The Myth of Objectivity

[Reprinted with permission from Navigating By Faith]

Thoughtful and thought-provoking articles are a source for many articles I write. Those two characteristics are not always exemplified in the same single article, but an article by Trent Horn, Neil DeGrasse Tyson Shows Why Science Can’t Build a Utopia[1], is an exception.

Neil DeGrasse Tyson, of course, is the outspoken agnostic ambassador of science. The article was precipitated by Tyson’s tweet: “Earth needs a virtual country: #Rationalia, with a one-line Constitution: All policy shall be based on the weight of evidence.”[2] And Horn counter-tweeted: “@neiltyson ‘Rationalia’ is as useless as ‘Correctistan,’ or a country whose constitution says, ‘Always make the correct decisions.’”

To illustrate what he means by his counter-tweet, the author used the example of a driverless car. Fatalities have already happened with them and will undoubtedly happen again. That isn’t the point, though. The point is this: how should they be programmed when confronted with two options – to run over pedestrians or run into an object that may kill the passengers?

How does Rationalia weigh the evidence to determine which is the best course? Continue reading