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← UPDATE: DAWKINS/HARRIS - NOW SOLD OUT

UPDATE: DAWKINS/HARRIS - NOW SOLD OUT - Comments

The Truth, the light's Avatar Comment 1 by The Truth, the light

£4 has to be the bargain of the century to hear these two talk.

Wish I could be there.

Wed, 30 Mar 2011 18:08:41 UTC | #609241

George Lennan's Avatar Comment 2 by George Lennan

wooooah Twin pinnacles appearing for the first time in public

Wed, 30 Mar 2011 18:14:08 UTC | #609242

SemperUbiSubUbi's Avatar Comment 3 by SemperUbiSubUbi

A talk featuring both of them, at the same time? Too good to be true.

on sale at 10 a.m. (BST) this Friday, 1 April

Wait a minute...

Wed, 30 Mar 2011 18:17:17 UTC | #609243

helena!'s Avatar Comment 4 by helena!

I wish I lived in the UK. That's going to be sold out in seconds guaranteed. Please make available on video or perhaps consider a live streaming video such as Youtube offers through Vivo.

Wed, 30 Mar 2011 18:22:02 UTC | #609244

Austin K's Avatar Comment 5 by Austin K

Is the title really supposed to read "WHO SAYS SCIENCE HAS NOTHING TO SAY ABOUT REALITY?"

I have a feeling it should be "WHO SAYS SCIENCE HAS NOTHING TO SAY ABOUT MORALITY?"

given that Sam's book is about morality and everyone accepts that science already describes reality.

Wed, 30 Mar 2011 18:22:35 UTC | #609245

Moderator's Avatar Comment 6 by Moderator

Well spotted, Austin K! That's what happens when we try to do things in a hurry. Now corrected!

Wed, 30 Mar 2011 18:24:05 UTC | #609246

Stafford Gordon's Avatar Comment 7 by Stafford Gordon

I can be and will be there.

Wed, 30 Mar 2011 18:27:18 UTC | #609248

green and dying's Avatar Comment 8 by green and dying

I will actually be in Oxford that evening but I would prefer to watch it streamed or recorded. Do we know whether it will be?

Wed, 30 Mar 2011 18:54:59 UTC | #609256

Richie P's Avatar Comment 9 by Richie P

I've already booked tickets to see Sam on 11 April (the previous day) at Kensington Town Hall. I think I might try to make this one as well, since both Richard and Sam will be there. I have never seen Sam in person before, and now I might see him twice in the space of two days! How mental is that!

Wed, 30 Mar 2011 18:57:34 UTC | #609257

Neodarwinian's Avatar Comment 10 by Neodarwinian

Evolutionary biology always had something to say about morality but was overshadowed by all the years of social science and humanities incoherence. Things will now change with neuroscience finding the actual neurological correlates of human morality.

Wed, 30 Mar 2011 19:06:02 UTC | #609260

Steve Zara's Avatar Comment 11 by Steve Zara

This should be fascinating. I'm skeptical of Sam's position, especially after the criticism by Simon Blackburn.

Wed, 30 Mar 2011 19:12:57 UTC | #609264

Sucram's Avatar Comment 12 by Sucram

Oh never mind.

-Edit-

Wed, 30 Mar 2011 19:29:46 UTC | #609271

RomeStu's Avatar Comment 13 by RomeStu

This subject always brings up the difficulty of defining morals in a way that everyone on all sides of the argument understands clearly and accepts .... until this is done little progress can be made with the religious who like to claim "morality" as being their own personal position.

Personally I like to use the term "ethics" to describe cultural absolutes .... ie murder, fraud, theft, rape, child abuse etc etc - restrictions which should be absolutes for a functioning society and then "morals" to describe societal conventions (usually imposed by religion) such as issues of adult sexuality, marriage, blasphemy and so on which are imposed arbitrarily by certain groups, and which have little or no bearing on society as a whole.

I know this is very simplistic, but often we are dealing with very simplistic people who cry "immoral" at all sorts of things, but then turn a blind eye to certain behaviours within their own group, which would objectively be described as unethical.

I hope this talk will be streamed online, as I am sure these 2 great minds will present ideas and angles new and fresh to us all, and assuredly not simplistic! But I'm also fairly sure that the people who most need to hear it will be shut away in their little closed worlds.

Wed, 30 Mar 2011 19:37:19 UTC | #609274

prolibertas's Avatar Comment 14 by prolibertas

This could be great. I think in 50 years Sam's position will be taken as self-evident. Although, I already took it as so self-evident that I was surprised that this rose as a debate at all, so I may be surprised by people again in 50 years.

Wed, 30 Mar 2011 19:38:11 UTC | #609275

Vorlund's Avatar Comment 15 by Vorlund

Regrettably my diary commitments prevent me from getting there. I bet it will be a really good evening.

Wed, 30 Mar 2011 19:41:12 UTC | #609279

jel's Avatar Comment 16 by jel

I gotta work! Bugger!

Wed, 30 Mar 2011 19:53:35 UTC | #609284

jonny5509's Avatar Comment 17 by jonny5509

Comment 9 by Richie P :

I've already booked tickets to see Sam on 11 April (the previous day) at Kensington Town Hall. I think I might try to make this one as well, since both Richard and Sam will be there. I have never seen Sam in person before, and now I might see him twice in the space of two days! How mental is that!

Me too, on both counts.

