Hey guys - Anyone else reading this?  I'm about half way through.  I love it overall.  My liberal friends, (I'm liberal too) think he's too hard on Islam.  I hate to say it, but he makes some really good points on the subject.  Thoughts?

Tags: ethics, harris, islam, sam

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I've not read any of his books, but I would like to. Typical of the liberals to placate Islam. I'm a liberal, but I'll have none of it. Being supportive of Islam is like being supporting of the KKK because you embrace diverstiy.
I haven't read the book, but from my knowledge of Islam, there is very little worth defending in the religion. I am sure individuals who are part of the religion are worth defending, but a too large part of them take the violent instructions and the tribalist perspective in the Koran literally and are a danger to peacful civilization and to basic liberty and freedom. I am liberally slanted also.
I didn't think he was any harder on Islam than Christianity. Middle Eastern culture got a pretty rough ride, especially blood feuds, but I think that's cultural and not prescribed by Islam, and it was a perfect example for point he was making.
My only complaint was that he spent several pages smashing Francis Collins. It didn't fit with the theme of the book, and all he accomplished was to show that Collins, being the bible thumper he is, had strong potential for bias as head of the NIH. Personally, I don't have any problem with him until he actually DOES something bad. But that was a few wasted pages in an otherwise excellent book.

I'm reading it now, but must return it to the library before I'm finished.  I'm guessing you've finished it by now - what is your opinion overall?  So far, I think he makes a good case for objectively determining the well-being of conscious creatures.  He's saying that there is a moral truth b/c we can (in principle if not always in practice) say that there are ways of our knowing empirically what is good and what is bad, that morality's not relative in reality.  That makes sense to me.  Unfortunately many on the left have stupidly gone too far by suggesting that good and bad are determined by the culture one lives in, tolerating things that we can know are objectively bad for people even though their cultural hierarchy says it's good. 

The last bastion of the religious is their claim to have an unquestioned ability to provide society with a set of impeccable morals.  Sam Harris attempts to strip religions of this very last shred of legitimacy, one that traditionally scientists have ceded to them.  He's trying to get ppl to start questioning this type of common wisdom that so many unthinkingly carry around about religion; that its got the exclusive rights to moral wisdom, and giving us a likely alternative.  I believe he's right.  Science has out-performed religion in every area of human knowledge and I think we will one day know that there are factual reasons for moral behaviour.

IMO, the book is worthy of a re-check. It's one of the best books I've read this year. He wasn't preaching to the choir in my case though. I strongly felt that morality WAS subjective, and entirely dependent on the culture or circumstances.  Thanks to Harris, I am now of the opposite opinion. For me, there is nothing better than a book that offers a fresh perspective and trashes my previously held beliefs.  This really was one of those "eureka" books.




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