MY OWN VIEW IS THAT THIS IS backward: the biology of consciousness offers a sounder basis for morality than the unprovable dogma of an immortal soul. It's not just that an understanding of the physiology of consciousness will reduce human suffering through new treatments for pain and depression. That understanding can also force us to recognize the interests of other beings--the core of morality.
He goes on to explain that the fact that we have all the same cognitive equipment (cerebral cortex, hypothalamus, etc.) that we will recognize that we are all human and should treat each other with respect. But how does it follow that because we have the same equipment we should recognize the interests of others? Note the word should in that question. I do not see how a biological fact could establish that we should do one thing or another. This is the failing I have seen in most atheistic attempts to establish morality. There are propositions they assume that need proof.
Pinker's argument in the article seems to go thusly:
- If we all have the same cognitive equipment we should behave morally.
- We all have the same cognitive equipment.
- Therefore we should behave morally.
This follows deductively if we agree with the propositions, but I disagree with proposition one. It needs the support of a good argument, which Pinker does not provide. I don't understand why so many atheists ignore the gargantuan chasm between biology and morality, but ignore it they do. They have yet to prove that atheism can provide a solid basis for moral behavior.