Peter Singer and the Deification of Modern Science: An Ethical Exploration

DOI: 10.4236/ojpp.2015.51010   PDF   HTML   XML   3,260 Downloads   3,789 Views  


In this paper, we argue that Peter Singer in some of his key works ascribes certain absolute and definitive attributes to modern science, equating them to God. The advancement of modern science particularly in the areas of medical technologies such as human assisted reproduction and genetic engineering, has given science unparalleled powers over nature in general and human nature in particular. Because of this authority, Singer directly and indirectly attributes absolute values to science and the scientific method. He does this by according some supreme attributes (of God) like omniscience, omnipotence and omni-benevolence to science. In this paper we argue, contra Singer, that modern science has got no Godlike knowledge and Godlike powers over nature. Therefore, conferring on science such unqualified status is, firstly, an unwarranted estimation of the powers of modern science, and, secondly, this comes with some moral implications. For example, science may become the measure of all things. It also raises the ethical concern as to whether we can, for example, determine the moral worth of a human being or ascertain metaphysical truths merely by relying on scientific truths. Thirdly, Singer’s perspective exhumes the age-old conflict between science and religion and celebrates the victory of science over religion. We argue for the view that science and religion are two sides of the same coin. In the search for the truth, the two disciplines concentrate on each aspect of reality, and therefore complement each other. Whereas science concentrates on the physical/natural, religion focuses on the spiritual/supernatural. It would therefore be sensible to adopt an approach to knowledge which accommodates and integrates both religion and science as complementary ways of understanding reality.

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Tosam, M. and Mbuwir, K. (2015) Peter Singer and the Deification of Modern Science: An Ethical Exploration. Open Journal of Philosophy, 5, 87-95. doi: 10.4236/ojpp.2015.51010.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.


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