David Brooks considers some developments in the neurosciences:
In their arguments with Christopher Hitchens and Richard Dawkins, the faithful have been defending the existence of God. That was the easy debate. The real challenge is going to come from people who feel the existence of the sacred, but who think that particular religions are just cultural artifacts built on top of universal human traits. It’s going to come from scientists whose beliefs overlap a bit with Buddhism.
In unexpected ways, science and mysticism are joining hands and reinforcing each other. That’s bound to lead to new movements that emphasize self-transcendence but put little stock in divine law or revelation.
Sounds a lot like where Sam Harris appears to be headed. It’s interesting that Brooks has spotted this since he never struck me as one interested in such things. But it’s precisely why I described Jon Haidt and his Enlightenment 2.0 as being potentially more dangerous to humanity in the long term than the militant atheists. I am not optimistic that those inspired by the neuroscientific possibilities will be able to resist the inevitable urge to meddle, modify and otherwise go about the age-old, tragic process of attempting to create yet another New Man.