A denzien of the Epicurean mailng list ventured:

On another more leisurely occasion, I would like to start the rather difficult discussion as to whether a scientific approach may be of any use at all in human behaviour and morality?


This was my answer to his mail:

I can only assume that some day the scientific community will get around to rigging the world up to stress monitors and make everyone part of a walking census. All things that are near to universally stressful will be considered morally corrupt. All actions, all cause and all effect will be molecularly subdivided, worked and re-worked down to its atomic end result. Emotions, right, wrong and what-have-you will be mathematically evaluated and then implemented into a fitting social roll of good bad or indifferent. Sounds like a Kurt Vonnegut, Jr. plot.

As a global people one thing we can all agree on is overkill, and I am sure science will go the way of the dodo just as religion is now. Science and reason will oust religion, I am sure of that. This is contingent on a few things, but maintaining the present course of events, God is a no-show; the Amish allow cell phones. Next thing you know, the Pope is doing adds for Trojan and its all downhill from there.

Again, I truly am not arguing the reality of God(s)(TM), only the reality of circumstance. I am twenty-two years old and I have never stepped foot inside a college class room, but I will tell you what life's education has taught me. The thinkers of my generation are godless. Beyond that, they are godless, they are educated and they are pissed as all hell.

The brainwashed and the initiated are gods of a bygone era. At this rate there won't be enough "Old Blood" to run our little socio-economic monstrosity any longer.

History does repeat itself. Perhaps science and pop culture will take over the world, but they will be ousted too one day for something beyond the scope of my imagining. Collective consciousness, the 60's - part three; I have no idea.

So to give you my opinion, yes, science will someday define morality. If it will be of use depends on which side of morality you end up on when science is God. Science or those who control the direction of science will have power. We will bend to their motives as we bend to the motives of our Christian rooted western society. All humans have motives. ;)

I wish I could find this old man I once met. He told me about a group of people that he met with who were rather philosophical Agnostics who believed that everything becomes corrupt, festers, and then dies and makes way for the new. He said to me, "We even hold it as a truth that some day our own organization will some day fall to greedy hands, become corrupted by power and fall to pieces, and we accept it as a truth and go on; we don't let it phase us."

I would say that is fairly wise if not a tad bit fatalistic. As much as I believe science has a better understanding of how the universe truly works, I do think it will eventually go way too far in its wanderings and inevitably cause irreparable damage to society. We are infantile as a society. We follow basic trends and patterns. Our developments are of self-interest only and we are desensitized mercilessly. Our countries are run by the best liars and are corrupted on such a scale that diplomacy could now be defined as "The art of bullshitting while wearing an Armani suit". Soon enough things will bottom out. People are going to get irate here pretty quick. The internet is going to facilitate it, but I digress. Once again I babble off the beaten track.


"While there is a lower class I am in it,
While there is a criminal element I am of it;
While there is a soul in prison, I am not free."
-Eugene Debs (1855-1926)
I am not quite so down as moJoe, but in general I cannot dispute his view, except in this:

In all fields there are those who spend their time getting ahead, especially politics, but also, of course, in science.

There are those scientists who feel it is not their business what happens to their discoveries--they are only searching for the truth, regardless of its effects. And it is up to those in the military and politics to decide what to do.

There are those like Edward Teller, gung-ho cold warriors, who forge ahead for the biggest, most powerful--and want to use it.

But I am older than 22, and I have been out of a college classroom for many years. I have seen several tides of students wash up against the shores--it is not always the way it seemes inside the hothouse of the college lab.

Where there is an Edward Teller, there is a J. Robert Oppenheimer, and an Andrei Sakharov--and in our very colleges, there are those, not purely, and thinly scientists, but also philosophers, who are making these decisions concerning how their discoveries will be used.

Not everyone wants to wear an "Armani suit."

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