Sam Harris

While promoting atheism, Harris examines spirituality by means of considering philosophy, neuroscience and mysticism rather than displaying tacit disdain for it. He warns of the threat that fundamentalist religion poses to human progress and survival

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The Straight Path

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Sam Harris responds!! Response to Controversy

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Are the "New Atheists" Bigoted Tools of Empire?

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Comment by James M. Martin on October 23, 2009 at 11:11am
From time to time I like to read Sam's Letter to a Christian Nation, as it so succinctly states my own system of non-belief. How ironic it was that even as I was reading the following passage, news accounts reached the media about finding the body of a seven year old Florida girl (Somer Thompson) in a landfill. Sam wrote:

"Somewhere in the world a man has abducted a little girl. Soon he will rape, torture, and kill her. If an atrocity of this kind is not occurring precisely at this moment, it will happen in a few hours, or days at most. Such is the confidence we can draw from the statistical lives that govern six billion human beings. The same statistics also suggest that this girl's parents believe -- as you believe -- that an all-powerful and all-loving God is watching over them and their family. Are they right to believe this? Is it good that they believe this?


Sam goes on to comment on what I like to call Mackie's argument against God: the fallacy of believing in an omnipotent and loving deity. As he states it, in the final analysis, God is either impotent or arbitrary (and in some cases downright evil). The problem of theodicy was best expressed by the Australian philosopher John Leslie Mackie.

The religious person would say, "God gave the child killer freedom of will and it is not God but the perp who caused the child's death." Fine, but why didn't God see to it that the perp would choose to refrain from killing little Somer?
Comment by shaman sun on August 24, 2009 at 12:55pm
Great video. I always found Harris to be the most sensible of modern popular atheist thought. He also touched on some of the positive components of religion: compassion and ethical maturity. If we analyze religion thoroughly, instead of just throwing it all out, we might find some hidden jewels illuminated by modern reason. In other words, what some religions may have set out to do, thousands of years ago (increase compassion, good works, change the human being into a caring fellow rather than warring), may finally be possible. There are also strange conscious experiences that don't fall under the category of delusional thinking (enlightenment experiences, strange visions in meditation or prayer) that have to be understood through the scientific lens, and perhaps utilized by modern humans.

I know some argue there is credence to supernatural thought, and that it is beyond modern science, but that is yet to be a solid argument... (Reincarnation, psychic abilities, etc).
Comment by Nate on August 24, 2009 at 9:44am
Here's the video:

Comment by Nate on August 22, 2009 at 12:07pm
Sam appeared on Real Time with Bill Maher last night. Notable quote: "Atheism has no content". He commented on the appointment of Collins as the head of the NIH and why it's problematic with regards to funding scientific inquiry into neuroscience and morality. He reiterated the importance of examining personal transformation and other ideas commonly linked to spirituality from the rational perspective.
Comment by ilostmysharpie on August 19, 2009 at 10:54pm
I have such a crush on Sam...=)
Comment by Friend of Dorothy on August 11, 2009 at 3:50pm
Thanks Nate, just finished watchine another Sam Harris debate on You Tube, as I do regularly. Very sharp guy.
Comment by Nate on August 10, 2009 at 10:55pm
Thanks very much, Ruth.
Comment by Ruth Dickson on August 10, 2009 at 3:38pm
Done. Here's the email:

Dear Sam:
I have been delegated to proffer an invitation to join us at Atheist Nexus, currently the largest atheist social network on the internet. We have recently formed a "Sam Harris" group, and would be honored to have you drop in to bless our undertaking...or to do whatever us atheists do in lieu of a mitzvah.
We look forward to counting you among our members and to meeting you in cyber-person.
On a personal note, I have a major author-to-author crush on you, so I would REALLY like you to see you at:
Post-theistically yours,
Comment by Nate on August 9, 2009 at 10:20pm
Great idea, Ruth. Very glad to have you here. Would you consider extending the invitation to Mr. Harris?
Comment by Ruth Dickson on August 8, 2009 at 7:20pm
Just another Harris fan checking in. Does he know we're here? I hope somebody has invited him to drop in and say hello. Such a nice Jewish boy! (oops)

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