Sam Harris’s first book, The End of Faith, ignited a worldwide debate about the validity of religion. In the aftermath, Harris discovered that most people—from religious fundamentalists to nonbelieving scientists—agree on one point: science has nothing to say on the subject of human values. Indeed, our failure to address questions of meaning and morality through science has now become the most common justification for religious faith. It is also the primary reason why so many secularists and religious moderates feel obligated to "respect" the hardened superstitions of their more devout neighbors.
In this explosive new book, Sam Harris tears down the wall between scientific facts and human values, arguing that most people are simply mistaken about the relationship between morality and the rest of human knowledge. Harris urges us to think about morality in terms of human and animal well-being, viewing the experiences of conscious creatures as peaks and valleys on a "moral landscape". Because there are definite facts to be known about where we fall on this landscape, Harris foresees a time when science will no longer limit itself to merely describing what people do in the name of "morality"; in principle, science should be able to tell us what we ought to do to live the best lives possible.
Bringing a fresh perspective to age-old questions of right and wrong and good and evil, Harris demonstrates that we already know enough about the human brain and its relationship to events in the world to say that there are right and wrong answers to the most pressing questions of human life. Because such answers exist, moral relativism is simply false—and comes at increasing cost to humanity. And the intrusions of religion into the sphere of human values can be finally repelled: for just as there is no such thing as Christian physics or Muslim algebra, there can be no Christian or Muslim morality.
©2010 Sam Harris (P)2010 Simon & Schuster, Inc.
“Sam Harris breathes intellectual fire into an ancient debate. Reading this thrilling, audacious book, you feel the ground shifting beneath your feet. Reason has never had a more passionate advocate.” (Ian McEwan)
“A lively, provocative, and timely new look at one of the deepest problems in the world of ideas. Harris makes a powerful case for a morality that is based on human flourishing and thoroughly enmeshed with science and rationality. It is a tremendously appealing vision, and one that no thinking person can afford to ignore.” (Steven Pinker, Harvard College Professor of Psychology, Harvard University, and author of How the Mind Works and The Blank Slate)
I'm becoming increasingly more fond of Dr Harris' books. His writing style and vocabulary are far beyond what I'm used to reading. I found myself having to rewind frequently to make sure I understood what he was saying. By the end I had no trouble following along without the need to rewind.
The most enlightening part of the book came from the chapter on belief and how we form them. I read this book right after Micheal Shermer's book on skepticism. I think everyone should read these two books together. I know it helped me to form a processes in which I may arrive at my own beliefs through critical thinking and evidence based reasoning.
The performance from Sam was perfect. I really wish he would record The End of Faith because the performance from someone else doesn't seem to get the same points across.
Thanks for this, can't wait to start reading Waking Up.
Say something about yourself!
Though he frequently admits that his premises on what constitutes his secular morality cannot be proven--and may be possibly be disproven-- his argument comes across as weak and subjective. Mostly a tirade against organized religion, he offers some interesting points, asks more questions than he answers, and paves a vague path forward
Harris' thesis is not intuitive, and I don't think he did his own thesis justice in this work. I had to really think about it and debate it with friends to fully grasp it myself. And I've come to agree. You merely have to take the step of saying "morality has to do with human well-being" and then his thesis is well reasoned from there.
This is a very interesting book on morality. It is satisfyingly clear, honest and realistic. Sam Harris has successfully changed my mind multiple times in his books and lectures.
Fan of Sam Harris. Find the subject matter worthy of discussion.
About the same. Conversational style is easy to listen to.
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