Can science answer moral questions? I don't think so

in science •  2 years ago  (edited)

Sam Harris in his opinion video suggests that science can answer questions of morality

On this I have to say Sam Harris is wrong. Science cannot answer philosophical questions. In fact I would even suggest that Sam Harris is confusing mathematics with science. At the foundation of mathematics is logic, and this logic is critical to certain kinds of morality. It's the use of mathematics that allows for the cost benefit analysis calculations, but the "greater good" or utility function is not determined by science. Science is described below in Wikipedia:

Science (from Latin scientia, meaning "knowledge")[1][2]:58 is a systematic enterprise that builds and organizes knowledge in the form of testable explanations and predictions about the universe.[a]

The mistake Sam Harris is making is ignoring the actual definition and function of science for the benefit of his own agenda to spread the idea that cultural relativism is incorrect. On this I would disagree because i think there is no objective right and wrong because if we cannot agree on the utility function, then we cannot agree on maximization of utility.

Then he goes on to say whether or not we will consult with super computers to answer personal questions? The joke is on him here because I would predict we will ask the equivalent of super computers these personal questions in the very near future. In fact the future of morality in my opinion is the invention of moral calculators which can help people to handle the mathematics, the probabilities, the whole "expected utility" from different choices. Mathematics is not science but is formal language, while science utilizes mathematics but is not specifically mathematics. Some forms of morality can be reduced entirely to mathematics (consequentialism, utilitarianism), and most morality is describable by logic.

** Science (from Latin scientia, meaning "knowledge")[1][2]:58 is a systematic enterprise that builds and organizes knowledge in the form of testable explanations and predictions about the universe.[a]**

Emphasis is on testable. Morality isn't testable and predictions cannot be made about the universe under a moral system. Morality is about life and social interaction, about values, about what the right or wrong thing to do is. Science can never tell us what to value because value is subjective. Science can never tell us about life as it can merely test models and make predictions. Science will not answer questions of why, nor will it provide purpose, nor will it explain why life has value, as it's not designed to replace philosophy and mathematics.

Sam Harris says we need a universal conception of human values? This is not possible. What is possible is merely an approximation based on current consensus (public sentiment) on what is right or wrong behavior given a situation. It's not possible to use science to replace that and while you can use mathematics to make sure it's all logical and reasonable it will not involve science.

Game theory, economics, social exchange theory, consequentialism, utilitarianism, probability theory, formal logic, are not science. All fall into the category of either philosophy or mathematics. Science helps us build our knowledge by testing models, where predictions can be made based on previous knowledge. Mathematics allows for the creation of models which cannot be directly tested but which are logical, valid, and useful, and consequence morality in my opinion falls into mathematics where value is subjective and right and wrong depend entirely on what we value.

References

  1. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Expected_utility_hypothesis
  2. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Utility
  3. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fact%E2%80%93value_distinction
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I am not a huge Sam Harris fan because he takes things too far in the name of science sometimes like the recent fascination with Charles Murray and scientific racism. I think what he is saying here is that human morality can be measured and he uses the example of the effects of child abuse on psychological health. He is saying that well-being, health and reduction of suffering is moral and is measurable and is even more measurable now that human cultures are getting closer and closer. I think it's a pretty simple concept and I don't think it spins out into large questions of philosophy and mathematics. Thank you for the interesting conversation.

I think there is science, and then there is science. So the definition of science as the gathering of evidence to inform conclusions is the definition, but the term science is generally used to imply a sort of natural reasoning for why things are the way that they are, and so a scientific understanding and mathematical understanding are essentially the same thing. I think economics is probably science - if you compare quantum physics to a free market and attempts to understand them, they are basically the same.

I tend to agree with you.

Science can tell us how to most effectively maximize happiness so long as we have an operational definition of happiness. But it cannot tell us whether happiness is in and of itself valuable.

In other words, science cannot answer the question: Why should we value happiness? Suppose a meta-ethical moral nihilist says "The only thing I value is my own happiness". How can a scientist prove them wrong? They can't. Because science is not in the business of answering questions about value.

However, the mistake is to think that philosophy can better answer those questions. Even highly trained philosophers cannot "prove" to the nihilist that they should value other people's happiness. Ultimately value-statements are subjective. If the nihilist only values their own happiness - there is no logical argument that exists which can definitely prove them wrong.

