Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Sam Harris on Morality and Science

I just watched Sam Harris giving a TEDtalk on science and morality and how morality can be determined by science, that the greater human good can be factually established.

He offered no moral values as far as "A is good, B is bad". He eludes to the Muslim women wearing Burkas as being bad, but also women on magazines wearing next to nothing  (photoshopped and airbrushed to look perfect no less) as being on the other end of the spectrum of being bad. He promoted a compromise between these two extremes as being what we should be looking for but did not offer any scientific reasoning why that is, he just appealed to his audience's sense of decency. Basically, these two extremes are wrong because we feel they are wrong.

Sam started off by saying children are beaten with a wood board (commonly known to good parents and well behaved children as a paddle) to the point there is bruising and skin being broken all because the Creator of the Universe told us that if we "spare the rod we spoil the child". Mr. Harris claims this is quoted in the Bible in the book of Proverbs. Mr Harris makes this claim after revealing we are dealing with facts vs religious values. The fact is that verse is no where to be found in the book of Proverbs or the Bible in any version, ever. But that doesn't seem to stop an atheist with an agenda. Who needs the facts when you have a point to make right?  Also, I was paddled quite a bit growing up, not one bruise, and certainly no breaking of the skin. Its called discipline, not abuse.

During the Q&A portion Sam really struggles to not sound xenophobic but doesn't come off as anything but. Sure we are all horrified at Muslims who kill their children. This is horrible. Sam picks an easy target. He picks an extreme. Cherry picks his point in order to try and salvage his presentation promoting xenophobia.

He speaks often about overall well being, "in a larger context". Ok, who's well being? The individual's? or society's? We could make a great case to stop insuring smokers and obese people for the sake of those who take good care of themselves. This is actually being debated right now. How about abortion? The well being of the unborn child is not considered valid. As one pro abortionist puts its "some lives are just more valuable than others". If you want to claim some lives as more valuable than others, you could really make a case to bring back slavery.

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