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Part 2 (Q&A) here: http://youtube.com/watch?v=LsrtOZdJitA This is Sam Harris' talk at the AAI 07 conference in Washington, DC. Margaret Downey at: http://www...
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You are spot on as usual!
The thing is, too, Edward, given the chance, we could sit down with Sam and talk about our differences with this video. He might persuade us on some points and we might persuade him on others, and there's a fair chance that all parties would gain from the interaction without having to tear the other down. Seems to me, that's what freethinking is all about, ain't it?
As for meditation, I learned TM ages ago and while I'm no longer regular with it, I can say without fear of contradiction that 20 minutes twice a day with that gained me a LOT, and the devil was nowhere to be found!
I wonder if the Christian website would be critiquing one of their icons as we have done here? Nah... good sheep believe the authority's words regardless of content ;-) Years ago, Billy Graham said that meditation allows the Devil into your heart, and this misinformation has become part of mainstream Christian consciousness.
The fact is that religion as a social phenomenon has an enormous amount of social inertia behind it. If we are going to be able to act against that inertia in an effective manner, we have to act in a coherent manner. One mechanism of doing so is organizing under a "banner," and the banner of atheism is as good as any.
Certainly, Harris is right to note that there are no a-astrologists or non-stamp-collectors (excepting our good friend on YouTube!), but neither astrology or stamp collecting wields the power which religion does, and religion compounds the problem by having no basis in demonstrable fact, while attempting to superimpose itself on every field of life. If theism is that pernicious (and it is) then it should be no surprise that atheism should arise as a counter-force and should be named as such.
As to Harris' talking about an a-racist organization, there was the SNCC, the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee, which among many other organizations fought against the racism prevalent in the Deep South in the 60's, and I suspect there are other such examples out there.
Three hundred million souls? Not people or citizens? Why the woo? That made no sense to me.
The chalk outline on the sidewalk is a great point. His point about a post-racist world not being one in which the majority of people identify as nonracists is great!
His argument about there being more than than seeking happiness comes across to me as a straw man. Why ignore meaning to focus only on overcoming boredom with pleasure? We have far more ways of creating meaning in life than seeking pleasure or being a contemplative mystic.
If I heard correctly Sam Harris said, "Our habitual identification with discoursive thought is a primary source of human suffering." So "Cogito, Ergo Sum" is a primary source of human suffering. Because we're "not interested in contemplative experiences"? His argument wasn't clear.
That doesn't apply to our members in Atheist Buddhists.
Atheists give the impression we are well on our way to purging the universe of mystery? What about Wonderism? Maybe this is true of some.
I can agree with his idea of focusing our identity and arguments on intellectual honesty instead of on rejection of theism.
Not attacking either of you, Anthony. I disagree with Harris on this point but I see his justification. Harris has the courage and foresight to think beyond the issues which have been bandied about ad nauseum.
I admire Harris. Unless one is religious there will always be points of contention among like minded inhumanoids.
If the subject arises and your opponent says "what are you an atheist" and you use some euphemism to describe yourself you are an infidel and a coward. It makes more sense to embrace the title and defend it. "Are you a card carrying member of the ACLU?" Proud of it and here is what we have accomplished and what we stand for.
But I like Harris. He is a real thinker.
Hahaha. thanks for the replies guys. And Loren. I'm actually gonna use that to confuse some people. Brilliant
I think he copped out on Moral Relativism too!
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