Sam Harris: Science can answer moral questions

Questions of good and evil, right and wrong are commonly thought unanswerable by science. But Sam Harris argues that science can — and should — be an authority on moral issues, shaping human values and setting out what constitutes a good life.

I believe that morality is rooted in our natural being and the societies we form. Science as “the study of the nature and behaviour of natural things and the knowledge that we obtain about them” should most definitely be able to define and categorize moralities. I would love to see science truly try to define our moral landscape and help us all define and arrive at the optimal viewpoints of morality for all of humanity. The cloudy vision of mythical beliefs that many people still rely upon today is a reflection of ourselves wrapped in unnecessary ficitional stories. Like many other primitive beliefs about the universe that science has shed a needed light on, I do believe science can clear up and improve our collective morality.

Full Belief in Your Religion

The Bible

Atheist Revolution quotes The Secular Thinker concerning the fact that believers pick what they want to believe and ignore what they don’t. It doesn’t just happen in the choosing of your religion if you didn’t let your parents choose for you. It also happens in the practice of your particular religion.

I agree with this assessment:

This question, and minor variations of it, pose what appears to be an insurmountable obstacle to all Christians except for perhaps the most rabid biblical literalists. Although I have never met anyone who actually lived as if they believed every word in the Christian bible was the literal word of a divine being, I accept the possibility that such people might be out there somewhere…

…Perhaps they do not really believe what they claim to believe and simply maintain the appearance of such beliefs for the sake of the social benefits they confer (e.g., being part of a religious community, etc.). Perhaps they profess the beliefs because they were taught from an early age that this is what they are supposed to believe. Perhaps they try with all their might to convince themselves that they believe these things because doing so carries some sort of emotional benefit. What such individuals describe as a “crisis of faith” may be little more than their rational mind revolting at the incongruence between their claimed beliefs and their behavior.

What it boils down to for me, again and again, is that the overwhelming majority of those who call themselves Christians do not behave as if their souls were at risk. Few even seem to have a clear idea of what their bible says.

I also do not see an overwhelming full belief in any religion. Every belief I’ve encountered or read about is filtered through that person’s whims and desires. My own agnostic view of the universe is through my own filter, but fortunately there are no real universal truths to agnosticism other than admitting we do not know.

The believer selectively ignores aspects of their religion that they’re uncomfortable with, feel is unimportant, or do not even know about. I am so selective that I’ve completely rejected adherence to entire religions instead of just the bits and pieces. If you are someone that thinks that’s bad, then why don’t you fully believe every word of your religion exactly as it was written by primitive men?

A Delayed New Year

It’s a delayed new year for this website. I’ve been busy moving in my personal life so I’ve brought that change to this place as well. I just moved the blog from Nucleus CMS to WordPress and in to a tool that more people use. It does feel nicer and is all I really needed for my one blog. Nucleus is nice for a multi-blog site but I don’t know that I’d ever get this built out like that. Now I need to get the iPhone app for this and I’m all set to start blogging again more frequently!

I’ve also added Twitter to my life and the right side of the blog. You can follow that as @AgnosticU. I’ll probably badge that on the main site as well, which could also use some fresh content. First, I need to redevelop the habit of blogging and develop the habit of tweeting.