The Golden Rule's algebra appears simple: If you oppose having Z X Y, then Y should not X Z either (with Z being "others", Y being "you", and X being actions like "kill, oppress, torture, colonize, steal land from, bulldoze homes of, discriminate against on the basis of creed or culture, and drop nukes on"). Following the rule is actually quite difficult, though, because heuristics, self-justification processes and rank hypocrisy play such an outsized role in human psychology. Still, according to Pinker, cultures attaining more advanced abstract intelligence can guide themselves more reliably with this rule across various domains. Pinker also argues that the lower IQ scores of past generations (suggesting a "retarded" average a century ago) can be explained primarily in terms of moral retardation.
The examples Pinker gives of moral retardation in previous generations are instructive. He highlights chauvinistic actions and pronouncements by widely-admired Western historical figures: e.g. FDR interning ethnic Japanese in camps during World War II, and Winston Churchill's colonial conquests and reference to Indians (from India) as a "beastly people with a beastly religion." Harris's statements on Islam and Muslims smell strongly of the same failure that FDR and Churchill had in applying their otherwise impressive intelligence to important moral domains.
Thus, if Harris is committed to consistency, he has two choices. He can morally renounce certain Golden Rule-violating statements he made about what it is okay to do to Muslims. Or he can distance himself from Pinker's perhaps uniquely respectable exemplar of science grounding human values.
Let me confess now that I don't really want to convert Harris to relativism--the $20,000 be damned. Rather, because his influence is so great in intellectual and academic circles, I hope Harris will eventually align his moral intelligence with the demonstrated potential of his analytical intelligence. Insh'Allah.
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