Religion, skepticism, and carving out a spiritual life post-Mormonism
TED Talk Tuesday: Sam Harris says science can answer moral questions
I saw this yesterday. I think when it comes to making a case for public policies based on rational thought, Sam Harris is one of the smartest guys in the room.
Some of this reminds me of the book "Universally Preferable Behaviour: A rational proof of ethics" (free download or purchasable from http://www.freedomainradio.com/Books/UniversallyPreferableBehaviourEthics.aspx) which I found quite good.
Dawkins on Sam Harris' website: "I was one of those who had unthinkingly bought into the hectoring myth that science can say nothing about morals. To my surprise, The Moral Landscape has changed all that for me."Does Richard Dawkins now believe there is objective moral truth? Does he now believe in a 'real' good?Maryann SpikesSan Francisco Apologetics Examiner
@Ichthus,As dangerous as it may be to speak for someone else, or presume someone's thoughts, I will offer this:I think Dawkins might be offering up his own brand of 'happy humility'. This is something that comes bregrudgingly out of scientists from time to time, but usually signals a willingness to change.I would wager Dawkins has not become willing to leap towards an objective moral truth, or believe in a 'real' good. I think he is in his way celebrating the idea that it can be studied and measured. Such an approach may bring small but sure steps of understanding which can then bring about 'good' practice.
Sam Harris is not my favorite of the four horesmen, Hitchens is, but he was really good in this. http://abcnews.go.com/Nightline/FaceOff Hope everything is going well. Happy spring to ya.Kriss
Excellent video, and Harris makes some really solid points.I can't imagine any morality more arbitrary or relativist than one based on whatever random gibberish happened to get incorporated into some "holy" book centuries ago.The only way the video would have been better is if it had left out the sniveling relativist at the end who comes on with the usual cowardly apologetics for Islamic barbarism.
Sam Harris says that science can determine what is right. In a sense, that is true. Scientific thinking can arrive at the Golden Rule (google my name and Moral Truth Litmus). Science can study the “moral center” in the brain, can try to figure out which genes work together to build a being who experiences empathy, can tell you which chemicals make a person more likely to feel prosocial feelings and carry out prosocial behavior. But in order to call the Golden Rule, or any other standard, “objective moral truth,” (without committing the fallacy of reification) science must be able to point to the real, fulfilled ought which that alleged true standard describes. Science must show us the being who is and does what we should all be and do—that for which we all hunger. Sam Harris denies such a being exists, committing the fallacy of reification in claiming objective moral truth.
Ichthus, I disagree. Here's a previous post explaining why.