Sunday, February 6, 2011

A Response to Critics

"I can imagine ... scientists discover that the well-being ... is greatly enhanced by promoting the notion of a supreme being that oversees ... the universe."

I'm actually pretty skeptical that would be true. To me it seems very likely that looking for truth will be better than believing things just because they may temporaril­y make us feel better. But for the sake of argument, I think your point is a valid critique of Harris. The idea that "well being" alone is the ONLY good isn't nearly as intuitive to me as it is to him. I can see that other values, for example the desire to seek the truth regardless if that truth makes us happy, are equally or more important than "well being".

However, having said all that I don't consider it a fatal blow to what Harris is trying to do. He is trying something very new and I think important, getting morality out of the domain of religion and into the light of reason and science. He almost certainly will make mistakes along the way, but starting us on the journey is the important thing.

I think a good analogy is Freud. Virtually every concept Freud "discovere­d" has been shown to be invalid pseudo-sci­ence. But that doesn't diminish that Freud accomplish­ed something very important, he got people to start thinking about consciousn­ess and metal health from a scientific standpoint­.
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