Friday, October 21, 2011

"Perhaps your religion doesn't allow you to accept that..."

I've been watching Bones lately: your standard forensic crime investigator show with just enough uniqueness to make it genuinely enjoyable to watch. The main character is the ultimate empiricist and materialist--she believes in what she can see, touch, or otherwise experience with her physical senses, and nothing else. Talking to a devout Muslim, she mentions a friend in a morally wrong relationship and says condescendingly, "Perhaps your religion doesn't allow you to accept that." Oh, how free she is, unfettered by religion! She is ruled only by science: she knows what her senses can tell her, and nothing else. Except... not really. There is no sensory experience which tells her that murder is wrong and that murderers should be punished--and yet she has based her entire adult life on that premise. This is the fatal flaw of science, which goes unrecognized only because so few materialist scientists are as free from "religious morality" as they think.

Science enables us to preserve and prolong life far beyond what was possible only 100 years ago. It enables us to enforce law, to protect the innocent and punish the guilty. It allows us to speak to loved ones from far away, even see their faces: each achievement seems more impossible than the last, and more impossible to surpass: and yet it always is surpassed. It is truly marvelous what our species has accomplished. But looked at from another perspective, science is practically useless in isolation. Science discovered penicillin, and told us what it cured: but it is unable to tell us why anything should be cured. Science enables us to save the life of a burn victim and ease his pain, but is unable to tell us why we should do either. Science has taught us how to identify a murderer from a single drop of blood: but science is unable to tell us even why murder is wrong or why we should punish those who do it. Science cannot tell us why life is better than death--it cannot even tell us why truth is better than lies. Science cannot even defend itself.

And none of this has been realized yet by the "enlightened" scientific community only because they are not as enlightened as they think. That murder is wrong is not seen as something to be proved or disproved: it is one of the most basic assumptions of almost everyone. If ever a materialist were to seriously question it, he would realize that there is no scientific basis for it.
He may say, "But it is unjust!"
     What do you mean by "just?" You destroyed religious morality: to what sense of justice do you appeal?
He may say, "Alright, not 'unjust,' per se, but... what if everyone behaved that way?"
     Well, what if they did? It's not unjust, is it?
"But society would disintegrate!"
     And what if it did? Why is it better that it should not? Explain to me, using science and empiricism, why it is better that society should not disintegrate.

Now I realize that there are moral, ethical scientists. I know there are various boards and committees devoted to maintaining sound, ethical scientific practices--like preventing harmful experimentation on humans, for one thing. But this sense of morality, this belief that it is somehow wrong to inject people with something when you don't know what it will do, has nothing to do with science--it has everything to do with the old-fashioned, "religious" morality that materialist scientists are trying to get rid of. . If religious morality is ever completely eradicated, there will be no scientific morality to replace it. All sense of morality, of right and wrong, comes from a sense, conscious or unconscious, that there is something else besides this world full of bags of skin and bones and chemicals in the brain. Because if that is all we are, if that is all there is, then there is nothing wrong with harming or destroying such a thing. There is no such thing as "wrong" at all. It is not better that society should endure than that it should end: there is no such thing as "better." There are no more judgement calls. There is not even a reason to practice science: if there is no "good" or "bad", then Truth cannot be better than lies. And this is the great utopia to which we are being led: this is the promised land of scientific materialism.


  1. So what exactly does this prove? This is a common argument against empirical morality (a morality derived from simply 'science'), but it doesn't really argue against philosophical non-religious (or rather, atheistic) moral statements (Kant is a big example).

    What do we do with Kant?

  2. I do not think it changes anything. We just have to ask where he derives his morality from.
    The universe? How can a universe that's merely one enormous accident produce true morality?
    Mankind? Still merely one accident in a series of accidents. Purely a product of chance.

    True meaning cannot be derived from chance. To an atheist, there can be nothing but chance. Only random events in an uncaring cosmos.