Science can determine human values

Cultural relativism has long been the accepted norm in academia, just as we can't discern the 'best' flavour of ice-cream, there can be no objective, scientific measure of culture and well-being. Recent claims however suggest that even though we can't detail the perfect culture, we can objectively measure better values than others within those cultures. Using 'happiness' indices, cross-referencing shows that nations with freedom of speech, high literacy rates, freedom of religion etc. tend to have 'happier' people and societies with lower rates of crime. Sam Harris proposes a moral landscape of this information, whereby cultures that cherish values at the peak of this landscape are shown to be quantifiably 'better', happier, more morally good places to live. If science can explain and determine values then that opens the door to improving people’s values like we do our health.

Science can determine human values
Yes because...

Science can measure and analyse the effect of certain moral behaviour on others.

Sam Harris

'Moral truth entirely depends on actual and potential changes in the well-being of conscious creatures. As such, there are things to be discovered about it through careful observation and honest reasoning .'

[[http://www.samharris.org/site/full_text/the-moral-landscape-q-a-with-sam-harris]]

Scientific analysis can identify the moral laws that bring about more overall happiness or more suffering than others. This means that we are able to know the truth about the effectiveness of those systems. The example of the Taliban, a group who use a moral system that is deemed to have failed:

Sam Harris

'The Taliban are a perfect example of a group of people who are struggling to build a society that is obviously less good than many of the other societies on offer. Afghan women have a 12% literacy rate and a life expectancy of 44 years. Afghanistan has nearly the highest maternal and infant mortality rates in the world. It also has one of the highest birthrates. Consequently, it is one of the best places on earth to watch women and infants die. And Afghanistan’s GDP is currently lower than the world’s average was in the year 1820.  It is safe to say that the optimal response to this dire situation—that is to say, the most moral response—is not to throw battery acid in the faces of little girls for the crime of learning to read'

[[http://www.samharris.org/site/full_text/the-moral-landscape-q-a-with-sam-harris]]

No because...

Is this really proof that a system has failed morally, or just that it has failed in several practical ways to hold together a nation and hasn't thought of a sensible way to solve the problems? A successful dictatorship can provide everyone with their basic needs, educate everyone and be successful financially but there would still be something morally reprehensible about it.

Science can determine human values
Yes because...

Science can produce practical solutions and propose new policies to improve overall happiness.

Morality suffers from vagueness when it comes to looking for practical solutions to moral problems. Either it is deemed taboo to make judgements about the moral codes of other societies because of extreme political correctness, or it is believed that because of the difficulty of the task and a lack of success so far, it is actually impossible to map a morality system using science.

http://www.samharris.org/site/full_text/the-moral-landscape-q-a-with-sam-harris/

'I think there are two primary reasons why scientists hesitate to do this. The first, and most defensible, is borne of their appreciation for how difficult it is to understand complex systems. Our investigation of the human mind is in its infancy, even after nearly two centuries of studying the brain. So scientists fear that answers to specific questions about human well-being may be very difficult to come by, and confidence on many points is surely premature. This is true. But, as I argue in my book, mistaking no answers in practice for no answers in principle is a huge mistake.
The second reason is that many scientists have been misled by a combination of bad philosophy and political correctness. This leads them to feel that the only intellectually defensible position to take when in the presence of moral disagreement is to consider all opinions equally valid or equally nonsensical. On one level, this is an understandable and even noble over-correction for our history of racism, ethnocentrism, and imperialism.  But it is an over-correction nonetheless. As I try to show in my book, it is not a sign of intolerance for us to notice that some cultures and sub-cultures do a terrible job of producing human lives worth living.'

