Science and morality
“If I think I can figure it out, is that curiosity, or arrogance?” – Topher Brink
New Scientist has recently published a trifecta of excellent articles on the subject of science and morality/ethics.
Recently, Andrew Sullivan posted what I recall as a reader dissent that expressed skepticism about the prospect of neuroscience being able to provide any kind of ethical/moral framework. Considering that it’s such a new field and so little of it is understood, they argued, it seemed unlikely that it would ever provide a sufficient methodology. Yes, this segued into religious apologia, but I don’t really consider that relevant, here.
What matters is that whatever framework we derive our morals from, the act of adopting them at all is a value judgment; it is a conscious decision to accept a given choice as the “right” one. Conversely, it stands to reason that the better we understand how we come by these decisions and the more we know about making them, the more likely these choices are to be correct.
Yet the strength of our convictions is determined not by the effort we’ve invested in developing them, but how much faith we have in the source they derive from. Irony being, that source is ultimately ourselves.