Wednesday, February 02, 2011


Tales of the Monumentally Banal

An atheist friend recommended Sam Harris' The Moral Landscape to me as a thought provoking and intellectually satisfying read. It's been a tough go getting started in it. Here is one of the reasons why. He writes:

Human experience shows every sign of being determined by, and realized in, states of the human brain.
Wow, the super genius IQ that produced that sentence is something to behold. I've got one:

Summer colds are the worst.
It is Mr. Harris's thesis that science can produce a code of ethics superior to that derived from God. He sneers:

Faith, if it is ever right about anything, is right by accident.
But in his quest to build a code of scientifically approved conduct, he can't help but slip in some a priori standards not derived from 'rational, open ended, honest inquiry,' but because he says so. Behold:

While it would be unethical to deprive young children of normal care for the purpose of experiment...
Really? Why? Wouldn't the greater good be served by rational, open ended honest inquiry into the relationship of our experiences as children to the superior, science derived ethics he is exploring? At the cost of a few rough weeks for some children? He's letting his emotions rule here, not scientific rigor.

I'm only to page 9. This could be a Herculean slog. The guy's a wanker, so far. I'll report back.


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