Remember PZ Myers and Sam Harris facing off at Twitter? (Question: Will these explosions in the Twitterverse and on blogs impact the intellectual status of Darwinian evolution?)
Here he is on a recent defamation campaign against him:
Aslan and Greenwald know that nowhere in my work do I suggest that we kill harmless people for thought crimes. And yet they (along with several of their colleagues) are doing their best to spread this lie about me. Nearly every other comment they’ve made about my work is similarly misleading.
Both Aslan and Greenwald are debasing our public discourse and making honest discussion of important ideas increasingly unpleasant—even personally dangerous. Why are they doing this? Please ask them and those who publish them.
Why are they doing this? Presumably because they think it works for whatever their goal is.
A better question is, why is Harris puzzled? The creation story of new atheism is Darwinism, for which moral values are merely a means of increasing reproductive fitness. (Smart people see that, and as for the rest of us, our brains did not evolve so as to enable us to see it.)
One can demand moral accountability only if one believes that the universe is fundamentally moral, and Harris explicitly does not believe that.
Put another way, one can be good without God, but not without a moral universe. All moral discussion just becomes A shouting about what he wants B to do and B shouting about what she wants A to do. And finally, the stronger will prevail.
Yet Harris seems not to want to prevail that way. He seems intent on proving the hard way that it is not easy to be a decent person in the world of new atheism.
See also: New atheism: Jerry Coyne on John Gray on Richard Dawkins Is new atheism imploding?
Back to work tomorrow. Wishing all readers a happy Canadian Thanksgiving (yes, it is Thanksgiving Sunday in Canada). – O’Leary for News
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