Moral Victories

Julian Sanchez maps the boundaries of science:

I’m glad, of course, that we’ve dispensed with a lot of bogus science that served to rationalize homophobiathat’s a pure scientific victory.  And I’m glad that we no longer classify homosexuality as a disorderbut that’s a choice and, above all, a moral victory. It ultimately stems from the more general recognition that we shouldn’t stigmatize dispositions and behaviors that are neither intrinsically distressing to the subject nor harmful, in the Millian sense, to the rest of us. And that comes across clear as day in the This American Life account: The change in the psychiatric establishment’s bible, the DSM, was partly a function of new scientific information, but it was equally a moral and a political choice.  The test, if we’re trying to keep ourselves honest, is not whether we place some questions beyond the scope of science, but whether we do so in an opportunistic, ad hoc way, depending on whether the science seems to cut for or against our preferred beliefs.