Can Science Explain Morality?
by Sean McDowell
Human beings have a universal belief in right and wrong. As C.S. Lewis has observed, moral codes from cultures throughout world history vary over what specific behavior they consider moral, but there is an underlying agreement that objective moral values and duties exists.
As my father and I state in the introduction of the updated Evidence that Demands a Verdict, any adequate worldview must be able to explain this feature of reality.
Science and Morality
In his book The Moral Landscape, atheist Sam Harris claims science can provide a basis for objective morality. But in his recent book Stealing from God, my friend Frank Turek has written a piercing response:
“Science might be able to tell you if an action may hurt someone—like giving a man cyanide will kill him—but science can’t tell you whether or not you ought to hurt someone. Who said it’s wrong to hurt people? Sam Harris? Is his nature the standard of good?”
In other words, science is a descriptive discipline, but morality is a prescriptivediscipline. Science can describe how things work, but it can never tell us how we ought to behave.
Another popular explanation for morality is evolution…
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