Perhaps the biggest red-herring in mankind’s history has been the quest for the false grail of Absolute Ethics, the idea that there is an Absolute Shouldness Scale, and that if we could consult the scale we would know for sure whether we “should” do X or “should” do Y or “should not” do Z.
Well, there isn’t. At least, no-one has ever found one, nor has anyone produced a coherent account of how such a scale could have arisen or even what it would mean. While some might want to regard “shouldness” as one of the fundamental properties of the universe, along with gravitational mass or electric charge, they have produced no good reason for so thinking.
Thus there is nothing Absolute about our moral senses, they are cobbled together to be effective enough for the job, in the same way that our livers, lungs, immune systems and visual systems have been cobbled together as effective enough to do their job. Further, we do not need an Absolute ethical system, any more than we need an Absolute immune system or an Absolute liver; a functional one is quite sufficient.
The commonest attempt to establish an Absolute Shouldness Scale is to embody it in a god: “It is right because my god says so”. Since our moral senses are human moral senses, it makes sense to try to embody them in an Absolute version of a human, imagining God in man’s own image, as a idealised tribal patriarch. By doing so one can ignore the reality — that religions get their morality from people — and claim instead that people get their morality from religion.
Unfortunately, any attempt at establishing Divine Ethics suffers from fatal flaws, the most blatant being that there is no evidence for any such divine being. Equally problematic is that it doesn’t actually explain morality. Just saying “it’s a property of god” is not an explanation, it is accepting morality without explanation. By contrast, an emergence of morality in social animals, as evolutionary programming to facilitate cooperation, explains what morality is and where it comes from.