Morality (Sam Harris is Wrong, part 7 and conclusion)

Morality is perhaps the most philosophically difficult part of Sam Harris’s worldview. He argues against moral relativism, in favor of objective morality. This objective morality is based on maximizing "wellbeing for all conscious creatures." I doubt this article will change people's minds. It is much easier to do that in conversation where you can instantly react … Continue reading Morality (Sam Harris is Wrong, part 7 and conclusion)

Profiling (Sam Harris is Wrong, part 6)

Sam Harris has argued in favor of profiling (in airports, for example). He explains his position: we can exclude from inspection some people who we so obviously don't need to worry about. He even euphemistically calls it "anti-profiling." It's insane, he says, to search the old Chinese granny's shoes just as vigorously as the 22 … Continue reading Profiling (Sam Harris is Wrong, part 6)

Theism, atheism, and antitheism (Sam Harris is Wrong, Part 3)

Harris fails to appreciate the narrative power of religion, or the importance of belief. Here is an excerpt from a debate between Harris and Jordan Peterson, moderated by Bret Weinstein.  Harris: I'm not saying that stories aren't incredibly powerful and useful and inevitable... Peterson: You are. You might be saying that they're inevitable. But you … Continue reading Theism, atheism, and antitheism (Sam Harris is Wrong, Part 3)

Do we have free will, or fate, or both? (Sam Harris is Wrong, Part 2)

[I'm going to re-write most of this. Please be patient for now.] This series will be written with the assumption that you are up to speed with the nature of Harris’s positions, or that you understand the state of the debates in question. If that assumption does not apply to you, that’s ok; just please … Continue reading Do we have free will, or fate, or both? (Sam Harris is Wrong, Part 2)

Gods and Goddesses of abstraction: Why Western thought is scientific

In discrete mathematics, categorization is a form of abstraction. There are many different kinds of birds, but there is also bird”ness” that is common across all birds. There are many different types of rocks, but there is also rock”ness” that is common across all rocks. I can tell you about a rock without naming a … Continue reading Gods and Goddesses of abstraction: Why Western thought is scientific

“All we have is conversation or violence” (Sam Harris is Wrong, Part 1)

This is the first installment of a series in which I look at various beliefs of Sam Harris and explain why they are wrong. Why am I picking on Harris? Although I believe Harris is wrong about many things, the way he is wrong is usually interesting: the intellectual consequence of mental traps that are … Continue reading “All we have is conversation or violence” (Sam Harris is Wrong, Part 1)