Feelings of transcendence exist, and no one denies it. Those feelings seem to be rather easily triggered by a whole host of phenomena, from a focal seizure to a morning in ritual to a beautiful sunset. We don’t neglect the phenomenon, but it does seem to be a poor mechanism for achieving an understanding of physics. There is more to the universe than morality and feelings, you see, and what I would argue is not that emotions like those listed don’t exist or are unimportant, but that they have a place, and it is not as sufficient evidence for how the world works.
As for this strange idea that the evolutionary approach says nothing about individual responsibility…I have no idea what the man is talking about, other than that he is blithering ignorantly. I strongly urge that Mr Brooks try using his cerebral cortex in addition to his brain stem and hypothalamus when writing — that’s another of those areas where emotional prejudices need to be supplemented with reason and knowledge.
Tip of the hat to Deuce for alerting me to Brooks’ piece.