Thursday 29 August 2013

Science and Morality

The debate is over for theists who claim morality cannot come from anywhere besides god after the publication of a new study showing that there is a positive relation between thinking about science and then performing certain moral compass tasks. The new study in question is published in PLOS ONE  and is entitled "Does “Science” Make You Moral? The Effects of Priming Science on Moral Judgments and Behavior". The researchers in this study did four tests and showed in all these tests that scientific thought was associated with more moral behaviour.

The first test was a basic test which was to give a moral condemnation score (1-100) about a date rape scenario story. After the readers had given their scores they were then asked to fill out a questionairre on their scientific knowledge, and it was shown that people with a greater scientific background most harshly condemned the date rape action.

The other three tests had to do with moral actions/opinions after test subjects had been primed with either scientific words or non scientific words. These researchers showed that the test subjects that were primed with scientific words displayed a greater moral judgement than those who were primed with other words. This means that just thinking about science can make you perform morally.

Importantly,  the researchers do point out that there are some things that we need to be aware of. They say potentially religiosity could also play a role in moral decisions, however they do not believe this is true as usually people who follow scienctific studies are less religious. The other problem that the researchers do point out is that it can also come down to the question of what is moral? These test were designed to test interpersonal violation, prosocial behaviors and economic exploitation, but how various scientists and non-scientists view  these moral scenarios may be different. For example, someone could believe that the date rape was justified if they think that a women inviting them into their house is a form of invitation for sex.

It is my opinion however that these moral values do line up at least very well with the Christian values. This means that science is as moral as Christianity and as such who needs God?