The problem with appealing to science isn’t limited to the problem of deriving “ought” from “is”. It is that the human element corrupts the process to the point that one cannot reasonably expect to rely upon science to accurately relate “is” any longer, barring exogenous real-world confirmation:
If you want to see just how long an academic institution can tolerate a string of slow, festering research scandals, let me invite you to the University of Minnesota, where I teach medical ethics.
Over the past 25 years, our department of psychiatry has been party to the following disgraces: a felony conviction and a Food and Drug Administration research disqualification for a psychiatrist guilty of fraud in a drug study; the F.D.A. disqualification of another psychiatrist, for enrolling illiterate Hmong refugees in a drug study without their consent; the suspended license of yet another psychiatrist, who was charged with “reckless, if not willful, disregard” for dozens of patients; and, in 2004, the discovery, in a halfway house bathroom, of the near-decapitated corpse of Dan Markingson, a seriously mentally ill young man under an involuntary commitment order who committed suicide after enrolling, over the objections of his mother, in an industry-funded antipsychotic study run by members of the department.
And those, unfortunately, are just the highlights.
The problem extends well beyond the department of psychiatry and into the university administration. Rather than dealing forthrightly with these ethical breaches, university officials have seemed more interested in covering up wrongdoing with a variety of underhanded tactics. Reporting in The Star Tribune discovered, for example, that in the felony case, university officials hid an internal investigation of the fraud from federal investigators for nearly four years.
This is why religion and philosophy will always trump science. Due to the human element of scientistry and its obvious susceptibility to corruption, science that has not yet reached the level of reliability and credibility we call “engineering” simply does not merit being taken seriously by anyone who is not a professional scientist.