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  • Keith Levkoff - We DO need to start by accepting a definition of "morality"

    I am writing this review as a response to those who insist that Sam Harris "isn't answering the question" - because he hasn't provided sufficient "proof" about what morality "is" or "should be". You may be correct by claiming that "a proper and rigorous philosophical debate" would require that we accurately define "morals" and "morality" before proceeding, and that Sam's claims about what morality "obviously" is are somewhat "unsubstantiated" and "vague", but I think that would be assuming the wrong context. I think Sam's goal is to help accomplish something useful rather than to produce a "nice neat philosophical debate", and I also think that it is specious to declare that "we can't have a proper discussion until we define the terms" when what we are discussing *is* in part the definition of the terms.

    The term "morality", as it is currently used, has no specific meaning at all - which is part of the problem. (The relationship between "morality" and "good and evil" is basically circular.) Sam has provided a rational starting point for a definition of the term to replace the vague definition we have now; he then provides justifications for various paths of endeavor based on our accepting his initial definition. Personally I feel that his definition ("maximizing the well being of humans and animals") fits very well with what I've always assumed the "intention" of the term was. It is my opinion that, if we are ever to get any actual use from the term, we must first define it - and Sam's definition fits perfectly *my* opinion of what the term was always *intended* to convey. (His assertion that it is useless to maximize well being in "the afterlife", as many religions seek to do, because no such afterlife has been proven to exist, seems to be obvious logic to me as well.)

    Yes, in a "philosophical" discussion about "good nuclear power plants", the first step would be to endlessly debate the specifics of what we meant by "good" (perhaps, to an alien race who can metabolize radiation, high emissions of radioactive particles into the atmosphere would be "good"). However, in real life, most of us *do* generally agree that a good nuclear plant should be efficient and clean.

    Likewise, I think all *rational* human beings can agree that maximizing human well being (and that of all living creatures) is "good", and so is minimizing human suffering, even while admitting that we still haven't settled all the details about precisely what we mean by those terms. (I'm not concerned about the opinions of a tiny minority of masochists who might prefer to maximize suffering, because that does seem to be "obviously" a bad idea to me.) *If* it were a fact that there was an afterlife, there would be room for debate specifically about whether it was more important to maximize well being in *this* life or maximize benefits in the afterlife, which would be a lively debate indeed. Luckily for us, that complication has been avoided by the lack of any evidence suggesting that there is any life outside this one, so all we have to consider is benefits to ourselves and our descendants (and their animal counterparts) in this life. Of course, vis-a-vis religion, we can still debate whether it would be better for humans to maintain unsupported beliefs that apparently make them happy or serve some other "purpose" (but are otherwise unsupported by evidence) or abandon them and embrace the world as it is shown to be by evidence. The main problem with unsupported beliefs is that we are faced with an infinitude of them, many of which contradict each other, many of which are clearly detrimental to well being in *this* life, and none of which can ever be proven correct or incorrect anyway.

  • charliebcc "charlie" - Works Great.

    I bought this to use in my Asus Transformer 300 tablet. I use it primarily for movies. And it is a pleasure to use. It streams the movies to my tablets like they were stored on the tablet itself instead of on an SD card. If you are viewing movies, this is the card.

  • Book Mom "Children's Librarian" - This product helped me

    Align was recommended to me by my colon rectal surgeon. I had been having digestive problems for some time. I have taken Align for over a year both before and after colon surgery. I know the surgery had a big part in relieving my problems but I also think the Align has been very helpful in getting my enzymes balanced. I definitely recommend it.

  • Future Fossil "Ryan" - Shifting gears on reality

    2012: The Return of Quetzalcoatl is definitely a good read. Pinchbeck does a very good job of articulating hiimself and in a very eloquent, yet approachable manor. This is not a book about end times as many low star raters herein have asserted. 2012 is called the return of Quetzalcoatl- the birth date of a new age signalling a new shift in human consciousness. We will still be here after the 2012 "shift" date. Pinchbeck explores questions as to what the 2012 "shift" date might be, without relying on the 12-21-12 in specificity. The author does a great job of integrating various topics and sources to make his opinion grounded. He also refrains from prophesizing typically lame 2012 type events (which tend to "kill-it" for me in other readings) rather he alludes to a potential new relationship between human and universe- the shift from the materialistic and self-serving mentality. Pinchbeck "happily" illustrates his own personal tribulations, without refrain or apparent self-editing, which further support the sincerity and honest conviction of his quest for understanding. For those who find any forays into discussions of human consciousness as hokey fanaticism, you might want to read a book with "easier" words/subjects since you will miss his case and point. (i.e.- For those who have misread his work as New Agey fluff, you must have forgotten that Pinchbeck illustrated his distaste of the stereotypical New Agey type more than once.) Pinchbeck succeeds in leaving the reader inspired, rather to rethink our reality than to provide concrete answers. This book is definitely more for the philosophically inclined reader- one who appreciates questions that run deeper and further off the normal beaten path of inquisition. (I paid ca half price for the book on Amazon and I will share my book with others.)