More From Loftus On Science and Morality

Whether science can determine moral truths is being hotly debated in recent years. Most people say science cannot do so. But a growing number of philosophers and scientists are saying otherwise. Philosopher Erik Wielenberg called for an “ethical revolution.” While it’s true he says, that “scientific progress has hardly brought moral progress” it’s also true “that science has not so far been used explicitly for that purpose.” But since science has the ability to help us “live longer and healthier lives than at any point in human history” it consequentially “makes sense to put science…to work in the service…of finding a reliable method of making people virtuous.” (Value and Virtue in a Godless Universe (Cambridge, 2005, pp. 129, 155).Others have supported this type of position, such as the late Paul Kurtz and contributors to his anthology, Science and Ethics: Can Science Help Us Make Wise Moral Judgments? (Prometheus Books, 2007).The authors in it “maintain that science can help us make wise choices and that an increase in scientific knowledge can help modify our ethical values and bring new ethical principles into social awareness.” Others are saying similar things, such as Sam Harris in The Moral Landscape: How Science Can Determine Human Values (Free Press, 2010),Michael Shermer in The Moral Arc: How Science Makes Us Better People (Henry Holt and Co., 2015),and the impressive list of people who have recommended these books with blurbs, including scientists Neil deGrasse Tyson, Richard Dawkins, Stephen Pinker, Lawrence M. Krauss, and Bill Nye.