Nothing can actually be done – no set of moral laws can be approved and made official - until there are at least some concrete solutions that are proven to work.

http://www.samharris.org/site/full_text/the-moral-landscape-q-a-with-sam-harris/

'Moral truth entirely depends on actual and potential changes in the well-being of conscious creatures. As such, there are things to be discovered about it through careful observation and honest reasoning. It seems to me that the only way we are going to build a global civilization based on shared values—allowing us to converge on the same political, economic, and environmental goals—is to admit that questions about right and wrong and good and evil have answers, in the same way the questions about human health do.'

No because...
Science can determine human values
No because...

Problems with the definitions of morality used.

http://www.samharris.org/site/full_text/the-moral-landscape-q-a-with-sam-harris/

'If there are more and less effective ways for us to seek happiness and to avoid misery in this world—and there clearly are—then there are right and wrong answers to questions of morality.'

Happiness doesn't necessarily equal morality. While happiness is a good gauge of morality – a society where people don't murder or rape each other and children are well treated would be one where people were happier – it doesn't follow that morality is happiness. A society where everyone abstains from immediate happiness and comfort because they are all sacrificing their worldly happiness for physical and mental improvement, so that they can be the best that they can be, or because they are all voluntarily expiating their sins so they will be reincarnated as something better, wouldn't be a morally bad society.

[http://www.samharris.org/site/full_text/the-moral-landscape-q-a-with-sam-harris/]'Positive social emotions like compassion and empathy are generally good for us, and we want to encourage them. But do we know how to most reliably raise children to care about the suffering of other people? I’m not sure we do. Are there genes that make certain people more compassionate than others? What social systems and institutions could maximize our sense of connectedness to the rest of humanity?'[/quote]

Community spirit and empathy with others doesn't equal morality either. If everyone empathised with everyone, there would be no complete innocents. Innocents play a great role in the spiritual welfare of communities. It could also destroy happiness, as we are worn down by always knowing the tragedies of others around the word. Forcing community spirit on others would be unethical if that person wants to be apart from the community because they are a natural loner and are avoiding a great stress, want to be reclusive so they can meditate, or just want to revise for their exams in peace.

Yes because...

We don't need a set of general moral values.Except when it comes to th law. In which case, the legal system should be scientifically reevaluated and revamped. However, certain sets of morals are only relevant on a personal level and should only be regulated and determined by individuals themselves. Situations/contexts are all-important when it comes to making crucial/critical moral decisions. The outcomes of more decisions are unknown and split second decisions rely primarily on your gut/conscience. [[nadia]]

Science can determine human values
No because...

Science can't produce faith.

Science can produce answers but it can never give us quite the motivation that faith does. To live a morally good live, even under adversity – to help others even when you are misunderstood and persecuted – requires enormous faith. Just because a respected scientist said that this is the best way isn't enough. Moral codes are something inspired in us by deities, our parents, our own experiences and flashes of insight and inspiration – the most powerful authorities. Apart from that, science is always up for debate and always being revised. Morals are supposed to be codes to live by, something that will take you through everything – they can't be under threat that they might be changed tomorrow! Science cannot equal faith because faith requires you to believe in something when you can't find evidence for it or prove it to be true, or even when it seems to go against logic.

Yes because...

On the other side of the same coin, science can be the voice of reason where faith often involves emotions that can be manipulated by confidence tricksters, or conditioning from an early age by bad parents or traditions that are followed blindly despite not being what is best for the community. Science can also be inspiring in itself. There is something solid about hard fact and flawless logic that can bolster a crumbling faith.

Science can determine human values
No because...

Science shouldn't be prescribing what we do.

Morality is by definition the law of what we, as people, should do. Other aspects of science are purely descriptive, not prescriptive – they may tell us what will and won't work if we try and build a machine or treat a patient but it doesn't tell us whether or not we should build the machine or treat the patient. There is no way that science can create moral laws without becoming a moral authority, and therefore directly dictating what we do. This will make it very difficult for science to be impartial in any other areas. If it was decided scientifically whether we should treat patients or not, could science be impartial enough to be trusted to produce new medicines and ways to treat patients?

Yes because...

