In Moral Psychology and the Misunderstanding of Religion Jonathan Haidt observes:
Sam Harris gives us a standard liberal definition of morality: “Questions of morality are questions about happiness and suffering… To the degree that our actions can affect the experience of other creatures positively or negatively, questions of morality apply.” He then goes on to show that the Bible and the Koran, taken literally, are immoral books because they’re not primarily about happiness and suffering, and in many places they advocate harming people.
Reading Harris is like watching professional wrestling or the Harlem Globetrotters. It’s great fun, with lots of acrobatics, but it must not be mistaken for an actual contest. If we want to stage a fair fight between religious and secular moralities, we can’t eliminate one by definition before the match begins.
If we step back and look at the overall patterns of thought that emerge from the conversations in the comments section of Heterodox Academy’s (HxA) blog between those of us who HxA founding member Chris Martin refers to as “irascible conservatives” and liberal academics like Martin, Lee Jussim, and Preston Stoval, it becomes clear that the same sort of thing is happening at HxA but with a twist.
And we also know that academia is almost purely liberal.
The twist is that here the contest is not between religious and secular views, but rather between WEIRD and non-WEIRD thought, in which the latter is ruled out by definition.
No matter how many times and no matter how many different ways we non-WEIRD irascible conservatives try to help the WEIRD, world full of objects rather than relationships, academics to see and understand the way we see the world it feels like trying to explain red to a colorblind person or singing to a deaf person. They might be able to grasp the scientific concepts but there’s just no way they can “get it.“ And yet they tell us that we’re the ones whose ideas and evidence don’t count; aren’t meaningful.
In this way HxA proves the need for itself.