Over at HuffPo (where else?) Michael Shermer responds not only to my critique of his Templeton piece on the morality of capitalism, but to those of you who chimed in with comments. Go have a look, as I’m too busy to deal with all the market stuff.
He defends his participation in the Templeton enterprise, pointing out that they impose no restrictions on what he writes (though they’re surely glad he claimed that capitalism produces morality!), and that an earlier piece took apart the woo of Deepak Chopra. Indeed, Shermer’s piece on Chopra was good. It’s just a pity that it was written for Templeton.
What Shermer fails to understand is that what I object to most about his writing for Templeton is not the capitalism-friendly content, but simply that he’s writing for Templeton. How can somebody who’s a big name in the skeptic movement take money from an organization devoted to blurring the boundaries between faith and science? All it does is enable the Templeton folks to list him as one of the species in their petting zoo. If he wants to attack Chopra at HuffPo, more power to him. But of course they pay much less than Templeton—if they pay at all.
As for the rest, he argues that he really meant that the promoter of morality was not capitalism, but free trade which, he claims, leads to a set of rules that promote morality by enforcing fairness. (Shermer’s arguments for trade promoting morality resemble Robert Wright’s arguments that inter-societal interactions promote religious morality and a kinder picture of God).