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Posted by Jessalyn (U15554590) on Sunday, 30th December 2012
My RS teacher loves giving us things to debate on...and he came up with a great one. Can Science ever answer a moral question in the way that Religion can? And he gave us the moral question, as that of is abortion right. I fought my side, but I am extremely curious if people think that Science can answer moral questions. Thanks all!
Posted by Fauzia (U15529174) on Wednesday, 2nd January 2013
That is a really good question I personally think Morality and science operate in very different ways. In science, our judgments are ultimately grounded in data; when it comes to values we have no such recourse. If I believe in the big-bang model and you believe in the steady-state cosmology, I can point to the successful predictions of the cosmic background radiation, light element nucleosynthesis, evolution of large-scale structure, and so on. Eventually you would either agree or be relegated to crackpot status. But what if I believe that the highest moral good is to be found in the autonomy of the individual, while you believe that the highest good is to maximize the utility of some societal group? What are the data we can point to in order to adjudicate this disagreement? We might use empirical means to measure whether one preference or the other leads to systems that give people more successful lives on some particular scale—but that’s presuming the answer, not deriving it. Who decides what is a successful life? It’s ultimately a personal choice, not an objective truth to be found simply by looking closely at the world. How are we to balance individual rights against the collective good? You can do all the experiments you like and never find an answer to that question.
Hope this helps you.
Posted by U15492444 (U15492444) on Friday, 4th January 2013
Many would argue that science cannot provide any input on morality because it simply deals in a soulless method of observation, hypothesis, experiment and verificiation/falsification. And clearly, there are more to humans than just processes of chemical reactions et cetera.
On the other hand, an extreme Darwinist may argue that all humans should follow some way of life (deeming it morally correct) because science has discovered that humans can strengthen or evolve quicker by adopting said way of life. Hitler's philosophy could be an example of this. His scientists, I think, claimed to have found that Jews, Slavs and the like were inferior thus it is 'morally correct' to extinguish them from the face of the planet.
Also, I believe, recalling a documentary I watched, that a scientist conjured an equation for altruism.
Posted by Han Ban (U14706661) on Wednesday, 9th January 2013
On the other hand, many scientists would argue that Hitler's scientists would have to produce scientific and reliable proof to support this argument. But even if they did, that does not make it acceptable to kill millions of people. In psychology we learnt that with science comes ethics, you can't abandon the rights people have over scientific discoveries. But I believe you are confusing science with scientists, scientists are every day people, often wanting to change the world for the better. Surely the elimination of small pox, cholera and the growing elimination of HIV show that scientists can do remarkable and amazing things? The very beginning of our lives start with vaccinations against diseases like small pox, mumps, etc that would have, once upon a time, been the end of us. Without science, half of our population would not be on this planet.
The computer I sit behind and write on, was scientifically and technologically developed. The food I ate for lunch was transported by a truck and grown by a farmer, just that simple sentence comes laden with the ability and power of science. The truck uses a cooling device to maintain the temperature and keep the food fresh; the farmer is quite possibly using the best way to grow food, like uses fertiliser and pesticides, perhaps even using a crop rotational system. Science is the reason why you and I are still alive, we have fresh food and I can type all this on my laptop. People seem to reject science as some form of evil, but they use the benefits of it daily and that's why I think science can be entirely compatible with religion. Because while it is important to keep old traditions and stories alive, it is advantageous to realise the great significance new technologies and science has.
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