Sociology Science And Ethical Judgement

Discussion in 'Sociology' started by amantine, Oct 27, 2004.

  1. amantine

    amantine Premium Member

    I would to bring to your attention the follwong article: Can the Sciences Help Us to Make Wise Ethical Judgments? by Paul Kurtz. Do you agree with his ideas?

  2. Zsandmann

    Zsandmann Premium Member

    I concur with the statements of the author. Science is that broad foundation on which we build our society, knowledge, wisdom, and in actuality, our theology. Religion without science is nothing more than idealistic mythology. I hold to the integration of religion and science. The two intertwine and create the world as we view it. To one man who is a creationist, anti-darwinian, and sticks stricktly to the Ten Commandments, we are all inherently evil. We are the sum of our sins, the good points matter not unless we beg forgiveness. To a man who is an atheist, pro-Darwinian, we are all just blood and guts. We are here now, nothing matters. It doesnt matter if you climb Mt. Everest, cure cancer, or go on a killing spree, once you are gone there is nothing left to worry about. I am a man in between. I see the flowers, mountains, the granite precipice and I see a grand design. I see stem cell research, genetics, politics, violence. I see a dynamic world where every persons opinions combine to create this existance. Science is the set of laws that set the boundaries for the system.

    I would like to hear what others think.
  3. bluesunday

    bluesunday New Member

  4. tablet

    tablet Premium Member

    As we move out with science and try to understand the universe, life becomes more and more meaningless. Just by looking at the image Bluesunday posted, that's the feeling I got.
  5. junior_smith

    junior_smith Premium Member

    to play devils advocate, what happens when we know everything ( and plz dont say, we wil never know everything)
  6. tablet

    tablet Premium Member

    There's no accurate answer to that one. This is a dream question. What will you do once you win a lottery? Will winning a lottery makes life easier or worse? I've heard both side - very interesting.

    I think the question should be "Will we ever know everything there is to know?" Then we can carry on to "What happen to us when we know everything?".

    IF we know everything, then we've become an Omniscience. IF we believe that oneday we can become an Omiscience, then we should believe that there is already one - GOD.

    What does GOD do?

    To be honest, we will never find the answer. Hey! I'm just being honest :lol:
  7. amantine

    amantine Premium Member

    I'm going to quote Wittgenstein on this and let you make your own decision if you agree with him (in German and English):

    I myself am not sure if everything can be known. Science seems to indicate that you can never known something exactly and that you can't reliably use the bad information that you have to predict the future.
  8. tablet

    tablet Premium Member

    Ok. I just figured it out. If we know everything there is to know, the last thing we would do is world domination!! :) :bounce:
  9. tablet

    tablet Premium Member

    No. We will never know everything there is to know because the more we know the more there is to know.
  10. Bleys

    Bleys Phoenix Takes Flight Staff Member

    May I also play devils advocate. While I agree with the sentiments of the author those feelings do not take into account those who seek to bastardize or warp such knowledge.

    For every great technology, invention or breakthrough we should never underestimate the desire to use it in a destructive manner. Take hybridization or genetic engineering - the benefits are infinite. Yet already there are agriculture firms who are producing seeds that do not germinate - why? To ensure the Farmer Brown has to return to them each year for new seed.

    Wouldn't it be wonderful if every scientific endeavor was conducted with the single goal to benefit humanity?

  11. SubVolitional

    SubVolitional Member

    There will always be debate on the subject of ethics for the simple reason that people are divided. The battle between evolution and creationism doesn't focus on but directly affects how people interact with each other. For a creationist, ethics are a predetermined set of rules that have been passed on from generation to generation, while evolutionists, I would venture to say, have a more varied and liberal sense of responsibility. Science is a vital part of decision making precisely for the reason that it continually provides more information by which to weigh the options, however having all the information in the world is kind of a moot point if the person on the other side of the fence is resistent to an unbiased communication.
  12. masqua

    masqua Member

    In our search to answer theological questions through scientific method and logic, we fall into the trap of generalization.

    The two, theology and science, are totally seperated and cannot be joined as one.

    Just as our body and soul are presumed to co-exist in the universe, one is visible and measurable, the other entirely not.
    Also, I might look at you and see a human, but my perception is based solely on my senses and is not verifyable for the simple reason that our senses can be fooled, much like a mirage in the desert. Actual proof of existance is a debate that will go on indefinately, I'm afraid.

