Our Mission: To use science to determine moral values. We do this by collecting results of scientific studies that help tell us which actions or rules promote (or destroy) the well-being of conscious creatures.
Why we are doing this: 1- If we can figure out how best to promote well-being, why not share that with the world? 2-Only a universal form of morality that can cross religious and cultural divides can help us settle global questions concerning human rights.
This site is a private wiki, which means only a group of selected editors may post. (But if you are interested in becoming an editor, please see our Guidelines for Editors page.) We will post links or citations to studies, or their abstracts, that can be used to answer a particular moral question. The editor for that particular section or page will generally include some interpretation and moral analysis.
This project was inspired by, but is not affiliated with, the book The Moral Landscape: how science can determine human values by Sam Harris. (So, thanks to Sam Harris for writing that book!) Although he is an atheist writer, this project will not be restricted to atheist editors.
A few basics from the book to help you understand this project:
1- Morality is about promoting "the well-being of conscious creatures." (Our Animals, non-human category will include discussions of possible non-human consciousness or sentience.) Any discussion of morality that is not relevant to well-being is nonsensical.
2- Well-being has some lawful relationship to brain states and to facts about the world. For example, the fact that you have a tumor, or the fact that you live in a country torn by civil war is likely to have a negative impact on your well-being.
3- Actions, rules or cultural practices that destroy well-being are wrong. Actions, rules or cultural practices that promote well-being are good. (Thus, this is a rejection of moral relativism and of cultural relativism.)
4- Well-being can be measured using scientific methods, just as health can be measured by medical science.
5- Just as there is more than one way to destroy well-being, there may be more than one way to promote well-being.