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The Last Contrarian
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Science is NOT moral, but neither is religion

10 February 2014, 10:01

Science is not a moral supplement. Science can provide information that may help us better evaluate our preconceived or innate ideas about morality, but it can never pick a side between one moral argument or another.

An example:

Certain animals feel pain as acutely as humans do, and through the scientific tests we have come to appreciate this statement as fact. But that is where science’s contribution ends. Science does not analyse nor include the superimposed discussion about the morality of torturing animals.

Science cannot be involved in concepts of morality because then it would not be able to harvest certain knowledge.

I’m going to say something about scientific studies that, to my knowledge, no atheist has dared to mention on this forum previously. I feel you need to see science in its raw, unapologetic form to appreciate that it does not concern itself with moral concepts.

I’ve watched dozens of hours’ worth of documentaries on vivisection and medical experimentations performed on all sorts of animals. Yes, I feel sorry for the animals being mutilated, tortured, and experimented on, but the knowledge gained from those experiments is what will help science in the future alleviate the suffering as well as save the lives of both animals and people. And this is not some uneducated or hasty investment either. In fact, these extreme experiments have already yielded dozens and dozens of breakthroughs, many of which have already yielded major medical benefits to many of us.

Any atheist who claims to derive their morality from scientific concepts/proofs is simply evaluating scientific information against their own ingrained sense of morality, the same moral compass we all have thanks to our evolutionary predisposition as a somewhat cooperative social species whose individual success largely depends on the success of our tribe.

Scientists who use science to measure the morality or immorality of something like, for example, religion, are being academically deceitful and, most likely, are promoting some ideology that benefits them directly or indirectly.

ANY scientist who tells the public about the morality or immorality of religion is not speaking as a scientist and therefore cannot use their academic credentials as an attempt to add more weight and authority to what is now merely a subjective retort. Scientists and atheists are making a spectacle of themselves by resorting to such arguments when debating with the religious. Morality is something humans don’t derive from reason, such a claim is bullshit, and I know many atheists are now rolling their eyes, but let me demonstrate to you that you suffer from a self-induced delusion if you think you are moral because of your reasoning abilities.

Academics and intellectuals like to use the trolley cart conundrum to demonstrate that the primary moral concepts, as prescribed by our nature or religious education, are, by their own moral demands, inadequate. There are a few version of the trolley-card conundrum and I’ll use my favourite one to demonstrate the party trick academics usually do, and then my own party trick to show atheists that their morality is still unreasonable.

You are in Vietnam in the war and huddled together with a group of villagers in the basement of a small house. Pacing the boards above your heads are American soldiers who will kill you and the rest of the group on sight. You are holding an infant who, irritated by the dust and humidity, is about to start wailing, most certainly giving away your position, which will result in the execution of the entire group.

Do you (A) let the child cry and alert the soldiers, or do you (B) suffocate the child so that the adults may live?

I usually find that religious people try to argue their way out of this challenge. “Well, I’d never visit Vietnam anyway,” is a common response. More often, though, they try to argue the conditions into something that allows them to act morally as per their religious frame of reference: getting nobody killed, as per those clay tablets with the nonsense written on them, supposedly by the finger of god herself.

Atheists usually go for the throat, literally. They suggest that the child must be sacrificed for the greater good. What bothers me about many atheists I’ve asked this question of is how certain they are of the ‘morality’ of their response, because it is based on mathematical reasoning.

Then I present the atheist with my version, which has one twist, the child is your son or daughter. The response is then identical to that of theists as the atheists cannot accept the constraints of the challenge nor can they so easily resort to their reasoning abilities to help them act. Once the emotional component of our psyche kicks in, our reasoning abilities fall by the wayside. In fact, our reasoning abilities become useless in such a situation. (You should therefore imagine to what degree your reasoning abilities are impaired if you try to defend a subject or view that you are passionate about.)

However, there is a small percentage of atheists who either are either psychopathic or simply acting tough who say they will kill their own child in that situation, to which I ask in what way they deem themselves any different from Abraham in the bible?

“Yeah, but I’m not killing my child because god told me to do so,” is a usual retort. But it does not matter who instructed you or what the reason is, the logic of the behaviour is that you are willing to sacrifice your own offspring when told to prove your loyalty in your moral beliefs … and to save others (yourself included) from harm.

If the story of Abraham is even remotely true, I think he was willing to sacrifice his child to the hallucinated voice in his head because he feared disobedience would be punished with instant death and hell. How can acting out of fear of punishment be deemed a demonstration of a person’s higher and more refined moral capacity? I’d also ask any christian to tell me how they can deem any of their actions as moral when all they do is hope for reward or fear punishment whenever they choose to act in a ‘moral’ way.

My reason for this crude demonstration is simple: Both theists and atheists want to make the other seem dissimilar to themselves. Every explanation is given as to why the other group’s reasoning abilities or sense of morality is inferior. Many atheists firmly believe that theists are intellectually defective or suffering from a mental disorder, and the religious think the same way about atheists. Neither side wants to acknowledge that they are the same species, because that would make them uncomfortably similar to the other group. It is much easier to be mortal enemies than admit to being two sides of the same coin.

This is the same principle on which racism operates. One race is said to be ‘less than human’ so that the accusing race can enjoy certain benefits and control over the ‘inferior’ race.

Atheism desperately needs believers to be sub-human in their intellectual abilities, because that means atheists can sit in the positions of power and make all the crucial decisions based on their own sense of right and wrong—occasionally referencing facts, of course. Similarly, the religious are comfortable with the idea that atheists are psychopaths who lack morality—declaring themselves (the religious) most worthy to run society and exert control over those godless, immoral, and wicked atheists.

I say that neither side should bring 'morality' into the picture when they try to defend their reason(s) for wanting to be handed the reigns of society.

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