    To augment my point, I defy anyone to prove to me that the universe, and all it encompasses, is not a dream.

    Furthermore, in the same way, prove to me that the soul is not the true form of a human and that our corporeal being is less so.

    On is a cold calculating way to decide what is ethical and what is not. Nature, on it's own, is cruel and has no feelings for the weak and defenseless...they just perish.
    For instance, as a scientist, I would say that we need to destroy at least 75% of the human race in order to be assured of finishing the next 100 years without starving or ruining our environment.
    Like Solomons decree to 'cut the baby in half' so that both protaganists may have the child is a fine example of that 'scientific method.

    Ethics are based on 'what feels right' and can change in all kinds of situations. An example of that would be the decision made by a family of Inuit to allow the death of some-one incapable of chewing. The choice is obvious...shall that person starve slowly or is a quick merciful death preferable?

    In a cannabalistic society, thier ethics are quite comfortable with raids and slaughter of neighbouring humans.

    In #@!&% Germany, ethics were changed to accomodate the wholesale slaughter of any who did not conform to their idea of a perfect race. Eugenics were an American idea based on the same principle. Many potential mothers were sterilized to attempt a race with fewer occurances of developmentally challenged babies.

    We hold our ethics high, thinking ourselves a 'just society' here in the West, and yet fail miserably when confronted by difficult situations. An example of that would be the slow acceptance of 'doctor assisted' suicide for those who have no hope of recovery. This is a personal observation because I have seen my father painfully waste away with cancer over a seven year period and resolve not to go through that myself. I will go to Holland and take the humane way out when all hope is lost, finding solace in the fact that my family will not have to experience the same horror.

    Ethics and morality, then, in my opinion, depend entirely on prevailing situations and have nothing to do with the scientific method.
  13. amantine

    amantine Premium Member

    I thought about this as well and the conclusion I reached is that it doesn't matter. You can't find out and it doesn't influence your life in this world, whether it's a dream or not, in any way.

    Maybe we should simply remove the idea of 'world' and replace it with a new concept I like to call 'topos', the 'place' in which your experiences occur. I would already have been in different topoi, the most important this world and of lesser importance the topoi of my imagination and dreams. Because in the most clear topos there are beings similar to me and because it is the most logical and consistent topos, I decide that that topos is probably the world.

    I think you misunderstood the author. To me, he seems to argue that we should set certain moral goals, like limiting suffering, promoting happiness and sustainability of humanity. I agree that these goals can't be found out by science and I don't think the author claims that they can.

    The scientific method should be used to determine what moral prescriptions actually helps us reach those goals. It should also be used to look critically at our moral goals. Are those goals internally consistent? Are there maybe better goals?

    What I think the author means to say, is that the current moral rules are based to much on rules set by religion. We don't think critically about these rules and it is sometimes clear that the rules don't promote happiness.

    I think the goals-based approach to morals is better than the rules-based approach to morals. What use are rules if they are not made to reach a certain goal?

    I think you'll be nice addition to this forum, masqua.
  14. junior_smith

    junior_smith Premium Member

    I watched a show tonight, that was about what we still dont know, and the scientests disvoered something about the creation of the universe, and it had to do with the fact that if the universe was off by one trillion, trillion trillion . . degrees then we would be unable to create planets, life and then evolve, so it pretty much suggests that there wasa creator of some sort, but scientests were so unhappy about that, because a lot of theoretical physicsts are so anti god that they came up with multiverses and stuff, just because they couldn't acknowledge the possibility of a god,

    and made me think that scientists are so biased in therir judgements that they are no different than religious fanatics , and are not willing to accept any other way,
    so the answer to your question is , i dont think science is ethical
  15. amantine

    amantine Premium Member

    Well, junior_smith, think about this question: If the universe was not suited for life for some reason, would we be here to see that? Of course you're going to find a universe finetuned for life, otherwise you wouldn't be there to see it!

    Scientists are against god in science (not against god in their personal lives) for a good reason: god can be used to explain anything, even contradicting statements. A god can't be falsified and can't be used to make predictions. You can only say afterwards: "Well, for some reason god did it that way and not another way." Gods are kept out of science, because they don't belong there.