Monday, April 25, 2016

In defense of Sam Harris:

I just watched a conversation between Abby Martin and her brother about the (somewhat controversial) New Atheist Sam Harris, a contemporary intellectual that I usually (though not always) to agree with. The video can be seen here.

This is just too painful to watch in its entirety. In just the first few minutes, the Martin siblings make so many assertions about Sam Harris that are wrong that my exasperation threshold is pegged. I have read a lot of Sam Harris's writings, and nowhere does he say that we should intervene in muslim theocracies. Far from "hating" muslims, as the Martins keep asserting, he is trying to enlighten them through rational discussions, and hopes to eventually convince not only muslims themselves but also misguided "multiculturalists" in the west to question and reject harmful concepts such as Sharia law.

It is true that he does, as do I, dislike many aspects of Islam. I would hope any rational person, who really cares about kindness, human freedom, and love would similarly be critical of a great many aspects of islam.

And they seem to think that criticism of Islam is somehow "racist", something I find indefensible. How many times do we have to point out that a religion is not a race?

By the Martin sibling’s logic, or, more correctly, the lack thereof, a person who criticized black slavery in the US south in the mid 1800’s would be accused of “racism”, not only against black people (for example, arguing something like “they are happy as slaves”), but also against the slave owners who were of largely different ethnic stock than those in the northern (free) states.

I wish the Martin's would give references to the insulting charges they make against Harris. From what I have read of him, almost all of their claims are either lies, or at best, based on misunderstandings of his arguments. But since Harris writes in a clear, easy to understand manner, I suspect that there is some hidden agenda of the Martins, and they deliberately lie to advance it. What would this agenda be, I wonder?

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