Sam Harris Peddles ze Straw Men

Religion tells us that sin is what justifies eternal punishment in the next life…this is, to my mind, the mother of all cultural war issues. This is where science really pulls the keystone out of religion.

If you recall the general picture, we’ve all inherited original sin because Adam and Eve misused their free will. And then for eons, God gave us no guidance whatsoever. And then he wrote a few uneven books that were filled with rumors of ancient miracles.

And then he holds us responsible for the slightest doubt we have about his existence on the basis of these books — though he has stacked the deck against us by giving us a faculty of reason and strangely, an ability to write better books than the ones he has supposedly written.

— Sam Harris, author of The End Of Faith and Letters To A Christian Nation.

(Although Sam must’ve said this particular tripe years ago, I just encountered it now — from nowhere else but Facebook, of all places. Of course, I’ve been able to read all sorts of garbage from Sam for many years now, so not that it matters.)

Although much can be said about it, let’s overlook for now, to keep ourselves from breaking out in hearty guffaws, Sam’s implication that his books are better than the bible.

The above quotation is a clear example of how far removed Sam Harris is from that which he continually devotes his attention to attacking. He peddles these strawmen of religion, waxes incredulous about how ridiculous they are, then he, as if he hasn’t shown enough dim wittery on the matter just yet, self-aggrandizingly calls himself a “bright” after so doing. Priding himself in his ‘reason’, however, is the big irony here that will unfortunately be lost on him as he keeps epically failing to see how understanding religion (Christianity in particular) is a requisite to having credibility in whatever offensive you’re mounting against it.

Sam, in this instance — in every instance he goes on about religion, actually — gets the Sunday school version and says “Oh! Look how silly that is!”

Of course it’s silly, Sam — almost anything will be once you oversimplify it in the way you have.

You know what else is silly, though?

You — that anyone is still actually listening to you.

Especially after you’ve, uh, rather moronically, suggested this in your book about people of religion: “Some beliefs are so dangerous that it may be ethical to kill people for believing them”.

Now that is silly.

You are aware that, using your logic, it would be entirely in keeping with your own ethical standards to kill you for believing it would be ethical to kill others for their belief, right? Right.

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Posted on August 4, 2012, in crap, funny, science and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink. 10 Comments.

  1. Sam Harris has such a pathetic juvenile understanding of Christianity and the Bible. I almost sprain a muscle from eye-rolling every time I hear an argument from him. I love watching the debate between Him and William Lane Craig where Craig bulldozes his failed logic, only to see Sam Harris resort to dated attacks on the Christian faith. Just pathetic.

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  3. Sam didn’t actually imply that his books are better, if you’ve heard enough of his talks you’d know he sometimes refers to Shakespeare or Plato, he’s not particularly self-promoting at all. And when he said that it would be ethical to kill people based on their beliefs, he meant people like Osama bin laden, he specifically says that he isn’t advocating for the kind of intolerance that would mean imprisoning people for their beliefs. He’s just not that bad.

  4. You’re assumption that he is referring to his own work shows your bias. In order to conclude that he is referring to his own book you demonstrate how narrow minded you are. You’re looking for a problem with the person, not his argument. By calling him arrogant you attack his character, not his idea. It is obvious to me he is referring to the many great literary works which are much better written then the bible. I’ve been on the edge of faith for a while however after reading articles like yours I’m fairly sure “god” is simply a placebo to comfort people who are afraid to accept the harshness of reality.

    • You’re assumption that he is referring to his own work shows your bias.

      Doesn’t matter. He’s written a book on how he believes it’s possible to have a science of morality. Even if he wasn’t specifically referring to his own books, it’s still what he delusionally believes.

      You’re looking for a problem with the person, not his argument. By calling him arrogant you attack his character, not his idea.

      He has many problems with both, which I’ll be happy to point out whenever I see fit — so fuck you.

      Besides, Sam Harris happily attacks the characters of those with whom he disagrees.

      I’ve been on the edge of faith for a while however after reading articles like yours I’m fairly sure “god” is simply a placebo to comfort people who are afraid to accept the harshness of reality.

      So God is a placebo because I’ve hurt your feelings by attacking Sam Harris’ character. Fall from the precipice into atheism, then, you illogical bastard.

  5. Most modern books are better than the Bible. The Bible was written thousands of years ago (more or less, depending on which books you mean) by men who could barely see the wisdom of washing their hands after pooping… (disease was, after all, caused by demonic possession back then. God forgot to tell us about germ theory, so it wasn’t in there.)

    In fairness, the Bible does tell us to go away from camp and poop in a hole and bury it. It also says to kill your children for talking back to you. This is the greatest source of moral wisdom ever written in any language in human history?

    Sam at least has the advantage of learning about DNA, cosmology, the Internet, neuroscience, meteorology, etc., from other people. He also grew up in an age of enlightened moral wisdom where we don’t sacrifice our children to cure the King’s V.D. like we did in the good ol’ days. So yes, his books are better, but it’s easy to write better books these days with all the giants whose shoulders we stand on.

    The curious thing about God is that he endowed us with the ability to write better books than He did. Strange indeed…

  6. If you believe that Sam Harris’s portrayal of the cosmological argument is a straw man, then I would be curious to hear your own interpretation of the argument.

  7. Harris’ understanding of the cosmological argument isn’t the straw man. After all he majored in philosophy so I guess I should assume he understands the argument. The straw man is his understanding of religion, and specifically who Christians believe God is. So if God is defined as having had no cause, Harris says this begs the question. But it no more begs the question that to say some field of particles created the Big Bang. Well then what created the field of particles? He’d probably say “we can not know.” A religious person says “oh yes we can.”

  8. >>Especially after you’ve, uh, rather moronically, suggested this in your book about people of religion:

    “Some beliefs are so dangerous that it may be ethical to kill people for believing them”.<<

    What page of what book did he write this? Also, it wasn't entirely clear from the picture or the article (I only skimmed it though), but that part about intellectual honesty, was that your comment or his?

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