Goodness, badness; we live in a world where we are always quick to judge. We judge other peoples behaviors because they somewhat differ from ours, and we cry out against certain mannerisms we do not understand. Once some one is deviating from the normal we call it bad and give that person a label… weirdo, queer, insane… so when someone discovers that as a girl her libido is only aroused by another girl, we attack this with vehemence or when a guy “changes” and starts to indulge in a plethora of vices, especially when his father is a gospel minister, we met out his own share of the communal derision to him.
Who are we to decide what is good or bad objectively about a person? Some of us feel that there is no such thing as absolute morality, we call ourselves “liberal” since we do not judge, we claim we use rationality and subjectivity; in essence the things we call bad or see as atrocious may not be bad in the context of other people. So when girls are being circumcised by their thousands, or a father kills his daughter after she was raped, so as to preserve the honor of the family, or when twins are being killed by an indigenous culture somewhere, because identical children are believed to come from the god of the underworld, we frown and say it is bad casually with complete nonchalance, but we do not forget to remind those around us that to these people, committing such heinous acts, is not a bad thing.
The first set of people agree that there are absolute ways by which they use to decide what is bad or good, this usually comes from sacred writ within credence systems and the second set of people believe that they cannot in real terms know what is right or wrong, because what may be good to them may be bad to others.
Now I agree with the first set of people that there is something called objective and absolute goodness, but that is as far as I go in agreeing with them. With the second set of people I concede to the fact that I understand their stand but then, this relative goodness is at best superficial, and it remains that way. Now what do I mean?
We can no longer claim that we know too little about Human well being, that we keep quiet, and claim that goodness or badness is relative, this leads me to introduce to you the science of morality. With this we can use empirical, observational and evidential methodologies to create objective tenets of morality in which we should abide by. Because of space I would give one example.
200 years ago we knew nothing about microorganisms and germs, so when our surgeons used their bare hands to operate on multiple persons at the same time or when our children jumped to have their bath in murky, stagnant waters, we allowed them, and had no problem what so ever with it. But the mortality rates increased, patients and our children continued to die, irrespective of the fact that these patients saw the most advanced practitioners and our parents bathed their children everyday. In the face of high mortality rates, it was still moral to deep your bare hands, as a doctor in the bodies of multiple patients, and to bath your child, as a parent in polluted water. Now to try these acts would be grievous and unforgivable today, no matter where or who you are in the world today. So why then did these acts all of a sudden become immoral? It was because of the objective inquiry in the related fields, that lead to the development of the Germ theory, which is very objective.
The science of morality.