Criticisms of Sam Harris Are A Stumbling Block to Getting a Great President

New Atheist activist PZ Myers received a very concerned letter from a Sam Harris Fan:

Dear PZ,

Can I please ask you to refrain from insulting and writing about Sam Harris in the negative. I don’t know what you expect to achieve by constantly writing Sam Harris hit jobs. You are tearing the atheist community apart.

Does it not hurt you knowing that you are contributing to the toxicity of the atheist community? Do you not care about, as Sam Harris says, that his daughter will one day have to read articles about their father being a racist, and Islamophobe? Even if you don’t agree with Sam or Richard Dawkins, can’t you please get in line. They’re the ones on the front lines. They’re are the ones that will bring enlightenment to the masses.

Don’t you care about the damage you are doing? Imaging someone who is considering the notion of god and reads Sam Harris and thinks, “yes this makes sense, I no longer believe”. Now imagine that this person has major influence in society. Imagine that maybe this person becomes president. Imagine the good they could do.

Now imagine that they then read a PZ Myers blog post, and they read you saying Harris is a bigot and racist etc. You just prevented that president from being enlightened and doing great work as president, because they instead read something religious and became religious.

These are the stakes. We are not cultists, we are just pragmatic, for the greater good. I compel you. But I bet you have your mind made up and are not willing to listen to my sound reasoned arguments.

I feel a duty to at least try to persuade you and your readers. Please just write something positive about Sam, at least that way you appear neutral and unbiased.

kind regards,

 

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8 Responses to Criticisms of Sam Harris Are A Stumbling Block to Getting a Great President

  1. Kevin says:

    “They’re are the ones that will bring enlightenment to the masses.”

    Well they certainly have helped expose the New Atheist movement’s innumerable flaws. If that is enlightenment for the masses, then I suppose I agree with this poor fellow who drank the Sam Harris kool-aid.

  2. Nothing like thought policing to help ensure the success of reason.

  3. Dhay says:

    > “Do you not care about, as Sam Harris says, that his daughter will one day have to read articles about their father being a racist, and Islamophobe?”

    If Harris has only one daughter, my commiserations on the death of the other.

    Around about that same “one day”, his surviving daughter will also have to read Harris’ Waking Up, or his “Drugs and the Meaning of Life” blog/podcast, and will find there that Harris has unambiguously declared his intention to encourage her to take psychedelic drugs.

    I have written a long response detailing the dangers of psychelic drugs, in Harris’ own words, which can be found at: https://shadowtolight.wordpress.com/2015/12/16/new-atheists-fading/#comment-10766

    When I challenged tildeb on his recent claim that I and others were misrepresenting Harris, and referred tildeb to the concrete example of that response, saying …

    If you wish to convince me that I have misunderstood Sam Harris, misrepresented him, and would like to put your “That can be fixed” into practice, I would love to know the detail of how I have misunderstood and misrepresented Harris’ position on psychedelic drugs in the response linked below — a response which is severely critical of Sam Harris’ character and integrity, so a perfect opportunity, surely, to give me the correction you say I should expect.

    … tildeb replied …

    I’m not going to refute what you’ve written. This is how you comprehend and you’re poorer for it. That’s why your understanding of Harris’ many theses (putting you squarely in the company of his most vociferous critics) has derailed your comprehension of his theses. Everything you’ve written referencing what Harris has said is accurate in itself but it has failed to yield an accurate comprehension of the thesis Harris has put forward here. I know that may sound rather wonky but let me give a mathematical analogy. …
    [My emboldening.]

    https://shadowtolight.wordpress.com/2015/12/13/more-bad-science-and-bad-theology-from-sam-harris/#comment-11620

    The mathematical (geometrical) analogy which followed looks just like gibberish: evidently “using the method of reading comprehension you [Dhay] do” doesn’t work any better for understanding tildeb, or his explanation of how I misunderstand Harris, than (in tildeb’s opinion) it does for understanding Harris directly.

    As you can see, my response — the bottom line of which was “Harris is a viciously nasty sociopath” — was explicitly not refuted by tildeb, who also explicitly acknowledged that everything I wrote referencing what Harris has said is accurate.

    Poor daughter; for your sake, I hope you become a rebellious teenager and a strong young woman.

  4. mechanar says:

    “They’re the ones on the front lines. They’re are the ones that will bring enlightenment to the masses.”

    I thought that was supposed to happen 10 years ago

  5. Enlightenment apparently entails shit grammar.

  6. itsonlyphotos says:

    This is a gem. The sycophantic appeal to authority is pretty hilarious. Doesn’t this person really believe these men are great thinkers?! Myers is a classless and cruel in his own right. Harris and Dawkins are both extremely narcissistic too. Their common denominator is nastiness. Strange they have so many adoring fans.

  7. Tom Gilson says:

    Way to demonstrate being neutral and unbiased!

  8. Dhay says:

    > … Imagin[e] someone who is considering the notion of god and reads Sam Harris and … Now imagine that this person has … Imagine that maybe this person becomes president. Imagine … Now imagine that they then read a PZ Myers blog post, and …

    But I bet you … are not willing to listen to my sound reasoned arguments.

    Sounds quite familiar, somehow .. ah, yes, it’s just like Sam Harris’ fantasies:

    1. Imagine that al-Qaeda is filled, not with God-intoxicated sociopaths intent upon creating a global caliphate, but genuine humanitarians. Based on their research, they believe that a deadly batch of vaccine has made it into the U.S. pharmaceutical supply. They have communicated their concerns to the FDA but were rebuffed. Acting rashly, with the intention of saving millions of lives, they unleash a computer virus, targeted to impede the release of this deadly vaccine. As it turns out, they are right about the vaccine but wrong about the consequences of their meddling—and they wind up destroying half the pharmaceuticals in the U.S.

    https://www.samharris.org/blog/item/the-limits-of-discourse

    In the following link, PZ Myers’ opening line (“It’s nice to be able to sit back and let Mano take on Sam Harris. He’s laid out all the flaws in the standard Harris formula.”) in his blog post entitled, The Harris Formula links onwards to Mano’s savage skit (entitled In defense of the indefensible) on Harris’ In Defence of Torture fantasy. (Which The Huffington Post original Harris article is linked from there.)

    http://freethoughtblogs.com/pharyngula/2015/10/12/the-harris-formula/

    What imagination, what talent. Harris could have a glowing future as an action film screenwriter.

    (I encourage the fan to keep the day job.)

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