Blogs > Liberty and Power > Evil is not Scientific

Sep 10, 2004 10:46 pm

Evil is not Scientific

Back in August I posted a Blog with a link to an article on the causes of crime by Stanton E. Samenow. In today’s Washington Times Jeff Schaler and Liberty and Power’s own Sheldon Richman respond to one problematic line in the in the Samenow piece with a letter to the editor. He wrote "Until science tells us more, we have no satisfactory explanation for evil." Schaler and Richman point out that “Science will never be able to explain evil because ‘evil’ is a value judgment, not a scientific judgment. Like good, evil refers to behavior, ethics and choice, not to biology, chemistry and physics.”

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Keith Halderman - 9/10/2004

When you say science makes value judgements all the time I think you are confusing science with the politics that produces junk science.

Shirley Knott - 9/10/2004

But science makes value judgements all the time. And often valid ones at that. E.g., science routinely selects the better option amongst alternatives, yet better is clearly a value judgement.
One cannot do science without making value judgements.
One cannot *act* without making a value judgement.
Science can even speak to value and value judgements.
Further, the pseudo-problem behind much of this "Science cannot speak to value" nonsense is the assertion that one cannot derive 'ought' from 'is'. This was refuted a century ago. [see Husserl, Logical Investigations, vol. 1, Prolegomena]
Shirley Knott

Sheldon Richman - 9/10/2004

Thanks, Keith.

Sheldon Richman