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Where do our ideas about morality and meaning come from? Most people – from religious extremists to secular scientists – would agree on one point: that science has nothing to say on the subject of human values. Indeed, science’s failure to explain meaning and morality has become the primary justification for religious faith and the reason why even many non-believers feel obliged to accord respect to the beliefs of the devout.
Sam Harris, the American philosopher and neuroscientist, argues that these views are mistaken – that amidst all the competing arguments about how we should lead our lives, science can show us that there are right and wrong answers. This means that moral relativism is mistaken and that there can be neither a Christian nor a Muslim morality – and that ultimately science can and should determine how best to live our lives.
Revd Dr Giles Fraser, former-canon chancellor of St Paul’s Cathedral, joins Harris in conversation. The event was chaired by Jeremy O’Grady.