Share on Google Plus Share on Twitter 1 Share on Facebook Share on LinkedIn Share on PInterest Share on Fark! Share on Reddit Share on StumbleUpon 1 Tell A Friend 1 (3 Shares)  
Printer Friendly Page Save As Favorite View Favorites View Stats   12 comments

Exclusive to OpEdNews:
Sci Tech

If the Golden Rule Is Scientifically Correct, Then Islamophobia Is Not: An Essay Inspired by a Sam Harris Challenge

By (about the author)     Permalink       (Page 2 of 2 pages)
Related Topic(s): ; ; ; ; ; ; ; , Add Tags Add to My Group(s)

Must Read 3   Well Said 3   Supported 2  
View Ratings | Rate It Headlined to H4 1/15/14

- Advertisement -

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.

- Advertisement -
- Advertisement -

Next Page  1  |  2


Ian Hansen is a social psychology professor specializing in cultural and political psychology and a part time activist on behalf of the good things in life.

Share on Google Plus Submit to Twitter Add this Page to Facebook! Share on LinkedIn Pin It! Add this Page to Fark! Submit to Reddit Submit to Stumble Upon

Go To Commenting

The views expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of this website or its editors.

Writers Guidelines

Contact Author Contact Editor View Authors' Articles
Google Content Matches:
- Advertisement -

Most Popular Articles by this Author:     (View All Most Popular Articles by this Author)

Part 1: What Is the Trans-Pacific Partnership, And Why Don't I Care?

To Error and Back Again, or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Christopher Hitchens, Part 3

Sam Harris and Bill Maher are not racists!

To Error and Back Again, or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Christopher Hitchens, Part 1

Part 3: The Puzzle of "Liberal" Obama's Support for the TPP

To Error and Back Again, or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Christopher Hitchens, Part 2


The time limit for entering new comments on this article has expired.

This limit can be removed. Our paid membership program is designed to give you many benefits, such as removing this time limit. To learn more, please click here.

Comments: Expand   Shrink   Hide  
3 people are discussing this page, with 12 comments
To view all comments:
Expand Comments
(Or you can set your preferences to show all comments, always)

Masochistic death-wish psychopaths might be able ... by Ian Hansen on Wednesday, Jan 15, 2014 at 1:50:27 PM
I would like to question the importance and the c... by BFalcon on Thursday, Jan 16, 2014 at 8:15:49 AM
I think what you have in mind is Jonathan Haidt's... by Ian Hansen on Friday, Jan 17, 2014 at 9:29:28 AM
Continuing my reply...There are some disturbing d... by Ian Hansen on Friday, Jan 17, 2014 at 9:35:09 AM
First let me say that I thoroughly enjoyed your a... by BFalcon on Friday, Jan 17, 2014 at 10:15:56 PM
What's interesting about religious approaches to ... by Ian Hansen on Sunday, Jan 19, 2014 at 12:42:49 AM
"Absolutely"  true - ha,ha. We agree. The hu... by BFalcon on Sunday, Jan 19, 2014 at 2:18:36 AM
The original Golden Rule is in a form that calls ... by David Chester on Friday, Jan 17, 2014 at 7:44:39 AM
You've drawn an important distinction between the... by Ian Hansen on Friday, Jan 17, 2014 at 9:46:56 AM
Very important point and greatly stated. I would ... by BFalcon on Friday, Jan 17, 2014 at 10:03:54 PM
That's an interesting point, Ian.   Christ... by David Chester on Saturday, Jan 18, 2014 at 11:03:27 AM
The Golden Rule shows up a lot in a number of dif... by Ian Hansen on Sunday, Jan 19, 2014 at 12:28:21 AM