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Science linked to morality

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  • The Scientist Provo, UT
    Oct. 10, 2013 9:21 p.m.

    Well, of course. This is patently obvious.

  • Fred T PHOENIX, AZ
    Oct. 11, 2013 6:03 a.m.

    This is really 'moral relativism' when scientifically applied with no God based moral standards.
    The 'morality' will ebb and flow with the changing winds of modern life.
    Sounds nice though...

  • Ranch Here, UT
    Oct. 11, 2013 6:44 a.m.

    Oh no!! Religions isn't the source of all things moral? Woe is me, woe is me!

  • george of the jungle goshen, UT
    Oct. 11, 2013 7:20 a.m.

    When a person learns how to think in staid of what to think morality will be lost with the books you read and the people you are with.

  • Hank Pym SLC, UT
    Oct. 11, 2013 8:05 a.m.

    A high degree of correlation between Science & morality is due to Critical thinking and deductive reasoning.

  • Mister J Salt Lake City, UT
    Oct. 11, 2013 8:10 a.m.

    "Morality is doing what is right regardless of what you are told. Religion is doing what you are told regardless of what is right." -- Anonymous

    "...role of religious moral imperatives... emerged only as an addition to our natural instincts for cooperation and empathy." - Bonobo and the Atheist by Frans De Waal

  • Tyler D Meridian, ID
    Oct. 11, 2013 8:23 a.m.

    @Fred T – “This is really 'moral relativism' when scientifically applied with no God based moral standards.”

    It’s simply not the case that without a belief in God all morality will be relative (which I take you to mean no more solid than whims or popular attitudes).

    Objective morality is based on reason, sympathy and our evolved capacity for empathy, and is grounded in human well-being (and conversely, not causing meaningless suffering). And there have been objective ethical schools of thought throughout history that do not rely on a belief in a celestial “law giver” – see Buddha, Confucius, Aristotle, the Stoics, Spinoza, Hume, Kant, JS Mill, and in recent times folks like (the dubious) Ayn Rand, Peter Singer, Michael Martin, and Sam Harris.

    Conversely, if you still believe God (the Bible) is our only source of absolute morality I would urge you to read the book again – the Bible is full of moral relativism. As one of many examples: Slavery – bad when the Egyptians were doing it to the Israelites, not so bad when the Israelites were later doing it to all of their neighbors.

  • Contrariusier mid-state, TN
    Oct. 11, 2013 11:10 a.m.

    I can't resist pointing out here that all morality is relative. Yes, even the Ten Commandments

    No graven images -- unless you're a religious artist.
    Remember the sabbath -- even Jesus himself said this one was relative.
    Honor your parents -- what if your father is a murderer? Should you still honor him?
    Don't kill -- unless you support the death penalty. Unless you're killing in self-defense. Unless you want to start a war with another country.
    No adultery -- What's your definition of "adultery"? According to the Bible, a man who divorces and remarries is an adulterer.
    Don't steal -- Taxes, anyone?
    False witness -- No, honey, of COURSE those pants don't make your butt look fat.
    Don't covet -- Please, a large part of our society is devoted to "keeping up with the Joneses". Ambition is seen as a GOOD thing.

    Somebody please tell me -- where is all this NON-relative morality that people keep talking about??

  • Gildas LOGAN, UT
    Oct. 11, 2013 12:04 p.m.

    This article is sparse on details of the study, so apparently comes to some unjustified conclusions.

    The problem appears to be that there are far too many variables, when it comes to the study of people, to arrive at any reliable, tidy little theory. Hence sociology, for example, cannot be an "exact science" and arguably not a science at all. There are other fields, of course, regarded as pseudo-scientific and yet great "faith" is placed in them.

    I think that some "comments" here are based on just such a neat division of people into scientific and religious. That doesn't work with some of history's best scientists, modern and earlier scientists; I did a study on this and found it to be instructive.

    My own observation tends to confirm one of this study's findings, though: the difference between "religious" and "scientific" people is connected with whether one has faith, primarily, in God or in man. The fallibility of man has been, and continues to be, well demonstrated, although that does NOT mean that the scientific method, when strictly followed and where the subject permits, is of no value. Quite the contrary.

  • EternalPerspective Eldersburg, MD
    Oct. 11, 2013 12:33 p.m.

    If morality is relative, why is crime continously increased dramatically from the days of “social liberation” of the 1960s to rapid advancement of worldly disciplines today? Is that merely population relativism saying the more people occupying a space, the greater the probability for crime?

    There are absolutely many consequences evident that negate moral relativism. More unhappy people exist today who self-medicate with anything from illegal drugs to prescription drugs to over the counter drugs and other addictive substances.

