Daniel Morgan said:
“That said, I don't think that any of us disagree that there are tenable positions where we start with basic human needs and say ‘we ought to do X...for the purpose of meeting human needs’, and allowing human needs (survival, food, shelter, clothing) to trump peripheral and tangential issues. This provides a frame of reference from which social contract, utilitarian, etc., ethics can be derived. The ‘common good’ can be defined in terms of basic human needs, and not human happiness, with much more objectivity than you'll admit.”
i) This begs the central question: is survival good? Is it good to supply human needs?
Even if you can objectively define human need, objective needs and objective values are not the same thing. All you’ve done, like so many others, it to reiterate the naturalistic fallacy along with the is-ought fallacy.
ii) But suppose, for the sake of argument, that we take the common good as our frame of reference. And let’s apply that to some specific examples:
a) Does evolutionary or utilitarian ethics justify equal rights? From a secular standpoint, why should someone with an IQ of 100 have the same rights as someone with an IQ of 140?
In a lifeboat scenario, doesn’t the smarter guy make a greater contribution to the common good?
Isn’t Bill Gates worth a lot more than the guy he employs—precisely because one Bill Gates is the source of employment for the many?
So do you believe in equal rights, or should we scrap that political dogma?
b) Should homosexuals enjoy civil rights? Aren’t they a burden on the common good? A drain on limited medical resources. Elevated rates of suicide and domestic violence, &c.
It’s not as if anal sex is the most efficient method of transmitting one’s smart genes to the next generation.
So, do you believe in homosexual rights? If so, what is your evolutionary or utilitarian justification?
c) What about women’s rights? If men generally excel women in math and the hard sciences, does that mean that men in general, are intellectually superior to women? Or, if not in general, that some men peak at a higher level than women?
If so, do you believe in equal rights for women? If so, what is your secular rationale?
“The responses that theists make to the Euthyphro Dilemma attempt to obscure the basic question: does an objective standard exist, are things good because they are, or not? Yes or no? You get into long and convoluted rabbit trails to evade the simple answer -- they must be, or else we lose all ability to use the word ‘good’ and ‘moral’, and might as well say ‘gwoeiewqnwo’. And if it is the case that they are NOT, then the question itself loses all meaning, and things just are as they are, without the ability to use reference to ‘good’ or ‘evil’.”
i) Notice that Danny is trying to take the easy way out: dismissing our arguments without having to engage our arguments.
He hasn’t shown where we go wrong.
ii) Since the Euthyphro dilemma is prejudicial in the way it frames the alternatives, we have every right to challenge the dilemma as a false dilemma.
Sometimes the first and best move is not to answer the question, but to question the question because the question is a loaded or leading question.