Monday, November 12, 2007

Science and Morality

Science is often touted as the "Be All & End All" of humanity's problems. Evidence this is not the case is showcased in a statement by Henry Louis Gates Jr. (Dir. of the W. E. B. Du Bois Institute for African and African American Research at Harvard University) in a NYTimes piece entitled
"In DNA Era, New Worries About Prejudice" where he states " “We will all be walking a fine line between using biology and allowing it to be abused.”

As expected, advancement in technology, while it doesn't cause jealousy, rather than eliminating all problems within humanity, can and will serve to provide new opportunities for humanity's root problems(those centered in sin)such as jealousy and prejudice to continue and to prosper and grow with even greater potential and capability.

For clarity, let me emphasize I'm not stating there is anything wrong with science itself, but that because science and morality are on one level independent ... such that immoral people can use good science for evil ends ... in the same way that immoral people can use natural resources for evil ends, or good intentions of others for evil ends, or even good behavior for evil ends, ... in the same way skepticism is in order for those who tout science as the "Be All & End All" of humanity's problems.

Here's an excerpt from the NYTimes piece:

"At the same time, genetic information is slipping out of the laboratory and into everyday life, carrying with it the inescapable message that people of different races have different DNA. Ancestry tests tell customers what percentage of their genes are from Asia, Europe, Africa and the Americas. The heart-disease drug BiDil is marketed exclusively to African-Americans, who seem genetically predisposed to respond to it. Jews are offered prenatal tests for genetic disorders rarely found in other ethnic groups.

Such developments are providing some of the first tangible benefits of the genetic revolution. Yet some social critics fear they may also be giving long-discredited racial prejudices a new potency. The notion that race is more than skin deep, they fear, could undermine principles of equal treatment and opportunity that have relied on the presumption that we are all fundamentally equal.

“We are living through an era of the ascendance of biology, and we have to be very careful,” said Henry Louis Gates Jr., director of the W. E. B. Du Bois Institute for African and African American Research at Harvard University. “We will all be walking a fine line between using biology and allowing it to be abused.”

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