Book Review: The Moral Landscape by Sam Harris

I thought I would have few problems with this book. There’s little to no reason where I’d be annoyed by a book where I agree with the fundamental, underlying principles of the work. I fully believe that it’s possible to scientifically determine moral values. And look! It’s a book about scientifically determining moral values. We should get along famously.

Except that’s not what ended up happening.

Instead I found myself getting progressively more and more annoyed by the general tone of the entire book. I found myself arguing against what Sam Harris was saying, even when I agreed with him. He has such an insufferable, condescending way of putting things that I didn’t want to agree with him. And if that’s how I reacted, I can’t imagine how much he’d put off people who already disagreed with him. He hasn’t really mastered the persuasive part of the persuasive essay.

Then there’s the fact that by the end, he had strayed so far from the point that I had completely lost interest in what he was talking about. It had devolved into an attack on attempts to reconcile rational scientific thought with religious beliefs and faith. Which wasn’t really the point of the book or, at least, I didn’t think that was the point. I picked up the book so I could learn “how science can determine human values”, not look at a vomited up pile of Sam Harris’s bile.

While I appreciate that he seems to consider himself the lone voice of reason in an increasingly insane world, the man needs to actually talk to people and not rant at them in a thinly veiled attack on his critics.

Dylan Charles

One thought on “Book Review: The Moral Landscape by Sam Harris

  1. This doesn’t sound like a book I’d read. BTW, I was talking to my student about a presenatation she had to do (she’s a grad. student in religious studies)–her presentation’s on how god give us himself in communion and we give ourselves by opeying him. I brought up Bart, as usuaul, and she said some peopel don’t like him because he comes at his argument from a nonreligious perspective. I was shocked and disagreed with her. What do you think?

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