I’ve always found Sam Harris’s output to be uneven in quality, but I think he’s usually worth reading. While reading the email exchange between him and Glenn Greenwald, I wasn’t sure whose take I found more convincing. However, Greenwald’s longer summary of the argument seems pretty reasonable to me; I think I have to side with him.
On a related note, I just got hold of a used copy of Harris’s book The Moral Landscape, so maybe that will shed a little more light on what I find questionable about his thinking.
April 4, 2013 @ 2:00 am
Seems beyond reasonable. Harris has always been a little suspect to me. he is prone to doctrinaire thinking and demonization of others, although I did enjoy his Letter to a Christian Nation book.
Have to admit, though, my reflex is to almost always side with Glenn Greenwald. I find him one of the most perceptive, clear-minded, and balanced writers on policy out there. So…I am biased.
Even though I actually agree, to some extent, with the thesis that Islamic theology is particularly toxic. I would note, contrawise, that the American religion, Utter slavery to and worship of Mammon, has caused far more harm to the recent world.
April 4, 2013 @ 2:17 am
Yeah, same here. Letter… was the book of his I enjoyed most. I think some of his demonization of Islam assumes that each adherent rationally assents to each and every principle espoused by the Quran and ideological nutcase prophets, and that's just not how it usually works. Most Christians don't take half the stuff in the Bible seriously either.
April 4, 2013 @ 2:33 pm
Agreeing with Greenwald again, I think Sam Harris needs to take to heart one of the best Biblical maxims: Stop criticizing the mote in your enemy's eyes, which you probably can't see because the massive beam in yo0ur own eye is blocking out vision.
I mean, 911 was terrible. But the United States leveled an entire city to a large extent (Fallujah), and cancer rates from U.S. weaponry will kill tens of thousands over the coming decades. It is mouth gapingly infuriating to hear the kind of demonization of the other from toadies like Harris who are used by the War Pigs.Even if I despise Islam and ALSO agree with people like bensix about the horrible foaming-at-the-mouth "theologians" who are paid taxpayer dollars to speak at British universities.
Generals gathered in their masses
Just like witches at black masses
Evil minds that plot destruction…
April 5, 2013 @ 8:15 pm
Google "honor killings." Let's shine a spotlight on despicable behavior wherever it occurs.
April 9, 2013 @ 1:19 am
Jerry Coyne expands on the theme.
April 9, 2013 @ 8:31 pm
Now…I will agree that cries of Islamophobia are widely wielded as silencing techniques. Just like "Anti-Semitism" is used to silence criticism of the (somewhat fascistic and tribalist) Israeli state.
Interesting analysis by Mr. Coyne.
April 9, 2013 @ 8:39 pm
God, though, I have to say that some of the commenters at the Coyne link make me recoil and reflexively agree with Greenwald…Not a nice bunch of people.
I also don't agree that Islam is the only or main "faith" that threatens the world. American/Western capitalist/neoliberal ideologies of eternal economic growth and unfettered capitalism have done plenty of damage. And I would argue they are very much an almost religious faith.