Re: BILL MOYERS JOURNAL | Robert Wright | PBS (video)
This is very problematic in terms of logical consistency and ethical justification. It is like Wright is saying that emotional and instinctive attractiveness of an idea is sufficient grounds for adherence to it. At 14 minutes into the interview his actual words are "believing in a personal God is a pretty defensible way to go about orienting yourself to the moral axis of the universe, which wouldn't mean that a personal god exists."
He argues here, apparently from evolutionary utility, that it is defensible to believe in something for which you have no evidence. It is dangerous to say acceptance of illusion is okay. It is like saying it doesn't matter if the foundations of a building are not solid. It will stand for a while, but eventually it will fall down. Then people will wish they had invested more in the first place to ensure their foundations were durable.
While I like his idea that there is a progressive moral axis, I would rather ascribe it to the planet than to the universe. It seems quite arrogant to assert that a pragmatic faith that suits human brains extends in any way beyond our planetary ecology, unless he is using universe to mean world, in the ancient sense of cosmos.
The whole 'personal god' trip is totally illogical. It is the supreme form of wish-fulfillment, desiring makes it so. It is a pre-modern form of thought, committing the logical fallacy of argument from authority, that so many people have believed therefore we should believe. The problem is that personal God faith cocoons us in a selfish fantasy about personal immortality, the idea that if I have faith I will go to heaven. It was understandable that people believed in heaven before the rise of modern science, but the forms of this belief that are incompatible with science are obsolete.