just when we don’t need it.
Further to: If you want to rant against religion, get serious, and talk about specific beliefs, okay?,
I just read this interview between new atheist Sam Harris and celeb skeptic Michael Shermer:
Harris: You appear to believe, as I do, that morality can (and should) arise out of a concern for the well-being of conscious creatures. But this normative claim is distinct from an evolutionary account of how we came to have moral emotions and preferences in the first place. …
Shermer: The criterion I use—inspired by your starting point in The Moral Landscape of “the well-being of conscious creatures”—is “the survival and flourishing of sentient beings.” By survival I mean the instinct to live, and by flourishing I mean having adequate sustenance, safety, shelter, bonding, and social relations for physical and mental health. I am trying to make an evolutionary/biological case for starting here by arguing that any organism subject to natural selection—which includes all organisms on this planet and most likely on any other planet as well—will by necessity have this drive to survive and flourish. If it didn’t, it would not live long enough to reproduce and would therefore not be subject to natural selection.
“the survival and flourishing of sentient beings” on this and any other planet?
I am hearing this, but I cannot easily accept that a human mouth said it.
Lots of wild animals want free food. Hey, if that’s all these guys mean …
O’Leary for News used to live in Toronto and had a heck of a problem with wild animals terrorising each other (and sometimes people) around an apartment building garbage dumpster, with no cover.
They certainly had a drive to survive and flourish. What that possibly has to do with morality, I cannot imagine.
See also: The Science Fictions series at your fingertips (cosmology).