All we can do is to take advantage of the evolutionary fact that our species is social and we are programmed to value other people's happiness so long as they are a part of our social circle. That's the only thing that is keeping psychopathic nihilism from spreading in the population. But suppose the population was composed of 50% selfish psychopaths and 50% altruists. There is no "universal moral guidebook" that can determine who is right. It's all subjective.

You can make a case that it's valuable to value the happiness of others as a means of increasing your own happiness. That is generally why we value the happiness of others.

Morality is a human/sentient trait/value. Science is more or less a record and measurement of existence and it's laws. Even then it's all dictated by our perceptions and understanding.

I'd love to hear a reply from Sam Harris on your thoughts.

When you say some forms of mortality can be entirely reduced to mathematics what does that actually mean? You exampled consequentialism, does that mean one act has one outcome as in a logical mathematical outcome? You can see I'm struggling to stretch my intellectual capabilities here :-) enjoyed your post though!

If we all agree on what "social utility" means, let's say it's the sum of human happiness? Then we now have turned morality into mathematics calculations. In essence the ethical calculus was formalized by Bentham. In addition, if you have consequentialist ethics even without agreeing on "social utility" you can have your own "self interest" and based on that you can use cost to benefit analysis to decide on which decisions provide the most expected utility. Consequentialist ethics are mathematics, and utilitarianism is a kind of consequentialist ethics.

You can be an ethical egoist consequentialist and simply rely on game theory to determine the correct course of action. Emotions do play a role because these emotions are what determines what we value but while value is the subjective part of the equation, the calculations are pure mathematics. Social exchange theory also shows how this works in economics which also is a discipline of mathematics not science.

Consequences which are known can be computed by probability, using math, using a calculator or super computer, to inform or advice someone on what actions to take, just as legal advice or medical advice can be delivered by an AI doing the calculations. If you value your life or certain interests or have some utility function then that determines right and wrong outcomes for you but the calculations are always the same process of cost to benefit analysis, probability distribution, etc. The reason consequentialism isn't currently fashionable for humans is because it's a burden to calculate it all but this burden over time will be reduced by AI.

References

  1. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ethical_calculus
  2. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Expected_utility_hypothesis
  3. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Social_exchange_theory
  4. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Consequentialism
  5. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Probability_distribution
  6. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ethical_egoism
  7. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Game_theory
  ·  2 years ago (edited)

Thanks, I'll have a read through the references. I'm struggling to fault Harris on this to be honest so I'm going to have another watch.

Having said that, I remember him discussing the Morality of AI more recently. His example was the driverless car that finds itself in a nearing unavoidable collision with some children. Does it's course of action save the children by swerving off the road and killing the driver or plough into the children and save the driver. I think his moral jury was out on that!

This has been solved. In my opinion the owner of the car should decide whether to sacrifice the car to save others in the situation of an accident. I don't think the AI in specific should be enabled to self sacrifice to save others if a human is in the vehicle unless the human owner accepts the same morality.

From a utilitarian perspective where all lives are complete strangers then it's better to save more lives than less. So it becomes a mere calculation (Trolley Experiment case) where you win by saving as many lives as possible. Taking 1 life to save 5 is a bigger win than saving 1 life to lose 5.

However if that 1 life is not a stranger and those 5 lives are complete strangers, now the values of those lives is no longer equal. So in practice it's not always the case to say it's ethical to save the maximum number of people in a situation because at the end of the day human beings do not value all people equally. Human beings like or love some people.

The jury isn't out on the question of the Trolley Experiment or self driving car variety of the same experiment. The solution under utilitarianism is always calculated to save the most lives even at the lowest cost if all lives are of equal worth.

So in the real world how would that work? Maybe the car owner would sit through a morality interview with the car dealership and his preferences would define the outcome of any accident. Surely there will be future laws to govern this and it would make sense to follow the utilitarianism approach but with no exception to whether the driver has any connection to the would be lost lives.

The car could have a screen and put forth the question in the form of a video and simple ask the owner what they would like their car to do in that situation.

