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Montreal Freethinkers Book Club

  • Mar 16, 2014 · 12:00 PM


Hello fellow freethinkers. This month we were going to be reading "The Moral Landscape" by Sam Harris. This book was suggested by long time CFI Montreal member and co-inventor of the Tab Handler, Tim Skene. At the last book club we started to go on tangents about morality. Obviously the book club is more fun when we are engaged in great discussion and debate. This book was chosen to give us just that. One thing that I find in the book club is we are all in agreement on most topics and ideas. It seems like we are all there to pat one another on the back. Every once in a while this is a nice thing to have but for this book club I want to see BLOOD! ... Ok maybe just good discussion and debate. (No blood please). Not only am I going to ask everyone to PLEASE read the book, but I am also going to ask everyone to think of a topic (or moral conflict) that we can bring up in a debate type format. Here are some of the suggestions I have thought about.

1) The choice of dropping the atom bombs over Japan by the American in World War Two.

2) The idea of reparations for things such as slavery, Native American Heritage, and the holocaust being passed onto future generations not involved in the original situation.

3) Abortion

4) The rights of Churches to discriminate against performing gay marriages.

5) Euthanasia

These are just some ideas that I think would be great to discuss the moral issues behind. I invite everyone who plans to come out to think of some of their own. What I would like to do is put the ideas in a hat and pull one out at a time to discuss, This way we will all have to be on the top of our game.


Below is a brief summary of the book.

Sam Harris’s first book, The End of Faith, ignited a worldwide debate about the validity of religion. In the aftermath, Harris discovered that most people—from religious fundamentalists to non-believing scientists—agree on one point: science has nothing to say on the subject of human values. Indeed, our failure to address questions of meaning and morality through science has now become the primary justification for religious faith.

In this highly controversial book, Sam Harris seeks to link morality to the rest of human knowledge. Defining morality in terms of human and animal well-being, Harris argues that science can do more than tell how we are; it can, in principle, tell us how we ought to be. In his view, moral relativism is simply false—and comes at an increasing cost to humanity. And the intrusions of religion into the sphere of human values can be finally repelled: for just as there is no such thing as Christian physics or Muslim algebra, there can be no Christian or Muslim morality. Using his expertise in philosophy and neuroscience, along with his experience on the front lines of our “culture wars,” Harris delivers a game-changing book about the future of science and about the real basis of human cooperation.


Here are some youtube links of Sam Harris.

Come Join your local CFI Montreal Freethinkers at Vego Restaurant.  ( Metro station Berri-UQaM), where a book title will be selected for each one of us to read, and then engage in discussions and debates afterward.

Feel free to contact Andrew Cody if you have any questions or suggestions. We will be meeting every third Sunday of the month. If you're not a CFI member yet, please consider joining us today! Click on

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  • Marianne

    And why wouldn't you do it,Alain? I think you are very much capable. Missing our Book Club meet-ups.

    April 16, 2015

    • Alain V.

      Thanks, but have you considered doing the same? Andrew is now hosting discussions through Moutons No More.

      April 27, 2015

  • Janine F

    Hi! When is the next book club?? Thank you!

    April 15, 2015

    • Alain V.

      Andrew is no longer hosting the CFI book club and no one else has stepped up to take his place.

      April 16, 2015

  • A former member
    A former member

    I'm sorry I had to miss this. I would be interested in a repeat of the debate, but with moral dilemmas that are closer to home and everybody has to deal with. E.g. giving money to beggars on the street, lending money to friends, not returning library books, not paying your parking tickets, etc.

    March 16, 2014

  • Jonathan

    We had a great discussion, I think the topic sparked a lot of interesting thoughts in people. Great choice of book! Sorry I had to leave all of a sudden... you'll hear the reason why on the next podcast.

    March 16, 2014

  • CarolAnn

    I’m sorry I didn’t make it there today. It was to be my first Book Club Meeting. There was an accident in the tunnel on the 13 that delayed me for half an hour and by the time I got downtown the traffic in the city was gridlocked by a horde of little green men (not aliens – that would be crazy – just your average leprechauns) The Sam Harris book seems to be sparking a lot of interest – I hope it’s used for the next few meetings so everyone gets a chance to discuss it. See you next time !

    March 16, 2014

  • Carol A.

    sorry I can't make it to this, as I love Sam Harris' ideas. Kudos to you Andrew for running the most interesting and fun book club in Montreal!! Hope to see you next time.

    March 15, 2014

  • Luc M.

    I won't be there but i'm throwing this bone: what if morality is not in our genes (or even if it is) but the emergent property of consciousness, language and culture is where morality gets constructed. It cannot be all described by neuroscience as much as the working of a car can't all be described by chemical laws and what happens at the molecular level. Does morality follow the "law" of evolution?

    1 · March 11, 2014

  • A former member
    A former member

    Hello Freethinkers! I'll have to sit this one out. Wishing you a great and insightful discussion!

    February 20, 2014

  • Matthew

    I love this idea and will start reading the book immediately! See you soon!

    February 18, 2014

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