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LINK Sam Harris Fans: what is your opinion of this piece?

I am not a fan of Sam Harris and this article shows several reasons why.

It's not that I think he's a bad man... it's just that I think he fails to recognize that he suffer from the same failing as those he denounces.

"In this view, the biggest threat to America and to the world may be a simple lack of intellectual humility.

Harris, though, seems to think that the biggest threat to the world is religion. I guess these two views could be reconciled if it turned out that only religious people are lacking in intellectual humility. But there’s reason to believe that’s not the case."

TheMiddleWay 8 May 17

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@TheMiddleWay As you were raised Catholic, it's understandable that you may still be sympathetic to the Church. On balance, I would claim that the Church does not deserve your sympathy. The article mentioned that the Church is not always at odds with science, but does not cite any exceptions, and does not make any valid arguments toward its own thesis, except to point to a few learned monks. History readily reveals that the Catholic church is an enemy to women, gays, Jews, other cultures and religions. The Catholic version of Christianity does not evade the patent contradiction between evolution and the proposition of a first human, Adam, committing the Original Sin that required the human sacrifice of Jesus. Catholics surely knew from their own studies that the whole of Christianity was fabricated, but elected to retain their power and keep the truth from Humanity. If Catholicism is not the enemy of science, it surely is no friend.

On the gun article, the author praises Harris numerous times, but disagrees with his logic. Perhaps Harris is out of his depth on this one.

As to the persecution of the religious by the Chinese, I assume that some amount of actual abuse occurs, but religious people are themselves abusive to others on a routine basis, either by their own discrimination, practices and brainwashing of their children. The claim that this is persecution in the name of atheism is surely wrong. Disabusing people of their delusions cannot be a totally bad thing. Realize that those conveying this story may be much less than objective in their presentation. It is certain that the Chinese will be vastly more compassionate than the Catholics have been to non-Catholics (typically murder and genocide).

In general, there was religious support for natural science by the late Middle Ages and a recognition that it was an important element of learning. The extent to which medieval science led directly to the new philosophy of the scientific revolution remains a subject for debate, but it certainly had a significant influence.


*Science and religion are not at odds but are united in the continuing search for truth in unlocking the mysteries of the cosmos.

The scientific conference titled "Black Holes, Gravitational Waves and Space-Time Singularities" is an opportunity to show that "the church supports good science," said Jesuit Br. Guy Consolmagno, director of the Vatican Observatory.*


RE: evolution and christianity
The Big-Bang, that is placed today at the origin of the world, does not contradict the divine intervention but exacts it,” Francis said, speaking at a ceremony in the Vatican Gardens inaugurating a bronze bust in honor of his successor, Pope Benedict XVI. “The evolution in nature is not opposed to the notion of Creation, because evolution presupposes the creation of beings that evolve.”


RE: evolution and islam
I think it is important for Muslims (and non-Muslims) to know that there are Muslim scientists who not only understand evolution, but have also thought about its implications for their own personal religious beliefs.


RE: evolution and judeism
Conservative Judaism embraces science as a way to learn about God's creation, and like Orthodox and Reform Judaism, has found the theory of evolution a challenge to traditional Jewish theology. The Conservative Jewish movement has not yet developed one official response to the subject, but a broad array of views has converged. Conservative Jews teach that God created the universe and is responsible for the creation of life within it, but proclaims no mandatory teachings about how this occurs at any level.

Many Conservative rabbis embrace the term theistic evolution, and most reject the term intelligent design. Conservative rabbis who use the term intelligent design in their sermons often distinguish their views from the Christian fundamentalist use of this term. Like most in the scientific community, they understand "intelligent design" to be a technique by fundamentalist Christians to insert religion into public schools and to attack science, as admitted in the Intelligent Design movement's wedge strategy position papers


So it's clear to me that religions have varying views in accepting evolution but on the whole, the notion that they are opposed to it, want to stifle it, want to supress it is not true in modern times. Many religions accept it and adopt it into their theology, others question it, and yes, others reject it. But a blanket statement that "all religions oppose evolution (and science)" is IMO more of a strawman by those that are against religion rather than a true survey of religious attitudes.


"'s just that I think he fails to recognize that he suffer from the same failing as those he denounces."

That is just fatuous example of false equivalence. The false equivalence is that religious people are religious and Sam Harris is aligned with scientific inquiry. Both have express loyalty to their beliefs, but the similarity ends there. Harris is open to alternatives supported by evidence, religious kooks are not. Harris goes where the evidence leads; kooks disregard the evidence, or worse.

It's hard not to appear arrogant to those who see emphatic loyalty to truth as a repudiation of their loyalty to lies. The difference is there (and huge) but religionists are uncomfortable with cognitive dissonance.

The reality and punchline is that it is the self-same cognitive dissonance that creates psychological trauma that then triggers the violence in the behaviorally challenged religionists. Atheists do not suffer the same problem, hence, no violence in the name of atheism.

"Harris is open to alternatives supported by evidence, religious kooks are not. Harris goes where the evidence leads; kooks disregard the evidence, or worse."

Sometimes the religious follow the evidence (as the catholic church and various sciences throughout the ages [].

Sometimes Sam Harris disregards the evidence (as in his views on gun control [].

Sam Harris is human. The religious are human. They are not so different in their success and failures.

"Atheists do not suffer the same problem, hence, no violence in the name of atheism."

I guess you aren't aware of China's current persecution of the religious in the name of atheism... 😟


I like Sam Harris, but he's just so slow and ponderous.
{Edit} The article was good.


How much intellectual humility do you want Sam Harris to demonstrate in his platform, which is meant to appeal to intellect and rationality?

He probably exhibits some intellectual humility on the toilet, if you want to follow him there.


Ugh.. now I gotta slog all the way through that Harris/Klein kerfuffle...

I love Robert Wright.


I very much enjoy and agree with Sam Harris. This article is essentially in the same theme as jordan peterson saying everyone is religious, but they just don't know it.

Essentially::: "I don't like Sam Harris because i FEEL he talks down to me and i don't understand what he is talking about. So i will attack him because i think i disagree with his ideas."

The war with islam is old. Thomas Jefferson sent troops into combat because a mullah had had his minions attack americans. Islam is the motherload of bad ideas. And right now it is sweeping the planet with its evil.

Are Sam, and Dawkins, and Hitchens not very intelligent people? Exploring ideas that are not popular?

Should we all condescend to people who know more that we do and don't talk the way we want?

Keep in mind how the majority thought about galileo, and newton, and socrates,...

And::: Ezra Klein to me is a real buffoon. No different that loonies like Donohue.


Obviously, I am a Sam Harris fan though I can see how he can come across as being intellectually superior and therefore annoying. His cold reason was one of the factors in my changing my mind about Christianity. The writer of this article to me comes across as biased (for reasons that I have no knowledge of) against Sam and his line of reasoning. While true that not all heavy smokers get lung cancer, all heavy smokers do have blackened and sickly-looking lungs that are certainly the antithesis of healthy lungs by all medical accounts. The same is true that not all people who yell "Allah Akbar" are Muslim or are about to kill themselves. But when a person yells "Allah Akbar" before detonating himself in a crowded train or before shooting up innocent people at an outdoor cafe he/she more than likely is a Muslim who believes this act will serve the purpose of the being he/she worships. I think Sam's point here is that the recent trend in society is terrorism done in the name of Islam. There are countless times in history when terrorism was done in the name of Christianity too. Though not all terrorist acts are religiously motivated, some are. Would these people have done these heinous acts if they were not motivated by religious indoctrination? Perhaps. But at the very least, they believe that these acts are serving their deity.

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