

  16. Ask the 14yr old girl who just got raped that question… She will tell you it doesn’t matter what the animal kingdom does, it doesn’t matter if you believe in objective or subjective morality, she won’t care what religion or creed, atheism, agnostic or otherwise that you may believe in.. She will tell you quite simply that it was wrong. It is pretty black and white to her… That is an objective reality which to me points to the fact that there must be an objective morality. Otherwise, why would her and every other woman who has ever had the misfortune of being raped, universally feel that way?

    1. Greg,
      You can’t use objective reality to prove itself. Thats parallel to saying the bible is true because the bible says its true.
      A girl who is raped has been taught that rape is wrong, as we all have. That has nothing to do with it being objectively wrong.

  17. @ Mike Jacobi

    I would like you to expand on what you really mean by “main purpose”? I already agreed humans are built for survival. But if someone sacrifices themselves for someone else, what was the point? He went against his main purpose?

    Good question. All the sects in Islam believe that the Holy Qur’an is the divine truth. The differences occur mostly because of Hadiths and Secondary Sources. Also some mistranslation of the Arabic Holy Qur’an to other languages.

    All of them believe the Arabic Holy Qur’an is the divine truth. But since many people don’t know the Arabic of the Holy Qur’an, it starst causing problems.

    God only promised to preserve the Holy Qur’an and not Hadiths, so that means there are possibilities that some Hadiths could be fabricated, and this causes problems as well.

    Hadith is a saying or an act or tacit approval or disapproval of the Prophet Muhammad (Peace Be Upon Him).

    In this verse, God talks about protecting the Holy Qur’an from being corrupted.

    “We have sent down the Reminder, and We will preserve it” (Holy Qur’an – Surat al-Hijr: 9)

    The Holy Qur’an cannot be imitated. God has challenged all of humanity and jinn to create a book similar to the Holy Qur’an. If people doubt this is God’s book, then take the challenge.

    Say: “If both humanity and jinn banded together to produce the like of this Qur’an, they could never produce anything like it, even if they backed each other up.” (Quran- Surat al-Isra’: 88)

    I don’t need the Holy Qur’an to prove the existence of God. Every single thing proves his existence. God is known through reason. Just name me some thing, and I will show you how it proves the existence of a God, name me anything?

    I believe in logic and critical reasoning, not blind faith.

    Here is a question…Who created you?

  18. Steve, oh Steve. How can you even go there???
    First, there is no family life in the animal kingdom. What
    animals do is instinctual, not intellectual. When animals
    engage in reproductive activity, it is purely for procreation.
    A mother animal will forget her young if they are taken
    away. What human mother ever forgets a lost child?
    The human world is one of an eternal family unit.
    (My subjectivity.) Animals also do not understand
    intent. They kill only to eat. Humans kill for power
    and by emotion. We do not eat our prey.

    Humans are accountable for what they know and understand.
    Animals live by another law. We are judged, and judge
    ourselves by the law we understand and this differs
    for every person on the planet. Where more light
    is given, more is expected…to each by their own.
    This is part of the life process…to become Great I AMs!

    1. Susan,
      I don’t even know where to start on your comment. First of all, all animals have a family life, including the human animal. Just because animals lack a more evolved brain and the language to communicate their thoughts and feelings doesn’t mean they don’t think or feel. Second, the human sex drive is also fueled by the force of procreation, and it’s so powerful it leads some people to risk their very lives to fulfill it. When it comes to accountability, how do you know we are judged? And if we are judged, by whom? What single piece of evidence can you cite that proves that a magic man in the sky is watching your every move? None of this has anything to do with the question of objective vs. subjective morality. Your thoughts?

  19. Agreed, there are subjective moral codes, and they will differ with time and culture.
    Steve’s question, however, was if there is an objective moral code or not, an objective right and wrong. Something, external to man, that establishes certain things as right or wrong. I.e. “laws” that are binding on us, whether we are aware of them or not.
    If there is a creator, who will also eventually act as judge of his creation, then it clearly makes sense that there is an objective moral code. If there is no creator/lawgiver, but man simply evolved without purpose from lower life forms, then there is no objective moral code/law. So your stand on this will likely come down to your world view – whether we were created or not, whether we are responsible to a higher power or not. (This does not mean that any religious code of conduct equals an objective moral code, for all religious codes do not agree.)
    Illustration: During the holocaust, the majority of people there and then, may have considered things done as morally right. If Hitler had won the war, even more people may have been persuaded it was morally right. But it would still have been morally wrong. Because there are some things that are objectively evil, even if a majority were to consider them good.

    1. Claes,
      I agree with almost everything you said, except for your comment on objective evil. If evil is objective, the objectivity must have a source. From what source do you cite objective evil?

