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Gravitas for the Faithful

    A few days ago Sam Harris released the video of his recent Vancouver Public Conversation with Jordan Peterson.  First, it is important to note than ten thousand people paid big bucks to hear a discussion  between two intellectuals..... about God!  This is encouraging in that Peterson, the most recent "darling of the deplorables", is not just another theo-zealot, but is rather a super smart, articulate, fence-walking, atheist neutralizer.  His "books sold" stats prove it.  

    Of course careful and trained attention, to what was literally a debate, clearly favored Harris' "no god" position.  Post Enlightenment, the "no god" argument has become invincible to much of the world,  particularly to <40 educated audiences.  However, there are still countless millions of "not fully committed/not so brave" listeners tentatively holding on to a faith anchor.  Peterson is their savior.  He offers a way out of the much conflicted "I AM/I AINT" dilemma.

    So what's the spin?  My sense is that Peterson; incidental to, or not, having made a million dollars selling books, has successfully recast God in the language of  hyper-consequential cutting edge neuro-psychology. He first, indirectly builds on the Deepak Chopra "quantum uncertainty" extravaganza to justify deities a seat at the table....perhaps, or perhaps not!  For Peterson the "supernatural" really isn't relevant, given that it is not empirically refutable, and as such suffices as this a priori foundation.  From there his argument unfolds as a lesson in the value of "story", speaking to the evidence for "metaphorical truth", as in "better outcomes not withstanding wrong reasoning".  From this claim Peterson meanders into, it seems, every psych-study ever published. Each study reference is choreographed to play a role in his grand narrative. The narrative thesis being that "an evolution ally useful moral foundation can only be imbued from the various God Expressions arising in humanities sacred stories, stories grounded in the a priori uncertainty state. .  According to the logic, there being no otherwise accessible "moral foundation source", it goes without dispute that humanity had best identify with some trans-rational story, be it true or metaphor; least  we are all eventually screwed.  And, oh, by the way, for sure Harris' "reason engine" will not run a human   "moral drive train"... because it is not compressible as is story/heuristics.  Maybe it might run a droid in the future.

    Of course this recounting of Peterson's six hours in Vancouver is from my atrophyed brain and is at best a ramble and at worst trashy confirmation bias, but it does point to an important effort to offer those "stuck" in "God Ambivalence" a way to escape fundamentalism by both "hanging-on and letting-go with a new bit of gravitas". 

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