    Many are addicted to virtual experiences where in their minds, they become someone else, but in reality, they haven't moved an inch toward self-improvement or serving others. Then there are the general tendencies to be selfish, self-absorbed, self-indulgent with seeking power, money, violence, fame, and all sorts of things that boil down to worshipping idols and philosophies in the world today.

    The greatest trick the devil ever did pull off was to convince the world he didn't exist. Today he has done much more as now he persuades many of faith to disbelieve. Everything is interrelated, yet also easily rationalized away by so called enlightened thinking. Hence, endless debates go nowhere and God remains real.

  • Contrariuserer mid-state, TN
    Oct. 11, 2013 2:01 p.m.

    @EternalPerspective --

    "If morality is relative, why is crime continously increased dramatically from the days of “social liberation” of the 1960s to rapid advancement of worldly disciplines today?"

    Actually, US violent crime rates have been FALLING for decades.

    There goes your theory.

  • RanchHand Huntsville, UT
    Oct. 12, 2013 7:53 a.m.

    @Gildas;

    You bet that man is fallible. Since "god" was invented by man, he too is certainly fallible, and since religion is also based on the ideas of man guess what that makes religion?

    Fallible.

  • Gildas LOGAN, UT
    Oct. 12, 2013 9:53 a.m.

    @ TN

    Graven images: read the 2nd commandment and 3rd together in context. Don't worship the works of your own hands is the message.

    Remember the sabbath: Jesus both remembered and kept the sabbath, though not as the Pharisees commanded.

    Don't "kill": the Hebrew word in the original is MURDER.

    No adultery: your view is almost right but un-Christian laws say otherwise or are not enforced.

    Don't steal: Ditto

    False witness: AGAINST thy neighbor.

    Don't covet: Agreed. Your humorous comments often point out that our society, and our laws, fall short of the ten commandments.

  • Gildas LOGAN, UT
    Oct. 12, 2013 10:14 a.m.

    @ RanchHand

    You bet that man is fallible. [Quote]

    There we agree RanchHand, but God is not an invention of man.

    We live in a man-made society that mocks beliefs that are obviously true, and
    mandates views that are ridiculous.

  • Contrariusiest mid-state, TN
    Oct. 12, 2013 10:34 a.m.

    @Gildas --

    "Don't worship the works of your own hands is the message."

    Ehhhhhh, no.

    "You shall not make for yourself an image in the form of anything in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the waters below." (Exodus 20:4)
    -- period, end of commandment. You shall not make images, period.
    -- incidentally, the Muslims take this one much more seriously than most Christians do. They have NO representative religious art.

    "You shall not bow down to them or worship them" (Exodus 20:5)
    -- AND you shall not bow down to images either.
    -- Stained glass windows? Statues of Jesus? Paintings of saints? Crucifixes?

    And I left this one out before -- “You shall not misuse the name of the Lord your God" (Exodus 20:7)
    -- what counts as "misuse"? If I say "My God!" have I "misused" the name? How about when Jesus said those same words -- was he misusing it?

    "Jesus both remembered and kept the sabbath"
    -- Jesus himself said that keeping the Sabbath was relative.

    continued next post!

  • Contrariusiest mid-state, TN
    Oct. 12, 2013 10:44 a.m.

    continued from previous post --

    "The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath. So the Son of Man is Lord even of the Sabbath." (Mark 2:27)

    "If any of you has a sheep and it falls into a pit on the Sabbath, will you not take hold of it and lift it out? How much more valuable is a person than a sheep! Therefore it is lawful to do good on the Sabbath." (Matthew 12:11-12)

    "Don't "kill": the Hebrew word in the original is MURDER."
    -- So how do you define "murder"? Here's a hint: any restriction on "killing" immediately makes this commandment relative.

    "un-Christian laws say otherwise or are not enforced."
    --- oooooo, you really believe that all remarriage is un-Christian? That's rather extreme of you.

    "False witness: AGAINST thy neighbor."
    -- Define "against". Warning again: any restrictions on that "false witness" immediately make it relative.

    "Don't covet: Agreed. Your humorous comments often point out that our society, and our laws, fall short of the ten commandments."
    -- It's not just a matter of "falling short". Our society sees ambition and acquisitiveness as actively GOOD things.

  • pleasantgrove PLEASANT GROVE, UT
    Oct. 12, 2013 12:17 p.m.

    The fact that some things are moral and some are immoral proves to me there is a God. He is God based on His ability to be perfectly moral.

  • Gildas LOGAN, UT
    Oct. 12, 2013 12:53 p.m.

    @ anyone interested

    I don't think God called them "The Ten Commandments", even if we do, so I don't know if there have to be ten.