  20. Spend a year sneeking across a heavily armed border into a country where you are not supposed to be and hunt and kill other human beings while being hunted by them. Crash an airplane.(sereral times). Get trapped in a burning building. Become addicted to narcotics, quit cold turkey and don”t use for twenty years. You do these things and tell me you have no relationship or belief in GOD and you are a better man than I am Gunga Din.

    1. Tim,
      I appreciate your comment, but it’s no proof of objective morality. You cite successful survival and recovery over a lifetime, but this can easily be refuted by the fact that millions of people suffer, starve and die every day due to circumstances beyond their control. Is this god you believe in favoring you and others specifically while ignoring the savage suffering of millions?

  21. @Mohammad
    The main purpose of humans is to Survive. But that survival is as much on an individual basis as for all humans. Otherwise we would not have heroes (like police, firefighters etc) who are willing to sacrifice their individual life for the greater good of all mankind.

    If there are no errors or contradictions in the Holy Qur’an, how to you explain the difference between Shiites and Sunnis and other smaller sects?
    The Bible was written by humans many years after the death of Christ. There is no direct irrefutable evidence that the bible is God’s word. The same is true for Islam and the Holy Qur’an. Both religion are based on the BELIEF, that their Holy Scriptures were written by God/Allah, but their is no objective (critical thinking) proof, but only BELIEF. There is nothing wrong with that, but it should be acknowledged that any statements about a Higher Authority are an unprovable belief system.

    1. Mohammad,
      How do you know that the main purpose of humans is to survive? How do you know humans have any purpose? Do other members of the animal kingdom have a purpose, or just the human animal?

  22. @ Mike Michelozzi

    Do you believe in the concept “Survival of the Fittest”? Do you believe that the main purpose of a human is to survive?

    Now I agree a human is built to survive, but there is another concept that is evident in the world that you haven’t mentioned. The concept of Self-Sacrifice/Heroism.

    If the main purpose of life or a human is to “Survive,” then why would a human in some cases, be willing to get himself hurt or killed for others? He is going against his so called “purpose”?

    Self-Preservation and Self-Sacrifice both exist in this world.

    So what is the purpose of life?

    {And I did not create the jinn and mankind except to worship Me.} [Holy Qur’an – 51:56]

    Why I believe the Holy Qur’an is the Divine Truth and is from God? There are many reasons. Here are a couple for now.

    1) There are no errors or contradictions in it, not even a single one (Arabic Holy Qur’an)

    Will they not ponder the Qur’an? If it had been from other than Allah, they would have found many inconsistencies in it. (Holy Qur’an- Surat an-Nisa’: 82)

    2) The Holy Qur’an cannot be imitated

    If you have doubts about what We have sent down to Our servant, produce another surah equal to it, and call your witnesses, besides Allah, if you are telling the truth. If you do not do that – and you will not do it – then fear the Fire whose fuel is people and stones, made ready for the unbelievers.(Holy Qur’an – Surat al-Baqara: 23-24)

    1. Mohammad,
      Are you saying the Quran is inerrant? And are you quoting the Quran as the source of this statement?

  23. “So everything you posted in your two posts – and all the rest of us – may be wrong or right and there is no absolute way to know”. – Mike Michelozzi

    Who said there is no absolute way to know?

  24. @ Mike

    I don’t think you understood that quote. Let me expand on it.

    “Just because you believe something, doesn’t mean it is true and vice versa”

    This quote indicates that there is a difference between Belief and Truth/Fact.

    E.g. If I believe that the fire doesn’t burn and if i put my hand in the fire, would my hand burn?

    Of course it will burn. The truth/fact is that the fire burns.There is a difference between belief and truth. The quote indicates that just because you believe in something doesn’t mean it is necessarily true. You have to find the actual truth because you could end up believing in falsehood.

    Now one more interesting thing I want to point out. Notice in that example, if i had a false belief (fire won’t burn), and if i put my hand in it and get burned, you will realize that the false belief carried a consequence with it. There is usually (if not all the time) a consequence the person will have to face sooner or later for not knowing and believing in the truth. Nothing could be built on falsehood because falsehood is an illusion, it is not real. The Truth/Fact is what matters.

  25. I like Sam Harris’ take from “The Moral Landscape”. He believes that there is an objective moral code and that science is the only tool able to discern it (he’s a neuroscientist and what some call a militant atheist so his reasons aren’t coming from any mountain top). He promotes a scientific approach to normative morality. Without going into too much detail covered in the book, he says that moral questions are really questions about the well being of conscious creatures. The “landscape” in his view is a conceptual space in which peaks represent the heights of well being, and the valleys suffering. Our well-being depends upon the interaction between events in our brains and events in the world. Science can (or at least will some day be able to) study the correspondence between these events and it can be used to measure the extent to which we achieve a state of well-being. There may not be a single globally maximized route, but we ought to be able to make comparisons and look for specific differences in outcomes. Our ability to navigate the moral landscape is a matter of measuring which cultural practices keep us on the ridge-lines!

