These high-minded questions conceal a frightening Olympian agenda. Harris is really a social engineer, with a thirst for power that sits uneasily alongside his allegedly disinterested pursuit of moral truth. We must use science, he says, to figure out why people do silly and harmful things in the name of morality, what kinds of things they should do instead and how to make them abandon their silly and harmful practices in order “to live better lives.” Harris’s engineering mission envelops human life as a whole. “Given recent developments in biology, we are now poised to consciously engineer our further evolution,” he writes. “Should we do this, and if so, in which ways? Only a scientific understanding of the possibilities of human well-being could guide us.” Harris counsels that those wary of the arrogance, and the potential dangers, of the desire to perfect the biological evolution of the species should observe the behavior of scientists at their professional meetings: “arrogance is about as common at a scientific conference as nudity.” Scientists, in Harris’s telling, are the saints of circumspection. Jackson Lears
Very interesting article in The Nation about the dangerous reductionism of the new positivists like Harris. The problem isn't what they are against; it's what they are for. The whole article is worth a read.