The irony of the statement “Just Thinking about Science Triggers Moral Behavior” is not lost on me. Every religion tries to claim morality for themselves. If I had a penny for every time I’ve heard or read “how can you be moral without god”…
So here it is. Read the paper by Christine Ma-Kellams and Jim Blascovich here:
Does “Science” Make You Moral? The Effects of Priming Science on Moral Judgments and Behavior published in the Plos One journal.
Previous work has noted that science stands as an ideological force insofar as the answers it offers to a variety of fundamental questions and concerns; as such, those who pursue scientific inquiry have been shown to be concerned with the moral and social ramifications of their scientific endeavors. No studies to date have directly investigated the links between exposure to science and moral or prosocial behaviors.
These studies demonstrated the morally normative effects of lay notions of science. Thinking about science leads individuals to endorse more stringent moral norms and exhibit more morally normative behavior. These studies are the first of their kind to systematically and empirically test the relationship between science and morality. The present findings speak to this question and elucidate the value-laden outcomes of the notion of science
Scientific American wrote an article about the study here:
Public opinion towards science has made headlines over the past several years for a variety of reasons — mostly negative. High profile cases of academic dishonesty and disputes over funding have left many questioning the integrity and societal value of basic science, while accusations of politically motivated research fly from left and right. There is little doubt that science is value-laden. Allegiances to theories and ideologies can skew the kinds of hypotheses tested and the methods used to test them. These, however, are errors in the application of the method, not the method itself. In other words, it’s possible that public opinion towards science more generally might be relatively unaffected by the misdeeds and biases of individual scientists. In fact, given the undeniable benefits scientific progress yielded, associations with the process of scientific inquiry may be quite positive.
Science bitches! Not only does it work, it makes you want to be a better person too.