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  1. #1
    Ginkgo
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    Default Scientific Laws vs. Human Laws

    I think many societies, particularly in the western world, are attempting to use the scientific method to extricate moral dillemas, such as the issue of abortion, the way we inform our students, and the way we regard human affairs in general. I recently read a quote from Noam Chomsky that got my head turning:

    "Science talks about very simple things, and asks hard questions about them. As soon as things become too complex, science can’t deal with them... But it’s a complicated matter: Science studies what’s at the edge of understanding, and what’s at the edge of understanding is usually fairly simple. And it rarely reaches human affairs. Human affairs are way too complicated."

    Should science be merged with human ethics and affairs?

  2. #2
    desert pelican Owl's Avatar
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    Yes, but science shouldn't overstep its bounds. Scientific reasoning can be very powerful, and in the absence any contradictory conclusions arrived at by a more powerful form of reasoning, (e.g., conclusions arrived at by deductive reasoning stemming from transcendent first principles), the conclusions of science ought to be accepted upon pain of irrationality.

  3. #3
    & Badger, Ratty and Toad Mole's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tater Typhoon View Post
    Should science be merged with human ethics and affairs?
    Well, Sam Harris thinks so and is trying to address ethics with neurology.

    However scientific laws and human laws are apples and oranges.

    Scientific laws are factual while human laws are the way we organise society.

    The problem is semantic and in common parlance we use the word 'law' to describe both scientific fact and the ordering of society.

    This only confuses us as scientific laws and human laws are apples and oranges and can't be usefully compared in the normal course of events.

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    Senior Member matmos's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tater Typhoon View Post
    Scientific Laws vs. Human Laws
    Which specific scientific laws?

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    Senior Member Survive & Stay Free's Avatar
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    I think this may be a false dichotomy but on the other hand I think that the science should serve humanity and is a bad master.

    The holocaust was scientific but inhuman, if science illuminates ethical questions and provides insight for more humane practices it is good.

  6. #6
    Sniffles
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    It's largely a result of positivist thinking upon modern discourse.

  7. #7
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    The scientific method is the most reliable technique for revealing the truth. No other method has a comparable track record. What better method is there for resolving moral issues?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Not_Me View Post
    The scientific method is the most reliable technique for revealing the truth. No other method has a comparable track record. What better method is there for resolving moral issues?
    Yes, the scientific method is an extraordinary invention. But scientific truth is provisional, while religious Truth is certain.

  9. #9
    Ginkgo
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    Right, so I guess my question is - is positivist thinking generally better than anti-positivist thinking? I can't tell, because it would seem that human nature controls us under both circumstances. We still see sociological implications in believing metaphysics that would otherwise be found in empiricism. Or not?

    For instance, let's say a "holy war" breaks out. Is it really holy, or is it for land, resources, and other material things?

  10. #10
    Per Ardua Metamorphosis's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tater Typhoon View Post
    Should science be merged with human ethics and affairs?
    Of course.

    Why should we only use science to question the how and not the why?

    There is a reason for morals and why opinions on them differ among different people.

    How is saying that it's not the place of science to delve into moral, human, affairs any different than those who said it wasn't the place of science to question the church in the past? I think that people are afraid of what they will discover about the nature of right and wrong. It's much easier when you can make moral decisions on a whim with ultimate confidence because of your feelings. When you don't have to question anything, especially yourself.

    How could we not devote everything we have to understand something so important?




    The book Starship Troopers actually has an interesting perspective on this issue, with morality being taught in schools scientifically, the how with the why.
    "You will always be fond of me. I represent to you all the sins you never had the courage to commit."

    Reason is, and ought only to be the slave of the passions, and can never pretend to any other office
    than to serve and obey them. - David Hume

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