So you think it is reasonable to dismiss his ideas about secular morality as "crazy" and "dangerous" without having read what he actually wrote about it.
Well I listened to his talk. And I've read quite a bit of his stuff and watched a number of interviews.
And how come you dismiss social constructionism without first reading an advocate? Ken Gergen is my favourite. When is a bottle not a bottle?
I bought The Moral Landscape today and I've read a little bit. It's quite easy to read but what I find annoying is the unspoken agenda.
Harris first softens you up by saying we all agree it's wrong for fathers to kill daughters in the name of honour, don't we? Yes we all agree on that. So there are moral absolutes and culture can't excuse bad behaviour. But before you know it he's got us profiling Muslims and banning them from the country, on the basis of "scientific ethics".
Harris seems terribly disturbed by the idea that there might not be a fixed answer to ethical issues. If there is a correct answer to the boiling point of water then why can't there be correct answers to ethical dilemmas?
In a community, ethical questions are best settled by discussion and consensus. This is the sort of model Rortian pragmatism would suggest. The reason Harris can't stand this approach is that, although he starts his argument with examples no one would dispute (serial killers are bad), what he is really interested in finding is a basis on which to claim his own ethical solutions are more scientific than the majority or consensus view.
In other words he is attempting to use "science" as a basis for saying that his own ethical judgements should be preferred even when they run counter to the common sense view or the current consensus. This cuts out the pesky business of having to discuss, reason, and take others' views into account!
But there's just one basic thing I'd like to know. Why should Sam Harris be taken seriously as a moral philosopher? Would you take someone seriously on evolutionary biology who had not written any peer reviewed work on the subject, who didn't engage with the existing literature, and any reviews from experts in the subject were negative? That seems to be the situation with Sam Harris on moral philosophy. If you wouldn't accept is in evolutionary biology, why accept it in moral philosophy?
These are the academic reviews of Sam Harris's The Moral Landscape I could find. The first thing to notice is that the book has been largely igored in the main academic journals on the subject. It is not considered a serious intervention in academic discussion of,moral philosophy. The second thing to notice is that reviews from experts on the subject are negative. If there are positive reviews in philosophy journals I'd be interested to see them.
Earp, B. D. (2016). Science cannot determine human values. Think, 15(43), 17-23.
Blackford, R. (2010). Book Review: Sam Harris' The Moral Landscape. Journal of Evolution and Technology, 21(2), 53-62.
Pigliucci, M. (2013). New Atheism and the scientistic turn in the atheism movement. Midwest Studies in Philosophy, 37(1), 142-153.
This one in particular is worth reading.
Pigliucci, M. (2015). Scientism and pseudoscience: A philosophical commentary. Journal of bioethical inquiry, 12(4), 569-575.
Kaufman, W. R. (2012). Can Science Determine Moral Values? A Reply to Sam Harris. Neuroethics, 5(1), 55-65.