I was on another website discussing Humanism, and someone posted this:

A moral question I'd like to ask humanists (who I think are really just in-the-closet Christians). If you start with the axiom "all humans have the same value"... What conclusions do you arrive at in practical scenario?

Example: if a boat is sinking, who should go first to the life boats?
1. random order (all are equal in all situations)
2. women and children (old gender prejudice)
3. the most moral of the people (all are equal, but the moral ones will contribute to more well-being, and so save more people e.g. more worth by their survival)

Now, aside from this guy claiming that I was an "in-the-closet Christian" (which I am not in any way), his question stumped me for a little bit. Upon further consideration, I gave the answer: "I would allow the women, children and aged to go before me, but I would let others make their own decisions regarding whether or not to be self sacrificing."

This is my first reaction, so I went with my instinct, but I'm not sure how it matches up against the ideals of Humanism. I'm still in the stage of studying Humanism, although I feel like I know enough to identify as a Humanist. So, I'd just like the opinions of other people here.


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"The most moral of the people" by making this distinction you are negating the statement,

"all humans have the same value." This is clearly an untrue statement, but it makes you feel warm inside doesn't it? Also who would decide who is the most 'moral' and what would the criteria be... volunteer hours? Now I would like to add a #4 to that list - those most likely to survive, with the greatest strength (in every sort of way) and most useful skills, especially teamwork.


I would then be stuck between choice 1 and 4... but I think #1 is the one, why? If a boat is sinking I don't think you would have time to fuss over who is most deserving of a place on a lifeboat.


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