Sam Harris – Science Can Answer Moral Questions

I don’t always agree with Sam Harris but I always love what he has to say.  He is one of the few people that always makes me think.  He is so smooth and looks at things from a different angle.  Here is his recent TED talk.  Enjoy and then tell us what you like most.

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3 Responses to Sam Harris – Science Can Answer Moral Questions

  1. depletedfool says:


  2. Ron says:

    Fantastic talk. I really liked the comment about the treatment of women. Imagine how much better the world would be if all women were given the right to live as equals. Sam Harris makes you think that there actually is a future to look forward to.

  3. Ernesto says:

    I applaud his call for a firmer objectivity in the realm of Morality. The problem with much of his neo-utilitarianism comes from his particular way of thinking, more rhetorical than rational. He can get away with unsupported declarative statements “We know … is wrong.” by arguing from extremes. He gives no criteria for his “human well being” or his “human flourishing” only answering that we know what it is not by extreme examples: Ted Bundy, corporeal punishment, and the other such examples. It is interesting to note that most of examples of these self-evident wrongs were religions. Only a cynic would suggest that Dr. Harris is actually less interested in morality and more interested in fortifying his crusade against Religion. He cares little for naming what is right and more for declaring what is wrong and that wrong is Religion.

    Take for example his attack on Muslim women wearing burkas. Burka wearing is wrong because it leads to acid in the face and the horrors he describes. He first present it as the problem is womens’ bodies. (Interesting he did not frame the problem as men’s lust, rather misogynistic of Dr. Harris) He did make an half effort at balance by putting up a wall of western magazines full of sexual consumerism. He did make flippant male adolescent jokes about the sexually exploitive wall. Clearly, he does not take it as a serious problem compared to the evils of burka wearing.

    And what to make of the follow up question from TED host, who said that living in Muslim countries he had many women say they felt liberated from men’s lust by the Burka. Dr Harris answered by saying that they were delusional and that they were a product oppressive system of male domination. So, papa Harris will show these women the dangers of patriarchy. Can we really imagine Muslim woman saying, “Thank you papa Harris for showing us silly Muslim girls we don’t really know our own lives.” The complexity of the whole issue he leaves to better thinkers.

    Sadly, Dr Harris so far has failed in his neo-utilitarianism, though he has failed spectacularly.

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