I just read an article, ‘STEAM not STEM: Why scientists need arts training’ by Prof. Richard Lachman that seeks to restore ethics to sciences. It shows how a scientist is seeking to bridge the gap between science and the social sciences.
Certainly, the artificial boundary between the two broad areas of study was an offshoot of the nineteenth century. My only concern is that the author assumes (without any problematization) that morality or ethics can easily be drawn from a ready-made pool of ethics.
In a postmodern world with a predilection towards a relativization of ethics, it is difficult for human beings to define what constitutes acceptable ethics. The splitting of hairs over 'basic' ethical issues has created muddied and troubled waters for those of us in the humanities.
Indeed, the nebulousness of ethics in our world today stemmed from the human aggressiveness to bracket the world out of the control of its real owner (God). We the tenants of the world keep organizing coups to topple the owner by claiming to be gods.
The idea that God is dead leaves human beings with no absolute source of morals to guide the world. The world's moral compass is in a comatose state. We are left struggling on a tempestuous moral high sea. It appears there is no Jesus Christ to calm it. There is no Jesus Christ to say, 'moral storms, be still.'
After claiming we don't need God, we are left on own our own as sheep without a shepherd. Until the nineteenth century, many scientists had virtually no qualms seeing science from the prism of faith. Unfortunately, we have exaggerated the finite mind of human beings to the point of obscuring God. We now say with the Greek philosopher, Protagoras, that 'Man is the measure of all things.' Consequently, we struggle with vexatious bio-ethical issues like genetic engineering, human cloning, euthanasia, abortion, and humanoids!
Certainly, if we intend to see ethics in science, we must recover our first love for the Creator, the Triune God. Science and faith should have no conflict at all. While science splits things into pieces to provide an explanation, faith puts the pieces together to provide meaning. When science comes to its dead ends, faith swims through. Albeit Einstein was right, ' Religion without science is blind and science without religion is lame.'
As a student of African Studies with a tentacle spreading into the sciences (basic science), l understand my Christianity better when l observe nature (science). It is my hope that as humans will put God in the epicentre of all our endeavors! Science without an absolute source of ethics is dangerous for humanity!
Charles Prempeh ([email protected]), African University Communications, Accra
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