    I do believe, at any rate, that the second and third commandments are inextricably connected: Thou shalt not make graven images; thou shalt not worship them. Look, the Lord, in designing the temple and the Ark, included the forms of angels over the Ark of the Covenant which contained those "Ten Commandments", and designs of palm trees etc in the temple itself.

    So it is clear that the commandment concerning "graven images" referred to objects of worship, the idols of men and women, the idolatry of mankind of their own paltry creations. No one, then, should have thought of worshiping the angels or the palm trees, that embellished the temple.

    We need to use some common sense in understanding these commandments which are, even now, absolutely basic to godly living.

  • The Scientist Provo, UT
    Oct. 12, 2013 2:07 p.m.

    "We need to use some common sense in understanding these commandments which are, even now, absolutely basic to godly living."

    Which means even believers understand that "common sense" and the intuitive, human morality endemic to us is more fundamental and has priority over religion.

  • Contrariusiest mid-state, TN
    Oct. 12, 2013 2:15 p.m.

    @Gildas --

    "I don't think God called them "The Ten Commandments", even if we do, so I don't know if there have to be ten."

    Errrr....I don't think you're going to get many people, Christian or not, to agree to calling them the "Nine Commandments". ;-D

    But in any case, you're just adding even more ammunition to my argument about moral relativity. You can't even agree on the absolute number of commandments!

    Since you haven't even tried to rebut anything else in my most recent two posts, I'll let it rest there.

    Morality is relative. Even the Commandments.

  • Chemist SALT LAKE CITY, UT
    Oct. 12, 2013 11:54 p.m.

    Mankind comes to its own opinions about what is moral or not, independently of religion. Some religious fanatics (such as the Taliban) obey the morals of their religion (which is actually pretty much the same as commanded in the Old Testament), but we Westerners have for the most part rejected many of these moral commandments. The fact that we have rejected the commandment to stone the disobedient child proves that we have not accepted the moral code that our religion commands.

    Even if you tell me that I'm not understanding the Old Testament vs. the New Testament properly, do you want to claim that what was morally valid 3000 years ago became invalid 2000 years ago? The unchanging morality of God seems to have changed. I claim that it was just as much a moral error to stone a disobedient child 3000 years ago as it is now.

  • EternalPerspective Eldersburg, MD
    Oct. 14, 2013 4:11 a.m.

    Contrariusier
    Contrariuserer
    Contrariusiest, etc.

    Sharp absolute statements are not truth, nor can they justify moral relativism in the eyes of the thinking person who reads comments here. Truth is not man-made, yet many today esteem the intelligence of humankind to be superior to that of God, and even replace it.

    I seek not to debate endlessly, but affirm God's truths in enemy territory where faith in God to fight the good fight is becoming less and less attractive to those who refuse to see because the philosophies of men are esteemed higher than the wisdom of God. Anyone can advocate truth and stand by statements with conviction, but does it make them true?

    My hope ever shall remain to help someone who is sincerely looking for answers to life's questions and purpose to ponder what they may not have considered previously. The invitation to come unto Christ is a clarion call to all who desire to know God. No amount of secular / atheist rhetoric and rumor can negate the eternal truths of God. One simply must be willing to receive what the world cannot give to know of truth beyond human intelligence. The rest is simply noise.

  • Contrariusiest mid-state, TN
    Oct. 14, 2013 7:28 a.m.

    @EternalPerspective --

    "Sharp absolute statements are not truth"

    Hey -- We agree on something!

    You are correct. "Sharp absolute statements" are NOT truth. And that's just as true with absolute statements of morality as with any other absolutes.

    "No amount of secular / atheist rhetoric and rumor can negate the eternal truths of God."

    Watch out -- there you go with those absolute statements again. And as we already agree -- sharp absolute statements are NOT truth.

    You said it yourself.

  • EternalPerspective Eldersburg, MD
    Oct. 14, 2013 8:59 a.m.

    Truth is not relative nor is morality. Science contains many truths but of what context does Science operate? Or what governing force has defined the principles of truth that belong to Science?

    Such a proposition boils down to 2 beliefs. On the one hand "chaos" theory is advocated as correct. Here, something essentially comes from nothing by the reaction of atomic elements that evolve into what we see today.

    On the other, there is a "Grand Designer" of the universe that has created an expanse of space and organic matter that is so complex, Science has scarcely scratched the surface because we can comprehend only so much of God's works.

    But, how about another twist? Maybe the reason why we don't know with certainty "everything" about the universe, world, and life forms is because it wasn't meant to be understood fully in this life. Science, medicine, technology and many other worldly disciplines have made enormous strides in a short amount of time to further define the world around us.