    1. James,
      Sam Harris is a bright scientist and the Moral Landscape is a decent book, but I part with Harris when he claims that there is an objective morality. I’ve heard him talk about this for years and I think he’s missing the concept. Objective morality must have a source of creation, and unless science proves there is a creator, it’s impossible to call it objective. What Harris means (in my opinion) is collective subjectivity, not objectivity. Thats a major distinction.

  26. Steve, this is Joe Murray. I was accepted to your Apprentice Program but at the time was involved in another program with Lisa Brown another Mental Toughness Coach out of Canada. Couple that with the $30,000 at it didn’t feel right.

    I do want to comment on your video. You are dead on my friend. I am not sure there are a lot of people out there who get this. I am very interested in what the world take response is to you on this.

    I would really appreciate a note tell me a high level result from this request.

    Thanks Steve,

    Joe Murray

    1. Joe,
      The worldview on objective morality is based largely on geography, education, dogma and societal conditioning, as well numerous other factors. Studies show most Americans believe in objective morality dictated by god. Most Europeans don’t. In critical thinking, evidence is the most important criteria. There is a ton of evidence for subjective morality, and zero evidence (in my opinion) for objective morality. Of course there is no way to know for sure until science solves the puzzle.

  27. @ Matt Petroski,

    Matt, while I do understand, why you are saying that humans are inherently evil, evidence in daily life shows the difference: Look at Cleveland, how a whole community celebrated and helped the young ladies, look at the hundreds of volunteers in Boston, who prevented many injured from dying. Look around at all the charitable work being done daily here in the USA and some other parts of the world. I was born in Germany after WWII, but I still remember the stories from my mother how CARE packages from America arrived in Germany in 1945.
    Yes, there are evil people out there, no discussion, but they are in the very small minority probably 5% or less. The rest of the human race is very giving and good, for which we all should be grateful.

  28. Steve,

    I’m usually in total agreement with your teachings and general opinions, but this time, I respectfully disagree.

    I believe that the vast majority of human behavior is indeed subjective, and cannot be classified as being objectively “right or wrong.” However, there are a FEW certain acts that are either so unconscionable (such as the examples of MURDER and RAPE that you use) that they are objectively wrong. There are also certain acts, such as loving your children, that or objectively right.

    In your monologue you compare animal behavior to human behavior, but humans are NOT the same as other animals on this planet. Or rational, developed minds have evolved to the stage that we must operate at a code of behavior that no other animals can be expected to understand or adhere to.


    I admire your courage about standing firm on your beliefs, but this time, I am convinced that in the broader scheme of things, they are flawed.

    Thank you,

  29. Steve,
    as noted by others, a comparison between animals and humans on morality does nothing to enlighten this subject.
    What is the purpose for having any type of morality? Total freedom = no rules = no morality = no barriers equals anarchy. In order to survive as humans we need certain barriers, called moral codes and sometimes laws. There are some very basic rules: You cannot murder another human, you cannot steal, you cannot cause bodily injury, These rules are so basic, that they are universally excepted, independent of religion.
    Most other rules dealing with marriage, sex, divorce, religion, freedom of speech, expression etc. are agreed upon barriers as defined by different societies. Ideally all these rules are tested against a very simple standard: Are they making the survival of an individual, his family, his nation and all of humanity easier or more difficult? Unfortunately, sometimes the answers are very subjective and thus morality becomes arbitrary.

  30. 1) Do you think it is a fair comparison for humans to compare themselves to animals?

    2) Humans and animals have different abilities/faculties. We humans have a higher form of intelligence. Compare what a human does for society versus what an animal does? There are a lot of differences.

    2) In the animal kingdom, there are also examples of heroism, An animal helping, protecting, defending, even sacrificing themselves for their families and/or other animals. You even see animals do this for us humans. You hear stories about a dog saving a man’s life and the dog is labeled a hero. Say we believed a dog is not a hero when he does a heroic act, does that really mean he Is not a hero?

    3) If an animal kills another animal just because he wanted to (not for valid reasons like food, self-defense etc.), how do we know it is not murder? Just because we humans don’t believe it is, does it mean it really isn’t murder?
    Just because you believe something, doesn’t mean it is true and vice versa.

