Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Sam Harris Interviewed on MSNBC's 'The Last Word'


November 16, 2010 on MSNBC with Lawrence O'Donnell

17 comments:

  1. omg whats that bit about the royal wedding ! 

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  2. Finally Harris says the one thing that must always be pointed out when criticizing Islam: That Islam is no different from other religions, except insofar as it is not as far along its history as Christianity is. Islam will undeniably secularize, just as every religion does after a certain amount of time, insofar as it hold some secular power. As long as a religious group remains a denigrated minority, there is a great amount of investment is its purity. But once a religion gains power in the real world, the religion adapts to that fact and secularizes itself accordingly. It has happened to Islam before, when it was the dominant religion in the world, and it will happen again, once the secular threats to muslims (not to Islam) is lifted.

    But right now, the intense anti-MUSLIM sentiment in existence in the western world gives Islam great power as a unifying force against an external oppressor. 

    Let's be clear: religion is Evil. Islam has issues which are unique to it, just as Christianity has issues which are unique to that religion. But Islam is not UNIQUELY dangerous.

    What Harris et al often forget when they talk about the threat of Islamic terrorism is that hard-core American Christians share many of their core attributes, including the most dangerous of al: the eschatological desire. And they forget that there are Christianist extremists with direct access to WMD throughout the US Military today, and that their membership have infiltrated it to the highest levels, including high-level generals.

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  3. Firstly, I have to say that religion is a detriment to the progress of civilization and to humanity overall. It runs on lies, half-truths, and superstition, and encourages irrational thought. But I have to fundamentally disagree with Sam's position on Islam. Islam is no more a religion of violence than Judaism or Christianity. He's making it seem like every Muslim is violent based on the modern issue of Islamic terrorism. This is unfair. When I drive by a Christian church, I don't automatically assume that everyone inside is a homophobic asshole like Fred Phelps the morons at Westboro Babtist Church. I've had long face-to-face discussions with many Muslims in America, and every one of them thinks Jihadists are batshit crazy, just as most Christians feel about Phelps and his gang of fundamentalist hate-mongers.

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  4. I think that you are misrepresenting Harris' position and that your views on the subjects I discuss below are unwarranted.

    What makes you think he has forgotten that there are Christians with access to sophisticated weaponry?  To my knowledge he has never claimed the contrary.  As far as I know, on any occasion in which the subject has arisen Harris has acknowledged that Christianity and other religions are also harmful.  He has never claimed that Islam is "UNIQUELY" dangerous, but he has said that "Islam has issues which are unique to it."

    Your claim that "once a religion gains power in the real world, the religion adapts to that fact and secularizes itself accordingly" is a mere assertion and flies in the face of the available evidence.  For example: the Vatican.  Even when a religious group that obtains power becomes more moderate, unreasonable concessions away from rational positions have to be made.  For example: Iran's fashion police.

    I'll leave it to you to provide evidence that when a religious group obtains power it becomes more moderate on some occasions, but clearly that is not the case universally.  On the basis of what we would be required to give up if any religious group explicitly took power in secular nations like the USA and Canada, I cannot see why anyone would object to the expression of rational critiques of such movements.

    Your claim that "the intense anti-MUSLIM sentiment in existence in the western world gives Islam great power as a unifying force against an external oppressor" requires a citation that I suspect you will have difficulty providing.  Furthermore, even if you have evidence of that claim, what you seem to be implying, namely that people like Harris should not publicly criticize Islam in the way that they do, does not necessarily follow.  A conclusion on that subject would require a balancing of all the relevant factors, such as whether public education of the harmful effects of subscription to the tenets of Islam has a net counteracting effect of the "unifying force" you refer to.

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  5. Your claim that "Islam is no more a religion of violence than Judaism or Christianity" is dubious if you mean that Islam does not prescribe a greater degree of violence than those other religions.  If you mean that Judaism and Christianity are also violent religions, then Harris agrees with you and you do not actually "fundamentally disagree with Sam's position on Islam."  

    Although the textual tenets of Judaism and Christianity are violent, I challenge you to demonstrate your claim by outlining the normative prescriptions of each of those religions in a manner that shows that Islam on balance does not employ violence to a greater degree.  

    In response to your claim that Harris is<span> "making it seem like every Muslim is violent based on the modern issue of Islamic terrorism," I'll simply direct your attention to </span>the video at 3:50.

    Clearly, your statement that you've "<span>had long face-to-face discussions with many Muslims in America, and every one of them thinks Jihadists are batshit crazy, just as most Christians feel about Phelps and his gang of fundamentalist hate-mongers" is anecdotal and therefore irrelevant.  In his Truthdig debate with Chris Hedges this very point came up, and Harris in response to Hedges' description of his own face-to-face discussions referred Hedges and the audience to polls which demonstrated the contrary.</span>

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  6. Bravo, Jason!

