I am self-absorbed and...oh wait this isn't an e-mail to my therapist. hehe I love the Science and Technology section here, it's my favorite. I hope to write my reviews at least well enough to peek the interest of a few listeners to the point where they will shift their tastes more toward educational literature, knowing that(after receiving some insight from me) they can be just as entertaining, if not more so than mainstream fiction
As the title was ending anxiety arose for I again didn't want it to. So many different thinking points covered and still no Idea where to go from here. I decided to just listen to it again.
I especially enjoyed the controversial section about the non-existence of 'freewill'. I have come across this previously in physics books but never with a clear concise argument against it as found here in this masterpiece.
P.S. If you actually read this far and make it here, the title of this review is a meaningless non-sequitur. lol
Buy this book you will like it regardless of your religious biases...I hope.
Some of the concepts aren't necessarily new, but Sam Harris is able to beautifully articulate how morality can be studied by science. I especially appreciate the recognition that there are many gray areas in discussions of morality, unlike the rigid and sometimes harmful morality that is derived from various religious texts. At times, the book does seem to be treating religious texts as a pinata, but mostly it's required to demonstrate the validity of arguments being made.
If you are willing to listen to philosophical thinking on morality with an open mind, you will love this audiobook. But, if you want to set your thoughts in concrete because you're terrified of change, then you probably should skip this book.
I'm a lawyer with interests in all things related to political philosophy, which means I'm interested in a lot of things.
For a book that purports to be one of philosophy, I was astonished how conclusory the author's arguments were. The arguments against the credibilty of "religious" sources for moral teachings amounted to little more than stating that (a) early chapters of the old testament advocated killing your children and slavery (not a peep about the new testament) and (b) many Catholoc priests have been pedophiles. I'm not kidding that's the argument. No one's a fan of child abuse, but you can't dismiss Christianity as a source of moral teaching simply be establishing that certain of its adherents were demonstrably moral failures - can you say ad hominem attack? (For the record, I'm not religious.)
I never read a word from the author in support of his central argument that ethical and moral rules can be derived from "science." I read nothing associated with the scientific method in this book. I agree with the reviewer who stated that the author's views amounted to a form of utilitarianism. Is that new? Is that somehow science-based? If so, the author never explained how.
Let me start with what is good about this book. It is well written and easy to follow; at no point did I find the discussion confusing or have to rewind and relisten. Sam Harris does a decent job narrating the book as well, though I do think it would be better if a professional reader had read the text instead.
The bad, unfortunately, is the actual content of the book. First, let me answer the big question; what kind of moral philosophy is Sam Harris putting forth? It's nothing fundamentally new; it's just utilitarianism. His arguments contain all of the strengths and flaws of utilitarianism. He fails to adequately address any of the flaws. Harris also often resorts to the "Can anyone doubt...?" tactic to avoid defending or discussing key premises or assumptions in ethical thought.
I think anyone that is moderately well read in ethical philosophy will gain little from this book. If you're looking to learn about ethics, and you're not well read on the subject, I'd recommend A History of Ethical Thought (also on Audible) over this any day.
The content intrigues me. However, the terrible Narrator makes it impossible to absorb by reading so fast! Money waster...
Private intellectual, writer, and retired academic. Currently R&D director for Gravitational Systems Engineering, Inc.
I was really disappointed with this book from the start, but after reading a couple of similar texts I decided to go back and give it a fair hearing. I left with the conclusion that this guy is as inflexible in his thinking as a Nazi. He assumes that his knowledge is complete and infallible, he makes fun of people who don't support his conclusions as apodictic. He makes the same mistakes that the 14th century priests made in believing that the bible contained all knowledge of value. He quotes many studies and hangs on their results as fact, as opposed to pathways.
My daughter asked me if I believed in the supernatural, like spells, witches, etc.. I responded that I did believe that there was tremendous knowledge that I don't have, but that I think that the concept of supernatural is a contradiction in that if it occurred then it is, by definition, not supernatural. In other words if someone figures out how to fly around on a broom stick, then broom stick flight is just something that someone else has figured out how to do...not magic, not supernatural.
I digress because Dr. Harris has truly missed this lesson. Knowledge is a direction not a destination. And as a non-religious scientist, who respects all knowledge, I find that his certainty on so many issues makes me doubt either his credibility or his sanity.
However, if you are looking for someone to confirm that science is the new God, then this is the book for you.
The problem isn't the book, it's the audio quality. You can actually hear people having a conversation in the background of Sam Harris speaking from time to time. Where is he recording this, a classroom?
The myth supporting the position that science and morality cannot relate or explain each other is analyzed and destroyed.
There are many. The critical analysis on religion makes a lot of sense along the book.
His personal conviction.
The description of the author's medical research, leading to his thinking about his whole proposition in the book.
Courageous take on "established" trues. Fearless denunciation of the status quo in science and morality.
As one of the "Four Horsemen of New Atheism", Sam Harris gets hated on a lot. If you can't take some straightforward, pull-no-punches criticism of religion, you'll probably have some trouble listening to this. Nevertheless, he does a masterful job of outlining a method by which humanity can arrive at an objective measure of morality and human values through science. He admits that some questions are hard--even inanswerable--but his airtight logic demonstrates why science may just be the only objective guide for determining what values are worth promoting and what constitutes morality.
The author reads the book himself, and his tone is very conserved, conversational, and logical.
He has a brilliant mind.
From a scientific standpoint, ethics relates to the well being of sentient creatures.
This book has changed my view of ethics and the world. It is a must read!