Science and morality

The science of morality is interpreted by empirical findings based on the senses, and is in effect linked to the scientific method in where observation and experimentation to acquire knowledge, to form an understanding of the subject is in play. Many sceptics claim that science doesn’t have the means to determine what can be moral or immoral, but observable facts are reached by using the scientific method, yet the whole concept of morality is about well-being and living a virtuous life, yet what’s good for one person could be detrimental to another.

So can science actually determine morality? Science attempts to be objective, and reach a conclusion based on reason, reality and facts gathered from evidence. Two of the biggest questions in philosophy and science are; who are we? Where did we come from? Many people of faith believe that we are here because we are made in the image of god, and were placed on Earth to rule a dominion over other life forms, and with us being in God’s image we have a morality giver. Yet this is purely speculative, without justification and is subjective to the religion a person puts their faith into. For something to be universally moral, it has to be based on facts or how else can it be agreed upon?

“Psychological and neuroscience research both tell us that morality, our mental ability to tell right from wrong in our behaviors and the behaviors of others, is a product of evolution. Morality has been passed on through the course of evolution because it helps us to live in large social groups by enhancing our ability to get along and interact with others. – Source

So using that standard, religion can not be moral. Morality is in two parts and the first part is how you act and the more empathy, compassion and humility you use, then the greater the chances are you’ll do something for the greater good that’s beneficial to others; and the second part is how your actions make you feel, and if you do something bad, you feel guilt, resentment or remorse, then it’s likely that if put in that same situation again you’ll try and change your ways for the greater good. Is having expectations supplied by a god, who doesn’t want you to worship anyone but them, being moral or is it just being obedient and following the rules? Morality is about being about to distinguish between good and bad, wrong or right. Being moral is about trying to work for the betterment of all, not just the ones who are part of your elite club..

“Morality must relate, at some level, to the well-being of conscious creatures. 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” – Sam Harris

Very often a person’s view of morality is derived from cultural traits and expectations, and people are conditioned socially to act in a certain way that doesn’t infringe the rights of other sentient beings. Many philosophers arrive that morality is inherent from birth, and to be socially accepted into a pack, then we must adhere to standard or principles to maintain an equilibrium so we can multiply as a species. Whilst science can’t directly determine what’s moral and what’s immoral, it can certainly study empirical evidence to determine if an action is going to constitute in the well-being of others, and what can be done to reduce suffering of the majority. So science can determine what’s true, but not what’s right. Yet, by using the scientific method we can reach moral conclusions. Take murder as an example. To take another person’s life is an infringement on their rights as a human, and it causes suffering to the victim and those close to them. But if you had a choice to save 100 people and let one die, would that judgement be a moral one, as the decision was for greater good, or is it a decision that can’t have any moral implications as a choice had to be made or everyone would die.

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