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Notes and Reflections on Books and Media

by Hannah Leitheiser


The Moral Landscape: How Science Can Determine Human Values

Sam Harris




Consider the Catholic Church: an organization which advertises itself as the greatest force for good and as the only true bulwark against evil in the universe. Even among non-Catholics, its doctrines are widely associated with the concepts of “morality” and “human values.” However, the Vatican is an organization that excommunicates women for attempting to become priests 13 but does not excommunicate male priests for raping children. 14 It excommunicates doctors who perform abortions to save a mother’s
life—even if the mother is a nine-year-old girl raped by her stepfather and pregnant with twins15—but it did not excommunicate a single member of the Third Reich for committing genocide.

Are we really obliged to consider such a diabolical inversion of priorities to be evidence of an alternative “moral” framework? No. It seems clear that the Catholic Church is as misguided in speaking about the “moral” peril of contraception, for instance, as it would be in speaking about the “physics” of Transubstantiation. In both domains, it is true to say that the Church is grotesquely confused about which things in this world are worth paying attention to.

"2 millenia demonizing human sexuality to a degree unmathced by any other instutition, declarying the most healthy mature and consentual behaviors taboo. Indeed this organization still opposes the use of contraception, preferring instead that the poorest people on earth be blessed with the largest familes and shortest lives. Add to this inhumanity the artificace of cloistered celebracy, and you not have an institution, one of the wealthiest on earth, the prefrentially attracts pederasts, pedophiles, and sexual sadists into its ranks, promotes them to positions of authority, and grants them priviledged access to children."

[And details on the child abuse stuff.] - Sam Harris, The Moral Landscape: How Science Can Determine Human Values (2011)