So far, we have discussed the ways that scientific findings can complement Scripture, check our interpretation of Scripture, and provide reliable frameworks for understanding much of the world around us. However, some argue that science has limitations, particularly in the areas of ethics and morality. For example, science can tell us how atom bombs are made, but it cannot tell us whether atom bombs should be made. Meanwhile, there are others who argue that science can answer moral questions. For example, neuroscientist and philosopher Sam Harris argues that science should be an authority on moral issues because it can tell us about the conditions that promote human well-being. Please watch Dr. Harris’ (2010) TED talk (or read the attached transcript) on this topic.
- How does Dr. Harris operationally define morality?
- Discuss any problems you see with this definition.
Dr. Harris’ provides several examples of situations where, in his opinion, science provides a better roadmap for morality than does religion.
- Do you think that his examples are valid? Why or why not?
- How can science be a valuable tool in guiding our ethical and moral decision-making?
- Even if we accept Dr. Harris’ arguments, what questions or limitations remain?
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