Wed, 30 Mar 2011 20:17:14 UTC | #609289

plasma-engineer's Avatar Comment 18 by plasma-engineer

Just wondering whether the release date for the tickets should set off any alarm bells? :) Still - I'm prepared to risk an April Fool to try to get a ticket. :)

Wed, 30 Mar 2011 20:19:15 UTC | #609291

Aztek's Avatar Comment 19 by Aztek

The two should start a stadium tour. Record the discussion, transcribe it and act it out according to the script. I'm sure they would perform to sold-out auditoriums all over the country (or world).

Wed, 30 Mar 2011 22:16:02 UTC | #609356

Bumpy's Avatar Comment 20 by Bumpy

The link doesn't seem to be working - I just get 404 error, page not found. Could anyone help me, preferably before 10:00 am friday ;)

Wed, 30 Mar 2011 22:29:47 UTC | #609361

Moderator's Avatar Comment 21 by Moderator

Bumpy - from the OP: "Please note that this page will not be available before tickets go on sale."

The link will work from about 10 am on Friday but will not be available before then.

Wed, 30 Mar 2011 22:46:23 UTC | #609369

Zelig's Avatar Comment 22 by Zelig

Comment 13 by RomeStu :

Personally I like to use the term "ethics" to describe cultural absolutes .... ie murder, fraud, theft, rape, child abuse etc etc - restrictions which should be absolutes for a functioning society and then "morals" to describe societal conventions (usually imposed by religion) such as issues of adult sexuality, marriage, blasphemy and so on which are imposed arbitrarily by certain groups, and which have little or no bearing on society as a whole.

You must surely know that virtually every society known to anthropology and history does not conform to your "absolutes". And the idea that marriage and blasphemy have "little or no bearing on society as a whole"? You must be joking, surely.

I generally like Sam and i've yet to read the book, but from what i've seen so far it looks like he's attacking the widespread toxic stupidity and dishonesty that promotes cultural egalitarianism. He has my wholehearted support in this practical endeavour.

But i've yet to read or see anything that suggests we have (intellectually) moved beyond Nietzsche (or Dostoyevsky) in exploring morality, and i'm somewhat bemused to discover that Nietzsche is absent from the book. I can only assume it's not that sort of book . . ., which is fine.

Wed, 30 Mar 2011 23:03:42 UTC | #609380

erindorothy's Avatar Comment 23 by erindorothy

Can't be there, so I'm throwing a tantrum! Please come to NZ too! x

Wed, 30 Mar 2011 23:11:11 UTC | #609386

scarecroe's Avatar Comment 24 by scarecroe

Wish I could attend. I hope RDFRS posts video.

Wed, 30 Mar 2011 23:18:10 UTC | #609393

MarcusA1971's Avatar Comment 25 by MarcusA1971

Great news. However, there seems to be a error with the venue. I am in Sydney, Australia, not Oxford, England. I don't know where Richard and Sam got that silly idea.

And we use Aus dollars, not pounds stirling. Could someone please correct this?

Also, does anyone know if the talk will be filmed and available on this website or Youtube?

Wed, 30 Mar 2011 23:23:12 UTC | #609398

Vicktor's Avatar Comment 26 by Vicktor

Comment 14 by prolibertas

This could be great. I think in 50 years Sam's position will be taken as self-evident. Although, I already took it as so self-evident that I was surprised that this rose as a debate at all, so I may be surprised by people again in 50 years.

Sam's research could also have serious (positive) implications in the field of machine ethics. We may actually need it in 50 years.

Thu, 31 Mar 2011 00:07:27 UTC | #609437

gerard52's Avatar Comment 27 by gerard52

I just finished reading "The Moral Landscape" and found his arguments quite convincing, however, I know his position has created controversy in the scientific and philosophical communities and will cause ongoing discussion. Having Richard and Sam on the same program can only bring clarity to this question.

Thu, 31 Mar 2011 00:38:37 UTC | #609460

Hendrix is my gOD's Avatar Comment 28 by Hendrix is my gOD

Comment 13 by RomeStu

Personally I like to use the term "ethics" to describe cultural absolutes .... ie murder, fraud, theft, rape, child abuse etc etc - restrictions which should be absolutes for a functioning society and then "morals" to describe societal conventions (usually imposed by religion) such as issues of adult sexuality, marriage, blasphemy and so on which are imposed arbitrarily by certain groups, and which have little or no bearing on society as a whole.

Me too. I always speak of ethics when referring to behavior that I consider wrong. Morals are completely imposed by religions and are actually unethical, especially their senseless sexual taboos, because they only create intolerance for "immoral" people who's behavior is ethically neutral. The universal restrictions you mention are basically accepted by all of humanity without controversy but there are many that people wouldn't agree on even among the non-religious. That's why this event is so significant. I tend to agree with Dawkins who believes in applying science and rationality towards life's problems. I'm far less familiar with Harris' views, but from what I do know I can't agree with his idea that moral truth exists, scientifically or otherwise. Ethics are arbitrary human creations for human self-interests. For instance, most people, though not all, wouldn't consider it murder to kill animals. This is clearly from a human perspective and not in the animals' interests, therefore it cannot be an absolute truth. The best people can do in determining ethics is to democratically agree by majority. This would be the laws of a secular democracy. Anything not illegal would be considered ethical and the peoples freedoms. Religion has no role in an ethical society. Its useless morality and demands to worship gOD are an oppression of freedom.

Thu, 31 Mar 2011 01:48:35 UTC | #609496

klox's Avatar Comment 29 by klox

This better be online within minutes of the talk! Can't wait. I still need to grab a copy of Harris's book.

Thu, 31 Mar 2011 04:36:42 UTC | #609529

andersemil's Avatar Comment 30 by andersemil

ARGH! Why such late notice?!

Thu, 31 Mar 2011 06:56:29 UTC | #609558