First, morality is not absolute. It depends on the species, at the very least. If there was an intelligent species of spiders, it might very well be moral to kill a male after mating. Morality is determined by what allows stable societies to survive over the long term. In particular, that implies a government that listens to the concerns of the populace, is able to enforce some system that seems just to the populace, and that encourages people to live happy and fulfilling lives.<quoted text>
Why do you use the word "reliable" in this way? Let's go into philosophy of morality for a round of discussion.
Is it wrong to kill a child? Is it wrong to rape a woman? Is it wrong to steal? Is it wrong to cheat at a game or contest? Is it wrong to lie?
Science can't quantify or qualify the moral arguments. It can try to measure brain impulses through MRI, EEG, and chemical properties by blood and tissue testing, but that's only limited to the naturalistic scientific method.
Now you can argue that homo sapiens developed these moral ethics over time as a social or cultural construct to promote survival within a group, but if that's your argument, then it doesn't hold much weight with me for a very simple reason. If humanity has existed as long as Darwinian evolution proponents like to claim, then why hasn't our morality advanced as quickly as our technology?
We do not progress morally as much as we progress intellectually because our species developed when most people lived in fairly small clans. We still very much have the clan mentality. Furthermore, the evolutionary pressure has been more towards conflict between clans rather than cooperation. So wars and extra-clan killings were and still are common. Without evolutionary pressure for cooperation, we don't expect it to become fixed in our genes. If anything, it is remarkable that it has done so as much as it has.
But I would also say that your claim that we have not developed morally is wrong. We no longer see slavery as justifiable. We no longer see it as good for women to be uneducated. We no longer see racism as being a positive value. So we are, very gradually, coming out of that clan mentality and starting to see *all* people as part of our clan.
Unfortunately, everyone being good with no enforcement is an unstable equilibrium: one person who is a 'mutant' can cause a lot of havoc. The question is how to form a stable society that can deal with those who don't follow the rules of that society in a way that is as fair as possible (for stability).There is still evil in the world. We recognize it in the evening news or the morning paper or when it happens to a loved one or friend. You would think that if we evolved according to the Darwinian model, that our morality would save us from hurting each other, and yet as human history has shown, we've become more efficient at killing, much more apathetic, and much more lazy.
And people don't agree on what is and is not evil. Sure, some basics are universal: don't kill those in your clan without reason. The development of morality has been the extension of the size of the 'clan' to cities, countries, and the world, as well as to minorities that didn't have a voice before.So how has science been able to measure the truth of the existence of evil? There has to be a measure of good to compare, so one knows what evil is. As C.S. Lewis famously said, one must know what a straight line looks like in order to know what a crooked line looks like. Science cannot quantify or measure morality, unless we're considering the latest FBI crime index reports.
But you are right. This is not a scientific endeavor. That is because morality is determined by what people want in the long run. We tend to want stable societies that allow us the freedom to find our own happiness. The particulars are mostly a matter of opinion, not of truth.