Sam Harris - Science Can Answer Moral Questions

Because of our long history of conquest, imperialism and xenophobia, we in the West have learned the hard way (though only as perpetrators) that we can't simply assume, and consequently impose, our beliefs and values on societies whose worldview differ from our own. We know better now, but there was a time when those who were different from us were immediately assumed to be primitive and inferior, and in dire need of whatever we happened to consider cultural and intellectual enlightenment at the time. And, of course, we made sure they got a strong dose of our medicine, even if they didn't want it.

Given this embarrassing track record, it should be no surprise to anyone that the pendulum has swung to the opposite extreme, and that tolerance and non-judgment have now become two of the most cherished values in modern liberal democracies, even to the point of lunacy. We now take offense at those who take offense, we criticize those who criticize, we are intolerant of the intolerant, and we'll bend over backwards to accommodate any non-mainstream belief, no matter how quirky, delusional, irrational or even dangerous.

In short, we have become a society of indolent relativists too afraid to think critically for ourselves or to stand on principle for our beliefs, and in this thought-provoking TEDTalk presentation, Sam Harris makes a strong case that objective moral progress can and must be achieved, and that it's high time we grow up and reject relativism and other irrational beliefs.

While I disagree with Sam Harris' analysis of the relationship between science and morality (starting with the fact he equivocates the word 'fact' and commits several categorical mistakes as a result), I do agree that some beliefs, values and practices are just plain silly, no matter where they come from, as the picture below demonstrates :)

Watch out Sports Illustrated models... your days of fame and power are over :)

And if you want to learn about the plight of women in Muslim societies, check out the dramatic short film Submission.
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