Hi all, thought you might be interested in some of the blogs I have posted recently. Feel free to comment, I'm interested in your feedback.
Sam Harris may not be quite there with his theory surrounding the scientific basis for morality, but his ideas deserve further entertaining. He outlines these ideas in his book “The Moral Landscape“, where he says that morality is not only measurable, and that a determinable “best-case scenario” can be found within the realms of science, but that science itself through measurable and tangible evidence can offer us moral guidance in the spheres of social interactions. His ideas are intriguing, but at the same time quite obvious. It makes sense given that we are all the same species of social animal, our brains all function more or less the same, and our needs and desires all come from the same place; inside our brains.
The basis for his argument is, regardless of who you are, there is an imaginable bottom end to human experience, one where every living creature suffers to the highest degree possible, where every moment is torturous to be alive, and that everything above this is desirable over this “valley of despair”. From this we can determine ever-increasingly better examples of what a preferable life can be. And all this is measurable, within the brain. This is why it makes sense. The brain is where your life takes place, at least to you. And to me, YOUR life takes place in MY brain, of course only to the extent that I am aware of your life.
The death of Kim Jong-il has once again got a lot of people spouting off about atheists, but as opposed to the indignation and gloating shown by Christians and Muslims alike over the death of Christopher Hitchens, this death has been met largely with approval. This is not a death that divides people, but rather one that is seen with more relief than sadness or hostility. That is at least in the world outside of North Korea.
Regardless of whether the death of Kim Jong-il should be celebrated or not (should we ever celebrate death?), there have been some odd reactions to it, and mostly from religious people trying to prove a point about atheists. It would be true to say that Kim Jong-il was an atheist, in that he didn’t believe in god, and he promoted this disbelief to all the people of North Korea, but it was not his atheism that had caused North Korea to be locked off from the rest of the world, rather the whole system of his governance is to blame. In fact it would be true to say that Jong-il has replaced religion with something far more damaging; the deification of himself and his father, Kim Il-sung (surprisingly Kim Il-sung was declared the Eternal President after his death in 1994, and is therefore still leader of the country.)
Yesterday, one of the world’s greatest contemporary public intellectuals left us after a long and painful battle with throat cancer. Christopher Hitchens died at age 62, but this is not an eulogy for the great man, who fearlessly fought against the all-too-human traits of stupidity and ignorance. There are plenty of those around the web already. Nor is this a diatribe about the “way Hitchens changed my life”, although it is true that he did give me the courage to come forward as an “active atheist”.
No this is something else, something more important than the death of the great man, (yes it is possible) and something I hope nobody will ever forget.
On announcement of his passing, outpourings of anguish at his death flooded Twitter. I literally had upwards of fifteen tweets in a row about Hitchens at any one time, and as is the nature of such things, the hashtags started such as#RIPHitch, #RIPChristopherHitchens, and the one that caused a stir, from the title of his best-selling book, #GodIsNOTGreat.