My understanding is that morality has been tested by science and that Kohlberg was one of the leading pioneers in the field. His research led to predictable repeatable results. I even tested it on my 10-year-old and she answered exactly as Kohlberg predicted: her answer was pre-moral instinctively and immediately; whereas my answer was post-moral as I was and am able to hold multiple perspectives and balanced judgments​. The ability of critical thinking, nuance, and analyzing multiple complex perspectives is not something a 10-year old is developed enough​ to do....
This post isn't a dismissal of your assessments of morality and I can see a day when computational​ power does enlighten our sense of truth and consequence.....

What test are you referring to?

I can't remember the exact test question I used on my child but Kolhberg had more than one. I'll link some of them below, but my point is morality has been scientifically studied and the results are quite accurate, IMO......Most people in today's world operate at conventional levels/stages/modes of morality.
There are those highly developed people who operate at post-conventional levels/stages/modes of morality, but their actions will most often appear pre-conventional to the conventional moralists.
Accusing Jesus of​ doing good on the Sabbath would be one of many examples​ of this confusion.
Hindu gurus dropping acid another....
http://study.com/academy/practice/quiz-worksheet-kohlberg-s-stages-of-moral-development.html

I'm a fan of Harris myself but I'm not blind to some of his logical flaws. I agree with you that morality is something that can never be truly defined because right and wrong are consequential.. maybe within each environment ethics and morality can be established... to be applied of course to that specific environment alone. I don't think science could ever define morality regardless of any advancement we might make in the world of computing... Maybe the main reason is because we will never truly agree on what is moral and ethical as a whole, the one shoe fits all set in stone set of laws might be a philosophical unicorn.

Science will give a view point and wast knowledge about things but Moral is depending on the wisdom we derive with our common sense . so it will help but cannot be always true.

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Good post,

  ·  2 years ago (edited)

Great idea,its real thinking,very good video sharing
thanks

Great vidios @dana-edwards. I from in Aceh.

Have you read The Moral Landscape? I think he makes a good argument there for finding peaks and valleys when it comes to human wellbeing which can be measured and even tested against scientifically. I.e. given an understood goal using an agreed upon measurement, we can test different approaches scientifically. Without this mechanism for evaluating truth claims, we're left with the subjectivity you describe.

Some people say science will never understand things like love. I strongly disagree based on what we're learning through science about the human brain and our system of interactions and chemicals which we call "love":

In a similar way, the unmeasured, subjective understanding we have now of things like "wellbeing" all happen within the brain and inside our bodies so that, eventually, we will be able to measure them and compare and contrast them together with tests and hypothesis. Figuring out the goal we're aiming for may be a bit tricky and will certainly require logic, reason, and philosophy, but those will be driven by what we learn through advanced measurements of what is. Those measurements and the tools for making them are driven by our advancements in science.

So much of what people talk about in terms of the human condition is subjective and nebulous simply because, today, we don't have a hyper-accurate understanding of the human brain, emotional responses, pain, pleasure, etc. If (and in my opinion, when) we have that level of knowledge, it will greatly change how we approach these problems. It will be more like a laboratory setting where we can test "if I increase X and decrease Y within the cultural setting Z, do these brain levels change this way without causing other unintended consequences?"

To many that's science fiction, but I don't think it's all that far off. Understanding "what we value" and why is squarely in the domain of science (IMO) because those things happen in the physical medium of our brain which we're currently quite ignorant about due to its incredible complexity. As science progresses, we'll know more which will change this discussion significantly.

The Fact -> Value distinction

Science can describe love as a pattern in the brain. Love can be linked to value if you want to say people typically value what they love. Science describes only the neuroscience in terms of what the pattern is in the brain. Science never can explain what love feels like to people, or why love is important for people, or why people should value what they love, or how to deal with emotions in general.

Try fear? Science cannot tell you when to fear, what to fear, etc. Mathematics can tell you the level of risk but science isn't mathematics. Science simply generates new knowledge and while this is very useful for people who are trying to use mathematics to do ethics, it's never going to do anything more than provide knowledge to an equation. Science basically generates all the facts but none of the values nor will it tell you how to calculate the next move.

So much of what people talk about in terms of the human condition is subjective and nebulous simply because, today, we don't have a hyper-accurate understanding of the human brain, emotional responses, pain, pleasure, etc. If (and in my opinion, when) we have that level of knowledge, it will greatly change how we approach these problems. It will be more like a laboratory setting where we can test "if I increase X and decrease Y within the cultural setting Z, do these brain levels change this way without causing other unintended consequences?"