[[http://www.samharris.org/site/full_text/the-moral-landscape-q-a-with-sam-harris/]'Positive]]
Then what should prescribe what we do? human beings are impressionable social animals, we organize ourselves in herds and packs hen allow ourselves to be lead. Crowd behavior patterns are remarkably predictable. It is because we are predictable and easy to dictate(either openly or covertly, in the end; most of what we think and do was inculcated and assimilated into us by external sources and in a forever symbiotic setting.
It is better that we ruled by generally understand and accepted science rather than the drone of influential self-interested individuals(mostly celebrities) who lead us astray from a fulfilling lifetime. [[nadia]]

Science can determine human values
No because...

Science can't have a spiritual aspect.

'http://www.samharris.org/site/full_text/the-moral-landscape-q-a-with-sam-harris/

Religious ideas about good and evil tend to focus on how to achieve well-being in the next life, and this makes them terrible guides to securing it in this one'

This makes a massive assumption that happiness in this life can be divorced from happiness in the next, and from the spiritual dimension of the world and other planes of existence than the mundane. To a strongly religious person, it can't – the spiritual is ingrained in everything they do. These are problems that are real to them and need to be dealt with, a system of morality that ignores such things is only half complete. Avoiding the question of someone's spiritual health would be like looking at only physical well-being and not mental health. Science can't deal with these aspects of moral life because spiritual phenomena can't be scientifically tested.

Yes because...

It is said nowhere that science can't work in conjunction with other authorities, including religious authorities, to produce an overall plan for morality. A scientific council would provide an ideal environment for differing religions to meet on common grounds when otherwise they would not meet to discuss their differences.

Science can determine human values
No because...

Science is too tied in with corporations.

Scientific institutions are largely sponsored by drugs corporations, Government or military bodies that do not have the world's moral interests at heart. There are already incidents of cures for cancer not being researched further because another corporation has already patented it so you can't make money from it – this isn't the same corporation that you want making your moral decisions.
A project such as the 'morality drug' (http://www.guardian.co.uk/science/2011/apr/04/morality-drugs-improve-ethical-behaviour) sounds repulsive to us, among other reasons, because it is so easy to get into the hands of a corporation or Government that wants a nation of addicts who are easy to control.

Yes because...

corporations already dictate our lifestyles and beliefs
(consumerism, advertising, social media...)

Allowing corporations to defend and monitor their critical and all-influencing rhetoric with scientific calculations of benefit to the exposed planet, will help us all. Scientifically determining what to and what not to advertise for the benefit of all human beings, will be better than deciding what to advertise on the basis of tastes, wants and primarily boosting sales.

Also data will be much more transparent and accurate if it is accessible to all(as perceptions of morality are. [[nadia]]

Science can determine human values
No because...

answer to yes point posted twice "Science can produce...

Quantitative vs Qualitative. Science can help measure quantity but not quality, this applies to the quantity of joy as well.

Science cannot tell people whether to prefer quality over quantity or vice versa. Ultimately as Max Weber noted: Value freedom can never be achieved.

Science is not a perfect/exact science. Different scientists will/do come from different schools of thought and present theories that contradict each other. In fact Karl Popper made it so that no rule can be accepted without the provision of exceptions. Introducing science into morality will further complicate an already complex belief system that is supposedly accessible to the masses.

Morality is a personal thing, different people have different perceptions of morality no scientific dictum can alter that. [[nadia]]

Yes because...

Science is largely precise. The things in science that are disputed need not be used to decide what is moral. But what is accepted unanimously must to delivered and used to the benefit of all, not just members of an exclusive scientific community/intelligentsia. [[nadia]]

Science can determine human values
No because...

why will science reproduce faithc can they see peoples Heart. they all liars telling u that sceince can reproduce faith

its true they said "science should not be trusted cos they don"t understand peoples mind . They just wants to be like God

Yes because...


Science can determine human values

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