As written this question seems to only makes sense if we first assume there is an absolute system of ethics that is somehow etched into the very fabric of the universe, but that view appears contrary to what we have learned about ourselves, the way we interact and the reason we interact through the physical sciences.
what I was geting at was this, suppose that there are an equal amount of each side. schizophrenics vs non-schizophrenics, assuming that it is not possible to live cherently together, who then has the right to subdue the other.
I would thus answer as i did before that the only people who have a concept of "right" would be the non-schizophrenics and thus they consider themselves "right" to do so. I also consider them "right" because i think the least amount of total harm occurs that way.
I personally don't buy into justice in the "an eye for eye, a tooth for a tooth" sense.
Basically you can say that my arguement comes down to this. What is justice and where does it come form. Why do we adhere to it so strongly and what makes us think that one thing is neccesarily better than another.
However that concept is fairly common and i would answer that it stems from both social and biological evolution, it emerges out of our ability to feel compassion for those who suffer, but also anger at others who cause us harm, or (through empathy) cause others harm, since society needs laws to function and the concept of justice is one that can be used to justify those laws, it was/is used in that mannor and hence its psychological/neurological basis is reinforced through social imprinting.
Well it could be that evolution fashioned us with a universal system of ethics, so in a sense the two are not necessarily incompatable, but infact it is clear as Zach points out, that, that is not the case, whilst (as i mentioned before) there are similarities in core principles there are also variations, resulting in great debate over ethics, abortion, euthanasia, animal research, the degree of punishment a particular crime warrants, etc. etc.
Your arguement about similar ethics through diversity of ethical groundworks points more towards absolute morals than evolved (to me anyway).
Well evolutionary psychology is able to provide various hypothesise explaining why altruism in the form you suggest exists, but there is undoubtedly a social/cultural component, evolution of memes rather than genes. Pulling together the exact evolutionary history of a set of genes is to all extenses and purposes impossible, doing the same for memes is even harder (there is argument over whether the term "memes" is really suitable, but whether or not Darwinian ideas can be applied, clearly cultural behaviour does change and in a mannor that is not straight forward).
and the idea of ethics as a conduct for existing with others falls short when the issue at hand does not relate to existance and do not in any way help us (such as putting ourselves in certain danger to help some else we do not know).
I should point out that the question you seem to be asking, is a factual question, a question that can only be answered through rational means, through examination of the evidence, putting forward ideas and testing those ideas, ie. through science.
But you see evolution is not so simple, undoubtedly there is no "save the old man" gene, so then question is: What kind of genes are there? What kind of behaviour can we attribute to genes? The answer would seem to be more on the "generic" rather than the "specific" side, furthermore in terms of behaviour genes do not seem to be determinstic but rather they provide a bias one way or the other (to greater or lesser extremes)
It falls even shorter when we try and explain actions that go against our natural insticts. It would not help us to survive to save the old man, who you did not know and perhaps is dead already, who is floating face-down in a river that has very strong currents and a high fatality rate.
Genes that will bias us towards avoiding harming ourselves are easy to understand, so what about genes that will bias us towards helping others? Well as i said earlier one can explain these genes in terms of the benefit of cooperating.
Who we are is determined not only by our genes but also by the sum of our environmental interactions, if as an individual is brought up it is constantly stressed to him/her that we should always strive to help others you would expect that individual would have his bias towards altruisitic behaviour increased, likewise the reverse is also true.
Our final actions will obviously be dependent on who we are but will also invariable involve a large throw of the dice.
Well i think I have provided some of the reasoning involved in answering that question, but i think your line of reasoning is self-defeating anyway, what would possess us to do something "honourable" if "honour" did exist? What does is actually mean to say "honour" "exists", anyway?
What would posses us to do something "honorable" if honor did not exist? what would be the point in serving justice if there were no justice? Why do we exalt such actions if and when we dicredit them?
Given that our behaviour appears to be governed by the physical makeup of our brain, by neurones built from a DNA template and connected to each other based on that template and numerous environmental interactions how is an absolute code that somehow "exists" of itself going to be involved?
The fundamental neurology that allows ethics to exist may have evolved because it benefits the individual to exist within a society (notice thats quite different to the "benefit of society") but it does not follow that everything that we reason out as a benefit to social cohesion is necessarily ethical. Evolution is slow:
What I see in a lot of people is that they do no hold themselves to the ethical world they believe in. We cannot say justice if there is no justice, we cannot say wrong if there is no right. If we claim that our actions are only moral if they better society (or not harm it) than all actions that better society should be good, and all actions that don't, not. This does not seem to be. If I kill a known serial killer who has terrized several cities I will be arrested for it. If I attempt to euthanize our elderly (because of social ramifications that would benift society) I am branded a horible person. How can that be if ethics are truly for the betterment of society?
Evolution fashioned us with a liking for sugary foods, because 10,000 years ago they were rare and nutrionally very usefull, but for quite a few people today that is a disadvantage it now means that in environments where sugar is plentiful populations are becoming obese and their health suffering: Liking sugar evolved to benefit us, and yet now it harms us, and STILL we like sugar.
We haven't stopped liking sugar, our ability to reason out that it harms us makes no difference.
Likewise evolution may have fashioned us with a neurology that underlies ethics because doing so benefits us through enhanced social cohesion but that doesn't mean that if we reason out that X enhances social cohesion, it will necessarily feel ethical.
On the hand it must be stressed that ethics is not _just_ genes, there is our cultural environment enhancing or reducing certain aspects of our ethics, and there is a theoretical side which (as mentioned before) i don't think forms the real basis for the "core" of ethics but undoubtedly it becomes important when new situations arise, or when more complex issues are involved (e.g. abortion, animal experimentation, etc.)