Can science answer moral questions?

Discussion in 'Religion and Ethics' started by Lyte, Mar 22, 2011.

  1. Lyte
    Offline

    Lyte Member

    Joined:
    Mar 1, 2011
    Messages:
    76
    Thanks Received:
    10
    Trophy Points:
    6
    Location:
    Tampere, Finland
    Ratings:
    +10
    This is one of the TED talks which gave me a pause. I tend to believe what Sam Harris is saying here, that science not only can but it should start to answer these questions. Difficult questions of right and wrong can be examined scientifically and we can find a scientific answer to these questions which are hard to contest.
    [ame="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Hj9oB4zpHww"]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Hj9oB4zpHww[/ame]
     
    • Thank You! Thank You! x 1
  2. del
    Offline

    del BANNED

    Joined:
    Sep 3, 2008
    Messages:
    45,052
    Thanks Received:
    9,830
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Ratings:
    +9,885
    dipshit
     
    • Thank You! Thank You! x 1
  3. editec
    Offline

    editec Mr. Forgot-it-All

    Joined:
    Jun 5, 2008
    Messages:
    41,427
    Thanks Received:
    5,598
    Trophy Points:
    48
    Location:
    Maine
    Ratings:
    +5,618
    Sure it can, in some cases and it often has, too.

    Very few of us imagine that a mental illness is the result of demons.

    We have science to thank for that.

    When your appendix bursts, few of you are likely to appeal to a shamen to petition some spirit for relief.

    You can thank science for that.

    People do not often throw Virgins into volcanos to appease the volcano god.

    You have science to thank for that change in morals, too.

    Understanding the world (science of all kinds, including social sciences) helps mankind find new moral paths to creating better societies.

    Science is never, however, going to replace humanism as the ultimate souce of morality.

    All it can do is give us clues about how the world works, and we'll adjust out Moral POVs based on that.

    Science and religion are not necessarily at odds with each other.

    Some religious people might want to make the case that they are, but those people are mistaken.
     
    • Thank You! Thank You! x 1
  4. Newby
    Offline

    Newby Does it get any better? Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Jan 6, 2009
    Messages:
    9,094
    Thanks Received:
    1,577
    Trophy Points:
    190
    Ratings:
    +1,703
    Actually, in my experience, it's been just the opposite. It's atheists who like to claim that science disproves religion, and that there isn't any synergy between the two.
     
    • Thank You! Thank You! x 1
  5. Lyte
    Offline

    Lyte Member

    Joined:
    Mar 1, 2011
    Messages:
    76
    Thanks Received:
    10
    Trophy Points:
    6
    Location:
    Tampere, Finland
    Ratings:
    +10
    Actually Sam is making a case here that science can tell us what we ought to value not just help us understand the world better so we can make better judgement on the right course of action based on our religious or philosophical views. So he is making a case that science is the ultimate source of morality.
    Yes, even Sam Harris himself thinks that Science disproves religion, but this thread is not about the conflict between Atheists and Believers. I wan't to know what people think about the points Sam makes about how science can tell us what we ought to value.
     
  6. Gadawg73
    Offline

    Gadawg73 Gold Member

    Joined:
    Feb 22, 2009
    Messages:
    14,426
    Thanks Received:
    1,603
    Trophy Points:
    155
    Location:
    Georgia
    Ratings:
    +1,677
    Morals vary.
    Science doesn't.
     
  7. Lyte
    Offline

    Lyte Member

    Joined:
    Mar 1, 2011
    Messages:
    76
    Thanks Received:
    10
    Trophy Points:
    6
    Location:
    Tampere, Finland
    Ratings:
    +10
    Yes, that is his point.
     
  8. godspeaker
    Offline

    godspeaker BANNED

    Joined:
    Mar 22, 2011
    Messages:
    608
    Thanks Received:
    5
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Ratings:
    +5
    All things were created by God so good and evil came from God. God is the truth so he's all things but he's planning on destroying everything on this earth to get rid of good and evil. We will live according to the truth in the next age.
     
  9. Anachronism
    Offline

    Anachronism BANNED

    Joined:
    Jan 30, 2011
    Messages:
    2,655
    Thanks Received:
    231
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Location:
    New England
    Ratings:
    +231
    In that he is totally WRONG. Morality cannot be defined or codified by science because Morality is a mental/emotional/spiritual matter more than anything else.

    Now, what RESEARCH (not science) can do is to show us which cultures, societies, nations, and spiritual movements have been highly successful through the course of history and what morals, values, and ideals those groups all held in common. There is a lot more commonality of ideals than one might expect if one looks at the historical record. That commonality is what I refer to as Universal Morality, and while some of it has its roots in genetics and basic psychology/sociology, most of it is not something that science can derive in test tubes or beakers of boiling liquid over bunson burners.
     
  10. dilloduck
    Offline

    dilloduck Diamond Member

    Joined:
    May 8, 2004
    Messages:
    53,240
    Thanks Received:
    5,552
    Trophy Points:
    1,850
    Location:
    Austin, TX
    Ratings:
    +6,403
    "Green" now equals good--along with numerous other secular messages. If you are not green you are evil and judged to be a sinner.
     

Share This Page