23 March 2010

Sam Harris: Science can answer moral questions

Harris touched upon several important issues which I like to highlight:
1. Why have we spent more time on gay marriages instead of tackling global poverty which billions are currently under and millions are in constant hunger?
2. Why don't we discuss more on the current existing stockpile of nuclear war heads (in USA, UK, Russia, India, Pakistan, China etc.) and the danger than they impose on human civilisation?
3. Why can't we focus on global climate change which can potentially lead to the destruction of our current civilisation if we don't act in time to reverse the current path?

The science underpinning moral could be neurology. The discovery of "mirror neurons" enabled us to explain why we feel empathy. If our actions result in someone feeling bad, we are able to feel this as well - with the help of the mirror neurons. Obviously, our psychological reactions are modified through our life-long social immersion in the culture we have grown up. As Harris correctly points out, an evidence-based study would lead to an objective understanding of morality.

The religious-coloured lens through which we view moral today is obviously biased. Being an atheist all my life, I view moral very differently than many who are bought up to belong to a religion.Global climate is constantly bothering me. I am frustrated with the politicians protecting 'self-interest' and denying the strong science pointing to the path of self-destruction we are on.

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