Spesielt mener han at det er ønsket om velvære (well-being) som forener alle mennesker på tvers av noe så ladet og konfliktskapende som religioner og livssyn. Men heldigvis kan noe så nøytralt og konfliktdempende som vitenskap bygge varme brodersbånd i vårt hjørne av universet.
Som så ofte når man leser Harris er det vanskelig ikke å klype seg i armen. Og det gjelder ikke bare mengden stråmenn, karikaturer og blindfelt. For forestillingen om at man kan gå fra at noe er (f.eks. at "vi ønsker å være lykkelige") og til at noe bør være ("derfor har vi plikt til å gjøre andre lykkelige"), er av de som er blitt mest behørig avlivet i filosofihistorien.
Filosofistudenten Harris bør kort sagt lese mer av filosofen Hume.
Nå er det ikke bare Dekodet som griper til fingrene. En av mine mange yndlingsateister, Michael Ruse, føler atskillig ubehag og legger ikke akkurat... mye i gjennom i sin anmeldelse.
Little ‘Value’ in New Harris Book
Poor scholarship, ad hominem attacks and an obsession with religion are not the hallmarks of a solid argument.
...Science alone just cannot do it. It cannot decide questions like these. I don’t know what Harris studied in his philosophy courses as an undergrad at Stanford, but they don’t seem to have penetrated very deeply. He denounces philosophers before him (including myself, I should admit) without really addressing the challenge their arguments pose to his claims.
The trouble is that Harris seems so keen to get to religion that he has little or no time for such conventional academic courtesies. To say that religion is a bit of an obsession for Harris is rather like saying Hitler had a bit of a thing about the Jews. Like Mr. Dick writing about King Charles’ head in David Copperfield, he cannot get away from it. And at times—at many times—his obsession comes across as not just misplaced but thoroughly mean-minded. This is well exemplified by his treatment of Francis Collins, the former director of the Human Genome Project and now the head of the National Institutes of Health in Washington. Harris writes:
In 2006, Collins published a bestselling book, The Language of God, in which he claimed to demonstrate “a consistent and profoundly satisfying harmony” between twenty-first-century science and Evangelical Christianity. The Language of God is a genuinely astonishing book. To read it is to witness nothing less than an intellectual suicide. It is, however, a suicide that has gone almost entirely unacknowledged: the body yielded to the rope; the neck snapped; the breath subsided; and the court dangles in ghastly discomposure even now—and yet polite people everywhere continue to celebrate the great man’s health. (160)
The invective against Collins continues for another fifteen—I kid you not, fifteen—pages.Ruse er med andre ord ikke veldig imponert over Harris, selv om han bruker noe mindre enn femten sider på å si det.
Ruse konkluderer uten spesielt mye omsvøp:.
If God wanted to destroy New Atheism, getting this book written was a good start. Although, as I said at the beginning, perhaps the first divine move was making Sam Harris so famous he thought he could get away with it.Det hører med at Harris fortsatt ikke har lest mye historie, skal vi dømme etter første kapittel (og det skal vi).
Imagine that we could revive a well-educated Christian of the fourteenth century. The man would prove to be a total ignoramus, except on matters of faith. His beliefs about geography, astronomy, and medicine would embarrass even a child, but he would know more or less everything there is to know about God. Though he would be considered a fool to think that the earth is flat, or that trepanning constitutes a wise medical intervention, his religious ideas would still be beyond reproach.Dessverre trenger vi ikke å gjenopplive en nyateist fra det tjueførste århundre for å bevise at hans uvitenhet har få hull, og ikke bare når det kommer til tro.