Here is a long blog post by Timothy Sandefur dissecting the collectivist economics and moral philosophy of Sam Harris. Harris is one of the “new atheists”, who, along with Richard Dawkins, Daniel Dennett and Christopher Hitchens, have developed a bit of a reputation for bashing religion. I haven’t read Sam Harris, and Sandefur does not make me any more inclined to do so. (Of all these men, Hitchens is the best, in my view.)
It is interesting that those who criticise religion on the grounds of reason and logic can, as in the case of Harris, make such basic errors on subjects such as trade, notions of self-ownership, justice and the like. It is as if they are craving a secular god to fill a gap left by the traditional one. I must say I was quite shocked at the incoherence of some of Harris’s comments and his failure to examine and demonstrate his premises, such as when he talks about “fairness” without asking what he might mean by that. It is disappointing. On a related point, Greg Perkins, who writes at the Noodlefood blog, had a point about the big gaps in “new atheist” thinking a few years ago. (That link has been updated).
I suggest people brew up a coffee for Sandefur’s posting. It is not a 60-second read. Another case, in fact, of how blogging is often where the quality writing is, whatever some sneerers might once have said about this medium.
Welcome, Instapundit readers! Meanwhile, Reason’s Hit & Run blog has a related issue on how supposedly pro-science leftists can make utter tits of themselves.