Monday, December 28, 2015

Sam Harris and multiple universes

Atheist neurologist Sam Harris is one of the more prominent scientist public intellectuals. I thought that he was one of those rationalist atheists with a scientific outlook on everything, but he is really not. Most of his opinions have very little to do with science. He acts as if he is speaking with the authority of science, but he is not.

I also thought that he was anti-religion, but he is really some sort of Buddhist, and he regularly preaches about how meditation and hallucinogenic drugs can lead to spiritual enlightenment.

Most of this is off-topic for this blog, but I have attacked his position on free will.

Now he has interviewed some physicists, including Max Tegmark mp3 and David Deutsch mp3.

Physicist Lawrence Krauss is somewhat like Sam Harris, and often pushes leftist atheism in debates with religious scholars. His video debate with Muslim scholar Hamza Tzortzis is particularly amusing. Tzortzis concedes all scientific issues to Krauss, and Krauss makes him look like an ignorant fool. The discussion of infinity is embarrassing on both sides. Krauss hammers Islam as being morally objectionable in many ways.

But then, about halfway thru, Krauss is asked how he can disapprove of incest, if he rejects God. Then Krauss squirms, and the audience groans. Krauss admits that he cannot say that incest is wrong. Tzortzis retorts that if Krauss is such a moral relativist that he cannot say incest is wrong, then how can he so positively say that all of Islam is so wrong.

Krauss bragged that he wrote a book showing that the universe can develop from nothing, and belittled Tzortzis for not understanding that and challenged him to say what "nothing" means. To Krauss's surprise, Tzortzis said he read the book, and the book defines nothing as a quantum field. Krauss tried to deny this, but Tzortzis was absolutely correct on this point.

Scientists have a huge advantage in these debates, if they stick to the science. From what I have seen, they cannot do it, and get sucked into debating all sorts of issues where they no longer have hard evidence to back them up. Then they are more like politicians with opinions.

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