After Sam Harris released what had to have been a lot of pent-up frustration at how people are mischaracterizing him for raising tough questions, Richard Dawkins has now come to his defense.
Dawkins doesn’t get into the torture/profiling arguments or offer his take on who’s right or wrong, he just notes that Harris is doing a good thing by getting people to think some very uncomfortable thoughts. (Interestingly enough, Dawkins also lauds PZ Myers for the same thing.)
[Sam Harris] was doing what moral philosophers do, and he does not deserve the vilification and viciousness that he has received in consequence. He is not a gung-ho pro-torture advocate, he was raising precisely the hypothetical, thought-experiment type of questions moral philosophers do raise, about whether there might be any circumstances in which torture might be the lesser of two evils – thought experiments such as the famous “ticking hydrogen bomb and only one man in the world knows how to stop it” thought experiment. I am not coming down on one side or the other in that argument. Only saying that it is a serious moral philosophic argument. Merely to take it seriously and engage in it, as moral philosophers do, should not be grounds for pillorying and personal insults.
You can read the full piece here.
(Thanks to Dennis for the link!)