Public Lecture: The New Atheism, Science and Morality
As you know (and a number of you have very kindly supported me in the endeavour), shortly I’ll be flying off to Oxford for a conference at which I’ll be speaking (more on that another time). When I get back I have a couple of speaking engagements lined up in Auckland before returning home to Dunedin. Here’s one of them.
The New Atheists, that outspoken motley crew full of passion and godlessness (a description I rather suspect they’d appreciate and endorse), have little time for the view that the existence of moral truths is correctly explained with reference to God as the moral lawgiver. That view, says Sam Harris, is downright dangerous in our day and age. Instead, we should think of moral facts as being scientific facts, facts revealed to us by neuroscience as it describes the human brain and its ability to produce the experience of either happiness or suffering. With this argument in hand, many might think that the New Atheists have latched on to a way of preserving genuine moral truths in a world without God.
But have they? In this public lecture I’ll explain how Dr Harris presents his view, and I will also explain the fundamental moral issues that his account overlooks altogether. Far from being an explanation of morality that makes God redundant, what the New Atheists really have in Harris’s account is a model of morality that lacks foundations unless God is re-introduced as the lawgiver who decides which states of affairs we ought to be trying to bring about in the first place.
Date: Monday the 6th of September 2010, 7pm
Place: University of Auckland, Library Basement 15
EDIT: HERE is the Facebook page for this event.