Editor's Note: We'll be running the article recommendations of our friends at TNR Reader each afternoon on The Plank, just in time to print out or save for your commute home. Enjoy! Winsor McCay, the neglected artistic genius whose vivid creations have been lost to time, was the greatest illustrator of the twentieth century. City Journal | 13 min (3, 178 words) Anthony Shadid's tragic death has robbed us of many years of great journalism.
The Moral Landscape: How Science Can Determine Human Values By Sam Harris (Free Press, 291 pp., $26.99) Sam Harris’s first two books, The End of Faith: Religion, Terror, and the Future of Reason and Letter to a Christian Nation, attacked religious faith. His new book, interestingly enough, attacks not faith but a form of skepticism—moral skepticism. Harris’s aim is to show that there is moral truth, and that it does not depend on the word of God.
About 2-1/2 years ago I wrote an essay for TNR in which I criticized the so-called new atheists (primarily Sam Harris, Daniel Dennett, Richard Dawkins, and Christopher Hitchens). A few months later, I followed up with a critical take on Bill Maher’s Religulous. In both cases, my focus was politics. There was, I argued, something deeply illiberal about the new atheists’ intolerant hostility to the spiritual beliefs of their fellow citizens. I still believe that, as readers of my forthcoming book will discover.
I have a small quibble with something Ian McEwan said in his (really quite interesting) interview on our site today. Towards the end of a discussion of how atheists--clearly propelled by the success of authors like Christopher Hitchens and Sam Harris--now feel more emboldened to discuss their beliefs, the Atonement author explains: "It is crucial that people who do not have a sky god and don't have a set of supernatural beliefs assert their belief in moral values and in love and in the transcendence that they might experience in landscape or art or music or sculpture or whatever.