If all human brains could be scanned you still cannot use science to prove that these are anything more than brain patterns. Brain patterns have no inherent value from science. Brain patterns have value from philosophy. Love has value from philosophy. Science doesn't give value to anything and merely is a fact generation machine.

To many that's science fiction, but I don't think it's all that far off. Understanding "what we value" and why is squarely in the domain of science (IMO) because those things happen in the physical medium of our brain which we're currently quite ignorant about due to its incredible complexity. As science progresses, we'll know more which will change this discussion significantly.

But it's still not science. Science is specific in it's definition. You can read the brain 100% and it still doesn't prove scientifically that consciousness is real or fake, or that sentience is real or fake, or that sentience is even important. Science cannot measure human experience and ultimately we are stuck with philosophy for giving value (any value to anything), because science technically speaking has nothing to describe why a human life is of any value to the universe or answer questions of value at all.

All questions of value are subjective based on what some thinker, some "sentience", some person with "qualia", with preferences, is giving value to. Preferences result from qualia, from your ability to experience your existence subjectively. This is something science cannot explain, describe, or even prove. So you have no science of consciousness, or science of the Luke Stokes experience, because some questions or some things simply aren't provable or knowable with certainty.

Morality ultimately is about values. It's not about brain scans which merely tracks patterns in the brain associated with certain emotions or thoughts. Science gives us new knowledge and with it sometimes we can update what we value but it's not what determines whether or not you love yourself, love your family, or believe in your own sentience. Those topics are philosophy.

References

  1. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fact%E2%80%93value_distinction

Wittgenstein might say we're just discussing what words really mean here.

Evolution is science, yes? Can't science make claims about why we "feel" or "love" from an evolutionary framework? My hunch is this leads to a much larger discussion about free will and whether or not it actually exists. Words we create like consciousness, feelings, emotions, awareness, agency, etc... they may all just be an illusion we created for ourselves to explain our experience in ways that benefit the spread of our genes (not based on what "actually" is).

Ultimately, I think the false boundaries around science and philosophy aren't helpful as we need both working together. Without science and technology, philosophy would be so out of touch with reality (as we're best able to perceive it) as to be unhelpful and without philosophy to explore the (currently) unknown boundaries of knowledge within our conscious experiences, science would lead to things like eugenics which we later regret from a moral perspective.

I'll give that Wikipedia a read, thanks.

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This isn't to say evolution doesn't have value but the point is there is no way which I can see to make testable predictions which are falsifiable based off the theory of evolution. Also when we discuss the theory of evolution there are many gaps in it, and then there is no single theory of evolution but more origin of life theories which are encompassed to an umbrella term "theory of evolution".

It includes concepts like panspermia which are interesting but hard to prove. Primordial soup is just an educated guess and really not much better than a creation myth. My point is sometimes its better to admit that we don't know something than to try to fill in the gaps with theories backed by science. Evolution is a theory which over time has become backed by some actual science but the theory itself is not science.

For example life science has taught us a lot about the behavior of cells (such as bacteria will develop resistance to antibiotics), and we have learned a lot of knowledge about chemistry and medicine. At the same time evolution while it does provide a suitable explanation, as it at least provides a plausible theory for how life evolved, or how species evolved, or how a common ancestor could branch out, and this is backed by observations, fossils, etc, it's not at all clear what life actually is, or how life originated.

Evolution explains how life evolves which is valuable in itself. Origin of life questions in my opinion cannot be answered. Primordial soup, panspermia, etc, are just explanation to help people feel better about the fact that no one knows. The Big Bang Theory is also a set of beliefs about the origin of the universe which cannot be tested, and which is in place to help people feel better about the fact that no one really knows.

Science can answer a lot of questions, provided us with the standard model, with experimental physics, with the laws of physics as we currently understand them, and none of this can tell us how the universe originated, or what life is. We can know how life evolves, we can trace all the fossils back to single cell organisms, and we can be confident that the process of evolution took place, and still have no clue as to the origin of life.

Now, if I'm wrong and there are some legit experiments which meet the standard of being falsifiable then I'd like to see it. As far as I know evolution is controversial to think of it as science.
References


  1. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Panspermia
  2. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Primordial_soup
  3. https://www.researchgate.net/post/Is_the_theory_of_evolution_falsifiable

I think you're confusing abiogenesis with evolution. Evolution is about the changes in species over time and it has great predictive power for both explaining the past and the future, as do many scientific theories (that's why they are called theories, a word scientists use differently than non-scientists). Other examples include the theory of gravity or germ theory.

