Monday, March 29, 2010

Sam Harris: Science can answer moral questions

Various ScienceBlogs posts have put this video up from a TED talk by Sam Harris (I found this at Greg Laden's Blog). It is an interesting piece, saying that science can answer moral questions (something that many scientists and non-scientists rarely claim as something that is "appropriate" or "doable" by science). I think it's an interesting video to watch, since it poses rational questions to the point of science-informed morality.

But he says that science is not likely a direction to turn in order to answer certain types of moral questions, such as if deducting 100% of the cost of attending TED as a business expense is a good thing. One thing that I really like about this is that Sam Harris talks about how (at 9 minutes) there doesn't always have to be only one viewpoint that is "right" along a moral landscape. This is something that I personally think is true, since holding the point-of-view that it there is only one unchanging morality is patently false, especially if you look at changes in morality over time. (Therefore, if morality is unchanging, then people in the past were acting without morals.)

However, it's not a really deep philosophical discussion, not everyone's likely to be a fan. But, remember, it's a presentation that was given to a mixed audience, and not at a conference.