March 28, 2012 12:00 AM

Only science can give us reliable, useful knowledge about the world

The democratic spirit embodies the principle that all people have equal rights – to justice, to protection under the law, to the pursuit of happiness, and so on. But this principle makes some people think there’s equality in everything and that all ideas are just a matter of opinion, so Joe Blow’s ideas are just as good as Jefferson’s or Einstein’s. Some students, for example, have asserted their “right” to spell words any way they please. In ethics and morality, this becomes the attitude that there are no objective standards for behavior, so – as one of my colleagues put it – “Mother Teresa does her thing and Hitler does his thing, and it’s all cool.”

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