At Open Culture: The Endlessly Self-Delusive Sam Harris

Sam Harris: Science can provide definitive answers to moral questions.

Wow, I can't wait to hear the insight of Josef Mengele and Werner von Braun on questions of equality of humanity.  Or the insights of people who can't even give appropriate credit for work when accepting a Nobel.  Or those that steal and publish their graduate student's work.  I expect these insights into moral questions to be profoundly stirring.

Mr. Harris has no religion and so arrogates one of the possible functions to science and proceeds to undermine any validity his viewpoint may have had.  He is right only in one thing--moral questions do fall into the realm of knowable facts--but they are not empirically knowable as witnessed by the fact that we have many who see nothing wrong with slavery, slaughter, and mayhem if it serves their purposes. 

Science is a useful tool for knowing the natural world.  To presume that the natural world reveals some sort of morality is to dive head-first into a sea of pantheism where our observations lead the way.  Surely the experience of Hiroshima and Nagasaki are clear enough pointers as to the way our observations can lead.


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