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Real vs. Counterfeit Compassion (Part 2)

Real vs. Counterfeit Compassion (Part 2)

Sam Harris thinks we’ll see how rational it is to be compassionate toward evildoers if we recognize that no one has free will. If criminals are not really to blame for their wrong, it makes no sense to hate them for it. But as I wrote in Part 1, this “compassion” comes at the price of denying all humanness; and with that eliminated, just what is it we’re being compassionate toward? Harris’s no-free-will dystopia is disturbing in other ways besides….

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Real vs. Counterfeit Compassion (Part 1)

Real vs. Counterfeit Compassion (Part 1)

I am no expert on compassion. To talk about it is easy, but to know it is to practice it, and there are others who practice it far better than I. This I know, however: “compassion” that strips away humanity is no compassion at all. The Bible is a record of God’s compassion toward real people. The book of Isaiah, for example, rings with God’s call for care towards the hurting, the poor, the needy, the oppressed; for very often…

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Sam Harris and Lawrence Krauss Talk About Nothing, and Make About That Much Sense

Sam Harris and Lawrence Krauss Talk About Nothing, and Make About That Much Sense

Lawrence Krauss says to Sam Harris, Indeed, the question, “Why is there something rather than nothing?” which forms the subtitle of the book [his recent A Universe From Nothing], is often used by the faithful as an unassailable argument that requires the existence of God, because of the famous claim, “out of nothing, nothing comes.” … Modern science has made the something-from-nothing debate irrelevant. It has changed completely our conception of the very words “something” and “nothing”. Empirical discoveries continue…

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Sam Harris: Where Reason Fails, Resort To Dogma

Sam Harris: Where Reason Fails, Resort To Dogma

Book Review My reaction to Sam Harris’s latest book has progressed from “painful” to “alarming”—alarming for what Sam Harris is doing to himself, and what he proposes for the rest of us. How, for example, does one explain a paragraph like this from one who claims to champion rationality? This does not mean, of course, that we have no mental freedom whatsoever. We can choose to focus on certain facts to the exclusion of others, to emphasize the good rather…

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Watching Sam Harris Hurt Himself

Watching Sam Harris Hurt Himself

Book Review I’m not sure which is more painful: seeing a brilliant intellect like Sam Harris be so deceived, or knowing how surely he is deceiving others. Either way I grieve. So far I’ve only read the introduction to his recent best-seller The Moral Landscape: How Science Can Determine Human Values, but that’s enough to observe him continuing to stumble about in abject blindness. It is not a new discovery for me. But just like watching replays of a football…

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Sam Harris’s Moral Desperation Move

Sam Harris’s Moral Desperation Move

Coming to the National Conference on Christian Apologetics? Look me up there, or send an email, please—I’d love to connect with you. I’m waiting for a chance to read Sam Harris’s new book, The Moral Landscape: How Science Can Determine Human Values. I like Harris’s thoughtfulness, his recognition of moral realities, and his stand against religiously motivated violence. That doesn’t mean his attempts to create a scientifically-based moral system make sense, however. He told Jon Stewart last week, I think…

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Sam Harris Contra Francis Collins as NIH Head

Sam Harris Contra Francis Collins as NIH Head

I was thinking of writing a response to Sam Harris’s recent bleat against Francis Collins. Collins, a world-class researcher, is also a medical doctor to whom my family owes considerable gratitude; when he was actually practicing medicine years ago, he treated one of our family members. But that’s not why I would want to respond to Sam Harris. It’s because there’s so much that needs to be said. David Heddle beat me to it with all the best responses. Still…

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