  31. Human beings have obviously been blessed with the ability to reason and create at a higher level. This is what separates us from animals. Morality being objective vs subjective can vary among many things but I believe there are universal truths, right and wrongs. Turn on jerry springer, or the steve wilkos or any other talk show and you can quickly see both subjective and objective truths. Cheating on your spouse, lying deceit, senseless violence will always cause a negative social effect. Integrity will always hold “True”
    when it comes to bringing positive things into your life. For the sake of social order look at a prison. We wouldn’t be able to free all the criminals because all moral law is subjective. We could but should we? I say NO. If you act like an animal you end up being controlled like one. If you act like a “human being” you end up being treated like one. What the exact definition of that is …is subjective but the result I believe is objective it will always happen everywhere regardless of race, color, gender or creed.

  32. Dear Steve,
    I think you are absolutely right, there is none. Right or wrong are as subjective concepts as is our morality. And lets be honest, not even all human societies on this planet have the same concept about the issues you mentioned.
    I think there is only one subjective reality: everything we do, think or say has a consequence of exactly the same charge we put into it.

  33. Dear Steve,

    This question is framed to solicit a “subjective” answer from your readers.
    It presupposes that since there is no definitive proof of God that everything must be mind-conceived thus, subjective.

    The definition of right or wrong in the “real world” varies; and is obviously preferred to be viewed as subjective. This way it mentally frees us from any metaphysical consequences leaving only human consequences (and those can be changed if it becomes the behavioral pattern of the majority – even if it is wrong). For instance, we see and many in the West tolerate the human rights abuses of people in third-world nations for the sake of profit-based morality (slave and child labor, sweat shops, etc). It is also morally acceptable and “progressive thinking” in fact to do business with oppressive brutal dictatorial governments that support our profit or political interests regardless of their human rights violations. We call this free-market economics and in the process rationalize and categorize their criminal deeds based on how they can add to our bank account growth. Morality in these scenarios is clearly subjective and supports your argument.

    As noted above, objective morality (and by that you mean God-given) obviously can’t be proven to the satisfaction of skeptics and therefore lacks the ability to be properly advocated. Even if someone tried, that person would be labeled as living in a theological non-progressive delusional state by those who oppose or are skeptical to his or her views, and the person’s argument would also be labeled as being “subjective!” But skeptic mentality is subjective as well. They may claim that they rely on science for their proof, but science is subject to errors, modifications and yes, moral manipulations. For instance, some prescription drugs years ago were certified by their manufacturers and the FDA as being “safe” but only after killing unsuspecting patients (and class-action lawsuits) did the truth come out that they knowingly manipulated their data. Hmm, I wonder why that happened? Subjective morality and reality? You bet!

    This question therefore (in my subjective and humble opinion), is one-sided. The question should be: Can you make an honest profit, live a proactive mentally tough world class life, realize your dreams and help others to do the same without doing harm to other people and their environment in the process? Now that’s loaded mentally tough question!


  34. Comparing humans to the animal world isn’t comparing at the same level. In the animal kingdom, we do not call an animal killing another animal murder, yet we do with humans.
    I believe we would have to agree that humans have a higher form of intelligence.
    I have yet to see the animal kingdom produce aircraft, spacecraft, a nuclear powerplant, a computer network, transatlantic communication, a grasshopper curing a skunk from cancer, etc etc. That higher form of cognitive ability comes with the ability to distinguish right from wrong. Hold on one second….humans, I believe, are inherently evil and we have to work each and every day to maintain a moral code of right vs wrong. Otherwise we would kill(ie murder) each other off, and nothing would be left BUT the animal kingdom.

    If we accept that there is no morality then we degrade to “just animals” and we would make ourselves extinct. Back in the feudal times we would just dominate those close by, and we would never have progressed as a society to what we have today. If we set aside all “right morality” today, mankind would nuke themselves into oblivion.

  35. We have created an Objective Moral Code — killing is wrong except in self-defense. We have a number of things that we have defined as wrong — by man made laws. The subjective morality comes in when peole introduce their own biases — be they right or wrong. Where we get into trouble is when certain people’s morality is very different than the norms (Madoff, some of the sub-prime stuff) and society has to either accept the variability, or enforce the laws. As one great professor I had said, “In order to have the most freedom, we must limit certain freedoms”.

  36. Hey, Steve! Thought-provoking video. Since I believe that God created the various species of animals and separately created man, I also believe that human beings, created in God’s image, have an innate sense of right and wrong, good and evil. That’s one of the main factors that separates man from beast and sets man above, and apart from, the rest of the animal world. It’s my view that the laws created by society simply codified what everyone already knew was unacceptable, and that was necessary because some people did (and still do) act in ways that everyone acknowledges are wrong, evil and unacceptable to society. In other words, a law didn’t have to be passed to make murder or stealing or adultery wrong. The law was made to punish people who chose to do those things. Of course, I certainly realize that if one holds the view that man is simply an animal who evolved from other species of animals, the viewpoint on this subject will be quite different. That’s just my opinion…the way I see it.


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