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Jerry Coyne defends Sam Harris

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Readers may recall “No I in me and no sense in Sam Harris” wherein Waynesburg University (Pennsylvania) biology prof Wayne Rossiter, comments on the conundrum that Harris thinks dispensing with the idea that one exists is the key to deeper knowing of the nature of reality.

But, Rossiter, not to worry, some can go Harris, a Darwin fan, one better: Evolution shows our perceptions are not real

Anyway, seriously, Harris is getting slammed for Islamophobia, and Jerry Coyne offers,

First, Sam asks hard questions, and people don’t like to think about hard questions. Should we ever lie? Is torture ever justifiable? Is it even possible to even imagine a first strike against Islamic enemies? Is it possible that religion can really be a strong motivator for bad acts, including Islamist terrorism? Is our notion of “free will”—of agency—a complete illusion? Is it justifiable to profile people at airports based on their religious beliefs?

These questions need to be asked, not dismissed by slandering the questioner. But all too often they are dismissed, and Sam gets excoriated for even raising the question. “He’s in favor of racial profiling!”, they cry. “He’s an Islamophobe!” “He favors torture!” “He wants to nuke all Muslims!” None of these characterizations are accurate: they’re simply slanders that arise when Sam tries to make people wedded to identity politics examine their beliefs. But those people would rather do anything than question their beliefs.

The view that some questions shouldn’t be asked, that some ideas are too sacred to question, is inimical to a democratic society. More.

In reality, Harris is in trouble because the progressivism that shuns anyone asking such questions is a direct product of the naturalism that both he and Coyne espouse. Harris has wandered off the farm again, it seems.

Good thing if someone ever does.

See also: Evolution shows our perceptions are not real?

If Hoffman is correct, evolution makes science hopeless. Some people have said that for years, but we didn’t think they’d be getting their evidence from Darwin’s crowd itself.

One Reply to “Jerry Coyne defends Sam Harris

  1. 1

    “In reality, Harris is in trouble because the progressivism that shuns anyone asking such questions is a direct product of the naturalism that both he and Coyne espouse. Harris has wandered off the farm again, it seems.”

    Call it a minor 2nd without resolution. Those two notes just don’t sound good together.

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