Friday, July 14, 2006

Facts are not Enough for Morality

A local atheist had an article in the newspaper saying we should teach logic and good reasoning at the earliest ages in our educational system. He went on to say that some people are simply not persuaded by facts, preferring to cling to their view points butressed by selectively culled facts.

Here is my response:

When Gary Sloan is right, he’s right. I heartily agree all students should be taught sound reasoning skills from the earliest age. The brain has become the least used muscle – politicians, television and radio talk hosts, rappers, and movie stars do our thinking for us. Emotional slogans pass for good reasoning. “Feel” and “think” have become synonymous.

Oh that people did live by facts and good reasoning; then, there would be no legalization of mothers killing their babies. The scientific facts are incontrovertible that from conception the embryo is genus homo sapiens (human being). Neither size, level of development, environment/location, or dependency can be construed as justification for killing the fetus without also justifying killing classes of already-born persons.

Of course, facts alone are insufficient for such moral judgments; values and worldviews come into play. Hidden in the above argument is the value that it’s wrong to take innocent human life - not just wrong for me but wrong for all. Discussion of values opens the door to truth – is there objective, universal truth? Are some things wrong for all people at all times? How about the ancient ritual of placing living babies onto the red-hot arms of idols?

Yes, we need to include good reasoning skills and rules of logic in early education, but that alone, without knowledge of objective and universal truths and values, is like training in the use of hammer and saw without knowing the objective is to build a house.

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