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Rabbi says, flat-out materialist Patricia Churchland’s thinking “is a moral mess”


In “For Moral Guidance, Look to Religion — Not Neuroscience” (Huffington Post, 7/21/11) Rabbi Eric H. Yoffie advises ,

The current star in the neuroscience firmament is Patricia Churchland, a retired professor at UC San Diego. Churchland has written on the subject for years, but her recent book, “Braintrust: What Neuroscience Tell Us About Morality,” has garnered considerable attention. Christopher Shea, drawing on interviews with Churchland and others, has written a fascinating article on her ideas in the June 12 edition of The Chronicle of Higher Education.

The article is worth reading because Churchland’s thinking is a moral mess. It reminds us why religion is the best and indispensable guide to moral behavior.


Here’s the MercatorNet review (Morality for neurons):

Churchland is partial to a theory that morality originates in the oxytocin-vasopressin network in mammals. One outcome is stunners like this: “The social life of humans, whether in hunter-gatherer villages, farming towns, or cities, seems to be even more complex than that of baboons or chimpanzees.”

Now, why in the world would that be?


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