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  7. That its just like any other wedding and therefore does not deserve too much attention

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  8. Well there you have it ladies and gentlemen. There you have it. It's on display right here for all to witness for themselves now.


    There is nothing so effective as a good Sam Harris interview to lift back the paneling such that you may truly see how deeply the quisling faitheists have burrowed. Do you hear them in there, chanting away with their incantations of dogmatic tolerance? "All religions are equally dangerous and violent", they squeal. "It's unfair to judge religions based on the actions of a few of their adherents" they shriek. "You mustn't criticize Islam's tenets too harshly you know, that's anti-Muslim!", they screech; subversively attempting to make such criticisms synonymous with racism.

    There you have it. The familiar simpering whines have been trotted out, their usual acolytes have registered their "likes". Is it any wonder that the al-Awlakis of the world are so bold in their scheming? They can see we're ripe for the picking.

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  9. As this quisling faitheist I am chants my dogmatic incantations, something inside me subversively shreiks, screeches, squeals and simperingly whines; "What is it about Blake's posts that irritates? Wait, wait...it's coming...He remind me of...of...PAT ROBERTSON!!!!

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  10. <span>

    <span><span>As this quisling faitheist I am chants my dogmatic incantations, something inside me subversively shrieks, screeches, squeals and simperingly whines; "What is it about Blake's posts that irritates? Is it the stench of undemonstrated ego? The dumb drama? The failed profundity? Pedantic pedagogy? </span></span>
    <span><span>Wait, wait...it's coming...They remind me of...of...PAT ROBERTSON!!!!</span></span><span></span>
    </span>

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  11. <span><span>As this quisling faitheist I am chants my dogmatic incantations, something inside me subversively shrieks, screeches, squeals and simperingly whines; "What is it about Blake's posts that irritates? After all, there is at times an ounce of good logic under all those tons of self-inflation.</span></span>
    <span><span>Is it the stench of undemonstrated ego? The dumb drama? The failed profundity? Pedantic pedagogy? </span></span> 
    <span><span>Wait, wait...it's coming...his posts remind me of...of...PAT ROBERTSON!!!!</span></span><span></span>  

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  12. <span><span><span><span>Well there you have it ladies and gentlemen!</span></span></span></span>
    <span><span><span><span></span>As this quisling faitheist I am chants my dogmatic incantations, something inside me subversively shrieks, screeches, squeals and simperingly whines; "What is it about Blake's posts that irritates? After all, there is, at times, an ounce of logic under all those tons of self-inflation.</span></span>  
    <span><span>Is it the stench of undemonstrated ego? The dumb drama? The failed profundity? Pedantic pedagogy? </span></span>   
    <span><span>Wait, wait...it's coming...his posts remind me of...of...PAT ROBERTSON!!!!</span></span><span></span>  </span>

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  13. <span><span><span><span><span>Well there you have it ladies and gentlemen!</span></span></span></span>  
    <span><span><span><span></span>As this quisling faitheist I am chants my dogmatic incantations, something inside me subversively shrieks, screeches, squeals and simperingly whines; "What is it about Blake's posts that irritates? After all, there is, at times, an ounce of logic under all those tons of self-inflation.</span></span>    
    <span><span>Is it the stench of obscure ego? The dumb drama? The failed profundity? Pedantic pedagogy? </span></span>     
    <span><span>Wait, wait...it's coming...his posts remind me of...of...PAT ROBERTSON!!!!</span></span><span></span>  </span></span>

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  14. <span><span><span><span><span><span>Well there you have it ladies and gentlemen!</span></span></span></span>    
    <span><span><span><span></span>As this quisling faitheist I am chants my dogmatic incantations, something inside me subversively shrieks, screeches, squeals and simperingly whines; "What is it about Blake's posts that irritates? After all, there is, at times, an ounce of logic under all those tons of self-inflation.</span></span>      
    <span><span>Is it the stench of obscure ego? The dumb drama? The failed profundity? Pedantic pedagogy? </span></span> Ludicrous Lecturing? The Vacuous Verborrhea?      
    <span><span>Wait, wait...it's coming...his posts remind me of...of...PAT ROBERTSON!!!!</span></span><span></span>  </span></span></span>

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  15. What? How about Israel and Palestine... let's not overlook the fact that there is a religious underpinning behind this. Plus what audience?  in what country? Let's be fair. Granted... what he says is true. but it is not new and it does not give more enlighted perspective vis-a-vis what any southern conversative pastor would say. I can't believe that there is no better way to express these concerns from a position of knowledge of all that connected with the current Islamic situation.

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  16. I think Lawrence O'Donnell was excellent here.

    I am not sure Sam Harris fully comprehends the geopolitical situation. Islam extremist are fighting something? What is it? and Why? these are important questions that we must ask.

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