by Denyse O'Leary
A friend writes to note a new blog:
The Bubble Chamber is a new blog written by historians and philosophers of science for discussing contemporary issues of science and society through the lens of historical context and critical analysis.
Founded by the University of Toronto's Science Policy Working Group, The Bubble Chamber is a forum for those interested in a critical assessment of science in society and the development, regulation, and trajectory of science.
Much of it would certainly interest ID types; for example, Mike Thicke on "Is Sam Harris on to something: Can science answer moral questions? Thicke quotes Darwinian atheist neuroscientist Harris:
I was not suggesting that science can give us an evolutionary or neurobiological account of what people do in the name of Ã¢â‚¬Å“morality.Ã¢â‚¬Â Nor was I merely saying that science can help us get what we want out of life. Both of these would have been quite banal claims to make (unless one happens to doubt the truth of evolution or the mindÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s dependency on the brain). Rather I was suggesting that science can, in principle, help us understand what we should do and should wantÃ¢â‚¬â€and, perforce, what other people should do and want in order to live the best lives possible. My claim is that there are right and wrong answers to moral questions, just as there are right and wrong answers to questions of physics, and such answers may one day fall within reach of the maturing sciences of mind.Good for Mike for wondering; not as Thicke as some.
So what do you think? Is Sam Harris just repeating WilsonÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s mistakes, or is HumeÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s is-ought divide best forgotten? Can we really find new ethical principles by studying biology, psychology, or neuroscience? What would they look like? What do you think of the principles Harris proposes in his TED talk?
(The answer, of course, is no, unless we are zombies, in which case any principles would elude us anyway.There is no "science of mind" that is proof against temptation to do what we know to be wrong, though there could be zombification.)
Toronto-based Canadian journalist Denyse O'Leary (www.designorchance.com) is the author of the multiple award-winning By Design or by Chance? (Augsburg Fortress 2004), an overview of the intelligent design controversy. She was named CBA Canada's Recommended Author of the Year in 2005 and is co-author, with Montreal neuroscientist Mario Beauregard, of The Spiritual Brain: A neuroscientist's case for the existence of the soul (Harper 2007).
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