    But, even the greatest scientists of the world who conduct truly empirical objective experiments are compelled to ask themselves at some point, how could God not exist?

  • Contrariuser mid-state, TN
    Oct. 14, 2013 9:50 a.m.

    @EternalPerspective --

    "Truth is not relative nor is morality. "

    That's a nice sharp absolute statement. And you already told us that sharp absolute statements aren't truth.

    You're contradicting yourself.

    Also, you haven't offered us any evidence for your bold assertion that morality isn't relative. Please show us ONE absolute moral principle. A **moral** absolute, not a religious claim like "God exists".

    " "chaos" theory is advocated as correct. Here, something essentially comes from nothing by the reaction of atomic elements that evolve into what we see today."

    It isn't just "chaos" -- it's chaos, plus physics, plus logic, plus selection pressure, plus a whoooooooooole lotta time.

    We already KNOW, for instance, that the building blocks of life -- amino acids and other organic compounds -- can be created without a Superior Being. All it takes is the elements of the "primordial soup" and energy. That has been demonstrated many times.

    "even the greatest scientists of the world who conduct truly empirical objective experiments are compelled to ask themselves at some point, how could God not exist?"

    Scientists ask themselves about lots of things -- that doesn't mean that any of those things actually exist. ;-)

  • EternalPerspective Eldersburg, MD
    Oct. 14, 2013 11:05 a.m.

    No one could say God is false unless all subjectivity were to be removed from the experiment. Since this cannot be done without bias for input variables, nothing emphatic can be offered up as quantifiable evidence.

    How do you know the building blocks of life exist without a Supreme Being? You don't know where they came from in the first place before they were building blocks. How does the primordial experiment then implicitly negate God? Where is the empirical evidence beyond opinion?

    The reality of God can only be known only by those who will receive Him. Does that make God false because such prerequisites are not so easily demonstrated to the world? Just because something is “deemed” not real because belief is lacking in the first place does not mean existence is “false”.

    Think how often science has been wrong in the past, only to be replaced with greater “accuracy” in the future because inputs changed. How is belief in God proportionate to a person's preparatory "shaping" life experiences that allow them to at last seek Him correctly any different?

    Perhaps your experiment has assumed the wrong context the whole time...

  • The Scientist Provo, UT
    Oct. 14, 2013 11:12 a.m.

    "Sharp absolute statements are not truth"

    Except when they are blurted out by religious folks? (Who agree with Mormonism?)

  • Contrariuser mid-state, TN
    Oct. 14, 2013 11:38 a.m.

    @EternalPerspective --

    "No one could say God is false"

    So what? I've never claimed that God is false.

    It is not objectively possible to prove that God is false OR true, given our current state of knowledge. Both claims require faith.

    "How do you know the building blocks of life exist without a Supreme Being? "

    I never said they did.

    Here's a hint: I'm not an atheist.

    In the meantime, you still haven't shown us even one single absolute moral principle.

    Keep trying.

    Surely it shouldn't be all that hard to find even one single moral absolute?

    Anyone?

  • Tyler D Meridian, ID
    Oct. 15, 2013 9:28 a.m.

    @Contrariuser – “Surely it shouldn't be all that hard to find even one single moral absolute? Anyone?”

    Here’s one… in fact the only one I have ever been able to deduce from the Bible.

    Obey God!

    I admit it’s not a very satisfying answer given some of the "morally relative" not to mention atrocious things the God of Abraham has commanded over time. Also, it’s really more of an edict than a moral principle.

  • Contrariusester mid-state, TN
    Oct. 15, 2013 9:39 a.m.

    @Tyler D --

    "Obey God!"

    Nice try -- but that's a command, not a moral principle.

    "Also, it’s really more of an edict than a moral principle."

    Right.

    Still no moral absolutes?? Anyone? Anyone?

    How can so many people claim that morality is absolute, when nobody can even come up with a single absolute moral principle??

  • RedWings CLEARFIELD, UT
    Oct. 15, 2013 12:25 p.m.

    Science is man's attempt to explain the physical world aroung him. Religion is man's attempt to communicate, relate, and understand his Creator. They deal with different concepts and dimensions.

    God exists. He created all of us. That you cannot prove this in the physical world is no suprise to me. If you could, there would be no need for Faith. Only the foolish would deny God and His commandments if there were tangible, physical proof of His existence.

    All I know is that I am a better man because of religion and my relationship with Jesus than I was as an extreme left-wing deist. My family knows that, too, becasue I treat them better.

    If I am wrong and there is no God, then I still lived a better life by believing in Him. If the atheist is wrong, it will be a long eternity for him or her....