As mentioned previously, Harris’s argument of moral goodness fails to stand the typical litmus test of validity. Sure, science can gain methods to determining what constitutes what is and what is not morally acceptable; however, there are a couple of things most atheists/agnostics do not answer that only someone (like the God of the Bible) could. Instead of providing a litany of arguments, the questions on this post will be bulleted.
- What qualifications do scientists (or in Harris’s case, ‘science’) possess to determine the acceptability of moral behavior?
- Do these scientists possess a higher authority? (omnipotence)
- Do these scientists possess a greater sense of knowledge? (omniscience)
- What findings will scientists generally accept (or reject) as universal wrongs on morality?
- Will there be exceptions to the findings of moral rights and wrongs? (exemption)
- Will these exceptions apply to certain people or groups or apply to everyone? (partisanship/favoritism)
- Will these scientific opinions about morality become accepted as general law or will they change?
- Do these findings change because of the circumstances? (relativity)
- Do these findings change because of the changes in society? (revision)
- Do these findings change because of the consensus of opinion? (acceptability)
- What qualifying philosophical assumptions will scientists use to determine the validity of morality?
- Are these philosophical assumptions tolerant of other views? (non-exclusiveness)
- Are these philosophical assumptions universal?
- Are these philosophical assumptions scientifically verified? (empirical)
While I could probably add in a few more decent questions for those who consider Harris’s work ‘charming and endearing,’ I would like to have an answer that makes much sense of the questions I pose on this post. Hopefully, I’ll have time to address the issue, question by question at this point.