I'm not sure how we got on the topic of origins of life when discussing Harris' views on the role of science in morality. For me, it's about predictive powers and science has them. Utilitarianism (or most any other framework for morality) eventually falls back on a system for maximizing wellbeing which is the same thing Harris is saying. If we care about predictive powers for figuring out what works best given that framework of maximizing wellbeing, the scientific method is the best tool we have so far because it gives us predictive powers. It doesn't give us "proofs" like math or logic.

Fair enough, the Theory of Evolution on Wikipedia seems to include abiogenesis and concepts of survival of the fittest. Certain parts of the theory aren't based in science. That doesn't mean other parts of it can't be tested, or aren't scientific. It's not like the Standard Model though where it's the most accurate description of reality we have, but more Evolution is useful because it's simply good enough.

I'm not sure how we got on the topic of origins of life when discussing Harris' views on the role of science in morality. For me, it's about predictive powers and science has them.

I agree, science does have predictive powers. Science also gives us truth in a way where there is no certainty about anything. Morality is about logic, proof, mathematics, but not necessarily truth. It's very subjective and so there aren't universal laws or anything like that which science can deliver.

eventually falls back on a system for maximizing wellbeing

Not necessarily the case. First how would you define wellbeing? Then wellbeing for who exactly? The individual has a self interest so it could be good for them or not good for them. Then you have the species, where humans could seek wellbeing for the species but not other species, and so on. Ultimately it's subjective.

We could say wellbeing is simply to make all available brains "satisfied" but that is simply utilitarianism again. Utilitarianism has it's problems though because there are individuals and individuals might not want to live for the happiness of the group or the wellbeing of all brains on earth. Neuroscience is interesting, but it's not morality in my opinion and is more about self understanding.

First how would you define wellbeing? Then wellbeing for who exactly?

The answers to these questions are why I appreciate the book the Moral Landscape. It's about comparing and contrasting experiences of conscious beings, even if we can't measure them exactly we can say "this is a peak" or "that's a valley" when compared together.

I wrote more and then deleted it because we just don't view science or truth similarly, and I don't see much point in quoting wikipedia pages to support my opinion at the moment. To me, science isn't about providing unchanging, universal truth, it's a framework for disproving a hypotheses in such a way that others can come to similar conclusions and confidently build on the results. It's always open to change and correction.

When did I say science is about unchanging truth? It's just the truth according to science, which really is the best measurement we have. So we agree on science if you go by the Wikipedia definition of science.

Where we disagree is on where science can be applied. I don't think it can be applied to ought questions, or why, or origin.

I don't view mental states in a way where we can answer questions of ought. Neuroscience shows us mental states but it doesn't in my opinion transfer into morality. I don't think morality can be reduced to mental states in practice. I think morality is a matter of what people value and sure with deep enough understanding of the mental states you might have a clue, but ultimately I think it's the individual who has to make some choice as to what to value and just reading mental states isn't the same as for instance written consent.

Can it be at some point? It depends on the accuracy of the brain to computer interface. But it still doesn't change that value is subjective. It would seem you are claiming that somehow we can have objective values or universally shared values and that is where ultimately we have disagreement, not in the definition of science because we can go with the same definition (yours) and I still wouldn't agree with your conclusion. It's narrowed down to whether or not values are subjective.

Yes you can have a morality based on consensus but we already have that. That isn't necessarily personal morality, but is more what society and public sentiment views as right and wrong. You could in theory connect all brains and have public sentiment decide what is right and wrong in real time but that is only one kind of morality and erases individual morality in favor of consensus morality.

I am very skeptical of any claim of moral authority. Including the claim that science can create the moral authority and determine what is best for everyone. Communists believed something similar about the government. Moral realism I think is incorrect and to accept your view as true I would have to believe in moral realism. Currently I think moral anti-realism is a better way. This doesn't mean there might not be an optimal decision a person can make in theory, or a best decision, as rational choice theory and or decision theory can show, but it simply means that no one else can determine it on your behalf unless they know your preferences and current values as they change in real time. An AI might be able to do this but it doesn't exist, and even if it did, it's the problem of "wellbeing" which again you don't define clearly in a way where everyone agrees. You can use polls but these are approximations.

