This is a wonderful book by Sam Harris that I began reading after a small debate with a man at work. This man, being a man of faith, made the argument that it would not be possible for our consciousness and furthermore conscience to exist without God. Much like how Christopher Hitchens describes in his book, “God is not Great”, coming to the realization that our eyes adapted to our surroundings, God did not make the trees green for our eyes, conscience, it would seem is the same principle. While Sam’s book does not cover the argument that I gave at work, regarding Evolution and why the human species may have evolved to the state of consciousness we now have in order to thrive as a species, and our morality is simply this consciousness further evolving to not make it desirable for us to kill each other, strictly because of the requirement for us to continue to grow as a species being that we aren’t all dead.
But really, when we think about morality at it’s core, what human morality stems from in most people is the lack of desire in seeing people hurt. This could easily be the evolution of our species at work through natural selection. We realized at an early stage, if you kill someone, as the tool makers that the human species are, having that person dead results in one less person to provide for the tribe.
A common atheist argument against the morality that creationists preach, being that it was instilled by God when he created us, is that the bible is full of immoral acts, and then if we get our morality from this book, why are atheists not murdering everyone. Atheists pose this question wrong, in my mind, because it is so easy to dispute. Just because we are atheists, doesn’t mean God didn’t still instill morality into us when we were created. What atheists should be focusing on, is that The Bible is the word of God, and therefore is the morality that God would instill in us, and if God is perfect, why did he choose to instill flawed morality into us. Why did he not instill the same morality into everyone? How are psychopaths and sociopaths explained? If all men were created equally, and all equally moral at the beginning of their life, how come some just don’t have morality? That seems an oxymoron. People who had a perfectly normal upbringing end up unable to show affection of any kind, and murdering people.
The focus of Sam’s book is morality in science. He makes a case that a scientific theory could be devised on morality, and lead us to better understanding it’s laws, if any can be found. Using examples in the extreme, his hypothesis aren’t difficult to wrap your head around. When getting closer to the average conundrums our morality faces on a daily basis, creating hard lines of where morality lies becomes a much more difficult task.