Science and Morality Science and the Concepts Essay

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Science and Morality

Science and the Concepts of "Right" and "Wrong"

Many people argue that moral concepts allowing us to distinguish between right and wrong come from religion, humanities, philosophy, law, and ethics -- but not science. Science, they argue, does not deal with morality because it does not make any value judgment. According to them, science can only tell what is possible but not what is right or wrong. And even some scientists hold on to this position. For example, in an essay critiquing the concept of "scientific morality," Sean Carroll, a theoretic physicist, argues that you cannot derive "ought" from "is" because "science deals with empirical reality -- with what happens in the world, i.e. what 'is,'" and that is it (Carroll). But I argue here that science indeed can help us make wise and moral judgments because it forces us to accept facts and reality rather than assumptions and unsubstantiated beliefs.

By forcing us to use our brain in
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a rational manner and making us accept only facts, evidences, and proofs, science helps us make the right decisions and choices. Consider, for example, such morally problematic things as racism, ethnocentrism, bigotry, stereotyping, sexism, and homophobia. All of these are based on irrational and unscientific thinking. A true scientist cannot be a racist because he does not accept the belief that one race is biologically superior or inferior since there is no scientific proof to that. Likewise, a true scientist cannot stereotype, nor can he generalize about all men or all women because it is against basic principles of science; that one cannot accept an assertion or a claim unless there is verifiable, undeniable evidence to prove it. It is true that there was "scientific racism" in Nazi Germany and "scientific sexism" in early twentieth century, but those practices were results of poor application of scientific thinking rather than science itself.

As one philosopher noted, science is engaged in a struggle to replace persuasion with demonstration, and this is an important distinction. "Persuasion, a…

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Works Cited

Carroll, Shawn. "Science and Morality: You Can't Derive 'Ought' From 'Is.'" NPR Station. 4 May 2010. Web. 30 Oct. 2011 <>

Kurtz, Paul. "Can the Sciences Help Us to Make Wise Ethical Judgments?" Skeptical Inquirer, 28.5 (Sep/Oct 2004). Web. 30 Oct. 2011 <>

Partridge, Ernest. "On 'Scientific Morality.'" The Online Gadfly, n.d. Web. 30 Oct. 2011 <>

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