References

  1. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Moral_realism

Take the wellbeing approach, without a clear definition but lets say its based on mental states? Now assume an AI is in charge of all moral decisions. Is it going to be moral for humans to have individuality and free will if an AI can control everyone to guarantee with 100% certainty that the most moral decisions are made at all times?

There is no free will in science or individual in science.

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Now if we take what Karl Popper said, that scientific knowledge is the search for "truth" not the search for "certainty", then what about the theory of evolution is objectively truth? Certain aspects of it are scientific, are areas where predictions can be made, can be falsifiable, such as the behavior of bacteria, the behavior of cells, etc, but not completely.

So we can say the behavior of cellular life is an area of life sciences. This knowledge could have been acquired without the full theory of evolution. The behavior of bacteria is predicted by the theory of evolution, so we can say that is a legit prediction, but the topic of "origin of life" isn't science, can't make predictions and is just speculation. If we removed all the "origin of life" parts from the theory of evolution then some parts of it are scientific and useful. Origin of life is entirely speculative and educated guessing, and primordial soup after 80 years now researchers are saying it's no longer the best guess.

There have been tests to try to recreate primordial soup which have all failed as far as I know. And just like with the big bang we don't have the ability to use science to explain certain things.

Many scientists and philosophers of science have described evolution as fact and theory, a phrase which was used as the title of an article by paleontologist Stephen Jay Gould in 1981. He describes fact in science as meaning data, not absolute certainty but "confirmed to such a degree that it would be perverse to withhold provisional assent". A scientific theory is a well-substantiated explanation of such facts. The facts of evolution come from observational evidence of current processes, from imperfections in organisms recording historical common descent, and from transitions in the fossil record. Theories of evolution provide a provisional explanation for these facts.[1]

So the facts generated by science are the facts (behavior of bacteria, etc). The theory of evolution exists to try to explain the science in a coherent way. In my opinion the theory of evolution has gaps, holes, and in some cases best guesses like the origin of life, which take it away from being scientific. In a sense it tries to explain stuff which can't be tested as well as some stuff which can be, so while the behavior of bacteria can be tested the origin of life is a speculation (like the origin of the universe).

References

University of Kansas. (2017, September 13). Evolution of 'true frogs' defies long-held expectations of science. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 18, 2017 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2017/09/170913193106.htm

Web:

  1. https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/02/100202101245.htm
  2. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Evolution_as_fact_and_theory

Finally to wrap this up, your quote:

Ultimately, I think the false boundaries around science and philosophy aren't helpful as we need both working together. Without science and technology, philosophy would be so out of touch with reality (as we're best able to perceive it) as to be unhelpful and without philosophy to explore the (currently) unknown boundaries of knowledge within our conscious experiences, science would lead to things like eugenics which we later regret from a moral perspective.

To address your concern, what evidence is there that philosophy and science aren't already working together? Science supplies the facts while philosophy tells us what we should value. Philosophy and science have always worked together.

My opinion is only philosophy can explain the origin of life because philosophy provides explanations. Mathematics provides models. Science provides facts. So science is our fact generator where models are proven or disproven, where an explanation from philosophy can gain or lose credibility. The many worlds interpretation of quantum physics for example is a mathematical model but not science because it's not testable. String theory is a mathematical model but not science because it also isn't testable. Darwinism as far as I know isn't science, and the theory of evolution includes some processes which are testable, but some which are not testable or falsifiable but more just attempts at explanation, like the origin of life which I think is a mistake to try to use science there.

Whether the theory of evolution is science or not, it's extremely successful as a theory, very useful, and plausible. On the morality of eugenics, I don't think eugenics is immoral. What was immoral was how they tried to implement it. What was immoral was the complete disregard for individualism, human rights, consent, in favor of forced sterilization. Negative eugenics or coercive eugenics isn't wrong because designer babies are wrong or because intelligent selection is wrong, but it is wrong because a central state authority did eugenics without consent amorally.

If there is consent then nothing is immoral about two adults choosing to mate with each other to create what they perceive to be a master race. Nor is anything wrong with parents who genetically modify their offspring to cure diseases, promote athleticism, intelligence, or beauty. In fact under utilitarianism the case for eugenics is actually much stronger in favor of it being moral if done with consent.